Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reconstruction 2010-09-29

Can insomniac be an adjective?


I guess, when you think of counting sheep, you could be said to be … no, let's not go there. There be double-entendres.

Let's start ... in the middle somewhere.


Y'know, I could go the whole rest of my life without hearing another programming person tell me he or she is "excited" about "working hard" to create "awesome" software that people will "love."

Also, stop saying "So long and thanks for all the fish." Nothing against Mr. Adams, certainly, but that line is getting too much use. How about we just upgrade the old -30- to 42?

That said, this is a sad but worthwhile post: about the looming shutdown of Xmarks. (And not all of the above buttons were pushed in that post, all by itself.) You'll note among other things a good plan for winding down that is rather admirable, especially with respect to the service's users, especially when compared to some other sites we could name, RIGHT, BLOGLINES?

I got there because @kabster728, who is Katie Boehret, tweeted that she had just gotten her first panicked email about this.

Nearby in her stream, she also said:

It's a tiny thing, but my fav feature of Gmail Priority Inbox is still: Woohoo! You've read all the important messages in your inbox.

I hate to read too deeply into one tweet but were it not for the sense of restraint for which I am admired worldwide, I could go full metal luddite on this, about overly trusting algorithms and machines to decide what is important. Concerning human relationships, no less. I appreciate that she probably gets a shipload more email than I do, but still. Just sayin.

Where were we? Oh, yes. I got to KB's Twitter stream because her partner in crime at All Things Digital, @WaltMossberg, referred to a post she put up about the new Twitter interface, coming RSN, depending on how important a Twitterer you are (?) or how long you have been a Twitterer (?) or maybe something else.

And speaking of important/long-time Twitterers, I was led to Walt Mossberg's stream by a funny page on Dave Winer's blog about "Twitter Spewage."

Those of you who have McAfee SiteAdvisor running in your browser may see its icon turn Danger Will Robinson red if you visit Dave's post. SiteAdvisor says: "In our tests, we found downloads on this site that some people consider adware, spyware or other potentially unwanted programs." It then lists a number of downloads on this site.

All of them green.

I am as certain as I am of anything that this is a false alarm, so don't worry. And in any case, if it's come to this, that Dave Winer is shipping malware, we are all already doomed. (Perhaps Dave Winer will read this and he will yell at McAfee. (Probably not reading this.) (Probably doesn't care what McAfee's algorithms think of his site, either.))

Also from Dave's list of Twitter Spewage, I clicked over to Ana Marie Cox (the original Wonkette)'s Twitter page, and there I saw her say something funny:

Shockingly, the knock on my attire is not the most inane thing about this post:

You should not click on that quoted link, because at the other end is the meatspace malware of Betsy Rothstein and her Fishbowl DC pettiness. And that is measuring by the already subterranean bar of the town where it is said if you want a friend, get a dog. I do not know why Ana Marie reads these Betsy Rothstein posts. Perhaps because people send her links and she feels compelled to comment? That has made for comedy in the past (e.g.), we admit.

And still working clicking from Dave Winer's list of Twitter Spewage, of course we had to go check on the latest from The Big Aristotle. Oh, look! Shaq is being cryptic! But haha, he is still stuck in his 20th century mentality. You do not hold things up to mirrors anymore, Shaq. You screen cap and flip horizontally.

Tweet from Shaq, saying 'A 992 IToibi biquT2TA pnilim29M Put that in front of a mirror and read it to ur self'

Tweet by Shaq, mirror image

Anyway, go Celts!

How did we get to this fun Dave Winer page? Hmmm. Let's see, I started by Googling for news about Microsoft's out of band update, because when I woke up I saw that little yellow icon in my System Tray telling me an update had been downloaded and was ready to be installed. Turns out it is an Important bug, not a Critical one, by Microsoft's terminology, so I am not going to make a whole blog post about it. I will just put a Drudge siren somewhere nearby, to symbolize the ambulance from the crazy house that is coming to get you if you do not already have Windows Updates set to full automatic.

Flashing lightOh, I know, there are some edge cases where you are reluctant to have this set. In that case, fire up your Internet Explorer, go to and there you will be able to download a patch to fix a security hole (a privacy hole, only, actually) in … yes, Internet Explorer. I guess the reason Microsoft went out of band with this patch even though it was not rated critical is because an exploit taking advantage of it had been published, and so all those boneheads people still boneheadedly using Internet Explorer to surf the Web were subject to a 25% chance of having something small get learned about them that they may not have wanted to share. Details here, for example, if you want them.

(I know it's a flashing light, not a siren, thank you. Because idioms, okay?)

Oh! That's how I got to Dave Winer's page, I think. Or near it, at least. I looked at Ryan Naraine's post, and then at his Twitter stream, where he retweeted this from @pusscat:

I blame twitter's failure on its new-found lack of @al3x

Who is this al3x? It turns out that this Alex Payne, whose Twitter page bio laconically says "Used to work here." A little more Googling and clicking tells me that he was an important guy at Twitter who left a few months ago, apparently due to burnout and also, interest in starting something new. His email address at the new place is alex. I guess 26 is when you stop with the l33t sp34k? Maybe!

I also found out that he used to describe himself as "API bitch at Twitter." That is the best job title I have heard in a while. Hurrah for people who are not C-something-O, or VP, generically (which means SALES). Or "Evangelist."

Ah, crap. I can't find where he said it, but I'm pretty sure it was him who referred me to that Dave Winer page. But let've move on. Anyway, his old job description appeared on his Uses This page. This is the sole purpose of, to interview cool people about what tools they like and what they would have for dream tools. It is fun for nerds, and you can usually find some other nuggets on a site like this.

And sure enough, I found the Mark Pilgrim Uses This page. Mark Pilgrim, if you don't already know, is an Evangelist just checking to see if you're still awake a Developer Advocate at Google, and he also writes very good computer books. ("Dive Into" sound familiar? Yeah, him.) Anyway, he says a lot of smart things and he says them plainly and well. Do not miss this. Especially do not miss the latter part, beginning: "I'm a three-time (soon to be four-time) published author. When aspiring authors learn this, they invariably ask what word processor I use."

Did we mention the patron saint of us who write tl;dr blog posts? Somewhere we did, but we deleted that preemptive apology up top. So let's close off with something of his that is old enough, and brilliant enough, to be called a Web classic, Steve Yegge's post from March of 2008, announcing his new Javascript mode for Emacs. You might even like it if you are not a programmer or text-editor-obsessive. And you will get to read such pleasing phrases as "Brendan is an amazingly polite guy."

Okay, so you know there's no way he's talking about me there. But thanks for your attention.

And shut up. DID NOT come across that phrase by ego-surfing.

No comments: