Linked List: October 2006

Jack-o’-Lantern History and Folklore 

Good old Wikipedia.

It’s the Content, Not the Icons 

What is the deal with all those gaudy social bookmarking icons? Seriously — they suck. Same goes for textual “Like this article? Digg it!” links, by the way.

Google Acquires JotSpot 

Web 2.0 acquisition day, apparently.

User-Generated Content 

Snap!

Aaron Swartz is keeping a list of links about the Reddit-Condé Nast deal.

After Death, My Sweet: From an Idea by Kubrick, a New Film May Be Born 

A movie based on a lost manuscript titled “Lunatic at Large”, commissioned from writer Jim Thompson by Stanley Kubrick back in the late 1950’s, is set to go into production.

Reddit Acquired by Condé Nast 

They’re going to work for Wired Digital out in San Francisco. Terms not disclosed, not even to TechCrunch. It’s worth noting that the Reddit crew has been working with Condé Nast for some time: Lipstick is a celebrity gossip site built on the Reddit engine.

All Hallows 

Jim Coudal knocks one out of the park:

I have convinced myself that the way to deal with grief and hardship, the way to be The Good Husband and The Good Father is to be tough and logical and pragmatic. To be stronger than the problem. To keep it inside. I imagine that I’m not the only man like this. That suit seems to fit right off the rack.

Happy Halloween 

Jack-o’-lantern

Plastic, Interrupted 

Terrific design rant from Khoi Vinh:

Or, for that matter, consider any of the many, many pieces of digital hardware currently available on the market that, like my Treo, share the absolutely cringe-worthy characteristic of being pieces of plastic that are painted to look like metal.

Complete agreement.

Mac OS X Screen Locking Tip 

Not news, but maybe news to you: you can use Keychain Access’s system-wide menu bar item to trigger your screensaver in “make me type my password” mode.

ThisService 1.0 

So like two days ago I said to Jesper via AIM, “Here’s an idea: make an app that takes a script as input and generates a service as output, so that you can turn simple scripts into system-wide services.”

Here it is. Excellent. Freeware, donations accepted. Stand by for some example scripts from yours truly. (You can already use Markdown and SmartyPants with ThisService.)

SpamSieve 2.5 

Best email spam filter for the Mac, period. My stats for October to date: 12,875 total spam messages, 9 false positives (at least that I caught), 60 false negatives. So, on average, I get 441 spam emails per day, but only 2 slip past SpamSieve. Everything I wrote in this review of SpamSieve back in January 2005 still stands — I love it.

TextMate: Nib File Dialogs Driven by Scripts 

Oh, this is clever: the latest development build of TextMate includes a tool that lets you present dialog boxes using nib files for the UI (i.e. you can make them using Interface Builder). It’s not a C/Obj-C API, though — it’s just a simple shell tool that gives you the state of every control in the dialog as a property list when you close the window, so you can drive the whole thing from a simple Perl/Python/Ruby/shell script.

I’m not aware of any other “present a dialog box using a nib file” scripting implementation like this.

Boarding Pass Security Hack 

Here’s the post on Chris Soghoian’s weblog where he explains the hack. Soghoian is now soliciting donations for his legal defense.

SoundSource 

Freeware menu extra from Rogue Amoeba that lets you switch sound input/output sources from a system-wide menu. If you find yourself frequently visiting the Sound panel in System Preferences, SoundSource could save you a lot of clicks.

Why Apple Doesn’t Have a Blogging Policy 

Chuck Von Rospach (who until recently worked for Apple):

The reality is, Apple employees can blog, and do. I know a few dozen. Most of them simply don’t telegraph their affiliation. Not because they can’t, not because they’re afraid to, but because they’ve seen what happens to people who DO (like me). They don’t WANT to be Apple bloggers. In my discussions with various ones over the years, if Apple DID in fact “legalize” blogging, I’d say 90% of them would continue to fly under the radar and do things the way they are today. Very few of them WANT to come out of this particular closet.

Dave Winer on Apple’s Blogging Policy 

Dave Winer:

Shortly after Jobs took over at Apple, I got a call from him. I had never spoken with him before or since, and I had no idea the call was coming. I have spoken with Bill Gates a number of times, I’ve talked with ex-Presidents of the United States, with candidates for President, I even spoke once with Bill Clinton when he was the sitting President, but I was never so nervous as when I was talking with Jobs.

Sending XHTML as ‘text/html’ Considered Harmful to Feelings 

Brad Fults’s point-by-point response to Ian Hickson’s “Sending XHTML as text/html Considered Harmful”. (Via Zeldman.)

FBI Raids Fake Boarding Pass Generator’s Home 

Shoot the messenger. I feel safer already.

Washington Post Adds Disclaimer to Neal Mueller’s Article 

Neal Mueller’s “my iPod crapped out but my Creative MuVo kept cranking out the Van Halen” article for The Washington Post now starts with the following disclaimer:

An article in the Oct. 22 Sunday Business section on Creative MP3 players failed to disclose that the writer, Neal Mueller, received a free player from the company to use on his 2005 expedition to Mount Everest. He is not officially sponsored by Creative. He received that player after writing to the company to say that he is a fan of its products.

Remembering Red Auerbach 

Great coverage at Boston.com.

Red Auerbach, Who Built Basketball Dynasty, Dies at 89 

I grew up worshipping the Bird-era Celtics, the last great team Auerbach helped put together. You try winning eight consecutive league championships.

Good Luck, DVD Jon 

Fake Steve:

I’ve never been to Scandinavia, but I already know I don’t like it.

The New Mobile Phone 

Dan Benjamin on his new Windows Mobile-powered cell phone:

The OS actually stays out of the way, is generally quick and responsive, and includes the capability to open and view Word, Excel, and other office documents as well as PDF files. Plus it makes working with email a snap. And IE Mobile is actually easy to use. Maybe Microsoft should quit trying to make OS’s for PC’s and focus on their mobile OS. I’m just thinking out loud here.

The Case of the Vanished iSight Indicator 

On the new MacBook Pros, the green LED that tells you when your iSight is on is now invisible when it’s off.

Hex Color Picker 1.2 

Update to Jesper’s freeware color picker extension that lets you use HTML/CSS hexadecimal notation in the standard Mac OS X color panel.

Cardinals Capture World Series Title 

Well-deserved congratulations to the most storied franchise in the National League. (That sound you hear is a big F-U to the Dodgers.)

St. Louis is a great baseball town.

Ratbert 

Only funny because it’s true.

Kottke: Love It or Hate It Movies 

Wonder why Kill Bill Vol. 1 is on the list but Vol. 2 isn’t? Also: I’m deeply suspicious of anyone who doesn’t like The Royal Tenenbaums.

Web Design Is 95 Percent Typography 

Yes. And, unfortunately, many so-called web designers spend 95 percent of their time on the other 5 percent.

Reinventing HTML 

Tim Berners-Lee:

The plan is to charter a completely new HTML group. Unlike the previous one, this one will be chartered to do incremental improvements to HTML, as also in parallel xHTML. It will have a different chair and staff contact. It will work on HTML and xHTML together. We have strong support for this group, from many people we have talked to, including browser makers.

It’s not clear to me what the relationship is between this new group and WHAT WG.

