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Chuq on Spam Blacklists

Chuq has a little post that fairly vividly describes the place in which any responsible 'net user should regard spam blacklists: as unethical, amoral, and perhaps illegal acts.

I've written on spam a few times in the past:

Spam needs to stop. Blacklists stop legitimate users more than they stop spammers. That ain't right.

Crufty UI… Or Not

There's an interesting article here on le blog de Matthew Thomas that talks about "interface cruft." Unfortunately, I don't quite agree with all of his ideas, but his article did what I consider as the primary purpose of a good article: it sparked a lot of thought in me, the reader (and in him, the writer, I imagine).

“That’s the WHOLE Computer?”

Me: I'm always amazed at how many people think that "wow, that's the whole computer?" when they see the iMac
Josh: i like the people who thought the cube was a subwoofer
Me: These same people are not amazed by laptops, yet, "wow, it's all in THAT tiny thing?" is their response to the iMac. Reality distortion field is right...

Another Patent: Color-Changing Computers?

Apple, like any technology company, always applies for patents. They get hundreds granted to them every year (rightfully or not). Regardless, this little patent is interesting, and so far, has an interesting thread of comments. I just wonder, given that your computer would try to be the same general color as your desktop, if people would complain that their hardware was too slow due to unnecessary Aqua "eye candy."

NSLog Now “CC”ed

This site is now under a "Creative Commons" license. Anyone is allowed to reproduce my content so long as:

  • they attribute the work to me
  • they use it noncommercially
  • their content should be shared similarly

This is all explained here. In other words, I chose the license that protects most of my rights under normal copyright law (I guess). Of course, this will do nothing more or less to stop people from stealing my content and not following these rules, but... I'll give the CC folks my tiny shred of support. I may even look to apply the license to other sites, like Cocoa Dev Central and so on...

stevenf on HipTop

Steven of Panic has blogged his HipTop wish list. Among the ideas listed, I've already put the iSync support (via Bluetooth or the USB cable) on my own list. However, his sixth idea is absolutely awesome: SSH access. Yeah, that'd rock. Wow... Assuming you could stay connected regularly, of course 🙂 . I wonder where the SDK is... (BTW, Steven's mini-review is here, and worth a read too.)

Don’t Lose My Number

Phil Collins sings, "Billy don't lose my number." Soon, Phil will be able to switch wireless carriers - or even switch from a land line to a wireless phone - without losing his own number. Here's the article, and here's a quote:

But starting Nov. 24, 2003, most of the United States' 135 million wireless subscribers will be able to keep their cell-phone numbers even if they switch carriers.

The FCC's mandate forces carriers in the 100 largest urban areas to support wireless local number portability (PDF), which also lets wireless customers keep their numbers if they switch from a wire-line to a wireless carrier.

This is good news for consumers. I've only ever given out my home phone number, and I simply forward calls to my cell phone when I'm out of the house. I was very glad to keep my Bellsouth-assigned (561) number when I switched to MCI's "The Neighborhood" plan. Had I not been able to do that, well… that would have been the end of that idea.

This article goes on to talk about how this will eliminate a major barrier to switching, but fails to mention another: plans. Most cell phone plans are still yearly, are they not, with fairly large cancellation fees? Surely that's a good reason (restriction) to not switch.

MasterGrip Training

mastergrip.gifI've begun using the MasterGrip doo-hickey (like the one seen to the right, here) to strengthen my fingers for rock climbing. I haven't started doing pull-ups just yet (no real way to do them at this time, need a bar or something), but this hand grippy finger thing is tough. It's amazing how weak your left-hand pinkie is. 😛 I've got to remember to do it outside of my pockets, however, or it looks quite suspicious. "Anyone for a game of pocket pool?" 😉

I wonder where my old trumpet is (the picture reminded me of playing a trumpet)... and if I could sell it on eBay and get a few bucks. I guess that'd be up to my parents. They did buy it originally...

Return To Shell

This Slashdot article talks about a job opening in Microsoft's "Next Generation Shell Team." They are "designing and developing a new command line scripting environment from the ground up." Joel Spolsky has written about how stupid it is to rewrite things "from the ground up," and Microsoft, having finally escaped the horror that is DOS (at least in the minds of most computer users - certainly not technologically), is seemingly backpedalling.

I think I'll stick with tcsh, bash, etc. After all, they're a bit more battle tested.

