Happy Belated Birthday, Mac →

January 27, 2014 |

Wonderful special feature on Apple’s website about the history of the Mac. It all started in 1984 with a boyish-looking Steve Jobs and the promise of insanely great things. 30 years later, the Mac has become an iconic piece of technology that empowers artists, designers, writers and many more creative professionals to be the very best they can be. It has literally changed the world; it’s made a dent in the Universe.

Without the Mac, none of the things I do for a living would be the same; none of them would be as enjoyable, as empowering or as fun. Some of them would not even exist.

It is no exaggeration to say the Mac has changed my life.

Happy belated birthday, Mac. May you live to be a hundred.

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Shawn Blanc introduces his new podcast, The Weekly Briefly →

January 27, 2014 |

From my review on iTunes (which, by the way, is something you should always do for the shows you like):

This show is amazing. It’s great that Shawn is putting this out there for all people to listen to. This is a weekly, freely available episode of his members-exclusive podcast, “Shawn Today”, which is chock-full of great advice for geeks, indies and technology enthusiasts in general, but also eminently enjoyable for the public at large. If you enjoy The Weekly Briefly (and I’m sure you will), you should consider [becoming a member]( on his site and supporting Shawn’s work: outstanding stuff from an awesome human being on a daily basis. What more is there to ask for?

Easiest 5-star rating I’ve given in a pretty long time.

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Matt Gemmell: Making changes →

January 21, 2014 |

Matt Gemmell explains the reasons behind his career transition into writing full-time. Refreshingly honest article, as usual:

I’m scared, but being scared isn’t the same as being unsure. I was a programmer for a living, but for better or for worse, I’m meant to be a writer.

You should read the entire article to truly appreciate the thought and care that went into this decision. I wish Matt only the best, and I’m deeply grateful for his contribution to the tech community over the years. But as he said himself, he was always going to be a writer in the end. Those of us who have been reading along for a while already knew on some level that this day would come, eventually. And I, for one, could not be more excited about it. I think he’s going to be a terrific writer, quite simply because in my book he already is.

Now it’s time to support his dream by becoming a patron of his writing. I’m putting my money where my mouth is and already signed up. If you appreciate great writing and want to see more of it, you should too.

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Yale student takes matters into his own hands over website censorship →

January 20, 2014 |

Sean Haufler, an Economics student at Yale, on how the University censored a course-selection website made by two fellow Yale students:

Last Friday (1/10/14), Yale blocked YBB+’s IP address on the school network without warning. When contacted, Yale said that YBB+ infringed upon Yale’s trademark. Harry and Peter quickly removed the Yale name from the site, rebranded it as CourseTable and relaunched. Yale blocked the website again, declaring the website to be [malicious activity](

Haufler then decided to take matters into his own hands and came up with a clever way to bring back the same functionality:

I built a Chrome Extension called [Banned Bluebook]( It modifies the Chrome browser to add CourseTable’s functionality to Yale’s official course selection website, showing the course’s average rating and workload next to each search result. It also allows students to sort these courses by rating and workload.

Best of all, this extension is built in a way that doesn’t infringe on any of Yale’s stated trademarks, and it cannot be censored via IP-blocking:

Banned Bluebook never stores data on any servers. It never talks to any non-Yale servers. Moreover, since my software is smarter at caching data locally than the official Yale course website, I expect that students using this extension will consume less bandwidth over time than students without it. Don’t believe me? You can read the [source code]( No data ever leaves Yale’s control. Trademarks, copyright infringement, and data security are non-issues. It’s 100% kosher.

This is awesome on so many levels. But it’s not all. In what can only be described as having balls of steel, Haufler ends his post by personally addressing the Dean:

Dean Miller, I humbly request that you, on behalf of Yale, either uphold or deny students’ right, under [school policy](, to build software like Banned Bluebook. If Yale affirms this right, I’d like you to publicly apologize for the events that have transpired over the last week, including Yale’s censorship of CourseTable and the pattern of hypocrisy we’ve seen in Yale’s copyright enforcement of course data. If Yale denies this right, I’ll see you at the punishment committee.

Students like Haufler should be rewarded for their integrity, not punished or threatened just so that they keep quiet. If the Dean is listening, the ball is on his court.

