Linked List: March 2006

‘Thank You for Smoking’ Opening Main Titles 

Shadowplay Studio has posted the opening credits and title sequence for Thank You for Smoking, and they’re a real treat: wonderful typography and motion graphics.

Apple, Bose, Dell Tops in Consumer Electronics Brand Trust 

Microsoft scored shockingly poorly.

Are Software Patents Evil? 

New essay from Paul Graham:

In other words, no one will sue you for patent infringement till you have money, and once you have money, people will sue you whether they have grounds to or not. So I advise fatalism. Don’t waste your time worrying about patent infringement. You’re probably violating a patent every time you tie your shoelaces. At the start, at least, just worry about making something great and getting lots of users. If you grow to the point where anyone considers you worth attacking, you’re doing well.

New Logo Design for the National Gazette 

Cameron Moll teaming up with Jason Santa Maria? Man, that’s like the Justice League for web designers.

Facebook Turned Down $750M Offer? 

All this Facebook and MySpace stuff makes me feel old — I’ve never actually used either one of these sites. Declaration of ignorance out of the way, I say that if they really turned down $750 million for what by all accounts is nothing more than a hook-up site for college students, they’re nuts. See also: John Battelle

Boutin on Web 2.0 

Nice essay from Paul Boutin on the “Web 2.0” craze.

Crackle in Your Face 

Great 1964 commercial for Kellogg’s Rice Krispies featuring a rocking jingle recorded by (and, I presume, written by) The Rolling Stones. This is better than any new commercial from Kellogg’s in decades. (Via Goldenfiddle.)

Dave Pell: A Challenge to Bloggers Everywhere 

Pure gold from Dave Pell:

From this day forth, any blogger who is writing an entry for public consumption must either get the facts right or provide some analysis of those facts that is accurate, logical or at least makes a little sense.

Let me make this clear. I am not suggesting that a blogger do both of these things.

SpamSieve 2.4.3 

Another small update to Michael Tsai’s amazing spam detector. My favorite new feature is one that I requested:

Growl notifications from people in the address book now include the “To” address for mailing list messages. This makes it easier to decide whether to ignore the notification.

Apple Provides Volume Limit Setting for iPod 

Apparently in response to complaints and lawsuits such as this one. (Via Erik Barzeski.)

DragThing 5.6.4 

Bug fixes.

Jon Rentzsch: ADC Core Data Video Tutorial 

Jon “Wolf” Rentzsch’s extensive notes and commentary regarding his ADC QuickTime video tutorial on Core Data.

Hex Fiend 

Brand new “fast and clever free hex editor” from Ridiculous Fish author and AppKit engineer Peter Ammon. At least one bit of cleverness is that it doesn’t keep files open in memory, so you can use it to display humongous files. (Via Jesper via AIM.)

Bernard Lang Reports on the Proposed French DRM Law 

Best explanation of the proposed French DRM law that I’ve seen. (Via Ramanan Sivaranjan via email.)

Dan Fost ‘Responds’ 

San Francisco Chronicle writer Dan Fost responds in a weblog post to criticism (including mine) of his asinine “[Stubborn Apple at Risk of Making the Same Mistake Twice][1]” article. He’s trying to pull the old “every time you criticize Apple, no matter how warranted the criticism, Apple fanatics jump down your throat” trick. I have no doubt that this can and does happen; the problem here, and in so many other cases, is that his criticism wasn’t the least bit justified.

So he doesn’t actually respond to even a single point of criticism about his almost completely shoddy article.

Interarchy 8.0 

Major upgrade to my favorite file transfer client. New features include a single window (visually reminiscent of Automator) for initiating any sort of new connection, WebDAV support, a “dry run” mode for mirroring so you can preview mirror actions before they’re performed, Automator actions, permission and date preservation for SFTP transfers, and much more. And it’s a universal binary, for those of you in the bright new little endian future.

$39 for a new license and just $19 to upgrade. I’ve been beta-testing Interarchy 8 for weeks, and it’s a very nice upgrade from Interarchy 7, which I named one of my apps of the year for 2004.

Avie Tevanian Leaving Apple 

Alan Saracevic posting at SFGate.com:

Avadis “Avie” Tevanian, Apple Computer’s Chief Technology Officer, is leaving the firm to “pursue other interests,” the company confirmed Monday.

