Linked List: February 2005

Growl 0.6 

Includes two new visual displays. (Via Drunkenblog.)

Macworld Expo Boston 2004 Keynote MP3 

Jason Snell:

When I first heard the news that Jef Raskin had died, my mind flashed back to last July’s Macworld Expo in Boston, when Raskin joined fellow Mac innovators Bill Atkinson, Andy Hertzfeld, and Jerry Manock in a keynote panel discussion led by David Pogue of the New York Times.

Macworld has posted an MP3 recording of the entire keynote.

LeanCalc 1.0 

LeanCalc is a new freeware Mac OS X calculator app by Marc Liyanage, based on the open source ‘calc’ library.

Unicode-Processing Issues in Perl 

Solutions to common Unicode problems in Perl. (Via Buzz Andersen.)

Regarding Ruby (and Ruby on Rails) 

Dan Benjamin likes Ruby on Rails, but says beginning programmers shouldn’t start with Ruby as their first language.

Jef Raskin Dies 

Raskin started the Macintosh project at Apple in the late ’70s. He died Saturday from cancer at the age of 61.

Google Maps Now Works in Safari 

And Opera, too.

New York Times Profiles Podcasting Start-Up 

What’s the deal with Evan Williams’s hair, though?

FireWire Cables No Longer Included With New iPods 

Larry Angell reports for iPodlounge:

The new iPod photo models no longer include iPod photo Docks, iPod photo AV cables, or cases, and more surprisingly, Apple has also apparently dropped both FireWire cables and FireWire Power Adapters from the iPod photo boxes. Each iPod photo now includes only a single USB 2.0 cable and a USB Power Adapter, recently reviewed on iPodlounge, for wall power charging. Each of the other items is available separately.

Wow, this sucks — USB 2.0 is definitely slower than FireWire. (The same goes for the updated iPod Minis, too.)

Very Dynamic Web Interfaces 

Drew McLellan writing for, on using JavaScript’s XMLHttpRequest object. It’s all about reducing page views — web apps that do more with fewer page reloads provide a better experience.

Protect Your Site From Google’s New Toolbar 


You can’t stop a juggernaut in pursuit of its own increase, but you can do something about the part where they mess with your website, adding links you didn’t create.

Namely, you can download this script from Threadwatch, install said script on your server, and link to it from the <head> of your web pages.

Google Introduces ‘movie:’ Search Operator 

Google Blog:

Just in time for the Oscars, we’ve created a new “movie:” operator that enables you to find movie-related information faster and more easily, whether you’re looking for titles or actors, director or genre, famous lines or obscure plot details.

Works like a champ. (Via Daniel Bogan via AIM.)

How to Sell Your Book, CD, or DVD on Amazon 

Kevin Kelly:

I’ve had numerous requests from readers for the secrets of getting their self-published material on Amazon. It’s no secret, but here is what I have learned in the last few years about how to get your book, CD or DVD listed on Amazon.

(Via Dan Benjamin via AIM.)

Waferbaby: The “Decadent” Post 

Quotes regarding the tenth anniversary of Daniel Bogan’s Waferbaby, including from yours truly.

New iPod Minis and Photos 

New iPod Minis come in 4 and 6 GB capacities, for $199/249. Battery life is up to 18 hours on both models. iPod Photo prices have been cut, the 40 GB iPod Photo has been replaced by a thinner 30 GB model, and the regular 40 GB iPod is no more. Lastly, Apple has announced a new Camera Connector (available in March) that will let you connect a camera directly to an iPod Photo to import pictures.

Kottke Goes Pro 

He’s quit his web design job to write full-time, funded by direct support from his readers, no ads. I think he’ll do well.

Woz on Tiger Leak Defendants 

Drunkenblog has assembled comments from a bunch of Mac nerds, including Steve Wozniak, regarding Apple’s lawsuit against the guys who bootlegged a beta of Mac OS X 10.4. There’s a comment from me in there too.


Perl module by Ben Trott, designed for fetching XML feeds with support for GZip compression and ETag/Last-Modified support.

Hunter S. Thompson Commits Suicide 

Associated Press:

Hunter S. Thompson, the acerbic counterculture writer who popularized a new form of fictional journalism in books like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, fatally shot himself Sunday night at his home, his son said. He was 67.

Fuck. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas made me realize I wanted to write.

Netflix Freak 2.0 

Lots of UI improvements and new features, including support for Netflix Profiles.

Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications 

Jesse James Garrett has given name to the new web application model of JavaScript-driven XML data interchange. A little buzz-word heavy, but a good essay nonetheless, and I like the name.

