Linked List: June 2008

Wal-Mart Logo Timeline 

They should totally go back to the one they used from 1964-1981. Dress everyone in the stores up in cowboy outfits and sheriff badges, the whole nine yards.

Brand New: Less Hyphen, More Burst for Walmart 

Armin Vit on Wal-Mart’s upcoming new logo:

The change to title case helps humanize Walmart with a name that reads more like John, Albert, Sarah or Wilbur; it really looks very different and sets a different tone. The wordmark is nice and friendly and has enough customization to feel more proprietary than out-of-the-box. The new icon, however, is very questionable. It reflects technology start-up or telecommunications company before it does discount retailing that will make anyone live better. Sure, it might represent a flower or a sun, but the execution is too modern and cold to be seen as a natural element.

Gallery of Sawn-In-Half Cameras 

Fascinating cross-sections of German cameras and lenses.

EveryBlock Philadelphia 

Outstanding: EveryBlock has expanded to two new cities, Charlotte and Philadelphia. More from Adrian Holovaty at the EveryBlock weblog.

Working With History in Bash 

Useful Bash tips from Allan Odgaard. There’s also some great stuff in the comments, including this gem from Pádraig Brady — I’ve always wished the arrow keys worked like that in Bash.

Development Phase Code Signing 

Daniel Jalkut explains the practical benefits of code signing.

Mac OS X 10.5.4 

Includes (among many other things) another useful Spaces improvement:

Addresses an issue in which switching from a space with a Finder window keeps the Finder as the active application instead of the application residing in the destination space.

This one, too, was apparently a very significant (read: “data loss”) bug:

Resolves an issue with saving and reopening Adobe Creative Suite 3 files on a remote server.

EA Veteran Starts iPhone-Focused Mobile Game Studio 

Neil Young in an interview with Gamasutra regarding his new mobile game publisher Ngmoco:

So if you think about what Apple’s doing with the App Store, they’re really turning mobile on its ear. They allow you to control the pricing yourself. They’re taking a distribution fee for distributing your software, but they’re really allowing users to choose what to put on their phone and how they want to enhance their device. And that is a fundamental shift.

It’s interesting that from the perspective of Mac OS X and the Mac software market, the iPhone seems very restrictive — but from the perspective of those used to dealing with the mobile phone market or Nintendo’s and Sony’s handhelds, it seems free.

Cornerstone 1.0 

New $59 Subversion client for Mac OS X, from Zennaware. At a glance, the UI details seem very thoughtful, including an optional widescreen layout. The file comparison tool can compare both text and images. Extra credit for debuting with a proper 1.0 version number, unlike Versions, which debuted as (and remains) a public beta.

It strikes me as an odd coincidence that two serious Subversion clients would debut at a time when many developers are starting to switch away from Subversion to distributed revision control systems such as Git and Mercurial.

George Carlin Would Have Enjoyed This One 

Steve Benen:

But the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow website takes the phenomenon one step further with its AP articles. The far-right fundamentalist group replaces the word “gay” in the articles with the word “homosexual.” I’m not entirely sure why, but it seems to make the AFA happy. The group is, after all, pretty far out there.

The problem, of course, is that “gay” does not always mean what the AFA wants it to mean. My friend Kyle reported this morning that sprinter Tyson Gay won the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials over the weekend. The AFA ran the story, but only after the auto-correct had “fixed” the article.


Sony CEO Howard Stringer:

“Apple is a marvellous company, but it is a boutique. We are a giant conglomerate.”

Update: As for just how giant, Sony’s current market cap is about $44 billion. The boutique’s market cap is about three times larger, at $149 billion. In terms of net income for the most recently reported financial year, Sony’s was $3.7 billion; Apple’s was $3.5 billion.

Avie Tevanian on Windows’s Architecture 

Randall Stross, for a piece in today’s Times advocating that Microsoft take the time and effort to re-architect Windows from the ground-up, asks Avie Tevanian’s opinion:

I asked Mr. Tevanian if he thought Microsoft could pull off a similar switch.

“Perhaps, but I don’t know if it has the intestinal fortitude,” he said, “At Apple, we had to. It was a matter of survival.”

That’s an astute point. For all the problems with Vista, Microsoft’s profits and revenues are just fine.

Amazon MP3 Special Deals Twitter Feed 

Some great deals — entire albums for just $1.99. (Thanks to Patrick Berry.)

Fuck You Rogers 

The name of the site pretty much says it all.

Verizon CEO Waiting for Jobs to ‘Get Old’ 

Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and CEO of Verizon, when asked about Apple in an interview with The Financial Times:

As handsets become banking tools and games controllers, he argues, mobile operators can up-end other companies’ business models. “It’s very cool. And Steve Jobs eventually will get old... I like our chances.”

What’s particularly odd about this remark is that Seidenberg is nine years older than Jobs.

Update: Here’s another interpretation of the same quote, where by “getting old”, Seidenberg perhaps meant it in the sense of falling out of favor with the public, like that “Who Let the Dogs Out” song or something. Best-of-breed user experience design and affordable high-quality hardware engineering are the next Cabbage Patch Dolls, perhaps.

Visual Thinking 

Douglas Coupland:

Here’s another question I was recently asked: when I see words in my mind, what font are they in? The answer: Helvetica. What font do you think in?


Neat open source project from Rogue Amoeba.

Jackass of the Week: Douglas McIntyre 

Douglas McIntyre:

Apple may eventually end up selling 20 million iPhones worldwide every year. It will be faced with the unpleasant reality that now bedevils firms like Motorola and Nokia. Sales volume is not any good as a substitute for a high yield on each product. Low margins have never been part of the Apple formula for success.

Apple hasn’t switched to low margins for the iPhone 3G. They’ve switched from taking a cut of the monthly service fees to an up-front subsidy from the carriers.


Stephen Colbert gives George Carlin “The Word”. (Via Laughing Squid.)

The Big Leagues 

Robert Palmer:

We mentioned yesterday a rumor that Apple won’t cut a check for iPhone application developers until the dev’s share of the sales tops $250. A lot of commenters were upset about this, if it’s true: TomWBrowning said “So if you make an app that costs $1 you won’t see a penny even if 359 people buy it?”

From the (indie) developer’s perspective, this stinks.

If you’re thinking in terms of a couple hundred dollars, your app probably isn’t even going to get listed in the App Store. The App Store isn’t going to be like VersionTracker or MacUpdate, where every piece of junk gets listed as it’s submitted.

An Event Apart 

My thanks to An Event Apart for again sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Their slogan pretty much sums it up: “The design conference for people who make web sites.” Upcoming events include San Francisco on August 18-19 and Chicago on October 13-14. I’ve attended twice, and they’re crackerjack shows. If you care about good design and standards-based web development, this is the conference.

Daring Fireball readers save $100 off registration using discount code “AEADARE”. Register during an early bird period period and save a total of $200.


This seems like a very accurate rule of thumb.

Rogers Announces iPhone Rates in Canada 

And — surprise, surprise — they suck. Stingy data limits and no unlimited data plan at any price.

Fake Steve on Palm 

Fake Steve:

Meanwhile Palm is getting inquiries from Chris Anderson of Wired who wants to do a big cover story on how “selling for less than cost” is the new future of business.

No Country for Raising Arizona 

Some similar shots from two very different Coen brothers movies. 

What a great idea:

Every week Apple offers a special 99 cent movie rental on iTunes. keeps track of the $0.99 iTunes Movie of Week for you. You can check the site or be notified automatically through RSS, Email, Twitter, or Dashboard Widget.


