So, to the speculation that Sue Decker, CFO of Yahoo, is being
lined up to succeed Terry Semel as boss of the aimless internet
giant: it’s a pleasant daydream, for various reasons I’ll go
into, and a really misconceived idea. What Yahoo needs to do is
to hire a product nazi.
I’ve said it before and will say it again: the CEO of any company needs to live and breathe the products and services the company creates. That’s why Steve Jobs is a great CEO for Apple: he understands and loves Apple’s products. The problem with Terry Semel is simply that he’s not a web guy, and Yahoo is the prototypical web company. I don’t think replacing him with a CFO changes that equation at all.
I’m not saying it is (or isn’t) a realistic possibility, but my pick for Yahoo CEO would be Caterina Fake. I know, all she does is run little ol’ Flickr, but Flickr is the best product Yahoo owns. Not the most popular, not the most profitable, but the best. Almost everything Yahoo does ought to be more like Flickr in some ways. Read this interview with Fake in .Net magazine and tell me she doesn’t completely understand the web.
What is it about Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert that makes them so refreshing and attractive to a wide variety of viewers (including those so-important younger ones)? I would argue that, more than anything else, it is that they enthusiastically call bullshit.
Traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, boy. Without precise calculations, we’d fly right through a star, or bounce too close to a supernova, and that would end your trip real quick, wouldn’t it?
I’m a big fan of the One Laptop Per Child project. I know that people in the third world need all sorts of other things, too — clean water, medicine, food — but these computers can do something wonderful: tap into human potential.
Most normal people don’t really care about the exchange rates. Unfortunately, however, I’m running a software business from the United Kingdom, and a large proportion of my customers are in the United States. That makes my business extremely sensitive to the exchange rate; the difference in takings caused by exchange rate fluctuations can be literally thousands of pounds. I really can see the difference it’s making to my bottom line… my company has to sell up to 14% more in order to make the same money it was making this time last year!
James Surowiecki on Nintendo’s place in the console market:
Nintendo, though, has not just survived out of the spotlight; it has thrived. It has five billion dollars in the bank from years of solid profits, and this past year, though it spent heavily on the launch of the Wii, it made close to a billion dollars in profit and saw its stock price rise by sixty-five per cent. Sony’s game division, by contrast, barely eked out a profit and Microsoft’s reportedly lost money. Who knew bringing up the rear could be so lucrative?
If you measure by profits instead of unit sales, Nintendo is in first place, not third.
Yahoo Answers was doing 24 times the traffic of Google Answers, according to Hitwise. I always take third-party web stats with an enormous grain of salt (I’m looking in your direction, Alexa), but I think it’s clear that Yahoo was kicking Google’s ass in the answering department.
I hadn’t seen Arno Gourdol’s weblog before his aforelinked entry on the Mac OS X shutdown feature, but back in September he published a piece about how ‘.DS_Store’ files got their name. (It stands for “Desktop Services Store”.)
I’ve been biting my tongue for a few years now, and while John
Siracusa had been a thoughtful critic of the Mac OS X Finder, I
must say I agree with almost everything he has to say about the
Finder. … We actually used printouts of John’s columns to try to
influence the decision makers at the time, as sometimes a voice
from the outside is given more weight than a chorus on the
inside. Unfortunately, there were powerful forces at work.
Arno Gourdol, who was the Mac OS X Finder Lead at Apple from 1999-2001, responds to Joel Spolsky’s criticism of the Windows Vista shutdown features by discussing the design of Mac OS X’s. Gourdol argued for something far simpler — too simple, I think. Ben Skelton, in this comment on Gourdol’s post, does a great job explaining why all of Mac OS X’s shutdown features are useful.
Also, my guess is that the unnamed “Senior VP” at Apple whom Gourdol argued with, and lost, regarding this design was Scott Forstall.
Update: Forstall isn’t a “senior” VP, and wasn’t a VP at all at that time. A few knowledgeable little birdies have suggested that the only two likely candidates are Avie Tevanian and Bertrand Serlet, and most of the birdies are voting for Bertrand. Thanks, birdies.
Update 2: A few more birdies have chirped, and the overwhelming consensus is now that it was Avie Tevanian. Overwhelming, I say.
Includes a fix for the AirPort exploit released earlier this month, with credit to “H D Moore of Metasploit”. Note to George Ou: See how that works? Exploit is released, with code. Apple fixes, and gives credit.
There are also updates for ATS, Perl, PHP, and more.
This observation from Dave Winer rings true to me:
I almost wrote a piece yesterday saying that since the Web 2.0 companies aren’t going public, they’re safe from busting in a visible, dramatic way. I almost said it will be hard to tell when the bust comes, it’ll be softer and slower, you won’t hear a crash or even a pop. But I was wrong, and today we got the first rumblings of the shock that will signal the end of the bubble.
John Halamka, CIO of the Harvard Medical School and previously a
dedicated Windows user, spent a month each with new notebooks
running Red Hat Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows XP, and concluded he
liked Mac OS X best. Money quote:
“I used to think that the Macintosh was something used by free
spirits just to be different,” he says. “Now I realize the Mac
has such superior human factor engineering that it’s used by
people because they can be more productive. If Apple comes up
with a 2- or 2.5-pound 12-inch-screen laptop that runs cool, has
better integration with Exchange, and if Vista turns out to be
the beast it could be, then I probably will move to a Mac.”
