inessential by Brent Simmons

December 2005

MarsEdit 1.1fc1

MarsEdit IconMarsEdit 1.1fc1 is a final candidate release: you can download it from the beta page.

This release includes an updated Help Book, more graceful preview window updating, and a bunch of bug fixes. (The full scoop is on the beta page.)

In case you’re wondering: Gus is doing a fantastic job—not just doing the coding but also running the beta program. Very cool. (If you haven’t yet read his How to become an independent programmer in just 1068 days, you should. It’s good.)

OK to ask for in-post correction?

It seems that people agree that weblogs should correct errors of fact in posts rather than just assume people will read comments.

So, next question: if you notice a factual error in someone’s post, should you point it out if it seems important to you? How far can you go in insisting on a correction? Do the answers to the previous questions change if the error is related to you or your work somehow?

Should weblogs correct themselves?

Sometimes you see incorrect information in a weblog post. (“Alfred Hitchcock, director of Casablanca...” or “Safari doesn’t support PNG files...”)

When it happens, and the information is corrected (often in the comments), should the weblogger update the original post? (On the theory that the original post is more likely to be read than the comments.)

Is there a difference between various types of inaccuracies? For instance, mis-stating the director of Casablanca (it’s Michael Curtiz) is probably not a big deal, but mis-stating Safari’s support for PNG files could lead people to thinking something incorrect which could affect their actions. (They might use GIFs in the mistaken belief that it’s necessary for Safari compatibility.)

I lean toward thinking that the original post should be updated, because people don’t necessarily always read all the comments. But I wonder what other people think. Maybe comments are enough?

P.S. To be clear, because I know people skim: Safari does indeed support PNG files.

Moral support for Six Apart

I read on Niall Kennedy’s weblog about a TypePad outage—and I just wanted to send the Six Apart folks a bit of moral support at a time when they might be able to use it.

You may not know that before I did NetNewsWire and MarsEdit I worked at UserLand Software where I helped write weblog systems. Much of my work was on Manila—not just writing code but helping keep the servers up-and-running.

There were lots of 4 a.m. nights for me. Lots. Not a few. Lots. We were hosting many thousands of free sites, and we were developing the software and learning how to make it scale as we were doing the hosting.

And we learned a lot and the software improved steadily.

However, after a while I personally couldn’t do it anymore, and I switched to writing desktop apps, vowing never to write weblog systems—or, really, host weblog systems—ever again.

It’s not just hard work, it can be tough on the psyche too—you’re talking about weblogs, which people feel are an extension of themselves. It’s not some boring abstract thing, not at all, it’s about people’s passions. Their lives, really.

It’s a high calling, and I had to stop after a couple years—but I applaud Six Apart and other folks who are willing to do this. So, when things go wrong—as they will—I think they deserve our thanks and support.

NetNewsWire wins Eddy

NetNewsWire won an Eddy in the Great Mac Tools category! This is actually the second Eddy NetNewsWire has won—NetNewsWire 1.0.6 won an Eddy two years ago. (The statue is on my desk about two feet away. Right next to some cat pictures and Ammo the Amoeba.)

One app that totally did not surprise me with a win was Comic Life. Any master of the obvious could have predicted it would win an Apple Design Award and an Eddy, and it has. I feel like I’ve spent the last six months saying to people, “Hey, have you seen Comic Life? It’s so cool!”

Lots of other cool apps have won awards too: Transmit, SuperDuper, TextWrangler, OmniOutliner, LaunchBar, and more. Check out the full list.

By my count, Seattle counts for three winners this year. (But it could be more: I didn’t look super-closely.)

Indie Life in F?

Gus Mueller: “Gus starts a track he had prepared for this very moment and moves to his (music) keyboard to begin playing in the key of F.”

I identify with every part of this story—except the key of F part. F! No way! For me it’s E. Sometimes A or D. G in a rare blue moon. But F? Why oh why? The humanity!

Fairytale of New York

It was Christmas Eve, babe—in the drunk tank...

Macworld and NewsGator and NetNewsWire

I don’t normally link to press releases, but this one might be interesting to you—there’s some NetNewsWire news in it: NewsGator Hosted Solution Selected by Newsweek and Macworld.

Part of the thing is NewsGator’s Hosted Solution: it’s a private label online aggregator. The other part, the NetNewsWire part, I’ll just quote: “Macworld will also be releasing a private branded version (with full synchronization) of NetNewsWire, NewsGator’s award winning RSS aggregator for the Mac.”

I’m a long-time Macworld fan and I’m totally psyched. I started reading Macworld back in ’92. Sheila and I were living in France at the time—computer-less, TV-less—and we would scour the newsstands for English-language magazines just to have something to read.

There was one place that carried lots of computer magazines—including Macworld. So every month I’d go and buy the latest Macworld and drool over the latest new features. (QuickTime was new back then!)

Not too long after we got back to the U.S. we bought our first Mac (a Performa 475! from Silo! 90 days same as cash!)—and I’ve never stopped reading Macworld.

Still, I look way back to ’92, and remember my excitement over things like QuickTime, and remember how Macworld gave me (a voracious reader) something cool to read, and I’m always thankful. To be able to work with them now is just plain cool.

MarsEdit is universal binary

I had totally forgotten—the MarsEdit public beta is a universal binary: it runs on Intel and PowerPC Macs. (Thanks to the OSx86 Project Forum for noticing. I’ve updated the what’s-new page.)

Gus Mueller on MarsEdit beta

I mentioned previously that Gus has been working on MarsEdit. Here’s Gus on MarsEdit 1.1b5.

MarsEdit 1.1b5: public beta!

MarsEdit IconToday we posted MarsEdit 1.1b5, a public beta of the next version of MarsEdit.

Here’s the beta page (where you can download it) and here’s what’s new in MarsEdit 1.1.

Silly but fun (for me)

Okay, so the main point behind MarsEdit 1.1 is to handle the most common bug reports and feature requests. And so it does—it now supports titles for Blogger sites, it makes it easy to choose a text formatting filter, it includes date and enclosure editing, and so on.

But... for me personally the fun part is something nobody asked for.

The story of MarsEdit 1.1

In case you don’t already know the story...

I did a bunch of work on MarsEdit 1.1 during the summer, fixing bugs and getting a start on a bunch of new features.

Then we started talking to NewsGator, and then we were working on the acquisition, and then the fate of MarsEdit was undecided. Once the acquisition was announced, we were very surprised to find so many people passionate about MarsEdit.

In October we announced that we would continue development, and a little while later we announced that Gus Mueller would be working on it (as a contractor).

So this release owes an awful lot to the people who spoke up about how much they love MarsEdit—and it owes an awful lot to Gus, who’s been doing a great job not just with the code but also with leading the private beta program.

Thanks to all!

Anyway... if you’re comfortable with beta software, please check it out and report bugs and provide feedback. But do remember that it is indeed a beta: it’s not finished, and it has bugs. No joke.

Give the Gift of Voodoo (or FTP or text editing or...)

So... folks are buying presents for other folks this time of year, and it can be hard to know what to get.

Might I suggest giving the gift of VoodooPad? Or Transmit? DEVONthink? OmniOutliner? BBEdit? Audio Hijack? (Etc.)

When you give someone the gift of Mac software, it’s like giving two gifts—because you’re also supporting Mac software development.