IE6 Denial Message

I know it has been ages since I posted, but what can you do? Anyway, this made me laugh from John Martz on Flickr.

Here is the original link, and the story behind it.

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"Pulp Browsers"

Hilarious (if you happen to be a big nerd):

What rendering engine do you use?


“What” ain’t no rendering engine I ever heard of!
They support CSS3 in “What”?!

W… What?

CSS3, motherfucker! Do you render it?!

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Tweetie vs Twitterfon

Tweetie and Twitterfon are both iPhone Twitter clients with a large following. A mac version of Tweetie has recently been released, and it was this which prompted me to try out the iPhone version. I had previously been using Twitterfon, but decided to give Tweetie a bash. The following is a collection of my thoughts on both apps.


Twitterfon is a free application which includes a number of nice features. It allows the user to update their location when they post a tweet using the iPhone’s built in location service. It also allows for photos to be uploaded via Twitpic, and has a built in web browser allowing links to be followed from within the app.

Other nice features include the ability to search for tweets near to your current location, automatic URL shortening and the ability to browse current hot trends.

All in all, Twitterfon is an application with a good set of features, but for me at least it is let down by its performance. It has only crashed a few times, but more frustrating is the process of following a link from a tweet. It usually takes a number of taps before it responds, and I sometimes find myself repeatedly hammering at the link button for what seems like ages. This is deeply frustrating, and really sours the whole experience for me.

Twitterfon Interface.


Tweetie costs £1.79 – this is clearly £1.79 more than Twitterfon, but it does add a few features which make it worth the money. First is the ability to manage multiple Twitter accounts. Useful if you have (for example) a business account and a personal account. It includes all of the functionality of Twitterfon – you can search for nearby tweets, update your location, post to Twitpic (as well as yFrog of Mobypicture) and post shortened links.

The two big wins for Tweetie are integration with Instapaper ((Instapaper is an awesome little utility which allows you to save web pages for later veiwing. Perfect for a long article which you want to read later.)), and general stability. Taps are all registered correctly, and a small visual cue is given to show that it has happened – something which I feel is lacking in Twitterfon. In addition Tweetie has a few extras which make it easier to use Twitter – you can search for a user and view their profile, and you can view your own profile. This may not seem important, but in Twitterfon you need to search for a tweet which includes your username, and then follow a link from there (which can get annoying when the links aren’t responding to your taps).

Tweetie Interface.


I guess you might have worked out by this point that I prefer Tweetie. It offers all of the features which I have come to expect from using Twitterfon and adds a few more. It seems more stable and responsive, and as a bonus I much prefer the ‘simple’ Tweetie skin (which can also be changed to ‘dark’ or ‘chat bubbles’) to the Twitterfon interface. In addition, Instapaper integration is an excellent feature.

All in all I would say that Tweetie is money well spent, and the value it adds over Twitterfon is worth the £1.79 cost.

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"View Suspended"

This is rather late in the day given that the Honda F1 team is now no more, but I think interesting nonetheless. For the 2006 British International Motor Show, Dutch artist Paul Veroude put together a real life exploded view of a Honda F1 car. It features all 3200 individual parts, and people were allowed to walk around and in between them.

A panoramic view of the piece is available here.

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Understanding Twitter

It’s about time that somebody came up with a proper explanation for Twitter. McSweeny’s nails it:

Twitter seems to be, first and foremost, an online haven where teenagers making drugs can telegraph secret code words to arrange gang fights and orgies. It also functions as a vehicle for teasing peers until they commit suicide.

There is also a succinct explanation for the ‘fail whale’:

Twitter is electric/computerized and available at all times, except when sexual misconduct and murder are “over capacity.” During these times, teen drug makers see a picture of a dead whale alerting them to bad energy.

UPDATE: On a similar theme, “Keith Starky Explains Twitter“.

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That Damned DiggBar

Oh dear. Digg launched a new ‘feature’ last week which has rather upset a few people.

