Archive for May 8, 2024

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Turning Off iOS 17 Contact Posters

Federico Viticci:

In iOS 17, you can create a contact poster, which is essentially a combination of a profile picture and artwork that will represent you when calling other people on the phone, FaceTime, and other apps compatible with the CallKit framework.


When a call comes in from one of my friends who’s created a contact poster on iOS 17, I like that I can see a little bit of their personality and taste in the poster they’ve chosen for themselves. Just like profile pictures before, you can choose to automatically share your poster with your contacts; you can either accept someone else’s poster or override it with your own poster for them.

A. Lee Bennett Jr.:

Getting REALLY pissed at this new Apple behavior of names and photos for a contact on MY phone getting changed to something set by the other person. I know I can revert it to what I had, but WHY THE #^€% do I have to revert it? I was fine with it asking me if I wanted the suggested new info, but leave my existing info alone!!! Besides, the contact photo I set for people is often far better than the low resolution crap or their kid, or stupid Memoji they send me.

I don’t like the way this feature was implemented:

See also:


Update (2024-05-09): Kyle Howells:

The “iOS 17 Contact Posters” feature being on by default, and overriding what I have already set for my contact, on my phone, is an abomination that should never have been approved.

That feature makes me angry with how disrespectful and user hostile it is.

Update (2024-05-10): Tanner Bennett:

I have to pull out my iOS 14 iPhone 12 to change a contact photo without going through the poster nonsense.

I don’t even know if you CAN use the cool emoji contact picture creator anymore on iOS 17!

The other problem I have is that sometimes reverting the photo in Contacts does not fix it in Messages. One of my Messages conversations, which previously had a custom photo I took, now only shows the initials on a black background.

The Alternative Implementation Problem

Maxime Chevalier:

What I’ve concluded, based on experience, is that positioning your project as an alternative implementation of something is a losing proposition. It doesn’t matter how smart you are. It doesn’t matter how hard you work. The problem is, when you build an alternative implementation, you’ve made yourself subject to the whims of the canonical implementation. They have control over the direction of the project, and all you can do is try to keep up. In the case of JITted implementations of traditionally interpreted languages, there’s a bit of a weird dynamic, because it’s much faster to implement new features in an interpreter. The implementers of the canonical implementation may see you as competition they are trying to outrun. You may be stuck trying to ice skate uphill.

Almost 4 years ago, with support from Shopify, two dedicated colleagues and I started a project to build YJIT, yet another Ruby JIT. The difference is that we made the key choice to build YJIT not as an alternative implementation, but directly inside CRuby itself. This came with a number of design tradeoffs, but critically, YJIT could be 100% compatible with every CRuby feature from the start. YJIT is now the “official” Ruby JIT, and is deployed at Shopify, Discourse and GitHub among others. If you’ve visited today, or any Shopify store, you’ve interacted with YJIT. We’ve had more success than any other Ruby JIT compiler so far, and compatibility has been key in achieving this.

See also: The Ruby on Rails Podcast.


Shiny MacBook Keys

OSXDaily (tweet):

One of the worst things about the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro is the shiny key issue. If you’re unfamiliar, the image above demonstrates the beginning stages of the shiny key development on my otherwise beautiful six month old MacBook Air, visible mostly on the shift key, but “A” and “S” are also beginning to display the hallmark worn key shine.

The shiny keys are unmistakable, and the wear occurs after routine use of MacBook keyboards. For some users they develop within weeks(!) and for others it can take a year or more to appear, but it seems that virtually every MacBook user who types on their built-in keyboard will eventually experience the shiny keys issue.


There are also tons of forum posts and pictures about shiny keys, worn keys, polished keys, stained keys, people refer to them differently, but they’re appearingon Apple‘s own supportdiscussionforums, MacRumors Forums, myriadredditthreads, and elsewhere. And yes, it does happen with some third party keyboards and PC keyboards too, but we’re focusing on the world of Apple laptop keyboards here.

