iPod Supports Standards

Standards like MP3? Nope, web standards. Go to the iPod sub-site and toggle your stylesheets using a favelet. Notice anything? Now check out the source; still crufty in places, but a giant step forward from Apple’s old code, which is still viewable on other parts of their site. Great!

I noticed this because I was on the site to check out the iPod Mini. Yes, I know that for $50 more I get 11 more gigabytes, but even the largest iPod still wouldn’t hold all my music. Realistically, I don’t 10,000 songs in my pocket. About a thousand should hold me for a few days between syncing. I thought the Minis were pretty silly until Elissa dragged me into an Apple store the other day and I saw one up close. My goodness those things are small, making the iPod feel gargantuan in comparison. Size does matter, a lesson I learned from my old 16.1″ Sony laptop, bulky digital camera, and the Visor Prism. My only concern about the Mini is I wouldn’t be able to use accesories like this voice recorder. That’s probably for the best though, as I need to stop recording concerts and such on hardware not meant for it and break down and get (another) MiniDisc recorder and a decent microphone.

While at the site I noticed the rollovers were so fast they had to be CSS, and checking under the hood I found not only a mostly-CSS layout, but pages just a few simple mistakes away from validating. It’s good to see a company that “gets it” in many other areas finally maturing in their web presence.

UPDATE: Apple properties which seem to be on the bandwagon:

This is obviously a work in progress becuase you have pages like this antivirus page which is very much old-school markup. Can’t wait to hear more about this, or an official word from Apple with more information about their new-generation markup. Are there any bloggers inside of Apple?

Jay-Z Construction Kit

The Jay-Z Construction Set is a toolkit with all of the necessary software and raw material to create a new remix of Jay-Z’s Black Album. It includes nine different variations on the Black Album, over 1200 clip art images, and a couple hundred meg of classic samples and breaks.

It’s the Jay-Z Construction set, as featured in the New York Times. Taking Grey Tuesday to its natural conclusion. I came across this via Mr Haughey, who should be ostracized for mixing Kenny G with anything. Wasn’t the Louis Armstrong incident bad enough?

Oh, and their hype blog runs WordPress.

Clever Virus

Just in case anyone has seen this one going around yet, it is the most clever and well-done spoof I’ve seen in a long time. I have been getting dozens of these and they are humorous because I run my own email systems, so the email just doesn’t make any sense. However I’ve gotten several questions from people I host asking what this means. Here’s what the email looks like:

To: m@wordpress.org
Subject: Email account utilization warning.
From: management@wordpress.org

Dear user, the management of WordPress.org mailing system wants to let you know that,

Our antivirus software has detected a large ammount of viruses outgoing
from your email account, you may use our free anti-virus tool to clean up
your computer software.

Please, read the attach for further details.

Attached file protected with the password for security reasons. Password is 88315.

Cheers,
The WordPress.org team       http://www.wordpress.org

So if you get this, please ignore it like you ignore all attachments that you aren’t expecting.

Downhill Battle

Downhill Battle is a great website with tons of interesting information, and they are also the people behind Grey Tuesday. I don’t agree with everything they’re saying, but it’s all educational. Did you know label and Apple take 89 cents of every song sold on iTunes? Oh, and shhhh.

Curious QRIO

QRIO, our new robot overlords friends. Hat tip: Robert. Some videos in Windows Media format:

I’m really at a loss for words.

QRIO knows your face. It’s equipped with a camera and the ability to analyze the images it sees. It detects faces and identifies who they are. It can even learn the faces of people it just met. And it responds to specific people individually, adding to the fun.

QRIO is equipped with wireless networking equipment, and can connect to your home wireless network out of the box. There might even come a day when it serves as a guide between people and information technology.

We made QRIO as quiet as possible when it moves to help it fit in pleasantly in a home. Its motors and gears turn when it walks or moves, but the vibration-resistant frame dampens the noise. You’ll be amazed to see it move so silently.

Well Designed Weblogs?

Or not.

