Archive for the 'Weblogging' Category

Friday, September 19th, 2008 is a very important email address to which no spam should ever be sent.

Thus, please make sure that you never place in any spider-a-ble, crawl-a-ble, locations. Because it would be very bad if were to receive a lot of spam.

For more information on the awesome value of, please see this write-up about

If you happen to run across any risky mentions of, be sure to give them a call and let them know! Their number is 1-866-831-4764.

New Spammy Comment Policy

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

I am seeing an increasing number of spammy comments that are obviously written by a semi-intelligent human actually responding to the content of the targeted post, but for which the content is almost completely devoid of useful signal. Almost, but not quite.

So, I have decided I’ll employ a new policy.

I’m going to let such comments stand. Especially when they bend over backwards to complement my work. I like that. I’m shallow that way.

However, if the URL and/or email address associated with the comment is nothing but a marketing splurb, those particular fields will be deleted.

MarsEdit Full Fidelity Preview

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007
Roger Wave Watching

OK — I finally got around to actually following the instructions on this red sweater post. Ahh… much better.

Now MarsEdit actually shows me content pretty close to how it’ll look when published. This should greatly reduce the # of round trips when integrating pictures and text.

Got it mostly working in about 10 minutes. Still not quite full fidelity; flickr and google content doesn’t show up, but that is more of a feature than a bug.

Tedious, but worth it.

Pear/Grape Pie

Sunday, November 11th, 2007
Big Box of Grapes

I finally returned to the farmer’s market Saturday morning after a many month hiatus. Amongst a number of yummy purchases, I ended up with 30 pounds of assorted grapes (at the obscenely low price of $13). It is good to be recognized by the vendors.

Obviously, I’m making tons of raisins. And freezing some. And keeping some around for noshing upon. The quality of these grapes are just amazing. All seedless. Some as big as plums. Ranging from sugary sweet to slightly tart.

While in Missouri, my Mom taught me how to make her style of pie. Extremely simple to do, very subtle nuances required to do it well.

Hmmm… grape pie? A google search reveals lots of recipes for Conchord Grape Pie, but very few plain old grape pies. OK — time to improvise.

Grape/Pear Pie

Pictured at right is the result. Completely delicious. A decent product for my second pie ever, but not quite perfect; the bottom crust was just slightly underdone and I had to work the crust too much due to improper tools.

The pie is in the style of my Mom’s Cheatin’ Tart. That is, I made a pie crust that was larger than the pie tin, dropped it in the pie tin, added the filling, and then folded over the excess. It was off-center on purpose. Some people like more crust, some less, and thus having an off-center hole allows one to cut to the tastes of the consumer.

The filling is a combination of about 2 cups of raw grapes and 1.5 medium sized pears. I simmered the grapes and pears for about 30 minutes in 1/3rd of a cup of water, with cinnamon and a touch cayenne pepper (not enough to taste, just enough to draw out flavors — thanks, Ben!), until the grapes were soft but not totally mushy.

The key with making a pie crust — in this case, a dead simple flour/sugar/salt/butter crust (I’ll try Chuck’s vodka crust once I nail this one) — is to ensure that the fat (butter or lard — butter in this case) does not get too hot. Thus, one needs to avoid working it too much, which I failed to do. I was using a cuisinart to mix the crust, but the Cuisinart dough blade sucks. It leaves flour untouched all around the outside edge and requires significant mixing after the fact. My mom has a cool little blender top mixer that does a great job.

While doing my pie engineering, I posted a series of observations on Twitter. Much useful feedback was given. For now, I have ordered an OXO Good Grips Dough Blender with Blades; the good OXO dough blender, not the flimsy one.

I also need new pie tins. According to my Mom, black tins make the best pies I can’t argue with her expertise. I do wonder if a is the way to go. I might try making a pie in one of my many cast iron pans.

Update: Mom wrote in the comments with some hints and tips. I also made a new pie using a marble cutting board + keeping the dough cold. More soon.

Camino / FireFox content fix

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

For a while, my weblog has suffered from blank content areas under Firefox and Camino. I hadn’t take the time to figure it out, but David Bruxton did for me.

Thank you. Thankyouthankyouthankyou.

Just a missing tag. Stupid me. Should have fixed it long ago.

Erase that hard drive!

Saturday, March 17th, 2007
Hard Drive Platter Meets Pinball

Dumb little man (nice weblog, btw) has an entry reminding folks to actually erase the hard drives of their old computers.

He misses two key points.

First, secure erasing of hard drive contents is built into Mac OS X. Launch Disk Utility, click on the volume or drive you want to erase, then click on “security options…”. I just zero out all data, but you can be up to 35 times more paranoid than I am.

If you want to ditch a partitioned drive, I would suggest repartitioning the drive down to a single partition. This allows for a single erase-and-zero pass. Takes just as long but you don’t have to mess with it in the middle.

Secondly, don’t forget to erase the data on broken hard drives! Just because a drive no longer works does not mean the data is inaccessible! Often, carefully swapping the controller board on a drive is enough to restore it to working order long enough to pull off the data. Professional recovery services (and really careful hackers) can even swap the platters from a dead drive to a working drive to recover data!

