Egg Freckles http://eggfreckles.net/blog Kirby Sun, 21 Oct 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Notes from my Newton Three Hour Marathon http://eggfreckles.net/notes/three-hour-marathon notes/three-hour-marathon Sun, 21 Oct 2018 00:00:00 +0000 I ran my first marathon in 3:34:31 (Boston Marathon 2009), my second marathon in 3:24:34 ( Boston Marathon 2010), and my fifth marathon in 3:05:43 (San Francisco 2013). But it would take me five more years, and over a dozen races before I would reach my goal of running a sub three hour marathon.

My problem? I wasn’t running all 26.2 miles at a consistent pace I would start off too fast, and burn out before crossing the finish line. It wasn’t until last year that I realized I needed to run a 6:52 mile, every mile, if I ever hoped to finish a marathon in under three hours.

Cool weather and a fast course certainly helped, but my Apple Watch is really what made my sub three hour marathon possible. Unlike most fitness watches, my Apple Watch shows me my current pace and average pace together every time I look down at my wrist. Keeping me on track to run a 6:52 mile 26 times!

I almost didn’t make it. The three hour pace group sped passed me with just over a mile to go, and I let my pace slip as I became discouraged. Luckily for me they were just eager to finish the race a head of time, because when I looked down at my Apple Watch I saw I still had a minute to go on the last turn before the finish line.

I finished the race with a time of 2:59:50. or just ten seconds under goal. I can now say I am sub three hour marathoner until next year, when I do it again if only to prove it was not a fluke.

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Infinite Loop http://eggfreckles.net/notes/infinite-loop notes/infinite-loop Tue, 18 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0000 As an Apple fan growing up in the 90’s, Apple’s Infinite Loop headquarters has always been a special place. Not just an office park, but Disneyland. A place where magic happened and new Macs were made. One Infinite Loop is where the Apple faithful would pilgrimage, take self portraits outside the main entrance, and buy “I visited the Mothership” t-shirts from the Company Store. As a east coast kid I could not wait for my chance to go.

Now that I am an adult and Apple’s corporate address reads “One Apple Park Way,” I know Apple’s old HQ has lost some of its magic. But for me and the other Apple kids of the 90’s, Infinite Loop is still a symbol of Apple’s storied resurrection. The place where the Apple we know was born, and where all of our favorite Apple products came to be. If I could choose only one Apple HQ to visit, it would be the icon infested gardens of Infinite Loop on the eve of Steve Job’s return over the rolling hills, magnificent orchards, and curved glass ring of today’s Apple Park.

Unfortunately no time machine exists to take me back to the Apple HQ of lore, but this collection of interviews curated by Stephen Levy may be the next best thing. Here Apple employees past and present tell us the behind scenes stories that helped make Infinite Loop the mecca for so many Apple fans.

For more than a year I’ve been interviewing Apple employees, past and present, about their recollections of Infinite Loop. In their own words, edited for clarity and concision, here is the story of a plot of land in Cupertino, California, that brought us the Mac revival, the iPod, iTunes, the iPhone, and the Steve Jobs legacy.

My two favorite quotes come from Phil Schiller, and Tim Cook on his first day working at Apple.

Schiller: We’re like, “Steve! Newton customers are picketing! What do you want to do? They’re angry.” And Steve said, “They have every right to be angry. They love Newton. It’s a great product, and we have to kill it, and that’s not fun, so we have to get them coffee and doughnuts and send it down to them and tell them we love them and we’re sorry and we support them.”

Cook: At IBM and Compaq, where I had been working, I had been involved in helping with thousands of product introductions and withdrawals—and, I have to say, very few people cared about the withdrawals—and not very many people cared about the intro, either. I had never seen this passion that close up.

Steve Jobs is often criticized for killing the Newton because it was John Sculley’s creation, but I have long believed killing the Newton was a sacrifice Steve had to make to save Apple. Both hypotheses can be true, but these two quotes show a rare glimpse of Steve’s empathy for Apple’s customers and the passion for Apple’s products that made the company worth saving.

Of course I could not share this article without passing on a little Infinite Loop lore of my own.

