Linked List: April 2007

Dave Girard Reviews Photoshop CS3 

High marks overall, and a good look at Photoshop’s major new features.

In case you’re curious, the benchmarks show Photoshop CS3 performing slightly better on Mac OS X than Windows XP on the same MacBook Pro.

Building a Digital SLR Camera System 

Philip Greenspun:

This article explains the different kinds of digital SLR cameras available, how to choose the right one for you, and what to do once you get it home from the shop. … This article shows you how to choose and buy the basic items first and the more expensive and hard-to-use components later.

Whenever anyone asks me for advice on buying a digital SLR camera, I point them to this article. Greenspun covers everything you need to know to get started. My only quibble is that he recommends the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens without mentioning that Canon makes a very comparable lens, a 28mm f/1.8. Both lenses cost about $400. The Sigma’s only advantage is that it’s a half-stop faster. The Canon is lighter (310g vs. 430g) and will also work with full-frame sensors.

I have the Canon 28mm f/1.8, and use it almost exclusively these days.

Coda: One Week Later 

Panic is using Amazon S3 to serve the Coda application download: 643 GB of bandwidth for $128.

Also worth noting: They’re using a .zip instead of .dmg for distribution.

Today Is the Last Day for Adobe Lightroom Discount Pricing 

Lightroom’s price jumps from $199 to $299 tomorrow, when Adobe’s introductory price expires. I’m ordering my copy at this moment. Update: Adobe’s web store crapped out on me while using Safari; worked much better with Camino.

TidBITS: ‘Coda Plays Web Developers a New Tune’ 

Joe Kissell on Coda:

It’s like buying your dream car, only to find out that the seats are kind of uncomfortable and there’s no heater. Coda comes so close to being great that its shortcomings are especially annoying. Having tried this way of working, I’m loath to return to having four apps open all the time - and yet I keep running into issues that irritate me almost enough to give it up.

The Geekster Moleskine 

How to fit 80 GB of data into an 80-page Moleskin sketchbook.

The SEC’s Apple Probe: What You Need to Know 

Nice overview of the whole backdating saga from Macworld, including the news from last week.

PHP Becoming Mainstream 

Tim O’Reilly, who knows a thing or two about selling programming language books:

We’ve noticed that one of the signs that a language is becoming mainstream (and perhaps being abandoned by the cutting edge developers) is that the For Dummies book becomes the top seller.

Keep your eye on Barry Burd’s Ruby on Rails for Dummies, then.

gSpell 1.1 

Freeware system-wide service by Nathan Spindel; provides spelling corrections via Google’s Web API. Update: Version 1.1, released yesterday, now works without a Google API key.

A Smarter Wikipedia Search Using Google 

Along a similar line of thinking to my Google Lucky scripts for ThisService, Thomas Robinson shows how to add a custom “search Wikipedia through Google” engine to David Watanabe’s Inquisitor.

Battery Update 1.2 for MacBooks and MacBook Pros 

“Updates battery firmware and improves battery functionality.”

Bearskinrug: ‘The Swap Meat Scrapbook’ 

Limited edition collection of drawings and artwork by Kevin “Guy Who Designed the New DF T-Shirt” Cornell, on sale at the Coudal Partners Swap Meat. (Check out Santa Maria’s and Weychert’s letterpressed print while you’re at the Swap Meat, the cool stuff from Philly just keeps coming.)


Brent Simmons wrote an example Cocoa app using the Twitter API to show techniques for hybrid desktop/web apps:

Folks who aren’t developers sometimes think that apps like Twitterrific are 90% under-the-hood plumbing and a 10% sprinkling of user interface. The truth is more likely the opposite: 10% plumbing, 90% user interface.

Uncensor the Internet With Greasemonkey 

Firefox Greasemonkey script to turn silly swear-word spellings like “sh*t” and “f*ck” back into real words. (Via Andy Baio.)

Unfortunate Placement of Yahoo Ad in Ballpark 

Hilarious, at least if you’re a web nerd. (Thanks to Dave Smith.)

Most Obnoxious Animated Web Ad I’ve Ever Seen 

As seen on Philebrity. Why not just come to my office and poke me in the eye while I try to read your web site?

Jack Valenti Dies at 85 

Confidant and aide of President Lyndon Johnson, better known in recent decades as the spokesman of the MPAA.

Mac Developers Contributing Sales to Virginia Tech Memorial Fund 

A bunch of indie Mac developers are contributing the proceeds from the sales of their software on May 2 to a fund to help victims from last week’s tragedy at Virginia Tech.

Stanford Magazine Profile of Donald Knuth 

From Kara Platoni’s profile of computer science demi-god Donald Knuth, regarding why the poor state of technical book typesetting in the 1970s led him to create TeX:

“The worst of it was the spacing, the way the letters would jam up against each other,” Knuth says. “It was like if you took every letter and you wiggled it and made some of them go up and some of them go down. It wasn’t random — it was systematically bad.” Because the letters in some words got smooshed together, it gave them the illusion of being darker than the others. The eye is naturally drawn toward dark spots, so the reader’s focus would jump all over the page. By 1976, when it was time to print a second edition of Volume 2, Knuth could no longer stand to look at his own work, and he felt that other scientists were getting a similarly raw deal. “We didn’t want our papers just to be there, we wanted them to be beautiful,” he protests. “I wouldn’t have wanted to write The Art of Computer Programming if it was going to look ugly.”

(Thanks to Jonathan Delacour.)

Google Desktop 

Performance improvements and bug fixes to Google’s Spotlight competitor.

Channel 4 Documentary on ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ 

9-minute clip on YouTube from a Channel 4 documentary on the greatest film ever made, hosted by James Cameron. Via Jim Coudal, who like me, now seeks the entire documentary.

Update: The film’s title is 2001: The Making of a Myth.

Eddie Jabbour’s Unofficial NYC Subway Map 

I can’t believe anyone doesn’t think Jabbour’s work is better than the official map from MTA.

Delivery Status 3.2.3 

Perfect-looking package tracking Dashboard widget by Mike Piontek. Freeware, but donations are welcome — I’m sending some cash now.

Apple Stock Price Way Up 

Blowout profits combined with the SEC’s exoneration of the company in the options backdating investigation.


Free utility from Earthlingsoft, creates smart mailboxes in Apple Mail based on contacts and groups in Address Book.

Anil Dash: Is Pidgin the Firefox of IM? 

Anil Dash on Pidgin, an open-source multi-network IM client for Windows and Linux:

The evolution of the naming of these clients doesn’t just reflect the incessant legal sniping over IP and branding that a lot of small projects face, but is also a measure of a focus on the image of the projects. This is somewhat atypical for a lot of open source projects, as some contributors can see a focus on branding as irrelevant to, or even contradictory to, making a good product. But while the Pidgin site lacks some of the slickness and polish of the Firefox site, it’s still miles better than the standard “choose a SourceForge mirror for your tarball”-style experience that a lot of comparable projects present to the world.

I enjoy Pidgin’s clever URL: “”.

Interviews, Email or Live 

Dan Gillmor:

Every journalist should have the experience of being covered by journalists. Nothing would improve the craft more.

The Obsolete Interview 

Jeff Jarvis has some very thoughtful observations regarding the Vogelstein/Calacanis/Winer interview flap.

I’ll add this to my comments from yesterday, based on some pushback from a few journalist readers of DF: If you’re writing a lengthy, in-depth profile, then yes, absolutely, meeting the subject in person (and recording the audio of your discussions) can give you insight you’d never get from email alone. But that’s not what this case with Wired, and most interview situations, are about. This is about getting a few comments to add color to a piece.

Michael Tsai on Large Cocoa Projects 

Michael Tsai adds his own suggestions and commentary regarding Brent Simmons’s post. See also Daniel Jalkut’s and Jon Rentzsch’s takes.

Brent Simmons: ‘Thoughts About Large Cocoa Projects’ 

Very thoughtful real-world advice on managing and designing large Cocoa projects. What Brent calls “researchability” is sort of a “remind-me-how-this-thing-I-haven’t-looked-at-in-a-long-time-works” factor.

Galen Gruman Reviews InDesign CS3 for Macworld 

4.5 mice; high marks for the revamped palette organization and the improved Find/Change dialog. The improved scriptability, which includes hooks to attach scripts to menu items and other UI elements, sounds intriguing.

Gradient Panel 

Open source color gradient panel for Mac OS X, from Jason Jobe and Graham Cox:

Our offer aims to provide both a standardised interface for editing gradients, and a standardised data type for exchanging gradient data between elements of the same or different applications. In attempting this, we have been inspired by the standard NSColorPanel user interface and by the NSColor standard data type.

Interesting Tidbits From Apple’s Analyst Call 

The Macalope culls a few salient points from Apple’s conference call today with analysts, particularly this nugget regarding how they’re going to account for iPhone sales:

Because Apple is going to keep introducing new software features for free, it’s going to account for sales and earnings from the iPhone on a subscription basis for 24 months after the sale of a handset.

