Linked List: December 2006

Typographic Pin-Up Calendar Girls 

Nothing but type. (Via Gedeon Maheux.)

Will It Blend? 

I think this voids your warranty.

How to Tell When a Relationship Is Over 

You get a list of all your faults. (Via Coudal.)

Indian Chess Player Caught Cheating With Cell Phone in His Hat 

Sharma was finally caught at a recent tournament when officials discovered that he had stitched a Bluetooth device in a cloth cap which he always pulled over his ears.

He communicated to his accomplices outside the hall, who then used a computer to relay moves to him, Indian chess federation secretary D.V. Sundar said on Wednesday.

I’m astounded that some guy who wore a hat pulled over his ears got away with this for so long. I dare you to try a stunt like this in a casino.

(Via Amber MacArthur.)

Things Seen Today at the Camden ‘Adventure’ Aquarium and the Completely Unscientific Names I Made Up for Them 

I like the ones of the frogs best.

Society of Professional Journalists: Code of Ethics 

Not every blogger consider themself a “journalist”, but these guidelines certainly seem applicable. With regard the Microsoft/AMD/Acer/Ferrari notebook furor:

Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.

(Thanks to reader Remco Greve.)

John Siracusa: ‘Game Over, Man’ 

John Siracusa on .Mac and Sync Services:

Why is .Mac slow? always loads quickly for me. I can download 5GB disk images from Apple’s developer connection web site at over 900KB/second, which is about as fast as my cable modem can go. Why is .Mac unreliable? The iTunes store gets a tremendous amount of traffic—surely much more than .Mac — and yet it remains available and responsive nearly all the time.

At this point, I’ve given up hope of discovering the answers to these questions. I no longer care why .Mac doesn’t work like it should. I’m not going to continue to plead with Apple to make .Mac better. .Mac has been around for four and a half years now. It’s enough already. I just want my applications back.

Siracusa calls for third-party developers to stop relying on Sync Services. My experience has been that the problems with Sync Services are two-fold: (1) the general performance problems of .Mac; and (2) bugs in Mac OS X’s Sync Services implementation. One of my little birdie friends tells me that Mac OS X 10.4.9 should go a long way toward fixing #2. Like Siracusa, though, I’ve pretty much given up hope on .Mac ever being a reliable high-performance network resource on par with, say, the iTunes Store.

Apple Says Options Probe Exonerates Steve Jobs 

John Markoff, reporting for The New York Times:

The special committee Apple commissioned to investigate its options awards issued a statement today that was signed by two Apple board members: former vice president Al Gore, who chaired the special committee, and Jerome York, who heads the board’s Audit and Finance Committee. “The board of directors is confident that the company has corrected the problems that led to the restatement, and it has complete confidence in Steve Jobs and the senior management team,” the statement said.

Apple recorded $84 million dollars in expenses related to these option grants, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t that much money. That, plus the news regarding Jobs’s apparent lack of involvement, sent Apple stock up 5 points.

What’s Noka Worth? 

Exquisitely detailed 10-part exposé on Noka Chocolate, a Texas chocolatier that sells its chocolate at an outlandish markup. (Via Andy Baio.)

Joel on Software, an Ad-Free Site? 

Joel Spolsky, writing about the free Ferrari laptop saga:

For a couple of years, I accepted a donation of colocation space and facilities from Peer 1 Network, but only because they were the best colocation facility and backbone provider I could find, and only because Joel on Software is really a non-profit, advertising-free site and I was happy to accept the sponsorship.

Ad-free and non-profit, eh? I count 99 current job listings on, which, at the listed price of $350, amounts to $35,650 in revenue in the last 21 days.

Joey deVilla: ‘Blogger Don’t Preach (I’m Keeping the Laptop)’ 

Joey deVilla:

While I’ve had Vista installed on my office PC for the past couple of months, it’s been second banana to my PowerBook. For the most part, the Vista-PC combo at work has been relegated to web browsing on another screen while I’ve been using the Mac to do all the real work.

By sending me a laptop with Vista pre-installed, Microsoft has actually managed to get me interested in Vista and giving it a thorough look-see to see if “there’s really a there there.”

I’m not sure why this has erupted into such a little blog publishing world scandal. It’s certainly wrong for someone to accept one of these machines and then write about it without disclosing that it was a gift (or a review unit, or whatever you want to call it), but I don’t get why some people are so up in arms about Microsoft giving them out in the first place.

Buggy Saints Row: The Musical 

Cabel Sasser takes footage of a bunch of glaring, silly-looking bugs in Saints Row (a Grand Theft Auto rip-off) and, hilariously, sets it to music.

Scott Beale Auctioning His ‘Free’ Vista Notebook, Proceeds to EFF 

Winning bidder gets a Laughing Squid t-shirt and stickers, too. Most of the bloggers who received them are keeping them, unsurprisingly.

Walmart Sold a Zune Filled With Gay Pornography 

Not as funny as the women who bought an iPod last year only to find the box filled with some sort of mystery meat.

CaminoSession 0.85 

Input manager hack for Camino that adds saved sessions to Camino 1.0.

Forget Me Not 3.0 

Open source SIMBL hack adds saved session support to Safari — quit Safari with open windows and tabs and those URLs will be reloaded the next time you launch it. Forget Me Not also adds Undo Close Tab and Unclose Window commands.

Yes, yes, Saft offers some of these features and a whole lot more, but when it comes to dirty hacks like this, I prefer (a) hacks that do as few things as possible, and (b) the ability to look at the source code. I say this as a paid user of Saft.

iTunes Store Back to Normal After Christmas Slowdown 

There were intermittent errors and download delays for the first few days after Christmas, leading to speculation that iPod and iTunes gift card sales exceeded Apple’s own forecasts.

Microsoft Sends Free Acer ‘Ferrari’ Notebooks Loaded With Vista Ultimate to Influential Bloggers 

Mine must be lost in the mail or something.

Update: Now Marshall Kirkpatrick, who got one of the notebooks, says he just got an email from Microsoft saying his “free” notebook is to be considered a “review” unit that should be returned or given away. Weird.

Jason Snell: iPhone, iTV, and Household Names 

Jason Snell:

So let me get this straight. Apple has never, ever even admitted that this product might one day exist. Cisco’s owned the trademark on “iPhone” for ten years. And frankly, the whole i-Everything thing is getting a bit tired. So does anyone reasonably think that Apple was truly planning on calling their phone the iPhone? The only people who should be disappointed are the people who have been throwing around the word iPhone as if it were a real product name, which it never was.

I agree with Snell that if there’s an obvious name Apple might actually use for a phone, it’s “iPod Phone”, or “iPod something”. I still hear people at the mall calling the Apple store “the iPod store”.

Happy Cog Redesigned 

I noticed that got a terrific redesign a few months ago, but I didn’t know that it was from Happy Cog until I read Zeldman’s 2006 year in review. A perfect example of a redesign that was more about improving the experience than merely improving the site’s aesthetics.

Parodying the News Is Getting Harder 

The Golden State Fence Company, one of the firms hired to construct a border fence between the U.S. and Mexico, has agreed to pay $5 million in fines for hiring illegal immigrants. (Thanks to Erik Barzeski.)

HTML5 Elements and Attributes 

All 85 tag elements and their supported attributes in the WHATWG draft spec for HTML 5. (Via Mark Pilgrim.)

Reading Daring Fireball on the Wii 

Looks like I need to do something to make the layout work better on relatively narrow screens.

Update: From the comments (on Flickr), it looks like this is the zoomed-in view, which explains why it doesn’t fit. I still think I ought to buy a Wii for, uh, browser-testing, though.

