The Uninvited Guest #4: Clockwise 538

Clockwise #538

The Uninvited Guest is my way of participating on the Clockwise podcast.

Previous one can be found here.

And here are my answers to Clockwise #538


Mikah’s question

Smartphone widgets: do you use them and which ones?

My main screen has two main widgets: a stack of widgets that contains: photos, calendar, world clock, overcast, and music. The other widget is my activity rings.

Screenshot of my Home Screen, shows the described widgets and some of my main apps

Swiping to the left I have my home smart thermostat, battery levels, and weather.

My secondary screens have a home widget that lets me turn on and off lights. And after Simone’s answer I added both Libby and Duolingo to my reading focus screen!


Simone‘s question

Palworld: Pokémon Rip-off or Clever Satire?

I haven’t played the game and I’ve followed the news from very far. I’ve watched the comparisons and there are real similarities with some of the Pokémon designs which is where they could be sued. I don’t think the gameplay is close enough to make it a rip-off.

I’m actually surprised Nintendo hasn’t done so though, they love sending cease and desist to people. Maybe Palworld is not small enough to bully.


Dan’s question

iOS Stolen Device Protection Features: will you enable it?

Yes I have enabled it. I’m still unsure how the device determines which locations are “trusted locations”, the guide they link to doesn’t say either: how the feature works.


Christina‘s Question

Streaming Services: Pay for Ad-Free or Not?

I’m not happy with this trend. The one changing for me recently is Amazon Prime Video, but I’m not watching enough shows at the moment to justify changing the subscription proactively. I’m gonna wait and see, the end result may be that I pay for the ad-free tier or I cancel altogether.

The service that’s tempting me a lot is YouTube, I watch enough that having an ad-free experience may become worth it, if only it wasn’t so expensive though.


Bonus Question

What was Your Favourite Cartoon as an Elementary-Aged Child?

At that age I was hooked on any anime that aired on a channel called Televen.

  • Saint Seiya
  • Dragon Ball
  • Captain Tsubasa (was called Super Champions in Venezuela)
  • Slayers
  • Pokémon
  • Rurouni Kenshin
  • Slam Dunk

The Most Complete Analysis of Apple’s Implementation of the DMA Rules

Apple’s Plans for the DMA in the European Union

Apple recently unveiled the changes they are making to comply with the Digital Markets Act, the law identified Apple’s as a “gatekeeper” on iOS, Safari, and the App Store. The obligations to gatekeepers comes into effect on March 6, 2024.

John Gruber did the homework of analyzing the multitude of changes that Apple is implementing to comply.

It’s not a simple solution, but it does show that Apple is going about this in a way that allows them to maintain as much control over their platforms as they think they can, including what they have called the Core Technology Fee (CTF) which charges €0.5 per-install after the first million installs, ensuring thus that even in the worst of cases Apple is still able to get value out of very successful applications.

This new setup would give developers 3 basic options:

  1. Stay within the walls of the App Store as it is today.
  2. Adopt the new DMA compliance rules, but pay the CFT if applicable. This option spawns 2 scenarios which developers can opt into at the same time:
    1. Stay in the App Store but paying lowered commission to Apple.
    2. Sell your applications in a separate app marketplace, with no further fees paid to Apple.

There’s a lot more complexity than this of course, the article lays it all out very clearly but not succinctly (he tried).

We’ll have to see what the EU says, as these changes must be found compliant before they can be implemented:

The delicious irony in Apple’s not knowing if these massive, complicated proposals will be deemed DMA-compliant is that their dealings with the European Commission sound exactly like App Store developers’ dealings with Apple. Do all the work to build it first, and only _then_find out if it passes muster with largely inscrutable rules interpreted by faceless bureaucrats.


What Produces Effective Engineering Teams

addyosmani.com

Addy Osmani shares the lessons learned from “Project Aristotle” at Google, a two-year initiative back in 2016 that studied what made teams successful, what they found is that these 5 key factors have the biggest impact:

Psychological Safety: The team’s comfort with taking risks without fear of negative repercussions.

