Apple iPhone


  • an iPod
  • an internet communicator
  • technically, a Mac!
  • not a tablet computer by any other name
  • a brand new something
  • something that finally makes me happy to be a cingular customer
  • misunderstood by status-quo-er’s
  • underestimated by provider-focused doofuses like Bill & Bill
  • a device whose negative hype apes the original iPod’s
  • something I must have. omg omg omg omg

Ok, it’s a phone, too. GoB knows how much restructuring Cingular had to do behind the scenes to allow the phone to send email and talk at the same time, to permit random-access voicemail and whatever else lurks beneath the sweet, sweet bonnet of this baby.

Funny thing is, it won’t replace any of the iPods I use, but I may listen to music more often. It will replace the totally crap phone I had to spend $300 on because stupid-ass Cingular doesn’t actually offer any cheapo phones without a contract and I’m not eligible for “an upgrade” until April 2007. Oh wait, June 2007 is after April 2007! Yeaaah, I totally lucked out on the timing of this thing.

It won’t replace any Mac I own, either, because it’s not intended to.

So it’s a great iPod but it’s an additional iPod. It’s a great OS X machine, but it’s an additional one. Wow. You think Apple might make some money with this thing? I know it will be making a lot from me.

I will also chuckle mightily when Bill Ray goes “duh” and Bill Gates gets a chin gets real—seriously, how can you claim that companies who provide both the hardware and the software are at a “huge disadvantage” when you’ve just come out with a hardware/software solution? Just because you got Zuned up the butt by your own foray into hardware/software products doesn’t mean everyone else will.

Check out Stephen Colbert. He’s awesome:

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Blogging at 70mph

I’m sitting in the back seat of a Chevy, tooling down I-280 towards work. It’s a makeshift carpool, and a temporary one. Soon I’ll be back to being green and taking CalTrain.

Regardless, here I am. It’s very foggy down here at the intersection of Route 92 and I-280. Crystal Springs Lake, a reservoir, is off to the right. The mountain range behind it is confluent with trees so large that it tricks the eye into thinking that the mountains are either smaller than they are, or closer than they are. It’s a strange effect.

The speed of the internet connection varies wildly while driving–especially up and down 280. Even though it basically rides mountaintops from San Francisco to the South Bay, the occasional valleys cause issues, as does the weird tower-switching thrash at a couple of points along the way.

Here’s what I got at a given moment near the Redwood City/Atherton exit:

There’s nowhere in my life I can’t have internet access if I want or need it. That’s more of a bad thing than a good thing, but I’m a nerd at heart—well, among other things—and I do it because I can. Maybe that just makes me intellectually hedonistic: gotta feed your head, man.

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And Here’s Where the Trap Is

Just to put a cherry on the Steve/Al/Karen Bent Collective drama cake, all of you with blogs out there, you might want to block a specific IP address:

For those of you with Movable Type installations, you have to enable a couple of things in order to block this IP address from making comments. I don’t know the specifics of banning this address from Blogger or WordPress, but I’m sure there’s a way.

If you’re getting email notifications of each comment made to your blog, no matter what blogging system you’re using, look at the details and I’m sure it will tell you what IP address the commenter is commenting from.

Do yourself a favor and just ban the IP address,, which belongs to the rogers.com domain, from even reading your site. It’s the IP address that Al “and” Steve have both commented from on my blog.

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Our New Mac mini


Our new toy. Strange. It looks like a tin that might hold some fancy cookies; it looks like a stand-alone DVD player; it comes with a teensy remote control that has six buttons.

Frontrowremote20050228They managed to squeeze in an IR port in the front without messing with the minimalist front of the unit. The remote runs Front Row, which provides a unified interface to all our our music and our photos and porn home movies.

There are two CPU cores in it, with 1GB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive (it’s a laptop-form-factor hard drive) and a DVD burner which is slot-loading and burns every type of blank DVD media known to humankind, including dual-layer).

The only monitor the mini is hooked up to is our HDTV; it makes less noise than the Comcast DVR does and actually fits under the TV next to the TV’s pedestal stand. Crazy.

And? It’s the very first Intel-based machine I’ve ever purchased!

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WordPress vs. Movable Type

I’ve been poking my nose in and around WordPress just to get a sense of things.

Personally, I prefer “just in time” technologies, which WordPress uses (i.e., you don’t have to rebuild your site when you make changes, because the site is automatically generated at each request from a browser), in particular, it uses PHP.

I like Movable Type because this site is already using it; I also like it because its templates are just that: templates. Since WP uses PHP everywhere, its templates are actually PHP files, which is kind of a weird impedance mismatch (apologies to Simon).

WordPress is free, but so is Movable Type for the uses I have for it.

Siiiigh. I wish i weren’t on neurontin. My brain works at least 50% better without it.

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Nerdy In-Joke

Apple’s shares soared nearly five points yesterday. This is weird and I’m not sure what to do with it, because typically Apple could announce an anti-gravity fountain of youth at a Macworld Keynote and the stock price would waver and weakly fall a bit.

Yesterday, during the keynote, Apple’s shares surged and mostly held on to the higher price til the close of the market. The closing price? $80.86

Yes, on the day that Apple announced Intel-based (x86) Macs, the price matches the very first x86 ever, the 8086. <spins propeller on beanie />

Oh, and Apple’s up another 3 points today. Goooooo, stock options!

Oh, and also? Apple’s ad heralding the arrival of Mac OS X on Intel chips…check it out…sassy and brill.

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Oooo-oooo, That’s My Shit

My favorite new nerdy site is called Cool OS X Apps. It’s one of those in-between places, that is, in between a personal blog and a just a site to find software (though, versiontracker.com is an essential for all you Mac folks).

