Marco.org • About ▾

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

One big usability problem you should be aware of (link from Bill Israel)

The Joy of Tech

[Radiohead is] free of their record label contract and are distributing their new album on their own. You can buy the digital download for whatever price you want, including zero, which I’d guess is probably going to be the most popular choice.

Fake Steve Jobs on this

Has it occurred to anybody that if we could run choo-choo trains between cities a few hundred miles apart — say from Cleveland to Columbus, Ohio — we could decongest the airports overnight?

Jim Kunstler (thanks AZspot, who I can rely on to reduce my faith in the government daily)

David has never heard any Phish. I’m waiting for the perfect time to unleash it on him.

Either he’ll hate it immediately, or he won’t want to listen to anything else for the next 3 months.

What exactly is the basis for Skype’s great “community of users,” as Kirkpatrick terms it? Fellow-feeling? A shared love of empowerment? The harmony of the spheres? Nope, nope and nope. The community exists for one major reason: Because Skype is free. Charge ten bucks for the software or slap on a $5 a month subscription fee, and that community goes up in a communal puff of smoke.

Communal delusions on eBay’s Skype acquisition back in 2005 before everyone realized it was a bad idea. (thanks Fake Steve Jobs)

The police have little portable trailers with radar and a display sign. They leave it unattended on side streets. The radar tracks your car and the display tells you how fast you are going. They’ve discovered that motorists slow down when they realize the device is tracking their speed. This doesn’t work on me. When I see that trailer, I speed up because I know the police won’t put both the trailer and a real policeman in the same neighborhood.

The Dilbert Blog: Knowledge of economics is a mild superpower

Jake and Amir: Bowling for Soup

Riiiiiight. The contribution economy. That’s a powerful meme for leveraging tropes and achieving synergies across disparate disintermediated communities that are pixelating and being reinvented as the distributive disruptive power of the always-on 24-7 Net creates a new self-organizing organism that is in effect evolving into a protean electronic self in which connections are switched on and off with increasing rapidity, friction is removed from the system, the world is flattened, and change is the only constant. Ergo, Skype is worth a zillion billion dollars.

Fake Steve Jobs

the “blog” of “unnecessary” quotation marks

When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song.

Jennifer Pariser, head lawyer for Sony BMG, failing to yield fair use rights

The SNL Fallacy is when people look back in time at something, just see the highlights (since the lowlights and filler inherently fade away and are forgotten), and see that time period as superior to the current one. People always claim that Saturday Night Live “used to be better.” And they’ve been saying that ever since shortly after the show started.

Ricky Van Veen on the SNL Fallacy (thanks Scott Kidder)

Zune

It’s sad watching the tech press foaming about the Zune update.

It solves almost none of the Zune’s problems, and still isn’t competitive with the iPod.

To beat the iPod, you can’t just (attempt to) clone it. You need to hugely, significantly defeat it, the way the iPod crushed the pathetic MP3-player market that came before it.

I’m sure Engadget and CrunchGear and Gizmodo and whoever else are enjoying their Microsoft swag, and might actually believe the hype they’re attempting to convey, but actual people don’t care about the Zune at all.

The [LG Venus] is a thing of beauty, and has one of the best looking UIs we’ve seen from the likes of Verizon and LG.

Engadget with the iPhone killers. Wow, that’s saying a lot.

Steve Ballmer also noted that sites such as Geocities, an online community that was bought for $3 billion by Yahoo! in 1999, at the height of the dot-com boom, “had most of what Facebook has.

Times Online (thanks The Deplorable Word). I’m not a huge Facebook believer, but this is hilariously bad. Microsoft should appoint Steve Ballmer to conduct all public communication.

In many ways, it highlights a rarely cited reality in design: most people aren’t good at it. The iPhone is not the product of a democratic process.

Basement.org: Apple Knows Best

Tiff discovers wide-angle distortion at 17mm immediately before I discover that I really don’t like “chicken sausage patties” even when they’re tomato-basil-flavored and grilled.

Visual Voicemail

The iPhone’s voicemail integration is so good that it alone is worth locking the phone to AT&T.

Delusional features

The Zune’s biggest exclusive feature, WiFi sharing with other Zunes, is a complete non-starter even without its stupid 3-play DRM timebomb.

How many times have you been within WiFi range of another Zune owner?

I ride the NYC subway regularly, and I’ve seen one person using a Zune. Once.

Ever.

