if ( knowledge ) {

A place for thought, progress, and dissent.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Another Large Cat

I finally read an interesting article about Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" which comes out today (though my pre-order from Amazon isn't scheduled to arrive until May 5!).

John Siracusa of Ars Technica reviews the new release in the amazingly in-depth way he has reviewed every release of the OS. John argues quite convincingly a point I have been arguing lately: "Tiger includes updates that are at least twice as significant as any single past update." Ok, that's actually a bit stronger language than I've used. The problem is that most of the truly interesting changes are under the hood, so they won't be noticed directly by the average user.

Some other choice passages:
"Well, the Tiger "X" does make the Panther "X" look kind of puny. But the spotlight effect lessens the "Box o' Death" thing Panther had going on."

"The whole Mail application looks like it got beaten with the ugly stick in Tiger."
Truthfully, I'm not done reading the article yet. When I got to page 7, I checked to see how many pages there were. 27!

Tiger marks the 6th release of OS X I have paid for (though never full "suggested" price). This includes $20 for the Public Beta, which was my primary OS for a few months. That was an exciting time, but never again.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

iPunk 2.0: The 'punk Returns

After having a number of Murphy's Law creative sessions, I'm happy to unveil the iPunk 2.0.

Jason and I figured out the design and I coded it up sporadically over the last few months. Here's the skinny: He's off of Blogger and on to a custom blog powered by b2evolution, the blog software with a lot of heart, and not enough PR.

The iPunk 2.0 is unfortunately a work-in-progress. We had trouble exporting from Blogger, so Jason is slowly uploading his old content. Some links don't work, and there will undoubtedly be more bells—possibly even whistles—in the near future. Check it out. I'm very happy with how it it turning out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Open Sources

Of all the interesting things I've read this week, strangely I find this tops the list:

I just noticed on a BBC News story that The Beeb is including links to competitors' news stories on the same topic. The technology is nothing new, aggregate popular news sources and algorithmically select relevant stories, but the application is stunning.

Where Google News is just a collection of primary sources, BBC News is the primary source. What's more, they're linking directly to their competitors for free, and not expecting anything in return. BBC is opening up their business in a small, but significant way.

I expect that this will strengthen them as a source. How? First, their readers will have an easy way to see if BBC is the best source on a topic. If not, then they will hear about it, and find out what they are not covering well. Also, this will trickle down to the referenced sources, who will try to better compete with BBC.

Ok, ok. I realize this is all far-reaching thought, based on a small change. The point is, this is an impressive move. Can you imagine CNN or MSNBC or the New York Times doing this? Maybe it is different for the BBC because they are financed differently from the other media outlets. I don't think so, however. The BBC is good because it is consistent and real. Consistent in their quality of reporting, and real in the sense that they do not try to sensationalize news. If the US media every understands this second point, I'll go back to watching/listening/reading them. Also, we do pay for our media in the US, but through more indirect means (everything from the FCC to advertising).

Openness is key. Not just in software, but business models, government and news!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

New Developments

Tonight wrapped up development of a site that's been consuming my nights lately. The talented Jeff Welch has put up his industrial design portfolio online for all to see.

This was an interesting project, as it is quite different from my normal work. Not a single form or database, and very inaccessible (though for a design portfolio, accessibility is kind of difficult).

Also, another site went public last week. SchoolVote, little brother to Project preVote, is a new site for publishing endorsements for school elections. Check it out.

After a few more professional and pro bono sites get finished, I'll focus in on some of my own stuff that has been on the far-back-burner. I'll bet you can't wait.

Monday, April 11, 2005

On Pessimism.

Some people like to make life a little tougher than it is.

Tougher Than It Is by Cake

That's my philosophical thought for the day. I've seen too many people take life too seriously recently.

Lighten up! You're only making yourselves miserable. The rest of us just feel bad for you.

Ok, back to work.