July 25, 2022

Snippet: The Apple Store Time Machine ☍

Michael Steeber (via Stephen Hackett):

The Apple Store Time Machine is a celebration of the places and products that have shaped our lives for more than twenty years. This interactive experience recreates memorable moments in Apple history with painstaking detail and historical accuracy.

I’ve been in the process of moving and some of the various computers and Apple-related things I’ve unearthed have coincided with the various eras that go along with this app—it’s painstakingly done and a really great nostalgia trip. Until 2016 or so, the Keystone (Indianapolis) store was one of the original designs like Tysons Corner, so that one feels even more familiar to me.

July 11, 2022

Snippet: Destroying Unsold Products Isn’t a Scandal, It’s How Amazon Works ☍

Kevin Purdy for iFixit:

Amazon’s product shredding has been scrutinized before, but this time there are pictures. A former employee and surreptitious photos and video suggest 130,000 items per week are destroyed at one fulfillment center in Scotland. Half the items are still in their shrink wrap, the ex-employee tells ITV. Less than 30,000 other items in the same period were marked for donation.

It’s not an outlier. In France, a TV station found more than 3 million products destroyed in 2018. In Germany, one warehouse sends out a truckload every week for destruction. And those are just the stories that rose to the surface.

What’s driving companies to destroy their own inventory is seemingly Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), launched in 2006 and now a world-moving force. The program all but demands that companies let Amazon handle the storing, packing, shipping, and customer service for the products they sell on Amazon’s site. In exchange for paying a fee, and letting Amazon gather valuable metrics on what’s selling—sometimes resulting in Amazon making cheaper but almost identical products for its own sub-brands—the retail juggernaut ships and delivers your product with unbeatable speed. More importantly, your company ends up catching sales from the “Buy Box,” the iconic yellow/orange buttons on a product page. A customer could, if they wanted, click around on the tiny links to buy the same product from a different Amazon vendor, but almost nobody does.

Back 2008, Pixar’s WALL•E had us assuming the fictional Buy n Large was based on Walmart, but I think Amazon is a better comparison.

June 3, 2022

Snippet: Federico Viticci Rediscovers the Mac ☍

Federico Viticci:

Most of you probably know me as “the iPad guy”. And rightfully so: the iPad – more specifically, the iPad Pro – is my favorite computer Apple’s ever made; my coverage of iPad, iPad apps, and, later, iPadOS has far exceeded everything else on MacStories for the last 10 years. I’ve long considered myself primarily an iPad user and someone who strongly believes in the platform because there’s nothing else like it. I don’t think I need to tell that story again.

For these reasons, as you can imagine, when Apple got in touch with me last November asking if I wanted to try out one of the new MacBook Pros with the M1 Max chip, I welcomed their suggestion with a mix of surprise, trepidation, and, frankly, genuine curiosity. What could I, a longtime iPad user, even contribute to the discourse surrounding the comeback of the Mac lineup, the performance of Apple silicon, and the reality of modern Mac apps?

There was a stretch where an iPad was my primary computer, but I’m itching to pick up an Apple Silicon-based MacBook (hoping for a new Air at WWDC next week). I love my sixth-generation iPad mini, but being able to mix iOS and macOS applications in a lightweight device is way too enticing.

Snippet: Iconfactory Founder Corey B. Marion Passes Away at 54 ☍

The Iconfactory:

Our beloved Iconfactory founder, Corey B. Marion, lost his multi-year battle with cancer this past week, he was 54. It’s difficult to put his loss into words except to say that without Corey, there would quite literally be no Iconfactory. Corey, Ged and Talos met in 1994 and we soon began a journey together that spanned 28 years. From day one, Corey did exactly what he loved most – designing, pushing pixels and creating icons.

I received my copy of The iOS App Icon Book by Michael Flarup on the day the Iconfactory announced Marion’s passing and it hit just a little harder as there’s an Iconfactory section. His work and the company he created was definitely an integral part of my formative years with Apple products.

May 25, 2022

Snippet: On Tech Negativity ☍

Lee Peterson:

I realise as I look at my last few weeks on here that my posts and probably my Twitter use has moved to the more negative view of tech or complaining about stuff.

This has got me thinking about what I do and write about here. I’m trying to write about passions but I think tech has turned into something I’m not as passionate about as I used to be. Tastes change over time and I feel gaming and Star Wars remain more positive but I think I’m run down by the tech news cycle and general lack of innovation.

I’ve had moments like this and it really feels like the 2010-2014 run was truly the salad days of the smartphone and social media era. I don’t dislike Big Tech™, but I’m finding that I enjoy social media much less, especially with the business side of many services being much more heavy-handed and cutting into the creativity side of the user experience, not to mention creepiness or trying to hog every last ounce of attention. For Apple, the Mac is relatively mature and boring (in the best way possible) and iOS/iPadOS have matured to the point that they also are starting to feel more iterative. It’s not that I dislike them, but there’s arguably less to write about. Beyond that, there are just some topics that seem to be the focus of most technology coverage that I either have no interest in or actively dislike.

All of this is fine—just as tastes and interests change, so do the topics covered on a site like mine. I don’t go into each day thinking of what I’m going to complain about, as I’d much rather share things that are interesting or bring me joy. If we have a stretch where the tech news cycle feels a bit tiresome, I may cut back on posts.