Linked List: September 2005

FastScripts 2.2.5 

Daniel Jalkut’s souped-up system-wide scripts menu now supports BBEdit-style sorting conventions.

The Trend Spotter 

Steven Levy profiles Tim O’Reilly in Wired. (Via Cory Doctorow.)

No wonder it looks so good: Dan Cederholm is to blame.

‘Bride’ Stripped Bare 

Final Cut Pro, AppleScript, Python, XML, FileMaker Pro, Nikon lenses attached to Canon SLRs — all sorts of nerdy fun went into Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride”.

Mac Software Auction for Cancer Research 

Seth Dillingham is riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge, a 192-mile bike ride to raise money for cancer research. He’s arranged for some terrific bundles of Mac software (and other bundles for Windows users) that are being auctioned on eBay. The winning bidders get fully-licensed copies of great apps like BBEdit, NetNewsWire, and OmniOutliner, and the money goes to cancer research.

MIT to Launch $100 Laptop Prototype in November 

This is such a great idea; I hope they pull it off.

Apple Confirms Some Mac Minis Have Unlabeled Upgrades 

Chris Preimesberger, reporting for eWeek:

Apple Computer confirmed to eWEEK.com on Thursday that some Mac Minis currently being sold may indeed be faster and more powerful than labeled, with better processors and some improved peripheral features than is marked on the outside of the box.

Confirms Think Secret’s scoop.

Fetch 5.0.4 

Venerable S/FTP client gets compatibility improvements with obscure FTP servers, support for more text encodings, additional localizations, and a PDF version of the user manual. Update: A quick update fixes a few bugs in yesterday’s 5.0.3 release.

Meet Jack Torrance 

New trailer for Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Fucking brilliant. (Via Andy Baio.)

JotSpot Live 

“Live, group note-taking” — sort of a cross between SubEthaEdit and a wiki. (Via Andy Baio.)

Rollyo 

Neato new web app (in “beta”, of course) built on top of the Yahoo Search API. You create searchrolls, which are lists of up to 25 domain names, and then your search results are constrained to those domains. I created one called “Mac Nerdery” if you want to try it out.

Rollyo’s overall UI is quite good, including a distinctive look and feel, a very clear and well-organized layout, and a healthy sprinkling of Ajax. The sign-up process for creating a new account is painless.

Complements aside, I must say it’s unclear to me whether Rollyo provides any actual advantage over a regular Internet-wide search.

See also: Rael Dornfest’s write-up at O’Reilly Radar.

Avoiding Copland 2010 

John Siracusa:

So, here it is. Here’s what I think will quickly become Mac OS X’s most glaring technical limitation, and what could lead to another Copland-style disaster if Apple isn’t careful. Here’s what Mac OS X is missing today that will be very difficult to add later without causing big problems for existing software and developers:

A memory-managed language and API

Search and Rescue 

Tim O’Reilly has an op-ed in today’s New York Times regarding the Authors Guild suit against the Google Library Project. Perfect summary of why the Authors Guild, and any authors who supports their suit, are wrong.

Update: I’ve changed the link to point to O’Reilly’s hosted version of essay, which contains a bit of extra commentary and an extra paragraph that was cut because of space constraints. Sort of like a director’s cut for op-eds.

Apple.com Home Page Retrospective 

Collection of screenshots of Apple’s front page over the years. I wish so many of them weren’t cropped, though. (Via Infinite Loop.)

iPod Flaw ‘Limited’, Apple Confirms 

Macworld UK reports on Apple’s response to the Nano screen situation. The outright broken displays are apparently a “vendor quality problem in a small number of units”, and affected Nanos will be replaced under warranty. But the scratching issue is, according to Apple, hype:

The [Apple] representative confirmed the company to have received “very few” calls claiming such a problem, adding: “The iPod Nano is made with the same high-quality polycarbonate plastic as the fourth-generation iPod.

Updated Mac Minis Arriving 

Think Secret reports on the updated Mac Minis: 1.5 GHz processors, 5400-RPM hard drives, 64 MB of VRAM (up from 32), and Bluetooth 2.0 support lead the list of changes. Interestingly, they’re apparently appearing in boxes marked with the old specs; according to Think Secret:

Sources have informed Think Secret that Mac Mini box labels will continue to list the older specifications with no indication of whether the newer or older systems are contained within. The motivation behind this is to help clear current inventory without lowering prices. Essentially, customers are promised that the Mac Mini they purchase will have specifications “at least” equal to the label, but that their system may exceed those. Customers who purchase a new Mac Mini to find they ended up with the older configuration will not be able to return the system in the hopes of getting the newer configuration without paying a restocking fee.

