Linked List: October 2007

Image Is Everything: Comparing DrawIt, Acorn, and Pixelmator 

Jon Whipple’s comprehensive comparison of DrawIt, Acorn, and Pixelmator. This is one of the best “let’s compare and contrast a few apps in the same category” reviews I’ve seen in a long time.

Python on Leopard 

Christopher Lenz: “As I haven’t seen anyone writing much about the state of Python development on Mac OS X Leopard, here’s a quick rundown.” (Via Simon Willison.)

Java 5 on Leopard 

Adrian Sutton:

The rumors of Java 5 being horribly broken beyond all usability on Leopard are, quite frankly, bullshit. It’s faster, has better integration with the OS, the Aqua L&F is significantly improved, it has full support for 64 bit and a huge raft of bug fixes and miscellaneous improvements.

Make My Logo Bigger Cream 

From the book of “It’s Only Funny Because It’s True”.

Tog on Keyboard Shortcuts vs. Using the Mouse 

Bruce Tognazzini, back in 1989:

We’ve done a cool $50 million of R&D on the Apple Human Interface. We discovered, among other things, two pertinent facts:

  • Test subjects consistently report that keyboarding is faster than mousing.
  • The stopwatch consistently proves mousing is faster than keyboarding.

This contradiction between user-experience and reality apparently forms the basis for many user/developers’ belief that the keyboard is faster. [...]

It takes two seconds to decide upon which special-function key to press. Deciding among abstract symbols is a high-level cognitive function. Not only is this decision not boring, the user actually experiences amnesia! Real amnesia! The time-slice spent making the decision simply ceases to exist.

I read this long ago in Tognazzini’s Tog on Interface, and have been looking for a URL to it for years. Found it via the aforelinked article by Scott Stevenson.

Satisfying UI Design Is Often Illogical 

Scott Stevenson:

If Leopard shipped and it looked essentially the same as Tiger, I think most non-programmers would pass it by. At first glance in screenshots and the back of the box, potential buyers would not see any signs of change, and therefore would not see any hope of new experiences which justify the cost. This would do a great disservice to the mountain of improvements in the underlying system.

Intego Security: New Mac OS X Trojan Horse on Porno Sites 

Intego Security on a Trojan hosted on porno sites, that tricks users into thinking they’re installing a QuickTime video codec that will allow them to watch free videos:

This Trojan horse, a form of DNSChanger, uses a sophisticated method, via the scutil command, to change the Mac’s DNS server (the server that is used to look up the correspondences between domain names and IP addresses for web sites and other Internet services). When this new, malicious, DNS server is active, it hijacks some web requests, leading users to phishing web sites (for sites such as Ebay, PayPal and some banks), or simply to web pages displaying ads for other pornographic web sites.

(Via Macworld.)

Leopard, Java, and Open Source 

Good post by Ted Leung on Java 6 and Leopard.

BBEdit 8.7.1 

Bug-fix update to Bare Bones’s flagship text editor.

Eye-Fi Card: 2 GB SD Memory Card With Built-In Wi-Fi 

Science fiction comes to life: $99 2 GB SD memory card with built-in Wi-Fi. Can be configured to upload photos automatically to your computer and to web sites like Flickr.

How to Force a Time Machine Backup to Start 

AppleScript one-liner to tell Time Machine to begin a backup.

Update: Via Twitter, Chuck La Tournous point out that Time Machine’s Dock icon contextual menu has a “Back Up Now” command.

Leopard Server License Allows for Virtualization 

Client license still doesn’t allow for it, though.

A Roundup of Leopard Security Features 

Wonderful report by Thomas Ptacek on the security-related changes and additions in Leopard; must-read if you’re at all interested in Mac OS X security.

Mac OS X Java Definitive Timeline 

Great timeline compiled by Eric Burke:

It is perfectly clear that Apple releases major JDK updates on, or shortly after, major OS updates. I believe we will see Java SE 6 on Leopard within days or weeks.


Anyone wanting a faster JDK release cycle on OS X will have to look to someone other than Apple to give it to them.

More From Gosling Regarding Java and Apple 

James Gosling:

Lots of folks ask “why doesn’t sun just do the JDK for Mac?”. The real answer is “because Apple wanted to do it”. They’ve wanted to do all sorts of customization and integration that only they could do — because they own the OS.

ControllerMate 4.3.2 

Another option for those looking for a third-party mouse driver, recommended by several DF readers. ControllerMate is a lot more than a mouse driver, though — it’s a “controller programming tool that allows you to customize the behavior of your HID devices — keyboards, keypads, mice, trackballs, joysticks, gamepads, throttles, among others.” The “programming” is done visually. So in addition to doing things like specifying a custom mouse acceleration curve, you can remap the keys on your keyboard. Very impressive, and it’s just $15.

California Kleptocrats Auctioning Airport Confiscata on eBay 

The bastards at OAK have taken two mini Leatherman tools from me; now they’re selling them on eBay. (Via Nat Irons.)

James Gosling: ‘Solaris and OS X’ 

Java on Mac OS X has gotten so bad that James Gosling, creator of Java and Sun’s developer platform CTO, has switched from a MacBook to a notebook running Solaris. What an outrage that the best platform to develop for Sun’s Java is Sun’s own operating system. Sounds great:

There is one area that’s a problem: when I close the lid on my laptop, it keeps right on running. It doesn’t suspend. I have to manually shut the system down.

AppleScript Release Notes for Mac OS X 10.5 

This one sentence alone makes it a major upgrade:

AppleScript is now entirely Unicode-based.

But there’s a ton of additional good stuff — I think it’s safe to say this really is a “2.0” release, the biggest linguistic upgrade to AppleScript ever. (Still no sign of the updated AppleScript Language Guide promised by Apple, though.)


Archrival to USB Overdrive from Japan; also $20.

USB Overdrive 10.4.8 

I’m getting a lot of email asking what Logitech mouse owners should do if they want to use their extra buttons but who don’t want to install Logitech’s APE-powered Control Central software (which doesn’t work entirely on Leopard, because APE doesn’t yet work on Leopard).

I’ve been using Alessandro Levi Montalcini’s $20 USB Overdrive for years. In addition to giving you additional control over buttons, it allows you to set far faster mouse tracking speeds than Apple’s mouse driver. If you’re frustrated that Mac OS X’s fastest mouse speed is still too slow, USB Overdrive is worth a look. The latest version is certified Leopard compatible and adds support for Bluetooth mice.

Anil Dash on Leopard’s ‘Windows Blue Screen’ PC Icon 

There does seem to be a karmic element to the fact that some problematic Leopard upgrades — even if they’re not Apple’s fault — result in a “blue screen”.

Java Developers Unhappy With Leopard 

I fail to see why anyone (other than Java developers themselves) would care.

The Superest 

Fantastic comic contest between Kevin Cornell and Matthew Sutter.

Aperture Vs. Lightroom: What Do the Pros Use? 

John Nack on a survey of 1,026 professional photographers in North America regarding their RAW processing software:

  • 66.5% using the Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in
  • 23.6% using Lightroom
  • 5.5% using Aperture

To be fair to Aperture, it might be helpful to remove Windows users from the equation for a moment. Even after doing so, Lightroom’s usage among Mac-based pros is still nearly double that of Aperture (26.6% vs. 14.3%).

What’s really interesting is that Lightroom’s use among Mac-using photographers wasn’t just higher than Aperture’s — it was higher than the number of Lightroom users on Windows. I think Mac users are more likely to try new apps.

Input Managers on Leopard 

Allan Odgaard has the lowdown on InputManager support in Leopard:

Contrary to most rumors, input managers still work on Leopard (at least on my pre-GM seed), but for an input manager to be loaded there are now a few requirements it needs to fulfill.

The confusion over this is that during the pre-release seeding this summer, input manager support in Leopard changed quite a bit. For a while, they really didn’t work at all. In the shipping version, they work, but installing them now requires administrator authentication (so the potential problem where they could be installed silently behind your back, as with Smart Crash Reports, is now closed). But they’re officially unsupported, don’t work at all in 64-bit apps, and are “likely to be disabled in a future release”.

Inside Leopard: iCal 

Dan Miller:

In the new iCal, double-clicking an appointment causes an inspector box to pop up right next to the appointment itself; to edit appointment details, you click an Edit button in that inspector box. (You can also select the appointment and hit Command-E.) That might seem like one click too many to some users; some might also object to the fact that the inspector box obscures part of the calendar.

It’s greatly annoying to me that events don’t open in editing mode when double-clicked. Cmd-E is good to know.

New Ricoh GR Digital II 

Nice evolutionary update to my favorite pocket-size camera. Same lens as my original GR Digital, but now features “a new processing engine said to ‘dramatically’ improve high-ISO noise performance”. Also features much-improved RAW performance. Glad I didn’t wait for this when I bought mine back in April, but I highly recommend it to anyone in the market for a point-and-shoot — although with “availability in a month or two”, it might be cutting it close for Christmas.

Apple Sells Over Two Million Copies of Leopard 

Not a bad opening weekend.

Girardi Is Yankees’ Choice for Manager 

I was pulling for Mattingly (and pulling for Torre to stay before that), but like the sound of a manager with an engineering degree from Northwestern.

The Talk Show, Episode 12 

Dan Benjamin and yours truly, talking about Leopard and baseball.

Hulu Blog: Beta testing begins for Hulu 

The comments are brutal.

Hulu Example Videos 

Hulu, NBC and Fox’s joint online video venture, is in private beta-testing, but its URLs are easily guessable. This Slashdot comment links to this sample page of 10 embedded Hulu videos. The quality is great for web-page Flash video, certainly better than YouTube. But that doesn’t help if you want to watch them on your, you know, TV set — or on a portable device, or full-screen at a decent resolution on your computer.

Update: Apparently they’re preventing non-U.S. IP address ranges from accessing the video; at least one DF reader in Great Britain got an “Unfortunately this video is not currently available in your country or region. We apologise for the inconvenience” message when he attempted to view the above samples.

Jackass of the Week: NBC Universal’s Jeff Zucker 

NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker claims Apple “destroyed the music business in terms of pricing”. As John Paczkowski points out, the going rate for digital downloads pre-iTunes was zero. Zero.

So while they sit around until hell freezes over waiting for Apple to voluntarily just start sharing iPod hardware profits with entertainment companies for no good reason whatsoever, that’s what they’re going to get for video now, too: zero.