Dino Dai Zovi on Mac OS X Security 

Dino Dai Zovi, who a year ago won a MacBook Pro in an exploit contest at CanSecWest, on the security-related improvements he’d like to see in Snow Leopard.


Good looking, simple new Mint theme from Super Colossal.

Verizon’s LG Dare 

I love the jaunty angles at which the icons are set. And dig that “Settings & Tools” icon. Sad. $250 with two-year contract, but you can send in for a $50 rebate from Verizon.

iPhone SDK Beta 8, Etc. 

As of a few hours ago, registered iPhone developers now have access to beta 8 of the iPhone SDK, and MacRumors is reporting that, uh, there are some other things available tonight as well.

There’s also a new video available: the Publishing on the App Store session from WWDC this month.

Expression Engine vs. Textpattern 

Jon Hicks:

Once people got wind that I’d been trying out Expression Engine, I’ve been badgered with the question “Which one should I use: Textpattern or Expression Engine?”. This post is to try and answer that [...]

Wii’s Nintendo Channel Publishes Aggregate Game Usage Stats 

Stephen Totilo:

As of last Monday the Wii’s Nintendo Channel in the U.S. started spitting out usage stats for most Wii games. Anyone who opted in and let Nintendo snoop into their play history has been contributing to a public trove of great game usage data. And we can now use these numbers for speculation at cocktail parties and on our favorite forums. Nintendo may have just unleashed the best new tool for message board argument since the animated GIF.

Android’s Main Disadvantage 

Good overview of the problems facing devlopers hoping to treat “Android” as a unified platform:

Developers working on Android apps are put in a position where they need to guess and program for different physical UI scenarios (none of which actually exist in the wild, yet):

Does the target phone have physical buttons?
What is the button configuration?
Does it have a touch screen?
What about different resolutions?
What sensors do you code for? camera? accelerometer? proximity? touchpad?

Not to mention the performance of the CPU and GPU.

Ron Mueck: Hyper-Realist Sculptor 

Astonishingly realistic sculpture. (Thanks to my wife.)

iSuppli Again 

iSuppli, the “market intelligence” company I wrote about a year ago, has released another cost estimate for an Apple product they have never even touched, let alone opened to inspect the actual components. But somehow they know the iPhone 3G costs “about” $173 to make.

Open Questions for the App Store 

Many open questions, indeed.

Ken Case Responds to Matt Neuburg’s OmniFocus Review 

A very thoughtful, detailed response.

The Paper Version of the Web 

Sketches and paper prototypes from the designers of Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo, and more. I love looking at design work like this. (Via Andy Baio.)

T-Mobile Launches Motorola ROKR E8 

On sale in July for $199 with a two-year contract. Sad.

AppleInsider: ‘Apple Memo Coaches Employees on iPhone 3G Launch Questions’ 


Should a customer ask whether it’s true that iPhone 3G activation will have to take place in the store, then inquire about buying one without in-store activation, retail staffers should say: “I don’t have any details at this time about activation.”

Bill Gates on the iTunes Music Store (PDF) 

Another 2003 email from Bill Gates, this time about the then-just-launched iTunes Music Store:

Steve Jobs’s ability to focus in on a few things that count, get people who get user interface right and market things as revolutionary are amazing things.

This time somehow he has applied his talents in getting a better licensing deal than anyone else has gotten for music.

This one is less amusing but more interesting than the aforelinked Windows usability rant. What’s clear in this one is that Gates was smart enough to recognize immediately that Apple had struck a very good deal with the music labels, and that it put Microsoft in a bad spot. (Remember that at this time, iTunes was Mac-only; the Windows version didn’t appear for another six months.) His description of what happened, what Apple did, why this is bad for Microsoft, it’s all spot-on. But Gates doesn’t know what to do in response.

Five years later, the iTunes Store has sold five billion songs, and Microsoft still doesn’t have an answer.

2003 Bill Gates Email on Windows Usability 

Todd Bishop is republishing a few gems from the archive of Bill Gates’s email messages that were turned over during various lawsuits against Microsoft. Here’s one from 2003, where he excoriates the experience of downloading and installing Windows Movie Maker:

So I gave up and sent mail to Amir saying - where is this Moviemaker download? Does it exist?

So they told me that using the download page to download something was not something they anticipated.

His criticism of the experience is astute, but as Dan Benjamin remarks, at times it seems he’s downright unfamiliar with how Windows XP works.

‘The Website Is Down’ 

Funny movie with a clever presentation, by Josh Weinberg.

BusinessWeek: The 10 Commandments of Web Design 

My thanks to BusinessWeek for mentioning DF in its “10 Commandments of Web Design” (see #6, “Thou shalt worship at the altar of typography”).

Do What You’re Great At 

Good advice for Yahoo from Dave Pell.

How to Protect Yourself From the New Mac OS X Trojans 

Rich Mogull for TidBITS:

I almost avoided writing this story since I hate to add to the hype of low-risk threats like this. While I don’t doubt for a second that we’ll see serious Mac (and iPhone) security threats in the future, this one is pretty low on the list of things to worry about, especially if you don’t make a practice of downloading random software from unknown developers. But unlike many other Mac vulnerabilities, this one has already been weaponized and is starting to appear in the wild.

Brian Krebs on Trojan Toolkit Based on ARDagent Security Hole 

Leopard’s ARDagent — the background process that handles Apple Remote Desktop access — has a security hole, where it allows arbitrary AppleScripts to run as root, and, since AppleScript can execute shell scripts, arbitrary shell code to run as root too. Brian Krebs has uncovered proof-of-concept code that takes advantage of the hole.

Adam Engst on Firefox 3 

For Mac users, Firefox 3 seems to be a polarizing release. Some, like Andy Ihnatko, simply love it. Others, like Johan Sanneblad, can’t get past its “better than Firefox 2, but still ersatz” non-native UI. I fall somewhere in-between. Adam Engst seems to, too, and his seems like a balanced review.

New Round of Funding for Twitter 

Biz Stone:

We’re happy to announce two new members of our investment team: Bijan Sabet with Spark Capital in Boston and Jeff Bezos of Bezos Expeditions in Seattle.

WordPress 2.6 to Disable Remote Access by Default 

MarsEdit author Daniel Jalkut on the WordPress team’s decision to disable remote API access by default in the name of security:

Also worth considering: if a service is disabled by default for security considerations, what message does that send to people who choose to, or who are encouraged to turn the service back on? It sets up a perception of insecurity which may not even be warranted. If the remote publishing interfaces are insecure, they should be fixed, not merely disabled!

Jerry Seinfeld on George Carlin 

Jerry Seinfeld:

His performing voice, even laced with profanity, always sounded as if he were trying to amuse a child. It was like the naughtiest, most fun grown-up you ever met was reading you a bedtime story.

Om Malik on Nokia’s Symbian Acquisition 

I’m curious why he’s so bullish on LiMo.

Time to Kick GM Out of the Dow 

GM’s market value is just $7.5 billion, the lowest, by far, of any of the 30 companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. By comparison, Cisco’s market value is $145 billion and Apple’s is $153 billion — which means they’re each worth about 20 times more than GM.

Kerning and OpenType Features in Firefox 3 

Ralf Herrmann on the pros and cons of Firefox 3’s advanced typographic features. (Via Susan Everett.)

Nokia Buys Rest of Symbian, Will Make Code Open Source 

Mikael Ricknäs:

Nokia on Tuesday announced it plans to acquire all of Symbian, which develops an operating system for mobile phones. The Finnish phone giant currently owns about 48 percent and will pay €264 million ($410 million) for the rest.

