Hi! My name is Cédric Bozzi, I make websites and iOS apps, and this is my blog about technology (mostly a Twitter archive, really).

1 October 2014

“It looks better IRL” is becoming such a common refrain with Apple’s smaller devices, maybe it’s time to forsake the white-box aesthetic for product shots?

I had never understood the appeal of mind maps, but I think it just clicked and I’m gonna have to buy iThoughts on all platforms.

Actionable notifications in iOS 8 lose a lot of their appeal if third-party apps can’t do a proper “Reply” action. I’m disappointed.

2 October

J’ai rêvé que j’utilisais la synthèse de vocale de Siri pour répondre au téléphone la bouche pleine. Why is that not a thing? #mesnuitssont…

Just added a screenshot to my app. One time five sizes times five (only!) languages. Now I need a drink. #iphonesimulator #itunesconnect

4 October

I hadn’t realized that in-app purchases were excluded from family sharing (via Breakpoint). An odd choice which is going to push even more developers towards the annoying freemium model, and make family sharing pretty much irrelevant to apps. (Note that freemium apps wouldn’t annoy me so much if they didn’t impose on the developer to check the validity of purchase receipts. For paid apps, it’s a viable choice to ignore piracy altogether and assume that the app running on a device is proof enough that it was purchased; for in-app purchases, it’s far too easy for a user to modify the app’s data files, without even jailbreaking.)

Oh. I had two dozen Kindle samples on my iPad before upgrading to iOS 8. Now they’re all gone, and Amazon doesn’t keep a list 👍

5 October

Found out that Uniconsole’s keyboard extension is crashing some apps, so it’s further delayed. Probably have to rewrite the UI in code. Ugh. (At least it seems to be a 100% reproducible bug, so that’s helpful.)

7 October

8 October

“It’s been way too long” can’t be about the Mac mini — Apple has never cared much about it. My guess is, iPod touch is not dead after all.

And if a 5.5-inch iPod touch comes out, I’m afraid I might “have” to buy it “as a developer.” For reading books and playing minesweeper.

So here I am on the Apple Store page, checking out current iPod touch prices to evaluate how much I need to have in my account next week. All because of every podcasting developer saying “oh yeah, the 6 Plus is a totally different device, you need to own both” for a month.

9 October

Does the rest of the audience actually enjoy the fact that ATP is 99% followup? It was funny once, but I can’t stand it anymore.

10 October

I don’t like how the height of Swarm’s Today widget changes back and forth as it refreshes its data, and I hate that iOS 8 insists on wasting a third of the screen to display the date, whatever you do.

@hmason:

TIL that the phrase software “patch” is from a physical patch applied to Mark 1 paper tape to modify the program. [pic.twitter.com]

I will never understand how it became standard for online support systems to invite end users to “open a ticket.” Almost any phrasing you could think of would be less hostile — less nonsensical — to regular customers. What kind of support do you hope to provide if you’re gonna start talking to them like they’re engineers with the very first word you print on your page?

@jcieplinski:

We can make fun of the multiple Yosemite GMs, but how much better off would we have been if we had had a few more iOS 8 GMs?

Why does the Kindle app reflow the text every time you switch back to it? It’s obnoxious when you’re alternating between a book and a Twitter conversation.

12 October

Shit, it’s about time I found out that you can right-click the Retweet icon in Tweetbot for Mac to choose which of your accounts will do the retweet. (And same thing on iOS with a tap-hold. Even the iPad version has it, that’s how long it’s been possible. I’d been searching for such an option in the menus so many times!)

Fell into the cyclical GTD rabbit hole. Damn, 2Do is pretty nice — but not quite polished enough for 50 € total (iOS + OS X).

Ah, of course the 2Do app for iOS has such an over-engineered UI (because who doesn’t nowadays) that it lags a little on my iPad Air.

13 October

Why can’t I find more complaints online about the noise reduction algorithm in iOS 8’s camera app? Am I only imagining that it’s terrible?

