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★ Additional Details on the New App Store Review Features

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Jim Dalrymple, writing at The Loop:

When you are prompted to leave a review, customers will stay inside the app, where the rating or review can be left for the developer. It’s easier for customers and the developers still get their reviews.

Apple is also limiting the amount of times developers can ask customers for reviews. 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.

Customers will also have a master switch that will turn off the notifications for app reviews from all developers, if they wish to do that.

I spoke with Apple today about these features, too. A few questions I got answered:

  • The replies that developers will be able to leave on App Store reviews will be attached to the user review to which they’re replying. It’s not a thread, per se, because users can only leave one review, and developers can only leave one response to each review, but they will be connected visually. Users can then edit their review, and developers can then edit their reply. Developers have been clamoring for something like this ever since the App Store opened in 2008.

  • An individual app can prompt three times for a review per year, period. This counter does not get reset each time the developer updates their app. Good.

  • The new APIs will be eventually be the only sanctioned way for an iOS app to prompt for an App Store review, but Apple has no timeline for when they’ll start enforcing it. Existing apps won’t have to change their behavior or adopt these APIs right from the start.

  • One reason developers prompt for reviews even after you’ve already reviewed a previous version of an app is that the average rating for an app gets reset with each update to the app — and a 4 or 5-star average rating can have a big effect on the number of downloads an app gets. From a developer’s perspective, it sucks when you replace a highly-rated version of your app with a minor bug-fix update and your average rating gets erased. It’s a tricky problem to solve, though — sometimes the latest update of an app really does deserve a new average rating, for better or for worse. I asked if this policy was changing, and Apple had nothing to announce — but they did acknowledge that they’re aware that the current policy is what led to the problem of apps badgering users too frequently for reviews.

I’ve long been a critic of apps begging for reviews (OpenTable, I’m looking in your direction). Three years ago, while linking to the excellent Eff Your Review website, I wrote:

I’ve long considered a public campaign against this particular practice, wherein I’d encourage Daring Fireball readers, whenever they encounter these “Please rate this app” prompts, to go ahead and take the time to do it — but to rate the app with just one star and to leave a review along the lines of, “One star for annoying me with a prompt to review the app.”

It’s good to see Apple doing something about this. A limit of three prompts per year, and a system-wide switch to turn off all such prompts, go a long way toward fixing the problem from the user’s perspective. If Apple can figure out a fairer way to compute the average rating for apps across updates, they can help solve it from a developer’s standpoint too.

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jheiss
28 days ago
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How about prompting me out of band (e.g. via email or iTunes) so that I'm not asked for a review right when I'm launching the app and probably trying to accomplish something quickly? I have in mind the occasional emails I get from Amazon to review things that I've purchased. I almost always dismiss the in-app requests for a review because the timing is bad.
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HandBrake 1.0.0 Released After 13 Years of Development

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Finally out of beta, just in time for the demise of the optical disc.

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jheiss
57 days ago
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Maybe the streaming video services will eventually have reasonable catalog depth, but they certainly aren't there now and show no sign of heading that way. Very few of the shows and movies my family wants to watch are available for subscription streaming. Usually the cost of a one time stream is similar to the cost of a used optical disk on Amazon, so I buy the disk and rip it and now I've got that content forever.
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tingham
57 days ago
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Does Gruber even use a Mac anymore bro?

Seriously though, I use handbrake on a weekly basis, it's essential. I just went to see if I could find a way to donate to their project but it looks like they only use ad revenue from the .fr site. Weird.
Cary, NC
martinbaum
58 days ago
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0% in my case. For a while it was the only easy way to make H.265 4K on a Mac.
peelman
58 days ago
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Christ Gruber. Handbrake is for transcoding video. A task that transcends optical discs.
Seymour, Indiana
mrnosuch
58 days ago
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I've transcoded lots of videos with Handbrake, and less than 1% of them came from an optical disc.
Munich, Germany

Donald Trump Lost Most of the American Economy in This Election

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Jim Tankersley, writing for The Washington Post:

In the modern era of presidential politics, no candidate has ever won the popular vote by more than Hillary Clinton did this year, yet still managed to lose the electoral college. In that sense, 2016 was a historic split: Donald Trump won the presidency by as much as 74 electoral votes (depending on how Michigan ends up) while losing the nationwide vote to Clinton by 1.7 million votes and counting. [Note: It’s now over 2.2 million votes and counting.)

But there’s another divide exposed by the election, which researchers at the Brookings Institution recently discovered as they sifted the election returns. It has no bearing on the election outcome, but it tells us something important about the state of the country and its politics moving forward.

The divide is economic, and it is massive. According to the Brookings analysis, the less-than-500 counties that Clinton won nationwide combined to generate 64 percent of America’s economic activity in 2015. The more-than-2,600 counties that Trump won combined to generate 36 percent of the country’s economic activity last year.

