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

You have Microsoft and AT&T complaining … about Google and antitrust.

John Battelle to Google CEO Eric Schmidt

Amazon S3 changes its pricing: mostly cheaper


Old pricing:

New pricing, effective June 1:

This is great news for almost anyone (including Davidville!) using S3 to store medium-size to large files, since it’s cheaper for most transfers and only penalizes very high volumes of tiny transfers (with the per-request fees).

But most websites and services use S3 to host images, video, or other large media types that are uploaded once and downloaded a bunch of times. For that, this pricing is FAR cheaper, especially if you can break the 50 TB/month bracket to get $0.13 per additional GB.

Crocheted happy foods (thanks Serious Eats)

The place where CRT monitors go to die. Hazardous waste collection day at CAT Pickering. (thanks abrennan)

Twitter’s down more than it’s up.

Bears suck at balance. (reblogged from Post-its and a Sharpie, thanks)

Jakob Lodwick, founder of Vimeo: “Instead of just sending the photo directly, Sprint PCS sends a bunch of crap which programmers must build a custom parser for. Yesterday, they didn’t work on tumblr, but now they do.”

Thanks, Jakob! The Sprint Picture Mail parser was the single most procrastinated item on my to-do ticket list, having been sitting there, overdue, since March 7. This afternoon, I finally got to close that ticket. It was exhilarating.

Sprint is the only carrier we’ve encountered so far, worldwide, that does not attach their MMS photos to their emails.

I love JavaScript’s flexibility. Pass too few arguments to a function? It just sets the rest to undefined. Pass too many? It ignores the extras. Neither case throws an error, halts execution, or prevents the function from being called.

Of course, we all know the real winner here. No, it’s not Digg or its users — it’s HD DVD. Do you know how many units Toshiba is going to sell when stores open tomorrow?

Ryan Block (thanks yum9me)

xkcd: Online Communities - Definitely click through for the full-size version.

Fun Tumblr fact: I created the bookmarklet-2.0 photo picker because manually linking the xkcd comics every 2 days took too much effort.

Still. It’s been almost a month. (I actually sent it in on April 4 - they received it on April 6.)

Come on, Apple. You’re making me look bad for recommending your computers and “excellent” service. There’s no excuse for this.

Tumblr This! Demo (on yuiseki - I have no idea what that is - looks like a third-party Tumblr Firefox extension - and it looks cool)

Only in Vegas can you, on one day’s notice, get 64 people to put up $500 each to compete in a Rock, Paper, Scissors contest.

Freakonomics Blog

The bottom line remains, we as consumers, want our content free (as in Freedom) and if we don’t get it, we’ll take our content free (as in beer).

HD-DVD key fiasco is an example of 21st century digital revolt (reblogged from fs-studio, thanks)

On PS3 you’ve got a guarantee that every machine is going to have a hard-drive and, with Blu-ray, you’ve got plenty of storage, whereas on Xbox 360 there’s no guarantee of a hard-drive and you’re working with the DVD format. Does that create limitations? Yep.

Dan Houser, Rockstar’s Creative Vice President (reblogged, thanks yum9me)

That’s great, but I wonder if there’s a bigger limitation created by the PS3’s ridiculous cost and nonexistent install base, while the 360 costs half as much and has just under 10 million owners.

One of the great things about being ignorant is that I often think my ideas are original. It’s a wonderful feeling.

The Dilbert Blog: God for Weasels

Current Office Pet Peeves

“Using Networking Terms Unnecessarily: No, you don’t have ‘available bandwidth’, you have ‘free time.’ No, I won’t ‘ping’ you, I’ll send you an IM. No, I won’t take this conversation ‘offline,’ I’ll talk to you about it after the meeting. Can we please stop talking like this?”

(Partial reblog from cubicle 17, thanks)

On Silverlight

As far as I can tell by digging through the hype and PR, Microsoft’s new Silverlight platform is a native-code browser plugin that allows dynamic applications to run in web browsers, much like Flash and Java. It’s going to be the Next Big Thing and revolutionize the web (much like Flash and Java promised long ago).

It’s a great idea, but it’s hardly original. It’s essentially a Flash competitor, and from the very little we’ve seen so far, it looks very good. They’re offering native plugins for Firefox (Win/Mac), Safari, and IE 6-7, while unsurprisingly ignoring desktop Linux users. (Can’t say I blame them.)