Apple Will Replace Damaged iPod Nano Screens 

Paul Thurrott quotes from a (subscribers-only) Wall Street Journal article:

Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of world-wide product marketing, said a “vendor quality problem” caused cracking on a small number of iPod-nano screens, affecting “less than one-tenth of 1%” of the devices Apple has shipped. Mr. Schiller said Apple’s iPod-nano warranty will cover devices with cracked screens.

Cory Doctorow on the Authors Guild and Opt-In 

Cory Doctorow nails it:

In other words, the [Authors Guild] believes that Google shouldn’t be allowed to opt writers in to its Google Print program (which will make money for writers and sell more books), but they believe that they should be able to opt writers into their costly, suicidal lawsuit against Google, which, if they are victorious, will reduce sales and take money out of writers’ pockets.

What .Mac Lacks 

Khoi Vinh:

Raising the storage limit to a gigabyte, while laudable, is basically playing catch-up to where online Web storage stood a few years ago. And the other improvements, while not offensive, still don’t do what, in my estimation, should be done: turning .Mac into a fully-fledged Web 2.0 offering.

The quality of Apple’s web apps is well below the quality of their Mac software.

Off Panel Productions 

From the makers of OK/Cancel — the only web-based comic about UI design and usability — a publishing company dedicate to other niche comics. Exhibit A: Parry and Carney, a comic about paleobiology.

Mac OS X Viruses: Put Up or Shut Up 

Wil Shipley’s is quickly turning into one of my favorite weblogs:

All, right, I’m sick of people reporting that Mac OS X is ‘mostly’ virus-free. It is, as far has been proven, ENTIRELY virus-free. Macs are not magical, and one day there will be virus that infects them. However, I don’t think it’s happened yet, and I think it’s time we, the Mac community, started saying, “No, we don’t have any viruses.”

Seriously, if a reporter asked you, “Hey, do you have herpes?” and you replied, “Nope, I’ve been tested, no herpes, never,” and then they wrote an article with the headline, “Bob Smith: Mostly Herpes-Free,” you would, no doubt, flip (assuming your name was Bob Smith).

New Mac Minis Soon? 

Apple’s documentation regarding the version of Mac OS included with each model Macintosh indicates there’s a “Sept 2005” update to the Mac Mini that ships with Mac OS X 10.4.2 build 8D40; the current publicly-released build of 10.4.2 is 8C46.

Perl-XML Frequently Asked Questions 

Terrific overview on dealing with XML in Perl.

The Power of Default Values 

Jakob Nielsen:

How gullible are Web users? Sadly, the answer seems to be “very.”

Motorola CEO: ‘Screw the Nano’ 

Jim Dalrymple reporting for Macworld:

Motorola CEO Ed Zander had some harsh words for the nano in a recent interview.

“Screw the Nano,” said Zander. “What the hell does the Nano do? Who listens to 1,000 songs? People are going to want devices that do more than just play music, something that can be seen in many other countries with more advanced mobile phone networks and savvy users,” he said.

Wow, what a dope.

Unlockupd 

John Bafford:

Unlockupd works around a bug in lookupd, a system service which is required for proper operation of Mac OS X. If lookupd fails, the system quickly becomes unusable. Unlockupd periodically checks lookupd’s status and forces it to restart should it fail.

If you’re afflicted by the recently-publicized lookupd system-wide freezes, this should serve as a temporary fix until Apple truly fixes the bug. It’s easy to install, and easy to uninstall. (Via MDJ 2005.09.23.)

Wall Street Journal on Microsoft’s Windows Development Process 

Robert A. Guth, reporting for the Wall Street Journal:

The second man Mr. Allchin tapped was Amitabh Srivastava, now 49, a fellow purist among computer scientists. A newcomer to the Windows group, Mr. Srivastava had his team draw up a map of how Windows’ pieces fit together. It was 8 feet tall and 11 feet wide and looked like a haphazard train map with hundreds of tracks crisscrossing each other.

iPod Nano Commercial Spoof 

Impossibly heavy. (Watch the one with the adjusted lighting levels.)