Remember the silly little $2 charge for the 802.11n AirPort enabler? The idea is that accounting regulations require companies to charge money for features added to a product after it was sold. By accounting for iPhone handset sales over 24 months, Apple is free to provide feature upgrades free of charge.

VBA for Macintosh Goes Away 

Joel Spolsky on Microsoft’s decision to drop VBA from the upcoming Office 2008 for Mac:

But what’s really interesting about this story is how Microsoft has managed to hoist itself by its own petard. By locking in users and then not supporting their own lock-in features, they’re effectively making it very hard for many Mac Office 2004 users to upgrade to Office 2008, forcing a lot of their customers to reevaluate which desktop applications to use.

Apple Reports Second Quarter Results 

The numbers compared to the same quarter one year ago:

  • Profits up 88 percent to $770 million
  • Revenue up 21 percent to $5.26 billion
  • 1.5 million Macs sold, up 36 percent
  • 10.5 million iPods, up 24 percent

Most profitable second quarter in Apple history.

Apple Board Supports Jobs, Disputes Fred Anderson’s Claims 

Translation into plain English of the statement released by Apple board members Bill Campbell, Millard Drexler, Albert Gore Jr., Arthur D. Levinson, Eric Schmidt, and Jerry York, just ahead of the release of Apple’s quarterly numbers:

No, Fred, fuck you.

Roger Parloff: ‘SEC Sees Apple Backdating as One-Woman Fraud Spree’ 

Roger Parloff read the SEC’s 20-page civil complaint against Nancy Heinen and Fred Anderson and has written a good overview and timeline of the story. It’s worth emphasizing that the backdating of options wasn’t itself illegal; it’s the accounting of the backdated options that was improper.


Open source framework for dark transparent HUD-style windows, from the Shiira project.

Vonnegut Day 

Can we make this happen?

Wired Reporter Fred Vogelstein Refuses to Conduct Interviews Via Email 

Jason Calacanis:

Frankly, you need to adapt. Journalists have misquoted people for so long — and quoted them out of context that many people like to have their words on record.

I don’t want someone taking half a sentence or paraphrasing me… Just too much risk.

Email is my preferred medium for conducting interviews. I’m not interested in playing “gotcha” by getting someone to say something they’ll later regret, or which can be misconstrued by taking it out of context. I think that in email, interview subjects are more relaxed and more thoughtful, because they don’t feel like they have to be on guard against saying something wrong or stupid.

Same thing with the same reporter with Dave Winer, and Winer then points to this ridiculous weblog entry on where Dylan Tweney calls Calacanis “cowardly” for refusing to be interviewed on the phone. (And it’s Valleywag that outed the reporter in question as Fred Vogelstein.)

New Shirts at CARS 

I’ve already called my attorneys, where by “attorneys” I mean “bat-wielding thugs in the Russian mafia”.

A List Apart 2007 Web Design Survey 

A List Apart:

Who are we? Where do we live? What are our titles, our skills, our educational backgrounds? Where and with whom do we work? What do we earn? What do we value?

It’s time we learned the answers to these and other questions about web design. And nobody is better qualified than the readers of A List Apart to provide the answers.

xPad 1.2.5 

Free update to Garrett Murray’s now-free notepad app.

Roger Ebert: ‘I Still Have My Brain and My Typing Fingers’ 

Roger Ebert:

What happened was, cancer of the salivary gland spread to my right lower jaw. A segment of the mandible was removed. Two operations to replace the missing segment were unsuccessful, both leading to unanticipated bleeding.

A tracheostomy was necessary so, for the time being, I cannot speak. I make do with written notes and a lot of hand waving and eye-rolling. The doctors now plan an approach that does not involve the risk of unplanned bleeding. If all goes well, my speech will be restored.

So when I turn up in Urbana, I will be wearing a gauze bandage around my neck, and my mouth will be seen to droop. So it goes.

I was told photos of me in this condition would attract the gossip papers. So what?

I have been very sick, am getting better and this is how it looks. I still have my brain and my typing fingers.

He looks like a hero to me.

Jackass of the Week: Gartner Analyst Ken Dulaney 

Nancy Gohring talks to Gartner Analyst Ken Dulaney about the iPhone:

It also comes with a touchscreen and no buttons, making it difficult for users to dial while driving, he noted.

How about not playing with the buttons on your phone while operating a machine that can kill people?

Statement From Fred Anderson’s Attorney Blames Jobs for Options Backdating 

With respect to today’s announced settlement by the SEC of its complaint against him, Fred is pleased to put this matter behind him.

Looks like it’s all on Nancy Heinen now.

Update: It’s possible I misinterpreted this. There’s a paragraph in the statement from Anderson’s attorney casting blame on Steve Jobs. Valleywag reads it as a sign that Anderson has “flipped”. I just read it as a “fuck you” to Jobs.

Ten Questions for MacBook Hacker Dino Dai Zovi 

Ryan Naraine has a good interview with Dino Dai Zovi, winner of last week’s MacBook Pro exploit contest at CanSecWest:

Q: Apple has been criticized in the past for not responding appropriately to third-party findings.  What has been your experience working with them?

A: On my site, I list several vulnerabilities I’ve found and reported to Apple and I’ve found them to be very responsive and upfront about verifying things and giving credit.  Some things are fixed quicker than others and maybe you can say they take too long on some things but when there are interdependencies on components being fixed, it can be a month of two before you see a patch.

SEC Charges Heinen, Settles With Anderson 

Ben Ames, reporting for IDG:

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has charged former Apple general counsel Nancy Heinen of fraudulently backdating stock options, the agency said Tuesday. …

Former CFO Fred Anderson faced a similar charge but agreed to a settlement for $3.5 million in penalties.

Dumb and Dumber 

Matthew Bookspan (a) screws around with Cocktail, a utility that exposes expert-level system features; (b) notices the Unix /usr/ folder, which contains a ton of essential OS components, and which is normally invisible for users who aren’t using the terminal or screwing around with things they don’t understand; and then:

Knowing that I already have a Users folder and the multiple Library folder(s), it seemed reasonable to delete it.

This, of course, rendered his entire system inoperative. The funny part is that he wrote an article blaming the whole thing on Apple, on the grounds that the Mac is supposed to be “intuitive”.

Ethan Marcotte Joins Airbag 

Greg Storey:

So now we are three and our kung-fu is unbelievably strong. And yet despite this growth I have a feeling we’re going to need more ninjas real soon.

Storey, Irelan, and Marcotte makes for a very bad-ass team. Insofar as web nerds can be bad-asses.

Periscope 1.0 

New webcam software from Freeverse, with features like motion detection and built-in integration with Flickr and .Mac.


New game from Ambrosia:

DEFCON is a stunning, online, multiplayer strategy simulation based around the theme of global thermonuclearwar. The game, inspired by the 1983 cult-classic WarGames, superbly evokes the tension, paranoia and suspicion surrounding the Cold War era.

CanSecWest Mac OS X Vulnerability Is in Quicktime, Can Affect Windows, Too 

Thomas Ptacek:

Any Java-enabled browser is a viable-attack vector, if QuickTime is installed.

CSSEdit 2.5 

Update to MacRabbit’s polished app for CSS development. New features included tabbed editing and an X-Ray inspector.

I must say that the tabs might be the best I’ve ever seen: they look perfect, and they support drag-and-drop both for rearranging within a window and for dragging tabs between windows and into new windows of their own. The animation for reordering and moving tabs is splendid.

Update: Pretty much all other app news today has been drowned out by the (deserved) Coda din, but CSSEdit’s tabs are worth another shout-out. Coda’s tabs look good, too, but aren’t draggable. CSSEdit’s tabs aren’t just draggable, they’re perfectly draggable.

Steven Frank Describes Coda 

Terrific overview, emphasizing the concepts behind Coda’s UI, and how you’re expected to use it.

See also: Cabel Sasser, who reveals that most of Coda’s UI resources are scalable PDFs rather than fixed-size bitmaps. I too welcome our future resolution-independent nirvana.

Coda 1.0 


Text editor + Transmit + CSS editor + Terminal + Books + More = Whoah.

Did I mention that the deadline for the Apple Design Awards is today?

See also: My teaser from back in January.

Shiira 2.0 

Version 2.0 of the open source WebKit-based browser from Japan.

Apple Design Awards Deadline: Today at 5 pm Pacific 

Just in case you were wondering why there’s such a strong aroma of cool new software in the air today.

Fission 1.5 

Free update to Rogue Amoeba’s $32 audio editor. New features include support for copying and pasting audio clips between multiple files.

Mercury News Reports SEC Set to Charge Nancy Heinen 

Looks like former Apple legal chief Nancy Heinen is going to be charged for her role in Apple’s stock options backdating scandal.

