Month: October 2022

Daniel Holden and Chris Kerr:

This website displays a collection of twelve code poems, each written in the source code of a different programming language. Every poem is also a valid program which produces a visual representation of itself when compiled and run.

What a beautiful project. I am truly blown away by each of these poems and their recursive quality. I love stuff like this. (Via Web Curios.)

Ken Klippenstein and Lee Fang, the Intercept:

The Department of Homeland Security is quietly broadening its efforts to curb speech it considers dangerous, an investigation by The Intercept has found. Years of internal DHS memos, emails, and documents — obtained via leaks and an ongoing lawsuit, as well as public documents — illustrate an expansive effort by the agency to influence tech platforms.

This mandate apparently began around 2018 during the Trump administration — representatives from which often complained about censorship by tech companies and later sued over it because irony is dead — and has expanded under the Biden administration. This story raises worrying questions about how private companies that dominate specific markets provide a workaround for U.S. Constitutional limitations, particularly by the DHS. For example, the Fourth Amendment prohibits law enforcement from conducting surveillance without a warrant, but it does not prevent agencies from buying records of virtually the same information.

Whether the First Amendment is now being subject to similar workarounds is a good question for lawyers. With very few narrow exceptions, government officials are not supposed to tell either people or companies what they are able to say and publish. But if intelligence agencies are suggesting in meetings that posts they flagged should be scrutinized at a higher level, is that meaningfully impacting users’ First Amendment rights, or is it more accurately impacting the platforms’ rights? Statements from lawyers published in this Intercept piece sound like the latter is more true.

There is a fundamental question here: even if government officials are fully accurate in their reports — a paper (PDF) cited in this story pegs its track record at about 35% — is this something they should be responsible for? I do not think the answer is a hearty yes because there are clearly problems with it, but I also do not believe it is a definite no, either. If officials are flagging posts and they are treated like any other person’s concern, I am not sure that is necessarily a problem. But they are not — for one, there is apparently tighter coordination between officials and platforms and, for another, they have a special place to file reports:

There is also a formalized process for government officials to directly flag content on Facebook or Instagram and request that it be throttled or suppressed through a special Facebook portal that requires a government or law enforcement email to use. At the time of writing, the “content request system” at is still live. DHS and Meta, the parent company of Facebook, did not respond to a request for comment. The FBI declined to comment.

It is utterly bananas to think now retracted reports from the Wire which alleged, in the broadest of strokes, that government officials have greater leverage when flagging posts on Meta properties were based on probably fake documentation when this very real portal exists. To be clear, it seems little of the Wire’s reporting was based on factual information, but a version of its characterization is apparently real.

Update: A more careful read of this story indicates Klippenstein and Fang misrepresented and overdramatized aspects of this story. It is a worthwhile followup read.

If you work in print design, you may have noticed a bunch of colours you paid for have begun to disappear from the software you rely upon to get your work done. One minute, you are happily doing your job; the next, your software has become less capable and your expenses have risen.

Well, good news. Stuart Semple has released a free palette of colours that just so happens to match a more famous colour system. You can keep doing the work you do, and let the big businesses figure out their own licensing mess since none of that should be any of your concern.

James Vincent, London Review of Books:

The ascendancy of Lena in image processing is, then, the result of the usual mix of impromptu decision-making and post-hoc justification that underlies a surprising amount of scientific work. But it is also an example of the way that specific entities used to simplify the production of technical knowledge are revealing of the world that has selected them. The use of the Lena image over decades has contributed to the casual misogyny of the male-dominated field of computer science, a world in which the surveillance and appraisal of women is so ordinary as to make erotic images interchangeable with wildlife photography. Objects such as these are what Dylan Mulvin, a historian of media and technology, calls ‘proxies’. The influence of such proxies, he shows, is sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious, but invariably underexamined. […]

A thoughtful exploration of how the development of things we think of as standards often relies, even to this day, on bias and assumption.

