Thanks 2.

I have a lot to be thankful for on this holiday in the United States (though I reside in North North Dakota, as my friends in Brooklyn sometimes say). Instead of revealing my most treacly and open reasons for thankfulness, however (which include, importantly, my health, my family, my business, my quick wit, and the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States of America), I thought I would treat you to my latest thank yous to those technological innovations that drive my work, my mind and, perhaps most relevantly, my distractions. These technologies are constructs that I could easily live without, bits followed by bytes that are less necessary than they are needed, and more pervasive than they are pertinent. In any case, or in all cases, they are as follows:

  • NetNewsWire, which I use every few months, but when I do, I thoroughly enjoy it. The strange reality of RSS feeds is that they hover in nothingness, without context or the pretty graphics that make blogs great and relevant to me. But I still love the unification of posts in NetNewsWire and the synchronicity of Newsgator, multiple desktop apps, and the iPhone app. No one has done this integration better than these guys.
  • Backpack (note: affiliate link), which I love to hate and hate to love. I’ve tried other to-do lists, note-taking tools, and online repositories of every variety and I keep coming back to the scrapings of Basecamp, which allows me to semi-organized my semi-life with relative simplicity.
  • Movable Type, in which I have written, composed and re-written and re-composed endlessly boring posts like this one. I still vastly prefer my current installation of the application, stuck in, approximately version 3.5.2 and I likely will not upgrade to 4.0 until it becomes 5.0 and less reliant on pretty-pretty. I know that my blogging friends and neighbors are all moving, en masse, to Expression Engine and WordPress, but I like what I know and I know what I like: MT 3.5.2.
  • Safari, which is a browser par excellence, and continues to beat Firefox, a recently beautified application that is unquestionably faster, cooler, and more relevant to Web designers and developers like me.
  • MobileMe, Apple’s terribly expensive sync tool, allowing me to write once (in iCal, Address Book, and Yojimbo) and find it anywhere and everywhere. While it’s had its hiccups, it continues to be the only way to ensure that I don’t have multiple dates, names and passwords strewn across the desktop landscape of my office and abode.
  • Yojimbo, speaking of this, which humbly holds a ridiculously large number of passwords, bad ideas, good ideas, bad passwords, receipts, boilerplate, serial numbers, and digital detritus that has nowhere else to reside. Yojimbo, horribly named, has grown on me like a new arm.

Obama in town.

Obama, in all of his grace, did one thing very, very well: he personalized the campaign for millions of people. Whether by going to people’s hometown, shaking hands with the elderly, having icons for every ethnicity and state, or modifying his oratorial style to fit his venue, he figured out a way to be many (but not all) things to many (but not all) people. It’s impressive – an almost Zelig-like approach to ensuring continuity in the American experience of his candidacy.
For me, there were two more piquant moments of the campaign that touched me personally: On the right side of my brain, is his appearance at my hometown in Pennsylvania, captured by this highly emotional photo (at The Big Picture blog, the best photojournalism blog around). On the left side of my brain, it was his his ability to maintain total brand consistency throughout, whether on his website, his signage, his t-shirts, or his dress. No organization that I know of has pulled off this type of messaging as well as his design team has, and, as a practitioner, it’s superbly impressive.

Gore on 2.

This is a powerful speech (at O’Reilly’s recent conference) by Al Gore on Web 2.0 and its’ relationship to global climate change. Now that Obama is about to be in office, Gore, rightly, makes a call to action and a call to arms: The U.S. should set “a national goal of getting 100 percent of America’s electricity from renewable and noncarbon sources within 10 years. We can do that.”
And more:


Obama’s win last night is a win for many, many people: the disenfranchised, the displaced, and the voiceless. His message of possibility is confirmed by his very electability and the willingness of Americans to believe in the very best of themselves and their country. I believe our children are the beneficiaries of the result of this election: today, they can look into our eyes and know that anything is possible – a poor, fatherless, minority kid can become President. It’s what we were all taught in grade school and that we are witnessing now. I hope the knives are sheathed long enough to recognize the power of this moment, the magnitude of our endeavors, and the resilience and strength of democracy and its American implementation. Finally, I’m thinking of all of the incredible, thankless work tackled by nameless millions who got out the vote against all odds and asked Americans to ignore the fear and the dirty tricks and elect with their future in mind. I’m incredibly grateful and utterly, utterly thankful for all those who moved history this past year.


I think we’re back.
Yes, we are. Tremendous thanks to Michael Barrish and William Dodson for their problem-solving and technical expertise. And thanks to Tilted for their customer support.
And many thanks to everyone who checked in with me, asked what was up, and otherwise worried for the site’s minor existence.