Linked List: April 2009

iPhone vs. Netbook in Extreme Rally Car Typing Challenge 

What I’d like to see (seriously) is a comparison in typing speed between experienced iPhone and BlackBerry (or other hardware mobile keyboard) users.

Flickr Co-Founder Stewart Butterfield and Architect Cal Henderson Working on Stealth Start-Up 

Kara Swisher:

According to several sources I spoke to, Henderson was actually not laid off at Yahoo, but is leaving to start a new company — in the social-gaming arena, I am told — with Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield.

That’s what I’ve heard, too, except I heard Henderson left Flickr weeks ago.

Apple Profiles Twitter 

Un-bylined (as usual) profile of Twitter at Apple.com:

Twitter’s meteoric rise to ubiquity is proof positive that the world, in all its complexity, is eager to embrace simplicity.

BusinessWeek’s Peter Burrows: Next iPhone Will Shoot and Edit Video 

Peter Burrows:

[My] gut tells me Apple will make the iPhone a one-stop studio for recording, editing, viewing and sharing your own videos. Actually, more than my gut. I’ve spoken with a source that is familiar with Apple’s plans for the next iPhone, which may well be announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in early June. Evidently, shooting video is as easy as it is with a Flip, the ingenious device made by Pure Digital (recently purchased by Cisco).

CRT Emulation for the Atari VCS 

What a great idea: Ian Bogost commissioned computer science students to modify the Atari 2600 emulator Stella to simulate the visual display of an old CRT television. (Via Andy Baio.)

The Kindle 2 and iPod Shuffle Perform a Scene From ‘The Wrath of Khan’ 

Hilarious. (Via Ged Maheux.)

iPhone Dominates JD Power Consumer Smartphone Ratings 

The only category it didn’t score well on was “battery aspects”.

Harry Kalas Calls Springsteen Grand Slam 

I can listen to this over and over.

DF RSS Feed Sponsorship 

If you’ve been thinking about sponsoring the DF RSS feed, a scheduling change has opened up the week of May 11-18, and there’s still one open week remaining in June. If you have a product or service you’d like to promote to Daring Fireball’s audience of Apple nerds, designers, nitpickers, perfectionists, and connoisseurs of fine sarcasm, please get in touch.

Update: The week in May has been taken; July is still wide open.

Flickr Hit by Yahoo Layoffs 

Om Malik:

Yahoo layoffs have started and seem to have hit the Flickr team. Many engineers from the service have been either laid off or are leaving on their own. Rev Dan Catt, Ashot Petrosian and Neil Kandalgaonkar were amongst those who tweeted about their exits. Catt for instance is moving back to UK. I am told Cal Henderson, Flickr Architect [and] a rock star developer, also left, though I have not been able to confirm that.

I’m pretty sure Henderson has indeed left Flickr.

Clearly these are hard times for Yahoo, but as Om says, cutting the Flickr team doesn’t make sense. Flickr is exactly the sort of product Yahoo needs to build on.

The Detroit of Software 

Exactly right:

The point isn’t MICROSOFT SUXXX0RS!!! AAPL ROOLZ!!!, though if you had to boil it down to four words those ones are much closer to true than to false. Rather, the problem is that Microsoft is the Detroit of software. It makes big, ugly, dangerous, resource-hogging crap, and its “success” is based on… its “success”.

Palm Pre Gets the iSuppli Bullshit Treatment 

So according to BusinessWeek it’s a “peek under the hood” even when the peekers haven’t yet examined the outside of the device, let alone the inside.

Steven Frank on the Office 2010 Preview 

Steven Frank:

This is impenetrable. It’s UI salad. I realize this is not (yet) shipping software, but my god. If you sat me down in front of this, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea where to begin.

My ‘I Told You So’ of the Day 

Yours truly, back in December 2006:

By the way, my spidey sense says Twitter is going to be one of those “everyone’s using it” big deals pretty soon.

User Interface of the Week: Microsoft Office 2010 

Keep rocking that floppy disk icon, Microsoft.

Lego iMac G4 Junior 

Luxo Jr.-inspired Lego design by Bjarne Tveskov.

The Official White House Photostream on Flickr 

I love these photos from official White House photographer Pete Souza — it’s a historical photo documentary being published in real time. Some give you a real feel for the White House. Some are downright banal — like this one where President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper are just talking behind the scenes in a cluttered hallway at a summit meeting. A few more of my favorites:

WWDC Sold Out 

Last year it took two months to sell out (March 13 to May 14). This year: one month (March 26 to April 28).

Visually Indicating the Selection Anchor Point 

Josh Schoenwald suggests visually indicating the anchor point of a selection.

Chase Jarvis’s iPhone Photography 

Chase Jarvis:

The best camera is the one that’s with you.

Excellent photography using only the iPhone camera and software.

On Anchored Selections in Windows, Gnome, and Mac OS X 

Dmitry Chestnykh agrees that the HIG (and Cocoa’s standard text editing behavior) is the right way to handle using the keyboard to extend a selection created using the mouse.

The Other ‘Pink’ 

Apple had an OS project code-named “Pink” in the 80s, which eventually turned into Taligent, which burned up a lot of money and effort and went nowhere.

Vine 

What a fabulous idea: an emergency notification system based on proprietary software and which only works with one operating system.

Pink 

Amol Sharma and Nick Wingfield, reporting for the WSJ:

Microsoft Corp. is in discussions with Verizon Wireless to launch a touch-screen multimedia cellphone on the carrier’s network early next year, in a bid to compete with Apple Inc.’s iPhone, people familiar with the matter said.

Microsoft’s project, which is code-named “Pink,” is aiming to produce a phone that extends the tech giant’s Windows Mobile cellphone operating system, adding new software capabilities. It would also likely include Microsoft’s new Windows Marketplace for Mobile, a mobile application store along the lines of Apple’s, these people said.

Also includes this nugget, which echoes the report today from BusinessWeek:

Apple has had discussions with Verizon in recent months about its product roadmap, including a mobile multimedia device that is bigger than the iPod Touch but smaller than a laptop, one person familiar with the situation said. However, the talks have not become advanced, the person said.

(Linking to Google search results to get around the Journal’s stupid pay wall.)

The HIG on Extending Text Selections 

The text selection behavior Pierre Igot is complaining about in the aforelinked piece is exactly the behavior recommended by the HIG:

If no text is selected, the extension begins at the insertion point. If text is selected by dragging, then the extension begins at the selection boundary. For example, in the phrase stop time, if the user places the insertion point between the “s” and “t” and then presses Shift–Option–Right Arrow, top is selected. However, if the user double-clicks so the whole word is selected, and then extends the selection left or up, it’s as if the insertion point were before the “s.” If the user extends the selection right or down, it’s as if the insertion point were between the “p” and the space after the word.

In other words, if you create a selection using the mouse and then extend the selection using the keyboard, it doesn’t matter whether you created the selection by (a) dragging left-to-right, (b) dragging right-to-left, or (c) double-clicking. In all three cases, the selection is unanchored in terms of extending it using the keyboard. I agree with this.

BusinessWeek: Talks Between Verizon and Apple 

Spencer E. Ante and Arik Hesseldahl, reporting for BusinessWeek:

Verizon Wireless is in talks with Apple to distribute two new iPhone-like devices, BusinessWeek has learned. Apple has created prototypes of the devices, and discussions reaching back a half-year have involved Apple CEO Steve Jobs, according to two people familiar with the matter.

