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Nintendo has no additional content planned for Super Mario Run

Takashi Mochizuki for The Wall Street Journal:

The Mario game, on the other hand, gives players only one chance to pay—the $9.99 charge to advance to the game’s higher levels. A Nintendo spokesman said the company didn’t plan to release additional content, either free or paid.

Nintendo doing what it usually does best: deliver, but not without some annoying pitfalls. This is just one of them. Another one, just for Super Mario Run, is the way the DRM works. Thought about installing and playing the game while staying in a hotel with the all-too-common crappy Wi-Fi? Forget it.

Even if you thought: Hey, I can install the game somewhere on fast Wi-Fi and will be set. No, you’ll have to download another chunk after you started playing. But even after that the game constantly phones back home to make sure you don’t have an illegal copy. And even on a 16M connection this randomly results in an error message.

Then you get to pay 10 bucks to unlock all levels. Something many people managed to be unaware of – despite all the news before it launched – just judging by the reviews in the App Store. I wonder how people will react once they notice this game is instant abandonware?

And don’t get me started about the nowadays usual ignorance when it comes to push notifications:

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MacBook Pro Launch: Perplexing

Jean-Louis Gassée about the MacBook Pro launch:

With both the RAM limitation and “donglegate” we see self-inflicted wounds, a puzzling lack of storytelling by a company that has a long history of controlling the narrative. Apple was forced to react with labored explanations and admission-of-guilt price cuts days after the late October launch. Experienced Apple executives violated a cardinal rule of selling: Don’t let the customer discover the problem. No product is perfect, so tell it all, tell it now, and tell it yourself. If you don’t, your customers — and your competition — will tell it for you.

He has too many valid points to quote. And while I still think that the 2016 15″ MacBook Pro is still the best computer I’ve ever owned, the battery life leaves a lot to be desired.

No matter what I do, I barely get more than 5 hours on a machine that Apple promises „up to 10 hours wireless web” or „up to 10 hours iTunes movie playback”. It’s nowhere close to those numbers. And that’s me just using Safari, Tweetbot, Slack, iTerm and/or iA Writer.

And today Apple officially released macOS Sierra 10.12.2 (which I’ve been testing for many weeks now). They „fixed” the problem by removing the remaining time indicator for the battery. Apple’s reason to do so is that it wasn’t accurate.

Interesting how this wasn’t an issue for all the years where the actual battery life was in line with Apples numbers. Also: the reported remaining battery life on my MacBook Pro seemed okay to me – it’s just that it’s not anywhere near Apple’s claims.

Here’s a quote from Marco’s post about it:

Or to quote John Gruber:

This is like being late for work and fixing it by breaking your watch.

Oh, and in case you still want to see the remaining time: you can either use Activity Monitor or iStat menus:


Adobe Photoshop CC with Touch Bar support is out now

Photoshop CC (2017.0.1) now supports Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro. The free update is available through Adobe’s Creative Cloud.

Edit: Here’s the official blog post detailing all the things.


Apple AirPods are available for purchase now

Apple’s AirPods are – after a bit of a delay – now available for purchase. Just like John Gruber announced on his latest The Talk Show last weekend they started selling this week – to be precise, this morning Pacific time.

If you ordered within the first hour your AirPods were shipping in time for Christmas, now the delivery date is December 29th a few weeks out.

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Best Buy vs. The Apple Store

Jason Fried at Signal v. Noise:

But in the last few years, the stores have really turned me off. I don’t like stepping into them. They don’t make me feel welcome — rather they make me feel like I need a good reason to be there. Of course I have a reason to be there, but I don’t like the fact that I have to declare it upon entry.

At the door you’re often met by a bouncer who asks you what you need and then directs you here or there. “Please wait by that table over there for a guy with glasses and a blue shirt.” And so you go, awkwardly waiting. Not sure if you can leave your station, lest you miss your opportunity to talk to who you were directed to talk to. Then what?

I find the stores packed with so much Apple staff that you often have to break up a conversation between two staff members in order to ask a question. Now I feel like I’m interrupting someone just to buy something.

This is the second time I’m hearing complains about the Apple Store experience in the past few weeks. Previously Casey Liss on ATP #197 made some other remarks about the whole shopping experience at Apple.

His point was about the lack of a separate checkout area, as in you can’t line up in an obvious, well, line to pay for something. This results in a random crowd waiting for someone to serve you.

Sure, the Apple Store app in certain circumstances can make that experience easier, but that’s not always an option.1And you feel like a thief the first few times using it and „just walking out” with a thing.

Sometimes the lack of friction will add more friction somewhere else. Apple removed the dedicated checkout areas and the wait in a line, but what you get in return is an uncomfortable feeling while waiting for a person to finish helping someone else.


1 And you feel like a thief the first few times using it and „just walking out” with a thing.

One more thing about USB C and the new MacBook Pro (and its charger)

There have been a few debates about the new MacBook Pro and its new charger. Unlike the previous models the new charger doesn’t have the little wings on one side to coil up the thin charging cable that connects to the MacBook.

