Linked List: August 2007

Best Gorilla Movie I’ve Seen All Week 

Impressive. (Via Steve Delahoyde.)

Python 3.0a1 Release 

If Python 3.0 ships before Perl 6, I’m going to cry.

Greg Storey on Web Site Design Rip-Offs 

“First things first, admit it: you suck. You’re a moron and a cheat.”

An Open Letter to NBC re: Leaving Apple’s iTunes Store 

Jeremy Horwitz to NBC:

In other words, the per-episode price people are accustomed to paying for what you show on television is “zero”, or something very close to it.


My thanks to FastMac — “makers of batteries, power adapters, optical drives, CPUs, LCDs and wireless upgrades for Macs, iPods, and iPhones” — for sponsoring DF’s RSS feed this week. They sell a ton of cool stuff. Use the code “SMJAJ1DF” before next Wednesday and you save 10 percent off any battery or CPU upgrade.

Michael ‘The Beer Hunter’ Jackson Dies 

My wife bought me Jackson’s Great Beer Guide a few years ago; it’s the bible for beer lovers. Beers in his honor tonight. (Via Andre Torrez, who also points to Jackson’s entry at Wikipedia.)

This made my week.

Letterman to Appear on ‘Oprah’ 

Cool. I can’t remember the last time Letterman appeared on anyone else’s show.

Apple to NBC: Go Fuck Yourselves, You Greedy Morons 

So NBC and Apple couldn’t agree to terms to sell NBC TV shows for the upcoming fall season. Apple issued a point-blank press release explaining why:

Apple today announced that it will not be selling NBC television shows for the upcoming television season on its online iTunes Store. The move follows NBC’s decision to not renew its agreement with iTunes after Apple declined to pay more than double the wholesale price for each NBC TV episode, which would have resulted in the retail price to consumers increasing to $4.99 per episode from the current $1.99. ABC, CBS, FOX and The CW, along with more than 50 cable networks, are signed up to sell TV shows from their upcoming season on iTunes at $1.99 per episode.

Five bucks per episode is ridiculous.

New York Post: Apple Set to Sell Ringtones Via iTunes Store 

It’s The New York Post, so take it with an appropriate grain of salt. If true, though, it’s great news for Ambrosia — why pay a buck (or whatever) for each ringtone when you can spend $15 and convert any non-DRM-protected song you already own into one? This whole “ringtones are something different than songs and you have to pay for them” thing is a racket, and everyone knows it. (Via Mat Lu.)

Update: Ends up iToner works with DRM-protected songs from iTunes, too. Sweet.

‘Creative Leader’, Huh? 

I love the credit in the footer: “Site concept and CSS by”. True, if by “by” he means “ripped off from”.


New $15 utility from Ambrosia Software, lets you add ringtones to your iPhone via a simple drag-and-drop application. It’s that easy — no other hacking required. I wonder, though, whether Apple plans to add custom ringtone support to iTunes in a near-future update.

Transmit 3.6 

Panic’s Transmit gains support for Amazon S3, a mere 14 months after it appeared in Interarchy 8.1.

‘The Beat Goes On’ – Apple Special Event on Wednesday 

The Cover Flow-style design of the invitation is a pretty strong hint that they’re going to release OS X-based iPods. Moscone West is a big venue, so I’m betting they’ll announce The Beatles’ catalog for iTunes, too — and if so, that Paul McCartney will be there to perform. (In a profile in The New Yorker a few months ago, McCartney said he was set to perform at the iPhone introduction in January at Macworld, but cancelled due to a conflict with his young daughter’s school schedule.)

A Clockwork Lemon 

Clever theme for issue No. 3 of Lemon. (Thanks to Gord Locke.)

‘If There Is Something Good in the World Then We Copy With Pride’ 

Innovative industrial design from Nokia.

The Talk Show, Episode 7 

Mocking the “Fat Nano” iPod rumors, and responding to listener feedback regarding the show.

‘Mobile Web Design’ 

New from Cameron Moll: Mobile Web Design, a $19 PDF e-book regarding the mobile web and using web standards to develop for it. I read it last week and can recommend it wholeheartedly. Well-researched, well-written, and filled with real-world examples and very practical advice.

There’s plenty about markup and CSS, but the heart of the book consists of general design strategies for mobile platforms — and why you should care in the first place about the experience mobile users get when visiting your site.

Put Your Content in My Pocket 

Craig Hockenberry explains the fundamentals of iPhone-optimized web development in this week’s issue of A List Apart.

Embattled U.S. Attorney General Resigns 

I still say the most telling thing about the man is that Bush’s nickname for him is “Fredo”.

Not Even All That ‘Sweet’ for Web Apps 

Craig Hunter on iPhone web app development:

Business aspects aside, the main issue I see as a traditional developer is that iPhone web app development is still very limited. Outside of some viewport settings, a couple special link types (really only the “tel:” link is new), and some new “-webkit” style attributes, there is little about making iPhone-specific web apps that differs from generic web apps. And that’s possibly the most disappointing aspect of all from my standpoint. Apple’s announcement states that “developers can create Web 2.0 applications which look and behave just like the applications built into iPhone”, but that’s not the case. Category: ‘Bestselling Non-iPod MP3 Players’ 

How’s this for a sign of the iPod’s continuing market dominance? A contest for second place.

(Thanks to reader Brian Lewis.)

Court Orders Movie Bootlegger to Switch to Windows 

Guy serves five months in prison for uploading a copy of Revenge of the Sith to a torrent site; as a condition of his parole, he’s required to install monitoring software on his computer. He can choose whatever OS he wants as long as it’s Windows, since that’s the only OS the monitoring software works on.

Holding a Program in One’s Head 

Paul Graham:

Mathematicians don’t answer questions by working them out on paper the way schoolchildren are taught to. They do more in their heads: they try to understand a problem space well enough that they can walk around it the way you can walk around the memory of the house you grew up in. At its best programming is the same.

Doing More With Less 

iMovie ’08 is perhaps the most polarizing product Apple has released in years.

Pantone’s Missed Chance 

Tim Bray, recalling advice he offered to the CEO of Pantone in 1995:

I said “Give the software away to Netscape and Microsoft (for IE). If it’s good, millions of page designs on the Net will be specced in Pantone numbers. Your upside is huge.”

He looked at me like I was completely fucking nuts.

WTF Mac Store 

The perils of setting text sideways.


Useful pattern for UI design.

Worst Product Name Ever 

Hard to believe this is real. (Via Fake Steve.)

Windows Genuine Advantage Suffers Worldwide Outage 

What a wonderful idea, centralizing “validation” for the world’s monopoly operating system. Bravo, Microsoft.

New Criterion Collection Release of Terrence Malick’s ‘Days of Heaven’ 

Lee Kline, on supervising the new transfer:

As we kept moving forward I began to realize how many people just love Days of Heaven. When folks would ask me what I was working on lately, and I told them it was Days, they would light up.

Consider me lit up. (Via Coudal.)

Update: Pre-order from Amazon; debuts on October 23, same day as the Kubrick DVDs. The cover art is beautiful, just perfect.

X-Rite Buys Pantone 

Jeff Gamet, The Mac Observer:

X-Rite announced on Friday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to buy Pantone for US$180 million. X-Rite is known for its color measurement and matching products, and Pantone is recognized as a world leader in color design and is also the creator of the industry standard Pantone Matching System, or PMS.

Java Needs an Overhaul 

Russell Beattie:

I like Jonathan Schwartz a lot, but I think that unless some drastic changes are made to Java, the move to JAVA as Sun’s ticker symbol is going to be as relevant as changing it to COBOL.

Regarding Engadget’s Story on 

Ryan Block at Engadget:

It’s high noon, Apple and AT&T — we really hate to break it to you, but the jig is up. Last night the impossible was made possible: right in front of our very eyes we witnessed a full SIM unlock of our iPhone with a small piece of software. It’s all over, guys.

Really? What’s over?

The team called us up to prove their claim that they cracked Apple’s iPhone SIM lock system, and prove it they did. (No, we don’t have a copy of the unlock software, so don’t even ask us, ok?) The six-man team has been working non-stop since launch day, and they’re officially the first to break Apple’s SIM locks on the iPhone with software. It’s done. Seriously. They wouldn’t tell us when and how they would release it to the public, but you can certainly bet that they’ll try to make a buck on their solution (and rightly so).

I believe that Block witnessed a demo. But if it’s not released, how does that qualify as “done”? Wake me up when it’s released.

Making Things Up 

Brent Simmons, in a terrific interview with Shawn Blanc:

Ever since I was a kid I pictured myself working at home. I thought it would be as a novelist rather than a programmer, but it’s about the same thing: I sit in a chair in front of a computer and make things up.

Numbers Rocks 

Insightful write-up on Numbers from Mac Thought Crime. (Via Michael Tsai.)

Snapz Pro X 2.1.1 

Performance and bug-fix update to Ambrosia’s excellent Mac OS X screenshot/screencast recording utility.

Should Do This 

New service from the Robot Co-Op. Very clever design: the UI for the main form explains what the site is all about. The top items on the Apple Should Do This list are actually pretty damn good.

Guess What? They Just Walked In. 

Speaking of Palm CEO Ed Colligan, now’s a good time to recall his comments from last November, regarding the prospects of Apple’s then-only-rumored entry into the mobile phone market:

Colligan laughed off the idea that any company — including the wildly popular Apple Computer — could easily win customers in the finicky smart-phone sector.

“We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,” he said. “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

Dear Palm: It’s Time for an Intervention 

Engadget to Palm: Here’s a long list of the many ways you suck and have completely squandered your lead in the mobile market.

Palm CEO Ed Colligan to Engadget: Thank you sirs, may I have another!

Rob Galbraith on the New Nikon D3 Digital SLR 

So much cool stuff in this camera — Nikon has really jumped back into the high-end SLR market.

FSJ, Image Misuse, and Wikipedia 

Great post by James Duncan Davidson on Wikipedia’s lousy attribution credits for photographers. The credits are there, but they’re hidden several pages away, leading people like Fake Steve author Daniel Lyons to re-use them without any attribution at all.

17-Year-Old Unlocks iPhone 

17-year-old George Hotz unlocked his iPhone so it could work on T-Mobile’s network:

The hack, which Hotz posted Thursday to his blog, is complicated and requires skill with both soldering and software. It takes about two hours to perform.