Falsified Documents May Be at Core of Apple Options Backdating Scandal 

Justin Scheck reporting for

According to people with knowledge of Apple’s situation, federal prosecutors are looking closely at stock option administration documents that were apparently falsified by company officials to maximize the profitability of option grants to executives.

Still looks like the whole mess is being blamed on Nancy Heinen and Fred Anderson, Apple’s former chief counsel and CFO, respectively. But Scheck also reports that Steve Jobs has hired his own legal representation, separate from Apple’s.

Apple shares dipped two percent on this news. (Via The Macalope.)

iTunes Visits Skyrocket 413 Percent on Christmas Day 

The numbers are from Hitwise, not Apple, so take them with a grain of salt, because third party “competitive traffic analysis” is not an exact science. But Hitwise says Christmas Day visits to the iTunes Store outnumbered visits to the Zune store 30-1. (Part of that spread though, surely, is that most Zunes are brand-new, whereas a lot of people with existing iPods received iTunes gift cards.)

Anyway, last year Apple sold 14 million iPods in the holiday quarter; in 2004 they sold 4 million. I’ve seen analysts picking a number between 15-20 million for this year; I’m going out on a limb and predicting 24 million iPods.

Flaws Are Detected in Windows Vista 

Security researchers have already found a few flaws, but it sounds like nothing is in the wild yet. Then again, Vista isn’t in wide release yet, either.

100 Funniest Jokes of All Time 

Merry Christmas.

Why JSON Isn’t Just for JavaScript 

Simon Willison:

The sweet spot for JSON is serializing simple data structures for transfer between programming languages.

Late Additions to the MacSanta List 

TLA Systems’s PCalc and DragThing, The Omni Group’s OmniPlan and OmniGraffle, Stairways’s Interarchy and Keyboard Maestro, and MacRabbit’s CSSEdit. I mean come on, there’s gotta be something on this list you want.

‘2001’ Photoset on Flickr 

Terrific collection of stills and posters from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. (Via Jim Coudal, of course.)

Great Last-Minute Gift Idea 

Kottke’s Ikea-style instructions for Dick in a Box.

Big Nerd Ranchs Burns Down 

Aaron Hillegass:

On Thanksgiving, I gave thanks for the 16 students who had signed up for the Cocoa class that was going to happen in one week. That night, the lodge we rent for our classes burned to the ground with all our equipment inside.

The good news is that no one was hurt.

VMWare Fusion Public Beta 


The new VMware desktop product for the Mac, codenamed Fusion, allows Intel-based Macs to run x86 operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, NetWare and Solaris, in virtual machines at the same time as Mac OS X.

In other words, Parallels now has a rival.

Explaining the Quartz Composer / QuickTime for Java Security Hole 

Chris Adamson has written an outstanding explanation, complete with demo code, of the Quartz Composer / QuickTime for Java security hole addressed by Apple’s Security Update 2006-008.

In a nut: the trick that allows a self-contained QuickTime movie to display live footage from your iSight is and always was safe (the footage never goes over the wire back to the server); it was the combination of that same trick with the QuickTime for Java APIs that allowed the footage to go back to the server, and that hole is now closed.

Feedback on the CS3 Iconography in John Nack’s Comments 

Tons of comments on John Nack’s weblog regarding the new icons and branding for CS3. Highlights include this one from former Adobe product manager Kevin Nathanson, which he apparently intended as a private message to Nack personally, and this one where Nack, in an editorial comment, reveals that the branding is the work of “the design team from the former Macromedia”.

Cocotron: Open Source Objective-C Runtime for Windows 

David Young and Christopher Lloyd have released Cocotron, a BSD-licensed clean room clone of Cocoa (more specifically, Foundation and AppKit) for Windows. The point being that you can use Cocotron to develop, from within Xcode, .app bundles that work on both Mac OS X and Windows.

The big question, I suppose, is how this compares to GNUStep.

Inkjet Refills at $10,000 Per Gallon 

Michael J. McNamara:

Currently, HP’s Magenta ink for its Photosmart 8200 series sells for $9.99 at most stores along with the required Y, Lc, Lm, B, and C inks at the same price. However, HP only puts 3.5ml in the M cartridge, 4ml in the C, 5.5ml in the Lc and Lm, and 6ml in the Y. … There are 3,785 ml in a gallon, making the final price for magenta ink an astronomical $10,788/gal!

Cork’d: Now With Buddy Icons 

Cork’d Blog:

What’s any good, self-respecting community site without buddy icons?

There are a couple of other nice improvements, as well, including a much improved buddy search.

PreFab UI Browser 2.0 

Nice update to PreFab’s essential utility for developers working on accessibility and AppleScripters writing GUI scripting code. New features include a nifty live Screen Reader mode (with constant updates showing whatever element is directly beneath the mouse pointer), better AppleScript generation, and a bunch of improvements to UI Browser’s own user interface.

Mark Pilgrim on DVD Copy Protection 

A terrific little primer in a comment on Dave Shea’s weblog, after Shea posted a question about a “This DVD is copy protected and may be played only on licensed devices” warning on the back of the boxed set for Rome: The Complete First Season.

Pilgrim’s “HOWTO Back Up Your DVD Movies” has saved me, as the father of an almost-three-year-old who insists on putting his own discs into the DVD player, quite a bit of money.

Dashcode Developer Beta 

Interesting; Apple has officially released a beta of Dashcode, their IDE for Dashboard widgets. An early version of Dashcode leaked back in May when Apple accidentally shipped it on the installer discs with some MacBook computers.

Holiday Cocoa Duel 

Fun contest with an interesting way to run the voting:

The duel is a charity event in which Mac OS X developers battle it out for supremacy (and beer). The developers write small holiday-themed applications, and you pick which one you like most by donating to that developer’s charity of choice!

I voted for Jonathan Grynspan’s Snowplane.

Introducing Text-Stroke 

Dave Hyatt:

WebKit now supports stroking of text via CSS. In existing Web pages today, the glyphs that are drawn for text are always filled with a single color, specified by the color CSS property. Sometimes authors may want to stroke the edges of the glyphs with one color, and fill with a different color. By stroking text and not filling the interior at all, you can achieve an outline effect (this option exists in TextEdit for example and in OS X text field context menus).

Annotated Version of Adobe’s Wheel-o’-Icons 

Doesn’t really make much sense to me, organization-wise. Why, for example, is ColdFusion (a web programming language and runtime) right next to Freehand (an apparently-dead illustration app)? Why does PageMaker still get an icon? And why is it so far away from InDesign?

Also, it looks like ImageReady is completely dead.

Veerle Pieters on the Adobe CS3 Iconography 

Veerle Pieters is a fan:

If you look in the Dock, most icons are like pictures and visually very detailed so it’s like they are all shouting “choose me, me”. Adobe’s new icons are so basic and stand out instantly even in a crowded Dock.

Jason Santa Maria on the Adobe CS3 Iconography 

He’s not a fan:

At the expense of creating a family of icons, you’ve watered them down so much as to be unrecognizable at a glance.

Neither is Dave Shea.

The Rest of the Adobe CS3 Icons 

Following last week’s debut of the Photoshop CS3 public beta, John Nack presents the rest of the CS3 iconography. In short, yes, they’re going with a Periodic Table theme for the whole suite.

ZFS on Mac OS X 10.5 — A Closer Look 

Some actual details on what works and what tools are present regarding ZFS support in the recent builds of 10.5.

By the way, speaking of ZFS support in 10.5: Can we please put an end to the speculation that Time Machine is based on ZFS? It is not.

Wired News on MacHeist Developer Fees 

Scott Gilbertson, reporting for Wired News:

How does a sales event that triples its expectations and donates an estimated $200,000 to charity become controversial? The promotion was wildly profitable for Ryu and his partners, but shafted the developers, who were paid relatively low fees for participating.

