Marco.org • About ▾

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

Tiff hates The Daily Puppy.

Stairbags - A great invention idea.

After the influx from New Socks Day, my sock drawer has a bit of a capacity problem. (Photo by Tiff)

Our apartment’s floors are really uneven near the edges. (Featuring Tiff and an old TV cart I got at Wal-Mart for $20 in college)

IKEA loves us

In a single 1-bedroom apartment, we have:

We’ve followed a lot of their instructions over the years.

Thoughts on (and pics of) the original Macintosh User Manual (thanks AATW)

Follow-up to the video.

For yum9me. And I’m nowhere near the quantity (length?) of Kevin Rose. I don’t even know if he can load the Dashboard page. (Ow.)

I hope it’s awesome. I suspect it’s going to blow.

John Gruber on Eudora/Penelope

The evidence for evolution that is available to the casual person of interest, including most students, is simplified to the point of being misleading, false, or useless. In other words, the popular argument for evolution is bullshit, independent of the underlying reality of evolution or the evidence available to experts in the field.

The Dilbert Blog: Fossils – Still Bullshit

Sometimes I think God put video content guys on the planet to make the music guys look progressive and visionary.

Michael Gartenberg (via John)

Dinner! (thanks Tiff for slaving over the stove forever to make the sauce (and everything else (more parentheses)))

I’d write this blog even if no one read it.

Seth Godin captures the most fundamental joy of writing: the satisfaction and clarity it gives the author.

One thing I do know is how the Borg develops software. Imagine a hundred separate teams of Keebler elves all smoking crack and then being told to sit down in different parts of the world, without being able to communicate with each other, and dream up new cookie flavors, and you’ve got an idea how the Borg created Windows Live.

Fake Steve Jobs (thanks John Brissenden)

Thank God nobody reblogged it. It would be all over the Internet that I owned a fanny pack.

Carolyn regarding this.

I called McNamee and told him he should cancel the rest of the Palm product line too and save me the trouble of having to kill it piece by piece.

Fake Steve Jobs

The xkcd blag found a 1900 comic that predicted the Segway.

Jakob:

Has anyone noticed that iTunes, when in shuffle mode, tends to play lots of Crash Test Dummies?

Absolutely. But it always picked the (many) bad albums, so I had to delete most of them and just keep the good ones: The Ghosts That Haunt Me, God Shuffled His Feet, and A Worm’s Life.

I’d be amazed if anyone had ever heard of anything by them other than Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm and Afternoons and Coffeespoons. But one person actually played Moonbase Commander. So I guess it’s possible.

But I’m probably the only person on Earth who is a fan of both Moonbase Commander and A Worm’s Life.

I can’t believe that was real

The new iPods have Starbucks integration so you can buy whatever song is playing in Starbucks as you sit there.

I’m not kidding. I wish I were.

This is the worst thing Apple has ever done.

iPhone 8 GB dropped to $399

That’s $200 off, effective immediately. And the 4 GB model no longer exists.

Yes, you can use musical ringtones on your phones. But you shouldn’t. Apple gets this. So the company has made it possible, but less than entirely easy or convenient. For this reason, and this reason only, I believe that Apple should be a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Shape of Days

This is one of the best new features of FogBugz 6!

Internet People! Made by our friend, Dan Meth.

ReBlog ReBlog this!

From Internet People

Pretty sure this is a Don Hertzfeldt reference. (reblogged from Confessions)

It’s like when you go to a restaurant and it’s kind of a competition to see orders the best meal. He’s the guy who orders the chocolate milk.

Jorge Garcia (Lost’s “Hurley”) on M. Night’s ridiculous “Lady In The Water”

Dawn just got the same cable box I have. It’s great, except when you want to do anything, and you realize how abysmal the interface is.

Every step of the way, you think, “Did anyone actually use this before releasing it?”

Then again, it’s better than my old Comcast Motorola DVR that froze every day at 4:20 AM and PM. The world’s first stoner DVR.

Everything should taste like bacon.