The Curious Case of WordPress, Inc. 

Apparently, just because it was announced doesn’t mean it ever actually existed.

Bill Bumgarner on Cory Doctorow 

Cory Doctorow claims Apple has taken away rights to ITMS songs; Bill Bumgarner points out that he’s wrong. The handful of comments are worth reading, too.

Twinsparc’s HTML Stamps 

Great idea; don’t miss the update with versions for more apps.

Bronfman Fires Back at Apple 

Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. not only wants variable-priced songs on ITMS (and other online stores), but also seems to think they’re entitled to some of the profits from iPod sales:

“We are selling our songs through iPod, but we don’t have a share of iPod’s revenue,” he said. “We want to share in those revenue streams. We have to get out of the mindset that our content has promotional value only.

Which is a little nuts.

On Unit Testing 

Wil Shipley put out a weblog post pooh-poohing unit testing; Michael Tsai’s retort is just terrific. (The Wikipedia, as usual, has a good entry on “Unit Testing” if you need background info.) Gus Mueller’s explanation about how he uses unit testing with VoodooPad pretty much aptly describes how I use it while developing Markdown.

The Mike Matas Blog: OmniOutliner 3 Replacement Icons 

Mike Matas shits all over the icons for OmniOutliner 3. This is from back in February, but I just caught it via Jon Rentzsch. Fights about icons tend to be incredibly nasty and personal, and I’m not quite sure why.

WordPress.com 

TypePad-style paid hosting of WordPress weblogs.

The State of the Onion 9 

Perl creator Larry Wall:

You might say that Perl grew out of the Cold War. I’ve often told the story about how Perl was invented at a secret lab that was working on a secret NSA project, so I won’t repeat that here, since it’s no secret. Some of you have heard the part about my looking for a good name for Perl, and scanning through /usr/dict/words for every three- and four-letter word with positive connotations. Though offhand, I can’t explain how I missed seeing Ruby. So anyway, I ended up with “Pearl” instead.

But it’s a little known fact that one of the three-letter names I considered for quite a while was the word “spy.” […]

But wouldn’t “Spy” be a great name to give to a language whose purpose was pattern matching and reporting? Hmm. And spies are also called “agents of change.” “Practical extractions are one of our specialties.”

Instead of a warn operator, it’d have to be the warn off operator. Instead of having a die operator, we might have had the let die operator. Then we’d get Perl poetry, I mean, Spy poetry, with phrases like live or let die.

dellditty.com 

I don’t know how to even begin making fun of this.

System-Wide Freezes on 10.4.2? 

Brent Simmons points to reports on MacFixIt and Apple’s discussion forums showing that people are getting system-wide lock-ups after while using web browsers; anecdotal evidence seems to point in the direction of some bad interaction between lookupd and Apple’s most recent Java update. I haven’t seen any problems like this personally, but then again, I haven’t installed the latest Java update, either.

El Ballo 

New 2D platform game from Ambrosia.

Tim O’Reilly on the Authors Guild Suit Against Google 

Tim O’Reilly:

With opt out, the interests of the public, the authors, and the publishers are all protected. The public gets an amazing utility, the ability to find which books contain the desired information as easily as they can now find web content; readers, authors and publishers all get a windfall as search helps people find books that are currently completely ignored by both publishers and retailers. And if some forgotten gem gets discovered, and the copyright holder isn’t convinced that Google Print’s revelation of the book is enough reason to keep it in the index, and they want to monetize it in some other way, they can opt out! What more can you ask for?

Audio Hijack Pro 2.6 

Includes a new Schedule Helper app for running timers.

Google Print and the Authors Guild 

I’m totally on Google’s side on this; the Authors Guild has its collective head up its ass.

Curso de Photoshop 

Can’t resist linking to a Mac-related episode of Spamusement.

Microsoft Shuffles Leadership 

Steve Lohr, reporting for The New York Times:

Microsoft reshuffled its management team yesterday in an effort to make it more nimble as the company tries to lift its growth and compete with fast-moving rivals like Google.

Under the plan, seven business units will be collapsed into three divisions, each led by an executive who will carry the title of president.