My tenure at Apple’s Infinite Loop was shorter than most. During my two weeks of Mac Genius training during the summer of 2004 my classmates and I made the trip to Caffè Macs every day for lunch; often spending the remainder of our lunch break touring the halls of Infinite Loop and finding out what doors our employee badges opened (answer: none). During our initial orientation we were told to avoid contact with Apple’s “celebrity CEO,” a warning that played out humorously later in the weak when one of my classmates suddenly stepped out of the Caffè Macs lunch line because Steve was standing behind him waiting to “pay” for his Odwalla.

The highlight of my visit was hearing Steve Jobs speak during an employees only Town Hall meeting at IL4. (We got there early to get good seats; but sat far enough back from the stage as not to stand out in the crowd.) The topic was Microsoft’s entrance into the music business with their new PlaysForSure music service, how they couldn’t leave enough alone, and wanted to rule the world. Steve told us not to worry, Apple had great products in the pipeline, and they did.

After my two week stay in Cupertino, I vowed to return to Infinite Loop as a full-fledged Apple employee, but I never did. Looking back I am grateful to have shared — however small — a tiny bit of Apple’s Infinite Loop’s history.

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Goodbye iPhone SE http://eggfreckles.net/notes/goodbye-iphonese notes/goodbye-iphonese Fri, 14 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Harry McCracken “making sense of the most confusing new iPhone lineup ever“:

As the iPhone lineup has expanded in recent years, Apple has let go of that minimalist clarity. It seems less like an accident than a willful decision, and—since nobody at the company is likely to acknowledge the shift as a change in strategy with pros and cons—it’s up to us to figure it out for ourselves. Why has Apple released three new iPhones that are kinda similar and kinda different in ways that require explanation?

Harry has his own explanations for why Apple might want to standardize on the high-end iPhone X platform, but I think the message from Apple’s September 12th event is clear. If you are looking for a phone with a smaller screen, a phone with a headphone jack, or or a phone that costs under $400, Apple no longer makes an iPhone for you. In short, Apple has discontinued their entry-level iPhone SE in favor of larger phones that require additional adapters and cost upwards of $750.

As someone who doesn’t value his cell phone as much as the next Apple nerd, the iPhone SE has been an important product for me because of its price. The iPhone SE kept me invested in the iOS ecosystem, and enabled me to purchase a Apple Watch without approaching the ~$700 iPhone ASP I normally attribute to laptop computers. Now that an updated iPhone SE is no longer an option, I am evaluating alternative cell phone platforms. I am sure I am not alone.

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Micro.blog is a Community of Creators http://eggfreckles.net/notes/microblog-community notes/microblog-community Sat, 08 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Manton Reece explains how Micro.blog is serious about preventing abuse and harassment:

the platform was designed, from the beginning, to prevent abuse and harassment. Your microblog is your own, where you are free to write about whatever you want, but we protect the timeline, where you can @-reply others, through a variety of tools and curation. We have community guidelines that are enforced.

I don’t believe tools, curation, or community guidelines will ever be able to police the public park as well as the walls of a private garden. But Micro.blog was not designed to be a public park. To participate on Micro.blog (hosted or unhosted) you have to be willing to create a blog, put your name on it, and stand behind it. Accountability is the wall that will protect Micro.blog against the kinds of anonymous harassment observed on public social networks like Twitter that are just festering with throwaway accounts.

“On Micro.blog, you control your own content.” But your content keeps you in check.

But won’t there be anonymous Micro.blogs?

Sure, but I believe anonymous Micro.blogs will be the minority. People like to put their name on the work they have created, and they want to be proud of that work. This is where the community guidelines come in. Micro.blog is a community of creators, and the creators help protect the Micro.blog community they are proud of.

But what about the Micro.blog hosting fees?

Not everyone has $5 a month or the skills needed to setup a micro blog of their own. Won’t these barriers to entry prevent the mass adoption of Micro.blog — excluding a large swath of well-meaning people from participating on the platform?

More from Manton:

Many people are looking for “the next Twitter”, but it’s not enough to replace Twitter with a new platform and new leadership. Some problems are inevitable when power is concentrated in only 2-3 huge social networks — ad-based businesses at odds with user needs and an overwhelming curation challenge.

When you design your platform for everyone you have include everyone; good and bad. To participate in Micro.blog you have to be accountable for your own blog, but blogging is not for everyone. Micro.blog does not have to be a Twitter replacement, it does not have to be for everyone. By remaining small Micro.blog remains a community of creators, self curated without the need for ads.