I used to think Windows was something preferred by CIO-type suits
because they were ignorant jackasses. No, wait, I still think that.
It used to be DEVONthink. Then it was DEVONthink Professional. Now it’s DEVONthink Professional Office. Rather than incrementing the version number, they seem to just add extra words to the product name. My guess is next year it’ll be DEVONthink Professional Office Extreme.
It’s a widely-held belief in the magazine industry that green covers sell poorly at the newsstand. Slate’s Julia Turner investigated, and found that no one has any evidence to back this up. (The only current green cover she could find on newsstands was High Times.)
As someone outside the US who does most of his business in the dollar I’ve been increasingly concerned as the currency has continued to devalue over the past few years. We’ve almost reached the point where 1 dollar is barely worth £0.51 and I’ve decided that if it drops below £0.50 I’m going to have to switch over to selling in euros.
Microsoft is a company that sells to the type of business that has cubicle offices. It has made bad design a virtue, by making it look economical. Soul crushing design is what Microsoft is about, but personal technology is changing that.
Microsoft’s one and only consumer success is the Xbox, where by “success” I mean a second-place platform which continues to lose money for the company.
I played with a demo Zune unit at Target last week. The screen is very nice, but as a unit the whole thing feels junky in your hands. The UI looks good, but it’s nowhere near as obvious as an iPod’s.
Launching something meaningful is about every day, every minute, that happens after that start. Honestly, it makes me feel a lot like when I was talking about getting married: “If you tell people you’re engaged, they start talking to you about that one day, and almost never about the other half century you’re signing up for.”
BusinessWeek interviews Nintendo resident genius Shigeru Miyamoto and designer Ken’ichiro Ashida, on the design of the Wii. I really love the idea that they’re competing against the raw processing firepower of the Xbox 360 and PS3 with cleverness.
Interesting, too, that Nintendo does not use focus groups.
When houses and other wooden buildings collapse in hurricanes and earthquakes, the most common point of failure isn’t the wood, but the nails. Ed Sutt has designed a better nail, which can withstand significantly greater stress than traditional nails, and which adds a mere $15 to the cost of a typical new home.
If anyone knows what a gadget should be, and where the market is going, it’s [Engadget editor Peter Rojas]. Dave Winer joked with me at dinner this past summer that Peter would make a better iPod than Steve Jobs — I think I agree.
A good critic isn’t necessarily a talented designer. Should Roger Ebert be directing films? Should Paul Krugman run for president? Perhaps, but probably not.
As Fortune went to press, numerous deal points were still being hammered out. According to a music industry executive apprised of the talks, the parties were discussing how lengthy a window of exclusivity iTunes might get and how many tens of millions of dollars Jobs — who is said to be personally involved in the discussions —will commit to an advance for the band and marketing costs.
Possible explanation for the recent surge in email spam. I’ve been getting about double and some days even triple my previous level of spam for the past month or so — about 600-700 per day, up from around 300 per day for most of 2006.
So anyway assuming that this program does use the dyld debugging facilities to inject some ad-opening code — so what? In order to get this or even an input manager onto my system you’ve still got to trojan me.
The point is: there are all sorts of ways any semi-competent programmer can write “adware” for Mac OS X. F-Secure’s ‘iAdware’ is, apparently, one. The real trick is getting the adware installed on people’s computers, either via trickery or some sort of exploit. iAdware is not such an exploit.
And Young is right that the way F-Secure has reported this — with few actual details of what it is — is more about sowing fear than anything else.
Moishe Lettvin, who worked at Microsoft as a developer on the Vista team working on the shutdown menu Joel Spolsky complains about, explains how the Microsoft bureaucracy prevents good design from evolving:
So that nets us a conservative estimate of 24 people involved in this feature. Also each team of 8 was separated by 6 layers of management from the leads, so let’s add them in too, giving us 24 + (6 * 3) + 1 (the shared manager) 43 total people with a voice in this feature. Twenty-four of them were connected sorta closely to the code, and of those twenty four there were exactly zero with final say in how the feature worked. Somewhere in those other 17 was somebody who did have final say but who that was I have no idea since when I left the team — after a year — there was still no decision about exactly how this feature would work.
It’s worth noting that Lettvin now works at Google.
Joel Spolsky has a good point, that the various ways of exiting your login session in Windows Vista are baffling (e.g. offering both “sleep” and “hibernate”), but his solution of reducing it all to just one “b’bye” button is a bit too cute. Why not just state the obvious, that Microsoft should’ve copied Mac OS X’s four commands: sleep, restart, shutdown, and log out?
For the past five years , I’ve made an online Advent calendar. The first four years, every day has had a bit of zazz (aka the surprise) a personal memory and a link. Well, after four years, I was flat out of charming and/or funny memories, and asked the web to share some of theirs.
