May 7, 2020

Snippet: Wink Switches to Subscription Service on Short Notice ☍

Wink (via Jason Snell):

In order to provide for development and continued growth, we are transitioning to a $4.99 monthly subscription, starting on May 13, 2020. This fee is designed to be as modest as possible. Your support will enable us to continue providing you with the functionality that you’ve come to rely on, and focus on accelerating new integrations and app features. Should you choose not to sign up for a subscription you will no longer be able to access your Wink devices from the app, with voice control or through the API, and your automations will be disabled on May 13.

Years ago, I had a Wink setup and enjoyed the possibilities of it. Between a lack of updates, some partners going out of business, and ultimately HomeKit, the hub sat unused on a shelf and I eventually got rid of it.

I understand that services have costs to keep things running and 6+ years from a one-time $50 hub purchase is probably untenable, but the time frame is ridiculous. Even though I technically have an account, I didn’t receive any sort of communication and wouldn’t have known about this other than the post on Six Colors. Most things like this usually give customers a few months to prepare. In this case, it feels like a shakedown.

May 4, 2020

Snippet: Apple’s Missed ‘FacePod’ Opportunity ☍

M.G. Siegler:

It’s sort of funny, in a way. Everyone crapped all over Facebook for launching Portal — myself included — but actually that seems like the perfect product for right now. Yes, many still have questions about Facebook’s involvement. And yes, their timing in launching it was laughably bad. But those issues aside, it’s pretty much the exact product that so many people want in their homes right now. It’s a Zoom box for your living room that is decidedly consumer-friendly.

This could have — and should have — been another market Apple dominated. Sure, you could say the market was relatively small before COVID-19. And that’s probably true. Enterprise was where the opportunity was, and Apple plays less nicely there. Still, even before the epidemic, this just felt like one of those areas that was going to be massive in the future. And Apple should have known that just by looking at the FaceTime usage numbers.⁴ And Facebook clearly did know that, hence: Portal.

I would love to see an add-on camera for the Apple TV and the ability to use different videoconferencing apps on it. While it won’t have all the controls/features that its iOS counterparts would have, could you imagine a box that does FaceTime, Hangouts/Meet, Zoom, WebEx, Teams, GoToMeeting, and whatever else if the developer ports their iOS apps to it? Not to mention, this would free up my work iPad to use for other things during those various Zoom meetings.

The HD model has a USB-C port, so it’s most likely just a software limitation, while the 4K has a hidden Lightning connector in the ethernet port. I wonder how an add-on could work, but even if it’s just a feature on a forthcoming one, it seems like we’re so close, but the parts aren’t put together.

“Buying into a philosophy isn’t something unique to the iPad, it’s fundamental in how we pick our software platforms across the board.”

April 30, 2020

News: Apple Reports Q2 Results

Apple announced financial results for its fiscal 2020 second quarter ending March 28, 2020. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $58.3billion, an increase of 1 percent from the year-ago quarter, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $2.55, up 4 percent. International sales accounted for 62 percent of the quarter’s revenue…

April 28, 2020

Snippet: Practicing the Coding Challenges ☍

Brent Simmons:

If I were on the other side of the table, and this is what the candidate did, I would be quite happy — because they’ve achieved not just correctness but clarity. They’ve solved the problem using a coding style that I’d want to see in production code.

But that’s not what these questions want to see at all.

I had a course in college where the final exam was a assigned-at-the-start-of-class partner setting, timed, and pass/fail. Due to an odd number of people in the course, we were the trio. Despite all the best preparation on my part, it went as poorly as you’d expect. The lesson I learned years after that exam wasn’t necessarily the material in the course, but that a test environment like that is unrealistic. There’s a number of ways to solve a problem, you have plenty of tools and resources at your disposal, and if you aren’t by yourself, you learn the strengths and weaknesses of your team.

I can only imagine how difficult it is to evaluate candidates on a technical level when hiring, but the only-our-way-is-right idea is quite the buzzkill.

Since I added the original post to my Reading List, there’s been a follow-up post.