Reading List for February 2021

Last month I created a post about the items that I managed to read/listen to during the month of January. You can see that list here. With February just finished, I have another list with the items that I have listened to. As is the case for most of my books and podcasts, I listened to most of these at 2x.

Over the course of the month of February, I listened to 29 different titles, 12 of them being ones that I listened to for the first time. This is actually more than 1 book per day, which in some cases makes sense given how short some of the audiobooks are. I did not think I would be able to listen to more books in February than I did in January, but I did manage to. We will see if this pace keeps up, but I do not think it will, but we shall see.

Disclaimer: the links below will provide a bit of a commission if you purchase anything.

Title Author First Listen
Man in the High Castle Phillip K. Dick No
The Messengers Lindsay Joelle Yes
The Event (The Survivors Book 1) Nathan Hystad No
New Threat (The Survivors Book 2) Nathan Hystad No
New World (The Survivors Book 3) Nathan Hystad No
Fringe Runner Rachel Aukes No
The Salvage Crew Yudhanjaya Wijeratne Yes
Ashen Stars (Exile, Book 0) Glynn Stewart Yes
Exile (Exile, Book 1) Glynn Stewart Yes
36 Hours (The Blackout Series Book 1) Bobby Akart No
Zero Hour (The Black Out Series, Book 2) Bobby Akart No
Turning Point (The Black Out Series, Book 3) Bobby Akart No
Shiloh Ranch (The Black Out Series, Book 4) Bobby Akart No
Daemon Daniel Suarez No
Freedom(TM) Daniel Suarez No
Stranger in a Strange Land Robert Heinlein No
Farmer in the Sky Robert Heinlein No
Starship Grifters (Rex Nihilo, Book 1) Robert Kroese No
How the internet happened: From Netscape to the iPhone Brian McCullough Yes
Warship (Blackfleet Book 1) Joshua Dalzelle Yes
Call to Arms (Blackfleet Book 2) Joshua Dalzelle Yes
The American West: History, Myth, and Legacy (The Great Courses) Patrick N. Allitt No
Medieval Myths & Mysteries (The Great Courses) Dorsey Armstrong Yes
The History of Rum (The Great Courses) John Donoghue Yes
The Science of Sci-Fi: From Warp Speed to Interstellar Travel (The Great Courses) Erin MacDonald Yes
A History of Video Games (The Great Courses) Jeremy Parish Yes
Witches in Western Tradition (The Great Courses) Jennifer McNabb Yes
Turning Points in Medieval History (The Great Courses) Dorsey Armstrong No
The Black Death: The World’s Most Devastating Plague (The Great Courses) Dorsey Armstrong No
Total   29

There are two months down with another 10 to go. I can already tell I do not think I will be able to keep up this pace, but we shall see.

wwriteLite 7.1.0 Now Available

There is a new release of wwriteLite, version 7.1.0. This is a bug fix release that does include one tweak.

Tweaks

  • Requires iOS 14.4.
  • Twitter Support username changed to @wwritelite, The old username of @waynesworkshop will work as well.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed issue where “Always Show Ad” would not necessarily show an ad.
  • Fixed an issue where tapping on the “info” icon in an Ad would not show the ad information.

As usual, wwriteLite is free and available in the iOS App Store. If you download it and experience any issues feel free to contact support.

Update on Apple’s Development Transition Kit

Last week I posted about Apple’s Development Transition Kit (DTK), and how they were proving a $200 USD credit that expired at the end of May, 2021. There were some developers who were fine with what Apple offered, while there was a contingent who were a bit miffed at what Apple offered. On Friday, Apple sent an email that states:

Thanks again for participating in the Universal App Quick Start Program. 

We heard your feedback regarding the 200 USD appreciation credit mentioned in our last email. Our intention was to recognize the tremendous effort that you have put into creating amazing universal apps. By partnering with us early, you showed your commitment to our platform and a willingness to be trailblazers. 

So instead of the 200 USD credit that expires in May, we are giving you a 500 USD Apple credit and extending the time you can use it to get a new M1 Mac through the end of the year. If you already purchased a new M1 Mac, the Apple credit gives you the flexibility to purchase any Apple product to help with your app development work. 

We’ll share details soon about how to ship the Developer Transition Kit (DTK) back to Apple. Note that the DTK will no longer receive publicly available software updates after macOS Big Sur 11.2. We encourage you to return it as soon as possible so that your development work is not interrupted. And once you return the DTK, you’ll receive your Apple credit. 

Thank you again for making the Mac with M1 launch such a great success. 

As I stated in my post

An alternative to providing an extension would be to extend the length of time that the code can be used. Maybe make it expire at the end of the year instead of the end of May. I am sure that some developers might still not end up using their code, but it would provide a bit more time for some developers to be able to purchase a machine

I am glad to see Apple extending the credit until the end of the year. Not everybody would have the means to purchase an M1 Mac prior to the end of May, depending on their business. Having it extended until the end of the year is definitely better. Honestly, I would have been fine with them just extending the amount, but I am not going to argue with $500 credit for those who had the DTK. In particular, for those whose DTKs stopped working after a few months and did not get any anywhere near the full usage of the devices.

What is even better though, is that if someone did purchase an M1 Mac already, then it can be used for other things to help with their development. I hope Apple ends up releasing a non-XDR monitor, but only time will tell if that actually happens or not.