The article covers multiple recommendations on how to achieve this, the most interesting one to me was this TEDx Talk by professor Amy Edmondson on how to build this psychological safety:

Allowing the team to experiment in the open and not feel shame or repercussions for trying, produces more innovative solutions.

Dependability: Team members’ ability to reliably deliver quality work on schedule.

This is mostly dependant on each team members’s reliable performance. We all have had that sense of defeat when working in teams and one team member is not pulling their weight, situations like these discourages the rest of the team from doing their best work.

When a team has this problem it needs to be addressed as soon as possible before it becomes part of the culture.

Structure and Clarity: Clear understanding of job roles, processes, and performance consequences.

Having a clear strategy that is translated to the team’s different responsibilities is the key part of this factor.

Establishing objectives and key results, and making the team members responsible for achieving them is key.

Meaning: The personal significance found in the work or its outcomes.

Team members must find the work they do meaningful. Not necessarily in terms of the company’s goals, as stability, capacity to support their family, or personal self-expression was shown to be enough to serve this purpose.

When an employee is not finding meaning in their work, and they don’t feel well compensated and recognized the productivity takes a hit.

Impact: The belief that one’s work meaningfully contributes to the organization’s goals.

Closely related to the previous one, but this time directly associated with the success of the company. When people can see the effect of their work having an effect in the bigger success of the company they work at, they feel a sense of impact that drives them to be more successful.


Having led a development team for the past several years, many of these hit close to home. Having not had control over several of these factors I have focused on the ones that I have more control over: providing a safe space to try and make mistakes, learn, and share knowledge.

What I can certainly say from experience is that excelling at one or two of these factors is definitely not enoug. Unhappiness and discouragement crops up and productivity takes a hit.


You should consider witching to Firefox

In 2024, please switch to Firefox

Roy Tanck, at the end of 2023, posted a well written plea to switch to Firefox:

if there’s one tech New Year’s resolution I’d encourage you to have, it’s switching to the only remaining ethical web browser, Firefox.

He provides two[1] very valid reasons: privacy, and to avoid a browser engine monopoly

Privacy

Firefox is the only major browser not built by a company that makes money from advertising and/or selling your personal data. […] .We need to use browsers that are independent, and right now that means Firefox.

Google recently admitted they still track you when browsing on incognito mode, what more is there to say?

Browser engine monopoly

In the early 2000’s, Internet Explorer had a massive 95% market share. This meant that many sites were only developed for use with IE. They’d use experimental features that IE supported, in favor of things from the official HTML standard. This was a very bad situation, which hindered the development of the World Wide Web.

Allowing one company to control what gets implemented and when leads to stagnation. Competition is healthy.

Go give Firefox a chance.


  1. There’s a third reason, probably the most important for day to day use but I’ll let you read that on his post.

More Mac 40th Anniversary Celebrations

So many articles related to the Macintosh’s 40th anniversary, to little time…

The Mac at 40: Iconic, indelible, immortal by Dan Moren, Macworld:

Forty years. In the world of technology, where many devices seem to evaporate after only a matter of months, lasting for a decade is an accomplishment–but four of them? It’s nearly unheard of.

Apple Shares the Secret of Why the 40-Year-Old Mac Still Rules by Steven Levy, Wired:

The pioneering PC revolutionized how people interact with computers. As the Mac enters its fifth decade, Apple says it will continue to evolve.

Upgrade #496: 40th Anniversary of the Mac Draft

Celebrating 40 years of the Mac, we’ve gathered an all-star panel of longtime Mac users to pick the best Macs, Mac software, and Mac accessories, as well as induct a few events or devices into the Mac Hall of Shame.

Guest Starring: Dan MorenJohn GruberJohn SiracusaShelly Brisbin, and Stephen Hackett

Dr. Drang’s Own Mac 40Th Anniversary Draft

I don’t have the sort of encyclopedic Mac knowledge the draft participants–Shelly Brisbin, Stephen Hackett, Dan Moren, Jason Snell, and the aforementioned Johns–have, but I do want to mention what my picks would be for two of the categories: first Mac and best/favorite Mac software.

