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

Only follow the people who are adding to your day. Remove the ones who aren’t. Even if they’re friends.

Rands on Twitter, which I believe applies perfectly to Tumblr as well

The door-close rain dance

The vast majority of the time, the door-close button on elevators doesn’t do anything. This is the case for the elevators in our office building.

When they’re in the lobby, and someone pushes a floor button, the elevators wait for an extra 5 seconds before closing the doors. This is an optimization to accumulate additional passengers — when lots of people are coming in and out of the lobby all the time, you don’t want elevators going up with just one person in them.

Inevitably, people start getting impatient and hitting the door-close button after about 4 seconds. It doesn’t do anything, but the doors close a second or two later regardless, so people think they’ve affected the outcome, and they push the door-close button again the next time. If they push the button too soon, and the elevator waits a few more seconds before closing the doors, the people assume that it’s just being slow today or they didn’t hit the button hard enough.

They never consider the possibility that their action is not related to the result.

This is why superstition works. Animals learn it, too. “If I perform this action, I get this result.” It takes a more advanced or analytical mind to consider performing a test: “If I take no action, will I get this result anyway?”

I secretly think less of door-close people in the elevator.


Facebook Was Shut Off in China Today

Ricky Van Veen:

They could have remained on if they had played by China’s rules and allowed the government to censor their content. But unlike Google and Yahoo and everybody else, Mark Zuckerberg refused to play by their rules and told them to go fuck themselves.

Hats off to you, Mark.

Wow. Facebook did something good. Nice job, Facebook.

I know! Headphones! Wow! Thanks for telling me!

I have a telephone instrument on my desk. I rarely use it. Most of the calls I get are recruiters, evil telemarketers, and wrong numbers. I mostly communicate with people using email, im, and the old reliable f2f. The office phone is as useful to me as a typewriter, Lamson tube, or telegraph key.

Douglas Crockford (via azspot).

There’s a phone next to my desk. I don’t know the extension. It usually says “Incoming Call :002”. I have no idea what that means.

If you call, I won’t hear it, because I wear headphones all day. I won’t see the blinking light, because the phone’s not important enough to be placed within my field of vision. I don’t know if I have voicemail service, but if I do, I have no idea what you’ll hear as the outgoing message, and I don’t know how to retrieve messages.

I have no idea how to call the office from outside. I don’t know the phone number. I’ve worked here for 2 years and have never needed it.

Bloggers had a special role in talking up the [‘Long Tail’] theory, which is no wonder considering how it held out the promise that even the most obscure among them could win a robust audience. The sad truth is that the blogosphere is as hit-driven as the rest of the world, with a tiny percentage of blogs getting a huge chunk of the traffic, and with many blogs simply going unread.

Lee Gomes  (via boutofcontext)


There is not a person reading this who can beat me in Dr. Mario 64. I challenge anybody and everybody.

I’ll play you in Dr. Mario 64 if you can beat me at Moonbase Commander.

I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign. And I will not stand idly by when I hear others question mine.

Barack Obama (via azspot)

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency (thanks, Amy)

Widespread Panic worked out well

I enjoyed Light Fuse Get Away so much that today I bought four more Widespread Panic albums:

All DRM-free MP3s from Amazon.

The original purpose of the music experiment was to introduce myself to new bands and update my stale music collection. It has actually done much more — it has replaced my old collection. Now, I hardly ever listen to anything I purchased or pirated before 2008.

Fine. You win again.

As much as I’m annoyed by Firefox 3’s bugs, I’m sticking with it for the same reasons I tolerated Firefox 1 and 2. Safari, while nice and fast, lacks a few features that I use frequently:

Firefox is still buggy and shoddily made, but it’s still overall the best choice for my use.

Damn. For the most important and most used application this decade, you’d think that we’d have many excellent web browsers to choose from. Or at least one. Instead, we have 4 mediocre choices.

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. Email clients have the same problem.

Who identifies the porn on Youtube? According to Youtube, its regular users who police the site. Personally, I dont believe it. Whether its individuals or technology that keep porn off of Youtube, it really doesn’t matter. If Viacom can use this data to show that Youtube manages the presentation of porn in any way, then they lose their DMCA protection.

Blog Maverick (via azspot).

This is not a good day to be YouTube. I think Viacom is about to kick the crap out of them.

Via John Gruber:

Check out the UI on this upcoming iPhone app from Palm OS developer Stevens Creek Software. This is not a joke.

Damn. If that’s my competition, my app will do just fine.

Lets face it: this day is mostly about stuffing your face and watching things explode.

Kyle Shank

(via fredseibert)

I get all nervous now when I click on YouTube links. Is this something I want going on my permanent record?


There are many benefits to having a chef in the family.

Personally, I can’t wait until I can use my iPod Touch away from a Wi-fi hotspot and feel like I’m doing something.

Ars Technica on the imminent App Store launch. They’re going to love my app.

I cannot promise to agree with you on every issue. But I do promise to listen to your concerns, take them seriously, and seek to earn your ongoing support to change the country.

Barack Obama (via squashed)

See Mike Draw: Another postcard from Urf

The technology graveyard

The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.

George Orwell (via azspot)

Nora Leah asks:

[Would you rather] be named Perseverence Thistle or Crystal Peppermint?

Gotta go with Crystal Peppermint. Perseverance isn’t entirely a positive word — it sounds like you fail a lot or have a lot of hardship. “Persevere” is one of those words that means something semi-positive with negative undertones, like “tolerate” or “endure”.

Helping Tiff assemble furniture.

Here goes.

You don’t need to know which web browser I support, or what blog-network I’m a part of. You don’t need me to point you to a social-bookmarking site, because chances are, you know them already. And if not, Google is always right there. You don’t need know what song I just listened to, because hopefully you have your own soundtrack. And I don’t think knowing what book I last read is of any real use to you unless I write a lengthy review and tell you what I thought of it.

Jack Shedd (via topherchris)

My lyrics are bottomless

It’s a pretty amazing feeling to be walking to work, listening to one of my favorite podcasts, and hear the cast completely call me out personally (fourth bullet) for a flame post I wrote last week. (And to do it with a song I’ve coincidentally had in my head all week.)

Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky complained that I didn’t cite any examples and wasn’t constructive. I agree, and I regret that, so I’ll try to rectify that now.