Locomotive 

Ryan Raaum’s open source utility for staging Ruby on Rails apps on Mac OS X.

David Chartier Reviews the New .Mac Webmail 

The Quick Reply feature is interesting.

No iPod, Soap! 

Guy orders a refurbished iPod, and when he opens the box, there’s a bar of soap instead of the iPod. Better than the piece of meat some woman in Hawaii found in her iPod package last year, I suppose.

Hero of the Week: Michael J. Fox 

I’m reminded of Hemingway’s line, “Courage is grace under pressure.”

MacFixIt: Why MacBook Pros Are Limited to 3 GB RAM 

MacFixIt:

The net result is that at least 3 GB of RAM should be fully accessible, while when 4 GB of RAM installed, ~700 MB of of the RAM is overlapping critical system functions, making it non-addressable by the system.

‘Fireball Mail’ 

Song of the day, by Roy Acuff. (Via reader Ian Lessing.)

Acer: Vista Home Basic Is a Lemon 

Even if you disregard the lowest tier of Windows Vista — the totally lame “Starter” version that only runs three apps at a time — the next highest tier sucks too. This isn’t good for Windows users, and it isn’t good for PC makers, either. Microsoft must think it’s good for themselves, but I seriously doubt that — they might make money from people upgrading from the crummy lower tiers, but at the expense of the company’s brand.

New .Mac Webmail Ships 

I think it’s weird that it looks so much like Apple Mail, because it doesn’t act very much like Apple Mail at all. For example, yes, you can drag-and-drop messages in the new .Mac Webmail, but you have to click on them to select them first; you can’t use Shift with arrow keys to select multiple messages, etc. These are hard things to implement in a webmail client — but if it looks this much like the regular desktop Mail, it ought to act more like it, too.

Then again, if you really do just care about cosmetics, this kicks the shit out of Gmail.

Daring Fireball Free Feeds: Extended Play 

It doesn’t feel right to pull the plug on this mid-week; let’s keep them up until tomorrow night.

Battery Recall Wipes Out Sony’s Profits for Latest Quarter 

Just in case you were wondering who was on the hook for most of the costs associated with Apple and Dell’s recalls of Sony-manufactured batteries, it was Sony:

The company reported today that it earned a net profit of 1.7 billion yen ($14.4 million) in the three months ended Sept. 30, the second quarter of its fiscal year. That was a 94 percent decline from the comparable period a year earlier, despite sales that were 8.3 percent higher at 1.9 trillion yen ($16 billion).

The company took a charge of 51 billion yen ($430 million) for the quarter, mostly related to the battery problem — an amount far higher than analysts initially expected.

MacBook Firmware Update Seems to Be Working 

Scott Lewis has a MacBook that was suffering from the random shutdown problem — he could trigger it on demand by running a Terminal process to consume CPU cycles. After installing today’s firmware update, the problem has gone away.

Soundbooth Nomenclature 

Earlier today, I cracked wise about Adobe’s new sound editor, Soundbooth:

No word yet on which future beta will be renamed “Adobe Photoshop Soundbooth”.

Reader Dan Martinez, via email, suggests “Adobe Phonoshop”.

MacBook SMC Firmware Update 1.1 

Apple:

The SMC Update improves the MacBook’s internal monitoring system and addresses issues with unexpected shutdowns. This update is recommended for all MacBook systems, including those that received warranty repair.

Which Vista Is the Right Vista? 

Ever since Microsoft announced the various versions of Windows Vista, people, including me, have been mocking them for it. But read this. I don’t see any way to look at the Vista product matrix and not come to the conclusion that Microsoft holds its customers in contempt.

For example, the low-end option, Vista Starter. It won’t address more than 256 MB of RAM and won’t allow you to run more than three apps at a time. And, like a few of the other low-end versions of Vista, it doesn’t include the new Aero UI chrome. Why does this product even exist?

Why have they made it so hard to figure out which version of Vista you might want?

First ‘Serious, Deep-Pocketed Competitor’? 

I saw this article about Apple and iPod sales by Jefferson Graham in USAToday last week while waiting to get on a plane for C4, but couldn’t find a link to it on USAToday’s web site. This is a reprint in The Fort Collins Coloradan. This line caught my eye:

The company has a 70 percent market share of digital music devices. Next month, it gets its first serious, deep-pocketed competitor when rival Microsoft launches its music player, the Zune.

So, Sony: Not deep-pocketed? Not serious about portable music players? Dell? Philips?

The sad part is that if, say, the Zune winds up being a complete dud, a year from now these same jackasses will be calling something else the “first serious competitor” to the iPod. The truth is that Apple has already successfully beaten several “serious, deep-pocketed” rivals. This sort of thing is just another variation on the “just wait and see, the ‘real’ companies will teach Apple a lesson just like they did with the Macintosh” theme.

Evan Williams: The Birth of Obvious Corp. 

Great name for a company.

‘Become an Xcoder’ 

Free PDF book for beginners who want to get started with Cocoa and Xcode, available as a PDF and on the web. (Via Cocoa Radio.)

How to Steal an Election by Hacking the Vote 

Jon “Hannibal” Stokes with a detailed report explaining why electronic (paper-trail-less) voting machines are a disaster waiting to happen. They more or less work on the honor policy, under the assumption that all people with access to the machines are honest.

New MacBook Pros Significantly Cheaper Than Comparable Dells 

Apple’s 17-inch model is $1,300 cheaper — or, just under $1,000 cheaper if you include three years of AppleCare.

The Story of Tetris 

Kottke links to an hour-long 2004 BBC documentary about Tetris and Alexey Pazhitnov, the Russian programmer who created it in 1985.

Now seems like an appropriate time to mention that Quinn, Simon Härtel’s excellent freeware Mac implementation, is up to version 3.4.2.

Adobe Soundbooth Beta 1 

New sound editing app from Adobe, which, like Lightroom, is free while in public beta. Available for both Mac and Windows, and the Mac version is Intel-only. This is the first Intel-only Mac app I’ve encountered (Parallels aside, for obvious reasons). I wonder if they’re using some sort of x86-only sound library? I can’t understand why they wouldn’t compile a version for PowerPC.

This button arrangement in the Preferences window doesn’t speak well for its Mac-like-ness:

OK/Cancel button arrangement in Soundbooth's preferences.

No word yet on which future beta will be renamed “Adobe Photoshop Soundbooth”.

(Via Erik Barzeski via AIM.)

Video Footage of Rush Limbaugh Mocking Michael J. Fox 

It’s hard for me to watch this and remain composed. Watch though, and observe Michael J. Fox’s astoundingly graceful response to Limbaugh.

So, This Guy at the Apple Store San Francisco Is a Jerk 

David Young (not that one, the other one) gets the hard sell on AppleCare from an Apple Store sales guy:

Guy: Are you going to get AppleCare with that?
Me: No.
Guy: Because I get AppleCare on all of my Macs. I’m not on commision, this isn’t a hard sell.
Me: I think we’ll skip it.
Guy: You really shouldn’t skip it. It’s $249 if you buy it now, but if something goes wrong, Apple will fix it for free.
Me: No, I think we’ll skip it.
Guy: These are first generation machines, there might be some problems down the road. You should really get AppleCare.
Me: No!

