Linked List Archive

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

Apple Teams Up With Google, Mozilla, and Microsoft to Improve Browser Extensions ➝

Filipe Espósito, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

As reported now by CNET, Apple and other big tech companies have discussed at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) how they can make the process of developing web extensions easier by reducing the differences between web browsers. The idea is that these universal extensions work effortlessly in Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.

I’m not holding my breath on these efforts bearing fruit on iOS. But as a recent convert to Firefox — on both Mac and iOS — I would really appreciate some improvements to the third-party browser situation on iPhone and iPad.

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Amazon Sidewalk ➝

Brendan Hesse, writing for Lifehacker:

On June 8, Amazon will launch a new feature called Sidewalk that creates small, public internet networks powered by Echo smart speakers and Ring home security products in your neighborhood. Yes, including yours—unless you disable the setting, which is turned on by default. That means if you don’t want your devices included in this particular tech experiment, you only have a week left to opt out.

I’m not necessarily opposed to this feature existing, but it shouldn’t be enabled by default. That’s just silly.

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Apple Design Awards Finalists ➝

There sure seems to be more and more games in the ADAs each year, which limits my enthusiasm for the awards overall. But it is nice to see 1Password get some appreciation.

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New Design in Firefox 89 ➝

I plan to write a bit more about Firefox, as I’ve recently switched, but I can’t say I’m thrilled with the new design. Specifically the new tabs and the changes to the address bar.

I don’t like that the current tab is the only one with borders around it and I hate that there’s no way to customize what page actions are displayed in the address bar.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to consider setting browser.proton.enabled to “false” in about:config and adding the following to userChrome.css:

/* Remove Page Actions Menu */
  display: none !important;

That will revert to the previous tab design and hide much of the page actions that appear in the address bar.

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Remote Access Could Become a Standard iOS Feature ➝

I hope Bradley Chambers is right, but I’m not holding my breath. It would be so much easier to help my in-laws with their iPhones and iPads if I could easily remote into their device to see exactly what’s going on.

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M1 Macs Running Big Sur 11.4 Support External Disks Fully ➝

Howard Oakley:

I’m delighted to report that five months after I wrote that M1 Macs had problems starting up from external disks, Apple has finally fixed Big Sur 11.4 so that they now work fully.

If you have an M1 Mac, you should now be able to connect supported storage, such as an SSD, install on it any version of Big Sur from 11.2 onwards, select that in the Startup Disk pane, and boot your Mac from that external disk.

This is very good news. I’d like to buy a new Mac Mini to replace our aging home server and my plan was to buy one with the base storage capacity and use an external disk as the boot drive. But the wonky-ness of booting from an external drive gave me pause.

I still don’t know when I’ll end up ordering the Mac Mini, but at least I don’t have to worry about whether I can boot from an external drive with it or not.

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Cloudron, a Complete Solution for Self-Hosting Web Apps ➝

I setup a Linode server last night with Cloudron to toy around with some more self-hosted apps. I’m very impressed so far. It offers a great collection of apps and easy-to-use tools for managing everything. I don’t know what all I’ll end up using long term, but I have Wallabag, AllTube, and Mastodon high on my list of apps to try.

It only allows installing up to two apps with the free plan, which is a little limiting, but I sort-of feel like I won’t regret paying if I end up doing so.

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Amazon to Acquire MGM for $8.45 Billion ➝

I expect Amazon Prime Video’s going to get a lot of new additions as a result of this. But I don’t think it’ll have any impact on my usage of the service.

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