Guess What Bozo Doesn’t Understand Encryption

Trump says Apple needs to ‘help our great country’ and unlock iPhones used by criminals - 9to5Mac

In the tweet, Trump emphasized that the government is “helping Apple all of the time on trade and so many other issues.” Despite this, Apple refuses to break encryption for iPhones used “by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements,” Trump says.

He might as well be saying, “come on, I gave you something, now you can build in a back door to your software right? There isn’t a single example of those backfiring!” I’m shocked, shocked he doesn’t get it…or doesn’t actually care.

The Magic of Using HomePods in Stereo Mode

Stereo HomePods for Difficult Rooms and Social Listening - Jim Willis

The HomePods are strange in this way in that you can be sitting very close to one of the pair but still not sure if what you’re hearing is predominantly coming from the speaker closest to you or the one on the other side of the room.
Moreover, as you move further and further away from the HomePods, the volume of the music does not seem to fall off quite so rapidly. Meaning it’s easier to have a conversation in the room while music is playing and the music volume always seems just about right now matter where your are sitting.

Jim wrote this as a bit of a response to me and  Kirk McElhearn’s pieces on how HomePods compare to the Sonos One. He makes a compelling point about the HomePod that I didn’t mention in my comparison, and that’s on me for skipping it. The HomePod does a very good job of creating a “level” sound throughout the space in which they’re playing. The Sonos is pretty good here too, and it’s certainly better than your average Bluetooth speaker, but it’s not quite at HomePod’s level.

This is a classic Apple-style feature in that you just get used to it being great. I thought about it when the HomePod was new and I was getting use to having it in my life, but as time went on I kind of forgot that the even audio quality and volume around the room I was in was indeed a really cool feature.

Launched: A Podcast about Creators Launching Their Greatest Work

Launched: A Podcast about Creators Launching Their Greatest Work

Launched is a new show from my friend, and dare I say, iOS celebrity developer Charlie Chapman. Charlie created Dark Noise, the best white noise app out there last year, and now he’s doing a podcast where he talks to other people about what it was like to launch their projects into the world.

The first episode is out now and is an interview with Heidi Helen Pilypas, the co-creator of When Did I? and Capsicum.

Samsung is Shipping a Phone with COTS Out-of-the-Box

The new Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro is not the phone for me, but it does make a compelling case as a good phone for merchants who want a mobile POS. COTS (“commercial off-the-shelf”) is a thing we’ve been looking at in the payments industry for a while now, and the concept is pretty damn cool.

The short of it is that instead of using a hardware device to accept credit cards from your customers, you can use the NFC chip on your phone to act as the “tap-to-pay” point in your POS. This removes the need to plug anything into your phone or pair anything over Bluetooth, and for merchants who just want to get paid with as few complications as possible, this is super compelling.

The great thing about this phone is that it ships with support for COTS. The bad news is that, as far as I know, there are no major payment gateways that support this in their apps yet, so it’s not going to be super useful for many people today. But the good news is that because this is out there, it hopefully indicates that more phones will follow suit. As always, we’re mostly waiting on Apple to enable this on the iPhone to make it go truly mainstream. We shall see…

Turn Your Apple Card Statements Into CSVs

Turn Your Apple Card Statements Into CSVs

It’s still crazy to me that this doesn’t just work out of the box, but CSV.WTF finally gives you a way to convert the PDF from Apple Card to a CSV so you can do things with the data.

I should be up front that this does require you to give access to your statement to a random website on the internet, and despite the developer saying it all happens in browser, as well as a quick peek at the source code by me, there’s inherent risk in using a site like this with your private data. It seems okay, but Apple should really let you do this up front and not rely on this existing.

Low Hanging Fruit for iPadOS “Desktop Mode”

Low Hanging Fruit for iPadOS “Desktop Mode”

Andy Nicolaides has a good post about how he uses his iPad in “desktop mode.”

Whilst it’s relatively rare for me to do so, I do occasionally use my iPad Pro whilst connected to an external monitor.

The post has a good shortcut for making this experience a little better, but it really drives home how far the iPad needs to go in improving its desktop experience. Current opportunities I see are:

  1. If your iPad is plugged into a monitor and is inside a closed Smart Keyboard Case, the iPad’s screen should not be on. Come on!
  2. iPadOS should scale to your screen’s aspect ration when docked like this. Mirroring is one thing, but you should be able to choose this new behavior. iPadOS looks ridiculous when used like this. Theoretically apps would need to update to support arbitrary sizes, but auto-layout should handle most of this already.
  3. Better mouse support. The current accessibility option is okay, but is definitely a secondary form of interaction, not something they intend everyone to use.

That’s just off the top of my head, so I’m sure there is more, but if that’s all there is in iPadOS 14 I’d be a very happy camper.

Tech Blogs Have a Way With Words

Google testing Stadia gaming on non-Pixel Android phones - 9to5Google

Playing AAA titles on a phone is a rather futuristic experience that helps sell the promise of Stadia. So far, that’s been limited to Pixel devices, though the goal is to have the streaming service work on every screen. Fortunately, Google is already testing Stadia on non-Pixel Android phones.

“Already.”

Already?

Stadia was announced 10 months ago with the explicit pitch that you could play on the device you want, including your phone. The service launched in November, two months ago, and only worked on Pixel devices. It was such a limitation that the reviewer package came with a Pixel 3 in the box!

So when I see a story about Google testing their service with other phones a few months after launch, the word “already” doesn’t really come to mind. Maybe this will roll out to everyone in a couple days, but even then it seems a weird “already” moment.

J-Archive: An Unbelievable Resource for Jeopardy Fans

J-Archive: An Unbelievable Resource for Jeopardy Fans

So apparently a group of fans have worked together to compile every game of Jeopardy every played. It's called J-Archive and the UI is a little rough, but it basically lets you play along with any game ever played. My wife and I spent more time than I'd like to admit playing through some retro games already.

Don’t Worry About the Only Things That Actually Make a Difference, Apparently

Don’t Worry About the Only Things That Actually Make a Difference, Apparently

Trump announces rule changes to exempt big projects from environmental review - Axios

The proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) will make the process to review big-ticket fossil-fuel projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline easier and faster, while also excluding consideration of climate change.

This makes me think about something CGP Gray likes to talk about all the time: a lot of time is spent on making individual people feel bad about how they live their lives in terms of changing the world (reusable vs plastic bags, for example) but the real changes we need to make are at a much higher level. Having to worry about climate change in all projects except the ones that have the most impact seems like something out of a parody right wing blog, not the actual policy of the United States, but here we are.

The tragedy of the Trump presidency (as if there was only one) is that there is so much flashy stuff going on (you know the list) that things like this get swept under the rug and don’t make the splash they deserve.

Oh, and if you were like “well this is clearing out the red tape,” think again.

Richard Revesz, a professor of environmental and regulatory law at NYU School of Law, said the rule change could ultimately — and ironically — prolong reviews even more because critics will sue, tying up the projects in court.