One device is a smaller, less expensive calling device described by a person who has seen it as an “iPhone lite.” The other is a media pad that would let users listen to music, view photos, and watch high-definition videos, the person says.

Shrinking and Expanding Selections in Mac OS X 

Pierre Igot on the inconsistencies between different selection interfaces in Mac OS X.

Five Tips for Reading Mac Security Stories 

Rich Mogull in TidBITS:

As someone who spends most of his time reading, writing, and speaking about security, there are five things I tend to look for in Mac security news to cut to the heart of the story. After all the hype in recent days over the “Mac botnet,” I thought it was time to share some of my tricks.

Less Like Oration 

Tim Bray:

There’s nothing much on the Net that’s without precedent in spoken language. What’s new is that written discourse is becoming less like oration and more like conversation. It’s not clear that this is bad.

Amazon Acquires Lexcycle, Makers of Stanza iPhone E-Book App 

I hope some of Stanza’s usability transfers over to the Kindle iPhone app.

Level & Tap 

New web site from Tom Watson, “dedicated to selling curated photography prints”. Lovely site design and some stunning photos. My favorite so far: Sara Flemming’s “In Waiting”.

Forbes Posts Transcript of Steve Jobs’s March 2008 SEC Deposition 

Obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request. Some truly fascinating exchanges.

The Extreme Google Brain 

Joe Clark:

Companies committed to a culture of antidesign (also consultants like Jakob Nielsen) may occasionally succeed in the marketplace, but they do so in spite of their antidesign, not because of it. Of course we can’t prove that; we can’t run a controlled experiment, let alone 41 of them with distinct shades of blue. It is merely one of those things a visually literate person knows.

‘Let It Shine’ 

Must-see Honda Insight advertisement on Vimeo. Wow.

Rogue Amoeba Airfoil 

Rogue Amoeba has carved out a unique niche — they offer what can only be described as an arsenal of high-quality audio software, particularly with regard to moving audio from one place (or app) to another.

With Airfoil, for example, you can send audio from your Mac or PC all around your home or office: to Airport Express and Apple TV units, and to other computers running Mac OS X, Windows, or even Linux. And, with Rogue Amoeba’s brand-new (and free) Airfoil Speakers Touch, you can even send audio to iPhones or iPods Touch.

My thanks to Rogue Amoeba for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. They have a special offer for Daring Fireball readers: save 20 percent off any and all Airfoil products, using coupon code “DARINGFIREBALL”.

ExpanDrive 2.0 

ExpanDrive is one of my favorite utilities — it lets you mount remote server volumes over SFTP and treat them like external hard drives attached to your Mac. New in version 2.0 is support for Amazon S3. Upgrade from version 1 for $20, new licenses start at $40.

Malcolm McDowell on Stanley Kubrick 

“Wasn’t quite the right place for Stanley.”

(Via Daniel Pasco.)

Macworld Interview With Tweetie Creator Loren Brichter 

Loren Brichter:

One of the fantastic things about Twitter clients is how easy it is for users to jump from one to another. Just type in a username and password and off you go. It’s possible for anyone to write a Twitter client nowadays and have the opportunity to completely blow everyone else out of the water.

Tapbots 

Mark Jardine and Paul Haddad go full-time on Tapbots:

I think it’s nothing short of amazing that we are able to support ourselves with $0 investment (other than time) and all of it $1-$3 at a time.

There remains much to criticize about the App Store, but indeed there is much to be amazed about, too.

Look at This Fucking Hipster 

Aptly-named web site of the day.

Microsoft Surface First-Run Experience 

Gordon Miller on the user experience of setting up a new Microsoft Surface — a $17,000 touchscreen computer that, by design, does not respond to touch input when you first turn it on.

Update: They’ve pulled the original article, so I’ve updated the link to Google’s cached version.

Regarding the PSD File Format 

From the source code comments for Xee, an open source Mac image viewer:

Earlier, I tried to get a hold of the latest specs for the PSD file format. To do this, I had to apply to [Adobe] for permission to apply to them to have them consider sending me this sacred tome. This would have involved faxing them a copy of some document or other, probably signed in blood. I can only imagine that they make this process so difficult because they are intensely ashamed of having created this abomination. I was naturally not gullible enough to go through with this procedure, but if I had done so, I would have printed out every single page of the spec, and set them all on fire. Were it within my power, I would gather every single copy of those specs, and launch them on a spaceship directly into the sun.

(Via David Weiss.)

The Skeptical Hypochondriac 

New weblog by Dave Pell on health-related topics. From the About page:

This blog is Oscar Goldman and you’re Steve Austin. Reading it is like taking a chug from the fountain of youth and realizing it not only works, it tastes exactly like a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake.

Love the design by Brian Moco, too.

Microsoft Posts First Ever Drop in Quarterly Revenue 

Joseph Tartakoff on Microsoft’s results:

Hit hard by the recession, Microsoft reported the first year-over-year revenue drop in its history Thursday — and posted revenue short of analysts’ expectations. The company posted net income of $2.98 billion (33 cents per share), down 32 percent from the $4.4 billion (47 cents per share) recorded during the same period a year ago. […]

(Microsoft’s previous worst year-over-year performance was a 0.7 percent increase in revenue in mid-2000).

That’s still one billion dollars in profit per month, but that’s a big year-over-year drop, and a heck of a streak to end.

T-Mobile G1 Sells 1 Million Units in Six Months 

Not bad at all.

Typographica: Our Favorite Typefaces of 2008 

And what a way to launch the Typographica redesign. Be prepared to lose a lot of time to these reviews of the top new typefaces from 2008.

Typographica Returns 

Stephen Coles introduces the redesigned Typographica, one of my very favorite weblogs.

In Defense of Twitter 

Smart piece by Jason Kottke on the role that Twitter serves.

Forbes Obtains Copy of Steve Jobs’s Testimony to SEC Regarding Options Backdating 

William P. Barrett, reporting for Forbes:

After a Freedom of Information Act battle, this magazine got a copy of Jobs’s sworn examination. (Although Jobs and Apple were part of a separate shareholders derivative suit settled for $14 million, both avoided litigation.) The 119-page deposition, taken on Mar. 18, 2008 at Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters, offers a rare look at Jobs in his own words.

What a shitty, sensational headline, though: “Steve Jobs: Nobody Loves Me”. And no link to the actual transcript, alas.

Research Indicates Bacon Sandwich Really Does Cure a Hangover 

The Telegraph:

Researchers also found a complex chemical interaction in the cooking of bacon produces the winning combination of taste and smell which is almost irresistible.

I’m not sure about the “almost”, eggheads.

(Via Tim Coulter.)

Apple to Netbooks: Drop Dead 

Jason Snell reads the tea leaves on Tim Cook’s comments from today’s quarterly conference call regarding “netbooks”. Here’s a quote from Cook:

“For us, it’s about doing great products. And when I look at what is being sold in the netbook space today, I see cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens, and just not a consumer experience… that we would put the Mac brand on, quite frankly. And so it’s not a space, as it exists today, that we’re interested in, nor do we believe that customers in the long term would be interested in.”