Twitter and Micro.blog can coexist, and do through cross-posting. If your goal is to include everyone you can try to build a better Twitter.

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Farewell Fail Whale http://eggfreckles.net/notes/fail-whale notes/fail-whale Fri, 07 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0000 I have been failing at social networks since the early 2000’s. I rode the MySpace wave in 2005. Joined/quit Facebook half a dozen times over the last decade. Paid $50 for a one year subscription to Apo.net. Since 2008, Twitter has been my water cooler of choice on the web; a place to procrastinate, meet new people, and share ideas. But over the last few years expectations of Twitter and my friend’s expectations of me have been coming up short. It might be time for me to leave Twitter.

Snark…

For someone who doesn’t make new friends easily, my participation on Twitter has led me to meet some pretty cool people, and at least one punk. But my snarky sense of humor often makes my replies come across as trollish and arrogant. I am not making as many new friends as I once did. Instead of driving people away it might be time for me to go.

Software…

The simplicity of trading short 280 character messages from the comfort of handcrafted third-party apps has always made Twitter appealing to me. Unfortunately Twitter doesn’t treat its third-party developers much better than the way I come across on social media; trollish and arrogant. The official Twitter client has long since lost its charm, and the future of third-party Twitter clients looks uncertain.

I don’t want to participate in a social network where my timeline is controlled by an algorithm, obscuring the posts of the people I follow, or presenting tweets out of order. Twitter owes a lot to its third-party developers, and we deserve better than this.

Hate…

Worse, Twitter has gotten so big it now attracts the lowest of humanity. Parasites who rely on Twitter’s prominent platform to amplify their messages of hate. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, has gone so far as to defend the hate. Driving people I respect off the platform and onto greener pastures. I don’t expect Twitter to police their platform perfectly, but I do expect Twitter to deny access to repeat offenders who publish hate or proclaim acts of violence against others.

Where do I go from here…

Brent Simmons describes the harsh reality long time Twitter users like myself are facing today:

There is no scenario where the Twitter we loved in 2008 comes back.

Even if it were sold to some entity with energy, resources, smarts, and good intentions, it’s too late. It has celebrities with millions of followers. It has the president. It has millions of accounts using it for unlovable purposes.

It’s never coming back, and using your emotional energy hoping it comes back is a waste.

While Stephen Hackett spells out the truth that alternative social networks like Mastodon, or Micro.blog never stay green long after the mob arrives.

If you think switching social networks can mask the basic fact that a lot of humans are terrible to each other on purpose, you’re in for a surprise.

Yeah, Twitter leadership is really bad at running Twitter, but rules only provide punishment. Humanity’s dark center will always break through eventually.

I am not suggesting a specific alternative to Twitter, just that it is time for me to take a break from the birdsite. I am deleting my Twitter apps and logging out of Tweetdeck. Over the next 31 days Tweetdelete will erase my remaining tweets. I want to spend more time blogging. I can’t say my decision is right for you, but I will leave you with these wise questions from Macdrifter Gabe Weatherhead.

If you are a Twitter user, answer this. Keep it to yourself, but try to be honest. What valuable thing have you learned from Twitter in the past 48 hours? Was it about an Apple product or something about some tech startup not liking poor people on their commuter buses? Did you take action on the information? I’m not going to judge you, but I will tell you that in my experience what Twitter gave me was almost never valuable and it certainly came to the exclusion of actual joy.

Update:

After Multiple Provocations, Twitter Has Banned Alex Jones And Infowars

After weeks of equivocation, Twitter permanently suspended the accounts of Infowars and its founder Alex Jones on Thursday, following similar moves by other large tech companies, including Apple, Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify. The decision came after a series of provocations from Jones that Twitter deemed in violation of its “abusive behavior” rules.

Finally.

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NoScript http://eggfreckles.net/notes/noscript notes/noscript Thu, 02 Aug 2018 00:00:00 +0000 I read this post on Daring Fireball last year and I wanted to comment on it: Charlie:

I simply hate people relying on brittle client-side javascript when there are other alternatives. In the same way as I wouldn’t rely on some unknown minicab firm as the sole way of getting me to the airport for a wedding flight, I don’t like relying on a non-guaranteed technology as the sole way of delivering a web app. For me it’s a matter of elegance and simplicity over unnecessary complexity.

