justin․searls․co

Big day at work. Emphases mine:

Test Double’s mission is to improve the way the world builds software. We’ve done that by building great teams and great software—with a special focus on building things right.

Pathfinder Product’s mission is to unleash greatness through modern product management. They’ve done that by being passionate problem solvers—with a special focus on building the right thing.

That about sums it up. When you put the two teams side by side, it's uncanny how good a fit they are. Each has hired top practitioners in their field, united by an insatiable drive to make this broken, messy world of software work better for everybody.

And as much as I bristle at the word "synergy", it's really there in this case: brilliant product strategy goes nowhere without execution, and high-performance delivery is a waste of money if it drives you in the wrong direction. The real beneficiaries of that synergy, though, will be the clients that entrust Test Double to help them accomplish both.

Apple PR representative Starlayne Meza confirmed the company’s plans to The Verge. The company encourages those who have been holding out hope for a larger iMac to consider the Studio Display and Mac Studio or Mac mini, which pair a 27-inch 5K screen with a separate computer, compared to the all-in-one design of the iMac.

In the post-Jobs era, has Apple PR ever confirmed they had no plans to create a particular product like this?

Music services still recommend music by answering, "what do other people who listen to the stuff you listen to also listen to?" This Balkanizes our libraries, because it fails to cross cultural and regional boundaries.

Suppose two tracks, one in Japanese and one in English, are great for extremely similar reasons pertaining to how they actually sound. Spotify and Apple Music would would never recommend one for the other. It seems like high time that algorithms drew from analyses of music’s intrinsic qualities: sound, BPM, lyrical sentiment, etc.

See you in St. Louis

In a brief one-day visit to St. Louis, I didn’t get much chance to see the sights but I did have a pretty impressive array of craft cocktails

Siri’s Announce Notifications detects image content in iOS 17.1

I didn’t see this reported elsewhere, but it’s pretty impressive that Siri is now doing realtime recognition of the contents photos (and in this case, animated GIFs!) when announcing messages to your AirPods or via CarPlay.

Genuinely impressive, even if it’s still rudimentary at this point.

TIL that Yelp now includes the health inspection reports of all the restaurants in my area, so I guess I’m never going out to eat again.

Last year, I was featured on the season 1 finale of Matt Swanson's excellent YAGNI podcast. Well, season 2 kicked off yesterday with an interview with Charity Majors and as one of the few programming podcast series I can stand to listen to (high praise, trust me), I recommend you or the programmer in your life consider subscribing!

I'd been thinking about my appearance last year on YAGNI because in his lead-in, Matt joked that he had cajoled me into writing my own test framework as an alternative to RSpec. I have no recollection of this, but he turned out to have succeeded, because 9 months later I indeed published the definitive Ruby testing framework, TLDR.

It really crosses people’s wires at cocktail parties when I tell them that I believe Covid was a conspiracy by the Chinese to force the West to finally adopt the use of QR codes.

My Onkyo receiver just turned itself off. I turned it back on and it ran a diagnostic on each of its amps, before landing at a message that says "Check Sp[eaker?] Wire."

Neat.

Using AI to dig up the lede that AI buried

A frustration I have with how articles are written in this era is that the lede is necessarily buried in order to keep time-on-page stats high enough for the content to perform as chum in the advertising market.

So I thought it'd be interesting to use the Copilot sidebar to summarize articles for me, rather than me waste my time scrolling down four paragraphs to figure out whatever the headline is teasing. A more general purpose prompt could probably get me the answer I really want when I see headlines like this: "is there actually any news here or is this just content for content's sake?"

Can't wait for the natural endgame:

  1. Publishers use AI to write articles designed to perform well as advertising inventory
  2. Advertisers use AI to place the best ads alongside that content
  3. Readers use AI to bypass all of the above and extract the small morsel of valuable information the article contains, if any

Great job, everyone.

Siri achieves general unintelligence

A lot of people knock Siri’s implementation as more or less a dialog tree of magic phrases one can utter to achieve a discrete set of tasks, but one that I just can’t get my head around is Announce Notifications. You can tell it to stop announcing, to start announcing, and to pause/mute them for an hour or for the day. But in my most recent thirty attempts, Siri only successfully muted announcements for an hour one time. Usually it mutes my phone or, more recently, does nothing at all.