Whatever they’re cooking up for this space, it will not be a Mac. I’m thinking iPhone OS (perhaps renamed) and a touchscreen keyboard. (There must be some reason why the keyboard in iPhone OS 3.0 now appears to be rescaled dynamically — i.e. rendered resolution independently.)

Apple Second Quarter Results: ‘Best Non-Holiday Quarter Revenue and Earnings in Our History’ 

Apple:

The Company posted revenue of $8.16 billion and a net quarterly profit of $1.21 billion, or $1.33 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $7.51 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.05 billion, or $1.16 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 36.4 percent, up from 32.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. […]

Apple sold 2.22 million Macintosh computers during the quarter, representing a three percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 11.01 million iPods during the quarter, representing three percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Quarterly iPhone units sold were 3.79 million representing 123 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter.

Nice jump in revenue and profit during the worst recession in recent history. Not bad.

Twitter Must Be Stupid Because It’s New, See? 

Biz Stone gives smart answers to Maureen Dowd’s stupid questions regarding Twitter:

ME: If you were out with a girl and she started twittering about it in the middle, would that be a deal-breaker or a turn-on?

BIZ (dryly): In the middle of what?

AT&T’s First-Quarter Results 

AT&T PR:

Continued strong integrated device adoption including more than 1.6 million iPhone 3G devices activated during the first quarter; the number of AT&T postpaid wireless subscribers with integrated devices more than doubled over the past year.

You can see why AT&T is so hot to extend its exclusive deal with Apple. (Keep in mind, those 1.6 million iPhones are just in the U.S. Apple will announce its quarterly results today at 5 pm EDT.)

I’m Pretty Sure AT&T Is Not an Apple Subsidiary 

Joshua Topolsky at Engadget:

Need more proof that Apple (and AT&T, by proxy) is taking the Pre kind of seriously? Enter this internal document from the iPhone carrier exposing the Palm phone for what it really is — a second-rate claptrap that is doomed to failure because of its inferior and stupid design.

Everyone should and will take the Pre seriously. The software, at least, is impressive and well designed. But how does a leaked AT&T document indicate proof of anything from Apple? And I think even these talking points — the whole point of which is to cast the Pre in an unfavorable light compared to the iPhone — make it clear that it’s not bad at all.

In Defense of Eye Candy 

Stephen P. Anderson in A List Apart, on the importance of aesthetics:

Researchers in Japan setup two ATMs, “identical in function, the number of buttons, and how they worked.” The only difference was that one machine’s buttons and screens were arranged more attractively than the other. In both Japan and Israel (where this study was repeated) researchers observed that subjects encountered fewer difficulties with the more attractive machine. The attractive machine actually worked better.

Why Time Capsule Is Doomed to Suck 

Louis Gerbarg on why over-the-network Time Capsule backups seem overly prone to corruption. (I gave up on backing up to my Time Capsule after just a few months.)

Update: This comment on Gerbarg’s post is interesting. All of my own Time Capsule corruption problems were pre-10.5.6; I guess I should give it another try.

Capo 

New $39 app from Christopher Liscio/SuperMegaUltraGroovy:

Capo is a musician’s best friend. It lets you slow down your favorite songs, so you can hear the notes and learn how they are played.

I have no musical inclination whatsoever, but the UI for Capo is so pretty that it makes me wish I did so that I could use it. Love those custom scroll bars.

Web Fonts 

Type designer Tal Leming on the licensing problems with embedded web fonts.

Details on Windows 7 Starter Edition’s Three-App Limit 

Ed Bott:

In short, when I used this system as a netbook, it worked just fine. […] If I tried to use this system as a conventional notebook, running multiple Microsoft Office or OpenOffice aps, playing music in iTunes or Windows Media Player, and using third-party IM programs, I would probably be incredibly frustrated with the limitations of Starter Edition.

So “netbook” users don’t listen to music or run IM programs. Uh, OK.

Also, a few DF readers have emailed asking how this is different than Apple’s “no third-party background apps” policy for the iPhone. For one thing, Apple isn’t trying to up-sell you on a more expensive “edition” of iPhone OS — it’s not an artificial constraint imposed upon customers who pay less money, but a design decision. If you disagree that the iPhone’s background app policy is a good idea, go ahead and buy an Android G1 or a BlackBerry or whatever instead. The danger I see for Microsoft is that the more they push Windows users to consider alternatives, the more of them who will switch.

Update: DF reader Michael Tofias, via email: “Worse yet for Microsoft, doesn’t this encourage the browser to be the OS?” Exactly. How is it in Microsoft’s interest to discourage users from using Windows-specific apps and instead use web apps?

Windows 7 Starter Edition Only Runs 3 Applications at Once 

They might as well name it “Windows 7: We Hold You in Contempt and Dare You, Fucking Dare You, to Try Something Else Edition”. (Via Slashdot.)

NCC-1701 

Free Star Trek icons from The Iconfactory.

Are App Store Customers Good Customers? 

Garrett Murray:

This kind of thing continually reinforces something I’ve thought about a lot since the App store was released, which sounds horrible to say but it might be true: Apple is creating an ecosystem of the kind of customers I don’t want.

It’s very difficult to read Murray’s story and not conclude that his customers who are leaving these reviews on the App Store are a bunch of assholes.

U.S. Military Buying iPhones and iPod Touches for Use in the Field 

Benjamin Sutherland reports for Newsweek:

Apple gadgets are proving to be surprisingly versatile. Software developers and the U.S. Department of Defense are developing military software for iPods that enables soldiers to display aerial video from drones and have teleconferences with intelligence agents halfway across the globe. Snipers in Iraq and Afghanistan now use a “ballistics calculator” called BulletFlight, made by the Florida firm Knight’s Armament for the iPod Touch and iPhone. Army researchers are developing applications to turn an iPod into a remote control for a bomb-disposal robot (tilting the iPod steers the robot). In Sudan, American military observers are using iPods to learn the appropriate etiquette for interacting with tribal leaders.

(Thanks to Chris Pepper.)

43 Folders Features Kara Swisher 

Merlin should have used the photo from Swisher’s Wikipedia entry, which is where All Things D seems to get their “author” photos for Voices.

60 Minutes on Cold Fusion 

Intriguing report by Scott Pelley suggesting that cold fusion, discredited 20 years ago, might be real. (Via Dave Winer.)

Apple released four new “Get a Mac” TV commercials, including one called “Legal Copy” wherein everything Hodgman’s PC character says is accompanied by on-screen legal small print. MacJournals has done the yeoman’s work of transcribing the small print in its entirety.

MacJournals observes that much of the text applies to any computer — Mac, Windows, Linux, whatever — but it might as well be lorem ipsum gibberish given how small it’s printed on screen.

Pot vs. Alcohol 

Retired Seattle police chief Norm Stamper:

Over the past four years I’ve asked police officers throughout the U.S. (and in Canada) two questions. When’s the last time you had to fight someone under the influence of marijuana? (I’m talking marijuana only, not pot plus a six-pack or a fifth of tequila.) My colleagues pause, they reflect. Their eyes widen as they realize that in their five or fifteen or thirty years on the job they have never had to fight a marijuana user. I then ask: When’s the last time you had to fight a drunk? They look at their watches.