According to several sources, the shareware developers were paid a flat fee ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 for their shareware apps — approximately $100,000 total — leaving an estimated $400,000 to $500,000 for Ryu and his partners after costs.

Just to be clear, these numbers, which roughly match what I’ve reported, are based on Gilbertson’s own reporting, not mine.

Today Is the Ten-Year Anniversary of Apple’s Acquisition of Next 

Apple’s PR archive doesn’t go back that far, but the Internet Archive’s does. This letter to Apple’s customers from then-CEO Gil Amelio is worth a read, too:

It also means that our co-founder Steven P. Jobs, will rejoin Apple, reporting to me. I know I speak for everyone at Apple in welcoming Steve home.

Reporting to Amelio, eh?

Free Audiobook Version of John Hodgman’s ‘The Areas of My Expertise’ at iTunes Store 

Very cool, very funny, and very free. At least if you’re in the U.S.

Hodgman, of course, plays the PC in Apple’s Get a Mac campaign. Might be worth checking out the rest of Hodgman’s weblog while you’re over there. (Via Kottke.)

Security Update 2006-008 

According to the release notes, it fixes one specific issue related to QuickTime for Java and Quartz Compositor. Maybe something that would have allowed a Java applet to grab images from an iSight camera? It’s hard to tell from the (as-usual) vague description.

MacSanta Now up to 83 Developers 

Just in case you haven’t checked back at MacSanta since Monday, there are now 83 Mac developers participating, all of them offering a 20 percent discount through December 25.

EvilAPI: Google SOAP Search API Replacement 

Third-party unofficial replacement for the now-deprecated Google SOAP API, based on screen-scraped results from Google web search. I wouldn’t count on this being around for long.

Coming in January: ‘Month of Apple Bugs’ 

Brian Krebs reports that the guy behind November’s “Month of Kernel Bugs” is planning a similar stunt for January, this time featuring a daily stream of “previously undocumented security hole[s] in Apple’s OS X operating system or in Apple applications that run on top of it”.

‘Wildly Innaccurate’ 

Philly Ryu on my MacHeist numbers:

I think it’s important to note how wildly inaccurate his estimations are. Seriously. Doubling his estimation of dev fees would bring it closer to reality, but even then, not quite.

Doubling the developer fees I reported would reduce MacHeist’s share of the profits from 87 to 75.

The Year in Media Errors and Corrections 

Regret the Error:

Gather ’round for our annual collection of the funny, shocking, sad and disturbing media errors and corrections from the past year.

AppDNA: Package Source Code Inside Mac OS X Applications 

Crazy recursive Xcode build script that lets the source code for an application live within the application’s own bundle. (Via Rentzsch.)

MGM Trying to Screw Rogers Cadenhead out of ‘’ Domain 

He’s had the domain since 1998; now that they’re making a sequel to 1983’s War Games, they’re trying to take it from him in court.

Google Deprecates Their SOAP Search API 

Guess it’s a good thing I went with Yahoo’s API for Daring Fireball’s search.

They did call it a “beta”, though.

Remembering Bruce Fraser 

Rick LePage:

On Saturday, Dec. 16, a long-time friend and colleague of mine, Bruce Fraser, passed away. He succumbed after a short bout with lung cancer, a few weeks shy of his 53rd birthday.

Good words for a good man.


20 percent discount off every app from a terrific lineup of indie Mac developers: Bare Bones, Rogue Amoeba, Flying Meat, C-Command, Potion Factory, Red Sweater, Karelia, Unsanity, and more. Promotion runs from today through December 25.

Bare Bones and Unsanity, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. I love it.

Disgusted by Marketing? 

Wil Shipley on the MacHeist controversy:

However, I did want to mention one ironic point that gives me a chuckle. Several of the independent developers who are complaining how unfair MacHeist is treating the software companies that have participated in their bundle seem to be, well, almost disgusted by marketing. Marketing is this nasty thing that lessens the value of whatever it is you’re trying to sell.

Really? Who, exactly? Artie MacStrawman?

Digg: What the Hell is ZFS? 

This might be the most prototypical Digg entry ever.

Michael Crichton, Jurassic Prick 

Hard to believe Crichton’s publisher actually let him put this in his book. What a jackass.

Theater of the Absurd at the T.S.A. 

New York Times story on Christopher Soghoian, the grad student (and former Apple intern) whose online fake boarding pass generator drew the ire of the TSA and FBI. The gist of it is that the TSA doesn’t like it when anyone points out how many gaping holes there are in our current airport security system. (In a nice touch, The Times gives a prominent link to Soghoian’s weblog.) 

Did people really think that Apple, if — and it’s still an “if” — they produce a cell phone, was going to call it “iPhone”? The fact that clearly belongs to someone else was a strong hint that they weren’t. (Same reason that I really doubt they’re going to actually call the iTV “iTV” when it ships.)

Jackass of the Week: Gizmodo’s Brian Lam 

On Thursday, Gizmodo’s Brian Lam “guaranteed” that the iPhone was going to be released today, and that it “wasn’t what [he] expected at all”. It ends up “iPhone”, as a trademark, is owned by Linksys and they’re using it for some sort of VOIP handset. Big whoop. Today he writes:

Macheads — including those from Macrumors, Think Secret, TUAW, and Cult of Mac — know Apple likes to release gear on Tuesdays. So they probably didn’t expect an Apple iPhone today, even after my original post. If you did read into it incorrectly and feel like I misled you, apologies for the discomfort.

I certainly didn’t believe that Apple was going to announce a major new product the Monday before Christmas, but it’s pretty fucking clear that’s exactly what Lam’s teaser was intended to imply. To claim now that it wasn’t shows that he’s a complete jackass.

The English-to-12-Year-Old-AOLer Translator 



Steve Jobs Predicted the Zune Back in January 2006 

Steve Jobs, in an interview with Newsweek’s Steven Levy back in January, after Levy asked why there still weren’t any serious iPod rivals:

“The problem is, the PC model doesn’t work in the consumer electronics industry, where you’ve got all these companies and some does one thing and another does another thing. It just doesn’t work. What’s going to happen is that Microsoft is going to have to get into the hardware business of making MP3 players. This year. X-player, or whatever.”

(Thanks to Konstantinos Christidis.)

Stikkit Update 

Lots of new stuff over at Stikkit, including a nascent Stikkit API.

Memory Leak in Activity Monitor’s pmTool 

Kevin Ballard:

pmTool, the process run by Activity Monitor to actually collect stats, appears to leak memory. If I leave Activity Monitor running for a good period of time, when I check up on it pmTool is often using over 100 MB of Real Memory. …

A highly non-scientific tests shows it to be adding one new leak every time the UI in Activity Monitor updates (default is every 2 seconds). So if you haven’t changed the update frequency then pmTool will leak 3 KB of memory every 2 seconds.

That’s a lot.

I’m pretty sure this leak only happens on Intel-based Macs; on my PowerBook, I can leave Activity Monitor open for days at a time and pmTool only uses about 800 KB of real memory. But until Apple fixes this leak, it’s useful info for anyone using Activity Monitor on Intel-based Macs.

Gus Mueller Sums It Up in Six Words 

Gus Mueller:

And to sum up my previous post and comments in 6 words in case you don’t want to read it all: I want something fair for everyone.

Mac OS X 10.5 to Support ZFS? 

According to Mac4Ever — or at least according to Google’s French-to-English translation — Mac OS X 10.5 is going to offer at least some level of support for ZFS-formatted disks. (Thanks to John Siracusa.)

Bruce Fraser Gravely Ill 

PhotoshopNews is collecting well wishes for author and Photoshop expert Bruce Fraser, who is dying from lung cancer.

