Linked List: November 2004

Apple Hires Peter Mehring, Possibly as New Mac Hardware VP 

Macity reports that Apple has hired Umax founder Peter Mehring — perhaps as a replacement for Tim Bucher as chief of the Mac hardware division. (For what it’s worth, I always thought Umax’s Mac clones were a bit junky.)

Sony Strikes Back 

Looks like Sony is finally fighting hard: they’re introducing a 20 GB Walkman that plays MP3s.

“I don’t know if we can take this market back in a year … But this launch is our message that we will work hard to put an end to the dominance by just one company,” Sony President Kunitake Ando said.

More from Engadget, including a larger photo.

MT-Blacklist Bug: Don’t Delete Weblogs 

Bug in Jay Allen’s MT-Blacklist 2.0 could cause a second weblog to be deleted when using MT’s “Delete Weblog” command. Needless to say, if you use MT-Blacklist, don’t delete any weblogs until this is fixed. Greg Storey just got bitten by this bug.

The Virtues of XML-RPC 

Nice essay from Brent Simmons.

iPod Hidden Button Combos 

Christopher Breen reveals hidden button combinations (e.g. to go into a diagnostic mode) in his review of the iPod Photo for Playlist Magazine. (These combos should work for all clickwheel models.)

iPod Adoption Rate Faster Than Sony Walkman 

Comparing the first 2.5 years of the iPod to the first 2.5 years of the Walkman, Merrill Lynch analyst Steve Milunovich reports that Apple has sold 1 million more units than Sony did.

German iPod Mini Rip-Off 

Check out the earbuds. (Via MacNN.)

Task #1963 

Quentin Carnicelli, from Rogue Amoeba:

Most registration windows, including our old one, are afterthoughts. That’s unfortunate, as the registration window is the first thing you see after forking over your cash when buying an application.

Analyst Expects 100 Million iPod Users by 2008 

Take it with a grain of salt; 2008 is a long way off. But this sort of thinking is why Apple’s stock is soaring.

Apple’s Student Blog 

Mac-related topics, from a student perspective. Powered by WordPress. More Apple weblogs to come?


C# port of Markdown, by Milan Negovan.

iCal 1.5.4 Fixes ‘Unsafe’ Alarm Problem 

Apple support article explains the fix.

Is ‘Fair Use’ in Peril? 

MIT Technology Review reports on Republican-sponsored legislation that would make it illegal to fast-forward through TV commercials or to use iTunes’ music-sharing feature. Say good-bye to Rogue Amoeba’s entire product line if this passes. (Via Political Animal.)

CNet Confirms Bucher Departure 

Still no reason given, but an Apple representative “confirmed the departure” to CNet’s Ina Fried. (She credits MDJ for the scoop.)

‘The Register’ Hit by Scripting Attack Via Ad Server 

Simon Willison:

Here’s a nasty one: popular tech news site [The Register] was hit on Saturday by [the Bofra exploit], a nasty worm which uses an iframe vulnerability in (you guessed it) Internet Explorer to install nasty things on the victim’s PC. Where it gets interesting is that the attack wasn’t against the Register themselves; it came through their third party ad serving company, Falk AG.

Solving CSS Problems for Mozilla Europe 

CSS cleverness from Dunstan Orchard.


Free app exports Delicious Library data to HTML. (Via Mike Matas.)

Paul Graham: Made in USA 

Paul Graham on American design priorities.

In-Depth Review: What Makes Firefox 1.0 So Compelling 

Scot Finnie with an extensive, effusive review of Firefox 1.0. This is very much a Windows-oriented review (for a Windows-oriented publication), but if you’re trying to convince Win/IE users to switch, this is the review to point them towards.

Jonesin’ for Some 8-Ball 

Mike Davidson on the upcoming major revision of Flash, code-named “8-Ball”.

Good Luck, Losers 

CEO of Creative “declares war” against Apple’s iPod. (Via Engadget.)

A Survey of Dock Substitutes and Other Launch Utilities 

Eric Strongheart reviews and compares Dock-It, DragStrip, DragThing, Drop Drawers, and Butler. (Personally, I’ve been a DragThing man for many years.)

Perl Code to Open Multiple Files in One New BBEdit Window 

From Chris Nandor, a stinking Red Sox fan.

Welcome to Our Ool, Notice There Is No ‘P’ in It 

iPodlounge reports that Apple has changed the name of the ‘iPod Photo’ to ‘iPod photo’, to match the lowercase ‘m’ in ‘iPod mini’.

SubEthaEdit 2.1 

New features:

  • Command-line tool
  • More customizable syntax highlighting
  • Better AppleScript support for sharing features
The Photoshopping of Firefox 

Steven Garrity with examples of news sites screwing with the Firefox logo for no good reason.

Helpful Tiger: Column Before the Storm 

Annoyances with how the Finder’s column view works in narrow windows.

