Trump, the Orange Idiot

TheMessenger Politics

Advancing a sweeping interpretation of executive immunity, Donald Trump’s attorney told a federal appeals court on Tuesday that U.S. presidents could not be prosecuted for selling pardons or assassinating political rivals through SEAL Team Six

Does Trump’s lawyer understand what a stupid precedent this would set. 🤣

So, if this is true and Justices agree with the arguments laid out by Trump and his lawyers are found to be consistent with the execution of Presidential duties and immunity for the same, Joe Biden should order the CIA or FBI to execute Donald Trump and his entire family.

See how stupid that argument is? I can’t stand the Orange Man and his spawn but assassination of a political rival would plunge this country into chaos and absolutely tear us further apart. It would certainly plunge us into a new Civil War.

It would, however, achieve Trump’s goal of destroying democracy and get rid of an asshole in a single action.

But let’s not do that. Let’s beat the asshole at the polls and send him to serve some time in the clink. That is the American way.

Yes, life in the Fahrni household is a rough life full of pain and suffering. 😂

Kim has been swapping flags out quickly. The poinsettia flag lasted a week so I had to get a picture of it before I pulled it down.

Castro has gone dark again

I’ve been a Castro Podcast player user since they introduced 1.0, I couldn’t find when 1.0 shipped but it must have been over 10 years ago.

Anywho, it’s a great app and the best podcast player for my tastes. The Inbox where all podcast episodes are collected is perfect. It allows you to choose what you want to listen to and organize the list however you’d like. That’s really nice! The Inbox is noisy but the Queue, where you play them, is nice and organized. Plus the UI is simply gorgeous and well organized. In my opinion it’s the best podcast player in the market.

AHHHHHH!So, why all that intro to Castro who-haw? Well, once again, Castro has gone off the air. This is the second time in the last few months we’ve lost the backend service and the second time in the last few months Castro’s parent company — Tiny — didn’t say a thing about it.

Not only that but the Castro website has gone dark. If you try to browse to it, as of this writing, you’ll get a website not found error.

The app is still available in the App Store but it’s useless without the backend to support it.

What the heck is going on at Castro, and more importantly, Tiny to allow this to happen without informing their user base what’s going on?

Did they sell it and the new owners dropped the ball? Did they just give up on it and let it waste away to nothing through neglect? As a longtime user I’d love to know what’s going on.

Since it’s still available in the App Store is Tiny collecting subscription dollars? That’s gonna be a real mess to untangle if folks downloaded and subscribed for the year.

So many questions. Once again I wish I were a wealthy fellow so I could buy it and update it so it doesn’t need its own backend to function.

I think I need one of these. I wonder if one of my 20 oz tumbler would fit under this? 🤔

Makita 18v cordless coffee maker

Saturday Morning Coffee

Good morning from Charlottesville, Virginia! ☕️

Spicy Mexican CoffeeWe’re expecting a snow and sleet event this morning. As I was composing this post it started raining around 6:30AM and it’s below freezing. Here’s hoping we don’t lose power and have frozen roads later. 🥶

I hope you enjoy the links.

Colleen Long • The Associated Press

President Joe Biden will stress democracy is still a ‘sacred cause’ in a speech near Valley Forge

If TFG wins we may become an authoritarian nation. Kiss freedoms we’ve come to expect — like the horrible reversal of Roe v. Wade — to become the norm. I’d expect to see jailed political rivals and journalists. The Justice Department and Military will become law enforcement. With the law being his Orangeness.

No thank you.

Brynn Tannehill • The New Republic

The Polls Prove It: Many Republicans Love Fascism

So, yeah, fascism is the new GOP policy and Republicans across the nation love it.

That’s sickening.

Slashdot

Niklaus Wirth, Inventor of Pascal, Dies At 89

I never learned Pascal but know plenty of developers who made their career using it. 🪦

Casey Newton • Platformer

On Tuesday, I told subscribers that we are considering leaving the platform based on the company’s recent statement that it would not demonetize or remove openly Nazi accounts.

Bravo Casey! I wasn’t planning on linking to any Substack content but I had to break that rule for this piece. Casey is planning on doing something about Substack’s horrible position by, potentially, taking his publication and subscribers elsewhere. That’s very brave given it’s how he makes his living! ❤️

Now, if we can get other writers to follow that would be amazing.

BBC

Japan earthquake: Nearly 250 missing as hope for survivors fades

Our world has become such a mess the tragedy unfolding in Japan doesn’t even register as big news, at least that’s how it feels to me.

Kyle Orland • Ars Technica

34 years later, a 13-year-old hits the NES Tetris “kill screen”

Great explainer video of how the true Tetris Kill Screen was finally reached.

Also, I had no idea Tetris was still such a big deal. Silly me, of course it is! 🧱

Ashur Cabrera

I thought I’d be sharing photos of pintxos and more Basque lettering from Donostia-San Sebastián, and diving into our early experiences of living abroad.

My friend Ashur had planned a big adventure that didn’t quite work out as planned. It’s a worthwhile read and proves things don’t always go as planned.

David McCabe and Tripp Mickle • The New York Times

The Justice Department is in the late stages of an investigation into Apple and could file a sweeping antitrust case taking aim at the company’s strategies to protect the dominance of the iPhone as soon as the first half of this year, said three people with knowledge of the matter.

Some of the things the Justice Department are interested in seen really strange to me. Like allowing access to the Messages Service. Why should Google, or whoever else, be given the keys to access Messages backend services? Apple created and runs that service. It’s not built on a free to use, government backed, open-to-the-public utility. It’s paid for and maintained by Apple.

