Jekyll and GitHub Pages

BakingPixel is now on Jekyll hosted on GitHub Pages! Since this is now a static site, you should see a massive boost in performance.

We’ve also used this opportunity to refresh the design. The old design we created with WordPress has been around for 7 years, with some minor tweaks over the years. This is the first major facelift and, like our other sites that we reworked, we have added auto dark mode support.

Thank you for your support all these years and we look forward to putting more content out here!

Students are failing AP tests because the College Board can’t handle iPhone photos

The Verge:

Bryner is among the many high school students around the country who completed Advanced Placement tests online last week but were unable to submit them at the end. The culprit: image formats.

A screenshot of the AP testing portal informing a student that they weren’t able to submit their responses. Screenshot: College Board For the uninitiated: AP exams require longform answers. Students can either type their response or upload a photo of handwritten work. Students who choose the latter option can do so as a JPG, JPEG, or PNG format according to the College Board’s coronavirus FAQ.

But the testing portal doesn’t support the default format on iOS devices and some newer Android phones, HEIC files. HEIC files are smaller than JPEGs and other formats, thus allowing you to store a lot more photos on an iPhone. Basically, only Apple (and, more recently, Samsung) use the HEIC format — most other websites and platforms don’t support it. Even popular Silicon Valley-based services, such as Slack, don’t treat HEICs the same way as standard JPEGs.

If they had tried testing it with the most commonly used devices they would have noticed this bug instead of only discovering it after rollout.

France orders social media platforms to remove extremist content in 1 hour or pay a fine

The Next Web: France orders social media platforms to remove extremist content in 1 hour or pay a fine.

France just passed a new law forcing major social media platforms requiring social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to remove sensitive content related to pedophilia and terrorism within just one hour of notification.

This new order also states that these platforms need to remove hateful content promoting racism, sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, and aggravated insults within 24 hours of notification.

Having seen hate speech run amok on social media of late, this is a much needed move.

Becky Hansmeyer's WWDC 2020 Wishlist

Daring Fireball:

Fiddling with the home screen on iOS is just awful. Whenever I sit down and try to clean it up — deleting apps I don’t use, moving apps into some semblance of order — it drives me insane. The 1984 Finder was awesome for rearranging icons, right on day one. Yet we’re 13 years into iOS and rearranging apps is still terrible, because the whole thing is based on a home screen design where there’s just one screen and no third-party apps. The concept worked fine when all you could do was rearrange 12 built-in apps on a single screen. It feels like a prank trying to use it today.

Having an option to select multiple apps and delete them all at once like photos would be really useful. Granted we won’t use it all the time but it will reduce so much friction.

Also, look at how we get to choose how what apps we want in the Dock on the Mac. What if we choose what we want on the home screen, let those we don’t want organise themselves based on category into folders, and we just search for them via Spotlight? Or just ask Siri to launch the app.

Search in

Michael Tsai:

It doesn’t work very well in iOS 13, either. Many times, I’ll type the exact text that appears in the app, and it won’t find it. So I mostly just scroll and read. A long time ago, I reverse-engineered the transcript file format for EagleFiler, so that’s how I search older messages. Unlike in Messages, the matches are highlighted, and you can select the text.

Manuel Grabowski:

When I need to find something in my iMessages I just grab my iPhone. And let’s not forget that this option has only become viable since iOS13, before which it was just as bad on there as well.

That’s what I do as well. Search works so much better on the iPhone. Keying in the same text generally gives me no results on the Mac and what I’m looking for on the iPhone.

In comparison, It’s so easy to search in Telegram and WeChat on macOS.

Scunthorpe Sans, a profanity-obscuring font

Daring Fireball:

A s••• font that f•••ing censors bad language automatically

It’s able to detect the words f•••, s•••, p•••, t•••, w•••, c••• and dozens more, but with a special exemption for “Scunthorpe”; that town has suffered enough.

Pretty clever for a ligature trick.

Pretty clever name too.

Throttling Due to Thunderbolt Left Proximity Sensor

Michael Tsai.

State C shows that simply having stuff plugged in to TB ports raises their temperature significantly. Both the hub (mouse and keyboard ONLY) and HDMI adapter individually raise the temperature about 10 degrees, and 15 degrees together.

Note that high temperature on the right side appears to be ignored by the OS. Plugging everything into the two right ports instead of the left raised the Right temperatures to over 100 degrees, without the fans coming on. No kernel_task either, but the machine becomes unusable from something throttling.

I use the right Thunderbolt port probably 90% of the time so I haven’t noticed this issue. I guess there’s only one way to find out.

Microsoft Word Now Flags Double Spaces As Errors

Michael Tsai:

I have shelves full of books typeset with LaTeX, which by default puts more than a single space at the end of each sentence. It think this looks much better. But, crucially, LaTeX only makes the space fractionally larger. There’s no easy way to do that with most software, and if it’s a choice between one and two spaces, I think two looks odd.

Single spaces introduce a technical problem, which is that the software can’t tell whether a period is at the end of a sentence or merely following an abbreviation. LaTeX’s solution is that you have to manually mark periods that are not sentence ending. People often forget to do this. It also treats runs of multiple spaces as a single space, like Web browsers do.

I stand in the camp of using one space after a period because that’s what I’ve been taught and used growing up.

However, I ran into the problem Michael pointed out just a few days ago. I was doing some translation and the translation management software had issues identifying whether the space after a period marks the end of a sentence or a just an abbreviation. Although this is a very specific scenario that I can manually resolve, it still a legitimate case against single space.

When I get to set style guides, I tend to use the New Hart’s Rules aka Oxford Manual of Style where abbreviations, contractions, and acronyms are used without periods. Dropping periods for abbreviations would enable resolve the issue mentioned above.

AirPods Pro Thoughts

Michael Tsai:

Overall, I find it difficult to evaluate AirPods Pro because I have such mixed feelings about them. If I had to pick one model, I would buy the Pros because the seal and noise cancellation make them usable in situations where I couldn’t use the regular AirPods. That said, in situations where I don’t need noise cancellation or a long battery life, I always reach for my original AirPods. They feel better in my ears, and the case makes me happy.

Interesting review. I love my AirPods 2 and I’ve been curious to try the AirPods Pro, especially when I encounter situations that active noise cancelling would have been awesome.

Also, Matt and I had a short chat about AirPods a few days back.

Keyboard shortcut app

I wrote earlier about an iCloud Keychain App. Then I saw a post about setting up keyboard shortcuts. This is in the similar situation as keychain.

Managing shortcuts is simple enough for short replacements. However, if you want to expand larger chunks of text, then it becomes tricky managing these shortcuts. Typinator is to Keyboard Shortcuts what 1Password is to iCloud Keychain.