Bob Dylan on Abraham Lincoln 

Ron Chester’s research tracing the “You can fool some of the people all of the time…” maxim to Abraham Lincoln. (Thanks to Rob Mientjes.)

Snow Leopard Photo Gallery 

Of the National Geographic variety. (Via Apple Hot News.)

George Carlin: Seven Words 

Probably my favorite Carlin bit ever.

George Carlin: Modern Man 

He still had it.

New Features in Snow Leopard 

Daniel Eran Dilger on some of the more significant changes in the WWDC seed of Snow Leopard. Interesting, but perhaps not surprising, is how much smaller (on disk) some of the standard apps are. Mail, for example, has shrunk from 287 to 91 MB. With the switch to solid-state drives, every megabyte once again counts.

Those iPhone Suckers 

The Macalope on the resale value of original iPhones.

WSJ Story on the Delay of Google’s Android Launch 

Jessica E. Vascellaro and Amol Sharma, reporting for The Wall Street Journal:

The Internet giant and more than 30 partners announced in November a bold plan for a new breed of handsets based on a suite of mobile software called Android. At the time, Google said it planned to have the new phones on the market by the second half of this year.

Google now says that the handsets won’t arrive until the fourth quarter. And some cellular carriers and makers of programs that work with Android are struggling to meet that schedule, people familiar with the situation say.

The problem with vaporware announcements is that what seems “close” to being launched often isn’t. Apple pre-announced the iPhone six months in advance, but at that time, they had the hardware specs nailed down and a credible version of the software up and running. Some of the iPhone apps weren’t implemented yet, but most were. And the iPhone team had to work its ass off to finish the remaining work to get them into stores on June 29.

We still haven’t seen an Android phone that’s as far along as the six-months-away-from-shipping iPhone that was unveiled at Macworld in January 2007.

Firefox 3 and iWeb Photo Galleries 

Joshua Ochs on the JavaScript conflict that causes iWeb-generated photo galleries not to display properly in Firefox 3 (including a workaround). (Via Charles Jade.)

The Most Unfair Thing About Life 

Adam Lisagor quotes a perfect bit from George Carlin.

Update: This page on Carlin’s official web site claims this bit is not his.

Original iPhones Holding Their Value 

Kottke reports that original iPhones are holding their resale value on eBay:

This week: you might actually break even or turn a small profit from selling your old iPhone on eBay or Craigslist. A quick search reveals that used & unlocked 8 GB iPhones are going for ~$400 and 16 GB for upwards of $500, with never-opened phones going for even more.

Firefox PDF Plugin for Mac OS X 

Free plugin for Firefox that “uses PDFKit to display PDFs in the browser.” Another one of my biggest complaints about Firefox vs. Safari is solved by a plugin.

George Carlin Dies at 71 

Shit piss fuck cunt cocksucker motherfucker and tits. One more word: hero.

Survey Claims 24 Percent of U.S. iPhone Owners Switched From a Razr 

If it’s even vaguely close to accurate, that’s a remarkable number. It might also explain Motorola’s precipitous decline.

Story of a Peanut: The TiVo Remote’s Untold Past, Present and Future 

Christopher Mascari interviews TiVo’s Paul Newby, the lead designer of their iconic remote control.

Greg Knauss on Mozilla’s Ersatz UI Chrome 

Greg Knauss in Suck over eight years ago, on the then-new Mozilla’s “skinnable” UI chrome:

Oh, sure, somebody will labor mightily to produce a skin that looks just like each native OS, and he or she might even come close to pulling it off. But close doesn’t mean much in a world where subtlety and nuance actually matter. Common, native controls exist for a reason, and that reason is not to serve as a model for crude simulations.

Just as apt today.


Fill-in-the-blanks Yahoo resignation letter generator.

How to Buy a Camera Lens 

An introduction to SLR lenses from Macworld’s Rick LePage.

The Psychology of iPhone 3G Pricing 

Michael Rosenwald in The Washington Post on the effect of the iPhone 3G’s $199 starting price.

Four Boxes 

At least the Republicans seem to actually believe this is good policy.

Andy Baio Interviews Alan Taylor, Creator of Boston Globe’s The Big Picture 

Terrific interview with the guy behind the best new weblog in ages, The Big Picture.

Brilliant Like a Fox 

Andy Ihnatko’s effusive Firefox 3 review for the Chicago Sun-Times.

MDIs on the Mac 

Lukas Mathis on the growing trend of Mac apps that allow multiple “documents” to be opened within a single window.

.Mac to MobileMe Transition FAQ 

Confirms that usernames will transfer over:

In addition to your email address, you will also get an address at with the same username when MobileMe is available. For example, if your current email is [email protected], you will get [email protected]. You can send from whichever address you choose.

Craig Hockenberry on the Jailbreak Market 

The iPhone jailbreak market might get squeezed from both sides: from the official iPhone SDK and App Store (on the side of UI polish and commercial opportunity); and from Android (on the side of openness and executing whatever code you want).

Apple’s MobileMe Drops Support for IE 6 

I missed this bit of news about MobileMe.

Lego Fun Snacks 

Gabe at Penny Arcade: “I would love to know what sick bastard at Kellogs came up with this genius idea.”

Dan Frommer on the Future of the Jailbreak Market 

Dan Frommer speculates on the future of the iPhone jailbreak app market. I didn’t mean to suggest that the official SDK/App Store would completely kill jailbreaking, but I do think it will relegate jailbreaking to obscurity.


My thanks to JNSoftware for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. They have a slew of apps and utilities for Mac OS X, including Dialectic, a phone dialer that integrates with Address Book and any sort of phone — landline, mobile, or VOIP.

Through July 31, 2008, Daring Fireball readers get 20 percent off the purchase of any JNSoftware product with the coupon code “DF20”. 

“The website dedicated to webfonts & @font-face embedding”; includes a list of fonts with licenses that allow for embedding. (Thanks to Joe Clark.)

Joshua Schachter Leaving Yahoo 

Leaving even before the long-awaited Delicious 2.0 ships.

The End of iPhone Unlocking? 

The Macalope, arguing with Todd Sullivan over whether the iPhone 3G is actually cheaper than the original iPhone, hits on a point that I think many others haven’t realized yet — that the unlocking phenomenon may be over. Sullivan wrote:

Also Mac[alope], what about the 1/4 to 1/3 of iPhones purchased that are eventually unlocked? Aren’t they stunningly cheaper, or are we just ignoring them because they do not fit our argument?

The Macalope replied:

Actually, those would be cheaper, obviously... if you can actually get out of the door with one without being tasered by AT&T’s jack-booted thugs. See, Todd, AT&T has wised up and will be forcing customers to activate their phones before leaving the store.

Got it? You won’t be able to leave the store without a contract. A two-year contract. One you must pay for. Contractually. For two years. With money.

In the short-term, the main effect of the original iPhone’s “activate it at home through iTunes” model was that you didn’t have to waste 15 or 30 minutes in a store waiting for your old number to transfer and new one to activate. In the long-term, though, the main effect is that it allowed people to buy iPhones with no intention of ever activating them on AT&T. This is apparently no longer the case with the iPhone 3G.

The big question is what AT&T’s contract cancellation fee is going to be.

Update: Apparently AT&T’s standard contract termination fee is $175; let’s see if the same applies to the iPhone. If it does, I don’t see how reports like this one, claiming AT&T is subsidizing $325 on every iPhone, make sense.

Matt Neuburg Reviews OmniFocus 

Matt Neuburg:

Indeed, OmniFocus is the best GTD implementation I’ve ever used. Nonetheless, I do not yet recommend it for general use, because, in my opinion, problems with the interface would actually prevent most users from freely accessing and manipulating their data.