Wow, I didn’t realize how much stuff Siri can read from the lock screen if it isn’t disabled—notes, inbox contents, surely more. So secure.

I can’t believe how much Spotlight in iOS 8 deliberately gets in the way of launching apps.

14 October

La magie de tout enterrer dans un nouveau gestionnaire de todo-lists, c’est aussi d’avoir une inbox presque vide dans Mail.

15 October

@raphaelschaad:

Steve Jobs Introduces the Apple Store (2001). This is such a weird video. [youtu.be]

I liked the rumored “Licorice” better but I did wonder how that would translate to a cute mascot statue on the Google campus.

“Ultra Power Saving Mode”

There’s “ultra power saving mode,” which turns the [Samsung Galaxy] Note 4 grayscale and turns off everything but texting, phone calls, and manually refreshed email. It turns your ultra-modern phone into a pretty cool Treo circa 2006, but it turns 10 percent battery into hours and hours of life.

That’s both hilarious and absolutely awesome. I couldn’t find a good explanation online of why turning the display to grayscale makes it use less power, but it looks like that’s probably an AMOLED specificity which wouldn’t apply to iPhone anyway.

16 October

Ce moment où tu finis de refaire tout le back-office de ton client en Ajax et tu te dis que ça aurait été tellement plus simple en iframes.

Will.i.am’s smartwatch is basically traced from the most popular Apple Watch concept renderings you could find on the web before September. Which, all things considered, is not a bad choice — nor an ugly device. It’s still dead in the water, though. Comically so.

The Dyson fan of umbrellas

I love that the voice-over guy didn’t bother to fix the googletranslatisms.

The screen’s damn tempting but it’s mind-boggling that they didn’t seize the opportunity to retire the aging aluminum iMac design.

Well, I don’t know. I’d been thinking of buying an iPad mini, but getting the previous generation’s CPU at that price is disheartening.

And I don’t want to get the cheaper version with… no Touch ID… wait, the ONLY difference for $100 is Touch ID? The fuck?!

@elkmovie:

Then again, this could be a clever way to move the Mini downmarket without admitting it. (“no, that’s last year’s model”)

@shawnblanc:

Normally I’m not a fan of scroll hijacking, but this is clever:

[apple.com]

@harrymccracken:

The most tangibly exciting things in this Apple event were the two brief 3rd-party iPad demos. Apple should do a whole event of ‘em someday.

17 October

So convenient. Every time you google “Is such and such software compatible with Yosemite?” all you get is “We don’t support beta OSes.”

I’ll surely be raging later at the disappearance of some function or other, but I’m not hating iTunes 12’s UI. Might be Stockholm syndrome.

Instagram updated for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Phil Schiller might wanna call them to point out he’s officially endorsed the iPad as camera.

@billlabus:

So sad that iOS 7 has destroyed UI design expectations from Apple to the point that Yosemite looks good to most people by comparison.

18 October

@DanielEran:

Can’t wait for Apple Beta season to end. Maybe 10.10.3 and 8.1.4. And then I can buy an Apple Watch and start over with Photos 1.0.

UX is a funny thing. I could have spent the whole summer in a park with my iPad, but until Instant Hotspot I just couldn’t be bothered.

Plus je file de fric à Apple, moins chaque achat me rend heureux. Pas par désensibilisation mais par culpabilisation.

19 October

@maxime:

Fun fact: Apple fixed the “Utah” typo from their Keynote in the official recording. [youtube.com]

@stroughtonsmith:

Interesting psychology: Pebble lasts a whole week, but I feel more annoyed charging it than I do something I charge every night.

20 October

Damnit, how is it that Yosemite’s dark titlebar isn’t black but gray—even if you disable transparency? That was the whole point, Apple!

Désactiver les images dans Chrome pour en faire son browser dédié à Wikipédia.