Wii Remote for Mac Gaming 

Rob Terrell has hooked up support for the Wii remote control in the Torque Game Engine.

Third MS Word Code Execution Exploit Posted 

Thank goodness there’s such robust competition in the word processing market. My favorite line:

Microsoft suggests that users “do not open or save Word files,” even those that arrive unexpectedly from trusted sources.

Go ahead and use it, just don’t open or save anything.

NAPP: CS3 in Action 

NAPP has a bunch of videos demoing the new features in Photoshop CS3. (Thanks to Jacob Rus.)

FLV Online Converter 

Free web-based service for converting embedded Flash video content into other formats.

Macworld Video: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Beta 

Jason Snell interviews Adobe’s John Nash about Photoshop CS3, then demos a few of the new features.

Andrew Shebanow: Is Office Open XML a One-Way Standard? Ask Microsoft 

The Mac Office team has decided that rather than implement their own code to read and write the new Office 2007 “open” XML standard file formats, they would instead wrap the Windows Office code. I.e. they concluded that it’d be easier to port the Windows code to Mac OS X than to write their own code to parse the formats.

These formats are “open” in that they’ve published specs for the formats, but the truth is that there’s likely only ever going to be a single actual implementation to fully support them — the one that Microsoft wrote for Windows.

NewsLife 0.9 

ThinkMac’s new $20 feed reader debuts as a public beta. The focus is clearly on simplicity. If it’s good enough to release and sell, though, it ought to be good enough to call 1.0.

Micromat CEO Jeff Baudin Addresses TechTool Serial Number Privacy Issue 

Jeff Baudin, in a post on Micromat’s forum regarding the aforelinked privacy concerns raised by PowerPage, argues that broadcasting your Mac’s serial number isn’t that big a deal, but they’re going to stop doing it in the next update to TechTool.

Tim Bray: ‘Apple App Attrition’ 

Tim Bray got a kernel panic after unplugging his external display from his notebook, and when the system rebooted, Apple Mail’s account configuration info was corrupted, which prompted him to switch to Thunderbird. A few observations:

  1. I’ve seen a few other reports like Bray’s about Mail losing track of your account settings after a crash. Forewarned is forearmed.
  2. Using fewer of Apple’s bundled apps doesn’t make you less of a Mac user.
  3. Mark Pilgrim has an interesting observation regarding some Mac users’ sentiment that data loss after a crash is to be expected.
BBC News: ‘Mass Mouse Escape on Saudi Plane’ 

I’ll bet they wish they had some motherfucking snakes on that plane.

(Thanks to my wife, both for the link and the joke.)

TechTool Pro Broadcasts Your Mac’s Serial Number Via Bonjour 

Ostensibly as part of an anti-bootlegging measure. Doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. (Thanks to Dan Benjamin.)

TubeSock: Rip Videos From YouTube 

Very cool $15 app lets you grab video from YouTube and save it to a file in your choice of formats. You just give TubeSock the URL to the YouTube video and click Save.

How can you not love a company named “Stinkbot”?

Kottke: ‘Slate Has Gone to the Dark Side by Splitting Up Their Articles Into Multiple Pages’ 

This practice is overwhelmingly popular on major corporate media sites, and almost utterly non-existent on independent sites. Obviously, the corporate sites do it to artificially jack up their page views, which in turn increases the number of ads they can serve. But do advertisers really fall for this? Or, as Marc Hedlund asks, for the similar practice of forcing a refresh of the page every few minutes via JavaScript?

Aaron Swartz on Google’s Company Culture 

Aaron Swartz:

Google hires programmers straight out of college and tempts them with all the benefits of college life. Indeed, as the hiring brochures stress, the place was explicitly modeled upon college. At one point, I wondered why Google didn’t just go all the way and build their own dormitories.

David Pogue Reviews Windows Vista 

David Pogue:

Now, before the hate-mail tsunami begins, it’s important to note that Apple has itself borrowed feature ideas on occasion, even from Windows. But never this broadly, boldly or blatantly. There must be enough steam coming out of Apple executives’ ears to power the Polar Express.

Real-World Passwords 

Bruce Schneier looks at a collection of actual MySpace passwords (gleaned from a phishing scam) and concludes that real-world passwords are getting better. The most popular was “password1”.

FastScripts 2.3.1 

Nice little update to one of my favorite utilities.

OmniOutliner 3.6.2 

Lots of bug fixes and minor improvements.

Wii Transfer 1.1 

Nifty little $9 utility by Manton Reece converts QuickTime movies into a format compatible with the Nintendo Wii and copies them to an SD card. (Via Dan Benjamin.)

Gizmodo’s Brian Lam: iPhone Will Be Announced on Monday 

Seems highly unlikely anything new would be released — or even just announced — seven days before Christmas, but Lam “guarantees it”. This is either a huge scoop or he’s a huge jackass. Update: Gizmodo has changed the verb in the headline from “released” to “announced”. Still sounds like odd timing to me.

(Thanks to Daniel “Waferbaby is still on hiatus” Bogan.)

Uli Kusterer on ‘The Iniquities of the Selfish’ 

Uli Kusterer:

Unless one of those who took the deal speaks out otherwise, I really don’t see what John’s rant is all about that he couldn’t have said without doubting the business skills of the involved developers. In particular, if this article really is about distributing profits equitably, as John claims.

I certainly wasn’t pointing out anything that the participating developers didn’t already know. My intention was to dispel the misconception held by others that the lion’s share of the MacHeist profits were going to the developers.

Adobe to Release Beta of Photoshop CS3 Tomorrow 

Universal binary for Mac OS X, but also available for Windows XP. If you’ve got a license for CS2, you’re in like Flynn; otherwise you can still download it but it expires after two days.

Separate Headphone Volume Level on Intel Macs 

I did not know that: Intel-based Macs remember different sound volume settings when you have headphones plugged in. (Thanks to Eric Demay.)

Leslie Harpold Remembered 

One of the great pioneers of the independent web; she was both a talented designer and a wonderful writer.

Wall Street Analysts Using MacBook Pros 

BusinessWeek’s Arik Hesseldahl has some very interesting observations from an HP analyst meeting earlier this week: a bunch of the analysts were using MacBook Pros. HP CEO Mark Hurd went so far as to call one out during the meeting. Her response:

“My problem isn’t with HP notebooks,” she said. “It’s with Microsoft.” Concern about viruses, spyware and the many hours of lost productivity that derives from them was the reason for her choice.

What Hesseldahl doesn’t mention is that until recently, it was common for these PC industry analysts to call for Apple to drop the Mac OS and focus on producing “stylish” computers running Windows.

The Association: Pistons MP3 Player 

These guys actually believe this is a real iPod Shuffle. My best guess is that it’s one of these rip-offs from Luxpro. Update: Just to be clear, I’m not attempting to mock them for thinking this is a real Shuffle; I point this out because several readers emailed last night to argue that “everyone” knows this thing is a knock-off, not a real iPod.

Google Patent Search 

Unsurprisingly, way better than the search feature from the U.S. Patent Office. (Via Andy Baio.)

Update: Here’s a patent for an Apple phone.

How to Choose CD/DVD Archival Media 

Taiyo Yuden media are the best, and DVD+R is superior to DVD-R. There’s a ton of useful information here if you’re concerned about the long-term viability of the discs you burn.

DragThing 5.7 

Now out of beta. There’s a nice deal where you can buy it bundled with PCalc for $14 less than their regular combined prices.

A Little 37signals Redesign 

A nice refinement overall. The extra emphasis on their three flagship apps is the key improvement.

But here’s a quibble: I think they’re overusing the yellow highlight effect. At a glance it looks like they’ve highlighted half the sentences; that just makes it hard to read. The effect would be much more powerful if they highlighted just one sentence. Maybe do something fun with JavaScript where it highlights a different key sentence on each page view.

