Posts categorized “blogs”.

Daring Fireball helps out in Grand Rapids

May 27th, 2011

World Record Daring Fireball appearance

Nice to know Gruber is helping out Grand Rapids.

Going full time on TouchArcade

February 1st, 2011

Blake Patterson at Byte Cellar:

Once the App Store went live, TouchArcade quickly became a large and active community for iOS gamers, and it’s done nothing but grow ever since. It’s wonderful to finally have the opportunity to make TouchArcade my entire professional focus and do the work that I so enjoy, having been an avid gamer my entire life.

Congratulations to Blake for heading up TouchArcade full time. It’s the best iOS gaming site out there, with reviews on everything, and Blake has a passion for this stuff.

I got to interview Blake back in the early days, as TouchArcade was getting off the ground. I give a lot of credit to him for helping me out in the early days of Newton Poetry; Blake gave me a lot of pointers to get things started, and I appreciate it very much.

Egg Freckles’ 404

January 3rd, 2011

Thomas Brand on Twitter: “Visit @EggFreckles 404 page. You won’t be sorry, but my traffic will surely look confusing.”

Just lovely. That joke never gets old.

Also, I adore how Mr. Brand makes those graphics for his blog.

Just a blowhard

December 7th, 2010

Seth Godin on claim chowder:

While I wouldn’t encourage anyone to go as far as Ballmer in this endeavor, it turns out that no one ever got a terminal illness from claim chowder. While it might be frightening to imagine, it’s not so bad in practice. Try it.

Have an opinion. Defend it. It will make you smarter.

I truly hope it makes some opinionated people smarter, because they sure don’t sound smarter.

Godin references John Gruber’s (with some credit going to the guys at Panic) “claim chowder” label – where writers make predictions that turn out to be catastrophically wrong. Godin’s points is that fear of being wrong shouldn’t prevent you from making predictions.

But “having an opinion” isn’t good enough. Everyone can have an opinion, and anyone can throw it up on the web and defend it. But who wants to listen to just anyone with an opinion?

It’s the wisdom to post good opinions that makes the difference.

Wisdom comes from experience and research and paying your dues, along with some keen insight on whatever you’re predicting. Without insight or wisdom, you’re just another loud mouth who’s proved wrong after a few months.

Gruber does this with Apple products because his track record points to his particular wisdom and insight. He also has inside information that lend greater weight to his opinions. Plus Gruber thinks about these things deeper than just about anyone, and that gives him the vision to see baffoons when they appear. Sure, he’s wrong sometimes. But his record speaks for itself.

These yahoos that spout off opinions about products, sight-unseen? Defend those opinions all you want, you still look like a yahoo – unless, of course, being wrong comes as an exception and not a rule.

It’s not enough to have an opinion and defend it. You have to have brains enough to look at the situation and come up with a reasoned, insightful opinion based on experience and knowledge. You have to be right most of the time. Then you’re worth reading.

I’m much more careful at making predictions these days, and I think that’s a good thing. If I don’t have anything but an opinion to offer, I’m not a compelling read. I’m just a blowhard.

While you were away

July 6th, 2010

Sorry for the break in the action, gang, but I’ve had an issue with my WordPress 3.0 update.

Specifically, I was getting an “Internal Server Error – 500” message every time I tried to post a new entry or access parts of the WordPress dashboard. I really thought it was something on 1and1’s end, server-wise.

After doing some digging, and some reading, I found the issue was an obscure addition to the .htaccess file.

I can now support Kevin Bagg’s fix for the issue. Everything’s clear-sailing now.

After the update, there is one thing that inspires finger nail biting: my WordPress theme needs to be update, but the warning message says “any customizations you have made to the Themes files will be lost.” Which is fantastic, because I hacked the heck out of the original Infimum theme (version 1.3.2, while Newton Poetry is sporting 1.3.1).

Drop any ideas in the comments. I appreciate it.

Update: Except that now, when I got to post something or upload an image, I get this gibberish:


On the dead and gone web

June 3rd, 2010

404 Error!

I first got a glimpse of how non-permanent (as Buddhists would say) the Web is while compiling my list of Newton-related sites. Maybe 40 percent of any Newton site are now dead and gone.

It’s not just archival, dead-platform sites that suffer from 404-itis. Relatively modern blogs leave a trail of links that are, today, dead ends.

For fun, I like to browse through John Gruber’s Daring Fireball Linked List archives, just to see what life was like in the Mac world before 2005, the year I switched. Most of the links back to Dan Benjamin’s Hivelogic blog are gone. And one, an explanation of FTP from Panic’s Steven Frank, is a non-starter. Searching for these posts is an exercise in futility. The only available option is’s Wayback Machine (where I finally found Frank’s post – love his old blog design).

The Web’s hyperlinks are the key to its success and openness. You find stuff because other people find stuff, so you click a link to find what they found. But when what they found is gone, or missing, it’s frustrating.

