I find this list so uninspired. Office? VMWare Fusion? Tell the users about something they don’t know about already. I’m surprised he didn’t go for the gusto and recommend Photoshop instead of Pixelmator.
iPhone Apps That Have Been Ringing *My* Bell Lately
After Brett posted his list of apps that are ringing his bell, I thought I’d post my list.
Juxtaposer - Lots of fun with images. Surprisingly easy to use.
Burning Monkey Casino - Great collection of casino type games in classic Freeverse, Burning Monkey style.
FrontPocket - I love Backpack and was waiting for a great iPhone native app. FrontPocket delivers and the few small qualms I have are going to be fixed in the 1.1 release soon.
1Password - Granted, I might be a little biased here, but 1Password is a great application. Can’t wait for the next release.
Easy Wi-Fi - This is an app from Devicescape for automatically logging into Wi-Fi hotspots. I use this at least five times a week to log into the AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot. The desktop counterpart is even more useful.
Like Brett said, all of the above save 1Password cost real money. If you are still flogging the “apps should be free or dirt cheap” horse, get over it. It takes a lot of time and resources to produce and continue to develop these apps. Support people who are doing great work.
“You have to work every day. You have to sit in the chair and stay seated. And sleep and come back to the chair. You need to wear out that chair and then buy a new one and then wear out that one.”—Brent Simmons
“Churches have every right to involve themselves in political issues, but if they do then they’re going to be treated as political actors. Protests, boycotts, op-eds, blog posts, and marches are exactly the democratic ideals of our nation, and being on the receiving end of them is what happens to anyone who enters the political fray.”—http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2008/11/quote_of_the_day_111708.html
Lipman has seen a lot of presidential transitions. He has been practicing Telecom, Media, and Technology law for Bingham for 25 years, advocating before the FCC, state regulatory bodies, Congress, and the courts. Lipman’s bottom line: With FCC Chair Kevin Martin moving on and his fellow Republican Deborah Taylor Tate termed out when Congress expires, Obama will appoint two, and maybe even three Commissioners relatively soon (Lipman didn’t say who the third ship jumper might be).
This idea - that excellence at a complex task requires a critical, minimum level of practice - surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is a magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours.
Ten thousand hours is, of course, an enormous amount of time. It’s all but impossible to reach that number, by the time you’re a young adult, all by yourself. You have to have parents who are encouraging and supportive. You can’t be poor, because if you have to hold down a part-time job on the side to help make ends meet, there won’t be enough time left over in the day. In fact, most people can really only reach that number if they get into some kind of special programme - like a hockey all-star squad - or get some kind of extraordinary opportunity that gives them a chance to put in that kind of work.
A few nights back, there was some breaking news in our area, and apparently, the reporters and cameras for the station had not yet arrived on the scene. What they showed on the news was the Google Street View of that location. They made sure to note that it was not live footage, but I thought it was an interesting use of Street View and wanted to mention it before I forgot it again.
If you frequent Starbucks, you have probably seen the new Starbucks Gold program being hawked. My drink of late is a double tall breve latte. (Now that cooler weather is coming, I’ll also be drinking a fair amount of soy chai.) In Fort Worth, this comes to about $3.70 before sales tax. When I was using the Starbucks Card Rewards, I got my breve for free. Let’s compare. I paid $25 to get a card that gets me a lower discount than I was receiving for free. 37¢ vs. 40¢. Brilliant.b Yes, I realize this information is in the FAQ on the Starbucks Gold program website, but it’s not immediately apparent.
The moral of the story is to look at what exactly you buy at Starbucks and decide if $25 is worth any savings (or giving them money back in my case). If you frequently add syrups or custom milk options to your drink, it’s unlikely that you would benefit from the new program and would be better off with a regular Starbucks card. If you buy stock drinks like Frappuccino, lattes, or drip coffee, you’ll probably benefit from the new program.
“My experience with the Converge VM didn’t really fit my previous prejudices. I had implicitly bought into the idea that C programs segfault at random, eat data, and generally act like Vikings on a day trip to Lindisfarne; in contrast, programs written in higher level languages supposedly fail in nice, predictable patterns. Gradually it occurred to me that virtually all of the software that I use on a daily a basis - that to which I entrust my most important data - is written in C.”—How can C Programs be so Reliable? by Laurence Tratt
In my graduate studies, I have studied, read, and written a lot about adiaphora, literally “indifferent things.” I’m bringing this up because it has huge, wide-ranging applications. From the earliest days of the Christian Church (For example, Paul writing that “neither circumcision nor uncircumcision matters” in Galatians.) to the Methodist movement in England, this is a key concept. What are the things that truly matter? For Paul, it was “Christ and him crucified.” It didn’t matter to him whether one observed The Law or not. It didn’t matter if one were circumcised or chose to be circumcised. For John Wesley, it didn’t matter if you believed in transubstantiation in the Eucharist. And further back than that, Jesus didn’t care if you were a “sinner” or an outsider like a Samaritan. He cared about folks being born of water and the spirit.