On one of their recent entries, they talked about blogging tools. There’s a text macro-expansion utility, a text editor, a clipboard extender/manager, an FTP client and a handy utility edit/effects tool.

While each of those apps in their own rights seem to be—or, with ones I’ve used before, actually are—fine applications, I rarely need more than ecto.

I’ve never ever been a fan of editing anything inside of a web page—at least nothing that can’t be reproduced with a few mouse-clicks. So Movable Type’s editor is there, in the admin pages, but I never use it except in a pinch.

So my kit for blogging is this:

  • ecto
  • there is no 2nd item

The Book list on the left here, is done by embedding another blog, and that blog is written by using ecto’s Amazon Tool: I type in the name of the book, choose the right one from a list, and the right HTML (with links, including info to get credit for a purchase made, if you have an associate ID). Same with iTunes links. Same with browsing your iPhoto library to drop in images.

And speaking of images, you can embed or thumbnail an image, set borders and bufferspace, alignment, whatever.

Ecto also automatically handles adding the right HTML for technorati tags, and for pinging all the proper places to let them know your blog changed.

So my routine in writing a blog entry is just that. Write it, publish it. No uploading of files, no generating my own links, nothing. It’s like writing in Text Edit and saving it to disk.

All of this goes back to one of the primary goals of User Experience: know what the user wants to accomplish and then take as much out of the way as you can, as a software developer. Also one of the big differences between Mac folks and Windows folks: Windows folks pride themselves on knowing the steps it takes to carry out a task; Mac folks tend to just to know what they want to accomplish and set out to do it.

Two different null hypotheses, two different approaches.

So this is a meme, of sorts, that I’m starting: how do you do what you do when you blog?

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God of Biscuits: The Video Game

These guys had a contest with one rule: photoshop a violent video game box into a non-violent one. The results are hilarious. Go see!

There are some truly terrific ones, but my favorite one, predictably, is:

57334933 Bd74C3Bcf4 O

Not being the bleeding-edge videogamer, I don’t know what the original game was. Can anyone help?

What might be the play for such a game? Bake cookies that you then use to deflect falling giant words before they land on you? Throw enough cookies at Republicans until they fall into sugar comas?

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Well, How About That! (And That!)

Today in a review at the Macworld website of online photo printing, the software that I wrote (see the Ofoto Express link on the left side of this page) for Kodak EasyShare Gallery (née Ofoto) got a nod. It’s an article mainly on print quality of these services but there’s a very nice mention of the software:

To make uploading easier, Kodak, Mpix, PhotoWorks, Shutterfly, and Snapfish offer either stand-alone applications or browser plug-ins. Kodak, PhotoWorks, and Snapfish take the lead here; their well-designed upload tools let you simply drag and drop files from the Finder (see “Painless Uploads”).

I’m a star! Well, sort of. Well, ok, I’m a geeky star. But at least it’s not about porn this time.

Update: the Macworld site just posted another article about photos, and the Ofoto Express software is given another, even better nod:

Several photo-sharing sites, however, offer terrific value and unlimited photo storage. Two of the best choices for Mac users (because they integrate easily with iPhoto) are Smugmug ($30 per year) and the Kodak EasyShare Gallery (free with at least one annual purchase of prints or other products).

They lick me, they really lick me!—wait, that was the porn.

More than Half a Lifetime

Intromacjobs When I was a wee boy back in college, at the beginning of my Sophomore year at Carnegie Mellon University in 1983, I had just sold the TRS-80 computer, printer and floppy disk drives I had bought over the years prior. My computer buying had begun at the tender age of fourteen, when I got my mom to co-sign a bank loan for $600 so that I could buy a computer. I suppose that was also be beginning of my debt.

Money well-spent/well-borrowed, I say! After upgrading the BASIC ROMs on the computer, upgrading the memory—$99 for 16K of RAM—buying an “expansion interface”, an Epson Printer and 2 floppy disk drives to replace the already-past-its-limits cassette drive, and after acquiring several hundred dollars worth of software, I sold the whole mess in 1983 for about $2000.

Tandy Model1 System S1One day, when CMU had just opened their campus computer store—an unheard-of thing in those days—a few of us decided to check it out. Not much to see, just an office in the “new” office building on campus, painted cinder-block walls stock office desks. We looked at the price list and I had almost immediately decided on an IBM PC with 2 floppy drives and 16K of memory. Oh, and with the IBM display (monochrome, green characters on a black screen). This was going to clock in at around $1600. Fair enough, I figured. I was getting a 6MHz machine for less than I’d sold my 1.77MHz TRS-80.

As we turned to walk back out of the store/office, there on a desk sat a little beige machine with a mostly-white display. With one of those mouse-things attached to it (now, mice I had seen before, down in one of the quasi-subterranean floors of Warner/Science Hall….I wasn’t sure what they were for, but a small box with buttons attached to a strange-shaped computer workstation made quite an impression).

A paint program was running. I moved the mouse around and watched the cursor on the little screen follow. I clicked the button; it made a dot on the screen. I held the button down and moved the mouse, and an oval grew from the starting point!

I got the whole catastrophic beauty of this machine in less than a couple of minutes. And on February 7, 1984, just two weeks after the official introduction, I had one in my dorm room.

To this day, I have never regularly used a PC, never bought a PC for myself. I have, however, had upwards of a dozen different Macs.

Apple & the Mac have been significant yardsticks in how I measure the progress of my life, important memory-prods into very specific times in my past and quite a fine ongoing example of majority-minority patterns. In other words, I’ve learned a lot.

So, Happy 21st Birthday (January 24) to the Macintosh. Click on the young Steve Jobs above to watch a streaming video of the original introduction. You, of course, must have QuickTime installed on your machine—and shame on you if you don’t already.

I’m going to go spin the propeller on the little cap on my big head, and try like hell not to shudder when I think of what might not have been…