I wasn’t specific enough about my criticism, because honestly, I’m a lazy blogger and don’t like to put much time into research when I’m spouting off my opinions. Most bloggers are like this — at least I’m honest about it.

But you’re right that such a strong criticism deserves some elaboration. So here’s a brief list of only what comes to mind right now that has bothered me:

As I understand it, Stack Overflow will use OpenID as the sole account authentication mechanism. The process of obtaining an OpenID is so confusing and overly complex that this will discourage many people from registering, and it really isn’t necessary (although my preferred registration form is too simple for their needs). It sounded like Jeff just wanted a reason to play with OpenID. That’s fine, but make it a secondary option. The tiny handful of nerds with OpenIDs can use that, while the rest of the population can just type in an email address and password.

A few episodes back, Jeff mentioned that nearly every possible action on the site could be executed via GET calls to URLs. This is a massive violation of standard HTTP usage: all actions that change data, perform actions, or have permanent effects (basically, any writes) should be behind a POST request, not a GET. (Joel pointed this out in the podcast.) This created problems when the Google Web Accelerator was first released (remember that disaster?) because it automatically prefetched GET URLs in badly written software for actions like “delete post”. This is something that any decent web programmer knows, and something Jeff would know after even a few months of experience making web apps.

The insistence of using .NET technologies annoys me, but I know that’s mostly because it’s not my platform of choice, and they’ve chosen it because they’re both most familiar with it. This isn’t a fatal flaw, but it’s going to be a hindrance. The majority of consumer-facing web apps out there are written in PHP, and many new projects are started in Python and Ruby, because these languages (with their tools and communities) are simply easier and cheaper to develop, deploy, administer, and scale web apps with. There’s certainly value in using what you already know, especially if you already have a large codebase in it (like FogBugz).

But there comes a time when you need to realize that the platform you’re most comfortable with might not be the best solution for a new project of a different type. Even though the languages I know best are PHP and C, I know that if I wanted to write a Windows desktop app, it would be worth learning the C# language and the .NET library.

Jeff and Joel are both smart enough to know that a good developer can learn a new language’s syntax very quickly, and then it’s just a matter of becoming familiar with the libraries over time. (Two months ago, I didn’t know Objective-C or the Cocoa framework. Yesterday, I shipped my first iPhone application. And there are many developers better than me out there.)

Using MVC architecture is very smart. But from what some of Stack Overflow’s commenters have said, the ASP.NET MVC framework is very young. You really don’t want to use a very young framework. The predominant web platforms have far more mature libraries and MVC frameworks relevant to this sort of app.

Starting a new consumer web app in 2008 with .NET and MS SQL on Windows Server seems more like programmer laziness than an informed decision.

In Podcast 11, Jeff and Joel had a long discussion about storing and rendering Markdown-formatted input text from users. Jeff insisted on a few pretty horrible offenses including storing multiple formats of the data in the database, refusing to convert Markdown to HTML on page renders, and serving Markdown as plaintext and leaving its HTML conversion up to the Javascript (!) on the page.

Joel’s rebuttals were very good, but Jeff’s reaction when he’s wrong is always the same: the adult version of “I’m doing it my way and that’s that.” That’s a fatal character flaw to have in a project leader making technical and architectural decisions. That’s my main criticism. I’m sorry that it’s so personal, but I really can’t think of a way to candy-coat that one. The way to improve is the same way anyone improves their character flaws: admit their presence and actively push yourself away from that sort of thinking and behavior. Everyone needs to do this for something.

And finally, I have concerns about the scope of Stack Overflow’s community mechanics. The podcasts lead me to believe that this is combining many features of wikis, forums, Q&A sites, and social rating/aggregation systems (e.g. Digg). I don’t think Jeff or Joel fully appreciate the difficulty that they’re going to have — not just technically, but in social mechanics, rules, algorithms, and human moderation. They’re tackling some problems that nobody has solved particularly well before. This would be incredibly difficult even with the best, most experienced team working on it — which only magnifies the flaws of the current design process.

Furthermore, as far as I can tell, they’re trying to do all of this at once instead of a staged rollout with rapid iteration. They’re unnecessarily applying a desktop-software release method to a medium which doesn’t require (or appreciate) it.

That’s all I have for now. I hope this convinces you that:

Thanks for the mention on the podcast, Jeff. I’d gladly record this and send it in, but it would be longer than 90 seconds even if I had the Micro Machines guy read it.


Justin unwraps his desk (via Mike Hudack)

That looks like an awesome prank.

Most of the failed blogs deserve to fail. The bloggers have nothing special to say. Instead of being inspired to write, they try to meet a certain quota of posts. They think studying search engine optimization can make up for lousy content. That’s like a bad poet concluding that the key to great poetry is better fonts.

Steve Pavlina (via tapenoisediary)

PHP 5 supports forced argument types

I usually forget that this is possible. Usually, function arguments are declared without any type restrictions in PHP:

function whatever($a)  { /* ... */ }

But in PHP 5, you can specify argument types, as long as they’re classes (inheritance works):

class MyClass { /* ... */ }

function whatever(MyClass $a)  { /* ... */ }

Or array:

function whatever(array $a)  { /* ... */ }

These aren’t (and can’t be) enforced at “compile” time, but PHP will fail immediately upon calling a function with an invalid type-specified argument:

Catchable fatal error: Argument 1 passed to whatever() must be an array, integer given

This does not work with primitive types (int, string, float, etc.) because PHP assumes that they’re class names, and you don’t have a class named int. But testing this led me to discover something curious. This is valid PHP code:

class int { }
function t(int $a) { echo "hi\n"; }

t(new int);

var_dump((int) '1');

Sure enough, PHP figures this out:


That’s some impressively flexible keyword parsing by PHP. Not that this would be a good idea to ever use.

Via Jessica Gold Haralson:

Jonas Brothers — Poor Unfortunate Souls (Little Mermaid cover)


That rocks much harder than the original.

New white-MacBook owner?

The wrist-rest and trackpad area gets dirty over time. I suggest using Apple Peelz: it’s basically a thin, clear film that protects the covered areas from dirt, discoloration, and minor scratches.