But I’m not about to drop everything to start making apps with this new platform. It’s brand new and technically still in beta, which means it’ll be at least 3 years until I can consider using it for something important. Until a certain age and saturation level, I can’t assume that my audience will have Silverlight installed in their browsers.

Flash reached that point a few years ago, but Flash has been around for a long time. Microsoft has a lot of work to do to get there. They can’t even depend on most Windows computers having the .NET runtime installed yet, and that’s been popular and stable since 2002.

The best thing about this is that the new competition is forcing Adobe to dramatically improve Flash (and the new Flex project), and in a few years, web developers will have some great, mature choices when making dynamic apps.

I have no idea why anybody is asking Britney Spears to get topless. Six years ago this would’ve been amazing, but now they could’ve put a seal in a silly hat and thrown some flowers at it and it would’ve turned out hotter. If it weren’t for the outfit, I wouldn’t even have been able to tell this was a girl. (warning: the rest of the site isn’t nearly as good as that quote)

Silverlight and Linux

Ghostvirus takes offense to my statement that I can’t blame Microsoft for ignoring Linux support with Silverlight, saying: “They’re ignoring Linux because they want to popularize a Windows-centric software platform. The only reason MS supports Mac OS at all is to stave off accusations of being a monopoly. This is nothing new.”

They do want to popularize the Windows platform, and most of the time, Microsoft is able to pretend like other operating systems don’t exist. (That’s why they didn’t even bother trying to allow Mac and Linux users to use the Zune.)

But the web is different. Nobody uses ActiveX in websites because it’s only available in Internet Explorer on Windows. You can ignore Firefox and Mac users when you’re making desktop software, but you can’t ignore them on the web - especially since so many web developers are Mac users, and Silverlight will only succeed if it wins over developers.

It’s not about avoiding antitrust claims - it’s about giving their product a chance. And it’s a big effort: they’ve had to port a big chunk of the .NET CLR to OS X to make this possible.

Why would they support Linux? While it’s great on servers, hardly anyone uses it as a desktop OS. It would be a huge amount of work, and they’d only gain access to an audience that already hates Microsoft products. How likely do you think it would be that any desktop Linux users would install a closed-source Microsoft binary?

They don’t support Linux for the same reason they don’t support Opera, Camino, or even Internet Explorer 5: there’s just not enough of a potential audience to make their efforts worthwhile.

I think I want to try to become ambidextrous. Think of the productivity advances…

Best second post ever

(thanks jay)

Today’s Joy of Tech

South Park-style Mac vs. PC. Starts out slow, ends well. (thanks yum9me)

It’s bad business to remind your customers that they are likely to lose it any minute.

The Dilbert Blog: Old Presidents

Twitter, the simplest of all services, asks “What are you doing right now?” which I never know how to answer because whenever I think to post something to Twitter, I’m not doing anything interesting. When I am doing something interesting, the last thing on my mind is posting to Twitter. So I don’t post to Twitter.

Pete Ashton

I wrote this article last night and published it just after midnight.

My MacBook woke up this morning from sleep and promptly had a kernel panic (the OS X equivalent of the Blue Screen Of Death, except it’s gray and translucent). A few minutes into the next session, it rebooted itself for no apparent reason. And it’s on external power, so it’s not a battery issue this time.

It’s going back to Apple again. After a month of waiting, they gave me another faulty motherboard.

I feel sorry for the tech who takes my call in a few hours.

Pretty sure that one’s a hardware problem…

Today’s Cyanide and Happiness

No ethically-trained software engineer would ever consent to write a DestroyBaghdad procedure. Basic professional ethics would instead require him to write a DestroyCity procedure, to which Baghdad could be given as a parameter.

Nathaniel Borenstein (via Coding Horror, thanks)

Blade Interactive’s upcoming Hydrophobia game actually simulates dynamic water in a survival game set on a sinking ship. Cool idea.

FogBugz is definitely not easy to get running on Linux (it relies on a distro- and platform-specific binary PHP extension), but damn, their support is incredible. Great job, Fog Creek.

Someday, I would like to use the high-altitude directions.

Carolyn, here

David’s Log, clustered by Clusty. Who needs tags?

If the internet deleted every blog about blogging, it would save a lot of space.