Tim Cook, via Jason Snell’s transcript of comments made during today’s quarterly earnings call:

[…] Importantly, our investment in the category has attracted both upgraders and customers new to Mac, and helped our install base reach an all time high. In fact, we set a quarterly record for upgraders, where nearly half of customers buying Mac during the quarter were new to the device.


The other thing that I should mention is that about two-thirds of the Apple Watches that we sold were to customers that had not previously owned an Apple Watch. And so we’re still very much selling to new customers here, which is very, very good for future.

No matter how big Apple gets, it is still a little surprising to me every time the company announces that half its Mac buyers are new. It has said that for years, and it is still true today after racking up its best ever Mac sales quarter. Undoubtably, that is why it just had a record quarter, but it demonstrates how far the Mac user base has grown and can continue to do so.

Elon Musk, Twitter’s new owner, in a tweeted letter addressed to advertisers, embedded as a series of screenshots without descriptive text:

That said, Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences! In addition to adhering to the laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all, where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences, just as you can choose, for example, to see movies or play video games ranging from all ages to mature.

It is notable how much this deviates from Musk’s own post-purchase goals. In the course of a single interview, Musk went from a free speech absolutist — who would only want to see restrictions when legally required — to wanting to “eliminate” spam and automated accounts. And now, with the goal of turning Twitter into “the most respected advertising platform in the world”, Musk says its policies must be welcoming to all.

How in the world he expects to accomplish that is something I am curious to learn more about. I have an open mind. Yet, nothing in this letter is much different from the kind of stuff any social network says it does. Every platform says it has policies that are simultaneously inclusive and permissive until they are tested. Every platform has figured out there are non-legal limits that build a better community. It is not a great sign that among Musk’s first moves as new owner was to fire policy head Vijaya Gadde.

Manton Reece, “Dear Elon Musk”:

The common digital “square” should be the entire web, with a diverse set of platforms. There should be common APIs but many communities with their own rules, goals, and business models. Concentrating too much power in only a couple social media companies is what created the mess we’re in. The way out is more platforms, free to make the best decisions for their users knowing that there are options to leave and less lock-in for developers.

The development of platforms for specific kinds of social networking made it seem like each was a “town square”: Twitter for short messages and public-facing discussions; LinkedIn for bleak work updates; Facebook for connecting with anyone you ever bumped into at a party. But Twitter is not a town square, and neither are any of these other networks. They only seem that way.

Unlikeable as I find Musk’s public personality, weasel words, and many of his projects, I am cautiously hopeful private ownership will permit the company to right itself. Given the track record of its new owner, I am not expecting many of his proposed massive changes to materialized. I would not be surprised if the first few months are a rollercoaster as Twitter employees much more knowledgable in social network policies catch Musk up to speed, if he is willing to trust their learned experience.

Have to wonder what this means for all those Twitter clones which marketed themselves as more permissive alternatives if Musk follows through on his more extremist policy ideas.

Update: Nilay Patel, the Verge:

The essential truth of every social network is that the product is content moderation, and everyone hates the people who decide how content moderation works. Content moderation is what Twitter makes — it is the thing that defines the user experience. It’s what YouTube makes, it’s what Instagram makes, it’s what TikTok makes. They all try to incentivize good stuff, disincentivize bad stuff, and delete the really bad stuff. […]

There are many competing takes on the Musk era of Twitter — guilty as charged — but this might be the most fully accurate.

Update: Mike Masnick, Techdirt, in a lengthier article about Vijaya Gadde’s tenure at Twitter:

No matter what narrative you believe, Twitter has been by far the biggest defender of free speech online over the past decade, doing way more than much larger companies, and much of that was driven by Gadde’s commitment to free speech. The firing is a loss for Twitter. It’s a loss for Musk. And it’s a loss for free speech for all of us.

An unsurprisingly nuanced and levelheaded perspective. Twitter’s moderation policies do not work perfectly for everyone, and there are still people who receive unchecked harassment and abuse, and plenty of bullshit is still spread without recourse. But Twitter has come a long way from where it used to be and it has managed to be among the most permissive platforms around.