Tweetie for Mac 1.0 

My favorite iPhone Twitter client is now my favorite Mac Twitter client — free of charge with ads (from Fusion), or $15 for a full license. Tweetie for Mac is not, of course, a “port” of Tweetie for iPhone, but it is infused with a certain iPhone-esque sensibility. There is much to like about Tweetie for Mac, but what I like best is that it is visually quiet. Most of the new desktop Twitter clients I’ve checked out try to show more at once. Twitter by its nature is inherently distracting; I want a client that doesn’t exacerbate it.

Oracle Agrees to Acquire Sun Microsystems 

Ashlee Vance, reporting for the NYT:

The Oracle Corporation, the technology information company, announced Monday that it would acquire a rival, Sun Microsystems, for $9.50 a share, or about $7.4 billion. […]

The deal immediately disrupts the traditional relationships formed between some of the technology industry’s largest players and thrusts Oracle into the hardware business. Oracle, for example, has long-standing partnerships with Sun’s rivals, including Hewlett-Packard and Dell.

I wonder if Oracle cares about Sun’s hardware business. And I wonder what this means for MySQL. This makes more sense to me than IBM buying Sun, though.

Spanning Sync 

Spanning Sync connects Mac OS X’s iCal and Address Book to Google Calendar and Gmail Contacts, and allows you to share calendars and contacts between multiple Macs. It includes full support for Google Apps, and connects Google calendars and contacts with your iPhone. Check out the screencast on their web site for a great demo of how it works.

My thanks to Spanning Sync for sponsoring the DF RSS feed this week. Save 20 percent off a one year subscription using discount code “DFBALL” (which should automatically apply just by following this link).

Mark Pilgrim:

Regular links (<a href>) simply point to another page. Link relations are a way to explain why you’re pointing to another page. They finish the sentence “I’m pointing to this other page because…”

Court Finds Pirate Bay Founders Guilty 

BBC:

Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Carl Lundstrom and Peter Sunde were found guilty of breaking copyright law and were sentenced to a year in jail. They were also ordered to pay $4.5m (£3m) in damages.

Quoting Peter Sunde:

“It’s so bizarre that we were convicted at all and it’s even more bizarre that we were [convicted] as a team. The court said we were organised. I can’t get Gottfrid out of bed in the morning. If you’re going to convict us, convict us of disorganised crime.

“We can’t pay and we wouldn’t pay. Even if I had the money I would rather burn everything I owned, and I wouldn’t even give them the ashes.”

Bush Administration’s Legal Memos Justifying Torture 

Read them and judge for yourself.

More on Short URL Auto-Discovery 

I linked to Robert Spychala’s “Short URL Auto-Discovery” proposal just 10 days ago, but there’s been a lot of discussion and momentum since then, and Spychala has updated his proposal accordingly. I really like where the proposal stands now, recommending this HTML syntax:

<link rel="shorturl" href="http://short.com/1234" />

and this HTTP header:

Link: <http://short.com/1234>; rel=shorturl
Spreadtweet 

Adobe Air Twitter client disguised as an Excel spreadsheet, by Elliott Kember. Like a built-in boss key. Brilliant. (Via Andy Baio.)

Nokia’s Net Profit Falls 90 Percent 

Marguerite Reardon, reporting for CNet:

For the first quarter, which ended March 31, Nokia said that net profits fell to 122 million euros ($161.3 million). A year earlier the company reported net profits of 1.22 billion euros. Analysts had expected the company to report net profits of about 306 million euros.

That silence you hear is the reaction from the “market share is all that matters” pundits.

Wall Street Journal Mobile Reader for iPhone 

Free iPhone app provides free access to Wall Street Journal content. It’s a very nice app — easy to browse top stories, and it includes the ability to save a story on the iPhone for offline access. One of several nice little touches I’ve noticed so far is that if you quit the app while reading a story, when you re-launch it, it goes back to that story rather than putting you back at the main screen.

Biggest ding against the app: Article text is set in Arial rather than Helvetica.

Huh? 

Mark Spoonauer interviews RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis:

Q: How do you think RIM stacks up to the competition when it comes to your Web browser?

A: I look at it this way. I say that our browser technology was developed with very different requirements. By writing our browser in Java, that provides our CIOs and wireless managers the assurances they need, to allow the browser to access internal information at the same time it accesses external information. So the overriding design criteria for our browser has been to not compromise on that experience in the enterprise phase.

Just me or is that a convoluted way of admitting their web browser blows chunks?

Craig Damrauer’s New Math 

Be prepared to lose a few minutes going through the archive. (Via Monoscope.)

John Madden Retires From Broadcasting 

He’s the best there ever was. He explained the game well and always made it seem fun.

‘Taking Your Talent to the Web’ Now a Free Download 

Jeffrey Zeldman’s excellent 2001 book Taking Your Talent to the Web is now available as a free PDF download.

Andy Baio on Category Inflation at The Webby Awards 

This year I’m starting my own Internet award contest. It’s called The Douchey Awards, and I’m very proud to announce the winners: everyone who paid to enter the Webbys.

Clay Shirky on the Failure of ‘#amazonfail’ 

Clay Shirky:

Though the #amazonfail event is important for several reasons, I can’t write about it dispassionately, because I was an enthusiastic participant in its use on Sunday. I was wrong, because I believed things that weren’t true.

Last Call for New DF T-Shirts 

Final reminder: today is the last day to place your order for DF t-shirts. Order now or you’ll have to wait for the next print run. A few reminders:

  • I’ve added girls cut sizes for both designs. Same price.
  • If you’ve already ordered, double-check the shipping address on the email confirmation. It’s pretty common to have an old mailing address associated with your PayPal account. (If yours is wrong, shoot me an email at support@daringfireball.net.)
  • If you’ve already sent me an email asking with a shipping address or shirt-size correction, I’m going through the emails tonight.

Thanks for supporting Daring Fireball.

Digg to Relent on DiggBar 

Digg VP of engineering John Quinn on changes coming “over the next week or so”:

  1. New treatment to the behavior of Digg short URLs. All anonymous users, on or off Digg will be taken directly to the publishers content via a permanent redirect (301), no toolbar, straight to the site. Logged in users that have not opted out will continue to see the DiggBar (200). These changes ensure that content providers receive full search engine ‘juice’ or credit for all links on and off Digg. They also ensure that Digg short URLs won’t appear in the indexes of any major search engines.

  2. Because we want to ensure the best user experience, the DiggBar will soon only be shown to you when you are logged into Digg.

This is a fine solution, and once put into place, I’ll remove my DiggBar blocking code. These two points are exactly what makes the DiggBar more objectionable than similar features from StumbleUpon and Facebook.

In the meantime, I’ve updated my message.

A Nagging Feeling 

Brent Simmons on the aforelinked essay by Steven Frank:

There’s a nagging feeling that we’re doing it wrong, that there are some leaps forward we’re missing, that we’re still stuck in 1984.

Steven Frank on the State of UI Innovation 

Big picture essay by Steven Frank on the state of UI metaphors:

Every geek I know shares, to some degree, the notion that the “desktop” metaphor for computers is outdated. What nobody seems to have a solid opinion on is what would take its place.

He offers a good explanation for why we’re seeing far more UI innovation on mobile devices than on desktop computers, despite the fact that they offer only a fraction of the processing power, memory, and screen space.