I suggest getting two “Wristguardz” and one “Trackpadz” (which actually comes with two sets) — you’ll need extras because you’re likely to screw up the first application, ripping the film or getting too much dust under it (like I did).

Every 6-9 months, they’ll start turning brown from dirt and skin oils. Without the film, all of that would be permanent discoloration on your laptop. But if you’ve had the Apple Peelz on the area, just peel it off and stick on a new one.

(This is not a paid advertisement. I’ll make no money if you go and buy 500 of the things because of this post. I just used them myself and liked them.)

Quick OS X tip

In any file- or folder-choosing dialog (Open, Save As, etc.), pressing -D selects the Desktop.

I’ve never met anyone who inappropriately says “blast” in real life more than Bijan.

My favorite album review statement ever. (from here on iTunes about Chumbawamba’s new album)

Strange day at the office

Today I’ve had to come up with as many words as I can think of whose presence is likely to indicate spam. To help, I’ve looked back at some of the attempts to spam Tumblr, and the subject matter is really quite sad.

People are incredibly perverted and in need of cheap prescription drugs.

Best spam keyword I’ve found tonight:


Apparently they’ve hit elsewhere.

Most people seem content just to post cat pictures and get on with their day. I think I need to let go of this notion that every blog post I make has to be some ground-shakingly new idea that, oh my goodness, probably nobody’s ever had before.

Steven Frank

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could stand up now and say, okay, these are the post-curation years? The world does not need another linkblog. What is required, frankly, is what we’re supposed to call ‘content’ these days. When I were a lad, back in the age of steam, we called this ‘original material.’

Warren Ellis (via Jack Shedd)

Starbucks introduced me to coffee, while independent coffee shops taught me to enjoy it.




The Avett Brothers - Die Die Die

They’re are playing a free show downtown on Wednesday night. I’m going.

See y’all there…

I’ll be there.

Enjoying some afternoon tea with, as David put it, “a French thing.”

Now that Dunkin’ Donuts put up the calorie counts for each doughnut type, I bet the French things will rise in popularity.

Update on free Avett Brothers Concert TONIGHT


Due to the possibility of rain, the concert will be held in Stuyvesant High School at 345 Chambers St  (same general area). Show time is around 7:00pm … details and original ZAK post.

Great! Is it likely that this place will be air conditioned?

Plenty of Appleholics have expressed dismay at how little the handset has changed. They’d gotten their hopes up for the second-generation iPhone: video phone calls! iPhone Nano! 3G hovercraft!

David Pogue’s iPhone 3G review

Non-Avett recap

I didn’t get into the Avett Brothers’ concert… the line was a few hundred people long, and after a third of it entered, they stopped letting people in. I expected a little concert in a small park with maybe a hundred people.

Who would have guessed that a bluegrass banjo duo that nobody’s ever heard of would put on a free show in Manhattan (the bluegrass banjo capital of… nothing) on public property… and be completely booked and inaccessible to nearly everyone who showed up except the incredibly early people?

So instead I had a nice Vietnamese dinner with Sharingtime Lee, Zach Klein, Nick Gray, and Irene Polnyi (who all also didn’t get into the show) in which I badly attempted to use chopsticks. Nick even brought a thermos of excellent tea and some cups to share with us afterward (anticipating an outdoor concert).

Know how every college generation finds that one band that’s relatively unknown, so the college kids think they’re being cool by knowing them and playing their songs constantly, then they explode 2 years later?

That’s how Dave Matthews started. For my generation (in college from 2000-2004), it was O.A.R. at first, then Dispatch. I think John Mayer happened next, and I have no idea who the current ones are because I’m not cool enough and nobody tells me anything.

There were a lot of young, cool people there tonight, enthusiastically waiting on line in the uncomfortable, humid summer heat for a chance to see The Avett Brothers. They’re the next one. Trust me.

The App Store is live, my app was submitted almost 24 hours before the deadline for launch consideration, and I haven’t received approval or denial yet from Apple.

Not happy. I hope it’s just a matter of hours before that email comes…

Not cool, Apple.

Have your application be among the first available when the App Store goes live.

To ensure your application can be considered for the exciting launch of the App Store, submit your application by 12 PM PDT, on July 7, 2008.

Still no response. Now I’m missing out on the wave of publicity, users, and downloads looking at the App Store for the first time.

Honest question

Does anyone ever legitimately link to Squidoo? Or is it all just affiliate marketers?

Judging by the descriptions and screenshots of some of the applications already on the App Store, quality wasn’t a major deciding factor. We have to wonder whether Apple tested every application on the store or what.

500 iPhone Apps, but why these? That’s what I’d like to know.


Magnanimous  » Blog Archive  » Actually, it might be like VersionTracker

Well, I guess now Marco can understand Apple’s delay in approving his Instapaper iPhone app. After all, Apple has more important applications, like Hold On!, to focus on. (via Daring Fireball)

This makes me so sad. I didn’t even think apps like this would ever get approved… and I certainly didn’t think they’d be part of the launch.

App Store impressions so far

I really need demos of the paid applications, or “light” free versions, before I’m going to feel comfortable buying most of them.

Too many of the applications aren’t solving a particular need — they were made simply because they were possible, not because they were useful.

Many apps are shockingly bad or useless. Some could be made from scratch in 30 minutes. It’s clear that Apple is not filtering for quality.

Many apps are abusing or ignoring the interface standards:

What bothers me the most is that so many apps are simply unnecessary front-ends to websites, such as the slick New York Times app (which consumes a huge chunk of the reading space with a banner ad), the laughable Bank of America app (which is basically a WebKit widget showing their mobile website with a red title bar), and the Google search app (which does the same thing as their iPhone web interface). This category of store entries didn’t need to be apps at all — and being an app doesn’t add much value to them. You might as well use Safari.

I want to see more apps doing things and enabling uses that weren’t possible to do well, if at all, using Safari. That’s the result I expected from the pent-up SDK demand. There are some great ones already available, but certainly not the bulk of the 500 apps launched today.

Just kidding. That was last year.

Fifth Avenue Apple store status

The line is an hour and a half long, according to the staff.

They’re still well-stocked of all models and are guaranteeing that we
will all get them.


The staff at the Apple Store handed out free water bottles and answered questions while everyone waited on line.

Someone actually left this on the barricade.