What are the odds that I also had one, and we both had WiFi turned on (it’s usually off since it drains battery life), and we saw each other, and we wanted to talk to each other (both wearing headphones, this is awkward to initiate), and we knew about the WiFi sharing feature, and we had similar musical tastes, and we were willing and able to go through the interface to set up the sharing, and all of this would be justified by our desire to listen to a song 3 times?

I’ll make it easier. Suppose Apple offered it, and it magically worked with all iPods from any generation. How likely is it to happen then?

Did you see that Starbucks drink I blogged?

David’s most Web 2.0 sentence ever

I am feeling yellow-brown!

Marc on mood rings

Today we learned that the same president who is willing to throw away a half trillion dollars in Iraq is unwilling to spend a small fraction of that amount to bring health care to American children.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (thanks friends)

You might think one problem with my plan is that few people would watch a show about political policies. But before the TV show Survivor came on, who predicted that millions of people would watch a bunch of assholes fighting over a coconut?

The Dilbert Blog: So You Think You Have a Policy (Paul beat me to it fair and square)

Cheap iPhone amp (by Cameron)

Update: I think this post may have been responsible for TUAW discovering the photo. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

I got an anti-glare overlay for my iPhone (right). Love it. Everyone in the office wants one except David, who loves his glossy iPhone (left).

That’s outstanding! Where’s my tumblelog?

Marc after someone’s funny real-life quote

Marc is Starbucks’ dream customer

The conundrum is that most of the fonts worth using can’t legally be shared as free downloads, and most of the fonts that are legally shareable aren’t worth using.

John Gruber on WebKit’s new downloadable fonts in CSS

I’m not arrogant. I’m smarter than everyone else, and I have better taste. That’s not arrogant. It’s just true.

Fake Steve Jobs

Apple is screwing us

Everyone’s so upset about the lack of a native iPhone SDK.

Where was all of this rage in the past? Why now? Why no call to arms against Verizon for BREW?

Oops… we got on the wrong train home.

xkcd: A-Minus-Minus

When somebody is trying to sell you something just a little bit too hard: Tell them “I work for your company, too”, and from that point they will act completely different.

Mareen

Oh yeah, I didn’t go to college. That’s probably why I use regular words and thoughts to describe how I want to create a product and then make money on it.

An unordered list of thoughts I had during a conference call with a potential client today (there are plenty of other great quotes, read it)

You’re the one running BBEdit… what is this, 1999?

David to Paul

He’s one of those kids who’s too obscenely rich to ever do anything in life.

Todd

I wish they had fresh fruit instead of candy bars. At least it’s real stuff like Twix and not processed “healthy” bars.

Jakob Lodwick

For the record, the Starbucks-iPhone integration does not enable free WiFi on iPhones for anything else except the iTunes Store.

It’s still the same old “tmobile” network that you still have to pay some stupid fee to use if you want to browse the internet. There’s just a special hook somewhere for the iTunes Store.

The iPhone, as of today, isn’t for you if you feel you must be able to install and modify software on it. There are all sorts of other devices that are, at heart, technically, computers, but which aren’t sold or promoted or marketed as such. Like say, TiVos. And iPods.

Daring Fireball: Cancel Computer

Of course, Microsoft’s Apple Envy is so impossible to disguise that the back of the Zune says, “Hello from Seattle.” Um… excuse me? Hello from Seattle? That has, I’m afraid, none of the same resonance. It evokes nothing. Boeing and rain, maybe. Kurt Cobain’s unhappiness.

Joel Spolsky on “Designed by Apple in California”

Those of you who believe that you should smile and wave and say all the nice things you think you need to say to “find the client’s problem” and whatever… Let me know when you actually GET clients. Because you’ll find that sweet-smelling crap that someone who’s made a career in academia shoveled up your nose doesn’t really play all that well when it’s three in the morning, you stopped receiving checks a month ago, and you and your team are STILL working on changes and updates on your fixed-bid contract for five million dollars that ran out a long, long time ago…

Follow-up to “Unordered List o’ client bashing”

Web 3.0

Everyone knows Web 2.0 is about rounded edges, pastel colors, and Javascript.

I predict Web 3.0 will be all about sharp, pointy edges. Triangles. Spikes. With bold colors. Generated by Pascal.

I should have the right to be in a public place without being nasally assaulted by cheap cologne and Axe spray.

Does anyone ever pick the second option?

Saturday mornings

Being bored at 7 AM on a Saturday is strange.

Related: Never go to Starbucks at 6:15 AM on a Saturday. There are actually people sitting there, working on laptops. I’ve never felt like such a slacker.

Saturday is a great time to peruse the “blog” of “unnecessary” quotation marks.