Bacon Salt (thanks Application Error - this looks awesome)

Yet another reason not to use the Zend Framework for anything

It doesn’t know how to delete an email from a POP3 mailbox if it has a malformed date.

I don’t care if I can get cheap Viagra from an email supposedly sent on “August 37, 2000”. Just delete the message like I asked you to and move on.

A bunch of Microsoftees had to cancel because they are having their annual company meeting today in a gigantic football stadium. The size of that company is insane. Can you imagine Safeco Field filled to the brim with software developers? And that’s just the Vista Shutdown Menu Team.

Joel on Software

LINK LINK LINK LINK
CAPTION CAPTION CAPTION CAPTION CAPTION

(via Daily Junk and AATW) - click through, there are more and they’re great

Apple’s iTunes ringtone policy

It’s naive to blame Apple for anything involving iTunes’ pricing or DRM. It’s all from the publishers.

Apple isn’t charging for ringtones and restricting their access because they feel like selling more tracks… it’s because the record labels make a killing on ringtones (which usually cost $3 from anyone else and don’t include the “normal” version), and if Apple would allow people to put any songs they wanted on there for free, the RIAA members would lose a big revenue stream.

The more interesting question is what portion of that extra 99 cents is going to AT&T.

The lesson from Chicago is that using cheap hotels is not a good idea for business meetings. Psychologically, I think that people tend to associate the environment they’re in with the presentation. When a demo is in a modern, new, shiny business hotel, it’s like a little one hour vacation in luxuryland. You go to the bathroom and it’s marble everywhere and individual cloth hand towels. And you think nice things about the demo. But when you go to a demo at the Congress Plaza and the rug is stained and there are fluorescent lights everywhere and the bathroom looks like LaGuardia airport, some of that general depressing aura of shabbiness will rub off on the product being presented.

Joel on Software

Godly techno-weirdness of the day: “What is it?”

I’ve used [Wordpress] for a number of years now — but we’re not on the same page any more. Hell, were not even in the same book. It’s still fighting ghosts of the past, still trying to build on ever-more-complex and temperamental functions whilst users desperately continue to pour hours and hours of design and development into a theme engine that is simply not forgiving.

retooling – smackfoo.com

Thanks, Digg!

I forgot that I hate Digg, so I submitted my iPod Classic article and it accidentally got frontpaged.

I’d like to thank Digg’s readers for:

I don’t know why web publishers try so hard to get this useless audience to mob their sites.

I will not stand by while Digg floods Marco.org with crappy comments. Obnoxious comments are my job and crappy is a kind of obnoxious. I will not be outsourced to Digg.

Dan

It’s here! Now we can sleep in squishy-yet-firm goodness.

Using a [CAPTCHA] is making users take responsibility for our problem. Bots are our problem, not the users’, and it’s totally unfair to pass the buck.

SitePoint Blog

I’m counting on a big demographic bubble of old people to have lots of political clout. The first thing we oldsters will do is get rid of drug laws for people over 100. We’ll argue that all the reasons for drug laws don’t apply at that age. We won’t be driving cars or damaging our careers. We’ll just be sitting in rocking chairs and staring out the windows.

The Dilbert Blog: Absence of a Thing

3M’s DMS800 short-throw projector - They’re kidding, right?

Apple Cripples iPod Touch, Eliminates “Add” Button from Calendar (thanks AATW)

Tumblr account spam

Tumbl.us:

I’m noticing a hell of a lot of tumblr spam. Even if these are link backs… That just sucks.

We noticed that too, so we killed them earlier this afternoon. If you notice, all of those accounts are suspended (they redirect to the Tumblr frontpage, the same thing that happens with nonexistent tumblelogs).

A slick new anti-spam system is in the works. It’s one of those awesomely challenging programming tasks that keep geeks like me interested.

Hi….
I’m from Brazil and I watched your video about your work…okay I know, it’s seems wired, one guy find me just becuse this video, auhauhahauh ( I’dont know how you write the laughs)….but I’m a normal guy and I just search very much in the Internet……
So you are very kitty in that video in that video…=)
I saw you and I thought, I need to find this girl…
So I ask you if do you accept my invite?

