Marco.org • About ▾

I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

95% of buyers purchased the 8GB model

500,000 iPhones sold so far (told you so)

xkcd: Tape Measure

Apple, on their website, have a video of someone rapidly typing on the iPhone, with a speed approaching that of a touch typist. I found myself achieving the speed of a salmon with arthritis.

Tog

Tiff got me a hat so I stop sunburning my head.

Apple imitation

It’s hilarious to see awful consumer electronics manufacturers attempt to copy Apple products, completely missing the point.

“The iPhone has a touchscreen? We can do that! Here’s a touchscreen app launcher for Windows Mobile or the God-forsaken Verizon/LG/Motorola OS! And here’s a bunch of extra features and buttons, because more is better! It’s just like the iPhone!”

Apple is a software company. The hardware just packages up the software nicely and gives it some pretty inputs and outputs.

The prettiness is partly functional and partly for marketing. But copying the prettiness without copying the immense attention to detail and interface quality is asinine. It’s like when Windows “power users” hack the XP themes to make it look like OS X, then they tell themselves (and the internet) that it’s just as good and now they don’t need to buy a Mac.

Touchscreens, multi-touch, flick-scrolling, and anything else they copy still can’t make a Motorola or LG phone as usable as an iPhone.

If this sounds ridiculous now, just ask Creative, Sony, Microsoft, Panasonic, Philips, iriver, Cowon, Meizu, SanDisk, TrekStor, Archos, Rio, Samsung, and Toshiba how well their portable audio players are doing.

Popularity is bad reason to use a product. Let me know when it’s actually useful.

cameron i/o on Pownce

Re: Dawn’s “Popularity is usually overrated”

Dawn: My Creative mp3 player was cheaper and has more features than the comparable iPod. I won’t pay extra for a brand name. Mac lovers are Mac FANS.

There are two kinds of Apple buyers:

  1. Style/brand people who buy it for the Apple name or its aesthetics. This is the machine you’re raging against. It’s a small market.

  2. People who truly care about the quality of Apple products and are willing to pay the usual Apple premium to use them. This is me and most people who bother writing positive things about Apple on the internet.

The reason the iPhone has such huge hype and demand is not that it’s pretty - many pretty cellphones have already come and gone. It’s because people absolutely hate their phones, especially “smartphones”. These devices are buggy and limited with nonsensical design in both hardware and software.

Personally, I don’t want an iPhone yet - I’m very happy with my 2-year-old Verizon Motorola E815 that lets me use it as a Bluetooth EVDO modem simply by using “minutes” at no additional charge, and since it’s Verizon, I can get coverage nearly anywhere. (And in the places where I can’t, neither can anyone else.) Until there’s a Verizon iPhone, I’ll keep admiring from afar, even though I’m out of contract and could leave Verizon if I wanted to.

But the E815 is mediocre, like every phone I’ve ever used. Interface flaws prevent many of its features from being useful or usable, such as call waiting, call forwarding, and conference calling. It just seems like none of the designers (if they exist) ever actually use these phones.

If someone calls and leaves a voicemail, and I open the phone, the first alert says “1 new voicemail. Call/Ignore”, where “Call” means “Call your voicemail.” But I want to know who left the message before I spend time to listen to it. If I choose “Ignore”, it shows a second alert: “1 missed call. View/Ignore.” There, I can view the missed call, but then to check my voicemail, I have to exit and manually dial the voicemail number.

I’ve seen this “design” on almost every phone, and it’s completely backwards. Why are there two alerts? Why can’t the first one include the phone number/name from the second? And why do I have to then dial a special number to get my voicemail, then sit through a painfully slow voice reciting every last detail of the call’s metadata, during which I cannot delete or skip the message, before I can hear it? And why does my brief outbound message to callers (“Speak.”) get a massive menu appended to it that people will never use? (“To leave a callback number… to page this person…”)

The iPhone’s voicemail system is such a head-smacker: Why did it take until 2007 for someone to figure that out?

Tumblr comments

shadowfirebird thinks blog-like comments will make the Apple discussion better between Cameron, and Dawn, and me.

Comments would be on one website, viewed by a small fraction of that website’s audience.

Tumblr reblogs and additional posts are viewed by the complete audiences of at least three websites, and more people have been involved in the conversation. And instead of having to go back to one post’s permalink repeatedly to see if anyone has responded to your comments, you just have to watch your Dashboard, which you’re already doing.