I once told a sales guy at Best Buy that extended warranties were against my religion, on the grounds that they’re like placing a wager that whatever it is you’re buying is going to break, and that my religion forbids gambling. That shut him up.

Ten Loaded Questions: David Young 

Dean Allen interviews Joyent honcho David Young. Hilarious.

4 GB Dell Notebooks Can’t Actually Address 4 GB 

Thanks to everyone who sent links and information regarding Dell’s Core 2 Duo notebooks that offer up to 4 GB of RAM.

So it ends up these machines will accept up to 4 GB of RAM, but the OS, or at least Windows XP, won’t see all of it as addressable memory. There’s only 4 GB of total address space in these machines, and significant chunks go to things like video cards and other PCI devices. Apple’s 3 GB limit seems reasonable and competitive given this.

It’s also worth pointing out that configuring an XPS M1710 notebook with 4 GB of RAM from Dell.com adds an additional $2750 to the price.

How Nokia Can Knock the iPod From Its Perch 

Alexander Dryer in Slate:

The bottom line? The N91 is a good music player and a superb phone.

The central premise here rings true: superior music-and-video-playing mobile phones are much more of a threat to the iPod than Microsoft’s Zune, and Nokia seems closer to “getting” Apple-level design than any other phone maker.

Reservoir Dogs 15th Anniversary Edition 

Brilliant, clever package design. I just saw this tonight at Target, and it looks even better in person. (Via Veer’s The Skinny.)

Shameless Amazon link.

Top Firefox 2 Config Tweaks 

Great Firefox tips from Gina Trapani.

Getting Real: Now Available in Print for $29 and on the Web for Free 

Now even more real.

Page View Traffic vs. Employees 

One of these companies is not like the others.

The Dilbert Blog: Good News Day 

Amazing and uplifting story by Dilbert creator Scott Adams.

Dell Notebook Accepts Up to 4 GB of RAM 

The Dell XPS M1710 is a Core 2 Duo notebook that accepts up to 4 GB of RAM — 1 GB more than the new MacBook Pros. (Via reader Marc LaFoy via email.)

C4: It’s All Hallway 

Wolf Rentzsch:

Some folks accused me to trying to out-WWDC WWDC. OK, I’ll concede the Jamba Juice was a direct shot across the bow (developers have been sore about Jamba Juice ever since Apple stopped distributing them at WWDC a few years ago (which is yet another story)), but in terms of the food being much better: come on, it’s just hard not to out-do WWDC on that point. We shan’t discuss WWDC’s “pizza”.

No, we shan’t.

Firefox 2.0 

Fresh out of beta.

‘This Blowhard Bit Is Working Out Great’ 

Nice profile by Matthew DeBord of John Hodgman, who plays the PC in Apple’s current ad campaign. (Via Kottke.)

The Odd Case of the 3 GB RAM Limit in the New MacBook Pros 

Jonathan Seff:

At the same time, Apple also increased the maximum RAM for the MacBook Pro from 2 GB to 3 GB. That’s an impressive number, but if there are two RAM slots, why not a 4 GB limit? When working on my reviews of the Core 2 Duo iMacs — which, except for the entry-level model, share the same 3 GB RAM limit — Apple told me that the Intel chip set used inside had limited memory addressing capabilities, meaning 3 GB is the most the system can address. I have to assume that Apple is using the same chip set in the MacBook Pro.

So the 3 GB configuration is one 2 GB chip plus one 1 GB chip. I dispute Seff’s observation that there aren’t many people who need 4 GB in a notebook — I’d venture to say there are a lot of people who need at least 4 GB in a notebook. E.g. anyone who wants to run Parallels with a generouos allotment of memory for both OSes.

Regarding Access to WWDC Videos on iTunes 

I’ve noticed a few people wondering about the fact that the WWDC 2006 videos at the iTunes Store are only available to ADC Select ($500/year) and Premiere ($3500/year) members, and those who paid to attend WWDC.

Well, a little birdie tells me that these videos are not encumbered with FairPlay DRM. A commendable decision on Apple’s part, and I thank them for it.

Review: ZigVersion 1.0.1 

Andy Finnell reviews ZigVersion, ZigZig Software’s $140 Subversion client for Mac OS X. He likes it, but thinks it’s too expensive.

Dear Hunting 

Excellent William Safire “On Language” piece on how to start an email. I prefer the cold start, with no salutation.

IBM vs. Amazon 

Tim Bray:

The Internet has been amazingly quiet about IBM’s litigation against Amazon. It feels to me like maybe the biggest Internet story of, well, maybe, ever. I haven’t gone and read the IBM patents yet, because reading patents always depresses me. If the titles mean anything (not always a sure bet), this might mean that IBM has finally managed to figure out how to set up that Internet Tollbooth that we’ve always been afraid of.

Among the patents they’re claiming Amazon is infringing upon includes one titled “Ordering Items Using an Electronic Catalogue”.

I certainly can’t stand the idea of software competition being resolved (and eventually stymied) via patent litigation — but somehow I get the feeling that the company behind the infamous One-Click patent isn’t going to get much sympathy.

Leopard Technology Series for Developers 

Great overview of what’s new for developers in Mac OS X 10.5 (a.k.a. Leopard), including new tools like Xcode 3.0 and Interface Builder 3.0, new APIs for iChat and iCal integration, and more. Written by James Duncan Davidson.

Acta Reborn as Opal 

Matt Neuburg on Opal, David Dunham’s Mac OS X rewrite of his classic Mac OS outliner Acta.

Daniel Jalkut: C4 Abridged 

Good summary of an excellent conference.

Photoshop Lightroom Beta 4.1 

Bug fix update for the current public beta of Adobe’s Aperture rival.

Kenny Rogers: Cheater 

Video and photographs indicate Rogers has been cheating with pine tar throughout this year’s playoffs. The New York Times asked master ball-doctorer Gaylord Perry what he thought, and he couldn’t believe Rogers was foolish enough to use brown pine tar, claiming the (invisible) white pine tar works just as well.

So: Go Cardinals.

New Core 2 Duo-Based MacBook Pros 

New 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros, based on the latest mobile processors from Intel. Now take up to 3 GB of SO-DIMM memory, up from the 2 GB limit that dates back to the PowerBooks. Also available: a 200 GB hard drive as a BTO option. The standard drives are 120 GB on the 15-inch models, 160 GB on the 17-inch. Oh, and they’ve re-added FireWire 800 ports across the entire family.

Risky Business 

Cringely on the Internet gambling legislation:

Here’s a law that purports to end Internet gambling but will instead enable it, a law that is intended to make certain types of financial transactions harder to do but will ultimately make them easier, a law that says nothing about terrorism but will ultimately abet it, making us all less secure in the process.

Oh My Goodness Gracious 

Tim Bray, regarding umbrage at his use of the phrase “fucking cool” in a previous entry:

So, to anyone who was offended by my language: I’m sincerely sorry. But that’s really what I’m like.

I enjoyed Norman Walsh’s response.

Fortune Magazine Profiles ‘DVD’ Jon Johansen 

Robert Levine, reporting for Fortune:

Johansen has written programs that get around those restrictions: one that would let other companies sell copy-protected songs that play on the iPod, and another that would let other devices play iTunes songs. Starting this fall, his new company, DoubleTwist, will license them to anyone who wants to get into the digital-music business — and doesn’t mind getting hate mail from Cupertino.