The DiggBar enables you to Digg, read comments, find related content, and share stuff from any page on the Web. And it’s presented in a short URL format, making it easy to share in emails, on Twitter, and via other services.

The DiggBar frames the target web page, adds a few adverts for good measure, and then presents it under a TinyURL style short link. In short, this is what can be expected by website owners who have their pages framed by Digg:

  • Your site will be displayed as normal, but your URL will be lost. The user has no way of bookmarking your page directly, and no way of returning to it.
  • Similarly, the user cannot copy and paste your URL.
  • The user’s browser history will simply read as a long list of Digg URLs.
  • Digg’s traffic will be artificially inflated.
  • Digg will be able to serve adverts to your users, and make money from them. The more popular your site, the more money Digg make.
  • Digg will get all link credit for your content.

This makes it incredibly difficult for a new site (such as this one) to generate any sort of link equity. This has caused a lot of anger, and has led to the release of a DiggBar blocker for almost every web publishing platform you can think of  ((Diggbar Blockers: PHP, WordPress, Greasemonkey (Firefox scripts), ExpressionEngine, Django, Ruby on Rails, JavaScript (This redirects users to your page sans-DiggBar rather than blocking) and Drupal)).

I have implemented this JavaScript Solution which redirects users to the intended destination minus DiggBar and with the correct URL intact. Try it out by following this link.

And just for an added layer of hypocrisy, here is a rant from Digg co-founder Kevin Rose when he found another site was framing the web page of his Diggnation podcast.

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The third incarnation of the MacHeist bundle has reached its final unlock level, meaning that all applications are now available.

MacHeist has caused much discussion on the web, sparked mainly by the controversy surrounding the first version (in late 2006). The issue many indie developers  ((For example Gus Mueller of Flying Meat Software)) had at the time was the flat payment model (developers were paid a flat rate regardless of the number of licenses sold). This was addressed in version 2, and devs were paid per license. In addition, MacHeist has been donating 25% of each sale to charity. You might say that they could be giving away more, but I think that it is pretty generous (there is no obligation for them to be giving any of their revenue away).

Smoking apples has a good rundown of “Why it’s okay to buy the MacHeist bundle”, the key point for me being that developers are getting an awful lot of licenses sold (in difficult economic times) and a lot of publicity. M Cubed software participated in the Mac Bundle Box promotion a short while ago, and they point out that a large amount of revenue was generated for only a small increase in support load. This is a decision that each developer has taken freely, they are not stupid, they were not tricked into it and they knew what they were getting – a sentiment echoed by John Gruber.

All of this aside, I have put down the $39 for the bundle this morning, prompted mainly by the inclusion of Espresso and Acorn. I suspect that few people buying a bundle like MacHeist will use every app, rather they will purchase it to get a reasonable discount on a few applications. This is certainly the reason I have bought it, and the following are the apps which really swung it for me.


EspressoI had been using the trial of Coda for a few weeks, and really liked it. I fully appreciate that $99 is a reasonable price for what is an exceptional piece of software, and if I made a living from web design, I would buy it in a heartbeat. That said, is is a bit pricey for what is essentially a pass-time for me (especially at the current dollar to sterling exchange rate).

I tried Espresso out a few weeks ago, and have found it to be a very good substitute. Like Coda it has a built in FTP client, and adds code folding – which I find very helpful.


AcornAs with the web development application, I had been in the market for a simple image editor for a little while. I had tried Acorn and Pixelmator, as well as GIMP.

GIMP is my favourite Windows image editor, but the mac port is just so ugly and difficult to use. I can appreciate that it is an open source project into which people put a lot of time and effort, but it is just a bit clunky on OS X to be a useful day to day application. Acorn by contrast is simple, easy to pick up and has a lovely clean interface which really helps to make features easy to find and use.

My only gripe is the lack of alternative format support – it would be nice to be able to open and edit Photoshop (.psd) or GIMP (.xcf) files ((Acorn does feature a plug-in architecture, and I have already found one to export to .psd – just need to be able to open them as well.))