Open Files in BBEdit With Soft Wrap Off 

AppleScript droplet I wrote for Erik Barzeski — drop files on it to open them in BBEdit with soft wrap turned off, even if your prefs are set to have soft wrap on by default. Useful for opening extraordinarily large files.

I Thought People at MIT Were Supposed to Be Smart 

Brad King’s defense of Windows Vista might be the dumbest thing I’ve read all year:

But that misses the point: computer code is meant to be broken because from that unjoined code comes personalization that no company can give me. And Microsoft understands better than Apple that broken is better than perfection.

In other words, Vista is better than Mac OS X (and, presumably, XP) because it’s actually worse. Brilliant. The more broken the better! Punch me in the face! Kick me in the nuts!

OmniFocus Screenshot and Feature Overview 

If you imagine a slider control that starts with “Total vaporware” and ends with “Shipping software”, Omni just moved the slider a good chunk to the right. Looks pretty good. It’s worth skimming the comments thread; Ken Case reveals a bunch of additional details.

Screen Sieve 1.0.1 

Interesting $7 find-as-you-type search utility that works in any Accessibility-aware app. (Via Tao of Mac.)

Apple and Brooks’s Law 

Scott Rosenberg is right that throwing extra engineers at a late project almost always makes the project even later, but, that’s not necessarily what’s going on with iPhone.

List of Mac Podcasts 

List of 14 Mac-related podcasts compiled by Iljitsch van Beijnum. Don’t forget Steve Scott’s Late Night Cocoa.

Hill Climbing 

Vying Games weblog:

So, instead of an exhaustive search, we’ll take a different approach:  Generate any solution at random, and then, while time permits, try to improve upon it. With every improvement, we hope to get closer to the ideal solution, even though we may never find it (and even if we do find it, we wouldn’t know that we’ve found it).

And that, in a nutshell, is hill climbing. It also happens to be a very good approach to software development.

(Via Jon Rentzsch.)

SEC Unlikely to Indict Steve Jobs, Reports San Jose Mercury News 

If this pans out, it sounds like the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation is coming to the same conclusion regarding Jobs’s involvement that Apple’s internal investigation did.

HandBrake 0.8.5b1 

Unforked update to the open source DVD-to-MPEG4 video converter. Useful for ripping content from DVDs into a format playable on iPods and Apple TV.

Tim O’Reilly on the Amazon-Alexaholic Lawsuit 

Tim O’Reilly:

In short, I ended up with a lot more sympathy for Amazon’s position than I expected to. If someone decided that they could make a nice business by re-using the content from O’Reilly books in a new, more accessible form, I’d probably be miffed too. I’d be dumb not to jump on the opportunity if I saw signs of uptake, but it would be my call as the copyright holder. And if they used my name in building their service to boot, and refused to stop when I asked them nicely and even offered them money, I might eventually have gotten pretty angry too.

Defending Against the CanSecWest Mac Exploit: Turn Off Java 

Thomas Ptacek has the scoop: Dino Dai Zovi’s winning exploit in the CanSecWest contest involves Java. It is not specific to Safari; Firefox — and, I presume, Camino — are also vulnerable. Turning off Java in your browser should defend against it.

In a comment on Ptacek’s weblog entry, Dai Zovi himself writes:

With any 0day bug, there is a ton of conflicting information in what it is in and what is affected. I obviously don’t want to say too much so as to hint as to where the bug is until a patch is released. I will say that applying slightly paranoid web browser configuration changes will prevent this vulnerability from being exploited.

And no, I have not been sitting on this exploit, I really did find the vulnerability and write the exploit that night. I got lucky. I have spent way more time not finding bugs many other times.

CanSec Macbook Challenge Won, Exploiting Flaw in Safari 

The CanSecWest weblog reports:

One OSX box has been owned! At this point all we can say is there is an exploitable flaw in Safari which can be triggered within a malicious web page. Of course all of the latest security patches have been applied. This one is 0day folks.

Makes me wonder whether it’s another exploit against Safari’s on-by-default “Open ‘Safe’ Files” preference. Update: A good source says it’s not “Open ‘Safe’ Files”. My next guess is that it’s a pseudo-URL protocol handler.

Thomas Ptacek confirms that the winners are Shane MacCauley and Dino Dai Zovi.

Semi-Crappy IDG News Service Story on the CanSecWest Hack Contest 

A lot of crap, not much more additional information in this story by Nancy Gohring:

Initially, contestants were invited to try to access one of two Macs through a wireless access point while the Macs had no programs running. No attackers managed to do so, and so conference organizers allowed participants to try to get in through the browser by sending URLs via e-mail. …

The URL opened a blank page but exposed a vulnerability in input handling in Safari, Comeau said.

My money is still on an exploit against “Open ‘Safe’ Files”, but it’s impossible to say from any of the descriptions thus far. Update: A good source says it’s not “Open ‘Safe’ Files”.

One reason Macs haven’t been much of a target for hackers is that there are fewer to attack, said Terri Forslof, manager of security response for TippingPoint. “It’s an incentive issue. The Mac is not as widely deployed of a platform as say Windows,” she said. In this case, the cash may have provided motivation.

I like the “as say Windows” part. As opposed to what other operating system other than Windows that has a larger user base than Mac OS X?

Also, Apple is “extremely litigious when people do find stuff,” noted Theo de Raadt, OpenBSD project leader and an attendee at the conference.

Yes, that’s right, find a bug in Mac OS X and Apple will sue you.

Ten Years of Panic 

Steven Frank:

Sunday, the 22nd of April, marks the tenth anniversary of Panic’s incorporation.


It is by a more or less random coincidence that on the day after our company’s tenth birthday, we will be conducting by far our biggest, most ambitious new software launch of all time.

MacBook Hijacking Bounty Raised to $10,000 

The original offer was that anyone at the CanSecWest conference who hijacked an up-to-date MacBook Pro got to keep the machine. From the CNet report by Joris Evers:

There had been some rumblings among event attendees that the reward was not big enough to draw interest.

That sounds suspiciously like “No one can do it” to me.

Update: A little birdie tells me someone’s already won the prize. Can’t find a story on it yet, though.

I’d Rather Be Microsoft Than Yahoo 

Jason Fried:

And it’s not like Yahoo is being attacked on all sides. They’re not being eaten alive by a gang of rats. They are being devoured by the 900-pound Googlerilla in the room. Google’s revenue is growing at twice the rate of the Internet ad business overall and 9× faster than sales at Yahoo.

Fried has a good point: for all of Microsoft’s problems, they are still #1 in a bunch of very profitable markets. Where is Yahoo #1? Exclamation marks?

Valleywag Compares Google’s and Yahoo’s Quarterly Revenue Growth 

This is why I think Semel’s goose is cooked.

Law of Optical Volumes: The Math Behind Wired’s New Logo 

Good rule of thumb for kerning.

Oddlaa Extras 

Illustrator vector art recreation of Safari’s browser window, for higher-quality printed versions of web mockups. (Thanks to Chris Pepper.)

Apple: A Romance 

Buzz Andersen, recently of the Soundtrack Pro team, on leaving Apple:

As with any whirlwind romance, though, the honeymoon couldn’t last forever.  Apple may be a very special company, but it’s still just that: a company.  And, like any company, at the end of day it needs to take care of business.  In Apple’s case (or at least the part of Apple I work in), that business is shipping amazing software on impossible schedules with astonishingly small teams.  It’s been Apple’s business since the “90 Hours a Week and Loving It!” days of the original Mac team, and the grand tradition continues to the present day (just ask anyone on the iPhone team how much vacation they’ve had in the last year).

Profits Up 69 Percent at Google 

Profits and revenue are both way up from a year ago. This, to me, is amazing:

During the quarter, Google continued to add workers at a brisk pace. The company ended the quarter with 12,238 employees, up from 10,674 on Dec. 31.

And then there’s the stark comparison to Yahoo:

Google’s strong growth stands in sharp contrast to that of Yahoo, which announced this week that sales jumped 7 percent, while profits dropped 11 percent.

Methinks Yahoo CEO Terry Semel’s days are numbered, and the number isn’t very high.

BBC to Support Macs 

Their “iPlayer” service, which is currently Windows-only, is going to be “re-engineered” to support Mac OS X and other platforms. Kind of funny that something named iWhatever is only available for Windows.

Security Update 2007-004 

About two dozen bug fixes, including three of the issues from MOAB.

The New Upcoming 

Nice update to my favorite event-tracking site.

Mike Davidson: Pagination and Page-View Juicing Are Evil 

Mike Davidson:

Over the last several years, many publishers have convinced themselves that breaking up stories into sometimes as many as ten pages is an acceptable way to present content on the web. The realistic ones at least admit that it’s a cheap way to boost stats. The disingenuous (or naive) ones actually posit that they are improving readability and usability for their audiences by reducing scrolling. Because scrolling is so hard.