Trying to translate a Spanish support email. It’s good to know that machine translation is still useless.

Vimeo has the coolest login/registration page. The rightmost cloud even moves.

It’s so heavy you can’t fill an 18-wheeler with bottled water - you have to leave empty space.

Message in a Bottle on the incredibly wasteful bottled water industry

Gay sells on the internet.

David

I’m going back because I’ve seen this before.

Holocaust Survivor Leaving US to move back to Germany

Americans went through about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year, 167 for each person.

Message in a Bottle

How Seagate learned to package like Apple. (reblogged from Told or Known, thanks) - Click through to see all of the photos. It’s incredible how nice this is, and it’s scary how rare this is.

The whole Scout troop can use it at once

MadTV Nails Apple and Bush in One Skit - Hilarious and brilliant. More Bush than Apple. Thanks imark!

Cameron: “These are Internet Explorer 8 Alpha screenshots. […] Via Tech Today.”

It’s almost definitely a fake, especially if you click through and read the article. It has all of the makings of a fake internet rumor. But I have an authentic top-secret Longhorn screenshot you might be interested in.

I’ll still call him Ghostvirus. Until I forget.

My biggest cellular pet peeve is the endless recording you hear when you reach someone’s voicemail: “To page this person, press 2 now. You may leave a message at the tone. When you finish recording, you may hang up. Or press 5 for more options”—and so on. At the conference, I asked one cellular executive if that message is deliberately recorded slowly and with as many words as possible, to eat up your airtime and make more ARPU for the cell carrier. I was half kidding—but he wasn’t fooling around in his reply: “Yes.

David Pogue (New York Times) - thanks David Moldawer

On AIR

I hate to dump on Pownce for two posts in a row, since I respect the people behind it, but another important note about their desktop app: I absolutely refuse to install AIR, Adobe’s new runtime.

Ever installed Acrobat?

Installing system-level Adobe software scares me, for good reasons. I like my nice, stable, clean OS X installation. Unlike my Windows days, I no longer enjoy reinstalling my OS every 6 months to clean it out.

Making a desktop app in AIR isn’t a very good move right now. It’s a brand new runtime that nobody has. And it’s still in beta.

Web 2.0 isn’t about revolutionizing anything. It’s about convincing your users to do your work for you, while you simultaneously rake in ad revenue and giant heaps of venture capital.

inpheaux on SA

:focus { outline: 0; }

CSS trick: get rid of the annoying dotted outline that Gecko and IE place around a link after you click it. (By Cameron, thanks, this is awesome)

Like everything else Apple has done since the beginning of time, the true innovation in this device is its interface. It’s the reason why it’s so sexy and also the reason why countless other devices that will pop up over the next year or two will look exactly like [iPhone], but feel nothing like it.

Mike Davidson (reblogged from Cameron, and related to this post of mine)

The Dale Carnegie approach to teaching public speaking is to compliment the speaker for whatever he or she does well, and never mention any flaws. That’s it. That’s the entire technique.

The Dilbert Blog: My Compliments to You (Told or Known beat me to it today)

The US taxpayer already foots the bill for the bulk of all health care expenditures in this country. A seminal Harvard Medical School study shows that, in 1999, the US taxpayer shouldered the burden for just under 60 percent of all health care costs nationwide. That percentage represented $2,604 per capita at the time, which means government spending on health care in the US is higher than total per capita health care expenditures in any other country — including those with single-payer, universal access national health care systems. So we’re paying for national health care; we’re just not getting it.

Warren Pease (thanks AZspot)

yum9me likes Tumblr a lot after 1000 posts. Thanks, yum9me!

Who needs a monitoring service?

Glad to know Ghostvirus was accessing one of our database servers during the 2-second period in which it exceeded its connection limit this evening. We have such loyal fans.

Ex Unum Pluribus: New American Nations

Cyanide and Happiness

xkcd: NP-Complete. So nerdy. Yet funny.

The more equity Apple puts into the i, the more they waste, because others can just leverage it for free and people get confused.

Seth Godin on Apple’s sloppy naming

Hypnosis can only help you do what you want to do. If you want a cigarette more than you want to quit, hypnosis is useless. So is every other method. And if you want to quit more than you want to smoke, almost any method, including hypnosis, can make that quitting feel easier.

The Dilbert Blog: Hypnosis

On a scale of dangerous imaginary things, hypnosis is somewhere closer to advertising, well below peer pressure, nowhere near religion.

