Linked List Archive

The Initial Charge Linked List is a collection of notable links and brief commentary, with entries regularly added throughout the week.

Unmasking Twitter ➝

Michael Tsai, on Twitter’s decision to censor tweets that go “directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information”:

Obviously, there is a lot of misinformation out there, and they don’t want Twitter to be overrun with it. But some information from health and government sources has turned out to be incorrect, and different authoritative sources don’t always agree with one another. Some potential treatments are approved in certain jurisdictions but banned in others. Knowledge is evolving by the day, but nothing is going to be truly verified scientifically until after this is all over.

This is my line of thinking when social media companies introduce and/or enforce rules like this. For some topics, like COVID-19, the recommendations from various government and scientific sources are contradictory. And more broadly, the people making the definitive decisions about what tweets are deemed false or misleading are often guilty of their own biases.

Unfortunately, this is the path that we have to take. If only because advertisers will demand it — they don’t want to see their brand promoted next to anything they consider to be misleading, incorrect, dangerous, or objectionable. But hopefully we’ll all eventually move away from these platforms, before things get too bad, toward a more open web where each of us share our ideas on our own domains.

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Why ‘Hey’ Had to Wait ➝

David Heinemeier Hansson:

HEY is going to launch when the world’s got a handle on this virus. When we either find a new normal, living within long-running restrictions, or we find a way to beat this thing. We’re not going to put a date on that, because nobody knows when that might be. And we’re not going to pretend that we do either.

I was pretty excited about the launch of Hey. I’ve been aimlessly searching for a good email client for years and have never been happy with any of the options. It’s disappointing that we’ll have to wait longer, but I trust that they’re making the right decision. And when Hey does eventually launch, I’m sure it’ll be even better.

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Dark Sky Joins Apple ➝

Adam Grossman, writing on Dark Sky’s weblog:

Today we have some important and exciting news to share: Dark Sky has joined Apple.

Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy.

There is no better place to accomplish these goals than at Apple. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to reach far more people, with far more impact, than we ever could alone.

Dark Sky for iOS will continue to be available and all of their other apps and services will be discontinued in the future.

I hope this goes as well as the Workflow acquisition did, but there are a lot of weather apps that are built on Dark Sky’s API. The service will continue to be available for existing developers until the end of next year, but all of those developers will have to move to another service before they’re cut off.

This must be more than simply updating the native iOS Weather app with an Apple-owned data provider.

I would really like to see Apple develop Dark Sky into a system-level API. So an application could ask for your current location’s weather conditions and/or forecast and display it within their app however they choose. Apple could present a dialog box asking you for permission to share the data with the app, and the developer could rely on the system for polling for updates. I see an API like this being useful for weather apps, journaling apps, calendar apps, and more.

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Jordan Merrick Retires His GitHub Shortcuts Directory ➝

Jordan Merrick has decided to move his shortcuts directory to his own site because Shortcuts no longer allows you to import the .shortcut files that he had been storing on GitHub:

All of my shortcuts are being made available on my site and can be found at a dedicated Shortcuts page. Although I write blog posts for some of them, I’ve created plenty of shortcuts which I’ve never blogged about. That isn’t going to change but any time I create a new shortcut that I think others might find useful, at the very least I’ll publish it here.

I understand why Apple made that decision — if there was a malicious shortcut going around, since they can only be shared with an iCloud link, Apple would have the ability to remove the shortcut from their server and prevent it from spreading further.

But this limitation makes backing up your shortcuts a major pain. If you build a shortcut to automatically backup all of your shortcuts to iCloud links and then save the links into a notes app, you have to tap through a prompt for every single shortcut you have.

Thankfully Jordan linked to a shortcut that lets you import .shortcut files into the Shortcuts app. So I’ve returned to backing up my shortcuts as files and will utilize the .shortcut importer if I ever have to restore anything.

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Kernel Extension Warnings in macOS Catalina 10.15.4 ➝

I only use a single kernel extension and that’s the one that Turbo Boost Switcher Pro uses. I hope Apple gives us a low-power mode in the next major release of macOS or they decide to postpone the deprecation of kernel extensions until they ship the feature.

(Via Stephen Hackett.)

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In Praise of the iPadOS Cursor ➝

Jason Snell:

Apple didn’t just copy Mac cursor support and paste it into iPadOS with version 13.4. This is a careful, considered set of additions that rethink what a cursor should look like. And apparently it should look like an adorable round sticky color-changing blob.

The cursor in iPadOS 13.4 is very thoughtfully designed. It’s downright delightful to use. But beyond that, I have two distinct impressions of this feature:

  • I don’t expect I’ll actually use it too often. My time on the iPad is far more laid back — I primarily use my iPad on the couch and in bed, which aren’t ideal locations for a trackpad. I suspect the majority of the time I’m using it will be the times when I’m editing/writing text with a keyboard attached.
  • I don’t think I like the snapping nature of the cursor encompassing buttons as it goes near them. It’s a bit more jarring than I prefer and my brain is having a hard time tracking the transition from the round cursor to a feint square that surrounds the button. Luckily it can be disabled from Settings > Accessibility > Pointer Control, the “Pointer Animations” option.

These opinions could change over time, especially if I purchase the Magic Keyboard with the built-in trackpad. But I’m so happy that this feature exists. If only because it seems to be encouraging less enthusiastic iPad owners to reconsider the platform.

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Base Station Apple Watch Edition Wireless Charger by Nomad ➝

If I was buying a wireless charger for my bedside table, this is the one I would get. I have the standard Base Station, which is essentially this one minus the Apple Watch charging pad, and I absolutely love it.

This new model builds on Nomad’s previous Apple Watch Edition by adding a USB-A and USB-C charging port to the back. For the Apple product enthusiast, this single charger could be used to power an iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch wirelessly and still have two ports on the back that could be used to charge an iPad and whatever other random device that needs charging.

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YouTube Premium Is Amazing ➝

Gus Mueller:

A few months ago while watching climbing competition videos on YouTube with the family, I finally broke down and began the 30 day free trial of YouTube Premium.

I now wish I had done it years ago.

Removing ads instantly changed my YouTube viewing habits. What was previously a pit of frustration waiting for horrible little clips to play turned into a wonderful experience of listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan concerts in the background, devouring guitar lessons, enjoying the funk covers of Scary Pockets, and more.

YouTube has become my most frequently used video service for quite sometime now and I can’t imagine that being the case if not for YouTube Premium. It completely changes the experience.

If you’re looking for something interesting to watch, I recommend Glen & Friends Cooking, Grand POOBear, and Summoning Salt, to name a few.

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