Archive for December, 2012

December 30, 2012

My Steve Jobs Email Story

As an Apple fan, one of the greatest thrills I’ve ever had was when I emailed Steve Jobs and he wrote back.

When it happened in 2010 I debated whether to talk about it online, and decided that as personal correspondence it wouldn’t be right to publish. But now, as more and more “Steve Jobs stories” bubble up to the surface more than a full year after his death, I thought it’s worth sharing as a reminder of his persona.

Here’s how it happened. Back in the summer of 2010 I was trying to take a photo with my iPhone 3Gs and the damn thing froze. It was completely frozen – not even the home button would work. Of all the years I’ve endured a sluggish iOS experience as an early adopter, this was the first time I was holding a completely frozen iPhone. This was huge, I thought. This needed to go straight to the top.

After restarting my iPhone I opened up the Mail app and fired off a friendly complaint to sjobs@apple.com. I’d heard that Steve Jobs used that email address, but I was skeptical about whether it was actually him. But what the hell – I was just venting.

I got a response in less than one minute:

What’s wrong?

So I wrote back with an accurate description of the bug. And when I got a reply it contained an apology, but with some classic Jobsian misdirection:

Sorry. Lots of bugs fixed in upcoming software release. Plus some cool new stuff too.

Very rarely did Steve Jobs apologize for anything. In fact, he’d only publicly apologized a handful of times. So at this point I was skeptical about whether this was Jobs, so to mark the occasion (and, a little bit, to mock the PR person I thought might have been emailing me) I wrote back that I accepted Steve Jobs’ apology and that we were still cool.

In retrospect I realize this comes across as kind of dick, so for that I owe the apology. But how often have we all regretted what we’d said (or hadn’t said) in important situations? You always think of a better line when you’re walking away.

So was it really Jobs? At the time my assumption was that emails to sjobs@apple.com got filtered through some elaborate system of public relations experts, secretaries, assistants, and other Apple staffers. Maybe, I thought, a tiny portion of those vetted emails would eventually make their way into Steve’s inbox. But I assumed the majority of the Emails from Steve Jobs that were out there had been written by PR folks, or at least initially drafted by them. Why would the CEO of one of the world’s most powerful companies be responding to random customers?

But now I realize it must have been Jobs for a few reasons.

First, Steve Jobs was a control freak. Would he really allow anyone other than himself to send an email from sjobs@apple.com where it could be quoted and attributed directly back to himself? Not likely.

Secondly, the fact that I got a response in less than one minute (accounting for the 3 hour NY to CA time difference) should have tipped me off that it was Jobs. There’s no way any sort of multi-person filtering/vetting system could process and reply to my email that quickly.

And lastly, I usually subscribe to Occam’s razor: the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

Anyone who’s curious or still doubtful can download the raw email source here.

So that’s my Steve Jobs story. It’s not incredibly exciting or informative, but I’m proud to have had an interaction with such an important man.

And every so often just for kicks, I’ll search my email for “Steve Jobs” and find this thread. For me it’s a more personal reminder of what’s true for us all; that as long as we have these slick little pieces of technology in our pockets, Steve Jobs will never really be gone.

December 29, 2012

Windproof Umbrella Video

Even though this is a promotional video, it’s an amazing promotional video.

Sometimes the best advertisements are the ones that simply show the product being used. It’s true with many Apple ads, and it’s true here.

The umbrella featured above is the Senz Umbrella by Totes.

December 28, 2012

The Greatest Architecture Porn Website of All Time

If you like to gaze at beautiful homes you can never afford, The Location Department website is for you.

What sets this site apart from traditional architecture porn is the sheer quantity of photos. Since it’s geared toward the professional film, magazine, and television industry, every location is copiously documented with dozes (sometimes hundreds) of images.

To get started, I recommend diving into the page titled Modern, Apartments, Lofts, Brownstones & Townhouses: New York City

Browsing these amazing homes I found myself alternating between feelings of amazement and rage. Have a look and you’ll see what I mean.

December 27, 2012

Funniest News Bloopers of 2012

Overall some pretty vanilla stuff. But the weatherman at 6:51 literally had me in tears.

Found Via Buzzfeed

December 26, 2012

Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon Review

I never enjoyed bourbon until I discovered the trick to drinking it; taking it neat with tiny little sips. No ice cubes to hurry things, no mixers to obscure the flavor, just a little sip to touch the tongue and kick off a 30 second explosive yet rewarding flavor expedition of sweetness, fruit, spice, and America.

