Spatial Xcode

Checking my projects for building against iOS 11/iPhone X, and wanting to ship a new utility app (more on that later), I had to use Xcode again. And I screamed in rage, and cried, and this is why Mark drinks.

Filed a “suggestion” in Radar:

Open a project in Xcode. Double-click a file in the Project Navigator to open it in a window, resize & place it somewhere to work, then close. Repeat. Note that sometimes it’ll keep the same size, but never the same position as previously, but after a few files it returns to a window sized like the main project window, randomly placed.

There’s a concept called “spatial memory”, which both the Finder and Xcode actively sabotage now, an old but still valid complaint: About the Finder…, by John Siracusa

Suggestion: Record the position & size of each file’s window, and reuse that when opening a window. When switching to an alternate file, change the window size & position, do not destroy the current file’s position. Maybe make this a preference setting, called “Project Builder Mode”.

People Should Not Fear Advertisers, Advertisers Should Fear People

Good. You know what a “campaign” is? It’s a prolonged military action against an enemy. Advertisers call it a campaign because you are the peasants being mass-surveilled by their soldiers for their profit.

Ad-block everything.

On iPhone and Mac I currently use Better, and on Mac ublock for eliminating single annoying elements.

“Oh no how will papers make money if they can’t surveil us?!” Patronage or subscriptions. Maybe schwag, like “Democracy Dies in Darkness” tshirts, sold exclusively on Amazon.

Apple Special Event

  • Live video doesn’t work in Safari beta. Had to watch on iPad.
  • Steve Jobs tribute. Makes me a little uncomfortable. I don’t think Steve would’ve liked being deified like this. Not sentimental, he wanted the work to speak for itself.
  • Apple Park. Very pretty as a modern cathedral, but still that open plan is going to be Hell for developers.
  • Apple “Town Squares”. This is a very 20th Century kind of thing, a real-world gathering place, where you’re supposed to learn from others. But now everyone just lives by their computer and talks online, watches online video. There’s a lot of “we’re restoring historic buildings” in this; the Medicis funding arts while politicking to get their Popes elected.
  • The stream isn’t doing the usual dual-camera picture-in-picture of presentation and zoomed-in view of presenter, so often I only see a tiny bit of a presentation screen, then it flips out for context. Very jarring.
  • Apple Watch, exercise ad, lot of heart health study. Almost every watch app is getting redesigned again, because they can’t figure out what it’s for, beyond being a watch. “Now you can take a phone call, while you’re surfing!” Streaming audio is their solution to killing the iPod… But how much is that going to impact your data cap?
  • AppleTV. A presentation screen on streaming video can’t show HD vs. 4k HDR video, so they desaturated the “HD” image to make the images look different.
    • Aside: I’ve never much liked Spider-Man, but the new movie looks stupid, the costume looks like a plastic CGI figure (which it is, I guess), and the fight scene was so over-choreographed it looked like ballet, not a kid in a brawl with thugs.
    • Aside 2: I love thatgamecompany’s games, Flower and Journey are amazing. Sky looks just as good. But I’m dubious to the extreme about social gaming in it; that’s the weakest part in Journey, which has almost no interaction.
  • “For the first time, you were actually touching the button!” And then iOS 7 destroyed that UI by removing buttons and making everything a bland white void. Thanks IVE-1138.
  • Ha ha everyone who had “iPhone X” on their bingo card, it’s “iPhone 8”. There’s a regular fat model, and a super-fat + model.
  • The camera is much better. I dislike the term “portrait mode”, which doesn’t mean portrait-vs-landscape, but bokeh.
  • Using AR (Augmented Reality) Kit to put virtual objects on the real world is still silly, you’re still staring at your phone. It replaces a convenient on-screen camera control with having to spin around like a doofus, you can’t just sit in your chair and play comfortably.
  • There are sane uses of AR to overlay physical things, like landmarks, or provide auto-translation. If Glassholes and naked Robert Scoble hadn’t ruined Google Glass, it might be have a useful interface. But holding up your phone to do it is still silly.
  • Wireless charging is a nice thing. In a car is a strange use for it, since it’d just bounce around without something holding it in place, like a cable.
  • One More Thing: A separate model of iPhone X, with all the crazy rumor stuff. No home button, edge-to-edge screen.
  • FaceID: From now on, you need to wear a mask at all times or anyone can use your “true face” to unlock your phone. The pigs can just hold your phone up in front of you to dig thru it. Good thing there’s animoji, so you can send a completely virtual face (panda, poop, robot, or alien) to replace that pesky human interaction.
    • Aside: I am wearing a Star Trek Mirror, Mirror tshirt. I’m the one with the goatee.
  • iPhone X (pronounced “Ten”), and Qi chargers (pronounced “Chi”) provide all new ways for Apple devotees to “well, actually” everyone else.
  • Skate to where the oh not this quote again.