Add this to your friends (reblogged from Dalas Verdugo, thanks)

We wanted to remove three parking meters in front of our new store in Montreal. We offered to pay the city the same amount they could collect from those meters. Answer: No. Reason: We’ve never done this before.

Fake Steve Jobs

Dick Tracy and the FBI TV series did more to stop bank heists than bullets ever did.

Seth’s Blog: Thinking about this war

A Method to Their Cheesy Madness (thanks cowboyo) - I hate Subway.

Lunch at ‘Wichcraft: David (left), Dalas, Jakob, two Vimeo guys whose tumblelog URLs I don’t know, and me (right). The grilled gruyere-and-onion sandwich was a winner.

Spare pants

It’s absolutely pouring in New York, and while I brought an umbrella to work, I neglected to bring it to lunch.

In addition, there isn’t a single “UMbrella! UMbrella!” vendor between 20th-and-Broadway and 28th-and-Park.

Now I’m drenched. I got to utilize my spare work sweater, but that only helps half of me.

Note to self: Keep spare pants, underwear, socks, and shoes at work.

For each new piece of information you track, there is an equally old and useless piece of information you must throw away. If you continue to follow new people [on Twitter], eventually they’re going to overwhelm you with their casual information flood, so you must get in the habit of removing a person for each new person that you follow. Incidentally, the first law tastes great with RSS feeds as well.

Rands In Repose: The Twitter Equilibrium

I can’t think of anything more crucial to keep in my mind on this anniversary of September 11th than the hope that we will all remember how our national tragedy was so blatantly exploited as justification for the needless destruction of human life in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last four years.

I just wanna say this!

What’s the point of an open system if no one takes advantage of it?

Cameron on the Nokia Internet Tablet platform

Daring Fireball on iTunes’ ringtones

Slight” is a great word for that discount.

Matt from NNN IT, on the phone with a vendor, trying to get a volume-license discount for Adobe Creative Suite. They offered $50 below retail for 200 copies of the $1700 package.

Prank War 6 - Wow… this is amazingly painful. (thanks Justin)

I don’t know if you’ve ever called Microsoft about a problem with your Xbox, but the whole experience seems clumsily targeted at teenage boys and fills me with murderous rage. The automated voice system has that sort of fake-cool tone you get in soda commercials, and the rep I spoke with kept asserting that various things were cool. The Xbox serial number, the color of the power supply light, my zip code: all cool. He also didn’t know what he was talking about. (“It sounds like your AV cables just, uh, died. I guess.”)

Emma Story (thanks John)

Banquet is perpetually on sale at 10 for $10. While this is awesome for the person on a budget, it also causes a great deal of shame at the checkout line when your cart is a sea of red boxes and everyone else has real groceries.

The Impulsive Buy: Banquet Southern Fried Fried Chicken Classics

A good bug, I mean a really good, pound-your-head-on-the-desk-for-a-week bug, is exactly like a magic trick in that something impossible appears to be happening. There’s NO WAY the buffer could ever contain that data. That code path CANNOT be reached with those input parameters. You could NEVER get that number as a result of this mathematical function. Bugs thrive on the same human brain deficiencies that earn magicians their living. We are shown something that is apparently impossible - but the reality is that we just don’t have all the information.

stevenf: Bugs Are Magic Tricks

(thanks Application Error) - I’ve never used Vista, but I sure hope this is fake. I can’t even imagine the annoyance level of using that OS and trying to get anything done.

Is it OK if we set all of the options to “yes”?

Todd and Alex are learning about the mysql.user table. They don’t yet know about GRANT.

I’m not even going to tell you… I know there will be a tumblelogging about it.

Todd while walking by, looking like something’s going wrong

This was it. How many programmers does it take to operate a filing cabinet?

Facebook doesn’t speak English good.

Grammar police

Regarding my Facebook grammar post, Montoya said:

No dummy, this means that Hernan has not chosen a gender on his/her profile, so Facebook has to use the gender-neutral “their.”

“Their” is gender-neutral, but it’s plural only. English has no gender-neutral singular version - only “his”, “her”, or “its”.