Stabby the Pencil Holder, one of the many cool welded figurines that jovial_cynic makes in the SA Forums

I don’t know why I keep watching this show. But I can’t stop.

When Davidville starts offering paid Tumblr accounts, I will personally go out and mug someone so I can buy one.

We have the best fans.

The 11 Frames of Jacob. Looks a bit like Locke, doesn’t he?

There’s nothing more toxic to productivity than a meeting.

Getting Real by 37 Signals (reblogged from Incidental Thinking, thanks)

The great annoyance of 2007

The early 2000s saw the rapid rise and gradual fall of the pop-up ad. With all current web browsers (even IE) blocking most of them by default, I think it’s safe to finally declare the death of the popup.

Now we just have to endure Snap Preview Anywhere and MyBlogLog Link Tracking hover-overs on every link in your stupid blog.

It’s not helpful. There has never been a time when I’ve idly moved my mouse past a link, gotten bombarded with a slow-loading hover-over widget, and benefited from it. Not once.

Now you can get speakers in the shower from Kohler and Polk. Great idea, but my shower speakers (above) only cost $30.

Crap, Iris came up on random. Now it’ll be in my head for a week again.

Very strange things happen in my office.

I wish developing great products was as easy as writing a check. If so, then Microsoft would have great products.

Steve Jobs (reblogged from Dirty Modern)

Here we go again.

Cyanide and Happiness

People are still getting used to Tumblr; we’re still in these early days that we’ll later think about when we say, ‘Why didn’t we come up with it sooner? It was so OBVIOUS.’

Jakob Lodwick, Obeastiality

Damn it, I remembered that Desktop Tower Defense existed. Try the No-Squirt challenge mode… it’s a LOT harder. This is as far as I got (around level 44).

We’ve come a long way in technology when I can, on a whim, download a completely functional version of a $699 program for free, legally, right from the vendor’s website. And its 750 MB download is done before I can even make coffee. It probably takes its boxed-copy owners longer to find the CD.

I hate cable companies

My rate’s going to increase by $27/month (to around $125 for standard digital cable and internet service) in June because I’ve been a Cablevision customer for a year and therefore am no longer eligible for promo pricing.

If I were a DISH Network customer and switched to Cablevision, I could get the same bundle, but with more TV channels, for $79/month for a year.

With the price difference, I could pay my entire cellphone bill.

But I can’t get that price because I’ve been loyal to Cablevision for a year. Way to reward your customers!

Jakob Lodwick stopped by our office last week and I forgot to unload my camera’s CF card until today. He’s a sharp guy, and you should watch Vimeo to see how their awesome service develops. They definitely get it.

(edit: Wow, this photo looked a lot nicer before the auto-resizing. I better switch from GD to ImageMagick soon.)

Car people

I hate car people. And my office is full of them today.

This is a Matchbox car. Tiff’s macro lens is awesome. (That’s the full frame - no cropping was done. 100mm, 4-second exposure, f/22, ISO 400.)

In any Cocoa app, when you are in the Open File dialog (Cmd-O) or Save File dialog (Cmd-S) just press “/” and a little path sheet will roll out for you to type the path in directly. It even does tab completion, and completion on delay.

gregday in the SA Mac Megathread

Every now and then I come up with a hypothesis that sounds correct and has the added benefit of being totally impossible to verify. That’s almost as good as knowledge.

The Dilbert Blog: Imagination

Hamas Mickey Mouse Teaches Terror to Kids - This is… scary. (thanks Tim)

News Brews blends RSS feeds into multicultural beverage - Engadget

The Chicken Deli really outdid themselves today, with both tomato bisque soup and fruit tarts in stock. Best lunch ever.

It’s almost impossible to make healthy choices on a food stamp diet.

Lawmakers Find $21 a Week Doesn’t Buy a Lot of Groceries

The HARDWARE also features a “No CPU, No Hard drive, No Graphics Card, & No Sound Card” concept. These PC components are stored in a Service Provider of the new INFRASTRUCTURE. Thus, subscribing to a PLAN of the Service Provider will allow the use of these components. The data from the components is then wirelessly transmitted to the user’s HARDWARE.

More nonsense from Microsoft’s PC design competition. That’s not a new idea - it’s called a mainframe. We abandoned those a while ago.