Detroit Pistons iPod Shuffle Knock-Off 

The Detroit Pistons’ official team store is selling an MP3 player adorned with the team logo. Judging by the photo it looks exactly like an original iPod Shuffle, but the specs claim it only has 128 MB of memory and plays WMA audio files. Has anyone actually seen one of these things in the flesh?

Forrester: iTunes Sales Are Not Plummeting 

There’s a big difference between “iTunes sales are slowing” and “iTunes sales growth is slowing”.

DS Buttons 

Clever: buttons you can wear to indicate that you’re looking for Nintendo DS opponents.

Make Love, Not Warcraft 

Recent South Park episode featured significant chunks of in-game footage from World of Warcraft. Ambrosia’s Snapz Pro X was used for the screen captures.

Jacqui Cheng Interviews Wil Shipley 

Wil Shipley:

At the café every day I still use a 1.67 GHz G4 PowerBook, with 1.5 GB of RAM. I’m intentionally waiting to buy a Core 2 Duo machine until I ship Delicious Library 2, because Delicious Library 2 runs so fast on the Core 2 Duos it would be unfair for me to use one day-to-day—I’d never optimize my code, and people stuck on old PowerBooks would hate me.

It’s also worth pointing out that Shipley addresses criticism regarding MacHeist.

Fake Steve: ‘Regarding Our iPhone’ 

Both hilarious and deeply insightful. Maybe the best thing you’ll read all week.

Crazy Apple Rumor Site 5th Anniversary Roast 

Speaking of CARS, this week marks its fifth anniversary, and to mark the occasion, John Moltz did some actual work for once and assembled some not-made-up quotes from the Mac media and Apple’s executive team.

The Week of the Sweatshop Mac Developer 

Crazy Apple Rumors reveals the next MacHeist promotion:

Irene Camacho, an 11-year-old worker in a Mac software sweatshop on the Mariana Islands said she was pleased with the MacHeist promotion.

“The large and rather sweaty men who run the shop say the $5,000 they received from MacHeist will buy ten more children to help with the work,” Camacho said, her right hand spasming uncontrollably from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Microsoft Office for Mac Security Updates Posted Yesterday Were a ‘Mistake’ 

Microsoft Security Response Center Blog:

The updates posted in error were pre-release binaries that had been staged internally as part of our testing for an upcoming release. Due to human error, they were accidentally published to the public websites before our full testing release process was complete.

Update: Ends up it’s no big deal if you installed it.

MacBook Pro Battery Expansion 

Another from James Duncan Davidson: Story and pictures of his bulging MacBook Pro battery:

I told my neighbor, Greg, about it and he said “bring it on over! I want to see this!”. So I did. And as we were looking at it, and moving it about it as we looked at it, it started exuding a smell. A nasty burned plastic smell. And parts of it warmed up. Even though it hadn’t been in a laptop in probably well over a month, maybe two, it was suddenly going critical. The warm spots would fade to cool, and then others would appear and get hot. Greg and I looked at each other and decided now was the time to take it to the Apple Store for them to deal with.

Lightroom and Aperture RAW Comparisons 

James Duncan Davidson has some interesting examples of RAW images that Aperture doesn’t process well.

Whose Week? 

Paul Kafasis on MacHeist:

I really think it’s important to step up and challenge the basic idea, seen in many recent promotions, that giving away software (or getting so little that you’re essentially giving it away) is beneficial to the developer. I’ve heard nothing more than anecdotal evidence to support the idea.

Gus Mueller on the Economics Behind MacHeist 

Gus Mueller:

I’m certain the developers who are participating in the bundle know what they are getting into, and have good reasons for doing so. But for MacHeist to call it “The Week of the Independent Mac Developer” and to practically give away the software... well, that’s just a fucking insult to me and all the other hard working developers out there.

Be sure to read the comments on Gus’s post; it’s a vigorous thread. Keep the channel tuned to DF for more on this later today.

Remember What It Was Like Before Southwest Airlines? 

Great commercial from 1972. (Via Coudal.)


Cabel Sasser’s plastic light-up Rumor Santa tells him that a public beta of Photoshop CS3, with native support for Intel-based Macs, is imminent.

CNBC Has a Funny Idea of What Constitutes a ‘Windows PC’ 

Their example of a ‘Windows PC’? A MacBook Pro. There’s always Boot Camp, I suppose. (Thanks to Namair Faraz.)

Jim Allchin: ‘Setting the Record Straight’ 

Jim Allchin, who, it’s worth pointing out, was in charge of Windows Vista’s development:

As part of one of Microsoft’s on-going lawsuits, a piece of email that I sent to Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates recently became public. It was a rant encouraging a change to the way we were building Windows at the time. In the email, I made a comment for effect about buying a Mac if I was not working at Microsoft. Taken out of context, this comment could be confusing.

Where by “confusing” he means “embarrassing”.

(Thanks to Chris Pepper.)

Logo Quiz: Hair Care or Digital Audio? 

Damn tricky; I only scored 11/14. Funniest thing I’ve seen all week.

Windows Development Chief: ‘I Would Buy a Mac if I Didn’t Work for Microsoft’ 

So wrote Jim Allchin in a 2004 email message introduced as evidence in an antitrust case in Iowa. Somehow I really doubt that Bertrand Serlet has written any email messages saying he’d buy a Windows box if he didn’t work for Apple.

There’s also an interesting tidbit at the end of the story claiming that Bill Gates has a technical assistant “whose primary duty was to make sure no permanent record of Gates’s email existed”.

(Thanks to David Mitchell.)

Macworld: The 22nd Annual Editors’ Choice Awards 

Macworld’s 2006 Eddy Awards are out; among the winners are a few products I use regularly: iLife ’06, Fission 1.1, Keynote 3, and the utterly indispensable SuperDuper.

There are also a bunch of winners I wasn’t really familiar with but look very interesting, like TechTool’s Protege — a 1 GB thumb-sized flash memory drive loaded with troubleshooting software, and which uses FireWire (instead of USB), which means you can boot from it.

$1,000 Lineform Art Contest 


Freeverse is proud to announce a contest for the best work of art created with Lineform, the Apple Design Award-winning drawing and illustration application. We’re looking for entries from the wildly creative Mac community, and are offering a grand prize of $1,000, and two runner-up prizes of $200 each!

Deadline is December 14, so if you’re interested, get cracking.

Google Blatantly Copies Yahoo? 

Another design rip-off perpetrated by a deep-pocketed arch-rival: Google’s copy of Yahoo’s page for their customized version of IE7 even includes a screenshot showing the Yahoo toolbar. Adds Digg, Facebook, and Newsvine Buttons to Each News Article 

Great score for Newsvine.

NBA Gets Its Balls Back 

USA Today:

Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBA players’ union, said Monday that the league will drop the microfibre ball that was introduced this season and return to the leather ball January 1.

Sanity prevails. Best way to deal with a mistake is to admit it and address it head-on.

Craigslist Meets the Capitalists 

This is just funny:

Jim Buckmaster, the chief executive of Craigslist, caused lots of head-scratching Thursday as he tried to explain to a bunch of Wall Street types why his company is not interested in “monetizing” his ridiculously popular Web operation. Appearing at the UBS global media conference in New York, Mr. Buckmaster took questions from the bemused audience, which apparently could not get its collective mind around the notion that Craigslist exists to help Web users find jobs, cars, apartments and dates — and not so much to make money.

Jackass of the Week: Premiere Magazine Editor-in-Chief Peter Herbst 

Calls 2001: A Space Odyssey one of the 20 most overrated movies of all time. No wonder I unsubscribed from Premiere a few years ago.

(Via Kottke.)

