The personal blog of Stuart Breckenridge

STAR WARS Run: Singapore  

This is exciting news — the first ever STAR WARS themed run in Singapore! I’ve signed up for the 10km run on the Dark Side. The starwarsrun.sg site doesn’t contain much information, so I’ve summarised the details from the Facebook event page below:

Date

  • 6 May 2017, 1900 HRS

Costs

  • 4.5km STAR WARS Run (Non-Competitive) - S$65
  • 10km STAR WARS Run (Competitive) - S$70

Entitlements

  • Exclusive STAR WARS Run drawstring bag (Dark side / Light side),
  • Exclusive STAR WARS Run participant’s tee (Dark side / Light side),
  • Exclusive STAR WARS Run towel,
  • Exclusive plush toy (Yoda for Light side / Darth Vader for Dark side)
  • Limited edition STAR WARS Run Finisher’s medal for each category (4.5km Dark side, 4.5km Light side, 10km Dark side and 10km Light side)
  • Electronic certificates


Jiminy: Trump's First Two Days of February  

Jiminy.us, from John Gruber:

This is a collection of stories from just the past 48 hours or so that I’ve found to be alarming and/or outrageous. This is not about stuff I simply disagree with politically, and so, for example, there’s nothing here about the nomination of Neal Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.[…]

It seems to me this pace of alarming news is unsustainable.

That last statement is spot on. I’m waking up each morning wondering what has 45 done now?


Apple to Manufacture iPhones in India  

Husain Sumra, for MacRumors:

Apple has agreed to a deal with the government of Indian state Karnataka to begin manufacturing iPhones in Bangalore, reports The Times of India. The Karnataka government announced that it had approved Apple’s proposal to “commence initial manufacturing operations” in a press release.

Apple’s desire to open a manufacturing hub in India started after Prime Minister Narendra Modi began promoting his “Made in India” initiative. Apple manufacturing partner Wistron will make the iPhones in a new plant, reportedly beginning with the iPhone 8.

Manufacturing in India should significantly reduce the cost of iPhone for Indian consumers — at launch, the iPhone 7 was almost $250 more expensive in India than in the U.S.. This reduction in cost should fuel additional growth for Apple.


Quebec Response to Hate: More Tolerance  

Philippe Couillard, Quebec’s premier, responding to the heinous shooting that killed six people in a mosque (via NYTimes):

“Every society has to deal with demons,” he said. “Our society is not perfect. None is. These demons are named xenophobia, racism, exclusion. They are present here. We need to recognize that and act together to show the direction we want our society to evolve.”

The Editorial Board continues:

In sad contrast, the reaction from Mr. Trump’s White House was to use the shootings to justify its anti-immigrant policies. The attack was a “terrible reminder,” said the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, of why America’s actions must be “proactive, rather than reactive.” The logic, or illogic, seemed to be that if Muslims had been kept out of Canada, they would not have been killed.

I have nothing but high regard for the Canadian response. I’m aghast at what’s coming out of Mr. Trump’s White House.


FFI List v1.3.5  

FFI List v1.3.5 is out now. It contains the January 25, 2017 FFI list.

See below for an update on how the registration landscape has changed over the last three months:

Entity Type Nov Dec Jan
Sponsoring Entity 10,118 10,251 10,316
Single 144,758 147,447 148,959
Lead 6,377 6,405 6,416
Member 33,571 33,558 33,548
Branch 4,356 4,333 4,300
Sponsored Fund 38,645 63,221 67,934
Sponsored NFFE 469 677 737
Sponsored Subsidiary 715 1,596 1,799
Sponsored Branch 198 21 220


App Store Reviews in iOS 10.3  

Apple Developer News:

With iOS 10.3, you can use a new API to ask users to provide App Store ratings and reviews without leaving your app. You can also publicly respond to customer reviews on the App Store and Mac App Store.

The new API is SKStoreReviewController which provides a single method: requestReview().

SKStoreReviewController implemented in FFI List.

The functionality adheres to App Review Policy, which has been neatly summed up by Jim Dalrymple:

Developers will only be able to bring up the review dialog three times a year. If a customer has rated the app, they will not be prompted again. If a customer has dismissed the review prompt three times, they will not be asked to review the app for another year.

What’s not clear to me is if these counts will be reset with each new app version. I assume they will be, otherwise, apps that were reviewed just prior to being updated will be out of the loop for a year.


Socratic  

Socratic seems like an interesting app to help kids (cheat) with their homework. It’s had rave reviews so I thought I’d test it with this typed problem:

A car journey is spread over 5 hours. In the first hour the car travels 1/3 of the total distance. In the second hour it travelled 1/3 of the remaining distance. In the third hour the car travelled 1/4 of the remaining distance. In the fourth hour the car travelled 1/2 of the remaining distance. There are 10 miles left to travel. How far has the car travelled?

The correct answer is 50 miles. However, Socratic interpreted this question as:

A car travels 165 miles in 5 hours. How many miles does it average per hour?

Despite the above, the app is excellent when it comes to solving algebra problems.


The AMP Experiment

I’ve been having a little break from writing this blog over the last few weeks and I’ve used that time to experiment with both a Wordpress and Squarespace migration using test content. This was an investigation to satisfy my curiosity around some of the new publishing formats: Apple News (native) and Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

Despite not being powered by a CMS, this blog is already supported on multiple formats:

  • RSS
  • Facebook Instant Articles (xml file)
  • Apple News (RSS)

However, using Wordpress or Squarespace opened up the possibility of using the native Apple News format: Wordpress uses a plugin, while for Squarespace publishing is built-in. For a small blog such as this one I didn’t see enough of a benefit, other than advertising, over publishing to Apple News using RSS.

Similarly, publishing AMP pages using Wordpress or Squarespace was also possible1 but I couldn’t see any benefit to this at all. I noticed immediately — and it has been written about extensively — that AMP URLs do not relate to the original content. All AMP URLs are served from https://wwww.google.com/amp/ instead of the canonical URL. In addition to the fact that AMP pages are floated to the top of mobile search results, it makes AMP nothing more than an overt land-grab of the open web.

Do not use AMP.

  1. It’s also possible on Jekyll via a plugin. However, I found this to be quite a tricky plugin to implement. ↩︎



Twitter Retiring Lead Generation Card  

Via MailChimp:

Twitter will be retiring the Twitter Lead Generation Card feature, effective January 10, 2017. After this date, you’ll no longer be able to create new Lead Generation Cards, and existing cards will stop passing information back to your MailChimp account.

Existing, but inactive, Lead Generation Cards will remain in your Twitter account until February 10, 2017, so you can export any leads collected prior to January 10 and import them into your MailChimp account.

Let me explain why this is being retired:

Lead card stats.

32,902 impressions, no leads, no money for Twitter.

Previously: Twitter Stops Serving Ads to VIPs, What Does S$35 of Twitter Advertising Get You?