Witch 1.0b3 

Witch is a keyboard switcher that allows you to switch between windows the way Command-Tab lets you switch between apps. Freeware, donations accepted. (Via Tao of Mac.) Class-Action Suit Filed Against Apple 

Led by disgruntled former resellers who lost business to Apple’s own stores.

Interview With Fired Google Blogger 

Gelf Magazine:

Even now, weeks after he was terminated, Jen doesn’t know what led Google management to decide to fire him even after he had complied with their requests.

(Via Links.)

WordPress 1.5 

Big upgrade with lots of features and improvements. Also, WordPress now ships with built-in support for Markdown.

Typographica: Our Favorite Fonts of 2004 

Who says it’s too late for “best of 2004” lists?

Microsoft Guide to ‘133t5p33k’ for Parents 

This is so square it’s hilarious. (Via John Siracusa via IM.)

Google Kills Googlefone 

A while back Jonathan ‘Wolf’ Rentzsch created, a simple front-end to phone book lookups powered by Google. Google doesn’t want people using domain names containing “google”, and so they sent him a seemingly auto-generated legal nastygram.


PDFLab is a nice little utility that allows you to split and join PDF documents. Freeware, donations accepted. (Via Jonathan Rentzsch.)

Google Gets Away With What Microsoft Couldn’t 

New features in Google’s toolbar are reminiscent of Microsoft’s much-despised “Smart Tags” feature from a few years ago.

LaunchBar 4.0 

I switched from LaunchBar 3 to Quicksilver a while back, but version 4 looks like it’s worth checking out.

iPod Shuffle Tips and Tricks 

Excellent iPod Shuffle review by Scott Knaster, including this bit regarding the effects of Apple’s decision to format the Shuffle as FAT32 (the Windows disk format), rather than HFS+:

Apple’s support for FAT32 has a list of seemingly innocent characters you can’t use in file names, such as * and [ . If you try copying a file with any of these characters in its name from an HFS volume to your shuffle, the Finder will complain. (The details are provided here.)

FlySketch 1.0 

Flying Meat Software’s FlySketch is an intriguing $20 screen capture utility. It’s not like Snapz Pro X at all; rather, FlySketch focuses on capturing a portion of your screen and allowing to draw, doodle, and annotate right there in the capture window.

SpamSieve Scores 

Michael Tsai, with more details on how SpamSieve scores are assigned, and how you can use them.

JWZ on Software Design 

Jamie Zawinski:

If you want to do something that’s going to change the world, build software that people want to use instead of software that managers want to buy.

Transmit 3.0 

Tabs, column view, zoomed previews, server-to-server transfers and more.

Google Cheat Sheet 

Great collection of Google tips on one page.

Read/Write Web: Weblog Authoring Tools Market Share 

Interesting stats, even if they are just rough estimates. (Via Links.)

Delicious Monster on TV 

Mike Matas and Wil Shipley of Delicious Monster were profiled on the local NBC affiliate in Seattle. (Via DrunkenBlog.)

Update: Whoa, I just watched this again, and I noticed that as they show Matas and Shipley walking down the street past the Omni Group office, the reporter says, in voice-over, “Every day Mike Matas and Wil Shipley walk past the company they say they were fired from, on the way to their new company they founded,”


List & Record Tools Scripting Addition 1.0.1 

Bug fix update to Late Night Software’s excellent freeware AppleScript extension, which allows you to do all sorts of useful things with AppleScript records (including, most importantly, accessing the keys of record dynamically at runtime; it’s inexcusable that AppleScript doesn’t offer built-in support for this).

See also: Property Lists Tools 1.0.3, a bug fix update to Late Night’s freeware OSAX for reading and writing property list (plist) files.

Dave Shea on IE 7 

Dave Shea:

The question we all want to know: any chance of rendering improvements?

Microsoft Announces Internet Explorer 7 

The empire strikes back.

1 GB Memory Cards Drop to $100 

Richard Shim, reporting for CNet News:

Underscoring the dramatic price drops in the market for memory cards, flash memory specialist SanDisk said Monday that it will sell a 1GB mini SD card for $100.

(Via Mike Davidson, via email.)

Jason Calacanis on Ask Jeeves’s Bloglines Acquisition 

He doesn’t think there’s a business model for web-based aggregators.

LokiTorrent Owner Fined One Million Dollars 

LokiTorrent didn’t host copyrighted material — it just tracked BitTorrent files that could be used to download copyrighted material hosted elsewhere. (Via Links.)