The teen estimates he spent 500 hours developing his technique, sometimes working until 9 am and then waking the next day at 4 pm to resume his work.

Obviously, anything that requires soldering is only going to appeal to a minuscule niche, so this isn’t really huge news. But there’s something admirable about a kid willing to put that amount of time into an obsessive project like this. Someone at Apple ought to line him up for an internship next summer.

For Some Cases of ‘Every’ 

One more quip regarding Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz’s weblog entry touting their stock ticker symbol change to “JAVA”:

[…] every major PC manufacturer bundles Java upon shipment, as does every mobile phone manufacturer, and tens of millions of developers touch it every day in the world’s IT shops.

Yeah, sure couldn’t build a good mobile device without Java installed.

It’s just the stock symbol, but it strikes me as so wrong, almost defeatist, to make any sort of branding statement that suggests that you believe one of your products is bigger than the company itself. It’d be like if Apple had changed its symbol to “MAC” or “IPOD”. Foolish.

Sun Changes Stock Symbol From ‘SUNW’ to ‘JAVA’ 

Apparently they couldn’t find a four-character symbol that stood for “shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic”. (SDCT?)


My thanks to Eastgate, makers of Tinderbox, for sponsoring the RSS feed this week. They bill Tinderbox as a “personal content assistant”. It’s also an excellent tool for writing hypertext; check out Matt Neuburg’s write-up in TidBITS. And note this: Tinderbox comes with a bundled version of Bare Bones’s Yojimbo. Buy Tinderbox, get Yojimbo free.

Deleting iTunes Tracks From Playlists 

Great iTunes tip from Jason Guthrie: You can delete tracks directly from a playlist listing using Command-Option-Delete. I did not know that. (Via Shaun Inman.) Update: Option-Delete works as well.

Kubrick and His Sans Serifs 

Worth a re-link: Jon Ronson’s 2004 story for The Guardian on the archive of material Stanley Kubrick left behind at his estate:

“It’s Futura Extra Bold,” explains Tony. “It was Stanley’s favourite typeface. It’s sans serif. He liked Helvetica and Univers, too. Clean and elegant.”

“Is this the kind of thing you and Kubrick used to discuss?” I ask.

“God, yes,” says Tony. “Sometimes late into the night. I was always trying to persuade him to turn away from them. But he was wedded to his sans serifs.”

Nikon D3 

Ian Austen reporting for The New York Times:

The new Nikon D3 is the first camera from the company with a full-size sensor. Well, almost full-size. One side of the frame is 0.1 millimeter short. The sensor has 12.7 megapixels, which is not exceptional. Its light sensitivity, however, is another matter. The camera’s maximum ISO setting is 25,600, about 64 times what was commonly regarded as high-speed film.

ISO 25,600? Holy crap.

Pre-Order Link for New Kubrick Boxed Set at Amazon 

Pre-order your copy of Warner Brothers’ new Kubrick boxed set using this link to and two good things happen: (a) you save $24 off the list price, and (b) I get stink-ass rich from affiliate revenue.

CBS 5 Report on ‘Faceball Craze’ at Flickr HQ 

Reporter Allen Martin: “A lot of people would say… ‘Why?’”

Dunstan Orchard: “None of those people work here.”

Game Console Sales 

“NPD reported domestic sales of 425,000 Nintendo Wiis, 170,000 Xbox 360s and 159,000 PlayStation 3s in July.” But how many Wiis would Nintendo sell if they could actually produce them fast enough to meet demand? They’re bungling a runaway success.


Another “where should I eat?” tool, this one a mashup between Yelp and Google Maps, by James Allgood.

Dine-O-Matic 2.0 

Free Dashboard widget from The Iconfactory and Joseph Roback, “randomly selects a place to eat out when you just can’t make up your mind”.

Jeff Atwood on URL Shortening Services 

Atwood’s title — “URL Shortening: Hashes In Practice” — is misleading, as the whole point of the article is that URL shortening services don’t use hashing algorithms to generate their URLs. To make the URLs as short as possible, they simply use ASCII-encoded counting systems.

New Transfers 

Jim Coudal gets the scoop that the new Kubrick DVDs are, in fact, new HD transfers.

Tom Yager: ‘Closed iPhone Opens Road for Linux Phones’ 

Tom Yager:

Linux developers have been dying for a phone of their own ever since Sharp killed the Zaurus Linux-based PDA. Apple’s decision to close iPhone to 3rd-party applications gave the green light to Linux phones and mobile devices. LinuxWorld Expo 2007 basked in Apple’s unwitting generosity, with one booth after another featuring fledgling mobile Linux projects prospecting for funding, direction, and developers.

“Prospecting for direction” is the only part of this I agree with. For one thing, Apple has not decided to “close iPhone to 3rd-party applications”. The iPhone is closed now; Apple has announced nothing regarding whether they intend to keep it so. As for developer enthusiasm, I see more development going on for the officially closed iPhone than for any Linux mobile phone platform I’m aware of. I’m not exactly looking for Linux mobile apps, of course, but still, it seems 180 degrees wrong to say that the iPhone is pushing developers to mobile Linux.

Use Mont Blanc Rollerball Refills in Pilot G2 Pens 

“Transform a $3 pen into a $200 pen in just seconds.”

Paul Kafasis pointed me to this at C4 two weeks ago. Just tried it out. I’m not sure the Mont Blanc “fine” point is fine enough for my tastes, but it is a damn smooth pen. The heavier Mont Blanc ink cartridge gives the pen a nice heft, too.

Unrated ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ in New Collection 

The pixelated heads in the orgy scene in the R-rated American release are just embarrassing — I don’t know why they’re even including that version on the disc. Who’d choose to watch the censored version if both are on the same disc?

Rangers Beat Orioles 30-3, Most Runs Scored in Game Since 1897 

They might as well have just gone ahead and pantsed them while they were at it.

Warner Brothers to Release New Five-Movie Kubrick Boxed Set 

Digitally remastered and presented in their original theatrical release aspect ratios. Includes: 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut. Each comes with new commentary tracks. Hot diggity damn. Hard to tell from the marketing blurb whether these are new film-to-video transfers or just “remasterings” of the existing transfers. I hope they’re new transfers; I fear they aren’t.

Update: A joint Coudal Partners/Daring Fireball investigative committee has raised some troubling questions regarding the packaging of these discs. E.g. why are the numbers “2001” set in Compacta Black? And worse, what the fuck is up with the type treatment on the A Clockwork Orange sleeve?

Smoothya Later 

Bruno Fernandes goes long on the differences between Mac OS X and Windows anti-aliasing, and why George Ou is a jackass.

High-Def Versions of New Kubrick Transfers 

The only reason for anyone not to pre-order the new DVD boxed set of Kubrick films is if you’re waiting for high-def versions. The good news is that all five movies — 2001, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut — are going to be released simultaneously in both Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats. (Those are both make-me-rich links to Amazon.)

The bad news is that the high-def versions are not available together in boxed sets — you’ve got to order each film individually. $20 each, though, so it’s hard to complain.


Open source web store written in Python/Django. What caught my eye was the slogan: “The webshop for perfectionists with deadlines.” (Via Simon Willison.) Update: The slogan is a play off Django’s own slogan, “The Web framework for perfectionists with deadlines.”


Speaking of nicely-designed weblogs: AisleOne, “a blog about design, typography and everything else”, by Antonio Carusone.

Top Speed of a Prius 

Alexander Micek concludes that the top speed of a Prius is around 105 MPH — meaning Woz, clocked at 104, was pretty much driving the thing as fast as it would go.

(I very much enjoy the design of Micek’s web site.)

iMovie 7.0.1 

Bug-fix update to the controversial iMovie ’08.

AT&T to Cease Itemizing Every Data Connection on Paper iPhone Bills 

Just today at Starbucks, the barista saw my iPhone and asked me three questions: “Is that an iPhone?”, “How do you like it?”, and “Did you get one of those 100-page phone bills that comes in a box?”

Customer Laptops Stolen From Apple Store 

Casey McNerthney, reporting for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Seattle police, who arrived at the store about 8 a.m. Monday, said there was a large hole in the ceiling of a technicians’ room. A store employee said all laptops that had completed servicing were missing, according to a police report.

HD Trailer for ‘The Nines’ 

Via John August, who wrote and directed it.

Freakonomics: ‘The Last Word (for Now) on Our RSS Feed: An Excruciatingly Long and Boring Post That Will Please Exactly No One’ 

Actually, it pleased me greatly to read this, given that I’m thinking about and working through the exact same issues regarding offering full feeds here on DF. What happened is that the Freakonomics weblog used to offer full feeds, but since starting their partnership with The Times, now only has an excerpt feed. Regarding why they don’t just offer a full content feed with ads:

But the Times and its advertisers aren’t crazy about this option. (Nor are they alone, apparently.) Why? This is the fundamental point: many advertisers do not value feed readers as much as they value site readers, since they believe that feed readers are far harder to measure and track.

It’s certainly true that feed subscribers are harder to measure, but, I think this is shortsighted. Subscribers are readers who, by the act of subscribing to the feed, show themselves to be regular readers. I think that’s a valuable audience — and so far, sponsors of the Daring Fireball feed think so too.

Jason Fried on Doing Original Design Work 

“Whenever I run into designer’s block or just need visual design inspiration I turn to the world of wrist watches.”

BloggingStocks Sees Existence of Refurbished iPhones as Bad News 

Zac Bissonnette:

You can now save $100 on an iPhone by snapping up a refurbished one on the company’s website. So far iPhone sales have fallen well short of expectations, and there are two possible explanations for the refurbished models. It’s possible that they were returned by speculators who were hoping to resell them on eBay but were disappointed when Apple had enough stock.

That may be part of it, but it seems likely that a lot of people are just unimpressed with the expensive new phone.

Um, how about that they’ve sold several hundred thousand of them, and even a small percentage of defective units replaced under warranty results in a sizable number of refurb units for sale. You know, just like with iPods and Macs.

Word Count of the Day 

Word count of Craig Hockenberry’s original weblog post regarding the results of his investigation into the iPhone’s RAM and CPU details: 374.

Word count of Jeff Smykil’s post on Ars Technica’s Infinite Loop linking to Hockenberry’s piece: 440.

Woz Gets $700 Ticket for Going 104 MPH in a Prius 

Speaking of the metric system, Woz got flagged for going 104 MPH in his Prius, went to court and offered the judge the excuse that he’d gotten used to kilometer speeds while traveling around the world.

