Oh You Pretty Things:
Filmmaker Gary Hustwit is streaming his documentaries free worldwide during the global COVID crisis. Each week we’ll be posting another film here. We hope you enjoy them, and please stay strong.
Helvetica is available until March 24. It’s an excellent documentary that anyone who is interested in design should watch. I plan on watching it later tonight and look forward to seeing which of Gary Hustwit’s films will be available next.
A solid update to my favorite RSS app. They’ve moved to a subscription pricing model, which I hope means we’ll actually see a more consistent stream of new features going forward. But in this new version I’m ecstatic about the native support for saving links to read later services.
I follow some work-related feeds alongside my collection of Apple sites and personal weblogs. My workflow involves starring items from work related feeds and saving everything else to Instapaper, this keeps the two types of articles in different buckets that I can go through separately.
In the previous version of Unread, this workflow made my personal feed reading feel like a second class citizen. Starring was so much easier than saving to Instapaper because it didn’t require the additional tap of opening the share sheet. But in Unread 2, the save to Instapaper action sits alongside the starring action within the primary article menu.
A good solution to the iPad’s multitasking problem from Ryan Christoffel. In short, he thinks the long-press contextual menus that appear on app icons should include options for split view and slide over. I think this is a great idea, but I’d still be concerned about discoverability.
I hesitate to advocate for an omnipresent menu that could be used for these type of system functions, but I’m not sure how else you could include advanced features like multitasking in any other way without always dealing with issues of discoverability. At least with a consistent button in the system status bar there would be something indicating that options are available.
Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg:
The technology giant is discussing whether to let users choose third-party web browser and mail applications as their default options on Apple’s mobile devices, replacing the company’s Safari browser and Mail app, according to people familiar with the matter.
This is a huge step in the right direction. And I wouldn’t mind them giving developers the ability to release web browsers with their own rendering engines as well.
Matt Birchler, referencing my assertion that ten years ago he would have purchased a Mac Pro instead of a PC:
I think he’s absolutely right. I would have bit the bullet and paid a bit more to get a nicer enclosure and the software I much prefer. 15 years ago when I went to college, I kind of assumed I would eventually get a Mac Pro because it wasn’t that much more expensive than the $2,500 laptop I just bought.
I know the Mac Pro is a low volume product, even at the lower prices of ten years ago. But I think Apple would be wise to rethink the current state of their lineup — I’m sure there are a lot of enthusiasts that are considering PCs again. And those are the same sorts of people that influence the buying decisions of their friends and family.
I don’t plan on running this on my own machine because I almost never turn it off. But if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic and do shutdown your Mac from time to time, by all means, have at it.
An excellent piece by Nick Heer discussing the terrible state of permissions prompts and security-related dialogs in macOS.
This all brought me to an interesting realization: Apple doesn’t make a Mac for me anymore.
Or maybe I’ve just changed what I want from a desktop computer. Either way, none of the options Apple currently sells would make me happy, which is how we get to today.
He ended up purchasing a PC from Dell. And this is someone that has been using Macs for decades. If that doesn’t tell you how dire the situation is, I don’t know what will.
I’ve written previously about my frustration with Apple’s Mac Pro pricing and I think that’s the key to all of this. The Mac Pro was the safety valve — the best option when no other Mac met your needs. Because of its internal expansion and high power ceiling, it was versatile enough for just about any task. The current Mac Pro has that in spades, but what it doesn’t have is a relatively affordable starting price point. Without that, folks like Matt and myself have to consider whether macOS is actually worth buying a machine that doesn’t offer the features or form factor we need.
Ten years ago, I suspect Matt would have ended up with a Mac Pro. Perhaps begrudgingly since it was a bit over his budget, but at least he would have had an option that was attainable. The current Mac Pro is just too darn expensive for a large swath of Mac users that previously would have considered it as the best option for them.
Unlike Matt, I’m not going to end up with a PC — my current plan is to buy a new Mac Mini. But it’s pretty sad that Mac enthusiasts are even having this conversation.