Inside. Every blue or orange shirt is a staff member.

Very heavy staff presence. The workers did a great job.

And this, my friends, is ThePete. Or at least I assume so, since he was wearing a T-shirt, and I can’t imagine why anyone else would wear one, and he just posted about getting a new iPhone from the Fifth Avenue Apple store.

You may remember ThePete:

I declined to introduce myself to him.

Pam Newman:

  1. you know you’re a new yorker if you say “Waited on line,” rather than “Waited in line.”

That was very intentional. I’m from Ohio, and I grew up saying “in line”. But I deliberately say “on line” now (I have to slow down and think about it every time) because I live in New York.

It’s learning the local language.



An excruciatingly detailed analysis of the “TP quandary” at, by way of

I just like it for the “floaty eyeball” graphic.

Someone has *way* too much time. The choice was made empirically for me — what orientation didn’t result in a pile of T.P. on the floor due to the “kitten factor”.

I love how much attention this is getting. I love arguing about household habits that most consider trivial. The correct was is the left-side image: toilet-paper facing down along the outside face.

Fifth Avenue Apple store on iPhone 3G launch day

Comment from vb on this:

Can’t you just wait until tomorrow?  What a fucking waste of time.

Sure, I could have gone tomorrow. But by going today, I got to enjoy the scene, the spectacle, and the cultural event. I went to last year’s iPhone launch with my friends to make this video even though I wasn’t buying an iPhone. It was fun, and I don’t regret it.

Today I had fun with friends at a significant event in my industry. I also got to hang out outside for 2 hours on a beautiful, sunny Friday. And now I have the best pocket-class portable electronic device ever made, which is pretty important for me since I’m now a developer for this platform and I need to test my app on the new hardware.

I even got to not-meet ThePete! How could I resist?

I now have the most useful mobile device on the planet. (To me, anyway.)

Instapaper: Now available offline.

I’d really appreciate it if people would write quick reviews in the App Store if you get a chance. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or problems, email me.

How’s the Fifth Avenue store today?

I’d like to go get a pair of docks and a rubbery case (for Tiff, she’s a case person) this afternoon. Is it still insane over there, or can I just walk in and buy accessories?

In fact, none of the scandals of radicalism and criminality which we’ve learned about over the last seven years — including the creation of this illegal torture regime — can be viewed in isolation. They’re all by-products of the country that we’ve become in the post-9/11 era, primarily as a result of our collective decision to exempt our Government leaders from the rule of law; to acquiesce to the manipulative claim that we can only be Safe if we allow our Leaders to be free from consequences when they commit crimes; and to demonize advocates of the rule of law as — to use Larry Lessig’s mindless, reactionary clichés — shrill, Leftist “hysterics” who need to “get off [their] high horse(s)”. That is the mentality that has allowed the Bush administration to engage in this profound assault on our national character, to violate our laws at will.

Glenn Greenwald (via azspot)

The end-game of valueless internet “celebrities”.

Quick review

3G makes web browsing and email a lot faster. Very impressed.

Dinner with Lee and Casey

After months of watching Obama’s speeches and interviews, I watched part of a Bush interview.  It felt like being in second grade.

Squashed. There’s more. Read it.

Day one

I’m happy to report that the Instapaper iPhone app has been installed by over 2,000 people in its first day.

Keep your eyes peeled for Apple’s approval of the 1.0.1 update, which adds Delete functionality and fixes some minor bugs.

Our new Dignitet set. (bonus Tiff not included)

Tiff thinks we should hang a third one below them. I think it would be too much, and would hang so low that people’s heads would hit its photos when they sit on the couch.

What do you, the general internet, think?

Kelly Reeves asked:

Now please tell me (if you don’t mind, of course)… where did you get that couch? I’m in the market for a big fluffy one you can sink into and yours looks amazing!

It’s perfect for that! (We had a lot of fun couch-shopping.) It’s this Foresthill 2-piece sectional from Raymour & Flanigan. It’s very plush with soft microfiber cloth. We have out-of-town guests a lot and people love sleeping on it (it’s not a pull-out — they just sleep on the normal part). Also, the triangle section is amazing.


MobileMe problems

I couldn’t register using the username I had used during a .Mac trial that expired a few months ago.

The MobileMe account support form kept refusing submission, saying “Please enter a valid email address”, regardless of the many valid email addresses I tried entering there. I eventually gave in and picked a different username.

The password I initially selected never let me successfully log in, even after I “reset” it twice to the same thing. It only worked after I changed it to something else.

I keep wanting to investigate the “Upgrade storage” options, but clicking all over the account-upgrade banner in the web account-setup page does absolutely nothing.

The first time I tried syncing my home computer, the System Preferences panel kept unchecking the synchronization box until I signed out, then signed back in. This didn’t happen on my laptop.

At least now, it seems to be working.


I’m having huge success undervolting the MacBook Air with CoolBook.

Quick summary of what this means: Undervolting makes the CPU run at the same speed as usual, but with less power. This makes it generate far less heat and use far less electricity. Some CPUs can tolerate it and some can’t — each manufactured chip is slightly different. By default, they’re configured to use a pretty conservatively high voltage, but if you find the limits of your particular CPU, you can get big gains in battery life and low temperatures.

So far I have 800 MHz, 1200 MHz, and 1400 MHz all running at the minimum possible voltage of 0.9000 V, and 1600 MHz running at 0.9625 V (it kernel-panicked at 0.9500). Everything’s stable so far with CPUTest at these settings. reviews are up

And they’re almost all positive! Thank you so much to everyone who submitted a review.

This is my favorite review.

Gotta give Rackspace credit

…for an impressive ability to keep screwing stuff up, even after we’ve moved our entire infrastructure to another host — except one server.

Rackspace: A drive died in the RAID array. he;lp

Me: OK, doesn’t this support hot-swap? Just replace the disk. We’ll tolerate the reduced disk performance during the rebuild.

Rackspace: Yes, you won’t have any downtime because this supports hot-swap.


Rackspace: OK, we replaced it, but we had to install a new driver, and we need to reboot the machine to complete the installation.

Me: Uh… why? (checks RAID status) The controller reports that everything’s rebuilt, online, and optimal with zero errors.