Jeff Gamet:

Know why you can’t clean the greasy spots off your compute keyboard? Because that isn’t grease. Lots of computer keys are made from ABS plastic, which is soft and cheaper than PBT plastic. Those shiny spots are where you polished the keys by typing.

Via John Gruber (Mastodon):

Those old keycaps clearly weren’t made from cheap ABS plastic. But in recent decades, Apple’s keyboard keycaps have been made from ABS plastic (or, at least, some sort of plastic that develops a greasy-looking shine through use). I’d love to see Apple fix this problem. Apple’s just not known for cheaping out on materials.

John Gruber:

Also, there was a discussion on ATP episode 562 back in November about keycap wear, and one of their listeners pointed out that ABS can be made transparent to let backlighting shine through, but PBT cannot. You can make PBT keycaps with clear (ABS-filled) cut-outs for the letters, but that would undoubtedly add cost and complexity. My beloved Apple Extended Keyboard II has no backlighting at all. It’s quite possible that this entirely explains why Apple sticks with ABS despite the shiny-when-worn factor.

There are two issues here. First, the polish, which is a shame if it’s due to the backlighting, since I never use it. Second, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air keys are more susceptible to showing actual grease (from natural skin oil, sunscreen, etc.) than desktop keyboards or even some of Apple’s older laptops, which had more matte keys. Either way, it looks gross, and I’d like Apple to improve this. My top priorities for the MacBook Pro, though, would be: smaller trackpad and/or better palm rejection, matte display, more USB ports, less sharp edge for the palm rest.


Update (2024-05-20): Craig Grannell:

Apple’s desktop ones are no better. This is just from normal use. Left Option and Command keys are a state also. Just over two years old. (The right arrow key also pinged off one day and has never quite sat right since. Quality…)

Online Messaging Systems of Yesteryear

Jeremy Reimer (via Adam Engst):

PLATO was an educational system that began in 1960 and was nearing its fourth iteration. It was responsible for many computer firsts, such as the first flat-screen plasma display, which launched in 1972 with PLATO IV. These touch-enabled, 512×512 graphical displays looked like they came from the future. And while it couldn’t talk to ARPANET, every PLATO user at every terminal could communicate with each other all over the world.


CBBS was instantly popular and spawned dozens of imitators. Since long-distance charges applied for calls outside one’s hometown, local BBS sites bloomed in cities all over North America, Europe, and Japan. BBS systems at first delivered only text, which was fine since that’s all personal computers could offer. In later years, support for the ANSI standard added color and special characters like those found on the IBM PC and clones. But when you called a BBS, it didn’t matter what computer you had or what computer the BBS was running on. An IBM PC user could call up an Amiga-based BBS with no problems.


Meanwhile, ARPANET had merged with PRNET and SATNET in 1977 to form what was increasingly being called the “Internet.” Other networks joined in the fun, like the Unix to Unix Copy Protocol (UUCP) network, which was eventually renamed the Users’ Network, or simply Usenet.


The “Eternal September” arrived in 1993, when American On-Line (AOL), the most popular online service in the world at the time, with 1.25 million subscribers, added Usenet access. Along with an estimated 60,000 BBSes in the US alone, with an estimated 17 million users worldwide, a lot more people were getting online. But it was a mere foreshock of what was about to come.

AOL, CompuServe, Prodigy, and others also had their own communities, distinct from Usenet and the Web. It’s hard to believe given Ping and Apple’s other recent efforts, but eWorld was actually really good.


Update (2024-05-22): Ron Amadeo (via Nick Heer):

Google Talk, Google’s first-ever instant messaging platform, launched on August 24, 2005. This company has been in the messaging business for 16 years, meaning Google has been making messaging clients for longer than some of its rivals have existed. But thanks to a decade and a half of nearly constant strategy changes, competing product launches, and internal sabotage, you can’t say Google has a dominant or even stable instant messaging platform today.