Priuses go 104 MPH?

What’s a Meter? 

Good Magazine on the history of the official definition of the meter. Includes this humiliating nugget: “There are only three countries that do not use the metric system: Liberia, Myanmar, and the United States.”

(Thanks to Rab Bakari.)


Just discovered this site. Instant subscription.

iPhone Installer Beta 

Already updated for 1.0.2 iPhone software. I used it last night to restore OpenSSH, Lights Off, and more after I upgraded my iPhone to 1.0.2. By far and away the easiest way to add software to your iPhone.

2008 SXSW Interactive Panel Picker: ‘Blood, Sweat, and Fear: Great Design Hurts’ 

Speaking of the SXSW 2008 panel picker, if you’re going, consider voting for this session from Michael Lopp and yours truly. It’s not a panel discussion; rather, it’s a dual presentation.

Back in March after SXSW 2006, I had this to say about this year’s mix of programming:

Panels are good for an introduction, and they can be entertaining in the way that a talk show is. But there’s no sustained narrative, no way to build a case or leave the audience with a strong impression. I’m guilty as charged; both times I’ve spoken at SXSWi have been on panels. But I feel like I conveyed 50 times more information in my hour-long lecture at C4 in October than I did as one of three panelists in an hour-long session at SXSWi this year — and I thought our panel went well. Panels are dessert, lectures are meals. The mix at SXSWi this year was far too sugary.

Consider this proposal Michael’s and my attempt at adding some meat.

Airbag: Cross 

Greg Storey:

There are six-hundred-and-eighty-three proposal submissions for next year’s South by South West, and once again it’s up the the Internet to filter through all of them and choose which ones are worthy of becoming real events.

How absolutely absurd.

Be sure to check out Hugh Forrest’s comment.

Getting Things Done in VoodooPad 

Perfect example of a scriptable application being extended in unforeseen ways.

Groupware Bad 

Classic 2005 piece by Jamie Zawinski:

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

(Via Anil Dash.)

Banner Blindness: Old and New Findings 

Jakob Nielsen:

I’ve been reluctant to discuss one of the findings from our eyetracking research because the conclusion is that unethical design pays off.

In 1997, I chose to suppress a similar finding: users tend to click on banner ads that look like dialog boxes, complete with fake OK and Cancel buttons

Mac Gems: HandBrake 0.9.0 

Terrific guide by Dan Frakes regarding how to use HandBrake 0.9 to rip DVDs to files usable on Apple TV, iPhone, and iPods.

Apple’s Notebook Market Share Climbs to 17.6 Percent 

Jim Dalrymple:

According to NPD, Apple’s U.S. retail notebook market share for June 2007 was 17.6 percent, an increase of 2.2 percentage points over the same period last year when Apple posted a 15.4 percent market share.

Craig Hockenberry on iPhone Hardware Specs 

Craig Hockenberry:

The iPhone technical specifications mention nothing about how much RAM is included nor how fast the CPU is running. Now that I have a toolchain, it was a simple task to take some code from iPulse to investigate.

iPhone Software Version 1.0.2 

The entirety of the currently available release notes: “Bug fixes”. Thanks, Apple.

No entry on their Security Updates page yet, either. If any of you notice what’s actually new, let me know.

Financial Times: ‘Apple Secures Europe iPhone Revenue Deals’ 

Astrid Maier and Volker Müller, reporting for The Financial Times:

The contract, which was signed by three European mobile operators in recent days, requires that the operators hand over to Apple 10 per cent of the revenues made from calls and data transfers by customers over iPhones.

The contract was signed by T-Mobile of Germany, Orange of France and O2 in the UK, people familiar with the situation told FT Deutschland, the Financial Times’s sister paper.

(Via Scott McNulty.)

iPhone-Style On/Off Switching in Leopard? 

What’s weird to me isn’t the iPhone-style switch button, but that the words “ON” and “OFF” are set in all-caps Helvetica.

Comparison of Photos Taken With and Without Flash 

The difference is very noticable. (Via Khoi Vinh.)

I Believe Elizabeth Arden Ripped Off Mondonation 

Shameless. (Via Swissmiss.)

Putting the ‘S’ Back Into SSH 

Dave Dribin:

Yeah, okay, you can now get into remote machines without typing a password, but so can someone else if they get access to your account. Leaving your private key unprotected without a passphrase is like not having a PIN on your ATM card. It’s just asking for trouble.

Update: Dribin has a follow-up with some caveats regarding SSHKeychain.

Adobe Adds H.264 Support to Flash Player 9 

My bet is that it performs like total crap, at least on OS X, but I’d love to be proven wrong.

Thinking Outside the Opera Box 

Andrew Orlowski interviews Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner on the business of making web browsers.

Font Rendering Philosophies of Windows and Mac OS X 

Another interesting comparison of the font rendering differences between Mac OS X and Windows.

iPhone Central: The iPhone Hacking Kit, Step by Step 

Best step-by-step iPhone hacking guide I’ve seen.

First Look: iMovie ’08 

Jeff Carlson’s write-up for Macworld on iMovie ’08.

SpamSieve 2.6.4 

Michael Tsai’s amazing spam filter gets even smarter about image attachments.

Scott Gilbertson: ‘The iPhone Is Internet Explorer 4 All Over Again’ 

It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Wired’s Scott Gilbertson writes:

And the more I’ve been thinking about that argument, the more I realize that it’s exactly how Microsoft spun the proprietary, non-standard HTML features in IE 4.

In suggesting that developers use the web to build iPhone applications, what Apple has done (perhaps inadvertently, perhaps not) is force the creation of a subset of the mobile web that only works with the iPhone’s unique features — namely the touch-screen interface.

There’s an enormous difference between “built-for-IE4” and “built-for-iPhone” web sites, and Gilbertson himself points it out: the techniques for developing web sites optimized for the iPhone are based on standards. Optimizing for iPhone is, in a way, an accessibility issue.

The Upper Limit on Third-Party iPhone Apps: Five 

Side note by Dan Moren in his write-up on Nullriver’s iPhone installer app:

One interesting note: if you install more applications than fit on the iPhone’s home screen (five, including the installer), your apps will scroll off the screen and you won’t be able to access them.

In other words, Springboard, the app that presents the iPhone home screen, doesn’t support scrolling if you install more apps than fit in the remaining four icon slots.

Braun Apple 

Erik Spiekermann suggests more Braun influences on current Apple designs. (Thanks to Aaron Swartz.)

Nickname Support in Apple Mail 

Sven-S. Porst, back in 2005, on Apple Mail’s inability to auto-complete recipient names based on the nickname field in Address Book:

Whenever I run into that problem I start thinking that the Mail team at Apple are probably orphans who are locked into their offices at all hours — so they don’t have any friends or ominous entities like ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ whom they would send e-mails to.

(Thanks to Matt Deatherage for the reminder.)

Michael Vick to Plead Guilty, Will Go to Prison 

Not only is he heading to prison (sentence length as yet unknown), but the allegation that he bankrolled gambling on the dog fights could lead to a lifetime ban from returning to the NFL:

Vick’s last two co-defendants, Phillips and Peace, pleaded guilty Friday and said he bankrolled gambling on dogfights at the quarterback’s property in rural Surry County, not far from his hometown of Newport News. One said Vick helped drown or hang dogs that didn’t do well.

What a despicable bastard.

More Raves for Vista 

Fake Steve on outgoing PC Magazine editor Jim Louderback’s “Vista sucks” farewell column.

Yeah, I’m Sure the Guys at Braun Are Furious 

Next up on Paul Thurrott’s list: the iPhone Notes app is a rip-off of Mead’s yellow legal pads.

Three New Canon Cameras 

The 40D sure looks like a nice camera.

Spolsky on Vista 

From the Tell Us What You Really Think Department:

I’ve been using Vista on my home laptop since it shipped, and can say with some conviction that nobody should be using it as their primary operating system — it simply has no redeeming merits to overcome the compatibility headaches it causes. Whenever anyone asks, my advice is to stay with Windows XP (and to purchase new systems with XP preinstalled).


“Project to port MAME to the iPhone.”

Why Cell Phones Are Still Grounded on Flights 

Mike Elgan in Computerworld:

The government’s dirty little secret is that it cultivates uncertainty about the effects of phones in airplanes as a way to maintain the existing ban without having to confront the expense and inconvenience to airlines and wireless carriers of allowing them.

Think about this: if cell phones did interfere with an airplane’s electronic systems, why would they let everyone carry them on, asking for them to be turned off, while you still can’t take more than 3 ounces of shampoo in a carry-on bag. But they may have a good point: I might go nuts if I had to sit next to some jerk loudly yakking on the phone for an entire flight.

(Via Adam Engst.)

Washington Post Story on iPhone Hacking 

Jailbreak hits the mainstream media with Mike Musgrove’s report in The Washington Post:

The work that Mac programmers and hobbyists are doing here relies on a new class of underground applications designed for the iPhone called “jailbreak” programs. These unlock the file system and give brave users access to parts of the phone’s inner workings that Apple went through some trouble to rope off.

“Underground” is a little over-the-top. “Unsanctioned”, yes, but it’s hard to see something as “underground” when it’s available for the entire world to download, like Lights Off or MobileTerminal.

Last week, an unauthorized game, called Lights Off, was released for the iPhone’s operating system.

What’s with the passive voice there? I wouldn’t write that “an article was written for The Washington Post”; I’d write that Mike Musgrove wrote it. Why not give credit to Lucas Newman and Adam Betts? Passive voice isn’t just weak writing, it’s disrespectful.

Handbrake 0.9 

Major update to the useful freeware utility for converting DVD video to other formats, including presets for use on iPhones and iPods.

Update: The Handbrake web site remains misconfigured in such a way that if you download the .dmg using Safari, it’ll be given a bogus “.dmg.bz2” file extension. To mount the .dmg, rename the file to remove the “.bz2”.

Annals of Reporting 


Perhaps I’m naive. But it surprises me a great deal that a professor of journalism freely admits that he allows to appear under his own name claims about a publication he concedes he’s never read.


Open source proof-of-concept native Twitter client for the iPhone, from the inimitable Craig Hockenberry.

Mike Lee: ‘How I Became a Programmer’ 

Best story I’ve read in a long time. Jackpot, indeed.