Lars Holst, who has a beautiful WordPress-powered blog, has been doing a bit he calls Well-Designed Weblogs. I have been pretty disappointed with the second round (and to some extent the first round) of “Well-Designed Weblogs.” It is subjective, but quite frankly there are some sites I don’t see anything in. To me some look plain, unimaginative, squished — overall badly designed.

For the list to be a useful Lars should put a blurb about why a site was chosen so if there is some nugget of inspiration there that I’m missing, I can be enlightened. It would also shed some light on the subjective process he’s going through, which would be interesting. Round 2 has 37 entries — some great, some mediocre, some bad. If it could be distilled to the five or six very best, in Lars’ opinion, it would be a lot more meaningful than the catalog it is now.

But if it’s just a list with screenshots, there are better places to go.

Highly Confidential

I love it when I get forwards that, several people back in the forward chain, have something like the following:

This communication, including any attachments, is intended solely for the confidential use of the person(s) named above and is the property of [name removed]. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete/destroy the original. Any reader other than the intended recipient is hereby notified that any review, dessemination, distribution or copying of this message is strictly prohibited.

Categories
Meta

Style Updates

For better or worse, there have been a number of stylesheet updates around here, so you may notice things looking slightly different. First off are the shadows behind the main content box, for whose sake non-semantic elements were added to this page for the first time ever. How quick we are to sell out!

Speaking of selling out, text advertisements may appear at the top every now and then. Yes they suck but it’s the holidays and extra cash is always nice.

I moved the background image for the post titles from the anchor element to the h2 element to prevent the blinking when you rolled over the titles in IE on Windows. My Mother will be sorely disappointed as she thought that was a rather cool effect I had done intentionally. I wish!

Tantek and Eric informed me that my site was completely borked in respectively Mac IE 5 and Safari. This site is an experiment, so I make no guarantees as to browser compabilitiy but I try to be good about testing things on browsers available to me. Last night I used Greg’s Powerbook to see what was going on. It seems Safari was having trouble with some commented out content (the ads that are temporarily disabled) so I moved that from HTML comments to PHP comments. Commenting things out server-side is actually a much better practice because it keeps the source code maintainability for you the author but hides the comments from any visitors. There is also a savings in bandwidth, but in many cases that will be minimal. So as a best practice go from:

<-- Three extra divs added because prima the donna designer just HAD to have his shadows. And my idiot boss agrees with him. -->

to:

<?php /* :-- Three extra divs added because the prima donna designer just HAD to have his shadows. And my idiot boss agrees with him. And they'll never see this comment. MUHAHAHA! */ ?>

As for Mac IE, I wasn’t sure where to begin. It doesn’t handle the float on the menu list items well so instead of a nice tabby menu you have a series of giant honking bars in the header. I could go to display: inline for the navigation list items and work with the horizontal menu from there, but I’ve always prefered having the list items floated and the anchors as blocks, which you can’t do when the containing list element is inline. If I remember correctly Eric helped me around this problem before on the WordPress site (thank you!) by giving the items a fixed width, but I don’t have the space to burn here like I did on that menu.

Checking over my stats, Mac IE users make up approximately 2.1% of my viewing audience over the life of this site, and closer to 0.9% over the last month. Uowever is this low and declining number because other browsers are now in vogue on the Mac and IE hasn’t been updated recently to quench Mac users’ insatiable desire for upgrades? Or is it because my site looks so bad in their browser? The world may never know.

So the moral of the story is: the web is a jungle and watch your comments when on Safari.

The Coffee Guy

I write this from the comfort of a tall stool in the brand new Coffee Guy store at I-10 and Highway 6/Addicks. Some of you may know the Coffee Guy as that cute little place at Richmond and Sage that mostly caters to a drive-thru crowd. They’ve decided to expand their business and have moved out to this swank new shop they built and designed from the ground up. The old place was so small it wasn’t really conducive to lounging the way most coffee shops are, plus it didn’t have any internet access, a requisite feature these days. I can’t speak for the coffee, because I’m not a coffee guy myself, but I can safely say that they have the best hot chocolate I’ve had anywhere—think multiple layers of whipped cream, caramel syrup, and chocolate syrup. However I have heard from people who do know coffee that The Coffee Guy at their previous location was quite good and I don’t see why this one should be any different.