The Dilbert Blog: Hypnosis

Wow, that hypnosis article that I’ve just quoted twice is really good. You should definitely read the whole thing when you get a chance. Open it up in a background tab or window now so you don’t forget.

I can’t believe I saw this again.

algorhythm” is not the correct spelling of “algorithm”. This is the second time I’ve seen this misspelling in a professional setting.

Programmers aren’t known for their amazing dance skills.

Macro lenses are fun. That’s a 0.5x crop (at 500px wide - it’s originally a 1000px-wide section of the raw image).

We’re Not Your Friend - 1938 Media (reblogged from shadowfirebird). I guess we should change Tumblr: “Add shadowfirebird as an online acquaintance with whom you share a handful of common links, interests, and points of view on Apple rumors.” But the button would be too long to fit in the little corner IFRAME.

My dog knows more about Apple’s future products.

cameron i/o on analysts and this stupid story

Usability is not everything. If usability engineers designed a nightclub, it would be clean, quiet, brightly lit, with lots of places to sit down, plenty of bartenders, menus written in 18-point sans-serif, and easy-to-find bathrooms. But nobody would be there. They would all be down the street at Coyote Ugly pouring beer on each other.

Joel Spolsky (via AZspot)

On the Zend Framework

Montoya linked to the Zend Framework.

I’ve used various ZF components in projects before (most significantly, the email, search, and feed modules). The result every time has been either:

1) I had to fix or work around a ton of bugs to make it work. or 2) I eventually replaced it with a different library or my own version because the bugs were too severe.

If you ever browse the source, you’ll see why: it’s absolutely terrible. I’d be embarrassed to take credit for most of that code, and I certainly would never release it and suggest that people develop applications dependent on it.

Avoid the Zend Framework.

IceRocks: And you thought bottled water was wasteful…

Dear Pownce,

Tumblr can’t import your feeds properly because you’re generating broken XML. Please respond to my email and/or fix this.

Meadville mishap defines wrecking ball - This was my college town. Amazing. It rolled down the giant hill and hit 9 cars. Also, the crane operator’s name is Mr. Boring.

Maybe the “collapse of society” will force office buildings to install windows that can open to let in fresh air and sunlight for free. Maybe business people will stop flying around constantly in an age where we can transmit live, high-resolution video across the world using commodity hardware. Maybe we’ll have to endure 80-degree houses in the summer. Maybe the simplest products won’t be able to keep all 6 layers of plastic packaging. Or maybe we’ll have to turn our computers off at night and wait an extra 45 seconds in the morning for them to start. How awful.

Me in Why I’m not scared of peak oil, tonight’s spotlighted (spotlit?) old Marco.org article. Go self-promotion!

Invite-only services only work if you’re Google.

Ten months of calling customer care and telling us how badly they hated us and threatening to cancel to get more credits… And one day we say, “Okay. We’ll credit your balance, waive your contracts and you’re free to be happy.” And then they don’t like the ink the letter was written with. Kills me.

A Sprint insider’s perspective on the dropped customers

Insiders have told Marco.org that Apple plans to release an ultraportable iMac Pro tablet with a solid-state drive and an LED-backlit multi-touch display this fall. One source added that Apple may release a smaller, cheaper iPhone sometime in the future. Also, reliable sources claim that Apple is going to allow OS X to run on any PC hardware, and we’ll be able to perfectly run Windows applications in Leopard, which has been delayed until 2009.

Romney scares the hell out of me. That guy was born wealthy, handsome, and brilliant. And he keeps getting smarter, more successful, and better looking. Everything he touches turns to gold. Luckwise, he’s running on fumes. If he gets elected, I expect the moon to fall out of orbit and land in Ohio.

The Dilbert Blog: I Want a Lucky President

I invented a door that is also a box fan. That way, you could tell the fan to blow out of the room and open a window and it would make sure that the fan actually pulled air through the window rather than from somewhere right next to the fan.

Dan’s great idea

Tiff made this cute mini-caprese in a creme-brulee ramekin

Remember when Tumblr looked like that? I thought some uber-Tumblr-nerds might find it interesting that the Photo and Video icons were both from pictures I took.

The Photo image was a picture of Tiff’s plush lamb with some of my squishy cows on her bed when she lived in Boston last year.

The Video image wasn’t a video at all - we just took a photo (of Andres trying miserably to flirt with a girl at the Frederator holiday party) that looked like a video frame and made it look like a YouTube video player.

