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Last 100 posts, part 4

posted by Jason Kottke   May 10, 2005

(Every once in awhile, I summarize what’s been going on around these parts. This is that.)

The huge! enormous!! gigantic!!! news is that after many problems, I finally got Tiger installed, thanks to a number of extremely persistent kottke.org readers. Super doubleplusgood thanks goes to Stefan Seiz for not giving up on me and documenting how to fix the problem. I’m still a little concerned that my drive is teetering on the brink of failure, so as many have urged, I’m investing in a Firewire drive soon so that drive failure won’t be such a huge pain in the ass. (I’m already backing up the essentials, but it would be nice to have a complete local snapshot.)

Update: Spotlight is already rocking, but Mail.app’s permanent placement of the mailboxes pane on the left side is not cool. Anyone know a way around this that doesn’t involve modifying .nib files? I’ve already taken care of the ridiculous icons with Cage Fighter.

Feedback continues to roll in about the new dropdown menu on the front page. Complaints include that it’s flickering on Firefox (have a JavaScript solution to the problem but would prefer just fixing the CSS somehow); that it’s not a real select menu (I have more control over styling this way…plus some future features won’t work with a plain old select menu); a bug in Safari 2.0 where if you try and switch to a previously displayed option, it won’t switch (no idea what that’s about); and that it just plain sucks (I have no response for that).

Want to get up to speed on the whole global warming thing? Try The Climate of Man, the three part series by Elizabeth Kolbert for the New Yorker: How the earth is changing, The curse of Akkad, What can be done? There’s also an online-only interview with her on climate change.

Since I went full-time in late February, the incidence of typos on the site has skyrocketed. This makes me think I’m trying to do too much too fast. Trying to slow down a little bit. Quality, not quantity.

I recently reviewed Steven Johnson’s new book, Everything Bad is Good for You. The book is currently sitting at #212 on the Amazon best sellers list and my review is currently sitting on the Amazon page for the book under someone else’s name. Which wouldn’t be so bad had they actually given me credit for it like he was supposed to.

Many people asked why I didn’t include purple numbers in my discussion of fundamental units of the web. It’s a fair point, but I guess I excluded them because I was looking specifically for units that stand on their own in the larger web somehow…and paragraphs tend not to have meaning (nor are they assigned meaning) outside of the context of the page/post containing them. That and purple numbers aren’t really in widespread use. Grant Barrett wrote in support of words being the fundamental unit of the web, having written this when he launched Double-Tongued Word Wrester last year:

So a few years ago I began searching for smaller elements to extract and found that by picking out an unusual word or a significant number, I could offer yet another entry point to the larger article. It didn’t have to be a quote.

Last week I pointed to a WSJ article on the booming online sales of tshirts which mentioned my pals at Connected Ventures. They recently started a new tshirt company called Defunker, for which I did some modeling (you may have seen me in some ads on Boing Boing). This is probably a good time to reveal that this whole blogging full-time thing is really just an elaborate smokescreen for my burgeoning modeling career. Sadly, I haven’t gotten any calls since the Defunker photos went live…I guess there’s not a lot of demand for sleepy/confused-looking dorks.

I did a segment on Future Tense about my collection of Tiger headlines. A Real Audio recording of the piece is available. Also, thanks to Brad DeLong for satisfing my desire for a really sensational Tiger vs. Longhorn headline.

And that’s the last 100 posts.

Reader comments

AkaXakAMay 10, 2005 at 3:15PM

See ! I knew this whole website was just a smokescreen to get free computer help and hide your modeling career!

Why oh why didn’t we see this before…

shaneMay 10, 2005 at 3:33PM

You might want to check out this CSS writeup on taking control of the look-and-feel of the select element. Could be a good fit for your dropdown woes.

'kaMay 10, 2005 at 3:42PM

i totally agree with AkaXakA :)) this is a really good blog to read! ‘n some postings from your archive make me miss nyc so much… :)

ClintMay 10, 2005 at 3:42PM

Excellent link Shane. I haven’t seen that before.

Good writing Jason. In order to keep me reading a post about previous posts as long as you did, requires decent writing.

