Apple, you're killing me

June 17, 2006

I'm dying to spend money on you. Dying. But, you're making it so incredibly difficult. Not a single day has gone by that I haven't heard at least one new complaint about the MacBook Pro and/or MacBook, and to be perfectly frank, I think you're in trouble and need to get your shit together before people start jumping ship. You are a hardware company, right? Start acting like it. I don't care how fast your new machines are, if they aren't real-world usable why would I drop 2k on one?

All I want is a fucking laptop. If you can tell me that you've got a functional notebook without any of the issues mentioned above, e-mail me and I'll buy it right now. If not, and you don't see one on the horizon, you better start thinking very seriously about letting OS X run on non-Mac hardware because I have neither the time nor the patience to take a chance on your latest efforts and risk ending up a 'victim' like Daniel Jalkut.

The Penguin and I have only separated, not divorced

As much as it pains me to say it, I will go back to Linux if pushed hard enough. I'm certainly not alone in feeling this way right now and can empathize all too easily with the recent comments from Mark Pilgrim (read this and this as well), Tim Bray, and Rui Carmo. Though their complaints are centered mostly around software (making many of the same arguments and observations I've made in the past) and not the hardware problems I began this post with, the net result is the same, namely that some of Apple's most influential and vocal proponents are thinking very seriously about parting ways (or, in the case of Mark, have already done so). Apple, I'd like to stay, but at some point you are going to have to get over yourself, acknowledge your mistakes, and fix them.


Let's be honest, I'm probably not going anywhere because I need Photoshop and I've no desire to use Windows, so I'm kind of stuck either way. That said, were a Linux binary of Photoshop to suddenly surface tomorrow,1 the decision would become much more difficult, especially in light of the fact that my personal e-mail and calendar are now completely web-based.

  1. Needless to say, a port of a good photo-management solution would be a prerequisite as well. As far as I know, nothing on Linux remotely compares to Aperture, MediaPro, or Lightroom.   

TextMate is king

June 13, 2006

About a month ago I pleaded with the developer(s) of TextMate to add FTP support to their much-lauded editor. This hasn't yet happened, but, I did go ahead and purchase the application and have been using it exclusively for the past few weeks. Let's see if I can sum up my TextMate experience as succinctly as possible: It's the greatest text editor I've ever used on any platform.

Really, I'm not sure what else I can say. The more I use it, the more I come to realize how incredibly powerful and brilliant it is. Some might remember my proclamation that TextWrangler was the best free editor out there, and I still stand by that, but if you can fork over the money for TextMate (~$40 if you're a student) I can almost guarantee that you'll be swept off your feet.

I genuinely feel bad for whomever tries to move into this space because MacroMates has it on lock and might as well change the name from TextMate to CheckMate.

Peanut Gallery

June 13, 2006
Peanut Gallery. Peanut Gallery is an "online interactive multi-user movie theater simulation" that "allows you and your friends to have a movie theater experience live, in real-time, over a local Bonjour network or the internet." Very MST3K-esqe. Great idea.

A sixth sense for a wired world

June 07, 2006
A sixth sense for a wired world. "When we were done we sat in Haworth's living room. He brought out a magnet and handed it to me. I brought it near my finger and felt the magnet move for the first time up against the raw inside of my finger. I startled visibly, and Haworth grinned. 'Welcome to your new sense,' he said."

Your Razr sucks

June 05, 2006

I've been sitting on this post forever and finally just had to push it out the door before it became completely stale.

I didn't want to be the one to have to tell you this and I've been putting it off for a while now, but, umm, your Motorola Razr is a piece of shit.1 Now, I know that some of you are immediately going to accuse me of the usual "gadget elitism," and sure, that's probably part of this little rant, but after seeing everybody and their damn brother 2 run around with this phone, I just had to set the record straight. Does it look cool? Absolutely. It's gorgeous, and when they popped up on the rumor sites a couple of years ago I was blown away. But here's the rub: its pros end there.

Obviously a lot of my friends have Razrs ("everybody and their brother"), including my girlfriend (and her sister and mother), but the funny thing is, if you ask them if they like it (and really push them), almost all will concede that it's not so great (especially if they have any previous mobile phone experience). Why is this?

Well, let's see. It's dainty and feels like it's going to break when open. The speakerphone sucks. The screen resolution and colors suck. It's barely got any memory. It's still got a freakin' VGA camera (Motorola, 2002 called and said they wanted their technology back) equipped with perhaps the worst "viewfinder" display I've ever seen. It doesn't support data transfer rates above GPRS. And to top it all off, it's got Motorola's notoriously nasty user interface written all over it. BUT, it looks cool and everyone has one so it must be awesome!

Now, I obviously don't care what phone you buy or use (it's your money and you can throw it away however you want), rather, it's the herd mentality that really upsets me. It's kind of like the fact that if you are a girl under 30 you're now compelled to wear "eskimo" boots (though this fad seems to be fading). You can see it a mile away: <insert Hollywood's current "it" girl here> wears eskimo boots one day because she "doesn't care" what others think and a week later every teeny-bopper girl is chomping at the bit to harpoon a whale. The whole thing is ridiculous.

Again, far be it from me to tell someone what phone they should buy, but please, for the love of god, don't run around talking about how the Razr is the end-all, be-all of mobile phones because it's at the bottom of the barrel. I obviously don't fault Motorola for sucking this phenomenon dry (what self-respecting company wouldn't?), but I find it a bit disconcerting that people can be so enamored by nothing more than the look of a device (trust me, I do appreciate its design, more than most I'm sure), without even thinking about its features and the fact that there are so many better phones out there that offer a much more satisfying user experience. Then again, if your user experience is limited to making sure that everyone notices you and your super-thin Razr, you're all set.

  1. I'm referring to the Razr V3, not the V3x series (which probably account for just one percent of the Razrs you see).   

  2. The popularity of the Razr actually reminds me of another Motorola phone that enjoyed a similar saturation level, the v60[g/m/i/t] (picture).   

A brief note on the recent site changes

June 02, 2006

As some of you have already noticed (probably only those that don't use aggregators), I took the site back to two columns a few days ago, and as ridiculous as this sounds, when the transition was complete I felt somewhat 'liberated.' As I mentioned before, the single-column layout was simply too restrictive and allowed for practically no expansion.

Search is back

I've re-added search forms to the menu (you'll find them on the archive index and all other "archived" pages). I'd been conflicted about search here for a long time and kind of hid the option from view (well, not really, I just didn't advertise it much). I thought about setting up some AJAXified "live searching," but it all feels a bit too crufty to me right now and I'm not convinced that beyond the 'neat' factor the concept offers anything over 'vanilla' searching.

As it stands now, the search uses the built-in WordPress functionality, hacked up a bit to exclude the linked-list post. Believe me, I'm fully aware that WP's searching capabilities leave a lot to be desired, which is why when the results are returned (or when there are no results) I explain WP's shortcomings and offer a Google form so that the reader can try a more complex search.


On the index page you'll see a new heading in the menu titled, "My output here over the last three months." This is basically just a Sparkline graph of my posting activity for the previous 90 days. It serves no real purpose and I'm not sure how long I'll actually leave it up.  :P

That said, I'm still experimenting with these "micro-graphs" and have a few more ideas to flesh out, including extracting site hits from my Mint installation and pumping them through a Sparkline or two, but after having spent some time on that thought last night, I realized that it could take quite a while to implement, and, well, I'm kind of busy with that whole bar thing. If and when I get the whole thing coded up, I'll be sure to package it as a WordPress plugin (or would it be a paneless Pepper? :).