Wanted: Alphatronix Inspire MO 5.25" Magneto Optical drive
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2008
I'm mostly posting this so that it will forever be a high result should someone Google 'Alphatronix', 'ATX', 'Inspire' or 5.25 MO Magneto-optical.

Way back when I used to work as an intern at MacWEEK (1993) I reviewed a few 5.25" magneto-optical drives. Since, at the time, they were the most permanent, safest way to archive data, I used one to burn an archive of my files from 1993. Now, 15 years later, I'm trying to get that data back to consolidate my backups, and I'm realizing that the physical integrity of a backup isn't any good if the mechanism for reading the data is obsolete and nowhere to be found.

I'm hoping that someone out there still has one of these that I could either borrow for a day or buy for a song. I'd also be happy with bringing the disk to you if you're local and already have it set up (god only knows where I'd find the needed drivers...) I have two Pinnacle Micro 5.25" MO cartridges that are still new in their shrinkwrap that I'd be happy to give in trade for a loan.

Drop me a line at kevinatfurydotcom if you've got a lead for me, and hi from either the present or the distant past!

Cellphone manufacturers: Tell us a story, damnit.
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2008
When Apple releases a product, you know it's released. You know its features, you know its character, you know its story, because Steve Jobs told it to you. You know whether you want it and you know how you feel about it even if it will be weeks before you actually see or touch one.

On the other side of the world is virtually every other cellphone manufacturer on the planet. When HTC or Blackberry comes out with a new phone, first you find out about it from a leaked powerpoint slide of their product roadmap which gives both a skeleton view of the device's functionality, but also tells you what product will render it obsolete, how, and in which quarter.

Next you get the sketches and exploded diagrams from the FCC certification reports, and possibly a few fuzzy photos (often photoshopped) from people purporting to have held an actual unit. You might get a leaked product brief from a carrier to its salespeople or a product page that was mistakenly put live on the web for a few hours until someone got a frantic call that it made Engadget Mobile.

Eventually the launch day rolls around, unceremoniously and only given attention when a gadget site snags a promo shot and details the minor differences between their predictions for the product and the actual shipping unit. The determination between 'publicly announced', 'ready for ordering' and 'now shipping' is usually fuzzy and not given much importance.

Eventually someone posts an anticlimactic unboxing video which nobody cares about because someone just posted a leaked product shot of the [model number]+10 edition coming out 'before the holidays/summer/semester/tradeshow'.

This slow leak of information means that it never has the power to get anywhere further than the mobile phone and gadget fan blogs. You, gentle reader, might know what the BlackBerry Bold is, but does your spouse/SO/child? There's no excitement about a launch day or a big dump of information. There's absolutely no narrative that can be used to build desire for a product, or give you a cheat sheet on how to pitch to your spouse/SO/parent why you need this thing and it's not just another frivolous purchase.

The first Android phone (HTC Dream) is likely going to come out next month (if the blurry videos and FCC sketches are to be believed) and the only narrative to follow is how the public SDK is still at version 0.9, and several cool features were just removed from it. The public is forming a narrative based on the plot points they're given and right now it's all about the SDK, the least sexy part of the product to people who aren't engineers and software developers.

I hope the Android folks aren't hoping that a slick UI and great user experience will sell itself, because phones ain't the web. The cognitive and financial switching costs for mobile phones are greater than for almost any other device you can buy. Helio and Sidekick are two great examples of how slick mobile products can fail to gain traction because they rely on carriers and customers to generate demand. Take a page from the Book of Jobs and tell the story to the people. Tell them why they want it. Show it to them. Educate them so well that they can proselytize another person to buy a product that neither of them has ever seen in the flesh.

In short: Don't let people who don't have your best interests at heart tell your story to your customers.

So long, George!
Monday, Aug 04, 2008

"It gives you a good feeling, a feeling of power, of superiority, to have outlasted another old friend. But you can't do it too soon, you can't come running home from the funeral and get the book out -- you can't do that. You have to let a little time go by. I have a rule of thumb: six weeks. If you're a friend of mine, and you're in my book and you die, I leave you alone for an extra six weeks. Six extra weeks in the book, on the house, it's on me. But after that, 'hey, facts are facts—fuck you, you're dead! Out you fucking go!'"

