Matt Zoller Seitz’s “The Substance of Style”, Exploring the Influences of Wes Anderson

An essay with video annotation in five parts: [Schulz, Welles, Truffaut][1], [Martin Scorsese, Richard Lester, and Mike Nichols][2], [Hal Ashby][3], [J.D. Salinger][4] and an [Annotated video of the opening][5] to The Royal Tenenbaums. See also: [The House Next Door][hnd].

(via [Kottke][kottke])

[1]: “The Substance of Style, Pt 1 by Matt Zoller Seitz – Moving Image Source”
[2]: “The Substance of Style, Pt 2 by Matt Zoller Seitz – Moving Image Source”
[3]: “The Substance of Style, Pt 3 by Matt Zoller Seitz – Moving Image Source”
[4]: “The Substance of Style, Pt 4 by Matt Zoller Seitz – Moving Image Source”
[5]: “The Substance of Style, Pt 5 by Matt Zoller Seitz – Moving Image Source”
[hnd]: “The House Next Door”
[kottke]: “Jason Kottke”


Keith Starky Explains Twitter

[A sample][link]:

>1. Twain often disparaged James Fenimore Cooper, who is referred to by many as “History’s First SEO Blogger”

[link]: “Keith Starky Explains Twitter”


My Brute

[Flashed-based fighting game where you generate a character that automatically fights][link]. Weird little game.

[link]: “PhilNelson My Brute”


[Sponsor] Threadless

[Threadless][link] doesn’t just print some of the coolest-looking shirts in the world, they also make the most comfortable ones.

If you buy something from them [using my affiliate link][link], I get a small kickback. They’ve constantly got stuff on sale, like this [selection of $9 shirts][nine]. My current favorite: [The Gaming Revolution][gaming].

[link]: “Threadless graphic t-shirt designs; cool & funny t-shirts weekly! Tees designed by the community.”
[gaming]: “The Gaming Revolution on Threadless”
[nine]:,guys/price,9?from=philnelson “$9 Shirts on Threadless”


Warren Ellis on Shitgaze, and Novum

[Things like this just fall off of Warren when he’s taking his monthly bath][link], and it’s the most interesting thing I’ve read today.

[link]: “Warren Ellis » Shitgaze”


Sonic The Hedgehog Series Bible

>[The Sonic Bible was an internal document created by SOA][link] to provide a localised history and overall philosophy for Sonic and the Sonic universe. It is apparently not based on the Japanese history.

The [series bible][bible] for Sonic The Hedgehog from Sega’s launch of the first Sonic game in the US.

[link]: “Sonic The Hedgehog Bible – Sonic Retro Message Board”
[bible]: “Series bible”


Sam Ruby on Rev Canonical

[The short list of grievances][link]: Twitter doesn’t support it, and may never. HTML5 omits `rev` entirely. Atom uses the `self` attribute for the very purposes that `rev=”canonical”` might be used for.

[link]: “Sam Ruby: Canonical Reverse Or Wisdom Defying Shorturl?”


4chan’s Precision Hack of the Time 100

[Not only is moot #1 with 12 times the votes of anyone else][link], but they spelled out a message with the first letter of each person’s name.

[link]: “Hacking recommenders « Music Machinery”


Mike Tyson’s Intergalactic Power Punch ROM Released

[The unreleased sequel to Punch Out!!][link], now available for download or purchase in the form of [a reproduction cart][cart].

[link]: “GameSetWatch – Mike Tyson’s Intergalactic Power Punch ROM Released”
[cart]: “Mike Tyson’s Intergalactic Power Punch”


iTunes Price Changes Hurt Some Rankings

[Glenn Peoples, writing for Billboard][link]:

>On Wednesday, one day after the price increase, the iTunes Top 100 chart had 40 songs priced at $1.29 and 60 with the original $0.99 price point. The $1.29 songs lost an average of 5.3 places on the chart while the $0.99 songs gained an average of 2.5 chart positions.

[link]: “iTunes Price Changes Hurt Some Rankings”


Birdhouse — A notepad for Twitter

[Birdhouse][link], co-created by [Adam Lisagor][adam] of [You Look Nice Today][ylnt], is a great example of an application made for a niche audience, with the application’s authors being a part of that niche.

[adam]: “Adam Lisagor / lonelysandwich”
[link]: “Birdhouse — A notepad for Twitter”
[ylnt]: “You Look Nice Today”

Birdhouse is for twitter writing what [MarsEdit][mars] is to blog writing.

[mars]: “MarsEdit”


Hacker-Troll “Weev” Taking Credit For the #amazonfail Controversy

[I don’t know if I buy it][link], but it makes about as much sense as Amazon being suddenly homophobic.

[link]: “Gawker – Why It Makes Sense That a Hacker’s Behind Amazon’s Big Gay Outrage –”


The LA Times on Amazon’s “De-Ranking” of Books Deemed Too Adult

[This is quickly turning into a PR coup for Amazon][link]. The gist of this is that most of the books labeled as “adult” and made hard to find on Amazon’s site are lesbian, gay, transgender or bisexual-themed, or even just LGBT-friendly. This is extremely bad form on the part of Amazon, as not showing up on best-seller lists or search pages can cripple the sales of a book. One of the books affected is “[Unfriendly Fire][fire]” by Nathaniel Frank, which now doesn’t show up on bestseller lists on despite it’s selling of more copies than the entire Twilight series.