Screencast Codec Showdown 

Peter Hosey’s extensive research into which QuickTime codecs are best suited for screencasts.

Thomas Hawk Buys a Mac 

Thomas Hawk:

A little over two weeks ago I walked into the Apple store in Palo Alto and bought myself a new MacBook Pro. Yes, the new sexy Intel dual core MacBook Pro. And I went home and after not using a Mac for over 15 years, put my Dell PC notebook literally in the bookshelf and have been using this new Mac as my primary computer for the past 2 weeks.

And what do I have to say about the experience after two weeks? My God! This is f[uck]ing amazing! For the past 15 years I’ve pretty much been a diehard Microsoft PC guy. I’ve mocked the religious zealotry of the cult of Macintosh. I’ve derided the senseless brainwashing that Steve Jobs seems so elegant at.

What I take away from stories like this is not “Hey, it’s great to see another PC user switch to the Mac.” What I take away is that he ought to feel like a jerk for having mocked Macs and Mac users for 15 years, because he would have been just as happy if he’d switched earlier.

JPG 7 on Newsstands Now 

I just got my copy in the mail last week, and two thoughts stand out:

  1. It’s amazing to me that what started just two years ago as a cool little side project for Derek Powazek and Heather Champ is now a totally real magazine. “Real” is not quite the right word, because the first six issues of JPG are real, but you know what I mean. The thing is on newsstands now, nationwide.

  2. JPG is really well-designed. There aren’t design credits in the masthead, but I assume that’s just because Powazek designed it and didn’t want to add another slash after “editor/publisher”. But it’s gorgeous.

img2icns 0.4 

Open source utility for converting image files into Mac OS X .icns icon files. Goofy-looking UI, but it works. (Via Rui Carmo.)

Minimizing How Often You See ‘Optimizing System Performance’ During Software Installation 

You can queue up multiple software installations using the system’s Installer app, and it’ll run the Optimizing System Performance step just once.

The article has a somewhat different tone than most KnowledgeBase entries.

(Thanks to Nat Irons.)

Drexel Beats Nova for the First Time 

I love it. Go Dragons.

James Duncan Davidson on Flickr Export for Aperture 1.0 

Connected Flow’s Flickr Export plugin for Aperture is out; James Duncan Davidson — who pushes an awful lot of pictures from Aperture to Flickr — recommends it.

Jon Udell Joins Microsoft 

Interesting hire. Replaces Scoble as Microsoft’s most prominent blogger.

Andy Pettitte Returns to the Yankees 

They never should have let him go in the first place. Glad to see him back.

Jackass of the Week: Michael Kanellos 

The crux of Kanellos’s “The Apple Phone Flop”:

The iPod also conquered the problem of small screens and cheesy navigation. With its newfound popularity, the company was also able to get music publishers to agree to its terms.

Unfortunately for Apple, problems like that don’t exist in the handset business. Cell phones aren’t clunky, inadequate devices. Instead, they are pretty good. Really good.

I’m not sure what makes him a bigger jackass: predicting a flop for a product that hasn’t even been announced yet, or thinking that current cell phone user interfaces are “really good”.

The Macalope has more.

The One-Click Trick to Moving the Dock 

I did not know that: Hold the Shift key while dragging the Dock’s divider line to move it to another side of the screen.

Update: Here’s a whole page of Dock shortcuts, including another one I didn’t know about: if you hold down Option while dragging the separator, the Dock resizes in fixed icon-size increments: 128 → 64 → 32 → 16.

Nicholas Carr: Curtains for Music DRM? 

Very smart piece from Nicholas Carr regarding EMI’s decision to sell Norah Jones’s latest single as a non-DRM MP3 on Yahoo Music. As I wrote back in June, interoperability and DRM are mutually exclusive. What the music industry wants isn’t technically possible — they want a DRM system that prevents people from sharing or copying music, but which isn’t in the control of a single company like Apple or Microsoft. Distributing music in a fan-friendly non-DRM format is the way to go.

As for Apple, if this develops into a trend, it might not be good for Apple, but it shouldn’t be bad for them, either. The iTunes Store does give Apple a lock-in advantage, but the iPod competes very well on its own.

From the DF Archives: ‘Location Validation in the Dashboard Weather Widget’ 

This problem still bites a lot of people.

Nike+ Widgets 

Dashboard widgets (and cross-platform Yahoo widgets) for Nike + iPod users.

Iconfactory QuickPix 2006 Icon Collection 

The Iconfactory:

QuickPix in 2006 ranged from hardware icons like Apple’s MacBook laptops and Nintendo’s slick Wii console drive, to less serious affairs like Leonard Nimoy’s head and Shakey, the friendly beverage.


Two small favors:

  1. Give a thumbs up to “Poocrot the Robot“‘s definition for roker in the Urban Dictionary: “Combination of rook and snooker. To take advantage of. Rip off. Sucker. No direct relation to Al Roker.
  2. Embrace the usage. My good friend Don and I coined this word about 10 years ago and we’ve been using it ever since.
Bookslut’s Best Books Covers of 2006 

All good, but my favorite of the bunch is Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s Abandon the Old in Tokyo. (Via Kottke.)

1962 Fallout Shelter Handbook 

Great find from Ward Jenkins. I love how on the cover, Dad is kicking back with a pipe and spinning some tunes. (Via Coudal.)


Free Firefox plug-in from Sxip Identity, now in public beta, manages all sorts of personal information for automated entry into form fields. Nothing is saved on their servers other than your name and email address; your data is stored on your machine.

More Details on Adobe Reader 8.0 Installer 

Bruno Voison, in a post to comp.tex.macosx, reports that unlike Reader 7, Reader 8 no longer installs frameworks directly within the application bundle, and that it does write a log, to ~/Library/Receipts/com.adobe.Reader/install.log.

(Thanks to Michael Williams.)

Apple’s Backup 3 - Hopeless Junk 

Yet another horror story about Backup.

Microsoft Goes on the Defensive Regarding Zune 

Nick Denton focuses on how Microsoft has gone back to plying the traditional media, abandoning their ground roots approach to generate buzz for the Zune after weblog coverage turned so sour.

What I find interesting is how well it worked. Microsoft PR spokespeople offer reporters a story that Zune sales are exactly what they expected all along, and look at how many have regurgitated it.

Adobe Reader 8 Installer and App Screenshots 

Chris Perardi’s Flickr set with screenshots of the new Adobe Reader and the installation process.

It sounds absurd, but you have to download an installer to install an “Adobe Download Manager” to download an installer to install the actual Adobe Reader app. The app itself, on the other hand, looks like a big improvement over previous versions of Reader. No more Windows-esque tiny icon toolbars.

Update: Here’s a direct link to the actual application installers: Thanks to everyone who sent the link.

Mac Developers Supporting Child’s Play 

A band of indie Mac developers are donating the proceeds from tomorrow’s sales to the Child’s Play charity.

Adobe Reader 8 Released and the Installer Sucks 

John Welch reports on the Adobe (née Acrobat) Reader 8 installer. It installs the app in /Applications/ (with no option to specify a different location) even if you decline to accept the license agreement. I.e. once you double-click the installer, you’re getting Acrobat Reader 8 plopped into your top-level Applications folder. Even worse, the installer apparently doesn’t write a log. Anything other than a drag-and-drop installation is bad enough, but I just don’t trust installers that don’t write a log — I want to know everything that gets installed and where.

The Difference Between Trying Something and Using Something 

Jason Fried:

Most product reviews are based on trying something, not using something. That’s why many reviews are pretty thin or don’t get to the core essence of the product. The real deep knowledge of a product can only come from using it. Using it is what reveals greatness or failure on an intimate level.

