josephschmitt + daringfireball   12465

US weekly jobless claims double to 6.6 million
from Daring Fireball

CNBC:

The torrent of Americans filing for unemployment insurance skyrocketed last week as more than 6.6 million new claims were filed, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That brings to 10 million the total Americans who filed over the past two weeks.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had expected 3.1 million for last week, one week after 3.3 million filings in the first wave of what has been a record-shattering swelling of the jobless ranks.

This only week two.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
13 minutes ago by josephschmitt
Unmasking Twitter – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
from Daring Fireball

Ben Thompson, Stratechery:

This is where masks come in. Much of the discussion of their efficacy has been focused on whether they keep you safe from the virus, and the evidence suggests that the answer is probably. SlateStarCodex has a comprehensive overview of the evidence here.

Everyone agrees, though, that those who are sick should wear masks; as the Taiwan CDC puts it, “Masks are mainly used for preventing the spread of disease and protecting people around you.” This, though, highlights the shortcomings of the “Don’t wear masks if you’re not sick” recommendations:

First, people are terrible in general at estimating if they are sick, particularly if their symptoms are mild.

Second, as Zeynep Tufekci argued in the New York Times, saying that only sick people should wear them stigmatizes the sick and makes them less likely to wear them.

Third, and most importantly, asymptomatic transmission means you don’t even know if you are sick in the first place.

Best estimates at this point suggest that up to 1 in 4 people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic — a staggering number.

Trust me, I was fully on board with the WHO/CDC recommendation not to wear a mask unless you’re feeling sick. I’m sure most of you reading this in the U.S. are still on board with that. It’s time to admit the WHO and CDC led us grossly astray on this.

Given what we now know about transmission — that it primarily spreads through large droplets — even homemade masks are more effective than no mask at all. I firmly believe we should all wear masks to help keep ourselves from contracting the virus. But even if after reading all of this you still think masks should only be worn by those who are sick, the fact that up to 25 percent of those infected are asymptomatic (but still contagious) means that without widespread testing we should all wear masks.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
11 hours ago by josephschmitt
ragmask
from Daring Fireball

From our old friend Loren Brichter: detailed instructions for do-it-yourself masks made from whatever materials you have available.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
11 hours ago by josephschmitt
The best alternatives to Zoom for videoconferencing - The Verge
from Daring Fireball

Barbara Krasnoff, writing for The Verge:

We recently ran a roundup of some of the free videoconferencing apps available, including Zoom. Since so many questions have come up about Zoom’s security, we’ve decided to run the roundup again, this time excluding Zoom and adding other apps that you can use instead.

As before, it’s worth noting that while all of these have free versions, some are offering temporary access to additional features for those who are currently working from home or who want to check up on friends and relatives online.

There are a number of apps we have not included, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and FaceTime, that allow you to do video chats; they either require that all participants be members (Facebook, WhatsApp) or that you use a specific type of device (FaceTime, which is Apple-only). The following list includes more generalized applications that allow you to participate without having to actually register for the app (unless you’re the host).

Great resource for anyone looking for Zoom alternatives, which at this point should be everyone who’s using Zoom.

Makes you wonder about the alternate universe where Apple had followed through on Steve Jobs’s impetuous claim that Apple would make FaceTime an open standard.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
12 hours ago by josephschmitt
Japan to give cloth face masks to 50 mil. households to fight virus
from Daring Fireball

Kyodo News:

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday the government will distribute cloth face masks to roughly 50 million households in Japan as stocks of disposable masks have run out at drugstores and other shops amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The distribution, which will start later this month, is part of the economic package that the government will compile next week. Each household with a registered postal address will receive two washable cloth masks, Abe told a meeting of a government task force.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government’s mask story is… crickets chirping.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
12 hours ago by josephschmitt
Sorry! Something went wrong!
from Daring Fireball

After I published a photo of my iPad writing setup in my iPad Pro review last week, a few people asked what stand I use to prop up the iPad. I use an Anker “Multi-Angle Stand” I bought back in 2018. I love it: it’s lightweight, small, sturdy, supports multiple angles, and folds flat when not in use. I haven’t even looked for another stand since getting this one. Order through this link and I’ll get an affiliate bounty from Amazon.

Anker still lists this item on their own website, and from that page links to the same product page at Amazon, and the product page at Amazon still says it’s “By Anker” — but, oddly, the photos are now branded “XINKSD”. Not sure what the deal is with that, but this looks exactly like the stand I own.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
14 hours ago by josephschmitt
Files installed by Zoom for mac OS · GitHub
from Daring Fireball

A bunch of DF readers have asked about how to uninstall Zoom on MacOS. Alastair Houghton examined Zoom’s shoddy installer script and it appears that on modern systems (running 10.10 or later) Zoom only installs two items:

/Applications/zoom.us.app

~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/ZoomUsPlugIn.plugin

Trash these two items and you should be done with Zoom. If there’s anything else Zoom installs, let me know.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
14 hours ago by josephschmitt
Objective-See's Blog
from Daring Fireball

Security researcher Patrick Wardle uncovered two security flaws in the Mac version of Zoom today:

Though the new issues we’ll discuss today remain unpatched, they both are local security issues.

As such, to be successfully exploited they required that malware or an attacker already have a foothold on a macOS system.

In other words, these vulnerabilities aren’t catastrophic — they can’t be exploited remotely to give an attacker a foothold on your Mac. But software that’s already running on your Mac can exploit these vulnerabilities to gain root access (via Zoom’s egregiously sloppy installer) or to gain access to your webcam and microphone without prompting a permission alert from the system (presuming, quite reasonably, that the user has already granted camera and microphone access to Zoom itself).

(Zoom’s installer is so sloppy that when it prompts for administrator authentication, the dialog is written in broken English, and claims — falsely — to be the “System”: “System need your privilege to change.” That’s exactly what their installer’s authentication prompt says.

Even their helper tool’s name is misspelled: “zoomAutenticationTool”. Zoom has all the hallmarks of malware and scamware.)

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ifttt  daringfireball 
14 hours ago by josephschmitt
The Talk Show ✪: Ep. 281, With Special Guest Rene Ritchie
from Daring Fireball

Rene Ritchie returns to the show to talk about going independent after 11 years at iMore. Topics include the new MacBook Air and iPad Pros, and we answer questions sent by listeners.

Sponsored by:

Hover: Find a domain name for your passion. Get 10% off your first purchase.

Linode: Instantly deploy and manage an SSD server in the Linode Cloud. Get a server running in seconds with your choice of Linux distro, resources, and choice of 10 node locations.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
18 hours ago by josephschmitt
Quarantine Book Club
from Daring Fireball

Great idea from my pals at Mule Design: group video chats, every weekday, with a wide variety of talented writers. The next two: Cory Doctorow (later today) and Om Malik (tomorrow).

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ifttt  daringfireball 
20 hours ago by josephschmitt
More Americans Should Probably Wear Masks for Protection - The New York Times
from Daring Fireball

This story ran a few days ago in The New York Times under the headline “More Americans Should Probably Wear Masks for Protection”, but when you read halfway down the article, there’s probably about it:

When researchers conducted systematic review of a variety of interventions used during the SARS outbreak in 2003, they found that washing hands more than 10 times daily was 55 percent effective in stopping virus transmission, while wearing a mask was actually more effective — at about 68 percent.

There is a lot of blame to go around regarding this entire pandemic — both globally and here in the U.S. — but the way that both the WHO and CDC have drummed into our heads the notion that we should not wear masks unless we’re sick is outrageously negligent. It’s not just wrong, it’s a lie. It’s nonsense to argue about the fact that wearing a mask — even a homemade one — is less than 100 percent effective. Nothing is 100 percent effective, and all evidence suggests that masks are, at the very least, quite effective.

We here in the U.S. and Europe need to follow the longstanding norm in Asian countries and get past our stigmatizing of mask-wearing in public.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
21 hours ago by josephschmitt
Bill Gates: Here’s how to make up for lost time on covid-19 - The Washington Post
from Daring Fireball

Bill Gates, in an op-ed for The Washington Post:

There’s no question the United States missed the opportunity to get ahead of the novel coronavirus. But the window for making important decisions hasn’t closed. The choices we and our leaders make now will have an enormous impact on how soon case numbers start to go down, how long the economy remains shut down and how many Americans will have to bury a loved one because of Covid-19.

Through my work with the Gates Foundation, I’ve spoken with experts and leaders in Washington and across the country. It’s become clear to me that we must take three steps.

