Tag Archives: daringfireball

Safari pinned tab favicons

In a post on Daring Fireball today, John Gruber makes a convincing argument for Safari showing favicons in tabs:

With many tabs open, there’s really nothing subjective about it: Chrome’s tabs are more usable because they show favicons.

Even more surprising to me is that Safari doesn’t use favicons for pinned tabs. Instead it uses a special monochrome vector icon. Ever since adding favicon support to Micro.blog, I’ve had on my to-do list to create one of these vector icons for Safari, but so far I haven’t been able to justify the effort. (And judging by a handful of my favorite sites, no one else has bothered to create a pinned tab vector icon either.)

Why does Apple require a separate icon format here? Probably for the same reason as John Gruber’s guess about normal tabs:

I don’t know what the argument is against showing favicons in Safari’s tabs, but I can only presume that it’s because some contingent within Apple thinks it would spoil the monochromatic aesthetic of Safari’s toolbar area.

It seems clear that these pinned tab vector icons are a dead-end. There are already too many sizes of favicons. Safari should have basic favicon support in tabs and do it with as few extra icon files as possible.

iPhone introduction felt impossible

John Gruber remembers what it was like watching the iPhone announcement:

Apple had amazing product introductions before the iPhone, and it’s had a few good ones after. But the iPhone was the only product introduction I’ve ever experienced that felt impossible. Apple couldn’t have shrunk Mac OS X — a Unix-based workstation OS, including the Cocoa frameworks — to a point where it could run on a cell phone. Scrolling couldn’t be that smooth and fluid. A touchscreen — especially one in a phone — couldn’t be so responsive.

I felt the same way. Even the day I brought the iPhone home, I wasn’t sure that it was actually going to work. I was ready to be unsurprised if it turned out to be unstable — crashing often or overheating. It was stunning how good it was. It absolutely felt like a phone from the future.

One thing I had forgotten about from 10 years ago was the activation process, which was definitely not from the future. It was rooted in the past, connecting to iTunes like an iPod. Here are some of my tweets from that day, showing the long delay between picking up the iPhone from the store and actually using it, plus my last-minute decision to even wait in line:

6:34am: Good morning iPhone Day! Weather forecast in Austin for today: 40% chance of showers and storms.

10:15am: It’s only 10am but already realized I need to go to Plan B. Bribe friends already in line to use their 2nd iPhone purchase.

11:09am: Change of plans. Heading to the Apple Store now to join in the line-waiting fun. Will it be too late?

12:26pm: I expected rain, but that seems unlikely. It’s hot like a real Austin summer here in the iPhone line.

2:32pm: Hanging out in The Line with Jeremy of Barton Springs Software and @damon. Apple Store is closed. Had some lunch and a Starbucks soy latte.

4:03pm: 2 hours left. We can redeem our free Starbucks coffee coupons now. Excited! (About the iPhone. Not the coffee.)

6:30pm: Got my iPhone.

7:35pm: Activation will have to wait. Ratatouille.

8:18pm: Movies all sold out. Pre-activation dinner at Kerby Lane instead.

9:53pm: Activation took less than a minute. Also, no plan choice. Just $20 added on to what I already pay, I guess.

11:56pm: @danielpunkass Wait, what? You can make calls on it? (But seriously, you’re right. It’s a computer first and a phone second.)

Apparently I waited in line most of the day. I remember it only being a few hours. I also love how trivial these tweets seem. A big reason to have a microblog is because even the most mundane posts today carry extra significant years later.

Lightning headphones in the box

John Gruber has an article outlining the 5 (or 6) most likely options for what headphones Apple should include with the new Lightning-only iPhone. His hope is on wireless:

My hope is that they ship wireless ear buds. When Apple eliminates ports, they tend to do so in favor of wireless technology. Pushing wireless as the default would solve the problem of listening to audio while charging the device, too.

Maybe. I’m not in any hurry to see a Bluetooth-dominated headphone world, and I’m not sure Apple Support is either. Wired headphones work every single time you plug them in.

As Gruber points out, wireless headphones are also an upsell opportunity. While cheap Bluetooth headphones can be found, Apple’s Beats are $100 more expensive for wireless. Seems like this extra cost would unnecessarily eat into their margins.

Of course, I have no idea what Apple will do. I just know what I think they should do.

Apple should include Lightning ear buds in the box, and an adapter for older headphones. I don’t expect they will do this forever — the first year would be enough. But this small gesture of including an adapter would mostly erase the negative reviews and user frustration for Apple’s biggest repeat customers: not me, because I intend to keep my iPhone SE for a while, but for everyone who buys a new iPhone each year.

Removing the 3.5mm headphone jack will be the first time Apple has removed a major feature on the iPhone. They can spin Lightning as an improvement all they want; customers with existing headphones will be annoyed. Including an adapter would minimize the inconvenience at launch, without locking Apple in to any long-term technical compromise.

iPhone SE (no 5)

Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac reports that the new 4-inch iPhone will be called simply “iPhone SE”, not “5SE”. As I said before, I don’t really care what it’s called, but this is good news nevertheless.