I mention this stuff not because I think it translates verbatim to this post but because it’s my background and helps me convey the true tenor of what I want to say.
The C4 conference in September was a great time for me. I got to meet some of the people that make the software that makes my life on my Mac better every single day. I don’t know why, but before I met some of these people (especially the ones that don’t have real online pics) I had them pictured in much the same way that Greek paintings and sculptures idealized the gods. Interesting phenomenon, but not the point of this post.
I’ve been thinking about what matters in this community and I have narrowed it down to two items: write and ship great code and don’t be a dick. That’s it. No one at C4 cared (nor should they!) that I have a master’s degree. They don’t care that I’m not particularly attractive. To be part of this community, you can be an a-, mono-, or polytheist. You can be straight, gay, bi, or whatever. You can be fat or skinny. You can be democrat or republican. You can be black, white, Asian, Hispanic, or whatever (even Canadian!). The one thing you can’t be is a dick.
And maybe you’re not shipping great code yet. That’s fine. I’m certainly not. But here’s what I have learned. The people that already do will bend over backward to help you get there. They will let you sit at table with them in a pizzeria and pick their brains. They will answer you on iChat. They will answer email. And they won’t make fun of you for asking elementary questions. Not that I did, but I know a guy…
So, that’s what I’m striving for: to learn to write and ship great code and not be a dick to any of the people going out of their way to help me. Nothing else matters to the other people who are part of this community. Everything else is an adiaphoron. And when the time comes, I will do all I can to help others who are new to the community and pay forward the help that I will have received.
A while back I wrote a review of the Levenger Bomber Jacket and my quest for a suitable bag for schlepping around my kit. Check the introduction to that review for a description of my situation, but basically it goes like this: I need to have a ton of stuff with me all the time.
It could probably go without saying, but I ended up sending the Levenger bag back. It just wasn’t functional enough for me. I have heard so much about Waterfield bags (especially from my friend Emory) that I finally decided to give them a try. I purchased the Cargo Mambo Combo in Taxi (That’s yellow if you’re scoring at home.) Indium in large with the padded stiffener and all the bells and whistles. The leather just didn’t seem justified for me, but if you require a more formal look, you should definitely explore that option. Total cost out the door was $321. This is higher than the Levenger bag I reviewed before, but it is also a larger bag with more accessories, so I think the cost difference is about right.
Appearance and Aesthetics
The Waterfield Cargo looks great. It’s not as pretty as the Levenger bag, but it is stylish and professional. The look of the Waterfield bag is more versatile for me than other bags. It looks perfectly professional when I carryy it into work and equally as casual when I carry it to Starbucks on Saturday wearing shorts and a T-shirt.
Design and Functionality
This bag is extremely well designed. For me, this is how a bag should function. The strap is adjustable on the fly. I can operate the paraglider buckle with one hand. The interior pockets are well laid out, and even though they are on the outside panel of the bag, they are still accessible. (This could be attributable to the padded stiffener in the bottom. I would love to hear from readers who have experience with the non-padded version.) The cell phone pocket is loose enough that I can get my iPhone out one-handed with no trouble, but it is also constructed with an overlap that protects against the phone flying out of the pocket if the bag tips over. I thought the handles would be extraneous, but I have found myself using them over and over. They’re a great addition.
For reference, I’m currently packing a Levenger Junior circa, two large and two pocket Moleskine notebooks, a Flip Mino, and my Levenger 3x5 Rope case in addition to the obligatory writing instruments and other miscellaneous items. The flat pocket on the back of the bag works great for loose papers, and the zipper flap compartment works great for small, relatively flat and infrequently accessed items such as a supply of blank index cards. With all of this, I still have plenty of room for more, so much so that I suspect that I could have gotten away with only buying the medium size.
Any bag that bills itself as a laptop bag gets special scrutiny in that regard, and the Waterfield bag scores high marks here. I have plenty of room in this bag for my power supply and other assorted cables and they stay neatly out of the way in the Cable Guy pouch that came with the combo. The included laptop sleeve is great and the fact that I could pull the laptop sleeve out with its strap and go lightweight to a meeting is awesome. Tacking the piggyback on means I don’t have to go without essential gear.