Maybe it’s because I’ve never read anything about the official Getting Things Done system and simply tried using OmniFocus to (lowercase) get things done, but I found it to be difficult to understand. Neuburg’s complaints help me put my finger on what I don’t like about it. Don’t miss his screencast addenda to the article, regarding the UI details of the app. In fact, the screencasts might even be better than the article.

Man Gets Windows Vista to Work With Printer 

Not a fake headline. (Via Jacqui Cheng.)

A Curious Case of Serial Typesetting 

In anticipation of David Fincher’s upcoming film, Jonathan McNicol is serializing the eleven chapters of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in nicely typeset PDF format. (Via Kottke.)

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: The Abridged Script 

Rod Hilton’s hilarious (but spoiler-laden) mockery of the new Indiana Jones film. (Via Andy Baio.)

Video From Google I/O Sessions Now Available 

Just three weeks after the end of the conference — pretty good.

Bill Bumgarner: ‘What Is Good Tequila?’ 

Bill Bumgarner on tequila. Bookmark immediately.


Derek Powazek’s latest project:

MagCloud enables you to publish your own magazines. All you have to do is upload a PDF and we’ll take care of the rest: printing, mailing, subscription management, and more.

More from Derek here.


Steven Berlin Johnson on Radar, the new “what’s going on near me?” feature at

The list of cool things you can do with Radar is long, but I think the basic premise is pretty simple and intuitive. Tell us where you are, and Radar shows you what’s happening around you, at increasing levels of zoom: the 1000-foot scale, the neighborhood scale, the city scale, and “Everywhere Else” in the U.S.

On Software Bundles 

Noodlesoft’s Paul Kim on his experience selling Hazel through the MacUpdate software bundle.

MLB readies $5 At Bat iPhone App 

Jason Snell:

According to Gould, the MLB At Bat application will be available as soon as the App Store launches and will cost $4.99 “for the rest of this season.”


Macworld Podcast: iPhone Developers Roundtable 

Macworld editorial honcho Jason Snell interviews Brent Simmons, Craig Hockenberry, and Greg Titus regarding iPhone app development.

The Talk Show, Episode 22 

“I’m very sensitive about my hands.”

Stewart Butterfield’s Resignation Letter to Yahoo 

I love it.

In Ten Years Time, Will Apple Be the New Microsoft — an Abusive Monopoly? 

Ian Betteridge raises a good point regarding Apple’s absolute control over what will be distributed through the iPhone App Store:

While Apple has a relatively low market share and there’s plenty of choice of platform, the control that Apple has over the third party application market really doesn’t matter. If a really cool application appears that Apple refuses to sanction, its developers can just up-sticks and move to S60, or Java, or (if they’re nuts) Windows Mobile and reach an equally large audience.

But what happens if Apple’s market share grows to the point where it has a monopoly — 70-, 80- or even 90% market share? That might take ten years, but it’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility, and it’s certainly something that Apple would like to have.

I agree that the current App Store model simply wouldn’t scale — at least legally — to that sort of market share. But I think (a) it’s the sort of problem that’s good to have; and (b) I question whether the handheld market will ever settle around one monopoly software platform the way desktop PCs did.

Celtics Rout Lakers for 17th NBA Title 

I was going to mention how simple basketball can be (give and go, pick and roll); I was going to ask whether any player has ever been so overrated as Kobe Bryant (nothing but fadeaway jumpers when his team needed him most); I was going to point out how beautifully economical Ray Allen’s game is; I was going to give credit to Danny Ainge, whose 1989 trade to Sacramento heralded the end of the last great Celtics team; and, of course, I was going to link to Kottke’s prediction. But instead I’ll just quote Kevin Garnett, hugging 11-time champion Bill Russell at courtside a few moments after the game ended: “I hope we made you proud.”

Stacking the Odds 

Jack Shedd on Mozilla’s Firefox-vs.-Safari comparison:

The sad fact is, in most ways, WebKit/Safari is the superior browser. And it damn well better be. Apple caused a huge ruckus when it chose to use the kHTML engine as Safari’s starting point instead of Gecko. The long run has proven their decision was correct. They’ve managed to build a faster, more compliant-browser with fewer programmers and less glitz than the Firefox team.

The New UI Wars 


Many reasons have been floated for why Flash isn’t a good match for the iPhone: it’s slow, it hogs CPU cycles, it drains the battery, it crashes too often, it’s not optimized for Mac OS X and so on. As obvious as these reasons may be, even if all those technical issues could be solved tomorrow, there would still remain a huge divide between Adobe and Apple on the iPhone: who controls the UI?

Firefox vs. Safari 

Screenshot of Mozilla’s Firefox 3 site, with their comparison against Safari. Apparently if you view this same URL from a Windows machine, you get a comparison against Internet Explorer. Sean Sperte has an even longer list.

Mike Arrington: Flickr Co-Founders Join Mass Exodus From Yahoo 

Mike Arrington reports that Flickr co-founders Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield are leaving Yahoo.

New York Mets Fire Manager Willie Randolph 

They canned him in the middle of the night, 3 a.m. ET. Way to keep it classy, Mets.

Macworld’s iPhone 3G FAQ 

Includes not just the known knowns, but also the known unknowns (like, say, what the “improved audio” Steve Jobs mentioned actually means).

Indiana Jones and the Fonts on the Maps 

Mark Simonson on the typography of the Indiana Jones movie series. (Via Kottke.)

2008 PMC Software Auctions 

Seth Dillingham is looking for indie software developers to donate licenses to be auctioned to raise money for cancer research:

All proceeds will be donated to the Pan-Mass Challenge, and in turn to the Jimmy Fund, for the research and treatment of cancer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The Pan-Mass Challenge is one of the most efficient charities in the world (over 99% of all rider-raised funds are passed through directly to the Jimmy Fund).

He did the same thing last year and raised over $5,000.

Firefox 3: ‘Failed to Open Page’ 

So today’s supposed to be the big day for Firefox 3 — the official release, and a much-publicized but idiotic attempt to break the “world record” for downloads in a 24-hour period. Their web servers have been offline for hours. Update: You can track their progress here.

iPhone Atlas on Flash Performance on Mobile Processors 

The funny part is that when I loaded this page on my Mac, I was presented with one of the most obnoxious Flash-based web ads I’ve ever seen: an ad for Verizon FiOS that, about 10 seconds after the page loaded, “set fire” to the paragraph of text I was reading. The iPhone’s lack of Flash is a feature.

Good Thing Mossberg Didn’t Hold His Breath 

Good time to recall Walt Mossberg’s “scoop” regarding Flash support for the iPhone, from 11 months ago:

Apple says it plans to add that plug-in through an early software update, which I am guessing will occur within the next couple of months.

Good Luck With That, Adobe 

The web’s abuzz regarding this nugget from Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen during their quarterly finance call yesterday, after being asked about the state of Flash for the iPhone:

“We have a version that’s working on the emulation. This is still on the computer and you know, we have to continue to move it from a test environment onto the device and continue to make it work. So we are pleased with the internal progress that we’ve made to date.”

So, (a) according to Narayen, it’s only running in the simulator (which is x86, not ARM, and a lot of things that run OK in the simulator run slowly on actual iPhones); and (b) they still have no solution to the problem of getting Flash content to display in MobileSafari. MobileSafari has no third-party plug-in API. It isn’t going to happen. The best Adobe can do is provide a standalone Flash player app for the iPhone, along the lines of Apple’s standalone QuickTime player.