Actually, his title was “chief software technology officer”, and from everything I’ve heard, he hasn’t really been much involved with Apple’s software since he took that position almost three years ago. Still, without question, Tevanian has been hugely influential in the development and design of Mac OS X.

An Event Apart Chicago 

Zeldman:

Join Eric Meyer, Jason Santa Maria, Jim Coudal and Zeldman in the windy city for a mind-blowing day of insights into design, development, and how to stay happy running a creative business.

The Raisin Has Ruined the Oatmeal Cookie 

It’s like Dan Cederholm read my mind on this one.

Chax 1.4 

Update to Kent Sutherland’s donationware input manager hack for iChat. Chax adds a bunch of nice features to iChat, but the new one that caught my attention and got me to actually try it is tabbed chats. I’ve been running the 1.4 betas for a couple of days without problems. While the tabbed chats implementation clearly feels like the hack that it is, it works well enough and doesn’t seem to cause any problems.

DHH: It’s a Great Time to Start a Business 

Flickr co-creator Caterina Fake garnered a lot of attention last week for writing that now is a bad time to start a new company, because (a) there’s a lot of VC competition out there, and (b) it’s hard to hire good people in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley.

David Heinemeier Hansson responds that not only is not a bad time to start a company, it’s a great time to start a company, because you don’t need any VC money at all, and if you and your co-founders are smart and talented, you don’t need to hire anyone either.

Amazon S3 Has BitTorrent Support 

For several reasons, I think Amazon might be more of an arch-rival to Google than either Microsoft or Yahoo. Now I have another reason.

Shaking Up Tech Publishing 

David Heinemeier Hansson, on the deals authors get from the traditional tech book publishing industry:

It seems that the industry standard is something akin to 10% of the profits (which easily take 4-5-6 months to arrive), being forced to write in Word, and finally a production cycle that’s at least a good 3 months from final book to delivery. That’s horrible!

And what do you get in return? Usually not all that much. There’s rarely a big marketing push to be had and you’re expected to do lots of the editing yourself. So you get some editing, a cover/layout, and the distribution done for you. Is that worth 90% of the profits and the torture of writing a book in Word and then bouncing versioned documents back and forth?

My back-of-the-envelope math says that the guys at 37signals have already made ten times more money from their second book, which they self-published as a PDF, than they did from their first book, which they published traditionally through New Riders.

Update: There’s no way to link to individual comments on Hansson’s weblog, but be sure to check out the lengthy comment from Tim O’Reilly.

POS Mac Mini Knock-Offs 

Not that much cheaper than the real thing.

Scoble: ‘60 Percent Rewrite of Windows Vista’ Is Bullshit 

I can’t believe anyone believed this; if Microsoft needed to rewrite 60 percent of the code before shipping Vista, it wouldn’t ship for another decade.

Nintendo Revolution to Emulate Sega Genesis 

I could so kick your ass at John Madden Football ’93 for Genesis.

MacBook Pro Noise Update 

Daniel Jalkut with the latest on the annoying noises produced by some (many? most?) MacBook Pros, and the current known workarounds.

Setting Up the Network Domain 

Great howto from Daniel Jalkut explaining how to set up a network domain — a network-mountable Library folder sharable by all the Macs on your LAN.

Living Photoshop: Macintosh and the Intel Switch 

Adobe Photoshop engineer Scott Byer on why Photoshop won’t run natively on Intel-based Macs until the next major update. And even if you don’t read the entire comment thread (it’s quite long and most, unsurprisingly, are rubbish), be sure to scroll down and read the one from “Apple Engineer”.

Five Years of Mac OS X 

John Siracusa marking Mac OS X’s fifth birthday (10.0 shipped five years ago today):

A side-by-side test-drive of Mac OS X 10.0 and 10.4 is shocking. The eternal debate is whether this gap exists because 10.4 is so good, or because 10.0 was so, so bad. That said, Apple’s ability to plan and execute its OS strategy is not open for debate. In five short years, Apple has essentially created an entirely new platform. Oh, I know, it’s really just the foundation of NeXT combined with the wreckage of classic Mac OS, but I think that makes it even more impressive. Two failing, marginalized platforms have combined to become the platform for the alpha geeks in the new century.