I found a good use of CD cake-boxes when using the standing desk.

I’ll have to buy two of equal height next time I need more CD-R or DVD-R discs, which I estimate will be around 2015.

Descriptive song title

After listening to Ain’t Gonna Suck Itself, I don’t think Cracker is very happy with their old record company.

Side effects may include drowsiness…

Commercial for a sleeping pill

“I Cant Believe Your Wife Is Sleeping With Glarxap75”, from SA’s version of Spamusement

Looks like October is becoming normal again at the end of this week.

I like Mareen’s Polaroid series.

Tiff is out of town, so this is pretty much all I’ve done this weekend.

Bored

I’ve used three different laptops recently, all of which felt it was a good idea to have a fullbeam Xenon floodlight to remind you the WiFi was on. Why stop there? They should have a bank of these lights under the screen - then the word “WIFI” can scroll along the case while the speakers blast a song about WiFi to the tune of ‘Hey Mickey’.

Horace on PC laptop design at SA

The idea of a home page and a site map and a considered, well-lit entryway to your brand is quaint but unrealistic.

Seth Godin

Has it started to occur to anyone that these kids really just have no idea what business they’re in or what kind of company they’re running?

Fake Steve Jobs on Facebook

I know something interesting is going to happen when Justin and Jared walk into the office with a video camera and a lightsaber.

I was right!

Thrill of the Road: Episode 1, by Ian. They went to Centralia!

I charitably call myself an indoor enthusiast.

Coding Horror: Geek Diet and Exercise Programs

“Only Microsoft could possibly see a big panel of buttons and think ‘this must be what our customers want’.” - Brandon Kelly via 37signals)

I can see a 1.1.2 update coming tonight

comment #2 on Third Party Apps ported to iPhone 1.1.1

Mini-review: the Starbucks “Coffee-Infused Ginger Cookie”. (Also pictured: a Short Americano, the only Starbucks drink that matters, and a steal at just under $2.)

The ginger cookie was invented by the assistant manager, who’s also a great chef, of the 28th-and-Park Starbucks location in Manhattan. The branch’s employees simply call it “The Damian”.

Texture is great. It’s soft, but not mushy.

The ginger taste is very strong and very good. Unlike American “ginger ale”, this actually leaves your mouth and throat slightly burning.

The coffee flavor is nearly undetectable. If the cookie weren’t dark brown, I don’t think I’d even notice a coffee theme.

It’s pretty large, so I recommend sharing.

Overall, while I wouldn’t call it “coffee-infused”, it’s a very good ginger cookie that goes nicely with a good, unsweetened, hot coffee or espresso drink.

Google buys Jaiku, as reported by video by Gary Vaynerchuk (the Wine Library TV guy)

Just remembered

My previous post on the Mac Pro is especially likely to be true because Apple did the same thing with the Mac Pro’s original release: they bought up nearly all of Intel’s stock of Woodcrests upon the CPU’s release.

For at least a few weeks, the only Woodcrest computer that people could actually buy was the Mac Pro.

Since Intel’s Penryn-based Woodcrest-successor is being released in early November, this makes a lot of sense…

xkcd: Exploits of a Mom

Thinking of designers as someone who paints the application pretty in Photoshop is a common but unfortunate misconception. We certainly don’t have any designers like that. Instead, our designers apply their talents to the native materials of the web by working directly with HTML, CSS, and occasionally Ruby code or JavaScript.

37signals. I wish the rest of the industry worked like this.

The secret unconscious desire for many hackers is for Dad to publicly recognise them, and to offer them jobs within Apple. When Dad doesn’t do this, and indeed seems to thwart them, then Oedipal rivalry occurs, a love-hate relationship with Dad, and a desire to harm him. Thus the many writers who now say they won’t buy an iPhone or who tell others that Apple is not the same company they knew it to once be, thus revealing a level of “stuckness” most family therapists understand.

A family therapist analyzes Apple fanboy rage

Opera, the web browser that’s not IE or Firefox, is having a launch party for their browser, which will hopefully un-suck the internet.

uncov being suspiciously nice

How to get PHP 5.2.4 in yum on CentOS or Fedora Core

(geek level of this post: 90%)

This is so useful that I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know about it earlier. I hate compiling PHP outside of the module-level convenience of yum on a CentOS or Fedora server, but I love coding against some features that only exist in PHP 5.2 and above, such as DOMDocument::register_node_class (for customizing the XML DOM with convenience methods and extra functionality) and DateTimeZone (which exists in 5.1, but only with a custom compilation flag that’s not set in the yum-repo version).

