The personal blog of Stuart Breckenridge

Three Questions Before Any Meeting  

Via Rands In Repose:

Three questions before any meeting.

Another morning calendar hack: I glance at my day and make a quick assessment: what is the value being created by each of the meetings on my calendar? In a moment, I should be able to answer that question. It’s a new director and we’re going to get to know each other. It’s a weekly sync with a team in crisis. It’s a regularly scheduled 1:1.

Once I understand the why, I then focus on the what. Whether I run the meeting or am a participant, I write three questions that I’d like to get answered at this meeting. For a day full of meetings, the three question exercise should only take a few minutes and it achieves two important outcomes:

First, it frames my goals for this meeting. What is top of mind for me and what am I going to ask when given a chance?

Second, if I am failing to come up with three questions, I ask myself, “Why am I going to this meeting?” Meetings are a virus. They infect and they multiply. The longer they exist, the more likely the humans forget why the meeting was called. If it takes more than 30 seconds to think about my three questions or if I can’t think of a single question that I want to ask, I decline the meeting with a clear explanation.

The Outline Hurts My Eyes

Joshua Topolsky on what his new website — The Outline — is all about:

Welcome to The Outline, a new kind of publication for a new kind of human. We made this thing because we believe that the right story told in the right way can change someone’s life. But telling the right stories for right now — and telling them in a way that’s meaningful and modern — isn’t going to happen by itself. We have to make it happen. No one else can do it for us. So we’re doing it.

This new kind of human must have retinas made of steel because the colour scheme and layout of The Outline makes me want to detach mine. It’s horrible on desktop and downright painful (seriously, try scrolling) on mobile.

(Via Daring Fireball, Inessential.)

Xcode Storyboard and Same Named Files with Different Targets

Today, I came across a strange issue in Xcode where the Storyboard was unable to determine the difference between two ViewController.swift files that were part of the same project, but each had a different target (one was for iOS and one was for macOS). Whenever working with macOS Storyboard and control-dragging to the macOS ViewController.swift file, all outlets and actions were created in the iOS ViewController.swift file.

Even after renaming the macOS target’s file (and class) to ViewController-Mac, linking it up in Storyboard, cleaning, and then attempting to control-drag, Xcode threw an error stating that no details could be found for the renamed class. Other than having completely separate Xcode projects, I couldn’t find a workaround.

Here’s how to recreate the issue:

  1. Create a New Single View Application for iOS
  2. Add a New Cocoa Mac Application target
  3. Open the Main.storyboard file for the Mac Application target
  4. Drag a NSButton from the Object Library onto the View Controller
  5. Click the Show the Assistant Editor button (see Issue 1)
  6. Using the Assistant Editor’s Manual Mode, select the ViewController.swift file for the Mac Application target
  7. Drag from the NSButton to the ViewController.swift file and create an outlet or action for the button (see Issue 2)

Issue 1: The Assistant Editor shows the ViewController.swift file for the iOS target.

Issue 2: The outlet or action is added to the ViewController.swift file for the iOS target


Graphics Glitches on the New MacBook Pros  

Joe Rossignol, for MacRumors:

Since new MacBook Pro models launched last month, an increasing number of early adopters have reported serious graphics issues on Apple’s latest notebooks. The glitches and other problems appear to be most prevalent on built-to-order 15-inch models, but standard 13-inch and 15-inch configurations are also affected. […]

It would initially seem the issue is limited to 15-inch MacBook Pro models with dedicated AMD graphics, but there are a few isolated reports of graphics issues on 13-inch models with integrated Intel Iris 540 and Intel Iris 550 graphics — including the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with a standard row of function keys.

The good news here is that this issue is not limited to a specific set of graphics cards — it appears to affect AMD and Intel integrated cards alike. That should mean that this is an issue that can be resolved via a software update.