Microsoft Vista: Not ‘People Ready’ 

Forbes columnist Daniel Lyons was not amused by Microsoft’s recent press event, held just a few days before their announcement that the Vista ship date had slipped yet again:

Even more ironic is that Microsoft has ginned up a new slogan, “People Ready”, which apparently is meant to describe its software, or maybe it describes companies that use its software, or whatever. Who knows? It’s one of those phrases that means anything, and so means nothing. Who makes this stuff up? Do they actually pay this person? And is Microsoft just figuring out now that its programs are used by — gasp — people?

(Via John Siracusa via AIM.)

Remember back in September when Quark unveiled their new brand identity and logo, and the logo was widely panned as being nearly identical to that of the Scottish Art Council? Well, six months later and Quark now has another new logo. Rip-off or no, I like the one from September better; this one strikes me as way too trendy. (Via Design Observer.)

Why Google Finance Makes Jeremy Zawodny Sad 

Jeremy Zawodny:

It makes me sad because virtually all of the new/innovative/cool features in Google Finance are things we talked about YEARS ago. Many of them I’d lobbied for repeatedly. Some were even prototyped.

So true: Google feeds upon the complacency of their competitors.

Le Blog de Jean-Louis Gassée 

Boy, do I wish I could read French.

Xscope 1.5 

Nice update to Artis and The Iconfactory’s excellent screen measurement and inspection utility. Now a universal binary, and includes a bunch of convenient little UI tweaks. Highly recommended.

Jigsaw Is a Really, Really Bad Idea 

Mike Arrington on Jigsaw, a site that resells detailed personal contact information for over 2.5 million people:

[…] Jigsaw simply pays people to upload other people’s contact information. Users are paid $1 for every contact they upload, and some users have uploaded information on tens of thousands of people.

And:

There appears to be no way to remove your own contact information from Jigsaw once someone has entered it into their database.

What a bunch of scumbags.

Backing Up Flickr Photos With Amazon S3 

25 lines of Python code to backup your Flickr account to Amazon’s new pay-per-GB S3 online storage system. Matt Croydon writes:

After uploading 160 or so photos to Amazon, I owe them about a penny.

(Via Andy Baio.)

Dell to Buy Alienware 

Eric Bangeman:

The rumors are true: a week after denying rumors that a deal was in the works, Dell purchased the privately held Alienware for an undisclosed amount.

The Morning News Joins The Deck 

I’ve enjoyed TMN’s design and writing for years.

Apple Comes Out Against French Copyright Law 

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris says the law would increase piracy, presumably because the law would require it to be possible loss-lessly translate DRM-protected media into other (non-DRM protected) formats.

I still haven’t found a good technical explanation of just what this law would mandate, and I’m starting to get the feeling that it’s because it doesn’t really mandate anything specific, but rather just broad untenable precepts that aren’t feasible without abandoning DRM completely.

Steve Jobs Sells Nearly Half His Apple Stock? 

I’m no expert on how to read SEC filings, but this one from Steve Jobs looks to me like he’s declaring his intention to sell 4,573,553 of his 10,000,004 shares of Apple. At $64.66 a share, that’s more than $295 million. (Via Dean Allen.)

Update: This poster on Yahoo’s finance forum argues that this isn’t a stock sale, per se, but rather that Jobs is surrendering these shares back to Apple for tax purposes. Second Update: More or less, Jobs just had 10 million shares vest, and he sold just enough of them to the pay the taxes on all of them. If he hadn’t sold any, he’d have had to pay about $300 million in taxes out of his pocket. (Thanks to Matt Deatherage’s succinct explanation on the MDJ-Talk list.)

Windows Vista Delayed Until January 2007 

What’s another month or two at this point? It was originally slated to ship in 2004, right?

Poor Pickers Proliferate 

John Siracusa on the Dashboard widget dock.

CNet Interview With Bud Tribble on Apple’s Security Updates 

CNet’s headline is somewhat slanted: “Tribble on Apple’s Security Troubles”. Not sure if they’re just trying to be cute with the “Tribble/trouble” alliteration, or if they’re just trying to throw fuel on the fire. I think by any objective standard, Apple has surprising few security “troubles”.

MoRU 

$10 advanced Spotlight search utility. Looks intriguing.

Delicious Finally Supports Private Bookmarks 

It’s a beta feature that you have to turn on in the Settings panel. (Via Andy Baio.)

Google Finance 

Very nice stock info app from Google. Similar to how you can use click-and-drag to scroll around Google Maps, you can use click-and-drag to scroll their stock charts. (Their charts are done in Flash, not Ajax, so technically it’s quite different, but the effect is similar.)