Garth Graham, head of YouTube Health:

Today, we’re announcing that for the first time, certain categories of healthcare professionals and health information providers can apply to make their channels eligible for our health product features that were launched in the US last year. This includes health source information panels that help viewers identify videos from authoritative sources and health content shelves that highlight videos from these sources when you search for health topics, so people can more easily navigate and evaluate health information online.

Building a quality online community requires pruning people who are unhelpful or push dangerous advice but, just as important, it is also built from indicating which participants are helpful and qualified. This is all part of a successful moderation strategy. I am not sure YouTube’s implementation is necessarily helpful to a more populist crowd who turn up their noses at any evidence of institutional expertise. It is much the same problem Semafor faces. But it is a step for showing the qualifications of the person you are taking health advice from, and that can help you understand how much weight you should place in their videos.

Nur Dayana Mustak, Bloomberg:

Zuckerberg, 38, now has a net worth of $38.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a stunning fall from a peak of $142 billion in September 2021. While many of the world’s richest people have seen their fortunes tumble this year, Meta’s chief executive officer has seen the single-biggest hit among those on the wealth list.

As if you needed more reasons to be skeptical of billionaires’ motivations for ostensibly charitable uses of their wealth, here is another. Zuckerberg has tied the success of Meta to his family’s Chan Zuckerberg Initiative by funding it through their personally-held shares in Meta. According to its website, that foundation — an LLC, not a charity — is focused on finding cures for diseases, reducing youth homelessness, and improving education. If you like the sound of those things, you should therefore hope for a skyrocketing Meta stock price. If, on the other hand, shareholders are concerned that Meta’s business model is detrimental to society at large and do not approve of the company’s vision for its future, they are compromising the efforts of Zuckerberg’s foundation.


Updates are more frequently released software patches that help secure or enhance the current operating system and are designed to protect your device against security or privacy vulnerabilities. Updates use a second and sometimes a third number to denote increments. For example, iOS 15.1 is an update to iOS 15.

For upgrades of iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS, a simple integer is used — for example, iOS 15 and iPadOS 16.1. […]

It is not a great sign when official documentation misuses the word “integer” in a sentence that immediately negates the previous paragraph’s explanation for how Apple differentiates software updates and software upgrades.

Graham Gilbert:

Apple has finally officially state their stance on the latest operating system is the only fully patched one. If you are running anything other than $latest you are likely vulnerable.

This has been indicated, though never confirmed, for years; it is now documented. Earlier this year, Apple gave iOS 14 about four months of extra support. Vulnerabilities in previous versions of MacOS persist for months after being patched in newer versions, if they are fixed at all.

The Economist:

The mushrooming of factories in southern India marks a new chapter for the world’s biggest technology company. Apple’s extraordinarily successful past two decades — revenue up 70-fold, share price up 600-fold, a market value of $2.4trn — is partly the result of a big bet on China. Apple banked on China-based factories, which now churn out more than 90% of its products, and wooed Chinese consumers, who in some years contributed up to a quarter of Apple’s revenue. Yet economic and geopolitical shifts are forcing the company to begin a hurried decoupling. Its turn away from China marks a big shift for Apple, and is emblematic of an even bigger one for the world economy.


The question is whether moving production physically out of China will be enough to avoid future crackdowns. Even as Apple makes more of its gadgets outside China, it is no less reliant on Chinese-owned companies to build them. Chinese manufacturers such as Luxshare, Goertek and Wingtech are taking an increasing share of Apple’s business beyond China’s borders.

It takes a long time to turn the big ship Apple. A year ago, China surpassed Taiwan as the location of most of Apple’s suppliers. But, as I wrote at the time, counting which suppliers are located where is not necessarily the best metric for whether the company’s dependence on China is deepening or receding. The Economist’s summary indicates device manufacturing is increasingly taking place outside China. If you are not super into human rights abuses, it is a good sign that Apple is diversifying. But, as I also noted last year, many of the suppliers with ties to forced Uyghur Muslim labour are deeper in the supply chain. They produce things like power supplies and internal cables. What does the future of sourcing those components look like for a company like Apple, with its unique scale and needs?