[fire]: “Unfriendly Fire on Amazon”

The [#amazonfail tag on Twitter][twitter] is spreading very quickly in response to this, and I encourage the use of it.

[link]: “Amazon de-ranks so-called adult books, including National Book Award winner | Los Angeles Times”

[twitter]: “#amazonfail Twitter Search”


Presenting Software Features and Understanding User Unrest

Adding features to applications is a constant trade-off between opposing forces. Sometimes adding to or changing software can be a hinderance both to the user and the developer in several ways.

[Ego][ego], Garrett Murray’s excellent iPhone application, was blocked by [Google Analytics][ga] yesterday. Since support for GA is one of Ego’s advertised features, paying users are understandably upset. Garrett is a good developer, and I’ve been using his software for years (his application [xPad][xpad] was one of the first non-Apple bits of Mac software I ever purchased) but I think much of the user reaction to this issue was predictable and preventable.

[xpad]: “xPad”
[ego]: “Ego”
[ga]: “Google Analytics”

Unlike many of the other stat-tracking widgets used in Ego, Google Analytics does not have an official API with which developers can retrieve data for use in applications. This means that to get the data at all, Ego has to use what I’d (not at all disdainfully) classify as a “hack”; Getting at useful information in an unsupported way. The problem with this is that the average user has no reason to suspect that Google Analytics portion of his $2 iPhone application may stop working without any prior warning. This is a case of the classic “stopped working for no reason” that developers hear all the time. There is a reason, and it’s a pretty simple one, but the user has no frame of reference for it. What’s more,*the user has absolutely no reason to know the reason*. It’s not their job. They just saw a feature list and clicked buy.

Here’s a screen shot of the features section of the Ego application page on the iTunes store:


You can see here that the Google Analytics feature is listed right next to services with officially supported APIs, such as [Feedburner][feedburner] and Twitter.

[feedburner]: “Feedburner API”

What this says to the user is “these features are equal, and just as likely to work” which we now know isn’t the case. A lot of applications do things like this, and the intent isn’t malicious- the average user just genuinely doesn’t know and doesn’t need to know what an API is, or what has one and what doesn’t.

Since there is no “official” way to include Google Analytics data, the GA widget is a trade-off between feature set and usability. Unofficial means that it’s more likely to stop working “for no reason.” Unofficial means that Google can change whatever they like whenever they like, and you just have to eat it, like Garrett is doing now.

He’s is obviously a smart guy, and I’m sure he weighed the pros and cons of including support for Google Analytics in the first place, but I’m also pretty sure he’s second guessing that decision at least a little bit today. This isn’t to say that he made the wrong one- I don’t think he did- but that the way in which application features are presented to users create expectations for those features that may have unintended consequences for developers.


The Old Rickrolling

Apparently, [the co-writer of “Never Gonna Give You Up” has made a total of about 16 dollars from YouTube views of the song’s video][link]. The article doesn’t say how much he’s made from other revenue streams. I find it impossible to believe that the Rickroll meme didn’t make him plenty of money from things like increased radio play, sales on iTunes, and so forth.

[link]: “Pete Waterman: ‘I was exploited by Google’ – Telegraph”


Good HTTP citizenship for DiggBar protesters

[Aristotle Pagaltzis suggests some changes][link] to John (and my) implementation of the DiggBar block.

[link]: “Good HTTP citizenship for DiggBar protesters //”


Introducing Diggbarred, a WordPress Plugin for Blocking the DiggBar

As a big fan of telling people when they’re Doing It Wrong, I’m happy to announce Diggbarred. Diggbarred is [a new plugin][link] from myself and [Shawn Medero][shawn], using [John Gruber’s original blocking code][john] in an easy-to-activate form. You can [fork, modify, or otherwise mutilate the code on Github][git].

[link]: “Official Diggbarred Page”
[john]: “How to Block the DiggBar”
[shawn]: “Shawn Medero”
[git]: “Diggbarred on Github”


How to Block the DiggBar

[John Gruber has a decent solution for blocking the DiggBar][link] on his site, Daring Fireball, if you’d like to completely block all Digg traffic.

I’m going to whip up a WordPress Plugin for this today.

[link]: “Daring Fireball: How to Block the DiggBar”


The Associated Press Follies Continue With YouTube

[The AP threatens an AP affiliate for embedding videos from the AP’s own YouTube account][link]. It’s like watching a drunk vomit on himself.

[link]: “A.P. Exec Doesn’t Know It Has A YouTube Channel: Threatens Affiliate For Embedding Videos”


Popular URL Shortener Is Down

[Thousand of Twitter links][link] are now broken, and nobody knows for how long. This is exactly the kind of thing I talked about [earlier this week][prev], and I hope it will spur adoption of [short_url auto-discovery][short], even though I’m not crazy about the name.

[link]: “(5) – Twitter Search”
[short]: “Short_url wiki”
[prev]: “On URL Shortening”