Chuckellania for October 27th, 2021

Published on Friday, October 29, 2021

Quinn Nelson made two little videos (1, 2) that, frankly, I find sensationalist.1

Best as I can tell, there are multiple issues at play:

  1. if there are more menus (the left-hand portion) and status items/menu extras (the right-hand portion) than fit in the menu bar, the overflow strategy macOS employs is to keep removing status items until at least all menus fit; i.e., those status items cannot be seen or used, but at least the current app can be used in its entirety. This strategy, probably introduced in Mac OS X 10.10, was never great, and maybe it's time for Apple to change it. But it's not a notch- specific issue; the notch just exacerbates it because it removes horizontal space. If your screen resolution were low, you would equally have run into it sooner or later.
  2. if the menus don't fit to the left of the notch, macOS will continue to the right, which arguably looks and feels a bit awkward.
  3. if the application does custom drawing in the menu bar, macOS won't handle that at all. In that case, there may be glitches, and for affected apps, users can tick the "Scale to fit below built-in camera" checkbox. This checkbox is only intended (and visible) for apps whose developers haven't already said that their app is compatible with the notch.
  4. lastly (and keep in mind: none of the above is a bug, just behaviors not everyone agrees with), we do have what appears to be an outright bug on Apple's end: if a status item is very wide and some of it fits, but some of it overlaps with the notch, macOS will partially draw it, rather than discarding it.

For 1, tools like Bartender and Vanilla exist. Those also make 4 largely moot. I'm hoping for a first-party solution here, though.

I don't think any of this makes these computers "not shippable" or a poor "design", as Quinn seems to imply by his two tweets.

Regrettably, the macOS TV app still has a lot of issues, including GUI glitches.

I was able to reproduce both of Uli's — the minimum width is too small to properly fit the Search field without overlap, and, on a Retina Display (a.k.a. on virtually all of Apple's recent computers), when dragging columns to rearrange them, they suddenly double in size.

Another macOS annoyance I run into a lot is how it handles desktop backgrounds. Really, all I want is to set, for all displays, a solid color that matches my mood. This seems like a System 7 (1991) kind of problem, but I cannot reliably get macOS 11 Big Sur (2020) to do this.

First, the UI to set backgrounds is glitchy: just the other day, the Folders section in one display was ordered differently in the other. And the "well" in which you can drag an image reacted for all displays, but for one of them, the actual picture didn't change, until I clicked somewhere.

But, more annoyingly, any of the three displays will, at random, show a different color. I click a shade of blue for all three in the morning, and by noon, one of them will show yesterday's shade of forest green.

I get the impression that Apple views this as a rather frivolous feature, and that bugs in it don't matter. In the grand scheme of things, they don't. But a company that prides itself on how good the selection of Apple Watch bands is should also be able to show the correct desktop background.

Adobe is adding NFT support to Photoshop. This is, of course, easy to circumvent and mostly an exercise in pointlessness.

Now, if you do want some kind of digital watermark in your image, Photoshop does in fact have tools for that.

Universal Basic Income trial runs come and go, but Los Angeles doing one seems like a fairly big deal. 3,200 households get $1,000 a month for a year.


  1. I do enjoy him on the Flashback podcast, though.