Rackspace, direct quotes now: “Yes, everything is up and operational, but the new drivers that were installed will not be effective until a reboot is performed.”

Me: “If everything is rebuilt and working perfectly well now without doing a reboot, why did we need the drivers to be updated? What will be different after the reboot?”

Rackspace: “I looked over the previous technicians information and from what you and I see it does look like it will be fine to continue running without a reboot.”

We used to pay an $500/month/server premium for this “service”.

This connects to a mystery about the iPhone. What’s the reason that copy and paste is missing? The underlying operating system is OSX, so it’s obviously supported. It’s a function has been supported from the very beginning of the computer. Perhaps it’s a signal of a new kind of limit being enforced on the digital world.

The iPhone’s Missing Copy & Paste: The Dog that Didn’t Bark in the Night (via azspot).

This is a stupid implication. The iPhone doesn’t have copy-and-paste because it has no universal notion of text selection or context menus in standard text input fields, and designing such features in a graceful, accessible, and non-confusing way on a device with (essentially) no buttons is challenging.

It’s not some DRM conspiracy.

I don’t think Osama bin Laden sent those planes to attack us because he hated our freedom. I think he did it because of our support for Israel, our ties with the Saudi family and our military bases in Saudi Arabia. You know why I think that? Because that’s what he fucking said! Are we a nation of 6-year-olds? Answer: yes.

David Cross (via unalone)


I love my job

I love the results of Daisy’s job.

It was double-parked.

Hey, Apple! We can’t update our apps! Love, iPhone Developers

It looks like I’m not the only one whose iPhone app updates are sitting in limbo.

Frasier Speirs of Exposure: [currently down]

Apple requires that every single update to every app go through the same vetting process (although who knows exactly what this involves?). I submitted Exposure 1.0.1 to the App Store last Friday and, five days later, one version is “In Review”. The other is still, mysteriously, “waiting for upload”, even though I already did.

If Apple can’t guarantee a maximum 24 hour review process, they should drop it. What would happen if I was trying to correct a data loss or security bug, and the update sits in App Store limbo for five or ten days? Fortunately I’m not facing that situation, but these are fixes for painful crashing bugs that are really affecting users of Exposure. All the while, users continue to comment negatively on these already-fixed-but-not-released bugs in Exposure’s reviews on iTunes. Without demos, those reviews are an app’s lifeblood.

I can understand Apple wanting to check new applications, but holding up bug fix releases for five days or more is both annoying to and damaging to developers’ reputations.

Brent Simmons of NetNewsWire:

I’ve been working like crazy on updates to NetNewsWire for iPhone — but, unfortunately, updates aren’t being pushed to the App Store yet. I don’t know why, though I imagine it’s just that things are crazy in the early days.

I don’t know when updates will go out — wish I did.


Again, I have no idea when any updates will actually appear. But I have indeed been working as quickly as I can — I’ve been pretending to myself that you’re actually getting the updates.

Apple Support Discussions: Anyone have an update app approved yet?:

I have been waiting since Friday afternoon. It’s very annoying, because by now I already have a newer update! So even when Apple gets around to approving my v1.1 app that was submitted last week, I’ll already have a v1.1.1 or even v1.2 ready.

And you can’t delete a pending update or replace it with an even newer one. So I just have to wait!


My customers are complaining and all I can do is sit on my hands.

I’m facing a similar problem: I submitted Instapaper 1.0.1, which fixes a few small bugs and adds a major feature (article delete), early Saturday morning. It’s still “In Review”. Every day that this update isn’t published, I get more negative reviews clamoring for features or fixes that I’ve already done mere hours after the app’s launch.

I thought it was just me because I’m a small fish. But if Exposure and NetNewsWire are getting ignored, I really don’t stand a chance. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t think any updates for any applications have been approved by Apple.

Either fix the approval process or drop it.

Why not whitelist developers to issue updates freely (or after very minimal review) to already-approved apps?

We can’t be expected to develop and support high-quality 1.0 software releases on a very young platform when we can’t conduct large beta tests and we can’t issue prompt updates.

My favorite hiyabunny, of course.

Then I don’t need a jacket!

Angry users

You wouldn’t believe how angry many people are when they send support emails.

People seem personally offended that they don’t understand how something works. They swear at me. They insult me. They taunt me. They throw the problem back in my face with no explanation.

You can see a lot of this in the negative reviews of nearly any app in the App Store, too.

They refuse to read documentation right above the support-email link, then they email me with a question that’s answered right there.

It’s incredibly discouraging. I don’t think people realize that app developers are regular people, too. We make mistakes, we’re not perfect, and we didn’t mean to confuse you.

I can’t even imagine what these people’s tone will be like when I start charging money for a pro version. I just hope that the negative people don’t buy it. Of course, it looks like I should probably expect a bunch of 1-star reviews saying things like “stoopid you can get this for free! too much money! not worth $10 but maybe I’d pay $3!”

Angry users

topherchris on this, specifically about how non-free iPhone apps get so many negative reviews in the App Store simply because they’re not free:

People are essentially saying “I severely underestimate the amount of work it took to make this” or “I understand it took many, many hours to make this but I don’t think you should be compensated.”

Exactly. Instapaper is relatively simple on the surface, but it still took at least 100 solid hours of work for the iPhone app alone — and it relies on the website and its complex website-packing and text-parsing features, which took many additional hours to develop and require a $250/month server (with a few hours per month of maintenance).

Or even within iTunes, are the majority of album reviews something like “9.99 for this new Beck album? Rip off! It’s just some notes played in a certain order! $5 at most!” Crazy talk.

(loved that)

My last word on this is a modest proposal to Apple: Only let people who have downloaded and installed any given app write a review of it.

This would help most apps’ reviews tremendously.

Angry users

topherchris on this, specifically about how non-free iPhone apps get so many negative reviews in the App Store simply because they’re not free:

People are essentially saying “I severely underestimate the amount of work it took to make this” or “I understand it took many, many hours to make this but I don’t think you should be compensated.”

Exactly. Instapaper is relatively simple on the surface, but it still took at least 100 solid hours of work for the iPhone app alone — and it relies on the website and its complex website-packing and text-parsing features, which took many additional hours to develop and require a $250/month server (with a few hours per month of maintenance).