Layer Tennis: Behind the Scenes 

How Chris Glass played last week’s Layer Tennis match.

More About Back to My Mac 

I suspect that when it appears that Back to My Mac is accessing your system without prompting for a username and password for a user on that machine, it’s using the Keychain, rather than accessing it via some means that doesn’t require a password.

The World’s Fastest Windows Vista Notebook 

Rhymes with “back look fro”.

John Siracusa’s Mac OS X 10.5 Review 

Six major releases of Mac OS X. Six times, the same guy has written the best review.

Red Sox Sweep Rockies to Win World Series 

Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox and their wonderful fans.

I need another beer.

Andy Ihnatko: What’s Leopard Really Worth? 

Andy Ihnatko:

I think the way to sum up the correct level of anticipation for Leopard is to compare it to a movie that stars Gene Hackman or Michael Caine. You know that it’s going to be worthwhile… but the coin’s in the air as to whether it’s worth seeing right away.

Displaperture 1.0 

Peter Maurer’s freeware (donations accepted) utility to restore round screen corners in Leopard. (Worth noting that while round corners are gone in Leopard, they’re there on the iPhone.)

Scott Moritz Full of Ca-Ca. Again. 

Ged Maheaux on’s Scott Moritz’s bullshit “scoop” nine days ago that Apple was going to release a new sub-notebook alongside the debut of Leopard.

Leopard UI Gripes 

Overall, the visual UI style in Leopard is much improved, but there are an assortment of odd decisions, and Rory Prior’s list covers most of the ones that annoy me. The new placement of sheets is particularly weird — to me they look like old System-6-era modal dialogs that are just floating above the window. The previous “coming out of a slot” treatment for sheets was a nice visual indicator that the sheet was connected to the underlying window.

Developer-Level Changes in Leopard 

Nice rundown from Matt Gemmell of what’s new in Cocoa in Leopard. I expect the stream of Leopard-only third-party apps to start tomorrow.

15-Lateral Last-Second Touchdown 

Incredible last-second comeback — a 13-lateral 60-yard touchdown.

Product Placement in Ads? 

Photo of a Microsoft Office ad in The New Yorker. It’s a guy walking past a newsstand in a city, and on the newsstand are dozens of bags of Frito-Lay band chips. Is Microsoft selling ad space within its own ads?

Eleanor Flannery Mann 

Congratulations to my pal Merlin Mann and his wife Madeline.

Interpreting Apple 

Buzz Andersen:

My point in all of this, I suppose, is that when it comes to interpreting Apple’s actions, Ockham’s razor is usually the best guide: the simplest explanation is to be preferred.

Unsanity Application Enhancer Causes Botched Leopard Upgrades 

An important heads-up: If you’ve got APE installed, you should upgrade to Leopard with a Clean Install or Archive and Install, not an upgrade. People doing upgrades with (apparently outdated versions of) APE installed are getting stuck at a blue screen after the installation. Love the way Apple’s support document puts quotes around “enhancement” when describing what APE is.

(My upgrade advice still stands — APE is the sort of “unholy diddling with system software” that warrants a Clean Install.)

Update: Unsanity’s Slava Karpenko has acknowledged the problem on Unsanity’s weblog.

‘Alex’, the New and Much-Improved Default Text-to-Speech Voice 

669 MB on disk — the largest file in Mac OS X Leopard. The quality is truly impressive. Jonas and I are having a lot of fun with it — I’ve got him convinced that my PowerBook knows what he’s doing.

Update: Here’s an example I recorded of Alex reading this entry — note that it reads “MB” as “megabyte” and correctly pronounces the “X” in “Mac OS X” as “ten”.

Apple: Avoid Doing Time Machine Backups or Restores During Aperture Sessions 

“Running Time Machine backup or restore operations while Aperture is running may lead to inconsistencies in the Aperture database.”

Educated guess: it’s a locking problem with the database — the backupd background daemon sees the notification from FSEvents that the file has changed since the last backup, and starts copying the file, but in the meantime, Aperture is still writing to the original database file, so the backup copy gets made while the file is in an inconsistent state. This might be a problem with other apps that use a frequently updated database file.

Regarding the Lack of Note Synching Between Leopard and iPhone 

David Chartier:

This includes something we talked about in a report last week: the 300+ features page had confirmed that the iPhone would sync Notes with Leopard’s Mail. It’s now gone. Erased from existence, just like any trace of Time Machine and AirDisks. It’s a good thing we saved a screenshot for posterity.

No, it didn’t. Apple has never mentioned any sort of iPhone note synching in Leopard. I mentioned this last week: the way these notes work in Leopard is that they’re saved as IMAP account email messages; Leopard Mail treats these messages differently visually. Apple’s “access them from your iPhone” claim is a reference to the fact that you can view them, as regular email messages, in the iPhone Mail app. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the iPhone Notes app.

One reason people have assumed there would be some connection between Leopard’s notes and the iPhone’s Notes app is that they both look similar by default: the yellow-paper-legal-pad background and Marker Felt text. Another is that without synching to your computer, iPhone Notes seem nearly worthless. But, alas, the features are unrelated, other than visually. Plus, I’m not sure how iPhone note synching could be a Leopard-only feature, unless Apple’s willing to tell Windows-using iPhone owners to go blow.

I think Apple changed the text of this web page because people like Chartier were confused about what they were referring to, not because they’ve removed a feature they previously promised.

Back to My Mac and Security 

Here’s the gist: When you turn on Back to My Mac synching, all you need to control your Mac remotely is your .Mac password — you don’t need to authenticate with the password for your Mac itself.

I don’t think it’s right to characterize this as a security “hole”, though — clearly it’s how the feature is designed to work. If you don’t trust your .Mac account, don’t use it. It’d be nice if there were an option to require your Mac’s password, though — and I question the decision to turn this setting on by default.

NetApp Versus Sun, Sun Versus NetApp, and Both Versus Common Sense 

Jason Hoffman on the NetApp/Sun spat.

Login & Keychain Update 1.0 

Small software update for Leopard users; addresses password problems with login accounts and keychain entries.

Apple Limits Sale of iPhones: Two Per Person and No Cash 

The Associated Press:

Apple no longer accepts cash for iPhone purchases and now limits sales of the cellphone to two per person in a move to stop people from reselling them.

The new policy started Thursday, said Natalie Kerris, an Apple spokeswoman. Before then, there was no cash restriction and the purchase limit was five per person.

Visual History of Mac System Settings 

Screenshots of the Mac system settings, from the original System 1.0 Control Panel through Leopard’s updated System Preferences.

Doing the Leopard Moan 

Matt Neuburg’s top gripes about Leopard. I completely agree with him about the new Help Viewer window:

When you choose from the Help menu in any application, what opens is no longer the Help Viewer application. It’s an orphan window that floats over, and blocks your view of, everything else on the screen. It belongs to no application, so you can’t hide it or switch away from it. Now, what’s the most common thing to do while you’re reading an application’s help documentation? You read something in the Help, you switch to the application to try it; you see something in the application, you switch back to the Help to learn about it. No more. Now, as soon as the help window opens, you’re stuck: you’re in the help window and that’s the only place you can be, until you close the window (or minimize it into the Dock).

Macworld’s Leopard Review 

Jason Snell:

Leopard is, at once, a major alteration to the Mac interface, a sweeping update to numerous included productivity programs, a serious attempt to improve Mac OS security, and a vast collection of tweaks and fixes scattered throughout every nook and cranny of the operating system.

Take Control of Upgrading to Leopard 

If you crave super-detailed analysis of all your upgrading options, Joe Kissel’s $10 Take Control of Upgrading to Leopard e-book is probably your best bet.

MacJournals: The Despicable MacFixIt 

MacJournals on MacFixIt’s “Be afraid. Be very afraid” advice regarding upgrading to Leopard and their voodoo warnings about the simple upgrade installer option:

The more afraid MacFixIt makes you of installing new software, the more often you’ll check the site — and either view the ads or upgrade to a paid subscription—to see if it’s “safe” to install yet. If you actually learn how things work and make your own judgments, you might break out of a fear-based dependency on MacFixIt, so the site does its best to prevent that from happening.

Apple: Time Machine Doesn’t Back Up to AirPort Disks 

Would be a great feature if it did, especially for notebook users. And it’s disappointing, because backing up to an AirPort disk was promoted as a feature of Time Machine in the WWDC 2007 keynote.

PC Icon in Leopard Shows Windows Blue Screen of Death 

I saw this in the developer seeds months ago and laughed, but I assumed Apple would change it before shipping the 10.5.0 release. Funniest joke in Leopard.

Beware Sharp Corners 

One of the subtle changes in Leopard is that it no longers renders the corners of the screen as round. Peter Maurer is working on a hack to bring them back.

High-Def Digest Reviews HD-DVD and Blu-Ray Release of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ 

Kenneth S. Brown:

There are even scenes in this transfer that I completely re-watched just to have another chance to explore the intricacies of the sets and props. For the first time, I was able to read all of the small text Kubrick strategically placed across the film. Call me obsessed, but I found myself completely fascinated by these minor details that I’d previously been unable to enjoy.

(Thanks to Brandon Kelly.)

More Goodies in Apple’s New Operating System 

Nice list of Leopard details from David Pogue.


Speaking of DF feed sponsors, my thanks to this week’s sponsor, SimpleMovieX. SimpleMovieX is a simple (duh) $29 video editor with built-in support for popular file formats and codecs unsupported by QuickTime Pro, and features that make it easy to perform simple edits, transcode between file formats, and perform batch operations on multiple files at once.

Leopard Simplifies Sharing 

Glenn Fleishman on the nifty file-sharing improvements in Leopard. Per-folder file sharing — last seen on the Mac in Mac OS 9 — returns at last.

‘Unlimited’ Apparently Does Mean Unlimited 


New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that his office had beaten a $1 million “agreement” out of Verizon Wireless that will see the carrier compensate 13,000 customers it had summarily disconnected from their “unlimited” plans because they had taken the word to mean what it means.

(Thanks to Jory K. Prum.)

Motorola Exec Complains That Apple Won’t Open the iPhone 

Scroll down to the chart comparing customer satisfaction of all the top mobile phone makers — Apple comes in first at 82 percent, and RIM’s in second place way back at 51 percent. Jiminy. (Thanks to Chris Long.)