The Sun Doesn’t Shine on Me 

Joyent CTO Jason Hoffman on the problems he’s had trying to buy servers from Sun:

More than once though, the Sun people did suggest I just buy the servers off the web site. “OK,” I said, “and what credit card should I put that $220,000 order on?”. “You can put in multiple orders over a few days”, he suggested. “OK… thanks! I’ll try that,” I said while hanging up the phone.

Southwest Airlines: Ding for Mac 

Southwest has released a Mac version of Ding, their previously Windows-only app for delivering discount airfare notifications to your desktop. (Via Philip Michaels’s coverage at Macworld.)

Update: It’s a bizarre little app. It doesn’t even have an Edit menu, so, for example, you can’t use Cut, Copy, Paste or Undo while editing the text fields.

Bizarre Spat Between Engadget and DAPreview 

Engadgets links to DAPreview story on some new piece of junk gadget, then soon afterwards changes the link and re-crops the photo to remove any credit to DAPreview as the original source for the info and picture. Engadget has since restored the original crop of the photo and added a rather perplexing apology from Engadget managing editor Ryan Block.

Microsoft Confirms It Originated iPod Box Parody Video 

Ends up that “What If Microsoft Designed the iPod Packaging?” video from last month was created by a marketing team at Microsoft. Robert Scoble confirmed this in a comment on his weblog at the end of February, but it’s suddenly news again, and judging from my email, most Daring Fireball readers weren’t yet aware of this.

Microsoft Office Update Adds Spotlight and Sync Services Integration 

Jim Dalrymple:

Changes in the Office update will bring Mac users functionality that they have been requesting for some time. Entourage now includes support for Sync Services, which enables customers to sync calendar events, contacts and tasks with handheld devices and other applications that support Apple’s Sync Services.

Scripts - Fraser Speirs Wiki 

Growing collection of useful scripts by Frasier Speirs. His “Add front Safari tab to Yojimbo” looks like a winner to me.

NetNewsWire 2.1: Sorting by Attention 

Not sure I’m going to use this, but it’s a neat idea. Could be really useful for NNW users subscribed to a ton of feeds.

Typographic History at a Glance 

Typebox’s wonderful overview of typographic history from the 1400s through 1800. (Via Jim Coudal.)

OnMac.Net: How to Install Windows XP on an Intel-Based Mac 

I suspect I’m going to find it more than a little disturbing the first time I encounter a Mac running Windows.

Starting With 10.4.3, Disk Utility Can Verify Your Startup Disk 

Somehow I missed this until now:

With Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later, Disk Utility can verify your computer’s startup disk (volume) without requiring you to start up from another volume. This feature is called “Live Verification.” If Disk Utility discovers any issues that require a repair, you will need to start up from your Mac OS X Tiger DVD or CD and use Disk Utility on that disc to make repairs. (You can’t repair your startup volume while your computer is started up from it.)

Rands In Repose: SXSW: Best of Show 

SXSW festival wrap-up from my friend and Austin Hilton roommate Rands. His “Top Three Themes Discussed at Bars” pretty much matches the list I’d have written, although I guess that’s not surprising considering we were at the same places.

Updated MacBook Pro Xcode Build Timings 

Intel Macs are fast, and they’re a lot faster when they have enough RAM.

France Weighs Forcing iPods to Play Other Than iTunes 

Thomas Crampton reporting for The New York Times:

“My gut feeling is that Apple will simply pull out of France if these amendments get through,” Mr. Arber said. “Weighed against breaking their business model for all markets, it doesn’t make sense for Apple to continue operating with the iPod and iTunes in France.”

The bullshit aspect of this is that the iPod does play music from other stores — namely, any store that sells CDs. They just don’t license Windows Media DRM from Microsoft, so they can’t and won’t play music from Windows Media-based online stores.

SXSW to MPAA: STFU 

Derek Powazek:

And that’s really the problem, isn’t it? There are these industries of middlemen — RIAA, MPAA — that claim to “protect artists” but what they’re really protecting is themselves. Artists (and I include myself in that word) need to rise up and tell these people to go get stuffed. We can decide when a mashup is perfectly fine with us. We can decide to embrace file traders to build awareness of our work. We don’t need you anymore. You’re just holding us back.

Entrepreneurial Proverbs 

Great startup advice from Marc Hedlund.

