Monthly Archives: September 2016

Ignored the internet and paced in front of the TV while watching the debate. But I shouldn’t have worried. Hillary was prepared.

→ 2016/09/26 11:12 pm

Finally saw the new Peanuts movie. Delightfully well-adapted from 2d. Going to complete the animated movie weekend with Laika’s Kubo.

→ 2016/09/25 1:18 pm

iTunes on the Mac feels like it has finally turned a corner. Pretty lightweight UI now if you use Apple Music and ignore sync and everything else.

→ 2016/09/23 10:00 am

Working a little in Apple’s Motion this week. Really impressed with this app. Reminds me of tinkering with Adobe After Effects back in the classic Mac OS days.

→ 2016/09/22 8:58 am

Tuning in to listen to Hillary’s speech today. Great message. How ridiculous is it that we aren’t sure she will win? 50 days, folks.

→ 2016/09/19 11:48 am

Sports TV networks cut away when a streaker runs on the field, looking for attention. Time to do that for Trump’s free airtime. Sounds like the media has had enough of being played.

→ 2016/09/16 4:20 pm

Paying for web content

I subscribe to a lot of web applications for my indie business, from hosting to invoicing and reporting services. But I also pay for web content when it’s compelling enough. Here are some web sites with writing and art that I think are worth supporting directly:

New York Times. Still the best reporting on the 2016 presidential campaign. While I usually use RSS for news and blogs, I check the New York Times manually each morning to see what is happening in the world. $10/month.

ESPN Insider. Extra articles to supplement what I read during NBA season. Seemed easy to justify as an expense for my podcast Technical Foul with Ben Thompson. Also comes with the ESPN print magazine. $39/year.

Club MacStories. I’ve enjoyed reading MacStories for years, and the club subscription adds a bunch of great content in a weekly newsletter. You also get occasional book downloads such as for Federico Viticci’s new epic iOS 10 review. $5/month.

Six Colors. Jason Snell wasted no time after leaving Macworld. Seemingly overnight, Six Colors has become an important site for Apple fans. Jason and Dan Moren talk informally about current work, travel, writing, and tools on their secret podcast for subscribers. There’s also a monthly email magazine. $6/month.

Stratechery. Thoughtful analysis of current news and trends from Ben Thompson, delivered Monday through Thursday via email or RSS for subscribers. Great depth to stories about tech company business models and where the industry is going. Helps pay for his NBA League Pass subscription. $10/month.

Craft. An archive of sketches, rough animation, and preproduction artwork from animated films. It’s like an expanded version of behind-the-scenes DVD extras and art books. Initially subscribed for the rough animation for the beautiful film Song of the Sea. $6/month.

Before the web dominated all publishing, it was normal to pay for the newspaper and maybe a few print magazines. Then we entered a period where everything had to be free. Now, paying for content is useful again. The sites above have figured something out about building an audience and creating good content.

Red flags at the startup

Wild yet totally believable story from Penny Kim about how she moved from Texas to California to join a startup. It’s got mismanagement, office politics, money problems, lies, and even faked wire transfer receipts:

The scam artist sat there and concocted this in his head instead of telling us the truth that the money wasn’t there. He then weighed the pros and cons and decided it was worth it. Then he took the time to Photoshop in each of his 17 employees’ names (or he forced someone else to do his dirty work).

Although she tried to keep the company name hidden, it was revealed by others later. See this Hacker News thread and article at Business Insider.

It is hard to run a small company that isn’t quite profitable, balancing the ups and downs of revenue and the timing of new investments. When I was much younger, I could probably be sympathetic to a company that was honest and transparent about a rare late paycheck or reimbursement. But Penny Kim’s startup story is much worse than that; it’s a perfect example of how not to handle leadership mistakes.

Rewriting in Rails 5

I’ve been doing Ruby on Rails work again. Although my indie web projects are all Sinatra, I generally recommend to clients that Rails is the way to go. Rails will be easier for them if someone else ever needs to take over the project.

I don’t like using 2 products that do the same thing, though. That’s why I consolidated my web app hosting to Linode, and my source code to GitHub. Why should I switch between 2 frameworks, especially since Rails has matured so well? I’m enjoying Rails 5.

David Heinemeier Hansson said in an interview on Slashdot, about the rise of JavaScript front-end frameworks:

But it seems like that’s one of the lessons people have to learn by themselves. Just try to string things together on your own a few times and you’ll quickly get an appreciation for what Rails provides as a backend framework. We’ve had tons of programmers try just that and come back for refuge.

It struck home because I’ve had some regrets with choosing Ember.js for my new app. Part of that is my own lack of experience with the framework. But also I’m no longer convinced that the heavily JavaScript-based view layout of something like Ember.js is better than Turbolinks, for example. I plan to rewrite my app in Rails and more classic Ajax at the earliest opportunity.

Ten years ago today, I published a podcast episode about San Francisco. I had recorded a bunch of sounds while visiting San Francisco, then edited it together with other audio and added narration. Brings back memories listening to it again.

→ 2016/09/08 9:00 pm

Apple’s vision for the future is wireless audio. Yesterday they also released Beats EP headphones with a 3.5mm cable. The future is far off.

→ 2016/09/08 12:04 pm

Apple Watch series 2 looks like a solid upgrade. I’ll skip this generation, though. Still use my original Apple Watch every day and love it.

→ 2016/09/07 12:51 pm

Can’t really overstate how big this Mario on iPhone announcement is. I never thought we’d see this. And brilliantly doesn’t obsolete owning Nintendo hardware for a more traditional, non-runner Mario game.

→ 2016/09/07 12:14 pm