Category Archives: Personal

Posts of a more personal nature.

So much iOS 7 frenzy, so little time

A lot has been written about iOS 7’s release since yesterday. I’ll spare you those nitty-gritty details. If you’re interested in a high-level overview about how it all works and what to expect if you’ve yet to get it installed, I think James Williams did a really superb job at showcasing the big things.

From a personal perspective, I offer these thoughts:

  • iOS 7 feels lighter and more effortless to use than its predecessors. I’ve thought this since I first put beta 2 on my daily-driver iPhone 5 and I still think this now.
  • I stopped noticing the icons about a day or so in the first time. They are not the end of the world, nor are they a sign that the operating system is somehow horribly flawed. Is there room for improvement? Sure there is. That improvement will come as this look matures.
  • My excitement wasn’t around the public availability of iOS 7 itself (I’ve been running the gold master build for a week) but was more focused on finally seeing what app developers have done with the new interface. It’s impressive what some have done in three months, while others simply reskinned their existing apps to keep up (anything built against the iOS 6 SDK looks tremendously out of place). My best advice is to not judge iOS 7-ready apps by what came out on Wednesday — it will take more time for new conventions to really work themselves out in the iOS 7 world. The emphasis on using the full screen for content should yield some tremendous creativity and excellent design — I’m pretty excited to see what people come up with.
  • iOS 6 has looked gaudy and heavy for a few months now. It’s such a jarring difference going back and forth between the two looks.
  • My iPad 2 is finally starting to show its age — it does feel a little slower and the iOS 7 interface is just inferior on a non-Retina display device. (I’ve seen it on a fourth-generation iPad and it is just gorgeous.)
  • Some of the special multitasking gestures on the iPad feel awkward now, especially swiping four fingers up from the bottom of the screen to get to the task list. Before, the foreground view (active app or home screen) would slide up, revealing the linen-backed task list panel underneath. Now, swiping up continues to display the multitasking UI, but the active window slides up and to the left, which just does not feel natural. This definitely needs some work.
  • I will never get over seeing non-geeks get really excited for a new release of an operating system. It wasn’t long ago when similar enthusiasm would draw blank stares and the friend zone.
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Return of the #chswx blog!

An issue with nginx rewrite rules would not let my image uploads be great, but that’s all settled now. I’m looking to transition away from so much reliance on Twitter and switch to more of a live blog format during events (though weather Tweets won’t go away). The P2 theme lets me create a fully integrated environment to receive storm reports on a thread, which is awfully nice. Keep this page bookmarked as I’m going to try out a few cool things there. (Eventually, the whole chswx.us site will run on WordPress — stay tuned.)

Always Remember Where You Came From

The Windows Launchpad, my first website, in late 1999.

Note my obsession with Tahoma, my fierce Internet Explorer activism, and penchant for horrible writing. My favorite part, introducing an e-mail newsletter I published with ListBot(!):

Nothing is better than information, and information is what you get when you subscribe to the WinPad Notebook, our free e-mail newsletter. Simply place your e-mail address in the box below, and feel subscribed to a source of information that is certain to help you with your computer decisions.

There are two lessons from this exercise:

  • The Internet Archive is a largely unsung treasure.
  • If you aren’t cringing at your older work, you might not be growing in your skills and knowledge very much.

No SXSW for me this year

For the first time in a couple years, I’m not doing SXSW Interactive. Between my impending move to Charleston and transitioning out of ReadWriteWeb, life is fairly chaotic at the moment (but it’s a positive type of chaos). I will most certainly miss seeing a lot of really good friends and colleagues there. What I won’t miss is the SXSARS and other inevitable conference maladies afterward. :) I hope everybody has a safe and fun time. Austin is a great city.

Farewell, 2011

2011 was bananas.

I got married, moved to the biggest metro area I’ve lived in since I was 4, worked my butt off, got to see the Space Shuttle with a ton of amazing people, and a whole lot more.