Cogent, clear, and actionable advice.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
21 hours ago by josephschmitt
mobile.twitter.com
from Daring Fireball

Larry David:

“The problem is you’re passing up a fantastic opportunity — a once in a lifetime opportunity — to stay in the house, sit on the couch, and watch TV! I don’t know how you’re passing that up.”

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ifttt  daringfireball 
21 hours ago by josephschmitt
Hobby Lobby reopened stores in states with coronavirus lockdowns - Business Insider
from Daring Fireball

Bethany Biron, reporting for Business Insider:

On Monday, the company resumed business in several states where it had been forced to temporarily close. A March 28 memo obtained by Business Insider equipped managers with talking points for “how to respond and communicate if visited by a local authority that asks why we are open.”

In a separate leaked note sent last week, executives wrote that the company “is going to make every effort to continue working the employees.”

The reopenings include stores in Ohio and Wisconsin — which both enacted strict shelter-in-place orders on March 24 — where nearly all Hobby Lobby locations have been reopened after shuttering for only one week. During calls Business Insider made to each location, employees confirmed that all 19 Hobby Lobby locations in Ohio were open as of Monday afternoon, as were 17 out of 20 stores in Wisconsin that were still listed as “temporarily closed” on Google.

Of the three stores closed in Wisconsin, at least one was forcibly shuttered by police officers after briefly opening on Monday, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. An employee at that store told Business Insider on Monday it was closed but that employees were there “working on projects.” A similar incident was reported in Jeffersonville, Indiana, where local authorities forced a store to close after it was open for one hour on Monday morning, the CBS-affiliated news outlet WLKY reported.

“Working the employees”. What a phrase. This defiance of state orders is outrageous, but unsurprising from a company owned by rightwing nutbags. The police should shutter every one of these stores.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
21 hours ago by josephschmitt
Twitter
from Daring Fireball

Walt Mossberg, on Twitter:

If you use a Mac, and you insist on using Chrome, stop complaining about speed, fan noise, or battery life. It’s well known that Chrome is a resource and battery hog, especially on Macs. Safari is fully capable, quite fast and very privacy & security focused. Just use Safari.

If you’re a Firefox fan, that’s good too. My point is just that Chrome, which years ago worked great on Macs, is now a big problem, and that Chrome users with degraded Mac performance or weaker battery life should look to their browser choice, and not blame the hardware.

There’s no question that this is a tradeoff — Chrome is, in terms of web technologies, more featureful than Safari. There are web apps that work in Chrome that don’t work in Safari, or work better in Chrome than they do in Safari. But the tradeoff in resource consumption is significant.

It’s funny reading the replies to Mossberg’s tweet. A bunch of people suggest using Brave or Edge or Opera — all of which use Chrome’s Chromium HTML/JavaScript engine. In terms of resource consumption, none of these browsers are any better than Chrome. The difference is in the browser interface — an important difference, but irrelevant to what Mossberg is addressing.

It’s also funny how angry some Chrome fans are about this, particularly web developers. They argue that the problem is that Safari is slow to adopt Chrome-first web technologies without acknowledging that the reason Safari has better performance and stronger privacy goes hand-in-hand with the fact that these technologies Safari hasn’t adopted are resource-heavy and potentially privacy-invasive.

Personally, I use Chrome solely for logging into Google services. Otherwise I avoid it for privacy reasons. (No reason to worry about Google and privacy while I’m logged in, using a Google service.) For anything non-Google that doesn’t work in Safari, I flit between Firefox, Brave, and Edge.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
22 hours ago by josephschmitt
Wimbledon canceled due to coronavirus pandemic
from Daring Fireball

Simon Cambers, ESPN:

The Wimbledon Championships have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the All England Club confirmed in a statement Wednesday. It is the first time Wimbledon has been canceled since World War II in 1945. It is also the first time since the tournament began in 1877 that the event will not be played during peacetime.

July.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
yesterday by josephschmitt
inessential: weblog
from Daring Fireball

Brent Simmons:

Yesterday, along with about ten people (I’m not sure exactly), I was laid off from my job at the Omni Group, and now I’m looking for new work. […]

Omni’s been around for almost 30 years, and I hope it’s around for another 30. It’s one of the great Mac and iOS shops — they will sing songs about Omni, at maximum volume, in the great halls.

But businesses go up and down, and Omni’s had a bit of a down period. Normally that would be fine, but the current economic circumstances turn “a bit of a down period” into something more serious — and, in order to get things going the right way again, the company had to lay off some people. Including me.

This is, notably, the first time Omni has ever had to lay off people. And I bet that the company wouldn’t have had to this time, either — but, well, (gestures at everything) there’s all this.

This feels like another kick in the nuts, in an ongoing series of kicks in the nuts. Oof. All of this — as Brent says, gestures at everything — aside, it is hard to shake the feeling that the market for independent professional software is coming apart at the seams, fraying irreparably.

Paying for good software is in our own best interest.

For anyone who is able to hire right now, the upside of this bad news is that some extraordinary talent is on the market for new work. Brent is one of my closest and oldest personal friends, so feel free to consider me hopelessly biased regard him. (But I’ve worked with him, too, and he’s an amazing colleague.) But one of the things that makes Omni special is they’ve always been — and remain — a magnet for good, talented people.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
yesterday by josephschmitt
mobile.twitter.com
from Daring Fireball

From that conference call with governors in the preceding item, here is what President Trump actually said — yesterday — when told by the governor of Montana that they’re desperately short of test kits for COVID-19:

“I haven’t heard about testing in weeks. We’re testing more now than any nation in the world. We’ve got these great tests. And we’ve come out with another one tomorrow that’s, you know, almost instantaneous testing. But I haven’t heard about testing being a problem.”

Follow this link to the clip from Rachel Maddow’s show last night and listen to the president say these words. Everyone knows the United States is desperately lacking in tests. And masks. And personal protective equipment for medical professionals. Just the fundamental basics.

And the president of the United States says he hasn’t heard about it being a problem. The story regarding this conference call is not that there’s a political debate between governors and the president. The story is that the president of the United States is either utterly delusional or is lying about a catastrophic testing shortage we can all see with our own eyes.

It’s worse than “Trump Says Earth Is Flat; Scientists Disagree”. It’s more easily disproven that the U.S. is critically lacking in test kits, masks, and PPEs — and more importantly, no one would be dying if Trump were out there saying the Earth is flat.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
yesterday by josephschmitt
Zoom is Leaking Peoples' Email Addresses and Photos to Strangers - VICE
from Daring Fireball

Joseph Cox, writing for Motherboard:

The issue lies in Zoom’s “Company Directory” setting, which automatically adds other people to a user’s lists of contacts if they signed up with an email address that shares the same domain. This can make it easier to find a specific colleague to call when the domain belongs to an individual company. But multiple Zoom users say they signed up with personal email addresses, and Zoom pooled them together with thousands of other people as if they all worked for the same company, exposing their personal information to one another. […]

On its website, Zoom says, “By default, your Zoom contacts directory contains internal users in the same organization, who are either on the same account or who’s email address uses the same domain as yours (except for publicly used domains including gmail.com, yahoo.com, hotmail.com, etc) in the Company Directory section.”

Zoom’s system does not exempt all domains that are used for personal email, however. Gehrels said he encountered the issue with the domains xs4all.nl, dds.nl, and quicknet.nl. These are all Dutch internet service providers (ISPs) which offer email services.

Far from the worst thing we’ve learned about Zoom (this week!), but evidence yet again that privacy and security are low on their list of priorities.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
yesterday by josephschmitt
Dark Sky Has a New Home
from Daring Fireball

Adam Grossman on the Dark Sky blog:

Today we have some important and exciting news to share: Dark Sky has joined Apple.

Part of me wonders what took so long. Dark Sky is simply an outstanding app and service — I’ve been a devoted fan from the get-go in 2012 and have written about Dark Sky many times.

For now, the iOS app remains available (and is still sold for $4). The Android app and website will stop working on July 1. As for their API service:

Our API service for existing customers is not changing today, but we will no longer accept new signups. The API will continue to function through the end of 2021.

That’s a generous grace period. But to my knowledge there is no other service like Dark Sky’s, and it powers a lot of apps, including the excellent Carrot Weather and Weather Line apps. Dark Sky is also the weather provider for DuckDuckGo and Yelp.