I don’t think “hate mail” is what his company ought to be worried about.

A Raw Deal 

Daniel Davies on the recent anti-online-gambling legislation passed by Republicans in the U.S.:

Basically, in making it impossible to use normal payment systems in order to get something that a lot of Americans want, the effect of the US legislation is going to be to train a whole new generation of money launderers.

(Via Aaron Swartz via email.)

Why You Don’t Buy $10 CF Card Readers 

James Duncan Davidson (who, amazingly, is already shooting another conference in Boston):

Radio Shack rat bastards. It should be criminal to sell 12Mbit USB devices that are supposed to read Compact Flash cards and the like.

ADC on iTunes 

Video from WWDC 2006 is now available via the iTunes Store — but, as with the DVDs from previous years, they’re only available to ADC Select and Premiere members. (Thanks to the now-links-blog-less Daniel Jalkut for the heads-up.)

Skype 2.0 

Mac client hits 2.0.

Bruce Schneier: ‘Renew Your Passport Now’ 

More bad news on the RFID front. Bruce Schneier:

If you have a passport, now is the time to renew it — even if it’s not set to expire anytime soon. If you don’t have a passport and think you might need one, now is the time to get it. In many countries, including the United States, passports will soon be equipped with RFID chips. And you don’t want one of these chips in your passport.

(Via Rich Siegel via AIM.)

Researchers See Privacy Pitfalls in No-Swipe Credit Cards 

John Schwartz reports in The New York Times on the security vulnerabilities of RFID-enabled credit cards:

But in tests on 20 cards from Visa, MasterCard and American Express, the researchers here found that the cardholder’s name and other data was being transmitted without encryption and in plain text. They could skim and store the information from a card with a device the size of a couple of paperback books, which they cobbled together from readily available computer and radio components for $150.

(Via Boing Boing.)

Happy MacBook Owners 

Dan Benjamin on the MacBook “sudden shutdown” problem:

So for the record, I’ve got a MacBook, been using it for 5+ hours a day for many months, it’s currently my primary machine, and it has never, not once shut down unexpectedly. I don’t know anybody personally who has had this happen.

There were a ton of happy MacBook owners at C4, too. I think it’s clearly the case that the shutdown issue is a real problem, but one that’s only plaguing a minority of MacBook owners. It’s just that when nearly a million MacBooks are being sold each quarter, even a small percentage adds up to a lot of people.

Apple KnowledgeBase: Do Not Move, Rename or Delete Backup 3 Files 

Yet another reason not to use Backup. Cf.:

C4 Conference Photos 

James Duncan Davidson is shooting the conference. Here’s a nice one of me and Daniel Jalkut enjoying some lovely beverages.

Update: Duncan updated his set with a slew of photos from the second day of the conference, and I posted a few of my own. (Someone has to shoot the photographer.)

CARS on Apple’s Q4 Results 

Crazy Apple Rumors Site:

It’s easy to understand how iPod sales could drive Mac sales, as Apple shipped 360 million iPods for the quarter, with many customers buying 3, 4, even 10 iPods each, sometimes giving one to their pet.

MacBook Shutdowns: Case (Finally) Closed? 

This MacBook random-shutdown issue is enough to make me happy to still be using a PowerBook G4. Well, almost.

Rafe’s Law 

Rafe Colburn:

I’ve always fancied the idea of having a law named after myself. I don’t aspire to the fame Mike Godwin achieved with Godwin’s law, but a little fame would be nice.

Here’s the first draft of Rafe’s law:

An Internet service cannot be considered truly successful until it has attracted spammers.

I like it. I like it a lot.

Apple Profiles 37signals’s Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson 

Nice — but why is it filed under “Higher Education”?

Ruby appscript 

There’s now a Ruby port of the Python-AppleScript bridge:

Ruby appscript (rb-appscript) is a high-level, user-friendly Apple event bridge that allows you to control scriptable Mac OS X applications using ordinary Ruby scripts. Appscript makes Ruby a serious alternative to Apple’s own AppleScript language for automating your Mac.

(Via Henry Maddocks via email.)

Why CoreAudio Is Hard 

Mike Ash:

CD quality audio, in effect, has frames which are only four bytes long (16-bit samples, two channels) but which play back at 44.1kHz. This only gives you 22 microseconds per frame! Of course, the frames are miniscule, but if you miss even one, odds are that the user will hear it. If you did something terrible like take a disk interrupt that took five milliseconds to process, you will hear an ear-rending glitch in the output audio. By contrast, you can drop an entire 17ms frame in 60fps video and it’s usually pretty hard to notice.

Joyent 2.0 UI Preview 

Dave Young links to screencasts of Joyent’s updated UI. Some very slick stuff in there. I really like the adjustable-width source-list column.

The G.O.P.’s Bad Bet 

Charles Murray, on the recent Republican-backed ban on Internet gambling here in the U.S.:

Thus society is weakened every time a law is passed that large numbers of reasonable, responsible citizens think is stupid. Such laws invite good citizens to choose knowingly to break the law, confident that they are doing nothing morally wrong.

Graphing Requests With Tamper Data  

Simon Willison points out a very cool but hard-to-find feature in the Tamper Data extension for Firefox.

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: Money Talks, Bullshit Walks 

Fake Steve:

You know what I did yesterday? I didn’t say a word. I just walked around the executive suite tacking up copies of our earnings release from the same quarter in 1996.

David Pogue Reviews the Sony Mylo 

David Pogue:

Which young people, exactly, does Sony expect to pay $350 for a wireless gadget that doesn’t have a camera, can’t download e-mail, omits AOL Instant Messenger and can’t play music bought online?

AllOfMP3 Loses Ability to Process Visa Credit Cards 

Visa has pulled the plug on the Russian MP3 bootleg site, which has been selling copyrighted music for prices way, way below U.S. retail. AllOfMP3 then announced plans to switch to an ad-based model, using some unspecified DRM system that would work with some unspecified portable players. Good luck with that.

CNet Reviews IE 7 

Firefox is faster, has a better UI, and much better support for web standards.

Apple Q4 2006 Financial Results Conference Call 

My favorite stats from today’s conference call:

  • 61 percent of the Macs sold were notebooks, about 1 million total. Clearly, more people are buying notebooks, and the MacBook family is a hit. (And imagine if they add a slender MacBook Mini to the lineup.)

  • Apple sold 5.3 million Macs in fiscal 2006, their best year ever.

  • iPod gross margin was “above 20 percent”, but down from the previous quarter because of price reductions.

  • According to Apple, a little over half the Macs they sold in their Apple retail stores were to people who had never before owned a Mac. Out of all the good news in today’s announcements, this might be the best of all.

Camino 1.1 Alpha 1 

On-the-fly spelling checker and better feed handling (feeds now get passed off to your default feedreader) are among the new features. Detailed release notes here.

Apple Reports Preliminary Fourth Quarter Results 

Profits, revenue, and margins are all up from a year ago. They sold 1.6 million Macs, the most ever in a quarter, and 8.7 million iPods.

Project Blackbox 

Buy your own datacenter from Sun.