Two-Finger-Scrolling With Pre-2005 PowerBooks and iBooks 

Daniel Becker:

This is a hack to activate two-finger scrolling on supported pre-2005 PowerBooks and iBooks (i.e. those with a “W-Enhanced” trackpad, including most AlBooks and recent iBooks) on OS X 10.3.

(Via Tao of Mac.)

43 Folders: In Further Praise of Markdown 

Merlin Mann has gotten so accustomed to Markdown that he’s found himself using it even when writing in longhand. Same thing has happened to me, especially with *asterisks* for word emphasis.

Boing Boing: MPAA Shuts Down Lokitorrent, Obtains Server Logs 

The MPAA has taken over a popular BitTorrent tracking site, replacing the home page with a stunningly Orwellian piece of anti-bootlegging propaganda (“YOU CAN CLICK BUT YOU CAN’T HIDE.”) Plus, they’ve obtained the server logs, presumably to determine individual users who used the site to bootleg copyrighted motion pictures. Question: Why in the world would a site like this keep logs?

Apple Announces Two-for-One Stock Split 

Apple’s board obviously expects the good times to keep on going. (Via MacMinute.)

The Web Design CD Bookshelf 
Six O’Reilly web design books are now available for free on the web.

On second thought, I suspect the owners of this site have simply posted the copyrighted content of these books illegally. A Google site query turns up two more O’Reilly titles hosted at the same domain. And if this is legit, why are they hosted at “” instead of “”?

ADHOC Conference Papers 

Conference papers presented at ADHOC (née MacHack) from 2001-2004. (Via Jonathan Rentzsch.)

How Google Maps Works 

Nice overview by Joel Webber, including how they avoid refreshing the entire page when you submit a search while a map is loaded. (Via Kottke.)

Secure Wireless Email on Mac OS X 

Another terrific in-depth article from Doug Bowman, this time explaining how to use SSH tunnels for secure access to email over insecure networks (like, say, Wi-Fi). (I use SSH tunneling not just for email, but for posting to Movable Type with MarsEdit as well.)

Using Universal Access’s ‘White on Black’ in Low-Light 

Tom Yager has an interesting tip:

When I use my PowerBook in dark spaces like conference sessions, I find that even the dimmest backlight setting is too bright. Control-Option-Command-8 switches the display to greyscale, then inverts it (in other words, black text on white becomes white text on black). The light output falls by half or more. It looks strange — the Dock icons are a really a trip in negative grayscale — but the entire GUI is perfectly usable.

(Via Nat Irons, via email.)

Google Maps Tour 

Check out the keyboard shortcuts.

Google Maps Features 

Aaron Swartz:

Search results from Google Local — To find a wifi hot spot in a local area, users may type [wifi hot spot] and their local zip code to see wifi locations on the map. They will see phone numbers for each location appearing on the right side of the page. When users click on locations on the map, they will also find address information.

Rafe Colburn on Google Maps 

Today I heard that Google had launched a mapping service, and I thought to myself, how much better could Google Maps be than Yahoo Maps, or MapQuest, or any of the other mapping services out there? Well, it turns out that Google Maps is much, much better than any mapping service I’ve ever used.

Taste for the Web 

Paul Graham parody regarding Google Maps. Extremely clever, but you won’t find it funny at all if you’re not familiar with Graham’s essays. (Again, via Andy Baio.)

Lather, Rinse, Reboot 

Ditherati quotes Microsoft “spokesblogger” Robert Scoble:

I shut down my Tablet PC most evenings and start it up from a fresh boot. Why do I do that? Because I’ve been using computers for 20 years and have learned that’s the best way to work.

iPod at Microsoft Developer Conference 

Ina Fried, reporting for CNet News:

One thing that many of the exhibitors had in common was the raffle prize item they used to lure people to their booths: Apple Computer’s iPod.

Working with Xcode 2.0 

Xcode 2.0 preview from Apple. It’s the version that’ll ship with Tiger. (Update: the articles on Apple’s developer site are never bylined, but it ends up this one was written by James Duncan Davidson.)

Mark Fletcher on the Bloglines Acquisition 

Mark Fletcher, the guy behind the wildly popular Bloglines, writes about selling Bloglines to Ask Jeeves. (Via Andy Baio.)

Google Maps 

In beta, and doesn’t work at all, yet, in Safari. But it’s very cool in Firefox — dragging the map around is intuitive, and their implementation is very fast.

