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

xkcd: The End Is Not For A While

Wii Fit bug

If your session crosses midnight, the piggy-bank timer resets to 0:00.

On the Google Chrome browser

I’ve been out of town (and completely disconnected) all weekend. Apparently I missed a lot, including the announcement of a Google web browser called Chrome with a cute explanation comic.

What it is:

Why they’re doing it:

Why this could be good:

Why this could be bad:

I’m very curious about how this will turn out. This could be just what the browser business needs. Or it could fizzle out as yet another irrelevant, unpolished, unfinished Google side project.

Why do people continue to take news from a person who fundamentally does not understand how computers work? Because he has new content for people to read, every day. People will read what you tell them to read, as long as you keep telling them to read it.

Ted Dziuba

(via lee)

Don LaFontaine, the voice-over guy for almost every movie trailer, just died.

“In a world… one man…”

That’s too bad. He’ll be missed. And we can’t make good action or comedy movie trailers anymore.

Pro-life Conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don’t want to know about you, they don’t want to hear about you, no nothing. No neonatal care, no daycare, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you’re pre-born, you’re fine. If you’re pre-school, you’re fucked.

George Carlin (via soupsoup and many others)

Apple confirms September 9 Special Event: “Let’s Rock”


New skinny iPod Nano.
Likelihood: 75%.
The “fat nano” looks stupid, and I bet this has bothered Jobs and Ive enough to radically redesign it again to restore the much-cooler skinny form factor while retaining a reasonably sized screen for video. This is probably also the “lower-margin product transition” that they talked about on that earnings call: I bet they can price this at $99 for 4 GB. That will be a huge hit for the holiday season.

Minor update to iPod Touch.
Likelihood: 50%.
Sure, it’d be nice if it looked more like the iPhone 3G, but it would be so minor that I think it’s unlikely. And unnecessary: nobody’s really complaining about the Touch’s appearance.

Price drops on iPod Touch.
Likelihood: 25%.
Apple rarely drops prices on existing products — they usually just introduce new models that may be cheaper. So a price drop is unlikely unless there’s a corresponding product update, which I don’t think will happen. And while iPod Touch demand has probably weakened since the iPhone 3G’s launch, I don’t think Apple really cares if one of their products gets cannibalized by another more-expensive one.

Major iTunes update.
Likelihood: 75%.
The rumors are thin on specifics, but it sounds like it’s more than minor tweaks: people are talking about entirely new features, such as interactive albums. This is a shot in the dark, but the timing’s about right, and they’re holding an entire event, so they probably have some big new software announcements.

iPhone/iPod Touch OS 2.1.
Likelihood: 50%.
I think “September” is still the official estimate for 2.1, but given Apple’s work-overload in this area, I bet it will slip.

Any Mac updates.
Likelihood: 10%.
This is an iPod event. No Macs here. Minor laptop updates don’t even get events — they’re just quietly upgraded and they get a promo on for a while. None are due for a large enough transition that it would make sense to invade an iPod event. Large transitions are more likely to happen at MacWorld in January.

My favorite dysfunctional review so far:

Very unreliable ★★
by neddo12345

When it works it’s nice but it often sits and does nothing. I just finished a trip from NC to CT and about half the time even when sitting still with good GPS location and 5 bars 3G signals when I press the Instamapper icon, it sits there saying loading. The iPhone meanwhile is showing perfect location within 10 feet.

I was worried that Instapaper’s GPS functionality (?) might be broken until I realized that this isn’t a review of Instapaper at all — it’s a review of InstaMapper GPS Tracker. “InstaMapper” is close enough to “Instapaper” that they show up for each other’s search queries.

InstaMapper GPS Tracker, however, has my favorite App Store review ever:

Omg ★★★★★
by Nutshanglow

This app is so great that I wanted to rub one out as it was installing.

For Windows software, it’s OK-looking.

David playing with Google Chrome for the first time

This is the raw footage of the St. Paul police repeatedly tear-gassing a peaceful protest at the Republican National Convention, having given no announcements, orders, or warnings.

I have to keep reminding myself that this happened yesterday in the United States of America.

Mainstream media has not covered the RNC protests or the extreme police response.

(via Lindsay Campbell)

“tax-and-spend liberal”

I keep seeing this phrase thrown around, often to describe Obama or Democrats in general. It deserves some analysis.

