iOS 10: Unlock only with Touch ID, no Home button press

Ever since I upgraded to iOS 10 on my iPhone SE, I’m still trying to break from the habit of swiping the lock screen to unlock my phone.

Then, I have to touch the Home button to unlock with Touch ID, then press it to reveal the Home screen. That gets annoying at time. I often find myself holding down the button instead, making Siri speak when I don’t want it to.
Turns out there’s a simple accessibility setting you can turn on to help you with that.

In the Settings app, go in General, Accessibility, then Home Button. In there, turn on Rest Finger to Open:

Now, you’ll just have to touch the Home button on the Lock screen to unlock and open your phone.

Of course, this only works on devices with Touch ID.

Generate your own ‘Stranger Things’ logo

I haven’t watched Stranger Things on Netflix yet. Why hurry? As a fan of typography, design, and vaporwave—or synthwave, retrowave, whateverwave—I’m too busy watching the opening of the series made by the creative studio Imaginary Forces accompanied by the awesome synth track by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of the band Survive. The subtle grain, the fading of the text… It looks so simple, yet it’s so well done.

Obviously, I’m not the only one savouring that opening sequence of pure synth and typographic bliss. Sarah Gless is a designer at Nelson Cash who wrote at length about her love of the type design of the series. Her studio likes the font and its kerning so much they even made a Stranger Things logo generator for you to enjoy.

The Stranger Things logo generator by Nelson Cash.

If that’s not enough, here’s the Web design gem in the mix: the generator actually builds a SVG file with the text you input. The result you see on the page is all vectors and filters, which the browser will happily render into a PNG file you can download.

Bash shell, now on Windows

At this year’s Microsoft Build Developers Conference, Microsoft has announced they’re bringing the Bash shell to Windows.

Rich Turner and Russ Alexander, senior program managers at Microsoft, gave a presentation of Bash running on Windows with demonstrations of what it lets you do.

The title describes what it is in simple terms. It’s not just Bash on Windows, but the entire Ubuntu usermode interfacing with the Windows API.

Microsoft has partnered with Canonical to take their popular Ubuntu OS, strip it from its Linux kernel, and let the rest run on Windows. There is no VM involved, no need for Cygwin, and Bash is not recompiled for Windows—it’s an actual chunk of Ubuntu running on Windows; even the binaries think they’re being executed on Linux.

In the video above, we can see how it’s possible to not only run Bash, but also browse the C: drive mounted in /mnt/c like it was in Linux, compile binaries, use apt-get to install Git, run Vim, Ruby, etc. One can imagine it’s possible already to install another shell like zsh if you don’t like Bash.

Either way, this should be quite promising for those who prefer Linux for Web development, but would rather stay on Windows for other things, like Office or games.

This is only a preview, however, and they did underline some of the problems they’re trying to resolve. These include MySQL and many Ruby gems not yet working yet.

Given OS X having a UNIX-like core was one of the excuses to make me move away from Windows and desktop Linux, I wonder if this will be enough to make me go back to Windows, or at least tolerate it more.

Funky uptime

At SUSECon 2015, the SUSE Linux team released their parodies of songs that will make you dance, sing, and perhaps install SUSE Linux.

Following the release of Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars last year is the first parody by the SUSE Linux, Uptime Funk:

If this wasn’t good enough, watch their rendition of Sugar by Maroon 5, SUSE, Yes Please:

Last, but not least, if your a fan of the Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis and their song The Fox, you’ll love What Does the Chameleon Say?:

These were all fun, SUSE, but since I’m lazy, I guess I’ll stick with Ubuntu for now. 😉

Imitate animated GIFs with PNGs

When working on an animation showing a demo of Sublime Text 2.0, Jon Skinner had a few problems with mainstream solutions, detailed in his article, Animated GIFs the Hard Way:

  • GIFs with always large in size and only had up to 256 colours.
  • The animation had to work with IE6 and mobile browsers, so Flash and HTML5 video were not an option.

But, that’s pretty much all that’s available.

For that reason, he decided to write his own Python script to compile an animation from a series of PNG files. The script extracts the differences between the frames and outputs a single PNG with all the “diffs” between every frame, along with some JSON data indicating where every bit goes up and when.
The animation made from PNG crops… shown here in an animated GIF.

Apple was reported to use a similar technique for some animations on their Web site today, notably the page for their Mac Pro, when viewed in Firefox. (Then again, they also still use the outdated Scriptaculous JS library.)

The article and the code by Jon were written about 3 or 4 years ago, but the age doesn’t make it less of a viable solution. If you see the animation on his article, you’ll notice the entire animation was loaded in less than 100 KB. Compare it with the poor-quality animated GIF above weighing about 460 KB and its crystal-clear source capture video of about 1.6 MB. Sounds like the single PNG image with the JSON data are winning here.

Frames are painted on an HTML5 <canvas>, but they’ll be displayed in positioned <div> tags if a browser doesn’t support the former.

If you need to create an animated demo similar to the above shown above that works in most browsers, Jon’s anim_encoder might be a solution for you to consider.