On walkabout in life and technology

Signing Up for Everything

I sign up for every new service that comes along. Every single one. Most of them I never log into again, except to unsubscribe from their mailing lists. Every single new social network, professional network, graphics sharing site, instant messenger, free email provider, free home page display, free blogging app, book reading site, iPhone community app and all the hundreds I am missing, all have one thing in common. A hiltmon login. My hiltmon login.

My name is my brand. It’s my domain. It’s unique to me. And the only way I can reserve my name in all these new services, whether I use them or not, is to sign up as soon as I hear about the service. That way, all uses of hiltmon should be mine.

I never want to be hiltmon1 or worse hiltmon32874. And I don’t want anyone to see my name on a service and wonder if it is actually me. Most services do not allow login name changes, most do not even respond when you claim a name (I’m looking at you Twitter), they all go for first come first serve.

So I sign up. As soon as I can.

The Pummeling Pages

Brent Simmons, original author of NetNewsWire and MarsEdit, on visiting modern publication websites:

They’re filled with ads and social-media sharing buttons — and more ads. And Google plus-onesies and Facebook likeys. And also more ads. Plus tweet-this-es. Plus ads. (And, under-the-hood, a whole cruise-ship-full of analytics. The page required well-more than 100 http calls.)

No wonder we all like InstaPaper and Safari’s Reader mode.

Source: The Pummeling Pages

The Way of the Code Samurai

Wil Shipley has been programming for decades, like me. Recently, he reposted a link to an old post that I think all programmers should read. Go on, read it now. I’ll wait.

In it, he talks of the The Way of the Code Samurai, but really just points out the same topics I try to impress on all programmers I teach.

  • Think first
  • Write all your code “clean” the first time you write it
  • Less source code is better
  • Optimize only after you are done

The only thing missing from my top 5 is the temporal issue

  • There is no later, there is only now. Write only the code you need now, write it well. You will probably not need any of the stuff you imagine you may need later, so don’t write it now. In six months time, another programmer, probably you 6 months older, not you as of now, will come back to this code and thank you. If you added a pile of imagined stuff now, the future you will have more code to examine and more to unravel what was done by the old you, and curse you for it. I should know, I have been me six months later. And in six months time, I’ll be an even better programmer, or maybe I’ll just know more about what the product should be. Either way, I have no idea what my six-month future me will need. No use trying to guess.

Four Keys to Apple's Success

Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of worldwide iPod, iPhone, and iOS product marketing, speaking at the “Silicon Valley Comes to Cambridge” event in the UK, shared what he believes to be the four keys to Apple’s success.


"It means saying no, not saying yes. We do very few things at Apple. We are $100bn in revenue with very few products. There are only so many grade A players. If you spread yourself out over too many things, none of them will be great."


"Make complex things simple. A lot of people think it means take something simple and leave it at its core essence. But it isn’t that. When you start to build something, it quickly becomes really complex. But that is when a lot of people stop. If you really know your product and the problems, then you can take something that is complex and then make it simple."


"Courage drives a lot of decisions in business. Don’t hang on to ideas from the past even if they have been successful for you. You don’t build a product just because everyone else has one."


"If you can’t enter the market and try and be the best in it, don’t enter it. You need that differentiation. At Apple if we can’t be the best then we are not interested in it."

Source: Wall Street Journal.

Migrating to Octopress

Over the years I have created a series of blogs, but never found my voice. It’s time to do it better. So here it is, my voice, my errors, my opinions, my mistakes, my soapbox, and maybe, just maybe, someday I’ll write something interesting, in my voice.