First, drop the word “liberal” off the end. It doesn’t add meaning and is simply attached to the end to inflame conservatives.

So we have “tax-and-spend”. I guess this refers to the stereotype that Democrats raise taxes and spend the new income on government programs, often to help the low or middle classes.

The implication is that Republicans, “conservatives”, decrease taxes and cut government spending.

Except in practice, today, they don’t. They get halfway through — they cut taxes (albeit only for the rich) — and they forget about the whole “cut government spending” thing. Any minor “pork-barrel” cuts they brag about to appease their base are completely dwarfed by increasing military spending and fighting extremely expensive wars.

The only real difference in the oversimplified idea of “tax-and-spend” versus the Republican version in practice (“just spend a lot, who cares?”) is that the “liberals” tend to have a way to pay for their expenditures so we don’t have to keep borrowing from politically inconvenient countries (China), threatening essential programs that have taken decades to build (Social Security), and forcing a tremendous burden on future generations.

interstice on the RNC protests:

Moreover, journalist Amy Goodman and others have been arrested on suspicion of intent to riot.

Wait… what’s that charge again? From here, paraphrasing Bruce Nestor, the President of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild:

Nestor indicated that only 2 or 3 of the 50 individuals who were handcuffed this morning at the 2 houses were actually arrested and charged with a crime, and the crime they were charged with is “conspiracy to commit riot.” Nestor, who has practiced law in Minnesota for many years, said that he had never before heard of that statute being used for anything, and that its parameters are so self-evidently vague, designed to allow pre-emeptive arrests of those who are peacefully protesting, that it is almost certainly unconstitutional, though because it had never been invoked (until now), its constitutionality had not been tested.



I know I should just post this and let you think “Ooooh, that’s a cool photo.” But instead, I feel the need to tell you that it was mighty difficult setting the 10 second timer, running across the roof, jumping up on that ledge and looking like I’d been standing there all day. Took me 7 tries.

I love when the behind-the-scenes story is nothing like what you’d expect from the final product.

There is a tendency in the media to kick ourselves, cringe and withdraw, when we are criticized. But I hope my colleagues stand strong in this case: it is important for the public to know that Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library and thinks the war in Iraq is “a task from God.” The attempts by the McCain campaign to bully us into not reporting such things are not only stupidly aggressive, but unprofessional in the extreme.

Angry Amateurs - Swampland - TIME (via peterwknox)


I need a robust email parsing library for PHP, ideally one that can handle multipart and plaintext messages, deal with proper decoding, etc. Any recommendations?

Absolutely do not use Zend::Mail. (I’ve previously discussed my feelings toward the Zend Framework.)

I haven’t found anything incredibly great yet, so I just use the PHP IMAP extension (based on c-client). It’s limited, but it works.

Sim Simeonov:

  • Be different, not best
  • Do less, not more
  • Go around a wall, not through it
  • It is better to figure out how not to have to solve a problem as opposed to having to solve the problem.

(via betaworks)

Subtle Tea has honey sticks!

…during the Guiliani speech - I realized I was no longer filtering a speechwriter’s intentional manipulation; I was trying to look beyond real hate. These folks were gritting their teeth, shaking their fists, and smiling the way gladiators do when going into combat against barbarians. And this is the incumbent party. The ones currently in power. What is it they hate? Guiliani and Palin both made it pretty clear: community organizing. Community organizing is energized from below. From the periphery. It is the direction and facilitation of mass energy towards productive and cooperative ends. It is about replacing conflict with collaboration. It is the opposite of war; it is peace. Last night, the Republican Convention made it clear they prefer war. They see the world as a dangerous and terrible place. Like the fascist leaders satirized in Starship Troopers, they say they believe it is better to be on the offensive, taking the war to the people who might wish us harm than playing defense. It is better to be an international aggressor - a bulldog with lipstick - than led by the misguided notion that attacking people itself makes the world a more dangerous place.


p>Douglas Rushkoff (via azspot, dalasverdugo)


I’ve never used stumbleupon, but my lord can it send a shitload of traffic around.

Oh yes. StumbleUpon makes Digg feel inadequate.