The Talk Show, Episode 6 

Dan Benjamin and yours truly, talking about the new Apple keyboard, iMovie ’08, Stanley Kubrick, and more. Check out our page at the iTunes Store for a taste of our upcoming graphics and branding.

Windows Virtual Machine Performance on the Mac 

CNet benchmarks show VMware Fusion beating Parallels Desktop handily at multimedia tasks. (Via Paul Stamatiou.)

Worst Rip Ever 

Template site steals design from Cork’d and doesn’t even bother to remove markup — they just commented it out.

The Baseball Test for Journalists 

Bernard Yomtov, in the comments on Brad DeLong’s journal:

A reporter should not be assigned to cover subject X unless he has as good an understanding of X as a baseball writer is expected to have of baseball.

Ten Days With Lightroom 

Rui Carmo on Adobe Lightroom and iPhoto ’08:

[…] the bottom line, as far as editing is concerned, is that Lightroom’s Tone Curve and its other tools are light-years ahead of anything that iPhoto is able to do.

He did, however, find Lightroom to be slow with a 3,000-photo library. I’ve got about 1,700 in mine so far, but haven’t seen any noticeable slowdown.

2007 PMC Software Auctions 

Seth Dillingham is auctioning off some great bundles of Mac software, with the proceeds going to cancer-related charities.

Cover Pessimism 

Rands on the cover design of his new book, Managing Humans:

Since I signed the contract, I’d pessimistically prepared myself for the fact that I had no idea how much work I was signing up for, I’d end up hating some of my favorite chapters via the editing process, and that the initial covers would suck. I knew they’d suck because I knew the cover had to be great. Knowing that nothing is great in its first iteration meant I didn’t think twice about moving on and calling in reinforcements.

I love looking at rejected designs, especially when they’re rejected because they don’t feel right even though they look good.

We’re in This Together 

Great piece by Daniel Jalkut on the indie Mac developer community:

Consider the most popular, trendiest retail district in your town. There are many shops whose target markets overlap, and to some extent each shop is competing with the others to attract customers through their doors. But the district wouldn’t exist at all without the collective commitment to quality.

Pogue on iMovie ’08 

David Pogue:

Most people are used to a product cycle that goes like this: Release a new version every year or two, each more capable than the last. Ensure that it’s backward-compatible with your existing documents.

iMovie ’08, on the other hand, has been totally misnamed. It’s not iMovie at all. In fact, it’s nothing like its predecessor and contains none of the same code or design. It’s designed for an utterly different task, and a lot of people are screaming bloody murder.

George Ou, Jackass 

Windows Vista’s ClearType sub-pixel anti-aliasing is indeed very good, and noticably different than Mac OS X’s. Which you prefer is clearly subjective.

But only George Ou would compare Windows’s sub-pixel anti-aliasing to Mac OS X’s non-sub-pixel anti-aliasing and declare that it puts it “to shame”. One minute of Google searching would have shown him that there was something wrong with his example rendering from Mac OS X.

Prototype 1.6.0 Release Candidate 

Huge improvements to event handling.

The Software Awards Scam 

Do-nothing text file renamed with .exe extension garners a slew of “shareware awards”. The best part is that the readme file specifically admitted that the “program” did nothing and wouldn’t even launch.

These sham awards are one of the big cultural differences between the Mac and Windows indie software worlds.

Woz and Kathy Griffin, Sitting in a Tree 

I believe this is the first romantic gossip item to appear in Daring Fireball. (Via Andy Ihnatko.)


My thanks to Litmus for sponsoring the RSS feed this week. Litmus is a terrific new browser (and email client) compatibility testing service. (It’s a much-improved service from the gang that previously offered a similar service called SiteVista.)

How it works: You give Litmus a URL, and a few seconds later it shows you exactly how it renders in a slew of different web browsers. If you’ve ever tried testing a web site for compatibility against multiple versions of Win/IE alone, you realize how useful this could be. Multiple browsers, multiple OSes, all at once.

Check out the tour and don’t miss the limited edition special offer.

RSS Behavior for Link Blogs 

Interesting theory for why some DF readers prefer the “point back to” style for Linked List entries: It works better with NewsFire that way.

New Apple Keyboard Compared to Older Ones 

Photo comparison of the new flat Apple keyboard next to others, dating back to the Lisa’s. (Thanks to Chris Pepper.)

What Is Art Direction (No. 9) 

Jeffrey Zeldman:

That connection is content. And the non-verbal information that triggers that content in the viewer’s mind is art direction.

I’ve been waiting for someone to call me on this. Feel free to chalk it up to ego-centricism if you’d like, but I see it more like a distributed, filtered form of feedback. No, I don’t have comments, but if you write something smart about something I wrote, there’s a good chance I’ll link to it.

EA Backtracking on Claims of Simultaneous Mac Game Releases 

Remember when Electronic Arts announced at WWDC that they were going to release games for the Mac simultaneously with the PC versions? Scratch that:

The Mac OS X versions of two brand-new games, Madden NFL 08 and Tiger Woods 08, have been pushed back from their announced August releases to September or October, an EA representative told AppleInsider. The company, however, launched Madden NFL 08 for virtually every other platform on Tuesday.

(Via TUAW.)

iPhone + AT&T = Dead Trees and Giant Fees 

How do you rack up a $600 iPhone bill from AT&T during just 48 hours in Canada, even if you’re being careful not to place unnecessary calls or use the Internet? Forget to turn off the MobileMail auto-checking.

Meebo for Mobiles 

Meebo, the web-based multi-network IM client, now has a mobile-optimized interface, specifically targetting the iPhone. Works great in my quick testing, given that it’s only a web app. (E.g. you get signed off from AIM if you leave MobileSafari or even switch to a different browser tab.)

(Via Dan Moren.)

TidBITS: Safe Sleep Revisited 

More from Joe Kissel on Safe Sleep, this time with an emphasis on the security ramifications.

Motherfucker — Mike Lee’s New Weblog 

World’s toughest programmer (as seen here) has a thoughtful new weblog.

The Onion: ‘Fucking Yankees, Reports Nation’ 

The Onion:

“Fucking Yankees,” said Marshfield, MA resident and longtime Red Sox fan Lawrence Broberg, echoing the sentiments of thousands of men and woman across the nation. “Every year. Every goddamn year.”

The Cleaners 

“They’re taking out the Trash and cleaning out the /tmp.”

Numbers and the Next Big Thing 

Paul Kim is disappointed that Numbers isn’t a multidimensional spreadsheet:

One subtle difference between the 2D and multidimensional models is that in the latter, the data model is expected to be dense. What this means [is that] you don’t really have unused cells; all cells are intended to have meaning in your model. It’s not a freeform grid but a packed model of data. For people used to sticking all sorts of random non-computational stuff into spreadsheets, this can be hard to adjust to. Basically, people are using spreadsheets not so much as computational tables but as a big piece of graph paper.

Indeed, sounds interesting. But I think Numbers’s canvas paradigm is going to prove far more popular than this would have.

Keyboard Maestro on Sale Today for $10 

Half off the already low price of $20 for one of my favorite utilities.

Apple Lays AppleWorks to Rest 

Moltz pegged this one three years ago.

What Crisis? 

Jeffrey Zeldman, on the supposed “crisis” in web standards:

Has HTML 4.01 stopped working in browsers? I was not aware of it. Has XHTML 1.0 stopped working in browsers? I was not aware of it. Do browser makers intend to stop supporting HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0? I was not aware of it. Do they intend to stop supporting CSS 1 and CSS 2.1? I was not aware of it.

David Weiss on Numbers 

David Weiss:

Allowing anyone to read and write your file format is a bold move because it says in essence, “We don’t need a locked down file format to compete. The format can be available for everyone, and we’ll compete on the ease of use and efficiency of our applications. We have what we think is the best interface for reading, creating and managing Office documents, but if someone has what they think is a better way to build Office documents, wonderful, we welcome it!”

What Apple has done with Keynote, Pages and Numbers is exactly this.

I suspect many would argue about just how easy Microsoft has made it to read and write the new Office XML file formats, but the point holds. File compatibility leads to competition, and competition leads to better software.

Benchmarking in Your Pants 

Craig Hockenberry (with help from Lucas Newman) ran some interesting benchmarks regarding iPhone performance: (a) JavaScript on the iPhone is about 80 times slower than JavaScript running in Safari on a 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo iMac; (b) compiled Objective-C code on the iPhone can run over 200 times faster than JavaScript in MobileSafari.

The New Frontier 

For those of you too cheap (or too far away) to buy a copy of this month’s Macworld on the newsstand, here’s my latest back-page column:

This history is analogous to that of the automobile industry. In its early years, the state of the art advanced at a remarkable clip. Today, new cars come out each year, but with small refinements. Those changes add up: a 1997 car (even in mint condition) is clearly distinguishable from a 2007 model. But a 2005 and a 2008? Not so much. That’s pretty much where we are with OS X. Tiger is the 2005 model; Leopard is the 2008.

What’s Nu? 

Tim Burks:

Instead of grafting two mature and overlapping language implementations together, I wrote Nu on, with, and for Objective-C. Instead of being problems to be bridged, the rich set of Objective-C classes became the building blocks of Nu.

Mike Zornek: C4[1] Retrospective 

Another good C4[1] write-up.

Movable Type 4.0 

Long list of new features.

Tumbleweeds and Used Car Lots 

Great piece from Rich Siegel, forking off from an early subject in the C4[1] panel discussion:

Today, thanks to the many-to-many communications that are possible in this Web 2.0 world of blogs and social networking, it’s very easy for schlock marketing — and as such, the products it pushes — to gain an air of legitimacy. How? Easy: Just start a discussion. By engaging in the debate on a particular subject, both sides in the debate implicitly acknowledge that the subject is worthy of debate; and when one side of a controversy is the side that might ordinarily live on the fringes, the debate works to the advantage of that side regardless of the outcome. That’s because all of a sudden, the fringe side of the debate — the voices and positions that had once rightly been relegated to the periphery — gain mainstream recognition.

This would have been a great direction to steer the panel discussion.

How to Make People Buy Books 

Chip Kidd, book designer extraordinaire, in Esquire: “I cannot make you buy a book, but I can try to help make you pick it up.” (Via Steve Delahoyde.)

The Bouncer 

Dave Dribin’s third-place entry in C4[1]’s Iron Coder challenge; watch to the end, it’s a beautiful demo (and a clever hack).