Spammer Grossed up to $750,000 Per Month 

Criminal case against Florida spam kingpin reveals the math:

  • Send 10 millions spams per month.
  • Get a measly 1-in-30,000 response rate.
  • Charge the morons $30 or $40 for your scam.

(Via BoingBoing.)

Apple Releases AirPort 4.1 


The AirPort 4.1 for Mac OS X 10.3 software supports all models of Apple AirPort base stations including the AirPort Extreme and AirPort Express models.

What’s new in AirPort 4.1:

  • Supports Keyspan Express Remote for use with AirTunes (AirPort Express only)
  • Support for WPA security on WDS networks
  • Ability to rename a USB printer connected to a base station
Nullsoft, 1997-2004 

Paul Boutin, writing for Slate:

When America Online purged its tiny Nullsoft branch of all but three employees this week, it lost arguably the most prolific division of the company. Not that you could really blame AOL for the mass layoffs—all of Nullsoft’s projects were spitballs tossed at the honchos upstairs. Before the AOL days, Nullsoft founder Justin Frankel and his team of whiz kids practically invented the MP3 craze when they rolled out their Winamp player and Shoutcast server. When AOL paid millions to buy the then-20-year-old Frankel’s services in 1999, he used his new gig to become what Rolling Stone called “the Net’s No. 1 punk.”

Nisus Writer Express 2.1 

Update to Nisus’s intriguing Mac OS X word processor. Ever since they added stylesheet support in 2.0, I’ve been meaning to give this a look.

SpamSieve 2.2.2 

Michael Tsai:

SpamSieve 2.2.2 adds support for Growl notifications, opens up some customizability for Apple Mail and Entourage users that was previously only available to AppleScripters, and includes the usual round of accuracy improvements, enhancements, and bug fixes.

The Inside of an Apple Design Award 

Apple Design Award winners use a cone beam CT scan to examine the award’s innards.

Securing Firewire 

Jonathan ‘Wolf’ Rentzsch:

Quinn’s masterpiece was a dramatic proof of concept. […] For his demo, he booted an iMac off the Mac OS X installation CD (thus proving no custom software on the target iMac) and then plugged in a another Mac. All of a sudden, fire appeared at the bottom of the target’s screen, overwriting the bottom of the installer’s screen. Quinn simply blitted a fire animation over Firewire to the target’s video ram. Great job.

Firefox to Gain More Mac OS X Features 

Daniel Drew Turner, reporting for eWeek:

On the Mac side of things, Goodger said Firefox 1.0 uses Apple’s QuickDraw technology to draw to the screen, while the Windows version uses GDI. However, he said the next big move for the Mac version of Firefox would be away from QuickDraw.

QuickDraw, which Apple created in 1984, was the basis for 2D screen presentation in the Mac OS. With the advent of Mac OS X, Apple moved away from QuickDraw to its PDF-based Quartz rendering system, which is now incorporated in the Core Graphics architecture of Mac OS X.

“We were most focused on the feature set and user interface,” Goodger said. “Maybe not for the next couple of months, but we plan to move Firefox” to the more modern rendering system. Firefox’s reliance on QuickDraw, he said, is due to the fact that the low-level code of Firefox comes from Mozilla’s Netscape 6 and 7 projects, which was largely coded in the years 1999 to 2001 for the Mac OS 9 operating system.

iPod Socks Now on Sale 

I have no idea why so many people thought this was a joke. I still don’t know what to make of it, but other than his crack about “keeping your iPod warm”, Jobs clearly wasn’t joking when he announced them. (The point, I suppose, is to keep your iPod from getting scratched/smudged while floating in your backpack/purse/gym bag.)

I’ll take a gray one if anyone buys a pack and doesn’t want them all.

New ICANN Transfer Policy Not as Dumb as Previously Indicated 

Michael Moncur:

I think the panic is a bit overblown (and a bit late-where was everyone’s concern in July?). If you read the actual policy it makes a couple of things clear:

  1. This policy is for registrar transfers, not ownership transfers. It doesn’t make it any easier for a domain to be hijacked, except perhaps by a corrupt registrar.
  2. The gaining registrar is still required to confirm the transfer: A transfer must not be allowed to proceed if no confirmation is received by the Gaining Registrar.
Wanted by the Police: A Good Interface 

The New York Times reports that the police in San Jose are complaining about the terrible user-interface of the new Windows-based computers in their cars.

Writeboard Preview 

Sneak peak at 37signals’ upcoming web-based collaborative writing app.

Gmail POP Access 

Ben Hammersley reports that Google will be adding free POP access to Gmail accounts. I wonder how — or if — they’ll serve ads to POP users?

Ambrosia Sneak Peeks 

Ambrosia has posted screenshots and movies of a bunch of upcoming games currently in beta, including a Mac OS X port of their excellent Centipede clone Apeiron.