You know how all of us have nontechnical parents, and they have all nontechnical friends, and we can’t figure out what else they do with their computers except forward us crappy jokes and dumb myths that Snopes disproved in 2001?

Well, they ALL use StumbleUpon.



This is Microsoft’s long-awaited answer to the Mac vs. PC ads.

What the fuck did I just watch?

Uhhhhhh, what?

The only redeeming quality was the use of Bill gates’ ancient mugshot as his membership-card photo.

Misplaced frustration

Don’t blame the CEO of your phone’s manufacturer for cellular network problems.

Tiff enjoys my new headphones.

The storm hit D.C.

Guide to bar soap


I recently switched back to bar soap, after hearing about all this stuff about the ingredients in the newly popular liquid soaps… you know, the ones you use with the loofahs. I’m slightly skeptical about the environmental impact that others are talking about (namely, that ocean life is dying as a result of ingesting the chemicals), but what the hey, I don’t mind slathering myself with scented lard. I’ll continue looking into this at some point.

Anyway, the one thing I really enjoyed about bailing on bar soap was what I affectionately call “soggy soap”. It doesn’t really make sense, and I’m sure you could call it shriveled, scraps, whatever. It’s that crappy soap that’s left over when you wear it down to the core. It looks useless, time to just chuck it out, but nonetheless, I painfully continue wearing it down until there’s nothing left. Cleaning myself was once a shore, yet today, it was… more of a chore.

They never feature that part on the Irish Springs commercials.

I’m a bar-soap guy. Welcome back. Some rules:

  1. Once it gets too small to hold or starts splitting, throw it away and get a new bar. It’s not worth the hassle.
  2. Keep it on a wire-rack-style holder, not in a dish or on a solid-bottomed platform. And keep it out of the shower head’s drip path.
  3. I don’t know why everyone loves Irish Spring so much. I find the scent overwhelming (and bad), and it doesn’t wash off very easily (leaving that “soap residue” feeling). I like the Dove exfoliating bar in the light-blue-themed package. It washes off much better, leaves no residue, and has a much more subtle scent (it just smells “clean”).


Last night, I had the good fortune of going to the lovely and talented Sara’s birthday party. […] Where were the lovely Marco and talented Karpster?

Sorry, my wedding’s in 3 weeks. I’m unlikely to attend anything social for a while — way too much to do.

But I’m sorry I missed it. Sounded fun.

(via lee, obama08, wylie, triciaward, and probably the rest of Tumblr)

Not only is this very down-to-earth and well-spoken, but it just shows good character and level-headedness on Obama’s part. I’d love to see McCain answer questions about his campaign informally, unscripted, for 5 minutes without sounding like a douche, an idiot, or an out-of-touch old rich guy.

Wow, it doesn’t!

somethingtodoaftertheporn, regarding this:

David Karp, you a genius.

He is, but that was my feature. My email importer tries to detect and remove signatures, corporate notices, Hotmail ads, and other common automatically-added email footers (“Sent from my BlackBerry”, etc.). The success rate is pretty good — in fact, I don’t think anyone has ever noticed this feature enough to say anything about it until now. And if you don’t notice a feature like this, it’s doing its job perfectly.

For photo emails, subject lines are also processed (since they’re used for the photo’s caption) to avoid carrier messages such as “You have received a new PIX-FLIX message from Verizon Wireless”, or the much worse ones that include your phone number.

Whenever it’s reasonably possible, we try to avoid letting your tumblelog or its content inadvertently look crappy.

Vegans and bees

Being a dedicated vegan is pretty impressive. It’s not for me, but I really respect people who can pull it off. (Except I hate when people with voluntary dietary restrictions say, “I can’t eat that.” You can, but you won’t.)

But in a veganism discussion at lunch on Friday, we came upon an interesting problem. I know that vegans avoid things like silk and honey since they’re produced by industrialized animals, and they object to the treatment of industrialized animals (right?).

But what about fruit?

Fruit orchards are pollinated by bees, often rented from professional industrial bee farmers. From what I understand, the honey business isn’t very lucrative — the real money is in renting out bees to farms and orchards for pollination, and it’s just an added bonus that bee farmers can also get some honey production out of their hive boxes.

Much of the fruit available to us depends on these bees and wouldn’t be available to us without them.