Flapjax 

New web-based programming language built on top of JavaScript. The main flapjax-lang.org site seems to be down / extremely slow at the moment, but this looks interesting. (Via Michael Tsai.)

Apple: FY 06 Fourth Quarter Results Conference Call 

Streaming live via QuickTime at 5 p.m. EDT today. Lots of interesting stuff in the air, not the least of which is the stock options backdating issue. (Via Matt Deatherage.)

Apple Should Offer iPod Owners Free Anti-Virus Software 

MDJ makes a good suggestion regarding Apple’s reaction to the iPods that shipped with a Windows virus:

A company that prides itself on providing solutions would not blame Microsoft and link to trial versions of third-party software to fix the problem. The Apple that presents itself in advertisements would provide a free, limited, supported, non-trial version of one or more anti-virus programs that remove the affected virus on any system with an iPod connected, not just for 30 days, but in perpetuity. Oh, and they’d get rid of that buck-passing “it’s Windows’ fault” language, too. Be upset at Windows all you like, but don’t blame Windows for your error in not checking iPods for viruses — especially when you use the plethora of Windows viruses in ads as a reason to buy a Mac.

Ethnocentrism and Keyboard Shortcuts 

Frasier Speirs:

I have recently been using a 17" MacBook Pro with a US English keyboard layout. It’s interesting how certain keyboard shortcuts make so much more sense when you’re using this layout than a UK keyboard.

(Via Michael Tsai.)

Why Do People Call It ‘Mail.app’? 

The reason is obvious: “Mail” is a terrible name for the application. It’s like if Safari were instead named “Web”. People add the “dot-app” because they want to distinguish the app from the regular lowercase “mail”.

Lenovo Glossy vs. Anti-Glare Screen Poll Results 

ThinkPad users who read Lenovo’s weblog overwhelmingly prefer traditional anti-glare screens. (Via John Siracusa via AIM.)

Textile 2.0 

New version of Markdown’s arch-rival and best friend; part of the just-released TextPattern 4.0.4 update.

Apple: Small Number of Video iPods Shipped With Windows Virus 

Whoa. From Apple:

We recently discovered that a small number - less than 1% - of the Video iPods available for purchase after September 12, 2006 left our contract manufacturer carrying the Windows RavMonE.exe virus. This known virus affects only Windows computers, and up to date anti-virus software which is included with most Windows computers should detect and remove it. So far we have seen less than 25 reports concerning this problem. The iPod nano, iPod shuffle and Mac OS X are not affected, and all Video iPods now shipping are virus free. As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it.

First, the cheap shot about Windows’s “hardiness” is uncalled for: everyone knows this is what Windows is like; it’s not like anyone is forcing Apple to sell Windows-compatible iPods. Windows certainly is a cesspool, but it’s no one’s fault but Apple’s that these iPods shipped with a virus.

Second, it should be “fewer than 25 reports”, not “less than 25 reports”.

(Thanks to Jesper for the heads-up.)

How to (And How Not to) Sell Technology 

Charles Miller:

That’s how it is. Steve Jobs can make sharing earwax sound sexy. Ballmer can make a digital file transfer sound like something you’d need to clean up after.

BetterZip 1.3 

My favorite utility for creating and inspecting zip / gzip / bzip archives, including support for “clean” archives that don’t contain Mac-specific metadata.

Greasemonkey 0.6.6 

Now works with Firefox 2.0, and a new script installation UI. (Via Mark Pilgrim.)

The 9th Incarnation of ShaunInman.com 

Now that’s what I call a redesign.

PopSugar Raises $5M in Venture Capital 

Fairly popular pop-culture/gossip weblog. $5 million.

Web 2.0 Thinking Game 

Jeffrey Zeldman:

But let’s simplify what The Economist is saying:

Web 1.0: AOL buys Time Warner.
Web 2.0: Google buys YouTube.

Put another way:

Web 1.0: New media company buys old media company.
Web 2.0: New media company buys new media company.

Give Me Back My Google 

Front-end for Google web searching that filters out scammy product review sites from the results. I’ve been wondering for a while why Google grants these sites such high page rank — they’re almost never what I’m looking for.

TidBITS Staff Roundtable Discussion on Eudora 

Adam Engst seems cautiously optimistic about Eudora’s sibling-to-Thunderbird future.

My thinking is this: Even if they pull it off and design and ship an offshoot of Thunderbird, is the Mac version going to be a great Mac app like Camino, or a weird XUL-ish app like Firefox? I don’t have a timeline of Eudora’s entire history handy, but my hunch is that one could make the case that Eudora started going downhill when it went cross-platform.

That’s one thing I was always curious about regarding the “rewrite in Cocoa” announced two years ago — what were they going to do with the Windows version? It’s hard to make a good Mac app. It’s really hard to make a good Mac app while co-developing a Windows version of the same app.

McDonald’s Japan Distributes Virus-Infected MP3 Players 

“Would you like a Windows virus with that?”

Et tu, Tim Cook? 

Fake Steve has an interesting take on the Wall Street Journal’s profile of Tim Cook — that it’s a prelude to boardroom maneuvering regarding the stock options scandal/brouhaha:

So read the story, and pay careful attention to the space between the lines. Or let me decrypt it for you:

Mr. Cook is the low-key operator making sure the company is running smoothly behind the scenes.

Read: He’s already running the place.

[…]

He isn’t believed to have had a role in the backdating of stock-option grants.

Read: He’s clean, and ethical, unlike that SOB Steve Jobs.

It’s the fake Steve Jobs diary, so take it for what it’s worth — but it does seem a bit curious for a piece like this to appear in the Journal while the stock options trouble remains unresolved.

(Thanks to Arthur Jennings for the link.)

Tadpole 

Durable $20 iPod cases for small kids. It’s a shame they only fit the latest models; I’d consider getting one for the boy if I could stick an older iPod in it.

Math Nerdery: 1729 

The number, not the year. (Via Kottke.)

Tim Cook Profile in The Wall Street Journal 

Wall Street Journal profile on Apple COO Tim Cook, by Nick Wingfield:

The difference in personalities between Messrs. Cook and Jobs has helped foster a solid working relationship between the two, people familiar with them say. While Mr. Jobs is known to have a mercurial temper and a sharp tongue, Mr. Cook has the courtly demeanor of a Southern gentleman. People who work with him say his quiet manner and slow drawl have a disarming effect in a fast-paced environment like Apple, filled with its share of table-pounders.

(Via Paul Thurrott.)

Smokin’ 

Very, very clever stuff.

iPod Killers for Christmas 2006 

Gonna be another big holiday season for Apple, judging by this pile of crap. (Via Ken MacGray via email.)

Steve Jobs Demos NextStep 3.0 

An oldie but goodie from 1992, making the rounds again.

Lilt 

Still-in-beta $5 shareware utility by Jon Nathan uses your notebook’s Sudden Motion Sensor and ambient light meter to trigger actions like scripts and launching applications. So it’s sort of like Skip Checker (linked to yesterday), with the addition of allowing actions based on the light meters.

The Departed 

I played hooky Friday afternoon and saw The Departed. Thrilling, visceral, and at times (especially those times when Mark Wahlberg or Alec Baldwin are on-screen) hilarious. Highly recommended.

