Older blog entries for markonen (starting at number 35)

AppleInsider last week: “Apple has threatened a cessation of the Apple developer seeding program due to the confidentiality breaches. As a result, AppleInsider will not publish information reported from the most recent set of developer notes associated with build 7H50.”

AppleInsider today: “‘Mac OS X 10.3.4 build 7H51a includes changes to the Software Update application,’ the company reportedly told testers in a set of seed notes. ‘To help test these changes, we are delivering this build through Software Update.’”

Good job holding the moral high ground there.

Isn’t it funny how offering free gigabyte email accounts is suddenly newsworthy? After Google’s introduction of Gmail, at least two “competitors” have been very widely publicized. First Spymac matched Google’s disk space offer, and today Reuters of all places is telling us that an Israeli portal site is doing it, too.

What I’m wondering is why these companies were happy with just matching Google’s offer, rather than, say, upping the ante to 2GB? After all, the costs of email storage start to mount only after user adoption and a significant pile of received emails. And that probably means “never” for a site like Spymac.

Perhaps my blog should start offering ten-gigabyte email accounts. I just fear that besting Gmail by an order of magnitude would upset all the genius financial analysts out there and undermine the upcoming Google IPO.

Accidentally went over the limit on my MasterCard today. How did I notice? The Search Inside the Book™ results at a9.com stopped working. Apparently they check your card on every access. Is it just me, or is this seamless interconnectedness of everything getting to a pretty frightening level?

dyork: The height of a small cap should be equal to the x-height of the typeface. In most cases, the difference between the x-height and the height of an uppercase letter is big enough to make “fake” small caps look bad even to the casual observer. The obvious problem is the difference between stroke widths of the cap and the small cap, but there are more subtle differences as well. Most real small caps cuts have tweaked the “optical size” of the letterforms to suit the smaller size of the characters.

Unlike haruspex, I don’t really think that this is your problem. It seems to me that the correct browser implementation would be to render the small caps only if there’s an appropriate small caps font available, and revert to normal rendering otherwise. Apparently nobody is doing it this way, though…

Okay, credit where credit’s due: in the previous post I talked about Apple’s default installations of cyrus and PHP being substandard. Their bundled python and perl installations leave little to be desired, however. It’s pretty amazing to see PostgreSQL’s PL/Tcl, PL/Python and PL/Perl building and running on an out-of-the-box consumer OS without any additional software.

I do have one wish for the next Mac OS X release, though: please, please, please bundle readline. Much of the already included software would find and use it, resulting in a much better cli experience.

I’ve managed to infect my IMAP account with a hierarchy of folders that cyrus isn’t letting me delete on-wire. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but alas, I’m on Mac OS X Server, so it is. Apple has built a semi-usable GUI tool for mail administration, but you really can’t do any low-level operations with it. Nevertheless they’ve decided that it’s enough, so they ship the whole thing without a working cyradm. What’s up with that?

I love Apple’s practice of using proven open source tools as a basis for their products, but crippling the results like this isn’t making anyone happy. (The same is true of Apple's bundled version of PHP, which is configured in a particularly useless fashion.)

Back in 2002 I advocated a new kind of a banner ad that was cheaper to make, got better results, and didn’t annoy people enough to create a market for banner blocking software. The idea was to go from small banners, strobing at 20Hz, to bigger but static images. After all, the approach seemed to work pretty well in magazines and newspapers.

Well, I’m happy to report that the future has arrived — DoubleClick is selling space for 160x800 pixel “Giant Scyscrapers” that, as a plain old JPEGs, work really, really well. Here’s a real Neiman Marcus ad for Marc Jacobs, as displayed at nytimes.com. I can’t wait to see other advertisers join the bandwagon.

I’ve spent this week working on a Wiki-based content management solution for a customer of ours. While browsing through one Wiki after another, the most baffling thing on the scene is the total domination CamelCase has over Wikipedia’s much more readable syntax. And frankly, it’s not the only thing that makes me wonder whether the value of good writing even registers on most wikiheads’ radars. In edit wars, content structure and language coherence are always the first casualties.

In other news, I’ve hacked my real blog’s RSS feed to mirror the advogato one. I haven’t updated the “real” site in a year, though, so if someone is still subscribed… wow!  Be prepared to see my ramblings a bit more often in the future :-)

2 Feb 2004 (updated 2 Feb 2004 at 18:50 UTC) »

I’m sure Microsoft was happy to pay for the bandwidth and disk space this little gem takes on their developer site: “Small companies should stay out of markets that are big enough to be interesting to big competitors. … You can’t beat big companies. The best way to win a fight is to not be there.”

23 Nov 2003 (updated 23 Nov 2003 at 23:13 UTC) »

I just read Aaron Swartz's piece on procrastination. The subject has been in my mind a lot lately. I've always been a procrastinator, and it's been a real problem for years and years.

Aaron did a great job in luring me to think about this in a structured way, and I already came up with a great example: RSS readers. Intuitively, you'd think that an RSS reader would increase your productivity by decreasing the amount of time spent checking if a blog has been updated.

But I've noticed that's not really true. My RSS reader, NetNewsWire, has instead transformed catching up on blogs into a distinct task: getting the unread count back to zero. I've now realized that I'll always choose that task over real work. And it's the same with email. The only time I'm getting work done is when those unread counts are gone from NetNewsWire's and Mail's Dock icons.

I'm now running both my Mail and NetNewsWire primarily on my laptop, so my main development system should be free from such attractions.

Now, back to work.

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