Red sock.Now, if by access the government means Apple has to open it up as a paid service, I could see that. Perhaps Google agrees to take on some of the cost burden, based on usage, or pay Apple some huge fee so Android users have full access to Messages with a native messaging app built by Google. That wouldn’t be so bad. Another alternative is for Apple to build a Messages app for Android and sell access to the service as a monthly subscription. Hey, Apple, that means more service revenue! 😁

The whole App Store payment kerfuffle is something a lot of developers would like to see changed. I think most developers don’t want to pay Apple 15-30% of their potential revenue. That can be a lot of cheese for many Indie developers. There are some things Apple could change to help the situation, like allowing developers to actually tell users to visit their website to sign up or subscribe to their service. E.G. Amazon and Netflix cannot tell new users, through their app UI, to visit their website to get started. For a company who prides themselves on simplicity and great user experience sure do make it difficult for third-party apps to be easy to use.

Anywho, I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for the Justice Department taking action against Apple and fallout from it.

Dave Winer • Scripting News

So at the beginning of a new year, I’m going to remind myself that I’m too old and not paid well enough (I’m not paid at all, heh) to do another year of this kind of work. I should be making writing and reading tools work better on the web. That’s my mission.

I Love RSS!Dave has been an innovator all his adult life. Whether it was scripting on the Mac and Windows or creating widely used technology like RSS and podcasting. Since he sold weblogs.com and left UserLand he’s continued to build writing tools of various kinds. His latest venture is FeedLand. It’s a feed reader and more. I can personally see it as a mechanism to follow and find excellent podcasts for a podcast player. Yes, it has an API that could be used for such things and it has full search capability. Bet you didn’t see that use case coming!

Anywho, I hope you get some rest, Dave, and have a wonderful 2024 making the web a better place for writers.

Keep digging!

Tim Kellogg

Back in the ’00s you would download a feed reader and subscribe to feeds. This felt a lot like an early version of social media. Google Reader was killed in 2013, which was largely seen as the death of RSS. I think social media generally replaced RSS because it took far fewer technical skills to setup a Facebook account versus an RSS-enabled blog.

This is interesting because it uses Mastodon as a feed reader. That’s not a bad idea, really. It’s such a good idea to have a timeline based reader I made one! 😁

All the stuff Tim says about Facebook and other social media platforms is 100% accurate. Those platforms stood in for blogs because of their low barrier to entry. Quite honestly I’m surprised Facebook never embraced blogging as a true feature of its platform, complete with all the expected bells and whistles, and that includes RSS and posts that don’t require a Facebook login to read them.

Anil Dash

Well, things changed a little bit in tech of late. Often, the power shifts in the tech world because of a dramatic new invention that solves an old problem a whole lot better. But in the current era, when most of what’s getting funded and hyped up are just various attempts to undermine workers and control consumers, we’re instead seeing lots of major players lose power because their signature offerings have gotten so much worse.

There was a time, not that long ago, folks said things like “RSS is dead” or asked “Is RSS dead?” First off, it’s just a technology, so it can’t actually die. Second, its web fabric and has been since its inception. It’s boring stuff — this is not a dig or insult, it’s a compliment. It’s as boring as HTML or CSS. I’d imagine it’s been used for all sorts of stuff beyond blogs over its history and it’ll probably be around for as long as we have a web to browse.

Sure social media, or microblogging, took center stage for a while. My own blogging slowed for a long period of time because I started posting little blurbs of text to Twitter instead of my blog.

Now I do that with a combination of Mastodon and Micro.blog. Short posts go to Mastodon and Micro.blog and long posts, like this one, go to my blog with a link on many services including Mastodon , Micro.blog, Blue Sky, and Tumblr.

My blog is at the center. It’s my content, I own it.

Matt Birchler

Here’s an uncomfortable question: when do I stop blogging?

I always find this question odd. I figure I’ll stop when, or if, I just stop one day. I suppose folks who do it professionally have to think about stuff like this, especially if they have subscribers and/or advertisers.

Maybe when the day comes that you’d like to stop doing it for a living you just let folks know you’re going to blog about whatever you’d like and do it for fun?

I’ve been blogging since February 2001 and still love it.

Rain Noe • Core77

A Handsome Aluminum and Ultem Smartphone Case

I want one of these. Guess I need to buy an iPhone 14 or 15 Pro? Having an updated iPhone would also open the door to a whole lot of cases I love at Cotton Bureau. 😃

Chance Miller, Benjamin Mayo, Ben Lovejoy, and Ben Schoon • 9to5Mac

The iPhone is the device that pushed the mobile industry away from physical keyboards, but nothing can truly replace that tactile experience. Launching next month, “Clicks” aims to add a physical keyboard to your iPhone with support for keyboard shortcuts and backlighting too.

In 2013 Ryan Seacrest was part of an effort to bring a physical keyboard to the iPhone. It was called Typo and I never heard much about it beyond the initial announcement. I could’ve sworn it was earlier than 2013, but my memory sometimes fails me.

Anyway, I hope these folks are wildly successful. Good luck y’all!

Richard Devine • Windows Central

The best holiday gift was Mac losing out to Windows, at least according to these stats

It’s obvious some Windows users and pundits still have an inferiority complex when it comes to the Mac. It’s surprising.

I’m an old, long time, Windows developer and I owe a lot to the platform. I spent around 20 years writing code for Windows and I still believe it to be an amazing platform for users and developers. But I switched to the Mac full time in 2006 and have grown to enjoy it every bit as much as Windows.

