Jim Reekes doesn’t care who you are or where you came from

Blog | Feb. 26, 2010

My first exposure to hardcore 12-year Apple employee Jim Reekes was when he stole the show as the jaded, contrarian voice in the ultra low-budget documentary Welcome to Macintosh.

Listening to him recall his sound engineer work at Apple, he is one part Dwight Shrute and one part Bill Hicks. I simply love his candor, honesty and frankness when talking about his work, his industry, his coworkers …and all the little blunders they never quite thought through.

Grounded employees like this are a valuable asset to keep a project on the rails, and simply to keep people from developing really bad ideas. I can only hope to aspire to be as much of an incisive crank as Reekes.

Here he is again talking to One More Thing about the Mac’s startup tone. (You haven’t gone crazy, the introduction is in Hungarian.)

OMT in San Francisco #3: ‘Let it beep’ from One More Thing on Vimeo.

…and now you know the origin of Sosumi.

These all look terrible

Blog | Feb. 22, 2010

I took a look at io9’s Space Ships, Aliens And Comics To Watch At SXSW’s Film Fest and yikes.

So far we have:

“Pfft. I was over this stuff before I’d even heard about it.” Yeah, I know these gripes must smack of hipster one-upmanship, but none of these films look particularly moving, original, or good.

An easy way to make favicon.ico icons

Blog | Feb. 21, 2010

C’mon, it’s 2010. Favicons have been in style for about a decade now. And yet Photoshop can’t make them. (If you like owning a second image editing app) GraphicConverter can sorta do them if you know what you’re doing. Favicons are 16×16 icons that, for some unfathomable reason, are nearly impossible to make. Luckily, I stumbled onto a tool from HTML Kit, which produces nicely antialiased results:


How many versions of Photoshop and Adobe CS have come out since favicons have been popular? There has to be some reason beyond me responsible for this lack of support. Either that or this is some kind of bizarre blind spot on Adobe’s part for making one of the most ubiquitous and simplest images on the web.

Start with HTML

Blog | Feb. 17, 2010

At work, our web site code is becoming a morass of nested <div>, <p>, and <span> tags. Our CSS file alone is nearly 3,000 lines long. Since the CSS is so byzantine to begin with, whenever a redesign comes along, frequently us poor developers — rather than untangle this Gordian stylesheet — simply declare new classes and bolt them onto the end of our stylesheet; hence the 3,000 line CSS file. This has to stop.

I propose a new solution for developing web pages: start with HTML. Imagine you are developing a clean, informative page for Mosaic. Only once your HTML is done do you start mucking it up with CSS. Have we forgotten this is the way style sheets were intended to be used? We’ve let them be perverted to add rounded corners, fix IE bugs, and even add arbitrary spacing. Your CSS will be much cleaner and more meaningful if you start with the information as the structure, and then build on that.

We’re gonna need a bigger phone

Blog | Feb. 16, 2010

Nothing wrong with the Windows Phone 7 Phone Something Something OS, but I think they may have designed the titles for a bigger device.

Windows Phone 7

“A wakeup call for the Drupal community”

Blog | Feb. 14, 2010

Freeman recently wrote A wakeup call for the Drupal community and I wish I could have put the failings of the Drupal CMS as well as he has:

This is a common theme in the community. You can kludge your way to victory with just about any feature set you can think of if (and only if) you write enough hook_$n_alter() code, can find some contrib modules to pick up the slack, and have a designer who can code php tucked in your back pocket

Freeman’s states that the reason Drupal failed to win CMS of the year over WordPress is because WordPress is simply easier to use.

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Anyone can not direct a film

Blog | Feb. 11, 2010

On The Guardian’s review of Tom Ford’s A Single Man:

If it’s the case that anyone can direct a film, then it’s also the case that anyone can not direct a film. “I know stories about very well-known figures who are revered for directing films and who basically do nothing,” [Nick James, who edits film magazine Sight & Sound] tells me. “They just put their name on it at the end.” Is this a problem? According to James, there is a simple formula for making a film. “There are two things to get right at the start: the casting and the shot-list. After that you can basically sit back. The fact is, there aren’t too many directors who know anything about light metres or camera lenses. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

Two things to remember: get casting and pre-production right. Also, from the Leadership and Project Management class I’m taking, it looks like directing is more a matter of project management than of being behind the camera. …or is that producing?

It’s because Avatar is hopelessly generic

Blog | Feb. 11, 2010

io9 has The Complete List Of Sources Avatar’s Accused Of Ripping Off.

Maybe it isn’t that Avatar is ripping anyone off, but that it’s just another grab bag of obvious science fiction-meets-environmentalism tropes.

Kubricks are cheap, ugly toys

Blog | Feb. 9, 2010

This started out as a flame on The 21 Greatest Medicom Kubrick Figures.

Alien kubrick-thumb-500x375The figures are all based on the same body type, but then there is all this variation made to the torsos, heads and hands — why bother sticking to one body type at all? It’s as if they started with a rule that the toys should all look alike, but then ignored that rule to suit their needs, ending up with some half-assed Lego knockoff. For example, how is a Kubrick Alien toy any better or different than an actual Alien toy? It gains nothing from the Kubrick look. In fact, the Kubrick body is actually a drawback. They glued on so many pieces to make the Alien recognizable that the iconic(?) Kubrick body is almost an afterthought.

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