It’s a lack of respect for the reader, pure and simple.

MSFT, Xbox 360, and Japan: Failure-in-a-Box 

Microsoft has lost billions of dollars on their Xbox division, and doesn’t seem poised to turn that around anytime soon.

Pogue Reviews the Wi-Fi-Enabled Sansa Connect Music Player 

The gist: It’s a great idea but a poor implementation.

MarsEdit Markdown 

Just in case you didn’t realize that MarsEdit works well with Markdown-formatted weblog posts.

Paul Ford on the Launch of the Redesign 

Many sites, including DF, use the word “archive” to describe the previous content available on the site. In the case of the new Harper’s web site, it’s a very big archive indeed: every issue from the last 156 years.

The navigation Paul Ford designed for this is interesting and clever. One big problem with the web compared to print is the lack of implicit context. You can tell how big a book is by holding it in your hand, and you know where you are in the book based on how many pages remain to be read. In a physical archive, like, say, a library, you can get a sense of how much is available by looking at the shelves. The three-level navigation at — decade / year / month — gives you a clear sense of where you are in the magazine’s 156-year history. Bravo.

Jens Alfke on Twitter, Rails, and SQL as the ‘Universal Hammer’ 

I think the whole “11,000 requests per second” thing with Twitter is a myth. I mean, I know they’re growing like crazy and the server is busy as hell, but my (admittedly only somewhat informed) guess is that they do a few hundred connections per second, tops. Maybe things get backed up to the point where there are 10,000 active connections, but not thousands of new connections per second.

Arno Pro 

New text face by Robert Slimbach “in the tradition of early Venetian and Aldine book types”. A little too fussy for my taste, but very well-done. (Via Existential Type.)

Thomas Phinney on Hypatia Sans Pro 

Thomas Phinney writes about his new typeface, Hypatia Sans Pro. He mentions something that I completely overlooked the other day when I linked to it — the italics aren’t yet available.

There’s also a tidbit on Adobe’s interpretation of U.S. accounting laws, which shows that they agree with Apple regarding the need to charge at least a nominal fee for feature upgrades.

Gartner: Mac Sales Grew 30 Percent in First Quarter 

Gartner says Mac sales are up 30 percent over the same quarter last year, and, more interestingly, that’s compared to just 2.9 percent growth for the entire PC category. Apple’s U.S. market share jumped from 4 to 5.

The Windows Vista launch really hurt Mac sales, huh?

MOO NoteCards 

Another cool print-your-Flickr-photos product from MOO. (Via Scott Beale, who already has some example notecards to show off.)

Apple Mail’s Wandering Columns 

This drives me nuts, too, and I don’t even use Mail as my main email client.

Caffeine 1.0 

Another freeware software utility that prevents your Mac from going to sleep or dimming the screen. (Thanks to Rob Mientjes.)

European Adobe CS3 Pricing 

The prices for the various CS3 bundles are almost twice as high in Europe as they are in the U.S. For example, an upgrade to the Design Premium suite costs $599 in the U.S., but £599 in the U.K., which, at today’s exchange rate, works out to $1,195. Yikes.

Markdown Support for TypePad 

Very cool.

Jiggler 1.3 

“No-doz for your Mac” — freeware app from Stick Software that serves the same purpose as the aforelinked USB mouse jigglers.

WiebeTech Mouse Jigglers 

USB gadgets that keep your computer from going to sleep by simulating constant mouse activity. (Via Marko Karppinen.)

Turning a Feature Into a Flaw 

Nice write-up from Marko Karppinen on the IPv6 routing features, and perceived security concerns, of the new Airport Extreme base station:

Again, it seems Apple alone understands the need for networking standards designed to work out of the box, without expert administrators.

Yes, That Does Sound Very ‘Special’ 

Paul Thurrott on the Xbox 360, which Microsoft has lost billions on and is plagued by reliability problems:

I love the 360, and think Microsoft’s done something special there. On the other hand, it’s loud and unreliable. I’ve had three game discs scratched so bad as to be unplayable. I’ve had two consoles turn up dead with the “red ring of death,” and I know of several friends who have had the same issues. I get together monthly with a group of guys up the street to play Halo 2 and, more recently, some 360 games, and they’ve almost all had problems with their consoles.

This is the same Paul Thurrott who just called the Nintendo Wii “a joke”.

‘June’ Means June 

When Apple announced the iPhone at Macworld Expo, they stated it would ship in “June 2007”. In their statement last week about the Leopard delay, they reiterated that the iPhone “is on schedule to ship in late June as planned”. If the iPhone ships before the end of June, it ships on time.

Yes, WWDC starts on June 11. Yes, it’d be swell if we could stampede out of the keynote to go buy them. But the only person who’s ever reported that the iPhone was going to ship on June 11 is Deke McCullagh, whose source was an unnamed “customer service manager” at Cingular’s 800 number.

Ambrosia Times: The Plain Truth About Piracy 

Here’s the working URL for Matt Slot’s 2002 article about shareware bootlegging and Ambrosia’s success with product registration. (Thanks to everyone who sent this in.)

David Watanabe on Software Activation 

David Watanabe (developer of apps including NewsFire and Xtorrent):

The only alternative to “network-mediated activation” is to furnish the user with an serial number or unlock code of some sort. This is, as everyone knows, a ridiculously weak barrier. One malicious user can post their code on a website and the scheme is broken forever. I did experiment with this unlock codes back in the day and came to the unfortunate realization that for every legitimate user, there were 10 others who were using a pirated code. Clearly offline unlock codes aren’t a viable solution at all. Relying on “honesty” is a huge mistake.

Ambrosia Software has a very clever product activation system, and I recall that they published information regarding how registrations went way, way up after they switched to that system from simple unlock codes. (I can’t find a working link to that story, however. Update: Found it.)

As Mark Pilgrim wrote, the biggest problem with any activation system like this is that your software won’t be installable if the company goes out of business.

Computer Science’s Image Problem 

Jens Alfke on the aforelinked New York Times story on women in computer science:

How is it that people can be so excited by the Internet and digital media, but totally turned off by the prospect of designing the stuff that makes those things work? They seem to confuse computer science with data-entry, or boring MIS drudgery like writing payroll systems. Or do they just totally not care about where things like web search and MP3 codecs and 3D graphics and peer-to-peer protocols come from … are they just some magic that falls out of the sky and no one should give a second thought to?

Right. The solution isn’t to pretend that computer science isn’t about programming. The solution is to find ways to expose how much fun and how interesting programming can be.

New York Times Story on the Low Number of Women Earning Computer Science Degrees 

[…] when high school girls think of computer scientists they think of geeks, pocket protectors, isolated cubicles and a lifetime of staring into a screen writing computer code.

This image discourages members of both sexes, but the problem seems to be more prevalent among women. “They think of it as programming,” Dr. Cuny said. “They don’t think of it as revolutionizing the way we are going to do medicine or create synthetic molecules or study our impact on the climate of the earth.”

Um, maybe they think about computer science as programming because it is programming? Without programming, how exactly are computer scientists going to revolutionize anything at all? It’s like saying that people are discouraged from becoming surgeons because they think of it as “cutting people open”.

Zeldman on Comment Spam 

Jeffrey Zeldman:

If comments are a site’s lifeblood, my site is having a stroke. (Which, by the way, was a popular verb in 42 of the spam comments I received.)

Regarding the iPod Customers Clogging Apple Stores 

Fake Steve:

One solution we’re considering: A new chain of “Apple Elite” stores where you have to pass a test to get in. We’d put the test on a really cool multi-touch screen outside the door. If you pass, click, the door opens, just like on an ATM booth. If you fail, too bad, you can just stand outside trying to look through the smoked glass at all the super cool Apple cultists.

Embarrassing Twitter Gaffe 

Steve Rubel posted to Twitter that he has a comped subscription to PC Magazine but “it goes in the trash”. The problem is that Rubel is an executive at the Edelman PR firm, which represents many tech clients pitching stories to PC Magazine. PC Magazine editor Jim Louderback noticed and called him on it, prompting Rubel to apologize.

What I find odd is that Rubel signed his apology with his name in lowercase letters, like he’s a teenager on an E.E. Cummings kick.

Apple Deemed a Sweatshop 

CARS reports on an unnamed Apple employee working long hours for very low pay.

TidBITS Turns 17 

17 years of weekly publication and terrific writing. Astounding.

Adobe CS3 Upgrade Pricing Loophole 

Save $179 on the Web Premium suite or $278 on the Design Premium suite by buying Macromedia Studio 8 first, and then buying the upgrade to CS3.

Jackasses of the Week: Cara Garretson and Her Editors at Network World 

The Macalope on Cara Garretson’s ridiculous series of articles for Network World hyping the iPod as a supposed threat to IT security.

