Oh look, a very nice article on the New York Times about Briam Lam’s The Wirecutter.

(I rarely do this, but: I was all over that last year!)

My dream writing platform is not Dustin Curtis’ new application called Svbtle. It’s a great looking application. I am jealous he was able to get it out the door. But as far as I can tell it’s not the one I’ve been looking for, so I figure it’s time I write this.

Screen Shot 2012 03 22 at 5 36 29 PM

I have been thinking about writing platforms and talking to people (some of which worked on the platform you’re reading this on) and even keeping notes in nvAlt whenever a new idea pops into my head.

The more I think about it, though, the more I think I will never have it unless I make it. And that is:

  1. an impossibility because I have a company now with employees and clients and no time to waste on side-projects.
  2. a really dumb idea that has always been a dumb idea (FOR EVERY DEVELOPER WHO HAS HAD IT) right up until the point at which you publish something with it and people read it.

Previously my solution was to skip over points 1. and 2. and jump to point 3: write a front-end that publishes (using the Atom/MetaWeblog/Blogger/MovableType APIs) with an abstracted connector. That is, you push a publish button and my web app figures out how to publish on your service of choice. Your site continues to serve but the underlying application (Typepad/Wordpress/Blogger) is hidden behind a sort of driver that does not know what system it is publishing to, just that it has content to save and update.

This is fine in theory, but turns out to be the sort of pain in the ass you are wanting to avoid by bundling all the worst things about writing a blogging engine into one code base. You spend a lot of time reliving the stupid arguments of 2003 while learning how to publish to the MetaWeblogAPI. You then get to revisit the creation of an entire blog publishing standard from 2004 (that materialized out of an entirely separate argument people had with the self-proclaimed godfather of RSS for reasons related to his self-proclaimationizing ways) when learning how to use the Atom API.

These standards are the wrong path. They solve jumping straight to option 3 but basically uphold the sometimes head-scratching standards people conformed to when there were very good reasons to conform to them. They’re outdated. They are holding blogging back. I can’t use nearly 10 year-old standards.

That brings us to my pain points with every tool out there. My idea of an ideal tool is just that. It has all the little quirks and features only I want and I don’t think I will ever get everything I want without taking a year off and drinking a lot.

Now, I know Typepad and Say: have a hell of a lot more things going on at their company than spending time adding new features to Typepad. I am a minor speck in their publisher galaxy and that’s fine. I think the application is still the best place for me to write since I use MarsEdit and rarely have to use the web interface.

But since Typepad doesn’t let me save drafts to the server (like Tumblr) so I can share them with friends (and since we’re spitballing: have my friends make edits in place), blogging is a very solitary sort of activity. The best posts (I think) I’ve made have been because Anil or Mat looked them over.

I need a new tool. I have reasons I don’t use Tumblr regularly (it is clearly the best publishing platform for blogging) and perhaps I should give it another look, but I think if I sat down with my nvAlt and described what I want it would not look anything like Tumblr. It wouldn’t look like anything that exists.

I hate that.

An interview with Jason Kottke on The Verge. Jason’s blog is still, consistently, the blog to read. Even more so now that he’s able to draw from Stellar.

I have two invitations to Stellar to hand out. Just ask: @torrez.

I had this sitting in MarsEdit as a draft for longer than I meant to. Last year I created a bookmark folder called Best of 2011 and throughout the year dragged a link in there to every post that knocked it out of the park. I edited the list down a bit after re-reading them:

  • FOMO and Social Media by Caterina Fake. (This is not the correct URL for the piece, but her site is in transition and the URLs are a bit broken.) I noticed a lot of the posts in the folder were those wake-up call posts that sort of jar you back into reality. I have known of Caterina for years, of course, but we had never met until this year and I am really glad I got a chance to. This post arrived at a time when we were creating MLKSHK and I think it altered its direction a little bit. It certainly altered my perceptions a bit.
  • It’s the End of the Web As We Know It by Adrian Short. The title of this post is over the top but such is the state of the web right now. Inside the post there is an important point about where we are sliding as we give Facebook and Twitter our identities. I have more to say on this subject. It angers me when I see people only allow a Facebook option for creating accounts on sites that have very little to do with the Facebook service. I hope to write that post soon.
  • Up and Down the Ladder of Abstraction by Bret Victor. This is the web I want. You don’t just read this post, you use this post. What an amazing piece of work this is. See also: A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design for another good post from Mr. Victor.
  • The Web Is a Customer Service Medium by Paul Ford. A lot of people put this on their lists of great posts last year and it deserves it. I just read it again and I want to push a Like button or fill in a little red heart or drop a nickel in a Paul Ford hat. I suppose I will do what we used to do in the old days: link it.

Finally, not posted this year, but I saw it this year. I will leave you with the Venn diagram (hah! seriously!) that influences my work life right now: How To Be Happy In Business.

I’m still working out the kinks here, but I am returning to proper blogging. This isn’t a 2012 thing or an experiment, I am returning to share good stuff with you. I hope you like it.

Dave Winer (!) posted some notes about the year and a response to the “golden age of tech blogging” being over.

Is the "golden age" of tech blogging over? Jeremiah Owyang says it is. I guess it's all about point of view. If you think tech blogging was Mike Arrington and TechCrunch, then yes indeed, it's over.


When Steve at Coudal.com asked me to be the guest editor for links I was initially hesitant. I used to consider myself a pretty good source for finding interesting stuff. My day was so predictable that I knew I'd have an hour or so in the morning to check my newsreader before meetings started. An hour or so during meetings to check again. And maybe during a few minutes in between meetings I'd write a quick blog post about something interesting I'd seen.

When I left my job in January so did my free time in between meetings. Now every day is a race to see how much work I can cram into the 8 hours or so I have to work before running home to make dinner, clean up, and get to bed.

So for the next month I've carved an hour or so into my schedule to get back into gathering links. I've missed out on so much good stuff, both software related and otherwise that I'm hoping November will turn out to be very productive for this old weblog of mine.

Do not miss Anil's remembrances of Brad L. Graham who passed away last week at 41.

My favorite blog of 2009 is Chris Dixon's. If you're in Tech you have to be reading this blog.

Screw the other lists. This is truly the 30 Best Blogs right now.

Justin writes about his long history with Boing Boing and introduces a new site called Boing Boing Classic for people like him who just want the old Boing Boing back.