Month: January 2015

  • The Mac's doing just fine

    Not to sound like an Apple blogger or anything, but the recent IDC numbers show that the Mac’s doing well.

    Apple kept the number 5 position on a worldwide basis, maintaining its lead over ASUS. The company’s steady growth, along with recent price cuts and improved demand in mature markets, has helped it to consistently outgrow the market.

    Mac growth is the highest among the top 5, at 18.9% worldwide. The leaderboard stands with Lenovo on top, then HP, Dell, Acer, and Apple.

  • Smart 9V battery for your smoke alarm

    From Gizmodo’s coverage of the Roost, 9V battery for your fire alarm that’s connected to your wifi network for instant push notifications if the smoke alarm goes off:

    Battery life is rated at an impressive five years, even while the Roost is connected to your home’s Wi-Fi network. But that’s because the Roost pretty much sits completely dormant until it detects your smoke detector’s deafening screech. At that point the Roost springs to life, connecting to your home’s Wi-Fi network in order to send notifications to your smartphone.

    Brilliant. Here’s the Roost’s website for some more information.

  • Lego, or everything is awesome

    Fast Company has a nice piece on Lego, only slightly tarnished by the silly mention of Apple in the title. There are so many interesting things in the story so it’s hard to pick a quote, but I found this one interesting since it’s coming from an old company that could just as well be gone due to old roots, but instead is fighting with Mattel for the (no doubt plastic) toy throne:

    Five years ago, Lego would never have considered a pilot product like Fusion, Gram says. There would have been too many concerns that a subpar product might tarnish the brand’s reputation for quality. (One example of how thoroughly quality is policed: Every brick is encoded with a tiny number so that if a defective one were to leave the plant, Lego could track it back to the machine that made it—one of thousands the company has around the world—to determine what went wrong.)

  • TinyLetter rides the newsletter wave lists ten newsletter for media junkies to help start off a more informed 2014, or something like that. It’s a decent list, but that’s not the interesting part here.

    Out of these ten newsletters, six are powered by TinyLetter, the free and overly simple newsletter service maintained by MailChimp. The remaining four newsletters use more conventional services. This is just another example of the rekindled newsletter trend, and the fact that we’re good with simpler things, such as TinyLetter. Personally I’d prefer raw text emails, but maybe that’s just grumpy old me.

  • Gadget moderation

    Ben Brooks writes about our compulsive behavior to always tweak, and replace our, well, stuff. This is worth remembering:

    There is only one thing I have learned: moderation. It used to be that I was obsessed with looking for the next thing to fix and that’s a terrible plan. My goal now is simple: wait until you are annoyed by something, and try not to read websites that find the best things, because then you will have to try those things yourself and down the rabbit hole you go.

    I’m struggling with that myself, and because I’m fortunate enough to not only work in the tech industry, thus easily warranting somewhat relevant purchases, but also be successful in what I do, it’s all too easy to just buy more stuff. I’m working on that.

  • Closing my ebook store

    Closing my ebook store

    I have decided to stop selling my ebook The Writer’s iPad from my own store. The ebook’s still available from other retailers though, so it’s not discontinued or anything.

    The reason for this change are the new VAT rules when selling services, including digital goods, to other EU countries. They’re basically great, because they lets us sell within EU on equal terms.


  • Waterstones mixes apples with pears, The Telegraph adds oranges

    The Telegraph has the weirdest piece on the decline of Kindle at Waterstones book stores.


    Waterstones has admitted that sales of Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader had “disappeared” after seeing higher demand for physical books.

    And this:

    Kindle sales had “disappeared to all intents and purposes”, Waterstones said.

    Along with a 5% rise in print sales, these things are made out as proof of the ebook’s decline. It’s obviously ridiculous, because they’re talking about sales of Kindle e-readers, not actual books. First of all, you don’t buy a lot of e-readers, do you? Decline in sales doesn’t necessarily mean a thing, especially not from a bookstore where the audience is more likely to buy books, digital or otherwise.

    Second, there’s no doubt a decline in e-readers, in terms of (often e-ink based) dedicated reading devices, is happening. That doesn’t mean a thing, because today your smartphone is an e-reader, and you’ve got Kindle on it in an app. The only thing that the story actually tells us, is that e-readers aren’t selling as much as they used to at bookstores. It has nothing to do with ebooks, and everything to do with a product that’s been marginalized thanks to smartphones.

  •'s 2014

    It’s been a good year for

    Total New Blogs:

    That’s 49,997 new blogs per day!

  • The so called 12" MacBook Air reveal

    The so called 12" MacBook Air reveal

    9to5Mac is a well-known Apple blog, and they’re great at feeding the rumor mill. Right now, they’re “revealing” the new 12″ MacBook Air. By “reveal” they actually mean that they’ve created artist renditions based on their sources, which isn’t exactly the same thing as revealing, but it matters little. I don’t think that this is the 12″ MacBook Air, it just doesn’t make sense.

    First there’s this:

    The upcoming 12-inch Air has the fewest amount of ports ever on an Apple computer, as can be seen in the rendition above. On the right side is a standard headphone jack and dual-microphones for input and noise-canceling. On the left side is solely the new USB Type-C port. Yes, Apple is currently planning to ditch standard USB ports, the SD Card slot, and even its Thunderbolt and MagSafe charging standards on this new notebook.

    The magnetic MagSafe charging cables are brilliant, they solve a problem, and thus there’s no reason to believe that Apple would scrap them for a new USB port. Of course, that’s assuming they haven’t also managed to make the USB port magnetic.


  • Marco Arment on feeding the sensational bullshit monster

    Marco Arment’s post about Apple losing “the functional high ground” spun out of control, and became fodder for the sensational bullshit fire. That wasn’t the intention, and now Arment’s less than happy about the outcome.

    If there’s any flaw, it’s an unstoppable nightmare of embarrassment and guilt. Most people, myself included, aren’t accustomed to that level of scrutiny. Those who are usually have PR training, editors, and handlers to protect them from publishing flippant blog posts before they go to bed.

    Fair enough, but this isn’t the first time Arment’s commented something and it’s been blown out of proportion. Arment even admits this in his post, so although I feel for him, I also find it naive to think that what he writes will always stay in his quiet corner of the web. Lesson learned again, I guess.

    The original post that sparked everything is here.

  • WordPress admin over the years

    John James Jacoby has published a gallery of the various iterations of the WordPress admin interface. Brings back memories, and also points out how far WordPress has come. It’s not entirely a good thing though, more isn’t necessarily better when you’re looking at a CMS. This is temporary though, because there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll do most of our publishing from the front-end in the future, using the backend for administrator duties only.

  • Jetpack isn't bloatware

    Sam Hotchkiss, developer on the Jetpack team, gives us test results that indicate, if not prove, that he infamous plugin for WordPress is in fact not adding bloat to your install. His conclusion:

    At the end of the day, it’s very easy to have a negative reaction to Jetpack because of its size and scope, but, thankfully, those fears don’t tend to be realized in the real world.

    Details and test results here.

    While we’re on the topic, be sure to check out Jetpack’s new site management feature. Interesting, to say the least.

  • Thought verbs are banned

    Chuck Palahniuk doles out some solid writing advice:

    From this point forward – at least for the next half year – you may not use “thought” verbs. These include: Thinks, Knows, Understands, Realizes, Believes, Wants, Remembers, Imagines, Desires, and a hundred others you love to use.

    The list should also include: Loves and Hates.

    And it should include: Is and Has, but we’ll get to those, later.

    Until some time around Christmas, you can’t write: Kenny wondered if Monica didn’t like him going out at night…”