Free as in ‘Me’ 

Lovely epic rant from Merlin Mann on the corrupting influence of CPM ad revenue and the motivations that drive creativity.

Spokane to Detonate Squirrels Tearing Up Parks 

Sounds a lot like the plan Carl devised in Caddyshack to deal with the gopher. (Via Steven Frank.)

Jayson Stark on Harry Kalas 

Jayson Stark:

He was so much more than the voice of the Phillies. Harry Kalas was the Phillies.

I’ve been thinking about it since he died yesterday, and I think Harry Kalas might have been the most popular and beloved person in Philadelphia.

WSJ: AT&T’s Exclusive Deal for iPhone in U.S. Only Runs Through Next Year  

Amol Sharma, reporting for The Wall Street Journal:

But AT&T’s exclusive deal to carry the iPhone in the U.S. expires next year, according to people familiar with the matter, and Mr. Stephenson is now in discussions with Apple Inc. to get an extension until 2011.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment, saying only, “We have a great relationship with AT&T.”

This is in direct conflict with several reports from USA Today back in 2007, which claimed the exclusive deal was for five years. E.g. this report by Leslie Cauley on 23 May 2007:

AT&T has exclusive U.S. distribution rights for five years — an eternity in the go-go cellphone world. And Apple is barred for that time from developing a version of the iPhone for CDMA wireless networks.

That ban is no small thing. AT&T rivals Verizon Wireless and Sprint are both CDMA shops. AT&T uses GSM, a global standard incompatible with CDMA.

You Look Birdhouse Today 

New episode of the iPhone Alley podcast, with host Michael Johnston and his guests Adam Lisagor and Cameron Hunt regarding their new iPhone app Birdhouse. (Via Lucius Kwok.)

Keith Starky Explains Twitter 

My favorite new web site:

Keith Starky is a leading researcher in the field of Advanced Sparse-Tree Social Networking Systems from Washington Polytechnical Institute in Indianapolis, Indiana. This “weblog” is part of his ongoing research in humor propagation and fluid reputation dynamics.

(Via Jim Ray.)

Jedi Mind Trick Error Dialog in Dreamweaver 

OK, I guess.

‘Nerd Out With Your Bird Out’ 

Nice illustration by Christine Marie Larsen.

Which reminds me: DF t-shirts are available through the end of the day tomorrow.

Leddy on Pullum on ‘Strunk and White’ 

Thoughtful piece by Michael Leddy regarding Geoffrey Pullum’s continuing ham-fisted crusade against Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.

‘Is This Plastic?’ 

Next up in Microsoft’s new ad campaign featuring real people shopping for computers: Homeless Frank. (Via Jim Dalrymple.)

Yet Another Example of What’s Wrong With the DiggBar 

The current #1 bookmark in the Delicious Popular list is a link to the DiggBar version of this page of desktop wallpapers.

Imagine how fun this would be if Delicious wrapped its links with a page-framing DeliciousBar.

Goodbye, Speak Up 

Armin Vit:

I always believed that the amount of time and energy that we — authors and commenters alike — were all investing in Speak Up would be impossible to maintain in the long run, it was bound to crash at some point. And it did.

Sad to see it close. I’ve always felt DF had a certain kinship with Speak Up, in that they debuted within four days of each other in August 2002.

iSuppli’s Estimate of iPod Shuffle Component Prices 

BusinessWeek’s Arik Hesseldahl takes yet another of iSuppli’s component price estimates of an Apple product at face value:

All told, the cost of the shuffle’s components, the headphones, and the packaging it ships in comes to $21.77, according to iSuppli’s estimates. That’s about 28% of the device’s retail price.

But then:

The device’s so-called passive components — capacitors and resistors — are unusually small. Known by their numeric label 01005, which in electronics shorthand describes their dimensions in millionths of a meter, they’re about the size of a grain of salt and cost fractions of a penny each. But they’re half the size of what had previously been considered the smallest device of their type, those labeled 0201.

So these components are half the size of anything seen before but iSuppli knows exactly how much they cost? I wrote about iSuppli here back in July 2007, wherein I pointed out that Apple releases its profit margins in legal filings every quarter, and those margins have ranged between 25-30 percent for almost a decade — nowhere near the jaw-dropping profit margin estimates from these iSuppli reports.

Update: I should clarify. My main gripe with these iSuppli estimates is how they get promoted in the press as anything close to accurate estimations of Apple’s profit margins. They may well be accurate estimations of “component prices”, but that’s not how it gets reported. And Apple’s actual profit margins, albeit not on an individual product basis, are a matter of public record.

Update 2: Those 01005 capacitors are apparently neither new nor hard to find.

Ah, Sweet Hypocrisy 

Digg co-founder Kevin Rose, on-air during a taping of the Diggnation podcast, seems upset to find another website framing that of his show.

Is It Time to Rename ‘Digital Piracy’? 

Stephen J. Dubner on the Freakonomics weblog:

In light of the recent spate of Somali pirate attacks (here’s one interesting long view, and here’s another), I wonder if it’s time to start calling “digital piracy” something else.

We don’t need a new word: bootlegging is already apt.

iTunes Music Price Changes Hurt Some Rankings 

Glenn Peoples from Billboard runs the numbers on how iTunes’s new variable single pricing has affected sales rankings. In short: top tracks that remain $0.99 moved up, tracks that jumped to $1.29 moved down.

Birdhouse — A Notepad for Twitter 

Birdhouse 1.0 is now available at — err, on — the App Store for $4. It’s a notepad for Twitter by Adam Lisagor and Cameron Hunt. It’s not a full-on Twitter client — it is instead very specifically a Twitter posting client. A fussy, precious concept to be sure, and the result is a wonderfully fussy and precious app.

Even if you’re already not interested in the app itself — if you’re sitting there thinking to yourself, “Man, draft tweets is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard”, or if you don’t even use Twitter — at least watch the demo/introductory movie, which, I dare say, is the finest example of the form made to date. Note, for example, the reflection of the trees on the iPhone trim during the screencast sections. Think about how much thought went into the app based on how much thought went into this swell little movie.

And if “Sandwich Dynamics” isn’t the best name of a new software company this year, I’ll eat my hat.

Phillies Announcer Harry Kalas Dies at 73 

Harry Kalas, the voice of NFL Films and Hall of Fame announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies, dead at 73. I can’t imagine watching a Phillies game without hearing him call the game — his voice is more a part of the Phillies brand than the color red.

Bad News for HTC Means Bad News for Microsoft 

Bad numbers from HTC last week:

Taiwan smartphone maker HTC on Monday posted a 30 percent dip in its first-quarter earnings, as the economic crisis sapped demand for the company’s feature-jammed mobile phones.

That’s bad news for Microsoft, if you recall this bit we learned in February:

At Microsoft’s press conference yesterday at Mobile World Congress, if you tied two threads together, you learned a very interesting fact about HTC, one of the company’s closest handset makers — the Taiwanese company is responsible for 80 percent of Windows Mobile phone sales.

I’m sure Microsoft can fix this with a few commercials about the high “Apple tax” that applies to iPhones, though.

EBL DiggBlock 

DiggBar blocker for TextPattern, by Eric Limegrover.