Unfortunately, my photos lost their source of fame when David decided to get a real icon designer for the “2.0” Dashboard page. I still miss the old buttons.

Damn whoever first linked to The Daily Puppy… all of these cute often-triangle-eared puppies and my apartment doesn’t allow pets. (Unless I find a 3- or 5-legged dog, technically.)

I hate to sound ageist here, but the defining characteristic was that no one was over the age of 23. Here’s a clue: college hires are cheap only because they generally lack experience, and if they have no old hands to learn from, they will make tons of rookie mistakes. Hire a few seasoned devs, and the quality of your entire department will rise dramatically in a year.

Reddit comment on Prime example of management thinking coders are unintelligent, dirty, lazy, scum (thanks Selog)

The technology audit and firing come as the district attempts to transition many of its computers from the Windows ME operating system to a Linux operating system.

My old high school just fired its sysadmin. Wonder why. Article, thanks yetanotherdan.

Nyko Wii Party Station. Just what we need: a way to store 4 cups of beer and a bowl of nacho cheese in an electronic box containing $160 worth of Wiimotes. Thanks, Nyko!

I believe that everyone can admit without a doubt that our lives have become so busy that simple tasks like grocery shopping have become tedious and a huge waste of time.

Peter Ha, CrunchGear… what a douche. (via uncov)

New Tumblr theme by Cameron: Mac Envy. Demo, download.

Gelato: an installable Tumblr clone

I learned about Gelato (as did Ghostvirus, Cameron, and Dawn) from TechCrunch’s article this morning. (By the way, TechCrunch, I’m disappointed to see that a “professional” blog has Snap Preview Anywhere enabled.)

It’s a user-installable tumblelog engine so you can put it on your own webserver (as opposed to Tumblr, where we don’t give you the software, but we host and run the service for you). Apparently it’s very similar to Tumblr.

I haven’t installed it or seen it yet, but I did glance through some of the source code. I wish Gelato the best, but I’m not worried about potential competition.

Some people just don’t feel comfortable having their data and services in someone else’s hands, while most people don’t want to (or can’t) host, maintain, and upgrade web software themselves. There are also different feature sets: installable software is more easily customizable with plugins and source modification, while hosted services can more eaisly provide community and directory features. We can even steal features from each other to make both products better.

There’s always going to be a market for both of us.

The biggest question, as I see it, is whether Apple plans to introduce iPods that are more or less just the iPod app from the iPhone (i.e. just music and video players), or iPods that are everything but phones, with Wi-Fi networking for email, web, and more.

John Gruber from that last link

Why doesn’t Digg ever remember that I’m logged in?

The new Food Pyramid (thanks Shawn Poynter)

Tiff’s job looks like fun.

iPhone (by Jake and Amir of Vimeo)

Here at Apple we’re defining a new role for ourselves in this whole dismal story. We’re positioning ourselves as a caring nurturer, part shrink and part hospice worker, making these old thieves comfortable during their final days. It’s sort of like working in the nursing home where Uncle Junior lives. It’s hard because you know you’re dealing with evil human beings but you also know that the best thing to do is just to keep them happy and quiet. So you give them their morphine and change their bed pans and tell them how important they still are. Every so often, to humor them, you have a “meeting” and pretend to “negotiate” something, but mostly you just smile while you wait for them to die. And maybe once in while when no one is looking you put a pillow over someone’s face. Fair enough.

Fake Steve Jobs on Apple’s relationship with the music industry (thanks John Brissenden)

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: Vista’s advanced speech recognition technology - I actually sat through this entire painful video, laughing. (thanks again, John Brissenden)

Humor is about people, period.

The Dilbert Blog: Writing Funny

I used to work for a major consumer products company and a simple way they increased usage of detergents and liquid fabric softener that wasn’t readily noticeable to the consumer was to increase the size of the cap on the top of the container. A ‘use’ was ‘one capful,’ so when the cap got just a bit bigger, consumers used just a bit more.

Free Money Finance via The Stumblng Tumblr

Watching the average person operating a computer is like watching the average 16-year-old girl that just got her license bombing down the highway in her mom’s Jetta, chatting on her cell phone while searching through her handbag for her lip gloss.

Ghostvirus

I absolutely do NOT tolerate advertising via IM, and I don’t care if you call it an “invitation”. Now I’m REALLY glad I’m not a member of Facebook, assholes.