Scott McNulty on TaskPaper 1.0 

“TaskPaper’s strength is that it lets you focus on crossing out those tasks instead of building a self-referential web of unfinished business which separates you from the cold, harsh reality of all the work you need to do.”

CSSEdit 2.6 

Leopard compatibility update to MacRabbit’s amazing $30 CSS editor.

Nathan Brookwood, Here’s Your ‘I Told You So’ 

From a 2005 panel discussion on the future of Apple at (This was after Apple announced their switch to Intel processors, but before any Intel-based Macs had yet shipped.)

Nathan Brookwood: I’m confident that the forthcoming Mactel platforms will provide a great computing experience for those who choose to move from the PowerPC platforms, but I’m also confident that more users will have switched from Mac to Windows than from Windows to Mac when all is said and done.

John Gruber: I’m looking forward to I-told-you-so’ing you in about two years.

(Thanks to Steve Brokaw for the reminder.)

Time Machine Backups Are Not Bootable 

Speaking of backups and SuperDuper, here’s Shirt Pocket Software’s Dave Nanian on SuperDuper’s role in a post-Time Machine world:

Time Machine copies are not bootable until they’re restored.

In SuperDuper!, system recovery is done with a minimum of fuss and bother, and with respect for your time. Yes, Time Machine can restore a full system, but that’s not its strength. Doing so requires you to actually start up from the Leopard DVD (which you’ll need to have with you) and then take the time to restore the backup in full, which interrupts your workflow, requires a working, entirely separate destination device, and takes a lot of your time — at the exact moment when you can least afford it.

You can argue that, well, of course a guy from Shirt Pocket is going to argue that SuperDuper is still relevant. But he’s right. Time Machine does not create a bootable clone of your system, and in cases of catastrophic drive failure, a bootable clone is exactly the thing you need.

PSA: Backups 

JWZ on a super-simple backup strategy. I do the same thing, but with SuperDuper instead of rsync. Carbon Copy Cloner is another good choice. The basic gist is the same: buy two extra drives, use one to clone your entire boot drive daily, and use the other to clone it weekly or monthly and keep that one off-site.

Do Classic Applications Work With Mac OS X 10.5 or Intel-Based Macs? 


Apple Provided GM Leopard to Journalists a Week Ago 

From David Pogue’s New York Times Leopard review:

Otherwise, the only cause for pause is the usual minor set of 1.0 bugs, which Apple generally fixes with software updates after a major release. I pushed my system hard for a week using the final Leopard software, and encountered occasional glitches with Spaces, automated synching among Macs and switching programs. I also found a few programs and add-ons that will need updates to run in Leopard.

Maybe some of that software would have already been updated for Leopard compatibility if Apple had provided developers with the same access to the final version of 10.5.0 that they apparently saw fit to distribute to Pogue (and, presumably, other big-publication tech writers like Walt Mossberg and Steven Levy). Given that the GM version leaked onto Usenet and BitTorrent sites anyway, what the fuck was the point of not providing it to seeded ADC developers?

iPhone (Web) Dev Center 

“The iPhone Dev Center is your single source of information for designing, coding, and optimizing web applications for iPhone and iPod touch.”

Macworld: Picking Our Favorite Leopard Features 

Macworld editors pick their favorite — and least favorite — new features in Leopard.

Device Driver Updates Causing Vista to Deactivate 

This is exactly the sort of thing that makes me thankful that Mac OS X doesn’t use activation. (Via Justin Blanton.)

Video From Steve Jobs’s Introduction of the Original iPod Six Years Ago 

“But interestingly enough, in this whole new digital music revolution, there is no market leader.”

Apple Wireless Keyboard LED at 40X Magnification 

Steve Moore:

Ever wonder how the power LED shows through the aluminum of Apple’s new wireless keyboard when it’s on, but blends into the metal when it’s off? Here’s how.

Google Rejiggers PageRank Algorithm 

Kottke has a report on Google changing their PageRank algorithm, with speculation that the aim was to penalize sites that run text link ads and scads of cross-network promotional links, such as Weblogs Inc. sites like Engadget and TUAW. A reader sent Kottke this note:

Two weeks ago I lost 80% of my search traffic due to, I believe, using ads from Text-Link-Ads, which does not permit the “nofollow” attribute on link ads. That meant an overall drop of more than 44% of my total traffic. It also meant a 65%-95% drop in Google AdSense earnings per day and a loss of PageRank from 7 to 6.

I don’t run text link ads on DF, so, unsurprisingly, my PageRank is unchanged (7). But there must be something more going on here than a penalty for text links ads, because Aaron Swartz’s site still has a PageRank of 9, and he runs text links ads. dropped from 10 to 9, and they run neither text link ads nor cross-network promotional links.

Update: DF’s PageRank dropped from 7 to 5 at some point tonight, so I’m chalking it up to a rejiggering of the scale.

The User Experience Flip Mode 

Christopher Fahey on switching:

In 1896, a scientist named George M. Stratton, showing an ingenuity that must have seemed like madness at the time, conducted a fascinating experiment in visual perception with himself as the subject. He constructed a pair of goggles with special lenses that inverted his view of the world by 180 degrees, causing him to see everything upside down, as if he were standing on his head, continuously. He wore the goggles for many days, never once opening his eyes without wearing them (he would shower with his eyes closed, for example).

‘It’s Fun to Play With Stuff (or Why I’m Glad I Switched to the Mac)’ 

Ben Sargent is exactly the sort of nerd switcher I wrote about yesterday — the sort of guy who never would have considered a Mac 10 years ago, but who is now a steadfast Mac OS X convert:

For me, using a computer has only partially been about the tools that it provides. It’s also about playing. I love to install things, mess around with servers and settings, just to see if I can get it to work. It’s the same reason I bought a PSP — because it was hackable. I could make it do fun and interesting things. I could play with it, not just on it.

Right now, it’s the Mac that embodies this sense of play the best for me in the computer world.

Matt Neuburg: The Best (and Worst) of Leopard 

Matt Neuburg:

Quick Look and Cover Flow. Together, these offer file previews on steroids. They’re utterly silly (“waste cycles drawing trendy animated junk” was my first thought) until you need them, and then they are just terrific. Being able to flip through a bunch of music or photo files looking for the right one, right in the Finder without starting up any other application, is really great.

Merlin Mann on TaskPaper 1.0 

Merlin Mann:

The approach is similar to OmniFocus — but even more obsessively concerned with keeping the system focused solely on completing tasks (rather than grooming and feeding them for months while they grow long hair and learn how to drive a stick).

Transmission 0.9 

Updated version of the freeware BitTorrent client.


Nelson Minar:

TechCrunch has a strange habit of blogging things where the only source is off the record. [...] Anyone talking to media knows that telling a journalist something “off the record” means you’re telling them so they know it. It’s not going to stay secret. But it also clearly means that the comments aren’t to be used as a primary source.

I’ve noticed this too, but my assumption has been that Mike Arrington says “off the record” when he means “not for attribution”. If he really just turns around and publishes things he’s been told “off the record”, he’s a bigger doofus than I thought.

Why Enterprise Software Sucks 

Jason Fried:

The people who buy enterprise software aren’t the people who use enterprise software. That’s where the disconnect begins. And it pulls and pulls and pulls until the user experience is split from the buying experience so severely that the software vendors are building for the buyers, not the users. The experience takes a back seat to the feature list, future promises, and buzz words.

Agreed 100 percent. I think this applies to any product where the buyer isn’t the user, but I think the problem is especially acute with software.

Hidden Defaults Preference to Disable Glassy Leopard Dock, Even at Bottom 

So even if you’re a Dock-at-the-bottom person, you can get the non-goofy look.

Venn Diagram Comparing the Various PlayStation 3 Console Models 

Compare and contrast to the diagram for the Nintendo Wii:


Simple Answers to Stupid Questions 

Saul Hansell, writing about Apple’s success:

In that world, Apple has some choices to make: Will its iLife and iWork applications move onto the Web? More importantly, will it compete in the mass business PC market, where the C.I.O. of an insurance company buys desktops by the truckload?

No and no.

Panic + Leopard 

I suspect CandyBar 3 is going to be a big hit; it’s been lost amidst all the griping about the Leopard Dock, but the new Leopard folder icons are crummy.

As-You-Type Search Results on 

Not sure how many browsers they support, but at least with Safari 3 and Firefox 2, Apple’s web site search is now displaying live search results as you type. (Might be something that debuted with the recent redesign, but which I hadn’t noticed until now.)

Gmail Gets IMAP 

Huge news. This makes Gmail much more attractive to those using a desktop email client — or to anyone reading mail from an iPhone.

Mac Rumors: Mac OS X Leopard 9A581’s Dock Visual Tweaks 

How about that?

How Leopard Will Improve Your Security 

Rich Mogull details the security improvements in Leopard.

BusySync 1.0 


BusySync is a Mac OS X System Preference Pane that runs in the background and adds calendar sharing capabilities to iCal. Leveraging Apple Sync Services and Bonjour, calendar events created by one user are instantly published and synchronized with other iCal users on the network. Users can share and edit calendars, make changes on each others calendars, and everything is automatically synchronized between each user, on each Mac.

I think BusySync is a huge deal. Leopard’s new iCal sharing is very cool, but requires a dedicated server. For a household or very small business or partnership, BusySync’s server-less “just install it on your Mac” model is perfect.

Paul Rand Tribute Video 

“Don’t try to be original, just try to be good.”

The Map is About to Change 

Thanks to post-quarterly results after-hours trading, Apple is set to open tomorrow with a higher market cap than either IBM or Intel.

Taskpaper 1.0 

Hog Bay Software’s new deceptively simple $19 to-do/task manager; uses a plain text file format but includes support for tags and tabbed document windows. I’ve been using pre-release versions for a few weeks — definitely worth a look.

Hazel 2.1 

Leopard-compatibility release for Noodlesoft’s $22 automated file organizing/cleanup utility.

The Last Amateur: Calvert DeForest, 1921-2007 

Also by Ken Cancelosi, this wonderful remembrance of Calvert DeForest, the performer best known as Letterman foil Larry “Bud” Melman.


Ken Cancelosi on William Shatner and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan — without question the best Star Trek movie ever made. (Via Kottke.)