Hypatia Sans Pro 

Outstanding new geometric sans serif font family from Adobe, designed by Thomas Phinney. Somehow feels both modern and timeless. (Thanks to reader Jon Hart.)

32 Shot Dead in Massacre at Virginia Tech 

I can’t think of anything to say, but feel the need to say something.
So it goes.

One Last DF Membership Prize: Games From Ambrosia 

Due to a clerical error (read: my mistake), I neglected to mention one more prize for the DF membership contest: games from Ambrosia Software. They’re pitching in five prizes, each winner gets their choice between GooBall and SketchFighter 4000. (SketchFighter is my favorite Mac game in a long, long time.)

Google Data APIs Connect Cocoa Developers to Google 

Greg Robbins:

To make it simpler for us to write Mac software that interacts with Google services, I created a framework to use Google data APIs directly in Objective-C programs. We are using the framework for our application development, and today we are making the framework available to all developers.

A Modest Proposal: A New Way To Install 

From the Noodlesoft weblog:

My suggestion? When your app launches for the first time, check to see if it’s on a disk image. If so, offer to install it for them. If they accept, you copy it to Applications or wherever and restart. Done and done.

Clever idea.

Update: SuperDuper and Quicksilver both already do this.

Translation From PR-Speak to English of Selected Portions of Rails Developer David Heinemeier Hansson’s Response to Alex Payne’s Interview 

It seems to me Mark Pilgrim is back.

The Fishbowl: Product Activation Sucks 

Charles Miller’s frustrations with NewsFire’s product activation scheme.

1923 American Type Founders Specimen Book 

Fontacular. (Via Kottke.)

The Other Side of the Wind 

The New York Sun reports that a deal is nearing completion to finish The Other Side of the Sun, Orson Welles’s final film:

The unedited negatives of the film have sat in a Paris vault for more than 30 years, unseen by anyone other than Welles, who died in 1985. …

Welles managed to smuggle a working copy of his film out of Paris, but was denied access to the original negatives for the last 10 years of his life.

Dodgeball Founders Quit Google 

As Kottke asks, it raises the question of why the hell Google bought Dodgeball in the first place.

Final Cut Server 

The other big news from Apple at NAB: Final Cut Server, a new asset management and project server. Interestingly, the client app is available for both Mac and Windows. Here’s Apple’s press release.

There’s a ton of information on Apple’s web site, including a slew of videos. The whole product sections for both Final Cut Server and the new Final Cut Studio 2 are just wonderfully designed.

Final Cut Studio 2 

Big, big news from Apple at the NAB.

Final Cut Studio 2 has major new versions of Final Cut Pro, Motion, Soundtrack Pro, and a brand-new color-correction and manipulation app called, appropriately but obviously enough, Color. Apple’s press release.

Fred Vogelstein’s Other Interview With Eric Schmidt 

Fred Vogelstein also posted a second, older interview with Schmidt; this one was conducted back in 2005 for a story in Fortune magazine that Vogelstein never published. More candid and more interesting than the new interview, really. If you’re only going to read one of them, read this one. (Thanks to Steve Weller.)

Fred Vogelstein Interview With Eric Schmidt for Wired 

The interview was conducted before Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick, but even still, most of the questions are about advertising. Regarding the fact that nearly all of Google’s revenue comes from advertising, Schmidt says:

Also, there are some emergent models for revenue that are very interesting. The one that is probably most interesting is Google Apps. We’re now beginning to get some significant enterprise deals. Basically, companies are tired of dealing with the complexity of the old model, and our products are now strong enough that they really can reliably serve a corporation.

I do think Google has an opportunity to establish their apps in the enterprise. But I wonder if they won’t wind up monetizing those deals through advertising, too.

MacBook Battery Is Toast After Being Fully Drained 

Dan Benjamin:

I went on a quick vacation and put my Macbook into Sleep Mode (and eventually Safe Sleep Mode) before I left. When I got back, the Macbook wasn’t recognizing its battery after being fully drained, displaying a black “X” in the battery icon in the menu bar.

Macworld: Rip DVDs for Playback on Apple TV 

Jonathan Seff explains how to do it using MediaFork (soon to be called Handbrake once again) and VisualHub.

Tim Bray on Twitter’s Scaling Problems 

Tim Bray:

In the big picture, Twitter did exactly the right thing. They had a good idea and they buckled down and focused on delivering something as cool as possible as fast as possible, and it’s really hard, in early 2007, to beat Rails for that. When all of a sudden there were a few tens of thousands of people using it, then they went to work on the scaling.

HTML5, XHTML2, and the Future of the Web 

Very nice overview by David Andersson regarding what the deal is with HTML 5. If you’ve been wondering just what the point is about all this HTML 5 stuff, read this. (Via Mark Pilgrim.)


In color.

(Speaking of the Swap Meat, the limited-edition DF shirts are going fast fast fast. Mediums are sold out, Large and XL soon to follow.)

The Economist May Be Confused 

So there’s this article in The Economist saying Apple made a big mistake and the iPhone is doomed because it uses the relatively slow EDGE network for mobile wireless, and there’s this new Helio Ocean phone coming out later this spring for $295 and it uses EV-DO, which is faster than EDGE. (The Ocean looks like a cool phone, but notice how few of the photos show the OS.)

But then the article goes on to point out that Wi-Fi — which the iPhone supports — is faster than EV-DO, and that long-term, WiMAX looks like it’s going to kick some major ass in terms of range and data transfer speeds. Hint to those complaining about the iPhone feature set: Just because the original iPhone uses EDGE doesn’t mean all future iPhones until the end of time will use EDGE. Duh.

Song of the Sausage Creature 

It’s a good week to recall another recently-departed hero, Hunter S. Thompson. Here’s one I hadn’t seen before, his review of the Ducati 900 racing motorcycle for Cycle World in 1995:

Some people will tell you that slow is good — and it may be, on some days — but I am here to tell you that fast is better. I’ve always believed this, in spite of the trouble it’s caused me. Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba….

(Thanks to Don Haring.)

Google Buys DoubleClick for $3.1 Billion 

I said it back in 2005: Google is an advertising company.

From the Annals of Funny Think Secret Predictions 

Think Secret, two months ago:

Development of Mac OS X 10.5 is wrapping up faster than many at Apple even anticipated, and at present, a release can be expected as early as late March, sources say.

Think Secret, in an “exclusive” scoop 11 days ago:

Apple is currently planning to release Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard in June, mostly likely at or around its Worldwide Developers Conference, reliable sources report.

Apple Stock Down About Two Percent 

Some Mac users might be freaking out over the Leopard delay, but investors aren’t.

Nisus Writer Pro Public Beta 

Includes table of contents generation and indexing, bookmarks, widow and orphan control, and more.

Brent Simmons: ‘Relax, It’s Gonna Be Okay’ 

Brent’s is the best take so far on Apple’s announcement that Leopard isn’t shipping until October:

Not all the comments are as silly—but still, I have to wonder about people who proclaim, even hyperbolically, that it’s making them cry. Developers doing a Leopard-only release—I can understand their being upset, because it means they can’t ship until October. But other folks? Tears? Really? 10.4 is such a burden to use, we can barely stand it?

Macworld Podcast: EMI, iPods, and Google Desktop 

Attention podcast fans: I’m on the latest Macworld Podcast, talking to MacUser’s Dan Moren about Google Desktop for 20 minutes or so.

More on DivX 

Joe Bezdek, co-founder of DivX Inc., comments on Brian Tiemann’s weblog entry regarding MPEG-4 vs. DivX:

In the comments, tf writes “It is well known that DivX is a massive violation of mpeg patents.” If this is “well known,” then it’s another example of inaccurate conventional wisdom about DivX. In fact, we (DivX, Inc.) are a licensee of MPEGLA, have been for many years, and pay all MPEG-4 licensing fees in full. (This, by the way, is more than can be said for other MPEG-4 implementations such as Xvid.)

This Is the Sound of Me Hyperventilating 

Gus Mueller, whose upcoming FlySketch 2 is going to be 10.5-only, reacts to the new October ship date for Leopard.

Update: Good news. Gus’s reaction has been downgraded to “Meh”.

Apple Announces Leopard Won’t Ship Until October 

Apple just issued a press release reiterating that iPhone is still on schedule to ship in June, but that Mac OS X 10.5 is being pushed back to October:

However, iPhone contains the most sophisticated software ever shipped on a mobile device, and finishing it on time has not come without a price — we had to borrow some key software engineering and QA resources from our Mac OS X team, and as a result we will not be able to release Leopard at our Worldwide Developers Conference in early June as planned.

This is bad news, but I, and most developers I know, have been expecting it, based on the very buggy nature of the current 10.5 seeds. Apple’s choice was to either push back the release a few months or ship a very, very buggy 10.5.0.

The big question now is whether there are actually any “secret features”, as promised at last year’s WWDC. If so, presumably, we’ll see them at this year’s WWDC keynote.