Peter Ammon has released his excellent hex editor HexFiend — it’s disk-based rather than memory-based, so you can use it to examine massive files — as open source, under a BSD-style license. Particularly interesting to Cocoa developers, given that Ammon works on the AppKit team at Apple. It’s also not just a “here’s an archive of the source code” release — Ammon has written a wiki where HexFiend’s design is very well documented.
I’ve been approached by the MacAppADay folks asking me if I want
to give away a mere 5000 copies of one of my apps, like, for no
money. This is just wrong on so many levels that I feel compelled
to write something in case any other Mac developers out there are
feeling crazy enough to get involved in something like this.
Roustem Karimov, developer of 1Passwd, is glad they participated in MacZot:
I have to say that placing 1Passwd in MacZot was one of the best decisions we made this year. Not only did we have a day of record sales during the ZOT, our average daily sales more than doubled right after the event and continued to grow ever since. The success of MacZOT is what convinced us that being part of the Heist was a no-brainer.
Microsoft has assembled a 120-page book detailing the user interface guidelines for Office 2007, but you must agree to their licensing terms before you can use it. Licenses are free, but are not available to anyone building software that competes directly with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Access. Most interesting to me is that the license terms require that if you use any aspect of this new interface, your app must comply with the entirety of the guidelines.
Yes, it really is possible to panic your Mac by mounting a dmg file. Those of us who work with the filesystem have known that this is possible for ages; I know I’ve reported at least one instance of this problem to Apple in the past.
Among the many bits of advice he gave me, the one he drove home
most was not to sell your app too cheap. I of course ignored him,
and he gave me crap when VoodooPad 1.0 came out for 10 bucks.
“People read into the quality of the app based on price, and
you’ll even sell more” he said. “It’s crazy, and it doesn’t make
sense, but it’s the way it is.”
When I eventually raised the price to 24.95 he asked me how things
were going after the price increase. “Much better” I said.
What a brilliant premise: Wesabe is a new social web app for personal finance, founded by Jason Knight and Marc Hedlund. The idea is that it’s an attempt to harness collective wisdom about finance and spending decisions — both big and small.
The biggest problems facing an online site dealing with personal finance data, of course, are privacy and security. Wesabe recognizes this, and they talk about their policies and procedures clearly and plainly.
Three big new features for Flickr: guest passes for sharing photos with non-Flickr (and non-Yahoo) users; an updated mobile-optimized site; and “Camera Finder”, a feature that tracks the camera models used by Flickr photographers. (Via 2lmc Spool.)
I think all the pundits need to be clear about which OS versions they are talking about. To a very real degree they are debating around each other — Tom focusing on Vista, and John on XP.
I have nothing bad to say about Vista’s security. In fact, I hope Vista does surpass Mac OS X in terms of security. That’d be good for everyone — Windows users will have a secure system, for once, and Apple will feel pressure to jump ahead. Ptacek seems to think that just because I write about Macs I’m rooting against Windows.
Thomas Ptacek, in the middle of a weblog post titled “Five Reasons To Ignore John Gruber’s OS X Security Punditry”:
No it isn’t. Want an easy way to debunk that argument? Here you go: MacOS 9 sees a tiny fraction of the malware Windows does. But nobody seriously argues that OS 9, which doesn’t even have a secure VM system, is more secure than Windows XP.
More “stable”? No, probably not. But more “secure”? Yes. Please, Mr. Ptacek, please tell me about the exploits you would use to attack a Mac OS 9 system. Was the U.S. Army “not serious” when they moved their web server to Mac OS 9 back in 1999? I’m not saying Mac OS 9 was a good server platform; I’m not saying the cooperative memory model was even vaguely modern by 1999’s industry standards; but secure? Yes, yes it was.
As for the rest of his piece, it’s mostly blah blah blah, Gruber just writes to make Mac ‘fanatics’ happy and his opinion isn’t worth listening to on security related issues because he’s just a UI guy.
Wired Up and Fired Up on the results of promoting their app Relaunch on MacZot:
I can absolutely concur with him when he says, “What I was selling before the promotion was exactly the same as afterwards.” Even on the day of the promotion I received about the same amount of sales that I’d expect on any normal, rainy, Autumn day.
If you want to develop, run, and test Ruby on Rails web apps locally on your Mac, you’re going to want to install MySQL, Rails, and a newer version of Ruby than the version that ships from Apple. You’re also going to be happier using the LightTPD web server than the pure-Ruby (and thus somewhat slow, even for testing) WEBrick.
My friend and colleague Dan Benjamin first published these instructions in December last year, but he’s kept them up-to-date as newer versions of the various components have been released. Dan’s instructions are comprehensive, well-written, and, most importantly, show you how to install all this stuff the right way, such that they don’t clobber Mac OS X’s standard components.
John Siracusa speculates on what the deal is with the “top secret” Leopard features that Steve Jobs claimed to be withholding at WWDC in August. I still think it’s about the visual look-and-feel getting a major overhaul.
Once upon a time, I ran a few public-access labs at my university.
These labs suffered several virus outbreaks, most notably catching
WDEF before it was discovered in 1989. We also would occasionally
see MDEF, nVIR, and Scores. The Mac’s market share then was a
little higher — a little under 10 percent, versus 5 or 6 percent
today — but it was still a minority platform, with the great
majority of computers running DOS or Windows.