TUAW Liveblog Coverage of Apple’s Quarterly Analyst Call 

Interesting nugget: Apple estimates 250,000 (out of 1.3M total) iPhones were sold to unlockers.

My big question, which seems to have gone unasked (and unanswered during Apple’s prepared statement) is whether Apple is accounting for iPod Touch sales on a subscription basis, like they are with the iPhone. Apple has stated that they’re using subscription-based accounting for the iPhone so as to be able to provide new features to iPhone users in future software updates free of charge. If iPod Touches aren’t being accounted for similarly, I suspect they won’t be getting the same feature updates, or at least not for free.

Apple Reports Record-Shattering Fourth Quarter Results 


Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2007 fourth quarter ended September 29, 2007. The Company posted revenue of $6.22 billion and net quarterly profit of $904 million, or $1.01 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $4.84 billion and net quarterly profit of $542 million, or $.62 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. [...]

Apple shipped 2,164,000 Macintosh computers, representing 34 percent growth over the year-ago quarter and exceeding the previous quarterly record for Mac shipments by 400,000. The Company sold 10,200,000 iPods during the quarter, representing 17 percent growth over the year-ago quarter. Quarterly iPhone™ sales were 1,119,000, bringing cumulative fiscal 2007 sales to 1,389,000.

It’s all amazingly good news, but the stat of the day has to be that Apple sold 400,000 more Macs in the quarter than in any previous quarter ever — in the quarter immediately preceding a major new Mac OS X release, the sort of thing many people wait for before buying a new machine.

SubEthaEdit 3.0 

Secure networking for shared documents and an improved syntax coloring engine lead the way.

Brief John Markoff Interview With Steve Jobs 

Jobs talks to John Markoff in an interview for The Times:

The Apple development team worried constantly that the approach might fail during the years they were creating the iPhone, he said.

“We all had that Garry Trudeau cartoon that poked fun at the Newton in the back of our minds,” he said, citing Doonesbury comic strips that mocked an Apple handwriting-recognition system in 1993. “This thing had to work.”

Jobs also seems to suggest that 10.6 is going to be sooner than later:

“I’m quite pleased with the pace of new operating systems every 12 to 18 months for the foreseeable future,” he said. “We’ve put out major releases on the average of one a year, and it’s given us the ability to polish and polish and improve and improve.”

Indies Roll the Dice on Final Leopard 

Steven Frank:

I thought maybe it might receive more attention if you, the Mac OS X software-buying public, were aware of the situation. The third-party software that you’re paying for, depending on, and hoping to run on Leopard, we cannot test on the final release build until we can run down to the Apple Store and pick it up, hopefully at least a few minutes before you do.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the GM version of 10.5.0 definitely contains at least some significant differences from the last version seeded via ADC to developers. Anyone taking screenshots of the Dock on the side of the screen, for example, is going to have to retake them after installing the public release.

John C. Welch: The Things I Like Best About Leopard’s New Features 

Really good list of top new Leopard features.

The Firefox 3 Visual Refresh: System Integration 

Firefox 3 is going to look more like a Windows app on Vista and a Mac app on Mac OS X; love the parenthetical about Linux: “… we still aren’t sure what the best way to visually integrate with Linux is, given the number of different distributions.” (Via Mat Lu.)

Nikon D3 Field Impressions 

Nikon D3 first impressions from James Russell. It’s getting harder and harder to see the D3 as anything other than the best DSLR in the world. (Even if you’re not interested in reading about the camera, it’s worth scrolling through just to look at the gorgeous photographs by Russell that accompany the article.)

AP Reports That Comcast Is Blocking Some Filesharing Traffic 

Peter Svensson, reporting for The Associated Press:

Comcast Corp. actively interferes with attempts by some of its high-speed Internet subscribers to share files online, a move that runs counter to the tradition of treating all types of Net traffic equally.

Strange Bedfellows 

Cringely on the Apple-Google alliance everyone seems to think is inevitable, but which there’s little indication of yet.

FileMaker vs. Leopard 


We are currently working on Leopard compatibility updates for FileMaker Pro 9, FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced, FileMaker Server 9 and FileMaker Server 9 Advanced. At this time FileMaker does not recommend the use of FileMaker 9 products on computers running the Mac OS X Leopard.

Curious, given that FileMaker is an Apple subsidiary. Curious language, too, calling it “the Mac OS X Leopard”.

Update: According to FileMaker’s Tech Specs page, it’s a compatibility problem with Safari 3 (although I can only assume what they really mean is the version of WebKit that Safari 3 is based on), and Safari 3 is not optional on Leopard.

Mac Share Increases Seven Percent at Harvard 

35 percent of the freshmen class at Harvard are using Macs; 65 percent of all students surveyed own iPods. (Thanks to Daniel Carroll.)

What the Fuck: Why We Curse 

Great fucking essay by Steven Pinker in The New Republic.

WebKit Does HTML5 Client-Side Database Storage 

Surfin’ Safari:

The current working spec for the HTML5 standard has a lot of exciting features we would eventually like to implement in WebKit. One feature we felt was exciting enough to tackle now even though the spec is still in flux is client-side database storage.

This is huge news for web developers.

Glass vs. Hamid 

Today’s Layer Tennis match is a real humdinger. Great stuff.

About the Footnotes 

Speaking of that Unicode leftwards-arrow-with-hook glyph, here’s the 2005 article where I described my footnote markup style, and some subsequent criticism and discussion from others, most notably Joe Clark.

I Want My ‘↩’ 

I love that the glyph appears in the URL. Unicode nerdery at its best.

Google Booming 

Miguel Helft reporting for The Times on Google’s latest quarterly results:

The results show that Google is growing roughly twice as fast as the overall online advertising market, which itself is booming, and that it is expanding far more quickly than any large Internet company.

Mac OS X Leopard Guided Tour 

Apple’s video tour of what’s new in Leopard.

The Marble of Doom 

Aggregated tracker for time lost to Mac OS X’s Spinning Pizza of Death cursor.


My thanks to Bruji for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Bruji’s line-up of “Pedia” apps — DVDpedia, Bookpedia, CDpedia, and Gamepedia — let you easily catalog and track your DVDs, CDs, books, and video games. Each features a great UI, iSight barcode scanning, Spotlight integration, a full screen view and more. They’re running a promotion this week where each person who purchases an app is eligible to win a case of wine. (But so where’s the Winepedia app?)

Torre Turns Down Yankees Offer 

Tyler Kepner, reporting on The New York Times’s Bats weblog:

The Yankees offered Manager Joe Torre a one-year deal with a base salary of $5 million and the chance to make another $3 million in performance bonuses. But after 12 years and 12 postseason appearances (including four World Series titles), Torre turned it down. [...]

General Manager Brian Cashman said that Torre’s successor has not been named, nor have potential candidates been formally identified. “I can promise you that the process is going to take some time,” Cashman said. “I ask for everyone’s patience as we review the individuals and make recommendations to ownership.”

DragThing 5.9 

James Thomson:

You can now finally insert and rearrange items in your docks without needing to make space first. Just drag and drop to your heart’s content.

This might be my favorite new DragThing feature ever.

Memory Randomization (ASLR) Coming to Leopard 

Ryan Naraine: “Apple has announced plans to add code-scrambling diversity to Mac OS X Leopard, a move aimed at making the operating system more resilient to virus and worm attacks.”

Rands: The Gel Dilemma 

There are two types of people: People who like to talk about pens, and people I don’t like.

BusinessWeek Drops the Serifs 

More on the BusinessWeek redesign, from Armin Vit at Brand New.

iPhone SDK Is an iPod SDK, Too 

Fraser Speirs:

I’ll repeat that, in case you’re still not getting it: the most popular portable music device in the world, the one everyone has, the default choice, the cultural icon, the device which Apple sells millions of each quarter, the device which has previously been closed off to all but Capcom, EA and Nike now has an SDK.

Periscope 1.5 

Update to Freeverse’s excellent webcam software.

‘Just Let Me Say It’ 

Steven Berlin Johnson:

What we’re starting to see here (and of course in the anti-DRM letter from earlier this year) is a pretty significant shift in Jobs’ public relations strategy, in that he seems to have recognized that there are limits to secrecy.

Johnson wonders whether Apple planned all along to open up iPhone development eventually; I say yes.

Mac U.S. Market Share Is Up 

Gartner’s and IDC’s numbers don’t match, but both agree that Apple is now #3 in unit sales, behind only Dell and HP. (Apple will drop back to #4 after Acer’s acquisition of Gateway is complete.) But the most important thing to remember is that Apple isn’t really after raw market share; they don’t offer any bargain PCs. The entirety of Apple’s market share is in the middle and high end of the market. Also impressive is that Mac sales are growing this fast before the release of Leopard.

The number I’d love to see computed is profit share — what share of the total profit in the PC hardware business do these companies have. I suspect Apple might be #1.

Researcher Claims Swearing at Work Boosts Morale 

Thus explaining the extraordinarily high morale here at DF HQ. (Via Chris Long.)

Amazon U.K. Pre-Order Links for Leopard 

£80 for the single-user version, £120 for the family pack — and both offer free shipping. (Update: They just dropped the price on the family pack from £129 to £120.)

Worst iPhone Source of the Month 

Jacqui Cheng, two weeks ago:

Apple is working on solutions that will help developers get more face time on the iPhone, but there are currently no plans to offer a “true” iPhone SDK that would allow developers to create native apps, a source at Apple has told Ars. 

I strongly suspect her source was correct, however, that Apple is also working on significant improvements to MobileSafari’s web app capabilities, including offline storage.

More on the iPhone Ringer Switch 

Clever bit of design I hadn’t noticed: the iPhone screen does turn on to show a sound icon when you toggle the ringer switch with the screen off, but only if the screen has been off for more than one minute.

Unlocked iPhones to Be Sold in France 

Kevin J. O’Brien reporting for the International Herald Tribune:

The move, which ended a month of speculation, is a concession to a French law that forbids bundling the sale of a mobile phone and a mobile operator. Orange plans to sell both a version of the iPhone locked to its network in France for €399, or $560, and an unlocked version, which will cost more, an Orange spokeswoman, Béatrice Mandrine, said. Interview With David Lynch 

Pure DF fodder: topics include digital video vs. film, the Internet as a distribution medium, Stanley Kubrick, and the city of Philadelphia, which Lynch describes as “one of the sickest, most fear-ridden, corrupt, and twisted cities, which they call the City of Brotherly Love.” (Thanks to Mark Schrimsher.)

jQuery Crash Course 

Nathan Smith’s nifty introduction to the jQuery JavaScript library.

iToner 1.0.3 

Now works with iPhone OS 1.1.1.