It’s perfectly fine to love using a different operating system or prefer coding for one over the other. Let people have fun and enjoy what they love doing. ❤️

Here’s hoping 2024 isn’t a complete shit show. 🤣

Tiny Apple Core

According to my weather app it’s snowing outside. I can tell you by actual experience outside this morning that it is not snowing. We’re getting just enough sleet to make everything slippery. Yuck! 🧊

A Substacker Replies

Ken White A.K.A. The Popehat

I’m thinking about what I am doing, Rob, as I said expressly in the post you just commented on.

Sorry, did I miss that I am contractually obligated to inform you during a particular time period?

Ken is a valued read and is a very funny guy. The above is a reply to me asking him when he’s leaving Substack and it’s nice to know he’s working on it.

I don’t plan on posting links to the platform any longer, as if my two readers will make a difference. 😄

Like I said in a prior post — or possibly Mastodon — this time period is going to be tough on authors as they sort through their options.

Unfortunately some of my favorite writers remain on the platform. I hope they all eventually decide to leave. 🤞🏼

Ms. Gracie got a new bed big enough for Taylor to crawl into! 😂

Poor Gracie just hit the 11 month old mark and she has hip dysplasia. So we got her this nice bed in the hope it’ll make her more comfortable. 🤞🏼

Custom Coffee Bag ☕️

Coffee StainWho needs a custom Exeter Coffee Company coffee bag? 🤣

I decided to grind the 1lb bag of ExCoCo Taylor bought me on her trip back home. I didn’t have a good bag for the grind so I dumped the remaining Seattle’s Best 6th Avenue into a second bag of 6th Avenue and used it.

I had to make a custom label from so I’d know what it was. 😃

Saturday Morning Coffee

Good morning from Charlottesville, Virginia! ☕️

So ends my week of relaxation. In the past I’d start becoming angry about how quickly my time off flew by. Not this week. I made the most of each day with some lazing about thrown in.

I managed to get some time to work on Stream for Mac and do a bunch of things around the house I’d put off for far too long. Today I plan on cleaning up Kim’s car and working on my dumpster bike. But I’m open to change.

Anywho, my coffee is ready. I hope you enjoy the links.

PZ Myers • Free Thoughts Blog

Nikki Haley got asked a straightforward question: “What was the cause of the United States’ Civil War?” She staggers back, stalls for time, and finally coughs up, I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run.

This is one of the most pathetic things I’ve ever seen. Everyone, and I mean everyone, knows the Civil War was fought over slavery. So, either Nikki Haley is a racist piece of crap or extremely stupid. I don’t think she’s stupid.

This was the easiest of softball questions you could give a Presidential candidate and she failed miserably, that alone should disqualify her from holding office in any federal, state, or local government.

Of course she’s competing with the biggest asshole of all for the GOP nomination. Good luck with that, Ms. Haley.

Maybe this was part of her audition for the Vice Presidency? Gotta show the Orange Man how racist she really is to get the job. 🤬

Jessica Wildfire • OK Doomer

Meanwhile, a world-class trail runner named Emilia kills herself after a Covid infection leaves her with an unstable heart. Around the world, smart talented young men and women are losing their careers after Covid ravages their organs, their brains, their immune systems.

COVID is still around and still wreaking havoc on folks.

I still need to get my booster, you should too. 💉

Mike Hanley • GitHub

Over 15 years ago, GitHub started as a Ruby on Rails application with a single MySQL database. Since then, GitHub has evolved its MySQL architecture to meet the scaling and resiliency needs of the platform—including building for high availability, implementing testing automation, and partitioning the data.

It’s wild to see how big services can become. GitHub — the company that centralized a decentralized version control system — has over 1,200 MySQL databases. That’s a metric crap ton.

It also seems strange given Microsoft has their own SQL Server offering continues to use MySQL, owned by Oracle. 🥴

Joan Westenberg

Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer and fixer for Donald Trump, used an artificial intelligence program to generate bogus legal citations in his motion for early termination of his supervised release.

The moral of the story is don’t believe everything a LLM gives you. You still need to verify the answer.

Laura Paddison • CNN

Scientists in California shooting nearly 200 lasers at a cylinder holding a fuel capsule the size of a peppercorn have taken another step in the quest for fusion energy, which, if mastered, could provide the world with a near-limitless source of clean power.

Will this pan out? If we’ve ever needed it now is the time. At the rate the climate is changing a team of scientists will emerge from their labs to announce to the world they’ve done it only to find the world on fire.

Raymond Wong • Inverse

Inside Apple’s Massive Push to Transform the Mac Into a Gaming Paradise

But will AAA games come around and make the commitment to the platform? Without developers it’s an instant failure.

Diane Duane

Can you add artificial intelligence to the hydraulics?

This is a link to a comment on a post — at least I think it is? Regardless it’s a funny read. If you only follow one link make it this one. AI is taking over all the things even if it can’t.

Alex Castro • The Verge

Earlier this year, Amazon announced plans to start incorporating ads into movies and TV shows streamed from its Prime Video service, and now the company has revealed a specific date when you’ll start seeing them: it’s January 29th.

I’m kind of surprised they don’t just bake this into Amazon Prime pricing.

Brandon Paul • Flo Racing

With over 1,600 total entries on hand for the Tulsa Shootout this week, there is bound to be some NASCAR connections to the biggest Micro Sprint event in the country.

I’m not sure how many folks not into NASCAR would know that drivers often compete in multiple different types of races throughout the year.

Sprint Cars seem to be a real favorite and winning a Golden Driller is still a highly sought after prize. Even for highly talented NASCAR drivers.

Tiny Apple Core

Stream for Mac: Work Note, Menus and More

Yesterday was the second day this week I managed to work on Stream for Mac.

AHHHHHH!Some things are starting to gel but as is typical I figure something out and run head long into the next thing I need to figure out. It’s all good stuff though! I’m definitely not complaining as I’m learning a lot and at least I should have a solid — very basic — understanding about the assembly of a Mac App when I’m done with this release.