Clearly Digg Has Thought This Through Thoroughly 

From Digg VP of engineering John Quinn’s description of the DiggBar:

We always represent the source URL as the preferred version of the URL to search engines and use the meta noindex tag to keep DiggBar pages out of search indexes. For those of you interested in the technical details, we also include link rel="canonical" information to indicate that the original URL is the real (canonical) version.

From Google’s FAQ regarding rel="canonical":

Can this link tag be used to suggest a canonical URL on a completely different domain?

No. To migrate to a completely different domain, permanent (301) redirects are more appropriate. Google currently will take canonicalization suggestions into account across subdomains (or within a domain), but not across domains.

(Thanks to DF reader Jakob Egger.)

The Macalope on That Microsoft-Sponsored ‘Apple Tax’ Report by Roger Kay 

El Macalopo nails it: “Don’t waste your time refuting horse shit.”

DiggBar Blocker for Drupal 

Nice work from Henrik Sjökvist.

Rack-Dickbarblocker 

DiggBar blocking middleware for Rack by Markus Prinz — should work for any Ruby-based framework using Rack.

DiggBar Is a Howl of Desperation 

Ted Dziuba speculates on the thinking behind the DiggBar:

This move shows that not only is Digg willing to pull some sleazy shit to increase their unique visitors, but that they also need to pull this sleazy shit, because they need more unique visitors.

If you don’t see this as a gimmick to artificially inflate Digg’s traffic, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

More From Faruk Ateş on the DiggBar 

From Faruk Ateş’s thoughtful follow-up regarding the DiggBar, his suggested solution for Digg:

It must be an opt-in choice which, if not opted into, makes the short URL perform a 301 Redirect to the original page. This would then also be the behavior for non-members.

Best would be for Digg to simply outright scrap it. But if they changed it to an opt-in feature that only worked via page-framing for registered Digg users who turned it on, and acted as a regular HTTP 301 redirection service (like every other URL shortener) for everyone else, I’d still think it was douchey but I wouldn’t oppose it.

(That’s why I’m not up in arms about Facebook’s or StumbleUpon’s douchey page-framing dinguses.)

An Event Apart 

An Event Apart describes itself as an “intensely educational two-day learning session for passionate practitioners of standards-based web design”. I’ve attended twice, and that’s a perfect description. My thanks to them for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed.

Two full days of sessions on code, content, usability, and design, from some of the brightest minds and best speakers in the industry. An Event Apart is coming to Seattle in May and Boston in June. Use code “AEADARE” during checkout to save $100 off any registration.

Why Engadget Is Blocking the DiggBar 

Engadget is using JavaScript (more or less along the lines of Faruk Ateş’s aforelinked solution) to prevent its pages from being wrapped in Digg’s frame. Joshua Topolsky writes:

In Digg’s efforts to keep you swimming in their stream, they completely obscure the original URL you’re supposed to be looking at. And no, not just the URL you follow from a particular Digg on their site — all the URLs you visit (via clicks) until you kill the bar. Additionally, if you’re browsing around a site under the bar itself and you kill it, it transports you back to the original URL you landed on, thus completely breaking continuity and making it almost impossible to know where you’ve actually browsed to.

I’m happy to see anyone block or redirect around the DiggBar, but I still think it’s worthwhile to make a stink about it rather than simply redirect DiggBar links to the actual URL. It’s not individual web site publishers’ job to make Digg work like a civil non-bullshitty web site, and the best way I can think of to get Digg to change this is to get Digg users to demand it.

Danny Sullivan on Frame Bars 

Danny Sullivan:

Also, if Google were ever to frame web sites when you click to them from search results in the way Ask does, the web would almost certainly erupt in anger. I don’t think this will happen, of course — but if it’s not something we’d allow Google to do, it’s not something we should be allowing any sites to do.

Faruk Ateş’s JavaScript DiggBar Redirection Script 

Rather than blocking incoming DiggBar traffic, Faruk’s simple JavaScript will redirect such requests to the actual URL of your page. This is far friendlier to Digg users than my solution, but I’m not trying to be friendly about this.

ActsAgainstDouchebar 

Anti-DiggBar plugin for Ruby on Rails by Ben Sandofsky, with the best name for such a plugin so far.

DiggBar Blocker for Django 

Django plugin by Matt George.

DiggBar Blocker for ExpressionEngine 

DiggBar-blocking extension for ExpressionEngine by Derek Jones.

It’s About the URLs 

Greg Boser on the DiggBar, and why it doesn’t matter whether Digg-framed pages still get indexed accurately by search engines:

Before the DiggBar, (and with legit shortening services) all those links would point to your URL. Now, a large percentage of them are going to be links pointing to a page on Digg. Now if you are Yahoo, CNN, or the BBC, that isn’t really going to matter much. You don’t have to spend time thinking about building link equity, because you already have it. However, if you are a newer site struggling to build trusted link equity in the current black hole environment we live in, the mass adoption of the DiggBar is a serious issue.

Framing breaks bookmarking, it breaks copy-and-paste from the location field, it breaks your browser history, it breaks bookmarklets. There’s nothing OK about it.

DiggBar Killer for Greasemonkey 

Firefox users may enjoy this Greasemonkey script by Shaun Grady.

Diggbarred Plugin for WordPress 

Phil Nelson has created a WordPress plugin to block the DiggBar.

That’s Curious 

Andy Baio observes that the Digg entry for my piece on blocking the DiggBar has a high score but yet neither shows up on the home page nor in Digg search results.

Update: You can searched for “buried” stories on Digg by adding “+b” to your query, like this.

‘Moon’ 

The trailer for Duncan Jones’s Moon looks terrific, like a cross between 2001, Solaris, The Shining, and Primer. The poster is pretty good too.

Baracknophobia 

Jon Stewart:

I think you might be confusing ‘tyranny’ with ‘losing’.

Pirates and the CIA 

Ken Silverstein talks to a “former senior CIA officer” regarding our response to the resurgence of real-world honest-to-god hijacking-ships-at-gunpoint piracy. His source makes the case that Thomas Jefferson handled things better 200 years ago.

(This is why I try to use the term bootlegging when discussing casual downloading and sharing of copyrighted material. Piracy is a violent crime.)

Danny Sullivan on Google and the Newspaper Industry 

Great piece by Danny Sullivan on newspaper executives’ ill-considered decision to blame Google for their problems:

I’m going to save you all those potential legal fees plus needing to even speak further about the evil of the Big G with two simple lines. Get your tech person to change your robots.txt file to say this:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Done. Do that, you’re outta Google. All your pages will be removed, and you needn’t worry about Google listing the Wall Street Journal at all.

Oh, but you won’t do that.

Kottke on Extreme Borrowing 

Jason Kottke compares AllThingsD’s “Voices” to Boing Boing:

Metaphorically speaking, the ATD post is like showing the first 3 minutes of a movie and then prodding the viewer to go see the rest of it in a theater while BB’s post is like the movie trailer that gives so much of the story away (including the ending) that you don’t really need to watch the actual movie.

What ends up happening is that blogs like Boing Boing — and I’m very much not picking on BB here … this is a very common and accepted practice in the blogosphere — provide so much of the gist and actual text of the thing they’re pointing to that readers often don’t end up clicking through to the original.

I think this is a real issue, and a serious defect in the format of many popular weblogs, insofar as they deliberately attempt to entirely summarize the article they’re linking to (sometimes with odd results), and therefore discourage rather than encourage readers to actually go read the original. Ostensibly high-traffic “summarize” weblogs, like TechCrunch for example, send surprisingly few referrers when they link to me. But this is a separate issue from the AllThingsD thing.