But, at the same time, the new brick disconnects completely from that cable. This way you don’t have to coil it around the charger anymore. You just unplug both ends of the cable and coil it up 1Over/Under please like any other cable. This reduces the stress on the cable that many have seen when wrapping it around the old-style power brick.

The detachable cable means it can also be replaced separately from the power brick. This of course also gave Apple the opportunity to make that whole thing even more expensive. Aside from the now missing AC extension cable that used to come with the MacBook 2Let’s tack on another $19 to that $3000 MacBook, you now have to buy two separate parts if you want another whole power source; for example one for work and another one for home.

Before the recent update you only had to get the $79 power brick 3In case of the 15″ MacBook Pro. Now it’s a different $79 brick plus a $19 USB-C Charge Cable (and another $19 if you want that extension cable).

In other words, it’s now like this:

Yes, it got more convenient 4Some think it’s actually less convenient because they now can lose or forget another piece with the detachable cable, but it also got – once again – more expensive.


1 Over/Under please
2 Let’s tack on another $19 to that $3000 MacBook
3 In case of the 15″ MacBook Pro
4 Some think it’s actually less convenient because they now can lose or forget another piece
Blog Linkblog

The new MacBook Pro is kind of great for hackers

Adam Geitgey:

A million hot takes have been posted about how the late-2016 MacBook Pro with USB-C is the undeniable proof that Apple doesn’t care about developers anymore. They took away all the ports! No Esc key! It’s just a more expensive MacBook Air!

But in some ways, the new MacBook Pro is the most techy and expandable laptop Apple has ever made. They are trusting their pro users to wade into murky USB-C waters in search of the holy grail of a universal, open standard for moving data and power between devices.

I’m not here to change your mind about the MacBook Pro. Yes, it’s probably too expensive and more RAM is better than less RAM. But everyone posting complaints without actually using a MBP for a few weeks is missing out on all the clever things you can do because it is built on USB-C. Over the past week or two with a new MacBook Pro (15in, 2.9ghz, TouchBar), I’ve been constantly surprised with how USB-C makes new things possible. It’s a kind of a hacker’s dream.

I personally don’t mind the choice of Apple going USB-C only either. The 2016 MacBook Pro is the best computer I’ve owned to date. But, yes, I’ve had that moment when I realized “Oh, wait, this doesn’t plug in natively anymore.” It was my YubiKey (Yubico is currently planning to release USB-C versions).

Once you get the usual cords as native USB-C versions, e.g. USB-C to micro USB, there are no dongles necessary anymore. Of course, for some devices, like mice or keyboards, you’ll have to go with a 10-Dollar-dongle until you eventually replace the device.

I began looking for USB-C accessories a while ago, ever since Apple started adding the ports to devices like the MacBook – or even Apple TV. For example when choosing a portable battery pack, I chose one that also had a USB-C port. It’s well-known that Apple doesn’t have any issues killing off ports of any sort no matter how old or how prevalent they are.

This brings me to one of the beauties of USB-C: It’s no longer a proprietary port like MagSafe was. Anyone can now make a power source for the MacBooks. Adhere to the USB standard and provide enough power and you’ll be able to power your device. You can now charge your MacBook from an external battery and don’t have through some weird hoops that were there for charging via MagSafe. For the record: Yes, I miss the break-away nature of MagSafe, but I bet there will be magnetic adapters that provide enough power to even the 15″ MacBook Pro.

I also wonder how many people actually plug things – besides the charger – into their computers these days. When I look around the co-working space I work at some may plug in an external display – with provided dongles that adapt from HDMI (or Mini DisplayPort on newer Macs/PCs) to the VGA/DVI port these older displays use. Aside from that it’s maybe a mouse or keyboard, but that’s about it.


My apps of 2015, desktop and mobile

Like so many others, I found myself using the same apps over the past couple of months that help me taking care of my daily tasks.

I think it’s best to separate these apps by device, since they differ depending on where I am and what needs to be done. My daily devices are my iPhone, a 6s Plus, my 13″ Retina MacBook Pro, a second generation iPad mini and — mostly for watching TV shows in the evening and some browsing — a Nexus 9. I also use an Apple Watch, but don’t find myself using it for third party apps that often.

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About that developer angle at WWDC

On yesterday’s Upgrade podcast with Jason Snell and Mike Hurley they talked about products that would only be introduced at WWDC if they had a developer angle1.

Seeing that it boils down to almost guaranteed updates for iOS and OS X – with a possible introduction of a new Apple TV we could see a couple of news that would have this angle. These news might further tie in into the streaming services, that are rumoured to be announced in early June to be launched later that month.

Apple Watch on the other hand may be largely absent from the show, with Apple just saying “We’ll get back to you later this year” when they are ready to show a WatchOS beta that brings a native Watch SDK.


Trying on the Apple Watch

Yesterday I made a quick appointment to try on the Apple Watch and have a look at the new MacBook at the nearest Apple Store. It was no problem to get an appointment on the same day. Simply select a time that you want and head in.