Yesterday I managed to get the File Menu items hooked up and I did a very basic implementation of Import Subscriptions which allows you to import an OPML file of all of your feeds. For the first test the file name was hard wired to a file in the Downloads folder. There was my first challenge. I had to learn a little bit about the sandbox and setup the app to allow for read only access to Downloads, then ask the user for permission to access it. Once that worked I was able to start the import process by stubbing out some of my protocols used by the process and just allowing it to run in the background. It ran to completion and I was able to add an additional 206 feeds to my list. It’s a great way to populate the app!

Next Task

I’m trying to instantiate a class early on in the AppDelegate and I want to pass it down through all the various layers ultimately to the Feed View Controller. That’s where I got stuck once again. That’s ok. I’m learning and I may be doing it wrong. Right now the data I’d like to instantiate at startup is instantiated in the Feed View Controller. The reason I’d like to get it in the App Delegate is I’d like access to it when a menu item is selected. Maybe this is just flat out the wrong way to look at it? I don’t know yet, I’m still trying to decide what’s best.

First off I’m using Storyboards, which is the way the project was created in 2021 when I made the target. So, given that I’d like to programmatically load the WindowController, Window, and finally ViewController myself so I can pass this data all the way down to the ViewController. On iOS it’s a very straight forward process. Load the ViewController and specify the init method you’d like to use and provide parameters. Done, easy.

On the Mac there are two extra layers to go through which has me questioning my whole reason for existence. It seems really dumb to pass through two extra layers just to get to the ViewController. Perhaps I do need to rethink my entire existence? Perhaps I just need to rethink the structure of my existing classes to better accommodate the Mac?

Why, Rob, Why?

I’m doing this because the thing that kicks off the refresh process also takes an instance of a protocol that’s used to update progress of the refresh. It’s what drives the progress indicator you see in the navigation bar of the iOS app.

When someone selects the Refresh menu item it’s handled in the App Delegate. That is removed from the UI where the update needs to happen by two layers; Window Controller and Window.

On iOS the UI interaction is handled by the View Controller which kicks the process off right at that layer and provides an implementation of the progress protocol I’ve defined so the UI updates properly. If I didn’t want to update the UI the way I do it would be much easier. 😃 Perhaps the Mac App should do something different, like display a spinner and disable the refresh buttons and menu item until the process is complete?

Anyway. This is leading me to rethink a lot of my iOS strategies from years and years gone by to better suit the Mac and iOS platforms.

These notes are also really good for me. They help me think through the process as I’m typing and also lead me to say “Rob, you’re doing it wrong” a lot, which is also helpful to my learning process.

Overall I’ve had frustrating moments and really great ah-ha moments and I must say that the Mac and iOS communities have been so supportive of me and my stupid questions.

A wonderful bouquet of flowers.The Core Intuition Slack has been amazing! Thanks y’all, you know who you are! 🙏🏼

Had to get a picture of Father Christmas before he came down!

A picture of a flag with a Santa Claus shaped like a crescent moon.

Whoops, it looks like my Mastodon instance has gone down. DOH!

Update: that didn’t last long! 🤣

Stream for Mac: Work Note

Brain in a jarI managed to work on Stream for Mac for a little while yesterday. I got a bit confused about how menus operate on the Mac — from a developer standpoint. I’m an old Windows developer of 20 years turned iOS developer in 2009 and now exploring the Mac and AppKit (yeah, I know, it’s old and busted now.) I got hung up on who “owns” the menu in a Mac App. I’d never had to think about it before, now I have a better understanding of how the Mac and first responder work.

I was kind of beating my head against the concept until our internet connection decided to stop working and I was kind of forced to walk away for a bit. That was intimately the key to figuring it out. I asked some questions on the Core Intuition Slack, using my phone, got some great answers to my noob questions, and read about menus and first responder in a book I have available in Kindle. The book I used was Programming Swift! Mac Apps 1 Swift 3 Edition by Nick Smith. I jumped to Chapter 8 Menus, Toolbars, and First Responder and that did the trick. I’m hoping I’ll be able to carve out some time today to put my newfound knowledge to use. 🤞🏼

I have other chores to take care of first. Hopefully they don’t take too long. Heh, they always take too long. 😂

The Nazi Bar on the Corner

Mike Masnick • Techdirt

Eventually, the Substack founders had to respond. They couldn’t stare off into the distance like Best did during the Nilay Patel interview in April. So another founder, Hamish McKenzie, finally published a Note saying “yes, we allow Nazis and we’re not going to stop.” Of course, as is too often the case on these things, he tried to couch it as a principled stance

This is a list of folks I’ve been following on Substack. I currently pay for one of those subscriptions and I will no longer be doing that.

There are a lot of wonderful writers and thinkers in that list and I’m shocked they’ve chosen to hang out in the Nazi bar. It’s disgusting.

I’m sure there are many other great writers I don’t know about using Substack but it’s time to move on people. Start your own blog and offer a newsletter from there. Want to monetize it? Hanging out with Nazis to get a paycheck is still hanging out with Nazis and it means you support them.

Try WordPress, Ghost, or Buttondown.

There are others

M1 Mac Runners with Christina Warren

I’m not a backend developer but I do find the care and feeding of services fascinating.

In this video Christina Warren takes us into a GitHub lab — complete with lab coat — to discuss GitHub’s M1 Mac runners.

I’ve wondered how these machines were setup. I’d imagined a bunch of Mac Mini’s turned vertically in a custom rack, but that’s not at all what GitHub does! They disassemble the Mini, pull the parts and pieces out, and put them into a custom sled that allows them to slide right into a rack. It’s extremely cool and now I want a rack of them in my home. 🤣

This did raise some questions however.