Universal binary update to Carl Lindberg’s excellent freeware System Prefs panel for managing the default applications associated with file extensions, UTIs, and URL schemes. Version 2.0 shipped back in March, but I missed it; previous versions have been mentioned here on DF numerous times.
Rael Dornfest, posting on the Values of N weblog regarding the first update to Stikkit:
We pulled much of the Ajax, which means permalinks and navigation work as you’d expect them to. Every stikkit, every view, every search now has its own URL and page title, so you can bookmark it in your browser and find your way back to it at will.
They also added iCal/ICS exporting from the calendar, which means you can subscribe to your Stikkit calendar in Mac OS X’s iCal, Outlook, Google Calendar, and any other calendar app that reads ICS.
Perl Critic for BBEdit is a free script plugin for the BBEdit text editor to enable Perl programmers to check their code format against the style guidelines of the Perl Best Practices book by Damian Conway. A nifty tool to help keep your code tidy. Free.
According to the suit, Load ‘N Go sells both DVDs and iPods and loads the former onto the latter for customers who purchase both. The company then sends the iPod and the original DVDs to the customer. So the customer has purchased every DVD, and Load ‘N Go just saves them the trouble of ripping the DVD. The movie studios’ suit claims that this is illegal, because ripping a DVD (i.e., decrypting it and making a copy) is illegal under the DMCA. The suit also claims that this constitutes copyright infringement.
This is just sick, and everyone who isn’t a dickhead entertainment industry suit knows it.
Nice write-up by Kottke about a new site called BuzzFeed, which aims to find interesting new trends. I love the design of the site — every element and every word on the page serves a purpose. The design really directs your attention in the right way.
Nifty-looking Apple Mail hack by Adam Tow. You invoke MsgFiler with Command-9 and it brings up a small window in which you type a few characters to match the name of a mailbox; hit return and it moves the currently selected messages to that mailbox. On sale for just $8. (Via Alex King.)
This book is like a spaceship with no recognizable components, no
rivets or bolts, no entry points, no way to take it apart. It is
very shiny, and it has no discernible flaws. If you could somehow
smash it into smaller pieces, there would certainly be no way to
put it back together again. It simply is. Page by page, line by
line, it is probably the strangest, most distinctive, and most
involved work of fiction by an American in the last twenty years.
Infinite Jest is the best novel I’ve ever read. The new paperback edition is just $8 at Amazon.
In alphabetical order, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have agreed to all support a unified system of submitting web pages through feeds to their crawlers. Called Sitemaps, taking its name from the precursor system that Google launched last year, all three search engines will now support the method.
The file format is offered under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.
Ryan Block, in his comprehensive Zune review for Engadget:
Never before have we done so much device plugging and unplugging. When you finish adding files to your Zune, you can’t go back and drop in more. You cannot interact with your player until you unplug it, and plug it back in. While it’s plugged in you can’t interact with it; with the Zune there’s no such thing as listening to music out of the player and charging via the sync cable at the same time. We couldn’t play music off the device through the application, either. When your Zune is plugged in, your Zune is absolutely nothing but plugged in.
Also, let me add that music exchanged among Zunes will cease to play after three days or after it’s been played three times. This includes music, podcasts, and other files that are specifically licensed for unlimited reproduction or trading, such as music distributed under a Creative Commons license that doesn’t allow post-release encryption of the sort that Microsoft wraps around it for these transfers.
That’s an interesting observation: When the Zune adds DRM to Creative Commons licensed media files, it’s doing so in contravention of the license.
On top of the fact that Lilt performs a relatively worthless function, it performs it in a rather hideous manner. The Apple Human Interface Guidelines are painfully eschewed in favor of an interface that looks like a cutout of a Macbook Pro poster. The window itself doesn’t behave how you think it should, which makes it no surprise that the app doesn’t really work the way it says it should.
Iconfactory’s Craig Hockenberry on using vector images for rendering bigger icons:
Unless you’re dealing with simple line art, effects such as gradients, shadows, and highlights result in enormous files. As an example, compare this 512×512 pixel PNG file of the CandyBar icon with a PDF file containing the same image. The PNG file is about 100 KB while its PDF counterpart is a whopping 3 MB. Consider a five icon toolbar with PNG files versus a toolbar with PDF files — 500 KB versus 15 MB. Your ISP will love you and your PDF icons!
But the overriding feeling of the Zune is an almost pathological me-too-ism, as if the team weren’t watching consumers or potential customers, but was too busy saying Hello From Seattle to those who were Made In Cupertino. Instead of aiming at the competition, the team should have been aiming for the lead.
Interesting analysis from Bill Bumgarner regarding Sun’s release of Java under the GPL:
You can negotiate with Sun for a custom license that allows your modifications to remain under your control. Most likely, you’ll be paying Sun for the privilege of actually owning your modifications. Yes, to own your modifications you will need to contact Sun and negotiate a non-GPL license.
New York Times Magazine profile of online filmmakers and show producers, including Ze Frank. The web is now doing for film and video artists what it long ago did for writers and software developers: disintermediating. Self-publish and let your work speak for itself.