There are plenty of great bourbons out there (some favorites include Buffalo Trace, Bulliet, and Makers Mark) but tonight I’m trying some Four Roses Small Batch and it’s quickly becoming a favorite.

So with a baseline appreciation of bourbon under my belt, I’m expanding to appreciate bourbon reviews as well. This review of Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon from “Mike” at Bourbon Enthusiast is pretty accurate:

Taste: A rich but softly sweet fruity entry that virtually explodes at mid palate with cinnamon and pepper…….. cleansing the whole palate and leaving some heat in its wake. The spicy and sweet flavors weave a kaleidascopic profile that changes over a short time.

Finish: The mid-palate heat and spice does not overwhelm the finish as one fears. The rich barrel, grain, and fruity flavors return for an encore in the midst of some dryness, and manage to leave a buttery residue that is very satisfying. Excellent.

But he goes on…

My opinion is that this bourbon must be approached as if in slow motion. It must be allowed to unfold much as a day lily does in the morning sun. It is 90 proof but plenty potent for its purposes…….. if allowed sufficient time to accomplish them. I take those purposes to dampen the riot offered by the Four Roses Single Barrel and offer a similiar but quite different bourbon drinking experience. Both the Single Barrel and the Small Batch come on with serious intent to make an impression on your taste module. And they succeed. The Small Batch is a bit in the way of a mock charge, while the Single Barrel keeps little in reserve and goes all out. But both attacks are like those of a well trained army, with specific aims and goals. You must (my opinion) respect them on their terms or they will lay waste to you. I do not think of Four Roses Bourbons like I do any other bourbon. They (as always, my opinion only) make no allowances for new or inexperienced bourbon drinkers and demand respect and attention not often required by other bourbons. There is no better bourbon in this world than Four Roses Bourbons, and indeed, there is no better spirit in this world than Four Roses Bourbons………. it has its equals in both worlds, but nothing is better. Jim Rutledge is an American genius and he and Four Roses deserve all the accolades they receive.

Sometimes reading the reviews about the bourbon is just as satisfying (and dizzying) as drinking the stuff itself.

December 25, 2012

Comparing Canon’s 1Dc 4K Pixel Resolution

It looks like the camera pixel wars are evolving into the video front. Canon’s new 1Dc is aimed at pro photographers who want the best of both worlds; the ability to shoot video large enough to pull still frames from.

This promotional video is pretty impressive in showing off the capabilities of the new Canon 1Dc, and I like how honest they are about the tradeoffs of pulling stills from compressed video, VS shooting raw:

We know we’re not shooting RAW. We may see RAW in the next generation of DSLRs, so it does mean you do need to have things pretty spot on like exposure, white balance in-camera.

As far as promotional videos go, it’s extremely well done. But I thought I’d do a simple visual comparison of how the resolution stacks up, compared with a selection of common devices that are known for their impressive resolution.

The takeaway is that 4K does seem like an alternative to shooting stills when you want to be sure you’re capturing everything. Sacrificing about half the pixel count of a 5D Mark II is a small price to pay for making sure you get the shot. Available for a paltry $11,999 at B&H.

Tip of the hat to Canon Rumors.

December 19, 2012

Downloading Dropbox – The FTP Killer?

We all know about the invaluable Dropbox, but I recently found out that you could download and run your own instance of Dropbox on any computer.

I haven’t tried it out yet, but in essence I could install it on a web server and sync it with a local folder on my computer, eliminating the need for me to use FTP while making websites.

It doesn’t have as much “geek cred” as running a shell script, deploying to a GIT repository and getting to say things like “deploy it to the production server!” But we can’t all be the geeks we want to be, sometimes we’re just the geeks we are.

December 14, 2012

The Modern Seinfeld Generator

If you haven’t already, you should check out the Seinfeld Today twitter feed. It’s amazingly well done. So as homage, I whipped out my PHPness and created a little web app that randomly generates a plot every time you refresh the page. Check it out and enjoy!

http://www.thecleverest.com/modern-seinfeld-generator

December 6, 2012

Dave Hill’s Erotic Short Stories

Comedian / musician / author Dave Hill has been tweeting some erotic short stories. They’re pretty gross, which means they’re pretty great.