Things have not been going well for Microsoft the last few years, but this is a sign that Gates and Ballmer recognize that. Gates is crazy-ass smart.

Joe Kissell on Backup 3.0 

Joe Kissell, author of Take Control of Mac OS X Backups, says Apple’s new Backup 3.0 might actually be useful:

Most importantly, Backup now performs additive incremental archives, which means that (a) it keeps old copies of files when they change, so that you can choose which one you want when it comes time to restore; and (b) it copies only new or changed files — not every single file — when performing a backup.

(Via Michael Tsai.)

Zeldman Gives Thumbs-Up to FontExplorer X 

Jeffrey Zeldman:

Which interface, FontExplorer X’s or Suitcase’s, works better? Which is more attractive? Toss a coin. Both interfaces are bone-simple to understand, and both look great — FontExplorer X looks like Suitcase morphed with iTunes. Both programs make it easy to create and manage collections, but FontExplorer X additionally lets you create smart collections, a la iTunes smart playlists; and FontExplorer X provides one-click shopping for Linotype fonts.

Zeldman gives a nice shout-out to Shaun Inman’s Mint, too.

Jobs Warns Against Raising Music Prices 

Astrid Wendlandt, reporting for Reuters:

“If [music industry executives] want to raise the prices, it means that they are getting greedy,” said Jobs, chief executive of Apple, at a news conference in Paris on Tuesday.

“If the price goes up, they (consumers) will go back to piracy and everybody loses,” he said.

Google Disallowing the World ‘Mac’ in AdSense Ads 

Michael Tsai:

Today Google informed me that I’m not allowed to use the word “Mac” in ad copy.

I’ve heard from a few other Mac developers who got the same message from Google this morning. This is nuts; if a Mac developer can’t use the word “Mac”, how can they possibly advertise with Google? What are they supposed to do, spell it “M*c”, like it’s a dirty word?

The big question is whether Apple is behind this. If so, why? If not, why is Google doing this?

Opera Goes Free 

Opera has released their web-browser free of ads and free of charge. They’re concentrating on revenue from searches initiated from the browser (e.g., I suppose, Amazon affiliate revenue). Here’s a Reuters story with more info.

.Mac Storage Bumped to 1 GB 

A welcome change, but overdue considering that Gmail has been offering at least 1 GB of storage for over a year.

JPEG2000: Cool but Slow 

Wil Shipley looked into using the JPEG2000 image format for (the currently in development) Delicious Library 2.0, but found it to be way too much slower than JPEG. He also praises the performance of Tiger’s new Core Graphics routines for creating thumbnails.

Tim Bray on Apple’s iWork XML Formats 

Tim Bray and an anonymous tipster shit all over Apple’s XML schemas for Pages and Keynote.

iPod Shuffle Quick Reference Card 

Online version of the cheat sheet that Apple ships with each Shuffle.

Typetester 

Marko Dugonjić’s web-based screen-type preview app. See also: Dugonjić’s introduction on his weblog.

The Odeo Player Dashboard Widget 

Odeo just released a useful-looking Dashboard widget for playing podcasts. The comments, however, are mostly from Windows users asking for a Konfabulator version.

Web Kit Fixes in Safari 2.0.1 

Maciej Stachowiak:

Many of you have asked for the list of WebKit bugs fixed in Safari 2.0.1.

First the disclaimers: This list does not include any changes to Safari the app, only to the open source components (WebKit/WebCore/JavaScriptCore). Also, it only includes the changes made from the 10.4.2 software update to the Safari 2.0.1 update, not any earlier fixes. And finally, we don’t necessarily promise to do this for future updates, but we might.

Rentzsch: Pixel Imperfection 

Read this, and then imagine if someone went over the Windows UI with this fine a comb.

Cocoalicious 1.0b37 

Nifty update to Buzz Andersen’s open-source Mac client for del.icio.us. New features include favicon support and, thanks to its new delicious: URL protocol, much-needed support for posting new bookmarks via web browser bookmarklets.

‘rdar://’ URLs 

Jon Rentzsch explains why developers often refer to bugs in Mac OS X using rdar:// URLs.

Samson C01U USB Microphone Review 

Ric Ford’s review of an apparently very good inexpensive USB microphone.

Yahoo’s New Web Mail 

Dave Winer is beta-testing Yahoo’s new web mail. Looks pretty good in the screenshots, but, alas, it doesn’t yet work with Safari.