The Absolute Poker Cheating Scandal 

The scary part is that the only reason the cheaters were caught is that (a) detailed logs were leaked (perhaps intentionally by a whistleblower); and (b) the cheaters were egregious — rather than using their knowledge of opposing players’ hole cards here and there, they played in a way that raised suspicion immediately.

Question of the Day 

Dave Dribin asks something I’ve been wondering about, too — especially since our Wii showed up at DF HQ yesterday.

Star Wars: A New Hope

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; synopsis. (Via John C. Welch.)

Leopard Wiki Server 

One of the biggest new features in Leopard Server, and one of the best web apps I’ve ever seen — and by far the best web app I’ve seen from Apple — including an amazing web-based WYSIWYG editor.

AAPL Closes at All-Time High 

For once there’s some correlation between a rise in Apple’s stock price and good news from the company. Wall Street sees platforms as lucrative.

Leopard iCal Server 

Doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of attention, at least not yet, but this is pretty big:

Using iCal Server, colleagues can propose and set up meetings, book conference rooms, and more, quickly and easily. iCal Server is a full-featured, standards-based calendaring solution designed to make your life easier.

This is Apple’s rival to Exchange for scheduling.

Deck Q4 

Jim Coudal: “If you have a product or service that could benefit by being in front of millions of creative, web and design professionals, give us a shout.”

Glenn Fleishman on Apple’s iPhone SDK Announcement 

Glenn Fleishman:

Jobs’s letter today was a bit in the tone of, “Hey, you kids, get off my lawn! We still have to get rid of the gophers, resod the grass, and finish the main house before we let you on it in a few months, you little...”

At the end, Glenn speculates about a possible “iPhone version of Leopard”, and assumes that the current iPhone OS is based on Tiger, but that’s misguided. iPhone OS X already contains technologies new to the Mac in Leopard. For example, the iPhone has LayerKit, which was an early name for the Cocoa framework now called Core Animation. (In Mac OS X 10.5, Core Animation is part of the QuartzCore umbrella framework, and there isn’t anything called “LayerKit”.) Better to think of Mac OS X and iPhone OS X as two sibling products derived from the same core technologies and frameworks than to think of iPhone OS X as a child of Mac OS X.

I’ll bet Glenn’s right, though, that there will be a signficant iPhone OS update before the SDK appears.

Metasploit: Cracking the iPhone (Part 2.1) 

Detailed information on how to exploit the iPhone OS X TIFF-processing vulnerability.

From the Archive: ‘iPhone SDK, iPhone SDK! Wherefore Art Thou iPhone SDK?’ 

Me, back on June 1:

Long-term, within the next two years, if not far sooner, I feel certain there will be various ways for developers to write iPhone software. [...] Downplaying the prospects for third-party app development in the meantime is a way of under-promising and over-delivering. By setting initial expectations that there might never be third-party software for iPhone, any future support for third-party apps will be treated as good news.

Pretty prescient, if I do say so.

Of course, I got a slew of messages from smart DF readers that my use of “wherefore” in the title was utterly wrong. (“Wherefore” means “why”, not “where”.)

The Unknown Leopard Features, and a Note Regarding Notes 

Good list of previously-unpromoted new features in Leopard from Gizmodo’s Jesus Diaz. Not sure where he got this one, though:

Mail’s Post-It-style notes synchronize automatically with the iPhone.

What Apple actually says is: “Your notes folder acts like an email mailbox, so you can retrieve notes from any Mac or PC or access them from your iPhone.” That’s not synching with the iPhone Notes app. What they mean is that notes created in Leopard Mail are stored, behind the scenes, as IMAP messages, and that you can read them in a way that makes them look exactly like regular emails in the iPhone Mail app. Apple has announced nothing yet regarding any connection between Leopard Mail notes and the iPhone Notes app.

The Other New BusinessWeek 

BusinessWeek deputy creative director David Sleight on the magazine’s print edition redesign. A strong design that emphasizes very clean typography.

Typographica: Grading the New Font ‘Features’ in Leopard 

Stephen Coles: “Let’s look a little closer at the features in the Fonts category and give them snarky grades based on their potential value.”

Stupid Headline of the Day 

Headline for Nick Wingfield’s Wall Street Journal story on Apple’s iPhone SDK announcement: “Apple Reverses Position on iPhone Software”. Wrong. Apple never stated there would never be a native SDK. Until today Apple hadn’t made a definitive statement regarding native third-party iPhone development. (Via John C. Welch.)

Update: At some point during the day, the Journal changed the headline to “Apple Eases iPhone-Applications Curb”.

Greenpeace Admits iPhone ‘Compliant’ With European Chemicals Rules 

Tony Smith:

Greenpeace’s write-up doesn’t once compare and contrast the iPhone’s use of hazardous substances with that of any other mobile phone from any other vendor.

That would have been useful: a document that, rather than whining about one vendor not moving as quickly on this issue as Greenpeace and others would like, shows consumers which handsets on the market contain the least quantities of hazardous chemicals.

Steve Jobs: Native iPhone SDK in February 

Steve Jobs on the Apple Hot News weblog (no permalink that I can find, alas):

Let me just say it: We want native third party applications on the iPhone, and we plan to have an SDK in developers’ hands in February.

Looks like Glenn Fleishman really did have the scoop last week.

Amazon Cuts Price on Leopard 

Amazon has cut the price of Leopard from $129 to $109, and the five-license family pack from $199 to $189. Still with free shipping.

Some iPhones Have Sound Icons on the Silent Switch 

Jeff Croft’s iPhone has a sound icon on the silent switch — just the sort of indication it needs, I think, to help keep people from thinking theirs is broken when it’s engaged and stops ringing. Croft (via email), told me he bought his back on June 29 in Lawrence, Kansas, so it’s not a recent addition.


This is why it’s a mistake, a huge mistake, to call copyright infringement and bootlegging “piracy”.

Apple Says iPhone Complies With Ecological Standards 

Sure, it would be nice if iPhones were made using no objectionable materials whatsoever, but yesterday’s Greenpeace announcement strikes me as sensational attention-grabbing bullshit. Their main gripe is that the earphone wiring contains a material that the city of San Francisco and EU have banned in “young children’s toys” — last I checked, the iPhone is not a young child’s toy.

The Cannonball Run 

Great story in Wired by Charles Graeber, on Alex Roy’s attempt to break the 22-year-old “totally illegal” record for driving from Manhattan to Santa Monica: an insane 32 hours, 7 minutes.

This License Key Rated R for Strong Coarse Language 

Rogue Amoeba’s Mike Ash, on application serial numbers that contain random profanity:

It turns out that one day in the not-too-distant future, our random number generator gets filthy. On that day, one out of every 128 licenses generated will start with the F-bomb.

Apple: Mac OS X Leopard has updated their Mac OS X section with highlights of what’s new in Leopard. Definitely worth checking out for the feature highlights — especially the “300+ New Features” list.

The Karelia iMedia Browser 


Do you like the media browser that Apple includes in some of its applications, but wish you could use it from any application? Now you can.

Looks like an outstanding contribution to the indie dev community.

Jobs Confirms iTunes Plus Price Drop to Wall Street Journal 

Still no word on whether upgrading old non-Plus tracks will cost additional money.

The iPhone Ringer Switch 

Dave Winer thought his iPhone was broken because it stopped ringing; ends up he had the ringer switch turned off. It’s easy to laugh at, but I think it’s actually a non-obvious design. There’s no icon or visual indication as to what that switch does. You do get a small jolt of vibration when it’s engaged, but that doesn’t naturally imply “silent mode” to me. (Update: Yes, there’s also an on-screen icon, but that only helps if you toggle it while the screen is on.)

It’s a great feature once you know about it, but it’s potentially dangerous if you don’t. Its intuitiveness is further hurt by the fact that most mobile phones don’t offer a switch like this, even though they should.

Correction From Robert Strohmeyer 

He really does seem chastened:

I deeply regret these errors, and I offer my sincere apologies to all of the readers of Networking Know-How and

TextExpander 2.0 

A bunch of new features to one of my favorite utilities, including snippet groups and snippet synching via .Mac, and AppleScript snippets that expand to the result of the script. Free upgrade for registers users, $30 for new licenses.

China Warns U.S. on Dalai Lama Trip 

The New York Times:

“We are furious,” [Tibet’s Communist Party boss, Zhang Qingli] said. “If the Dalai Lama can receive such an award, there must be no justice or good people in the world.”

Where by “no justice or good people”, Zhang means “justice and good people”.

Ars Technica: iTunes Plus DRM-Free Tracks Expanding, Dropping to 99 Cents 

Jacqui Cheng reports that Apple is set to announce indie music labels participating in iTunes Plus, and a price cut to $.99 for all iTunes Plus singles.

I’ve bought a few at $1.29; I’m calling my lawyer in the morning and plan to sue.

Zeppelin Catalog Coming to Online Music Stores 

One of only three bands I’ll hear an argument about as the greatest of all time.

The remastered The Song Remains the Same, which includes a slew of additional songs, looks like a must-buy.

Welcome to 2004 

From a Macworld reprint of an IDG News Service story by Robert McMillan on security exploits via URI protocol handlers:

Secunia ApS Chief Technology Officer Thomas Kristensen agreed that the URI protocol handler problems will probably turn up on Linux and Mac OS X. “There is absolutely a chance that similar issues could exist on those platforms,” he said.

Hello, there actually have been URI protocol handler vulnerabilities on Mac OS X. (More details here and here.) Are there more waiting to be discovered? Maybe. (Or, if you prefer, “absolutely maybe”.) But it’s not like this is a new vector for potential exploits on Mac OS X.

$0.99 iTunes Plus Tracks Appear on iTunes 

So is it (a) a mistake; (b) the first signs of a unilateral price drop to $0.99 for iTunes Plus; or (c) the introduction of variable single pricing?

Mac and Linux Support for BBC Online Video Soon? 