Did I just ruin fruit for vegans? Or are industrialized bees acceptable? If so, what’s wrong with honey?

I can never live on Long Island.

I decided to seek out a coffee roaster during my free time this afternoon while stuck on Long Island. After all, I live right above one in Larchmont. How rare can they be?

I drove around for 45 minutes using Google Maps on my iPhone to find places. One was completely missing, replaced by an industrial office park. One was really just a diner, and it was closed. One seemed promising, but the website said it closed at 2 PM (and it was 2:30), and it was 20 miles away.

The day-old half-cup of coffee from the Larchmont roaster in my cup holder was far better than anything I’d be able to find in the remaining options: Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Seven Eleven.


Maybe we were on TV or something. Maybe Obama mentioned us.

David, trying to trace the source of a load spike

Buyer beware.

An App Store commenter in a negative review of Instapaper Free.

Ah, recruiter spam. This is why it’s useful to use a separate email address on your resume and Monster/Dice accounts: it makes it easier to filter out this spam after you’ve found a job.

Let’s see… how many things are wrong with this one?

Never overestimate the intelligence or scruples of tech job recruiters.

The latest Instapaper clone missed the point on simplicity.

Taking apart the “e-ink” Esquire cover. (video by soxiam).

Brendan calls them out on labeling this “e-ink”:

I just want to point out that what you’re looking at is not e-ink. It’s a film transparency that’s backlit with a segmented electroluminescent backlight. C’mon, Esquire, what the hell? This would have been pretty cool if you didn’t make a big fuss over it. But no, you told us to expect e-ink. And now we’re calling you on your bullshit.

This contradicts what Wired says in their review:

Both the cover and an advertisement in the magazine use the same E Ink technology as the Amazon Kindle, but the similarity pretty much ends there. The cover implementation reveals/conceals text, reverses the foreground and background shades of black, white and gray, and backlights pictures and illustrations drawn on the plastic overlay.

Who’s right? It looks like it can truly be e-ink, but they tremendously wasted its potential.

Also, they made a big deal of this having a special, custom-designed battery to power the thing for long enough to matter. Looks like a bunch of CR-2032s (or similarly sized button cells) to me.

fatmanatee on the iPod touch update:

[…] they added a speaker!  Fun.  Lowered the prices!  On board.  No GPS!  What?  I would have liked to have that one, rather than this Nike stuff.  Aren’t GPS chips cheap now?  You’d think that Apple would really kill off the standalone-GPS industry by doing this.  I’m a bit surprised.

GPS doesn’t make a lot of sense without a cellular internet connection unless you intend to have all maps available offline (which needs a lot more storage than Apple’s willing to give it).

But with excellent standalone GPSes that are more optimized for this task (sun-friendly screens, very loud speakers for voice directions, better battery life, etc.) already in the $200-300 price range, why bother?

New drinking game - drink whenever someone says “Cheers, mate.” Because English people say this to me about a thousand times a day. Otherwise it is business as usual. Doesn’t feel like I am abroad. The food kinda sucks.

From Nick’s review of England

The iPod Classic is rapidly becoming the fruitcake that’s somehow always around at Christmas, yet few seem to want to eat. I give it one more year tops.

Marc LaFountain.

Despite how much the iPod Classic sucks, a certain subset of people will always buy it: the people who absolutely will not compromise on space and “need” to have their entire massive collections with them everywhere they go. Fortunately, most people are more sensible and this is a very small market.

Flash memory prices will eventually catch up and enable Apple to replace the Classic with a huge-capacity Touch (128 GB maybe), but that point is probably still 1-3 years off economically.

NBC’s back in the iTunes Store

I’m most excited by this because it includes Bravo. We love Top Chef and Tiff loves Project Runway. But neither of these show up yet. I hope it’s because Project Runway is mid-season and Top Chef is off-season right now, and they’ll just begin iTunes availability when new seasons start.

David’s GTD system: “These are all of the emails I need to respond to.”

Let’s face it. Lipstick on a pig is a classic American phrase. And there’s just no better way to describe the McCain-Palin ticket. The ‘Reformer’ whose whole campaign and senate office is run by a crew of high-rolling DC lobbyists? The earmark slayer whose state this year got ten times more earmarks than any other state in the country? Whose city when she was mayor got twenty times as many? The whole operation is just one big bamboozling lie. And lipstick on a pig is just using good American English to explain it. If McCain and Palin don’t like it they should have thought of that before they decided to run as frauds.