XML Nanny 

Todd Ditchendorf:

XML Nanny is a Free Mac OS X developer tool that provides an Aqua interface for checking XHTML and XML documents for Well-Formedness and Validity either locally or across the network.

Interview With Jonathan Ive 

I think it’s hard to overstate how important Ive is to Apple. (Via Coudal Partners.)

Meebo: Ajax IM 

Multi-protocol (AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo) instant messenger in a web app. I just tried it on AIM, and it works fine. (Via Om Malik.)

Christopher Breen Reviews the Motorola Rokr 

Doesn’t seem like a good music player; the slow user-interface sounds particularly maddening to me.

Camino 1.0a1 

Based on the Gecko 1.8 rendering engine. Camino is a damn good browser.

Rentzsch on Developers News at Microsoft’s PDC 

Jon Rentzsch on some interesting developer news from Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference: (a) type inferencing is coming to C# 3.0; and (b) Monad, Microsoft’s new command-line shell, is included in current beta builds of Vista.

iWork Programming Guide  

Developer documentation of the Pages and Keynote XML file formats. (Via Buzz Andersen.)

‘Prairie Ho Companion’ Thing Is About Trademark Protection? 

Matt Deatherage says Garrison Keillor isn’t humorless, he’s just protecting his trademark:

The First Amendment does not give you the right to take anyone else’s intellectual property, remove two letters, and profit from it — especially when the owner of the intellectual property is already selling similar goods in a similar fashion, any more than Apple Computer would sit idly while someone sold “Crapple eyePod” players or accessories. People who work for 30 years to build a name and follow the law to protect it are not “humorless” because some asshole with a 30-second idea can’t make money off it without permission.

Pierre Igot on the iTunes Source List 

Pierre Igot’s astute criticism of the iTunes 5 source list. To me, the worst aspect is this one, from an aside:

(On a side note, deleting playlists and folders in iTunes cannot be undone, which is especially problematic since there is no warning dialog before iTunes deletes them. This is really an unacceptable limitation in 2005.)

iPod Nano Supports FireWire for Charging, but Not Synching 

From Glenn Fleishman’s iPod Nano review:

Of less importance is the iPod Nano’s reliance on USB: it cannot be synced via FireWire, although it can be charged via FireWire. With USB 2.0 on all Mac models and all modern PCs, this is but a footnote. (Older Mac owners with USB 1.1 gripe because of the dramatically lower transfer speed; however, for 2 or 4 GB of storage, it’s a bit less of an issue than with a full-scale iPod.)

I noticed on the day the Nano was announced that FireWire wasn’t supported, but I didn’t know until now that it still worked for charging. Anyone know the reason for this? My guess is that it’s about saving space internally; that FireWire data support would entail additional hardware inside the case, but that accepting a charge over FireWire works “for free” with the Dock Connector port.

Linotype FontExplorer X 

This is clever. Linotype, one of the world’s leading typeface foundries, has released a professional font management utility for Mac OS X — and it’s free. They’re going to make money by selling their own fonts through the app, iTunes-style. In fact, judging by the screenshots, the app itself looks rather iTunes-like. However, it’s iTunes 4.9 that it looks like, which means it already looks dated.

Jason Santa Maria speculates that they could open this up to selling fonts from other foundries as well. Update: Be sure to read through the comments on Santa Maria’s post; lots of details and first impressions from people who are trying it out. Looks like a winner. If you haven’t tried using professional font managers on Mac OS X, you don’t know how important FontExplorer might be.

Hands-On With Toast 7 

Peter Cohen reviews Toast 7 for Macworld.

Jared — The Butcher of Song 

One of the all-time great useless Mac apps, now in convenient widget format. (Via Nat Irons.)

DashboardWidgets.com’s Moronic Policy on P2P Widgets 

Neither Apple nor DashboardWidgets.com will list any widgets related to P2P software. I can understand Apple’s perspective, but it baffles me why an indie site like DashboardWidgets.com would have a policy like this. They’ll happily list useless do-nothing decorative widgets, but won’t list useful widgets that can possibly be used for copying bits that some people don’t want copied.

Microsoft Codename Max 

Something kind of photo-sharing software from Microsoft — I think it’s more or less a cross between iPhoto and Flickr. Nice-looking software and web site — by far the best-looking section on Microsoft.com.