Me? I take dead drives apart. They have amazingly powerful magnets inside, along with all kinds of very useful screws, washers, nuts, coils, and other fiddly bits.

The platters, obviously, contain the data and they should be destroyed. I run one of the magnets over them upon removal and then keep a stack of the platters around as they have proven to be incredibly useful! The platters have been used for everything as clamp pads for gluing stuff to spacers to level a table or work surface to being used by my son as part of a bug house.

Note that not all platters are made of metal! Some are made of glass! So, if you plan on smacking the platters with a hammer, be careful!!

Or, do what I did when I discovered this: Set up a high speed photog kit and drop a pinball on it!

A new member of the weblogging community….

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

Steve Jobs joined the ranks of webloggers today. Mr. Jobs has a rather high profile URL with an RSS feed that spans much more than his personal essay(s?) and an entire company’s worth of contributors.

The first post is quite the mind bomb.

Personally, I hope this is the first of many such posts.

Update: No, I don’t think that Steve’s rather poignant essay is a blog post. But, really, why not? As corporations increasingly rely upon the web to disseminate both formal press releases, success stories, and anecdotal information, where does is the line drawn between “web site” and “weblog”?

There is an URL… an RSS feed… The ‘hotnews‘ section of Apple’s site is certainly a sort of corporate weblog.

This post serves two purposes.

First, go read the essay. It is really is quite interesting.

Secondly, what is the definition of a weblog? Where is the line between corporate news collection and corporate weblog? Apple’s “hotnews” section often has non-press release content. Does that make it a weblog?

BlogTag: FiveThings

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

Woot! I’ve been tagged! Look-at-me — I’m a statistic in an internet based meme! It looks to have started here.

Stuff you may not know about me. Hrm.

0. Brevity is not my strong point. But you knew that if you are a regular reader of this weblog (as if!).

1. I write this weblog for two reasons. The first is, as the title implies, as a sort of diary of the bits of my life that I want to be able to easily find later (thanks to Google!). The second is to share my experiences, thoughts, and point of view with an express purpose of learning from others. It is why the comments are unmoderated beyond spam elimination; the dialog that ensues is very valuable to me (be it educational, humorous, or ridiculous). I’m a technorati junkie. Even the advertising on this site is useful beyond the meager income it generates; seeing how the revenue changes based on what I’m posting gives me a little bit of insight into the nature of the internet. Though, really, it still depresses me a bit that my post about Paris Hilton’s little security breach is the most $/day I have ever earned.

Yet, as gregarious and wide ranging as this weblog is, there is a slew of my personal life that is verboten.

Oh, and the only reason why I haven’t been posting a lot of code related stuff recently is because I’m working on really cool things that I can’t talk about until we put the next great cat in a box and ship it.

And I really don’t have a problem with that. As an Apple blogger, I respect the policies set forth by the company and, even, agree with them though it prevents me from openly commenting on a number of things.

Read the rest of this entry »

Craigslist “prank” gone too far; legal tsunami to ensue.

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

On the Internet, everybody knows you are male…
… or how a picture of naked female bits makes men do dumb things.

(There is a bit of debate going on in the comments. If anything, this event will go down as one of the most widely argued events in the history of the tubes.)

Update: BoingBoing has picked up on this story with excerpts from San Francisco Chronicle columnist Violet Blue. Violet Blue has posted an excellent article on the subject (NSFW as it contains the photo of the naughty bits used to lure the respondents into temporary stupidity). Violet Blue, as always, provokes thought:

But isn’t what Jason did essentially the same as what the cops do? (Except the result is arrest, not just being outed.) How, exactly, is what Jason did any different than the duplicitous fake-ad and chatroom impersonation tactics police and government use to bust people for porn, sex work and online sexual solicitation? Or even something as benign as selling sex toys online?

Its a fuzzy, fuzzy world… everyone sees black & white, but everyone’s contrast/brightness are different.

So, some dude recently posted a fake w4m (woman looking for a man or men) ad on No big deal. Happens all the time. Hell, my World of Warcraft mule was a mostly naked female orc. It was hilarious — I received all kinds of free stuff from other players trying to chat with me.

I would have posted some statistics (I believe either CNet or Wired has an article), but my obvious Google search left me fully expected a call from the Feds. Without safe search, that is one damned disturbing set of search results.

With safe search on, that same search reveals about a bazillion articles or mentions of men posing as women for fun and profit.

So why bother mentioning this?

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Dell Followup: Dell Responds!

Friday, September 8th, 2006

Update: Dell site design folk are actively reading the comments on the original post to evaluate how to better improve the user experience. Neat.

The whole “What the Dell?” design rant received quite a bit more attention than I expected (thanks to an initial link from Daring Fireball and snowballing from there).

Quite a few comments, too. Including comments from Dell employees that spawned a bunch of email communication with them. I have a new found respect for the company.

Aside: Yes, to be perfectly clear, I am an Apple employee. This weblog, however, is completely disconnected from my day job other than that many of my hobbies and my profession overlap. I am speaking entirely for myself here.

Initially, many of the respondents pretty much agreed with my opinion of Dell’s site design. Go read the original post if you want more context.

About 20 comments in, a comment from RichardAtDell shows up:

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