Archive for August 16, 2023

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Twitter Delays URLs for Certain Sites

Jeremy B. Merrill and Drew Harwell:

The company formerly known as Twitter has been slowing the speed with which users could access links to the New York Times, Facebook and other news organizations and online competitors, a move that appeared targeted at companies that have drawn the ire of owner Elon Musk.

Users who clicked a link on Musk’s website, now called X, for one of the targeted websites were made to wait about five seconds before seeing the page, according to tests conducted Tuesday by The Washington Post. The delayed websites included X’s online rivals Facebook, Instagram, Bluesky and Substack, as well as the Reuters wire service and the Times.

Via John Gruber (Hacker News):

Purposeful spite and inadvertent bug strike me as equally likely here, and the list of domain that suffer this delay really does look like Musk’s shitlist. But regardless of the cause, the effect is undeniably bad for users: click or tap a link to these popular sites from Twitter, and it takes about 5 seconds for the URL to resolve.

Nitter, which had been restored, seems to be broken again. The “temporary emergency measure” of requiring logging in shows every sign of being permanent.


Worth pointing out that has always been an instance of an annoying and seemingly unjustified practice I named “nonsemantic redirect”. Rather than legitimately redirecting using an HTTP Location header, it instead is an HTML page with a META refresh tag on it.

You don’t see this with curl/wget because they use user agent sniffing. If they don’t think you’re a browser they will give you a Location header.


The purpose is so that Twitter is seen as the source of the traffic. A lot of Twitter-sourced traffic comes from native apps, so when people click links from tweets, they usually don’t send referrer information.

If the redirects were server side (setting the Location header), a blank referrer remains blank. Client side redirects will set the referral value.

From Twitter’s POV, there’s value in more fully conveying how much traffic they send to sites, even if it minorly inconveniences users.

John Gruber:

As I speculated last week, nothing you do on Twitter is private. Not your DMs, not your “deleted” DMs, not your searches, not your location (if you’re foolish enough to grant Twitter/X access to it), not your draft posts.


Apple to Send Batterygate Payments

Juli Clover:

iPhone owners who signed up to receive a payment under Apple’s “batterygate” iPhone throttling lawsuit settlement should soon be receiving their payments. As noted by The Mercury News, the judge overseeing the lawsuit has thrown out an appeal from two iPhone owners who were attempting to object to the settlement, clearing the way for the payments to be sent out.

Apple in 2020 agreed to pay $500 million to settle the “batterygate” lawsuit, which accused the company of secretly throttling older iPhone models. The class action lawsuit was open to U.S. customers who had an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, or 7 Plus running iOS 10.2.1 or iOS 11.2 prior to December 21, 2017.

Dare Obasanjo:

Apple is finally paying out users for slowing down the performance of older phones. This was one of those conspiracy theories that turned out to be true.


Affected users who filed claims should get a $65 check. Much less than the replacement phone they likely purchased. 😁

Ian Williamson:

I would much rather have a phone that ran a bit slower than one that frequently shut down, often at times when you were most relying on it.

Ultimately Apple is still at fault here for designing a phone that could draw more power than the battery could supply (at least towards the end of its lifetime). The slowdown fix and poor communication of said fix were just results of that initial mistake.

Nick Heer:

I remain stunned that anyone at Apple thought it would be completely fine to kneecap iPhones with underperforming batteries without telling users. Asking for forgiveness instead of permission works when you borrow a coworker’s pen, not when you alter the product characteristics of millions of smartphones without a word of communication. It has got to be one of the stupidest decisions made by this company in the past decade.

There were actually two communication problems. First, there had been a narrative that some people thought Apple was purposely making their phones slower but that this was a crazy conspiracy theory. Apple let this continue, even as it knew that it really was throttling phones. Second, Apple eventually flipped and tried to pretend that it had told us all along about the throttling—just like how Amazon secretly getting a special App Store rate turned into an “established program.” I don’t consider that asking for forgiveness.

Ultimately, the problem was a hardware design flaw (never really acknowledged), and the throttling was helpful in that a slow phone is better than a broken phone, but the secrecy meant that many people purchased a new phone when all they needed was a new battery.