Pre-Order ‘Helvetica’ on DVD 

Pre-order the DVD for Helvetica and save $5, or order the deluxe limited edition package that includes letterpressed mini-posters, a still from the film, and more.

Phil Rizzuto, Hall of Fame Yankees Shortstop and Broadcaster, Dies at 89 

Holy cow!

Rizzuto played an integral role on the dynastic Yankees before and after World War II. He was a masterly bunter and defensive specialist for teams that steamrolled to 10 American League pennants and nine World Series championships. He was one of 12 Yankees on teams that swept to five consecutive World Series triumphs, from 1949 to 1953.

Five Years of Daring Fireball 

Five years ago yesterday, I started Daring Fireball. Things change fast: the first article was on the just-released-that-day dual 1.25 GHz Power Mac G4s; most Mac users, and most DF readers, were still on Mac OS 9; DF had no Linked List and didn’t offer any RSS feeds. It took me a few months to find my voice, but the early entries aren’t too bad.

Lights Off — First Native Game for iPhone 

Excellent freeware game for iPhone, programmed by Delicious Monster’s Lucas Newman and with artwork by Adam Betts. It’s a perfect game for the iPhone: simple, fun, quick, and a natural fit for a touch screen.

This is not a web app, it’s a real native iPhone app. The good news about that is the experience is better than any web app running in MobileSafari could possibly provide; the bad news, alas, is that the only way to install it is through the use of unsupported hacks not for the faint of heart. I played the game on Newman’s iPhone at C4, and it’s worth it. (Lights Off finished second in the Iron Coder contest, behind only Ken and Glen Aspeslagh’s two-way videoconferencing app.)

Jason Snell: ‘The “Stickergate” Kerfuffle’ 

The final word on the saga; well-said.

How to Redesign the Leopard Dock So It Sucks Less 

Rory Prior proposes an improved design for the Mac OS X Dock, emphasizing clarity and simplicity over special effects.

First Look: Numbers 

Macworld’s Rob Griffiths looks at Numbers 1.0.

iPhoto ’08 Tagging 

David Chartier on iPhoto’s new keyword/tagging features.

Dinosaurs with Jetpacks 

Insightful analysis from Shots Ring Out regarding Universal’s “we’re going to sell DRM-free music but not through iTunes” plan.

Michael Tsai on iPhoto 7 

“As with previous versions, the Preferences window looks like a normal window but is actually application-modal.”

Alex Payne’s C4[1] Coverage 

Alex Payne summarizes just about every session from C4[1] over the weekend; great coverage of a great conference.

Bob Keefe’s ‘Intel Inside’ Sticker Article 

The article that prompted The Question. There is an interesting story to be written about this topic, but this isn’t it.

Adium 1.1 

Brand-new tab interface, better AIM DirectConnect reliability, and more.

FlickrExport 2.0.12 Adds iPhoto 7 Compatibility 

Even better, Apple has finally released an official SDK for iPhoto plugins; up until now, FlickrExport had to rely on undocumented APIs.

The King of Web Standards 

The battle for web standards goes mainstream; BusinessWeek certainly gets it.

Pearl Jam Blasts AT&T For Censored Lyrics In Lollapalooza Webcast 

AT&T censored non-obscene, non-profane anti-George W. Bush lyrics from a webcast of a Pearl Jam concert. Disgraceful.

“If a company that is controlling a Webcast is cutting out bits of our performance — not based on laws, but on their own preferences and interpretations — fans have little choice but to watch the censored version,” Pearl Jam said in a prepared statement. “What happened to us this weekend was a wake up call, and it’s about something much bigger than the censorship of a rock band.”

Thumbs Surgically Altered For iPhone? Think Again 

There was a story going around last week, originating in The North Denver News, that a man had had cosmetic surgery on his fat thumbs to slim them down to better enable using them with his iPhone. Unsurprisingly, the story was a complete hoax.

Update: Here’s an editor’s note from The North Denver News claiming the piece was intended as “satirical social commentary”.

Conspiracy — Graphing Calculator for iPhone 

Craig Hockenberry’s C4 Iron Coder contest entry: a graphic calculator web app for iPhones.

International iPhoning Results in $3,000 Bill 

Christopher Null:

Those little charges add up fast. $0.02 per kilobyte sounds pretty cheap, right? WRONG. Do the math: A 1-megabyte web page (a very common size) costs almost twenty bucks to open. 20. Dollars. Whoa. Seriously.

Two-Way Video Conferencing for iPhone 

Wow: Glen and Ken Aspeslagh’s hack for C4’s Iron Coder contest is a working two-way video conferencing app for iPhone. Jiminy.

The Road to Clarity 

New York Times Magazine feature by Joshua Yaffa on the typography and design of highway signage, particular regarding Clearview, the new typeface designed to replace Highway Gothic as the standard for signage in the U.S.

If You Were Driving Cross-Country, and Were Forced to Bring a Breakfast Cereal Mascot, Who Would It Be? 

I too would choose Cap’n Crunch, if only to ask him what the deal is with his eyebrows. (Thanks to Paul Kafasis.)

C4 Dog Tags 

Best useless conference tchotchkes ever.

Griffin Technology 

My thanks to Griffin Technology — makers of fine iPod and iPhone peripherals, and the industry’s leading pulsing-blue-light gadgetry — for sponsoring the free RSS feed this week. And if it weren’t for their wonderful iMate, I wouldn’t still be able to use my beloved Apple Extended Keyboard II.

Derek Powazek: ‘The Columbo Technique’ 

More on Stickergate from Derek Powazek, who offers the best defense of Bob Keefe I’ve seen so far:

To the Apple faithful, sure, it was dumb. But a PR event is not for the faithful (that’s Macworld), it’s for the rest of the world. And to the world at large, it’s not a dumb question at all. Why does Apple get a pass when every other PC manufacturer has those awful logos all over their products?

That is a good question. And I would bet a large sum of money that Apple’s contract with Intel is like no other PC maker’s contract with Intel. But that’s not the question Keefe asked.

‘How Apple May Deal With the Dreaded “Intel Inside” Sticker’ 

Joy of Tech nailed it back in 2005, when Apple’s switch to Intel chips was first announced.

‘Ridicule Has Its Place’ 

The Macalope:

To ask such a question is simply to display one’s ignorance of Apple and Steve Jobs. The only stickers that you’ll find on Apple products are those clear ones that protect them on their magical journey to your doorstep.

MacJournals on Stickergate 

MacJournals disagrees that Keefe’s sticker question was stupid. MacJournals is wrong, but wrong and well-written.

‘And They Call It the Cult of Mac’ 

Bob Keefe:

I’m the Jackass of the Week. 

“A really fast dictionary”, lives up to its slogan in my use. Definitions and content powered by Wiktionary.

Stuck on the Enterprise 

John Siracusa:

Still holding that thought about the Intel stickers? Listen again to Steve’s final words on the subject. “We put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and say, what do we want?”

This is why Apple does not compete in the enterprise market in the traditional sense. This is why no other company created the iPhone. This is why most desktop PCs are pieces of crap. When you don’t focus on the user, the user gets shafted.

New iPhone Commercials 

“Instead” and “Amazing”, the sixth and seventh iPhone commercials.

Universal Will Sell DRM-Free Online Music, But Not Through iTunes 

So Universal is going to sell DRM-free music through Amazon, Wal-Mart, RealNetworks, and others, but not through iTunes. Why?

But the music will not be offered D.R.M.-free through Apple’s iTunes, the leading music service. The use of copy protection software has become a major bone of contention in the digital music business, where iTunes accounts for the vast majority of download sales. The record labels generally have required that retailers place electronic locks to limit copying of music files.

But Apple’s proprietary D.R.M. does not work with most rivals’ devices or software — meaning that music sold by competing services cannot play on Apple’s popular iPod. Some record executives say they believe that the stalemate has capped the growth of digital music sales, which the industry is relying on more heavily as sales of plastic CDs slide.

Um, Universal won’t sell DRM-free music through iTunes because they don’t like Apple’s DRM? WTF? Am I even supposed to pretend this makes sense?

iPhoto ’08 vs. Both-at-Both-Ends Scroll Bars 

The Appearance panel in System Preference has two options for the arrow buttons at the end of scroll bars: putting up at the top and down at the bottom, or putting both of them at the bottom. But at least since 10.1, Mac OS X has supported a third option via a defaults setting: putting both arrows at both the top and bottom.

iPhoto ’08 uses iTunes 7-style blue scroll bars. Alas, its implementation craps out if you’re using the “both at both ends” option. It works, but it draws visual turds. iTunes 7 doesn’t actually support this option, either — it looks OK but only draws the arrows at the bottom. (The rest of the iLife ’08 apps use standard Aqua scroll bars.)

Netflix Community Blog: Instant Watching on Mac, Firefox, and More 

Netflix’s Steve Nat on Mac support for their “instant watching” feature:

A key issue for delivering movies online is that the studios require use of DRM (Digital Rights Management) to protect titles. And that’s our holdup for the Mac — there’s not yet a studio-sanctioned, publicly-available Mac DRM solution (Apple doesn’t license theirs). I can promise you that, when an approved solution becomes available for the Mac, we’ll be there. I’ll also say that Silverlight 1.1 looks like a promising candidate — but that its DRM isn’t likely to be fully available until 2008.

Not really Netflix’s fault — they can’t force the studios to let them deliver video without DRM, and they can’t force Apple to let them use FairPlay — but this still stinks, nonetheless. (Thanks to Nat Irons.)

Of Keyboards and Men 

Bruno Fernandes on Apple’s new default F-key assignments:

The special functions screened onto the F-keys are laid out on both new keyboards to compliment right-handed mouse use. This is clearly a design that will not be as functional to someone using the pointing device in their left hand, to the left of the keyboard, but it’s a purposeful and thoughtful change nonetheless.

Bob Keefe Is the ‘Why Don’t You Booger Up Your Computers With Intel Stickers?’ Guy 

I hereby nominate Dan Moren for a Pulitzer prize. You must listen to the audio — Jobs really handled the question with aplomb, after taking a few seconds to get his bearings.

Jason Snell: Breaking Down the Apple Announcements 

Well-considered overview of everything Apple released on Tuesday. Glad I didn’t write something like this, because Snell covers everything I’d have wanted to say.

iMovie ’08 Trepidations 

Exactly the sort of guy for whom iMovie ’06 is still available.

Subtraction: An Important Message for .Mac Customers 

I suspect Khoi Vinh speaks for many .Mac members.

