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November 2009 Archives


November 27, 2009 5:46 PM


I went to the Emerging Tech conference back in 2003 and had an eye opening week. I didn't know it at the time, but there were important people there (well, important to me as it pertains to my job type). I met Clay Shirky in an elevator and contributed to a back channel doc (we used SubEthaEdit I think) during a talk led by Stewart Butterfield. The resulting doc is still out there on the internet and is still interesting.



November 24, 2009 3:35 PM


51042v3-max-250x250.pngWhen I started this blog in 2001 I had comments turned on and received very little spam, but of course, that didn't last. Even trackback entries were spam, so I turned it all off. It looks like the folks at TypePad have put effort into dealing with that issue, but I'm not ready to turn comments back on yet.

For now, if you have something to say, then say it via Twitter/Tweetboard. You can use the Tweetboard on the left side of the page. Just click the "tweets" tab and figure it out. If you can't make it over that low barrier, then chances are I don't need to know what you had to say anyway. Also, you get to say what you want, without me having any control.



November 23, 2009 11:07 AM


aol_logo.pngI've had the displeasure of dealing with people's reactions to a logo I've created. Anyone I've talked to who does this sort of work or has been involved with it at any level says it's difficult, messy process. The reason? Because everyone only talks about what they think is wrong with what you have created. It's no big deal to do incorrect math be criticized because you are actually wrong, but it's difficult to have something that you created, that is ultimately subjective, be derided.

Today "Aol." has a new brand/logo identity and the result is a mixture of two things. Part one is the usual thing where it's cool to hate on AOL. Part two is the landslide of subjective opinions. There's no lack of that today on Twitter (#AOL) or in the blogosphere.

Personally, I don't like the logo if the pictures aren't moving (but I do like that it's free to mingle with any content it wants to). It's only when video is playing and the logo is revealed as negative space that it comes alive. Like some have said, it doesn't matter. People will accept/ignore the new branding and will get on with their lives as normal, and the logo won't have much of an impact. It's the content and products and the execution of those things that really matters.

Everyone on the internet hated the name of the new Nintendo system and thought to logo was pretty lame, but today, do you care that it's call the Wii? No.



November 21, 2009 5:36 PM


It's cool to see performance as a way to play a video game.



November 20, 2009 7:59 PM


I suspect only newly minted middle-aged men will find this video by @ashens funny. As luck would have it, I'm one of those. For the younger folks, you can think of this as a slow motion Zero Punctuation review.

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November 19, 2009 11:19 AM


textPlus-app-icon_large.pngI'm talking about the 2.0 version of textPlus, which I use daily. Paying for texting makes me feel like I'm actually burning my money, so textPlus saves the day since it's free to use (but has a generally sluggish user experience).

Should you pay money for something better or deal with some frustration so you don't have to pay? Like I said, I'm using the app everyday, so I've come down on the side of "free is more important than performance" but that's not going to work for everyone.

These issues really need to be resolved before I'd recommend the app to everyone.

  • It's sluggish! Almost everything you do requires some sort of loading or syncing that takes time, and texting is an inherently "NOW!" activity. While syncing and loading whatever, the app locks up, even if you are typing. You can keep typing tho and the iPhone's buffer will hold your keystrokes until the app becomes responsive.
  • When you start up the app to read or respond to a text, it has to load up an advert, and sync your current convo from the server. Even if you've received a text and saw it on screen, it usually won't immediately show up in the app since the app is syncing with the server. I just saw the message as an alert, and a preview when I loaded the app, but when I click the person's name who sent the message, it doesn't show up until the app syncs.
  • Somewhat often it will glitch in one of two ways, it will fail to connect to the servers (I usually blame AT&T for that) or the UI won't update correctly. The UI will show two texts overlapping and you have to back out and start back up to see everything correctly.
  • New in 2.0 is a bug where you'll see the app has a number badge on it indicating unread texts AFTER you've read all texts. You can reset that by opening the app, reading the unread texts from each conversation and then going back to the conversation list before quitting the app.
  • I think this might be unfixable, but the user experience from people receiving texts from you is less than optimal. The message isn't sent from your phone number, so they have to send the name you put in the app. Most phones use the phone number together with the phone book on the phone to show who sent the text. That gets broken and the result is a fairly verbose message. My wife told me to not send texts to her from the app because of this.

Everything actually works though, so it's worth giving it a try. Hopefully, over time, the app will become a lot snappier.



November 17, 2009 10:49 AM


While I'm not trying to turn this into a music blog, SoundCloud makes it way too easy to post up new music, and so far I have 100+ songs saved up as favorites there. I'm probably going to post one or two a week.

The week Ezequien? shows us how to juxtaposition a small bit of droning electric guitar with an overall upbeat and melodic song. Brilliant stuff.
Culpa by Ezequien?



November 13, 2009 11:13 AM


Here's a 'love it or hate it' reinterpretation of The Smiths. Personally, I love it (in spite of it dragging on way too long) and will probably go back and buy a few records now.

The Smith's - How soon is now? (Fearless 2009 Remix) by MKfearless



November 12, 2009 3:19 PM


soundcloud-logo.pngWell, I do, but rarely. With my old catalog of CDs on my iPhone and having both Last.fm and Soundcloud there too, I'm pretty much done paying money for music. It's only when something really special comes along that I'll drop the cash on a CD or a collection of mp3s, and usually that's done at Bleep.com. I think the last physical CD I bought was purchased at Tower Records.

As far as I can tell, sometime next week Last.fm will be available on the Xbox, which is of course connected to my media receiver. The new music distro models are coming along nicely and it appears they are almost always streaming music. It feels odd to say this, but even iTunes is starting to feel like an anachronism these days.



November 9, 2009 2:36 PM


canabalt.pngCanabalt is an amazingly simple yet fun game to play, but that simplicity results in some terrible UI issues. The only interaction you have in the game is to touch the screen to jump. If you die, touching the screen restarts the game and you're running for your life again, but the result is that there's no way to see high scores without restarting the app.

Another issue is that you have to 'click' on the screen to jump. Many iPhone games share this issue, but since the game is a fast scrolling game, every last pixel of the screen is precious. Hovering your big fat thumb over the screen so you can jump is either a nasty side effect of the iPhone's interface, or an added difficulty bonus (ie, it's not a bug, it's a feature!). To me, it's an unfortunate side effect.

Also, I find the ease of posting to Twitter compared to the difficulty of seeing your high scores to be a funny little commentary on the game.

There's also no online leader board, so I have no idea if this 7k run is good or not. But I's only $2.99 and is a great distraction during commercials or when recovering from yet another wipe on heroic 25 man Anub'arak. You can play it online for free.



November 6, 2009 5:19 PM


This blog will turn 8 years old on November 28th so I'm going to (pre)celebrate that with a redesign.

I'll be looking for ways to integrate Twitter and whatever else so I can to make things as easy as possible. The old days of spending two hours researching an entry are long gone, but I'm still putting stuff out there all the time and I might as well use my old domain as a clearing house.

We'll see how it goes.


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