I’ve seen a handful of articles this morning declaring stalemates or other equivocal outcomes to the Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD “war”. I’m amazed anyone still cares about this half-assed battle for a small, temporary market.

That assumes that you get your Treo 680 rebates sent in correctly, including the one that has to be sent with a copy of your 4th wireless bill no earlier than 120 days after activation and no later than 180 days after activation following which you will receive your rebate check in 60 days which you must cash within 90 days.

Free Treo 680 vs. iPhone TCO

I think the best standard feature that we could implement would be stricter license tests for the drivers themselves.

smerfco on the SA Forums: Realistic new standard features for cars

Sirius’ new 90’s Rock/Alternative channel (#24) is excellent.

Happy birthday, iCal!

Bulls usually mind their own business. All they want to do is eat, poop, and hump anything that moos. As a man, I respect the clarity of their missions. On the other hoof, a matador is a guy who didn’t have enough people skills to be promoted to serial killer. Honestly, I don’t see how anyone can root for the human in this situation.

The Dilbert Blog: Bull Schadenfreude

Instant access to power, information, pirated phonograph cylinders, and lewd photos of bare-ankled floozies on the TeslaNet may have ushered in the Information Age almost a century ahead of schedule.

Tesla’s Tower of Power

Top 10 Headphones (thanks Travors). I’m more of a headphone nerd than I thought - I own #1, #3, and #4 (portable-closed, home-open, and work-closed, respectively). I tried #2 (Sennheiser PX100) and loved them, but I have no current need for portable-open headphones.

What happens when you turn the AC off in the server room? (via aatw)

Complaints: Dear Subway, Please Use Your Isosceles Cheese Correctly. The problem isn’t overlap - they don’t use enough cheese triangles to actually complete the alternating pattern. It’s purely out of cheapness - you get 2 triangles and 3 thin slices of meat per 6 inches. What a great value!

You can’t complain about $400 haircuts and also complain that the rich don’t pay enough taxes. The people who cut hair and mow lawns have taken matters into their own hands. Something tells me that when Mitt Romney buys a cup of coffee and a doughnut at the local diner, it costs him $900.

The Dilbert Blog: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

All online data lost after internet crash!

My photo of the Manhattan steam explosion yesterday. That’s the Chrysler building in the background - its view is almost completely obstructed by steam.

Getting home sucked, since my commute requires Grand Central.

This was the closest we were allowed to get. Tiff almost burned her flip-flopped foot on the ground - the sidewalk was almost too hot to touch.

Takin’ the bus, I heard. Takin’ the bus.

Dan and Carolyn hadn’t heard of “Dick in a Box.”

Damn it, I got Live’s “Iris” stuck in my head again because Tiff mentioned it the other day. This is one of those songs that sticks around in my head for a week until I replace it with a different head-infectious ‘90’s rock song such as Pearl Jam’s “Corduroy”.

Lee drew this Tumblr fan yesterday. Not sure why. I stopped asking questions in this office long ago.

I went with David and Paul to the Fog Creek open house tonight. It went very well.

Joel was less geek-mobbed (and therefore more accessible) than last time, and I got to personally thank Jason of Fog Creek for the outstanding customer service he gave us when we installed FogBugz. And while none of the interns or employees would tell me what they were working on this summer, I have high hopes that I might get at least one of my top two FogBugz feature requests:

  1. A “Resolve and close” button. (Sounds likely.)
  2. When sorting by ascending due date, items without due dates (the empty/null value) are placed on top. I’d like these to be below the dated items, that way I can meaningfully sort the list with the earliest-due (or most-overdue) items on top. (Sounds a lot less likely.)

Minimalist tissue dispenser (thanks cubicle 17)

It seems you can either be free to do anything you want, to create anything you dream of without answering to anyone, or you can be rich. You’re not likely to be both.

Panic: The True Story of Audion

When a blog allows comments right below the writer’s post, what you get is a bunch of interesting ideas, carefully constructed, followed by a long spew of noise, filth, and anonymous rubbish that nobody … nobody … would say out loud if they had to take ownership of their words.

Joel on Software: Learning from Dave Winer

My back temporarily sucks and sitting down hurts, so I made this impromptu standing desk. So far, so good… although my feet hurt, and I think this would be much better with one of those squishy gel floor-mats.

Giant flowchart showing AT&T, their monopoly break-up, and eventual reunion. Full-size image. Via and Neatorama.