For blogs, the switch to a new platform can make all your links, maybe hundreds gathered over the years, non-functional. That’s what I imagined happened with Dan Benjamin’s Hivelogic. Or Steven Frank switching to Tumblr. I, too, switched to Tumblr for my personal site, leaving behind a Blogger-hosted weblog. All my old links are still available because the Blogger blog is still around, an abanonded building in a shoddy neighborhood. If there was an easy way to transfer all those blog posts to Tumblr, I would do it in a heartbeat. But still, if I shut down the old Blogger blog, all my old hyperlinks would become dead ends.

WordPress makes it a little easier, with XML exports and domain name serving. I exported the Newton Poetry and imported it into the new, self-hosted version. A lot of my pictures were left behind, but the text and links work decently (Thomas Brand’s words still haunt me to this day).

Now, if you write regularly, maybe you produce so much content that your old posts don’t matter as much. There’s plenty of new content to overwhelm the old stuff. But it seems to me, as a writer, that the old stuff – the really good stuff – is just as important and should be preserved in some form.

For instance, I (foolishly) kept a Myspace blog and wrote a ton of material for a few years. But when I left Myspace and deleted my account, all that material disappeared. To prevent a total erasure of memory, I copied and pasted all of those posts into my Blogger site. Not like blog to blog, but post to post, individually. It was such a chore. But I felt that a lot of the material was too good to let go. What’s a real shame is that I had no choice but leave comments behind.

There’s no easy way to take your written material with you when you make a switch. There are ways to do it, but usually they’re incomplete or, like my Myspace-to-Blogger example, a mind-numbing project.

And it’s not just that words that are the problem. The missing or incorrect hyperlinks will still be out there in the ethernet ether somewhere, a collapsed barn in some weed-riddled field. If you don’t keep your domain name maintained, or stop paying your web hosting bill, kiss your links goodbye.

This seems like the perfect project for Google, or for the Smithsonian. It would be a heckuva lot more useful that archiving Twitter. The problem would be the server space to host all those images, videos, text, and PDFs. But if anyone has the muscle to tackle a Web-wide archive, it’s Google.

The Web is too democratic to be under a for-profit business’s lock and key, however. It needs to stay public, whatever – and however – that means.

Another voice for the MessagePad

April 26th, 2010

Forrest Buffenmyer created his new site, Newton Phoenix, as a way to contribute to the Newton community.

“I created Newton Phoenix because I wanted to give back some of the support I’ve received on the NewtonTalk list and various websites in the past,” he says. “Or – perhaps I should say – continue or pass along that support.”

Buffenmyer’s post on overclocking your Newton, say, helps him add to the sum of Newton knowledge.

“The only rule as to content that I’ll be following is not to completely duplicate material found at other websites, but try to incorporate my own experiences,” he says.

Newton Phoenix joins a small cadre of MessagePad-devoted sites that keep the thing alive. What I like about Buffenmyer’s site is that he’s undertaking fun projects to keep his Newton going strong. These days he’s using an upgraded MP2000 (modded to an MP2100 by Apple) as his every day Newton for scheduling, contact management, and note taking.

“If I had a way to better sync the Newt with my Mac then I’d use it even more,” Buffenmyer says. “NCX doesn’t offer ‘true’ synchronization, and NewtSync gives me an error when it tries to sync my calendar.”

(These are problems I’ve seen myself.)

Buffenmyer is a gadget geek in general:

I have a Data General One (early laptop), two Data General One Model 2Ts (one with working 30 MB hard drive!–rare for the early 80s), which are both early PC architecture. I have several older PC laptops (Packard Bell, Toshiba, HP OmniBook and IBM ThinkPad), and a newer Dell Inspiron 8600 that I use when I need XP…but I am definitely a Mac guy–or, maybe I should say, Apple in general. A short list: Apple IIgs, Apple IIc…Macs: a Classic, a couple 7600s (one was my first Mac!), a couple Beige G3s, an iMac Indigo, a PowerBook 3400c, a Titanium PowerBook G4 (15″ 500MHz)…and my main Mac, an Aluminum PowerBook G4 (15″ 1.67GHz). I also have an Apple QuickTake 250 digital camera, an HP iPAQ rx3715 PDA and a Sharp Zaurus ZR-5800 (very similar to the Newton).

A stellar list, to be sure, and he cut his teeth on a Timex-Sinclair 1000 writing BASIC and Star Trek games.

I wish Buffenmyer a lot of luck with Newton Phoenix, and I hope he keeps the Newton DIY projects coming.

iPhone-optimized Newton site

March 15th, 2010

Something fun to try on your iPhone or iPod Touch: a Newton site from Sam Speake.

Called NewtonResourc, the site has basic info about Newtons, a tutorial (with more to come), a photo gallery, and links to Newton-specific sites.

[Via NewtonTalk.]

Newton travels the world

February 22nd, 2010

Dr. Adrian Marsh takes his Newton on the road, and around the globe, in My Newton Life – a travelog often updated with an MP2100.

Dr. Marsh makes updates with nBlog from Europe and Turkey, and especially from in and around Istanbul. Lately, however, Dr. Marsh has been posting from his iPhone.

[Image via Dr. Marsh.]

Newton quote of the week: the original

January 15th, 2010

“If Apple had shipped a Newton OS device the size of a Palm Pilot for $400 by 1995, the world might be a very different place today.”

John Gruber, in a great Daring Fireball piece. A must-read for any Newton fan.