iPadOS

Rui Carmo is, rightly, a little less optimistic than most of the Apple-focused commentariat about the notion that Apple forking iOS to create an iPad-specific variant marks a new era for the iPad:

I have a profoundly different take on what “work” means than Federico-like one of my friends said the other day, there is a lot more to the “work” that we do than, say, wrangling Markdown documents.

The crunch will come when Apple find themselves needing to make a change to the fundamentals of how iPadOS works – like, say, removing or hugely relaxing the 10-minute limit on how long apps are allowed to run in the background (except for media players and suchlike) before iOS kills them1 in order to let an iPad work more like a real computer would. I’m sure they’ll start with a bunch of easy wins like that, but at some point they’ll find themselves having to make harder choices and we shall see what happens then.

I’m not saying they can’t do it – they certainly can – just that when the first iPadOS is still in beta it’s a bit early to assume that Apple will do the right thing, especially if that right thing also has an impact on the user experience on Apple’s most important product.

Spomeniks

Owen Hatherley reminds us that the Spomeniks weren’t created just to be concrete clickbait: remembering what they were commemorating matters too:

What Spomenik and the like forgets, Pupovac insists, is not only the scale of what happened here – “Yugoslavia was the fourth highest country in Europe in terms of civilian casualties” during the Second World War, and was also, along with Greece, the only country with a resistance movement – the multi-ethnic, Communist-dominated Partisans – that was large and strong enough to liberate the country almost without help from the Allies. The federal Yugoslavia that came out of this broke with Stalin and the USSR in 1948, and instituted a “self-management socialism” of extreme complexity and decentralisation. This is what disappears in the Spomenik photos – as she puts it, “our lived historical experience of a revolution becomes only a cultural artefact”. Sekulic argues that “a better way to engage with these monuments would be to use them as a tool do re-connect to the near past in which as a society we did not see space only as a commodity”.

Which is a bit of a problem when the current government in the region is less inclined to think kindly of the politics of that era which inspired the monuments in the first place and would very possibly be happy to see them crumble.

[Via MetaFilter]

On the bright side…

Positively the only good thing about recent political developments in the UK is that they’re going to give Marina Hyde tons of new material:

[…] Arguably this morning’s most amusing development was Helen Grant resigning as Tory vice-chair to openly support Dominic Raab. Is this the same Dominic Raab who resigned in protest at a Brexit deal he himself negotiated as Brexit secretary, and who is bizarrely being talked up as a strong candidate? Righto. It was Swift (Jonathan) who warned: “It is the folly of too many to mistake the echo of a London coffee-house for the voice of the kingdom.” And it was Swift (Taylor) who said: “Darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.” I don’t want to come over all Mystic Meg, but I am seeing a nightmarish news story in Dominic Raab’s future that will curtail any bid in fairly short order. […]

Any non-UK readers wondering who Dominic Raab is should comfort themselves with the thought that three years ago none of us on this side of the Atlantic knew either, and three years from now he’ll be lucky to be the punchline in a “Name the Brexit Secretary who succeeded David Davis in the role?” quiz question. 1

Black Mirror trailer

The trailer for Black Mirror season 5 seems mainly to exist to remind us that having access to some of Netflix’s money allows the show to cast bigger names and keep the standard of special effects up to scratch: no attempt to let us in on what any of the stories are about. Charlie Brooker seems to know what he’s doing thus far, so let’s see what sort of nightmares he’s going to share with us this time round.

I’d love to see them deliver a season of relatively upbeat tales in the vein of San Junipero, just to see how that’d feel, but I’m not going to hold my breath…

[Edited to add: ask, and ye shall receive… JR 23 May 2019]

[Via Slate]

Cap’s PR

Somewhere down the line I do hope Disney find the time – in between building up whichever cosmic-scale threat is going to close out Phase Six of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – to fill in some of the gaps in the story they’ve shown us so far.

Tell me this fanfic about life as Steve Rogers’ publicist wouldn’t work well as at least a short set in the wake of the Battle of New York, when the world has just seen Steve Rogers being the hero his nation needed:

[…] Eva lived in fear of the day a reporter thought to get Steve’s opinion about abortion. Or, God and all the angels forbid, gun control.

She breathed a sigh of relief when he was invited to speak at an anti-bullying conference; what could be more of a crowd-pleaser than siding against bullies? The sigh was short-lived, however. Steve kept to his prepared remarks for about a sentence and a half, and then spent the rest of his allotted time railing about the need for better protections for LGBT kids.

“How is this a hard job?” Yumi said that weekend over drinks. So many drinks. “C’mon, Steve Rogers, he’s such a boy scout.”

“Oh god,” Eva muttered, rubbing her temples, “don’t get him started on the Boy Scouts.” […]

I know Chris Evans claims to be done with the role, and Avengers: Endgame gave his character a send-off that worked pretty well, but come on: this is an open goal, surely?

[Via jwz]

40 years of Aliens

Just before 20th Century Fox was swallowed up by Disney, they celebrated the 40th anniversary of one of their own greatest franchises with six Alien 40th Anniversary Short Films.

I doubt the Xenomorphs are going to be showing up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe any time soon, but that’s OK: they’ve done a fine job of making humanity’s corner of the galaxy a nasty, brutish place to live and die in. I can pass on seeing how Captain Marvel and friends would cope with a gaggle of facehuggers coming for them.1

[Via jwz]

Killing IE6

Settle down and enjoy a little bit of history:

The bittersweet consequence of YouTube’s incredible growth is that so many stories will be lost underneath all of the layers of new paint. This is why I wanted to tell the story of how, ten years ago, a small team of web developers conspired to kill IE6 from inside YouTube and got away with it. […]

There’s totally an argument to be made that this was the sort of underhanded flexing of corporate muscles by unaccountable employees of major corporations that we’ll all look back on and regret one day when we’re required to browse Web 6.0 over our 6G internet connection while logged in with our FreedomID, so that the Secretary of State for Homeland Security can ensure that we’re not abusing our freedom by looking at unreliable online content that might knock our ResponsibleConsumer status down to PotentialSubversive.

But first, a couple of generations of web developers would like to give these folks a medal.

[Via @SwiftOnSecurity]

ArchiveBox

ArchiveBox looks like something I’m going to have to find the time to look into:

ArchiveBox takes a list of website URLs you want to archive, and creates a local, static, browsable HTML clone of the content from those websites (it saves HTML, JS, media files, PDFs, images and more)

You can use it to preserve access to websites you care about by storing them locally offline. ArchiveBox imports lists of URLs, renders the pages in a headless, autheticated, user-scriptable browser, and then archives the content in multiple redundant common formats (HTML, PDF, PNG, WARC) that will last long after the originals disappear off the internet. It automatically extracts assets and media from pages and saves them in easily-accessible folders, with out-of-the-box support for extracting git repositories, audio, video, subtitles, images, PDFs, and more.

I currently pay to have my Pinboard account archive pages I bookmark, but as a matter of principle I like the concept of having a toolset that enables me to have the ability to save and browse local copies of stuff. 1 I currently tend to grab stuff I think I’ll want to read and refer to later and either chuck the URL at Pinboard or else use Evernote’s ability to grab a page’s content and file it away safely, but it’d be nice to have another option for accessing stuff that caught my eye open to me.

[Via Four short links]