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When you swing a guitar without strap locks.

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“What can you tell a person you been wit’ for forty years?”

Italianamerican (dir. Martin Scorsese; 1974)

</span></span></p></blockquote><p>[via Kung Fu Grippe]</p></p>

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An interview with Jason Kottke on The Verge. Jason’s blog is still, consistently, the blog to read. Even more so now that he’s able to draw from Stellar.

I have two invitations to Stellar to hand out. Just ask: @torrez.

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I’ve become fond of a weblog called Everyday Carry. When I decided to dust off my newsreader I asked some friends for their OPMLs so I could see what they were reading and Everyday Carry was one that came in a bundle of consumer-centric feeds Adam Mathes read for Decommodify.

The basic idea is people send in photos of what they carry every day, with a little summary of what the items are and possibly a little backstory on how they acquired the item. The goal seems to be minimalism crossed with preparedness, and so there is a theme amongst the enthusiasts that I’ve been able to observe. Most carry a light, a bit of rope, a hook of some sort, a small number of keys (usually one), a knife, a wallet, and a watch.

Each post has a followup by the editor thanking them for the contribution and praising or offering a gentle suggestion about how they could achieve a more efficient everyday carry.

There are no Amazon encoded links to buy your own, that feels noteworthy.

Some time ago I decided I would not carry a bag and laptop into work. I keep my work iMac at the office and commute with only my keys, a wallet, and iPhone (with standard earbuds). My keys have an Inka Pen keychain that has saved me more times than I can count.

I don’t imagine I would ever submit to Everyday Carry, but the site is a bright spot as I read through my feeds.

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I can hardly believe this is true: Gary Taxali was commissioned to design the backs of six 25¢ Canadian coins.

The backstory is a great read, including the bit about the origin of his own last name.

Birthday f C3 A0te

[via Drawn!]

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Only listening to music from 2012 so far: sucks. I pretty much stayed away from 2011, but only a couple weeks into the new year and there is seriously nothing. Help me if you know something good, because I am dying over here. I heard the new Sleigh Bells way more than I could deal. And the Miniature Tigers new song is okay…but not what I was hoping for. Come on new music Tuesday!

Meanwhile I decided I can’t stop participating over on This Is My Jam because it’s just too much fun. So far I haven’t been able to share any new music with anyone over there, but I have my fingers crossed as we hit the end of the month and get past all the albums the labels dumped after the new year.

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Paul Graham’s Y Combinator request for startups #9: Kill Hollywood.

…What is going to kill them? Mostly not what they like to believe is killing them, filesharing. What's going to kill movies and TV is what's already killing them: better ways to entertain people.

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In light of the GOP debates this past week someone linked to this excerpt of the fourth book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy but I have forgotten who it was. It’s the sort of thing you need to read in its entirety so I am not going to quote it. Just go read.

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Here’s your yearly reminder that Fez is landing on the XBox soon. If you know what Fez is, you’ve probably already jumped to the next blog post by now. But if you don’t know, the developers have put together a page explaining what Fez is.

There are no enemies in FEZ. No bosses, no combat. In fact, no conflict of any kind. You can die, but there is no penalty for doing so. FEZ aims to create a non-threatening world rich with ambiance, a pleasant place to spend time in.

Fez is also prominently featured in “Indie Game: The Movie”:

Indie Game: The Movie Official Trailer from IndieGame: The Movie on Vimeo.

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I’m happy to discover Tom Gauld has a book coming out soon called “Goliath”. You probably know his work if not his name.

Maria

“Goliath” is a graphic novel telling the story of David and Goliath from the giant's point of view.

Screen Shot 2012 01 18 at 10 08 10 AM

You can pre-order it on Amazon.

[via It’s Nice That]

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Adam really said it better than I was able to say it. He even uses a word that was on the tip of my tongue but I could not find: “spectacle”. Here’s a portion of his post:

The implicit, underlying assumption of much of journalism is that reality isn’t interesting enough, or comprehensible enough on its own. It needs to be reinterpreted through storytelling with a bias towards conflict, personality, stereotype, conventional wisdom and other tropes that make what is boring and unfamiliar to the writer more palatable to a large audience.

YES. That.

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After my post yesterday I received some nice email and question about what exactly I do think a tech site should be covering. I have a lot to say on this, and I don’t have a ton of examples right now, but I thought I’d write the first ones that come to mind here and then just reply with the URL to this post.

In short two things interest me: the first is small teams or businesses that have managed to bootstrap themselves without angel or VC money. There are SO MANY ways to fund a company that knowing someone did it with a product that people actually wanted is so much more valuable to me as a reader. I think one could spend a year chasing down the people who have bootstrapped or overfunded their idea on Kickstarter and then went on to deliver another great product. A weblog with a hard requirement like that would be a daily read.

