James Montgomerie’s World Wide Web Log

Apple, Failure, and Perfect Cookies

It’s painful, hard, and often time-consuming to restart when you’re already done, but you can’t argue with the results. Both Apple and Nintendo create some of the best, most inspired design out there.
Lukas Mathis, in Chabudai Gaeshi

Awareness Lag

“150-300 ms - Occupant becomes aware of collision.”

Catching up on my RSS reading, my eyes were drawn to this article, from the excellent “Mind Hacks” blog (which you really should subscribe to if your feed selection could do with some broadening). The drive of the article is just how slow a human is to react to a fast-changing situation - that a person in a car crash is not actually aware of it until after it’s ‘complete’. Their timeline of a crash, however, also gives an amazing insight into just how much self-analysis a modern car is …

Unpublished is Unpublic

John Gruber’s latest post, “Private”, calls Erica Sadun to task for her invention of a distinction between “private APIs” and “unpublished API’s”.  I completely agree.  The distinction is nonsensical.

On technical grounds, of course, it’s a valid distinction, if not a valid characterisation.  Her “unpublished” APIs are APIs that are available in public frameworks, but not documented in the headers.  Her “private” APIs are APIs in private frameworks (i.e. those with no headers, installed in the “PrivateFrameworks” directory, as opposed to the “Frameworks” directory).

There’s also a distinction from a programmer-level point of view.  It’s much easier to use …

Some Sort of Profit-Making Scheme¹

The FSF has published their “5 reasons to avoid iPhone 3G”.  They have some valid points, but I’d be much more likely to respect them if the things like this they produced were not laden in hyperbole.  The article is full of it, but one piece of ‘information’ in particular struck me:

It’s also a tracking device, and like other proprietary GPS-enabled phones, can transmit your location without your knowledge

First, GPS is passive.  The phone receives GPS signals from the satellites, it doesn’t transmit them to the satellites.  ‘They’ can’t track you just because you have a GPS phone. …

The Fallacy of Premature Optimization

From a link on Hacker News (the occasionally interesting “Reddit for Erlang, Lisp and Haskell using proto-entrepreneurs”), this 2006 ACM Ubiquity article:

Every programmer with a few years’ experience or education has heard the phrase “premature optimization is the root of all evil.” […] Unfortunately, as with many ideas that grow to legendary status, the original meaning of this statement has been all but lost

I would not agree with all the proposed solutions to the problem, but I do agree with most of the observations.

One of the most frustrating things I found when working on performance at…

Every Inch of My Love (Every Centimetre in the UK)


This weekend, I cleaned out the ex-belongings of the previous residents of our flat that had been sitting in the sort-of-corridor-area outside our door since we moved in (if you’ve been in our flat, you’ll know what I mean). Amongst the waitressing clothes, semi-broken electronics and Christmas ornaments was this mysterious and highly dubious looking CD. With curiosity (and a healthy dose of trepidation), I played it today. I was mightily surprised.

It turns out that the clue to what’s on it is in the title, not so much the imagery.

For your listening pleasure: eMusic, iTunes (UK), iTunes…

In Case of Software Emergency...


“Which one accurately depicts the way your software treats the user in the event of an emergency?”

From Jeff Atwood’s www.codinghorror.com. I am not sure I agree with the article completely, but I love the imagery.