Jonathan Wight figured out how Disco’s “smoke” feature works (thanks to the headers left in the app’s Smoke.framework in the initial public release), and put together a hack to let windows in any app smoke. What’s hilarious is the example document Wight chooses to set afire in the demo movie.
These six airlines will begin offering their passengers iPod seat connections which power and charge their iPods during flight and allow the video content on their iPods to be viewed on the their seat back displays.
Of course, you could just spend all of your points each time you buy music, but would require you to purchase songs in multiples of 31,600 points (that being the LCM of 79 and 400). That works out to 400 songs for $395. A better plan would be to buy 5 songs for 395 points (or $4.94) and just save your 5 remaining points for some future purchase. In effect, Microsoft has created a store that only accepts gift cards as the valid method of payments. And if you don’t think that’s insane then you obviously already have pre-ordered your Zune.
Stoup nails it. This points system shows that Microsoft thinks people are stupid.
Tamar Lewin, reporting on the state of math education in the U.S.:
Shalimar Backman, who put pressure on officials here by starting a parents group called Where’s the Math?, remembers the moment she became concerned.
“When my oldest child, an A-plus stellar student, was in sixth grade, I realized he had no idea, no idea at all, how to do long division,” Ms. Backman said, “so I went to school and talked to the teacher, who said, ‘We don’t teach long division; it stifles their creativity.’”
What a pain in the ass software installer. Even if the installer hadn’t crashed a couple of times on these guys — who wants to go through that many sign-up screens just to get started with a new gadget? Tell me this sign-up process won’t make for a fun Christmas morning.
So by now you’ve heard the “big news.” After years of trying to figure out ways to make money on Java, and all the while pretending that they actually are making loads of money on Java (while refusing to break out any numbers) Sun has thrown in the towel. They’re open-sourcing Java — i.e., giving it away free and declaring victory.
Open sourcing Java is almost certainly a very good thing for Java developers, and it’s probably a good thing for the world at large. I have yet to see a cogent explanation as to how it’s going to make Sun a nickel, though.
Like the iMac line that received a Core 2 Duo upgrade in September, the new laptops have seen their wireless cards replaced by a new varient that supports the 802.11n Draft 1.0 networking standard, although Mac OS X drivers are not yet available.
Great look back at Apple, circa 1995, from Greg Maletic, who was then the product marketing manager for OpenDoc:
Apple was so worried about stepping on its developers’ toes that it resisted any attempts to add useful functionality to Mac OS. It wasn’t the kind of company that could succesfully develop a technology like OpenDoc. That’s when I knew that OpenDoc would fail.
Pictures of the packaging and installation software from some guy who bought one at Best Buy over the weekend. Can anyone explain what’s going on in the photo of the girls in the second screenshot of the installer?
Evan Williams shows how an almost totally Ajax UI can still support permalinks. Clever. (For what it’s worth, though, I didn’t mean to imply in my Stikkit review that I thought Ajax ruled out permalinks — I was only complaining about the current Stikkit implementation.)
Podcasters have been slower to break out of the mold provided by talk radio. The playing of music before segments and as transitions between segments makes some sense on the radio, where it’s used in some cases to fill airtime. But for podcasts, there’s no need to fill airtime with anything but content. 30 seconds of music before the actual podcast begins is the audio equivalent of Flash splash pages on web sites.
Apple today announced that Donald J. Rosenberg, senior vice president and general counsel of IBM, will join the company as its senior vice president and general counsel, reporting to Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
He was working on a web development team at Apple for the last year or two. Hopefully Flickr will just hand him the keys to their design car — Orchard could give them a serious injection of awesomeness. His weblog, in cold storage since July 2005, still ranks as one of my all-time favorite designs.
Michael Tsai, contradicting foolish advice from others that you shouldn’t mark certain spams as spam, lest you confuse your spam filter:
In both cases, my recommendation is simple: tell SpamSieve the truth. If a message is spam, train it as such; don’t omit a message because you think it will confuse SpamSieve. This is for two reasons. First, there’s probably some spammy content that SpamSieve could learn from, even if it doesn’t appear so. Second, if you don’t train the message as spam, SpamSieve will assume that the message was good and that you want to see more such messages.
Sven-S. Porst on using vector art for resolution-independent UI elements:
And even with all the new technology we have, the basic facts about low-pixel count situations remain true: Graphics in which those few pixels are carefully and consciously placed will look better than those created from generic vector graphics. Only in a few lucky situations we will be able to get equivalent results from cool vector graphics tricks.
Erik Barzeski on Cocoa’s broken window title bar document proxy icons.
With a Carbon app, dragging the proxy icon is just like dragging a file icon from within the Finder itself. Dragging means move, Option-dragging means copy, Command-Option-dragging means make an alias. With the default Cocoa behavior, there is no way to simply move the original file itself: dragging means make an alias, and Option- or Command-dragging means make a copy. The Carbon behavior, in addition to being far more useful, matches what’s prescribed by the HIG.