‘If I’m Not Having a Good Time Working on It, There’s Something Wrong.’ 

Speaking of Field Tested Books, they made a nice little documentary about John Solimine, the designer and printer of this year’s FTB poster.

The Free iPhone 3G on O2 

Nice total-cost-of-ownership analysis for the iPhone 3G in the U.K. with O2.

The Infinite Loop 

Ken Aspeslagh on WWDC:

You can separate the OS X feature engineering work done by Apple into two categories. There’s the features that are exciting to the typical Mac user, and then there’s the features that are only exciting to software developers. When Apple says that they’re “hitting the pause button on new features”, they’re talking about that first category of features.

Iris 1.0 

Nolobe’s $79 one-window image editor finally hits 1.0.

Al Gore Endorses Obama 

Al Gore:

Over the next four years, we are going to face many difficult challenges — including bringing our troops home from Iraq, fixing our economy, and solving the climate crisis. Barack Obama is clearly the candidate best able to solve these problems and bring change to America.

Coudal Partners’ Field Tested Books 2008 

Jim Coudal, introducing this year’s edition of Field Tested Books:

We hope you’ll find inspiration while browsing the online or printed collections. We certainly have. It’s been said many times that “books take you places.” It only seems right to return the favor.

This year, for the first time, you buy a collection of these pieces in a physical book. Also, there’s a new piece from yours truly.

Steve Weller’s WWDC Photos 

Great set of photos, including a slew from Tuesday’s CocoaHeads indie developer confab at the Apple Store in San Francisco.

Weight Loss as a Long-Term Effect of the Whipple Procedure 

Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt on the long-term effects of the Whipple procedure, the complicated surgery Steve Jobs had in 2004 to remove a tumor from his pancreas:

Along with the digestive problems, patients often lose 5% to 10% of their body weight after the procedure. Weight stabilizes within the first year or two for the vast majority of patients, says Dr. Dilip Parekh, chief of tumor and endocrine surgery at the University of Southern California, who has performed more than 100 Whipple procedures. “There is a small group of people who tend to have persistent problems with weight loss and loss of energy and you often you are not able to pinpoint why,” he says. “But if they stay active and manage their nutrition well, there is no reason for them not to live a normal life.”

Photos From WWDC 2008 

A selection of photos I took last week at WWDC.

A Remarkable Photo From Tornado Country 


Lessons From My Father: The Outlaw 

Juan Thompson on his father, Hunter S. Thompson.

Why Me? 

Adam Lisagor on Apple’s new MobileMe brand:

With the MobileMe unveiling (and that of its complementary domain, it’s looking like a shift is afoot for Apple—a shift that may be every bit as significant as the shift from PowerPC to the Intel processor, but a shift in ideology whose signs may be found in the simple grammatical switch from subject (I) to object (me).

Firefox 3 UI Details 

Johan Sanneblad on the nitty gritty details of Firefox 3’s ersatz Mac OS X UI.

iPhone 3G Price Comparison 

Gizmodo has a nice two-year total cost comparison listing the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, and other smartphones from AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint.

Celtics 97, Lakers 91 

Blowing a 24-point lead is going to be pretty hard to live down. I love it.

Paul Kafasis on Apple’s iPhone Beta SDK Approval Process 

I heard several similar complaints from other developers this week.

Dan Lyons Leaving Forbes for Newsweek 

He owns the rights to Fake Steve, and will take it with him.

iPhone 3G Trivia 

Glenn Fleishman’s hands-on report regarding the iPhone 3G.

The Enkoder for Mac OS X Is Back, Too 

More email obfuscating goodness.


My thanks to MacHeist for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. They’ve got a 14-app bundle on sale now for just $49, including software like TextExpander, VectorDesigner, WriteRoom, and more. And, as a special offer just for Daring Fireball readers, Flying Meat’s VoodooPad. The deal runs through the end of the day Friday.

The Leica M8 on Assignment 

A positive review of the Leica M8 as a photojournalism tool, by Bruno Stevens.

LogicielMac: Snow Leopard Seed Drops PowerPC Support 

French Mac site LogicielMac reproduces the system requirements from the Snow Leopard seed developers got at WWDC this week. (Via MacRumors.)

Hockenberry Is the Man 

Newly-minted ADA winner Craig Hockenberry:

There’s no denying the physical beauty of the award or the cool prizes that accompany it. But in this “day after” the thing that I’m finding most rewarding is the outpouring of support and congratulations. The six weeks of eating, sleeping, and breathing [REDACTED] preceded by months of digging through class-dump and respondsToSelector output was far from easy: but it’s all worth it.

Apple Design Awards 

The iPhone winners were impressive. Both of the iPhone web app winners really look like native apps; Pangea’s Enigmo game looks addictive as hell; AOL Radio is impressive (be interesting to see what that one does to your battery, though); OmniFocus looks better and more useful than their Mac version; and, of course, Twitterrific got the biggest crowd reaction of all.

I may or may not have gotten to send a tweet from Twitterrific on an iPhone 3G last night, but if I did, it was pretty damn slick.

Jeremy Zawodny Leaves Yahoo 

Last one out, turn off the lights.

ITC Franklin 

New revision of Franklin Gothic, by David Berlow. Big selection of weights and widths.

Leica M8 Field Test, Iraq 

Photojournalist Michael Kamber’s detailed and rather scathing review of the Leica M8:

My first disappointment with the M8 occurred the first time I put a lens on it. The 28mm focal length is my most commonly used optic, as it is for many photojournalists. Taking into account the 1.33 multiplication factor of the M8, a 21mm lens will give an approximately 28mm equivalent field of view. It would be logical therefore for the Leitz 21mm lens (six-bit coded ASPH, $4,000) to trip the 28mm frame lines in the M8 finder. It does not. Instead it activates a frame line equivalent to approximately 35mm.

I was told, “Well you just use the whole finder — it’s approximate.” It seems unreasonable that for $10,000 I have to guess at the composition or use an external viewfinder. The M6 and M7 had an accurate 28mm frameline; the M8 does not.

It gets worse from there. Really disappointing low-light performance, for example.

AT&T Memo on iPhone 3G 

Boy Genius Report has an AT&T memo regarding their iPhone 3G policies. Here’s an interesting bit on activation, which suggests that it might be possible to do most of it at home:

The new 3G device will be activated in store in both AT&T and Apple stores.  Customers must accept AT&T and Apple Ts & Cs, sign a 2-year agreement, and select the data plan for the iPhone 3G before leaving the store.  The current iTunes activation process will no longer be required for iPhone 3Gs, however a short tether process to unbrick the 3G device will be performed in all AT&T stores (tether cords will be provided).  Apple stores will also perform this tether process, however in the event that a customer’s device is not tethered in the Apple store, their device will be inoperable until they get home and tether through iTunes.  Prepaid and Pick Your Plan will not be allowed on the 3G device.

Contract-Free iPhone 3G Price in Italy: €499 

Vodafone Italia:

The 3G iPhone will be available to both contract customers, based on particularly simple price plans, and to pay-as-you-go users, and will include a wide range of data offerings. By choosing a contract price plan, such as iPhone Vodafone Facile, it will be possible, for example, to have an Apple phone at a particularly attractive price. People preferring a pre-pay plan for private users can buy the 8Gb iPhone for €499 or the 16GB model for €569.

€499 is around $775 today.

Safari 4 Preview 

Alex Brooks has info on Safari 4, a developer preview of which Apple is distributing here at WWDC. Most of the new stuff is in WebKit (and, thus, in WebKit nightlies) but there are a few new browser features, including a “Save this page as a standalone web app” thing that pretty much obviates Fluid.