The BBC has also confirmed that users of Apple Mac and Linux machines will be able to use its TV catch-up service from the end of the year.

The broadcaster has signed a deal with Adobe to provide Flash video for the whole of the BBC’s video services, including a streaming version of its iPlayer.

Vanna White and Pat Sajak Discuss Fonts 

How can I not link to this?

Networking Know-Nothing 

PCWorld Business Center “Expert” weblogger Robert Strohmeyer, on why the iPhone isn’t suited for business:

For business users, an ideal phone should be able to do three things well: voice calls, messaging (including e-mail), file attachments, and web browsing.

That’s four things — and yet this might be the most accurate sentence in Strohmeyer’s piece.

At the same time, the iPhone lacks support for Microsoft Office file attachments, which means that, unlike the Blackberrys, Moto Qs, and Blackjacks you may have now, it can’t open a Word document or Excel spreadsheet at all.

Oh, really?

In addition to these major shortcomings, the iPhone currently offers no VPN support, so you can forget about giving your users secure access to internal network resources from the road.

Oh, really?? Why not just claim it doesn’t even make phone calls?


Byron Acohido, USA Today:

Google’s widely anticipated - and top secret - GPhone mobile phone project could trump Apple’s glitzy iPhone - by going low cost and low tech, tech analysts say.

A low-cost relatively low-tech “GPhone” may well be a smash hit, and a revolutionary product in the mobile phone market. But the only way it makes sense that it threatens the iPhone is if you believe there’s only room for one “it” phone. Apparently if any other phone on the market is successful, the iPhone is doomed.

‘Hello, My Name Is David Berlind and Thanks to These Glasses I Can See Into the Future’ 

Fake Steve on David Berlind’s 2004 prediction that desktop Linux spelled doom for Mac OS X:

Well, it’s been three years. I’m not sure what to say. Maybe we should wait another hundred years and see if his prediction comes true.

People Getting Punched Just Before Eating 

As my wife described it, this is exactly the sort of thing I find funny.

The Best of Technology Writing 2007 

Edited by Newsweek’s Steven Levy; includes a May 2006 piece by yours truly from DF: “Good Journalism”. It’s a nice anthology with slew of thoughtful essays, and it’s very handsomely typeset in Granjon.

SXSW 2007 Audio: The Design Aesthetic of the Indie Developer 

The audio has finally been posted from the panel I spoke on at SXSW back in March, with Shaun Inman, Nick Bradbury, and moderator Michael Lopp.

James Duncan Davidson: ‘More on the Best Deal in Photography’ 

James Duncan Davidson:

I think you can do very well with either the 35mm f/2 or the 50mm f/1.8 lenses. Either one will teach you vast amounts about photography that you won’t be able to get from a kit lens or any zoom that costs less than $1000. And, the sub-$100 50mm is the cheapest way to get there, if budget is a concern. If you want to learn with about the same field of view as the standard lens on a full-frame camera and have $250 to spend, consider the 35mm f/2 lens as an alternative. Either way, you’ll do just fine.

And for a bit more than the 35mm f/2, Canon also offers a 28mm f/1.8, which in addition to being a half stop faster, also has a USM motor. The only lenses I own for my Rebel are the 50mm f/1.8 and the 28mm f/1.8.

Fraser Speirs: ‘The Second Step in Photography’ 

Fraser Speirs:

By mounting a fixed lens, you remove one axis of fiddling - the focal length to use. To take this line of thought a step further, consider making heavy use of your camera’s Program mode. Then, all you have is your camera position and your sense of timing to play with. That’s really stripping photography back to its beating heart.

22nd Amendment 

Nice little video celebrating the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but I don’t get their “it’s a good thing because Bush can’t be elected to another term” angle. If it weren’t for the 22nd Amendment, Bush never would have been elected in the first place, because Bill Clinton would have cruised to a third term. We’d quite possibly be in the middle of his fourth term now. Bill Clinton left office with the highest approval rating of any president in recent history. And, even if the 22nd Amendment were repealed today and Bush was determined to run again, I don’t think he could win the Republican nomination, let alone win the general election. (Via Kottke.)

Front-Page Congratulations to Al Gore on 

“Al has put his heart and soul, and much of his life during the past several years, into alerting and educating us all on the climate crisis. We are bursting with pride for Al and this historic recognition of his global contributions.”

Primordial AppleScript and Plugins With Coda 

Read-only access via AppleScript is, indeed, primordial, but the plugin interface might prove pretty useful already.

Harrington vs. Anderson 

Halfway through and really enjoying today’s Layer Tennis match between Steven Harrington and Chuck Anderson.

WireTap Studio 1.0 

Ambrosia Software:

Using WireTap Studio, you can record the discrete audio output of any application, as well as all system audio, or record audio input from any microphone, line-in, or audio input hardware.

If you can hear it, WireTap Studio can record it.

$69 for a new license, $30 to upgrade or crossgrade from WireTap Pro or Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack Pro or Fission.

Flickr Group: “Quotation Mark” Abuse 

Flickr group for “documenting” the abuse of quotation marks.

Clay Shirky: Arrogance and Humility 

“Arrogance without humility is a recipe for high-concept irrelevance; humility without arrogance guarantees unending mediocrity.”

iMovie ’08 Library Compressor 

Freeware utility by Nik Friedman TeBockhorst that will translate DV-format video in your iMovie ’08 library to H.264 — saving significant disk space with relatively minimal loss of quality.

Al Gore and U.N. Panel Win Nobel Peace Prize for Climate Work 

Walter Gibbs, reporting for The New York Times:

The award immediately renewed calls from Mr. Gore’s supporters for him to run for president in 2008, joining an already crowded field of Democrats. Mr. Gore, who lost the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush, has said he is not interested in running but has not flatly rejected the notion.


My thanks to Mentat, a new web-based project and task tracker from Brain Murmurs, for sponsoring the DF RSS feed this week.

What I like best about Mentat is that in addition to letting you group tasks as projects, it lets you easily build a daily agenda of tasks from multiple projects — a very clean separation between storing everything you need to do, and presenting only what you want to do today. Mentat also has some useful features for team-based collaboration.

Best ways to learn more: the FAQ, the screencasts, and Brain Murmurs’s weblog.

Ze Frank: ‘A Social Network for Two’ 

Christ, do I miss Ze Frank’s The Show. (Via Andy Baio.)

Coda 1.0.4 

Update to Panic’s Apple Design Award-winning IDE for web developers. I wrote about Coda 1.0 back in April.

The Nifty Fifty 

Bill Bumgarner:

I have been wanting a new lens for a while (what SLR photographer — amateur or otherwise — doesn’t?) and had been eying up some serious pieces of glass.

After doing a bunch of research, I ended up with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens. Complete opposite end of the spectrum from the various L series bits of glass linked above. Instead of dropping $1,500 or even $5,000, it cost me all of $76.30.

I’ve said it before and will say it again: the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens is the best deal in photography. Everyone with an SLR should have one — even if you already own the $310 50mm f/1.4 (which is both technically and optically superior to the f/1.8), it’s worth buying the f/1.8 for $80 because it costs so little and weighs so much less. The f/1.4 weighs 290g; the f/1.8 weighs just 130g — the difference is very noticeable. (A Canon Rebel XT body with no attached lens weighs 485g.)

Nikon makes a very similar lens for just $110.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers YouTube Channel 

Includes a four-minute trailer for the documentary “Runnin’ Down a Dream”, directed by Peter Bogdonavich. Here’s a clip on “The Waiting”, including footage of Eddie Vedder singing it with The Heartbreakers. Pre-ordered; we’ll be watching here at DF headquarters the day it arrives.

Apple Web Apps Directory 

Apple-selected directory of MobileSafari-optimized web sites.

The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks 

One of the “funniest” weblogs I’ve ever seen. (Via John August (who, by the way, is writing and directing an episode of Heroes: Origins.)

Exploits of a Mom 

Best comic about SQL injection ever. (Via Kottke.)

Glenn Fleishman: Apple Nearing iPhone Third-Party Developer Announcement 

I’m with Brent Simmons, who wrote: “Normally I wouldn’t think much about a piece like this — but it’s by Glenn Fleishman and it’s published in TidBITS, so I am thinking that something might be happening.”

Pogue Reviews the Palm Centro 

David Pogue:

Palm hoped that by trimming the Treo’s size and price, it would create a totally different product, a new crossover phone for people who have never before owned phones with alphabet keys. (By Palm’s reckoning, that’s 95 percent of cellphone buyers.)

But here’s the funny thing: the strategy works.

Southwest Airlines Modifies Boarding Pass Policy 

The numbered boarding passes are a fair change, and should eliminate the silly lines at the gate. But it’s hard to believe a major airline produced something designed like this. It looks like the rules for a Girl Scouts troop.

New York Times Photo From Iraq 

If the photo accompanying this story doesn’t move you, you’re not hooked up right. Saw it on the front page of The Times while I was in line at Starbucks today, and couldn’t stop staring at it.

Engadget Report on iPhone/iPod Touch 1.1.1 Jailbreak Effort 

So there’s a buffer overflow in MobileSafari’s TIFF handling code that can be exploited to execute code with root privileges. And we’re supposed to treat this as good news? (Hint: it’s actually a security vulnerability.)

ZFS Hater Redux 

Drew Thaler with another interesting, informative volley in the ZFS debate.

Darth Vader Being a Jerk 

Scene from George Lucas’s upcoming “Even More Special Special Edition” cut of The Empire Strikes Back. (Thanks to Dan Benjamin, who claims Vader’s behavior reminds him of me.)

Confessions of a Twitter Convert 

Adam Engst:

I’m eating a hearty meal of crow (roasted, with garlic and rosemary) today, since I’m here to tell you how interesting and downright useful I’ve found Twitter to be since being turned onto it properly at the C4 conference in August. My initial reaction to Twitter was that it was utterly inane [...]

Around We Go 

Political commentary by way of Venn diagram. (Thanks to Steve Kalkwarf.)

iPhone Lawsuit Web Site 

The stock photos let you know just how serious they are.

Markdown in Nu 

Very cool work from Grayson Hansard — a port of Markdown to Nu. (He also ported SmartyPants.)

Catalog Choice 

Splendid idea: a non-profit, free service whose objective is to reduce the 19 billion paper catalogs that are produced and mailed annually to US consumers.