TiVo 7.2 OS Adds Content Protection, Blocks Transfers, and Auto-Deletes Some Shows 

Matt Haughey:

For the last 7 years, you’ve been able to record and playback TiVo’d shows and save them as long as you wanted or had space. Now, outsiders are telling your TiVo when to delete themselves whether you like it or not.

TiVo is starting to screw over their loyal customer base so they can bend over and take it from the entertainment industry.

Screenshots of Office 12 for Windows 

Bizarre mishmash of ripped-off Mac OS X styles: half Brushed Metal, half Aqua, totally ugly. Some of the ugliest icons I’ve ever seen, too; check out the binoculars in the Word toolbar.

Garrison Keillor Has No Sense of Humor 

Garrison Keillor sicced his lawyers on a weblog selling t-shirts that read “A Prairie Ho Companion”.

Yahoo Turns Flickr Sign-Up Process Into Crap 

David Heinemeier Hansson on the sign-up process for Flickr, before and after the Yahoo acquisition.

‘Apple: The Next Generation’ Roundtable, With Yours Truly 

SiliconValley.com is hosting a roundtable discussion this week about Apple’s future. I’m one of the panelists; others include Brent Simmons, Tim Bray, and Andy Hertzfeld. It’s a web-based forum; we’ll be posting there throughout the week.

Time Magazine on the Nano 

By Lev Grossman:

Jobs was proposing to fix something that decidedly was not broken. “Not very many companies are bold enough to shoot their best-selling product at the peak of its popularity,” Gartner analyst Van Baker says. “That’s what Apple just did.” And it did that while staring right down the barrels of the holiday retail season.

Quark Reloaded 

Speak Up on the new Quark logo. I agree: It may not be original, but it’s not a rip-off.

eBay to Buy Skype for $2.6 Billion 

Skype is good, but $2.6 billion? That’s a lot of money.

FatBits: John Siracusa’s Journal 

John Siracusa is, finally, writing a weblog for Ars Technica.

So why is FatBits the title of my blog? Aside from the obvious nostalgia trip and old school Mac cred, I think it’s good fit for my personality, and my writing style here at Ars. I spent a lot of time in FatBits as a kid. I am (and was, even at ten years old) the kind of person who’s not satisfied until every single pixel is just so.

Terry Teague, Dead at 50 

Long-time Apple employee Terry Teague died at home. I knew him as the author of the Mac port of Tidy, including the old BBTidy plug-in for BBEdit.

What Does It Take to Destroy a Nano? 

Jacqui Cheng and Clint Ecker abuse an iPod Nano for their Ars Technica review. Seems pretty damn sturdy.

Firefox 1.5 Developer Highlights  

Simon Willison on what’s new in Firefox 1.5. Lots of interesting stuff.

Quark’s New Brand 

New logo and identity for Quark. I like the logo — but they wouldn’t need to do this if they weren’t so despised by so many people in their core audience. (Via Khoi Vinh, who likes the logo, too.)

Update: Andrew Macintosh emailed to point out that the new Quark logo is remarkably similar to the Scottish Arts Council’s. And Again: Jason Santa Maria emailed to point out that it’s similar to the Sterling Brands logo as well.

Polished Metal Windows in 30 Minutes or Your Money Back 

Rogue Amoeba’s Quentin Carnicelli shares example code to mimic iTunes 5’s new window theme. He calls the as-yet-unnamed-by-Apple theme “polished metal”, but I don’t think that’s quite right; it’s dark like Brushed Metal, but I don’t think there’s anything “metallic” about it.

iTunes 5: Press Command for Expanded Tooltips 

Rui Carmo has an animated GIF illustrating a new feature in iTunes 5: when you hold the Command key, you get expanded tooltips with additional information. (Update: Apparently it’s not new to iTunes 5, it’s just that neither Rui nor I had ever noticed it in previous versions.)

Pogue on the Rokr 

David Pogue in The Times:

And it’s certainly true that financial interests of the three collaborators — Apple, Motorola and Cingular — have hog-tied the Rokr in a lot of unnecessary ways. The phone would be so much better if it held more music, let you buy songs directly online and let you use songs as ring tones.