I’m hoping that Apple has acquired Dark Sky not merely to beef up the built-in iPhone Weather app (Apple has no first-party Weather app for iPad or Mac, curiously), but to add hyperlocal weather forecasting APIs to its OSes. This would add a competitive advantage for iOS and MacOS both in terms of weather and privacy. Third-party weather apps are notorious for abusing location privileges.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
yesterday by josephschmitt
Zoom Meetings Do Not Support End-to-End Encryption
from Daring Fireball

Micah Lee and Yael Grauer, reporting for The Intercept:

Zoom, the video conferencing service whose use has spiked amid the Covid-19 pandemic, claims to implement end-to-end encryption, widely understood as the most private form of internet communication, protecting conversations from all outside parties. In fact, Zoom is using its own definition of the term, one that lets Zoom itself access unencrypted video and audio from meetings.

“Using its own definition of the term” is generously euphemistic on the part of The Intercept. This is simply a bald-faced lie intended to mislead.

“When we use the phrase ‘End to End’ in our other literature, it is in reference to the connection being encrypted from Zoom end point to Zoom end point,” the Zoom spokesperson wrote, apparently referring to Zoom servers as “end points” even though they sit between Zoom clients. “The content is not decrypted as it transfers across the Zoom cloud” through the networking between these machines.

If video chat is only encrypted in transit between clients and Zoom’s servers, say so. That’s less than ideal, but it is what it is, and as The Intercept quotes an expert, E2E encryption is particularly hard with high-quality group video and audio. But lying about it is unconscionable. And again, like Zoom’s other issues, this can’t be explained as an honest mistake. It’s deliberate. “End-to-end” is not open to interpretation.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
yesterday by josephschmitt
Opinion | Covid-19 Brings Out All the Usual Zombies - The New York Times
from Daring Fireball

Paul Krugman, writing for The New York Times:

But I suspect that the disastrous response to Covid-19 has been shaped less by direct self-interest than by two indirect ways in which pandemic policy gets linked to the general prevalence of zombie ideas in right-wing thought.

First, when you have a political movement almost entirely built around assertions that any expert can tell you are false, you have to cultivate an attitude of disdain toward expertise, one that spills over into everything. Once you dismiss people who look at evidence on the effects of tax cuts and the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, you’re already primed to dismiss people who look at evidence on disease transmission. This also helps explain the centrality of science-hating religious conservatives to modern conservatism, which has played an important role in Trump’s failure to respond.

Second, conservatives do hold one true belief: namely, that there is a kind of halo effect around successful government policies. If public intervention can be effective in one area, they fear — probably rightly — that voters might look more favorably on government intervention in other areas. In principle, public health measures to limit the spread of coronavirus needn’t have much implication for the future of social programs like Medicaid. In practice, the first tends to increase support for the second.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
2 days ago by josephschmitt
‘The Woman in Michigan’ - The Atlantic
from Daring Fireball

James Fallows, writing for The Atlantic:

It’s nearly three-and-a-half years later. Everything we saw about Trump on the campaign trail we have seen from him in the White House, including the limitless fantasy-lying.

I submit that these three-and-a-half years later, much of the press has still not rebuilt itself, to cope with a time or a person like this. Or with a political party like the subservient Trump-era GOP.

To choose only a small subset of examples, from only the past three days’ worth of history, here are some illustrations. These are words and deeds that, each on its own, would likely have been major black-mark news events in other eras. Now they are just part of the daily onrush.

As Fallows repeatedly points out, the news media has normalized much of Trump’s aberrant behavior — not just including, but perhaps especially so, during this pandemic crisis — as “Trump being Trump”. It is in fact Trump being Trump, but Trump being Trump is anything but normal.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
2 days ago by josephschmitt
I'm Rene Ritchie and This... Is My New Channel! - YouTube
from Daring Fireball

Big announcement from my good friend Rene Ritchie — he’s leaving iMore and going solo, starting with a new YouTube channel. Finally.

He’s hopping on The Talk Show this afternoon for an episode that should come out tomorrow. We’ll talk MacBook Air and iPad Pro, but let’s also do a Q&A from readers and listeners. Send your questions — Apple stuff, indie media, working from home, handwashing tips, or otherwise — to the @thetalkshow Twitter account. Public mentions preferred, but DMs are open too.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
2 days ago by josephschmitt
mobile.twitter.com
from Daring Fireball

Jon Opstad:

Been isolating at home with my wife & kids for a week now. For my contribution to home schooling my kids (aged 6 & 4). I chose the most obvious thing — creating a shot-by-shot recreation of the jet pack sequence from “Thunderball” out of LEGO.

Astonishingly well-done. Pure joy.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
3 days ago by josephschmitt
Apple weighs delaying 5G iPhone launch by months, sources say - Nikkei Asian Review
from Daring Fireball

Yifan Yu, Lauly Li, and Cheng Ting-Fang, reporting for Nikkei:

The Cupertino, California-based tech giant has held internal discussions on the possibility of delaying the launch by months, three people familiar with the matter said, while supply chain sources say practical hurdles could push back the release, originally scheduled for September.

“Supply chain constraint aside, Apple is concerned that the current situation would significantly lower consumer appetite to upgrade their phones, which could lead to a tame reception of the first 5G iPhone,” said a source with direct knowledge of the discussion. “They need the first 5G iPhone to be a hit.” […]

The engineering development of the 5G iPhone has also been affected by travel curbs introduced in the U.S., China and elsewhere to combat the coronavirus, two people with knowledge of Apple’s schedule said. The company was supposed to work with suppliers to develop a more concrete prototype for the new phones from early March, but it had to delay such close collaboration, which requires hands-on testing, until the end of the month, before postponing it again due to the worsening pandemic in the U.S., they said.

Of course Apple is discussing this. Nikkei’s report from Asian suppliers is, of course, focused on hardware, but on the software side keep in mind that iOS 14 might be delayed or severely scaled back as well. Apple might have to delay the launch of new iPhones this year, and they might want to delay them. “Always in motion is the future” a wise little fellow once said. Never truer than in the midst of this crisis.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago by josephschmitt
Twitter
from Daring Fireball

ABC 7 NYC reporter CeFaan Kim, on Twitter:

Multiple sources tell @ABC Pres. Trump turned to former Yankee Alex Rodriguez for advice this week. A source close to Rodriguez described the call as “pleasant” adding that Trump was seeking thoughts from A-Rod about the coronavirus response.

A-Rod: great player, fun announcer, but not exactly the sharpest knife in the box. So, yeah, he’s probably our next Secretary of Health and Human Services.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago by josephschmitt
Slop Machines - Eater
from Daring Fireball

Fascinating profile by John Semley for Eater back in 2017:

Since it opened in April 1963, R.C. Farms has had a very particular relationship with the overflowing decadence of nearby Las Vegas. At the time, the Combs family operated a modest hog farm in Chula Vista, near San Diego. They established relationships with a local army base, collecting food scraps to be reused as pig feed. Every year the base would contract out the privilege of collecting their wasted food to the highest bidder, with a few local farmers vying for the deal. But in Vegas, tens of thousands of pounds of food were going to waste. “My dad came here to Vegas for his 70th birthday, to have little gambling vacation,” Combs said as we sat at the round kitchen table of his modest bungalow farmhouse. On that auspicious trip, Combs’s father wandered through a backdoor of the now-long-gone Navajo-themed Thunderbird Hotel, and he came upon a huge container full of food being thrown away — the same sort of stuff he was bidding on back in La Mesa.

Combs told me the story with a well-practiced, raconteur’s confidence. It’s a tale he’s likely told a hundred times before, slowly metastasizing with each telling into a bona fide legend: Imagine Jed Clampett happening across oil in his fetid swamp, except that the treasure is something that was being chucked away. Where the casinos saw only untouched shrimp cocktails and half-nibbled slabs of heat-lamp-warmed prime rib, the older Combs saw profit. He leased 150 acres north of the Strip, at the dead end of a dirt road, and installed his son to run the place. The young Bob (affectionately known as “Goof” to his family) arranged deals with several of the old-school casinos — the Desert Inn, the Stardust, the Sands, the Flamingo, the Sahara, the Tropicana, Caesars, the Riviera, and other locals-only joints. The business model was simple: collect buffet food scraps, reprocess them as feed, fatten hogs, send them off to slaughter.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago by josephschmitt
Farm scraping by to feed 4,000 pigs without Las Vegas Strip leftovers | Coronavirus | fox5vegas.com
from Daring Fireball

Tiana Bohner, reporting for Fox 5 Las Vegas:

A Las Vegas farm relied on strip casinos as its main food source for 4,000 pigs. Now it’s getting creative to keep them full. “Pigs are a lot like us so they love sweets, candies, ice cream,” Las Vegas Livestock co-owner Hank Combs said. “They like meat and potatoes. They’re not a big fan of salads and produce, but they will eat it.