It rescues this concept of visual storytelling from PowerPoint’s tainted hands, and implements it within an environment that, almost shockingly, allows high-fidelity typographic and visual control over the elements of a story. In stark contrast to Microsoft’s product, Apple’s Keynote goes to enormous lengths to ensure that the visual part of a slideshow’s visual narratives are attractive and maintain an integrity of form that flatters the ideas it conveys.
JPG Magazine — 8020 Publishing’s excellent photography mag, founded by Derek Powazek and Heather Powazek Champ — started taking subscriptions earlier this week. A one-year (six-issue) subscription is normally $25, a great deal. But use the coupon code “DARING” and you’ll get $5 off, just for being a Daring Fireball reader.
Maybe I’m just a softie for excellent photography and independent publishing, but I think this is pretty cool.
MFSLives is a sample VFS plug-in that implements read-only access to the Macintosh File System (MFS) volume format. This volume format debuted on the original Macintosh in 1984, and was supplanted by HFS (the predecessor to HFS Plus) with the introduction of the Macintosh Plus in 1986. MFS support was dropped from traditional Mac OS in Mac OS 8.1, and it has never been supported on Mac OS X.
As a result, any user who spends any significant amount of time
with any one text editor — I’m talking years, here — will build up
a set of usage patterns that employed rapidly and repeatedly
throughout an editing session. Often this is called “muscle
memory”, but it is really more that your brain builds up a library
of “mental macros” that are applied almost subconsciously as you
work with the editor.
Because of this, switching text editors is incredibly disruptive
to one’s workflow and results in some awesome “religious wars”.
Why? Because it is just too damned difficult to actually quantify
why one editor is so much better than another.
I’ve been trying to figure out a way to say this for months. Perfect.
$30 competitor to Apple Remote Desktop from Devon Technologies.
Update: It’s not really fair to call it a competitor to ARD. Desktop Transporter is pretty much focused on screen-sharing; ARD does screen-sharing and a whole lot more. It’s probably more fair to call Desktop Transporter a rival to Timbuktu. And don’t forget that iChat will offer screen sharing in Mac OS X 10.5.
Last week I was interviewed by the Globe and one of my key emphasis points was that whether it is blogs, Facebook or MySpace, people are starting to use technology to not only expose themselves, but also to share their views and opinions. I think Microsoft’s understanding of this change, which is apparent in Zune, will give the company a differentiating edge.
Expose themselves? I didn’t know Zune had a built-in camera.
Very impressive upgrade to MacRabbit’s aptly-named $30 CSS editor. There’s some very interesting cleverness in the UI. For example, its inspectors are anchored in the editing window rather than sitting in free-floating palettes. The way CSSEdit does this is definitely less cluttered — but the downside is that it only lets you see one of them at a time.
Update: Cleverness abounds. CSSEdit author Jan Van Boghout emailed to point out that there’s a preference setting to allow multiple inspectors to be displayed at once. So: downside retracted.
Macworld lab results show Photoshop runs about 35 percent faster in 10.4.8 than it did in previous versions of Tiger on Intel-based Macs. That means Intel-based iMacs are nearly on par with G5 iMacs, and Mac Pro Quads are nearly on par with Power Mac G5 Quads. And these machines blow their G5 counterparts away running universal binaries. In short, even if you’re a heavy Photoshop user, it might be worth upgrading to a new Mac now.
I suppose this opens a philosophical debate on when in a song’s
playing does the it turn into the past tense ‘played’? For
iTunes the question was any easy one: it’s played when it’s done
playing. But Microsoft had to put the playcount at the beginning
of the song. Why? Because if it were at the end, then I could
listen to a whole song nearly to the end, and then skip to the
next song, thus finding an easy workaround to the “3 plays or 3
days” limitation. Never mind that the song will be erased in 3
days anyway, Microsoft is more interested in acting like a drug
dealer and tempting me with a melody and withdrawing it than it
is in giving me a function that might benefit me.
Just a friendly reminder that Daring Fireball is a member of The Deck — a targeted ad network that delivers a single ad impression, without annoying animation, for each page view, and only accepts ads for products or services we (i.e. the member sites of The Deck) have paid for and/or used.
Placing the Zune next to the 30-gigabyte iPod provides a strong
contrast. The iPod is thin, sleek and elegant looking. The Zune
looks big and blocky, sort of like a prototype for a gadget,
rather than a finished product. It is longer, thicker and heavier
than even the 80-gigabyte iPod, which has more than twice its
The word “Microsoft” never appears anywhere on the Zune, only the
new Zune logo and a cheeky, “Hello from Seattle” in tiny type at
the bottom of the back of the device.
Blackfriars’ Marketing on the Microsoft-Universal $1-per-Zune deal:
While this sounds like a simple “we wanted to get a major music
label on board deal”, it’s really an attempt to poison next
year’s licensing contract renewal between Universal and Apple.
After all, Microsoft is unlikely to sell more than two million
Zunes in the next six months to a year, so this costs them
little. But I estimate that Apple will sell nearly 20 million
iPods just this quarter (more about that tomorrow), and hundreds
of millions of songs as well.
Anyhow, my real purpose here is just to say that the Keynote authoring interface is just totally excellent, amazingly good; and I speak as a pretty expert user of both PowerPoint and OpenOffice.org. For my money, maybe the best app Apple ships.