One more from Reuters today, this time by Mike Spector and Dan Levine:

Tesla Inc is under criminal investigation in the United States over claims that the company’s electric vehicles can drive themselves, three people familiar with the matter said.


As part of the latest probe, Justice Department prosecutors in Washington and San Francisco are examining whether Tesla misled consumers, investors and regulators by making unsupported claims about its driver assistance technology’s capabilities, the sources said.

Officials conducting their inquiry could ultimately pursue criminal charges, seek civil sanctions or close the probe without taking any action, they said.

Coincidentally, October 20, just last week, marked six years since Tesla appeared to show off its fully autonomous capabilities in a video later revealed to have involved a preplanned route made using a different version of the software — oh, and the car crashed while filming.

Spector and Levine repeatedly point out how difficult this case will be for prosecutors given Tesla’s various cover-your-ass statements in its presentations and software. What I see is Elon Musk’s dependence on weasel words and innuendo to claim greater capability when it suits the company’s marketing, then retreat to a more guarded position when legally compromising.

Even if prosecutors do not find evidence of criminal conduct, this is still an unethical practice. People have died while believing their Tesla was capable of driving itself. Media outlets who have unquestioningly parroted the company’s marketing should also reconsider how they cover these kinds of pre-announcements. Couching it in terms like “Musk said” is not good enough, nor is it a case where there are two equally-valid sides and readers should decide who to believe. We should expect better.

Sheila Dang, Reuters:

The reality, according to internal Twitter research seen by Reuters, goes far beyond the handful of examples of celebrities ghosting their own accounts. Twitter is struggling to keep its most active users – who are vital to the business – engaged, underscoring a challenge faced by the Tesla chief executive as he approaches a deadline to close his $44 billion deal to buy the company.


A “heavy tweeter” is defined as someone who logs in to Twitter six or seven days a week and tweets about three to four times a week, the document said.

I am not sure about you, but I do not like what this implies about how much time I spend on Twitter.

Apple has a uniquely loyal customer base, cultivated by spending the past twenty-odd years, in particular and continuously, carefully balancing its corporate priorities and users’ satisfaction. It has long prided itself on being an accessibly premium brand: not necessarily expensive, but definitely not cheap. It does not “ship junk”. It has expanded its range of pricing over time — iPhone models are available, in the U.S., for anywhere from $430 through $1,600. Some phones are available for less than $430, but they are often sad plastic affairs that are nowhere near as nice as an iPhone SE. You can quibble with individual parts of Apple’s product line, but nothing it makes would be shameful to be sitting on your desk.

Apple is increasingly leveraging its customer base to maximize individual spending on services, accessories, and accessories for those accessories, but it is its cautious yet determined rollout of ads that makes me most nervous. Apple is risking its dedicated customer relationships because competitors’ operating systems suck worse, and we got the latest taste of what we can expect beginning yesterday:

Apple today rolled out new ad placements in the App Store on the iPhone, allowing developers to advertise their apps in more places, including the main Today tab and in the “You Might Also Like” section at the bottom of individual app listings.

Just hours later, several prominent developers have complained about distasteful ads for gambling apps appearing in their own App Store listings outside of their control, including Marco Arment, Simon Støvring, and others. The issue was also highlighted in a tweet shared by MacStories editor-in-chief Federico Viticci.

Some users reported seeing shady ads in apps for kids and, in more than one case, sobriety apps. That last one is particularly inexcusable. I was unable to replicate it, though I was seeing ads for gambling apps in basically every other “You Might Also Like” section last night.