On a normal day, the farm would get 20 tons of food from casinos and restaurants across the valley. Once the strip shut down and casinos closed, their food source was cut off.

“You know we’re just one of the many stories out there in the world and I’m just trying to survive, keep the pigs fed, keep the employees employed,” Combs said.

It is fascinating the way this crisis is revealing how interconnected our world is. The repercussions are seemingly infinite. It makes sense, now that I read it, that Vegas area pig farms would purchase the surplus food from the casino buffets (20 tons a day!), but until this moment, it never occurred to me that pig farming could be massively disrupted by the closing of casinos.

Something to think about as I eat bacon for lunch.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago by josephschmitt
How to turn Trump’s daily virus misinformation show into a vector for the truth | Press Watch
from Daring Fireball

Speaking of good journalism battling against misinformation, this is an important idea from Dan Froomkin at Press Watch:

These are not political rallies, or spin sessions, or even normal press briefings. These are urgent, emergency communications.

And if — rather than sharing credible updates, thoughtful guidance, expressions of empathy and reasoned optimism — Trump lies, spreads misinformation and toots his own horn during these emergency communications, that is the news. Each and every time he does it.

So rather than hide what’s happening, news organizations should respond by doing journalism – in this case, some journalistic jujitsu. When Trump spreads misinformation, the networks need to show viewers, in real time, the correct information. When he lies and contradicts himself, they need to provide the necessary context as he speaks. When he puffs himself up, they need to remind viewers of his massive failures.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago by josephschmitt
Jobs at Snopes
from Daring Fireball

Snopes:

Snopes.com is an independent publication owned and operated by Snopes Media Group. We are slightly more than a baker’s dozen of reporters, editors, developers, and professionals who are passionate about journalism, media literacy, and, of course, fighting misinformation. We work remotely — there is no official Snopes office — but we maintain a collaborative and supportive team dynamic.

Snopes managing editor Doreen Marchionni is a good friend and a great journalist. For the reporting jobs, they’re looking for folks with capital-J journalism experience. But they’re also hiring developers and communications specialists. I know there’s a lot of overlap with all of these jobs with DF readers, and good employers (with a fully remote work culture) who are hiring right now are few and far behind.

It goes without saying that Snopes’s mission — countering misinformation with verifiable journalism — has never been more essential. Never. Even if you’re not looking for a job, [you can support Snopes with a membershipm, and they’ll thank you for it.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago by josephschmitt
Apple releases new COVID-19 app and website based on CDC guidance - Apple
from Daring Fireball

Apple Newsroom:

The COVID-19 app and website allow users to answer a series of questions around risk factors, recent exposure and symptoms for themselves or a loved one. In turn, they will receive CDC recommendations on next steps, including guidance on social distancing and self-isolating, how to closely monitor symptoms, whether or not a test is recommended at this time, and when to contact a medical provider. This new screening tool is designed to be a resource for individuals and does not replace instructions from healthcare providers or guidance from state and local health authorities.

Nicely designed, too.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago by josephschmitt
The Apple A12Z Bionic SoC is just a renamed A12X with an enabled GPU core - NotebookCheck.net News
from Daring Fireball

Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, writing for NotebookCheck:

Essentially what this means is that, the A12X and A12Z are the same physical chip (pending the results of the A12Z floorplan analysis) with the same physical number of CPU and GPU cores. Anandtech feels that the A12Z could, in fact, be a re-binned variant of the A12X. Recent comparative benchmarks have also shown that the A12Z offers minimal performance improvements compared to the A12X.

The A12X has 8 GPU cores, but only 7 are enabled. The A12Z uses all 8 — that pretty much explains the “CPU performance is the same but GPU is slightly better” benchmarking differences completely.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago by josephschmitt
Every Default macOS Wallpaper – in Glorious 5K Resolution – 512 Pixels
from Daring Fireball

Stephen Hackett:

Every major version of Mac OS X macOS has come with a new default wallpaper. As you can see, I have collected them all here. While great in their day, the early wallpapers are now quite small in the world of 5K displays.

Major props to the world-class designer who does all the art of Relay FM, the mysterious @forgottentowel, for upscaling some of these for modern screens.

Fun trip down memory lane.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago by josephschmitt
The Talk Show ✪: Ep. 280, With Special Guest Matthew Panzarino
from Daring Fireball

Matthew Panzarino returns to the show. Topics include the brand new MacBook Air and iPad Pros, and, you know, global pandemics in the internet age.

Brought to you by these fine sponsors:

Yes Plz: Brew yourself the best coffee. Try YES PLZ today and save $5 with code fireball5.

Eero: Wi-Fi done right. Get free overnight shipping with promo code thetalkshow.

Squarespace: Make your next move. Use code talkshow for 10% off your first order.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
6 days ago by josephschmitt
Discover podcasts you’ll love with Google Podcasts, now on iOS
from Daring Fireball

Zack Reneau-Wedeen product manager for Google Podcasts:

But you should be able to find new favorites in minutes, not years. We’ve redesigned the Google Podcasts app to make it easier to discover podcasts you’ll love, build your list of go-to podcasts, and customize your listening. To support listeners on more platforms, we’re also bringing Google Podcasts to iOS for the first time and adding support for subscriptions on Google Podcasts for Web. Regardless of the platform you’re using, your listening progress will sync across devices, and you’ll be able to pick up right where you left off.

The new app is organized around three tabs: Home, Explore and Activity. The Home tab features a feed of new episodes and gives you quick access to your subscribed shows. When you select an episode you want to listen to, you’ll now see topics or people covered in that podcast, and you can easily jump to Google Search to learn more.

Seems to me that Google has never really made a serious effort to get serious about podcasts. Maybe this is it. I kicked the tires on the iOS client for a few shows today, and it’s pretty decent, and surprisingly iOS-like for a Google app. (Some strange decisions on line breaks with even slightly long words like “Coronavirus” though.) The integration with Google search for related topics is clever and unobtrusive — there if you want it, easily ignored if you don’t.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
6 days ago by josephschmitt
Apple Says MacBook Air With Retina Display Can Exhibit Anti-Reflective Coating Issues, Unclear if Eligible for Free Repairs - MacRumors
from Daring Fireball

Joe Rossignol, reporting for MacRumors:

Apple this week acknowledged that MacBook Air models with Retina displays can exhibit anti-reflective coating issues, as indicated in a memo shared with Apple Authorized Service Providers and obtained by MacRumors. “Retina displays on some MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro computers can exhibit anti-reflective (AR) coating issues,” the memo states.

Apple’s internal service documentation for this issue previously only mentioned MacBook Pro and discontinued 12-inch MacBook models with Retina displays, but the MacBook Air is now mentioned in at least two places. Apple added a Retina display to the MacBook Air in October 2018 and all models of the notebook have featured once since.

I don’t understand how this is still an issue. My beloved 2014 13-inch MacBook Pro is afflicted with this, and I never bothered getting it repaired. Whatever causes this, you’d think Apple would’ve identified the problem after a few years.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
6 days ago by josephschmitt
Full Third-Party Cookie Blocking and More | WebKit
from Daring Fireball

John Wilander, writing at the WebKit blog:

Safari continues to pave the way for privacy on the web, this time as the first mainstream browser to fully block third-party cookies by default. As far as we know, only the Tor Browser has featured full third-party cookie blocking by default before Safari, but [Brave just has a few exceptions] left in its blocking so in practice they are in the same good place. We know Chrome wants this behavior too and they announced that they’ll be shipping it by 2022.

We will report on our experiences of full third-party cookie blocking to the privacy groups in W3C to help other browsers take the leap.

