Archive for May 15, 2023

Monday, May 15, 2023

Context SDK

Felix Krause:

Today, whether your app is opened when your user is taking the bus to work, in bed about to go to sleep, or when out for drinks with friends, your product experience is the same. However, apps of the future will perfectly fit into the context of their users’ environment.


Context SDK leverages machine learning to make optimized suggestions when to upsell an in-app purchase, what type of ad and dynamic copy to display, or predict what a user is about to do in your app, and dynamically change the product flows to best fit their current situation.


Meta has published data on how “less is more” when it comes to notifications and user prompts[…] With Context SDK, you can significantly reduce the number of prompts you show to your users, and a result increase your conversion rates.

Via Dave Verwer:

This would instantly be deep into “creepy” territory if that data was being sent back to some company’s server to be stored and cross-referenced against loads of other data, but the SDK doesn’t request any additional app permissions and never sends a network request. It all happens on-device.

There is something that keeps my “this doesn’t feel quite right” sense tingling. I think it comes down to many years of hearing story after story of unscrupulous companies doing dubious (or awful) things with large amounts of behaviour data, though, rather than being related to anything this SDK is doing.


This idea feels like a win for everyone involved. Users get fewer calls to action at inconvenient times, and developers get happier users who are slightly more likely to respond to a CTA.

It’s not clear to me what the pricing is or whether you get access to the library’s source.

How Apple Help Works and How It Doesn’t

Howard Oakley:

Before High Sierra, Help Manager was troubled by several bugs, and had become unreliable prior to its major revision in 10.13.4. Since then further bugs have come and gone; among the more troublesome are those in Big Sur and Monterey, which can prevent a Help book from opening, or, if it does eventually open, the book displays completely blank pages.

Although those appear to have resolved in Ventura, three issues remain[…]


Because HelpViewer is a separate app, sometimes Stage Manager considers the Help window is another window owned by the parent app, and sometimes it’s treated as belonging to a different app. These inconsistencies are gradually being ironed out as Stage Manager matures.


Update (2023-05-22): Mario Guzman:

Just finished what is probably the biggest update to my blog post “Authoring macOS Help Books in 2020 (and beyond)”

I haven’t added a full Localization process just yet but will soon.

Eighty Shades of Option Key

Guillaume Gète (via Glenn Fleishman):

The little guide lists seventy various tips, from the particularly useful to the very futile... Obviously, it is not a question here of being exhaustive, but rather to give ways to encourage you remember to press the Option key during all your manipulations with the mouse and the keyboard... in order to save you time and make you more productive, even... have fun!

See also: TidBITS-Talk.

Update (2023-05-16): gsymon:

There’s also Apple Help/Support, which is fairly comprehensive. I think I may even have printed it out many years back.

Update (2023-05-17): Sarah Reichelt:

And if you’re just starting to use keyboard shortcuts, or find this list overwhelming, check out an article I wrote for the people at Timing app (my favourite time tracker) about using keyboard shortcuts on your Mac.

Post-Twitter Diaspora Options

Mike Masnick:

Over the last six months I’ve spent more time on Mastodon than anywhere else, and the community there is fantastic. I understand why some people complain about the onboarding process, or the lack of some features (text search and quote tweets being the two biggest). But, honestly, if you spend 15 minutes playing around with stuff, and follow a reasonable number of active accounts and (most importantly) start interacting and actually talking to people, it quickly becomes a very fun place.

Obviously, that only works if the communities you want to interact with are there, and for me, there’s definitely a critical mass of the kinds of accounts I find most interesting.


There are also a ton of misconceptions about Bluesky, which can be a little bit frustrating, but that is part of today’s ecosystem. Contrary to what many people seem to believe, it’s not a blockchain and is not built on a blockchain. Also, while Jack Dorsey provided the seed funding for it, Bluesky is not run by Dorsey, and both Dorsey and Bluesky CEO, Jay Graber, have been somewhat public about where they disagree on where they expected Bluesky to go, with Graber sticking to her vision and Jack focusing more on a different protocol (that one’s up next).


If people thought Mastodon was too confusing, they’re not going to like nostr, as it seems to confuse people a lot more. In some ways, this feels ironic, because the amazingly cool part about nostr is just how freaking simple it is. From a technical standpoint, nostr is kind of beautiful in its simplicity. […] This is the protocol that Jack Dorsey seems most interested in these days, and he spends a lot of time there (and, also just convinced his parents to join nostr as well), so even as he helped kick off Bluesky (and Twitter!) if you’re following where his interest lies, it’s clearly on nostr right now.

Do Bluesky and nostr support RSS?

Dave Winer:

I definitely want Bluesky to just go away. I don’t like it because if it gains traction it has potential of replacing Twitter as the festering turd in the middle of what should have been a vibrant growing market that keeps anything else from rising in competition with it.

John Gruber:

Bluesky is going to skyrocket to mainstream popularity and actually replace Twitter, and Mastodon cannot, because Bluesky is being designed to be simple, fun, and — most importantly — easy to understand.

I’m not trying to provoke. I like Mastodon, especially using @ivory, and I love the community I’m in here. And maybe our community will stay here. What makes Mastodon good for us nerds is that all the non-nerds aren’t here.

But it’s obvious already: regular people instantly grok Bluesky. They’ve had months to sign up for Mastodon and haven’t — because they don’t understand it, and what they see of it doesn’t look like fun.

MacKenzie Sigalos and Jonathan Vanian:

Bluesky has exploded in popularity over the past few months, according to data provided to CNBC by market intelligence firm Sensor Tower, although it still lags far behind Twitter in total download volume.


Bluesky appears to be gaining more attention than decentralized messaging app Mastodon, which attracted a lot of interest in November as a possible alternative to Twitter. In April, for instance, Mastodon only had 90,000 downloads, the Sensor Tower data showed.

Via Nick Heer:

Measuring the popularity of decentralized services based on the number of app downloads seems like, at best, a flawed metric. Because Bluesky is available only by invitation, it has only about 65,000 users. And, while Sigalos and Vanian have effectively written off Mastodon based on the number of downloads of its official app, an independent bot reported over 210,000 new users in the last week of April. If the numbers from Mastodon User Tracker’s bot are to be believed, the network had 10,526,195 users at the end of March and 11,509,031 at the end of April, a difference of nearly a million users.