BBColors 1.0.1 

The only significant change is that I’ve switched to a noticeably faster method for testing whether BBEdit is currently running.

Jackass of the Week: Larry Bodine 

Author of an Onion-esque “I bought a Mac because everyone said they’re great but they’re actually pieces of crap” commentary piece for Law.com. It’s so stupid it’s hard to believe it was meant to be taken seriously, but it is.

Excellent coverage elsewhere:

Skip Checker 

Fun utility from Sven-S. Porst that uses the Sudden Motion Detector on your notebook to trigger actions; like slapping your computer to tell iTunes to skip to the next track.

Google Docs & Spreadsheets 

John Battelle:

Man. Google is such a cool name. This is such a lame one.

“Google Docs & Spreadsheets” is such a goofy name, I don’t even know where to start. It makes “Adobe Photoshop Lightroom” seems like the best name ever in comparison.

Steven Levy Interview With Steve Jobs 

Jobs on whether he’s worried about Zune:

“In a word, no. I’ve seen the demonstrations on the Internet about how you can find another person using a Zune and give them a song they can play three times. It takes forever. By the time you’ve gone through all that, the girl’s got up and left! You’re much better off to take one of your earbuds out and put it in her ear. Then you’re connected with about two feet of headphone cable.”

Sign of the Times 

Somehow I don’t expect to see anyone holding a similar sign for the iTunes Store anytime soon.

Dream Apps and the Perils of Screen-Scraping 

Jens Alfke:

It’s kind of like being a writer and having someone come up to you at a party and say “I have this brilliant idea for a novel…” followed by a rambling series of plot twists, closing with “…and I’ve done the hard part, now you just have to write it down!”

For Sale: The Mac That Built Cork’d 

Get yourself a piece of wine-rating-web-site history.

smcFanControl 1.12 

Free (and open source) utility by Hendrik Holtmann that lets you manually adjust the fan controls on MacBooks and MacBook Pros. For safety’s sake, it only lets you make the fans more aggressive than Apple’s default settings — i.e. this is a utility for cooling down your MacBook by turning up the fan.

(Via James Duncan Davidson, who gives it a nice write-up.)

EagleFiler 1.0.2 

Michael Tsai’s brand-new $40 archiver/organizer app. Stores PDF and web archives, RTF documents, images, and email mailboxes. Uses Core Data for indexing, but stores the actual items (“records” in EagleFiler parlance) and groups as discrete files and folders in the file system.

iPod Nano (Product) Red 

$199 red iPod Nano; $10 from each sale goes directly to the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa. Strangely-punctuated name, but without question a great cause. I think the red anodized aluminum looks pretty good, too. See also: Apple’s press release.

The New(ish) Signal vs. Noise 

37signals abandoned Movable Type for their own home-grown blogging tool, pretty much because MT is too slow.

Joyent Wins Best Office 2.0 Suite Award 

Congratulations to all my friends and former colleagues. It’s well-deserved, though, if I do say so myself.

Utube, YouTube, Whose Tube? 

CNN:

An Ohio company’s sales get “killed” as YouTube surfers cripple utube.com, a pipe equipment seller’s web site.

(Via Kottke.)

SimpleXML Processing With PHP 

Interesting super-simple XML parser for PHP 5. (Via Simon Willison.)

More From Jim Thompson on Maynor and Ellch 

Just in case you’ve been jonesing for more on these clowns. (Via El Macalopo.)

Zune UI Still a ‘Work in Progress’? 

Matt Hickey at CrunchGear:

Cesar Menendez […] was nice enough to invite us to a little Pre-Zuning at the Souped Up Cafe, where he was holding a little meet-up for all the Zune fanboys in the Seattle area. In addition, he was nice enough to let us snap a few pics of the hardware (pics of the interface were a no-no, it’s still a work-in-progress) he’d brought with him.

It ships in a month and the UI is a work-in-progress?

Safari and Firefox Market Shares Continues to Grow 

Firefox, obviously, is gaining at the expense of Internet Explorer. Safari’s growth, I suspect, is a sign of growing Mac market share. (Via Maciej Stachowiak.)

BBEdit 8.5.1 

Bug fix and small feature update. I really dig the new datetime and datetime_gmt glossary, err, clippings placeholders — you can format dates using ICU format strings. For example, this placeholder:

#datetime EEE dd MMM YYYY#

gives you a date formatted like: “Thu 12 Oct 2006”.

Interactive Timelime of Events Leading to Plane Crash 

Excellent illustrated, animated journalism from The New York Times.

Illegitimate 

Come on, folks, m/Fake/ is not a good way to test for phony sign-ups.

Subversion 1.4 Adds Support for Mac OS X Keychain 

I missed this when it was news a month ago.

Philip Greenspun on Cory Lidle’s Cirrus SR20 Crash 

Philip Greenspun, who owns and flies the same model plane as Lidle’s, speculates on what may have gone wrong.

Yankees Pitcher Cory Lidle Killed in Manhattan Plane Crash 

Lidle was killed, along with his flight instructor. The Times just ran this article a month ago about his plane and recently-acquired pilot’s license, along with this note:

A player-pilot is still a sensitive topic for the Yankees, whose captain, Thurman Munson, was killed in the crash of a plane he was flying in 1979. Lidle, acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies on July 30, said his plane was safe.

Tragic.

Selling Jeffrey Zeldman on Selling 

Khoi Vinh’s three-question interview of Jeffrey Zeldman.

Qualcomm Ends Eudora Development 

Mark Anbinder:

Qualcomm announced today that future versions of the venerable email program Eudora, which the company has sold for many years, will be an open-source collaboration with the Mozilla Foundation. Steve Dorner, vice president of technology for Qualcomm’s Eudora group and the software’s original developer, says he’ll lead a group that will “build an open-source mailer with Eudora features on top of Thunderbird.”

Contrary to some preliminary reports, Qualcomm isn’t releasing the existing version of Eudora as open source — they’re abandoning the existing version, and supposedly creating a new Eudora-inspired Thunderbird off-shoot.

We’ll see how that goes. It wasn’t long ago that Qualcomm was talking about a vaporware version of Eudora re-written using Cocoa, which was originally set for release at the end of 2005. A real shame — I’d been silently hoping that the Cocoa rewrite would eventually ship and wouldn’t suck.

Hans Reiser Arrested on Suspicion of Murder 

Reiser is the lead developer of ReiserFS, a leading-edge file system for Linux. His wife has been missing since September 3. Commentary at Slashdot.

Another Mac Publication Changes Its Name 

Crazy Apple Rumors Site:

Earlier today, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber announced that “In order to better reflect its focus on news about deceased film maker Stanley Kubrick and playoff-eliminated baseball team the New York Yankees, I have decided to rename the site Stanley Yankeeball.”

Woz Shows Up on Metafilter 

How can anyone not love Woz?

The New Yorker Is Splitting Up Their Longer Pieces Into Multiple Pages 

Complete agreement with Kottke on this one. The standard practice of major corporate media sites of breaking articles into multiple “pages” is just awful. Waiting for pages to load is the worst part of the web; it always has been, and it still is. I’ve heard all sorts of bullshit explanations and justifications for the practice over the years, but everyone knows the truth: it’s a way to inflate page views. Shit, why not put every paragraph on its own page?