Somehow I feel like Google could ship this in Chrome long before 2022 if they really wanted to.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
7 days ago by josephschmitt
What I Learned When My Husband Got Sick With Coronavirus - The New York Times
from Daring Fireball

Jessica Lustig, writing for The New York Times Magazine:

CK and I had settled in to watch “Chernobyl,” the HBO series about the 1986 nuclear accident and its aftermath, when T first felt sick and went to lie down in the bedroom. We stopped after three episodes. That time, when we would sit on the couch watching something together, is behind us. Now there is too much rushing back and forth, making sure T has a little dinner — just a tiny bowl of soup, just an appetizer, really, that he is unable to smell, that he fights nausea to choke down — taking his temperature, monitoring his oxygen-saturation levels with the fingertip pulse oximeter brought by a friend from the drugstore on the doctor’s advice, taking him tea, dispensing his meds, washing my hands over and over, texting the doctor to say T is worse again, standing next to him while he coughs into the covers, rubbing his knees through the blankets.

“You shouldn’t stay here,” he says, but he gets more frightened as night comes, dreading the long hours of fever and soaking sweats and shivering and terrible aches. “This thing grinds you like a mortar,” he says.

Brutal, heart-wrenching story, beautifully written.

Stay safe.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
7 days ago by josephschmitt
Coronavirus: Facebook, Google Could Lose $44B in Ad Revenue in 2020 – Variety
from Daring Fireball

Todd Spangler, reporting for Variety:

Ad spending is falling off a cliff amid the COVID-19 pandemic — and Facebook and Google, the two heavyweights in digital advertising, are expected to bear the brunt of the downturn in terms of sheer dollars lost.

The two internet giants together could see more than $44 billion in worldwide ad revenue evaporate in 2020, Cowen & Co. analysts estimate. That said, both Google and Facebook will continue to be massively profitable even with double-digit revenue drops.

Usage of both Facebook and Google is spiking, because everyone’s at home all day. But the general rule of thumb since the dawn of time is that the first thing to get cut in a recession is the ad budget.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
8 days ago by josephschmitt
Tokyo Olympics: A brief history of the Games being canceled, postponed
from Daring Fireball

Michelle R. Martinelli, reporting for USA Today:

A day after USA Today Sports broke the news that the 2020 Summer Olympics would be postponed because of the global coronavirus pandemic, it became official. The president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, and Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, announced Tuesday in a joint statement that the 2020 Tokyo Games — which were originally scheduled to begin July 24 — will be postponed. They said the Olympics “must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021,” but they’ll still be referred to as the 2020 Olympics.

A surprise to no one at this point, but still a hell of a thing to see. This is the first time the Olympics have ever been postponed, and they’ve only ever been canceled during World Wars I and II.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
8 days ago by josephschmitt
Who Would Have Thought an iPad Cursor Could Be So Much Fun? | WIRED
from Daring Fireball

Craig Mod, writing for Wired:

Move the pointer above a button and the circle morphs into the button itself, “snapping” into it, enveloping it like an amoeba, causing it to glow in a pleasing way. What this means is that the usual precision of a trackpad isn’t required to get exact hits on navigational elements. If you own an Apple TV, you’re already familiar with this vibe — it’s how the cursor on the TV “jumps” from icon to icon with a kind of sticky momentum. Similarly, on the iPad home screen, you can “lazily” slam the cursor around and have it lock onto applications with an eerie telepathy not experienced on a desktop OS.

The cursor itself, too, has momentum. It continues to glide on the screen for just a short millisecond after you stop moving your finger on the trackpad. This sounds more annoying than it is in practice. (And you can modify almost all these behaviors to your liking in Settings → General → Trackpad, and Settings → Accessibility → Pointer.) What I’ve found is that this momentum creates a subtle design cohesion between scrolling and scroll bounce, selecting applications, locking onto buttons, and just generally moving things around the screen.

Best piece I’ve seen on the joy and utility of iPadOS’s new pointer support. Five days in and I can’t imagine doing without it.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
8 days ago by josephschmitt
Something, Something, Something Murder | NextDraft
from Daring Fireball

Dave Pell:

The excellent Damon Lindelof is writing this exclusive, serialized story for NextDraft to help us, and him, through the quarantine. Chapters will update here periodically, but for the epic experience and all the day’s real news, get the free newsletter or app by touching the head below (please use a rubber glove).

Yes, NextDraft is this week’s sponsor at DF. No, this is not my official thank-you post. I just wanted to throw in an early-in-the-week link to Lindelof’s story, which I’m enjoying very much. Catch up now, but I think it’s best enjoyed in the daily serial format, which is why I’m jumping the gun with this link.

This week more than ever, we need some fun diversions.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
8 days ago by josephschmitt
Review: 100,000 miles and one week with an iPad Pro – TechCrunch
from Daring Fireball

Matthew Panzarino, who went full-time on iPad Pro while traveling 18 months ago, reviewing the new iPad Pros for TechCrunch:

Lidar is a technology with a ton of promise and a slew of potential applications. Having this much more accurate way to bring the outside world into your device is going to open a lot of doors for Apple and developers over time, but my guess is that we’ll see those doors open over the next couple of years rather than all at once.

I think the lidar sensor in the new iPad Pro is sort of like the U1 ultra-wideband chip in the iPhones 11. (The U1 chips is also apparently in the new iPad Pros. It’s there for the future more than the present.

The whole review is excellent, with a slew of insightful observations, but I particularly like this bit regarding multitasking:

With iPad Pro, no matter where I have been or what I have been doing, I was able to flip it open, swipe up and be issuing my first directive within seconds. As fast as my industry moves and as wild as our business gets, that kind of surety is literally priceless.

Never once, however, did I wish that it was easier to use.

Do you wish that a hammer is easier? No, you learn to hold it correctly and swing it accurately. The iPad could use a bit more of that.

Currently, iPadOS is still too closely tethered to the sacred cow of simplicity. In a strange bout of irony, the efforts on behalf of the iPad software team to keep things simple (same icons, same grid, same app switching paradigms) and true to their original intent have instead caused a sort of complexity to creep into the arrangement.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
8 days ago by josephschmitt
A Status Update on the Toaster-Refrigerator Project — Pixel Envy
from Daring Fireball

Nick Heer, responding to arguments that, with the upcoming Magic Keyboard, Apple is moving the iPad in the direction of Microsoft’s Surface lineup:

I’m going to irritatingly self-quote here from a piece I wrote a couple of years ago:

If there is a smartphone-to-desktop continuum, with the tablet somewhere in the middle, Microsoft has long approached it as skinning Windows with touch drivers and bigger buttons, while Apple chose to start by making a touchscreen phone and build up from there.

The addition of real mouse and trackpad support to the iPad is not just a slapped-on version of the MacOS cursor, but a clearly considered rethinking of what that should be on a system that is still primarily used by touch. I expect to see plenty more changes like this as Apple continues to add more advanced features to iPadOS — features that will probably be similar to aspects of MacOS, but reconsidered for a touch-based operating system.

See also: Tom Warren’s take for The Verge: “Apple Finally Admits Microsoft Was Right About Tablets”, which is a borderline jacktastic headline.

I think Heer gets this right. It’s not about iPad moving closer to Surface conceptually; it’s about moving closer to the laptop ideal. For certain tasks nothing beats the laptop form factor, and quite possibly never will. All computing platforms that are used for such tasks inevitably take on that form. What’s new this decade is the detachable 2-in-1 form — one device that serves as both a laptop with keyboard and trackpad and as a handheld tablet. Microsoft got there from one direction, Apple from another.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
9 days ago by josephschmitt
The Day's Most Fascinating News with Dave Pell
from Daring Fireball

My thanks to Dave Pell for sponsoring this week at DF to promote NextDraft, his “quick, entertaining look at the day’s biggest and best stories, from the top of the news to the very bottom”. Pell is a news junkie’s news junkie, and a kindred spirit of mine. NextDraft is his Daring Fireball.

In normal times, NextDraft is a once-per-weekday newsletter, delivered either by email or a very nice iOS app. These are not normal times, and as the coronavirus crisis continues, NextDraft has gone to a 7-days-a-week schedule.

The once-a-day pace keeps you up to date on the news, but keeps you from being pestered by frequent emails or notifications. NextDraft is not about breaking news — it’s just a carefully curated and cleverly written daily update. You like email? Sign up for the newsletter. Hate email? Get the app.

Here’s the kicker: NextDraft is free of charge. There is no catch. I read NextDraft every day; you should too.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
9 days ago by josephschmitt
Facebook donates emergency reserve of 720,000 masks due to coronavirus outbreak - Reuters
from Daring Fireball

Reuters:

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Sunday that the social media company has donated its emergency reserve of 720,000 masks to provide health workers with more protective gear. “To help, Facebook donated our emergency reserve of 720,000 masks that we had bought in case the wildfires continued,” Zuckerberg said in a post, adding that the company is also working on “sourcing a lot more to donate.”