What do they do with the shells after they gut the Mini? Do they have a deal with Apple to return them? Do they fill them with PC parts and use them as desktop computers?

Why are they using M1s? Why not M2s? Is it because it took time to build out the new sled and master gutting the Mini without destroying parts? Is it because the M1 is so much better than the old x86 boxes that they decided to get M1s at a discount?

How many total Mac runners do the currently have at GitHub, including x86 based boxes? Were they all gutted and configured to work on a sled like these new M1 versions?

Is the process of building out a sled and rack of these documented anywhere?

Does Apple have an opinion on this? Does Apple have a similar setup for their Xcode Cloud service or do they just have a room full of Mac Mini’s somewhere?

Does GitHub have more Macs on their public facing network than Apple? I’d imagine Apple is using cheap PC boxes running Linux for any service they’re not already running on AWS or Azure.

Is Apple, perhaps, running their Xcode Cloud service inside GitHubs infrastructure?

So many questions.

Saturday Morning Coffee

Good morning from Charlottesville, Virginia! ☕️

I don’t know about y’all but I’ve taken the week between Christmas and New Year off. I do it every year and it’s a nice way to wrap up the year. I’m never sure what I’m going to do during my time off but I do hope to work on Stream a little bit and with any luck we’ll have the grandkids over at least one more time. They’re here now and we’re having a great time together.

The Verge

More than 200 Substack authors asked the platform to explain why it’s “platforming and monetizing Nazis,” and now they have an answer straight from co-founder Hamish McKenzie

I follow a number of writers I really like on Substack and I have a terrible feeling they’ll all continue to use the Nazi loving platform because of the money they generate.

I will no longer be supporting any of those authors or linking to any of their work until they abandon the platform.

There are options. You could move to Buttondown, use WordPress, or roll your own like Ben Thompson did for Stratechery.

I know that last option is not for the faint of heart but Ben has managed a successful, paid, newsletter for over a decade.

WordPress is still a bit of work, but much easier than roll-your-own. You can pay WordPress to host your site.

Buttondown is not a VC backed venture — that supports Nazi’s — so it takes money to keep it going. Yes, Buttondown is a paid service.

I’d imagine there are other options. Look around and get away from Substack as quickly as humanly possible.

Figma

Figma and Adobe have reached a joint decision to end our pending acquisition. It’s not the outcome we had hoped for, but despite thousands of hours spent with regulators around the world detailing differences between our businesses, our products, and the markets we serve, we no longer see a path toward regulatory approval of the deal.

Time certainly does fly! I had no idea it had been 18-months since the proposed acquisition began.

I know there were equal parts excitement and dread around the deal but know all folks need to worry about is Figma surviving as a company.

Will Adobe blow the dust off of XD and get back to work or has that season passed? I was on the XD beta and thought it was a really great piece of software. It was a shame to see it go.

Bill Lazar

If you want an overview of how things are in Lahaina four months after the fire, check out Jesse Wald’s video. TL;DR: The EPA just completed the hazardous materials removal project and now the main debris removal will start and take about a year.

Devastating. That’s the only word I can use to describe the Lahaina fire. As Bill notes it’s going to take years for things to get back to “normal.” As if normal can ever really return to these poor people. 💔

Chance Miller and Ben Lovejoy • 9to5Mac

The Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 will no longer be available to purchase from Apple starting later this week.

This is interesting news. It makes me wonder how much Apple will eventually pay to make the problem go away or will they buy the company?

Andrew Hutchinson • Social Media Today

As Threads continues to gain momentum, especially among journalists, a next key step will be the development of an API, which will then enable direct publishing to Threads, as well as scheduling, third-party analytics, and more.

I can kind of see why they’re creating this input only API. They want to support news organizations and the like who schedule posts or have them setup as a part of their publishing workflow.

But Threads could do it by setting up a Weblogs Ping server and accept RSS feeds!

Weblogs ping is a way to tell a server ”Hey, I have an update” and the server goes out and collects your RSS feed. This would be really great for batch updates. Threads could even define their own namespace extension to RSS if they need additional data. Problem solved!

David McCabe and Nico Grant • The New York Times

Google said on Monday that it would allow developers on its Play app store to offer direct payment options to users and would pay $700 million to settle an antitrust suit brought by state attorneys general, in the company’s latest move to navigate increased regulatory scrutiny of its power.

It was kind of strange to see Google lose and Apple win their respective cases. Google chose a jury trial which seems to have lead to their loss.

No matter. It now makes Apple the only company that requires using their store and payment system. Will this help a Government case if they ever push on Apple to allow third party stores and payment systems?

Laine Campbell • Facebook Engineering

While the app’s production launch had been under consideration for some time, the business finally made the decision and informed the infrastructure teams to prepare for its launch with only two days’ advance notice. The decision was made with full confidence that Meta’s infrastructure teams can deliver based on their past track record and the maturity of the infrastructure. Despite the daunting challenges with minimal lead time, the infrastructure teams supported the app’s rapid growth exceptionally well.

This is an incredible engineering feat. I’m not a fan of Facebook but they do have amazing engineers. If you’re into what it takes to power millions of users the world over go read the piece. It’s really good.

The Kyiv Independent

Ukraine’s military intelligence didn’t reveal what forces fighting on Ukraine’s side were responsible for the attack, hinting that it could have been one of the Russian battalions employed by Kyiv.

It’s heartwarming to see Russians push back against Putin. We 100% need to continue our support of Ukraine. Putin and his authoritarian regime cannot be allowed to take another inch of Ukrainian soil. If Ukraine falls, who’s next?