(Via Inside Mac Games.)

Polaroid 40 GB MP3 Player for $169 

Sometimes even I agree with with Paul Thurrott:

So it’s probably a piece of crap. But my God, $169 for a 40 GB MP3 player?

Netcraft: Domain Transfers (and Hijackings) to Become Easier 

Just when you think ICANN can’t fuck things up any worse than they already have. According to Netcraft:

Domain names could become easier to hijack as a change in domain transfer rules takes effect Friday. Under new rules set by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), domain transfer requests will be automatically approved in five days unless they are explicitly denied by the account owner. This is a change from current procedure, in which a domain’s ownership and nameservers remain unchanged if there is no response to a transfer request.

(Via Jez, via AIM.)

Apple Mailing List RSS Feeds 

RSS feeds are now available for all of Apple’s mailing lists. Cool.

They’ve also launched a new search feature for their mailing list archives. Also cool.

Ben Hammersley: New Comment Spam 

Hammersley on a new wave of subtle comment spam.

Google Hosting Firefox Start Page 

This is what a “portal” looks like circa 2004: utterly uncluttered.

Joe Clark: Worst Redesign of the Year 

Joe Clark:

Corporate Web professionals labour under the delusion that they can stay insulated from trends in Web development. They feel free to create expensive new sites whose guts are no different from something published in, say, 1999. They’re like baby boomers who cannot stand any music released after 1979. The way they made Web sites while they were growing up works fine and dandy for them. Not only are no improvements necessary, as far as they’re concerned there are no improvements available to make, save for this Flash thing their kids keep telling them about. Their way is the state of the art — but, unbeknownst to them, back when they were learning to build Web sites we had no idea what the art actually was.

John Siracusa Reviews Delicious Library 

Extensive review of the just-out-of-beta media library management app.

The Apple Dashboard Widget Contest 

First prize: 40 GB iPod. Deadline November 30.

Jeremy Hedley: Unjustified 

Jeremy Hedley on why you should never set full-justified text on the web. Seriously, if you’re doing this, or tempted to, read this essay.

Marc Liyanage: New and Updated BBEdit Glossaries 

Marc Liyanage has new and updated BBEdit glossaries for XSLT, Perl, JSP, Apache Ant, Java, and more.

As Marc says:

Note: Make sure that you use BBEdit’s “Auto-Complete Glossary” command in combination with a keyboard shortcut with glossaries, otherwise you’re not using them (or BBEdit) to their full potential! I recommend Ctrl-Return as a keyboard shortcut. If you set up things this way, you can, for example with the XSLT glossary, type “val”, hit Ctrl-Return and BBEdit will insert the full template for <xsl:value-of ...> into your document.

I also suggest assigning Cmd-Option-Left and Cmd-Option-Right to the commands “Go To Previous Placeholder” and “Go To Next Placeholder”.

Mossberg on iPod Photo 

Walter Mossberg:

Our verdict: The iPod Photo was just as easy, and satisfying, to use with photos as it is with music. It’s a winner, if a little pricey.


New Movable Type plug-in from Brad Choate; automatically nukes comments originating from the IP addresses of servers blacklisted by

Working With Spotlight 

Some developer-level details on Spotlight.

Mac OS X 10.3.6 

Change notes from Apple. Two items that caught my eye:

  • Safari no longer times out after 60 seconds when attempting to connect to a webpage or to submit form data. With this update, Safari will keep trying indefinitely (or until you cancel the attempt).

  • Resolves an issue in which the display could sometimes remain dark when waking from display sleep (the mouse pointer might appear, but normal function could not be restored) if using Screen Saver password on a portable computer.

Frequently Asked Questions About Photo Sync 

When synching photos, iTunes creates iPod- and TV-size versions of your photos, and those are what get synched. Thus iPod Photo doesn’t need to scale photos for display. But iTunes has a preference to store a full-resolution copy of every photo on your iPod as well.

Super Get Info 1.2.1 

Small bug fix and minor features.

Konfabulator for Windows Coming Next Week 

Note that the Windows port was in the works before Mac OS X 10.4’s Dashboard feature was announced.

RubyPants 0.1 

Ruby port of SmartyPants.

Andrew Tanenbaum is the Votemaster 

The heretofore anonymous author/programmer/statistician behind the amazing Electoral Vote Predictor web site has revealed himself: Andrew Tanenbaum, one of the world’s leading professors of computer science. (I read several of his textbooks during my undergraduate C.S. studies.)

Will HP Get to Ship an iPod Photo? 

Engadget asks, HP spokesperson demurs.

I’m curious about this too. Obviously HP doesn’t have them now, and it doesn’t seem like much of a partnership if HP doesn’t get to ship the newer, cooler (and in the case of the iPod Photo, more expensive) models.