Look at Wirecutter on The Awl network. Did not take funding. A one man operation. Makes money with ads and Amazon referrals. Hell yeah! That’s a great story.

The second thing that interests me is actual emerging tech ideas, not manufactured ones. I am talking about the sorts of people who tinker with APIs and services to come up with a new way to publish or share.

This year I think the big thing will be taking back your data from the cloud. I think owning your own data and having file-level control of your photos and blog posts and personal relationships on your computer is going to become much more popular than it is now.

OpenPhoto was a Kickstarter project that successfully funded an open-source solution to managing your photos through Dropbox or S3. It was built with $25,000 of supporter’s money. I mean, look at this!

Jekyll is a “blog-aware, static site generator” that has been around for over three and a half years. The idea is that you don’t need a centralized blog posting service to generate and host your static files, you can have them generated locally and pushed to a static web server. Quite a few people have been thinking about this for a while now. Brent Simmons has been working on one since 2009, Marco Arment just pushed the source to Second Crack on Github. I just saw a new one yesterday that looks great but is extremely custom and probably won’t be released any time soon, but the need is there.

These “own your content” apps are still in the toothpick and wad of gum stages, but someone is going to get this right and it’s not just going to be a great story but a new way of thinking about how we publish and own our content.

What’s boring: $10 million in funding to make a new Facebook. Yes, you can hire a ton of people and make perplexing videos on someone else’s dime for quite a while it seems. I thought the first version of Color was actually cool if not cold and a bit cumbersome, but since then they haven’t done very much worth posting about yet we get new blog posts and profiles about the founder every few months.

All that said, and given I linked to a quote about PandoDaily in the previous post, I also think posts like this are absolutely worth discussing. Anyone up for a stop Jimmy Wales protest avatar?

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Tim O’Reilly on SOPA and lobbyists (emphasis mine):

The mismatch between Silicon Valley and Congress isn't just that Silicon Valley isn't engaged enough with lobbying Congress, but that Silicon Valley has this outmoded idea that your ideas succeed when they are right, as proven in the marketplace, rather than because you were better at making a backdoor deal than the next guy.

Tech Industry Buys Itself a Mouthpiece

"It's a long list," Lacy conceded in the announcement. "And there is a simple reason we spread the syndicate widely: This is a news site built for the startup community, so the more of them that are a part of it, the better."

I know where Tim was going with that paragraph and his posts on SOPA/PIPA are must-read thoughts on the problem, but I think that sentence reflects for me the thing that is a bit discouraging about Silicon Valley.

I still want to see an independent tech weblog that covers the many startups and subjects I never see listed on the current tech blogs. I hate seeing a glowing post about some new startup and know the writer and CEO regularly joke with each other on Twitter. I hate when a popular startup is given a pass because most of the writers attended the founder’s bachelor party or got an exclusive on a new feature.

This is the game that goes on and the righteous belief that there isn’t one bothers me.

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I started playing this game last night called Swift Stitch and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I guarantee it is unlike any game you’re playing now. (Unless you’re playing Vib Ribbon or Tron.)

There is a demo for both Mac and PC as well as a web embedded (you can embed Unity games!?) demo so you can try it out.

Her post-mortem on the game is definitely worth reading.

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This is ONE 48" firework shell:

[via Coudal]

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Last night at about midnight this idea popped into my head. It was so good (to me) that I decided to write it on my iPhone, while half-asleep, because it was keeping me from going to sleep. I posted it.

Now that I woke up and read it I realize there are a lot of gaps there. Also I don’t even explain the problem very well.

So here is a repost of the idea with URLs explaining what I meant.

As a web developer one thing that is very easy to do is file uploads. There are so many ways to get a file from your computer to my site that people will argue about the best way to do it (it’s Nginx Upload Module, btw).

The problem is when someone using an iOS device hits the “browse” button on their iOS device. There is no file system available and so the button does nothing. Here is where Apple could solve all of this by making the “browse” button open your camera roll and allow you to select an image from it. (Surprise: this is what Android does.)

Since Apple doesn’t allow this many people end up making iOS apps that do everything a mobile site could do plus image upload. If there were just a way to fire up the camera or camera roll from a web page and choose an image to upload, many web developers I know would be very happy (me).

It turns out there is a way to launch an iOS app from a web page. It’s called a protocol handler. Here is an example of it being used in the application Terminology.

The URL terminology://q=word (yes, that’s a valid URL) only works if you have the Terminology application installed, or some other iOS app has registered to handle that URL. So if someone puts it on a web page only people with the app can click the link.

Here is my idea: make an application called Community Camera.app. Community Camera.app registers to handle any URL like camera://url=[…] where […] is a URL that accepts an image upload.