Next up: Zuckerberg donates his emergency stash of do-it-yourself haircut kits.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
9 days ago by josephschmitt
302 Moved
from Daring Fireball

I’m not into the whole Xbox-PlayStation console scene, but I found this detailed look at the internals of the upcoming Xbox Series X from Austin Evans to be fascinating. The only thing I found surprising is that it’s still going to contain an optical drive. It takes up so much space.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
9 days ago by josephschmitt
Top iPhone assembler Foxconn secures workers at all plants - Nikkei Asian Review
from Daring Fireball

Nikkei Asian Review:

Taiwan’s Foxconn, the top assembler of Apple’s iPhones, said it has secured enough workers to meet “seasonal demand” at all major Chinese plants, stressing a steady recovery from the labor shortage caused by the novel coronavirus epidemic on the mainland. The company issued a statement Sunday night saying recruitment goals have been reached “ahead of schedule at the plants.” This signals progress from early March when Chairman Young Liu told investors that Chinese plants were operating at roughly 50% capacity of normal.

The company also stressed that it has instituted rigorous measures to prevent infection. A total of 55,000 workers received PCR coronavirus tests, and over 40,000 people underwent chest X-rays, according to Foxconn.

I don’t know whether this is good news or terrifying.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
9 days ago by josephschmitt
Sorry! Something went wrong!
from Daring Fireball

My favorite USB-C to USB-A (3.0) adapter is this one from Anker. It’s small and comes pretty close to color-matching Apple’s space gray aluminum. When you plug it in it has a nice snap. I bought a few a while back — I keep two at my desk and two in my travel bag. The only thing I don’t like about it is the prominent Anker logo, but because it’s USB-C, I just plug it in logo side down to hide it. (Disclosure: I’m back on the Amazon affiliate gravy train; buying through this link will send a small percentage my way.)

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
10 days ago by josephschmitt
Apple’s new MacBook Air addresses most of our complaints (but not all) | Macworld
from Daring Fireball

Jason Cross, in his MacBook Air review for Macworld:

Apple is still determined to make every USB port feature a USB-C connector. We’ve been told that the ubiquity of USB-C devices is just around the corner for years now, and it’s still not happening. Accessory makers keep cranking out mice, keyboards, storage devices, microphones, audio interfaces, and loads of other things with USB-A connectors on them. Putting a single USB-A port on MacBooks would not be a step backwards, it would be recognition that in the wide world of USB devices, that interface is still widespread, and we shouldn’t need a dongle or dock to use them.

It’s undeniable that the USB-C revolution has been very slow in coming, but slowly but surely, it is coming along. I wrote in my first-look review of the new Air that I wish the MacBook Air had at least one more USB-C port, on the right side of the machine, but I don’t think a built-in USB-A port would be appropriate. Is USB-A still in widespread use? Sure, but at this point USB-A ports are backward-looking. SD cards remain in widespread use too, and they don’t belong built-into the Air either.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
10 days ago by josephschmitt
Free Movie of the Week — OH YOU PRETTY THINGS
from Daring Fireball

Oh You Pretty Things:

Filmmaker Gary Hustwit is streaming his documentaries free worldwide during the global COVID crisis. Each week we’ll be posting another film here. We hope you enjoy them, and please stay strong.

March 17 to 24: Helvetica — a feature-length documentary about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives.

If you haven’t seen Helvetica, or haven’t seen it in a while, it’s just so good.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
10 days ago by josephschmitt
Twitter
from Daring Fireball

The Google Developers Twitter account:

A #GoogleIO update: Out of concern for the health and safety of our developers, employees, and local communities — and in line with “shelter in place” requirements by the local Bay Area government — we sadly will not be holding an I/O event in any capacity this year.

Makes you wonder about WWDC. I think WWDC will happen online, if even the current “shelter in place” regulations remain in place through June. Will recorded WWDC sessions be harder to produce remotely than they would with Apple employees on site, collaborating together? Of course. But a lot of WWDC sessions have been slides-only with recorded audio — meaning no video of the presenters — for years. Professional quality video is way harder to produce than professional quality audio and slides.

Also, WWDC is far more important to Apple strategically than I/O is for Google. I don’t think Google, as a whole, really give much of a shit if Android developers are taking advantage of the latest and greatest APIs. I’m sure the Android team does, but not Google as a whole. The other annual announcements at I/O are all a bit scattershot. Apple, on the other hand, really does want developers to take advantage of each year’s latest iOS — and to a lesser extend, MacOS, tvOS, and WatchOS — APIs. WWDC is so important to Apple strategically that I think they would go to more effort to pull off an online-only version this year than they do to put together a normal in-person WWDC — and Apple expends a tremendous amount of engineering and design staff time and effort on WWDC in normal years.

But it’d be foolish, given how much the ground has changed in just the last week, to say today that a complete cancellation of WWDC 2020 is off the table. Nothing is off the table at this point.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
11 days ago by josephschmitt
Three Weeks | Talking Points Memo
from Daring Fireball

Josh Marshall:

February 26th, 2020. President Trump: “When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”

March 20th, 2020. Confirmed cases in the United States rise to 16,064.

It’s not “playing politics” to point this stuff out. It’s essential that we, collectively, see that Trump is temperamentally unfit for the office. This was plainly obvious to those of us opposed to him all along. It should now be plainly obvious to anyone whose eyes are open. Three weeks ago he was confidently telling the world the U.S. would soon be “down to close to zero” cases.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
11 days ago by josephschmitt
U.S. intelligence reports from January and February warned about a likely pandemic - The Washington Post
from Daring Fireball

The Washington Post:

U.S. intelligence agencies were issuing ominous, classified warnings in January and February about the global danger posed by the coronavirus while President Trump and lawmakers played down the threat and failed to take action that might have slowed the spread of the pathogen, according to U.S. officials familiar with spy agency reporting. […]

Robert Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response — who was joined by intelligence officials, including from the CIA — told committee members that the virus posed a “serious” threat, one of those officials said. Kadlec didn’t provide specific recommendations, but he said that to get ahead of the virus and blunt its effects, Americans would need to take actions that could disrupt their daily lives, the official said. “It was very alarming.”

Trump’s insistence on the contrary seemed to rest in his relationship with China’s President Xi Jingping, whom Trump believed was providing him with reliable information about how the virus was spreading in China, despite reports from intelligence agencies that Chinese officials were not being candid about the true scale of the crisis.

We didn’t have to be here. The story is not complicated — Trump ignored the danger until it was far too late. Why did he take China’s word over that of our own intelligence agencies and experts? Because what China was claiming was what he wanted to hear.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
11 days ago by josephschmitt
Some People
from Daring Fireball

Some people would like to thank Jason Kottke for writing this.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
12 days ago by josephschmitt
2020 MacBook Air review: No news is good news - Six Colors
from Daring Fireball

Jason Snell, writing at Six Colors:

If you don’t really need a new Mac laptop, maybe you should wait to see what happens with ARM. But if you’re someone who has been holding out for a new MacBook Air — and ideally one without that infamous keyboard — I wouldn’t recommend that you wait. This is the MacBook Air that you’ve been waiting for.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
12 days ago by josephschmitt
Introducing Unread 2
from Daring Fireball

Speaking of iOS feed reader apps, John Brayton’s Unread 2 recently shipped too:

If you are frustrated by feeds that include only article summaries, you will love Unread 2. Unread 2 takes Unread’s Readability view to the next level.

Unread 2 automatically determines which feeds contain only article summaries. When displaying articles from such feeds, Unread displays the full article text from the webpage. For any given feed, you can override Unread’s determination of whether to show feed text or webpage text.

In addition, Unread 2 can cache webpage text ahead of time. This gives you fast offline access to the webpage text and embedded images of such articles.

Unread is gorgeous, and takes an entirely different course than NetNewsWire on how to design a great iOS feed reading app. Unread is focused on eliminating chrome — it is a pure reading app. It’s like reader mode all the time, and the assortment of color themes is nicely curated.

There’s never been a better time to get back into RSS. My RSS subscriptions are largely about tech and design, and I keep political feeds in their own folder. It’s an oasis apart from general world news.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
12 days ago by josephschmitt
Netflix Creates $100 Million Coronavirus Relief Fund – Variety
from Daring Fireball

Brent Lang, reporting for Variety:

Netflix has created a $100 million relief fund to help members of the creative community who have been left unemployed and without a way to earn an income during the coronavirus crisis. The streaming giant said the bulk of the funds will go toward supporting laid-off crew members.