Two in one day. No way to opt out. Fuck Facebook.

Lots of people read his blog, because he’s smart and he knows how to tell a story.

Dave Winer on Joel on Software

Jethro Haynes makes art out of shoes, among other things. (thanks Cameron)

At the end of the day, you will end up owning a property that someone else paid for. Not only that, but by the time it’s paid off, it will have likely increased in value substantially. Hello, easy retirement fund!

How the landlord’s making money off of me. I really need to buy a house and stop renting.

We will never ever have artificial intelligence.

Steve Wozniak

Cyanide and Happiness

It’s because I always pick the wrong road.

Tiff on why she’s not a good speller

Logitech’s VX Nano - Check out that awesome little RF receiver.

Life often presents us with choices where the comfortable decision leads nowhere and one that threatens your ego has all the potential in the world.

The Dilbert Blog: The Loser Decision

Employer-provided health coverage declining for college grads in entry-level jobs. I’m reblogging this AZspot link to complain about the graph, whose Y-axis does not start at 0. This is a misleading tactic, as people who glance at the graph will assume a huge plummet on the order of 50%, when it’s only a 9.1% drop.

This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime humor situations.

The Dilbert Blog: Presidential Polyps

I hate smokers

Why is it legal and acceptable for someone on the sidewalk, 20 feet below my window, to fill my apartment with carcinogenic smoke with an intolerable stench that sticks around for 15 minutes?

I can’t STAND smokers. I don’t care if some of them are nice people during the rest of the day.

Legalize any drug you want if it doesn’t affect me. But cigarettes infect the entire surrounding area with stench and danger. Your choice to get a narcotic fix shouldn’t affect me.

A lot of IT infrastructure is fragile rickety crap, and the people responsible for it aren’t smart enough to fix it so they make rules and place blame based on little more than superstition.

Daring Fireball

What Intel understands and OLPC doesn’t is that these countries don’t want expensive handouts. They want companies to come in and create jobs and help them build an ecosystem. Just selling them a bunch of cheap laptops (which by the way are still too expensive for them) doesn’t do them much good.

Fake Steve Jobs: Let the train wreck begin

My newly created standing desk at work. I found a use for Diet Coke.

I show up at happy hour and in comes 5 other people…Urban girl, Rental girl, Conceited American Hi Fi loving guy, Guy thats pretty cool, and Mute girl. I wasted 2 hours of my life mingling with them and pretending to laugh with them and agree that American Hi Fi and Creed were the best bands ever.

Lindsey’s NYC apartment-hunting nightmare

The herd of squishy cows that I gave Dan and Carolyn. Looks like theirs are selectively yellowing at about the same rate as Tiff’s.

Ctrl+Alt+Del (thanks travors)

When I close the lid on my Thinkpad, I can never be entirely sure what state I’m going to find the machine in when I come back. It’s supposed to go into sleep mode, but it on occasion goes into either hibernation or total shutdown. And it takes way too long to come back, no matter what state it’s in. This is one of those things you’d think Microsoft and hardware manufacturers would have figured out by now.

Joho the Blog: Why I’m becoming a Mac person

Beats Of Boredom from adam deeves and Vimeo. This is absolutely amazing. I never watch embedded videos, but I loved this and watched the whole thing, so you know it’s good. This is the sort of thing that Vimeo was made for.

Now it’s common knowledge that your cell phone can bring down an airliner. But if that were true, the airlines would confiscate your phones, not just ask you to turn them off. And given the fact that at least one moron leaves his phone on during every flight, you’d expect at least one cell phone-related crash. I’m still waiting.

The Dilbert Blog: Things I Used to Know

Why I appreciate Eddie Vedder

I feel invigorated listening to a lot of 90’s alternative music, and this feeling is strongest at the same points in songs each time I listen to them. It’s a different feeling than I get from any modern pop music. And I never appreciated it in the 90’s - I’ve only come to like these bands and sounds as an adult.

Listen to these:

Now, for comparison, listen to:

Notice the difference? It took me a while to put my finger on it, but I’ve finally figured it out: the real grunge and rock bands were trying.

All of my awesome-moment choices are high-energy, full-spectrum songs in which the singers seem to temporarily forget that they’re rock stars. It sounds like they’re actually trying to become rock stars and expressing real emotion. They’re invigorated and rocking out, so I feel that way, too.