Cocoa Text System 

Jacob Rus’s extensive and highly technical overview of the Cocoa text system, with an emphasis on customizing its key bindings and extending it via input managers.

Linotype FontExplorer X 1.0 

Linotype’s excellent free font manager is now out of beta.

Rich Siegel: MacBook Pro First Impressions 

Rich Siegel is using and liking a MacBook Pro loaner while his PowerBook is out for repairs.

Markdown Wiki 

Good list of the various implementations.

Basketball Prank 

Bruce Schneier on a hilarious basketball prank:

Victoria was a hoax UCLA co-ed, created by Cal’s Rally Committee. For the previous week, “she” had been chatting with Gabe Pruitt, USC’s starting guard, over AOL Instant Messenger. It got serious. Pruitt and several of his teammates made plans to go to Westwood after the game so that they could party with Victoria and her friends.

On Saturday, at the game, when Pruitt was introduced in the starting lineup, the chants began: “Victoria, Victoria.” One of the fans held up a sign with her phone number.

Amazon S3: Simple Storage Service 

New web service from Amazon: low-cost back-end storage for any “objects” ranging in size from a single byte to 5 GB. This is a web service for developers, not a web app (like Strongspace) with an interface for users, but this is going to be an appealing option for web app developers to use as a storage back end. (Via TechCrunch.)  

PSMTabBarControl 

Open source (BSD-licensed) Safari-style tabs for Cocoa by John Pannell. Looks perfect and supports a bunch of cool features like drag-reordering (attention Safari developers) and Transmit-style tabs for non-metal apps.

Goofy Calculator Bug 

I had no idea because I use PCalc.

Omni Software Update Statistics 

Omni has rejiggered and improved their online display of statistics gathered from their software update mechanism. Be sure to check out the CPU type chart — among Omni’s customers, 11 percent are already on Intel-based Macs, and the slope of the graph is steep. (Via Rogue Amoeba.)

Audio Hijack Pro 2.6.6 

Bug fixes and universal binary support.

Zeldman on SXSW 

Jeffrey Zeldman:

Alice, asleep at her solitaire table, dreamed the cards had come to life. A similar surrealism pervades SXSW, where thousands of your favorite websites become friendly, noisy flesh.

Yes indeed.

Dipshit of the Week: Paul Thurrott 

Ends up, surprise surprise, that Windows Vista probably won’t boot the Intel-based Macs. Paul Thurrott now apparently wants to sell his new iMac — which, of course, Apple has explicitly stated would never support Windows.

Google in 20 Years 

Where are my fucking keys?

The Non-Design of Google’s Software 

Me, writing at Joyeur, asking why Google’s software isn’t better looking.

More From Cabel Sasser on the Nintendo DS Lite 

These video segments are fucking sasser-ific.

What’s the Secret to Your Success? 

Michael Hyatt, President and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers:

My basic rule is this: respond immediately unless there is a good reason to wait.

(Via Dan Benjamin.)

Almost iPod, but in the End a Samsung 

David Pogue, reviewing Samsung’s new iPod Nano rival:

In fact, at least six factors make the iPod such a hit: cool-looking hardware; a fun-to-use, variable-speed scroll wheel; an ultrasimple software menu; effortless song synchronization with Mac or Windows; seamless, rock-solid integration with an online music store (iTunes); and a universe of accessories. Mess up any aspect of the formula, and your iPod killer is doomed to market-share crumbs.

Microsoft Excel 12 

Microsoft’s David Gainer shows screenshots of Excel 12 from the upcoming Office 2007, including an alternate dark gray theme. I just don’t get the thinking behind abandoning the menu bar. These Office 2007 apps are some of the most un-Mac-like GUI apps I’ve ever seen. You might say, “Well, of course they aren’t Mac-like, they’re for Windows”, but my point is that the gestalt of Windows and Mac OS X UI design are diverging rather than converging.

On the other hand, Paul Thurrott says that Vista’s Photo Gallery and Calendar apps are veritable rip-offs of iPhoto and iCal.

Zeldman Switches to WordPress 

Up until now, he’d been hand-coding Zeldman.com, including the RSS feed.

Office 2007 UI 

Screenshots of the final UI appearance for Office 2007. Nowhere near as ugly as the brushed-metal-ish theme from earlier betas. This whole “ribbon” paradigm strikes me as little more than a way for them to cram more tiny, inscrutable toolbar icons into these apps than ever before. It just seems so distracting.

