The Wines of Winter

iOS Bugs, Banker Reporters, Norwegian Wine, Long Winters, Green Lanterns

The iOS Buggy “Mess”

Mark Gurman on the development of iOS 13:

About a month before Apple’s 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference in June, the company’s software engineers started to realize that iOS 13, then known internally as “Yukon,” wasn’t performing as well as previous versions. Some people who worked on the project said development was a “mess.”

By August, realizing that the initial iOS 13.0 set to ship with new iPhones a few weeks later wouldn’t hit quality standards, Apple engineers decided to mostly abandon that work and focus on improving iOS 13.1, the first update. Apple privately considered iOS 13.1 the “actual public release” with a quality level matching iOS 12. The company expected only die-hard Apple fans to load iOS 13.0 onto their phones.

The timing of the iOS 13.1 update was moved up by a week to Sept. 24, compressing the time that iOS 13.0 was Apple’s flagship OS release. New iPhones are so tightly integrated with Apple software that it would have been technically impossible to launch the iPhone 11 with iOS 12, and since 13.1 wasn’t ready in time, Apple’s only choice was to ship with 13.0 and update everyone to 13.1 as quickly as it could.

I still think it’s wild that Apple shipped iOS 13 in the state that they did. Tens of millions — maybe more? — of people were stuck using extremely buggy software on their most-used and most-important device. I realize Apple undoubtedly had little choice, but wow, what a miscalculation of timing to get it right this year.

And while it’s good to hear about the changes they’re making to ensure this doesn’t happen again — at least not this bad — I still believe the only real solution is to decouple the hardware and the software. I know that’s sort of blasphemous in the realm of Apple, the company thrives as a hardware + software play and all that, but it has clearly become untenable at the scale at which Apple now operates.

And they’re sort of doing this now anyway. iOS 13 wasn’t the real release, iOS 13.1 was. And every year we seemingly get more features that come in .X updates “later this year”. I suppose it works to have toggles to just turn off certain features that aren’t ready for prime time yet, but there always is something nice about a fully baked pie coming out of the oven rather than eating it in piecemeal fashion.


Bloomberg’s Matt Levine Explains How to Leave Goldman Sachs for a Much Lower-Paying Job

Peter Kafka sat down with the author of the always fun Money Stuff newsletter:

For starters, Levine says, his Wall Street knowledge still gives him a leg up when he talks to people who are still on Wall Street.

“I have some ability to talk to traders in a way that makes them believe that I understand what they’re talking about,” he told me on the most recent episode of Recode Media. “It’s because they can start explaining something and I can cut them off and be like, “Oh, it’s like this,” and say it in the way they would have said it. Then they’re like, ‘Okay, you’re okay.’”

Maybe more important, though, is the initial idea that Levine had when he started writing about Wall Street: He thought the people who were writing about Wall Street at the time didn’t really get Wall Street.

Given my background, this obviously resonates with me — you should listen to the entire podcast, it’s good fun — though I did this in reverse, where I was a writer and moved to the financial side (as a VC). But now that I’m approaching a decade on this side, I often think about what it would have been like to have had this viewpoint before working as a reporter. That’s not a knock on reporters, it’s just that it would have been a very different perspective. And it’s one I’ll more fully explore one day, I imagine. (No, I’m not leaving VC anytime soon. There’s still so much to do and learn!)


Scandinavian Wine? A Warming Climate Tempts Entrepreneurs

Speaking of one day… were I to come by the means, I think I would invest in areas of the world not currently suited for wine to become more suited to wine as the climate keeps changing. Places like, Scandinavia… here’s Liz Alderman:

Nordic vintners are emboldened to invest as they watch Southern European wine producers struggle with a more volatile climate. Grapes, including sensitive varieties used for white wine, burned on the vine this summer in parts of France, Spain and Italy as temperatures topped 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

Climatologists say the global wine map could be transformed by 2050. Dominant producing countries in Europe and Latin America, along with parts of California and Australia, may become too hot to grow grapes, while areas not traditionally known for winemaking — including China — take off.

Winemakers in France are experimenting with grapes from warmer countries like Tunisia to see if they can retain the blockbuster tastes and yields that generate billions of euros in worldwide sales. Spanish and Italian winemakers are planting higher on mountainsides or on shaded north-facing slopes to keep wine flavors recognizable.

The UK. The Pacific Northwest. Etc. See also: How Climate Change Impacts Wine


The Secret to Enjoying a Long Winter

Speaking of Scandinavia, here’s Jason Kottke with a nice piece on staying happy in the long, cold winters:

The people in the Norwegian communities Leibowitz studied, they got outside as much as they could — “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing” — spent their time indoors being cozy, came together in groups, and marveled at winter’s beauty. I’d tried all that stuff my previous two winters but what seems to have moved the needle for me this year is a shift in mindset.

As someone who grew up in Northeast Ohio (in the heart of a “lake effect” snow belt), I really like this.


DC Films Plots Future: Superman, Green Lantern and R-Rated Movies

Brent Lang:

DC is also looking to capitalize on the box office success of “Aquaman.” It is currently looking for a director for “The Trench,” a spinoff about a group of vicious undersea creatures who played a supporting role in “Aquaman.” For the next film centered on Jason Momoa’s king of Atlantis, DC has once again tapped James Wan and is hoping to commence shooting in early 2021.

DC’s future won’t unfold entirely on the big screen. HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service, is currently looking for DC properties that could inspire films to premiere on its platform. It hopes to make DC adventures that have slightly lower budgets, requiring them to rely on up-and-coming actors and not established stars, with a goal of keeping production costs under $65 million.

The launch of HBO Max had inspired some hopes that Warner Bros. might allow Zack Snyder to release a director’s cut of “Justice League,” leading to a social media campaign dubbed #ReleaseTheSnyderCut. Snyder directed an earlier version of the ill-fated super-team movie and had planned to do some reshoots. However, after his daughter died, he was not able to complete production and was replaced by Joss Whedon, who injected a more light-hearted tone into the final film. Logistically, however, there’s little appetite at the studio for spending the millions of dollars it would require to finish visual effects and editing work on Snyder’s version, particularly as “Justice League” was a commercial disaster. There are currently no plans to release a Snyder version either in theaters or on HBO Max.

First, “The Trench” sounds incredibly stupid. Aquaman was not a good movie. It feels more like right place/right time that made it a success. The Trench, if made, will bomb.

Second, while I like the notion of rekindling the Marvel/DC rivalry with streaming proxies — Disney+/HBO Max — it’s fairly ridiculous that WarnerMedia (AT&T) is looking to do this with budgets under $65 million. I’m all for using up-and-coming talent and not creating $300M+ tentpoles. But this is frugal. A pattern is emerging

Third, still, the R-rated approach seems like a smart one. It’s easy to say that in a post-Joker world, of course. But with Disney seemingly ceding that territory, I like this strategy a lot more than being the cheaper Marvel…

Fourth, I also like the idea of using these streaming services to serve up content not necessarily old or new, but a tweak on something for super fans. And while it sounds like the director’s cut of Justice League won’t happen, I hope we do see more alternate cuts show up on these services over time (and director’s commentary and other ideas!).


A couple 500ish posts

AirPods Pro and the Sound of Silence

Apple doing what Apple does best…

Bob Iger Isn’t Thanos, He’s Doctor Strange

Disney’s genius foresight, in hindsight…