Language Log: The Dan Brown Code 

Geoffrey K. Pullum:

Brown’s writing is not just bad; it is staggeringly, clumsily, thoughtlessly, almost ingeniously bad. In some passages scarcely a word or phrase seems to have been carefully selected or compared with alternatives.

Lifehacker: ‘Instant, No-Overhead Blog With Tumblr’ 

Gina Trapani reviews Tumblr, which looks like a great service for casual blogging.

David Heinemeier Hansson on Twitter’s Scaling 

In response to Alex Payne’s comments on the scaling issues the Twitter team is running into:

Scaling is the act of removing bottlenecks. When you remove one bottleneck (like application code execution), you tend to reveal another (like database queries). That’s natural and means you’re making progress. But you have to keep your marbles straight when doing this.

The Other Times 

Khoi Vinh on The Times of London’s recent web site redesign (previously mentioned here.)

Brief Interview With Chevy Chase in Time 

Chevy Chase, on his favorite of the movies he’s appeared in:

It is a very difficult question, but I think the answer has to be Fletch, because it allowed me to be myself. Fletch was the first one with me really winging it. Even though there was a script, the director allowed me to just go, and in many ways, I was directing the comedy.

It really is all ball bearings nowadays.

Update to Dan Benjamin’s Ruby/Rails/Subversion/Mongrel/MySQL Build Instructions for Mac OS X 

I’ve linked to this before, but it’s worth linking again because it’s such a tremendous resource for anyone using these things on Mac OS X. Even if you’re not developing with Rails, for example, Dan’s instructions are the best way I know to install Subversion and the latest version of Ruby on Mac OS X.

1992 Playboy Interview With Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller 

Kurt Vonnegut:

Nietzsche had a little one-liner on how to choose a wife. He said, “Are you willing to have a conversation with this woman for the next forty years?” That’s how to pick a wife.

(Via Jim Coudal.)

New ‘Get a Mac’ Commercials 

“Computer Cart” is pretty funny.

Good Article on Music Formats in The Guardian 

Jack Schofield explains the differences between MP3, AAC, and WMA in The Guardian, and does a good job of it.

5 Question Interview With Twitter Developer Alex Payne 

Interesting interview by Josh Kenzer of Twitter developer Alex Payne. On scaling:

None of these scaling approaches are as fun and easy as developing for Rails. All the convenience methods and syntactical sugar that makes Rails such a pleasure for coders ends up being absolutely punishing, performance-wise.

On adding additional hardware:

We’re hosted at Joyent, and they make the “throw more CPUs at it” approach easy. We’ve been able to get new server containers provisioned within hours, generally.

(Via Simon Willison.)

Kurt Vonnegut Dies at 84 

So it goes.

Skype 2.6 Beta 

New Skype beta for Mac OS X. In my experience, Skype’s public betas are as reliable and stable as their official releases. Release notes here.

Stikkit Quick With Quicksilver 

New Quicksilver plugin for Stikkit users.

Twitter and Jott Vulnerable to SMS and Caller ID Spoofing 

I didn’t know it was so easy to spoof an SMS sender.

Microsoft Engaging in Channel Stuffing With Xbox 360? 

Puffing up their sales numbers for Xbox 360 by bragging about how many units have been shipped to retailers, rather than how many have actually been sold to customers. (Thanks to Andy Reitz.)

Will Ferrell Movie Generator 

I’m not sure if this is a joke.

Uncov: ‘Meebo Is What’s Wrong With Web 2.0’ 

Nice rant about web apps that consume copious amounts of memory and CPU time from Uncov, a new site focused on nerd-level coverage of web app startups:

The user doesn’t care that Firefox’s JavaScript interpreter runs in the same thread as the renderer, and that faulty JS can bring down the browser. The bottom line is, if the user comes to your application and Firefox crashes or starts eating memory, your application is at fault, not Firefox.

(Via Valleywag.)

Dear God, Make Art Thievery Die. Amen. 

One of the most shameless rip-offs I’ve ever seen.

Regarding the Palette Title Bar Controls in CS3 

Ends up the title bar controls for palette windows in CS3 are on the right side, Windows-style. “X” for close, “_” for collapse. God, that just looks so wrong — how did this ever get approved? If Adobe really wanted to put these controls in the same location on both platforms, why not do it the Mac way? If Windows users cared about consistency, they wouldn’t be using Windows.

Keith Richards Is Amazing 


Keith Richards has confessed that he threw a canary out the window, because it was bothering his hangover. The bird belonged to his bandmate, Ronnie Wood’s son. He said he was trying to lay down and the bird was making so much noise that he threw it out the window. Keith apparently thought the bird was an alarm clock.

(Thanks to Amy Gruber.)

Brian Tiemann on MPEG-4 and DivX 

Brian Tiemann:

But the real lesson is that whereas MPEG-4 is a series of structured standards developed by independent bodies and corporations such as IBM to whom patent and license fees must be paid, DivX is more like a backyard rocket made of chicken wire and aluminum siding and stolen North Korean engines.

Erik Vlietinck on Adobe Creative Suite 3 

Erik Vlietinck:

After having spent three weeks with the entire Creative Suite 3 for Web and Print Production, there is no longer any sense in denying it: much of CS3 is hypeware. InDesign CS3 is a disappointment, Photoshop CS3 Extended will appeal especially to scientists and medical users but there’s little to entice photographers.

Is Vlietinck right that the title bar controls for the palettes are on the right, Windows-style, even in the Mac versions?

Jackass of the Week: Yahoo Music’s Ian Rogers 

In a post on the Yahoo Music Blog trumpeting the positive reviews for the new Wi-Fi-enabled Sansa Connect (which features integration with Yahoo), Ian Rogers justifies the $12/month subscription fee thusly (boldface added):

For those of you about to complain about the $12/month to get unlimited tracks (like, um, Steve Jobs), check yourself before you riggity wreck yourself. Labels and artists get paid for every radio play and every Yahoo! Music download to the Sansa Connect, whereas we all know iPods are mostly full of not-paid-for MP3s. At Yahoo! we would like to help maintain a healthy music business, compensating labels and artists at a fair price to consumers.

What a great pitch to get iPod users to switch to the Sansa: accuse them of being thieves.

My money says that what most iPods are full of are songs ripped — legally — from iPod owners’ CD collections. But even if I’m wrong, the Sansa Connect plays MP3 files, making it just as easy to use with bootlegged music files as an iPod.

Former Apple Executive Tim Bucher Has a Role in Sansa’s New iPod Competitor 

Eddie Hargreaves at The Apple Blog:

SanDisk has launched a Wi-Fi-enabled MP3 player, Sansa Connect, and a central player in its creation is Zing, a company co-founded by former Apple executive Tim Bucher.

Bucher, you may recall, was named head of Apple’s Macintosh hardware engineering division in 2004 after Jon Rubinstein left that position to head up the then-new iPod division. Six months later, MDJ broke the story that Bucher had been fired under mysterious circumstances. In 2005, Bucher filed a wrongful termination suit against Apple, claiming, amongst other things, that Steve Jobs had told him, “People sometimes think you are manic-depressive. … I’m not sure what I am going to do, but I think I am going to have to ask you to leave the company.”

Anyway, this Sansa player looks interesting — the Wi-Fi feature lets you browse pictures from Flickr and download songs directly from Yahoo’s subscription-based music service.

Proposal to Adopt HTML5 

Apple, Mozilla Foundation, and Opera officially propose that the W3C use the WHATWG’s HTML5 draft specification as the starting point for further HTML development. The correct answer to this offer is “Yes.”

‘Ze Frank: The Songs’ Album Available at iTunes Store 

$10 album of the songs from Ze Frank’s The Show, including such timeless classics as “Where the Fuck Do Ideas Come From?”, “Hindsight is 20/20”, and my personal favorite, “If the Earth Were a Sandwich”. (Thanks to Jesper.)

AIGA NY: Design Remixed: John Gruber 

Speaking of the Apple Store in Soho, I’ll be speaking there on Wednesday, June 20, as part of AIGA’s “Design Remixed” series. I’ll be giving a less technical, more designer-targeted version of my talk from C4[0], on the difference between consistency and uniformity in user interface design.

What Happens When John Hodgman Visits the Apple Store in Soho? 

Hear Hodgman tell the tale on the latest episode of This American Life, “Nice Work if You Can Get It”. (Thanks to Joe Clark.)

Airbag Blog Advisory Sytem — Because Words Sometimes Hurt 

No longer just a joke — it’s now a fully operational system. I ran the front page of DF through and it rang up as “Asshat”. Damn curse words.

The State of Bliss: 491 Days In 

Mike Zornek — developer of Billable, a swell Mac OS X service and invoicing app — on the state of life as a one-man indie Mac developer.

Apple TV Commercial 

Perfect: “It’s on your computer. It’s on your iPod. Now, it’s on your TV.”