It shows a lack of respect for your readers, and that makes it all the more surprising to see The New Yorker do it.

David Allen on Procrastination 

Merlin Mann interviews “Getting Things Done” guru David Allen about procrastination.

Joe Torre to Return as Yankees’ Manager Next Season 

Sanity prevails.

Overflow 2.0 

Interesting $15 application launcher from Stunt Software — sort of a simplified hybrid of Quicksilver and DragThing. (Via Dan Benjamin.)

Ruby Linguistics 

Neato Ruby module for English language linguistics. (Via Reddit.)

Regarding Apple and Anonymous Employee Bloggers 

Robert Scoble:

Here’s a question for Apple’s PR: what happens when only anonymous employees can blog? Hint: your PR will be controlled by anonymous people!

A few comments on this:

  1. Lots of Apple employees do have weblogs; some even write about Macs and Mac OS X. Are they allowed to write whatever is on their mind? No, definitely not. I’d certainly like Apple to take an at least somewhat more liberal policy on employee weblogs, but it’s absurd to claim none exist.

  2. From my perspective, Apple seems to be doing just fine controlling their PR message. There is certainly a case to be made that they should encourage more employees to write about their products, but I see no evidence that their hand is being forced by anonymous employee blogs. The key, perhaps, is that everyone I know who works for Apple really likes their job.

Limbo 

Very cool teaser video and concept art for a video game. (Via Steven Frank.)

Transcript: Macworld Podcast #55 

Jason Snell talking to Glenn Fleishman; includes as good a summary as any of the Wi-Fi hack saga.

Official Google Mac Blog 

Scott Knaster and Rose Yao:

We want to provide great products and services to the tens of millions of Mac users around the world, because it’s the right thing to do, and because Mac users inside and outside Google demand it. That’s why we’ve recruited some of the best, most passionate Mac people out there for a Mac Engineering team.

Google to Acquire YouTube for $1.65 Billion 

Done deal now, reports The New York Times.

Apple: New ‘Get a Mac’ Ads 

Obviously Apple thinks the campaign is going well. I like “Better Results” best in this new batch.

Xcast Beta 23 

Intriguing and thoughtful new feedreader for Mac OS X. It’s billed as a podcasting client, and indeed it has some very interesting podcast-specific features, but it’s a good-looking general purpose feedreader, too.

Doesn’t seem to support Atom 1.0 feeds, though, which is just silly, even for a beta.

The BBC’s Honeypot Windows Box 

I’m very interested in seeing how a stock Vista installation fares in such a test.

Google Moves Closer to YouTube Deal 

Andrew Ross Sorkin:

Barring a last-minute snag in the talks, the boards of both Google and YouTube were scheduled to hold separate board meetings on Monday to approve the deal, with an announcement possible after the close of regular trading. Discussions could still break down, however, or another party could present a more-attractive offer.

Doogie 

Old-school WordPerfect-inspired scheme for BBColors, by Matt Simpson.

Tigers 8, Yankees 3 

Wasn’t even as close as the score makes it sound. Oy. Jeter summed it up:

“If you pitch, you’re going to have a chance to win,” Jeter said Saturday. “Good pitching is going to beat good hitting. People get tired of me saying it, but I said it all year long. Just because you have a good lineup doesn’t mean you’re going to win.”

Go A’s, I guess.

New York Times: Google Is Said to Set Sights on YouTube 

Andrew Ross Sorkin, reporting for The New York Times:

Google is in discussions to acquire YouTube for $1.6 billion, people involved in the talks said yesterday. While the talks are in the early stages, and may fall apart, the size of Google’s offer may push YouTube closer to a deal. Other companies have also expressed interest and could swoop in with a higher offer.

Microsoft, Yahoo, Viacom and the News Corporation, among others, have all visited YouTube’s headquarters in San Mateo, Calif., in recent months to inquire about buying the company.

Detroit 6, Yankees 0; Yanks Down 2 Games to 1 

I didn’t expect that I’d need to break out the Yankees logo during the first round, but you don’t win many games when you get shut out. Go Yanks.

Great Comment Thread on Shipley’s ‘Frozen in Carbonite’ 

Even if you’ve already read the article, the comments on Wil Shipley’s ‘Frozen in Carbonite’ post are well-worth a thorough perusal. Yes, yes, there’s a bit of nastiness from the zealots on both sides of the Carbon-Cocoa developer divide, but don’t let that distract you from the good stuff.

Shipley himself writes, regarding his intended point:

What I was trying to say was, “The authors of Carbon aren’t idiots, they are just patching a framework that is using older metaphors, and the results are always going to be unacceptable to me because I want newer metaphors.”

I wasn’t trying to say, “Carbon is old, Cocoa is new, thus Cocoa is better,” but instead the more subtle, “Carbon is based on an older metaphor of programming and is inherently flawed in my view because of it.”

TechCrunch: Completely Unsubstantiated Google/YouTube Rumor 

Rumor is Google may buy YouTube for $1.6 billion; CNN and the Wall Street Journal have the story, too.

2lmc Spool on Paths vs. FSRefs 

I didn’t mention Shipley’s pro-paths-as-file-references aside, but I agree: that’s just dumb. I had no idea TextMate’s file references are path-based. Crazy.

A Tale of 3 Color Controls 

James Duncan Davidson is on fire with his Aperture / Lightroom / Photoshop UI coverage.

Brief Interview With Perian Lead Developer Augie Fackler 

He recommends NicePlayer as a movie player, which I hadn’t looked at in a while.

Kieren McCarthy, Still a Jackass 

MacUser’s Dan Moren on Kieren McCarthy’s latest on Apple for Techworld.

iLifeControls 1.0 

Open source framework by Sean Patrick O’Brien:

The main reason I decided to take a set of controls that mimic the iLife interface and combine them into a framework is to provide developers with a one-stop shop for their Apple-style interface needs.

Screenshot here.(Via Michael Tsai.)

Keychain Framework 

Open source “Objective-C Foundation-based framework for accessing Keychain and Security services”, by Wade Tregaskis. (Via Daniel Jalkut, in a comment on Wil Shipley’s Carbon-Cocoa essay.)

Macworld: Secrets: Get More From Mail 

Tips and tricks for Apple Mail users from Joe Kissell, including how to perform boolean searches in Mail’s search field.

Unlikely Terrorists on No-Fly List 

60 Minutes’s Steve Kroft has obtained a copy of the U.S. government’s “no-fly” list of suspected terrorists. It contains the names of tens of thousands of utterly non-terroristic citizens, along with Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, neither of whom, I suspect, are likely to be flying on commercial U.S. flights any time soon, let alone under their own names.

Gary Smith, John Williams and Robert Johnson are some of those names. Kroft talked to 12 people with the name Robert Johnson, all of whom are detained almost every time they fly. The detentions can include strip searches and long delays in their travels.

“Well, Robert Johnson will never get off the list,” says Donna Bucella, who oversaw the creation of the list and has headed up the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center since 2003. She regrets the trouble they experience, but chalks it up to the price of security in the post-9/11 world. “They’re going to be inconvenienced every time … because they do have the name of a person who’s a known or suspected terrorist,” says Bucella.

(Via Kevin Drum.)