Brent Simmons

Since RSS is an open web thing that brings you stuff people write, and ActivityPub is also an open web thing that brings you stuff people write, it’s an obvious good idea to do both in the same app. Totally.

I thought about supporting ActivityPub — Mastodon in particular — as a first class citizen in Stream but the truth of the matter is it’s already a first class citizen because Mastodon supports RSS natively and it’s really good! Case closed.

Tiny Apple Core

The Privilege of Justice Thomas

Justin Elliott • ProPublica

After almost a decade on the court, Thomas had grown frustrated with his financial situation, according to friends. He had recently started raising his young grandnephew, and Thomas’ wife was soliciting advice on how to handle the new expenses. The month before, the justice had borrowed $267,000 from a friend to buy a high-end RV.

Red sock.I read this piece and was kind of disgusted by the privilege of political power. Here’s a man who chose to take a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land — a job he can quit at any time — only to bitch and moan about his “low pay.” Let me get this straight, a $173,000 salary in the early 2000’s wasn’t enough? Hell, it 2023, I have a high paying job and I don’t make that much.

Let’s take the typical GOP line here. If you don’t like your job or the pay go find another job. It’s that simple.

Since I make less than Judge Thomas does I’d like to let Harlan Crow I’m available to be bought. I don’t need lavish vacations with you. Just shoot me over, let’s say, $5,000,000.00 and I’ll become a Republican. Not a MAGA asshole, just a “normal” Republican.

Thomas accepted a stream of gifts from friends and acquaintances that appears to be unparalleled in the modern history of the Supreme Court. Some defrayed living expenses large and small — private school tuition, vehicle batteries, tires. Other gifts from a coterie of ultrarich men supplemented his lifestyle, such as free international vacations on the private jet and superyacht of Dallas real estate billionaire Harlan Crow.

The stench off privilege is so strong I can smell it in Charlottesville.

George Priest, a Yale Law School professor who has vacationed with Thomas and Crow, told ProPublica he believes Crow’s generosity was not intended to influence Thomas’ views but rather to make his life more comfortable.

Like I said, I’m not too proud to be kept by a billionaire. Since his support of Thomas is simply to “make his life more comfortable” I think I deserve a piece of that action. I won’t do anything for Crow either, except happily take his money and do what I want. I already sound like a Republican!

Sorry for the rant. I hear stuff like this, the privilege of the powerful, and it makes me sick to my stomach. I’m fine but there are so many people out there struggling to get by. People who want to work, people who work their asses off, and are one emergency away from being homeless or not getting enough to eat.

Meanwhile a Supreme Court Justice bitches about his rough life.

Give me a break.

Apple Cloud Computing, please

Brain in a jarAs an Apple developer I feel like there’s a service missing from their offerings. Namely something like AWS or Azure, but for indie devs.

Perhaps that is too small a service or too costly to manage for Apple’s tastes? Remember, Tim Cook loves him a big pile of money.

What I’d like is the ability to host services with Apple. Something like the old Parse prior to Facebook acquiring them. That would allow us small folks to spin up a server without having to manage it.

Now, knowing Apple, this would cost a hojillion dollars to use, which wouldn’t work for an indie like myself, but it would be nice to see them give us an option like that.

Ideal

The ideal service would be a nice restful interface with a dashboard for creation and management of models I could fetch with a simple command per user. I know, I know, it sounds like a slightly enhanced CloudKit at this point which is true, but it would be nice to add the ability to get to these service from any code, be it web or Android or Windows, whatever, and let me save data that is not per user data. Yes, I want a true hosting solution I can spin up with a simple to use web interface and I’d prefer not to have to pay additionally for it.

Now, imagine if small developers who have to pay large sums of money to keep their services running could use a great Apple provider service? I’m looking at you, Castro.

Having a really great option for small to medium indie shops could make the App Store even better.

Hey, a fella can dream, right? 😃

Saturday Morning Coffee

Good morning from Charlottesville, Virginia! ☕️

FrapFor those who celebrate Christmas I hope you’ve completed your shopping and can enjoy your time reading blogs today or enjoy some other non day job activity. 😃

Dave Nemetz • TVLine

Andre Braugher, Star of Homicide and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Dead at 61

This was devastating to me. I’ve liked Andre Braugher since I saw him for the first time on Homicide: Life on the Street. Such a loss.

RIP.

Raymond Chen • The Old New Thing

The x86 instruction set has an ENTER instruction which builds a stack frame. It is almost always used with a zero as the second parameter.

Raymond Chen is one of the best development reads in the world. He’s so smart and can write to boot. He also has great stories to share. I recommend you point your RSS reader at The Old New Thing at Microsoft and enjoy.

Jose Munoz

I’ve used RSS for news and blogs since Google Reader days. I go through my feeds with Reeder on my iPad mini every morning. It’s my favorite time of day. While I’ve been extremely happy for years with Reeder as my RSS reading app, I’ve faced issues with their Reeder Feeds iCloud service.

iCloud sync is a thorn in the side of almost every developer who uses it. It slow to sync and sometimes requires logging out entirely to get it to work. Little indie companies do a better job running services than Apple. Sure, sure, Apple are doing it at huge scale, but so do Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google and I don’t hear about issues like this as often.

It’s really too bad modern software has an expectation of a backing service to make it work properly because a backing service is super expensive to operate. I can’t provide my own sync because I can’t pay hundreds of dollars a month to run a sync service for Stream. I only make a few bucks a month on Stream. And by a few I mean less than $20/month. That’s OK because I chose to make a simple app that isn’t updated often and chose to give it away. But, I feel for those little undies who spend so much to keep services up and running only to just scrape by or lose money.

