Johnathan.org

December 17, 2018

Google Isn’t the Company That We Should Have Handed the Web Over to

Put simply:

This is a company that, time and again, has tried to push the Web into a Google-controlled proprietary direction to improve the performance of Google’s online services when used in conjunction with Google’s browser, consolidating Google’s market positioning and putting everyone else at a disadvantage. Each time, pushback has come from the wider community, and so far, at least, the result has been industry standards that wrest control from Google’s hands. This action might already provoke doubts about the wisdom of handing effective control of the Web’s direction to Google, but at least a case could be made that, in the end, the right thing was done.

Why should you care? For reasons like this (emphasis mine):

For no obvious reason, Google changed YouTube to add a hidden, empty HTML element that overlaid each video. This element disabled Edge’s fastest, most efficient hardware accelerated video decoding. It hurt Edge’s battery-life performance and took it below Chrome’s. The change didn’t improve Chrome’s performance and didn’t appear to serve any real purpose; it just hurt Edge, allowing Google to claim that Chrome’s battery life was actually superior to Edge’s. Microsoft asked Google if the company could remove the element, to no avail.

In any other industry, we’d call that grounds for antitrust lawsuits.

Microsoft isn’t blameless, either. They opted to take the easy way out and Firefox will likely have to pay the price:

By relegating Firefox to being the sole secondary browser, Microsoft has just made it that much harder to justify making sites work in Firefox. The company has made designing for Chrome and ignoring everything else a bit more palatable, and Mozilla’s continued existence is now that bit more marginal. Microsoft’s move puts Google in charge of the direction of the Web’s development. Google’s track record shows it shouldn’t be trusted with such a position.

At the end of the day, one thing’s clear: competition is good. We see it in all walks of life. With Microsoft turning tail and succumbing to the Chrome overlords, they’re admitting they don’t care about the openness of the Web… just their market share and numbers.

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December 15, 2018

Some thoughts on the 2018 Macbook Pro

I have been a Macbook Pro owner since 2011. I bought a 15″ model then, another one in late 2015, and my third iteration landed in my lap last week. Unsure of the experience I would have, I took the plunge and snagged a 2018-era 15″ Macbook Pro with Touch Bar. I wanted to jot down some of my thoughts after a week of usage every day.

On the plus side, I actually enjoy the keyboard. I know not everyone does, and I think I might be in the minority, but as a light typist, the short travel keys actually feel really good. They’re a bit loud, but not so much that it bothers me.

The slightly smaller form-factor is also nice, too. I had started to think that a 15″ might be too big for my needs, especially after staring at the massive bezels for the last 3 years. Now, I’m back to thinking it’s just fine. 

The onboard storage is stupid fast, benchmarking at something like 2500MB/s for both read and write. Hot dog. 

The Touch Bar is strange. I never noticed until after getting this unit that I liked to rest my hand where the now-touch-sensitive Escape key sits. I’ve hit it a few times on accident. I have since corrected my ways, but it was definitely a bit of a surprise. As far as the rest of the touch bar goes, I’m still unsure of its ultimate value. 

Touch ID is super fast and is a great method for accessing the computer from a locked state. 

Battery life is pretty dang good, too. I spent an average day of work and managed to crank about 7 hours out of it with no care about how I was using the device or micro-managing its energy consumption. If I had spent more time dimming and throttling, it’s not unreasonable to have expected 9 or 10 hours. 

Weight is fine. It’s definitely lighter than my outgoing 2015 model. I haven’t had an opportunity to push the graphics card in any way. I spent 99% of my time on Integrated. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Getting into the USB way of life has been hard, though once I got my Thunderbolt 3-enabled dock up and running, I joined the “single cable club.” I’m also now a member of Dongle Town, too, so it seems like a wash.

Overall, I’m super happy with my purchase. 

December 6, 2018

WordPress 5.0

As someone who has followed WordPress’ progress for several years–I remember deploying WordPress version 2.5–seeing version 5.0 make its debut was exciting.

It’s just as fast as version 4 and the new editor is pretty slick. My current theme structure doesn’t seem to mind it, which is great. I’ve pared down so much of WordPress’ functionality in my theme, I’m not sure I’ll see a whole lot of difference, save for the same in-app post editor–named Gutenberg–that made its formal debut. 

I am using it to write this post now, and it feels totally fine. The block functionality reminds me of Medium. In fact, if I knew nothing about Gutenberg’s release, I can see how I’d be mistaken if I thought WordPress patterned with Medium.

The drop-cap functionality is kind of cool. My styling doesn’t allow for it, but that’s okay. It’s never been something I’ve felt was important to implement with a sans-serif font.

Crazy times, these are.

October 30, 2018
iPad-Pro_11-inch-12inch_10302018

Recap of Apple’s Updated Hardware from Today’s Event in Brooklyn

Apple announced a host of updated bits of hardware at today’s event in Brooklyn. Here’s my recap on the important bits. Let’s dive right in, or jump to:

Mac Mini

Mac Mini Desktop setup display 10302018

The last update to the Mac Mini was in 2014, and it was underwhelming to say the least. Today’s announcement is a welcome refresh to those who still enjoy the small-form-factor Apple desktop computer.