Yojimbo 1.1 

Nice update to Bare Bones Software’s new organizer. Additions include basic AppleScript support for creating new items (which in turn should make it much easier to migrate from other organizer tools), an iTunes-style shortcut arrow for opening bookmarks from the list view, an even more modernized Tiger-style UI appearance, and much more.

Google Buys Writely 

Fits right in, since it’s never been out of “beta”.

SuperDuper 2.1 

Universal binary update to Shirt Pocket Software’s outstanding disk-cloning and backup utility. I can’t recommend SuperDuper highly enough.

ADC Documentation Updates 

Daniel Jalkut reports on a bunch of developer documentation updates from Apple.

Metamac Interview With Rich Siegel 

Covers topics ranging from BBEdit to Yojimbo to the indie Mac developer business.

Comments on Community 

Jeremy Keith:

Take Digg. It’s a nice way to find out what links people find interesting (a la del.icou.us) but the comments attached to each link are mostly a waste of space. The more popular the link, the more useless the comments. That’s revealing. There seems to be an inverse relationship between popularity and the usefulness of accompanying comments. Slashdot also testifies to this. I’m worried that as Newsvine grows in popularity, as it inevitably will, the comments will get even worse.

Screenshots of Upcoming Google Calendar 

Mike Arrington has the scoop.

DLO NanoTune 

Both an FM transmitter and receiver, but it looks to me like it’s an awful lot thicker than a naked Nano.

moo.fx — JavaScript Effects Library 

“Super lightweight JavaScript effects library” indeed — it weighs in at just 3 KB. (Via Bryan Bell.)

FlickrExport 1.3.2 

Universal binary update to Frasier Speirs’s nifty Flickr plug-in for iPhoto.

SystemLoad 

Free utility from Marcel Bresink (author of TinkerTool) intended for detecting and identifying cooling or power supply problems on Macs. Remember John Siracusa’s post from the other day complaining about the chirping sounds emanating from PowerMac G5s? Well, SystemLoad can play a musical scale using these chirps. Cute.

Apple T-Shirts Circa 1983 

Love it.

Dot Mac Addresses Still Useful After Account Expires 

News to me: You can keep using your .Mac address for things like connecting to AIM in iChat and joining .Mac groups, even after your .Mac account expires. (Thanks to John Stansbury for the link.)

WWDC Pushed Back to August 7-11 

Gosh, I wonder if 10.5 is running behind schedule?

A Brief History of Metrowerks in the Late ’90s 

When Greg Bolsinga joined their engineering team, they passed the source code around StuffIt archives rather than use a genuine version control system. (Via John Siracusa via AIM.)

Adjust Visible Hours in iCal On-the-Fly Using Scroll Wheel 

Hold down the Option key while adjusting your scroll wheel to adjust the time scale in iCal. Works with two-finger scrolling on recent laptops, too. Nifty. (Via Tim Gaden.)

Screwy MacBook Pro Speakers, Revisited 

Chris Liscio follows up on the MacBook Pro’s unbalanced speakers.

Script Debugger 4.0.1 

Bug fix update to Late Night Software’s outstanding AppleScript editor.

Paparazzi 0.4.2 

Update to Nate Weaver’s nifty freeware utility for capturing screenshots of web pages.

Nintendo DS Lite First Look 

Cabel Sasser’s first-look review of the new (only available in Japan for now) Nintendo DS Lite. Be sure to watch the video — that’s the good stuff.

Josh Marshall Bought a Mac 

Josh Marshall:

So, my own predictions notwithstanding, this weekend, I took the plunge. I went out and bought my first Mac. […]

Within about a day though I felt like I’d gotten my sea legs. And so far I have to say that I’m really pleased with the decision.

SpamBack 

Matt Mullenweg reports that 98 percent of TrackBacks filtered through Akismet are spam. I got a ton of flak when I published “Take Your TrackBacks and Dangle” three years ago, but today, I think there are more people who see TrackBack as a hindrance than a help.

Mozilla Corporation Made $72M Last Year From Firefox 

According to Jason Calacanis, they get 80 percent of the ad revenue from queries fired from the integrated Google search box. I’ll bet Apple is making a nice chunk of change from Safari users.

Michael Tsai: Switching From Trac to OmniOutliner Pro 

I too use OmniOutliner for issue-tracking for my own software projects.