Whatever issue caused online casinos to dominate the App Store advertising marketplace appears to have been corrected. Today, I have mostly seen ads for games. Not good games — not the kind of games that top the charts and get amazing reviews — but more like the ones that are a thinly-veiled vehicle for heavy spending through in-app purchases. Sometimes I see ads for more legitimate apps, like’s, but I am more often subjected to the kind of questionable products I used to see in Flash banner ads in the early 2000s.

I cannot speak to how this feels for developers, other users, or Apple shareholders and employees. From my perspective, this experiment is not a promising development for the road ahead. It feels like a bait and switch: my loyalty in buying products that are better for me as a user is being tested because shareholders need to see more services revenue. Apple knows most people will not switch because it relentlessly promotes its own services across its systems or because there are ads for third-party apps all over the App Store — or, if as rumoured, it rolls out ads in Maps. But it will feel a little bit scummier every time I go to download an app or get directions.

I am not a business person. I am sure there are fine arguments to be made by armchair CEOs on Twitter about how this is a reasonable decision for bolstering the price of Apple stock or a minor aesthetic grievance for a device that mostly functions the same as it did last week. But I am equally certain a company does not improve customer satisfaction by ensuring no money is left on the table. There is barely competition among airlines, so they all charge you for the privilege of taking clothing to your destination in a suitcase. The lack of choice in operating systems means vendors can increasingly extract money from customers, happiness be damned. What are you going to do — switch to Android and Windows? Good luck.

It is not too late for Apple to simply stop.

Perhaps you, like I, have previously attempted to untangle the dense vocabulary inherent to the “crypto” or cryptocurrency or “Web3” space. Maybe you have read Kevin Roose’s guide in the New York Times, or a version of Roose’s essay edited to add context and remove puffery on Molly White’s website, or Rusty Foster’s explanation of Terra; maybe you watched Dan Olson’s video. Maybe you, like I, have done all of those things and only wish there was something much longer to ingest.

Well, good news: the current print issue of Bloomberg Businessweek has been dedicated to a single essay by Matt Levine about how all of this came to be. Yes, it is very long. But it is a Matt Levine piece, so it is also very readable, entertaining, and clearheaded. This is not a critique of the crypto space, nor does it promote those efforts. I am not sure it is truly neutral; nothing is. What it is is a self-contained encyclopedia of that entire world. Good luck.

Ben Brody, Protocol:

Here’s the thing though: I can’t remember ever having checked out at any of these merchants using my work email address, much less using it to sign up for marketing. A search of my account didn’t turn up any records. Annoyed with the most insistent emailers, I reached out to the sellers who reached out to me — except, as a reporter rather than as a customer — to figure out what was going on.

I wanted to know how all these merchants had gotten my professional contact info. What I discovered was both unsurprising in today’s world of relentless online marketing and aggressive consumer data sharing, and also a bit disquieting. It also had less to do with these small shops than I might have expected: Square’s parent company, Block, was selling access to customers’ inboxes, even if all we do is elect to receive a receipt from a single transaction (more on that below).

At the very least, this backroom marketplace of privacy violations is not what a customer would or should expect when they choose to get their receipt by email instead of a printed copy. Square is merely facilitating the transaction between me and that business; generating an entire email capture and resale market from its strategic placement is a breach of trust.

Brody points to the Square profile page where you can exercise more control and request a copy of your data. Square keeps profiles separate, so if you have used two different email addresses and a phone number, you will likely have three different profiles unless you have previously linked them. Still, this should not be something everyone should be expected to manage, and I bet Square is not the only point-of-sale company doing this sort of thing.

An un-bylined statement from the Wire:

Our investigation, which is ongoing, does not as yet allow us to take a conclusive view about the authenticity and bona fides of the sources with whom a member of our reporting team says he has been in touch over an extended period of time. However, certain discrepancies have emerged in the material used. These include the inability of our investigators to authenticate both the email purportedly sent from a***** as well as the email purportedly received from Ujjwal Kumar (an expert cited in the reporting as having endorsed one of the findings, but who has, in fact, categorically denied sending such an email). As a result, The Wire believes it is appropriate to retract the stories.