“The COVID-19 crisis is devastating for many industries, including the creative community. Almost all television and film production has now ceased globally — leaving hundreds of thousands of crew and cast without jobs,” Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement. “These include electricians, carpenters and drivers, many of whom are paid hourly wages and work on a project-to-project basis. This community has supported Netflix through the good times, and we want to help them through these hard times, especially while governments are still figuring out what economic support they will provide.”

Great move from Netflix. We need more like this from big companies that are well-positioned to financially weather this extended storm.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
12 days ago by josephschmitt
NetNewsWire - NetNewsWire 5.0 for iOS Available Now
from Daring Fireball

Speaking of Brent Simmons, the reborn NetNewsWire is now out for iOS (both iPhone and iPad):

It’s free and open source, and it includes support for Feedbin and Feedly syncing.

Just as the Mac version looks like a Mac app, this is very much an iOS app. It supports Dark Mode, context menus, multiple windows, Siri Shortcuts, and other iOS features.

iOS-assed iOS app doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Mac-assed Mac app, but that’s what NetNewsWire is. I raved about NetNewsWire 5 for Mac when it shipped back in August, and I’ll rave equally about NetNewsWire 5 for iOS now. It’s exactly what I want in an RSS reader, and it has changed my daily reading habits significantly.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
12 days ago by josephschmitt
The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What's Coming | WIRED
from Daring Fireball

Absolutely full-stop must-read interview by Steven Levy with Larry Brilliant, the epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox:

Now the unthinkable is here, and Brilliant, the Chairman of the board of Ending Pandemics, is sharing expertise with those on the front lines. We are a long way from 100 million deaths due to the novel coronavirus, but it has turned our world upside down. Brilliant is trying not to say “I told you so” too often. But he did tell us so, not only in talks and writings, but as the senior technical advisor for the pandemic horror film Contagion, now a top streaming selection for the homebound. Besides working with the World Health Organization in the effort to end smallpox, Brilliant, who is now 75, has fought flu, polio, and blindness; once led Google’s nonprofit wing, Google.org; co-founded the conferencing system the Well; and has traveled with the Grateful Dead.

We talked by phone on Tuesday. At the time, President Donald Trump’s response to the crisis had started to change from “no worries at all” to finally taking more significant steps to stem the pandemic. Brilliant lives in one of the six Bay Area counties where residents were ordered to shelter in place. When we began the conversation, he’d just gotten off the phone with someone he described as high government official, who asked Brilliant “How the fuck did we get here?” I wanted to hear how we’ll get out of here. The conversation has been edited and condensed.

Read this and you’ll come out the end more informed than if you read 20 other articles on this pandemic. I found this exchange particularly salient, for perspective:

Are you scared?

I’m in the age group that has a one in seven mortality rate if I get it. If you’re not worried, you’re not paying attention. But I’m not scared. I firmly believe that the steps that we’re taking will extend the time that it takes for the virus to make the rounds. I think that, in turn, will increase the likelihood that we will have a vaccine or we will have a prophylactic antiviral in time to cut off, reduce, or truncate the spread. Everybody needs to remember: This is not a zombie apocalypse. It’s not a mass extinction event.

This is not just idle talk; Brilliant has spent his career truly contemplating extinction-event pandemics.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
12 days ago by josephschmitt
YouTube
from Daring Fireball

I love this new ad from Apple for the iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard. What’s not to love? Pitch-perfect use of Futura Bold on the title screen, a vaguely Brazil-like dystopian atmosphere to open, and, once the iPad part kicks in, some fun shots of the iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard in action out in the world. (Remember going out in the world?) One thing I noticed: not one appearance of the available-to-order-right-now Smart Keyboard cover — only the coming-in-May Magic Keyboard. The Magic Keyboard is hot; the Smart Keyboard is not.

But speaking of not hot: It’s impossible to miss that MacBooks are just as much the butt of the jokes as any PC. “Do not touch the screen.” “Your computer comes with a standard arrow cursor.” “You must stay within reach of a Wi-Fi signal.” “It does not have a camera; to connect one, refer to your instruction manual.”

I get it, all of these are things that make iPads fun and useful. The Mac can take it — it’s the mature workhorse platform. But it’s a little incongruous coming on the same day Apple launched its best-ever MacBook Air — featuring no touchscreen, no option for cellular networking, and the worst built-in camera in Apple’s product line. And, yes, a standard arrow cursor.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
13 days ago by josephschmitt
Apple Updates Mac mini With Double the Storage Capacity in Standard Configurations - MacRumors
from Daring Fireball

One more update to the hardware lineup yesterday. No changes to the internals other than storage, though, which is probably why it wasn’t a talking point for Apple. Still though, it’s great to see Mac hardware getting updates like this mid-cycle.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
13 days ago by josephschmitt
A Frantic Few Days for Restaurants Is Only the Beginning - The New York Times
from Daring Fireball

Pete Wells, writing for The New York Times:

I see two possible futures for restaurants. In one, state and local governments across the country move rapidly to help them survive the closings and get going again when that’s safe. In the other, bankruptcies cascade across the economy, and people are out of work in numbers this country has not seen since the 1930s.

Will a country that is still bitter about bailing out banks and airlines in the last financial crisis be ready to bail out ramen-yas, pupuserias, vegan sandwich counters, dosa vendors and natural wine bars? It depends on whether politicians and the public see the money as handouts to people who made bad business decisions (beginning, I suppose, with the decision to get into the restaurant business) or as a triage measure that will save the life of a national industry with sales of more than $800 billion last year.

Bailouts should go bottom-up this time around, not top-down.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
13 days ago by josephschmitt
The secret call to Andy Grove that may have helped Apple buy NeXT - Cake
from Daring Fireball

Fascinating story (written in 2018 — I hadn’t seen it until recently, though) from Chris MacAskill, who was the head of developer relations at NeXT in the 90s:

Sometime later Steve wandered in my office and asked if I thought porting NeXTstep to Intel was a good idea. Awkward. Did he know? I asked if Intel was going to help. Steve said they offered two great engineers to work alongside ours. They thought it could be done in 6 months. We’d have to keep it super secret from the outside world. Could I act as relationship manager?

This wasn’t as strange as it sounded because I was managing the IBM relationship. Steve had licensed NeXTstep for them to use on their workstations years ago and they had a team living at NeXT working on it. We didn’t have much faith in that relationship.

“Hmmm, that sounds like a good idea, Steve. The 66 megahertz 80486 chip?”

“Yeah. Intel’s graphics primitives are shit so it probably won’t be any faster than the 33 megahertz 68040 we’re using now.”

Six months later I carried a beige Intel-based computer from a windowless room to my office, wrapped in a black cover. It was exactly twice the speed of our sexy black machines.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
13 days ago by josephschmitt
www.opentable.com
from Daring Fireball

We see it all around us, but here’s the global day-by-day data from OpenTable. It’s a 100 percent shutdown for many cities now. In some sense this is good — this is what we’re supposed to be doing. But it’s still shocking to see. I don’t think anyone has any sense of what the restaurant industry is going to look like when we get out of this. In the meantime, support your favorite places with takeout and delivery orders — which are safe! — and gift card purchases, if you can.

(The OpenTable app has adapted brilliantly — when I open it here in Philly, it’s chock full of delivery and takeout options, and gift cards are prominent too.)

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ifttt  daringfireball 
13 days ago by josephschmitt
iPad Pro - Apple
from Daring Fireball

View the new iPad Pro page on an iPad or iPhone, and scroll down a tad to “See iPad Pro in AR”. Very cool. The upcoming Magic Keyboard Folio looks to be a very cool near-black color. Makes me wish they’d switch MacBooks from “space gray” to this near-black color.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
14 days ago by josephschmitt
The Talk Show ✪: Ep. 279, With Special Guest Jason Snell
from Daring Fireball

Jason Snell returns to the show. Life during the COVID-19 pandemic, WWDC going online-only, Apple’s in-person on-campus workplace culture, speculation on upcoming Apple product releases, and more.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
15 days ago by josephschmitt
Twitter
from Daring Fireball

Jake Schumacher:

Let’s do free rentals of App this week. Use code “inittogether”.