Or even within iTunes, are the majority of album reviews something like “9.99 for this new Beck album? Rip off! It’s just some notes played in a certain order! $5 at most!” Crazy talk.

(loved that)

My last word on this is a modest proposal to Apple: Only let people who have downloaded and installed any given app write a review of it.

This would help most apps’ reviews tremendously.

Fuck the casual viewer. Seriously, who wants a casual viewer? If you’re a writer do you want a casual reader? I don’t want those people. Don’t want ‘em. Throwing them back. They’re like little fish on the hook. Throw ‘em back. I want the guy who’s come in who wants to be told a story. A story has a beginning, middle and an end.

David Simon, creator of The Wire. (via errorgorilla, peterwknox)

Apple has significantly improved the usability of paying for an application. Apple has made it drop dead simple for developers to charge for applications and for consumers to purchase applications. For developers, there’s no need to build a billing system, register for a payment processor, deal with chargebacks, etc; Apple makes charging for an application as easy as deciding on a price. For consumers, there’s no need to find your wallet, enter your CC#, create an account, etc when purchasing an app on the app store; all that info is stored in your Apple Account after your first purchase. That’s why “free” is no longer the most popular price on the App Store, because Apple has solved many of the usability problems that previous caused the friction which created The Penny Gap.

Andrew Parker on why people are paying for iPhone applications (via betaworks)

Why all computers aren’t as small as laptops

allgrownsup asks:

Can someone please explain to me why it is that you can fit everything a computer needs into the thin bottom half of a laptop, yet desktop PCs are still the size of my torso? It seems like someone (besides Mac) could have made one that is more brick-like by now, but no, HP and Dell just keep cranking out the 90s.

(This is not meant to become a Mac Vs PC thing. I’ve owned and worked on both, and I’m a PC girl. I just don’t understand the lack of form on the behalf of PC designers.)


This is the inside of a MacBook Air’s bottom half. This is about as small as they get — it’s probably even smaller than you thought. The big black thing on the bottom is the battery, which desktop PCs don’t even have. The “computer” part of this is really just the blue circuit board in the upper-right (which isn’t even a complete rectangle — that’s its underside). The foam-ringed white and gray rectangle in the upper-left is the hard drive, and the black turbine-looking thing between them is the cooling fan.

To make it this small, there are a number of trade-offs.

Since there’s very little room for air to circulate, and the fan is very small, every component needs to be selected for minimal heat production. Low-heat parts are much more expensive (mostly because they’re more rare and refined), and they’re usually lower-speed or smaller-capacity than equivalent desktop parts.

Quick tutorial on how hard drives work: A flat disk (or two, or three) spins at very high speeds (between 4,200 RPM and 7,200 RPM for laptops), and a little magnetic head floats as close to the disk as possible to read it — but they can never touch. If the head touches the disk, both get ruined pretty abruptly. (That’s the origin of the word crash — the head crashes into the disk’s surface.) Obviously, this is a fairly fragile setup, but laptops are moved and shocked and vibrated all the time during operation, so their hard drives are made much more durable and tolerant of movement than desktop drives. In addition to the low-power and small-size requirements of laptops, this makes laptop hard drives much smaller, much slower, and much more expensive than desktop drives.

Meanwhile, if you look inside a desktop PC, you’ll find lots of empty space. They’re as large as they are for a number of reasons:

Desktops are much cheaper since they don’t include batteries or monitors, and they don’t need the super-miniaturization that laptops require. And when it comes time to repair or upgrade them (this is a big deal for corporate buyers), they have plenty of room for expansion and they work with cheap, standard parts.

Laptops have some expansion and repair capability, but only for a handful of parts (usually just RAM and hard drives). If a desktop’s monitor dies, you can swap it with any monitor you have lying around in 90 seconds, or you can buy a new one anywhere for $200-500. If a laptop’s screen dies, you have to ship it to the vendor for a week and have them install a new one for $1000.

There’s also the issue of risky users or surroundings. If you spill a drink onto a laptop, you’re completely screwed. But if you spill a drink onto a desktop’s keyboard, you’re out $10. Even if you pour the drink directly onto the tower, it’s unlikely to actually enter any holes. If you’re incredibly unlucky and you pour Coke directly into the exhaust fan holes on the back, and your drink actually hits and kills something on the way down instead of just pooling at the (empty) bottom of the case, you’ll probably only cause $100-300 worth of damage.

So the big honking desktop designs do have some benefits. They’re faster, cheaper, more durable, and more expandable than super-compact (e.g. Mac mini) or laptop designs. And that’s only from what I’ve mentioned here — there are plenty of other situations where desktops still beat laptops.

We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change.

Al Gore (via azspot, dalasverdugo)

iPhone app I just assumed would be here


Screen Grab? Anyone? Anywhere?

Hold down the Home button (bottom) and push the sleep button (top). The screen will flash white for a second, and a screenshot will be added to your Camera Roll.

In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan, armed with a reel-to-reel tape deck, snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room in Toronto and convinced John to do an interview about peace. 38 years later, Jerry has produced a film about it.

This is excellent. And 100% relevant to today. Truly timeless wisdom from John Lennon.

(thanks cubicle17, who found it from yewknee)


What if there were no stop signs… and a major corporation was charged with inventing one? So true to life, you will either laugh hard or weep bitterly. (via notcot)

Amazing. This is why I work at a 3-person company.

Instapaper’s iPhone app passed 15,000 downloads

This is a very happy surprise — far beyond my expectations for just the first week. (Not one of them yet?)

I’ve been working my butt off for some amazing new features. You’ll be able to play with them soon. It’s completely worth having to retake all of my screenshots.

My favorite new feature has already ruined Safari for me — reading in Instapaper with this feature is so much better that I never want to read long text in Safari again. My goal is to ruin it for you, too. It’s a crazy idea, and it worked out even better than I thought.

iminlikewithyou, david, skidder, blakeley (not pictured):

Worst guys night out ever

Caroline’s gone for a day and it has already degenerated to this…

I am SO not minding the web without ‘funny avatars.’ Request: Please also use S3 to store blog comments and the word ‘FAIL.’

