a rivulet

barry burton

the songs will write the words
Working at Fitbit. Readable Obj-C and Ruby aficionado. Coffee freak. Slow food and natural wine dilettante. Cycling obsessive. Snow enthusiast.

On the face of it, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world. Shareholder value is a result, not a strategy. […] Your main constituencies are your employees, your customers and your products. Managers and investors should not set share price increases as their overarching goal. […] Short-term profits should be allied with an increase in the long-term value of a company.
Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, in an interview with Francesco Guerrera of the Financial Times, as referenced in a Forbes piece introducing Roger L. Martin’s book Fixing the Game.
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

Ira Glass

(via nefffy)

(via nprfreshair)

Snobs are people who make judgments for non-intrinsic reasons.
Kenneth Davids, nailing it as per usual, this time in a piece about Starbucks Via and other instant coffees.

Apple’s Three Laws of Developers


  1. A developer may not injure Apple or, through inaction, allow Apple to come to harm.
  2. A developer must obey any orders given to it by Apple, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A developer must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

— I. Developer

In a more aesthically advanced republic, most people wouldn’t be allowed to decorate their own homes, much less design their own user interfaces.
Greg Knauss, in an article on the problems inherent in user skinnable applications.
I don’t eat mussels in restaurants unless I know the chef personally, or have seen, with my own eyes, how they store and hold their mussels for service. I love mussels. But in my experience, most cooks are less than scrupulous in their handling of them. More often than not, mussels are allowed to wallow in their own foul-smelling piss in the bottom of a reach-in. Some restaurants, I’m sure, have special containers, with convenient slotted bins, which allow the mussels to drain while being held—and maybe, just maybe, the cooks at these places pick carefully through every order, mussel by mussel, making sure that every one is healthy and alive before throwing them into a pot. I haven’t worked in too many places like that. Mussels are too easy. Line cooks consider mussels a gift; they take two minutes to cook, a few seconds dump in a bowl, and ba-da-bing, one more customer taken care of—now they can concentrate on slicing the damn duck breast. I have had, at a very good Paris brasserie, the misfortune to eat a single bad mussel, one treacherous little guy hidden among an otherwise impeccable group. It slammed me shut like a book, sent me crawling to the bathroom shitting like a mink, clutching my stomach and projectile vomiting. I prayed that night. For many hours. And, as you might assume, I’m the worst kind of atheist. Fortunately, the French have liberal policies on doctor’s house calls and affordable health care. But I do not care to repeat that experience. No thank you on the mussels. If I’m hungry for mussels, I’ll pick the good-looking ones out of your order.
Words to live by—Anthony Bourdain, in his book Kitchen confidential: Adventures In The Culinary Underbelly, on why he doesn’t eat mussels when out at a restaurant.
These attacks, in addition to being a misguided effort that doesn’t accomplish very much at all, are incredibly simple to launch and require no technical or hacker skills.

2600 Magazine, in a press release condemning the denial of service attacks against PayPal, Amazon, Visa, Mastercard, and other entities after those entities took actions against WikiLeaks.

Obviously they are on WikiLeaks’ side, but they bristle so much at the media using the word ‘hackers’ to describe stupid script kiddies running DDOS attacks that they had to issue a press release.

Knoll: Further down the side of Mt. Tam towards Bolinas, just above the fog line.

Knoll: Further down the side of Mt. Tam towards Bolinas, just above the fog line.

So perhaps the best way for people to express outrage and inflict pain on oil companies is to use less fuel, thereby lowering overall demand. This is much harder than flinging brown paint at a BP sign, as many people have done. It may mean walking more or wearing sweaters indoors in the winter with the thermostat set at 64 degrees. People who still need a short-term hit of righteousness may continue to avoid filling up at BP stations. But it would be nice if they picked up a week’s worth of milk from a BP mini-mart on the way home at night. That way, the station owners don’t suffer as much.
Ron Lieber, in the NYTimes article Punishing BP Is Harder Than Boycotting Stations, where he explains how the byzantine structure of the fuel industry makes impossible the continued use of fuel while avoiding the purchase of BP originated fuel.
Balloons: Contrail, Palm Frond

Balloons: Contrail, Palm Frond



I’m a dam buster.
Yvon Chouinard, in an Oscars-aired-commercial where he also explains why pitons are bad.
I live on bread and water, so as not to submit to the Idiots.
Jorn Barger, quoted by Julian Dibbell in Portrait of the Blogger as a Young Man, an article which among other things, describes a web log as a modern Wunderkammer.