inessential by Brent Simmons

January 2007

What was Papa looking for?

My cat Papa jumped up on the keyboard of my laptop and ran a Spotlight search. What was he looking for?

Papa's Spotlight search

One theory was that the . represented a circular container and the /s represent tuna flakes which are stored in that container. (Note that it was 6:59 p.m., which is one minute prior to Tuna Time chez Papa.)

Another theory was that he was trying to run a script or app in the current directory—the ./ beginning suggests that—but that he, being a cat, laid on the / key too long.

A third theory is that the first two theories are way too literal, and whatever this meant, whatever he was looking for, it will forever remain opaque.

Papa sleeping

Tips For 24 Newbies

Brad Feld: Tips For 24 Newbies: “Chloe is right. Don’t ever question that girl. Believe it or not, she can shoot a gun.”

It’s cool to see Alexander Siddig. I liked him alot in Deep Space Nine, and I don’t think I’ve seen him since then. (Btw, Dr. Julian Bashir, Dr. Gaius Baltar. Just saying.)

Meet Brent, Gus, and Paul at Macworld Expo

If you’re at Macworld Expo, and you’d like to meet me, Gus Mueller of Flying Meat, or Paul Kafasis of Rogue Amoeba, here’s when and where:

4 p.m. today (Thursday)
In the underground hallway between the main halls, near the sign language interpreter booth (across from Underground Espresso)

I’m wearing a green shirt and black jeans. Black shoes.

A couple cool things at Macworld Expo

One of my favorite things at Macworld Expo is seeing what other developers are up to. A couple things I saw today are especially worth mentioning:

1. Stunt Software. I hadn’t checked out their stuff before, but I got a quick demo from Dan—and, you know what, the software looks just plain hot. I totally dig it.

I recommend finding their booth if you’re here—and, if you’re not here, just get the apps from the website.

2. Plasq. You know Comic Life, of course—but they’re showing a new app that to my knowledge hasn’t been announced yet. An over-the-web collaboration thing that, well, rocks. Go find their booth.

Bobo and the iPhone

Whenever I see a new product from Apple, I wonder if there will be a Bobo Concept.

Here’s what I mean by bobo:

When I was in middle school, there were certain shirts, jeans, and sneakers you could wear. Lacoste; Levi’s and Lee; Nike, Puma, and Adidas.

Everything else was bobo. Shirts with a fox instead of an alligator? Bobo. Toughskins, Wranglers: bobo. Keds: bobo.

(As in, “Hey Simmons! Nice bobos! [Snicker.] You’re so cooooooool!”)

The iPod is clearly not bobo—but everything else is. Zune: bobo. Those other ones whose names I can’t even think of: bobo. The iPod is the only non-bobo player.

But Macs, on the other hand—well, I don’t think there’s a Bobo Concept for computers. (At least, not yet.)

Will there be a Bobo Concept for phones? Will the iPhone be the only non-bobo phone? (Or one of the very few.)

If so, then Apple is going to dominate. (If not, they may still do very damn well, of course.)

The thing about bobo is you can never predict what will happen. New products can change the rules: sometimes the definition of non-bobo stretches, sometimes it narrows.

For instance, designer jeans came out while I was in middle school—and suddenly we were having real debates over whether to accept Jordache, Calvin Klein, and Gloria Vanderbilt jeans as non-bobo. (Consensus eventually reached was that, due to price, those were non-bobo. But I don’t think we ever settled the issue of Britannia jeans, since they were less expensive. I thought they were bobo, because I was a bobo purist, but opinion was mixed.)

If I were 12 years old—or 17 or 21—I might look at the iPhone and think that every single other phone is bobo. (In fact, right now, this minute, I do think every single other phone is bobo.)

Bobo is a harsh mistress. The thing about bobo is, you’d rather die than own bobos. To own bobos is to be bobo—internally, yourself, voted off the island, not on the bus.

Mark Alldritt starts weblog

Mark Alldritt has been an indie-Mac-dev-hero of mine since the ’90s—he’s one of the people whose example led me to think that small companies and small teams can do great Mac software and make a living. And now Mark has started a weblog: Mark Alldritt’s Journal. (Via Michael Tsai.)

You might wonder who were my other indie-Mac-dev-heroes back when I was starting out. I remember well. Along with Mark, they were: Peter Lewis, Rich Siegel, Chuck Shotton, and Dave Winer.

I went to work for one of my Mac heroes—Dave Winer at UserLand Software—for seven years!

(I still remember the first time I visited Dave Winer’s office and saw his Eddy Award statue. I thought to myself, one day I’m going to win one of those. That’s what I call “leadership by putting stuff on shelves.” ;)

The life and drama of a Mac shareware developer

Just a note of support for Jesse Grosjean, who wrote: The life and drama of a Mac shareware developer: “Today is one of the best and worst days of my shareware experience.”

I think he’s doing the right thing, and I want to congratulate him on the release of WriteRoom 2.0 and on marking the hard decision on setting pricing. None of this stuff is easy—and a well-done app with a responsive and responsible developer is easily worth the money.

Jesse didn’t quote Walt Disney, so I’ll do it: “I don’t make pictures just to make money. I make money to make more pictures.” If Jesse’s like most Mac developers I know, he feels the same—he wants to make cool apps, and he makes money so he can keep making cool apps.

Small Macworld prediction

My small Macworld prediction is that Apple will announce the immediate availability of Beatles songs on iTMS.

(I just noticed that the built-in spelling dictionary marks “Beatles” as mis-spelled.)

Of course, if you’re like me, what you’re really waiting for is Led Zeppelin. Dude, totally.

(Since “led” and “zeppelin” are real words, they don’t get marked as mis-spelled. Def Leppard, on the other hand...)