And yes, this is yet another instance of me standing up and saying that I’m doing it right where others are doing it wrong, so suck it.

Fair Use for Fair People 

Anil Dash:

If the Associated Press made its argument on the basis of credibility and reputation, transparency and accountability, as the web-native publishers have, it would be far easier to defend their desire to share in the business model developed by the aggregators.

Baseball’s Judicial Branch 

George Will on Bruce Weber’s new book on baseball umpires, As They See ’Em:

Umpires — the only people who are on the field during the entire game and the only ones indifferent to the outcome — were depicted in pre-Civil War drawings wearing top hats and carrying walking sticks. An account of the (supposedly) first game between organized teams — June 19, 1846, in Hoboken, N.J. — mentioned the umpire fining a player six cents for swearing.

Girls Cut DF T-Shirts Now Available 

Pretty good response to my poll on Monday, so I’ve added girls shirt sizes to the order form. No difference in price. Update: Specifically, we’ll be printing the girls shirts on American Apparel style 2102 tees, the same colors as the guys shirts (asphalt and silver).

Cocktails for iPhone, Free This Week 

Skorpiotech:

We are officially lowering the price of Cocktails+ to $0.00 for a limited time to promote our new “Publish to Facebook” feature. Customers who wish to take part in this limited offer need to hurry, as the offer begins Monday, April 6th at 12:00pm EDT and ends at the “stroke of midnight” on Sunday, April 12th. The Cocktails+ application downloaded will be full and unlimited, including free updates for the life of the major version.

It’s a good app with good cocktail recipes.

A Buck Twenty-Nine 

Matt Rosoff on the price for popular digital songs going to $1.29 industry-wide:

I can’t imagine Amazon’s excited about raising prices in a recession—they’re probably responding to price increases by the record labels, which were made possible by Apple’s capitulation. Good luck with that!

So it’s Apple’s fault that Amazon raised prices. Uh-huh.

Attribution and Affiliation on All Things Digital 

Thoughtful piece by Andy Baio on the linking/re-blogging practices at AllThingsD, including some spot-on criticism from Merlin Mann, and a few comments from yours truly.

More Public-Spirited Pigs 

T.S. Eliot, then a director of publisher Faber & Faber, in his letter to George Orwell rejecting Animal Farm:

And after all, your pigs are far more intelligent than the other animals, and therefore the best qualified to run the farm — in fact, there couldn’t have been an Animal Farm at all without them: so that what was needed (someone might argue), was not more communism but more public-spirited pigs.

(Via Brent Simmons.)

Mastering and Re-Mastering 

Derek K. Miller on the upcoming new Beatles releases:

So it’s true that these new Beatles CDs (and, with luck, eventually iTunes tracks) will be new digital re-masters, but they won’t be the first ones. If you already have a complete collection of Beatles CDs from those 1987 digital re-masters, these new ones will probably sound different, maybe better. But they could sound worse.

Roger Ebert: Bill O’Reilly and Squeaky the Chicago Mouse 

Best punch line I’ve read in ages.

Sun’s VirtualBox 

VirtualBox is: “a family of powerful x86 virtualization products for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).”

I need to use this for a certain project I’m working on. Admittedly, I’m not using it in any “enterprise” sense, whatever that means. I’m just using it as a desktop virtualization system. But from that perspective it strikes me as inferior to VMware Fusion in every way. An inferior product given away for free — is it any wonder that Sun is in trouble?

Photoshop CS4 Plugin to Disable Canvas Rotation via the Trackpad 

I don’t have one of the new MacBooks yet, but I suspect I’d run into this problem if I did — I rest my thumb at the bottom of the trackpad area.

Remastered Beatles Catalog 

The Beatles:

Apple Corps Ltd. and EMI Music are delighted to announce the release of the original Beatles catalogue, which has been digitally re-mastered for the first time, for worldwide CD release on Wednesday, September 9, 2009 (9-9-09), the same date as the release of the widely anticipated “The Beatles: Rock Band” video game.

But:

Discussions regarding the digital distribution of the catalogue will continue. There is no further information available at this time.

Google’s Use of HTML 5 and WebKit for Mobile Web Apps 

Alex Nicolaou, mobile web engineering manager at Google:

The benefits are clear: you can develop fantastic new applications, benefit from server-side analytics and iteration to deliver features that your users want, and know that offline functionality keeps things running as the user moves in and out of coverage. Your users can enjoy fast, capable web apps that they can access from any device, without the need to copy their data from place to place or worry about installing software or being online.

What’s interesting to me is that because WebKit is the dominant mobile browser, Google’s mobile web apps are taking far more advantage of these cutting-edge HTML 5 features than their “full” desktop web apps. I.e., you can now access Gmail offline on your iPhone, but not on your Mac or Windows PC.

Update: Ends up you can get offline access to Gmail from the desktop, if you install Gears and turn on a beta feature in Gmail Labs. That’s nowhere near as slick as on the iPhone, though, where it “just works” with no need to install anything.

Improved Mobile Gmail for iPhone and Android 

Uses WebKit’s client-side database for caching — you don’t have to wait for any sort of network access to archive or star messages, and, even though it’s a web app, you can use it in airplane mode. It’s a very good iPhone-optimized web app.

I use the native iPhone Mail app to read email on my iPhone, but I’m tempted to start using the Gmail web app for one reason: I waste a lot of time switching back and forth between Mail and Safari after tapping a URL in an email. When using the Gmail web app, tapped links simply open in a new Safari tab. The iPhone Mail app needs a built-in web view, like what most popular iPhone Twitter clients offer.

Findings From the 2008 A List Apart Survey 

I’m not sure what’s more interesting: the survey results or the amazing markup Eric Meyer devised to present the tables and charts using nothing other than HTML and CSS.

Last Day of MacHeist, Make Me Rich With a Kickback 

I really don’t know what to make of the whole MacHeist thing, but there’s no denying that it’s turned into a genuine phenomenon — as I type this they’ve sold just short of 80,000 software bundles at $40 a pop. (And, surprise surprise, all of the apps in the bundle have once again been “unlocked”. Folks, they always get unlocked.)

And there’s no denying that it’s a hell of a deal: 14 apps for $40, and half the apps normally sell for that much or more on their own. Acorn, The Hit List, Espresso, LittleSnapper, WireTap Studio, and a bunch more. The offer ends tonight, and if you use this link, I get an Amazon-style kickback from each sale.

Lukas Mathis on MacHeist 

Lukas Mathis:

Rather than arguing about whether MacHeist is good for the participating developers, or whether it’s good for MacHeist’s customers, or whether it’s a nice experience, or whether the participating developers are getting great marketing, I would be interested in knowing how it affects the Mac software market as a whole.

What influence does Espresso being in the bundle have on Coda? Does the fact that a hundred thousand people will effectively get a free copy of Espresso hurt Coda? Does it negatively impact the amount of money people are willing to pay for an app like Coda or Espresso or BBEdit or TextMate? Does MacHeist hurt Panic’s business, or Bare Bones’ business, or MacroMates’ business?