Anyway, go here and set up the remi yum repository with that simple wget/rpm command for your OS. The page is in French, but it doesn’t matter. I figured it out, and the only French I know is that télécharger means “download”.

Example: For CentOS 5, go to the RHEL 5 section and run these commands:

wget http://[big long URL].el5.remi.noarch.rpm
rpm -Uvh remi-release-5*.rpm

Then you have the remi repository on your system. It’s disabled by default (in /etc/yum.repos.d) so you don’t accidentally upgrade unwanted components with automatic yum updates. To enable it for a particular package, like to get the latest PHP, do this:

yum --enablerepo=remi update php

Done. Don’t forget to upgrade any additional modules that you’ve installed outside of yum’s management (for me, I needed php-memcache and php-apc). Other PHP modules that you already have installed, such as php-mbstr, php-mysql, and php-gd, are updated with PHP automatically from remi.

[root@server ~]# php -v
PHP 5.2.4 (cli) (built: Aug 31 2007 16:02:49) 
Copyright (c) 1997-2007 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v2.2.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2007 Zend Technologies

Sun and Samsung are working on a Java-based iPhone clone. What can I say? These guys want to fight us in the consumer space? Really? Sigh. Whatever. Bring it on, I guess. But honestly it’s not even going to be fun crushing these guys. They’re just so sad these days.

Fake Steve Jobs

TechCrunch thinks that Stixy is a step toward a Web Operating System. This is a perfect example of why people who are not engineers shouldn’t write about technology. Really, they just embarrass themselves.

uncov via montoya

Having a catch-all on *@marco.org results in interesting emails from employees of marco.org.mx who forget the “.mx”.

Rainy

the “blog” of “unnecessary” quotation marks. My vote on this one: mafia.

How does one fail an IQ test? Well… I got this Facebook invitation to take an IQ test (for those of you who don’t feel like reading, there you go - I just gave you the answer).

Joe The Peacock

Now it is time. You must run. Not because you want to run, but precisely because you don’t want to run. That, Al, is your strongest point. You don’t want it. You don’t need it. You dare now to be yourself. No artificiality, no stiffness, no falseness. You are who you are. And we need you.

Fake Steve Jobs: Dear Al Gore

Our biggest challenge comes from the chain restaurants that are flooding into the area. They are sucking customers out of the independent restaurants like a vacuum cleaner on a row of ants who are coincidentally also going out to eat.

The Dilbert Blog: Management by Flailing Around

I’m sure Jhon appreciates the recommendation

I can’t help it that I’m irresistible.

David

Matt flies the RC helicopter in our office

Sometimes life hands you a hot dog… and you gotta make it hot.

Tiff

We all recognize that it’s just the internet. At the end of the day you still go outside and nobody knows who you are.

Ted Dziuba of Uncov

We would never let anyone from Apple attend a NASCAR event without a hazmat suit. Formula One, fair enough, that’s a different situation. Different audience. More in line with the Apple image. NASCAR? One hundred percent Windows users.

Fake Steve Jobs

Weblogs cover a wide range of topics, such as other weblogs, what the mainstream media are saying about weblogging, new weblogs, advances in weblog publishing, books about weblogging, the future of weblogging, and that one naked guy painted up like Spider-Man.

The Brunching Shuttlecocks - Thanks, Travors, for reminding me of them. It isn’t updated anymore, but check out the archive.

I was going to educate myself and find out how many slices of bread I need to eat to reach six ounces of grains or how many bananas I need to eat to get two cups of fruits, but the McDonald’s Big Mac Value Meal I ate made me sluggish and lazy.

The Impulsive Buy: Nabisco Banana Garden Harvest Toasted Chips

There’s a dirty little secret out there among Mac owners: We buy Dell monitors.

What Mac Stuff We Like to Buy From Dell

Don’t let yourself think you’re more clever than another industry’s legal machine.

Legal Suicide for Web 2.0 start-ups: a beginner’s guide (thanks Tim)

Today’s top tumblelog, solely because of this great logo.

Oh, wow. Cameron found the original post from the TUMBLR MAKES YOU A JERK post. I guess I was viewing a feed-imported version on Virb.

This is a screenshot of ThePete’s layout, which rivals Entrepreneurs Unlimited (review, update).

The fact that you’ve been working at AOL just makes people giggle. They’ll say things like, “AOL? Are they still in business?” Or: “So your last job was at AOL. So what have you been doing since 1998?

Fake Steve Jobs

I keep seeing people encountering problems with MediaTemple web hosting. Constantly. I’ve never read anything good about them, actually.