Tech Specs

  • Processor: The Mac Mini comes in two main flavors, a 4-core 3.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i3 and a 6-core 3.0GHz Core i5 (with Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz). Both can be upgraded to a 3.2GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz.
  • Memory: 8GB of 2666MHz DDR4 SO-DIMM memory is standard and both can be upgraded to 16, 32, or 64GB respectively.
  • Storage: Depending on the model, storage options start at 128GB or 256GB of PCIe SSD storage and can be upgraded to a max of 2TB.
  • Graphics: No configurability, just the Intel UHD Graphics 630 chip. Definitely not for gaming.
  • Ports: This new configuration starts with saying goodbye to some ports and hello to some others on the back of the metal desk platter of a computer. From left to right, expect to see:
    • Power
    • 1x Ethernet
      • 1GBase-T or 10GBase-T
    • 4x Thunderbolt 3 (40gbps) / USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 (10gbps)
    • 1x HDMI 2.0
    • 2x USB-A 3.0 (5gbps)
    • 1x 3.5mm headphone jack
      • below USB 3.0
  • Wireless: 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0.
  • Displays: Up to 3 4K displays using a combination of Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI or one 5K and 4K display using the same port combination.

Mac Mini side ports 10302018

Pricing

The Mac Mini starts at $799 and can climb to $4199, depending on configuration. It’s available to pre-order now.


Macbook Air

MacBook Air family 10302018

We haven’t seen the MacBook Air receive a meaningful update in even more years than the Mac Mini. Until today, it rocked a 1280×800 non-retina display (and if you really want to punish yourself, you can still buy it). This version keeps the hard function keys but brings over Touch ID (and the T2) chip from the MacBook Pro line.

Here’s what’s up with the new model:

Tech Specs

  • Processor: 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz.
  • Memory: 8GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory, upgradable to 16GB.
  • Storage: Depending on the model, storage options start at 128GB or 256GB of PCIe SSD storage and can be upgraded to a max of 1.5TB.
  • Graphics: No configurability, just the Intel UHD Graphics 630 chip. Definitely not for gaming.
  • Ports:
    • 2x Thunderbolt 3 40Gbps (USB-C 3.1 Gen 2, unto 10Gbps) ports.
      • Both support charging.
    • There’s also a headphone jack.
  • Wireless: 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2.
  • Display: 13.3″ 2560×1600 Retina display without TrueTone. This is the same size and resolution as the 13″ MacBook Pro.
  • Battery: Up to 12 hours on the Web, 13 hours of movie playback, 30 days standby thanks to a 50.3 watt-hour battery and a 30-watt USB-C power adapter
  • Colors: Gold, Silver, Space Gray

MacBook Air Keyboard and Ports 10302018

Pricing

The MacBook Air starts at $1199 and can climb to $2,599, depending on configuration. It’s available to pre-order now.


iPad Pro

iPad Pro with attached Apple Pencil 2nd-generation

The 3rd-generation iPad Pro comes with a host of design changes that weren’t a surprise to anyone following the rumors. The home button is gone and in its place is an edge-to-edge display (with no notch!) and Face ID support.

  • Sizes: 11″ and 12.9″
  • Processor: Apple A12X Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture, Neural Engine, and Embedded M12 coprocessor.
    • 8-core CPU
    • 7-core GPU
  • Memory: Unknown, probably 3 or 4GB.
  • Storage: Both sizes have the same storage options:
    • 64GB
    • 256GB
    • 512GB
    • 1TB (new for the iPad Pro line)
  • Camera (rear): 12-megapixel, f/1.8 camera. Looks like it’s the same as the iPhone XR.
    • Records video at up to
      • 4K resolution and 60 frames per second.
      • 1080p 30/60/120 fps.
      • 720p 30/240 fps.
  • Camera (front): 7-megapixel f/2.2.
    • Records video at 1080p resolution at 30 or 60 frames per second.
  • Ports:
    • One USB-C.
  • Wireless:
    • 802.11ac dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
    • 80MHz channel width and MIMO support.
  • (optional) Cellular:
    • UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC‑HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
    • Gigabit-class LTE (Models A2013 and A2014: bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 29, 30, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46, 66, 71)
    • eSIM
    • Nano SIM
    • Assisted GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS
  • Display: Liquid Retina Display
    • 11″: 2388 x 1668 resolution at 264 pixels per inch
    • 12.9″ 2732 x 2048 resolution at 264 pixels per inch
    • P3 wide color gamut
    • TrueTone
    • 600 nits brightness
  • Battery:
  • Both models come with an 18W USB-C charger and have a reported 10 hours run time.
    • 11″: 29.37-watt-hour
    • 12.9″: 36.71-watt-hour
    • Cellular models have a reported 9-hour run time.
  • Colors: Gold, Silver, Space Gray

IPad Pro versatility monitor 10302018

Pricing

The 3rd-generation iPad Pro starts at:

  • $799 for the 11″ model (Wi-Fi only; $949 for WiFi+Cellular; max $1,699)
  • $999 for the 12.9″ model (Wi-Fi only; $1,149 for Wi-Fi+Cellular; max $1,899)

and is available to pre-order now.


Apple Pencil (2nd Generation)

It’s cool to see the Apple Pencil get some love. As a first-generation Pencil owner, the changes they’ve made are quite welcome, but some of them aren’t noticeable unless you’re also using it with the 3rd-generation 11″ or 12.9″ iPad Pro.

  • Touch surface that supports double-tapping.
  • Magnetic attachment, charging, and pairing to 3rd-generation iPad Pro.

The 2nd-generation Apple Pencil is available to pre-order now for $129.

October 29, 2018

Stratechery: IBM’s Old Playbook

Ben Thompson, writing at Stratchery:

This is the bet: while in the 1990s the complexity of the Internet made it difficult for businesses to go online, providing an opening for IBM to sell solutions, today IBM argues the reduction of cloud computing to three centralized providers makes businesses reluctant to commit to any one of them. IBM is betting it can again provide the solution, combining with Red Hat to build products that will seamlessly bridge private data centers and all of the public clouds.

IBM believes their play to staying relevant in the “cloud” era, if you’ll call it that, is to acquire RedHat. Good luck to them. The tweets about the acquisition are fantastic:

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Johnathan Lyman
Kenmore, WA,
United States
 
blogging, design, technology, software, development, gaming, photography