I’m starting to warm up to the idea that Apple is going to sell a gazillion of these things, too.

Palm Announces Vaporware Linux-Based OS 

They’re going to continue selling Windows Mobile-based devices, too. Nothing like a nice clear dual-OS strategy.

Airbag Department of Security Blog Advisory System 

Scroll down in the comments to see Greg Storey’s very important color-coded chart.

iStat Nano 2.0 

Much improved UI design for the freeware (donations encouraged) Dashboard widget that displays a slew of Activity Monitor-like stats about your system.

Wilson Miner: ‘Setting Type on the Web to a Baseline Grid’ 

Excellent piece in the latest issue of A List Apart. I am so going to use this.

Surfin’ Safari: ‘Back to Basics’ 

Simple clarification of the difference between Safari, the browser, and WebKit, the rendering engine.

MPAA Compiles List of Top 25 ‘Pirate’ Universities 

Glad to see my alma mater on the list.

Jeff Jarvis: No Twinkie Badges Here 

Jeff Jarvis on the silly “Blogger code of ethics” story that made the front page of today’s New York Times.

Here’s my proposed rule: Don’t be an asshole. Note that because my rule makes no mention of “blogs”, it can be applied to any medium.

Paul Thurrott on the Nintendo Wii 

Paul Thurrott:

As for the Wii, I’m going to have to disagree with the consensus and call it as I see it: Unless you have very young kids with no video game experience at all, skip out on this console. The Wii is a joke, a novelty console that doesn’t offer much staying power. Either the 360 or PS3 would be a better choice for almost anyone.

That’s just crazy talk.

Fun Times With VMware Beta 3 

VMware, though still in beta, seems to be shaping into a serious competitor to Parallels.

100 Million iPods Sold 

Apple PR trumpeting the 100 millionth iPod sold. The first was sold five and a half years ago.

Microsoft is Dead: The Cliffs Notes 

Paul Graham:

So maybe I’d better explain exactly what I did mean. What I meant was not that Microsoft is suddenly going to stop making money, but that people at the leading edge of the software business no longer have to think about them.

In other words, not dead in the business sense, but dead in the nerd sense.

The Unintended Consequences of Rogers’s Packet Shaping 

Michael Geist:

If that was not bad enough, there is now speculation at my own university that the packet shaping is making it very difficult for University of Ottawa users to use email applications from home. The University of Ottawa uses a persistent SSL encryption technology for the thousands of professors and students who access their email from off-campus. There is speculation that Rogers is mistakenly treating the email traffic as BitTorrent traffic, thereby creating noticeable slowdowns.

Microsoft Changes Tune on Selling DRM-Free Songs 

This probably has been in the works since before last week’s Apple-EMI announcement, but the perception is that Apple is leading Microsoft around by the nose.

No One Belongs Here More Than You 

Miranda July:

OK, here I go. I’m going to make this whole website right now on this dry-erase board.

(Via Jason Fried.)

Eric Albert on Designing for Readability 

Eric Albert agrees with Chen:

In all of these cases, well-designed readable code makes a huge difference. It can be ported or improved faster and with less risk, and the resulting changes, if done right, are themselves far more maintainable in the future. In some cases this has been the difference between a single 5-minute change and weeks of work plus ongoing maintenance for me and other engineers. It’s a very big deal.

Raymond Chen: Design Code for Readability 

Raymond Chen:

Even if you don’t intend anybody else to read your code, there’s still a very good chance that somebody will have to stare at your code and figure out what it does: That person is probably going to be you, twelve months from now.

Paul Graham: ‘Microsoft is Dead’ 

Outstanding essay on the end of Microsoft’s reign over the computer industry:

I already know what the reaction to this essay will be. Half the readers will say that Microsoft is still an enormously profitable company, and that I should be more careful about drawing conclusions based on what a few people think in our insular little “Web 2.0” bubble. The other half, the younger half, will complain that this is old news.

Microsoft Considers Giving Away Zunes With Subscriptions 

A sure sign that sales are really going great.

Take Control of Your 802.11n AirPort Extreme Network 

New $10 e-book by Wi-Fi expert Glenn Fleishman. Includes a whole section on hooking up an Apple TV to an AirPort network.

The Garrett Murray Podcast: Rename the Podcast Contest 

Win an iPod Nano if you come up with the winning name.

How the Mainstream Press Works 

Michael Gartenberg:

Had another funny call with a media outlet this morning. When I called them back on the Apple/EMI news, first question was. “Do you think this is a bad thing for Apple and EMI.” When I said “no, it’s a good thing”, they said “thanks for calling but we only want to talk to someone who thinks this is a bad thing.”

This is exactly why so many people have so little respect for “the media”: because so many reporters are hacks. Gartenberg should name the outlet and, if possible, the reporter in question.

(Thanks to Rajesh.)

Walt Mossberg on the Shitty First-Run Experience of a New Windows PC 

Walt Mossberg:

The problem is a lack of respect for the consumer. The manufacturers don’t act as if the computer belongs to you. They act as if it is a billboard for restricted trial versions of software and ads for Web sites and services that they can sell to third-party companies who want you to buy these products.

That really nails it: A total and utter lack of respect for the consumer.

Apple is the one and only PC maker that sees the first-run experience as an opportunity to make you happy, rather than as an opportunity to make a few bucks by showing you ads and stuffing trialware down your throat.

Apple Patent for Multi-Sized Icon Interface 

AppleInsider reports on an Apple patent for a Finder UI that dynamically sizes the icons in proportion to how important they are. The mock-up from the patent application uses BBEdit 5.0’s distribution folder as the example, which dates the application to around 1999.

Our Little Secret 

Michael Bierut on Gary Huswit’s Helvetica:

There was a time when we designers had this obsession all to ourselves. Before the introduction of the Macintosh computer and desktop publishing in the mid-eighties, the names of fonts were something that normal people encountered rarely.


Fantastic weblog design by Ben Tesch. Sure, it’s a gimmick, but it’s a good, clever gimmick. The deal is closed by the writing, the tone of which matches the visual conceit.

iPod Takes Bullet for Soldier in Iraq 
Kevin Garrad, a U.S. soldier in Iraq, was shot in the chest during a gunfight with an insurgent. The bullet hit Garrad’s fourth-generation iPod, which was in his jacket pocket, quite possibly saving his life. (Thanks to Jamie Hardt.)
Merlin Mann on Google Desktop for Mac 

Merlin Mann:

So far, my Google Desktop returns — both in the browser and from the Quicksilver-like search field — seem like a less intelligent dump. It seems convenient without being useful. Maybe I need to spend more time with it. Or maybe I need to hold out for the inevitable Quicksilver plug-in.

Jackasses of the Week: Kaspersky Lab 

Published and publicized a supposed “iPod virus” proof-of-concept, which (a) only affects iPods which are running Linux, and (b) which the user must manually install onto the iPod. As Joris Evers says:

That’s an interesting way of calling something an iPod virus, similar to calling something a virus for Mac OS X if it only works when also running Windows on the Apple hardware.

Kaspersky’s “iPod virus” is even more convoluted than that, though, given that running Windows on Apple hardware is actually supported.

Snell’s Apple TV Wish List 

Sounds right to me.

The Complexifying Instinct 

Brent Simmons:

Sometimes I see feature requests for Twitter, and this makes me nervous. I hope that it adds zero features.

iPulse 2.1.8 and Twitterrific 2.0 

Fresh software updates from The Iconfactory.

Video: David Lynch on Product Placement in Films 

Hard to disagree with that. (Via Michele Seiler.)

Yahoo Alpha (Beta) 

I don’t know if it’s a good search engine, but it’s a great name.

Iranian Typography Now 

PingMag feature on modern Iranian typography. Some beautiful, beautiful work. (Thanks to Nick Fagerlund.)

MoMA: 50 Years of Helvetica 

Year-long exhibit on “the official typeface of the twentieth century”. (Via Kottke.)

ADC: Bug Reporting Best Practices 

Speaking of Easter eggs, check out the username on the command line example in the Xcode section.

Nothing Says Easter Like Star Wars-Themed Eggs 

Currently decorating Daring Fireball World Headquarters, thanks to the diligent work of the wife and boy.

Jason Snell Reviews Apple TV 

Jason Snell:

I’ve spent the better part of the last year with a Mac mini sitting right above my TV set. It’s been my attempt to see what it’s like to have an Internet-enabled media playback device in my living room. That Mac mini and I have had some good times together. I’ve watched untold hours of video on my TV set via that Mac mini, generally using its built-in Front Row software.

But that Mac mini is no longer in my living room. Instead, it’s been relegated to a shelf in my office closet and will soon be repurposed as a server. That’s because at long last I’ve gotten a chance to hook up an Apple TV. And let me tell you: it puts the Mac mini and Front Row to shame.