Every time my ears are inundated with text messages and calendar events I don’t care about, I try my damndest to remember what it is I said to get Siri to temporarily back off, but I’ll be shocked if there’s a consistently correct answer. Ask the same thing five times and get five different results.

Instead of my usual tradition of making predictable predictions before Apple Events, I’m going to go on the record saying I’d pay $10,000 for a 12” MacBook Pro that weighed 2 pounds or less.

Won’t happen, but should. Especially with the Vision Pro, developers are going to want as small a Mac as possible to screen share from when they travel.

In late 2018, Google CEO Sundar Pichai floated a bold idea to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Cook had just told Pichai he wanted to be “deep, deep partners, deeply connected where our services end and yours begin,” according to notes from the meeting. Pichai responded with a proposal: What if Apple preinstalled a Google Search app on every iOS device?

What Pichai heard: deep love as in, “we want to go to market as a dream team, as a package deal.”

What Cook meant: deep down as in, “we don’t want anyone to know Google has anything to do with our products.”

Finally! Some Magic Mouse news for the first time in 8 years:

Apple will likely announce new versions of its Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse, and Magic Trackpad for the Mac at its "Scary Fast" event on Monday, October 30, according to a report today from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The updated accessories are expected to be equipped with USB-C ports instead of Lightning ports for charging.

When the original Mac launched in 1984, it pioneered use of a mouse over command line interfaces. A mouse was undoubtedly a much more direct, tactile input than a keyboard. But ever since the release of the iPhone in 2007, it's been clear that Apple believes touch screens and its glass trackpads are more direct inputs than mice and therefore superior. Apple doesn't want you to use a mouse when you could be using one of its trackpads.

(This emphasis on eliminating indirection in how users express their intent clearly energizes Apple's aspirations for visionOS, where the primary interaction metaphor is to "look at a thing" to select it.)

While the Magic Mouse lasts around a month or longer between charges, the position of the Lightning port on the bottom of the mouse has been a meme in the Apple community for many years, as it prevents the mouse from being used while charging. It's unclear if the USB-C port on the new version will be placed in a more convenient location.

I honestly expect them to keep the port on the bottom out of spite.

Alex Heath at the Verge, with yet another internal meeting leak:

Elon Musk wants X to be the center of your financial world, handling anything in your life that deals with money. He expects those features to launch by the end of 2024, he told X employees during an all hands call on Thursday, saying that people will be surprised with “just how powerful it is.”

“When I say payments, I actually mean someone’s entire financial life,” Musk said, according to audio of the meeting obtained by The Verge. “If it involves money. It’ll be on our platform. Money or securities or whatever. So, it’s not just like send $20 to my friend. I’m talking about, like, you won’t need a bank account.”

This will almost surely be underwritten by a real bank, like Apple Card and Savings accounts are handled by Goldman Sachs, as Musk lacks the discipline to clear the regulatory hurdles to become the actual center of one’s financial life. But if this launches, I fully expect Musk will mandate his employees use this account for direct deposit for their paychecks and may even go further, requiring it of Tesla and SpaceX employees as well.

But the thing I can’t stop imagining is that he might promise social boosting for his mostly red-pilled, socially-disaffected male acolytes who park their money in X’s coffers. Maybe they’ll get a special checkmark or even more prominent placement in people’s timelines and replies.

Hard to see how this doesn’t end in some kind of cross between It’s a Wonderful Life and The Purge when tens of thousands of incredibly online, gun-toting libertarian men realize their life savings have been eradicated following a bank run caused by, surely, some stupid thing Elon will have tweeted.

Raycast’s AI assistant is such a low-friction operation (command-space, type a thing, then hit tab), I’ve gotten in the habit of asking for keyboard shortcuts.

It’s so much faster and clearer than Googling that I do this several times per day and have gotten way faster at using the apps I depend on. raycast.com/pro

My name is Justin and I’m a Timeline Addict. Give me a pull-to-refresh UI and I’ll pull it all day long in the hopes of one more like or reply. I’ve tried moderating, but at the end of the day… the juice just ain’t worth the squeeze.

Instead of posting to Twitter-like services, I’m going to post to my blog and syndicate elsewhere. Want me to see your reply? Email me! ✉️ justin@searls.co