Chance Miller, Zac Hall, and Michael Potuck • 9to5Mac

Last week, Beeper Mini debuted as a way to bring iMessage to Android, without having to hand over your Apple ID credentials. A few days later, Apple made a change that stopped Beeper Mini from working – and it promised to continue doing so.

Not surprising.

Sarah Perez • TechCrunch

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is throwing her weight behind Beeper, the app that allowed Android users to message iPhone users via iMessage, until Apple shut it down. Warren, an advocate for stricter antitrust enforcement, posted her support for Beeper on X (formerly Twitter) and questioned why Apple would restrict a competitor. The post indicates Apple’s move has now caught the attention of legislators, who are in a position to regulate Big Tech through policymaking.

Sorry, Senator. Goodness knows I love you, I really do, but I disagree with you on this. Apple is a publicly traded company who created a secure service for users of their devices. We pay for it with our purchase of Apple hardware and other services. It shouldn’t be seen as a free public utility.

The Beeper folks did an amazing job reverse engineering Messages so they could do what they did but it’s essentially hacking a service. Of course Apple is going to shut that down.

What should Apple do? That’s an easy answer for me. They should staff up an Android team and write a native Android app version of Messages. Then charge a monthly service fee for it. Problem solved! You’re welcome!

Something I often wonder. Are Apple’s services so bad/insecure that they mask it by not opening them up? I kind of doubt that but it always pops into my head when I read something about one of their services.

FeedLand

I am lobbying everyone I know to add great feed support to social media systems, so we can get out of the mode of dominant platforms before Threads becomes the dominant platform.

I must admit I didn’t understand what FeedLand is all about, but know I think I get it, maybe. 😃

Ultimately it’s an RSS aggregator. But I do get what Dave is trying to do beyond FeedLand.

Using RSS to follow a social site like Madtodon, Threads, or Bluesky would be amazing. RSS is mature, extensible, and stable.

I follow a few Mastodon feeds using Mastodon’s incredible RSS support, but it could go even further.

Imagine if all social networks supported RSS publishing. We could then use our reader of choice to casually browse our aggregated feeds. I know of a nice little iOS App that presents feeds as a timeline, check it out. 😃

Sorry, had to get that self plug in there.

What if social networks went the next step? What if I could set up a social network to read an RSS feed? Then I could write in one spot and publish to many/all using just RSS. That would be amazing.

To go one step further the social network could support weblog ping so the social network would know you’ve made an update.

Prior to social networks we had all of this in the blogging world. Dave Winer did all of it. He did RSS as well as weblogs ping. It worked really well. He even had Weblogs.com (don’t go there now, it’s a spammy site) which would display the latest sites with updates. If you’ve ever used Blo.gs you’ve seen weblog ping in action. You can even check out my ancient C++ command line implementation of weblog ping. 😂

Anyway. RSS in and out of social networks + weblog ping could be a nice open API for any social network without the need for someone to write code to call an API.

Alyssa Place • benefitnews.com

Employees' traditional view of retirement is changing. It’s time for employers to embrace that, too.

I asked WillowTree HR. A couple years back if we had any kind of plan for part time work and we don’t. I’d like to see that happen because, quite honestly, I can’t really retire. But I do hope to slow down when I hit 70 to enjoy what time I’ll have left, hopefully I live long enough to see a partial retirement.

I suspect the type of business we’re in doesn’t work well with part-time workers. It’s all about billing those hours, which is the worst possible business to be in.

Product and Services are still king. Anything you can upgrade and make money from while doing the next version is so much better than the hourly hamster wheel. 🐹

Robb Knight

Threads started to test ActivityPub integration this week and the fediverse is losing it’s collective mind going into overdrive to block them in any way possible so they can’t grab all your data. Here’s the fun part: they can already do that and they definitely don’t need ActivityPub to do that.

There has been a lot of fear surrounding Threads integrating ActivityPub. I had my doubts at one time but as long as they remain good citizens I don’t have a problem with it

Sarah Perez • TechCrunch

Despite delays, the plan to connect Tumblr’s blogging site to the wider world of decentralized social media, also known as the “fediverse,” is still on, it seems.

I think this is good news. Overall Tumblr feels like it fits into the Fediverse better than Wordpress and I hope they’re able to get it there.

Leo Laporte • twit.tv

Unfortunately, our medium, podcasting, has suffered economically since the beginning of Covid. As the number of podcasts grew exponentially, the number of advertisers dwindled, and with it, our revenue. At one time, we had as many as 30 people on the TWiT staff, not including show hosts, producing more than 30 unique shows. Today, the staff is half that size, and we produce half the number of shows.

Every indie podcast I listen to seems to be pushing subscriptions a lot harder than before. The entire market is in a downturn for free shows. Seeing TWiT layoff a bunch of longtime staff and cut shows is surprising and sad.

Mustapha Hamoui • platformer.news

Late Monday, the jury deliberating in Epic Games’ lawsuit against Google ruled in favor of the Fortnite developer. It found that Google harmed Epic by creating a monopoly in in-app billing and app distribution within the Android ecosystem, illegally tying the app store and its billing system together. A series of revenue-sharing deals with developers and device manufacturers were also found to harm competition.

I admit I don’t know how it is Google is found guilty of having an App Store monopoly and Apple isn’t. The law is strange and understanding eludes me at times.⚖️

Will Shanklin • Engadget

Etsy is the latest company to lay off staff in 2023. CEO Josh Silverman confirmed the marketplace is letting go of 11 percent of its staff (around 225 employees) in its first significant staffing cut in recent years. It’s also reshuffling its leadership, including announcing two executives’ departures at the beginning of 2024.