Napster Ad Least Popular Super Bowl Commercial 

According to USA Today’s focus groups, Napster’s ad finished dead last.

David Pogue: The Problem With Digital Versions of My Books 

Rampant bootlegging has led Pogue not to release downloadable versions of his books.

Disk Inventory X 

Says Nat Irons, via email: “If you like WhatSize, you’ll love Tjark Derlien’s Disk Inventory X. Here’s a list of reasons why: (a) Treemaps; (b) also free (GPL).” Treemaps are, indeed, a very cool way to display this sort of information.

Sony Paying $25,000 Per Month to Sponsor New Weblog 

Sony is paying $25,000 per month for exclusive sponsorship rights to LifeHacker, a new weblog in Nick Denton’s Gawker micro-media empire, edited by Gina Trapani. Holy crap, that’s a lot of money.

See also this article in AdAge with more details, but which requires you to register for a free account to read it.

Court Docs Reveal Kazaa Logging User Downloads 

It’s insane that Kazaa is so popular in the PC world — it installs spyware and adware on your computer, and the company admits it. It’s P2P software designed to take advantage of the uninformed and ignorant.


Klajd M. Deda’s WhatSize is a free utility that shows how your disk space is being used. A free alternative to OmniDiskSweeper. (Via Tao of Mac.)

Sdef Editor 1.1 

Mac OS X developer tool for editing ‘sdef’ XML format AppleScript dictionaries. Freeware from Shadow Labs.

Stopdesign: New Photo Galleries 

How Doug Bowman publishes photo galleries from iPhoto to Movable Type, by way of Photon. Great tutorial.

Why Napster Will Be a Fully-Integrated Flop 

Ashlee Vance writing for The Register.

Memento 1.0b4 

Joakim Nygård’s Memento is a little app that lets you search through Safari’s cache. Interesting. (Via Merlin Mann.)

James Duncan Davidson on Pages 

In just the short amount of time that I’ve had with it, I’m comfortable saying that Pages is going to become a tool that I use all of the time.

Danny Goodman’s AppleScript Handbook 

Danny Goodman’s AppleScript Handbook was once widely regarded as the best book on AppleScript, but it’s been out-of-print for many years. He’s updated and revised the text for Mac OS X, and a new edition is now available as a $15 e-book. A free 28-page sample is available. (Via

Ask Jeeves Buys Bloglines 

So reports Mary Hodder. It’ll be interesting to see what their plan is for making money with Bloglines, because if it’s ads, site publishers are going to revolt. (Via Dave Winer.)

Joe Clark on Opera 8.0 Beta for Macintosh 

Joe Clark’s excellent overview of Opera 8.0 beta for Mac OS X:

Well, God love ’em for trying and all, but what’s wrong with Opera for Macintosh 8.0 beta? Lots.

Charles Arthur on ‘Napster to Go’ 

Charles Arthur, on why subscription services aren’t really a threat to Apple:

If rival music sites seeking to drag in revenues from other areas make the concept of subscription music work, then Steve Jobs will have no qualms about standing up and announcing “a great new way to listen to music”.


Very nice Go game for Mac OS X. Freeware.

Shuffling Lightly 

Michael Sippey:

[…] I’ve come to the conclusion that the most interesting thing about the Shuffle isn’t its lack of screen, or its “pull tracks at random from iTunes” feature, or its price point or its button placement. The most interesting thing is just how light it is.

MSN Redesign 

Douglas Bowman on MSN’s move toward standard markup and CSS for layout.

NeXT Applications and Interface Builder 

Michael Tsai, commenting on a DrunkenBlog post pointing out how little Interface Builder has changed since NeXTSTEP a decade ago:

Interface Builder was ahead of its time. And, yes, the ability to set outlets and actions is still cool. But aside from adding support for layout guides and bindings, it doesn’t seem to have changed much. It could even learn a few things from PowerPlant Constructor, circa 1996. The last time I complained about Apple’s developer tools, it wasn’t long before they announced Xcode. So hopefully there’s already a project underway.

Panic Now Selling T-shirts 

I’m trying to resist the urge to craft a pun using ‘softwear’.

Matt Groening Apple Ad 

1989 promotional brochure for the Mac illustrated by Matt Groening. (Via Buzz Andersen.)

Skype 1.0 

High-quality cross-platform voice chat and instant messaging.

Wal-Mart + Apple = Sitting in a Tree 

Wal-Mart is selling iPod Minis in “a limited number of stores”, and rumors abound that they’re about to start selling iPod Shuffles nationwide.