Technically, “his or her” works, but it’s awkward. Preferably, the sentence is reworded to avoid the need for this linguistic oddity when the noun has a gender (so “its” is wrong) but the gender is unknown.

This week, Yahoo announced a deal with Bebo that will help it compete with Google. I had to wiki Bebo to find out it’s kind of like Friendster and Woofie. Gosh, I hope they can all band together to save Fuzzelton village from the evil Snords.

Bill Maher (thanks AZspot)

2-sentence review: Man of the Year

Man of the Year (2006 movie) skips all of the good parts using montages and flashback narratives, but has some valid one-liner criticisms about our awful political system. Watch the preview for this, then rent a different movie.

What if I find out God likes squirrels more than he likes me? Sooner or later I’m going to hit a squirrel with my car and I’ll never again feel comfortable going outside unless I have a lightning rod strapped to my hat.

The Dilbert Blog: Kabbalah

I assume O.J. is kicking himself for not killing everyone in the room, covering himself in their DNA, and going golfing. You have to stick with what works.

The Dilbert Blog: Freshly Squeezed O.J.

Frankly I’m shocked to see these guys having problems. I mean, a brand new hardware design, a new screen technology, a customized Linux operating system, a one-off user interface, and the customers are the poorest nations in the world, and they’ll be paying with government money which means they have to get politicians to vote on orders, and they’ll have to place huge orders with no pilot programs, and the kids will have these things tossed in their laps and be expected to write code and do all their own maintenance, and the whole project will be run by woolly academics who have never even worked in a real company let alone run one. What could possibly go wrong?

Fake Steve Jobs on the OLPC delay

Half a century ago, corporations paid 45 percent to 50 percent of the income tax. Today they pay 6 or 7 percent. This is why our infrastructure is crumbling, there is no universal health care, our public education is in crisis, regulatory agencies are impotent and our poor and working class are desperate.

Chris Hedges (thanks AZspot)

From the Vimeo API example code. I agree.

I hate PHP’s array_rand() function

…so I made a handy util function to do what I really want:

// Does what array_rand() should do: 
//  returns the VALUES instead of the keys.
function array_return_rand($input, $num_req = 1)
{
    $keys = array_rand($input, $num_req);
    if ($num_req == 1) {
        return $input[$keys];
    } else {
        $out_array = array();
        foreach ($keys as $k) $out_array[$k] = $input[$k];
        return $out_array;
    }
}

My video iPod is on its way out.

Nikography made this new Tumblr theme. Demo site | download. Looks great.

Tiff hates The Daily Puppy

David on Wallstrip

This is by far my greatest achievement.

Epic Proportions in How to fix a cracked iPhone screen for $5

Sometimes I can’t help but feel that popular social bookmarking sites like Digg and Reddit are overrun by a bunch of ten year olds. With top links of the day like “the scariest photo you will see all day” or “the most interesting story you will read all week,” these sites can be extremely juvenile. I admit there are some amazing things posted to these sites, which is why I check them every once in a while, but I am always amazed at the stupidity of the masses when it comes to “voting up” some of these juvenile posts.

Gregory Szorc (thanks AZspot)

Cake - Short Skirt/Long Jacket (thanks ). Love this song.

Dear Internet,

It’s “tumblelog”. Pronounce it like the complete word “tumble” followed by the complete word “log”. No gaps, emphasis on “tum”.

The following alternatives are all wrong and awkward:

Also, the correct present participle is “tumblelogging”.

I recognize that it doesn’t take much skill to publish on the internet, but please make an effort to get your terminology right, even if the rest of your article is completely wrong.

Thanks, Marco

So, does this have everything to ensure it’s doomed from the beginning? Windows only? Check. Completely arbitrary expiration of your download? Check. Ads that you can’t skip? Check.

cubicle 17 on NBC’s newly announced TV download service

Was the second “hey” really necessary after such a short interval?

Isn’t this what John Lennon was talking about when he wrote “Imagine”? Imagine all the people using the same iPhone with the same carrier.