Josh Marshall, TPM (via fuddmain)


An umbrella doesn’t really help most of the time. You have to remember to bring it with you, but any umbrella with reasonable coverage is too large to carry conveniently. If it’s not raining perfectly straight down, or if you’re walking, or if the ground is already very wet, or if anyone else with an umbrella is nearby, your bottom half is going to get wet anyway. Then you have to continue carrying this wet umbrella throughout your day, trying to find a place to put it where it can harmlessly drip, until you forget to bring it home and have to buy another umbrella.

I lost my last umbrella about 6 months ago. I decided not to replace it immediately — rather, I’d just see how long I could go without one.

I still haven’t replaced it. I haven’t needed one.

Yes, I’ve been rained on occasionally since then. But it didn’t really matter. I just walked quickly.

Try it.

Obama addresses the “lipstick on a pig” diversion.

(via talby)

Here’s a preview of an upcoming update to Instapaper Pro. Two big changes:

The top navigation bar is gone. This gives 12% more readable area. The font picker moved into the action menu, but I’m still playing with where to place the Text/Web toggle.

I tried truly using black mode a few weeks ago, and it wasn’t as good as I wanted. There was still too much contrast, and the interface was still too bright to be used comfortably in a very dark environment (at night, in a cabin, in the middle of nowhere).

The updated black mode is significantly more readable by using a not-quite-black background and not-quite-white text, significantly decreasing the sharp contrast on the letter edges that usually makes black-background websites hard to read. The toolbar and status bar are also tinted black to match the text.

Oh, and I’ve fixed the rotate-scroll-to-top bug for this upcoming update as well.

I don’t have an ETA for this update yet. It will probably need to happen after my wedding and honeymoon, so expect it around mid-October.

Is this what Hillary Clinton meant when she said she’d be “more electable”?

The Republicans have “won” the last two elections by heavily cheating, lying, and breaking the law. Gore and Kerry lost in part because they let the Republicans’ dirty tactics walk all over them.

John McCain’s campaign is heavily cheating and lying. And probably breaking the law. And it’s working again. While he’s significantly behind in reputable polls, especially in the electoral college, there’s no strong reason to suspect that he won’t be the next President. Even if more people vote for Obama, they’ll find ways to make sure that key votes don’t count. And there’s no reason to believe that the Democrats won’t once again sit back and do nothing.

I have yet to see a single instance of the Obama campaign cheating, lying, or breaking the law. They’re intentionally staying above that. But can they win without sinking to the Republicans’ level?

If one player is cheating, can anyone else ever win without cheating?

Palin: It worked

I thought Palin’s selection was the worst idea McCain ever had. It seemed like political suicide to attach yourself to such a trainwreck of drama, extremism, and inexperience.

But the fanatical Republican base doesn’t care. They’re mostly single-issue-focused extremists who ignore anything outside of their single issue. No abortion! No gay marriage! Cut my taxes! Let me own a lot of guns and acquire them without much hassle! Give them one of these, and they’ll ignore everything else about you that they disagree with. It’s a culture of fanaticism, bigotry, hate, pride in ignorance, and intense denial. Palin appeals to them perfectly.

Additionally, her selection tremendously succeeded in a way that I hadn’t anticipated: it has completely distracted the media and many voters from any substantive issues for weeks. Ever since her selection, nobody has mentioned McCain. The election has become a sad, gossipy mess of pandering, ignorance, and mudslinging — and nobody’s asking McCain any questions anymore, which is good, because he wasn’t very good at answering them.

The Palin distraction is a huge success, and it very well might give the Republicans enough of a boost that they can cheat and steal away the remaining loss margin.

How is this even remotely legal?

TumblWah on Lose your house, lose your vote.

It’s probably not legal, but you’re missing the bigger question: Does that matter? Who’s going to say anything? Who’s going to stop them?

Recent precedent does not bode well in this department.

Re: Palin: It worked

Jessica Gold Haralson in response to my post:

You’re essentially calling a vast swath of Americans fanatics and hateful bigots.

This is true. Large amounts of Americans are fanatics and hateful bigots.