TimesThis is a different take on a feed reader. Designed to resemble a newspaper layout, Times takes a number of feeds and shows headlines in a print style layout. It makes for a good way to get the day’s news during a break, is beautifully designed and extremely easy to use.

Apps I may Use

In addition to the apps above, I can see myself having some use for Sous Chef, Delicious Library, The Hit List and Phone View although I guess time will tell on these.

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What's Wrong With URL Shorteners

In a piece on his blog, Joshua Schachter argues that URL shortening services are bad news:

The worst problem is that shortening services add another layer of indirection to an already creaky system. A regular hyperlink implicates a browser, its DNS resolver, the publisher’s DNS server, and the publisher’s website. With a shortening service, you’re adding something that acts like a third DNS resolver, except one that is assembled out of unvetted PHP and MySQL, without the benevolent oversight of luminaries like Dan Kaminsky and St. Postel.

Joshua points out that in relying on a web service’s database to resolve all of our links, we are placing a lot of faith in them being able to stay online, and to maintain all of their data indefinitely. Were TinyURL to suddenly disappear, a huge chunk of the links and information on sites such as Twitter would be rendered useless. points out exactly what is wrong with this approach:

Twitter is a great example of what’s wrong with trusting an online service with something of value. Check out some ‘tweets’:

  • Hah, I’m a Zombie! Ahh, the fun we all have with each other. about 1 hour ago from web
  • Health privacy is dead. Here’s why: about 14 hours ago from FriendFeed
  • Hmm, friendfeed released a new “import Twitter” feature today. It is taking a LONG time on my account. I wonder why…. about 14 hours ago from FriendFeed

If these TinyURL services go away, there’s not much content here.

Jason Kottke would like to see Twitter running its own shortening service. This will remove the problem of dead links, since the Twitter-shortened URLs will be around for as long as Twitter is. It does not however address the issue of opaque links – that is not knowing the target of the link.

1) That they automatically unshorten all URLs except when the 140 character limit is necessary in SMS messages.

2) In cases where shortening is necessary, Twitter should automatically use a shortener of their own.

That way, users know what they’re getting and as long as Twitter is around, those links stay alive.

I think this would go a long way towards avoiding the problem (for Twitter at least).

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Google: "All Your Tweets Are Belong To Us"

Rumors are circulating that Google are close to completing a takeover of Twitter for a sum “well north of the $250 million valuation that they saw in their recent funding”.

I have already posted about why this is makes sense for Google, and considering that Twitter has seen a 974% increase in users over last year ((According to The Telegraph)), they look like a very attractive proposition.

TechCrunch have the full story.

UPDATE: Kara Swisher calls bullshit on the whole story and cites TechCrunch as having previous:

On July 28, 2008, TechCrunch reported: “Google In Final Negotiations To Acquire Digg For ‘Around $200 Million,’” and said there was a letter of intent signed.

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Google Car Run Out of Bucks Village

The Times is reporting that an “angry mob” has run the Google streetview car out of their village in Buckinghamshire (UK). Residents of Broughton formed a human chain, and eventually persuaded the car to leave.

The residents reasoning was that there had recently been a spate of burglaries in the area, and that this would serve to make things worse. I particularly like the classic NIMBY quotes from resident Paul Jacobs:

My immediate reaction was anger; how dare anyone take a photograph of my home without my consent? I ran outside to flag the car down and told the driver he was not only invading our privacy but also facilitating crime


This is an affluent area. We’ve already had three burglaries locally in the past six weeks. If our houses are plastered all over Google it’s an invitation for more criminals to strike.

If Google’s streetview imagery is an open invitation to burglars then Mr Jacobs has practically rolled out the red carpet by alerting The Times to this affluent, easy target for burglars.

Another point worth making is that the Google is only taking photos which anyone could legally take if they happened to go to a particular place – they are just making this public domain information more easily accessible.

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