Tag Archive for ‘Michael Tsai’

The Apple Services Experience Is Not Good Enough ➝

Michael Tsai:

The services apps are all frustrating to use. In may ways, they feel worse than Web apps. I cannot believe how Apple has let them regress so much. I miss iTunes from 15 years ago.

I maintain an old Mac Mini that runs El Capitan and an even older iMac that runs Snow Leopard. iTunes is so much better on those older machines than the current state of the TV app, Apple Music, and Apple Podcasts.

My current pet peeve is the Podcast app’s lack of OPML export or import. What a terrible, user-hostile omission.

I was recently trying to export my subscriptions from Pocket Casts and import them into Apple Podcasts so I could use the Apple TV app to more conveniently playback video podcasts. But, no dice. There’s no way to just import an OPML file. I would have to go through and manually subscribe to every single podcast. I’m not going to do that over a hundred podcasts.

➝ Source: mjtsai.com

Google Search Is Dying ➝

I haven’t used Google as my default search engine in many years, but every time I do, it’s a disappointing experience. But I would add that web search in general is in a pretty poor state. The web is filled with sites that spend more time on SEO than they do on content and the quality of search results reflects that.

➝ Source: mjtsai.com

Search Engines and SEO Spam ➝

Michael Tsai:

I’ve long been in the camp saying that Google’s search was way ahead. I’m not sure what’s happened, but in the last few months I’ve noticed a huge decline in the quality of its results. I now regularly repeat my searches with DuckDuckGo to make sure I’m not missing something. Sometimes the problem is SEO spam, where the page I want isn’t on the first page or two of results, but perhaps if I clicked Next enough times I would eventually see it. Other times, I’m searching for something rare, Google only finds a handful of matches, and it appears that the page in question is not even indexed.

I don’t use Google as often as I used to. I switched to DuckDuckGo a handful of years ago and most recently switched to SearX early last year. I still fallback to DuckDuckGo and Google, though, when I’m having a hard time finding what I’m looking for.

Here’s the thing, web search isn’t good anymore. It doesn’t matter what service I use, the results are peppered with SEO spam and mediocre links. What I think I want is a search engine that only gave me results from small, independent weblogs.

More often than not I just want to find information from a normal person that’s writing about something because they care deeply about it. And that’s very difficult to find in search engines today.

➝ Source: mjtsai.com

Indie App Catalog ➝

Dave Verwer:

What would an App Store look like if it focused on apps by independent developers? Filip Nemecek shows us! What a great idea. Of course, this would be better as an app itself, but the guidelines would get in the way of that plan, but a web version is better than nothing!

Wouldn’t it be cool if Apple allowed sideloading on iOS and a group of indie app developers came together to create an invite-only app store consisting exclusively of apps from those developers?

(Via Michael Tsai.)

➝ Source: indiecatalog.app

Apple’s Epic Lie ➝

Michael Tsai:

This seems clear-cut to me. Yes, Epic willfully disregarded the App Store guidelines last year, and Apple had cause to terminate its developer account. But, just this month, Apple said that Epic could come back if it agreed to follow the guidelines. Epic promised to, but instead of following through, Apple now says it won’t even consider lifting the ban for potentially five years.

If they weren’t going to let Epic back into the App Store, just say so. Or at the very least make some wishy-washy statement about how the situation would need to be reviewed thoroughly or something. But don’t lie.

This is not the way to build trust.

➝ Source: mjtsai.com

Tenants, Landlords, and Cloud Services ➝

Drew Harwell, writing on Twitter:

Apple, which says it will refuse government demands to expand its on-device image scanning, currently blocks people from getting the phrase “Human Rights” or “Freedom of the Press” engraved on their iPhone because China doesn’t like it

A thought has been in my head a lot recently regarding Apple’s CSAM scanning — why isn’t the storage space we pay for on iCloud and other cloud services treated like rental property?

That would position us as tenants and the cloud provider as landlords, giving us all the same legal protections. For example, even though the landlord owns the property, they can’t consent to the police searching the premises.

In order for the police to search an apartment or rental property, they need consent from the tenant, a warrant, or evidence that there is an imminent danger.

The evidence of imminent danger argument is the closest, but the issue here is that Apple can’t actually verify what’s in the CSAM database. Sure, they’re told that it’s hashes of CSAM content, but they must trust that this is the case with no way to verify.

They do screen the flagged images before alerting authorities, but then we must trust Apple to do the right thing. Which, based on Drew Harwell’s example above, it’s not clear that we can actually do that.

Bringing it back to the tenant and landlord relationship, though, there are also laws that restrict landlords from entering the property when there is an active tenant. And I would consider looking through the images flagged as a violation of those laws.

(Via Michael Tsai.)

➝ Source: mobile.twitter.com

Scanning iCloud Photos for Child Sexual Abuse ➝

A great collection of thoughts on Apple’s recent CSAM-related announcements, put together by Michael Tsai. The common theme I’ve seen among the reactions overall is that the privacy conscious are concerned about what this could become, while Apple and some others are defending what it is currently.

If this system stays as it is today, I don’t think many people would protest — obviously child sexual abuse material is objectively wrong. But there are very real concerns about how the system could be abused by authoritarian governments, nefarious actors within Apple, or groups/individuals targeting others by tricking them into adding an image to their iCloud Photo Library.

I don’t really know what could be done about any of those things beyond simply taking Apple’s word for it. But as time goes on, I’m finding it more and more difficult to trust that Apple is always going to make the right decisions.

➝ Source: mjtsai.com

Apple Attacks Sideloading ➝

Michael Tsai:

If you were designing a system primarily to protect customers, the last thing you’d want is for the entity reviewing apps to be making money on each one sold. And, just as you’d expect from such an arrangement, we see scammy apps among the top sellers and legitimate apps rejected for business rather than safety reasons.

The App Store is holding the platform back. There’s a lot that Apple could do to improve the status quo, but apps would still be rejected for absurd reasons and garbage games designed to separate you from your money will always find their way to the top of the charts.

They need to either open up the platform to allow installation of native apps from outside the App Store or a massive improvement to support for progressive web apps. Developers and users need an alternative without having to move to Android.

➝ Source: mjtsai.com