This was the contest’s winner.

Stamp prices and rebates

The Post Office raises stamp prices by tiny amounts frequently, instead of large amounts infrequently.

I bet they make a killing from people like me who won’t actually go through the trouble of buying 2-cent stamps to match my remaining stamps at the old price, so we either double-stamp everything or throw away the old ones.

It’s the government-sponsored equivalent of mail-in rebates: making money from the lazy or forgetful.

Tonight’s Lost wins Most Disappointing Episode of the Season.

When shopping is all we do, when commerce is all there is, that’s a big problem.

Benjamin Barber, author of “Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults and Swallow Citizens Whole” (reblogged from blogspotter, thanks)

The interviewer asked, “How many pennies would you need to stack to reach the second story of this building?” It took me a second to realize that he was actually being serious, so I said if you got a big truck to dump thousands of pennies outside the building, it would most likely reach the second story eventually.

Stories about bad interviewers

Superman doesn’t magically make the battleship as tough as he is just by laying hands on it. The ship is still subject to normal physics, so when Clark grabs and lifts he should end up with two large handfuls of torn steel, and look like an idiot.

Dan “Dan’s Data” Rutter

I’ve experienced Jamaica Blue Mountain both in a mild roast and in a dark roast, and they could be two entirely different coffees. The mild roast made me want to compose a sonata, and the dark roast made me want to go scrape barnacles off an oil rig. I ended up doing neither, because I couldn’t afford the next cup.

Slashdot | What is Your Favorite Way to Make Coffee?

Toddy for iced coffee?

friends say(s?) I should try the Toddy cold-brew coffee method for better iced coffee. I’ll definitely give it a try - I’ve been looking for an excuse to get a Toddy for a while.

Postage hikes will never surpass inflation—and the forever stamp will never become a good investment.

Is it a good idea to invest in “forever” stamps?

Twitter has its famous server-down cat photos, but Something Awful started the clever-error-message craze years ago.

The Office’s awesome season finale completely made up for this week’s terrible Lost episode.

I used to blog for readers. I now tumblelog for me.

mac [minutia]

If all the experts tell you to go right, and you decide to go left, you’re probably stupid. But if you get lucky, and discover a pot of gold along the stupid path, people will call you a leader. You’ll still be stupid, but fewer people will feel the need to point that out.

The Dilbert Blog: Stupidity Plus Luck Equals Leadership

Bad Science » The Amazing Qlink Science Pedant

I’m rocking out to Phish in my mother’s dining room. The MacBook Pro speakers really kick the MacBook speakers’ asses.

Driving in New Jersey sucks.

His observation, after years of playboy behavior, is that a woman who takes off her shoes at your place isn’t planning to put them back on until morning. If she doesn’t take them off, she’s mentally prepped for a quick escape.

Footwear Theory of Motivation

Firefox 3 on Mac to get Aqua form controls

Who do you know who will defend the current method of healthcare delivery, administered by insurance companies whose central task is to minimize cost and maximize shareholder return?

Salon reviews Michael Moore’s new film, Sicko

We do have a very good response in the mill. You’ll see that from us in the late summer.

Denny Strigl, Verizon’s COO, who decided to pass on the iPhone. AT&T now has a 5-year exclusive.

This ‘web’ stuff is such a goddamn house of cards compared to real software.

Power Failure — Thought Palace

On Windows, I hated shareware with a passion. I would go out of my way to avoid having to pay for anything. Software was something to be hoarded. Things could not be more polar on the Mac. Mac software is often of such high quality, and with great attention to detail, that you want to pay for it.

Why don’t you pay for software? - Download Squad (second comment)

(thanks Instead of working)

Egg creams rule

Stir briskly and completely, then serve with a straw.

Lost finale

SPOILER ALERT: I totally could have called it. I recognized in Jack’s flashback that the phone he was using, the Motorola KRZR, didn’t come out until 2006.

And I still didn’t make the connection.

No iPhone for me

I just learned that the iPhone cannot be used as a modem from a laptop. That’s fatal for me. So an iPhone is not in my immediate future.

When my trusty E815 dies and I can’t dial up using “minutes”, I’ll happily shell out for Verizon’s unlimited EVDO-tethering service on a brand new unsmartphone, and I’ll keep using an additional pocket for an iPod.