HSBC Now Accepts Apple Pay in Singapore

HSBC have announced(PDF) that they now support Apple Pay in Singapore. That leaves Citibank as the only major bank in Singapore that don’t support Apple Pay. When I asked what their Apple Pay plans were in September this was their response:

At Citibank Singapore we continue to enhance value propositions to our customers so that they get to enjoy a differentiated banking experience that is simpler, faster and secure. Digital wallets are just one of the many initiatives that we are currently reviewing. We will be progressively introducing new services to our customers and will share more details in due course.

Thank you for your continued support of Citibank.

Contrast that with what they are telling their customers (via their Facebook page) as recently as a few days ago:

We do not have any plans to launch Apple Pay in Singapore in the immediate future.

Thank you for your support of Citibank. We look forward to continue being of service to you.

Differentiated by being the only bank not to support a product.

Netflix Now Allows Downloads  

From the Netflix Company Blog:

Netflix members worldwide can now download in addition to stream great series and films at no extra cost.

While many members enjoy watching Netflix at home, we’ve often heard they also want to continue their Stranger Things binge while on airplanes and other places where Internet is expensive or limited. Just click the download button on the details page for a film or TV series and you can watch it later without an internet connection.

I’m travelling soon, so this couldn’t have come at a better time.

A MacBook I Own Will Soon Be Obsolete  

Joe Rossignol at MacRumors:

Apple plans to add select 2009 to 2011 model Macs to its vintage and obsolete products list on December 31, 2016, according to an internal memo seen by MacRumors.

On that list, emphasis mine:

  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2011)
  • MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2011)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009)
  • MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2009)

This isn’t normally news I’d write about, but I still own a 15-inch, Early 2011 MacBook Pro, which was bought just after release. It was my second Apple notebook. It’s not the same device as it was when I bought it: the HDD has been replaced with an SDD, the SuperDrive has been replaced with the original HDD, and the RAM has been upgraded1. I emigrated with it. I developed several apps on it. It has MagSafe!

However, it’s so thick and heavy — by modern MacBook standards — that I wouldn’t be surprised if it could cause a herniated disc. The screen is non-retina and looks really bad next to the 2016 MacBook Pro screen I am using now.

Importantly, it still works perfectly after five-and-a-half years, which is not something I can say of the Windows laptops I owned at university. It has never been taken to the Genius Bar.

The Early 2011 MacBook Pro is an incredible piece of technology.

  1. This was back in the day when Apple let their customers tinker with their notebooks. ↩︎

The Guardian Goes HTTPS Only  

Mariot Chauvin and Huma Islam, writing for The Guardian:

By using HTTPS, internet service providers (ISPs) are not able to track the pages our readers are accessing. It means we protect the privacy of our readers when accessing content that may disclose political opinions, faith, sexual orientation or any information that may be used against them. It matches our core values.

This is particularly important given the recent introduction of the Investigatory Powers Act, which makes it mandatory for ISPs to store records of websites visited by their customers for 12 months. HTTPS protects your privacy.

Also of note, they’ve stopped using their very recognisable short URL:

Before Twitter stopped counting url characters and forced all urls to be shortened by its own service short urls had a utility. This is no longer the case. Our short url implementation also had a negative impact on latency as it was forcing the browser to perform three redirects. This is clearly something you want to avoid with HTTPS, so we simply decided to stop using them.

I quite like short urls from a how-they-look perspective, but I find it hard to argue with their reasoning: three redirects ( to to to the destination URL) is excessive.

I’m a big proponent of going HTTPS only. Indeed, this website has been setup as HTTPS only since it was made live. It’s easy to implement and free (thanks, Let’s Encrypt). If you haven’t implemented HTTPS, I’d urge you to do so.

Millions Didn't Vote Illegally

He spouts any old shit that crops into his head regardless of whether it is based in fact. How does he get away with it?

An Update on How to Follow This Blog

2017-02-09: This post has been updated.

Hello! Here’s a tiny update on the new ways you can follow this blog:

Enjoy your weekend.

  1. Are you located outside of the U.S., the U.K., or Australia? Apple News means nothing to you! ↩︎