Bob Clark 


Film director Bob Clark, best known for the holiday classic A Christmas Story, was killed with his son Wednesday in a head-on crash with a vehicle that a drunken driver steered into the wrong lane, police and the filmmaker’s assistant said.

From the I-did-not-know-that-department: Clark also directed Porky’s.


“Nerdcore” rap ode to the Mac 512K, by MaxGizmo.

My Precious: Ricoh GR Digital 

Andrew DeCoste’s love letter to his Ricoh GR Digital, from the latest issue of JPG Magazine. I have a powerful lust for this camera.

(Best issue of JPG to date, in my mind. It’s a great magazine.)

Subtraction: Layers Cake 

How Khoi Vinh uses Photoshop for designing grid-based web layouts.

Rands in Repose: More Messy Thinking 

The newest desktop fad: rotating your secondary display to make it vertical.

A Note on Google Desktop’s Uninstaller 

Quick note: I updated today’s article on the Google Desktop Installer with some info on the uninstall feature. In short, it seems to work as advertised, removing all software and returning your system to the same state it was in before installing it. Nice.

I also added a note about the /Library/Google/Google Desktop/ folder, which is where the search indexes are stored.

Dan Moren on the EMI-iTunes Deal 

Nice piece by Dan Moren addressing the absurdity of Fast Company’s Alex Pasquariello’s argument that this deal is nothing more than a trick to sell more DRM music. The crackpots who are coming out against this news act like there is no other way to get music onto an iPod other than through songs purchased through the iTunes Store. No one has been forced to buy anything with DRM.

New Eight-Core Mac Pros, Cinema Display Prices Drop 

No PR yet from Apple, but new Mac Pros are out, with up to eight cores and speeds up to 3 GHz. Jumping to eight cores will set you back an additional $1,500 — yowza. They’ve also dropped the prices on Cinema Displays.

Google Desktop for Mac 

Mike Pinkerton:

People have been asking me since I started at Google what I’ve been working on, and until today, I’ve been unable to say. Now is the time to change all that and introduce the newest product from the Google MacEng team: Google Desktop for Mac (beta).

It wouldn’t be Google if it weren’t “beta”.


The Macalope responds to Ryan Block’s “Apple and EMI Ditching DRM Is Good, but It’s Not Good Enough” diatribe in Engadget.

I’ll add this: When it comes to the difference between music and video — as in, why push for dropping DRM from music but not video? — Jobs always emphasizes that most movie content is already under DRM, on DVD. The real difference, I think, is that the video industry hasn’t yet had its Napster moment — most regular people haven’t yet bootlegged any movies or TV shows. When that starts happening, the video industry will start feeling the pressure to drop DRM to compete with P2P networks in terms of convenience.

TUAW: Google Desktop for Mac 1.0 

Scott McNulty has coverage and a quick review of the about-to-be-released Google Desktop for Mac. I’ll have a bit to say on this later.


Gundeep Hora says Apple is “arrogant” for skipping some sort of wireless trade show I’ve never heard of. The Macalope sets him straight.

Update: Ends up the iPhone was at the CTIA trade show — AT&T COO Randall L. Stephenson showed it off during his keynote address.

The Joy of Tech on Adobe CS3 Pricing 

“It starts with Adobe CS3 Month’s Salary Edition.”

Type Directors Club 2007 Design Competition Winners 

Worth checking them all out. (Via Jason Santa Maria.)

Bill Thompson: ‘Why I Was Wrong About Steve Jobs’ 

Bill Thompson:

In February Jobs wrote that Apple would stop using DRM “in an instant” if they could, and I was dismissive. “I don’t believe him”, I wrote at the time, going on to argue that “if Apple switched off Fairplay then they would probably sell a lot more songs, on which they make very little money, and a lot fewer iPods, on which they make a lot”. …

Well, he has proved me wrong by opening up the iTunes store to non-DRM music, and showed that I had seriously underestimated his business acumen.

When you’re wrong, just admit it. It’s easy, and it adds to, not detracts from, your credibility.

David Weiss: Confidence vs. Protectionism 

David Weiss on Apple’s move away from DRM:

So what of Buffet’s moats and competitive advantage analysis? I think it still holds, it’s just that Apple’s sustainable competitive advantage is their deep trust in the inherent value of their products and the experiences they provide. Almost no one has that these days.

Very well said.

Zunester Is an Idiotster 

In a post on his “Zunester” weblog titled “More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Audio Formats”, David Caulton describes AAC thusly (emphasis added):

AAC — designed for MPEG, by MPEG. Largely associated with Apple at this point, AAC was designed by a licensing body, complete with patent pool, etc. Licensable by anyone for a (relatively pricey) fee from MPEG-LA. High compression efficiency. Compatibility is fine — as long as you buy Apple products.

Now let’s look at Microsoft’s Zune Media Formats web page:

Zune supports the following audio formats:

  • Microsoft Windows Media Audio (.wma)
  • MP3 audio (.mp3)
  • AAC audio (.m4a, .m4b, .mp4)

Perhaps Caulton should want to know more about audio formats.

Pig, Meet Lipstick 

The Zune, which is currently available in white, brown and black, will soon sport prettier colors. A baby-pink version will be available in May, and another vibrant color will be introduced a few weeks later.

“It could help with reaching more of their target demographic,” says Ross Rubin, an analyst with NPD Group. “Colors like pink could help increase the device’s appeal with women.”

Oh come on, Ross Rubin, admit it. You want a pink one, too.

Florida Gators Repeat as National Champions 

Back to back NCAA basketball championships and they finished this season ranked #1 in football. Remarkable. Their hoops team deserves the accolades — they play a great brand of ball.

Skim 0.2 

Freeware (BSD-licensed open source) PDF viewer and annotation app, designed for people who read a lot of PDF papers and e-books.


Wonderful photo weblog. (Via Coudal.)

Users on Crack 

Nick Bradbury:

Our support team just received an email from a FeedDemon user which contained a screenshot of an error he was encountering. Clearly visible in the screenshot is a RAR file which contains a crack for FeedDemon.


Yankees Win 

They beat the Devil Rays 9-5. Too bad the Phillies lost.

Twitter: Is Brevity The Next Big Thing? 

Steven Levy on Twitter for Newsweek.

Michael Tsai on the Mailsmith 2.2 Semi-Public Beta 

I’ve been using some of these features for so long (in private testing) that I had forgotten that they were new — like the support for inline spell-checking. The spam scoring feature, where each messages gets a visible spam score from 0–100, makes it very easy to scan the spam mailbox for “maybes”.

MacBreak Weekly Special: The iTunes and EMI Deal 

Podcast with Leo Laporte, Merlin Mann, Alex Lindsay, and special guest yours truly, talking about this morning’s news from EMI and Apple.

Audio From the EMI/Apple Presentation 

Now available for download.

Jackass of the Week: Cory Doctorow 

Writes up EMI/iTunes news for Boing Boing without mentioning his widely-linked February 23 article for Salon, wherein he accused Jobs of not meaning what he wrote in “Thoughts on Music”. Doctorow then:

I doubt Jobs’ sincerity. I suspect he likes DRM because it creates an anti-competitive lock-in to Apple.

Doctorow today:

I could not be happier right now. I really hope Apple decides to make a web-based version of the iTunes store so that I can buy iTunes tracks in future using Ubuntu Linux

Don’t hold your breath on that one.

Mailsmith 2.2 Public Beta 

Massive changelog, highlights including universal binary support and a slew of features from recent versions of BBEdit.

Wall Street Journal: ‘EMI to Sell Much of its Music Without Antipiracy Software’ 

So it looks like tomorrow’s event is about selling DRM-free music, not the Beatles. (The full article is behind the WSJ’s pay wall, unfortunately.)

Apple and EMI Plan Joint Announcement Monday 

BBC News:

EMI is to hold a media event on Monday with Apple boss Steve Jobs as special guest, prompting speculation that Beatles songs will finally go online.

In an invite to media sent out on Sunday, EMI said it was announcing an “exciting new digital offering”.

There will also be a “special live performance” at the London event by an unnamed artist or band.

If it’s The Beatles, and Paul McCartney is the unnamed artist who’s going to perform, will Ringo play with him?

And/or perhaps EMI is going to allow Apple to sell their music sans DRM? It’s got to be one or the other — what else would get Steve Jobs to fly to London?

The Museum Plagiarius 

BusinessWeek slideshow on a new museum in Germany that houses a collection of egregious counterfeits and rip-offs. (Thanks to Chris Long.)


Mark Pilgrim:

To sum up, you can turn text selection off by setting the unselectable attribute to on, and then you can turn text selection back on by setting the document.expando property to false. No other functionality is affected, and it only works in Internet Explorer.

10-Year Anniversary of Scripting News 

Dave Winer resets his front page to reflect what it looked like 10 years ago today, the first day of Scripting News. Congratulations, and thanks.