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Apple Notifies Developers to Return their Developer Transition Kits

It is not often that Apple makes the move from one type of architecture to another. For the Mac it has happened a total of three times. Motorola to Power PC in the early 90s, Power PC to Intel, in 2005, and now Intel to Apple Silicon; the last transition began last year with the release of the MacBook Air, Mac mini, and MacBook Pro with the M1 chip. In order to be able to make sure that the hardware and software was ready for users, Apple unveiled a program called the Universal App Quick Start Program. This program was announced on June 25th, 2020 at Apple’s World Wide Developer conference.

If a developer applied for, and was subsequently approved, they would be able to receive a Developer Transition Kit, or DTK, machine. The 2020 Developer Transition Kit has the form-factor of a Mac mini and has the follow specifications:

  • An 8 -core A12Z (the same processor as the 4th Generation iPad Pro)
  • 512GB SSD
  • 16GB of RAM
  • Two USB-A ports
  • Two USB-C ports
  • One HDMI port
  • One Gigabit Ethernet port
  • 802.11AC wireless networking
  • Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity

If you were an Apple Developer and you wanted to obtain one of these machines, you had to apply. If you were approved, you would be able to order one for $500. The program came with some stipulations. Some of these include:

  • The DTK is Apple’s property
  • The DTK would need to be returned to Apple.

The program was to last up to one year and Apple would let you know when you needed to return the machine. Apple has begun doing so. Many developers began receiving an email that states the following:

Thank you for participating in the Universal App Quick Start Program and your continued commitment to building great apps for Mac. Response to the new Macs has been incredible, and we love the fantastic experiences developers like you have already created for Mac users.

Now that the new MacBook Air, Mac mini, and MacBook Pro powered by M1 are available, it’ll soon be time to return the Developer Transition Kit (DTK) that was sent to you as part of the program. Please locate the original packaging for use in returning the DTK. We’ll email you in a few weeks with instructions for returning the DTK.

In appreciation of your participation in the program and to help with your continued development of Universal apps, you’ll receive a one-time use code for 200 USD* to use toward the purchase of a Mac with M1, upon confirmed return of the DTK. Until your program membership expires one year after your membership start date, you’ll have continued access to other program benefits, such as Technical Support Incidents and private discussion forums.

This $200 code has some stipulations. The first is that it can only be used towards an M1-based Mac. The second is that the code is only valid until May 31st, 2021.

With the previous transition from PowerPC to Intel, Apple also provided Developer Transition Kits to developers. At that time, when developers returned their machines, they received an iMac. I would not expect Apple to do the same thing this time, for a couple of reasons. The chief amongst these is that Apple is in a different situation this time. They have significantly more developers than before and likely have more 2020 Developer Transition Kits out in the world than in 2005. Secondly, Apple is not going to provide even a base model Mac mini for that price.

At no point did Apple indicate that there would be any sort of compensation for partaking in the program. However, precent did show that they had done it before. As we are all aware, that does not mean that what happened in the past will happen again.

Even with that though, there are a couple of issues as I see them. First, Apple made over $114 billion in revenue last quarter, and over $28 billion in profit. The $200 seems like a jab in the eye of developers, given how much profit that they made just last quarter. This is particularly true given that those who purchased the rental of the DTK helped Apple test and validate that the software and development tools were ready for production.

Second, many developers already purchased M1-based Macs. Having a one-time use code for $200 off of an M1-based Mac is not going to help them with their previous purchases. This means that either developers will end up purchasing another M1-mac, which starts at $700 for the base model Mac mini, or they will let the code expire. Neither of these provides any good will towards developers.

I think it would be great if Apple offered either $200 towards the purchase of an M1-based Mac or an extension to the Apple Developer program. I think this would make the most sense, because developers who already purchased an M1-based Mac would be able get some benefit without having to purchase another machine that they do not necessarily need. For individual developers that extension might be two years, and for enterprise developers it might just be for a year. Even though I like this idea, I do not see it happening. My reasoning for it not happening is the fact that the $200 towards the purchase of a new M1-based Mac only reduces the profits of Apple, but the cost of the machine is still covered. If Apple opted to give an extension, then that is services revenue that they would end up forgoing entirely, instead of just having a bit less profit overall.

An alternative to providing an extension would be to extend the length of time that the code can be used. Maybe make it expire at the end of the year instead of the end of May. I am sure that some developers might still not end up using their code, but it would provide a bit more time for some developers to be able to purchase a machine. What would be a real kick in the pants would be that if the higher-end MacBook Pros are not released until June or July, because then it would really look bad for Apple to not have the true developer machines be purchased by developers. Overall, given how profit-motivated Apple is, as well as how they put developers at the bottom of the list, I do not see them changing anything at all.

There are some developers that are perfectly fine with the $200, because they were not expecting anything. Honestly, that is the best approach to anything when it comes to Apple. Expect nothing, because then when you do get something, it is a big surprise. Ultimately, no matter what Apple does, it will just irk developers and may not generate all that much good will with them. It might have just been better for Apple to not offer anything, but they would get pushback for that approach as well. No matter what Apple decided to do, it would be a catch-22, but that is the burden you take on when you are the richest company in the world.