Jobs mentioned at Tuesday’s event that Apple has 1.7 million .Mac customers. But they’re selling around 1.7 million Macs per quarter now. Clearly this number could be a lot higher, and most Mac users don’t see it as worthwhile.

Yours Truly, Writing for Macworld 

On newsstands now: I wrote the back-page column in the September issue of Macworld. Look for the one with the iPhone on the cover.

Buy iLife ’08 and Get iMovie ’06 for Free 

iMovie ’08 isn’t just a re-write, it’s a re-imagining of everything it does, how it works, and who’s intended to use it. Me, personally, I think it’s great news. iMovie always felt like too much work, so most of my video is sitting around on dozens of tapes, unedited. iMovie ’08 looks like it’ll prompt me to digitize everything and make quick movies.

It’s bad news, though, for everyone who did like and use the old iMovie. So unlike all the other iLife apps, iMovie ’08 doesn’t replace iMovie ’06. If you already have ’06 installed, it’s still there, and if you don’t, you can download it from Apple.

CARS on the ‘Why No Intel Inside Stickers?’ Question Guy 

This is funnier than finding out who it actually was.

Flickr Blog: Improved Web Uploading 

New web UI for uploading pictures to Flickr. The batch operations are a nice convenience.

Strange Movements 

Garrett Murray on the new default F-key mappings on the new Apple keyboard:

The wired keyboard now has up to F19, and no dedicated volume controls. Instead, it moves the volume controls to special functions on F10, F11 and F12. You might remember those as two Expose keys and the Dashboard key. Well, not anymore. In fact, F9, the other default Expose key, is now fast-forward/next track. And the eject key, which is nearly always been the last key in the upper right of the keyboard is next to F12. Not on the end in the wired version. But it gets even stranger.

Inspirational Bracelet 

Barry Bonds, send me your address.

Send Voicemail to Yourself on an iPhone 

Nifty trick for sending voicemail to yourself on an iPhone — a poor man’s voice memo feature.

Advanced Computation in Numbers 

OK, it doesn’t support pivot tables, but Ale Muñoz observes that Numbers can compute the answer to the ultimate question about life, the universe, and everything. And in far less than 7.5 million years.

The Framework Formally Known as ’Prints 

Grid-master Khoi Vinh interviews Olav Frihagen Bjørkøy, the 21-year-old Norwegian behind last week’s aforelinked Blueprint layout framework.

The New iMac’s Price-Drop specs out a new 24-inch iMac with 2 GB of RAM, and find that it’s $699 cheaper than one of the previous iMacs priced on Monday:

What a difference a day makes. That’s hardly a “$200″ difference. That is actually a $699 difference.

I see what they meant by lower-margin product transition.

Mac Pro RAID 

More from James Duncan Davidson, this time on the new RAID storage option for Mac Pros that Apple released yesterday.

iPhoto 7.0.1 and .Mac Gallery 

James Duncan Davidson:

More than that, the emphasis in Flickr is on the collective photo sharing experience and on the community. .Mac Gallery is more about one person sharing their work. There’s no comments, notes, or other stuff to get in the way. And, despite the interestingness of all that, sometimes you don’t want it.

Bruce Schneier Interviews Kip Hawley, Head of the TSA 

Super-smart no-punches-pulled interview by Bruce Schneier with TSA chief Kip Hawley:

BS: When can we keep our shoes on?

KH: Any time after you clear security. Sorry, Bruce, I don’t like it either, but this is not just something leftover from 2002. It is a real, current concern. We’re looking at shoe scanners and ways of using millimeter wave and/or backscatter to get there, but until the technology catches up to the risk, the shoes have to go in the bin.

BS: This feels so much like “cover your ass” security: you’re screening our shoes because everyone knows Richard Reid hid explosives in them, and you’ll be raked over the coals if that particular plot ever happens again. But there are literally thousands of possible plots.

How Apple’s Small Things Influence Their Big Things 

Jason Fried on the parallels between the iPhone and new iMacs, and the iPod and old iMacs.

The Myth of Cocoa Apps 

Adrian Sutton:

There’s this myth that’s existed ever since the beginning of OS X - that Cocoa apps are automatically better than any other type of application. They use less RAM, run faster and are just all round better - you can’t dispute it. If you take a lousy Carbon app and rewrite it in Cocoa it will become amazing and all its problems will be solved.

This is of course, complete and utter bull.

Video of Today’s Apple Special Event 

Love that the opening song was The Stones’ “Satisfaction”. Weird watching Jobs in such a small venue, though — sort of like watching a superband like The Stones or U2 play in a bar.

Scott McNulty, among many others, observes that the Apple logo is no longer on the Command key on the new keyboards. There was no Apple logo on the original Macintosh keyboard, either — just the cloverleaf.

At one point during development of the original Mac, the Command key symbol was an Apple logo — both on the keyboard and on-screen, for menu key shortcuts. According to Andy Hertzfeld it was nixed by Steve Jobs in 1983:

“There are too many Apples on the screen! It’s ridiculous! We’re taking the Apple logo in vain! We’ve got to stop doing that!”

I’m just happy they added the word “command”. I’ve lost track how many times over the years I’ve been asked, “What’s the ‘Command’ key?”

Apple — Keyboard 

The new keyboard — a keyboard! — gets a top-level directory on Interesting that the Bluetooth version is so drastically different than the corded version.

iWork ’08 Tutorials 

Apple has really put a lot of work into the iWork support materials. Watching these movies is a great way to see what’s new and how it works.

Freakonomics Weblog Moves to 

Interesting move by The Times; they’re steadily growing their team of online-only writers. (Yes, the Freakonomics guys write a column for the Times Magazine, but their weblog entries won’t appear in the paper.)

Bonds Makes History With 756th Home Run 

See, sometimes cheaters do win.

New iMac Commercial 

Just three words in the whole ad: “The new iMac”.

Sort of Like Lab Notes, but Without Any Structure and With Cursing 

I’m thinking out loud on Twitter while exploring iLife and iWork.

SproutCore and Web Gallery 

Bill Humphries:

The .Mac Web Gallery announced this morning was our team’s secret project these past few months. To build this, we used a JavaScript MVC framework, SproutCore, that Charles Jolley, another member of our team, started before coming to Apple.

According to Cabel Sasser, the Carousel feature is Flash, the rest is AJAX. And the gallery.js JavaScript file is 10,000 lines and weighs 408 KB. (Great for EDGE!)

iMovie ’08 

iMovie ’08 looks like it alone is worth the price of admission to iLife ’08. I totally believe Jobs’s story that it’s a complete re-write. The old iMovie was a good app, as a sort of stripped-down consumer-level Final Cut — but it still wasn’t any good for just putting clips together in a few minutes. The new iMovie looks like something that will make dealing with video as easy and quick — or nearly so — as dealing with photos.

Update: The downside for me and my PowerBook — although unsurprising — is that iMovie ’08 requires a G5 or Intel processor; G4s need not apply. Totally reasonable.

New Mac Mini 

Jobs hates the Mini, so it got neither a mention during the event (until the Q&A) nor a press release, but Apple did refresh it today. 1.83 or 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo processor, still starting at $599.

As for why Jobs hates it, think about his comments during the event making fun of Dell machines because of the all the cables you need to hook them up to displays and webcams. That all applies equally to the Mini.


This is a total ground-up re-imagining of what a “spreadsheet” app is. The fundamental element is not the spreadsheet; it’s a canvas on which you can place elements, which elements can be tables (which are spreadsheets), charts, and graphics.

Look at the “Intelligent Tables” features. What Numbers really is is a way for people to create their own table-based software. Numbers might be as much a new Hypercard as it is a new Excel.

The Dumbest Question I’ve Ever Heard 

Peter Cohen, Macworld:

One question that came from the audience wondered why Apple doesn’t participate in the “Intel Inside” program, in which PC manufacturers affix the well-known labels to their computers.

“We like our own stickers better,” Jobs said. “Don’t get me wrong. We love working with Intel. We’re proud to ship Intel products in Macs. They’re screamers, and combined with our OS, we’ve tuned them well. It’s just that everyone knows we use Intel processors. We’d rather not tell them about the product that’s inside the box.”

Jobs offers a rare chance for a public Q&A and someone asks why they don’t booger up their computers with horrid stickers? Will someone please tell me who asked this question so I can name him jackass of the week?

Also, a great quote from Jobs, regarding why Apple doesn’t go after low-end market share in the PC market:

“But there’s some stuff in our industry that we wouldn’t be proud to ship. And we just can’t do it. We can’t ship junk. There are thresholds we can’t cross because of who we are.”

iWork ’08 

Pages ’08 includes Word-compatible change tracking. Keynote has been way better than PowerPoint ever since it shipped. (Keynote might be the best desktop app in the world, in my opinion — it’s quite obvious that it’s Jobs’s personal favorite.) And, now, finally, Numbers: “the spreadsheet for the rest of us”.

Translation: Microsoft, go fuck yourselves. This is the “bring it on” release of iWork.

Online photo sharing via iPhoto 08 and .Mac. Impressive design and animation — really puts the smackdown on Flickr in terms of look-and-feel. I’m guessing it’s all AJAX, no Flash. (Via Ryan Irelan.)

Macworld Live Apple Event Coverage 

No photos like Engadget, but they’re writing in full sentences.

iLife ’08: iPhoto is being taken “to a whole new level”.

Engadget Liveblog Coverage of Apple Special Event 

So far, new iMacs (aluminum and glass, very thin), new keyboard (as leaked a few weeks ago, with dedicated function keys for Exposé and other features). 24-inch for $1799, 20-inch for $1499 or $1199. Up to 4 GB of RAM. All models available today.


Open source NES emulator for iPhones; very cool hack, but I can’t help but suspect the touch screen isn’t going to work well for the controls.

Charles Miller on Fake Steve 

Charles Miller:

Two days ago, Fake Steve Jobs existed in a narrative vacuum. The only point of reference we had to connect him to the real world was the real Steve, and that’s part of what made the character work. You couldn’t see the man behind the curtain, so everything he said was naturally part of the fiction. The anonymity was part of the performance.

Study: Food in McDonald’s Wrapper Tastes Better to Kids 


Even carrots, milk and apple juice tasted better to the kids when they were wrapped in the familiar packaging of the Golden Arches.

The study had youngsters sample identical McDonald’s foods in name-brand and unmarked wrappers. The unmarked foods always lost the taste test.