Maybe You Will Be Able to Activate an iPhone 3G From Home? 

Scott McNulty on a Reuters report that AT&T will somehow impose “penalties” on iPhone owners who don’t activate their phone within 30 days — which suggests that you won’t have to activate them in the store at the time of purchase.

Ars’s Preview of Mobile NetNewsWire 

Looks cool.

Snowed Out 

John Siracusa on Snow Leopard.

The Hivelogic Enkoder Form Is Back 

Update your bookmarks.

Ballad of a Thin Man 

Nick Wingfield from The Wall Street Journal:

Apple’s iPhone 3G got most of the headlines on Monday after the product was announced at an Apple technical conference in San Francisco. But blogs and other Internet news sites also took note of a gaunt-looking Steve Jobs. [...]

In response to a question about his health Tuesday, an Apple spokeswoman said Jobs was hit with a “common bug” in recent weeks but he still felt it was important to participate in the Apple conference. The spokeswoman said he’s now on the mend with the aid of antibiotics.

He does look thin, but I don’t think he’s any thinner than he was a year ago. Yesterday’s Drudge Report link did have people talking here at WWDC, though.

O2 Pricing for the iPhone 3G in the U.K. 

With higher-level monthly plans, the iPhone 3G is “free” in the U.K.:

Best of all, the new 8GB iPhone won’t cost you a penny on our £45 and £75 tariffs. And it’s just £99 on our £35 tariff and new £30 tariff.

All tariffs include unlimited browsing on your iPhone, unlimited Wi-Fi access, visual voicemail and reduced roaming rates with our International Traveller Service and are subject to a minimum term contract of 18 months.

Changing the Entire Phone Market 

Mike Davidson:

This sounds overly simplistic, but I really do think Apple just split the mobile world into two choices: settle for a free phone or buy an iPhone. There just aren’t many reasons to do anything else.


From Apple’s Snow Leopard page:

Snow Leopard dramatically reduces the footprint of Mac OS X, making it even more efficient for users, and giving them back valuable hard drive space for their music and photos.

Subtraction: Investing Strategies for iPhone Customers 

Interesting graphs, and a clever punchline.

Cheaper, Eh? 

The $199 starting price is a huge deal, but, given that data plans have gone up $10 per month, we’ll be paying $240 more over two years for a phone that costs $200 less. Update: And it might be $15 per month more, not $10, given Ralph de la Vega’s comment to Om Malik that SMS messages will no longer be included in the base plan.

Apple PR Overview of Snow Leopard 

They say “no new features”, but what they really mean is no new user-visible features. Grand Central Dispatch (a new and very intriguing approach to multi-core parallel programming, and which includes an extension to the C programming language) and OpenCL (which lets apps offload certain expensive computations to the GPU) are, obviously, features.

No word in the PR about PowerPC support, but if you’ve been following along here at DF, you know the current score on that. But that Apple has said nothing publicly on this point suggests that a decision hasn’t been made yet.

WWDC Keynote Video 

If you haven’t watched it yet, you should at least watch the third-party app demos, just to get a feel for what’s possible. Scott Forstall’s explanation of the Push Notification Service was great, too.

Om Malik Interviews AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega 

Smart interview with Ralph de la Vega:

Before this device you weren’t really untethered, but with this you are. I think people have tried to build a $100 laptop, and here is a $200 phone that can do all that over 3G. It will have a big impact, and will be ubiquitous.

The Downside of Subsidies: In-Store Activation 


We just talked to AT&T’s President of National Distribution Glenn Lurie, who gave us all the pricing and activation details for the iPhone 3G, which won’t be getting special treatment anymore. It will be using all AT&T’s standard voice and data plans, which means $30 for unlimited 3G data for consumers, $45 for business users on top of voice. Also, no in-home activation for iPhone 3G — it will have to be activated in store (at AT&T or Apple Store), which takes 10-12 minutes, meaning that first day line is going to SUCK.

So, the data plan goes up $10 a month if you want 3G, and you have to activate the phone in the store, because the $199 price is subsidized. Bad news if you want to buy an iPhone 3G on day one, and worse news if you want to buy one to unlock for use on another carrier.


Pretty interesting to compare Apple’s take on mobile web app UI design to Google’s. The push data demos Schiller gave during the keynote were impressive.

App Store Promotional Page 

No demos of the App Store in action during the keynote, but Apple has a new promo page for it, including Twitterrific.

Twitter Keynote Coverage 

Twitter is up (hats off to them) and the Wi-Fi is on here in the keynote hall, so I’m cracking jokes there.

DTrace Improved in 10.5.3 

Remember the kerfluffle back when Leopard shipped regarding how DTrace worked with “untraceable” processes? Fixed in 10.5.3, although probably not to the satisfaction of political hard-liners.

New York Times Profiles Shigeru Miyamoto 

You could never settle an argument about the best-ever novelist or film director, but Miyamoto seems almost unanimously regarded as the best-ever video game designer.

An Interview With 280 North on Objective-J and Cappuccino 

Ajaxian has an (audio) interview with the team at 280 North regarding (a) Objective-J, their Objective-C-like superset of JavaScript, and (b) Cappuccino, their Cocoa-inspired web app framework.

The Talk Show, Ep. 21 

WWDC prelude show. Even though we just recorded it yesterday, I already suspect Dan and I are wrong about whether Apple will release new displays.

CrunchGear Claims to Have Leaked Promotional Shots of 2nd-Generation iPhones 

Different from previous purported leaks; these show black and red, but no white, and no glossy plastic. The buttons in the UI screenshot for video iChat don’t look right to me, though, among other things. Any leaked images purported to be marketing material should generally be regarded as fake by default.

What’s Most Important 

Michael Gartenberg:

There’s certainly been a lot of speculation about what Apple will or will not announce on Monday when Steve Jobs takes the stage at their Worldwide Developers Conference. (There’s also this event going on next week but I don’t think anyone has noticed). Whether there’s a new iPhone (that perhaps supports 3G) is interesting but not what’s important. The real important news next week is news we already know. The iPod and iPhone have now become a software platform.

I think the onstage demos of third-party iPhone apps (perhaps particularly games) are going to blow people away.

Apple Launches Official Keynote Podcast 

New podcast feed with video from previous Apple announcement events, and, presumably, Monday’s WWDC keynote at some point.

The Quest for Perfect iPhone Earbuds 

Derek Powazek:

Yeah, I love my iPhone. I use it more than any other gadget. So a good pair of earbuds is critical. And you can’t use just any pair because the on-cord clicker/mic makes the device so much better.

I’ve spent way too much money trying different ones, but the perfect pair still eludes me. Here’s my take on the ones I’ve tried so far, in order of cheapest to most expensive.

I’ve stuck with the Apple ones. I don’t think they sound particularly great, but I’ve never liked the sound of any earbud (as opposed to full headphones), so I just can’t see spending $100 or more on replacements. This is a good survey of what’s out there, though.

Ben Charny, Flash Expert 

Remember Ben Charny, the Wall Street Journal reporter who back in February wrote this ill-informed story regarding the iPhone and Adobe’s Flash? He’s got another doozy:

Just how will Apple meet expectations? Using the patent application as a guide, Apple appears to be making room on the iPhone for flash memory, which means an end to Apple’s standoff with Adobe that’s kept iPhones from easily viewing a plethora of Internet videos.

Apple has said that Adobe’s flash media player, which is on hundreds of other phones, doesn’t perform up to Apple’s standards for the iPhone.

So flash memory means support for Adobe Flash. Brilliant.

