I make films. I'm also a nerd.

Archive for 2012:

In-N-Out Gets It

People like In-N-Out Burger. A lot. They like it because the food is good–better than the food at similar drive-through restaurants. It’s better because the ingredients are fresh; the meat is never frozen, and they cut the potatoes for the french fries right before dropping them in the oil. But the food is also better because they keep their menu simple. You can get a hamburger, cheeseburger, french fries, a milk shake, or a soda. And that’s all you can get (yeah, there are those “secret” variations, but they’re just twists on existing things, and not products per se). They don’t feel an insane urge to add some disgusting monstrosity to their menu every week. No, the menu has stayed exactly the same since the first store opened in 1948. That is an important point: they only do a few things, so they do those things well.

They care about their product more than they care about graphs and focus groups and mined social-media data. That means the product is objectively better than those of the competition. And they do very well. Their fans are rabid.

This is how you do really well in business–or in art, or in life, or in anything. Focus on a narrow range of things, and do them really, really well. Put your emphasis on the product itself, not the sales thereof. If you make a good product, people will want it. It’s an idea that been around for a very long time, and yet almost everybody gets it wrong.

But there are a few companies who get it.

WISD Updates Nocs; Go Get It

Nocs, an incredible text editor for iOS, has submitted an update to the App Store, currently pending approval. No word yet on what new functionality might be included, but that info would seem shortly to be forthcoming.

Nocs is the best (and geekiest) way to write text on an iPad or an iPhone, in my humble opinion. Full support for Markdown (including HTML export, easy previewing, custom CSS, etc.), full Dropbox integration (including a real file browser), and local file storage / organization. I fully recommend it for any sort of writing, whatsoever. I even wrote this post with it. Get it here.

Note: It’s a free app. They do a $65 “sale price” thing on June 4, the proceeds of which are donated to “democratic movement groups” in commemoration of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, which ended unpleasantly on this date in that year. The app will be free again on Tuesday.

6,000 RIM Jobs!

6,000 RIM jobs!

Apple Store Down

The online Apple store is currently not open for business. My prediction is that they’re about to announce a long-overdue refresh of the Mac Pro line–and/or possibly the Macbook Pros.

History tells us that the site doesn’t go down like this unless some new iteration of an existing product is going to appear imminently. And it won’t be one of their cash-cow products; that kind of unveiling would be reserved for WWDC next week, if not later this fall.

Mark my words: quiet refresh of Mac Pro or Macbook Pro before morning. Maybe iMac or Mac Mini. Maybe.

Update: Um, so nothing seems updated. Words marked or no, I guess I was wrong. Still, it seems weird they’d shut the store down for nothing more than this.

Tim Cook on Focus

Speaking at D10:

I just want to build great products. I think if we do that, that the other things follow. I think companies get confused and think their goal is revenue or a stock price. Those things you can’t focus on and make better. For us that’s all about great products. All of our energies are on that, not the result of that.

The fact that more companies don’t grok this very basic and obvious idea is completely lost on me.

[Source: The Verge]

Samsung Announces New Chromebook, Chromebox

Ars Technica:

A year after unveiling Chromebooks to the world, Google and Samsung today are announcing two new devices, including the first “Chromebox” desktop PC. Google is also rolling out several major software improvements, including a new window manager for Chrome OS, better trackpad support, upgrades to a remote desktop access tool, and offline editing for Google Docs.

Hmm. Something about the Chromebox looks familiar.

I participated in the Chrome OS pilot program, and received a Cr-48. I vastly prefer that hardware to Samsung’s regurgitations.

Rémy Brick-Head

Introducing my new web comic, Rémy Brick-Head, based on a character I created years ago. Once upon a time, I made an animated short based around him. Now I think it makes sense to turn it into a (hopefully) regularly-updated comic strip. After all, the original genesis of the character took the form of a comic.


I (along with Braxton Pope and Ross Bigley) was recently interviewed by Jennie Kermode for Eye For Film on the subject of funding a film with Kickstarter. Here’s the piece.

Internet Explorer Is Slowly Dying

From Lifehacker:

According to digital analytics site StatCounter, Google Chrome has passed Internet Explorer as the most popular web browser with 31.88% of the world’s web traffic.

Good. May it die a fiery death. IE has always been horrible. It doesn’t comply with web standards, so designers have to do all sorts of lame, hacky things to ensure their sites won’t look like ass on IE.

The Leaking Sewage Pipe

Mat Honan on Flickr’s destruction at the hands of Yahoo!:

Flickr is still very valuable. It has a massive database of geotagged, Creative Commons- and Getty-licensed, subject-tagged photos. But sadly, Yahoo’s steady march of incompetence doesn’t bode well for making use of these valuable properties. If the Internet really were a series of tubes, Yahoo would be the leaking sewage pipe, covering everything it comes in contact with in watered-down shit [emphasis mine].

I’d be hard pressed to put it better than that, folks.