I will say it flatly: Trump voters are ignoramuses, bigots, and/or fools. But time is not on their side. This is their last gasp.

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jheiss
86 days ago
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Many of them are fools, but they're also desperate. If those of us doing well in the modern economy don't do something about income inequality, and consider something like a basic income, this will not end well. Technology and robotics will continue to put low skill workers out of work with little hope of a replacement job.
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jkevmoses
86 days ago
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Gruber sounds like a Michigan fan after this weekend. To blanketly make the statement he does at the end of the article is sad. There are some people who voted for Trump who are what he says but to say ALL are like that is just not true.
McKinney, Texas
ddillinger
86 days ago
Technically, I suppose you're right. A handful of them are the one-percenters who are going to laugh all the way to the bank.
jkevmoses
86 days ago
I'm not sure a majority of the people who live outside of coastal California, Chicago, New York (City), and other parts of the North Eastern US can be called the one-percenters. Looking at the election map the clear divide is generally between the cities and the suburban and rural areas of the country. Very different demographics and very different priorities when it comes time to vote.

Nikkei Asian Review: Apple Is Looking Into Assembling iPhones in the U.S.

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Debby Wu, reporting for the Nikkei Asian Review:

Key Apple assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn Technology Group, has been studying the possibility of moving iPhone production to the U.S., sources told the Nikkei Asian Review.

“Apple asked both Foxconn and Pegatron, the two iPhone assemblers, in June to look into making iPhones in the U.S.,” a source said. “Foxconn complied, while Pegatron declined to formulate such a plan due to cost concerns.”

I have a really hard time believing this could happen.

The person added that one view among the Apple supply chain in Taiwan is that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump may push the Cupertino, California-based tech titan to make a certain number of iPhone components at home.

I had a really hard time believing this could happen.

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jheiss
96 days ago
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Gruber's second comment made me lol, and then cry a little.
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IBM: Macs Are Less Expensive Than PCs

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Jeni Asaba, writing for Jamf:

In 2015, IBM let their employees decide — Windows or Mac. “The goal was to deliver a great employee choice program and strive to achieve the best Mac program,” Previn said. An emerging favorite meant the deployment of 30,000 Macs over the course of the year. But that number has grown. With more employees choosing Mac than ever before, the company now has 90,000 deployed (with only five admins supporting them), making it the largest Mac deployment on earth.

But isn’t it expensive, and doesn’t it overload IT? No. IBM found that not only do PCs drive twice the amount of support calls, they’re also three times more expensive. That’s right, depending on the model, IBM is saving anywhere from $273 - $543 per Mac compared to a PC, over a four-year lifespan. “And this reflects the best pricing we’ve ever gotten from Microsoft,” Previn said. Multiply that number by the 100,000+ Macs IBM expects to have deployed by the end of the year, and we’re talking some serious savings.

IBM as the world’s largest Mac installation is such a great story.

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jheiss
120 days ago
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Some discussion of this, including some recent IBM employees, suggested that these numbers are not apple-and-oranges. Employees or their teams self-select Mac or Windows, so the Mac users are probably a more technical crowd than the Windows users and thus less likely to need or ask for support.
rtreborb
119 days ago
Also I'm not sure how there is four years of data from a 2015 initiative
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Gizmodo: ‘Horror Stories From the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Flight Ban’

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Story from a Gizmodo reader:

At the security checkpoint as a husband/partner was saying goodbye to his wife/partner, she gave her phone to him because she thought she couldn’t take it on the plane. It was a Galaxy S5 or S6, I couldn’t really tell, but definitely not a Note. So lots of confusion. Finally, we are putting a lot of faith in flight attendants who don’t know the difference between a laptop and a tablet let alone a nuanced issue like what’s happening with the Note. I wouldn’t be surprised if we lose access to our cell phones pre-take off again as a result of Samsung’s fuck up.

Saturday Night Live had a joke this weekend about “Samsung Galaxy 7’s” — without the “Note”. It’s really easy to be confused by this. I really do worry that this fuck up is going to lead to all devices being banned from use on flights.

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jheiss
128 days ago
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Using them doesn't increase the risk. It is quite possible that charging a device does increase the risk, so I could see charging being banned on planes. But the only other option would be to ban anything with a battery from being brought onto a plane, which seems unlikely.
wmorrell
128 days ago
Considering that a "replacement" Note 7 started smoking while powered-down on a Southwest flight two weeks ago, I think it's premature to say using them does not increase risk. Details on what specific defect is causing these fires has not been made generally available to my knowledge; even still, drawing power will add heat, which should add risk to anything known to spontaneously combust.
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steingart
128 days ago
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an unintended consequence of cluster naming
Princeton, NJ
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