Thank you, and we’re listening

Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, on the shitstorm they created with their new privacy policy and terms of service released yesterday:

One of the main reasons these documents don’t take effect immediately, but instead 30 days from now, is that we wanted to make sure you had an opportunity to raise any concerns. You’ve done that and are doing that, and that will help us provide the clarity you deserve.

Sorry, but I’ve got to call bullshit on that. There were so many extreme reactions by everyone, including myself, to Instagram’s new advertising model and ownership rights after reading that document, that it’s unclear whether it just wasn’t properly vetted ahead of time or they panicked and pedaled backwards from the precipice. It wasn’t us. It was Instagram being vague, misleading or stupid.

Not a good public relations move to get feedback by pissing everyone off. Next time they should be saying, “Thank you, and we’re thinking.”

Via The Loop.

An apology for sloppy RSS feed engineering

Note of apology to anyone who thought I was trying to engineer extra page views in RSS readers with my link-format posts, those with the little “→” after the title.

Apparently, I can’t engineer shit on toast because those post titles when viewed in an RSS reader would link to my post’s page and not the external website. It all worked correctly everywhere else, just not in the feed.

A quick application of isPermaLink="false" to the <guid> elements in my RSS feed cleared the problem right up. Which is pretty damn ironic considering the content of those <guid> elements are actually permalinks.

It’s the Web. None of us understand how it works.

And who am I kidding? The odds are nobody noticed the problem anyway.

This is the Web right now

The Oatmeal on bringing back that shrieking dial-up noise:

It’s like listening to a computer fellatio.

I was eating lunch while reading this. Big mistake. Now I’m wearing it.

Everything about this comic is true and righteous.

The Hobbit at 48 frames per second: a review

John Scalzi:

On the technology side I thought the 48 frames worked as advertised: The images were clearer and sharper, the movement and action more fluid and engaging, and the 3D far smoother and rather less headache inducing.

And his last paragraph:

By the way, the hardest thing about writing this review? Not using the word “film” to refer to The Hobbit. It’s a movie, yes. A film? Nope.

He wasn’t talking about the content — that he gave a “B” grade.

It’s clear Scalzi liked the presentation. And doesn’t mourn the end of the film aesthetic. Props to him being forward thinking. Then again, he does write speculative fiction so he’s supposed to do that.

I haven’t seen “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” yet. I hope High Frame Rate projection in a theater is better than what television manufacturers have been doing in recent years.

My wife and I just bought another big-ass TV with a 240 Hz LED screen. It was delivered with all sorts of motion interpolation enhancements on by default. Everything we watched on it looked like a broadcast of “Days of our Lives” — which means not good. There’s a reason any real or perceived increase in frame rates is called the “soap opera effect.” We soon disabled those features with extreme prejudice.

Regarding Instagram’s new TOS

Wil Wheaton on Instagram’s new privacy policy and terms of service which allow using your photos in advertisements:

If someone Instagrams a photo of Seth Green walking through an Urban Outfitters, does that mean Urban Outfitters can take that image and use it to create an implied endorsement by Seth?

When I first heard about this inevitable dick move by Instagram for making money, I thought about ordinary people and not celebrities. It’s a whole other set of real and complicated legal problems for folks who make their living with their faces. Best of luck to everyone on this mess.

My advice? Find another free service to post pictures of your pets having lunch that isn’t big enough yet to sell you as a product.

Search doesn’t work yet

Please note that the search field in the sidebar isn’t working yet. The code in the HTML form is correct but you won’t get any useful results because DuckDuckGo, my search engine of choice, hasn’t indexed any of my brand spanking new Web pages yet. But neither have Google nor Bing so it’s not a particular failing of DuckDuckGo. This is the bane of websites without built-in search engines. You have to wait and wait and wait for the search engine crawler to think you’re important. Which really says a lot about me and my website.

That other first flight

I originally planned to launch this website on Tuesday, December 18, because I didn’t think I’d be ready until then. When I got up this morning I remembered the historical significance of December 17 and I had to go for it a day earlier.

By significance, I don’t mean these birthdays:

Sure, if it weren’t for Milla Jovovich, none of us would know the word “multipass.” And I hear that Ludwig fellow made quite a bit of noise in his time.

No, I’m talking about those two crazy bicycle engineers, Orville and Wilbur Wright, who back in 1903 launched and flew the first successful powered aircraft. Now those guys were real entrepreneurs. I’ve been to Kitty Hawk in North Carolina and I know how bat-shit insane it must have been to climb into that experiment of spruce and ash, muslin and metal — particularly in all that cold December wind and so close to the Atlantic.

So, thank you, gentlemen. Otherwise I’d be sharing my anniversary with Darryl Strawberry pleading not guilty on tax evasion charges.

Welcome to my website

I think this may be the third or fourth weblog I’ve started. I forget. Most of them are lying somewhere in the HTML bin of history. God willing they’re all buried deep in there. I don’t want to see them again. And you shouldn’t either.

All of my previous attempts died from that dreaded self-publishing disease — neglect. Some would say they just died from bad writing. My plan is for this vanity website to avoid those fates. It at least has a better chance of survival now that I’m retired with plenty of time to write something important. And that was the excuse I made for retiring too — writing something important. Dammit, the pressure.

I’m not sure yet what my focus will be here. Probably random, at least in the beginning. Poor planning to start with entropy, I know. But I’m sure to write about my time at Apple and the development of Safari and WebKit. Inside stories you haven’t heard. Such a tease. Maybe I can mete them out slowly so as to gin up the book deal and movie rights.

Seriously, there will be no gossip or name calling here. I still respect the people I’ve worked with and have no reason to betray their trust. If those were the droids you were looking for, move along.

I will write about my tinkering which created this website. As well as my other strange hobbies and stranger family. Not only am I a bad writer, I’m a bad photographer too. Likely you’ll see evidence of that.

When I find something interesting on the Web, I plan to link to it here provided I can add real value in a commentary. Or make a smug, thoughtless joke about it. Along with small observations and long essays, I may even post some fiction — besides all that biographical crap I mentioned earlier.

Anyway, you’re invited to watch my efforts. And join in commenting about them. But elsewhere, please. On Twitter or App.net is best since I’m also there. You can write about my work on your own site too and let me know that you’ve done so. You know how this works — the great circle jerk of the Internet.

So, welcome. Let’s begin.