App: The Human Story is Schumacher’s 2017 documentary on the human side of app development in the era of the iPhone. I was interviewed — twice! — for it, and am delighted to have played a small role. It’s a really good film.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
15 days ago by josephschmitt
Microsoft announces change to its board of directors - Stories
from Daring Fireball

I try not to overuse “quietly” when talking about company announcements, but this one was pretty much as quiet as could be. A Friday afternoon press release — amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and though I’m guessing that’s purely coincidental, it surely helped bury the news — under the anodyne headline “Microsoft Announces Change to Its Board of Directors”.

I can’t imagine there’s anything they’re hiding here. It seems clear Gates just wanted his final exit to be … quiet. But, man, in terms of history, Bill Gates leaving Microsoft is a moment. To call Gates a titan of industry is an understatement.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
15 days ago by josephschmitt
Tom Brady says goodbye to Patriots on social media
from Daring Fireball

Good for him — Tom Brady, of all players, deserves a chance like this.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
15 days ago by josephschmitt
Twitter
from Daring Fireball

Don Schaffner, a Rutgers professor who specializes in, well, exactly this sort of thing, refutes the notion that soap is more effective than hand sanitizer when it comes to combating the spread of coronavirus. It’s a good short Twitter thread, with several sources. Worth reading.

But the bottom line is this: we have two good tools for cleaning our hands, and we should all use both frequently. Wash your hands with soap and make frequent use of hand sanitizer.

Speaking of handwashing, after my post linking to the CDC saying it’s just as effective to use cold/cool water (and arguably better, because it causes less skin irritation when washing frequently), I’ve also started following their recommendation to turn off the water after initially wetting my hands. It’s very clear to me after just two days that doing so makes it far more natural to spend more time actually sudsing your hands up. When you leave the water running, it subconsciously puts you in a bit of a rush, because you know you’re wasting water.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
16 days ago by josephschmitt
www.takecontrolbooks.com
from Daring Fireball

Glenn Fleishman:

We’re in a time of unprecedented uncertainty. In the middle of a global viral outbreak, you were told or asked to work from home — and you’ve never or rarely had to be productive where you live before. What to do? We’re here to take at some stress out of your life with a new, free book that details how to set up a home office and balance work and home life for those not accustomed to it.

Free 55-page e-book from Fleishman and assorted contributors. Some of this stuff sounds basic, but if you’ve never worked from home — particularly for an extended stretch, everything about working from home is new territory.

I’ve spent most of my life working from home. Much of what I can suggest are the basics:

Make work time work time. I suspect this is one of the hardest things for folks who, until now, associate “home” and “work” as places not modes.

Spend the time and if necessary, money, to create comfortable productive workspace. You’ll get uncomfortable quickly spending long hours at the keyboard if your desk (or worse, “desk”) is not an appropriate height and if you don’t have a good chair.

For collaboration with a team, however big or small, make the official modes of collaboration crystal clear. If work communication is spread across an ad hoc collection of mediums — just randomly spewed across, say, Slack, iMessage, and email — that way madness lies.

It’s good to have a virtual water cooler. For me, that’s a Slack group with a bunch of friends, most of whom have long worked from home. It absolutely combats loneliness, but it’s essential to treat it like a break room. Hang out in bursts, not all day long.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
16 days ago by josephschmitt
Apple fined record $1.23 billion in France for price-fixing scheme | VentureBeat
from Daring Fireball

Chris O’Brien, reporting for VentureBeat:

The case has its roots in a dispute between Apple and one of its leading French resellers, eBizcuss. The latter accused Apple of abusing its position, and in 2012 the reseller shut down in France as a result of what it claimed was unfair competition. The company was part of the Apple Premium Reseller program, whose participants sell only Apple products.

The French competition agency said that under the APR program, partners were told in advance how many of each product would be allocated to their stores. Apple published “recommended” prices and then tightly restricted promotional materials a distributor could use. One distributor said if it ran a promotion Apple didn’t like, the company would retaliate by limiting product supply.

The result limited pricing competition for about half of the retail market for Apple products in France. In addition, the agency found that Apple limited supplies to APR partners during moments of heavy demand around the launch of new products to steer customers to its own stores. Because Apple knew that its APR partners operated on very thin margins, any shortfall in supply could be fatal, the French agency said in its announcement.

I’m no expert on this, but it sounds like Apple’s way of dealing with resellers has always been illegal in France.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
16 days ago by josephschmitt
Wynn set to close Las Vegas properties for 2 weeks | Las Vegas Review-Journal
from Daring Fireball

Bailey Schulz, reporting for The Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Wynn Resorts Ltd. is set to close its two Las Vegas properties beginning 6 p.m. Tuesday to help stem the spread of the coronavirus. The closure is expected to last two weeks, after which Wynn “will evaluate the situation,” according to a Sunday statement from the company.

Lucas Wright, reporting for KLAS Las Vegas:

MGM Resorts has announced it will shut down all Las Vegas properties until further notice, starting on Tuesday, March 17. Casino operations will close on Monday, followed by hotel operations. […]

MGM Resorts will not be taking reservations for arrivals prior to May 1.

MGM’s properties dominate The Strip: Aria, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, New York New York, Park MGM, Vdara.

If you didn’t think shit was getting serious when major theme parks shut down, you know it’s getting real when Vegas shuts down.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
17 days ago by josephschmitt
Twitter
from Daring Fireball

Vidit Bhargava:

Provides a clear path to launch any app in split screen.

Clearly shows which app is in focus.

Simplifies the multi-tasking screen (spaces to the left of the app appear to left and not the bottom in a grid).

It’s a short video demo that packs a bunch of good ideas. I’d go further on point 3 — it’s more than just simplified, it’s more coherent. iPadOS 13 multitasking lacks any spatial coherence whatsoever right now. When you swipe on the multitasking indicator at the bottom of the screen, spaces are arranged left-to-right. (Same goes for using a 4-finger swipe anywhere on the screen, including on home-button iPads.) But when you go into the full multitasking switcher mode (with a swipe up on Face ID iPads or a double-tap of the old-school home button), apps are arranged in a grid. That is madness. It breaks spatiality.

Also, although Bhargava’s concept doesn’t mention it, ⌘-Tab switching on iPadOS should show spaces, not apps. It’s bananas that it doesn’t.

Anyway, nice work here from Bhargava, whose English dictionary app LookUp (iOS and Mac) is well worth a look. (And he documents the design thinking behind LookUp delightfully on his blog.)

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
17 days ago by josephschmitt
Ensuring the Credibility of Health & Safety Information - News - Apple Developer
from Daring Fireball

Apple Developer News:

The App Store should always be a safe and trusted place for users to download apps. Now more than ever that commitment takes on special significance as the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities around the world are depending on apps to be credible news sources — helping users understand the latest health innovations, find out where they can get help if needed or provide assistance to their neighbors.

To help fulfill these expectations, we’re evaluating apps critically to ensure data sources are reputable and that developers presenting these apps are from recognized entities such as government organizations, health-focused NGOs, companies deeply credentialed in health issues, and medical or educational institutions. Only developers from one of these recognized entities should submit an app related to COVID-19. Entertainment or game apps with COVID-19 as their theme will not be allowed.

Misinformation (well-intentioned or not), scams, just plain noise — we don’t need any of that in this crisis. The only downside to this policy I can think of is that potentially useful apps from non-credentialed developers aren’t going to get through. Good on Apple for making this policy explicit, so that such developers can focus their efforts on building web apps, or collaborating with an organization that has the necessary credentials.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
18 days ago by josephschmitt
Rogue Amoeba - Under the Microscope » Blog Archive » You Can Help “Flatten the Curve” of COVID-19
from Daring Fireball

Paul Kafasis, writing at the Rogue Amoeba blog:

At its most basic, social distancing is a deliberate effort to reduce your contact with others. Doing so will slow or prevent community transmission of COVID-19, by decreasing the number of opportunities the virus has to spread.

You can practice social distancing in many ways. For those in the tech sector, working from home is a hugely powerful step you may be able to take. Rogue Amoeba’s employees use home offices around the globe, but if that weren’t the case, we’d be mandating working from home now.

It’s not possible for everyone to work from home, but there are still plenty of other changes you can implement. Avoid attending group gatherings. Reduce the amount you leave the house. If you do go out, maintain physical distance from others as best you can.

As Paul notes, there’s not much we can do individually, but doing what we can — particularly social distancing and frequent hand-washing — is both good for us collectively and at an individual level reduces that feeling of helplessness.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
18 days ago by josephschmitt
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