Oh FFS. After a major OS upgrade, I’ll tolerate it, but the 8.1 install re-enabling iMessage and FaceTime against my will is unacceptable.

21 October

So I bought an iPad mini 2

After the iPhone 6 Plus’s introduction, I caught myself wishing I’d soon be able to buy an iPod touch of the same size, which was completely idiotic and led me to realize that the device I really wanted already existed, and was called iPad mini. As it turned out, the 5.5-inch iPod touch hasn’t happened yet, but Apple did launch a new iPad mini and, more importantly, discounted the older one to almost iPod touch prices, so… here I am, happy owner of an iPad mini 2.

For some reason I had spent the past two years thinking that the “proper” iPad was the 10-inch model, everyone using the smaller tablet was fooling themselves, and they were missing an essential part of the experience. Well, I guess I was the fool. The Mini is (slightly) more comfortable to hold, (slightly) easier to carry, and does everything just as well as an iPad Air. Even drawing and landscape typing are pretty comparable. The only real difference is for reading full-page comics and scanned magazines, completely unthinkable on the Mini — but it wasn’t a great experience on the 10-inch screen either, so that’s not much of a selling point for the bigger iPad.

That means my iPad Air is now for sale, and I suddenly understand much better why the Mini didn’t get a CPU or design upgrade last week: offering an iPad mini with the same components as the Air, and just as functional as the Air, but selling for $100 less even though there was no way it cost $100 less to produce, was obviously unsustainable. Just look at Apple’s results for last quarter: the problem isn’t so much the stagnating unit sales (the iPad was never going to enjoy the same numbers as the iPhone, for a number of reasons) but the average selling price in free-fall ever since the iPad mini’s introduction. That’s a curve that Apple needs to correct.

Maybe a better strategy would have been to discontinue the 10-inch iPad altogether two years ago, replacing it with the Mini at or around the same price (because “this is what the iPad was always supposed to be”), while introducing a 12-inch iPad Pro at an inflated price point. That’s now off the table, and Apple is taking the opposite approach, aiming the now cheaper iPad mini squarely at the iPod touch’s customer base. There’s still no good reason to buy the newest iPad Air instead of either of the Retina Minis (end users don’t, and shouldn’t, care about the more powerful processor), so I guess the average iPad selling price is going to fall further — but maybe this time they’ll make it up in volume.

And there’s still the option of launching an iPad Pro next year. (And me buying it.) But, if that ends up happening, the lower end of the range didn’t need to see its prices fall so low.

Anyway, I don’t know why this post ended up sounding like one of those asshole analysts’ lectures. The original point was, the iPad mini is great. It feels more like a giant iPhone than a netbook running iOS, while doing everything an iPad can be asked to do, and I wish I’d bought it last year.

Just realized that I have two Photoshop CC installs in my Applications folder, and I’ve been using the older one for months. Oh, Adobe.

Should I be surprised that Yosemite’s Finder still gleefully ignores the “Always open this folder in icon/list view” setting?

“Save for Web,” beach-ball, “OK,” beach-ball. Yeah, I guess I’ll go back to the older Photoshop CC then. Oh, Adobe.

22 October

Est-ce que c’est parce que j’ai fait la connerie d’acheter une imprimante Samsung qu’il faut la rebooter entre chaque document ?

The iPad would be a better paperless solution if Apple emphasized (both in demos and in its own software) document scanning with the camera.

23 October

Having finally switched to a dedicated task manager this month, I can now attest, with all the newfound certainty of a reformed addict, that mixing tasks and incoming messages in your inbox may just be the worst possible thing you can do to your productivity. I understand the appeal — for years I was exploring solutions to manually add tasks to my inbox — but it is in fact the surest way to end up swamped under the combined weights of your task list and your incoming messages.

It’s 2014 and I still can’t say to Siri, “Play me some upbeat songs.”

24 October

The Pocket app sends the current page’s URL to Yosemite with Handoff. Today I like the future.