If you’re looking for an iPod phone, in other words, the Rokr isn’t it; it stands no chance of living up to the hyperventilating hype of the last few weeks. But as an iTunes phone — the only one on earth that lets you carry subsets of your Apple store-bought music on errands and other short missions — the Rokr is great-sounding, reasonably priced and a lot of fun.

Google Blog: Extras for your Mac Gmail Notifier 

Greg Miller on extending the Mac Gmail Notifier with AppleScript or Cocoa. He links to Jesper’s Gmail+Growl plug-in.

Firefox 1.5 Beta 1 

Drag-reorderable tabs are my favorite new feature — but, alas, you can’t drag them between windows.

Welch on iPod Developers 

John C. Welch:

But every one trying to crack the iPod’s dominance is missing a really important point: Third Party Hardware Developers. The iPod has scads of hardware developers cranking out toys at a furious pace, the other guys have none. The reason for it is pretty obvious if you think about it. Developing for the iPod is dead simple compared to the other folks.

Apple Job Opening for Sr. Web Developer 

Apple listing at Monster.com:

Have you become one with CSS? Does your typical website critique include View Source?

If you are an expert at developing high performance, standards-compliant interactive web pages using XHTML/CSS/JavaScript and have experience working with large-scale content management or e-commerce systems, we want to talk to you!

Michael Tsai’s iTunes 5 Round-Up 

Lots of good links, and a good take from Tsai himself.

He’s pretty much spot-on:

  1. Stripes are passé.

  2. Margins are bad.

  3. Brushed metal is yesterday’s news.

  4. The unified title-and-toolbar look is the new platinum.

  5. The two-tone glass thing is big. Big, I tell you. Big.

Hard-Coded 100-Song Limit on the Rokr 

Even if your 100 songs don’t use up the entire 512 MB of memory, you can’t add more songs. Whose idea was this?

Google Hires Vint Cerf 

The Washington Post reports:

Google Inc. has hired Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf to float more ideas and develop new products, adding another weapon to the online search engine leader’s rapidly growing arsenal of intellect.

See also: Cerf’s own announcement at Google Blog.

Mossberg Loves the Nano 

Walter S. Mossberg:

This latest iPod was publicly revealed yesterday at a razzle-dazzle marketing event orchestrated by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. But I have been testing a Nano for the past few days, and I am smitten. It’s not only beautiful and incredibly thin, but I found it exceeds Apple’s performance claims.

In fact, the nano has the best combination of beauty and functionality of any music player I’ve tested — including the iconic original white iPod. And it sounds great. I plan to buy one for myself this weekend, when it is due to reach stores in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Better Line-Height on Apple.com’s iPod Nano Pages 

Keen observation from Scott Stevenson. Cramped line-heights are one of my biggest personal peeves in web typography. In the print world, you often have to sacrifice line-height because paper is expensive, and/or because paper comes in fixed sized. Vertical pixels on web pages are free, however.

AppleScript Changes in iTunes 5.0 

Doug Adams looks at what’s new in iTunes 5.0.

QuickTime Stream of This Morning’s Apple Special Event 

Get your iPod fever here. (Via Jesper, via AIM.)

Mike Pinkerton Hired by Google 

After 8 years working for Netscape and AOL, Mike Pinkerton is leaving to work for Google, where he’ll be getting to paid to work on Firefox.

So now let me address the large elephant in the corner: what oh what does it mean for Camino now that Pink is going to work on Firefox? The answer: only good things. Remember that Google employees get 20% of their time to work on their own pet projects. While some of that time will hopefully be spent nurturing the growing Mac community within Google, a lot of that time will be directly spent on Camino. That’s right, I’m (indirectly) getting paid to keep working on it. That’s going to be a big help with the push for 1.0 coming up this Fall. In addition, just as Josh blogged not so many months ago, there is plenty of Mac-specific work that benefits all Gecko browsers, and now there’s one more Mac guy available to help out.

Google is hiring an awful lot of A-list engineers.

iPod Nano Is Thinner Than Shuffle 

iPod Shuffle: 3.3" x 0.98" x 0.33"
iPod Nano: 3.5" x 1.6" x 0.27"

It’s twice as heavy, though: .78 vs. 1.5 ounces.

Andy Hertzfeld Hired by Google 

Happened last month, but it’s news to me.

