Discontinuing Support for Check the Weather by David Smith

David Smith:

Four years ago today I introduced a weather app called Check the Weather. I was really proud of how it turned out. It was my first app where I was able to do everything ‘right’ from the beginning.

Sadly, however, the time has come to discontinue support for the app.

This news really bums me out. I’m a huge fan of Check the Weather. I purchased it a few years ago, and it’s been my one-and-only weather app (even though it didn’t have an Apple Watch complication). Seems that I’ll be switching to Dark Sky.

Thank you for all of your hard work on this app, David. RIP Check the Weather.

Welcome to Macintosh Season 3 Kickstarter

Mark Bramhill:

Season 3 of Welcome to Macintosh is the most ambitious season to date. The stories I’m working on require traveling across the country, reporting on events, working with designers — and these expenses add up. Advertising helps, but the money only comes in after the episodes have been released. In the past, I’ve paid for expenses out of pocket and just trusted that things would work out. But that’s not sustainable, and it limits what I’m able to do and what stories I can tell.

Welcome to Macintosh is such a great show, that of course this Kickstarter was funded before I even had the chance to write about it! Still, Mark has put in a stretch goal of $16k which would get us all 2 more episodes for Season 3. Knowing what I know about Mark, and some of the fantastic story ideas he has, it’s in our best interest to make that happen.

Go back this project!

We own you by Justin Jackson

Justin Jackson:

Increasingly, companies are demanding cult-like devotion. Do whatever it takes; sacrifice whatever you’ve got. It’s no longer enough to punch in, put in a solid day’s work, and go home. Now, you’re expected to be on Slack 24/7, use your social network to promote the company, recruit friends to the team, go to events in the evening, and use your personal equipment.

All of this would be fine if employees benefited from their sacrifice in the same way their bosses do. But they don’t.

iPhone 7: Computer from the Future | MacStories

As per usual, Viticci’s review of the iPhone 7 is thought-out and thorough:

Beyond anticipated camera improvements, speed bumps, and design tweaks, the iPhone 7 is planting the seeds of future technologies that will ripple through the entire Apple ecosystem. Years from now, every photo we’ll capture and view will be in wide color; Apple’s wireless headphones will have advantages wired models never had; and interfaces without tactile feedback will feel as outdated as non-Retina graphics do today.

These aren’t promises of features to come eventually: the iPhone 7 delivers them now. And while these changes may not be as flashy or attractive as radical new designs and colors, their impact on the iPhone platform will have wide-ranging and long-term ramifications.

As expected, the iPhone 7 is a great iteration on the iconic device and—contrary to what some believe—a huge push forward. The section on the W1 chip is fascinating too, and gets me really excited for the new possibilities of wireless audio:

If you’re familiar with Bluetooth headphones, you know how flaky and opaque pairing them can be. You usually have to press a combination of buttons, watch for special light indicators, go into your iPhone’s Bluetooth settings, and hope for the best while following the instructions. It’s even worse if your Bluetooth headphones are already turned on and paired with one device and you try to connect them to another.

The W1 chip gets rid of all that cruft.

Vittici bought a pair of Beats Solo 3 headphones to test the new chip. I’m not a huge fan of Beats headphones, but I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t at least interested in picking up a pair after reading. Just like Apple made the pairing experience with the Apple Watch seamless (also using Bluetooth), it would seem they’ve nailed this experience too. It’s fascinating how Apple has been able to mold this terrible protocol to its will. In essence, if they didn’t tell you it was Bluetooth, you’d never know.

Normalize (CSS) No More by Shaun Rashid

Shaun Rashid:

Like many web developers, I have used a reset/normalize style sheet in a variety of projects with the intention of having a common starting point for all browsers when it comes to styling CSS. It’s been useful. It works great for setting a baseline to create web pages that are pixel-perfect reproductions of mockups from designs.

However, as I work with building responsive websites where the widening array of devices has changed the way that we design websites, I have fallen back to the age-old statement that answers the question of whether a website needs to look exactly the same in every browser. With the answer to that question, I have found that the reset/normalize stylesheet has become unnecessary.