-- George Carlin, It's Bad for Ya! (2008)

Sean Tevis for Kansas
Wednesday, Jul 16, 2008

I hope I'm not being punk'd. :-)

Why I'm upgrading to a 3G iPhone
Monday, Jun 16, 2008
This morning John Gruber wrote a nice article on whether or not to upgrade to a 3G iPhone. I found it interesting that while I'm going to upgrade, it's not primarily for any of the reasons he mentions.

While 3G, a new design, and GPS are great to have, they're not enough to get me to upgrade the iPhone I waited in line for on day one, but I'm getting one anyway, for far more boring reasons: the flush headphone jack and 16 gigs.

Sure there's currently an iPhone out there with 16 gigs, but it wasn't available when I bought mine, and a memory boost alone wasn't worth buying a new phone. I currently have a good selection of music and two or three movies on my iPhone, but space is always tight, and I never seem to have the thing I didn't know I'd want when I last loaded it up. Double the space gives me room for a lot more variety, especially when I'll be able to bring along six favorite movies instead of three.

But as petty as it sounds, a flush headphone jack is pretty important. I don't carry headphones around with me, but there's usually a pair wherever I go. Though I have a Shure headphone adapter I don't carry it around with me everywhere like a band-aid waiting for a boo-boo. As a result I don't use the iPhone's iPod functionality a third as much as I'd like to, and often time when I do, the experience consists of me trying to find a quiet place, then cupping my hand around the iPhone speaker to bounce more of its weak volume toward my ears.

Throw in a faster internet experience and the apps that are going to be making a lot of entertaining use of the GPS and I'm sold, carrying only a little disappointment that it feels more like a 'fix' than an 'upgrade'.

Five Apple WWDC-related things I WILL NOT do on Monday
Friday, Jun 06, 2008
  1. Wear a black turtleneck
  2. Camp out overnight at the Apple Store (like last time)
  3. Laugh at people who can't upgrade to iPhone OS 2.0 because they hacked their iPhones
  4. Attend WWDC and convince myself that I'll write a product that would win an Apple Design Award
  5. Make paper mockups of the new iPhone sizes to compare with my antiquated iPhone
Five Apple WWDC-related things I WILL do on Monday
Friday, Jun 06, 2008
  1. Place two yellow post-its on my headphones that say "We'll be right back!"
  2. Feel the familiar twinge of remorse for having devoted a year of my life writing software for the Newton
  3. Finish all conversations of longer than 5 minutes with "One more thing..."
  4. Convince myself that plastic is the new brushed aluminum
  5. Buy whatever shiny new thing Apple deigns to sell to me
...and we're back!
Tuesday, Jun 03, 2008
So after a hiatus of a few months while focusing on disseminating content through other means (mostly FriendFeed), it's time to get back to blogging. Yesterday's interview on Google Blogoscoped got me thinking that I do have a lot of stuff to share, and it's high time I bring the Fury back. :-)

This post will also make my RSS feed non-empty, so people won't have trouble subscribing to int anymore.

Scobleized! Twice!
Monday, Feb 25, 2008
Today I was flattered to see Robert Scoble decide to simultaneously switch to and join two different sites I've done design work for, Gmail and FriendFeed. Aww shucks, Robert!
Anyone know how to convince Fireworks to underline things properly?
Thursday, Feb 21, 2008

Kvetch I just can't stand anymore: When making pixel-perfect web mocks, I have to create faux underlines by hand because Firefox draws them two pixels lower than browsers do. I can forgive Photoshop for the discrepancy since it doesn't purport to be a web design tool (though its anti-aliasing of underlines and the obscure means for fixing this are another issue), but Fireworks is all about creating assets for the screen, and especially the web.

Stay crazy, Adobe!
Got a fix? Email me!


Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
I've been blogging at since 1998.
I can be reached at .

I also have a resume.


I'm co-founder in
a fantastic startup fulfilling the promise of the Internet of Things.

The Imp is a computer and wi-fi connection smaller and cheaper than a memory card.

Find out more.

We're also hiring.


I post most frequently on Twitter as @kfury and on Google Plus.


I've led design at Mozilla Labs, designed Gmail 1.0, Google Reader 2.0, FriendFeed, and a few special projects at Facebook.

©2012 Kevin Fox