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July 2010

I DO want to go into the Donut Business!

donutbiz.jpgSometimes I think I spend too much time on the internet, and then I come across blog post like this and I know that all those hours are time well spent.

Peter Harrington, a purveyor of rare books and manuscripts in London, has a great blog called The Cataloguer's Desk. They share pictures of their interesting recent acquisitions, and I have to agree that this donut business pamphlet is fantastic. I'm almost tempted to find out how much they want for it.

I love the pictures of the giant donut factory, and the look into what donut shops used to look like. It is amazing to think that Krispy Kreme's entire business is pretty much based on the same principles laid out in this pamphlet.


Apple changes press release boiler plate, the revolution is now mobile

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Mac fans are nothing if not obsessive (much like the company they love), and so I've been reading Apple press releases for years.

For as long as I can remember they have all included a boiler plate paragraph at the end that starts with, "Apple ignited the personal computer revolution with the Apple II, then reinvented the personal computer with the Macintosh." The sentences after that vary from release to release but they always started with that sentence. Take, for example, the press release announcing the iPhone 4. Here's the boiler plate:

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution with the Apple II, then reinvented the personal computer with the Macintosh. Apple continues to lead the industry with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system, and iLife, iWork and professional applications. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

I noticed today, while reading the press release about the new 27-inch LED Cinema Display, that Apple has nixed the computer revolution. Here's the new closer:

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork, and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple is reinventing the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

The first press release to use this boiler plate trumpeted iPhone 4 sales in late June.

Since I work in corporate communications, I know changes like these are never done lightly. It is interesting that the revolution has shifted from the computer to the mobile space, even within Apple's PR boiler plate, no?


Buy my book: Building a TypePad Blog People Want to Read edition

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Just a couple years ago I had never written a book, fast forward to the present and my third book is winging its way to a finer bookstore near you. The world is a crazy place, I tells ya.

My first book was all about WordPress, to which many a wag said, "If you love WordPress so much why is Blankbaby hosted on TypePad?" This was often accompanied with a sneer, as if the questioner had caught me doing something particularly nasty. I would calmly explain that one man can love more than one blogging platform (I'm like a blogging Mormon).

The truth is, I'm a big fan of both WordPress and TypePad. This clearly explains why my second book was all about, you guessed it: Amazon's Kindle. When no one bought that book I was fairly certain my writing career was at an end.

I wouldn't let something like a career ending book stop me from pitching my editor a third book about TypePad (OMG!). Shockingly my editor, Cliff, thought about it for a little while, checked with some business-type folks, and in a matter of a few weeks I had a contract in hand. That just left it up to me to write the thing (An aside: I find the process of getting the contract signed and receiving the first advance check to be quite exciting. Starting the writing process is something I find quite vexing [just ask anyone who has worked with me on one of my books. I'm slow to start], but once I get going I'm like a writing train barreling down the paragraph rails... or something).

The kind people at Peachpit sent me 25 copies of my new book, called Building a TypePad Blog People Want to Read, and I did what any normal person would do: laid them all out on our dining room table and took a picture of me making a face in front of them:

Scott with a tableful of books

Here's the real point of this post: buy a darned copy of the book. I know you'll like it.

Oh, and if anyone out there works for TypePad (or SixApart), contact me! I'd be happy to have a little contest/promotion with ya. I need to do something with all these books, so I might as well give some away!


Tweet tweet, here's your password

twitterpassword.jpgOne of the many reasons I love OS X is because it includes a tiny little program called "Keychain Access," which does more than one might assume. It is sort of a central place where OS X stores passwords, credentials, and the like.

I use Keychain Access fairly frequently to come up with random passwords for various things. Today, I needed to create a blog account for someone, so I turned to Keychain Access to create a memorable, but complex, password. See that third password option? Twitter!

When the Twitter obession crosses over into password utilities it is clear to me that all the cool kids are using some new, and little known, service. I wonder what it is.


You don't see Bloomberg News and Gawker mentioned in the same sentence that often

Here's an interesting note from the In Online Journalism, Burnout Starts Younger article in the Times:


"Some media outlets, including Bloomberg News and Gawker Media, now pay writers based in part on how many readers click on their articles."


I've long thought that rewarding pageviews like this leads to worse reporting rather than better. It rewards people who are willing to state a ridiculous opinion, or post a silly rumor, rather than cultivate the trust and respect of the reader.

If I were in charge of Bloomberg News I'd wonder how we ended up being lumped in with Gawker.


New Kindle DX, as compared to the old Kindle DX

I'm sort of an eReader junkie. I love 'em, for some odd reason. I have seven of the suckers, and the newest member of the McNulty eReader family is the Kindle DX, second gen.

What makes the new DX different than the old DX? It is cheaper (hurrah!), the case is graphite, and Amazon claims that the eInk (that's the screen technology used in the Kindle) has 50% better contrast.

Is it true? What better way to find out than taking some pictures that compare and contrast (I'm so funny) the two. Check out the whole Flickr set, and read on for the highlights.

At first glance, the new DX is much crisper. I'll write a full review after spending a little more time with the DX.

The new Kindle DX is on the left, the old on the right:

The Kindle DX family

Here both Kindles are displaying the first page of John Scalzi's The God Engines. As labelled the new DX is on the left, the old on the right:

Side by Side Kindle DXs

A chapter heading, new DX on left and the old on the right:

Side by Side Kindle DXs

Amazon also change the labels on the Kindle DX buttons. The fonts are smaller and the Prev/Next buttons are now labelled with arrows which make the Kindle a little more international:

Amazon changed the buttons on the second gen Kindle DX