Internet Comments as Heckling 

Neven Mrgan:

Captchas, user registration (including banning), comment moderation, and community guidelines all help, but not everyone wants to spend time running their blog like a night club. Some people just want to, you know, write.

Comments are, like any design decision, a trade-off.

Apple Updates Xserve 

Apple:

Xserve’s industry-leading storage capabilities include a 128GB SSD boot-drive option that requires a fraction of the power of a hard disk and delivers up to 48 times faster random access times without occupying a drive bay. Xserve’s three 3.5 inch drive bays support both 7200 rpm SATA and 15,000 rpm SAS drives and can be configured with up to 3TB of internal storage.

WiiSpray 

Virtual spray paint WiiMote hack.

Short URL Auto-Discovery Proposal 

Robert Spychala’s proposal for using the HTML <link> tag to allow auto-discovery of canonical short URLs.

What it is:

The Web Trend Map is a yearly publication by iA Inc. It maps the 333 most influential Web domains and the 111 most influential Internet people onto the Tokyo Metro map.

Includes yours truly downtown near Apple, and my friends at Coudal Partners over at the intersection of Knowledge and Advertising.

Unicorn Tears, Eh? 

Newsweek’s Dan Lyons talks to David Webster, general manager for brand marketing at Microsoft, regarding Microsoft’s new ad campaign for Windows:

He says the idea was to turn Apple’s “I’m a Mac” campaign to Microsoft’s advantage. “We associate real people with being PCs, [but then Apple] ends up looking pretty mean-spirited, the way they go after customers,” he says. “It’s clear that’s who they are insulting.” At the same time he can’t resist taking a crack at the preciousness of some Mac users. “Not everyone wants a machine that’s been washed with unicorn tears,” he says.

It seems clear that Microsoft’s stance on the Mac’s sales growth is that there’s nothing wrong with Windows or right with the Mac, but rather that there’s something wrong with Mac users.

Reminds me of the attitude of U.S. carmakers in the ’70s and ’80s, as more Americans switched to Japanese imports.

Matt Haughey on How Social Media Really Works 

Exactly right:

So maybe instead of getting your company on twitter, paying marketers to mention you are on twitter, and paying people to blog about your company, forget all that and just make awesome stuff that gets people excited about your products, hire people that represent the company well, and when your stuff is so awesome that friends share it with other friends, you may not even need “social media marketing” after all.

David Weiss on the Security Implications of URL Shortening Services 

Copiously researched, and apparently only by coincidence appearing on the same day as the aforelinked piece by Joshua Schachter.

The surge in interest in URL shorteners is almost entirely fueled by Twitter; as Kottke says, Twitter could put an end to it by shortening URLs themselves and auto-expanding shortened URLs when published.

Joshua Schachter on URL Shorteners 

Joshua Schachter:

The worst problem is that shortening services add another layer of indirection to an already creaky system. A regular hyperlink implicates a browser, its DNS resolver, the publisher’s DNS server, and the publisher’s website. With a shortening service, you’re adding something that acts like a third DNS resolver, except one that is assembled out of unvetted PHP and MySQL, without the benevolent oversight of luminaries like Dan Kaminsky and St. Postel.

Apple Design Awards, 2009 

Applications now open for Mac and iPhone apps. (There’s a nice photo of the team from the Omni Group, which won last year for OmniFocus for iPhone.)

Mike Arrington Still a Jackass, Film at 11 

Kara Swisher calls bullshit on Mike Arrington:

TechCrunch, which slapped a loud headline on its first post, “Sources: Google in Late-Stage Talks to Buy Twitter,” then changed it to “Sources: Google in Talks to Acquire Twitter (Updated).”

What’s next? “Google and Twitter Have a Lovely Organic Lunch and Discuss Trading T-Shirts (Updated Update)”?

The TechCrunch report, penned by Michael Arrington, also added a let’s-just-cover-all-our-bases update at the bottom of the ever-changing post that then hedged the news it had just hyped.

This is not new for the tech blog, especially related to Google.

On July 28, 2008, TechCrunch reported: “Google In Final Negotiations To Acquire Digg For ‘Around $200 Million,’” and said there was a letter of intent signed.

The Washington Post must be so proud to have such high-quality bullshit running under its name.

One Million Downloads of iPhone Skype Client in Two Days 

About six downloads per second. Wow.

The Omni Group 

How can you not love a company that sponsored this site’s RSS feed for four straight weeks, and, for their final ad, chose to write the following:

John Gruber once described one of our applications as “vaporware”. Another one he referred to as an “over-designed turd”. Truth is, we kind of like John best when he’s pulling no punches — even if we totally disagree with him.

Pretty cool if you ask me, and their software isn’t too bad either. Omni Group, I thank you.

Tropicana OJ Sales Plunge 20 Percent Post-Rebranding 

This might go down as one of the worst rebrandings in history. AdAge reports:

A spokeswoman for Tropicana in an e-mail said, “No dots to connect here.” The company did not respond to further requests for comment.

Now’s a good time to recall the words of Peter Arnell, mastermind behind the rebranding, on what it all meant:

“Now, the reason why that’s all important is because of course squeeze maintains a certain level of power when it comes to this notion emotionally about what squeeze means, like when I squeeze, or gimme a squeeze, or the notion of a hug, or the ideas behind the power of love and the idea of transferring that love or converting that attitude between mom and the kids.”

Uh, OK. (Transcription courtesy of Cabel Sasser, very fast typist.)

Get the Mac Box Set for $135 at Amazon 

Leopard alone retails for $129, so it’s like getting the new iLife and iWork suites for $6.

A Quantum of Utility 

Paul Graham, in a Hacker News comment thread regarding yesterday’s DF essay:

“How small? How simple?”

We advise startups to launch when they’ve added a quantum of utility: when there is at least some set of users who would be excited to hear about it, because they can now do something they couldn’t do before.

Along similar lines, here’s a bit of sage advice from longtime DF reader Don O’Shea, who teaches optical engineering at Georgia Tech:

The mnemonic that I give my students for setting priorities for features in an optical design is NUN: Necessary, Useful, and Nice.

Designing Convertbot 

Mark Jardine on the design process behind Convertbot, the new iPhone unit converter from Tapbots. I adore the way their apps look and sound.

The Voice of Yankee Stadium May Retire 

Bob Sheppard is 98 years old and has been the P.A. announcer at Yankee Stadium since 1951:

He did his first Yankees game on April 17, 1951, announcing a lineup that included Phil Rizzuto, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra.

Free Online Stanford Course on Developing iPhone Apps 

Should be available this week through iTunes U.

Palm Pre Video Walkthrough 

PreCentral has a hands-on video from this week’s CTIA conference. Looking good. Palm has also started rolling out a private beta of the Mojo SDK for WebOS.

20 × 200 Print of the Apple I 

Gorgeous.

Wrong Tomorrow 

Terrific new site from Maciej Ceglowski: it lists and tracks predictions of the future made by public figures and purported experts. Here’s Maciej announcing it on his weblog:

Many other authoritative people who completely failed to foresee the collapse of our economy are now earning a comfortable living by dispensing advice and handicapping the future. None to my knowledge has said “wow, I really got blindsided by this thing - maybe I should STFU”. This strikes me as somewhat distasteful.

I predict Wrong Tomorrow is going to be one of my very favorite web sites.

Ads via The Deck Ads via The Deck