Yankees to Debate on Future of Torre 

Maybe they’re listening to me.

The Editing Pass 

Michael McCracken:

Once you get a piece of code to the point where you believe it works - it’s passing its tests - go back over it and edit it. That is, go back and edit it for clarity, flow, and style. Just as if it were an essay.

En Fuego 

Jimm Lasser: “My Mac burst into flames under my bed while I was asleep.”

Nine Inch Nails Goes Free Agent 

Trent Reznor announces that Nine Inch Nails is no longer under a recording contract with a label:

I have been under recording contracts for 18 years and have watched the business radically mutate from one thing to something inherently very different and it gives me great pleasure to be able to finally have a direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate.

(Via Scott Beale.)

Ever a Class Act, Yankees’ Torre Faces Final Curtain 

Sad column from Harvey Araton in The Times on the Yankees’ manager, Joe Torre, who, it’s expected, is going to be fired after the Yankees lost in the first round of the playoffs. (Perfect photo to accompany the column.)

The Yankees lost to the Indians because they were both out-hit and out-pitched. They were not out-managed. Before Torre took the helm, the last time the Yankees made it to the World Series was 1981, and the last time they won it was 1978. It says here that firing Torre is a mistake.

Spooky Stickers 

Very cool Halloween-themed freeware icon set from The Iconfactory, by David Lanham.

Michael Dell on Apple: ‘What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.’ 

I never get tired of laughing at this.

Microsoft System Center Ad 

“Designed for big.”

Mac Use at Princeton Quadruples in Four Years 

40 percent of Princeton students and faculty are using a Mac this year, up from just 10 percent four years ago. I think this “Mac use way up on college campuses” trend is hugely important for Apple. (Via Fake Steve.)

Google Buys Jaiku 

Google buys Helsinki-based Twitter archrival Jaiku. (Via Gary Vaynerchuk.)

Apple: More Than Eight Ringtones May Not Sync Using iTunes 

My guess is that it’s not a bug, but that no one at Apple expected anyone to be dumb enough to buy more than eight ringtones.

Proxi 1.5 

New version of Griffin’s interesting but sort-of-hard-to-explain macro/system monitoring utility. Check out the Proxi wiki for more info.

Yankees Datsun Bullpen Car 

It’s the pinstripes that make it. (Thanks to Rich Siegel.)

Ten Ways to Make More Humane Open Source Software 

Good analysis of open source software usability by Jono DiCarlo, but it fails to address what I see as the primary problem: finding ways to fund more humane open source software. Mozilla does it with Google affiliate ad revenue from the search bar.

AAPL: 167.89 

Apple stock is up four percent today. As I type this, Apple’s market cap is $146 billion; compare and contrast: Dell ($63 billion), HP ($134 billion), Intel ($149 billion), IBM ($160 billion), Google ($190 billion), Microsoft ($280 billion).

Lately, the correlation between AAPL stock run-ups and actual news regarding Apple is zero. Whereas most of the time there is any actual news — even news that strikes me as unambiguously good news for Apple — the stock goes down.

California Man Sues Apple Over iPhone ‘Bricking’ 

Timothy Smith must have read both of Moltz’s new books.

Michael Tsai on ZFS 

Michael Tsai:

ZFS isn’t ready to be the default Mac OS X filesystem today, but HFS+ is or soon will be a liability, and ZFS is perhaps the best candidate for its eventual replacement.

More From MacJournals on ZFS and Mac OS X 


Thaler knows his stuff, but in mistaking our disdain for ZFS rumors as “ZFS hate,” he minimizes the real and significant problems that this advanced file system would bring to today’s Macintosh computers. Of course, part of the problem is that the post is an abbreviated argument, not our entire case.

New York Times Report on Google Mobile Phone Project 

Interesting report by Miguel Helft on Google’s mobile phone plans:

While Google has built phone prototypes to test its software and show off its technology to manufacturers, the company is not likely to make the phones itself, according to analysts.

In short, Google is not creating a gadget to rival the iPhone, but rather creating software that will be an alternative to Windows Mobile from Microsoft and other operating systems, which are built into phones sold by many manufacturers. And unlike Microsoft, Google is not expected to charge phone makers a licensing fee for the software.

This sounds smart to me. And it shows why Google has become Microsoft’s first true archrival. Acquires Newsvine 

Congratulations to Mike Davidson and company. The lesson for other web start-ups is easy: Build something useful, interesting, and different.

Follow-Up on Rentzsch’s Anti-Caps-Lock Investigation 

Ends up the delay is built into the keyboard hardware, so it’s still there even if you remap the Caps Lock key to some other function, such as Control.

ChkTeX on Mac OS X 

Instructions and a BBEdit AppleScript from Ramón M. Figueroa-Centeno for using the ChkTeK syntax checker for LaTeX on Mac OS X.

New iPhone Ads 

Real people on the streets of New York talking about how they use their iPhones.

What Bugged Drew Thaler About MacJournals’s Post on ZFS 

Drew Thaler on the potential for ZFS to eventually become the default file system for Mac OS X:

The bizarre rants about ZFS wasting processor time and disk space. I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware that we were still using 30MHz machines with 1.44MB floppies. ZFS is great specifically because it takes two things that modern computers tend to have a surplus of — CPU time and hard disk space — and borrows a bit of it in the name of data integrity and ease of use. This tradeoff made very little sense in, say, 1992. But here in 2007 it’s brilliant.

The Vista Nerd Rage Feedback Loop 

Vista getting a bad rap in the nerd press? (I have no opinion on Vista because I haven’t used it, but I have noticed that I have yet to see any reports of security problems.)

Silicon Alley Insider: Supply and Demand Applies to Concert Tickets, But Not to iPhones 

Peter Kafka, at Silicon Alley Insider, claims the “obvious solution” to Hannah Montana ticket scalping — wherein $67 tickets are being re-sold for upwards of $250 — is to raise the initial selling prices of the tickets, so that the money die-hard fans are willing to pay goes to the artist and concert promoter, rather than to the scalper, and then to reduce the prices after the initial high-priced demand passes.

Good advice, I say. And, of course, it’s exactly what Apple did with the iPhone. Except Silicon Alley Insider didn’t see it that way with the iPhone, writing “To us, this move suggests the phone is not selling as well as Apple had hoped,” and “[The real issue] is Apple’s obvious misjudgment of the market for a flagship product.

Matchbox Collector’s Catalog, 1969 

Scans from a neato 1969 Matchbox catalog. (Via Scott Beale.)

‘Is It Time to Eighty-Six Those Ketel One Ads?’ 

I don’t get the complaints about these ads — they’re distinctive, they’re simple, and judging by Ketel One’s sales growth in the U.S., they’re working. (Via Steve Delahoyde.)

Bungie Spins Off From Microsoft 

Microsoft PR:

Microsoft Corp. today announced a plan for Bungie Studios, the developers of the “Halo” franchise, to embark on a path to become an independent company. Microsoft will retain an equity interest in Bungie, at the same time continuing its long-standing publishing agreement between Microsoft Game Studios and Bungie for the Microsoft-owned “Halo” intellectual property as well as other future properties developed by Bungie.

Translation: “We’re still good friends, and we remain committed to be good parents to our child Halo.”


Joel Spolsky on the difference between “Designed by Apple in California” and “Hello from Seattle”.

Layer Tennis: Neil Duerden vs. Mathew Star Thomas 

The match starts in a few moments; commentary this week by Debbie Millman.


My thanks to for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Fluther is a free social-networking Q&A site with an attractive design, a simple interface, and a well-done MobileSafari-optimized version.

MacJournals: ‘Correcting Editing Errors in AppleInsider’S ZFS Art’ 

“Due to space limitations, AppleInsider’s latest ZFS article was published with several missing phrases and explanations. As a service to the community, we are happy to fill in the gaps in the story as published.”

If Wishes Were iPhones, Then Beggars Would Call 

If I could figure out a way to agree with this piece by Mark Pilgrim more than 100 percent, I would, but 100 percent will have to do.

Why SpamSieve Doesn’t Bounce Spam Messages 

Michael Tsai:

Since bouncing doesn’t work, it would be a waste of your time and network resources to do it. Including such a feature in SpamSieve would fill out the feature checklist but give the false impression that the feature should be used.

(And another good tip for SpamSieve users here, regarding forged spams “from” your own address.)

TUAW Interview With the Pixelmator Team 

Saulius Dailide, in an interview with TUAW’s Mat Lu:

Also, Pixelmator made $60,000 the first day, and sales are still outstanding. So, our budget for future versions is not as ridiculous as it was before.

Accidental Caps Lock Defense 

Wolf Rentzsch:

Apple’s Caps Lock key has undocumented anti-jab protection.

‘Embedded Web Fonts Return. Uh-oh.’ 

Stephen Coles on the announcement of WebKit’s support for embedded TrueType fonts:

This reopens the legal can of worms that falls off the shelf every time we talk about font embedding. Good fonts cost money. Like most software, each user or CPU must be licensed to use commercial fonts. When you start talking about every visitor of a web page downloading fonts, well, you enter very sticky territory indeed.

The conundrum is that most of the fonts worth using can’t legally be shared as free downloads, and most of the fonts that are legally shareable aren’t worth using.

‘The Real Toy Story’ 

Those aforelinked Chinese toy factory photographs are the work of Michael Wolf, as part of a larger art project regarding Chinese-made toys. (Thanks to Ramanan Sivaranjan.)

Visualizing Fitts’s Law 

Kevin Hale’s terrific explanation — replete with well-designed, informative illustrations — of Fitts’s Law, one of the most important concepts in human-to-machine interface design. (Thanks to Jacob Rus.)

CARS Announces New Books 

Two new books from Crazy Apple Rumors Site author John Moltz.

WebKit Now Supports Downloadable Fonts 

Dave Hyatt:

WebKit now supports CSS @font-face rules. With font face rules you can specify downloadable custom fonts on your Web pages or alias one font to another. This article on A List Apart describes the feature in detail. All of the examples linked to in that article work in WebKit now.

Strong Words 

Verizon Wireless Chief Marketing Officer Mike Lanman, on the upcoming LG Voyager phone:

“We think it’ll be the best phone ... this year. It will kill the iPhone.”

Um, OK.

Photographs From Inside a Chinese Toy Factory 

Interesting, amusing, moving, and disturbing.