Photoshop is the opposite of iOS. If you think something should be possible, generally it is but you’ll never find how by yourself.

That’s funny: Photoshop CC 2014’s “Save for Web” dialog only beach-balls on PNG-24; all others formats work fine. Heh. “Funny.”

25 October

“We’re so upset about Twitter preventing us from trademarking Twitpic that we’re giving them the site.” WHAT. (Maybe he’s realized — or people have pointed out to him — that taking his ball and going home like a whiny brat was not a good look for the launch of his new startup?)

26 October

Well, shit, all day long my podcast client was empty and I didn’t do any work, and now I suddenly have eight fucking unplayed episodes.

The Third Coming of Objective-C?

I’ve already written about how much I dislike Swift, and how much more I resent it for signaling the death of Objective-C: just like everyone could read the writing on the wall regarding Carbon and knew they had to port their apps to Cocoa as soon as possible, the Swift announcement seemed to make it obvious that Objective-C is now an evolutionary dead end that I will have to abandon sooner than later, despite my strong preference for nil messaging.

But John Siracusa’s digression on Swift in his Yosemite review suddenly gave me what could either be new hope or utter delusion:

The Swift compiler introduces another step and another intermediate form into the compilation process: Swift Intermediate Language (SIL). Here’s the process for compiling Swift code for an x86-64 CPU using swiftc. […]

It’s worth considering why SIL exists at all. […] Despite the obvious benefits of SIL in its current role, a syntax-independent, high-level intermediate form with its own optimizer definitely seems like a technology with some potential. It’s possible that the larger purpose of SIL has not yet been revealed.

How far-fetched is it to imagine that, a few years down the line, Objective-C code could be compiled into SIL? I’m sure Apple will want to get rid of the Obj-C runtime in a few years (or at least stop loading it in memory by default — which would make Obj-C apps second-class citizens that start up and run slower on future devices), but what if that legacy code was able to run on top of the Swift runtime?

Of course, there are integral, structural differences between Objective-C and Swift, which would make such a translation extremely complicated and costly in resources, but… wait, are there?

Despite its rich feature set, the Swift language itself is actually quite minimal. All the basic data types are not part of the language proper. They’re part of the Swift standard library that is loaded automatically by the compiler—and the Swift standard library is written in Swift [and named Swift].

Could Objective-C code be translated into SIL and linked to an “ObjectiveC” library? Could existing Objective-C binaries be translated into SIL, even, so that legacy apps from the Store would still be able to run on top of Swift?

I don’t know nearly enough about languages and compilers to have an idea of how complicated what I’m suggesting might be. But I understand that the engineers in charge of Apple’s compilers and development tools are a pretty smart bunch, so who better to do something like this?

Got an odd fav from a stranger. Checked his stream and found a link to an app that auto-favs tweets to “grow your social following.” Gross.

But if you’re gonna use a tool that auto-favs people to get you noticed, maybe don’t let the link linger above the fold on your profile?

27 October

J’ai remis iMessage, sur l’iPhone et sur le Mac, et activé le SMS forwarding. Je le regretterai mais whatever, tout le monde le fait.

28 October

@BenedictEvans:

Tim Cook: iPod Classic was discontinued because they couldn’t get the parts. And not worth designing a whole new one.

Alienware’s GPU-in-a-box

If Dell can do this on PC, Apple can certainly make a proprietary external 5K monitor+GPU.

29 October

@jamesthomson:

Apple has told me that Notification Center widgets on iOS cannot perform any calculations, and the current PCalc widget must be removed.

@youens:

It feels like Apple disregards the investment of building features and apps. It’s an insult to indie developers.

30 October

Apple No Longer Rejecting Calculator Widgets From The App Store.” Of course it’s a good thing that the rejection was reversed, but the speed and unpredictability of Apple’s mood swings — and without any justification either way — is even more disheartening than if they’d stuck to their decision.

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