Geek Stuff

My Software Plugs for the week

Saturday, May 13th, 2006 | Geek Stuff | Comments Off on My Software Plugs for the week

Gotta take a second to plug my to current favorite things… First is kind of biased since a good friend of mine created the product – but even still its VERY COOL… PumpOne is this REALLY cool workout guides for your iPod. Its basically workouts that you can download to your ipod so you have workout guides at hand while you’re listening to your music at the gym. They have a bunch of different types of workouts for both men and women and all of them have the same clear easy to follow steps to walk you through what ya need to do… Check it out either directly or over at Apple’s site..


The other is just my favorite new time sync… They’ve FINALLY started supporting Plaxo on Mac OS X. as a result i’ve killed WAY too much time pestering my friends to update their contact information and cleaning out my address book. But seriously – the idea is VERY cool and its about f-ing time they made a mac version.. For those of you that don’t know, Plaxo is a web integrated service that helps you keep your address book up to date by allowing your contacts to update your address book for you. You can send email requests to your contacts which sends them to a web page where they can update their information and the next time you sync your address book with Plaxo you get the updates. But, even cooler, it also allows you to connect your address book with other Plaxo users so if any of your contacts are also plaxo members you automatically get their updates whenever they make changes without having to send a request. They definitely have some things to work out (especially when it comes to iSync) but its still very cool…

ok… enough plugging… Happy saturday..


Monday, January 30th, 2006 | Geek Stuff | 2 Comments


Ever wonder what the deal is with these things are called or whats behind them. Had a friend of mine ping me asking how to get information on them. I know what they’re for – they allow computers to detect whether input is from a human or a computer – humans can read these but computers generally can’t. They deter spammers and other software based attacks from doing things like automatically posting blog comments or applying for email accounts. But I didn’t know what they were called or where they came from and, being the curious fuck that I am, I had to find out… So after some clever dissection of a site that used them (in this case, blogger) I found a term that looked odd to me in the right spot.. A quick google search of that term landed me right where I wanted to be…

So here are the fruits of my labor. From Wikipedia:


A captcha (an acronym for “completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart”) is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to determine whether or not the user is human

And from the Captcha site:

Telling Humans and Computers Apart


A CAPTCHATM is a program that can generate and grade tests that most humans can pass, but current computer programs can’t pass. For example, humans can read distorted text as the one shown below, but current computer programs can’t:

Sample Nsf

So there it is.. more than you ever wanted to know… 😉

On Confidentialiity

Friday, January 13th, 2006 | Geek Stuff | 8 Comments

I’ve got a buddy of mine who I met years ago and is a HUGE Apple fan. Big Mac guy and seems to buy at least one of nearly everything we do (I’m exaggerating but only kinda). As long as I’ve known him he’s been DYING to get the secret scoop on whats the next big thing and I have never told him anything that wasn’t already public information – and it FUCKIN KILLS HIM. Its almost sport at this point cuz every time I just shrug to one of his questions he looks like wants to smack me. Its kinda funny..

So anyway. We’re out for drinks last night with his business partner and he asks another one of his questions and I do my usual shrug to which he has his usual response and then the conversation moves on. Later, while he’s off doin whatever, his business partner asks what that was all about. I explained our little rapport and the history behind it – then explain that there is more to it than that. And here’s the scoop.

I actually believe personally in the need for Apple to keep shit confidential until launch – and its for two important reasons. First is the obvious financial reasons. The fact of the matter is we make money by selling products. We make enough product to cover demand. When new products get leaked before we’re ready to sell them people stop buying the existing products, inventory builds up, and it has a real impact on the company’s bottom line. The thing that I always tell friends is that worrying about what’s coming next is like worrying about whether the sun will rise. It always will rise and we’ll always come out with new products. Make your buying decisions based on your needs now and just deal with the fact that at some point your machine won’t be the newest and thats OK – it does what you want it to do… The only people that conceptually get hurt by buying a machine the day before a new one are the size queens who want the latest toy – and frankly, they should be buying when the previous product is announced rather than late in the cycle…

The other reason, which is actually more important to me than the financial reason, is personal. We BUST OUR BALLS trying to make great products and part of the satisfaction of doing that is the ‘Wow factor’ when the product is finally launched. It is SUCH a great feeling to work one of these shows and have people just giddy to get the product that you’ve ruined your life to deliver. When the launch is truly a surprise and has accurate information it is more gratifying than you can believe to see and read user’s responses to the product – it really makes the pain worth while. However when the fuckers at Think Secret and other rumor sites pre announce this stuff it blows a lot of that surprise. And, what is worse, is their information is 9 times out of 10 is WRONG, either completely or partially. The result is the reaction is more along the lines “Oh.. Well thats cool.. but I thought it was gonna do X.. When will it do that?”. People frequently over look all the cool things it does that the rumor sites don’t even notice and fixate on the thing that it was ‘supposed’ to do. Its really frustrating. This last MacWorld was no exception – the rumor sites spent a lot of energy hyping bad information and, as a result, many people didn’t really get how cool what we DID launch was. New Intel Macs that scream, a bunch of great new software, great financials, and others. Thats COOL – its not our fault the rumor sites fucked up.

