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Kottke says a tumblelog is a quick and dirty stream of consciousness… with more than just links. Anarchaia was the first, but there are many copies. And they have a plan.

  1. This idea — that EPUBs are crafted by saintly scribes in high places of knowledge far from the hoi-polloi of the anything-goes web — is one of the more pervasive and wrongheaded beliefs to affect this exercise.

    Joseph Pearson

  2. Seen in a StackOverflow thread on programmer jokes:

    The fantastic element that explains the appeal of games to many developers is neither the fire-breathing monsters nor the milky-skinned, semi-clad sirens; it is the experience of carrying out a task from start to finish without any change in the user requirements.

    So, so true. (Via Kristján in Campfire.)

  3. We are born only once and cannot be born twice, and must forever live no more. You don't control tomorrow, yet you postpone joy. Life is ruined by putting things off, and each of us dies without truly resting.

    Epicurus, in the Vatican Sayings (translated by Peter Saint-Andre)

  4. Based on a back of the envelope calculation with a 50 KVp Bremsstrahlung spectrum and the standard mass absorption coefficients for soft tissue, X-ray backscatter machines will, if widely deployed, almost certainly kill far more people than the terrorists they are supposed to protect us from.

    Tom Radcliffe

  5. Q. How do you achieve a work-life balance? How do you keep your professional life from dominating everything?

    A. People get out of balance when they see their value as being able to respond quickly. If I see myself as a machine for answering email, then my work life would never stop because my email never stops. If instead I see my value as separating the important from the unimportant and making good decisions on the important, then I can go home at a reasonable hour, spend time with my family, ignore my email and phone messages all weekend long, and make sure that when I return to work, I am in the right mood to make the good decisions.


  6. As an alternative to five hackers doing five 80% solutions of the same problem, we would be better off if each programmer picked a different task, and really thought it through — a 100% solution. Then each time a programmer solved a problem, no one else would have to redo the effort. Of course, it’s true that 100% solutions are significantly harder to design and build than 80% solutions. But they have one tremendous labor-savings advantage: you don’t have to constantly reinvent the wheel. The up-front investment buys you forward progress; you aren’t trapped endlessly reinventing the same awkward wheel.

    Example[…] I needed an emacs mode in graduate school for interacting with Scheme processes. I looked around, and I found a snarled up mess of many, many 80% solutions, some for Lisp, some for Scheme, some for shells, some for gdb, and so forth. These modes had all started off at some point as the original emacs shell.el mode, then had been hacked up, eventually drifting into divergence. The keybindings had no commonality. Some modes recovered old commands with a "yank" type form, on C-c y. Some modes recovered old commands with M-p and M-n. It was hugely confusing and not very functional.

    The right thing to do was to carefully implement one, common base mode for process interaction, and to carefully put in hooks for customising this base mode into language-specific modes — lisp, shell, Scheme, etc. So that’s what I did. I carefully went over the keybindings and functionality of all the process modes I could find — even going back to old Lisp Machine bindings for Zwei — and then I designed and implemented a base mode called comint. Now, all process modes are implemented on top of comint, and no one, ever, has to re-implement this code. Users only have to learn one set of bindings for the common functions. Features put into the common code are available for free to all the derived modes. Extensions are done, not by doing a completely new design, but in terms of the original system — it may not be perfect, but it’s good enough to allow people to move on and do other things.

    Olin Shivers (emphasis his)

  7. Looking up the aisle of the Wayfarers Chapel in Ranco Palos Verdes, CA

    Pulpit, by Kim.

  8. [W]hen you have a spec that almost *everyone* ignores or gets wrong[…] it might be time to acknowledge that the problem is the spec instead of the implementors.

    David Megginson (emphasis his).

  9. In order to keep my life and work organized, the tool I use to track tasks has to be streamlined and seamless. Do you know what I mean? Any hassle or delay, and I’m likely to get distracted or postpone the bookkeeping of adding a new task or updating the status of a task. If I’m hampered in bookkeeping, I fall behind and the system becomes less trustworthy so I can even fall out of the habit of keeping it up-to-date simply because it’s already not up-to-date. It requires discipline as well as ease-of-use.

    Lisa Dusseault

  10. TTML has the air of being designed for a situation where a bunch of people in suits turn up to help you do accessibility. SRT has the air of something designed so that some guy in his pants in his basement can subtitle anime. Historically the successful parts of the web have been much closer to the guy-in-his-basement design than the people-with-suits design.