Admitting that mistakes were made is a good way to rebuild trust with readers. A long way to fall from its earlier defiant statements, when the Wire doubled down on its reporting even after significant problems were raised.

Hey, remember when an academic study found emails from U.S. Republican candidates and officials were slightly more likely to be sent to Gmail’s spam folder than emails from Democrats? In response, Google made up a whole exemption program specifically for political emails.

Makena Kelly, reporting for the Verge earlier this month:

A source familiar with the matter confirmed to The Verge that, nearly a month after the pilot’s launch, the RNC has not joined or even applied for the program, even as the party continues to mount political and possibly legal pressure against Google. The RNC did not respond to multiple requests for comment regarding the committee’s decision to abstain from the pilot program.

Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee has continued to send out emails promising subscribers the “GOLDEN TRUMP” award if they donate money within the hour. They really sent that email. And they also sent one with the subject line “READ THIS MESSAGE IMMEDIATELY”. And they pretend to wonder why these kinds of messages get marked as spam.

Sara Fischer and Ashley Gold, Axios:

The Republican National Committee (RNC) has filed a lawsuit against Google in a U.S. district court in California for allegedly putting its campaign emails in the spam folders of its millions of users.

Fischer and Gold independently confirmed Kelly’s report, too.

Anyone who has worked on an email marketing campaign knows there are things you should avoid doing in email because they increase the likelihood of being caught in a spam filter. Republican candidates seem to ignore many of those best practices. Google has even given all U.S. political parties a means to avoid its spam traps, but the RNC has not accepted that gracious offer. This lawsuit is transparently ridiculous.

When I said I read Federico Viticci’s iPadOS review every year, I meant it — except this year, because there is no iPadOS review, because Stage Manager deserves a big long post all for itself, apparently:

At the end of all this, here’s how I feel about Stage Manager: Apple started from a good idea – make the iPad more useful by using more apps at once – and botched the execution in iPadOS 16.1 with an over-designed, poorly tested, muddled constellation of missing features, bugs, and confusing interactions.

The first version of Stage Manager fails to make iPad multitasking more intuitive for newcomers and more flexible for power users. Today, I struggle to understand what kind of market Stage Manager is supposed to serve.

Despite Viticci’s typically clear and thoughtful explanation, this was hard to read. Stage Manager may be shipping as an optional off-by-default windowing mode, but it is clearly unfinished and so inconsistent as to make you wonder if there is anyone with a specific vision for how iPad multitasking should work.

Nearly thirteen years after the iPad’s introduction, I think that is what it is most missing. It still feels like multitasking is a tacked-on bonus feature for a committed enough user. Every iPad has a great processor with fantastic graphics, but to get the full multitasking experience, you must buy a mid-level model. “Multitasking” is not really some radical concept used only by power users; everyone moves between different apps and tasks all the time. This far into the product line’s existence, I wish multitasking strength and simplicity was a base level requirement. Instead, there are a bunch of ways to use a couple of apps at once, but they are all complicated, inconsistent, and incompatible with each other. Frustrating, for sure.

When iPadOS gets released, I read Federico Viticci’s review. When a new version of MacOS is shipped, I rely on Andrew Cunningham of Ars Technica and Jason Snell of Six Colors to tell me the good, the bad, and the buggy.

Choice excerpts from Cunningham’s review:

Suffice it to say that my expectations for the Mac version of Stage Manager — available as an off-by-default optional feature in Control Center or the Desktop & Dock settings — were not high when I finally decided to bite the bullet in a near-final Ventura beta. So imagine my surprise when Stage Manager on a Mac worked — and worked pretty well. And I actually kind of liked it.