Are you sure you’re comfortable saying that about every single member of the Republican base?

That’s not what I said. I said “the fanatical Republican base”. There are even some nice fanatics, so I further qualified the next sentence with “mostly”.

I dragged David out to Larchmont to remind him that trees and houses exist.

The second Microsoft commercial with Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld.

Via John Gruber:

I don’t get it.

Neither do I. I still have no idea what this is supposed to communicate. It seems to be saying that Gates and Seinfeld are completely out-of-touch with reality, and they’re trying to connect with normal people again. This implies that Microsoft hasn’t been connecting with normal people for a while and it’s something they need to work on. (Which is probably true.) But then the slogan at the end says that Microsoft is good at connecting people.

Apple’s commercials are full of direct comparisons to Windows PCs and reasons why Macs are good. The iPhone commercials are even better: they just show the product’s real interface doing real tasks. It’s telling that Microsoft isn’t discussing, showing, or even mentioning their products at all in these new commercials that are supposedly the “answer” to the Apple ads.

But they’re just confusing. I can’t imagine that Microsoft is accomplishing… whatever it is they were trying to accomplish.

The real message here seems to be, “We have no idea what we’re doing.”

And that’s certainly coming through clearly.

nortolano regarding this:

Guys, guys, guys. It’s a commercial about nothing.

I’ll admit I was confused to begin with. The first one was a minute and a half long, and felt like a theatrical trailer for the worst movie ever. The second one, being almost five minutes, feels more like the first chapter of the fucking DVD.

But then I jokingly told my girlfriend, “maybe it’s a commercial about nothing.” And I realized, that’s exactly what it is.

That would be a cute reference to Seinfeld, the self-described “show about nothing”. Except Seinfeld was funny, thoughtful, and well-written. I don’t see those qualities here.

On Wednesday, Adam Sohn, the head of public relations for Microsoft’s Zune division, told me: ‘Babies are born every day without an iPod. We will get there.’

Waiting for the Zune Generation (via webmarc)

Oh wow. You have to read this article. It’s hilarious and sad.

(via szymon)

Hey, that’s my lens! (And it’s by far the best general-purpose lens for cameras compatible with EF-S, including the Digital Rebel XT/XTi/XSi series and the 20D/30D/40D series.)

I know there are a few McCain supporters reading this, and I wonder if you could help me out on something. Can you find a single recent McCain ad that contains more true statements than false or deliberately misleading ones? […] Additionally, if somebody comes across a single recent Obama ad that fails the minimal more truth than falsehood test, let me know. I haven’t seen any of his like this yet.

Squashed: Truth, lies, and politics

Your iPhone is SPYING on you!

A few people have posted this today: iPhone Takes Screenshots of Everything You Do (via yum9me). It starts with this incredibly misleading paragraph:

If you’ve got an iPhone, pretty much everything you have done on your handset has been temporarily stored as a screenshot that hackers or forensics experts could eventually recover, according to a renowned iPhone hacker who exposed the security flaw in a webcast Thursday.

…before explaining that what it’s really doing is saving a cached image of the screen when you press the Home button to generate the zooming animation, and that image is deleted after it’s done. And then, since that data existed at one time but was deleted, data-forensics people can potentially extract it given enough money, time, and effort after taking your iPhone apart.

All computers store everything you do in memory. They need to. That’s how they create, edit, process, and store your data. And often, the contents of memory are written to disk for various practical reasons, then deleted. You can hack data out of unencrypted swapfiles the same way. This could have been said about every computing device.

Does the author of this article, Brian X. Chen, work on McCain’s TV commercials?

He’s talking about I don’t think he knows what Tumblr is, or that it’s 2008 and the internet has a ridiculous surplus of personal publishing services.

amwelles about this:

It’s funny how much interneters think that everybody should know exactly how everything works. I catch myself doing it all the time. Lots of people don’t understand it because they simply don’t care enough about it. It’s the same reason I don’t know much about politics, science, math, or religion, I suppose. I’m not really involved enough to care about them. However, I don’t think I would appreciate somebody making a public statement about how I should just know these things.

Right, in general. This was funny because he’s been a friend of mine since high school, and I work for Tumblr.

I’m perfectly aware that non-internet-nerds (“regular people”) don’t know about every cool new web service.