    James Graham, in #whatwg

    1. andywaer Just learned the CSS property text-transform:capitalize has a bug with all-caps text: “FAIL” will not convert to “Fail,” it remains FAIL.
    2. joshthewebguy @andywaer that’s what strtolower() is for.
    3. andywaer @joshthewebguy Ha. Thanks, smartass. Not if you’re working only in CSS
    4. joshthewebguy @andywaer jquery?
    5. andywaer @joshthewebguy In a CSS-only environment, it fails.
    6. andywaer @joshthewebguy what good is a CSS property if it requires the help of another language in order for its tests to pass?
    7. hober @andywaer: ‘text-transform: capitalize’s definition: “Puts the first character of each word in uppercase; other characters are unaffected.”
    8. hober @andywaer: see http://tinyurl.com/5mt3wz for more.
    9. andywaer @hober yeah, I’ve read the spec. it’s just a useless definition in practice.
    10. andywaer I’ll have one ball-busting with a side of RTFM, please.
  11. It's absolutely true. There's all these people sitting around, and if you read these blogs and the comments, it's like—I got so many nasty notes from "fans" about how I wasn't feeding their need for more tips. I'm grateful that people like what I do, but I'm also becoming increasingly confrontational with people who go, "I can't wait 'til this new thing comes out!" Whether that's an Apple tablet or a new release of a text editor or whatever. I increasingly will say to them, "What are you unable to make today with what you've got?" Or, put differently, "What's the best thing you [made] last year that you're really proud of and how will this help you do that again?"

    You're absolutely right. You're gonna die. You're gonna die. And nobody's gonna care which version of the iPhone you used to make something on Twitter, or to go and post about your bowel movement on Facebook. And I'm not even talking about legacy; I'm talking about the fact that I personally feel most alive when I'm making something, and I feel least alive when I'm being led around by some obnoxious use of my attention that I wasn't aware of. To me, that's the thing. You can buy the jogging shoes and you can buy the Runner's World, but until you put them on and walk out the door every day, you're just a fat man.

    There's no amount of information that's going to take the place of putting on the shoes and starting to move a little bit. And you're not really doing Tae Kwan Do unless you're kicking people. Reading all the sex manuals in the world is not going to do anything unless you're touching genitals. Otherwise, you're just reading. But it's painful. People get mad when you say that, because we derive a lot of our self-esteem and satisfaction out of these things that we choose to consume. I'm not even talking about Pepsi. I'm talking about blogs, and I'm talking about Facebook. I'm talking about MySpace and what widgets you put where. We form our identity through all these alliances we build, and for a lot of people to say to them, "Well, what are you making as a result of that?", what they're making is a different version of their personality every day. That's fine as long as that's what they want to do, but when you're 60, are you going to be happy that that's where your youth went?

    Merlin Mann

    1. @hober: "@Github is all the rage with the kids these days, but it turns out it's actually pretty awesome." — @iamcal, in http://bit.ly/cfkGTO
    2. @mgrdcm: @hober: I want AfsOldFilesHub. That should be enough revision control for anyone. [ref]
    3. @hober: @mgrdcm {{citation needed}}, though what's the bib format for when you cite a cubism? [ref]
  12. We worry about whether relatively poor people in rich nations are rich enough for our tastes rather than about whether the global system of borders and passports wrongfully traps the world’s poorest people in places with corrupt, immiserating institutions.

    Will Wilkinson

  13. Any spec is a good spec if it doesn’t require a Joel-in-a-box to get it up and running.

    Joe Gregorio, on Hixie’s spec-writing style.

  14. HTML has always been a conversation between browser makers, authors, standards wonks, and other people who just showed up and liked to talk about angle brackets. Most of the successful versions of HTML have been “retro-specs,” catching up to the world while simultaneously trying to nudge it in the right direction. Anyone who tells you that HTML should be kept “pure” (presumably by ignoring browser makers, or ignoring authors, or both) is simply misinformed. HTML has never been pure, and all attempts to purify it have been spectacular failures, matched only by the attempts to replace it.

    Mark Pilgrim

  15. You should read the rest of Henri’s article, because I’m simplifying immensely here. Even in IE5/Mac, there were a few older doctypes that didn’t count as far as opting into standards support. Over time, the list of quirks grew, and so did the list of doctypes that triggered “quirks mode.” The last time I tried to count, there were 15 doctypes that triggered “standards mode,” 5 that triggered “almost standards mode,” and 73 that triggered “quirks mode.” But I probably missed some, and I’m not even going to talk about the crazy shit that Internet Explorer 8 does to switch between its four — four! — different rendering modes. Here’s a flowchart. Kill it. Kill it with fire.

    Mark Pilgrim

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