FoxTrot Personal Search for Mac 

CTM Development, the company behind PowerMail, has released a desktop search tool built on top of Spotlight and CTM’s own FoxTrot search technology. Even though it uses Spotlight, it doesn’t depend on it, so they can support 10.3 and 10.2. (Although I seriously question how many people still holding on to 10.2 are buying new software for it.) FoxTrot is available now in beta, and licenses are on sale for €19 (the price will go up to €29 at some point in the future).

Macworld: Apple Special Event Live Update 

Peter Cohen’s live coverage of the Apple Special Event is the best play-by-play I’ve seen.

Cringely’s NerdTV Launches 

Robert X. Cringely’s hour-long TV-for-nerds show debuts with an interview with Mac hero Andy Hertzfeld. Plus:

NerdTV is distributed under a Creative Commons license so viewers can legally share the shows with their friends and even edit their own versions.

FEMA to Mac, Linux Users: Drop Dead 

Boing Boing reports on the FEMA disaster assistance web site, which, unbelievably, only works with one browser: IE 6 for Windows.

Bray on Graham 

Tim Bray’s thoughtful critique of Paul Graham’s “Inequality and Risk”.

Weblogs Inc. Contract Exposed 

Wow, $4 per post. This explains why authors at Weblogs Inc. sites tend to post even when they obviously have nothing to post about. Hey, maybe with the new PayPal micropayments system, they could pay their authors on-the-fly.

PayPal Micropayments 

PayPal is now making it feasible to accept payments of $2 or less. Smart move on their part.

Mint: A Fresh Look at Your Site 

Shaun Inman’s web stats package, Mint, is now available for $30. Great-looking web site, too. (The demo has been temporarily knocked offline by the first-day crush of onlookers). (Update: Jason Perkins likes it.)

Cheat Sheet Roundup 

Links to over 30 developer cheat sheets.

Doug Bowman’s Photo Gallery Templates 

Doug Bowman’s Photo Gallery Templates for Movable Type are fantastic. Great design, tons of features, and complete documentation. Available free of charge, but he’s accepting donations.

Photon Now Open Source 

Photon, Daikini Software’s iPhoto plug-in that allows you to export photos to your weblog, has been released as open source freeware. (Via Doug Bowman.)

GoogleFellas 

Said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer of his friendly competitors at Google:

“Fucking Eric Schmidt is a fucking pussy. I’m going to fucking bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to fucking kill Google.”

So we get Scorsese to direct, and Joe Pesci to play Ballmer.

Gmail Notifier for Mac OS X 

You know how Google encourages its employees to spend 20 percent of their time working on their own personal projects? Google engineer Greg Miller built Gmail Notifier, a tiny Mac app that give you access to Gmail in your menu bar.

The app is small and nonintrusive, but hopefully still has all the features a Mac user would want. With it you can:

  • view messages without opening a browser
  • open Gmail in your browser without forcing you to log in again
  • make Gmail your default email program
  • even more…
Pre-Release Hype for Mint 

Mint, Shaun Inman’s new web stats app, is scheduled for release next week. Looks like a nice package. See also: Matt Thomas (whose site design is pretty nifty) and Jeff Croft.

Take Control of Customizing Microsoft Office 

New $10 ebook by Kirk McElhearn. Says TidBITS publisher Adam Engst:

Please also note that we are donating 10% of September’s proceeds from the sale of all ebooks, including this one, to the American Red Cross Hurricane 2005 Relief Fund.

The Funniest Grid You Ever Saw 

More from Khoi Vinh on the grid system behind the new layout for The Onion.

Donate to Hurricane Relief at ITMS 

Apple is hosting a donation site for the American Red Cross at the iTunes Music Store.

cssQuery 

Dean Edwards’s neat alternative to getElementsByTagName:

cssQuery() is a powerful cross-browser JavaScript function that enables querying of a DOM document using CSS selectors. All CSS1 and CSS2 selectors are allowed plus quite a few CSS3 selectors.

Google Studies Selling Print Ads to Online Clients 

I told you they were an advertising company.

Creative MP3 Players Shipped With Windows Virus 

eWeek:

Multimedia company Creative acknowledged that 3,700 of the company’s Zen Neeon MP3 players that shipped from a company factory in late July contain a Windows worm.

Wow — Creative shipped 3,700 Neeons?

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