Tumblr Circus is fun.

The progress of technology

I just paid the same amount for a 20-ppm color laser printer with PostScript and a built-in network card as I did in 1994 for a black-and-white parallel-port inkjet printer (yes, a black-and-white inkjet) that had its speed advertised in “characters per second”.

(For geeks: the former and the latter [I cannot explain that price].)

Of course, in 1994, my printer was plugged into a Gateway 2000 PC running Windows 3.11 and sporting a blazing 50 MHz 486 DX/2 CPU, 8 MB of RAM, and a 420 MB hard drive. There have been a number of improvements in that department as well.

Late-night diner run

At least Wii Fit is good.

I’m trying to find some fun Wii games to play with my groomsmen in our hotel, but can’t find any that get very solid recommendations that we’d actually enjoy except Mario Kart. The Wii game library, though, is pathetic. Nearly everything that could have been good is ruined by bad controls or being a half-assed port from other systems. And even among what’s decent, most of it is too Super Happy Japanese Fun Yay for my taste. It’s really not a very good gaming system for people who like to race cars and blow stuff up. (Or for single-player anything except Wii Fit.)

So I might just bring up the 360, despite its larger size and weight. Any recommendations for games for a bunch of guys in their mid-20s who haven’t played games recently but used to enjoy racing and blowing each other up?

It’s truly frightening that someone like Sarah has risen to the national level. Like all religious fundamentalists — Christian, Jewish, Muslim — she is a dualist. They view life as an ongoing struggle to the finish between good and evil. Their mind-set is that you do not do business with evil — you destroy it. Talking with the enemy is not part of their plan. That puts someone like Obama on the side of evil. Forget all this chatter about whether or not she knows what the Bush doctrine is. That’s trivial. The real disturbing thing about Sarah is her mind-set. It’s her underlying belief system that will influence how she responds in an international crisis, if she’s ever in that position, and has the full might of the U.S. military in her hands. She gave some indication of that thinking in her ABC interview, when she suggested how willing she would be to go to war with Russia.

Rev. Howard Bess (via azspot). Scary.

Instapaper is now being featured in the App Store!

I’m very honored. Thanks, everyone, for using it and making Instapaper popular enough to get on Apple’s radar. (And thanks to everyone who has purchased Instapaper Pro!)

I cleaned our dusty viewfinder mirrors with this jiggly rocket that a nice guy at B&H recommended. (It’s much more fun to shape it like a rocket than to just have a rubber ball with a nozzle like most little air blowers.)

Tiff’s been stamping birds onto bags for days.

I was scared for a second when I saw this in my mailbox before I realized it was just a subscription offer.

Religions I respect for strange reasons

Judaism: There’s no sales pitch. No recruiting team. Nobody spamming me in the subway, coming to my door, or yelling at me on the street. If I want to learn anything about Judaism, I can just ask the many Jewish people I know. They’ve always been happy to answer my questions (often with refreshingly sensible explanations), but if you don’t ask, you’re never bothered or inconvenienced by their religion. They’re comfortable enough in their beliefs that they don’t need to nag or argue with people who disagree or don’t care. That’s very respectable.

Mormonism: I know almost nothing about their beliefs, and what little I’ve heard seems incredibly strange to me. But every Mormon I’ve ever met has been incredibly nice, smart, sociable, and talented — moreso by ratio than any other religion. I can’t deny results. Whatever’s going on there, they’re doing something right.

It has arrived, and the old printer is intimidated by the tremendous size of its replacement. (Air shown for scale.)

[McCain] said that he is calling for the firing of the Security and Exchange Commissioner. Well I think that is all fine and good, but here is what I say: In 47 days, you can fire the whole Trickle-Down, On-Your-Own, Look-the-Other-Way crowd in Washington who has led us down this disastrous path. Don’t just get rid of one guy, get rid of this administration, get rid of this philosophy, get rid of the do-nothing approach to problems and put someone in there who is going to fight for you.

Barack Obama (via chuckmore, soupsoup, mikehudack)

I found a use for David’s old G4 tower: flattening some thick paper that was curled by the laser printer!

I suspect what sparked the panic is that the Seinfeld ads were too good, too accurate at capturing just what it is that Microsoft, as a company and brand, stands for: nothing.

