Challenger Artifacts Recovered →

Robert Pearlman:

Artifacts that were recovered from the fallen space shuttle Challenger and prepared for presentation to the President of the United States have been recovered again, 36 years later, after they surfaced at auction among the collection of a NASA liaison to the White House.

Little is known about how or why the late James Foster Fanseen, who died in 2000, had come into possession of the small American flag and crew patch that were mounted to a plaque and inscribed to “Ronald Reagan, President of the United States.” Once recognized for what they were, though, the artifacts were restored to the proper hands, now at the Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California, collectSPACE has learned.

Apple Posts Record Quarterly Results →

Jason Snell has details:

Apple’s latest quarterly results are out. And they’re big. It was an all-time revenue record, at $123.9 billion. The company made a record $34.6 billion in profit.

Mac revenue also reached a new all-time high at $10.9 billion, and iPhone revenue also peaked at $71.6 billion. The iPad’s revenue was $7.2 billion, down sequentially and year-over-year, but still among the five best iPad quarters in recent years.

Services kept its upward growth path, setting a new record at $19.5 billion, and Wearables/Home/Accessories likewise set a new record at $14.7 billion.

The Curious Case of Dropbox and macOS 12.3

Earlier today, Dropbox alerted its customers about an upcoming change to its Mac app:

Dropbox is actively working on full support for the upcoming macOS 12.3 (Monterey) release and will begin rolling out a beta version in March 2022.

If you choose to update to macOS 12.3, you may have issues opening online-only files in third-party applications on your Mac. As a temporary workaround, you can open online-only files directly in Finder.

Dropbox is already in hot water with some Mac users for its slow adoption of Apple silicon, and its resource-hungry nature on macOS.

This email and support document didn’t help things, and in no doubt led even more people to check out Maestral, an open-source macOS Dropbox client that has gained popularity over the last few months.

It seems that this issue, at least, is due to changes Apple is making in a future version of macOS Monterey, according to Joe Rossignol:

Dropbox did not provide any further details, but Microsoft recently said macOS 12.2 will be the last version that supports its own cloud storage service OneDrive’s current online-only files implementation. Microsoft said OneDrive will be getting a new online-only files experience that is “more integrated with macOS” and “will have long-term support from Apple,” adding that the current version is built on several technologies that are “now deprecated.”

Altogether, it appears likely that Apple has given cloud storage services like Dropbox and OneDrive advanced notice about system-level changes that will affect online-only files starting with macOS 12.3.

That Microsoft document includes this:

macOS 12.2 will be the last version that supports the classic Files On-Demand experience. For future macOS versions, this means:

  • Files On-Demand will default to on for all users and cannot be disabled.
  • Devices will migrate automatically to the new Files On-Demand as soon as they receive a macOS update. You cannot delay this update without also delaying an update to macOS.
  • Both our Standalone and App Store versions of OneDrive will have the same behavior.
  • Users running a developer or beta version of macOS will have the same experience as a release version of macOS.

I don’t know why Apple would change this feature, but it’s not hard to look at this as a move against services that compete with its own iCloud Drive feature. Given the scrutiny the company already faces when it comes to anti-competitive behavior, I’d sure like to see a better reason for this change, especially if iCloud Drive retains features similar to what Dropbox and Microsoft offer.

That said, I can easily see Apple saying something vague about security and moving on without a real explanation for moving to take features away from users of other cloud services than its own. At least they gave Dropbox and Microsoft advanced notice.

Kbase Article of the Week: iDVD 6: Photos are Missing from iDVD Project After Upgrading →

Apple Support:

After you open a project in iDVD 6 that you created in an earlier version of iDVD, an alert indicates that photos used in slideshows, backdrops, or drop zones are missing. You may be prompted to locate the missing items.

To prevent this issue from occurring, update to iDVD 6.0.4 or later.

Out of all of the iLife apps I used back in the day, I think iDVD seemed the most magical. The fact that I could burn a DVD, complete with menus, on my Mac was so, so cool.