Engadget on Zune’s Wireless Features 

Engadget:

Sorry Microsoft, we think you have it backward. The killer app of having wireless in a portable media device isn’t sharing DRMed files — it’s downloading music from a near infinitely large library no matter where you’re at.

R. Lee Ermey Says Kubrick Told Him Cruise and Kidman Ruined ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ 

I’d heard before that Kubrick and Ermey had remained in contact after Full Metal Jacket, but describing Kubrick as “kind of a shy little timid guy” doesn’t exactly jibe. But, then again, we’re talking about R. Lee Ermey — perhaps by his standards Kubrick really did qualify as timid.

(Via Nat Irons, via AIM.)

Source code searching, including regular expression matching. Their index includes all sort of code that people really don’t want made publicly available: WordPress database passwords, for example.

Update: Kottke’s got more, lots more.

Amnesty Generator 0.5b 

Free beta utility lets you create Dashboard widgets from Google web page gadgets. (Via Jacqui Cheng.)

Windows Vista Has New Reduced Functionality Mode 

Microsoft had to do this, because Windows bootlegging has prevented them from making any money.

Mac Tool 

El Macalopo on the latest from Hadley “Desert Island” Stern.

Steve Jobs Aware of Options Backdating, Fred Anderson Resigns From Board 

Apple PR announcing the findings of its special committee investigating stock-options-backdating charges against the company. Former CFO Fred Anderson has resigned from the Apple board, and the PR has this to say about Steve Jobs:

In a few instances, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was aware that favorable grant dates had been selected, but he did not receive or otherwise benefit from these grants and was unaware of the accounting implications.

OhMiBod 

Music-powered iPod vibrator; moves “to the beat and rhythm of your music while you listen”. The price: $69 (of course). (Via Amy Gruber.)

HP Ex-Chairwoman Dunn Faces Charges, Suffering From Ovarian Cancer 

Getting indicted is the least of her worries. At the end of this brief article in The New York Times, Damon Darlin reports:

Representatives of Ms. Dunn said Tuesday that she would begin six-months of chemotherapy on Friday for recurrent advanced ovarian cancer.

That’s terribly sad news.

Aperture 1.5 Color Control 

James Duncan Davidson on the new Color adjustment tool in Aperture 1.5; includes a UI comparison to the same panel in Lightroom beta 4 (spoiler: this time, Aperture wins).

Make.text 

JavaScript bookmarklet by Trevor Jim; translates any web page into Markdown syntax. Neat.

Erik Barzeski on Billable 

Erik Barzeski:

I’ve spent the past hour playing with my licensed copy of Billable and I’ve come away impressed. Despite the fact that I’m (currently) out of the “invoice a bunch of smaller clients” mode (long-term contract work is so much smoother), I can see how Billable will pay for itself within minutes.

DailyLogger 0.1 

Ultra-simple app for logging actions. (Via Gina Trapani.)

Why Writing Is Harder Than Programming 

Paul Graham:

Switching back to writing has confirmed something I’ve always suspected: writing is harder than hacking. They’re both hard to do well, but writing has an additonal element of panic that isn’t there in hacking.

With hacking, you never have to worry how something is going to come out.

Happy Cog Philadelphia 

So, sure, no championships since 1983 — but at least we’ve got a Happy Cog office.

Jackass of the Week: Alton Verm 

Texan Alton Verm wants to ban Farhenheit 451 — a book about book-burning — from his daughter’s school. The icing on the cake: he admits he hasn’t read it.

“It’s just all kinds of filth,” said Alton Verm, adding that he had not read Fahrenheit 451. “The words don’t need to be brought out in class. I want to get the book taken out of the class.”

It’s like something out of The Onion.

(Via Andy Baio.)

Cheesesteak of Suffering 

23 years and counting since a Philadelphia team has won a major pro sports championship. There are a lot of people reading this who weren’t even alive then.

‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ Effects 

Excellent special effects show-off reel from Buzz Image Group. (Via Coudal.)

Freeverse: Lineform 1.2.2 

William Thimbleby’s Apple Design Award-winning vector illustration app is now being sold by Freeverse. Does it have as many features as Illustrator? No. But can Illustrator “launch in under a second”? Definitely not. (By way of Khoi Vinh, who puts Adobe on notice.)

Update: Version 1.2.2 was just released a few moments ago.

Mark Pilgrim: Digg Users Are Dumber Than Goldfish 

Guaranteed to soon be #1 on Digg.

I Feel Good About Mac Open Source 

Peter Hosey’s comprehensive directory of open source code libraries and apps for the Mac. (Via Daniel Jalkut.)

Netflix Recommendation Engine Contest 

Netflix is offering $1 million to anyone who can create a recommendation algorithm that’s at least 10 percent better than the one Netflix built themselves. Contestants get access to 100-million-entry database of Netflix’s customers’ ratings.

That’s a nice prize.

‘DVD’ Jon Lech Johansen Selling Reverse-Engineered FairPlay DRM 

Liz Gannes:

DRM-buster DVD Jon has a new target in his sights, and it’s a big piece of fruit. He has reverse-engineered Apple’s Fairplay and is starting to license it to companies who want their media to play on Apple’s devices. Instead of breaking the DRM (something he’s already done), Jon has replicated it, and wants to license the technology to companies that want their content (music, movies, whatever) to play on Apple devices.

It’ll be interesting to see who will license this. When Real Networks announced something similar they called “Harmony” in 2004, Apple issued a curt press release warning that it was “highly likely” that future iPod changes would break Real’s unauthorized use of the DRM, and, well, Harmony never went anywhere.

User/Submitter 

Black market bounties for Digg. “Submitters” pay $20 plus $1 per digg; “users” get paid $0.50 for every 5 submitter stories they digg. (Via Read/Write Web.)

British Gaming Shares Crash After U.S. Bill Banning Online Gambling 

I don’t gamble online, but I despise anti-gambling legislation. An awful lot of people here in the U.S. do gamble online, and enjoy it, so the right thing to do here is to start voting against incumbent representatives who support this legislation. The gambling sites should assemble the lists for their American customers. (Via Andy Baio.)

The Morning News Redesigns 

Gorgeous.

ATPM Review: A Better Finder Rename 7.4 

Lee Bennett reviews A Better Finder Rename 7.4 for ATPM.

Perian 0.5 

Freeware QuickTime component with support for a bunch of additional video formats, like AVI, DivX, and FLV. Install this and you can play these formats using your favorite QuickTime player app instead of VLC. Works great in my quick testing (but I still needed this additional sound component to get audio to work with an AVI video downloaded via BitTorrent). Seems like it supports most of the formats supported by VLC. (Via David Young.)

Update: If you wind up with a 948 KB download named “Perian_0.5.dmg.bz2”, don’t expand it like a regular bzip2 archive. Instead, rename it by removing the “.bz2” extension, and just open the .dmg file like a regular disk image.

Weekend Update Regarding ToorCon Cancellation 

So, rather than revealing the ‘complete story’, as originally promised, Jon Ellch delivered a five-minute angry speech regarding SecureWorks and Apple and whatever the reasons are for David Maynor being prevented from speaking.

Bottom line: Not a single shred of evidence has been revealed indicating that Apple has misstated a single fact about this entire saga.

Ads via The Deck Ads via The Deck