Charlie proceeds to spend the rest of her rainy day reloading her favorite websites with JavaScript disabled and documenting their reduced functionality. For me this sort of activity does not occur once in a rainy day. For years I have filtered the JavaScript my browser receives by way of NoScript a JavaScript/Java/Flash blocker for Firefox and Seamonkey. NoScript works by whitelisting domains I visit where JavaScript should be enabled. I can temporarily whitelist a domain to get things working on a website I visit temporarily, or permanently block domains like doubleclick.net I never want to receive JavaScript from. Today most websites not only fail to function without their own JavaScript enabled, but they fail to function without linked JavaScript libraries from third-party domains enabled. If your website needs resources from someone else's domain to work, you are doing the web wrong. With NoScript I often find myself temporarily whitelisting third-party domains at random to get the web to work. In summary my browsing experience goes something like this: - Visit website

  • Load JavaScript from the domain of the website I am visiting
  • Make temporary exceptions for third-party domains where essential JavaScript is hosted
  • Block everything else
  • NoScript saves my selections for me the next time I visit the site

    NoScript has made my web browsing faster, safer, and more energy efficient, but at the cost of maintaining a large list of whitelisted domains I wish to receive JavaScript from. John Gruber: > The web would be better off if browsers had never added support for scripting. Every site on the web would load in under a second.

    That is my philosophy and why I use NoScript.

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Mojave Dark Mode http://eggfreckles.net/notes/mojave-dark-mode notes/mojave-dark-mode Mon, 25 Jun 2018 00:00:00 +0000 During this year's "Introducing Dark Mode" session at WWDC Apple gave us three reasons why they were including Dark Mode as a feature in Mac OS Mojave.

  1. Dark interfaces are cool.
  2. Dark interfaces are not just inverted.
  3. Dark Mode is content-focused.

As Stephen Hackett points out, reason No. 1 is hard to argue against; dark user interfaces are cool. (How far we have come from when the black on white interface of the original 1984 Macintosh was considered fashionable.) But dark user interfaces are also difficult to pull off; especially with over 17 years of Mac OS X graphical user interface history behind them. Stephen Hackett shows us how Apple does Dark Mode right.

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Mojave System Requirements http://eggfreckles.net/notes/mojave-system-requirements notes/mojave-system-requirements Mon, 04 Jun 2018 00:00:00 +0000 The system requirements for each new Macintosh operating system are rarely out-of-step with Apple's marketing message. Mac OS Mojave is no exception. A big theme for this year's WWDC keynote was improved performance through optimization, and as expected the Mac OS Mojave system requirements reflect upon that theme.

  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer)
  • iMac (Late 2012 or newer)
  • iMac Pro (2017)
  • Mac Pro models from late 2013 (plus mid 2010 and mid 2012 models with recommend Metal-capable GPU)

    At first glance the Mojave system requirements don't appear to follow a specific trend. It is only when we examine the minimal hardware requirements for Apple's next generation graphics API Metal, that we find our answer. > During a "What's new in Metal" session at WWDC, Apple announced that Metal support in OS X extends to Macs built since 2012.

    But why is Apple making Metal a requirement for Mac OS now? The answer is optimization. While every other major operating system has good OpenGl support, Apple's implementation of OpenGL has been languishing for years. Metal promises to improves the Mac's graphics for less CPU cycles and fewer watts than OpenGL, but at the cost of compatibility. As a proprietary system-wide 3D graphics engine, Metal does not benefit from the same large cross-platform developer community OpenGL enjoys. Metal only runs on Apple hardware and drops support for Macs made earlier than 2012. This wouldn't be a problem for Macintosh Developers if Apple continued to support Metal and OpenGL side by side, but with the release of Mac OS Mojave and iOS 12 Apple is depreciating OpenGL in favor of Metal. Forcing 3D developers to choose Metal if they want to continue continue working with the Mac. As a long time Mac user I have reasons to be wary of proprietary system-wide 3D graphics engine's from Apple, but by retiring OpenGL in favor of Metal I believe Apple is making the right choice for its customers. Today's Apple isn't in the same beleaguered position it once was in 1999 when it adopted OpenGl. Today's Apple has the market share needed to move to a new optimized API while keeping developers onboard. Mac OS Majove isn't the last we will see of OpenGL on the Mac (depreciated features take a long time to disappear), but now we finally know why OpenGL is so poorly supported on Mac OS.

