fox@fury
Norelco's ads have cojones
Monday, Jun 12, 2006
Kudos to Norelco for creating an honest and direct advertisement for their Bodygroom men's personal shaver.

Mildly unsafe for work if sound is on. Much less amusing if sound is off. Be sure to follow the 'where to buy' link.

Crave isolation?
Monday, Jun 05, 2006
Imagine that you had a house in a serene wooded environment, that it would take you 30 minutes of driving (or 60 minutes on horseback) to see anyone who didn't live in this house. Imagine that you could go there whenever you wanted, but if you went you would have to stay there for two months at a go. Sure you could go in to town, but you couldn't go back to your regular abode. How would you feel about this place?

Is isolation a godsend or a frustration? What thoughts does this inspire about yourself and your current lifestyle? Please leave a comment with your thoughts. And no, this isn't directly applicable to my present life. I just think I'd enjoy the discussion.

The Googlehead Song
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
I'm simultaneously flattered and afraid. The Googleheads
Senator Charles Schumer (NY-D) is an idiot, or thinks we are.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The Department of Homeland Security today released their 2006 Urban Areas Security grants to cities for terrorism prevention. NYC, which last year received $208 million, is 'only' getting $125 million this year, while some other urban areas are getting more. This, of course provoked a bevy of knee-jerk reactions from NYC politicians.

To cite the most short-sighted example from Senator Charles Schumer at his news conference on the issue: "Other states that have very little problems got an increase. Georgia got a 40 percent increase. Somehow this administration thinks that Georgia peanut farmers are more at risk than the Empire State Building. Something is dramatically wrong."

On the surface that makes sense, so long as you don't actually think about it. If you have a brain and your constituency isn't the one who just got less free money than they felt entitled to, you say "hey, why did they do that? What does Georgia have that's worth blowing up?" You might also ponder, "if only New York had $200 million a year in the years leading up to 9/11 they could have... um.. shot down the hijacked planes... No wait, it would be better if we could have stopped them from hijacking the planes in the first place. That money would have been pretty well spent preventing terrorism in Boston where the flights originated, huh?"

The funny thing is that Boston only got $18 million in grants this year (14% of NYC's grant). Coincidentally enough Atlanta (oh that's right, Atlanta, not 'all of Georgia'. Not too many peanut farms protected by Atlanta's Urban Areas Security Initiative despite what Schumer says) as I was saying, by coincidence, Atlanta also got $18 million. Is it possible that this money might protect airports that will prevent planes from hitting Schumer's constituents?

George Lakoff would have a field day with the transcript. Schumer tries to create a perceived disparity by saying Atlanta's 40% increase is a statement that the administration 'thinks peanut farmers are more at risk than the Empire State Building'. That must be why New York still gets seven times as much funding as the city that runs the worlds busiest passenger airport.

If anyone in the Democratic party is listening: Don't try and win by telling the world how bad the other guy is. We already know. Be something better. Have a little integrity, and give us a little credit.

I am so on top of my credit history
Thursday, May 25, 2006
A few years ago when I was looking to buy a house was the first time I took a serious look at my credit score, history, and how to repair both. Over the course of the next year I managed a complete reversal, raising my score by over 150 points in all three bureaus and keeping close tabs on bills and credit reporting activity.

Last week I applied for a new credit card because having a little more credit would help my rating and I'm at the point now where I can expect to get more than a thin letter explaining why they didn't want to give me their plastic, and a 7.99% card is generally a nice thing to have. I applied online and clicked their 'instant approval' button, hoping for a 'yea' but ready to deal with a 'nay'. What I got was 'um-kay...' They let me know that they couldn't let me know, but that I should expect to hear their decision by physical mail within the next 30 days. To me that means the rejection letter listing the credit bureau used to inform their decision, along with a bulletpoint list of reasons and instructions on how to get a free copy of my credit report.

Surprise surprise today when my credit-watch service sends me an email saying there has been activity on my report, and that there is a new line of credit with the bank from which I requested the card. Funny that I find out I got the card from the credit bureau before the bank even let me know. Like I said, I'm so on top of my credit history. It's a welcome change.