Update: Perhaps this flash memory will also allow for low-light flash photography with the iPhone’s camera?

The Clone Thing 

The “let’s jump to a big conclusion” interpretation of the new “Mac”-less “OS X Leopard” banners hanging in Moscone for WWDC is that it might signal Apple’s return to third-party OS licensing. I.e. that Macs are Apple’s computers, and “OS X Leopard” might run on computers other than Macs.

A fun theory, but I don’t believe it for a second.

The Machine That Changed the World: The Paperback Computer 

Andy Baio is posting The Machine That Changed the World, an extensive hours-long 1992 documentary on the history of computing. Part three covers the development of the personal computer and the graphical user interface. Includes 1991 interviews with Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Larry Tesler, and more.


My thanks to Sebastiaan de With and IconResource for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. IconResource offers a series of videos explaining and demonstrating professional icon design, both theory and techniques. The videos are available in HD QuickTime as well as iPhone-ready versions, and you get an assortment of Photoshop project files. If you’ve wanted to learn more about icon design, IconResource is a great way to start. Regular price is €95, but DF readers save €15 using this link.

Future Photoshop UI Changes 

Adobe’s John Nack on the new UI idioms in the upcoming Photoshop CS4.

Web-Based Clone of Keynote From 280 North 

Chris Heilmann:

The most amazing thing about this is happening under the hood: the developer wrote a library that abstracts browser rendering engines using Canvas, SVG and Flash (on a per-need basis) into a unified language, Objective J, which is — as the name suggests — a mapping from Objective C to JavaScript.

(Thanks to Joe Clark.)

‘OS X iPhone’ and ‘OS X Leopard’ Banners at Moscone West 

Looks like Apple is unifying the names of its OS variants, too. “OS X Leopard” drops the “Mac”, which I don’t recall ever seeing in promotional material from Apple before. And “OS X iPhone” is different from the “iPhone OS” name they were using back in March at the SDK/IT roadmap event.

Bruce Schneier: Are Photographers Really a Threat? 

“Movie threats” pretty much nails it.

37signals Affiliate Program 

Jason Fried:

We’ve found the recurring revenue model to be a great fit for our business. Customers pay us every month to use our products. We felt it was fitting that anyone who referred a customer our way should also earn a piece of that recurring revenue. So that’s what we’ve done.

Great idea, and great reporting tools. As usual, the sign-up process is super simple. You can make me rich by signing up for accounts using these links: Backpack, Highrise, Basecamp.

Bodog Sportsbook Taking Wagers on WWDC Rumors 

Real betting for real money, but there’s a limit of $50. Even if insiders attempted to put a bundle down in multiple $50 bets spread over many accounts, the odds would change before they got a chance to put much down. Via Jason O’Grady, who has a succinct explanation of how these type of betting odds work, and also has some comparisons showing how the odds have changed in the last few days.

John Siracusa’s 2008 WWDC Keynote Bingo 

Always fun, and the design this time is truly inspired.

10.5.3 Fixes DNS Problems Plaguing Some Leopard Users 

Craig Hunter has the scoop on a little-publicized fix to the way Leopard initiates DNS lookups.

How the Web Was Won 

To commemorate the 50th anniversay of ARPA, Vanity Fair “set out to do something that has never been done: to compile an oral history, speaking with scores of people involved in every stage of the Internet’s development, from the 1950s onward.” Here’s Bob Metcalfe on his first demo of Arpanet to AT&T executives in 1972:

Imagine a bearded grad student being handed a dozen AT&T executives, all in pin-striped suits and quite a bit older and cooler. And I’m giving them a tour. And when I say a tour, they’re standing behind me while I’m typing on one of these terminals. I’m traveling around the Arpanet showing them: Ooh, look. You can do this. And I’m in U.C.L.A. in Los Angeles now. And now I’m in San Francisco. And now I’m in Chicago. And now I’m in Cambridge, Massachusetts — isn’t this cool? And as I’m giving my demo, the damned thing crashed.

And I turned around to look at these 10, 12 AT&T suits, and they were all laughing. And it was in that moment that AT&T became my bête noire, because I realized in that moment that these sons of bitches were rooting against me.

U.K. and Canadian iTunes Stores Get Movies 

Rentals are for 48 hours (as opposed to 24 here in the U.S.) for both stores.

Time Machine Kernel Panic Backing Up to Time Capsule 

Earlier this week, my MacBook Pro kernel panicked three times in six hours. It had never kernel panicked even once before. All three log files (which are written to /Library/Logs/PanicReporter/) implicated “backupd”, which is Time Machine, and which I was using to back up to Time Capsule. Turning off Time Machine made the panics stop.

Ends up my friend Nat had the exact same problem last month. The same thing that worked for him worked for me: using Disk Utility to repair the sparse disk image on the Time Capsule containing the backups for my machine. This is a nasty, nasty bug, though — most users would be screwed, because they’d never even figure out that the culprit is Time Machine, so they’d keep getting panics when, after restarting, Time Machine next starts a backup.

How Do Neurosurgeons Use Cell Phones? 

Not held against their ears.

Gary Krakow Says Apple Needs to License BlackBerry or Windows Mobile 

Hard to believe this isn’t a joke.

(Fake Steve is wrong about Krakow’s employer, though — he hasn’t worked for MSNBC for a few months, and is now employed by

‘Pure Cocoa’ 

Jacqui Cheng’s report on the Snow Leopard rumors suggests, in the headline, that it “may be pure Cocoa”, and in the article:

Something else that may happen is that Apple may eventually wrap everything in Cocoa—things that are currently only Carbon accessible will be no longer. This (which is reportedly not yet in stone) should make many Objective-C programmers happy, although those who are married to Carbon may get a bit bristly at the news. (Note: There may be some disagreement here as to what exactly “Cocoa-only” means, so take that into account when thinking about this. For example, Apple may only axe Carbon UI stuff.)

The “pure Cocoa” stuff is about additional Cocoa wrappers for APIs that currently are only available in Carbon (and/or at the BSD level) — more stuff that developers can do using Objective-C APIs. It is not about dropping Carbon from the OS, which would make no sense. It’s a message for developers, not a description of Snow Leopard.

Versions – New Mac Subversion Client 

Public beta release of the very slick-looking desktop Subversion client for Mac OS X, with the noble but bold goal of making Subversion version control understandable to non-developers. Includes integration with Beanstalk for free SVN hosting — a great idea for solving the problem where you can’t use a Subversion client without having a repository yet.


The artist behind WebKit’s SquirrelFish logo.

AppleScript Is Broken in Firefox 3 

Speaking of AppleScript, Luis de la Rosa reports that it’s broken in the current “release candidate” of Firefox 3.

The AppleScript English-Likeness Monster 

From the DF archives:

The idea was, and I suppose still is, that AppleScript’s English-like facade frees you from worrying about computer-science-y jargon like classes and objects and properties and commands, and allows you to just say what you mean and have it just work.

But saying what you mean, in English, almost never “just works” and compiles successfully as AppleScript, and so to be productive you still have to understand all of the ways that AppleScript actually works. But this is difficult, because the language syntax is optimized for English-likeness, rather than being optimized for making it clear just what the fuck is actually going on.

AppleScript, as a programming language, is a noble but failed experiment.

Apple’s Script 

Daniel Jalkut looks at the rapid, significant progress Apple is making with JavaScript (w/r/t WebKit’s new SquirrelFish engine) and makes a good suggestion: that Apple replace AppleScript with JavaScript as the default system-wide application scripting language:

It sounds like I just said “Apple should kill AppleScript,” but I didn’t. You see, the Open Scripting Architecture, on which AppleScript runs, is designed from the start to support multiple languages. Think of the “Open Scripting” part of the system as the part that lets a script tell another application to do something. The specific scripting language you use to accomplish the rest is really of no concern whatsoever. Two languages, such as JavaScript and AppleScript, can easily live side by side.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. Or maybe even make a clean break and scrap OSA and introduce a new system.

