August 28, 2022

Snippet: Apple Removes Network Locations From macOS Ventura ☍

Jason Snell (via Stephen Hackett):

Network Locations is a feature of macOS that, ever since version 10.0, has allowed users to switch between different sets of network configuration preferences in different environments and situations. It’s not visible in the redesigned System Preferences app of macOS Ventura—and Tyler Loch discovered that the disappearance is not an accident. Loch’s Feedback submission to Apple has been marked as “works as currently designed.”

Length of service in macOS is not reason enough to keep any feature around, but I’ve heard from several people who say they still use this feature and are upset that it’s seemingly been terminated. It’s useful in business situations where different networks have different properties. One colleague of mine says he uses the feature to debug network problems without messing up existing settings and to connect to specific devices when visiting a relative’s house.

This feature was handy for the few times you had to set specific network settings for a location and could toggle between the profiles. Additionally, in my years of troubleshooting Macs, one extreme way to fix broken connectivity would be to create a new Network Location profile and delete the default. This tended to work even when all the settings looked correct otherwise—there’s probably a way to delete the equivalent .plist file, but still, this is way easier.

Snippet: Renewing iPad mini Vows ☍

M.G. Siegler:

I’ve long loved the iPad mini. I’ve written love letters to the iPad mini. I was really upset when it seemed like Apple was quietly sunsetting it. But in the US, I have my tech habits which largely include taking the larger (11”) iPad (Pro) everywhere, alongside the iPhone, of course. I’ll take a MacBook depending on the situation. But the iPad mini is almost always the odd man out. It’s more a home device.

It’s a great little summary of how the iPad mini can be the perfect in-between device and after owning one for a few months, I tend to agree. It’s not small enough to fit in a pants pocket, but I’ve found mine going with me to way more places because it’s almost like a paperback novel and is a much nicer experience for many things than my iPhone.

Snippet: Reviewing PCs in the Age of Apple Silicon ☍

John Gruber commenting on Scharon Harding, reviewing the HP Spectre x360 13.5-inch laptop for Ars Technica:

The phrase “Stockholm Syndrome” gets overused, but I think PC hardware reviewers are in a deep state of denial as to how high Apple silicon has raised the bar for performance-per-watt, in day-to-day practical terms. To an M-series MacBook user, the above paragraphs sound like they must have been written years ago. Too-hot-for-your-actual-lap laptops and audible cooling systems are dark ages shit.

This hit way too close to home for me, as my day job involves some of the “better” HP business-grade products and I also recently got an M2-based MacBook Air. In a vacuum, laptops like the HPs (which are very similar to the Spectre x360), are quite nice little computers, but start blasting hot air out of the vent almost immediately and get quite warm to the touch. Meanwhile, I’m at about 3 hours into the day of using my MacBook Air as I write this and it’s cool to the touch while still having plenty of battery life.

This isn’t meant to be a cheap-shot post about PCs, but rather that I hope the folks at Intel and AMD are looking at the Apple Silicon-based Macs and trying to figure out how they can get there on the PC side of things. On top of that, so many reviewers and fans of PCs don’t seem to grasp that Apple Silicon isn’t “too good to be true” or marketing hype.

August 23, 2022

Snippet: iPadOS 16 Delayed to 16.1 ☍

Brian Heater for TechCrunch:

In a comment to TechCrunch, the company notes, “This is an especially big year for iPadOS. As its own platform with features specifically designed for iPad, we have the flexibility to deliver iPadOS on its own schedule. This Fall, iPadOS will ship after iOS, as version 16.1 in a free software update.”

In other words, Apple will be skipping the iPadOS 16.0 release in the fall and going straight to 16.1. This means the first version of iPadOS 16 will ship to non-beta users after the arrival of the first iOS version. It seems likely the two 16.1 releases will arrive at — or around — the same time, though Apple hasn’t confirmed the speculation. The move is unique, but not unprecedented, for Apple software releases.

This confirms rumors and if it means that a few more bugs will be worked out, I’m fine with it. In general, I’d actually like to see Apple slow down its release cycles for software (maybe stretching every major release out over 2 years and the .5 release going with the new mid-cycle iPhones) just to work out bugs and let the software mature. We’ve been wanting a “Snow Leopard” moment for years on iOS and iPadOS and this could be the perfect excuse to slowly get to that point.

A fun bit of trivia, iOS 4 was released on June 21, 2010 as 4.0 for iPhones, followed by September 8, 2010 as 4.1 for iPod touches. The iPad finally joined in with 4.2.1 on November 22, 2010. It’s not unheard of to have a longer cycle for software releases—and the contemporary Mac OS X Lion wasn’t released until July 20, 2011.

August 17, 2022

Snippet: Some PCs Weren’t A Part of the Rhythm Nation ☍

Raymond Chen for Microsoft’s The New Old Thing:

A colleague of mine shared a story from Windows XP product support. A major computer manufacturer discovered that playing the music video for Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” would crash certain models of laptops. I would not have wanted to be in the laboratory that they must have set up to investigate this problem. Not an artistic judgement.

One discovery during the investigation is that playing the music video also crashed some of their competitors’ laptops.

And then they discovered something extremely weird: Playing the music video on one laptop caused a laptop sitting nearby to crash, even though that other laptop wasn’t playing the video!

What’s going on?

I love stories like this, especially as computers get less and less mechanical and people forget that some of these challenges existed.