The Engineers on my team and around Apple BUST THEIR BALLS to get great products out on the market, often sacrificing sleep, a personal life, and their health. These folks deserve their day in spotlight without it being tainted by misconceptions by rumor mongers. So just sit tight – we’ll continue to announce cool stuff.

(sorry – that was more soap-box-ey than I intended… I just feel strongly about it after 14 some years at apple.)

Happy Friday

Nother Cool App: Google Earth

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006 | Geek Stuff | 2 Comments

Ok.. So I know for you windows folks I’m behind the time but Google just released a Macintosh version of Google Earth and its FRICKIN COOL… Its this really cool graphical google maps browser with all sorts of cool bells and whistles like overlaying all sorts of points of interest and other interesting information on the map, 3-D Building representations and the ability to change your point of view so you can see mountains and panoramas… SO DAMN COOL…

I know.. i’m behind the times.. but still cool so I had to share..


Apple’s Stock

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006 | Geek Stuff | Comments Off on Apple’s Stock

Is outta control… It went up like 5 points during the MacWorld announcements. I’d say it was iWeb or the MacBook Pro or the new Intel iMac… But I’m guessing it was really the financials. 14 Million iPods and $5.7 Billion in sales is just NUTS… Crazy cool. Its all the buzz in the halls around here today. 🙂

Cingular and Web Browsing on a RAZR V3

Sunday, January 8th, 2006 | Geek Stuff | 11 Comments

For a month or two now i’ve been having problems using my slick little black RAZR to browse web sites. I was able to click on the little ‘Web’ button on the phone and get to Cingular’s little home page with all of their stuff on it however any time I tried to ‘Go to URL’ from there I would get a ‘Page cannot be displayed’ error. This started happening a little while ago and happened and would happen for every web site I tried to go too off of Cingular’s site – everything from Google and Next bus to some.. er.. um.. others! ;)..

Finally this morning I decided to call Cingular and get them to fix it. After the requisite inane walk through of all the obvious stuff (which I did dutifully out of politeness even though I KNEW that wasn’t the problem) they proceeded to tell me me that it wasn’t their problem and that I should contact the sites I was having trouble with.. Thats where steam started coming out of my ears but I managed to keep my cool and pressed the issue. I somewhat calmly explained to them that, while I could belive that many sites might have problems on phones and the sites would have to change, I could not accept that EVERY site would have a problem and it would be my duty to contact each individually. I explained that I was paying for web service, not cingular ‘portal’ access, and that if she could point me to a single non-cingular site that would work I would go away quietly and leave her alone – however if she couldn’t then we would have a problem to deal with. I think thats the point that she realized that a) I knew what I was talking about, b) I wasn’t going to just go away without a fight, and c) that their service wasn’t functioning as advertised. She put me on hold

When she came back she directed me down a different obscure path to take the phone directly to a URL without going to cingular’s portal first. When I did this I was finally able to get to other sites. So, as it turns out, Cingular’s portal puts the phone in a state where it can’t escape to other sites. The only way to get to other sites is to enter the browser without going there… I mentioned that that might be a bug that they should fix, she didn’t even know what I was talking about. So, while I think they’ve got something that they need to fix (or they’ve got some fascist policy in place), I can now do what I need to do..

To her credit, she was very polite and did her best to help, she and her tech support folks seemed to be trying hard to make calls go away by convincing users their issues aren’t things for cingular to solve rather than sincerely trying to solve the problem.. This is pretty in line with the crappy customer support I’ve gotten from singular for years and it irritates the shit out of me. Guess its another own side of corporate consolidation – when you become a big guy you stop giving a fuck about how you treat your customer and it shows.. The little guys try harder and seem to sincerely care – the big guys don’t seem to give a fuck..

Anyway.. Just wanted to post this should someone else hit this problem – googling and finding descriptions like this has helped me twice in as many days.. 🙂