Such a short article, but an excellent point. I’ll be removing the reset/normalize from this site and my personal site soon. Although I agree with Chris Coyier, I can’t live without this:

* {
  box-sizing: border-box;

Benefits Are the Bedrock of Great Company Culture | Savvy Inbox

Paul Farnell is on a roll these days:

In the early days of running a startup, it’s hard to focus on things that don’t directly lead to revenue. The environment is plastic, so the little things you do can establish the foundation of a great culture. Great benefits start with the intangibles, so any effort you make to let people know you care about their well-being is appreciated.

Our industry’s misguided focus on being data-driven and seeing a return on investment has lead many companies to be short-sighted in this regard. If it’s numbers you want, interestingly (and not surprisingly) there’s a financial case to be made for great benefits:

Speaking of money, there is a financial case to be made for great benefits. You can measure benefits against employee retention to see if you’re doing it right.

Lazlo Bock, head of People Operations at Google, explained the causal relationship between benefits and employee retention on the Note to Self podcast. A few years ago, Google had a problem where a lot of new mothers weren’t coming back after maternity leave. As you might imagine, it’s really disruptive, time-consuming and expensive to replace great people.

Google extended maternity leave by two more months (still at full pay) and boom — their problem was solved. Retention rates improved by 50%, new mothers had more time at home and the company was saving money.

Sad this has to be said isn’t it? You treat people well, they’ll feel like their life is better by working at your company. They’ll stay. Now you don’t have to use your precious money that you love so much to find other people. It’s so logical, I don’t understand how companies don’t get it. Businesses that don’t treat their employees well prove to be working against their own interests.

The Value of Writing CSS

Eli Fitch in a tweet:

Don’t ever let somebody tell you that focusing on CSS doesn’t make you a “real developer”. Being good at CSS is rare, has tremendous value(sic)

This tweet really struck a cord with me. You could of course make the argument that people who write JavaScript to do things that CSS can easily do aren’t the “real developers,” but the point isn’t really to put anyone down as much as it is to add perspective.

I’ve had lots of issues with my professional identity recently. I thought I’d been doing this long enough where the moments where I didn’t know what the hell I was doing were becoming less. Yet, with the emergence of JS frameworks, it can feel like knowing CSS isn’t a big deal.

Fortunately, that thought is only my own insecurities playing a cruel game. Understanding how to write CSS is more important than ever, and while the trend to use JS frameworks is at full speed, CSS continues to be a cornerstone of the web; that’s not changing anytime soon. While keeping up with these developments in JavaScript are important, learning the amazing things we’ll be able to do with CSS soon shouldn’t play second fiddle.

Display Spaces and The Dock

Apple is blowing it with multiple display user experience.

I have, over the course of my personal and professional life, become a lover of Apple products. I liked Apple before it was cool. I liked Apple while it was becoming cool. I liked Apple after it was cool. And I even still liked Apple when it stopped being cool again. But things are not okay in paradise and it has become a very frustrating thing to want Apple to do better and be the company again they once were.

Today I’m going to illustrate one of my long-standing frustrations as a case-in-point.

As a multi-display user of OS X macOS for many years, and certainly prior to 10.9 Mavericks, I had often lamented that items relevant to the window I would be working with on a “secondary” display (mostly the menu bar) would require a mouse trip to the primary display. The Mavericks release was supposed to fix this issue by promoting all displays to the same general status in the system. What I had hoped Apple was doing when this feature was announced was doing away with any distinction between displays. Why must one be designated primary? Why, when going full screen with an app or using Spaces must all other displays be part of the space or blacked out by the full screen app?

Indeed, 10.9 did fix several of these issues. Spaces are now per display—as well they should be—and full screen apps no longer make your other displays useless. Additionally, the menu bar now appears on all displays. These are very welcome improvements and I applauded them greatly.

But Apple did not do away with the “primary display” distinction completely as you can still designate which display is primary for your desktop files and whatnot. This is fine for that purpose. Additionally, your primary display will (initially) contain the Dock and the Cmd + Tab switcher. Now here is the crux of my particular issue. The Dock and switcher being on the primary display would be okay—although I would prefer they be on all screens like the menu bar—but Apple made a decision that will forever confuse the hell out of me. The Dock can switch screens, and the Cmd + Tab switcher follows it. If you do not have the Dock hidden, it can be somewhat difficult to switch screens—you sort of have to place your cursor at the bottom of the screen, stop moving the mouse, then drag down. But I did try living with the Dock un-hidden for a while to see if this would overcome my issue. I still manage to trigger the Dock to move to a non-primary display when I don’t want it to.

