In short, I enjoy and appreciate The Times. And after paying over $300 a year for nearly a decade, and having read the Times on a near-daily basis for my entire adult life, I feel I qualify as a good customer. And they repay me by deliberately annoying me several times a day, every day, when I attempt to read the product I’m paying them for. How could one not find this outrageously annoying?
The New York Times is opting out of Apple News
How Apples Go Bad
Perhaps owing to these gonzo genetics, apples are remarkably susceptible to disease and rot. Their tender skin and light flesh are a haven for small creatures. Their trees embrace myriad molds, viruses, and fungi: apple scab, black pox, southern blight, union necrosis. For farmers and hobby gardeners, the business of apple-growing is not so much aiding the fruits in their growth as scrambling to ward off their demise. Blight spreads quickly, and it’s not always apparent on the fruit’s surface. Even without the influence of invader or infection, an apple abets its own spoilage: its skin, minutely porous, exhales ethylene, a gaseous compound that induces ripening, and the fruit has no interest in stopping at the point where it serves our needs.
Aperture: Senior QA (2004-2005)
This project is tricky to write about as there was so much positive and negative emotion involved — a real roller coaster.
A good retrospective on a project that starts going sideways and then really jumps the rails.
Another developer font. With a fancy web site to explain the design.
All about the new ML Super Resolution feature in Pixelmator Pro
To create the ML Super Resolution feature, we used a convolutional neural network. This type of deep neural network reduces raster images and their complex inter-pixel dependencies into a form that is easier to process (i.e. requires less computation) without losing important features (edges, patterns, colors, textures, gradients, and so on). The ML Super Resolution network includes 29 convolutional layers which scan the image and create an over-100-channel-deep version of it that contains a range of identified features. This is then upscaled, post-processed and turned back into a raster image. Below is a simplified representation of the neural network.
Not quite all about it, and there’s better references for the technique, but neat to see this trickle down to entry level photo editing.
The New York City Subway Map as You’ve Never Seen It Before
The three ins of web design: interesting and infuriatingly interactive.
Here’s a fun, personal story about what can go wrong in an otherwise fine UI when things are redesigned.
Why didn’t she know there were options further down the share sheet? Because she’s using an iPhone 8, which happens to be just the right height to perfectly crop the share sheet.
Apple’s New Map, Expansion #5 Northeast U.S.
The usual before and after analysis.
Bad UI: MacOS 10.14’s Software Update Release Notes
The release notes for the 10.14.4 update are quite long, as you can see from the relative size of the scroll. That’s good — there’s a lot new in this update and the release notes should mention everything new or different. But the sheet containing the release notes can’t be resized. You see about 9 lines of text at a time, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Worse, the text can’t be selected, so you can’t even copy and paste it into TextEdit or some other app to read it comfortably. They even have URLs at the bottom of the note, pointing to support pages on apple.com which contain even more details about the update — but the URLs aren’t clickable. Can’t copy them, can’t click them — the only way to actually open these URLs is to retype them manually.
Flawed analysis, failed oversight: How Boeing, FAA certified the suspect 737 MAX flight control system
As Boeing hustled in 2015 to catch up to Airbus and certify its new 737 MAX, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) managers pushed the agency’s safety engineers to delegate safety assessments to Boeing itself, and to speedily approve the resulting analysis.
But the original safety analysis that Boeing delivered to the FAA for a new flight control system on the MAX — a report used to certify the plane as safe to fly — had several crucial flaws.
That flight control system, called MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System), is now under scrutiny after two crashes of the jet in less than five months resulted in Wednesday’s FAA order to ground the plane.
CES 2019: A Show Report
On display this year was connectivity and integration for consumers based on about 10 years of incremental and sometimes hardly noticed baby steps. There are three big developments that are enabling the vast majority of scenarios on display at CES 2019:
Any screen/speaker can play any streaming media.
Any device can be turned on/off/controlled by voice.
Any device can have a radio and connect to any other device with a radio.
Fun times ahead.
Lots of pictures.