You don’t notice the quirks and shortcuts when you try something. Those revelations only come from real use. Eye candy shines during trial, but fades fast during use. Cool wears off quick, usefulness never does.

A lot of trendy Mac apps these days are optimized for trying instead of using.

Lost CNet Editor James Kim Found Dead 

Tragic. Best wishes to Kim’s family and friends.

Behind the Scenes at the Microsoft Zune Design Laboratory 

Glass Maze:

Associate Designer: Have you even looked at an iPod before?

Lead Designer: Well … no. I was just going to hand one off to our Embrace and Extendgineers and tell them to make one.

Datsun 280z Commercial Starring Steve Wozniak 

It. Is. Awesome.

(Via Steven Frank.)

CARS: ‘Analyst Says Apple Already Sold Out of iPhones’ 

Considering how the speculation about Apple’s second — second! — “iPhone” continues to heat up, it’s the sort of rumor that’s hard to parody. But Moltz nails it with this one.

What’s funny is that with all this speculation about Apple’s second phone, if Apple actually announces a phone at Macworld Expo next month, underwhelmed rumor fanatics will declare that it isn’t the “true” Apple phone, just like how the 5G iPods aren’t “true” video iPods.

Insanely Great T-Shirt Voting 

Some nice designs in there.

There are some cool new shirts at Oddica and Go Ape, too.

David Young on Mac Office vs. Windows Office Through Parallels 

David Young prefers running Windows Office 2003 via Parallels (in Coherency mode) to running Mac Office through Rosetta. He has a point here:

But I argue that any Mac user who gives two shits about opening Office documents is working at a company that uses Office for Windows. Seriously: why else would you care?

But I think he vastly underestimates how many Mac users there are who really do like Word and Excel. No, they’re not trendy. Yes, until the next major version arrives, Intel-based Mac owners have to run them through Rosetta. But there are a lot of Mac users who’ve been using Word and Excel for a long, long time and who really do like them.

DiskWarrior 4.0 

I just can’t recommend DiskWarrior highly enough. I’ve seen it several times, first-hand: DiskWarrior can repair disks that no other utility can fix. Version 4.0 adds full support for Intel-based Macs. $99 for a new license, $49 to upgrade. I fully agree with Michael Tsai:

Alsoft is a pleasure to do business with, and they’re on the very short list of companies from whom I will buy an upgrade sight-unseen as soon as I see that a new version is available.

Update: I must say, though, that it sucks that if you upgrade, your only option is to wait for a physical CD to be shipped to you, and you must pay $9 in shipping. That’s a $59 upgrade, not a $50 upgrade. I’d gladly pay $50 for a download-only upgrade.

NYT: ‘Yahoo, Aiming for Agility, Shuffles Executives’ 

This move does nothing to solve the core problem with Yahoo, which is that Terry Semel is not a web guy.

NBA Commissioner Admits New Ball Sucks 

Forcing the pros to play with synthetic leather balls is like forcing top chefs to cook with microwave ovens. It’s astounding that they didn’t test the balls in advance to make sure the players liked them.

This Mark Cuban post from last month has more.

Mac BU Working on Free File Converters for New Office 2007 File Formats 

Not expected until March or April, though, even though Office 2007 for Windows is hitting the street in January.

Dooce T-Shirts 

Heather Armstrong:

Now we’re going to have a celebratory martini for having completed a goal we set only three years ago. Progress!

I know that feeling.

Apple Launches iTunes and Online Apple Stores in New Zealand 

It’s about time.

Adding IP Address Inspection to Hex Fiend 

Thomas Ptacek hacks the newly-open-sourced Hex Fiend to add IPv4 to the Data Inspector.

iTunes Scripting Seizure 

Daniel Jalkut on the way iTunes blocks Apple event handling while its preferences window is open. Not a bad time to complain about the fact that iTunes’s prefs window is a modal dialog, either.

Mac OS X ftpd Buffer Overflow Vulnerability 

Good thing the FTP server is off by default.

DarwiinRemote 0.1 

Experimental open source driver by Hiroaki allows you to use a Wii remote as a Mac input device. (Via Kottke.)

Wii Safety: The Missing Pages 

Not to be used as a parachute, apparently.


Very impressive $20 Flash-based photo slideshow kit. High-quality type, very nice transitions and effects (including Ken Burns-y panning and zooming). Check out the demo. (Via Scott Stevenson via email.)

Lee Bennett Reviews Fission 1.1 for ATPM 

Nice list of pros, cons, and a wishlist for 2.0.

Seth Godin: ‘Pencil Drop (The End of Digg as We Know It?)’ 

Back in elementary school, I was the kid in class who organized the pencil drop. The trick to long-term success was to identify the class narcs and make sure they, i.e. the narcs, didn’t know I was the one who started it. And if you really wanted to drive the teacher nuts, you’d do it with books, not pencils.

How a Small, Persistent Team Created a Revolutionary File System 

Al Riske’s feature for on the team behind ZFS.

Ryan Cannon on ‘OmniVapor’ 

Ryan Cannon:

There are many people who want to be inside the development cycle and know what’s going on. They like to feel like insiders. I contend Omni intended to serve these people by pre-announcing, not not chill the GTD market until OmniFocus came out. The Omni Group isn’t that big of a player in the software market. If Apple or Microsoft would have done the same thing, then yes, I could see that as a method of encouraging people to wait to buy their app instead of one currently on the market, but I highly doubt that a small shop like Omni could do the same thing.

Adobe and Microsoft clearly aren’t going to do “GTD” apps. (I suppose it’s possible that the next major release of Entourage might include GTD features, but they’re not going to do a GTD-specific app.) Apple might do some sort of iApp-style task management app, but considering iCal and Mail’s upcoming to-do features, I doubt it.

Plus, with Kinkless + OmniOutliner, Omni is already the alpha dog in the Mac GTD market. Also note that I’m not saying it’s wrong or devious for Omni to do this.


What I like most about the WHATWG’s work is that it’s so clearly focused on practical matters. No, I take it back, what I like most is the clear, concise writing style. Markup nerds would do well to pay attention to what’s going on here.

QT Movie NoteTaker 0.5 

Freeware QuickTime movie player with integrated timestamped note taking feature. (Via John August.)

Jefferson’s Revolving Bookstand 

After seeing the aforelinked 16th-century design for a rotary reading disk, DF reader Matt Frost sent this link to a replica of an actual invention from Thomas Jefferson, writing, “Jefferson took a lot of the Rube Goldberg out of that design with his rotating bookstand.”

Wife, Daughters of Missing CNET Editor Found Alive 

James Kim is still missing, but his wife and two daughters were found alive.

Joyent Connector ‘2.0’ 

Web apps don’t really have version numbers, but if they did, this would be version 2.0 of the Joyent Connector suite. Very nice refinements to the UI, and tremendously improved performance. The new bookmarks app is very well done, including thumbnail screenshots of the pages you bookmark. It’s obvious in hindsight that I should have made bookmarking one of the apps in the original system that debuted last year.

I’m hopelessly biased, of course, because I worked for Joyent for all of 2005 and the beginning of 2006, and I helped design this UI. But if you decide to sign up for a Joyent account, use this affiliate link and 15 percent of your recurring fees go to me. I’ll toss in a free Daring Fireball membership to anyone who signs up for a Joyent account using this.

The Onion on the U.S. Ban of iPod Sales to North Korea 

“This won’t do a damn thing. Everybody knows Zune is the preferred MP3 player of the Axis of Evil.”

Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman Admits His Kids Have Downloaded Music From P2P Networks 

Nate Anderson:

Still, this shows just how normal young people consider file-swapping to be. When your dad runs one of the largest music labels on the planet and you still turn to P2P networks to discover new tunes, it’s clear that the issue isn’t just lack of access to music. Or money. This is now considered a “normal” way of checking out digital content.