As far as I can tell, they offer expensive VPSes and crappy shared hosting (they call it a “grid” but it’s really just shared hosting that’s structured slightly differently). And they put parentheses around all of their product names (pn).

Yet they still come highly recommended.

Why? Is it because they use curvy graphics and Web 2.0-inspired icons? It’s certainly not because of their pricing or service quality.

Gabe & Max’s Internet Thing (thanks Scott Heiferman)

stickdog (thanks cowboyo)

The best work is done when there’s not enough time, not enough money to do it “right”. Doing it right is a pie in the sky. It’s a misnomer for second-system syndrome and it’s never going to happen anyway. So stop aiming for perfect, start aiming for good enough.

37signals

Vimeo’s HD player gives me some strange sense of hope for video on the web.

Scott Gilbertson

Desktop Linux is taking over

That’s what Linux blogs (thanks Info-Ninja) think.

That’s what I call a pending explosion. No wonder Microsoft is screaming.

Then the people in the comments speculate that desktop Linux is bigger than OS X.

Riiiiiiiiight.

David was annoyed while an infomercial — I mean, “pilot of a fashion show” — was filmed on the Davidville couch for the Facial Flex. I wish this were a joke.

Am I the only one geeky enough to be annoyed by the syntax and bad style of this Axe ad that everyone’s reblogging?

Also, proper K&R style is “if” SPACE (condition) SPACE open-brace. The use of the “this” keyword as a member variable name rules out the possibility of this being valid C++, Java, or Javascript, while PHP doesn’t use the dot operator for member dereferencing (because it’s the string concatenator). Unless I’m forgetting about a major language using C-style syntax, the only language this could possibly be legal in is C.

Because it’s been 16 months since I’ve programmed in C, I was a little rusty, so I whipped up the test program above to make sure it’s valid. (It is.) I wasn’t sure if the “get.a.girlfriend” part, evaluating to a variable and not a function call, was valid. (It is, but it has no effect. “2;” is a valid C statement that does nothing. I assumed this would at least throw a warning in GCC… nope.)

I’ll ignore the syntax highlighting of the word “this” and assume that, rather than writing invalid code, they were just viewing C code in a C++ editor (from the font and style, probably MS Visual C++). In that case, they’re just guilty of bad style.

Sorry ladies, I’m taken.

NYC is testing navigational stickers at subway exits. Great idea! I hope they roll it out citywide.

Working on nasty little problems makes you stupid.

Paul Graham: Great Hackers (which jnunemaker seems to be quoting, but by bit, until the whole article is quoted)

What was going on in Cupertino while Microsoft was developing ClearType and commissioning premier type designers to create universally acclaimed fonts for Windows Vista? Steve Jobs, the guy who gave a graduation speech lauding his own pioneering efforts in typography, should be embarrassed to watch Microsoft showing Apple how to do it right.

Typographica (thanks, Dan Arbaugh)

Mini-review: Adagio’s Rooibos Cocomint is very good.

I don’t usually like foreign flavors in tea (fruit, herbs, etc.), nor do I enjoy mint-flavored tea, but this chocolate-mint rooibos is great for some reason.

Recommended.

Legislators need to repeal laws explicitly forbidding the recording, photographing or videotaping of police officers. And to the extent that more generalized wiretapping laws meant for the general public also apply to the police, they should be amended to allow private citizens to record officers while they’re on duty. This isn’t to say police don’t have the same privacy rights as everyone else. They do — when they aren’t on duty, in possession of a sidearm and carrying with them the authority that comes with enforcing the law of the state.

Radley Balko (thanks, AZspot)

Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.

Hermann Göring, 1946, to intelligence officer Gustave Gilbert. Confirmed by Snopes. (thanks, Daily Meh)

I had the sneaking suspicion that somewhere, on one of the screens on one of the computers in the Hertz office, an old DOS box had booted up with the clock battery burned out, and it was prompting the user to enter a date and time, and if there was just one person working for Hertz who could actually read, that person would have typed in the date on time on that old DOS box, which then would have booted up and the whole system would have come back. Just speculation.

Joel on Software

11-1-07

It’d be really funny to make a blog post on April 1 announcing that Tumblr 7.0 would exclusively be a Facebook application requiring Windows Vista and using tagged folksonomies to podcast wikis into the blogosphere.

Well, I’d laugh.

The only thing that would make November 1 better is if Apple preempted us by releasing new Penryn-based Mac Pros.

The Tumblr v3 to-do list has gone through a lot, especially after this morning’s unintentional Operation Coffee Freedom.