On the other hand, when the Dock is hidden, it is very easy to trigger it to move. It moves over to another display as soon as the cursor is at the bottom of the screen. I prefer to run with my Dock hidden for screen realestate purposes since I don’t use the Dock all that often while I’m doing various things. However, I do use the Cmd + Tab switcher constantly. And very often I’m switching between multiple applications at a time so I tend to use it visually. I trigger the switcher, and then either use the mouse or keep tabbing until the application I want is selected. The trouble since 10.9 is where the switcher is located on my displays is unpredictable as I may have accidentally triggered a Dock move to a non-primary screen. This is what we call poor user interface design and a poor user experience. Consistency and muscle memory is key in user interfaces and Apple has completely blown it here.

Here’s what really rubs me the wrong way: it has been blown since 10.9. Apple recently released macOS 10.12 and this behavior has not changed at all. A quick Google search of this issue using various keywords reveals that I am far from the only user complaining about this issue. I found threads dating back to not long after the release of 10.9 begging Apple to fix this problem. It’s not a big problem, but it is one I run into every. single. day. which makes it one of the most annoying problems of macOS I run into. As a vendor of software, you do not want people to become annoyed with your software. But this particular bug (I definitely classify it as a bug) is one I have run into every day since the release of 10.9 and I am definitely annoyed. The only solution to this problem is to disable the setting giving displays their own spaces. But changing that setting has the undesired affect of reverting to the pre-10.9 behavior for the menubar, spaces, and full screen applications. I hate giving up the new and welcome functionality.

I will accept two solutions to this problem:

  1. Make the behavior of the Dock and Cmd + Tab switcher like the menu bar—show it on all displays (preferred)

  2. Keep the Dock and Cmd + Tab switcher on the primary display at all times (not preferred but acceptable)

Neither of these options seem all that hard to implement. But with the release of macOS Sierra, Apple seemed far more content to ship features no one was asking for and, much worse, half-baked features that simply don’t work, don’t have a proper interface, and no one should use (see ATP 189 for more on what I’m talking about).

For three releases we’ve lived with the consequences of Apple not completely thinking through the user experience of Dock and Cmd + Tab switcher migrating displays and not being available in a consistent location and failing to course correct.

This is but an illustration of many of the little straws being piled on the back of the camel, but the burden of straw with Apple software on the Mac is becoming quite heavy and it is my hope that Apple will start paying attention to us once again.

2016’s Subscription Drive Winners

The first annual subscription drive on The Bold Report has come to an end. Here is what happened.

What an awesome week. I published the anniversary post last Monday, and we had quite a few new people visit the site and subscribe. Thank you! We’ve got some great stuff publishing soon.

The Winners

  • Jonathan Simcoe - Spider-Man Box
  • Guy Routledge - Coffee Box
  • Kate McGee - Creative Box

I’ve sent an email or Twitter Direct Message to let these fortunate peeps know. If I don’t get a response within 5 days, I’ll just pick another name at random.

Thank You

Again, thank you all for reading the site. Thanks to all of you who shared our anniversary post, subscribed, and celebrated with us. Hope you’re having a great day, and now back to our regular programming.

You’re Doing the Mac Dock Wrong | Snazzy Labs

I found this great YouTube video to change the animation speed of the dock on macOS. Hiding the dock is great for screen real estate, but the animation is slow. Thankfully you can easily fix this with two commands in the terminal. I figured I’d write it out here so it’s easier for you to copy paste.

Open your terminal and paste the following command:

$ defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier -int 0

This command allows you to enter an integer altering the speed of the animation. It can be any number. Experiment with it until you find the speed you like.

To restart the dock and see the new animation speed, enter this:

$ killall Dock

That’s it! Hope you find this useful!

Update from TJ Draper

Apparently 1 is the default, and 0 gives you no animation whatsoever. So TJ recommends using -float so that you can use a decimal value. -int only accepts whole numbers. Here’s what the command would look like now:

$ defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier -float 0.2

Much better! The dock is much faster, but there’s still a subtle animation.