“You see a McDonald’s label and kids start salivating,” said Diane Levin, a childhood development specialist who campaigns against advertising to kids. She had no role in the research.

This is just sick. But unsurprising.

A Wine Guru for the YouTube Era 

First Time, then Conan O’Brien. Now Slate wine columnist Mike Steinberger profiles Wine Library TV’s Gary Vaynerchuk:

Behind all the gags, Vaynerchuk is conveying the essential truth about wine: It is an immensely rewarding hobby, but it is also a complicated one, and there is no quick-and-dirty method of mastering it. His singular genius is to have found a way, employing modern technology and a pop-culture sensibility, to give wine a more accessible sheen while actually presenting it in all its daunting intricacy.

(And continuing with the all-Vaynerchuk-all-the-time theme, Gary’s brother A.J. found an odd scrolling bug in the iPhone Photos app.)

Robert Bringhurst’s ‘The Elements of Typographic Style’ 

DF readers often ask if I have any recommendations for books on typography. Yes, I do: Robert Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style. (Order through this Amazon link and make me rich.)

New Parallels Desktop Beta Brings Expose Support to Coherence 

Perhaps I spoke too soon: Parallels “Coherence” mode windows are no longer all grouped together in their latest public beta.

Ode to My Car 

iTunes link for Adam Sandler’s profanity-riddled “Ode to My Car”, as mentioned on this week’s episode of The Talk Show.

DivX Team Profiled in Entrepreneur Magazine 

Joe Bezdek knew just which shirt to wear when he found out he was getting his photo taken for Entrepreneur.

Karl Rove Has an iPhone 

I think I smell a caption contest.

The Subliminal Snap of Keyclick 

Matt Neuburg on Peter Sichel’s Keyclick:

Keyclick is a System Preference pane. It doesn’t affect your physical keyboard at all; it just makes noise when you type. So how can it be helpful, as claimed on the product’s Web site, “if your keyboard seems mushy, or you’ve ever longed for the crisp feel of an older keyboard”? Why does it make me a better typist on my MacBook? It’s because the noise it makes, though little more than a faintly detectable pop each time I press a key, tells me almost subliminally that I have pressed a key.

MacInTouch VMware Fusion Review 

Robert Mohns:

Once installed, VMware Tools provide drag-and-drop file exchange between Ubuntu and Mac OS X, plus clipboard synchronization and clock synchronization. We dragged Mac Word documents to the Ubuntu desktop and double-clicked: OpenOffice fired right up. If you stick with the latest version of your Linux distribution, we expect things will go fairly smoothly.

VMware Fusion Ships 

It’s all Greek to me because I’m still rocking it with a PowerBook G4, but several friends who’ve tried both tell me VMware Fusion has it all over Parallels Desktop — VMware’s “Unity” supports truly interleaved Windows and Mac application windows, for example, whereas Parallels’s “Coherence” fakes it by grouping all your Windows windows in a single layer with a transparent background.

BBEdit 8.7 

Favorite new feature, by far:

There’s a new option in the Application preferences: “Reopen documents that were open at last quit”. If this option is turned on, BBEdit will remember what documents (as well as disk browsers and FTP/SFTP browsers) are open when you choose the “Quit” command, and will reopen those documents the next time you start BBEdit.

And there’s a bunch more, as usual, including a new Lua language module, much-improved Python module with better code-folding support, and hugely improved File Groups.

Better Know a Speaker: Jim Coudal 

My friend and co-conspirator Jim talks to An Event Apart in advance of his upcoming appearance at AEA Chicago later this month.

iPhone Oversight 

While we’re making cruel jokes. (Via Andy Baio.)

Update: We seem to have knocked the site down.

Anil Dash: ‘Fake Steve Jobs and the Triumph of Blogs’ 

Anil Dash, on the fact that it was Daniel Lyons who wrote Forbes’s much-maligned 2005 cover story, “Attack of the Blogs”, which slammed bloggers for being anonymous and unaccountable:

My initial temptation was to mark Lyons as a hypocrite. Upon reflection, it seems there’s a more profound lesson: The benefits of blogging for one’s career or business are so profound that they were even able to persuade a dedicated detractor.

New Page Size for The New York Times 

Just saw the new narrowed-by-an-inch-and-a-half New York Times at Starbucks. It’s a sad little thing; 12 inches just isn’t wide enough for a broadsheet.

Forbes Phone Interview With Daniel Lyons 

Wishes he could have stayed secret at least until his book comes out in October.

Fake Steve on Fortune, BusinessWeek, and Forbes 

Lots of scathing critiques and mockery of Fortune and BusinessWeek (and their writers — see here and here). E.g. this piece on BusinessWeek (with bonus digs at Business 2.0):

Dude, if I wanted to be told the obvious, I’d subscribe to BusinessWeek. (You’ve heard their new slogan? BusinessWeek: In case you missed the Journal last week.)

Not as much about Forbes, and nothing personally mocking any particular Forbes writers. But there is this piece where Bono tells Fake Steve about his stint as “guest editor” of Vanity Fair:

“Yeah, first I was gonna try and edit an edition of Forbes, seeing that I own the fookin place and all, but you know what? I tried to read some of their stories and I fookin fell asleep! No shite, Steve. I mean I really tried. No matter what, I’d fall asleep. Coffee, electrodes, toothpicks to hold up my eyelids — fookin asleep in like five minutes. […] I told dose guys you need more fookin celebrities or sumfin. Spark it up a bit. Guy tells me, Oh, no, we actually go out of our way to make it less exciting. Our average reader is like seventy-eight years old and we don’t want to scare them.

The Talk Show, Episode 5 

British vs. American English, web typography, profanity, and more — all on this week’s episode of The Talk Show, with Dan Benjamin and yours truly. This one came out pretty good. Placement of Fake Steve Scoop 

Jiminy, they’ve got the Fake Steve story in the fourth spot on the homepage.

Fake Steve: ‘Damn, I Am So Busted, Yo’ 

Fake Steve:

Well, tip of the hat to you, Brad Stone. You did the sleuthing. You put the pieces of the puzzle together. You went through my trash, hacked into my computer, and put listening devices in my home. Now you’ve ruined the mystery of Fake Steve, robbing thousands of people around the world of their sense of childlike wonder. Hope you feel good about yourself, you mangina. One bright side is that at least I was busted by the Times and not Valleywag.

As for my earlier question re: what Lyons’s bosses at Forbes thought:

Then I’m coming back next week, badder than ever, with a new sponsor — my homeboys at Turns out they’ve been reading FSJ and liking it too. Who knew?

Floating Point 

Weblog by Daniel Lyons, author of The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs. Number of times he’s mentioned “fake steve”: zero.

The New York Times Unmasks Fake Steve Jobs 

Brad Stone, reporting for The New York Times, has the scoop:

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Daniel Lyons, a senior editor at Forbes magazine who lives near Boston, has been quietly enjoying the attention.

“I’m stunned that it’s taken this long,” said Mr. Lyons, 46, when a reporter interrupted his vacation in Maine on Sunday to ask him about Fake Steve. “I have not been that good at keeping it a secret. I’ve been sort of waiting for this call for months.”

Mr. Lyons writes and edits technology articles for Forbes and is the author of two works of fiction, most recently a 1998 novel, “Dog Days.” In October, Da Capo Press will publish his satirical novel written in the voice of the Fake Steve character, “Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, a Parody.”

Thus explaining Fake Steve’s obsession with and hyper-detailed analysis of the business press. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the weblog now that Lyons is no longer anonymous. My hope is that it just keeps going, unchanged. But did his editors at Forbes know about this? Do they care now?

Update: Clearly, it’s OK with Forbes, as they’ve just announced they’ll be publishing the weblog. Includes a photograph of Mr. Lyons.

Amazon Flexible Payment Service 

Amazon Web Services rival to Google Checkout and PayPal. Advantages: significantly lower fees for debit card transactions (debit cards cost less to process than credit cards, and Amazon passes the savings along; PayPal keeps the savings for themselves) and, for customers who already have Amazon accounts, express checkout.

Interesting but unsurprising sign of the times: they’ve got example code for Java, PHP, Ruby, and C#, but none for Perl.

Blueprint: A CSS Framework 

Well-documented open source CSS framework for grid-based layouts.

Walt Mossberg: ‘Secret New iPhone Features’ 

New features, undocumented by Apple, in the iPhone 1.0.1 update. The big one I’ve noticed is that textarea fields in MobileSafari now support onkey* keyboard events, which means the live character counts in Twitter clients work.

Aaron Swartz Liveblogging Science Foo Camp 2007 

Aaron Swartz, from Science Foo Camp:

Martha Stewart fills a big room talking on the Paperless Home. “I may not look like it,” she says, “but I’m the typical homemaker. I have a dog, I have a daughter, I have a garden, I have a farm, and I do — or I did it all myself.” And as a homemaker, she’s convinced homes need to become computerized.

Rogue Amoeba and the New DF Feed 

My thanks to Rogue Amoeba — developers of fine audio software such as Audio Hijack Pro, Fission, and Radioshift — for sponsoring the first week of the new DF full-content RSS feed. I’ve gotten a ton of feedback from readers regarding the format of the new feed, and I’ll have some changes ready to go Monday morning.

Wait a second, Radioshift? Did I just write that?

Gmail Secure 

Greasemonkey extension for Firefox that forces Gmail to use HTTPS. By Mark Pilgrim, of course.

TaskPaper 0.2 

Super-simple text-based to-do manager in the early stages of development, by Jesse Grosjean of Hog Bay Software, whose previous work includes Mori and WriteRoom. It’s a very simple, but intriguing and original concept. And when I say text-based, I mean it — the file format is a simple plain text file. (Via Merlin Mann.)

Merlin Mann’s ‘Inbox Zero’ Talk at Google 

“Advanced common sense” approach to creating a simple, manageable system for dealing with large amounts of email. One of several clever observations, which certainly applies to me, is that those of us who started using email in the early 1990s (or earlier) developed habits and conceptions — based on the then-available email clients and very different number of messages received in a typical day — that no longer apply today.

For those who don’t want video, Merlin has an MP3 of the audio.