Segway Boring

I'm a geek, and as such, I would really like a Segway. However, until the price drops below a thousand bucks, I won't get one. I work from home, and aside from driving it around (riding it around?) my apartment complex, what would I do with it? I don't live in Manhattan. What would anyone do with it? Will this thing really take off? Maybe in warehouses, sure, but in cities? C'mon... It's heavy, isn't it? You've gotta lug it up stairs or have it in an elevator if you work in an office?

Aaron Swartz echos some of these thoughts quite succinctly:

Well, it's almost time to return the Segway and we've all but lost interest in it. Working on the movie kept us going for a little while longer but since I posted it the Segway has pretty much stayed in its place in the corner, off. I think we've explored everything there is to do with it, and now it's just uninteresting.

Steelers In, Fins Not

steelershelmet.jpgThe Pittsburgh Steelers continued onward into the playoffs with a victory against the Ravens today. What's perhaps even better is that the Dolphins loss to New England and the Jets win over the Packers, both Miami (near to where I currently live) and New England are out. Out out out!

The Steelers will of course steamroll everyone and win the Super Bowl. And if they don't, well, I can just edit my blog to remove my blatant egotism 🙂

My HipTop… Again

sidekick.gifI ordered a HipTop (T-Mobile calls it a "SideKick" though) today. For the second time. I spent about ten days with one (thanks to T-Mobile's 14-day return policy) a few months ago, and found the service in this area to be... lacking. It would cut out several times, and often couldn't stay connected at the beach where, unless I'm blind, there really aren't too many tall buildings (probably not too many towers either, I realize). I picked it up this time because of two reasons:

  • I got it for $89 (after two $50 mail-in rebates).
  • I realized I've been sp $39.99 or more per month on AOL.
  • Independent Games

    An interesting article at O'Reilly's ONLamp talks about independent game developers. The event, sponsored by Eugene, OR resident Garage Games, was thrown together this year but should (could?) grow into a yearly event.

    One of the parts talked about the Mac platform as "undertapped." I haven't really got thoughts one way or the other. We've got great games like Airburst and Ambrosia games and most of the "big-name sure-fire hits," but we lack some of the lesser known games. Hell, we still don't have Unreal Tournament 3 (or whatever it's called) - yet the Linux version has been out for awhile! Ugh.

    Would I like to see games between $4.95 and $14.95? You bet your ass I would... But until then, I'll just buy a couple less games per year for my trusty GameCube and my 36" television and surround sound system. As much as I like playing online, the hassle of playing games on my computer has never been worth it for more than a few weeks at a time (usually shortly after the release of some big game).

    Deleting Code… Sometimes

    Ned Batchelder has an interesting little ditty on deleting code in programming environments. His advice:

    Select a section of code in your editor, hit the backspace key, and be done with it.

    While this may seem like a great, simple way to handle things, in practice it isn't always the best. Ned says you can just use source control to find previous versions of code, but that's slower and far less convenient than having it "right there."

    MailDrop has several blocks of commented out code. Some of them are delegate (usually delegate drawing) methods that - should we want to compile with them "on," we uncomment them. Some of them are previous versions of algorithms that we keep around in case a bug is introduced that a previous version did not have. Still other sections are maintained because they contained a bug, and it's important to make sure the new version(s) don't fall into the same traps. Finally, some sections are there because their replacement section is still a work in progress. And all of the developers know what sections are what, because we've left comments or emailed each other.

    I'm a big fan of "never say never." Even Ned goes on to list several times when he has commented out old versions of code and left it. Is SCM great? Yeah. Is hunting for an old version of code in SCM faster than scrolling up a few lines? Hell no.

    Overlooking Ugly Sites

    netTunes.jpgIn this day and age, I find it increasingly important to have Web site presence that's "presentable" at worst. Witness the site, a pretty "plain" (if you wish to be polite) site. I'd followed a link from to check out NetTunes, and pretty much left after seeing the home page.

    Just as I probably won't ever take a fat doctor's advice about eating right, I probably won't ever download much software from someone who can't figure out enough HTML to put together a presentable site. It isn't that difficult. WYSIWYG editors these days - as much as I dislike them - typically come with some decent templates. Besides, you can always do what I used to do: find a site you like, copy all the code, change everything (especially the graphics, of course), and voilà! By the time you're done, your site looks nothing like the original, yet still looks good… If you're going to expect a visitor to your site to take your shareware as high quality, put up a site that's at least presentable.