But new music doesn’t have that appeal. It’s out of style. New bands are brands, not musicians. The performers don’t act like they’re putting any effort into their music.

And they aren’t, really. They don’t need to. Since the 90’s, record companies have consolidated their rosters because they realized that a small number of mega-hits is more profitable than a large, varied catalog. Audioslave and Velvet Revolver aren’t organically grown bands with real musicians: they were scientifically crafted for maximum profit, through a series of mergers and acquisitions, and became completely watered down and formulaic. These “bands” are as real as a Big Mac and as organic as JP Morgan Chase.

They’re hardly even trying anymore.

AZspot and The Washington Post think this cat “predicts when nursing home patients are going to die by curling up next to them during their final hours.”

He’s not fooling me. Cats are pure evil. He’s killing them. We don’t know how yet, but trust me, the cat’s a serial killer.

San Francisco v. stretch limo (via Merlin). Pity level: 0.

Paul Graham: Stop reddit-ing the internet. Remember challenging and useful things like spam classification?

Adpinion: Can we vote this thing off the internet?

The most precious iPhone ingredient, for example, is its software. Give some other company all of the physical components of an iPhone for the exact prices iSuppli quotes and tell them to produce an iPhone. Where would the software come from?

Daring Fireball: iSuppli

This idiot has been so consistently wrong for his entire career that we use him as a contrarian indicator. Now he likes us, and I’m afraid this might mean we’ve jumped the shark or something.

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: This about-face by Dvorak

Side businesses

In order to be certain that God doesn’t exist, you have to possess a godlike mental capacity – the ability to be 100% certain. A human can’t be 100% certain about anything. Our brains aren’t that reliable. Therefore, to be a true atheist, you have to believe you are the very thing that you argue doesn’t exist: God.

The Dilbert Blog

You Zip guys don’t know what pain really is unless you had the SyQuest cartridge drives. Not only were they susceptible to the “click of death”, but they had a failure mode that was like a hardware virus. The drive would break, and from that point on it would break any cartridge placed in it. If you placed a broken cartridge in a healthy drive, it would break the drive.

SA Forums: Worst products ever

Come on, Google… “1 days ago”? You can’t write a simple pluralize() function?

If God appreciates reasoning skills, he can’t be too impressed by the fact he created the entire Universe and skeptics still can’t find any good clues he exists. God would only be impressed by skeptics if God did NOT exist. You can’t top that for absurdity.

The Dilbert Blog: Pascal’s Wager

Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling is in my office right now, meeting with Fred for some reason.

(cue Fred’s “Haw haw haw” impression)

What an odd day.

Pownce’s broken-XML Atom feeds

I emailed Pownce’s support team on July 10, notifying them that their Atom feeds contained malformed XML (specifically, unescaped ampersands in attribute values). This prevents many feed clients, including Tumblr’s feed importer, from parsing them. I described how to fix it and offered my help in doing so.

It’s still not fixed, and people keep emailing Tumblr support (…me) because their Pownce feeds aren’t working.

I finally got a response today, 20 days later, from Ariel: “We’ll look into it!”

Come on, developers… XML should always and only be generated by proper DOM creation and output methods. With them, escaping is never even an issue because you don’t need to do it: you just call node->setAttribute() or createTextNode() with raw strings.

It’s like using parameterized SQL queries: so many bugs are avoided that it’s stupid not to use them.

Pownce feeds are now supported

They fixed the bug. Yay!

The Chronicles of George - An ancient gem of poorly written IT help-desk tickets, all by the same guy.

We figured we could keep things under control using our usual overpricing strategy. Who in their right mind was going to shell out 600 bucks for a friggin phone, right? Especially if it lacks all sorts of features that people really want. Just to be doubly sure we put it on the AT&T network and gave it an unbearably slow wireless connection so that Web browsing is practically impossible. Well, much to our amazement, it turns out there are just loads and loads of people willing to spend 600 bucks on a feature-lite phone as long as it has one crucial feature, which is our Apple logo on the outside. Who knew?

Fake Steve Jobs: iPhone is getting way too popular

The thing with history is that nothing seems likely until after it happens. So if your first reaction is to dismiss this possibility because it’s unlikely, you haven’t studied history. Everything that happens is unlikely.

The Dilbert Blog: Likelihood of Revolution

The only incentive for membership now is a feeling of obligation to pay for the content, and very few people on the internet have any sense of obligation.

cubicle 17 on Daring Fireball

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