Note to my past self: Be less gullible
Friday, May 19, 2006
When a co-worker sends an email mentioning that the president of your company came by your neck of the woods looking for the answer to a surprising question, it's best that you corroborate the story with someone else before researching and heading over to the president's office to give a surprising answer only to find that he has no idea what you're talking about.
Macbook: Black is the new white, matte is the new glossy and glossy is the new matte
Friday, May 19, 2006
Wow, so after Apple unveiled their powerbooks Macbooks (how hard will it be to break that habit?), I had to go take a look. Running up on 4 years with my gigahertz TiBook, I'm looking for a new personal machine, so off to the Apple store I went. Here, briefly, are all the facts that need to go into the decision machine, some of which I haven't yet seen posted elsewhere. In no particular order:
  • The new Macbook keyboard looks futuristic and retro at the same time. Apple IIgs / Casio meets Equilibrium. It's only slightly less comfortable to type on than the MBPro keyboard, but has a strong tactile feedback when you've made a keypress.
  • The screen is really, really shiny, as in "my pores are that big?" shiny. If you have an overhead light above and behind you, or a light behind the powerbook Macbook (augh!) you'll either have a bright spot on your screen or a big picture of yourself reflected back at you. To me this is very ungood.
  • The trade-off is that the screen has much higher contrast. that part's pretty.
  • So, the black thing: While the white Macbook is shiny and plastic-y on the outside like the iBook, the black one has a matte finish on the outside. It seems to pick up hand oils but if you keep it pristine it looks really hot.
  • The magnetic latch is pretty sweet. There's no moving parts, the lid just 'wants' to be closed, but not so much that you can't open it with a couple fingers of one hand.
  • I was really curious about the screen choice. At first I thought it was just marketing and that the shiny screens are cheaper to produce. This reminded me of the P.T. Barnum story about buying a ton of tuna (very cheap) and packaging it as "White Salmon, guaranteed not to turn pink in the can." The shiny screen alone is enough for me to forgo the Macbook in favor of a Pro.
  • The kicker that I hadn't seen mentioned elsewhere yet is that Apple is now offering the 'shiny' version of the screen as a build-to-order option for the Macbook Pro! It doesn't cost any extra (and could still therefore be part of the Barnum ploy) but it gives some hope that they might offer the matte display option in the Macbooks.
  • Oh yeah, and of course by saying "And now we've completed the Portable migration to the intel platform" Apple has ever-so-tactfully said "don't hold your breath for a 12" Macbook Pro. Nuh uh."
I'll probably end up going with the 15" Macbook Pro. I just wish it looked a little fresher. Maybe it's time to get some serious sticker action going on, or look into that laser powerbook Macbook (fuck!) etching.
Things are less broken now
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
There's a often quoted (and probably apocryphal) study that demonstrated that the chances of having your car completely gutted while parked on the street go up a hundredfold if you break a window first. The general concept is that neglect attracts neglect.

That's certainly been true here at fury.com. I've only been posting every couple months, and the commentspam became so troublesome that it drove me away from looking at it, much less trying to fix it.

As of this morning I had over 180,000 pieces of commentspam left in the last 8 months. That, coupled with my lack of posting regularly, meant that the comment indication widget on the right hand column of the home page grew to enormous size, making the HTML for the homepage alone over 2 mega(!!!)bytes.

Dreamhost, my hosting provider, dropped me a line saying they were taking one of my tables offline because a simple query on this table with 1.3 million rows was bringing other customers' databases to their knees. While the addition of a simple key solved that problem (and a purge of the superfluous 90% of the rows helped, too), it was the straw that broke the camel's back.

It's easy enough to neglect a blog when neglect has no negative impact, but when the mere act of not posting (along with some other stuff) is detrimental to the site itself, it's a kick in the pants.

This morning I put in a few more commentspam safeguards. I don't expect it to completely stop commentspam but it should slow it by about 95%. This is just a stopgap though. I'm constantly designing and redesigning Fury and will actually put a pin in the process and move those designs to the site, which will make me feel better about posting to said site.

That, along with better commentspam safeguards (which, nicely enough, also equate to better community-building tools) will serve as a spring cleaning, transforming Fury back into a busy workshop, and not the musty garage with all the spiders and roaches.

Welcome back. :-)

Oh yeah, and those of you who read Fury via RSS: Isn't it interesting how neatly RSS sidesteps all these problems? You probably never noticed that anything was amiss.

Tap, tap, tap! Is this thing on?
Monday, Apr 03, 2006
Just checking...
Photos from TED
Thursday, Feb 23, 2006
I'm at TED this week, and I'm taking pictures.
  
aboutme

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

I also have a resume.

electricimp

I'm co-founder in
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pastwork

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