John Gruber adds:

“Isn’t it more accurate to think of this as an iPhone 6S in a 4-inch body than as an iPhone 5S with ‘upgraded internals’? Other than the display, aren’t the ‘internals’ the defining characteristics of any iPhone?”

I agree with John. Other than the screen size, this phone will feel a lot like an iPhone 6S. And because I love the smaller size, I personally think it will have the best of both the 5S and 6S.

Prediction: this phone is going to be much more popular than people expect. I won’t be surprised if it takes the 6S Plus’s spot as the 2nd most popular iPhone.

iPad Mini

From John Gruber’s iPad Mini review:

“If the Mini had a retina display, I’d switch from the iPad 3 in a heartbeat. As it stands, I’m going to switch anyway. Going non-retina is a particularly bitter pill for me, but I like the iPad Mini’s size and weight so much that I’m going to swallow it.”

As I said on the last Core Intuition, it’s even more of an easy switch for me since I never upgraded to the iPad 3. The iPad Mini has essentially been my only iPad for the last week. I’m using it more, and taking it places that I would’ve have bothered with before. My new favorite Apple device.

10 years of Daring Fireball

Daring Fireball turns 10 years old today. I love this visualization of the posts from those years. You can view by article length and highlight posts for certain topics.

There’s a rich history of posts in the archive. Like the best blogs, there’s consistency in design, tone, and format. None of the URLs have ever changed.

Here are some of my favorite essays.

June 4, 2004, Broken Windows:

“Arguing that it’s technically possible that the Mac could suffer just as many security exploits as Windows is like arguing that a good neighborhood could suddenly find itself strewn with garbage and plagued by vandalism and serious crime. Possible, yes, but not likely.”

April 20, 2006, Initiative:

“What I’ve concluded, though, is that if I want to make a full-time income from Daring Fireball, I need to just do it full-time. I.e. that it’s not going to work the other way around — to wait for the revenue to burgeon and then start putting full-time effort into it.”

August 4, 2006, Highly Selective:

“I’m sure there are other examples of Mac apps that offer anchored list selection, but the point remains that the vast majority of software now follows Apple’s lead and uses the unanchored model for list item selection. If ‘Mac-like’ means ‘what most other Mac software does’, then in this case the Mac-like behavior is wrong, or at the very least, worse.”

October 2, 2008, The Fear:

“But this pitch also worked because it was true. All three of those products sound good on their own. All three in one device sounds insanely great. Jobs was introducing the iPhone simply by describing precisely what it was.”

April 24, 2009, Twitter Clients Are a UI Design Playground:

“I read web sites and email and RSS feeds on my iPhone, but Twitter is the one service where reading on my iPhone doesn’t feel constrained compared to reading on my Mac.”

June 26, 2009, Copy and Paste:

“That we had to wait two years for the iPhone’s text selection and pasteboard is a good example of one aspect of the Apple way: better nothing at all than something less than great.”

January 27, 2010, The iPad Big Picture:

“Software aside (which is a huge thing to put aside), it may well be that no other company could make a device today matching the price, size, and performance of the iPad. They’re not getting into the CPU business for kicks, they’re getting into it to kick ass.”

August 24, 2011, Resigned:

“The same thought, care, and painstaking attention to detail that Steve Jobs brought to questions like ‘How should a computer work?’, ‘How should a phone work?’, ‘How should we buy music and apps in the digital age?’ he also brought to the most important question: ‘How should a company that creates such things function?’”

December 25, 2011, Merry:

“— how much will I be willing to pay then to be able to go back in time, for one day, to now, when he’s eight years old, he wants to go to movies and play games and build Lego kits with me, and he believes in magic?”

February 16, 2012, Mountain Lion:

“This is an awful lot of effort and attention in order to brief what I’m guessing is a list of a dozen or two writers and journalists. It’s Phil Schiller, spending an entire week on the East Coast, repeating this presentation over and over to a series of audiences of one.”

Congrats John. Here’s to the next 10 years.

Brent on baked blogs

My post on free apps “was linked from Daring Fireball”:http://daringfireball.net/linked/2011/03/18/manton-app-store a few days ago. Tons of new traffic, but my site didn’t go down. Why? An ancient but reliable version of Movable Type spitting out static files, with just a tiny bit of PHP for “Mint stats”:http://haveamint.com/.

“Brent Simmons talks about this lost art”:http://inessential.com/2011/03/16/a_plea_for_baked_weblogs of publishing to static files instead of serving from a database:

“It’s an old technique, actually, but too rarely practiced. (Lots of weblogs in the ’90s were rendered as files-on-disk. They were built from a database plus templates and scripts and uploaded to a server. We did a bunch of this when I worked with Dave Winer at UserLand Software.)”

I couldn’t agree more with Brent’s advice, and in fact I ran this blog on Radio Userland for its first couple of years. In addition to performance, static files are portable. I can pick up this site and move it anywhere. The old web is fragile, and as web sites age, being able to permanently host them somewhere cheap and stable is going to become a big deal.

I hope a modern equivalent to Movable Type emerges eventually. For now, I’m thankful that the only time I have to worry about a web site outage is when a Dreamhost sysadmin trips over a power cord.