Because it is the 25th anniversary of the Macintosh, there is twitter meme going on where you talk about your first mac.

Reading the headlines on Microsoft, Sony, and Nokia, I’m struck with just how impressive Apple’s quarterly’s are. Yesterday, I noticed that Apple’s front page was bragging that they have had over 300 million iPhone AppStore downloads since its launch.

Instead of going back 25 years, I’d rather go back seven when, in October 2001, Apple released the iPod. Now most of us don’t have to eat as much crow as Slashdot did—I purchased my first iPod one month after the release. However when Steve Jobs said then that the iPod was “the 21st-century Walkman” who didn’t think it was laced with more than a little hubris? And yet, now, we’d probably think that the iPod which reenergized the Macintosh, changed the music industry, and was parlayed into the “it” smartphone was the Walkman and much more.

Sony missed the iPod market because its acquisition of Columbia made the huge technology company a victim of the requests of its media division. Instead of learning from this mistake and moving forward, in 2005, this Japanese engineering company appointed an American entertainment executive to lead their company.

“If you look backward in this business, you’ll be crushed. You have to look forward.”
—Steve Jobs, on the 25th Anniversary of the Macintosh

My #firstmac? Well that was just under 25 years ago. I can still remember making Dungeons and Dragons maps with it in MacPaint at my best friend’s house—that computer changed my life. I went home and begged my parents to buy one and I’ve used sixteen macs since that day—I can name every one.

That moment also marked one of the last times I’d spend with my friend—the years play-acting fantasy books in the junkyard behind his house giving way to separate schooling and separate lives. That computer also changed some others lives. It was purchased with the same drug money that would later kill 18 people.

For different reasons than Steve Jobs, I can’t look back, I’d be crushed. I can only look forward.

Servant leadership

Lunch and dinner are brought in every day at work. It is a wasteful affair in both cost and utility that, because of its quotidian nature, breeds laziness to a high order at the price of spontaneity and camaraderie that is often associated with eating meals.

Every week, a different group of three employees is assigned to clean up the lunch mess. It takes about thirty man-minutes to accomplish this. This week it happens to be me. Today the other two forgot so it was only me.

Thirty minutes of busy work is a long thinking time.

Continue reading about Servant leadership after the jump

Ode to Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance has been delaying a release for a month and a half. As a consumer facing website, we normally have two code pushes a week. It’s a major rewrite, sure, but at this point we’re at about 20x the bug count of any previous release. The bugs are no longer: “You do this and the site goes down” but more along the lines, “You do something that nobody in their right mind would do and sometimes you get an error message, but everything is fine if you reload the page.”

Continue reading about Drunk with power and other random reasoning after the jump

Seven things: Basura and Bathrooms

This is part one of a seven part Seven Things post. (I’ll explain later.) This first one was inspired by Andrei’s affinity for languages.

#1. I once peed in the women’s bathroom.

At work, a blue trash can reads “SAVE. Recycleable cans and bottles. Custodians do not throw out.”

Then, it “helpfully” adds: “NOT BASURA.” Basura being the Spanish word for trash.

I walk by amused.

Continue reading about Linguistics isn’t logical after the jump


First I have to go back to the Gold Standard because of runaway inflation. Now I have to go back to the Gold Standard because the dangers of deflation.

Seems to me if the volatility in the value of fiat currency is the problem, then these people should be putting money where their mouth is by buying up a different fungible good. Like… I don’t know… gold?

I’m totally confused.

But don’t worry, apparently I’m an expert because I can see my wallet from my bedroom.

Mr. Hansson doesn’t get to shart on sharding

(A draft of this article appeared on Wednesday because I hit the wrong button on WordPress. I apologize for the confusion it may have caused. What can I say except, “Freedom is messy.”)

This morning Andrei sent me an article from David Heinemeier Hansson titled, “Mr. Moore gets to punt on sharding.”

Since Andrei and I work at pretty well-trafficked websites which couldn’t operate without the very thing David is advocating against, normally I’d just laugh naïveté in his observations—it’s been eight years since the the Internet goldrush and all that’s happened is that a new generation is repeating our mistakes and rationalizing the inevitable fail that ensues.

But there are tons of people who quote David Henemeier Hansson’s words to me at conferences and on the blogs. For every speaking engagement in which I’ve saved someone from a huge architectural misconception, Mr. Hansson has indoctrinated ten more future programmers who will make that same mistake. Like a glacier during global warming, I move forward one inch during the winter and retreat a foot during the summer.

If I don’t do something about this… well someone’s gotta think about the polar bears?

Su Lin
San Diego Wild Animal Park, Escondido, California

Nikon D3, Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G VR

Okay, this is not a polar bear, but I couldn’t get a good photograph of one. This is a different bear similarly endangered due to habitat destruction.

No, Mr. Hansson doesn’t get to shart on sharding. I’m going to Bush Doctrine it before I see this shitfart come out of the mouths of any of my colleagues.

Continue reading about Defining sharding, dispelling myths, and delivering consequences after the jump

San Diego at Pittsburgh (and the coin-flip)

On the flight from my old home (San Diego) to my new one (San Francisco), the captain announced that the San Diego Chargers had beaten the Indianapolis Colts in overtime to set up a playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. John Cole reminds me that it’s been 14 years since their last infamous playoff matchup.

Here is a story from that time.

Continue reading about About “Three More Yards” and the overtime coin-toss after the jump

LIFE on Google

I read a while ago that the LIFE photography archive was on Google, but I didn’t really think about it until I stumbled across it while checking out the new version of CoolIris, which I’ve mentioned before.

On a whim, I tried looking for the famous cover photo of the LIFE article on the Lindy Hop.

The Lindy Hop
In CoolIris you can easily see that this version of the image was scanned from a physical print that has creases in the upper right. Here is the magazine cover, August 23, 1943.

I’d have taken a video but for some reason the video in SnapzPro doesn’t work with CoolIris on Safari. :-(

The name “Lindy Hop” came because a news article on Charles Lindbergh’s 1927 flight of the Atlantic. It is said that the newspaper headline of the day read “Lindy Hops the Atlantic.”

Speaking of which, I wondered if they had a photo of the man who introduced aerials to dancing: Frankie Manning.

Yep, there’s one.

I met Frankie Manning once in 1998. I used to take photos and video of my friends dancing, so I asked him, on a whim, to give an intro to the website on camera. He looked into the videocam and said:

Welcome to the UIUC Swing Society web site. Those hep cats are really swinging!

Haha. I should dig up that video. Good times.

PHP without PHP

Original article posted to PHP Advent 2008. Happy Christmas!

Take a simple PHP trick and follow it on a huge tangent to the philosophy of good web architecture.

It’s an honor to be asked to share my ideas with the PHP community. When Chris and Sean asked me to write an entry for the Advent Calendar, I had to accept. Like last year, this article will be quite long. If you need something short and sweet like the other advent entries, you can just read the first section. But if you read it all, there might be a worthwhile concept buried in this logorrhea.

Continue reading about My PHP advent article after the jump