2023 has been such a crummy year in so many ways but all the tech layoffs scare the crap out of me. I still worry about being laid off and hope the new year doesn’t continue the trend we’ve seen in 2023. 😔

John Scalzi

Abandoning the Former Twitter: A Four-Week Check-In

I’m a fan of John Scalzi’s writing and have many of his book, most unread at the time of this publishing. Not only does he write books he also has a very active blog and social media presence. I loved following him on Twitter and now I love following him on Mastodon. You can too!

Tiny Apple Core

Grammie — my wife Kim — with her festive mocha with peppermint whipped cream. 😋

Picture of a coffee mug that says Grammie on it. It’s a mocha with peppermint whipped cream!

Ms. Gracie is trying her darndest to get Ms. Priss to play with her.

Picture of our puppy, Ms.&10;Gracie, sitting at attention.

Flynn loves getting his ears scratched.

Picture of our gray and white kitty, Flynn, getting his ears rubbed/scratched.

Saturday Morning Coffee

Good morning from Charlottesville, Virginia! ☕️

Cold EspressoAnother week, gone. We’re picking up the grandkids this morning so I’ll have to get this put together quickly this morning. Sorry, grandpa duty calls! 👴🏼

I’m finishing this off in the car as we go to get them. 🤣

Hope you enjoy the links.

Max Boot • The Washington Post

The GOP’s abandonment of Ukraine makes me ashamed to be an American

This is gut wrenching. Ukraine is standing between Russia and Europe. That nutter in Russia isn’t going to stop at Ukraine. He’ll go until someone can stop him.

Come on G.O.P., get your crap together and defend democracy. Oh, right, you no longer care about that.

Ananya Bhattacharya • Quartz

Spotify is ending 2023 with its third and biggest layoffs of the year

Man, 2023 has been a crummy year for tech workers. Here’s hoping 2024 is much, much, better.

James Verniere • Boston Herald

“Leave the World Behind,” which is based on a 2020 novel by American author Rumaan Alam and produced by among others Barrack and Michelle Obama, is nothing less than a modern-day version of Alfred Hitchcock’s unforgettable 1963 hit “The Birds.”

I watched this last night and I really liked it. If you have Netflix check it out.

Ashur Cabrera

Once upon a time — way back in, like, 2004 or something — I used to turn my nose up at sites that served an RSS feed with only an excerpt. It felt, I think I would have said, like a sleazy way to drive clicks. (“Information wants to be free!” etc. 🙄) Twenty years on I still read a ton from RSS feeds, but I found recently that I’m starting to thaw on that position quite a bit.

Ashur, what happened to the curmudgeon in you? 😃

As a developer of a feed reader I get request to display the full article and it’s what I prefer so I don’t have to visit the website. That’s a feature on the feature list for Stream. One of these days.

Bart Decrem • Mammoth Blog

Introducing Mammoth 2: The easiest way quit Twitter/X for good and join Mastodon

It’s nice to see developers strive to make Mastodon work for old Twitter, non techie, users to get started with Mastodon. That’s been the biggest barrier to entry. Folks can’t figure out how to join and they also tend to like recommendations.

Jacob Kastrenakes • The Verge

Earlier this year, a developer slid into Eric Migicovsky’s DMs with a spectacular claim: that he had reverse engineered Apple’s iMessage, allowing any device — Android, Windows, whatever — to send messages as a blue bubble. Migicovsky didn’t believe what he was reading.

This is an interesting read. Bravo to the 16-year old who figured it out!

Daring Fireball

But Overcast does exist, and it’s the app where most people with exquisite taste in UI are listening to podcasts.

Poor Castro has languished and definitely doesn’t have the geek recognition Overcast does. I’d imagine that’s why it’s the number one podcast player in John’s stats.

As far as UI preferences and paradigm go, Castro fits me better.

I’d love to be able to buy it from Tiny and keep working on it. I’ve already shared my opinion on the matter.

Aldous J Pennyfarthing • Daily Kos

House Speaker Mike Johnson, whose grand vision for America includes transforming every uterus in the country into a Pez dispenser, is convinced he’s the North American Moses who will lead his people to the Promised Land.

Yeah, this guy wants a theocracy. No thank you.

Sure, the Christians might agree with you but what about Jews, Muslims, Buddhists? Name your religion. It’s not right. Our First Amendment was setup to protect us from a theocracy, but we all know the G.O.P. doesn’t really care about the Constitution.

Susana Polo • Polygon

The Comixology app, the mobile incarnation of the digital comics platform owned by Amazon since 2014, has finally shuffled off this mortal coil.

I’ve had ComiXology for a number of years but I never went for the subscription. I just don’t read enough. I don’t see this as a bad move. Comics are just another type of book and the Kindle App is fine for reading.

ESPN

While four teams are celebrating the opportunity to play for a national title on the field, undefeated ACC champion Florida State is on the outside, becoming the first unbeaten Power 5 conference winner to ever miss out on the College Football Playoff.

This broke a lot of hearts and it’s a real shame the 12 team — why not 16 — playoff wasn’t in place this year.

Of course I say that and my own thoughts on the matter didn’t include Florida State.

I also thought Georgia should have been in. Off by one error. We got Alabama from the SEC instead.

Apple

Apple TV+ today shared the first images from “Constellation,” a new eight-part, conspiracy-based psychological thriller drama starring Noomi Rapace (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “You Won’t Be Alone”) and Emmy Award nominee Jonathan Banks (“Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul”).

So, yeah, I’m looking forward to this! Anything with Noomi Rapace in it is good in my book.

Danijela Vrzan

Let’s implement a custom dark mode color in our app - dark blue.

Really nice SwiftUI article on how to change the colors used for Light and Dark mode for your app. Well done.

Tiny Apple Core