I don’t think I’d call it the best app they ship, but it’s certainly in the running. Keynote is terrific. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s the one app that we know you-know-who uses seriously.
What’s really nuts is that the restrictions even stomp on your own musical creations. Microsoft’s literature suggests that if you have a struggling rock band, you could “put your demo recordings on your Zune” and “when you’re out in public, you can send the songs to your friends.” What it doesn’t say: “And then three days later, just when buzz about your band is beginning to build, your songs disappear from everyone’s Zunes, making you look like an idiot.”
I’m appealing to supporters to donate small amounts to support me while I start up a research project. …
My donation goal (the amount I am trying to raise) is a convenient $7,777, which, apart from being a lucky number, will keep me afloat at a subsistence level for four months. No honeymoons in Hong Kong here.
Clever: web startup Mashery booked a conference room at the same hotel where the very expensive Web 2.0 Summit conference is being held. So instead of paying big bucks to be an official part of the conference, they paid a meager amount directly to the hotel. With gallons of free margaritas being dispenses, I’m guessing they’re not having problems drawing attendees, either.
Steve Wilson, “principal analyst” for ABI Research, is touting the results of a ludicrous survey that indicates 58 percent of iPod owners are “likely” to buy a Microsoft Zune as their next music player. Uh-huh. Sounds to me like there’s a 99 percent chance Steve Wilson is a jackass.
The associated report being issued by the research firm
concluded that for Apple to maintain its lead, it must make big
announcements in 2007. “Apple needs a new high-end device that
works really well and looks really cool, because other brands
are catching up,” said Mr. Wilson.
That’s just brilliant. New iPods that “work really well and look really cool”. What would Apple do without insightful advice like this?
1.83 and 2.0 GHz, now with hard drives up to 200 GB. RAM is still capped at 2 GB, and black is still going to cost you extra. These look like great machines — I didn’t expect Core 2 Duo MacBooks until after Christmas.
So until I read this (once again, terrific) piece from El Macalopo, I didn’t realize that H.D. Moore, the quote-unquote “security researcher” who last week released an exploit called “daringphucball” that crashes Macs using the old circa 2001-2003 original AirPort cards, is the same guy who wrote this response to me during The Great MacBook Wi-Fi Hack Fiasco.
The Macalope has a good point here:
Despite the fact that Moore is being such a dick about it, you’ll notice there hasn’t been the same level of uproar about his exploit. Mostly because it’s on three-year-old systems, but also because he made a claim and he proved it. Contrast that to the precedent set by his good buddies, David Maynor and Jon “Johnny Cache!” Ellch.
How big is too big (in terms of kilobytes) for a web page today? I remember sweating over every last kilobyte 10 years ago — using DeBabelizer to squeeze extra bytes out of GIF files, condensing whitespace from HTML files. Anything you could do to shave a kilobyte without screwing up the way the tag soup browsers rendered your design was a win, because it took so damn long for anything to load over a modem.
I don’t really worry about it these days, though — I don’t even remember the last time I measured how big the front page at Daring Fireball was.
It seemed too weird but I downloaded a trial of Logic Express and sure enough, I experienced the exact same behavior. After a bit of poking around I discovered what was happening. Logic Pro/Express stops all launchd jobs. Hazel uses launchd to start its background processes so it was a bit disconcerting to see another program, especially one from Apple, disabling yours on purpose, albeit indirectly. At least Logic is nice enough to start the jobs again when it quits.
Finally, a Technote on GUID Partition Table, the new disk partitioning scheme used on Intel-based Macs:
Apple has switched to a new disk partitioning scheme known as the GUID partition table, or GPT. This new scheme offers a number of advantages over the previous scheme, but it also presents some new challenges. This technote describes GPT in general, and gives some specific details about how Apple uses GPT.
Sometimes — like at WWDC back in August — I feel like Apple overplays the “Microsoft copies us” card. But jeebus, you look at this list of new features in Vista and it reads like a “best of Mac OS X 10.3” feature list. (Via Brad Choate via AIM.)
This is the book that puts the “web” back into “web services”.
You can design a web service that uses HTTP, XHTML, and URIs.
You just need to understand REST, the architecture of the web.
REST Web Services gives you the tools you need to argue for
sensible web services, and the strategies and code you need to
No, I take it back. This is going to be a great book.
The humble side of me doesn’t want to link to this, but it’s too good to pass up. Lots of interesting stats about the last year on Daring Fireball — 85 regular articles, 109,000 words (roughly 1,200 words per article on average), and over 2,200 Linked List entries. I actually hadn’t measured lately, but output is (unsurprisingly) up significantly since I went full-time with DF in April.
(TJ probably could have saved some time if he’d known that you can just add a “.text” extension to the permalink URL for any full article to get it in Markdown-formatted plain text. Example.)
$15 network settings manager — lets you easily switch between multiple network location configurations. I find the UI a bit too clever for its own good — it wasn’t even obvious to me how you quit the app — but if you find yourself clicking around in the Network panel in System Prefs frequently, this might be a timesaver.