I want to do the same but got all categories, just like I started doing with Clockwise I wanted to participate in this podcast very much, I’ll write it up as soon as I can. Today’s been very busy.

And finally (there are many more, but I couldn’t keep up).

Mac at 40: The eras tour by Jason Snell, on Six Colors:

plotting the Mac’s history as defined by the Mac’s four distinct processor eras.

The Mac turns 40

The Mac turns 40 -- and keeps on moving

Jason Snell, writing for The Verge:

Twenty years ago, on the Mac’s 20th anniversary, I asked Steve Jobs if the Mac would still be relevant to Apple in the age of the iPod. He scoffed at the prospect of the Mac not being important: “of course” it would be.

Yet, 10 years later, Apple’s revenue was increasingly dominated by the iPhone, and the recent success of the new iPad had provided another banner product for the company. When I interviewed Apple exec Phil Schiller for the Mac’s 30th anniversary, I found myself asking him about the Mac’s relevance, too. He also scoffed: “Our view is, the Mac keeps going forever,” he said.

Seems like Apple continues to like this 40 year old platform.

Mac 40th

Mac 40th

In 1984, Apple introduced the Macintosh, the world’s first truly user friendly computer. … To celebrate this milestone, _mac40th.com_showcases every Macintosh desktop and portable Apple has ever made with hundreds of the photos taken as part of the work creating the coffee table book ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation

I have the second edition of the book, and it is full of beautiful photography of Apple products. It you are a fan of the Macintosh computers go take a look at mac40th.com or get the book for a physical version.


The Uninvited Guest #3: Clockwise 537

Clockwise #537

The Uninvited Guest is my way of participating on the Clockwise podcast.

Previous one can be found here.

And here are my answers Clockwise 537: All I Found Were Three Apple TV Remotes


Dan’s question

External Links on the App Store: what do you think?

The way Apple implemented this court mandated system means that nobody will be incentivized by to implement it, specifically small to medium developers. If Apple hadn’t made it so that they still require their tithe then I could see some companies cropping up to provide iOS-payments-as-a-service and take a smaller cut of the transaction.

Consumers will also disincentivized to use this new system, the friction provided by the scaresheet that iOS shows will be enough.


Jeff’s question

Apple Removing the Blood Oxygen Feature: Do You use That Feature or Other Features?

I fall very much on the same answer as Jason, my usage of the Apple Watch is mostly for the fitness features, specifically the heart rate and step tracking.

I believe that it’s probably the same story for most customers and that’s why Apple hasn’t settled the lawsuit.


Jason’s question

Apple Vision Pro: Are You Buying One?

No, it’s not available in Canada. More seriously, it’s too expensive for me at this moment.

I do believe that it’s going to be successful and Apple will eventually release a more accessible version, I may consider one then. I haven’t had a MacBook in years so I’d buy one of those first, probably soon.


Shelly’s Question

Streaming Can’t be Trusted: When was the Last Time You Bought a Physical Media?

I am strongly on the streaming/digital media team. Yes you commonly hear horror stories of things disappearing and being taken away… and yet I don’t care, I really don’t care for hoarding plastic, I’m too lazy to rip it into my NAS, and for games it’s an useless exercise as you still need to get updates from the network so the disc you have is a glorified license key.

Jason’s reason for having HDR content may convince me to do so now that I have a TV that supports it.


Bonus Question

Snow: Yay or Nay?

I live in Canada, if I say nay I’d have to dispose of myself. Give me a Subaru and an open field and it turns into the largest Yay ever!


Apple Vision Pro Doesn't Need Netflix

Apple's Testy Developer Relationships Threaten to Hamper Vision Pro

Mark Gruman’s article about the prospects of app availability in the new Apple Vision Pro:

The success of Apple Inc.'s Vision Pro, like many new technology platforms, will largely depend on support from third-party apps and services. And that’s an area where the device still faces plenty of questions.