Merlin Mann (via inky)

It’s the little things, really…


You know how no one really eats the crusts of a loaf of bread? I sure don’t. And just today, 3 days before my 26th birthday, I’ve realized that instead of lifting up the crust piece to get to proper slices everytime I go to eat bread, I could simply just throw away the crust when I open a new loaf. Never considered than an option before. Changes everything.

I never throw away the front-butt either. I’m perfectly fine throwing away both butts at the end, but I think I’d feel wasteful tossing the front-butt right when I open the bag. It’s really just denial: for the majority of the loaf, I can safely think, “I’m not wasting the butts. I might eat them.”


The Scoop Clip from Pampered Chef is a simple but useful multi-tool that works as both a freshness clip and tablespoon and teaspoon measuring tool.

It may seem a little silly, but if $5 means you don’t have to fumble bleary-eyed through your drawers for your tablespoon and your coffee’s going to be that much fresher, it’s not a bad buy. (via Lifehacker)

One for coffee loving Marco perhaps?

It’s a cute idea, but it’s flawed: the chances that your coffee bag will really be airtight after a few openings and closings are pretty slim, no matter how hard you clamp the top rolled-up part.

I solve this problem pretty easily: I keep the beans in a big ceramic airtight pressure-lid jar, and I toss the scooper in with them. So the scooper’s always with the beans.

Quality free-range products for the iPhone and iPod touch. Our developers have constant access to fresh air and sunlight, eliminating the need for the harsh chemicals used by other development houses.

mobileage products

dalas verdugo:

When you send me an email requesting help and you mark it Urgent with that little urgent flag option, you look like a big jerk, similar to someone rushing into the DMV and pushing their way to the head of the line.

“Excuse me, everyone else, MY problem is IMPORTANT!”

Stop doing that.

The “priority” field is one of those awful design ideas that completely ignores human nature. I love, in particular, the people who you communicate with on a regular basis and from whom every email is marked “high priority”.

I always imagine them running in here with the “!!” icon over their head, shouting wildly.

It bothers me when I have to write “iPod touch”. In the actual product name, the “touch” is lowercase, so that’s technically correct. (Same deal with “Mac mini”.)

It took me months to get used to not capitalizing dalas verdugo’s legally lowercase name.

The SA Forums test the chocolate-cake-mug recipe with hilarious results. (thanks, gtmcknight)

As I walked past the thousands of mostly young people waiting to hear Obama, I noticed one ornament of their generation missing: No one had their earphones on. They were talking to each other.

NNS (thanks, Scott Heiferman)

Apple just reported 41% year-over-year Mac sales growth for last quarter.

Macs are selling like crazy. Thanks, Vista!

There isn’t a big enough LOL in the world to adequately reflect my opinion on this.

Tal Atlas’ rebuttal to my Vimeo defense ends with this:

I just fail to see the issues presented by gamer videos.

I’m not familiar with their particular situation, but I can guess how average gamer videos differ from average “other” videos:

The Facebook redesign seems to have missed two points:


Maps & Atlases - “Big Bopper Anthems”

Beyond the dexterous finger style and howling vocals of this Chicago four-piece lie songs bursting with energy and emotion.  I highly recommend their live show as they truly shine when playing these wild licks on a stage in front of real people.

Have a listen and let us know what you think.

My newest album.


Cloud Cult - Journey of the Featherless

This song is gorgeous. It gets better with each listen.

Wow. This is perfect too.

[Vimeo is] well designed, unique, and focusing not on serving everyone in as many ways as possible, but on serving everyone in the right ways, as best as possible. They are a site dedicated to original, personal creations and they are willing to enforce that idea by alienating large blocks of users who feel otherwise. Bravo.

Big Contrarian → Who do you want to delight?

It’s like mid January, and you walk home for lunch in the snow with the sun in your eyes, and you get home and make a ham and cheese sandwich, then walk back to school.

Palo regarding Can I make my desktop run cooler?

Vimeo is wonderful, but their infrastructure BLOWS. It should not take as long as it does to upload videos.

Soup. I used to say things like this all the time until I started to run a free service that required significant infrastructure to keep running amidst constant growth and an ever-increasing feature set.

Would you mind if someone poked around your playlists?  I know I would.  No one needs to know how much über-cheesy pop music I need to have pumping in my ears while I work out.


“It’s for the gym” is the new “It was a gift, I swear, I don’t really like Hanson, it was from my aunt.”

Good morning!

Rush Fails at Rock Band (via insertname)

The next generation of services will need to have an impact on the real world and the real economy, not just an attention economy driven by self expression and discovery online.

Union Square Ventures invests in Meetup (via zachklein)

Birthday Ode to Lauren!



I’ve never been one to request the reblog power of Tumblr but today is an outright exception. Today is Lauren’s (lfarm) birthday and what better e-present than some tumblr love! I’ll get things started and reblog your ode below it. For you Lauren:

Roses are red
Sometimes I stink
Its your birthday so someone better buy you a drink!

(continue ode here)

Happy birthday to you,
the one who comes from the land of the kangaroos!
You make me always laugh and smile,
With your bad-ass Aussie-HBO style,
You’re kind and you’re funny, witty, and so totally NOT lame,
You’re the type of friend where you know it will be a blast—whether it is a dinner or a joke or a drink or a game,
You are anti-drama and pro-good natured fun,
And that is why you, lfarm, are my #1!
(ps:It does make me jealous that you have wayyyy more followers than me,
But that’s ok, I’ll catch up one day, you’ll see!
Ha! LoVe Ya!)

Happy birthday to you,
AOL owns those lyrics,
I can’t rhyme,
Happy birthday!

Take that, Othello Medium Difficulty!

rain plan!!!! : House of Brews on 51st + 8th


It doesn’t look like the rain, rain is going to go away. It is a bummer but we have to pass on Frying Pan bc it looks like the tropical thunder is headed our way! No worries, we will head there next time (next week maybe?)

We are going instead to House of Brews:
‎302 W 51st St at 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10019 541-7080
Subway Stop‎: 1 at 50th St., C, E at 50th St.
They have reserved a cool little lounge-couch filled room for us UPSTAIRS and they have good food and shitloads of beers.
Look forward to seeing everyone tonight, please reblog and spread the word.

Thanks for the rain plan. See you there.

Mszunefan, the Microsoft Zune fanatic who had three Zune tattoos emblazoned around his shoulders, has decided to cover up the logo with another tattoo, citing a lack of progress in the device’s feature set.