I’ve yet to meet a human being who isn’t a restaurant expert by virtue of his or her experience at eating.

The Dilbert Blog: 900 Comments and Counting

Hardware is a dangerous topic

David asked about something this morning, and over the next hour, I explained:

It’s like following Wikipedia links.


ImageMagick kicks GD’s ass in resize quality. It’s not even close.

Expect far better Tumblr image quality soon…

I’m talking about how laptops just seem to slooooooooooow down as their components degrade.

Migrant on the SA Forums. SA is full of many experts in many different fields, but there are some exceptions. (thanks

MISHEARD LYRICS: Pearl Jam - Yellow Ledbetter. Amazing… perfect… I don’t know what else to say. You absolutely must watch this. (thanks phantom-thought)


Considering Sprint SERO

I’ve been a Verizon Wireless fan and user for 3 years, but their phones are buggy and limited, and their smartphone data plans are unreasonably priced.

The Sprint Employee Referral Offer (SERO) is an under-the-radar deal that Sprint’s been running for a few months. Basically, you get:

For $30/month. Yup. $30. Total.

This is incredibly tempting. I think I’m going to do it and get a Q. Anyone have any experience with this, or any reasons I shouldn’t do it? Reblog this post with your input or email me.

If we accept the high expense of combating global warming, and it turns out we can’t make a dent in it no matter what we do, or the earth cools on its own for reasons we didn’t forsee, we’ve really screwed the pooch. It would be the biggest fuckup of all time.

The Dilbert Blog: Global Warming – Part 2

I think you’d be surprised at the number of complete shit CS grads out there. I might consider hiring ~5% of the CS people I graduated with, if not less. Most of them could barely program Hello World without google or a TA/professor’s help, yet they graduated by leeching off other people, and because of grade inflation. They’ve never done any extra-curricular programming, learning, etc. They’re not actually interested in programming or CS. But they heard you can make lots of money as a programmer, so they stuck it out to the end.

cronio on the SA Forums. It’s amazing how true this is.

Boycott IntelliTXT publishers

If your blog article or forum has IntelliTXT, ContentLink, or other double-underlined contextual ad links in it, I won’t read it.

It’s short-sighted to think that the additional revenue (if there really is any) is worth alienating and ultimately reducing your audience.

Google’s new Street Search is amazing.

Please do not email us to tell us the forums are closed. If you must email us anyway, please don’t email us. Please don’t send email. Please uninstall email and unplug the internet and cancel your internet service and destroy your computer and chop off your hands and go to the laundromat with a roll of quarters and get in an unused drier and feed it quarters until you either run out or you melt.

SA’s maintenance message

Note to PHP developers

PHP does not automatically deallocate StdClass objects.

The Hawaiian take on outdoor seating (reblogged from Instead of working). Do they have full service? If so, do the waiters come out on jet skis?

CWA survey: average broadband speed in US is 1.9Mbps (reblogged from AZspot, thanks). At least we’re beating the UK. But being solidly defeated by Canada is pretty sad.

The Apple TV is about as uninspired as another prominent dud, the Zune, the MP3 player Microsoft launched last year. In fact, the Apple TV is so Zune-like, you’d think Jobs was so busy with the iPhone that he outsourced the Apple TV project to the folks up in Redmond.

CNN Money: Why Apple TV is a dud. Ouch. (thanks AZspot)

This would make me very happy. Too bad it’ll probably cost more than an entire laptop.

Today’s Cyanide and Happiness

What McCain fails to recognize about this issue is that most broadband providers are monopolies; and, where there is competition, it is between two monopolies - both willing to sacrifice neutrality for the profits they can make. In this country, we regulate monopolies. If we didn’t, there wouldn’t be an Internet.

McCain Wrong To Oppose Net Neutrality (thanks AZspot)

Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac is almost ready, with 3D graphics support and VM version snapshots. This is awesome, but I wish they didn’t want their existing 2.0 customers to pay $50 for the upgrade (or $40 if you preorder within a week).

You can buy a multi-gigahertz, dual-core computer today with multiple gigabytes of RAM and a terabyte of hard drive space for under $800.

But Dell ships it with a ball mouse. That’s right. If you want to upgrade to an optical mouse, that’ll be $10 extra.

It’s 2007.

The best code is no code at all.

Coding Horror