Joe Kissell on Microsoft’s Announcement of the Office 2008 Delay  

Joe Kissell:

What I do care very much about, though, as someone who uses words for a living, is the language Microsoft chose to use in the press release they sent out announcing this delay. It is, truly, a delay: a difference of (depending on how you interpreted “second half of 2007″) anywhere from two weeks to six months and two weeks. And most of the news sites that reported on the delay described it as such. But Microsoft themselves did not use the word “delay.” They didn’t mention that they’d previously announced an earlier date. They didn’t say they were sorry. Instead, they used standard weaselly marketing language to make it sound like they were announcing a virtual non-event, and perhaps even to subtly suggest that anyone who wanted to think about it differently doesn’t care about quality.

Weaselly indeed.


Why do we use the suffix -aholic to make up words implying addiction (chocoholic, workaholic), when the “ahol” originates specifically from alcoholic, where the suffix is simply -ic?

Again, speakers tend to make novel utterances predictable, not necessarily logical. It’s correlation, not causation, that produces meaning.

Update: Reader Hunt Anderson emailed with an apt quote from Homer Simpson: “It’s true… I’m a rageaholic! I just can’t live without rageahol!”

(Via Magnetbox.)

The Official Apple Paperclip 

Replacement iPhones ship with a paperclip to open the SIM card slot.

Hazel 2.0 

Major update to Noodlesoft’s clever $22 utility for automating file clean-up and organization based on a rule system similar to Mail’s.

Point and Click Gmail Hacking at Black Hat 

Gmail username and password authentication takes place over HTTPS, but then you get a session cookie and the rest of your session takes place over unencrypted HTTP. Robert Graham’s demo at Black Hat showed that by sniffing the cookie over an open network, the Gmail session can be hijacked.

Gmail supports HTTPS, but the only way to get it is to specificy ‘https:’ in the URL when you load the site. Google should redirect all HTTP Gmail traffic to HTTPS by default.

Our Precious Bodily Fluids 

Jim Coudal:

A quick Friday contest for no reason. Send in links about Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove and we’ll post the most interesting ones and send the contributors a special and highly confidential prize.

Shoot, a fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff.


New weblog by Ian Beck dedicated to the intersection of tagging and Mac software. A bunch of good links and articles in the first week. His “Tagging Best Practices” is a fine example (although I disagree with his specific advice — I use title capitalization and default to plural tag names — I agree that it’s essential to be consistent).

Mac OS X’s Mouse Acceleration Problem 

Another good TidBITS article; this one by Parrish S. Knight back in March. I have never found the mouse acceleration on the Mac to be fast enough for my liking; without USB Overdrive cranked up to a very fast acceleration curve, my wrist starts hurting within minutes. Knights links to a few other utilities that can be used to adjust the mouse acceleration curve.

Liz Danzico: The Broken Windows Theory of Instant Messaging 

File under: Funny Because It’s True.

Emma Story on W3C Validator Changes 

The trick with the favicons is particularly clever.

Stewing Over Safe Sleep 

Excellent article in TidBITS by Joe Kissell on Mac OS X’s recent on-by-default no-UI-to-turn-it-off “Safe Sleep” feature:

It takes more than a “moment” for your computer to write this hibernation file to disk and go to sleep. The length of time it takes is proportional to the amount of RAM you have installed. On my new MacBook Pro with 4 GB of RAM, it takes 49 seconds for the computer to sleep when Safe Sleep is active; with Safe Sleep turned off, it takes only 4 seconds. That’s an enormous, and enormously annoying, difference.

Kissell really nails this one. But it’s even worse than the annoyance of having to wait nearly a minute for sleep to kick in, and that you lose as much disk space as you have RAM.

My wife’s MacBook was suffering from a problem where, once or twice a week, the machine would just shut down completely when she put it to sleep. She’d close the lid, and a few seconds later, the machine would just turn off or restart. The solution? Disable Safe Sleep. It hasn’t happened again even once.

Unprofessional in Black 

Tim Bray on his black MacBook.

William Gibson’s Weblog 

I was subscribed to this a while back, but forgot about it when Gibson stopped updating for a period while working on a novel. (Thanks to Steve Kalkwarf for the reminder.)

Chinese Video Game Allows Players to ‘Execute’ Supposedly-Corrupt Government Officials 

The Sydney Morning Herald:

To advance to a new level, the player must enter an “Anti-Corruption College” to be lectured in more detail about ancient cases, the Southeast Business newspaper said.

Along the way internet vigilantes are rewarded for the capture, torture and killing of not just corrupt officials, but also their sons and daughters.

Next up: a game where you get to torture the guy in the Chinese factory who leaked the news and pictures of the new Apple keyboard.

(Thanks to Daniel Bogan.)

The Difference Between Times and Times New Roman 

Given my strong feelings in the matter of Helvetica v. Arial, a couple of readers have asked whether I have any opinion on Times v. Times New Roman. Both are included in Mac OS X; only Times New Roman is included on the iPhone. In short, no, I don’t care, because I can’t tell them apart. Unlike Helvetica and Arial, Times and Times New Roman are simply different digitalizations of the same original typeface.

This article posted to comp.fonts in 1994 by Charles Bigelow has a bunch of additional details on the history of Times Roman’s various digital incarnations.

Freedom to Tinker: ‘DRM for Chargers: Possibly Good for Users’ 

Ed Felten on Apple’s patent application for a method of tying gadgets to chargers:

Whether this is good for consumers depends on how a device comes to be authorized. If “authorized” just means “sold or licensed by Apple” then consumers won’t benefit — the only effect will be to give Apple control of the aftermarket for replacement chargers.

But if the iPod’s owner decides which chargers are authorized, then this might be a useful anti-theft measure — there’s little point in stealing an iPod if you won’t be able to recharge it.

Elton John May Be an Idiot 

What a great idea:

“I do think it would be an incredible experiment to shut down the whole Internet for five years and see what sort of art is produced over that span,” he said.

(Thanks to DF reader Tim French.)

More Shocking News From Dateline 

Jim Ray on Dateline’s next startling exposé.

Apple: iTunes 7.3.2 for Mac 

Note to Apple: Thank you for the detailed release notes.

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Delayed Until January 

Jim Dalrymple:

Microsoft will delay the release of Office 2008 for Mac until mid-January 2008, representatives of the company’s Macintosh Business Unit announced Thursday. […]

“We made the decision to do this so we could give users the type of quality that they deserve,” said Craig Eisler, general manager of the Macintosh Business Unit. “This is a quality-driven decision.”

Translation: It’s not done yet.

Macworld: ‘iPhone Fixes We Want to See’ 

Consensus iPhone feature requests from the editors of Macworld. Some of these are obvious and most are reasonable, but some of them glide right past the effect the feature might have on battery life. E.g. support for Flash in MobileSafari. Everyone says they want Flash on the iPhone, but what they really want is Flash support on the iPhone that doesn’t suck your battery dry, and Flash for Macs is a CPU hog. Likewise, I suspect, for video support from the built-in camera.

Charlie Rose on News Corp.’s Acquisition of The Wall Street Journal 

Terrific 20-minute Charlie Rose interview with The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta and The New York Times’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, regarding Rupert Murdoch’s purchase of The Wall Street Journal. (Auletta’s piece in The New Yorker earlier this month is great, too.)’s Scott Moritz Is an Enormous Jackass 

Scott Moritz:

Citing sources at Taiwan-based component makers, a report Thursday in Taipei’s Digitimes says that “iPhone shipments schedules are still on track.”

The report seems to refute rumors that circulated earlier this week that iPhone production had been cut in half. Apple shares fell sharply on Tuesday as the speculative chatter spread through the market.

It wasn’t “rumors”. It was one rumor, which was published by Moritz himself, and which the sourcing for was utterly false. How does this guy still have a job?

Cyndicate 1.0 

Cleverly-named new $30 feedreader from the original development team behind PulpFiction.

CNN: Video Footage of Minnesota Bridge Collapse 

Just poof — gone.

Cheesesteak War in Philly 

Joseph A. Slobodzian, reporting for The Philadelphia Inquirer:

This morning, Rick Olivieri kept his word and started cooking steaks, despite a possible eviction threat.

Yesterday, he left his corner of the Reading Terminal Market without a lease, at times fighting tears, and promising to be behind the grill at Rick’s Philly Steaks today.

Olivieri’s family has been at this location in Reading Terminal for 25 years, and, in my expert opinion, Rick’s makes the best cheesesteaks in town. They lost their lease not because they can’t pay, but because Olivieri is the president of the Reading Terminal Market merchants association, and the board offered a lease for his space to cross-town archrival Tony Luke’s.

Tony Luke’s makes a good sandwich, but this is despicable.

XRAY — Cross-Browser JavaScript Inspector for Web Developers 

Pretty nifty DOM inspector from Western Civilisation.

‘Spook Country’ 

Were you aware that William Gibson has a new novel coming out next week? Sounds very clever, as usual. (Pre-order via this link to Amazon to make me rich.)

Wired News Story on Faceball 

Robert Andrews:

Is Faceball dangerous? Critics compare it to happy slapping.

LaunchBar 4.3 

I was a devoted LaunchBar user for a long time before switching to Quicksilver about two years ago. The new features in LaunchBar 4.3 have prompted me to switch back.

“Instant Open” lets you skip the Return key by just holding down the last key of the shortcut you’re typing. “Instant Send” lets you send the current selection from any app to LaunchBar just by holding down the space bar after invoking LaunchBar. There are a ton of other new cool features, too — really seems more like a 5.0 upgrade than a 4.3.

(Note to Quicksilver fans: they’re both great apps, and I know Quicksilver already has “Instant Open”.)

Gary Vaynerchuk to Appear on Conan O’Brien Wednesday Night 

Host of the excellent Wine Library TV web show, owner of Cork’d, and, as of later today, guest on Late Night With Conan O’Brien. He’s going to do great. (Update: You can follow him on Twitter as he gets ready to tape the show at 5 pm EDT.)

Fake Steve on Linux vs. Windows 

Fake Steve on a Fortune story reporting that Microsoft is doing well with three-dollar copies of Windows in China:

Freetard fails to notice the huge hole in his argument which is that — imagine Sam Kinison screaming now — fucking Linux is fucking free you fucking idiot! Linux is even cheaper than Windows. You can have it and all the other freetard apps that go with it for zero dollars, which is approximately three bucks less than what Microsoft charges. So, given the choice of a free software system or one that costs three bucks, the Chinese are choosing the one that costs three bucks. It’s not cheating. It’s called competition. The Chinese put the two products side by side and decided that if cost isn’t an issue, Windows is better.