Web Excursions 2021-05-26

Apple, Fedex and the cookie apocalypse

  • It’s probably more useful to suggest that all Apple has really done is implement the EU and California’s cookie laws, ‘but in apps’, and in an especially aggressive way.

    • reflects a pretty broad shift in attitudes towards privacy in general and the huge inverted pyramid of complexity and nonsense of third party ad tracking in particular.

    • There are dozens of different projects for new ‘private’ ways to track users across different sites with different identity or logged-in models, but the most interesting remains Google’s FLoC

    • So, Apple and Google want to move the tracking from the server to the client, and to one company with one point for the user to control instead of disaggregation across hundreds of publishers and ad-tech companies.

    • Apple does more or less the same thing on iOS in its News and Stocks apps

  • People say ‘privacy’ so often that one can lose sight of the fact that

    • advertisers don’t care who you are

    • They don’t want to ‘violate your privacy’

  • Before the internet Ads were based on context, and on inferring the audience from the context.

    • The internet gave advertisers the opposite axis - it let them show ads based on the reader instead of the page.

    • But the counter-case is that the value gets re-concentrated in the places with the highest value context, rather than following the high-value readers around the web.

    • The strong get stronger, which of course is the great tech policy trade-off - privacy versus competition.

  • Step up one more level again: why were brands buying ads anyway?

    • The joke in D2C for a while now has been that ‘rent is the new CAC’.

    • how do you reach and serve a customer? If the cookie apocalypse resets the numbers for display, that money can go to search, but it can also go to Fedex or landlords.

Apple stayed on message while Epic filled out the record - The Verge

  • Throughout the trial, Epic’s general strategy appears to have been to stuff the record as full of evidence as possible — just in case it’s needed on the inevitable appeal. To do that, Epic sacrificed telling a coherent story.

  • Apple, on the other hand, was on brand. It had a clear story and it spent the entire trial hammering it home: Apple controls the App Store because the alternative would be a security and privacy nightmare.

A courtroom artist’s view of the Epic v. Apple trial - The Verge

The only images came fromcourtroom artist Vicki Behringer

I try to finish all my sketches within one to one and a half hours. Some take longer. I have to budget my time while I am sketching in the courtroom. I have very strict deadlines and since the news is now a 24-hour cycle with the internet, my media clients need their sketches as soon as possible to go with their stories.

I’ve sketched Phil Schiller two or three times now in the Apple v. Samsung trials, so his face feels like an old friend. I always love hearing him talk about the history of Apple.

Mike Schmid, the head of Apple’s gaming department, was grilled pretty hard on the cross-examination by Epic’s attorney, but at the break they both relaxed and seemed to be happy to see each other.

Judge Gonzalez Rogers was asking some really interesting questions of him which didn’t sound very favorable toward Apple. His confidence seemed to waver just a bit, but he answered the questions clearly and did his best to justify Apple‘s position. It felt like a pivotal point in the trial.

I added a couple of other people in the courtroom that I usually don’t have time to include. The court reporter and the judge’s deputy. Everyone is important, even if they are not one of the main attorneys or witnesses.

Launch HN: Fig (YC S20) – Autocomplete for the Terminal | Hacker News

  • mschrage: We built Fig because of our own struggles in the terminal: we were tired of context switching between man pages, Stack Overflow posts, and Medium tutorials anytime we got stuck. We wanted our CLI tools to be more discoverable.

    • To solve this, we add a UI overlay that is linked with the interactive shell. As you type, Fig pops up subcommands, options, and contextually relevant arguments in your existing terminal.

    • We use the Accessibility API on Mac to insert text on your behalf and read what you've typed. We also integrate with the shell to determine the current process and working directory. We are built natively for macOS in swift. We built our UI using web technologies so we can ultimately go cross platform. We render it using a WKWebView (not Electron).

    • Fig is free for individuals and always will be. All completion specs - the templates used for generating CLI suggestions - are open source and anyone can contribute [0]. We plan to monetize by supporting autocomplete for companies' custom scripts and internal CLI tools.

CNBC Details 2015 Acquisition Talks Between Apple and Time Warner - MacRumors

Talks went on for a few weeks and involved Apple CEO Tim Cook, but ultimately soured over disagreements about fees and marketing. Offering Turner networks outside of a cable bundle could anger pay-TV distributors, and Apple was concerned about annoying existing media partners.

There were also fears that either Apple or Time Warner could eventually back out of the exclusive partnership, which could be disastrous to their future relationships.

34572 - Use native context menus on Mac OS

Matthew T: (Posted on 2000-04-05) Mozilla on MacOS is using native main menus -- the XUL menu items are being translated into native menu structures, allowing Mozilla to use the Mac's main menu bar. Why couldn't this be done with context menus as well?

Markus Stange: (Posted on 2021-04-27) Bug 1700679 enabled native context menus by default on Nightly (Firefox 90), so this bug is now fixed!

Hacker News Comments

  • jaas: As someone who used to be involved in the decision to not implement native context menus, and did a bunch of work on the non-native ones, I want to try to explain why this took a long time.

    • It has nothing to do with engineering resources, and we always wanted native context menus, but they were not customizable enough to meet the perceived needs of web, XUL, and extension developers at the time. People expected to be able to change colors and layout with CSS, for example.

    • The native APIs put heavy limitations on what you could do with a native context menu and it was just not compatible with the expectations of people building against the rendering engine at the time.

    • There was some discussion of switching back and forth between native and non-native menus based on styling, but that got complicated quickly and it wasn't thought to be worthwhile.

    • It sounds like perceived needs have changed, and maybe the native APIs allow for bit more flexibility now. Glad it's happening, excited to see how well it works!

  • qalmakka: Wow, that issue is older than OS X itself, which I assume it means it originally referred to Classic Mac OS. It's nice to see it tackled after all this time, AFAIK Mozilla doesn't even support XUL anymore.