Via The Loop.

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HP brings back Windows 7 "by popular demand" | The Verge →

January 20, 2014 |

HP really wants people to buy a Windows 7 PC instead of a Windows 8 machine. The PC maker has been emailing customers over the weekend noting that “Windows 7 is back.” A new promotion, designed to entice people to select Windows 7 over Windows 8 with $150 of “savings,” has launched on HP’s website with a “back by popular demand” slogan. The move is clearly designed to position Windows 7 over Microsoft’s touch-centric Windows 8 operating system.

Great news for Microsoft.

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Matt Gemmell says farewell to Xcode →

January 19, 2014 |

Wow. 2014 is shaping up to be a year of change for many people, including myself. Congratulations Matt, and best of luck. I can’t wait to read more from you.

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Storehouse: visual storytelling →

January 17, 2014 |

Great new iPad app to share your photos and videos in an attractive, easy to navigate way. John Gruber explains it:

Storehouse is two things: (1) a creative tool for collecting photos and videos into elegant stories, where a “story” is a single scrolling page; and (2) a hosting service for all published stories. So you use Storehouse both to create your own stories, and also to view/read the stories published by everyone else. Drafts are stored locally on your iPad; once published, all stories are public. You can follow individual users, a la social apps like Twitter and Instagram.

I just downloaded it and it is indeed gorgeous. A perfect way to share photos and videos of your trips with family and friends. Absolutely recommended.

UPDATE: The only thing I’m not liking so far is the need for your photos and videos to be on your iPad in order to use them. This is obvious since this is an iPad-only app, but I suspect most people don’t use their iPads as their main cameras (although the trend seems to be emerging).

Personally, I take most of my pics and videos with my iPhone, due to its superior camera and the convenience factor: it is always in my pocket and ready to use. I also don’t use Shared Photostreams on my iPad because it seems redundant; I prefer to keep my pics on my iPhone (and possibly my Mac), and use the limited storage capacity of my iPad for other media content, like movies and TV shows.

That means in order to use Storehouse I need to previously upload my photos to a 3rd-party service (like Dropbox or Flickr), or use Shared Photostreams on my iPad. Either way, it feels like a waste of time and/or space on my device. I suppose the only way to overcome this would be to release an iPhone version of the app and/or an iPhone-friendly Web client. However, neither of those is easy to implement because the larger display of the iPad is essential in making the editing/uploading process attractive and usable. It is a tough design challenge, for sure.

Anyway, this is admittedly a minor issue that applies mostly to my personal preference and usage pattern; if you don’t mind using Shared Photostreams or you already keep your photos and videos on your iPad, Storehouse is definitely a winner.

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Systematic #79: Marco Arment →

January 16, 2014 |

Great episode of Brett Terpstra’s podcast over at 5by5. In this episode he is joined by Marco Arment and they talk about how they transitioned from side-gigs to becoming self-employed full-time. This is something I’m giving much thought to lately, and I found their take to be incredibly inspiring.

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Google to Acquire Nest →

January 14, 2014 |

Well, this is awkward:

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to buy Nest Labs, Inc. for $3.2 billion in cash.

In case you don’t know Tony Fadell, Nest’s CEO, he is the man behind Apple’s iPod. As John Gruber points out, Google’s strong suit has never been producing consumer hardware of the highest quality. This could very well be an attempt to correct this situation.

Other than that, I’ve noticed that there seems to be a general concern all over the Internet regarding Nest’s privacy policies going forward, i.e: whether they will be forced to share their customers’ data with Google. Some even go as far as to suggest that this is the actual reason behind the acquisition. I agree with most of it and for the most part, I think the concern is justified given Google’s history. However, I also wonder why we’re all so concerned whenever Google tries to acquire new data sources to drive their ad-targeting technology, and yet we seem to turn a blind eye when other companies do the same. Facebook, for example, knows a great deal more about their users than Google, and not only do their users provide this information voluntarily, but they actually encourage others to do so as well.

I wonder how Facebook managed to sneak so much into our lives, and I also wonder what will happen to it when (not if) their user base finally awakens to this and realizes just how much of their lives they’re sharing with the service.

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