That book review is too funny.

Brad BiceMay 10, 2005 at 4:32PM

Did you change the type size at one point as well over the last week?

MacDaraMay 10, 2005 at 4:35PM

I had similar problems to what you experienced with Tiger when I installed Panther on my machine about 18 months ago. I had to do a full erase and install, which was a pain in the hole but at least I know the hard disk wasn’t totally crapped out.

The onlt real loss I suffered was that when I erased for the install, I erased my Classic system folder. I tried looking for info at the time for ways of getting it back, but to no avail, so I ask of anyone who might read this: is there anyway I can reinstall it? If an erase and install is necessary, that’s fine — just as long as I know I can do it whatever I need to do to get it done. Or something.

Justin BlantonMay 10, 2005 at 5:09PM


I too immediately installed Cage Fighter, but I dropped that as soon as I saw Mail Fixer (I think the default theme is quite nice, and certainly better than Cage Fighter’s look).

danMay 10, 2005 at 5:28PM

I like the changes.

The movie reviews box kinda breaks things visually; the whole top-to-bottom chronological flow carry-on is interrupted.
I reckon it would fit more better on the sidebar.

I was going to suggest this article: Select Something New, Part 1, but I see speedy Shane has beaten me to it.

EricMay 10, 2005 at 5:38PM

I’m also wanting to get a Firewire drive to backup prior to installing Eye of the Tiger. Can anybody recommend a quasi-reliable brand? All my research seems to suggest that most are real dogs…

Matt DowellMay 10, 2005 at 5:40PM

I am so confused. I though the reason you paid %50 more for a Mac was it worked out of the box and did everything for you?

Must be a cult thing.

Reagan KellyMay 10, 2005 at 6:16PM

Since my fingers have always worked faster than my brain (and since I’ve never been able to master touch-typing), I find typos to be a huge problem. I use MTSpeling to check my posts, and it does catch a lot of stuff (like any spell-checker it won’t catch the right word used the wrong way, but that’s less of a problem for me. “Teh” and “adn” tend to be my biggest offenders).

It seems to not have been updated recently, but it does work with MT 3.1. It requires a little mucking with the CMS.pm file, but nothing especially serious. The only problems I have is the inability to add new words (well, there’s probably a way, but it likely involves changing the Lingua::Ispell module, which I’ve not had the time for.

ChrisMay 10, 2005 at 6:27PM

The stolen review seems to have been removed already…

Andrew PhelpsMay 10, 2005 at 9:19PM

Amazing that Mac lovers still tout the virtues of their beloved, perfect operating system, despite all of these headaches.

jkottkeMay 10, 2005 at 10:14PM

No Mac vs. PC crap, please…we’re all smarter than that, I think. Computers of all types and OSes have hardware problems that cause headaches. If my drive hadn’t been physically damaged, the upgrade would have been smooth as silk.

RichardMay 11, 2005 at 2:45AM

I think the new “Currently Displaying” drop down is inspired.
It’s made the site a lot more usable…

For me anyway.

vaskaMay 11, 2005 at 5:25AM

I believe Safari 2.0 is going cache crazy which has sort of been documented here and there. I sent you a little email about it. It does seem you can solve that part of things. I like it…typos and all too.

TimMay 11, 2005 at 12:29PM

The dropdown is a good addition, and I love the promise of Ajax, but I wonder why you feel it’s beneficial to use it here. Since you’re reloading 80% or more of the page, why not reload the whole page? Ajax is not adding much value, and it’s also breaking the back button.

bloodthirstyrobotMay 13, 2005 at 1:57AM

You asked about Mail’s mailboxes: “Anyone know a way around this that doesn’t involve modifying .nib files?” It’s easier than you think.

1. Control-click on an empty grey spot on Mail’s toolbar. Select “customize toolbar.”

2. Look at the end of the second row of icons. You’ll see one called “Mailboxes.” Drag that puppy onto your toolbar. Once it’s in place, it will let you toggle the mailboxes.

3. While you’re in there, yank out the annoying (and wasteful) spacer that appears at the left-hand side of the toolbar. Now your icons will load right to the left edge of the toolbar.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.

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