Fake Steve Jobs: These European countries need to merge

No one can take joy at the family turmoil that is about to become real after these years of marketplace fantasy. But it’s a huge stretch to make a case that most of these borrowers — many of whom put no money down, or signed up for loans on which they paid only the interest for several years, or used what equity they did have as a piggy bank to spend on other things — own the property at all. Legally, yes. In reality? No. … Calling it home ownership when someone has zero equity (or less) is absurd. Some of these people are not victims in the slightest, except of their own greed or foolishness, or both.

“Their” Homes? Come On (thanks friends)

Today’s problem is “user generated content”. Not because it is user-generated, but because it’s completely disorganized. In old media, you have editors who say, “This is good, people should see it.”. Now, we have “Most Viewed” pages. If you remove human intervention from focus group studies and market research, you get “Most Viewed” — a system where the lowest common denominator of human interests are celebrated automatically; where the aggregated whims of an uncoordinated mob dictate our cultural touchstones; where the mindlessness of strangers is rebranded as “collective intelligence.

Jakob Lodwick

Tiff still hates The Daily Puppy

The iconic “We are Happy to Serve You” paper coffee cup from Bill Israel. I drink out of one of these every day at work and love it. The only downside is that without the handle, there’s no comfortable place to hold it without burning yourself except the rim.

Took this today.

Also took this today. I was stalking these bees with the macro lens around Tiff’s mom’s pumpkin garden for a half hour. It was completely worth it.

But the main reason that any programmer learning any new language thinks the new language is SO much better than the old one is because he’s a better programmer now! You look back at your old ugly PHP code, compared to your new beautiful Ruby code, and think, “God that PHP is ugly!” But don’t forget you wrote that PHP years ago and are unfairly discriminating against it now. It’s not the language (entirely). It’s you, dude. You’re better now. Give yourself some credit.

Why I switched back to PHP after 2 years on Rails (thanks Contrived Chaos and Dalas Verdugo - and yes, that was me who removes unnecessary numbers from blog-post titles)

C++ is a horrible language. It’s made more horrible by the fact that a lot of substandard programmers use it, to the point where it’s much much easier to generate total and utter crap with it. Quite frankly, even if the choice of C were to do nothing but keep the C++ programmers out, that in itself would be a huge reason to use C.

Linus Torvalds (thanks Anmar)

What all this come’s down to is the sense of a nation absolutely fooling itself that it can carry on in the way it is used to. I’m hardly an advocate of the US giving up and committing suicide. What I advocate is a broad recognition that reality is compelling us to change our behavior. Reality is trying to tell us that we can’t run an economy based on nothing more than investment schemes without directing investment into activities that produce things of value. Reality is telling us to be very worried about living arrangements that can only function with copious imports of oil from people who are disgusted with us. Reality is telling us that we can’t divert our food crops into making motor fuels without people becoming unable to afford either fuel or food. Reality is telling us to redirect our culture more toward things-we-do-with-other-people and less toward things-we-do-with-new-things. Reality is telling us to shift from avoidance behavior and denial to engaging with reality in order to lead lives that are consistent with reality.

Jim Kunstler (thanks AZspot)

Bedtime Entropy (thanks Travors)

Don’t worry. I have a girlfriend.

Amanda’s stalker reassures her that he’s not creepy

mark-are-you-getting-forged-alliance-marco

Every few days Twitter stops working, and tells me “Features and improvements are on the way!” Well, you know what would be an improvement? Staying online!

Cameron

How to operate email

  1. Don’t use auto-responders.

  2. Absolutely don’t use those stupid systems that send me a verification email and make me fill out a CAPTCHA before they send the message to you. It may stop spam, but it also stops legitimate messages while frustrating and inconveniencing people who try to email you. Your spam is your problem, not mine.

I am against comments on Tumblr. Why? Because Tumblr is a site for tumblelogs. The tumblelog is a beautifully simple medium. One of the wonders of the simplicity is the lack of a commenting system. […] Why would you throw all kinds of extra crap onto a medium that exists for it’s simplicity? Wordpress is free. Textpattern is free. Symphony is free. Livejournal is free. Blogger is free. There are so many other platforms to blog with. Why duct tape comments onto a tumblelog?

pixelspread: Tumblr Comments

Jake and Amir: Ticklish

This was a non-native English speaker (or a non-English speaker using machine translation). I wonder how my “Are you sure? Deletions are permanent” response will translate back to Japanese.