AirBuddy 2.5 →

The newest version of Gui Rambo’s wonderful menu bar app for managing Bluetooth devices comes with some real goodies, as John Voorhees writes:

Connecting to your devices and handing them off to another Mac is noticeably faster with AirBuddy 2.5. Open your AirPods’ case, and the app’s UI for connecting appears immediately. As I covered with version 2.0, AirBuddy can also transfer your Apple trackpad, mouse, and keyboard connection to another Mac, using a feature called Magic Handoff. Today’s update introduces version 2.0 of that feature, which is faster and has been reliable in my testing. The latest version of the feature will even attempt to wake a target Mac up if it’s in sleep mode. Handing off input devices isn’t something I do regularly, but it can be handy if you work across a desktop and laptop Mac or run a headless Mac server, for example.

It also comes with a new widget for showing battery levels, optional battery alerts and support for Shortcuts on the Mac.

AirBuddy 2.5 is a free update to the $9.99 app. If you live in a Bluetooth-heavy world, it’s a no-brainer.

Unite 4 →

My thanks to Unite 4 for sponsoring 512 Pixels this week. It turns any website into a lightweight, customizable app in mere seconds on your Mac. 512 Pixels readers get 20% off this week when you purchase Unite 4 at or when you use the promo code ‘512Pixels’ at checkout.

Apple Should Bring Back Dashboard

A few years ago, I wrote about the now-dead Dashboard, which was was in macOS for a long, long time:

While not as flashy or important as Tiger’s keystone feature, Spotlight, Dashboard still enjoyed a big push from Jobs on stage.

A user could tap a keyboard shortcut or visit a hot corner and Dashboard would activate, dimming the screen and flying in widgets. Adding new ones could be done with a click of the mouse.

(My Titanium PowerBook’s GPU couldn’t render the water ripple effect that played when a new widget was added to Dashboard. However, college roommate’s aluminum PowerBook could do it without breaking a sweat. I was insanely jealous of him for about 72 hours after we both installed Tiger in our dorm room.)

Jobs pitched widgets as mini-apps that let you look up a quick bit of information without ruining your workflow or train of thought. They allowed for quick interactions. They were present when you needed them, and disappeared when you didn’t.

The original design of Dashboard was very of its time. Just soak this in for a minute:

Tiger Dashboard

The design of Dashboard got toned down over time, and eventually it wasn’t even enabled by default on clean macOS installations. Keyboards that once shipped with a dedicated Dashboard shortcut were slowly phased out. By the time Apple finally pulled the plug on Dashboard in macOS Catalina, most of the widgets that once graced this corner of the OS had died off. The party had packed up years earlier, leaving just a small percentage of users still relying on the feature.1

Apple killed off Dashboard at exactly the wrong time. Just one year after Catalina killed Dashboard, Apple started allowing developers to bring their iOS widgets over to the Mac in macOS Big Sur. Sadly, they all got stuffed into the slide-out Notification Center user interface:

Big Sur Notification Center

Notification Center is a real mess. Even on a Pro Display XDR, you get three visible notifications. That’s it. Anything older is hidden behind a button, regardless of how many widgets you may have in the lower section of the Notification Center column:

Monterey Notification Center

Apple needs to rethink this and let this new class of widgets2 breathe, being able to use the entire screen like the widgets of yore could. Bringing back Dashboard is an obvious solution here, and I’d love to see it make a return.

Update: Steve Troughton-Smith tweeted this in reply to my post:

Widgets need a permanent home in the Mac UI, not hidden off in a Notification Center nobody looks at anyway. Alternative would be massively improving Launchpad to work much more like SpringBoard, and allow you to set that in place of your desktop.

I thought about the Launchpad angle for a while, and I can see how turning it into a more iPad-like experience would be neat. A single place to get info from your widgets and launch a few favorite apps would be better than what we have now.

However, I think Apple has backed off the idea of needing to turn the iPad and Mac into each other, at least from a user interface standpoint. If Launchpad were to be updated to support widgets, I think it would remain an overlay to the macOS interface, not become the new center of it.

  1. No doubt that percentage is much higher among readers of blogs like mine, so don’t feel too lonely when remembering Dashboard fondly. 
  2. One thing that the old widgets had that these new ones don’t? Interactivity.