With the new design they obviously had high-tech coffee lovers in mind, with power outlets everywhere, wi-fi and wired internet access, a big plasma TV, and lots of seats and tables. I can’t vouch for the coffee, but what I can vouch for is their internet connection, which has speeds consistent with a high-end cable connection. Connect to SSID TheCoffeeGuy and you’re good to go. I’ll have to tell my friends in the Houston Wireless Users Group about this. Here’s a few pictures I snapped:

Laptop counter, my laptop, and the plasma TV

I was going to end this on a bright note and recommend you try the Coffee Guy out, but Elissa (who works here) just tricked me into eating what’s called an “espresso pancake” by disguising it as a cookie, so I’m going to say whatever you do, do not visit or patronize The Coffee Guy. Unless of course you like good drinks and free internet.

How could Elissa do such a thing? Look at how evil she is! (She’s even evil looking with real cookies.) Anyway if you do decide to visit, I can tell you when Elissa isn’t working so it’ll be safe. Here’s their address:

14725 Katy Freeway
Houston, Texas 77079

Categories
Essays

On Blogrolling Hack

I think the importance of this issue cannot be understated. My thoughts from the WordPress Dev blog: Blogrolling Hack Illustrates Need for Decentralization.

This morning it seems that sites who manage their blogrolls using blogrolling.com’s service had their links hijacked, every link being replaced by one to “Laura’s Blog,” which predictably redirects to a porn site. As painful and unfortunate as this is, I think it illustrates an important point that as a weblogging community we should be heading away from centralization as a rule, not flocking to every free or low-cost centralized service that pops up.

To me one of the greatest things about weblogs is that they shift power and control away from monolithic organizations and into the hands of users, where it is ultimately more secure. I have a friend who lost three years of her writing when a free online journal service decided to fold and delete everyone’s entries. I know people who hardly use email because their hotmail or yahoo addresses are flooded with so much spam as to make them useless. People who don’t host their own comments have their discussion at the mercy of some third party provider of varying reliability. Many of you reading this had your blogrolls hijacked this morning. In the weblog world blogroll links represent a web of trust — you freely giving a piece of your credibility to another site as a gift to that site and your audience. Today that trust was betrayed for many people.

There is more on the link. I’d love to hear some feedback and assist people in moving away from centralized services, even if it isn’t to WordPress. What are the other alternatives? If you want to move away but you’re having trouble with code somewhere just let me know and I’ll try to help you out.

Categories
Meta

More Writing

So how is the experiment going? Pretty well I would say, except that I didn’t realize that some words are much harder to write than others. Some words flow while others trickle. Sometimes some words flow where there kshould be no words. A “quota” encourages writing more than editing. So I’m not tracking word counts anymore, though the part of me that wants to quantify everything than can be quantified really wants to.

Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.

Robert said that “don’t worry about writing or minimum quotas. Lousy way to learn to write. Just keep blogging, write a web article or two and when you find a good thing to write about for a school assignment, run with it. ” He was right and wrong. Explicit quotas are lousy, but the musician inside me knows that discipline is necessary to excel, and daily practice makes perfect. (To which Kel often counters “But nobody’s perfect, why practice?” I suppose it’s the thought that counts.)

On The Matrix Revolutions

It was a really, really great movie. Go see it. No spoilers here. 🙂 We were the very first people in the movie theatre, which was nice because we got the best seats. One of the times I saw Reloaded I had second row seats way too close to the screen and it was pretty miserable.

If you’ve seen it already, let me know what you thought. Spoilers are open in the comments.

Microsoft Embraces Blogging

It is always sad to see someone lose their job due to blogging. Shurely this matter could have been resolved amicable manner.

Apple Updates

While the post has fallen down on the page, the comments on my previous post “Apple In My Eye” are generally excellent all around and deserve some attention. As an update to some of the problems, Apple has released a new version of iTunes for Windows which fixes the random crashing problem and has allowed me to import the rest of my collection and it didn’t move any of my files around or discard any metadata. On my laptop I don’t use it because it tends to be a bit demanding on resources, however on my desktop which is sometimes just a glorified jukebox it’s running pretty much full time. The album art feature is really intuitive and easy to use, and I burned a CD the other day using it (instead of Nero or Easy CD Creator like normally) and it was a piece of cake. On my laptop I’m using a great little program called foobar2000 which is very small and does the job well.