2011, you were a crazy mofo. I can’t even imagine what 2012 will be like.

Thanks to everyone who was a part of one of the most amazing years of my life. Here’s to a healthy, happy 2012.

SAY ReadWriteWeb (Three Times Fast)

ReadWriteWeb’s acquisition by SAY Media is an exciting development, the fruit of many years of hard work by Richard MacManus and the ReadWriteWeb team (which I have been fortunate to be a part of for the past two years). I’m really looking forward to working with my RWW compatriots and the SAY Media team on this next phase of ReadWriteWeb’s evolution — it should be quite a fun ride!

Some People Just Can’t Let Go

The first funny (to me) thing I ever did online: the Tahoma Infatuation banner.

The first funny (to me) thing I ever did online: the Tahoma Infatuation banner.

I have seen a lot of weird things in nearly 15 years of Internet-connectedness. That being said, I dare anybody to try to top what I saw last night.

In high school, two things I really liked were A) satire and B) the Tahoma font, first introduced in Microsoft Office 97 and eventually rolled out as the primary interface font in Windows 2000. During a period of extreme boredom over break in the winter of 1999, I decided to merge these two loves at the expense of a long-since defunct Britney Spears fan site. Tahoma Infatuation was the end result. I submitted it to a few directories (SEO, 1999-style) and got to enjoy the fact that people would laugh at how much I claimed to love Tahoma. Over the years, the site remained up; I never really touched it again other than referring to it as a recurring inside joke. At some point in the late 2000s, the Freeservers service where it was originally hosted discontinued my account; thus my old personal site, and by extension Tahoma Infatuation, lived on at the Internet Archive — an appropriate resting place, I thought.

Last night, as a result of some noodling around on Google, I came across an old page I had done for a class about a fictional CMS. One of the sites I claimed was using the CMS, of course, was Tahoma Infatuation — and it was linked to the original URL and everything. I clicked through and lo-and-behold, the site was there, almost perfectly intact. My first thought was that my account was actually only temporarily unavailable — they must have preserved it after all! I clicked one of the links back to where my personal site was supposed to be, but instead got something vastly different — essentially a modified Tahoma Infatuation page, with text that read “I giggled.” Hmmm, weird, I didn’t put that there. To the source! The source was the pretty standard FrontPage sea of spaghetti…and then I saw this bit of JavaScript:

// FILE ARCHIVED ON 20050119213021 AND RETRIEVED FROM THE
// INTERNET ARCHIVE ON 20100527115627.
// JAVASCRIPT APPENDED BY WAYBACK MACHINE, COPYRIGHT INTERNET ARCHIVE.
// ALL OTHER CONTENT MAY ALSO BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT (17 U.S.C.
// SECTION 108(a)(3)).

It hit me pretty quickly — this was no longer my account. Somebody went to the trouble of retrieving the page from the Wayback Machine, re-establishing a site at realm.htmlplanet.com, and uploading Tahoma Infatuation back to its original location. I don’t think I have ever seen this before — has anyone else?

It’s nice to know that 11 years later, Tahoma Infatuation still makes people giggle. And it’s nice to know that perhaps I’m not as screwed up as I think I am, because, after all, it took actual effort for someone to restore the old site to the original location. I’m not sure if I should give kudos or suggest therapy. Of course, their restoration wasn’t perfect, as Internet Explorer users won’t get to hear the MIDI rendition of “Take My Breath Away” that played in the background. Never fear, IE friends — you can find an ad-free, full-fidelity, MIDI’d and <marquee>’d version right here, because Tahoma Infatuation apparently was meant to live on.

My wedding website

I’ve talked a lot about it on Twitter, but not so much here just yet — I am getting married in October to my girlfriend Stephanie. It will be a rockin’ good time, I hope. You can find all the mushy details on our new wedding website, which we’ll be tweaking and adding to over the coming months. It’s really exciting and I’m looking forward to it!