Is you positive? Abortion be irrevocable.

Dan translates my support response to Japanese and back again. Now watch AdSense pick that up and start serving creepy political/religious (same thing) ads.

Cannon cameras

I just suspended a spam account called “cannon-cameras”. (Idiots. Stop spamming Digg, Delicious, and Reddit. It makes you easier to find.)

I was hoping that it would be about actual cannon cameras. I’m not sure what that would be:

Unfortunately, it was just a spammy misspelling of Canon.

Dear spammers: Please make your content more exciting so I can have something interesting to read before I suspend your account. Thanks!

Jared’s really good at photography. (I’d link to Vanessa, the subject, but she’s apparently too good to start a tumblelog.)

C’mon, you know you’ve done it. You even knew it was bad when you were writing it. Admit it! You listed HTML under programming languages, didn’t you? Argh!

Steve Yegge on avoiding bad tech resumes

On our Thanksgiving family travel obligations

On healthcare

I got my back-MRI results today. (Herniated disc, as expected.) The doctor showed me the images of my insides. That was pretty cool, so I wanted a copy of the images. They’re just TIFFs. But they won’t just print out the images.

I have to go to the Medical Records department, which was closed for the day (at 5:30), to request a copy. I can’t do this by phone or fax because I have to prove my identity in person. This is a precursor to the actual release, which is a complex set of forms that result in myself granting permission to release the pictures of myself to myself.

They can’t, of course, just email them to me.

Tiff’s really going to hate The Daily Puppy today.

They should change the Romanian flag and just put PHP short-tags around it.

David on the recent surge of web-development outsourcing to Romania

[Hillary Clinton] has mastered the art of saying nothing - but her major problem is that she has not mastered the art of making it seem like she’s saying something when she’s saying nothing. It’s just obvious she’s saying nothing.

David Sirota (thanks, AZspot)

Understanding cognitive dissonance, especially when it happens to you, is the only way to understand the world.

The Dilbert Blog: On the Other Hand

If you do make a complete website, why be conventional about it? Here’s a guy whose website consists of a classic blog, a Tumblelog, a forum, and an About page. Although it’s his site, friends of his contribute to its contents too. Unusual and fun. […] Why get hung up on such 20th century notions as the individual author, the fixed voice, the core identity, and the stable self?

2blowhards on Marco.org. Thanks!

After 2 years of reading his site, I just realized that Rands In Repose isn’t “Rands in Response”. Oops.

I had to consult OS X’s Dictionary. “repose: noun. Temporary rest from activity, excitement, or exertion, esp. sleep or the rest given by sleep.”

The SA Forums’ Apple Megathread mocks itself

I’ll definitely get used to this.

It came from an AOL address.

I love that the Amazon page for the Belkin iPhone-headphone adapter includes this user-submitted photo detailing how you can achieve the same thing for free.

Success! I now have good portable headphones working with the iPhone instead of crappy earbuds. And I don’t need to give Belkin $10 for the privilege.

Basic Instructions: How to Express Condolences

I love my new LCD desk-mount arm and the awesomely clean desk layout it gives me, even with 8 wires coming out and onto the desk.

I’m enjoying the “blog” of “unnecessary” quotation marks.

Seriously, everyone… don’t you think the list posts are getting a little out of hand?

MAC is screwing us again!

I can finally buy a Mac Pro after lusting after the Apple pro towers (first the Power Mac G5) for the last 3 years. I have money set aside for it and I’m finally able to justify the cost.

But the Mac Pro hasn’t been significantly updated in 14 months and is due for an update any time now. The CPUs they use are being updated in a month, weeks after Leopard’s likely release. So buying one now isn’t a great idea.

Come on, Apple… hurry up with that update so I can give you a lot of money and free myself from slow laptop hard drives!

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