In judging Apple as a company I’m going to be watching this memo very closely:

This memo is written for two reasons. First, to request that Apple officially recognize that LiteSwitch X played a role in the formation of Panther’s switcher. For tens of thousands of users the feature has existed since May 2002. A developer at Proteron first conceived of it. Proteron developed and published it. Now Apple has made it their own, an “Apple innovation,” without recognizing Proteron.

Update: Dan Benjamin weighs in. John Gruber weighs in. I withdraw completely.

Still waiting for something from the PDC to knock my socks off. For a good filter use everyone’s favorite human aggregator, Robert Scoble.

Categories
Events

Fray Day 7

I'll be at Fray Day 7I’m going to participating in Fray Day 7 here in Houston tonight at 8 PM. I’m a “featured speaker” tonight and I’m going to be telling a story I call “The Little Red Button That Changed My Life.” Several friends have already expressed an interest in coming and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone. It should be a lot of fun for everyone involved. I know Robert Nagle has worked very hard in putting all this together, my Dad told me he heard the event mentioned on the radio Friday morning.

To be honest though I’m scared to death.

Where? The Nexus Cafe (Walden Internet Village) is located on 2828 Rogerdale, 2nd floor (between Richmond and Westheimer).

Assorted

A little of what’s going on in the corner of the world wide web I frequent:

Books to Live By

Jeffrey is in good company:

Zeldman's book with other great classics

In the early stages of moving I could only take a handful of books so I chose the ones that I knew I would need for my classes, the ones that I referred to often, and the ones that mean the most to me. The books, from left to right:

  • On Writing Well, William Zinsser
  • The Journey of the Mind to God, Bonaventure
  • MLA Handbook
  • Philosophy of Language, William Lycan
  • Autobiography of Red, Anne Carson
  • Fear and Trembling, Soren Kierkegaard
  • Selected Poems, William Wordsworth
  • The Republic, Plato
  • Designing with Web Standards, Jeffrey Zeldman
  • History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides
  • The Federalist
  • The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli
  • Four Plays, Aristophanes
  • Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam
  • The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates
  • Utilitarianism, J. S. Mill
  • The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson

New Business Cards

Nothing brightens a long day (or night) like fun new business cards. If you’re in to this sort of thing, here’s mine:

The front of my new business card. The back of my new business card

If you’d like one (or two, one to pass on) let me know. In other news I heard a rumor that there may be navigation at the top of the page sometime soon. We shall see.

Categories
Humor

Joe Clark Does Blackout

While the rest of Ontario was running around in the dark Joe Clark dialed into Compuserve and blogged. His observations cracked me up.

Categories
Personal

Refresh

I love when it rains because I feel like it soothes my soul.

Last night in the space between conciousness and sleep I wrote an entry. It was beautiful, exquisitely thought out and relevant, and I even imagined the markup I would use. My last thought before I drifted off was I should write something down before I forget it in the morning. I forgot it, and I’ve been trying to toggle my memory since then.

I was trying to toggle my memory while driving this morning. However when I drive I don’t think, I just listen. I couldn’t find the two CDs I had planned for the drive but an older album did the job nicely. When I listen to music the bass vibrates all of the mirrors in the car when it hits. Depending on what pants I’m wearing, it sometimes vibrates my pants as well, making me think that my phone is ringing, but not any more because my phone no longer vibrates. Watching the rearview mirror when it vibrates is fascinating, as a picture of the world behind you goes from near-perfect clarity to fuzziness as the music plays. If I even make a movie, the first shot will be of a rearview mirror vibrating with the music.

A replaced faceplate apparently crippled my phone’s ability to vibrate. Now it is a beautiful, vibrant blue. Can I have my blue and vibrate too? We shall see. Maybe it’s just time for new phone.