Comparing the night-and-day smoothness and stability of these two features with the same name, it becomes clear that Apple simply bit off more than it could chew with Stage Manager on iPadOS. On the Mac, it’s a new interface on top of a bunch of technologies that already existed. On iPadOS, Apple needed to implement not just the basic Stage Manager interface but a new way for users to interact with “windows” on a “desktop”; a new way for open iPad apps to communicate with each other; and a way for apps to spawn multiple instances, virtual memory swapping, and actual multi-monitor support on a device that has no idea how to handle the idea of “multiple screens” because it has never had them before.


That [System Preferences] changes in Ventura, which kicks System Preferences to the curb in favor of System Settings, an app with almost all the same functionality that has been rejiggered to more closely resemble the Settings app on an iPhone or iPad. And it’s not just the app — throughout Ventura, the “Preferences” menu item in most first-party Mac apps has been changed to “Settings.”


When sharing items from the iCloud Drive folder in the Finder, the Share sheet will let you choose whether to send a copy of a selected file or folder to someone or to share it via iCloud so that multiple people can access and edit the file. Weirdly, selecting a folder anywhere else in the Finder also gives you a “Collaborate” option, but when you try to select it, the system tells you to move the folder to iCloud Drive first. I don’t know whether this is a bug or an ad for iCloud Drive that is working as intended.

I will miss “Preferences”; the word “Settings” feels comparatively mechanical. (Update: Apparently, you can revert this change if you are so inclined.)

This year’s Mac hardware compatibility chart is giving me mild anxiety. My Intel iMac is now one of the oldest models officially supported by MacOS Ventura, and I have known it will become unsupported sooner rather than later ever since Apple launched announced the transition to ARM. I bought it less than four years ago and it is still a fast computer. It is hard to believe it will soon be placed on Apple’s vintage Macs list.

And from Snell’s:

Just these choices make System Settings a usability disaster. It’s good that there’s a search box at the top of the settings list, because the best way to use the app is forget that it has any organizational structure and search for what you want. It would actually be less confusing if Apple removed all pretense of a structure and just had the app feature a single pane with a search box and nothing else.

Some of this confusion could have been resolved with a clear re-think about which settings go where. Someone at Apple could have sat down and outlined a sensible hierarchy for settings, but that clearly didn’t happen. Settings are scattered all over the place, in locations that make very little sense, frequently because they got attached there 10 or 15 years ago in System Preferences.

It sounds like many of the individual bugs spotted in beta seeds have been addressed, but the core concept remains fundamentally flawed. I am obviously willing to learn new things and see what I like about the Ventura way, but both these reviews worry me when it comes to an app I use infrequently but urgently.

Great new default Desktop Picture, though. Wait, excuse me — Wallpaper. You know, for the wall that is on your Desktop.

Chris Stokel-Walker, Wired, in an article headlined “Apple Is an Ad Company Now”:

Apple has sold ads inside Apple News and the App Store since 2016 but in recent months has shown a new determination to muscle into an industry dominated by Google, Meta, and Amazon. In June, Apple expanded the ways companies could pay to get in front of its customers’ eyeballs, allowing them to buy ads on the front page of the App Store. In August, Apple job postings suggested it was building a self-service platform for businesses to book ads to be served to customers through Apple products. This month, reports surfaced that Apple was courting potential buyers for ads on Apple TV+. What form those ads would take, such as pre-roll spots like those on YouTube or traditional TV commercials, is unclear.

Those moves all suggest Apple’s users will begin to see more ads inside its services and that the company will shift into more direct competition with ad-supported rivals such as Google and Meta. “Everybody’s been letting Google and then Facebook take all this money,” says Michael Cusumano, a professor at MIT Sloan School of Management. “For Apple to step in and say ‘I want a piece of this too’ kind of makes sense.”

The headline of this article is ridiculous. Even if Apple is getting four billion dollars in annual ad revenue, as estimated by Insider and cited by Stokel-Walker, that is a little over one percent of its 2021 revenue (PDF). One percent. Apple is no more “an ad company now” than I am a “professional bookcase salesperson on Kijiji”.

Just because Apple’s ads business is currently insignificant, it does not mean I like the direction it is heading.