Apple Still Using Framemaker in Classic 

A year ago, Michael Tsai pointed out that the metadata in some Apple-produced PDFs indicated they were produced using Framemaker on a Mac. Framemaker 6, the final Mac version, only runs in Classic. But Classic, of course, is dead — it has never worked on Intel-based Macs, and was dropped in Leopard even for PowerPC.

DF reader Cory Johnson emailed to point out that Apple’s new Leopard Security Configuration book, released yesterday, was produced in Framemaker 6.0, too. As Tsai wrote last year:

Apple is apparently using some old software and hardware to document its newest product. I totally understand; FrameMaker 6 is a great piece of software, and there’s nothing like it for Mac OS X.

Don’t Talk to Him Before He’s Had His Coffee 

Maybe he uses a straw?

Sweet Decay 

Rands on notebooks:

I don’t need lines on a notebook. I needed lines in 3rd grade when I was learning how to write. I’m good now, thanks.

‘But That’s All’ 

From a ComputerWorld story titled “iPhones Trickle Into the Enterprise”:

“I have nothing against iPhone. It’s great,” says Manjit Singh, CIO at Chiquita Brands International Inc. “But we’re a BlackBerry shop, and I don’t think iPhone brings anything new to the table. It has a great user experience, but that’s all.”

Best corporate IT quote ever.


Geoffrey Garen from Apple’s WebKit team drops a pre-WWDC bombshell:

WebKit’s core JavaScript engine just got a new interpreter, code-named SquirrelFish.

SquirrelFish is fast—much faster than WebKit’s previous interpreter. Check out the numbers. On the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, SquirrelFish is 1.6 times faster than WebKit’s previous interpreter.

Great news all around, but could be particularly important on the iPhone, where JavaScript performance is most noticeable. Christ, I hope they have T-shirts at WWDC with that logo.

Scaring People With Flash’s ‘fullScreen’ 

Devilishly clever; this would fool most people. And as Simon Willison points out, “This opens up opportunities for cunning phishing attacks that simulate the chrome of the entire operating system.”

The Ache 

Trish Deitch, who worked for Sydney Pollack as a story editor:

Finding the spine of a story like “Out of Africa” was important to Sydney for many reasons, the most important of which was that it led to what he called “the ache.” The ache is self-explanatory if you’ve seen Sydney’s films. It is the ache of having one chance at deep love in a lifetime of shallow loves, and losing it too early. It is the ache of perfect, private union destroyed by terrible, worldly circumstance. For Sydney, the ache was about the way that the things we hold most dear always elude us.

(Via Michael Sippey.)

Gigabyte M704 

New “ultra-mobile PC” hardware. I love the way some marketing genius noticed the gap in the keyboard and decided to fill it all in with ugly decals.

Macworld: Writing Tools We Use 

Interesting video from Macworld editorial director Jason Snell on the various writing tools in use at Macworld, including Google Docs and SubEthaEdit for live collaboration.

Cultured Code Hints at iPhone Version of Things 

Dig those prototypes — a big part of iPhone app design is the physical size of the screen and the elements on it. But it’s worth noting that they still haven’t gotten the Mac version of Things to 1.0 yet.

Leopard Security Configuration (PDF) 

240-page PDF book from Apple, filled with security configuration information for Leopard. (Via Ernest Prabhakar.)

Bo Diddley With Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 

Live at The Fillmore in San Francisco a few years ago.

Bo Diddley Dies at 79 


Guitarist George Thorogood, a Diddley disciple, put it more bluntly.

“[Chuck Berry’s] ‘Maybellene’ is a country song sped up,” Thorogood told Rolling Stone in 2005. “‘Johnny B. Goode’ is blues sped up. But you listen to ‘Bo Diddley,’ and you say, ‘What in the Jesus is that?’”

Keyboard Shortcut Consistency 

John Nack on the dilemma faced by Adobe regarding shortcuts like Command-H in Photoshop: Photoshop has been using Command-H for “Hide Selection” since the early ’90s, but starting with Mac OS X 10.0, Apple established the same shortcut as the system-wide standard for hiding the current application. Stick with tradition and the app feels broken to new users (who expect Command-H to mean hide); switch and you break the habits of loyal long-time users.

Bare Bones solved this problem perfectly with BBEdit, which traditionally used Command-H for the Search → Find Selected Text command. What they did is intercept Command-H the first time you used it on Mac OS X, and presented a dialog box that asked which of the two commands you wanted to use that shortcut for. A one-time interruption, everyone is happy.

Don’t Touch 

Cognitive Daily conducted a 900-person survey asking people whether they allow friends to examine and play with their new gadget purchases, and if so, for how long. The results show a significant difference between Windows users (who are more likely to allow their new stuff to be played with) and Mac and Linux users (who are more likely to be stingy with their gadgets).

They miss the obvious explanation for the discrepancy: Mac and Linux users are a self-selecting group of people who tend to care about their computers. There are many Windows users who care about their computers, too (and I suspect those Windows users gave answers to the survey that were similar to those from Mac and Linux users), but most people who don’t care deeply about their computers use Windows.

Twitter Team Answers Architecture Questions 

Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone from Twitter show ten times more grace than I would in answering several “Do you still beat your wife?”-style questions from Mike Arrington.

Apple Files for .me Domains 

New top-level domain (ostensibly from Montenegro). Apple has filed for “”, “”, “”, and, I presume, others. These domains are open for anyone to register starting June 6, but the actual .me top-level domain doesn’t go live until July 17. I think it’s merely a coincidence that this TLD is going live right around the same time that it appears Apple is set to launch a service called Mobile Me.

Programme Director/Curator, Stanley Kubrick Archive 

Interesting job opening at the University of the Arts London:

Working closely with the Manager of the archive, your duties will include organising a bi-annual Stanley Kubrick programme, arranging the curation of regular exhibitions and leading cross-university research and academic programming. Everything will be geared towards maximising the potential of the archives and inspiring further generations of film makers.

(Thanks to Benjamin Miller.)


Trailer for the documentary Gonzo, “a probing look into the uncanny life of national treasure and gonzo journalism inventor Dr. Hunter S. Thompson”, with appearances from Johnny Depp, Pat Buchanan, and Jimmy Carter.

NYT on the Success of the Disney/Pixar Merger 

Brooks Barnes on Disney and Pixar:

“Cars” tells the story. The film was regarded by some critics as one of Pixar’s weaker storytelling efforts, and it generated soft foreign sales when compared with hits like “Finding Nemo.” But “Cars” has pumped billions in profit into Disney via a wide range of ancillary businesses.

The film racked up over $460 million in global ticket sales and has sold 27 million DVDs. Related retail products have generated $5 billion in sales. A “Cars” virtual world is opening on the Internet, a “Cars” ice-skating show will begin touring the nation in September, and work is under way to bring an entire “Cars” experience to the Disneyland Resort in California.


Outstanding “what you see is what you mean” Markdown editor written in JavaScript. Best way to compose Markdown-formatted text in a browser textarea field I’ve seen, by far:

You can add WMD to any textarea with one line of code. Add live preview with one line more. There’s nothing to install on the server, and WMD works in nearly all modern browsers.

Update: Freely downloadable now, and author John Fraser is working on an open source release coming soon.