January 10, 2018

Link: Thoughts on Kids and Apple Devices ☍

Yesterday, John Gruber shared an story about an open letter from two of the biggest investors on Wall Street asking Apple to study the health effects of its products and to make it easier for parents to limit their children’s use of iPhones and iPads:

This open letter is getting a lot of attention, but to me, the way to limit your kids’ access to devices is simply, well, to limit their access to devices. I’m sure iOS’s parental controls could be improved (and in a statement, Apple claims they have plans to do so), but more granular parental controls in iOS are no substitute for being a good, involved parent.

Naturally, Gruber received a lot of negative responses to this comment, but I can’t say I disagree with him. The whole discussion made me think back to my childhood and all the tempting electronic gadgets that were around the house and how even when I was home alone, I understood the expectations (for context, I didn’t have a super-strict upbringing and did get into my share of trouble). Unsurprisingly, I was quite proficient with and interested in computers from a young age, but still wasn’t rushing to play games the second I got home from school. We also didn’t have to lock down everything where I’d need something like a gas-station-bathroom-key to get on the computer.

A number of commenters seemed to overlook the fact that Gruber is agreeing that Apple could improve parental controls. Personally, I think any improvements in that area are welcome, especially for blocking inappropriate content. However, there have been too many instances where iOS devices (and Android devices, too) are handed to a kid as some sort of babysitter and only after this becomes a problem, parents start demanding a way to undo bad behaviors. A few years back, I recall a family going out to eat at a restaurant and the two kids were deeply engrossed with their iPads—in my childhood, I recall that dining out was sort of treated as a special event, and in the 10-15 minutes of time before the food was brought out, we interacted as a family. In that example, the iPads probably shouldn’t have left the car or even the house.

I wonder if the bigger question is the role social media plays when coupled with these devices, but Apple is the bigger target for this discussion to gain momentum. A few more parental controls or finding that yes, Apple devices are addictive to only kids and not everyone isn’t going to fix the issue. It’s up to each family to set expectations and develop good habits, assisted with software on the devices, Wi-Fi router, or cellular provider.

By the way, I hate that the the open letter starts with a pop-up forcing you to agree to the terms before viewing it.

January 5, 2018

Link: Panic to Suspend Sale of Transmit for iOS ☍

Cabel Sasser:

Transmit iOS made about $35k in revenue in the last year, representing a minuscule fraction of our overall 2017 app revenue. That’s not enough to cover even a half-time developer working on the app. And the app needs full-time work — we’d love to be adding all of the new protocols we added in Transmit 5, as well as some dream features, but the low revenue would render that effort a guaranteed money-loser. Also, paid upgrades are still a matter of great debate and discomfort in the iOS universe, so the normally logical idea of a paid “Transmit 2 for iOS” would be unlikely to help. Finally, the new Files app in iOS 10 overlaps a lot of file-management functionality Transmit provides, and feels like a more natural place for that functionality. It all leads to one hecka murky situation.

Was the use case for this app too edge-casey or advanced? Did we overestimate the amount of file management people want to do on a portable device? Should we have focused more on document viewing capabilities? Maybe all of the above?

My optimistic take: we hope that as iOS matures, and more and more pro users begin to seriously consider the iPad as a legitimate part of their daily work routines, Transmit iOS can one day return and triumph like it does on the Mac.

I always worry about outstanding tools for iOS being discontinued due to low sales since there’s always the race-to-the-bottom, and this news, while the best for Panic, still stings. An FTP client should be semi-sustainable, but most of the features were already in Coda for iOS, a tool I use every day on this site and for other tasks.

Link: The Cowardice of Twitter ☍

Twitter:

There’s been a lot of discussion about political figures and world leaders on Twitter, and we want to share our stance.

Political figure. Singular.

Twitter is here to serve and help advance the global, public conversation. Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society.

Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets, would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.

Or that Twitter sees controversial tweets and blatant violations of its terms of service from a world leader’s personal account as completely fine because they keep Twitter relevant. Serving and helping to advance the global, political conversation goes out the window when another country misinterprets a tweet from the toilet as a declaration of war.

Regardless of your political views, I find the whole idea of any world leader on Twitter—and not their handlers or staffers—a bit uncomfortable. Rants and things that are rough drafts should not be out there when the entire world is watching.

But focusing on Twitter, I think the issue is that with all the controversy, their service is staying relevant. Not a day goes by that CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, print media, local media, and others give Twitter free advertising.

January 3, 2018

Link: Matt Gemmell’s 2018 Resolutions ☍

Matt Gemmell:

On this first day of 2018, I’d like to talk about my resolutions for the coming year and beyond. Whenever I’ve followed this custom previously, I’ve been brief, and listed only my goals. Today, I’m breaking with tradition: I want to talk about my intended actions instead, and the reasons behind them — the main one being that 2017 was a pretty bad year for me.

Perhaps you had a fantastic 2017, maybe it was terrible. Either way, Gemmell breaks down some of the things that felt especially unproductive and toxic for him last year and offers some advice to try to make 2018 better. Personally, I’ve had plenty of stretches over the last year where I could identify with Gemmell’s frustrations and concerns and I think this post will be one that I revisit a few times before it drops out of my Safari Reading List.

December 20, 2017

Link: Apple Clarifies Throttling Concerns on Devices with Aged Batteries ☍

Matthew Panzarino:

Here’s a statement that Apple provided when I inquired about the power profile that people were seeing when testing iPhones with older batteries:

“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.

Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.”

The whole piece is pretty good and explains the choices Apple had to make when devices with older batteries were running into issues under heavy load. Inevitably, there will be people who think this is a conspiracy that Apple is trying to make them buy new phones, and what that argument fails to realize is that they may not buy new iPhones, but rather offerings from Samsung, LG, HTC, Google, or others.

Apple should’ve communicated this better, even with a “your battery is still functional, but not optimal. Here’s what that means” with a link. Either way, as others relating the story have pointed out, official replacement batteries are $79 from Apple (free with AppleCare) and have a warranty. If there was some kill-old-iPhones plot from Apple I doubt they’d let you get a new battery so easily.