Ars Technica reviews the Galaxy Fold

Ron Amadeo from Ars Technica has written a scorching review of the Samsung Galaxy Fold. I don’t remember ever reading a review of any product that comes even close to this.

And that brings us to today—the Ars review. This one is going to be a little different, since I don’t think the Galaxy Fold has any viability as a serious device anyone should consider purchasing. Should you buy a Galaxy Fold? NO! God no.

Amadeo leaves not doubt that the Galaxy Fold is an outright embarrassment in literally every single discipline. Not even the tiniest ray of light is visible at the end of the tunnel. And the only credit handed out to Samsung at the end of the text is for trying.

The Galaxy Fold fails at everything it sets out to do. It’s a bad smartphone and a bad tablet. The front screen is too small for phone duties like typing and reading. The interior screen is too small for tablet apps and split-screen apps, and it’s the wrong aspect ratio for media.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had any opportunity to get a first-hand impression of the device and therefore can personally neither confirm nor deny any of the observations. However, the rationale provided by Amadeo for rating the device a failure makes sense to me.

The launch of the Galaxy Fold was a disaster, and while Samsung fought through and got to market, that doesn’t mean the disaster is over. I’m still enthusiastic about the idea of a phone that converts into a tablet, but the Galaxy Fold puts on a master class of how not to do it.

Nevertheless, I feel sorry for the people who worked on this project. They must have been aware of the situation and the inevitable outcome. But apparently management put the priority on being first to the market rather than delivering a solid and mature product.

JetBrains Mono

Today, news broke to me that there‘s a new monospace and ligature-capable font specifically for developers out there: JetBrains Mono.

I have given it a try, and instantly liked it very much. My first impression is that it‘s very smooth and balanced, no extravagances.

The font comes in four weights plus italics for each weight. It supports code-specific ligatures1.

And it‘s free.


  1. I‘m a big fan of ligatures in my development fonts.  

The mysterious Alatsee

While on vacation in the vicinity of Füssen years ago, we have been visiting the Alatsee a couple of times. It’s a strange place, and a foul smell is in the air all the time. Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia

Many divers have died or disappeared mysteriously in this lake due to the toxicity of the organisms living in this lake. These organisms create the “blood cloud ” that occurs quite abundantly throughout the year.

I noticed that the entire structures (streets, a restaurant) around the lake were correctly placed on Apple Maps. But the lake itself was simply not in the map.

Alatsee, where are you?
Alatsee, where are you?

I think I reported this to Apple at the time, and I used to check back from time to time whether this gap was filled. Years passed and nothing happend. I always used to joke that it was only fitting that this mysterious place stubbornly refused to appear on the map.

Of course, that joke has been on Apple. Other map services, like OpenStreetMap included the lake at the correct position1 just fine.

Alatsee on Open Streetmaps
Alatsee on Open Streetmaps

Today, I checked again.

Ah, that‘s better
Ah, that‘s better

And, yay, this time the outline of the lake is correctly appearing on the Apple Maps. Improvements, one mystery at a time.

  1. And in much greater detail!

Paperlike 2 Screen Protector

I really like the idea of devices that accept touch input, but at the same time touch input is a huge bane because of the inevitable fingerprints. Especially the iPads1 that work with the Apple Pencil are real fingerprint magnets2. Cleaning the display is possible, yet pointless.

A couple of weeks ago, Marco Arment mentioned the product Paperlike3 in passing during (I think) episode 353 of the Accidental Tech Podcast (ATP). According to the discussion on the show, the product was considered promising, but had some significant shortcomings in terms of refraction artifacts that might have been fixed in a newer version that was about to hit the market soon.

A couple of weeks later, the topic came up again and was concluded with a recommendation for the new product, Paperlike 2. This was enough for me to place an order that arrived shortly before Christmas at my home.

I appreciate that the people behind Paperlike 2 have put effort into the creation and documentation of a multi-step workflow for applying the screen-protector to your device. I was able to apply the Paperlike 2 just fine at the first try.

After one week of using my iPad several hours a day, I do not regret the purchase nor do I feel any desire to remove the screen protector from my iPad again. The effects of finger oil on the display are drastically reduced while the reduction in display quality in comparison to the „unprotected“ display is very minor and – so far – absolutely tolerable. In particular, I did not recognize a meaningful amount of refraction artifacts on the display.

I’m curious to find out how the Paperlike 2 performs in the long run and how durable it turns out over time. So far, the screen protector has suffered from some superficial scratches caused by using the Apple Pencil for writing and drawing. And the product does what it says on the tin, the feedback from the surface while using an Apple Pencil has improved without question. Plus, the matte finish reduces glare significantly.

In summary, I’m impressed by the results so far. I would not have expected such a good job from any screen protector on the market4.

  1. There‘s a whole range of iPad models that are compatible with either generation 1 or two of the Apple Pencil.
  2. Apple‘s marketing parlor is all about „oleophobic surfaces“. But in reality, the term „oleophilic“ would almost certainly be more accurate.
  3. The product is sold in reference to being as close as possible to the haptics of real paper. The topic of being less of a fingerprint magnet is seemingly not considered a selling proposition.
  4. I’ve had some experience with screen protectors already, and none of them really made me want to continue using it.