Dr. Michio Kaku explains the pending possible proof of multiple universes (well, multiverses).


The Apple-ication Tax

Imagine for a moment that you are a brilliant person. Are you with me so far? Ok, now imagine that you’ve created a software application that everyone wants. Maybe it’s Lotus 123, or Mathematica, Doom, or a screensaver with flying toasters.

Imagine then, that as you went to sell your application, Microsoft charged a tax for it to run on Windows (or Apple for it to run on Macs). Given the freedom we have to install whatever we want on our personal computers, this situation sounds absurd and unacceptable.

This is pretty much how it works for iPhone applications. In order for anyone to actually use your brilliant new application, you have to give Apple a 30% cut of the purchase (Palm plans to do the same the Pre, and Google for Android phones, but more on that later).

Of course, Apple has the right to charge for this distribution service. They provide bandwidth, quality control, visibility, and do most of it quite well. The problem arises, though, when Apple intentionally precludes any alternative distribution methods for iPhone applications.

If Microsoft (or Apple) decided tomorrow that the only way to install applications on Windows was through a Microsoft owned and controlled distribution system (let alone take a 30% cut), we wouldn’t accept it. There would be overturning of cars.

The trouble isn’t that Apple charges for their application distribution system. The trouble is that it’s the only means of distribution for iPhone applications. It seems unclear if Palm is going to make the same mistakes with their Pre/WebOS platform as Palm’s position on “home-brew” applications isn’t yet clear (even the term “home-brew” is a bit troubling, as it seems to imply negative connotations to non-Palm-distributed apps).

Google can do whatever they want with the Android marketplace, because you don’t have to use it – you can install applications on Android phones without using the centralized marketplace system.

Why do we accept this system for phones when we wouldn’t for our laptops?


The Kids in the Hall are making an 8-episode murder mystery series for the CBC.


Digital Callousness

Today I watched footage of a fatal plane crash and all I could think was, “Did YouTube redesign their search box?”


10 Years of silverorange

Our beloved little web development company, silverorange, was incorporated ten years ago today (August 11, 1999).

silverorange logo

I’m looking forward to the next ten years.


Acts of Volition Radio: Session 34

Acts of Volition Radio: Session 34

A mid-summer session of Acts of Volition Radio full of eleven great songs from Polaris Music Prize winners, nominees, and others.

Acts of Volition Radio: Session 34 (61MB Ogg Vorbis) (or 93.6MB MP3)
Eleven great songs -. Recorded Sunday, July 26, 2009 by Steven Garrity. Run time: 61min.
  1. Joel Plaskett – Run, Run, Run
  2. Joel Plaskett – Heartless, Heartless, Heartless
  3. Regina Spector – Laughing With
  4. Metric – Help I’m Alive
  5. Dinosaur Jr. – Over It
  6. U2 – Moment of Surrender
  7. Elbow – Running to Stand Still
  8. The Watchmen – Incarnate
  9. Great Lake Swimmers – Pulling on a Line
  10. Ben Folds Presents The University of Chicago Voices in Your Head – Magic
  11. Wintersleep – Miasmal Smoke & The Yellow Bellied Freaks

“my challenge as a parent…”

“my challenge as a parent with the Internet isn’t keeping my son away from porn or violence, it’s keeping him away from capitalism”

― Peter Rukavina, July 21, 2009


The Emperor’s New Close

A quick tip for those designing web interfaces with an “X” icon for a “Close” element. Rather than the letter “x” (or capital “X”), use the multiplication (U+2715) or heavy multiplication (U+2715) symbols.

There’s no semantic advantage as neither the letter X nor the ✕ symbol have the appropriate meaning, but we’re just using the character to define a shape (often rendered as an image).

In most fonts the multiplication symbol is vertically and horizontal symetrical and has angled end strokes. It really just looks better. The heavy variation looks even prettier.

Multiplication (U+2715) / Heavy Multiplication (U+2715)
X X Latin Capital Letter X (U+0058), normal / bold
x x Latin small Letter X (U+0078), normal / bold

Estimating Time

Another great comic from XKCD:

XKCD comic


Out of Reach

This photo of the daughter of a dead US soldier reaching for him in his casket is one of the saddest I’ve ever seen.