Mario Kart in 4K is Glorious

Mario Kart in 4K is Glorious

So don't ask too many questions about how I got these screenshots 😉 but I was curious how Switch games would look like on this theoretical "Switch Pro" that has been rumored for a year or so now. One of the things I'd love to have on a "pro" Switch is the ability to run games at 4K (the current Switch tops out at 1080p).

As it happens, I had the ability to get some side-by-side comparisons of Mario Kart 8 running at 720p (Wii U resolution) and 4K. Setting aside the fact the Switch version runs at 1080p and has some visual imrpovements of its own, I wanted to see what the difference would be if we took the Wii U game and just increaded the resolution. As you can see (as long as you don't look at this on your phone) is that the difference is massive, and I really hope that we get the opportunity to run these games at 4K for real in the not-too-distant future. Nintendo's games scale up really well to high resolutions, so hopefully we get the chance to do just that.

Apparently I Handle Apple Watch Notifications Like Hey Handles Email

One Thing About The Apple Watch

From the first time I put on my Apple Watch I don’t think my phone has been switched off silent. The Apple Watch allows me to be notified about what I want to show up, but with a subtle tap on the wrist. No buzzing, no dings and much less stress. I can often action it right then and there, without even needing to pick up my phone — I am actually getting comfortable answering the odd phone call from the Apple Watch too.

I know some people who have stopped wearing their Apple Watch because they feel more relaxed when they take it off. If that’s you, I certainly can’t say you’re wrong.

But like Greg I find it much easier to manage my notifications, and specifically know when the important things come in, when I’m wearing the watch.

Not to make everything about Hey, but one of the things this made me realize is that I treat my iPhone notifications basically like emails in Hey. There’s the Imbox, which are the things I want to know about right away, and those are all set up to be delivered to my Watch. Then there is everything else, the stuff I want to get but I don’t need to know about in real time, and those go to my iPhone on silent; or in Hey terms, The Feed. I check in on them when I want, and they can be interesting, but if I miss them, then it’s not the end of the world.

5 Years to Get a “Finally”

Daring Fireball: A Moment of Clarity Regarding the Raison d’Etre for the App Store

But more than anything I worry that this exemplifies where Apple has lost its way with the App Store. What exactly is the point of running a strict approval process for apps if not, first and foremost, to ensure that they’re good apps? An iPad email app that doesn’t support split-screen multitasking for five years is, by definition, not a good app.

Listen, I’m not going to suggest Apple should have blocked Gmail from the App Store if they didn’t implement split screen. I do think this is a great example of why the “Apple demands great user experiences” argument from last month about the details of Hey’s onboarding didn’t really land with me. Yeah, Hey didn’t implement IAP the way Apple wanted, but Google hasn’t supported a core iPad feature that’s been around for 5 years (YouTube’s lack of PiP says hello too).

How Gruber Shot The Talk Show at WWDC

Daring Fireball: How We Shot The Talk Show Remote From WWDC 2020

For video, we shot 4K 30 FPS using iPhone 11 Pros. That’s right, iPhones. Apple seems to have plenty of them so Federighi and Joz each had two — one positioned head-on, and one to the side for a wider-angle view. I just used one.

The video in this interview was great, and I’m not surprised to hear they shot it all on iPhones. While I love having a “real camera” for still photography, there’s no question my iPhone 11 Pro takes better video than any video camera remotely in my price range. You can get better video, sure, but you have to spend an insane amount of money to get it.

Hey, Control, and the Importance of a Good UI

One of the things I see a lot in comments about my videos/articles ab out Hey is something like “can’t you do this by blocking people in Gmail?” or “can’t you just control who gets in with Sanebox?”

I think that depending on what you like about Hey, then maybe you could do this in one of those services, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’ve allowed probably 95% of people sending me emails in through Hey’s “screener” feature. I’m not using Hey to block things from getting to me at all. It is nice to be able to know when someone is messaging me for the first time and decide right up front if I want to let them in, but most of the time I let them in, so what’s the value?

The value all comes down to the user interface for how Hey handles those emails once I let them into my system.

Most emails I get are mildly important, so they get put into The Feed, which is displayed outside of the inbox and abbreviates emails so they look more like a Twitter timeline than a list of emails I need to cycle through. I used to check the feed many times per day, but now I check it maybe once per day, and often a couple days will go by before I scroll through and see what’s there. It’s really nice.

Because most things get put into the feed, that means only emails I am excited to get are in the inbox. I sometimes get s single email in there over the course of a day, and that’s something completely foreign tome previously, but it’s a great feeling.