The Office: Grammatical usage of “whoever” vs. “whomever” (thanks Your Monkey Called) - When this aired last night, the first thing I said (after laughing a lot) was, “This scene is going to be on YouTube.”

One of the more interesting parts of removing spam Tumblr accounts is trying to figure out what some of them were trying to accomplish. Sometimes, I really have no idea.

If desktop Linux is always “getting better”, why do problems with simple things like this always happen?

Tiff’s pin porcupine at work

The future of software development seems to be in quickly gluing together lots of small broken pieces. The days of actually making it work correctly are rapidly disappearing.

Paul W. Homer (thanks Montoya)

The nice thing about flirting with the checkout girl at the movie rental store is that, so long as you don’t return your movies on time, she’ll call you.

Alexander at 400 Words (NWS content) - thanks, Gondaba

It will come as news to most people over thirty that most people under thirty do not leave voice mail messages.

Workplace practices that should end, which is apparently gone now (?), thanks Bill Israel

Support email of the day.

Somewhere there on your saturation slider there is a little line showing the middle - it is there to tell you something.

bits and pieces

70% of PC users are outside the US. 85% of Internet use is outside the US. 92% of mobile use is outside the US.

Mary Meeker via Scott Heiferman

Dan:

This video for Folger’s coffee is the best advertisement I’ve seen in a while. I’ve inadvertently become something of a coffee snob—so I still have no intention of buying Folgers coffee—but it definitely made me want to buy some coffee.

Thanks for the review, PC Magazine… but it’s so easy to tell a relic from the print era. Could you have made it any less comfortable to read it?

When I lived in Germany, it was illegal to work overtime; if I worked more than 40 hours in a week I had to log that time and take equivalent vacation later. This was strongly enforced because the sense was that you were hurting your fellow workers if you were willing to work overtime.

P. Sengers (thanks Contrived Chaos)

lonelysandwich: ICANN should introduce the .corn domain just to confuse people with bad vision.

(thanks CultrVultr)

Quote post or link post with blockquote?

Which to choose when posting a link with a quote? Here are my personal guidelines, which may help you codify yours:

Link post with blockquote for any of these conditions: - I have commentary I’d like to add
- I think the entire article is worth reading
- The quote doesn’t represent the entire article
- The quote is especially long
- There are too many good quotes and I can’t pick one

Quote post for shorter quotes that stand alone, especially if the quote is a good enough substitute for the article that you don’t need to read the whole thing.

An affiliate-marketing spammer’s site was dedicated to a “professional” dog-breed selection book. You pay them $30 and they tell you that certain dogs are huge or rowdy: information you can find for free from many other sites.

Affiliate links to ebooks like this are the only significant spam source on Tumblr.

I feel guilty sometimes by suspending them - not because I think it’s unfair (I don’t), but because some sleazy internet used car salesman has convinced so many desperate, hopeful people that they can make a legitimate living this way.

A few people had requested a close-up version of our Tumblr 3.0 to-do list. Here you go.

Dan correctly identified our pen type. I can’t fool him. He’s going to uncover all of Tumblr 3.0’s secrets.

Consider this: Do you know of anyone — anyone at all — talking today about switching from the Mac to Windows? I don’t. Not even Dvorak/Enderle-style muckraking Apple-tweaking pundits are claiming that anyone is switching from the Mac to Windows, because it’s just so preposterous.

John Gruber (thanks Cameron)

Leopard 9A581’s Dock Visual Tweaks - Much nicer than the weirdly slanted one with the wrong perspective. If there isn’t a way to hack the dock to look like this on the bottom, I might need to become a side-Docker.

Given Microsoft’s pace of Windows development, it seems obvious that Vista is it for this decade: that come 2010, Vista, with a few subsequent service packs, is going to be all Microsoft will have to show for the 2000s.

John Gruber

Feel free to make decisions about me based solely on what you read and see on the Internet.

Andrea Allen’s tumblelog description

PHP include_path=’0’ bug

(geek level: 90%)

If you set PHP’s include_path to include a directory for which Apache doesn’t have read permission, it fails in a strange way. In the Apache error log:

[…] Failed opening required ‘chorus/Paths.php’ (include_path=’0’) […]

include_path=’0’? Strange. No other errors or warnings are logged by PHP.

Fix permissions, and the include_path works perfectly.

Hopefully this post will turn up on a Google search for the next unfortunate person who hits this bug.

Be warned: This lens is hugely addictive. Strong photographers have wept standing in line at the post office to return it. Please don’t let your tears fall on the return label’s bar code – it slows down return shipping when the scanner can’t read it.