Dan Cederholm Redesigns SimpleBits 

Great typography, great colors, great layout, great spacing.

Update: Great new logo, too.

E. Coli Sickens More Than 35 in N.J. and L.I., Everyone Stricken Had Eaten at Taco Bell 

Run for the border.

Agostino Ramelli’s 1588 Design for a Rotary Reading Desk 

The rough equivalent of tabbed browser windows for the 16th century.

Blech at 2lmc Spool Asks Whether Leopard Is Vaporware 

Mac OS X 10.5 is definitely vaporware, too, albeit a mild variety. Anything announced but not yet finished and released is vaporware. But there are degrees of vaporousness; Mac OS X 10.5 gains points (where more points = less vapory) for the pre-release developer seeds that are available, and for the concrete information about new APIs and developer tools released at WWDC. It loses points for the “secret” as-yet-unspecified features and for the vague “spring 2007” release date. But it’s nowhere near as vapory as the initial release of Mac OS X was back in 1997 through 1999.

Another example: the new version of Windows was really vapory back when it was called Longhorn. It became a lot less vapory when Microsoft changed the name to Vista and cut most of the really cool features (like WinFS). It crossed the line from vaporware to a real product last month when the final versions were released (even though not yet to retail).

Alastair Houghton: ‘DMG Vulnerability Debunked’ 

Alastair Houghton analyzes the recent MOKB DMG kernel crasher in painstaking detail, and finds that it is not possible to exploit it to execute arbitrary code. A crasher, yes, and since it’s in the kernel, it brings down your system. But a lot of these security cowboys like to pretend that every crasher is also a potential exploit to execute arbitrary code, but leave the proof as an exercise for the reader.

BBEdit 8.5.2 

Nice list of bug fixes and minor new features.

Matt Neuburg: ‘Get a Piece of the Thinking Rock’ 

Matt Neuburg’s TidBITS review of Thinking Rock, a freeware Mac OS X app with an awful UI but which apparently does a good job mapping the official according-to-Hoyle GTD system.

The Wild World of U.S. Cellular Networks 

I know next to nothing about the technology behind the cell phone market, so I found this primer from Steven Frank highly informative.

Firebug Public Beta 

Firefox extension for web developers — adds a slew of features like JavaScript debugging; JavaScript, CSS, and HTML syntax checking; live HTML editing; on-screen rulers for CSS layouts; and profiling tools for measuring performance. (Via Jesper via AIM.)

Kevin Rose ‘Confirms’ iPhone 

Notable only because he did get the scoop on the original iPod Nano, but that one came right before it actually debuted. The “possibly touchscreen” bit is a lame hedge; it’s “possibly an anti-gravity device” and “possibly a perpetual motion machine”, too. The bit about dual batteries — one for phone, one for iPoddery — is an interesting idea, though.

Sony’s Lame Parody of Apple’s ‘Get a Mac’ Campaign 

PC is still a square white guy in a suit. Mac is still a hipster white guy in a hoodie. But Vaio is a cute teenage girl. In other words, Vaios aren’t just “PCs”.

It’s unbecoming for a major brand to resort to parodies of their rivals. I was going to say that you’d never see Apple do that, but then I remembered the old toasted Intel-guy-in-bunny-suit commercial.

Steven Johnson, Looking Sharp in The New York Times 

If you want to look your best on TV or in a photograph for a big-time newspaper or magazine profile, then you ought to wear your Daring Fireball t-shirt.

eBoy’s FooBar Poster 

Pixel-pushing Jedi masters. Count the logos. (Via Andy Baio.)

Twitget 0.5 

Ben Ward’s Dashboard widget client for Twitter. Pretty cool for a buggy beta.

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

Parallels Desktop for Mac Build 3036 Beta 

New Parallels Desktop beta adds some insanely cool features, including the ability to boot from your Boot Camp partition, and a “Coherency” mode that lets you intermingle Windows app windows with Mac windows. Remember, you heard it here first: Windows is the new Classic. (Thanks to Scott Piggott.)

Update: Here’s a screenshot.

Microsoft Still Doesn’t Know How to Make a Web Site 

So totally lame. Microsoft’s web site (they don’t own the domain) is using a lame browser-sniffer to serve up the CSS stylesheet. Camino isn’t in their list, so the whole site looks like it was coded in 1994.

Documentation for DragThing 5.7 Theme Format 

Along with the second public beta of DragThing 5.7, there’s now documentation for the new theme format.

Griffin iTalk Pro Recorder 

Griffin finally ships an iTalk audio recorder for 5G iPods. $50. (Via Larry Angell.)

Come Together 

Fake Steve, on the negotiations to get The Beatles catalog on the iTunes Store:

We’re having a few issues with Paul, or Sir Paul, as we have to call him. Friggin Ringo is good to go; he’d sell his toenail clippings on eBay if it would make him a buck.

SketchFighter 4000 Alpha 1.0 

I’ve been looking forward to this game from Ambrosia since last December. Designed and programmed by Lars Gäfvert, SketchFighter is like Defender crossed with notebook doodles. From the description:

SketchFighter also boasts a unique synthesis of exploration and action game play, which has you alternately blasting cute little lady bugs into oblivion and then puzzling your way through the hand-drawn challenges presented to you.

I coughed up the $19 for a license after playing the demo for just 10 minutes. It’s an extraordinary game.

And, oddly enough, the pen featured on the SketchFighter artwork, and which Gäfvert used to create all of the artwork in the game, is the very pen I carry with me everywhere I go: the black Pilot Precise V5.

Threadless Manufacturing Their Own T-Shirts 

Dissatisfied with existing shirts — Fruit of the Loom’s are too boxy, American Apparel’s are too thin — Threadless has decided to manufacture their own custom t-shirts.


Just in case you’re certain, absolutely certain, that Apple is on the cusp of announcing a mobile phone, here’s another hit from the DF archives: a New York Times story from August 2002 regarding analyst speculation that Apple was on the cusp of announcing an “iPhone”.

From the DF Archives: ‘Closed Is Open’ 

Speaking of Apple’s supposedly “closed” iPod/iTunes architecture, this fireball from October 2003 is a real hoot in light of the last three years of iPod success and Microsoft’s Zune initiative.

It’s funny, really: with the Zune, which doesn’t use PlaysForSure DRM and which instead uses its own DRM that doesn’t work with PlayForSure players, Microsoft has effectively stabbed every PlayForSure device maker in the back. That’s openness, Microsoft-style.

Jackass of the Week: Pete Mortensen 

Pete Mortensen, after noting that even iPod chargers are outselling Zunes at Amazon:

And what’s funny is that I can’t really understand why the Mac never had the same kind of runaway success. The limitations of the iPod are similar to those of the Mac, its closed architecture, cheap clone knock-offs, everything. But for some reason, Windows bowled over Apple, while the iPod continues to get more popular by the day.

The iPod is “closed” compared to what? I know, you can’t (officially) run your own software on an iPod. And Apple has been stingy with licenses for FairPlay DRM (a few crippled Motorola cell phones and a couple of HP-branded iPods a few years ago). But you can’t run your own software on SanDisk or Creative or Microsoft players, either. Zune’s marketplace is every bit as “closed” as the iTunes Store, and while PlaysForSure is licensed to several manufacturers, it’s not open — you have to pay Microsoft for a license. It’s just a closed system with a handful of licensees.

The iPod is not succeeding despite “limitations”; if anything the iPod has fewer limitations than its competitors. (How many others fully support both Mac OS X and Windows?) It’s certainly possible for someone to create a rival player that is more open — a lot more open — than the iPod, but it doesn’t exist today.

As for why the Mac never took off similarly: “Why 2004 Won’t Be Like 1984”.