Some big name developers thus far aren’t doing much to help the device. Three of the world’s most popular streaming services – Netflix Inc., YouTube and Spotify Technology SA – have already signaled that they won’t be launching visionOS software or enabling their iPad apps to run on the Vision Pro.

He goes on to list 4 possible reason for developers not providing support initially. My nitpick on them is that most of them apply to larger companies developing software, whim they mostly do not apply to indie or smaller developers:

  1. Return on the investment Developers are taking a wait-and-see approach to see if the size of the new market is worth it. And the larger the Developer is, the larger the market will need to be do justify the work.
  2. Developer discontent The current kerfufle about Apple allowing developers to implement alternative payment methods but still taking a big commission may be keeping some away, but again I believe this only applies to the big companies likes the ones listed above.
  3. App incompatibility I think this is the first reason that is more applicable to all developers and not just the big ones. The interaction model for Apple Vision Pro is not multitouch like on iOS and iPadOS, so translating some apps to this new model is not trivial.
  4. Poor performance on other app stores The TV, Watch stores have not been as successful as the iOS App Store. That hasn’t stopped Netflix, Spotify, et.al., from providing apps. I think this is the most weak of reasons out of the 4, just a subset of 1’s wait and see approach.

An example,

Netflix deciding to not provide an app at the moment is ceding the mind-share to other streaming services but most Apple Vision Pro buyers are most certainly already Netflix subscribers. As soon as that starts to translate into less engagement from those users on other platforms, or the amount of people watching streaming on Apple Vision Pro is large enough they will react. It wouldn’t surprise me if they already have an application internally ready to go.

Conversely, a smaller developer has a good opportunity to place their application in front of potentially new clients with disposable income.

When clicking a checkbox gets you compatibility it’s a no-brainer it’s terms or ROI for a lot of these developers, specifically if their applications are fairly mature on the previous platforms so the opportunity cost is not as big.

These are also the developers that can be peeved by the Apple tax shenanigan, but would also not implement an alternative payment method even if they have limited capacity and would rather continue improving their apps.


The linchpin for the success of this new device is Apple’s capacity of convincing people that this new spatial computing paradigm is valid and here to stay.

Adding support for their own apps, quickly expanding the countries where the Apple Vision Pro is available on, and launching other models that have more mass appeal (aka. cheaper)

Apple Doesn't Need to Advertise Apple Vision Pro

AppleInsider: So far, Apple is struggling to market Apple Vision Pro

Interesting article by William Gallagher for AppleInsider describing the seemingly unfocused approach to marketing and advertising that Apple is taking for the Apple Vision Pro:

[…] you get best results by either choosing what was called a rifle-shot approach, or a spray-and-pray one. Apple has chosen neither for the Apple Vision Pro.

Apple can’t do spray-and-pray because Apple Vision Pro is so expensive that it’s got a self-limited audience. Before that audience even considers whether there is a value to them in buying the headset, that audience has to be one that can afford $3,499 or more.

But Apple also can’t do rifle shot, or at least not very well, because there is no one defined audience for Apple Vision Pro.

The article continues on to describe the approach that Apple has taken since introducing the device at WWDC 2023 and concludes that this unfocused approach is unusual for a highly effective marketing machine.

My opinion is that Apple doesn’t need to be perfect at this point in time. They know they have an amazing product in their hands, opinion that has been mirrored by many different third parties, some of which while being less enthusiastic are still very positive on it.

I don’t doubt that Apple could make a more focused argument of what the killer app is for the Apple Vision Pro. But they don’t seem to need to, as they sold out of approximately 180k units very quickly.

And I’d go even further and say that it’s all planned. The article reminds us of when Apple launched the Apple Watch they tried to aim it as a luxury fashion statement and that approach flopped terribly until they found their groove as a fitness device.

This is Apple learning from that mistake, let the early adopters help them figure out where the biggest strengths are, and launch a more focused campaign when they have a more accessible second generation Apple Vision device.