Lens Rentals - Canon 85mm f1.2 L Mk II. A photographer came to the office with one of these today. It’s damn impressive. I’ve never seen such a glassy lens. (Then again, I’ve never seen a $1700 prime.) He also had the 24mm 1.4L and the 50mm 1.2L, both of which were also very nice.

david-at-some-point-we-need-to-find-a-way-for

What I know of Dock-on-the-side people is similar to those who drink their coffee black and those who shop at Costco. There is something [about] those types of people that I haven’t connected with why they do it that way, but I have a feeling if I did I would discover something great.

Shawn Blanc: The Preemptive Switch to Dock-on-the-Left

Consumers — the target market for the iPhone — do not want to sit on a plane and edit a Word document. That’s the last thing they want to do. That’s their definition of hell. Hurtling through the air in a big metal Tylenol with 250 other angry passengers eating salted snack products, drinking diuretics while strapped into a chair next to Bill Lumbergh and wondering “What the hell was that bump? Can turbulence really take one of these things down? What’s the stress tolerance of that wing, anyway?”, they sure as hell don’t want to edit a fricking Word document on a 3-inch screen. They don’t want to edit an Excel document. They don’t want to work on their “Getting Things Done” action items. No, they want to watch a movie. They want to listen to music.

The Macalope: Understanding the market

The Empire State building tonight in the rain. Similar to the last time I shot it like this with my 17-55 IS, but tonight I only had Tiff’s 100mm macro lens, so I had to crank the sensitivity way up. Still turned out well, if not a bit noisy, and I’m glad I got the closer shot.

That’s better! Enlarge. (thanks AATW, who I hereby forgive for unknowingly reblogging my post without attribution.)

Apple Wireless Keyboard LED at 40X:

Ever wonder how the power LED shows through the aluminum of Apple’s new wireless keyboard when it’s on, but blends into the metal when it’s off? Here’s how.

(thanks, John)

David made this morning’s board meeting worthwhile. (Mug from Nite Fite)

New idea for blog comments

What if they were limited to 5 words?

The great thing about charity as a tool is you can’t overuse it or wear it out. The more you use it, the more good you do. It’s like a car that runs on trash and produces purified drinking water. Nobody’s going to criticize the length of your commute or begrudge your Sunday drives.

The Power of Charity

Software development takes immense intellectual effort. Even the best programmers can rarely sustain that level of effort for more than a few hours a day. Beyond that, they need to rest their brains a bit, which is why they always seem to be surfing the Internet or playing games when you barge in on them.

Joel Spolsky to Inc. Magazine

WinFS was, in technical terms, approximately the equivalent of rearranging the nation’s transportation system to accommodate flying cars. Yes, it would put airlines out of business, and yes, every garage would need to be widened a bit to accommodate cars with wings, but hey, we oughta be able to deliver this in a year or so. Two years, tops.

Joel Spolsky to Inc. Magazine

Re: New idea for blog comments

Challenged Confessions:

NotABadIdeaButTheObviousAndObnoxiousAnswer…

I thought of that. Here are some ideas:

Of course, this only works well for English like this.

Another new idea for blog comments

The longer the comment, the smaller its font.

Gap started employee orientation on the wrong foot by showing us a video about the perils of employee theft. Starbucks handed out Orwellian handbooks telling us to “Be Authentic.” Such approaches produce cynicism and engender a fake sense of belonging, if any at all. Apple treated us like adults.

Magic Shop: Being a retail employee

Leopard: Windows servers in CoverFlow (thanks Application Error)

Rented a 10-22. It’s pretty fun so far.

Paul

David

Marc

David hard at work on Tumblr 3

Alright, now I love this lens.

Intel has done their part to keep the motherboard and CPU upgrade markets churning, by coming up with yet another bloody socket format. Socket J replaced the similarly magnificently incompatible Socket 604.

Dan’s Data on Xeons

At Starbucks. I can’t escape.

Brokeback Mountain

I had to justify to Tiff why I didn’t want to watch Brokeback Mountain with her: I don’t have anything against gay people. I just don’t like long emotional Oscar-bait romance films. Or cowboy movies. But I had to make sure I could relate my reasons for not wanting to watch it in a way that couldn’t possibly be construed as homophobia or discrimination. Even writing this here, publicly, probably isn’t a good idea.

I still feel guilty for not liking it. It’s like emotional affirmative action. I feel like I should give a gay romance film more of a chance than I’d give a straight one.