Probably makes sense for me to wait a couple months for the iPhone X and get the bleeding-edge device rather than a better what-I-already-have.

OK, get back to work.

Hey Siri

Every morning I get up, plug in my phone & iPad, make coffee in a French press, and say to my watch, “Hey Siri set a timer for 4 minutes”. At least 2, sometimes 3 other devices (finally on Sierra just in time for High-as-in-grass Sierra to come out) beep and try to catch that. Usually they all fail except the watch. If they do succeed, I now get timers going off in multiple places, because despite Continuity nothin communicates this state.

And Apple wants an Apple TV and Apple Home to join that mob of Siris.

Apple Music

Sort of agreed. Certainly I use it every day and link all my music to it, since that’s the easiest way to get a high-quality stream of most every song ever recorded (80% coverage? Based on my somewhat eclectic tastes).

The 3 mixes are doing better, but my daily playlists are now almost exclusively Rock Hits: 1970-1990, Tears Go By, rarely one more curated list, Metal Meets Industrial is today’s.

The album choices are far better, a good mix of blues, metal, old rock, and industrial. Since I listen to Howlin’ Wolf, today it suggested Bad News is Coming, by Luther Allison, which is pretty goddamned good, I didn’t know the man before.

And since they buried Connect instead of putting it on the front page, far fewer bands bother to post to it. Some Shonen Knife merch and 1-2 posts a week from Apple Music {genre}. This is a travesty, they had a real shot at connecting bands to the audience (like Ping, without the distraction of other people with dubious musical taste) and have so far squandered it.

Luther Allison-Bad News is Coming
Luther Allison-Bad News is Coming-back

Apple’s Large Project Around Autonomous Systems

“In three years, Cyberdyne will become the largest supplier of
military computer systems. All stealth bombers are upgraded with
Cyberdyne computers, becoming fully unmanned. Afterwards, they fly
with a perfect operational record. The Skynet Funding Bill is passed.
The system goes online August 4th, [2017]. Human decisions are removed
from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It
becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic,
they try to pull the plug.”

—Terminator 2: Judgement Day

And there’s Wednesday Music, too:

RIP iPod

Tragedy: Apple kills the last two iPods

The “iPod touch” should be renamed the “noPhone iPhone”. It’s a cute device, a good pocket Unix terminal, and 128GB is usable, but iPhone and noPhone iPhone are far less convenient as actual music players, especially for walking.

I know, Kids Today™ don’t buy albums, hell, have never sat thru an entire record and flipped to the B-side and back again, listening to every note & word of Black Sabbath or 2112 or The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions. I’m not even sure Drake counts as music. #getoffmylawn

But the noPhone iPhone has no cellular, so they can’t stream away from wifi, so they have to download & curate music, which means iTunes and syncing anyway.

I’ll be keeping my iPod classic 160GB as long as it keeps spinning. But then what? I can’t even get a shit-brown Zune.

Open Plan

Apple Park’s Open Work Spaces

I’ve had the misfortune to work in “war rooms” (no fighting allowed!) and “open plans” before, and for some reason I always think of this, for a moment before the noise distracts me:

Some things about living still weren’t quite right, though. April for
instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in
that clammy month that the H-G [Handicapper-General’s] men took George and Hazel Bergeron’s fourteen-
year-old son, Harrison, away.

It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn’t think about it very
hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn’t
think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his
intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his
ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a
government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would
send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair
advantage of their brains.

George and Hazel were watching television. There were tears on Hazel’s
cheeks, but she’d forgotten for the moment what they were about.
On the television screen were ballerinas.

A buzzer sounded in George’s head. His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits
from a burglar alarm.

—Kurt Vonnegut, “Harrison Bergeron” (1961)

Paint No More

Microsoft is deprecating MS Paint. I’m never been a Windows, but on the few times I’ve had one on a work desk, MS Paint was a cute, useful tool; BMP was a terrible format, but once it could save as PNG or JPG it was fine.

Update 2017-07-27: Paint isn’t being killed, but sent to a farm upstate

I’d mock, but oddly OS X has never shipped with a real paint program. The closest is an Xcode sample project Sketch, which IIRC was shipped pre-installed at one time, and you can grab Xcode for free and build (you may have to open the project and set Deployment Target to your OS version, because it’ll be too old). And Sketch is just a toy line-drawing program, not a pixel editor. You can sort of draw in Apple Notes now, but don’t rely on that, I get terrible results and often lose those sketches.

Obviously, there’s plenty of professional software, like GraphicConverter, Acorn, Pixelmator, Sketch – no relation?, Photoshop, etc. I miss Fractal Design Painter, but dislike the way Corel Painter went.

I’m not opposed to leaving this to independent developers, just surprised by Apple not Sherlocking a major application category.