The iOS Menu
So I set out to make the best menus I could make for iOS. For simple apps, menus aren’t necessary, and that’s great. But Codea isn’t a simple app and there’s nothing I can do about that.
Why have humans never found aliens?
Dr Tarter reckoned that decades of searching had amounted to the equivalent of dipping a drinking glass into Earth’s oceans at random to see if it contained a fish. Dr Wright and his colleagues built on Dr Tarter’s work to come up with a model that tries to estimate the amount of searching that alien-hunters have managed so far. They considered nine variables, including how distant any putative aliens are likely to be, the sensitivity of telescopes, how big a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum they are able to scan and the time spent doing so. Once the numbers had been crunched, the researchers reckoned humanity has done slightly better than Dr Tarter suggested. Rather than dipping a drinking glass into the ocean, they say, astronomers have dunked a bathtub.
Why Is the Split Keyboard Not Available on iPad Pros?
The bottom line is that because I want to thumb-type, I type better on-screen with my iPhone than I do my iPad, and I can type better on an old iPad than my new one that cost $1,000. This is just baffling to me — so much so that until I found Apple’s support document confirming that the split keyboard is not available on 11-inch or bigger iPad Pros that I thought maybe the problem was me not knowing how to turn it on.
Conservation of entropy requires that new products not be strictly better than old ones.
What the Hell Happened to Darius Miles?
This is kind of rambling, but interesting, and I liked this line.
You already heard that story a million times, with a million players. The cliche is that guys go broke buying Ferraris or whatever. Listen, it takes a long time to go broke buying Ferraris.
The end is nigh.
iPhone XS / iPhone X Comparison
Same shots, different iPhones.
Somewhat annoying that flickr rearranges things with some dynamic layout nonsense.
How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million
Before we knew it, the wellness point of view had invaded everything in our lives: Summer-solstice sales are wellness. Yoga in the park is wellness. Yoga at work is wellness. Yoga in Times Square is peak wellness. When people give you namaste hands and bow as a way of saying thank you. The organic produce section of Whole Foods. Whole Foods. Hemp. Oprah. CBD. “Body work.” Reiki. So is: SoulCycle, açaí, antioxidants, the phrase “mind-body,” meditation, the mindfulness jar my son brought home from school, kombucha, chai, juice bars, oat milk, almond milk, all the milks from substances that can’t technically be milked, clean anything. “Living your best life.” “Living your truth.” Crystals.
The newsletter was at first kind of mainstream New Age-forward. It had some kooky stuff in it, but nothing totally outrageous. It was concerned with basic wellness causes, like detoxes and cleanses and meditation. It wasn’t until 2014 that it began to resemble the thing it is now, a wellspring of both totally legitimate wellness tips and completely bonkers magical thinking: advice from psychotherapists and advice from doctors about how much Vitamin D to take (answer: a lot! Too much!) and vitamins for sale and body brushing and dieting and the afterlife and crystals and I swear to God something called Psychic Vampire Repellent, which is a “sprayable elixir” that uses “gem healing” to something something “bad vibes.”
A woman called an akashic-records healer who reads your past, present and possible future lives sat me down and asked about my foot pain. I asked her how she knew I had foot pain. I wasn’t limping. She said, “You have flat feet.” I nodded, incredulous. “I do,” I said. “I have flat feet.” She told me that 13 lives ago, my feet were chopped off as punishment for a crime. As a result, since then, whenever I reincarnate (which is every 100 to 500 years because I like to rest between incarnations), my feet are flat because I like the surety of them entirely touching the ground.
This goes for longer than I expected, but it’s fascinating throughout. I learned so much, though none of it is anything I need or even want to know.
Also, a post about how such articles are written: https://tinyletter.com/annehelenpetersen/letters/that-unsolvable-lack-1
You’ve Seen This Letter Everywhere, But Can You Write It?
But researchers from Johns Hopkins University discovered that many people don’t know what the most common lowercase print version of the seventh letter of the alphabet really is. Heck, some didn’t even know there were two types.