The other things that really stick out to me are the “set aside” and “reply later” queues I can dump emails into. The “set aside” queue is for emails I want to read, but don’t have the time to do so now. I often put newsletters or business emails I need to read, but don’t really need to act on. “Reply later” is for, I’m sure you already guessed it, emails that I need to reply to, but don’t want to do so now. Having separate queues for different actions I need to take is really helpful for me, and it’s much better than just leaving things in my inbox where they tend to sit for too long. And again, this is all about UI, so the way Hey does this works really well for me in ways that a label in Gmail just wasn’t as slick.

Anyway, I know you’re probably over articles about Hey at this point, but I wanted to clarify the use of the service. The marketing around Hey involved statements like “would you pay to get less email?” and while that is true, I don’t think the draw of the service is only in how easy it makes it to block people from sending you emails: it’s about building a UI that lets you have control over the emails you do let in.

Obvious is Better Than Slick

How we achieve "simple design" for Basecamp and HEY - Signal v. Noise

Always choosing clarity over being slick or fancy. Internally we call this “Fisher Price” design. We aim to make the UI totally obvious and self explanatory, by keeping individual screens simple, showing only one focused thing at a time, and so on. Good product design eliminates the need for an instruction manual!

This is good advice. An obvious UI that looks okay is better than something super slick that it’s hard to use or figure out in the first place. Seems obvious, but it’s easy to get dragged into making something look great before you make it work well.

This isn’t me suggesting I’m holier than thou, it’s more me reminding myself in public.

Explain the Concern

Is WebKit Sabotaging the Future of the Open Web?

Why can’t the WebKit developer energy be spent on building these great new APIs and connect them with user empowering privacy tools. A great example of what I mean is website location tracking. If a website wants access you your location (for say driving directions) you can grant it access. I don’t understand why a similar approach could not be applied for things like Web Bluetooth access or Proximity sensor access.

I think the miss here is a communication one, primarily. I sympathize with Mike's point about being baffled by some things on the list of "privacy unfriendly" browser features shall not be implemented, all while things like your exact location are allowed and hidden behind an access warning. I don't think there is a clear answer as to what makes a feature "secure" or not from their perspective, and that's the miss. If there was something we could point to and see why the battery status API is worse than location access, then it would feel like a decision made on more solid ground.

Maybe Now's Not the Time for a Culture War

Maybe This Isn’t Such a Good Time to Prosecute a Culture War:

[A]s he sees it, the path to re-election lies with the instincts that brought him to power in the first place. With enough racist demagogy, Trump seems to think, he’ll close the gap with Biden and eke out another win in the Electoral College. But it is one thing to run a backlash campaign, as Trump did four years ago, in a growing economy in which most people aren’t acutely worried about their lives and futures. In that environment, where material needs are mostly met, voters can afford to either look past racial animus or embrace it as a kind of luxury political good. When conditions are on the decline, however, they want actual solutions, and the politics of resentment are, by themselves, a much harder sell.

As I feel like I've been saying for 4 years now, Donald Trump has been surfing the wave of momentum built by his predecessor (much like his professional career, which is worth noting again that he has never ended as President).

Messages on Each Device in Your Life

Gruber serving up a little of his own claim chowder:

So I thought iMessages addressed to a phone number should only go to your iPhone (and not your iPad or Mac, let alone your Apple Watch (which was years away from being released) or glasses (which remain years away now)), and Phillips thought iMessages should go to every device, but should only use phone numbers as identifiers. I’ll score this as me being very wrong, and Phillips being a little wrong.

2012 was a long time ago, and I think this is a good example of how the world has shifted in the past decade. This distinction between your phone and computer is not something that makes much sense in 2020, but I totally get how that was a thing back then.

Today, the expectation across basically everything we use is that I can do something on one device and pick it up later on another device, and it doesn't matter if I use a phone, a tablet, a desktop PC, or even my watch, the experience should continue across all of them. The idea of my messages app having some messages on my phone and other ones on my iPad or Mac is crazy to me, but agian, this wasn't as crazy an idea a decade ago.

EARN IT Act Still Ain't Good

The Earn It Act Threatens Our Online Freedoms. New Amendments Don’t Fix It.

The July 2 manager’s and Leahy amendments attempt to respond to some of the concerns that I and others have raised about EARN IT. But they perpetuate the basic underlying problem: if passed, even in this amended form, the bill would still pose a serious threat to our freedoms online, especially freedom of speech. That threat is inherent to this legislation; no amount of amendments can fix it. And here’s the kicker: it still won’t guarantee children’s safety online.

I'm not a legal expert, but this write up does a good job explaining the proposals in this act and why the new changes don't actually fix it (if it even could be fixed and is not fundamentally flawed).