Generating editor snippets from SassDoc

I made a thing!

I’ve always loved SassDoc, and I’ve always loved editor snippets, but as a Vim and Neosnippets user, (a) other people’s (VSCode) snippets weren’t useful to me, and (b) my (Neosnippet) snippets weren’t useful to anybody else.

At some point it would be great to build a tool that can convert snippets of one format to any other format (IntelliJ? Atom?), but in the meantime I thought, “Where do we get snippets from to begin with?” Authoring them in the first place is a pain.

So after encountering a massive (massive) Sass library last week, one that was thoroughly marked up with comprehensive SassDoc comments, I realized the machine-readability of SassDoc makes it perfect for generating Sass snippets from.

So I made sassdoc-to-snippets, a command-line (or Gulp-compatible) tool for taking a directory or file of SassDoc-commented Sass and turning it into snippets files, for either VSCode or Neosnippet (and with other syntaces easily added).

Please try it out! Test it, bang on it, kick it, see what breaks it or how it could be improved and please let me know in a PR or Issue on GitHub.

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Third-party gyroscopic head tracking is not “Spatial Audio”: the Anker soundcore Liberty 4

From a credulous 9to5Mac review of some new Anker earbuds:

Arriving with active noise cancellation, Anker also backs its Liberty 4 with Spatial Audio support, thanks to the internal gyroscope that helps immerse you in the sound.

From the description on the Amazon product page, titled “soundcore by Anker Liberty 4, Noise Cancelling Earbuds, True Wireless Earbuds with ACAA 3.0, Dual Dynamic Drivers for Hi-Res Premium Sound, Spatial Audio with Dual Modes, All-New Heart Rate Sensor”:

360° Immersive Spatial Audio: As you listen to music and watch movies, the built-in gyroscope and spatial audio algorithm track your head movements to always keep you at the heart of the sound for a completely immersive experience.

From the FAQ on Anker’s product website:

How do I enable Spatial Audio?

  1. Wear the earbuds.
  2. Enter the soundcore app and connect Liberty 4.
  3. Select Spatial Audio. 
  4. Spatial Audio cannot be turned on while sound effects are turned on. 
  5. Select Movie or Music mode to adjust the sense of distance while listening to different types of audio content.

Spatial Audio — the Apple feature — is an OS-level capability for taking true many-channel audio and “shaping” it to mimic the effect that the contours of your ears have on physical sound waves when they reach your head. Thus a sound in a movie that would be directed to the rear right speaker in a theater or surround sound system will sound like it is coming from behind and to the right of you when you are wearing compatible headphone hardware.

In other words, if you wear the Anker soundcore Liberty 4 earbuds, connect them to your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV, and watch a movie that contains Dolby Atmos audio — you will not be hearing that movie in Spatial Audio. You will be hearing it in stereo, with the Liberty earbuds (on platforms where the app is available) shaping the waveforms so that they sound like they are originating from a space in front of you rather than the center of your head. No sounds will appear to come from behind you with this technology, as they can with true Spatial Audio.

Dynamic Head Tracking — the Apple feature — is a joining of hardware and software, whereby the source of your audio (your iPhone or iPad) is “aware” of its spatial relation to your headphones. Thus if you turn your head, the audio will continue to sound as though it’s coming from the device, rather than in the direction you’re facing; similarly, if you move the device around your head, the perceived locus of the audio will follow the device.

If you wear the Anker soundcore Liberty 4 earbuds and listen to music on your iPhone or iPad, even with the soundcore app, the experience is less clear to me. I believe that the app may ask permission to read your device’s motion sensors, giving it enough data to cause the audio to always follow the device, but I can’t be sure. In any case, this will not be the system-level Dynamic Head Tracking that is only possible with iOS 15+ and compatible Apple headphones.

It bears repeating that Spatial Audio and Dynamic Head Tracking are two separate things, but now it seems necessary to add that there is no Spatial Audio without Apple hardware, period.

There’s no technical reason that Apple couldn’t make this kind of third-party Spatial Audio compatibility possible, as far as I can tell, but as of yet, they haven’t done so.

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Peanuts holiday specials absent from broadcast TV in 2022

When it was announced in 2020 that Apple would obtain the rights to the Peanuts TV holiday specials, I was relieved to read that they agreed to allow PBS to broadcast the films over the air. Previously, A Charlie Brown Christmas had been broadcast every year by CBS (1965-2000) and ABC (2001-2019).

This year, however, it appears that that won’t be the case, based on this tweet from PBS Kids:

Regretfully, PBS does not have the rights to distribute the Peanuts specials this year. We’ll all have to watch for the Great Pumpkin in a different pumpkin patch this Halloween.

@pbskids

I suppose it’s silly of me to think that there are many people left who watch TV over the air at all anymore, or on cable. As long as you own a TV, it’s likely to be a smart TV, and likely to be able to run the Apple TV app (where the specials will air for free, even to non-subscribers, thankfully). Barring that, you likely have a smartphone, tablet, or computer where you consume all your content anyway. Practically speaking, this does not introduce a great barrier to watching the specials, even an economic one; in fact, if the specials were only available at a specific time over a legacy network, they would have a far smaller reach.

On the other hand, why am I a grown man writing about 60-year-old cartoons? Sentimentality. And aren’t the holidays largely about sentimentality and tradition to begin with? The airing of these specials at a specific time on a specific date on a specific channel at least provided the illusion that they are something we are experiencing together, simultaneously, as we have since before I was born.

What will be gone is the “eventness” of it, the specific annual televisual demarcation of the peak of Christmas season. It’s a loss.

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Wallaroo wallpaper app

Wallpaper isn’t the most important part of your phone, but it’s something most of us put at least a little thought into. I’ve looked for wallpaper apps and websites in the past, and most of them have been junky, shady, or both.

Wallaroo is a new app from The Icon Factory — makers of Twitterrific, xScope, and more — with no ads, no junk, no predatory subscription pricing. Two bucks a month or twenty bucks a year gets you access to tons of high-quality wallpapers without the garbage and with a big “Data Not Collected” App Privacy card.

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Why is Twitter Twitter?

Twitter may be declining in popularity among teens, but popularity among teens is never what made Twitter important (insofar as it is important), or what gives Twitter its specific edge.

Twitter is able to remain vital for, among other things, two very important reasons: it is text-first, and it is web-first.

Text is scannable, copyable, translatable, accessible, quotable, searchable, screenshot-able, remix-able, parody-able, and on and on in ways that video and images are not.

The web is linkable, ubiquitous, and accessible in ways that mobile apps are not.

Twitter is the easiest way to put text on the web. While it may be a private, closed platform, and may be entirely irrelevant in some near future, its success is a testament to the strengths of text, the web, and the URL

Any technology that wants to be similarly relevant would do well to embrace these.

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Oh, Gee

Yesterday I became aware of the awkwardly named “The OG App” (🙄), which promises “the OG Instagram experience”: “With the OG app, you can easily filter what you see in your Instagram feed, create custom feeds, remove reels, ads, suggested content, and more!” It seemed impossible, and that’s because it is.

I nearly gave the app access to my Instagram account, believing for a moment that maybe, given its presence in the App Store at all, it had been properly vetted; but because of their suspiciously slow homepage, as well as the company’s bizarre name (“Un1feed”) and the dearth of info about it, I decided to wait. I’m glad I did.

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