Linked List Archive

The Dark Side of Dark Mode ➝

Adam Engst, writing for TidBits, in reference to a 2013 paper by Piepenbrock, Mayr, Mund, and Buchner in the journal Ergonomics:

To summarize, a dark-on-light (positive polarity) display like a Mac in Light Mode provides better performance in focusing of the eye, identifying letters, transcribing letters, text comprehension, reading speed, and proofreading performance, and at least some older studies suggest that using a positive polarity display results in less visual fatigue and increased visual comfort.

I’ve never been a fan of dark mode and don’t understand its recent popularity. Whenever I give it a try, I find text harder to read, interfaces more difficult to navigate, and I feel like it’s more tiring to actually use. And I’m glad there’s some amount of evidence to support my impressions.

iOS and iPadOS 13 Impressions ➝

Some quick observations and impressions from JF Martin on the latest beta of iOS and iPadOS. I just installed it on my iPad last night and share a similar experience — it’s surprisingly stable for such an early release.

tvOS 13 Beta 2 Brings Picture-in-Picture to Apple TV ➝

Benjamin Mayo, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

Although strangely not mentioned in Apple’s WWDC keynote, tvOS 13 beta 2 has a nice surprise: support for Picture-in-Picture video playback.

You can now watch shows from the Apple TV app whilst multitasking around the rest of the operating system. Just like the iPad, Apple TV users can leave the video playing in a thumbnail window whilst they navigate the rest of the operating system.

This seems like the sort of feature that Apple should have demoed on stage. It probably would have received a greater response than PlayStation 4 controller support did.

Samsung Accidentally Makes the Case for Not Owning a Smart TV ➝

Jon Porter, writing for The Verge:

Samsung has reminded owners of its smart TVs that they should be regularly scanning for malware using its built-in virus scanning software. “Prevent malicious software attacks on your TV by scanning for viruses on your TV every few weeks,” a (now deleted) tweet from the company’s US support account read alongside a video attachment that demonstrated the laborious process.

It’s amazing to me that this was ever tweeted at all. Imagine if Microsoft was marketing their operating system by sharing tips on how to use malware or virus scanners on Windows. It’s not a good look.

Automating Day One With IFTTT ➝

I’ve been using Day One sporadically for the past year or so, but I’ve been trying to integrate a daily journaling habit into my nighttime routine. With that has come some interest in automating Day One with IFTTT, which is a feature that I hadn’t explored until tonight.

So far I’ve setup a couple of applets in IFTTT — one that creates a new entry whenever I like an article in Instapaper and another that creates an entry every time I publish here on Initial Charge. I’m not sure how much value this will add to Day One, but I’m optimistic. I’m hoping that having a single repository for everything I create will lead to some niceties. For example, the “on this day” feature becomes much more useful when you create entries more consistently.

Apple Is Listening ➝

Marco Arment:

It’s hard to tell when Apple is listening. They speak concisely, infrequently, and only when they’re ready, saying absolutely nothing in the meantime, even when we’re all screaming about a product line as if it’s on fire. They make great progress, but often with courageous losses that never get reversed, so an extended silence because we’re stuck with a change forever is indistinguishable from an extended silence because the fix isn’t ready yet.

But there has clearly been a major shift in direction for the better since early 2017, and they couldn’t be more clear now:

Apple is listening again, they’ve still got it, and the Mac is back.

I absolutely agree with Marco, my optimism for the Mac has grown exponentially over the past year or so. But my biggest concern is still a work in progress. Apple needs to build off of this momentum. In two or three years, the current iteration of the Mac Mini can’t still be the current iteration. Regular, predictable under-the-hood upgrades to existing products is an important piece of the puzzle and the jury is still out as to whether that will take place over the long term. Again, I’m optimistic, but if rumors start to spread that the momentum is slowing, that feeling can change on a dime.

Handbrake Blu-Ray Video Conversion Settings ➝

I just recently purchased this Blu-ray drive so I can rip high quality movies and TV shows for playback on Plex and Infuse. For anyone curious, I rip the disc using MakeMKV, which is free while in beta, and then use Handbrake with the settings in the above link. The resulting video quality is superb, especially considering the file size. And if you still rip standard definition DVDs from time to time, the site has settings for that too.

And of course, this should only be used for making backups of discs that you actually own.

iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case ➝

I used Apple’s Smart Battery Case on my iPhone 8 during a work trip to New Orleans last week. I’m don’t plan on using an iPhone case in my day-to-day, but for trips, this thing is fantastic. It gave the device a bit of extra heft for taking photos, allowed me to use my iPhone all day without worrying about battery life, and I didn’t have to worry about dropping it while I’m out-and-about.

If you’re in the market for a case or want something to use to extend battery life while traveling, Apple’s Smart Battery Case is an excellent product.