Tiff waking up

Years ago, I took a friend to a chicken slaughterhouse in the Bronx. You pick a chicken, they bring it into the back room and bring you back fresh chicken parts. The thing you notice when you are walking to the car is that the bag is warm. A little different from the supermarket. Something you never forget, actually.

Seth Godin

The Times Square Shuffle?

From the diner yesterday.

Tiff carved our pumpkin. Isn’t it cute? Awww.

Late-night tea ending wide-angle weekend.

xkcd: Mattress

Leopard’s new look has been compared to the Aero Glass look in Windows Vista. While I think there are few legitimate similarities, this comparison comes up as often as it does because the two designs share one prominent attribute: the gratuitous, inappropriate use of translucency to the detriment of usability.

John Siracusa

In the end, Apple made the hard choice instead of the easy one. I think it will pay off, though the short-term consequences could be pretty grim. After all, just look at how long it’s taking to get an Intel-native version of Microsoft Office for the Mac. Should we expect a 64-bit Cocoa version in, say, 2012? And I have no idea what Adobe’s going to do about 64-bit versions of its products. That’s many millions of lines of Carbon code between those two companies alone. We may be in for a rough patch, so buckle up.

John Siracusa on Leopard’s Cocoa-only 64-bit support in GUI libraries (geek level: 97%)

mark-btw-do-you-as-a-programmer-know-anything

Old media

I love when I read an article on a newspaper or TV-news website that talks about something on the internet, but a link to the subject is nowhere to be found.

Programmers always seem to think the language they’re currently using provides exactly the right amount of abstraction for the task at hand, with anything less dynamic being considered barbaric, and anything more dynamic seen as crazy and unsafe.

John Siracusa

Email “blast”

This is one of those terms that the rest of the world apparently knew about before I did. As far as I can tell, it’s a euphemism for a mass mail, whether it’s on the business scale (thousands of people) or the personal scale (your email address book). I’ve heard it used equally in business, marketing, and English, but it’s usually used for promotion.

Receiving unwanted mass emails, even from your friends, is unpleasant. Therefore, “blast” is a poor word choice. It always sounds corporate, yet gross. You blasted email all over me. Eww.

I propose a change. How about “spew”?

Seems more accurate.

The Joy of Tech: Steve reads Walt’s “Free My Phone” (thanks AATW)

The Stumblng Tumblr:

  • a note just seen on the Tumblr site: “Posting to Tumblr will be unavailable during scheduled upgrades this Thursday, November 1, in the morning (EST).”
  • to the vagueness of the note must be added the problem of time differences between Australian Eastern Daylight time and American Eastern Standard time
  • so there’ll be some period of time sometime soon when posting will be impossible
——

Australia has 4 timezones: two are 10 hours ahead of GMT, two are 9.5 hours ahead, and one of each follows daylight saving time.

I can see why anyone in Australia might be confused by timezones…

Code complete.

If Leopard shipped and it looked essentially the same as Tiger, I think most non-programmers would pass it by. At first glance in screenshots and the back of the box, potential buyers would not see any signs of change, and therefore would not see any hope of new experiences which justify the cost. This would do a great disservice to the mountain of improvements in the underlying system.

Satisfying UI Design is Often Illogical (thanks John)

Cameron:

Personally, I don’t like Java. I think cross-platform runtimes (including Adobe’s AIR) sacrifice UI because it gives the same UI to every OS, so cross-platform runtimes find a mediocre middle that will work on Windows, Mac and Linux.

It’s an even deeper problem than that. Even if you could give a single excellent interface, it’s still the same on all three platforms.

Windows and OS X have very different styles and guidelines for interface appearance, behavior, and layout. Their parent companies set the standards, and users expect them.

(As far as I can tell, desktop Linux has no widely accepted GUI guidelines or style [or users lol], so I’m ignoring it.)

By giving the same interface on Windows and OS X, you end up with an application that’s designed for one while looking and behaving badly on the other: Firefox and Thunderbird on OS X, or Quicktime and iTunes on Windows.

(Or you end up with Mac Office, which doesn’t follow any standards from either side and is impressively awkward and clunky to use.)

Some of my favorite OS X interfaces wouldn’t work well on Windows, such as NewsFire and Soulver. And some decent Windows interfaces would be awful on OS X, such as Winamp and Excel.

Interfaces need to be designed with their target platforms’ users and standards in mind instead of trying to force one interface into all contexts.

The big secret to Tumblr v3 is that we’re actually turning Tumblr into a movie. Don’t believe me? David finished the script and his dad is doing the soundtrack.

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