BBEdit vs. TextMate 

Francois Joseph de Kermadec:

I am often asked which application, of TextMate and BBEdit is “best”. My heart incontestably goes to BBEdit but, truth is, both are good. Here is why we should stop fighting over it.

Intel Mac Mini Scores Lower Unreal Tournament Framerate Than G4 Mini 

They’re not kidding when they say those integrated graphics cards aren’t meant for gaming.

BBEdit 8.2.5 

Bug fixes galore.

Apple Versus the Analog Monster 

John Siracusa:

The fundamental premise of this rant is a simple one. I will spell it out once again. Analog circuits in consumer electronics should not make audible noise under normal operating conditions. Period, end of story. No negotiation, no qualifications. I find this premise so obvious that it seems absurd to even write it. Either Apple does not agree with this premise, or it is willingly shipping incompetently designed analog circuits. I find both possibilities troubling, but the first is terrifying.

I think the most surprising thing about the fact that much of Apple’s current hardware line-up suffers from noise problems is that Steve Jobs is famously fanatical about this computer noise.

Netflix Freak 2.3 

Updated version of The Little App Factory’s Mac client for Netflix; now a universal binary.

New York Times: Cosby’s Lawyers See No Flattery in an Imitation 

New York Times article on the cease and desists orders Bill Cosby’s lawyers have used in an attempt to shut down mirrors of Justin Roiland’s hilarious “House of Cosbys”. Includes several quotes from Andy Baio, who is — correctly, in my opinion — refusing to comply with Cosby’s demand that he no longer host the episodes on the grounds that satire is protected speech.

TechTool Deluxe Disc Included With AppleCare Won’t Boot MacBook 

Tom Bridge’s new MacBook Pro died — it hangs continuously on the startup spinner screen — and so he tried booting from the TechTool Deluxe disc included in his AppleCare package, only to find it can’t boot Intel-based Macs. Personally, I’d be very uncomfortable switching to an Intel-based Mac before Alsoft comes out with an Intel-compatible version of DiskWarrior.

(Via Nat Irons via email.)

Litigation Cosby Threatens Waxy, You See! 

Andy Baio got a cease-and-desist from Bill Cosby’s lawyers for hosting archives of Justin Roiland’s “House of Cosbys”. Andy’s going to fight it:

But I’m not removing House of Cosbys. House of Cosbys is satire, and clearly falls under protected speech guidelines. I’m not taking it down, and their legal bullying isn’t going to work. They claim that hosting these videos “violates our client’s rights of publicity as well as other statutory and common laws prohibiting the misappropriation of an individual’s name, voice and likeness and unfair competition.” Sorry, but the First Amendment protects satire and parody of a public figure as free speech.

Apple Order Status Widget 

Nifty Dashboard widget by Mike Piontek.

reAnimator: Regular Expression FSA Visualizer 

Oliver Steele’s reAnimator is an absolutely incredible regular expression visualizer. I can’t imagine a better way to visualize how both DFA and NFA regular expression engines work.

Steele’s announcement on his weblog contains a ton of information about how it works.

Public Betas Are a Sham 

Me, writing at Joyeur:

You’re either ready to ship, or you’re not. Slapping a “beta” badge on your web site logo doesn’t cover for any actual flaws or shortcomings in your software. It’s this decade’s equivalent of the 90’s “under construction” GIF animation.

Screwy MacBook Pro Speakers? 

Chris Liscio (developer of FuzzMeasure):

Before I received my MacBook Pro, I heard complaints about the quality of the right speaker. Many reports indicated that the speaker sounded overdriven, and distorted. I didn’t notice this initially, until I heard some system sounds at full volume. The system startup sound didn’t sound like this either.

Well, seeing how I have measurement microphones and write acoustic measurement software, verifying a discrepancy was the logical next step. Simply place the measurement microphone about 1” away from each speaker and compare the result.

To my own ears, the right speaker was noticeably quieter, and lacked bass when compared to the left speaker. Also, it sounded horribly distored. I didn’t really need to analyze the graphs to notice that there was an issue, but I captured some anyway.

Brent Simmons: Where We Are With NetNewsWire 2.1 

Brent Simmons:

Another new thing: we’ve worked hard on performance. The goal is to make it seem like PowerPC users now have an Intel Mac, and Intel Mac users have, well, something even faster.

