inessential by Brent Simmons

April 2011

Dave on Cheap Magic

Dave Wiskus: “Instead, I gave some thought to why this app bothered me so much.”

I love this post. There’s thinking and humanity, and more thinking, rather than just a quick, provocative (and cheap) opinion. It’s more interested in good questions than in easy answers. It’s exactly the kind of writing from practitioners that I love to read.

Omni UI design video

Designing Graceful, Gracious Interfaces for iPad, a video presentation by Omni’s UX lead Bill Van Hecke, is very good. I’m watching it for the second time.

Looking back

Justin Williams: NetNewsNostalgia. Thanks, Justin!

I started work on NetNewsWire nine years ago. Before that I worked at UserLand Software six years. When I like something, I don’t want to stop doing it.

When I started NetNewsWire, my heros were the developers who’d been doing great work for a long time. BBEdit has been around a lot longer than my app, and Rich Siegel was and remains a hero.

Other developers I looked up to (and still do): Dave Winer, Peter N Lewis, Mark Aldritt, Jim Matthews, Chuck Shotton, John Norstad.

Just typing the names of their apps is still exciting to me. Frontier. Anarchie. Script Debugger. Fetch. MacHTTP/WebSTAR. NewsWatcher. These apps were what made me think that one person or a small team could do fantastic software that people love.

And some of those apps are still going strong. NetNewsWire has older siblings.

(In many ways, NetNewsWire was inspired by NewsWatcher. It was never my intention to make RSS like email — it was to make it more like Usenet, which was a pretty familiar thing to geeks. Note even the similarity in name.)

Community then and now

The community of Mac developers ten years ago was much smaller than today. Cocoa was new to those of us who came from Mac programming rather than coming from the NeXT world. It was a great time — exciting and fun, full of possibility.

And today is an even better time.

The community today has grown so much and yet retains — and improves on — the character I saw in it back in the ’90s. That’s a remarkable achievement, and credit goes to a whole ton of people, more than I could begin to name. (There’s a great chance you would be on that list.)

Community is the software we build together. I couldn’t be more proud.

License + Keychain

Paul Goracke asks: “Why don’t Mac desktop applications store their license info in the Keychain?”

Good question. Sounds sensible. Any reason not to do it that way?

Even Better Alarms

Our friends at Rogue Sheep have released Easy Alarms — an iPhone app that makes things (like snoozing and skipping and scheduling) easier. Free.

Use cases

People sometimes ask, “What is the use of blogs now that we have Twitter and Facebook?”

This weekend I came up with an answer that I kind of like:

Twitter and Facebook are great for organizing a revolution.

Blogs are for explaining why we need one.

More again again on the static weblogs thing

Twice today I’ve tried to go to sites that couldn’t handle the traffic from Daring Fireball. This is preposterous.