Connected #201: An Internal Fortnite »

This week’s Connected was full of mini-topics, but was a lot of fun:

Federico bought an iPod touch, Nest and Instapaper both have new bosses and the world is finally getting the leg emoji it deserves.

My thanks to our sponsors:

  • Pingdom: Start monitoring your websites and servers today. Use offer code CONNECTED to get 30% off.
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  • Timing: The automatic time tracking app for macOS. Use this link to save 10% on your purchase.

iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS: How to Clean the Back of the Device »

Apple Support:

If the back of your iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS becomes discolored, you may clean it with isopropyl alcohol.

Dampen a clean, soft, lint-free cloth with isopropyl alcohol. Rub the back of the device until clean.

Do not apply alcohol directly to the device. Avoid rubbing the display with the alcohol, and avoid getting alcohol in any openings.

Instapaper Going Indie »


Today, we’re announcing that Pinterest has entered into an agreement to transfer ownership of Instapaper to Instant Paper, Inc., a new company owned and operated by the same people who’ve been working on Instapaper since it was sold to betaworks by Marco Arment in 2013. The ownership transfer will occur after a 21 day waiting period designed to give our users fair notice about the change of control with respect to their personal information.

We want to emphasize that not much is changing for the Instapaper product outside the new ownership. The product will continue to be built and maintained by the same people who’ve been working on Instapaper for the past five years. We plan to continue offering a robust service that focuses on readers and the reading experience for the foreseeable future.

Color me excited. Instapaper has withered under Pinterest’s watch1 and I hope that if it’s being worked on by people who care about it and are free to work on it full time, that it will be restored to its former glory.

  1. It is still not GDPR compliant, for example. 

2018 Keyboards Will Not Be Used to Repair 2016, 2017 Macbook Pros »

There has been some hopeful discussion that the silicone-covered keyswitches in the 2018 MacBook Pros could filter down to 2016 and 2017 models via repair.

There is some precedent for this; many customers with 2016 models have reported that Apple has replaced their keyboards with the 2017 variant. However, that does not seem to be the case this year, according to Joe Rossignol at MacRumors:

When asked if Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers will be permitted to replace second-generation keyboards on 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models with the new third-generation keyboards, if necessary, Apple said, no, the third-generation keyboards are exclusive to the 2018 MacBook Pro.

I had feared this would be the case. When a MacBook Pro’s keyboard is replaced, it’s actually the entire top case, with the keyboard and battery along for the ride. It is not an efficient repair, and one that was going to eventually lead to part compatibility issues between generations.

While I don’t know for sure, I have to guess that the screw boss locations needed for the revamped logic board, coupled with the higher capacity battery found in the new machines, dictated the change in repair strategy.

This leaves 2016 and 2017 customers potentially stranded with a design that is clearly less than ideal. However, many have reported that the failure rate on the 2017-style keyboard is much lower, so maybe this won’t be that big of a deal in the long run.

2018 MacBook Pro Keyboard Uses Silicone Membrane to Protect From Dust »

Sam Lionheart at iFixit:

Here’s an inflammatory take for you: Apple’s new quieter keyboard is actually a conspiracy to fix their keyboard reliability issues. We’re in the middle of tearing down the newest MacBook Pro, but we’re too excited to hold this particular bit of news back:

Apple has cocooned their butterfly switches in a thin, silicone barrier.

This flexible enclosure is quite obviously an ingress-proofing measure to prevent the mechanism from seizing up under the brutal onslaught of microscopic dust. Not—to our eyes—a silencing measure. In fact, Apple has a patent for this exact tech designed to “prevent and/or alleviate contaminant ingress.”

Nick Statt at The Verge has more on that patent:

It described various methods for keyboard design that would prevent crumbs and dust from getting underneath the keys and causing mechanical issues. The methods describe using a “guard structure extending from the key cap” that would “funnel” contaminants away from the sensitive portions of the keyboard. That guard structure could be separated from the base when in an undepressed position and that it would not make contact with the base even when depressed due to a gasket sitting in between.

The patent application goes on to say that the gasket could comprise of a layer of silicone that would act as a membrane. iFixit now says that’s exactly what the new MacBook Pro keyboard contains, and that the sound of the keyboard is quieter as a side effect of the silicone membrane.

If this works as we can assume it designed to work, this is very good news.