Zune Tattoo Guy Wants to Lose the Logo (thanks, dalas verdugo)

Last night’s Tumblr NYC meetup. (Compare.)

I don’t have a problem with updates being reviewed [by Apple prior to posting], but it has to go a lot faster. Given the no-demos rule, an app lives or dies by App Store reviews. It’s incredibly frustrating to watch review after review complain about a bug that you fixed and ‘shipped’ two weeks ago.

Fraser Speirs in iPhone developers frustrated with App Store.

I submitted Instapaper 1.0.1 to Apple 13 days ago. It hasn’t been approved and they haven’t responded when I’ve requested a status update.

I love autocorrect.


I had to take a picture when I saw that a hotel’s wireless infrastructure consisted of a Linksys wireless router screwed to an outside wall. It isn’t even under a covered area to keep it out of the weather.

That looks a lot like a Cisco 1200-series access point. If that’s what it is, it’s actually a very high quality and very expensive AP. It will tolerate most weather as long as it doesn’t directly get very wet. (Although I agree that the installation could have been prettier… they should really have hidden that wire.)

Welcome! Feel yourself at home.

Our foreign waitress

If you think Tumblr is just a content aggregator, perhaps you’re not doing it right.

Marc LaFountain on this.

Agreed. Tumblr does offer an intentionally basic feed-import feature that can aggregate your content from other sources. But that’s not what Tumblr is for — it’s just one feature. Most good tumblelogs don’t even use it. (If we really intended for Tumblr to just be an aggregation service, that feature would probably be much more customizable and robust, since we wouldn’t need to “waste” time developing everything that powers the rest of the platform.)

There’s not much value in blind aggregation: human editorial choices bring value among content overload. Sure, you can post your entire vacation photo album to Flickr, but as a casual web-acquaintance following you on Tumblr, I’m happier if you just pick the best 1-3 photos to publish here.

It depends on your audience: if you’re only being read by people you know well in real life, they might want to see all 75 vacation photos. But if you want your tumblelog to have a larger, more general audience of people who aren’t necessarily interested in seeing so much of your activity, you bring great value by showing editorial restraint.

The end of the middle-class vacation home

Members of my parents’ and grandparents’ generations were frequently able to afford vacation homes. They traveled there on the weekends, leaving their city homes for upstate/the mountains/the beach/the lake/wherever. Now, a combination of factors has eliminated this for my generation:

I can see this very clearly in what I know: upstate New York. But I don’t know if it’s universal. Does this apply to other metro areas?


Thank you, internet

After a weekend of vacation-forced brainfreeze and dealing with immense family drama, it’s incredibly nice to get back to my life of being surrounded by intelligent people doing great things and always challenging me to become a better person.

In the “real world” outside of my closest friends, I don’t fit in at all — in far too many ways to list right now when I should be going to sleep. I do a decent job of faking it when necessary, but I really don’t understand most people, and they really don’t understand me. I feel like I’m an outsider. An observer. I’m always completely puzzled (and often saddened) about why people are the way they are and why they do the things they do. The real America, away from young people living in trendy coastal cities, is a place where I absolutely don’t fit in at all — and I marvel that anyone actually does.

I’ve only ever found a handful of people through typical real-world situations who I can really associate with. But the internet is an incredibly efficient matchmaker. The same power that enables odd fetish groups to exist also enables me to find other people remarkably similar to me. I always thought I was the only one, and I was somehow incredibly weird (in a bad way) for that. But there are plenty of people like me out there. I follow 226 of them on Tumblr alone. And when I meet them in real life, I’m blown away by how easily we connect — especially compared to how poorly I usually connect with strangers. I feel like we’ve been friends for years, even for people whose tumblelogs I’ve only been following for a few months and who I’ve only met in person for a few minutes.

The internet shows me that my thoughts aren’t that strange after all. And that’s a great thing: I find acceptance, and I’m challenged to define, refine, and defend what were previously only vague notions. I’m not just some lone weirdo thinking these odd things about the world. I can’t look around and think “nobody gets it” because I know that all of you do.

Intellectually, it’s even better. I’m attacked, defied, outclassed, and proven wrong regularly — and every time, I become a better person. All of my personality flaws are called out, dragged right into the open, by complete strangers, who are really doing me the biggest favor in the world by making me improve myself.

If such a thing exists, I certainly have an internet addiction. And I don’t care. I have absolutely no desire to be a “normal” member of society, doing whatever normal people do with their time (go upstate and drive boats in circles, then come inside to watch “the game” and grunt occasionally?). I’m very happy here, doing what I’m doing, and being a part of something so amazing, challenging, and stimulating.

Instapaper 1.0.1 update now available

The Instapaper iPhone app update to 1.0.1 is finally available (it only took Apple 17 days to approve it).

1.0.1 fixes the wrong-article-list-for-a-second-on-load bug and adds Delete functionality.

By the looks of it, a bunch of applications just had updates approved — whatever was broken at Apple regarding App Store updates has hopefully now been fixed.

Tip for iPhone app developers

Ask your users to email you with their thoughts, then never look at the App Store reviews with fewer than 4 stars.

Here’s the schizo thing about software development (at least on Macs): 1. Everybody praises apps that don’t have a ton of preferences and features. 2. Everybody asks for some new preferences and features.

Brent Simmons of NetNewsWire (via deplorableword)

The November Blog: The second-greatest T-shirt ever (via fuddmain)

Some days, the web feels like 5 people trying to make something; 5k people turning it into a list; and 500MM people saying, “FAIL.

Merlin Mann (via junesix)


jakob (via chromogenic)

i wish jakob would come back to tumblr. i miss reading what he has to say. he’s the one that inspired me to get a tumbr even. screw the haters, man.

I think we’d benefit a lot more from him if he did it under a different name for a while. Think of how much less critical people would be of his thoughts if they didn’t have the previous Jakob persona associated with them.

Between the archaic login requirement and these giant rollover ads (including this one without a “close” button), it’s really a shame that The New York Times tries so hard to discourage people from reading their content.

I’m Jakob Lodwick!

It’s like a car manufacturer deciding to run the tailpipe back into the car.

dalas verdugo on in-video comments (via pile, jstn)