Update (2024-01-09): Joe Rossignol (Hacker News):

The website for the so-called “batterygate” settlement said payments would likely start to be distributed this January, and payouts have began on schedule. MacRumors readers Ken Strand and Michael Burkhardt are among the individuals who have received payments of $92.17 per claim from Apple as part of the settlement.

The iMac at 25

Jason Snell (MacRumors, Hacker News):

Essentially, Jobs went back to his playbook for the original “computer for the rest of us,” the Mac, to sell simplicity. The Mac’s mouse-driven graphical interface may have changed the course of the PC world, but its all-in-one design just hadn’t clicked. Jobs decided it was time to try again.

The iMac contradicted every rule of the PC industry of the mid-’90s. Instead of being modular, it was a self-contained unit (with a built-in handle!). Beige was out, and translucent blue-green plastic was in. The iMac looked like nothing else in the computer industry.

But the iMac wasn’t just a rule-breaker when it came to looks. Jobs made a series of decisions that were surprising at the time, though he’d keep repeating them throughout his tenure at Apple. The iMac gave no consideration to compatibility or continuity and embraced promising new technology when the staid PC industry refused.


The iMac gets remembered for a lot of things, and rightly so, but it doesn’t get enough credit for essentially kick-starting the USB revolution.

USB on the original iMac was so incredibly slow compared with the I/O that previous Macs had had. If you wanted to connect an external hard drive, the iMac was the wrong Mac to buy. But many people didn’t need external storage, and USB was good enough for adding removable storage for occasional use. One peripheral I saw a lot was the Imation SuperDisk. It could read and write regular floppy disks (at increased speed) and also supported its own 120 MB disks (20% larger than the Zip disks of the time).

Stephen Hackett:

Back in 2016, I set out to collect every model of iMac G3 that was produced over the machine’s six generations. The result of that was one of my favorite projects to ever grace the pages of 512 Pixels. That page has links to all of my iMac G3 coverage, including my look back at the original’s announcement[…]

Monica Chin:

From 2002 to 2009, the iMac was consistently updated every couple of years. The gaps then began to grow: there was a span of over three years between the 2009 “unibody” iMac and the 2012 “slim” iMac and another three years before the Retina iMac in 2015. We then got the iMac Pro, but that was kind of its own thing; the real successor to the 2015 product didn’t arrive until 2021, almost six years later. That was the iMac in which Apple’s Silicon would debut.

Since then, we’ve gotten a refresh of the M1 Mac Mini, two generations of theMac Studio, and a somewhat inexplicable refresh of the 2019 Mac Pro. There’s been a new MacBook Air and a bigger MacBook Air and a whole cadre of MacBookPros. At this point, almost all of Apple’s lineup has been updated to the M2 (or M2 Pro, or M2 Max, or M2 Ultra) chip. But not the iMac.

In fact, as of this writing, Apple hasn’t updated the iMac in well over 800 days — which is the longest gap in recent memory and double the average gap between updates over its history.

Nick Heer:

New iMacs are expected in October, according to Mark Gurman, as part of the debut of the M3 lineup.

I think everyone assumed that, with Apple making its own processors for Macs, it would update them like clockwork as it did for iPhone. Then we saw that the chips themselves were on a slower cadence. And now it looks like Apple is skipping processor generations. I don’t think it’s a huge deal in this case, since the M1 is still quite fast, though it has a lower RAM ceiling.

Jim Luther:

The iMac was also Apple’s first “ROM in RAM” Macintosh where the “ROM”image containing much of the OS was on the boot disk, read into RAM, and then executed. That made updates to that code much easier.

Craig Grannell:

A whistle-stop tour through the best – and worst – moments from the iMac’s evolution.


Typography Is Impossible

Marcin Wichary (2016):

Sticking out is not unusual in typography, even if you don’t use flamboyant typefaces like Zapfino. Here are four examples from Medium today where cropping text precisely at its box’s edges would cut stuff off[…] The box is just a suggestion.


So, yes: two fonts of the same size are likely to not actually be the same size.

There are consequences of this beyond just font sizing. Since the font designer can do whatever they want within the box, some fonts will inevitably end up closer to top, or to bottom. You might have to take that into account when laying things out[…]


Type is aligned when it feels aligned, not when it actually is aligned.