Someone clicks the camera:// link and it opens the Community Camera app with a location to post an image file. The user then either takes a picture or selects an image using the standard controls and then Community Camera.app POSTs that image data to the URL that was passed in.

This way anyone who wants to make a web site that accepts image uploads from iOS devices simply needs to provide a camera://url=http://theirsite.com/upload/token/asdf1234 link on their page. The script at /upload/token/asdf1234 should do three things:

  1. Accept a file upload and return an OK or FAIL message.
  2. Accept the image arriving using the token value. Each token should be a disposable key used for the transaction.
  3. Return a URL for returning back to the web site.

After uploading, the Community Camera.app tells the user if the image was accepted and a button to continue goes to item #3.

Sometimes I get these ideas and I forget them. I really want someone to do this and so I got a bit excited and posted that cryptic post last night. Thanks for reading!

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Someone make this: an iOS app with protocol handler “camera://” that lets me pass a URL for the application to post an image to.

Every web app that needs an iOS app just to get a photo or image into the site could use this non-site-specific iOS app by simply passing in something like:

camera://url=http://some.com/new-image/token/asdf1234

The app launches, user selects image or takes a photo, and then the iOS app posts that image data to the URL passed in via url=...

Now anyone with a web app can offer image uploading as long as that community camera/image picker is installed.

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I’ll have an announcement to make tomorrow if we can find a printer to print this contract http://simpleform.com/

Please follow our new weblog using the RSS feed or the Tumblr widget. Yeah, my first actual Tumblr blog, what the what?

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Ugh, Nick’s post linking to 37 Signal’s post about not using puzzles and and riddles to hire people reminded me of the time I interviewed at [redacted].

I was awful. Embarrassingly awful. I can’t even describe how ridiculously bad I was at talking through a problem on paper. Looking back I probably should have just said, “Oh hey, can we try something else?” But I wanted to prove I could do it and just ended up getting it all so wrong I wanted to just get up and walk out of the room.

A friend went through the gauntlet of hiring and he was hit with all the puzzles and algorithms you hear about. He studied really hard for them and did really well; he had his pick of jobs to take. But talking to him now it seems that he ended up at a company lacking any culture and a few odd people he doesn’t care to interact with.

I think I do pretty good hiring people. I tend to do much more talking and challenging ideas than I think most people do. Yes, reading their code is probably the most important thing you can do before hiring, but if you can’t hold a conversation with someone and can’t see having lunch with them, then why even get to that point?

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I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a first person hockey game. Someone correct me if I’m wrong but usually it’s third person or top down.

This looks like so much fun.

Made by the Cryptic Sea for Windows or Mac.

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I had this sitting in MarsEdit as a draft for longer than I meant to. Last year I created a bookmark folder called Best of 2011 and throughout the year dragged a link in there to every post that knocked it out of the park. I edited the list down a bit after re-reading them:

  • FOMO and Social Media by Caterina Fake. (This is not the correct URL for the piece, but her site is in transition and the URLs are a bit broken.) I noticed a lot of the posts in the folder were those wake-up call posts that sort of jar you back into reality. I have known of Caterina for years, of course, but we had never met until this year and I am really glad I got a chance to. This post arrived at a time when we were creating MLKSHK and I think it altered its direction a little bit. It certainly altered my perceptions a bit.
  • It’s the End of the Web As We Know It by Adrian Short. The title of this post is over the top but such is the state of the web right now. Inside the post there is an important point about where we are sliding as we give Facebook and Twitter our identities. I have more to say on this subject. It angers me when I see people only allow a Facebook option for creating accounts on sites that have very little to do with the Facebook service. I hope to write that post soon.
  • Up and Down the Ladder of Abstraction by Bret Victor. This is the web I want. You don’t just read this post, you use this post. What an amazing piece of work this is. See also: A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design for another good post from Mr. Victor.
  • The Web Is a Customer Service Medium by Paul Ford. A lot of people put this on their lists of great posts last year and it deserves it. I just read it again and I want to push a Like button or fill in a little red heart or drop a nickel in a Paul Ford hat. I suppose I will do what we used to do in the old days: link it.

Finally, not posted this year, but I saw it this year. I will leave you with the Venn diagram (hah! seriously!) that influences my work life right now: How To Be Happy In Business.

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Watch Dutch artist Max Zorn create translucent street art using only brown packing tape and a scalpel.

via The Presurfer

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Occasionally I will be writing this year about progress on Simpleform’s transparent books.

Last week I learned how to retrieve and parse my bank account’s transactions. They’re in a format called OFX which sounds awful but is actually pretty straightforward. If you ignore 95% of it, in the end it is a list of transactions identified by GUIDs which I am stuffing in a MySQL database.

My goal is first to collect it, then clean it up locally by adding better descriptions and categories, and then push reports to a server that we can all see.

I will share this code.

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