Archive for October 24, 2023

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

YouTube Music on HomePod

Tim Hardwick:

YouTube Music is now available directly on Apple’s HomePod and HomePod mini, thanks to new Siri integration support in the YouTube Music app.

The change means subscribers to the streaming service can now choose to use voice commands to start YouTube Music on a HomePod, without having to append “on YouTube Music” to every request.

It’s just great that HomePod works better with YouTube Music than with music purchased directly from Apple.

John Gruber:

Every streaming video service is available on almost every device capable of playing video.


But with these smart audio devices, it’s been more drip-by-drip. It seems clear that each of the major smart audio device makers — Apple with HomePod, Amazon with Alexa, and Google with their Nests — originally conceived of them as being companion products for the respective company’s own music service, not open platforms.


Update (2023-11-20): Nils Kassube:

Since the launch of the YouTube Music Siri/HomePod integration I actually prefer it to Apple Music. So much better recommendations. They still remember old stuff when Apple seems to have lost all preferences from my iTunes usage.


iOS 17: Check In

Glenn Fleishman:

It’s easy to focus on the dystopian aspects of technology, but Apple has spent the last few years assembling a collection of features aimed at protecting its users against online and physical threats. They include Communication Safety (insulating kids from images and video containing nudity, enabled by parents), Sensitive Content Warning (warnings for everyone of received media containing nudity), Lockdown Mode (increased security for targeted users; see “Apple Adds Lockdown Mode to Protect Activists and Government Targets,” 6 July 2022), and Safety Check (audits settings to prevent inadvertent sharing). These features help you preserve mental and physical well-being and safety.

The latest addition is Check In, a feature built into Messages in iOS 17. It provides a valuable safety enhancement for your whole life that works essentially like your parent saying, “Call me when you get home so I know you arrived safely.” Check In lets you send a timer or a destination to a safety partner—a friend, relative, colleague, or anyone you trust who is also running iOS 17—that lets them know if you fail to check in after the timer ends or by the time you should have arrived at your destination.


ScreenSharingMenulet 2.9.2

Dan Moren:

Stefan Klieme’s ScreenSharingMenulet. It’s a little no-frills menu bar app that just provides you with quick screen sharing access to other machines via macOS’s built-in Screen Sharing app. By default it detects Bonjour connections on your local network, but it also supports adding manual remote connections if you have other machines you want to log into.

The homepage is here, and I like that ScreenSharingMenulet supports import/export and AppleScript.

My own needs are more basic, and so I tend to just use LaunchBar to access the Screen Sharing app’s recent items. I already have too many menu bar icons.

Invidious and FreeTube

Invidious (Hacker News):

Invidious is an open source alternative front-end to YouTube.


Invidious protects you from the prying eyes of Google. It won’t track you either!


Invidious allows you to subscribe to channels and create playlists, without needing a YouTube account.

FreeTube (Hacker News):

FreeTube is an open source desktop YouTube player built with privacy in mind. Use YouTube without advertisements and prevent Google from tracking you with their cookies and JavaScript. Available for Windows, Mac & Linux thanks to Electron.


Overview of alternative open source front-ends for popular internet platforms (e.g. YouTube, Twitter, etc.)


Link Unshortener Updates

Jeff Johnson:

Link Unshortener 9.0 adds a convenient list of all your installed web browsers so that you can open a link in any browser with one click or keypress. And if you set Link Unshortener itself as your default web browser in System Preferences, then whenever you click a link in an external app such as Mail, Link Unshortener will allow you to easily send the link to the web browser of your choice!


Link Unshortener 9.0 also adds custom URL redirects! Automatically redirect new Reddit to old Reddit, Twitter to Nitter, YouTube to Invidious, etc.

Jeff Johnson:

If you use Link Unshortener, it extracts the Mastodon URL from the Twitter warning URL. I'm showing you the Link Unshortener window here, but you can also set it to open destination URLs automatically (and set Link Unshortener as your default web browser).

Jeff Johnson:

In version 10.5, Link Unshortener now has special handling for Reddit email links, automatically turning URLs into URLs, without the intermediate steps and without all the tracking parameters at the end! If you make Link Unshortener your default web browser, then it can handle links like these from your email client.

Jeff Johnson:

Added gbraid, wbraid, s_cid, and yclid to the list of known trackers trimmed from URL queries. Removed linkId from the list, because it’s used by non-trackers.

Jeff Johnson:

Link Unshortener version 13.0 now automatically removes text fragments in URLs, to match the new StopTheMadness feature.

Jeff Johnson:

The fake User-Agent used by Link Unshortener has been changed from Windows to Mac, because a specific combination of HTTP headers was triggering a few sites to return HTTP 403 Forbidden.

Trim URL queries now removes “rtd” from Reddit URLs.


Can Link Unshortener, acting as a default browser, redirect links to one of the new Safari Web apps that can be made in Sonoma? (As in, send links to a Google Docs Web app?)

Jeff Johnson:

Unfortunately, no, because web apps don’t declare that they can open URLs, and Link Unshortener is sandboxed, which means it can’t force other apps to open URLs.

However, I think that a little AppleScript launcher would work, similar to this technique.