‘The Paradox of Choice’ 

Thanks to everyone who emailed to point out that the aforelinked “24 vs. 6 varieties of jam” study was popularized in Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice.

Mac Market Share Rising at Cornell University 

21 percent of the students in Cornell’s dorms are using Macs this year — which means 21 percent of them couldn’t use a Zune even if they wanted to. Most interesting is the trend:

So one way or another, Apple’s market share among Cornell students connecting to ResNet has increased from 5 percent in 2002 to 21 percent in 2007.

The Effects of Too Much Choice 

Interesting example from Intel’s Timothy Mattson regarding the dizzying array of languages currently in vogue for parallel programming:

They created two displays of gourmet jams. One display had 24 jars. The other had 6. Each display invited people to try the jams and offered them a discount coupon to buy the jam. They alternated these displays in a grocery store and tracked how many people passed the displays, how many people stopped and sampled the jams, and how many subsequently used the offered coupon to buy the jam.

The results were surprising.

  • 24 jar display: 60% of the people passing the display sampled the jam, 3% purchased jam.

  • 6 jar display: 40% of the people passing the display sampled the jam, 30% purchased jam.

(Via Daniel Pasco.)

Reversing Cause and Effect 

Keith Schacht:

You have to pursue greatness not success. Achieve greatness and success will follow.

(Via Rentzsch.)

‘Who Broke Up With Who Now?’ 

Good one from The Macalope, including this bit regarding ZDNet’s Larry Dignan’s suggestion that Apple should have offered iPhone early adopters a $250 credit:

But let the Macalope get this straight, Larry. You’re asking Apple to refund early adopters more than the price drop? That’s um, well, nuts is what that is. The Macalope didn’t think it was possible but you may have out-Enderled Rob Enderle. There’s a feather in your cap.

Avoiding the Silly Auth-Requiring Amazon MP3 Installer 

Bill Bumgarner:

Amazon decided to package the application into some installer app that requires authentication to install the downloader helper. But there doesn’t seem to be any reason why admin access is required for the downloader helper and, as such, all this is doing is creating an unnecessary barrier to entry.

Path Finder 4.8 

Another free update to Cocoatech’s Finder alternative that packs a ton of new features, including per-folder view settings.

TUAW Interview: Ambrosia’s Andrew Welch on the iPhone Update and iToner 

Andrew Welch, in an interview with TUAW’s Mat Lu:

“We’re not putting anything but data on the iPhone, and we’re doing it in the right way, and we’re putting it in the user area of the iPhone. Apple is intentionally making sure that products like ours don’t work. That I think is a mistake - it’s as if in an iPhone OS update, Apple decided that MP3s you got from ripping a CD should no longer play on your iPhone, and you should instead buy them from their store.”

Read the whole thing, Welch makes a slew of good points.

Gary Voth: ‘Why You Should Ditch That Zoom for a Classic 50mm “Normal” Lens’ 

Gary Voth on why your first camera lens should be a normal prime, rather than the cheap kit zoom most consumer SLRs ship with:

Creating such images is nearly impossible with “slow” zoom lenses, which are harder to focus and inadequate for use indoors without flash. Nor can they easily render backgrounds out of focus. In fact, the technical limitations of these lenses tend to lead to the kind of snapshots that the photographer presumably bought an SLR to avoid.

(Via Coudal.)

Kathy Griffin Talks About Woz on Larry King 

Larry King is under the impression that Woz “invented the podcast”. 

They look OK. The thick black border around the flash ones is chintzy, though. Interesting, too, that the new UI embraces the term “podcasting”.

Sony BMG Lawyer Claims That Ripping Your Own CDs Is Stealing 


Bungie Breaking Off From Microsoft? 

In response to inquiries, the official line from Microsoft’s PR firm is “There’s been no such announcement. We continue to celebrate the tremendous success of the global phenomenon that is Halo 3.”


As mentioned on this week’s episode of The Talk Show, the hilarious spoof trailer for Kubrick’s The Shining, cut by Robert Ryang. See also: the actual trailer for The Shining, my favorite trailer of all time.

More on David Foster Wallace’s Introduction for ‘The Best American Essays 2007’ 

The Amazon Bookstore Blog:

Are Best American Essay introductions eligible for next year’s Best American Essays?

See also: Dwight Garner at the NYT Paper Cuts blog, and Kottke.

Naz Hamid’s Weightshift Redesign 

Looks fantastic, but a small beef with the anchored-at-the-bottom masthead: you can’t just use Page Down to scroll the page, because you end up missing some of the lines of text that were covered by the fixed masthead.

Amazon Makes You Lie to Log Off 

The only way to log out of is to click the “If you’re not Your Name, click here” link. (Via Simon Willison.)

Apple Keyboard Media Key Event Handling 

Quentin Carnicelli on how developers can access events from the new Next, Previous, and Play/Pause keys on Apple keyboards.


New application launcher, invoked with a circular mouse gesture.

Jackass of the Week: Dongmei Li 

The Associated Press:

A New York woman is so angry at Apple Inc. for lopping $200 off the price of the iPhone that she’s filed a lawsuit seeking $1 million in damages.

PairLite: ‘Hosting for Hobbyists and Savvy Webmasters’ 

Low-priced web hosting from the ultra-reliable Pair.

Nintendo Will Not Meet Holiday Demand for Wii 

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fil-Aime: “I can’t guarantee that we’re going to meet demand. As a matter of fact, I can tell you on the record we won’t.”

What is wrong with Nintendo?

State of the iPhone 

Rainer Brockerhoff has, by far, the best technical explanation I’ve seen regarding why SIM-unlocked iPhones might be rendered inoperable by the iPhone 1.1.1 update, without assuming any sort of spiteful malfeasance on Apple’s part.

Insomnia Film Festival Tips 

Good suggestions from John August for any aspiring filmmakers considering Apple’s upcoming Insomnia Film Festival contest:

Go funny. While there will no doubt be one or two dramatic shorts in the finals, the winner will be funny.

David Foster Wallace’s Introduction to ‘The Best American Essays 2007’ 

Speaking of “The Best American” anthologies, David Foster Wallace edited the 2007 edition, and his introduction is, unsurprisingly, killer — an examination regarding just what the title of the book, The Best American Essays 2007, actually means, including wondering what exactly an “essay” is:

And yet Beard’s and Orozco’s pieces are so arresting and alive and good that they end up being salient even if one is working as a guest essay editor and sitting there reading a dozen Xeroxed pieces in a row before them and then another dozen in a row after them — essays on everything from memory and surfing and Esperanto to childhood and mortality and Wikipedia, on depression and translation and emptiness and James Brown, Mozart, prison, poker, trees, anorgasmia, color, homelessness, stalking, fellatio, ferns, fathers, grandmothers, falconry, grief, film comedy — a rate of consumption which tends to level everything out into an undifferentiated mass of high-quality description and trenchant reflection that becomes both numbing and euphoric, a kind of Total Noise that’s also the sound of our U.S. culture right now, a culture and volume of info and spin and rhetoric and context that I know I’m not alone in finding too much to even absorb, much less to try to make sense of or organize into any kind of triage of saliency or value.

That’s probably the best sentence I’ve read all year.

What Ails the Short Story 

Stephen King, editor of The Best American Short Stories 2007, on the state of short fiction:

I want the ancient pleasure that probably goes back to the cave: to be blown clean out of myself for a while, as violently as a fighter pilot who pushes the eject button in his F-111. I certainly don’t want some fraidy-cat’s writing school imitation of Faulkner, or some stream-of-consciousness about what Bob Dylan once called “the true meaning of a pear.”

eBay’s $4 Billion Lesson in the Value of Hype 

Saul Hansell:

Here’s a suggestion to every Internet executive: take a Post-It note, write “EBay wasted $3 billion on Skype” and stick it to your monitor.

Wall-E Update 

Kottke on the new trailer for Pixar’s upcoming Wall-E:

Does it make sense even if you don’t speak French? Yes, because the movie isn’t going to have any dialogue. Says director Andrew Stanton: “I’m basically making R2-D2: The Movie”.

I think it was Steven Spielberg who described R2-D2 as the most purely-cinematic character in movie history — everything we know about him comes through his beeps and minimal range of motion, and the other characters’ reactions.

Nokia Buys Navteq for $8.1 Billion 

Kevin J. O’Brien, reporting for The New York Times:

Nokia, the world’s biggest cellphone maker, said today that it had agreed to pay $8.1 billion for Navteq, the maker of digital mapping and navigational software based in Chicago, as it seeks to migrate satellite-based location services onto its range of phones.

The Bygone Bureau: ‘Rainbows’ Reveals a Brighter Tomorrow 

Interesting, if somewhat hyperbolic, piece by Nick Martens regarding Radiohead’s “pay what you think you should pay” online release of their new album.

iPhone: Context Over Consistency 

Jason Fried on the location of the new iTunes icon on the iPhone home screen.

‘Build Your Wings on the Way Down’ 

Annie Dillard: “If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be too cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”

Update: Seems like this quote might be from Ray Bradbury, not Annie Dillard. Can anyone find a precise citation for this?

Update 2: More sources pointing to Bradbury, including an interview with the Brown Daily Herald in 1995, but most aren’t in the exact same form as the above.

Pilot G-2 0.38mm Pens in Stock at 

Those ultra-fine Pilot G-2 gel pens I adore from They’re now stocked at, just $15 for a dozen.

Grid Layout JS 

JavaScript bookmarklet that toggles background guides on and off for use in developing grid-based web page layouts. Based on an idea by Jon Hicks.

Programming Nu 

Tim Burks’s new web site for Nu, his new programming language designed from the ground-up specifically for use as an Objective-C scripting language. (See my write-up regarding Burks’s excellent presentation about Nu at C4[1] a few weeks ago.)

DrawIt 3.0 

New version of Pieter Omvlee’s $49 drawing/illustration app. Looks interesting — the UI emphasis is on keeping everything in a single window. There’s a strong flavor of iWork-ness to the new version.

An Aperture User Looks at Adobe Lightroom 

Fraser Speirs:

For those who don’t care to read the minutiae, I’ll get to the point: In my opinion, Aperture vs. Lightroom is the same discussion as Canon vs. Nikon. Each has strengths and weaknesses, but it’s not a no-brainer decision either way.