And as for Linux, here’s my feeling: If this stuff is so great, how come nobody wants it, even though it’s free? I mean, we’re charging a ridiculous amount of money for our computers. Ridiculous. Microsoft is even worse. (When you think of what crap they deliver.) And yet we’re both outselling this Linux stuff. And it’s free. It costs nothing. You don’t have to pay for it! And still nobody wants it! Guys, obtain a clue.
I’m considering purchasing a 17 inch to serve as my primary machine and was pricing out an extra battery and power adapter for travel when I came across a number of reviews on the Apple Store claiming that these cords tear, fray and even melt. Would anyone who has had a MacBook Pro for a while care to comment on their experience with these adapters?
It sure comes up with some ugly schemes, but the good news is that with a Terminal-specific shortcut assigned to the script, I can rip through random choices until I see something I like. I even discovered a little algorithm online to determine whether black or white text is best for the given background color.
The Polling Place Photo Project is a nationwide experiment in citizen journalism that seeks to empower citizens to capture, post and share photographs of democracy in action. By documenting their local voting experience on November 7, voters can contribute to an archive of photographs that captures the richness and complexity of voting in America.
Apple’s focus is on Intel right now, but this stuff is unpredictable. Well, actually, it is predictable. It always changes. There was 16-bit to 32-bit, 32-bit to 64-bit, 68k to PowerPC, PowerPC to Intel. What if Apple released a new type of portable which was not x86-based at all?
Perfect example of why I love Interarchy: version 8.2 adds the ability to specify automatic file converters attached to any server or path. One of the built-in converters is for a new, open file format called Interarchy Backup Format:
As mentioned, we also wrote a Backup script which encodes all
the meta data in an open format, including resource fork, BSD
flags and weird things like ACLs and HFS+ extended attributes (I
wish we did not have to write our own format, but there simply
is not any existing format that supported 64 bit and all the
This is great for backing up files with important Mac metadata to remote servers that don’t natively handle such metadata.
In a fairly unresponsible move, the MoKB won’t provide information in advance in any systematic way to the affected operating systems or programs. In the security world, this is considered bad form, somewhere between taking a dump in a swimming pool and selling drugs to children. There’s little reason to not provide advance information to affected parties unless you’re trying to be clever, instead of smart.
George Ou is so excited about the “zero day” AirPort exploit released today that, shockingly, he’s gotten important facts wrong, even after they were spelled out for him in detail:
According to Brian Krebs, Apple’s Lynn Fox told him that “This
issue affects a small percentage of previous generation AirPort
enabled Macs and does not affect currently shipping or AirPort
Extreme enabled Macs.” But the flaw affects all “Airport
enabled Macs” which are the PowerPC based Macs that comprise
roughly half of the Mac market. The “AirPort Extreme enabled
Macs” are the newer Intel based Macs.
Wrong. “AirPort Extreme” is Apple’s marketing name for the IEEE 802.11g 54 Mbps wireless networking protocol. They’ve been using it since January 2003, long before the switch to Intel processors earlier this year. “AirPort”, which is what today’s exploit attacks, is Apple’s marketing name for the older 802.11b 11 Mbps protocol.
So, in short:
All Intel-based Macs use AirPort Extreme;
All PowerPC Macs sold after 2003 use AirPort Extreme;
Today’s exploit attacks regular old non-Extreme AirPort;
These facts are all easy to discover for yourself by taking 90 seconds to Google for “AirPort Extreme”;
Brian Krebs got the following statement from Apple spokeswoman Lynn Fox:
“We were recently made aware of this security issue in our first generation AirPort card, which has not shipped since October 2003. This issue affects a small percentage of previous generation AirPort enabled Macs and does not affect currently shipping or AirPort Extreme enabled Macs. We are currently investigating the issue.”
Q: Do you have to using Kismet or the Airport utility to be
compromised by this?
HD: This particular exploit only seems to trigger when the card is
in active scanning mode. I was able to trigger a similar bug when
the card is in “idle” (non-associated) state, but I need more time
to investigate it before I can give you more information.
In other words, yes, the published exploit only works when the card is in active scanning mode, so even if you have a vulnerable machine, you’re probably not vulnerable in normal use.
The TPM hardware is in fact present on shipping Intel-based Macs, but according to Amit Singh, Apple isn’t using it. Singh has written and released an open source driver for the TPM hardware, along with this documentation and executive summary of how it works. I love the way that Singh doesn’t just publish the software, but takes the time to explain it in such detail.
I don’t want to flame George, but he was wrong, combative and sensationalist. Even when he was shown to be wrong, rather than apologize and admit to his mistake, he furthers his attack on the Computerworld article and Tyler Reguly.
XHTML is not the problem. Well-formedness is certainly not the problem. Hell, even namespaces aren’t really the problem although they’re clunky and ugly and everyone hates them. The problem is that the W3C has abandoned HTML for years. HTML hasn’t moved forward since 1999. No wonder browser vendors are getting antsy.
Apple is sponsoring a 24-hour filmmaking contest for students:
On Friday, November 10 at 5 p.m. Eastern (2 p.m. Pacific), we will post a list of three elements that you will need to incorporate into your story. From that time, you will have 24 hours to finish and submit your completed short film.