The Cargo from Waterfield is a fantastic bag. I will be carrying this bag for a very long time. The price point is the only thing that keeps this from getting a perfect score. For some, this is simply too much money to lay out for a bag, and I totally get that. But if you are looking for a well designed bag and it’s as significant a part of your life as it is of mine, then take a big gulp and go Waterfield.
Note: This article was originally written back in July and I had submitted it to be published on The Satchelist but they never published it and I’m just now getting around to publishing it myself.
Fun with MacBook Pro Or: Revision A Hardware Is A Crapshoot
After I exchanged my first MacBook Pro that I bought on October 16 because of a failing hard drive, I began to experience problems with my wireless connection from the MacBook Pro.
@pburleson brought this article to my attention. It seems that many folks are having problems with the new machines. This was confirmed by the Genius that I spoke with this morning. He said there was a new bulletin out (released around 6:30 AM this morning) that said there were a few issues that the engineers were looking into, specifically the issue with trackpads and this issue with wireless. He said to hang tight and wait for a software update. Easy for him to say, right?
I’d like to share my setup so that maybe we can see if there are any common points. My MacBook Pro is made in factory W88 in week 43. (You can determine your factory and week by the first five characters of the serial number.) I have an Airport Extreme Base Station (fast ethernet) running in 802.11n only mode on the 5GHz frequency and automatic channel. I have two USB hard drives and a printer attached to the base station via a four port USB hub. I also have an 802.11g Airport Express connecting to the Extreme in bridge mode to serve g speed wireless to our Wii and iPhones. We also have two MacBooks (13” White from winter 2007) that have no problems connecting to the Extreme network.
With the two machines side by side, I ran a couple of ping tests. This is rather unscientific, but it gives a good thumb-in-the-air kind of understanding that there is indeed a problem. Here are the statistics:
First test: ping -c 200 google.com
200 packets transmitted, 176 packets received, 12% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 76.281/158.200/569.579/94.953 ms
Second test: ping -c 100 google.com
100 packets transmitted, 64 packets received, 36% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 78.068/1250.195/11243.828/2631.825 ms
First test: ping -c 200 google.com
200 packets transmitted, 200 packets received, 0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 75.503/83.267/265.448/30.016 ms
Second test: ping -c 100 google.com
100 packets transmitted, 100 packets received, 0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 75.358/89.459/328.507/45.725 ms
These two tests were run in immediate succession with the MacBook Pro tests being run immediately after a wake from sleep. This indicates that the longer a connection is active, the more the performance degrades. I knew this anecdotally already.
If there is a silver lining to all of this it is that I can connect just fine to the Airport Extreme network over ethernet. I can also maintain a connection the Airport Express network. It appears to be a problem only with the 802.11n connection.
If it were just Internet access I was concerned about, I would just use the Express all the time or dummy down my AEBS to support g. (Genius indicated that this has helped some folks.) But I store my iTunes library on one of those hard drives. Hopefully there will be a fix for this soon.
“Obama was recorded saying, “I don’t consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, ‘You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.’ So when Brian Williams is asking me about what’s a personal thing that you’ve done [that’s green], and I say, you know, ‘Well, I planted a bunch of trees.’ And he says, ‘I’m talking about personal.’ What I’m thinking in my head is, ‘Well, the truth is, Brian, we can’t solve global warming because I f—-ing changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective’.””—http://www.newsweek.com/id/167581/page/2
In 2004, I saw your Democratic National Convention speech, and I said, “If he will run, I will vote for him.” I began listening to your podcast and following your work in the Senate. When you announced your candidacy, I said, “I will support him.” When my wife Ann Margaret and I attended the rally at the convention center in Fort Worth, Texas, I noticed a strange feeling that I could not quite place. Finally, I realized what it was: hope. I had not felt genuine hope in a very long time, and what was worse is that I did not even realize it had eroded over the years.
Ann Margaret and I voted in the primary, and we caucussed. Neither of us had ever done either before. We contributed as much financially as we could to the campaign. We have talked to our friends, worked to dispell rumors among our acquaintances, and passionately promoted the change that you have been championing.
Tonight, this fourth day of November in the year 2008, I am proud to call you my president. I continue to be full of hope for the change that you and those with whom you surround yourself will bring to this nation. I am hopeful that our nation can once again be a power of peace, a light of leadership, and a shining example of integrity and honor to the world around us.
Today, “Better Days,” a song by The Goo Goo Dolls came on the radio while I was working on a school project, but I refused to allow myself to think about it. Being so close to victory, I did not dare allow myself to become too optimistic. But tonight, after more than four years of following your work and believing in the possibility of the America that you stand for, I exhale a relieved breath and shed more than one tear. I look forward to your leadership, and I look for better days.