Daring Fireball: There’s Nothing There

Re: At least Wii Fit is good.

Thanks to everyone who responded to my request for modern party-gaming suggestions. I’m about to leave town with all of this stuff for the Great Pre-Wedding Week of Errands. Here’s what I ended up with:

I’m bringing the 360 instead of the Wii. I’ll have 4 wireless controllers with 4 rechargeable battery packs, one double-charger, one charging cable, all of those little two-AA battery clips, and a pack of cheap IKEA batteries. (I want to be prepared. You have no idea how little there is to do up there at night.)


Still want, but probably can’t get in time:

And if we’re all too tired or drunk to drive, fly, and shoot, I’ll make my best man play Braid and laugh my ass off as he gets frustrated.

Overall, this is much better than the Wii version would have been:

I’m happy with my decision. And it forced me to actually investigate the 360’s game library for the first time since buying it a few months ago for media center roles, Worms, and Guitar Hero.

Overall, I’ve been surprised by three things:


Great minds think alike.

No sooner had I hit “submit” was I notified someone else had updated. It was the great Marco. Choosing the same quote at the same time. Too bad there’s no timestamp. I imagine I was beaten by seconds.

Oh, there is:

I beat you by 126 seconds. :)


I just realized that my game list doesn’t actually include anything that supports 4-player split-screen racing. So I did some research with this helpful site (a searchable database of Xbox and Xbox 360 games’ multiplayer capabilities).

Here are all of the racing games that support 4 players on the same console.

The left column indicates which system it’s for (360 or original Xbox). Notice how many are dark squares (original Xbox) instead of light circles (360).

That’s right, there are only two known 360 games with 4-player racing — and one of them isn’t even out yet.

Maybe I’ll bring the Wii and Mario Kart too…

Here’s what my perfect racing game would be:

As far as I know, this doesn’t exist.

The computer as a burden

Tiff and I are going on a week-long cruise for our honeymoon in 9 days. People keep telling me, “It will be so nice to be completely offline, unreachable, and disconnected.” Then they relate a story about how they went on vacation or something and had no cellular reception and no computer, and it was awesome.

This seems to be a prevalent feeling. To most people, the computer is an annoying tool that they reluctantly use because their job requires it, and mobile phones are a way for their boss to reach them wherever they are, creating an expectation of constant availability for “working”.

I’ve never viewed my connected technology this way. Yes, computers and phones are a way for me to be connected to my work. But they’re also my play, my hobby, my leisure, my education, my exposure to society, and my enlightenment. I like this connection.

When I wake up, I use the computer. During my commute, I use the computer and the phone. My job is the computer. Before I go to sleep, I use the computer. On the weekends, I use the computer. When I’m waiting on line somewhere, I use the phone.

When I’m using the computer, I’m not just working. When I’m using the phone, I’m rarely talking or answering work emails. I’m having fun, I’m reading, and I’m learning. I love knowledge and information, and my ubiquitous connection to the rest of the world gives me an infinite supply.

Most people imagine their personal paradises as something like sipping drinks on a beach and doing nothing. To me, that would be hell. I’d rot into boredom and depression from mental atrophy.

I don’t even drink a lot because I don’t like my mind to have reduced capacity for very long. I get bored and want to go back to interesting things, but then I get frustrated if I’ve had more than about 2 drinks because I can’t concentrate on anything.

Too many people never use their brains after they’re done with schooling. They go into boring jobs doing boring things that never challenge them, then they go home and melt in front of the TV or mentally sedate themselves (from what?) in a bar. It’s a tragic waste of life.

To those people, “vacation” means a complete disconnection from the world and further mental sedation.

To me, “vacation” means having fun and experiencing new things or places without the burden of a schedule or much responsibility. I can even be productive, working on new ideas or crossing long-standing to-dos off the list. This often requires a computer, but that’s what I want — that can enable my vacation. And a week of this is all I ever want before getting bored and wanting to go back to work.

It’s a beautiful day in Larchmont

Tiff’s adventures in making cupcakes. A lot of cupcakes.

(by lfarm)

Google is terrible at making interfaces, HTC is terrible at making sleek and high-quality hardware, and T-Mobile is terrible at everything.

Why does anyone think their collaboration will result in anything great?

Getting married, brb