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Apple's Third Era http://eggfreckles.net/notes/apples-third-era notes/apples-third-era Wed, 23 May 2018 00:00:00 +0000 Jason Snell on May 23, 2018:

Here’s a bit of numerology for you. Today marks 17 years, one month, and 29 days since Mac OS X 10.0 was released on March 24, 2001. That’s a strangely odd number—6,269 days—but it also happens to be the exact length of time between January 24, 1984 (the launch of the original Macintosh) and March 24, 2001.

In other words, today the Mac’s second operating system era, powered by Mac OS X (now macOS) has been in existence as long as the first era was.

I grew up with Macintosh 512K in my home, a computer that is almost as old as I am. I have known the Mac all my life, and yet I am still surprised Mac OS X is as old as the Classic Mac era that came before it.

Perhaps this is because:

  • I was not fully aware of the first era during the early years of my childhood.
  • The first era saw several long years of stagnation; I am looking at you System 7.
  • The second era began during my adolescence — in the early 2000’s — when Internet adoption, technological innovation, and Apple’s growth were accelerating.

No matter which era feels longer, the truth is we are all now living in the third era of Apple system software. An era where iOS has replaced Mac OS as Apple’s most important platform. iOS comes with all of advantages of the first two eras:

  • The adoption of multi-touch and universal wireless data changed the world just as much as the introduction of the GUI in the first era.
  • With over 11 annual iterations the third era has never showed signs of slowing down due to a lack of innovation the way the first era did.
  • The third era has already witnessed an increased rate or Internet adoption, technological innovation, and growth that far exceeds the second era.

And yet for me Apple’s third era feels the least significant. Perhaps this is because iOS — at 3,981 days since its introduction — has still not replaced the Mac I am using today.

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New Mac Pro Delayed Until 2019 http://eggfreckles.net/notes/macpro-2019 notes/macpro-2019 Fri, 06 Apr 2018 00:00:00 +0000 This week we learned a new Mac Pro isn't coming until 2019. Clearly this revelation is a Apple public relations move designed to reign-in expectations prior to this year's WWDC. But what makes this announcement so absurd is the guises that it is being made in the name of transparency while omitting any details describing the upcoming machine.

“We want to be transparent and communicate openly with our pro community, so we want them to know that the Mac Pro is a 2019 product. It’s not something for this year.” In addition to transparency for pro customers, there’s also a larger fiscal reason behind it.

“We know that there’s a lot of customers today that are making purchase decisions on the iMac Pro and whether or not they should wait for the Mac Pro,” says Boger.

This is why Apple wants to be as explicit as possible now, so that if institutional buyers or other large customers are waiting to spend budget on, say iMac Pros or other machines, they should pull the trigger without worry that a Mac Pro might appear late in the purchasing year.

It's almost as if Apple is telling its pro customers to buy different company's modular computer.

Pro Working Group

Instead of facts we got some spin about how Apple was setting up a "Pro Working Group" to find out what their professional customers need in a pro workstation computer.

“We said in the meeting last year that the pro community isn’t one thing,” says Ternus. “It’s very diverse. There’s many different types of pros and obviously they go really deep into the hardware and software and are pushing everything to its limit. So one thing you have to do is we need to be engaging with the customers to really understand their needs. Because we want to provide complete pro solutions, not just deliver big hardware, which we’re doing and we did it with iMac Pro. But look at everything holistically.”

Apple forming a pro computer steering committees in 2018 is pathetic. The last Mac Pro was released in 2013 and it was a design failure. Apple has had nearly four years to figure out what pros want. Are they just starting now?

The disclosure of the "Pro Working Group" smells like a smoke shield deployed to distract us from the fact Apple is still figuring out what professionals want. Professionals who used to count as some of Apple's most loyal customers.

Apple's inability to produce a computer their professional customers want in a reasonable time frame is a sign removing Computer from the company name in 2007 was the right decision.

This tweet by Dr. Drang best sums up Apple’s latest Mac Pro announcement.

Apple will be taking an extra year to design the only product in its lineup whose buyers don’t care about its design.

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