Macworld: Opening Up the Intel Mac Mini 

Jason Snell:

Our first Intel-based Mac Minis have arrived, straight from the Apple Store, and what was the first thing the cold, cruel alien intellects at Macworld did with one of these innocents? That’s right. We got out our putty knife, popped it open, and spilled its guts out faster than you could say “CSI!”

Jackass of the Day: Andre Da Costa 

Andre Da Costa, on the Sidebar feature in the latest Windows Vista beta release:

I personally believe a lot in the technology culture has influenced the development of the Sidebar over the years. You could probably describe it as a tiny bit of Yahoo’s Konfabulator, mixed in with the Sidebar Teams innovation. I can’t say I see any influence from Apple here since they basically sent spy’s [sic] to PDC 2003 and ripped it off into Dashboard in OS 10.4 Tiger.

Yes, that’s right. Dashboard is a rip-off of Windows Vista’s Sidebar. Those damn Apple spies.

(Via Tomi Siikaluoma via email.)

MacBook Pro Keyboard Backlighting Is Not Ludicrously Bright 

Daniel Jalkut, proud owner of a MacBook Pro, on the brightness of the keyboard backlighting:

Obviously, my photos might be deceptive, too. But all I can say is that dim version looks “pretty much” the same as it looks in my office. Maybe O’Grady got a defective keyboard? I would like to see a picture of this retina-burning “lowest setting.” If the dim version shown above is brighter than the maximum brightness of the G4 keyboard, I’d say it’s the G4 that was defective!

Also, reader Adam Polgar emailed to say that the new brighter keyboard backlighting was introduced with the higher-resolution PowerBooks last fall — meaning the backlighting on the MacBook Pros is probably the same as on my PowerBook (which I think is pretty darn good).

Penn and Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors 

Andy Baio on Penn and Teller’s unreleased “Smoke and Mirrors” video game from a decade ago:

The most infamous part was “Desert Bus,” a “VeriSimulator” in which you drive a bus across the straight Nevada desert for eight hours in real-time. Then you drive it home. Also, I’d read the bus veers to the right, so you can’t just leave the joypad propped up. The rumor was that if you won the game, you got one point.

David Pogue Reviews the MacBook Pro 

David Pogue:

You can see why Apple might be fond of its latest machine. The one-inch-thick MacBook is only 0.1 inch thinner than the PowerBook, but somehow feels worlds sleeker and more futuristic. Fit, finish and quality are spectacular.

The wireless antenna has been moved, so Wi-Fi reception is much improved. The guts, from the bus (circuitry) to the graphics card, have been substantially accelerated. Battery life is pretty much the same as on the PowerBooks: 3 to 3.5 hours.

The MacBook trumps its predecessor in five substantial areas. First, the gorgeous, 1,440-by-900-pixel screen is much whiter and brighter. It’s very, very bright. At half brightness, it matches the brightest setting of other laptops; at full brightness, it could illuminate a runway. It’s really bright.

Getting Real: The Book 

New self-published 171-page PDF book from the team at 37signals. Self-publishing is the future of long-form technical and design writing — this way the authors get to make some actual money instead of the publishers. (Most authors get about $2-3 in royalties from a $39 tech book published through a traditional publisher.)

MacBook Pros Have Stronger Keyboard Backlighting? 

Jason O’Grady reports that the keyboard backlighting on his MacBook Pro, at the lowest setting, is brighter than his 1.5 GHz PowerBook G4’s backlighting at the highest setting. If this isn’t an aberration, I see it as a step backward. I like the backlighting on my PowerBook G4, but I keep it set way low.

Security Update 2006-001 

Essential update with numerous significant security fixes, including fixes for the “Open safe files” Safari and Mail exploits reported recently. They also added “Download Validation” support to iChat, to defend against worms like Leap.A (a.k.a. “Oompa Loompa”) which attempt to propagate by sending copies of themselves as file transfers disguised as innocent documents. Fast work, Apple.

Javascript in Ten Minutes 

Nifty quick guide to JavaScript. Part of Yet Another JavaScript Reference (published at Aaron Swartz’s apparently-now-out-of-beta Infogami).

Women in Science 

Philip Greenspun:

This article explores this fourth possible explanation for the dearth of women in science: They found better jobs.

The Joy of Tech on Yesterday’s Apple Event 

Trauma ward.

Airbag: Fl.ower. 

Greg Storey worked with Happy Cog on the design of the new social bookmarking site Magnolia; he offers a behind-the-scenes look at the process they went through, showing and explaining preliminary mock-ups and designs.

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