Dear Yahoo!, hire me as your next CEO

News is going around that Yahoo! is looking for a new CEO. I have no idea if this is true or not, but if it is, I would like to announce that I’m ready, willing, and insane enough to go long and go big with Yahoo! as your new CEO. Yahoo! showed glimmers of hope when it bought Flickr and Delicious. It’s been a bastion of some of the most impressive technology of the last 15 years. I believe it can be great again.

Sounds great, how the hell am I going to do it? I’m going to take the $20bn in market cap and build an empire of product and design talent that will be beyond reproach. Then I will give them the support and freedom to do what they do best: innovate.

  1. I’d buy Instagram and put them in charge of both Instagram and Flickr. They would have 100% autonomy over the entire “Yahoo! Photo” division.
  2. I’d buy Soft Facade and run them as an internal design and branding agency for all of our products.
  3. I’d figure out a way to wrestle The Barbarian Group into the fold and put them in charge of all PR and marketing initiatives.
  4. I would buy Twitter and Square in order to bring Jack Dorsey on full-time to run a new division called “Yahoo! Mobile”. He would have 100% autonomy over the entire mobile strategy.
  5. I’d buy Path and With for the sole reason of bringing Dave and his team on to lead the new “Yahoo! Social” division.
  6. I’d buy the NYT (for a mere $1.5bn!) and recruit John Gruber to be Editor in Chief of the “Yahoo! News” division.

Just think of what we could accomplish if we just let amazing people do what they do best.

Pass the lubricant as we're getting fucked by Apple too

Stories of developers being absolutely bent over the barrel and fucked hard aren’t new, but I’ve got no other recourse so I’m throwing Blunder Move‘s story into the ring. What makes our story different? I’m lucky enough to personally know people at the iTunes store. People who actually work at Apple that I drink beers with. I’m guessing most iPhone developers are in a different boat, but it doesn’t matter (just look at the Facebook app, which was featured in an iPhone commercial, taking 10+ days to get approved) that I know people there. At least Apple are equal opportunity ass fuckers.

A couple of months ago we released Chess Wars, which allows you to play your Facebook friends via Facebook Connect on your iPhone. When it was released we found a few show stopping bugs that neither us nor Apple found which kept new users from playing the game. Whoops. We pushed 1.1 a few weeks later only to find that there were problems for other new users. Again none of this was caught by us or Apple. As they say, shit happens. We quickly put together a release and submitted it to Apple about 6 weeks ago.


Finally, after weeks of waiting I did what I’d tried hard to avoid at all cost; I contacted the friends I knew at Apple who told me to email the submitters. Canned response.

So here, like so many other iPhone developers, we sit getting ass raped on 1-star reviews, which will haunt our application forever, and no recourse. None. Nobody at Apple will respond to us. My friends at Apple can’t do anything. I can’t respond to the 1-star reviews.

To our users affected by this, I’m truly sorry. There’s absolutely nothing I can do about your horrible user experience and, as a developer who loves his users, nothing pains me more.

To Apple, please kindly extend the world class customer service I’m so accustomed to as an Apple fanboy to your developers.

UPDATE: A lot of the feedback around this post has centered around us getting what we deserved for shipping buggy code. I should mention we have about 50 beta testers and over 200 unit tests for this specific application so it’s not like we’re not testing. The two bugs were show stoppers for cases we didn’t think to test, but nonetheless affect most of our new users.

Secondly, we did hear back from Apple. They said they were rejecting the application because our in-game chat looked too much like Apple’s SMS application. I’ve asked if we changed our chat bubbles to look like Facebooks if we’d be allowed in. Our contact at Apple is going to be getting back to me soon.

What pisses me off most about this, and what I conveyed to our contact at Apple, was that it took a widely publicized profanity laced blog post to get their attention. I asked, specifically, why it took weeks to get such a simple response of “Hey, change the chat and we’re good.” back. To Apple’s credit they said I deserved an answer to that question and are looking into it.

UPDATE: Just got off the phone with Apple while I was writing this blog post and they told me, no joke, that the chat bubbles are, in fact, trademarked. Furthermore, they suggested I could, among other suggestions make them “less shiny.”

I wonder if they consider Facebook to be infringing on their trademark.

John Deschanel is probably retarded.

Over the recent 4th of July holidays a Wisconsin man’s protest, an upside down flag, was removed from his private property prior to the town’s parade without reason or warrant. There is so much WTF in this story I’m not really sure where to begin, but the most ignorant comment comes from Village President John Deschane.

“If he wants to protest, let him protest but find a different way to do it,” Deschane said.

I have to give him credit for fitting so much ignorance into such a short sentence. First off, the courts have ruled over and over again that the American flag can be desecrated as a form of protest. Second off, you don’t get to choose how people protest your own decisions (as long as they’re doing so legally).

I really hope the ACLU takes a picture of this idiot as he’s writing a fat check to Vito Congine for stealing his property, trespassing and violating his civil rights. MMmmmm … Crow.

Conservatives want a Divorce from Liberals

Today I woke up to an email calling for Conservatives and Liberals to divorce. With this divorce they propose a number of demands about splitting up our mutual assets.

  • Conservatives and Liberals should split the country, by land mass, right down the middle. No method for doing so is outlined in the Conservatives petition.
  • Liberals are to take the liberal judges, the ACLU, the affirmative action crowd, the NAACP, and the National Organization of Women. Liberals are also to take Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid with them.
  • Conservatives want all of the guns, the cops, the NRA, and the military.
  • Liberals are to take Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie O’Donnell. Liberals are, however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move them.
  • Conservatives wish to take capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceuticals, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, and Wall Street.
  • Liberals are to take homeboys, hippies, and illegal aliens.
  • Conservatives wish to take all hockey moms, greedy CEO’s, and rednecks.
  • Conservatives wish to take all of the Bibles.
  • Liberals are to take all copies of Mein Kampf.
  • Conservatives wish to keep Fox News and insist the Liberals have NBC, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and the entirety of Hollywood. As a goodwill gesture Conservatives wish to give Liberals National Public Television as well.
  • Conservatives wish to keep Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
  • Liberals will take Al Franken and Keith Oberman.
  • Conservatives are willing to let the Liberals negotiate peace agreements with Iran and Palestine, but reserve the right to invade and/or “hammer the crap out of” any country that threatens them.
  • Liberals may take the peaceniks and war protestors.
  • Conservatives wish to keep their Judo-Christian values, while the Liberals will take Islam, Scientology, Humanism, and Shirley McClain with them.
  • Conservatives wish to retain all Hummers, SUV’s, pickup trucks, motor homes, oversized luxury cars, power boats, Harley Davidsons, and private airplanes.
  • Liberals will receive rights to all 4-cylinder vehicles, all hybrid technology, mopeds, kayaks and canoes.
  • Conservatives wish that Liberals will give their entire populous healthcare. Conservatives will continue providing privatized healthcare.
  • Conservatives wish to keep “God Bless America” and the National Anthem. Conservatives wish that the Liberals take “Imagine”, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”, “Kumbaya”, and “We Are the World”.
  • Conservatives wish to continue practicing trickle down economics. Liberals are allowed to give trickle up poverty a their best shot.
  • Conservatives wish to keep the US history, name and flag.

Liberals can see merit in the Conservatives’ desire to file for divorce. By and large most of your demands seem perfectly reasonable. Before we can properly file for divorce, we need to flesh out the details of our separation agreement. Below is the Liberals’ counteroffer.

  • Liberals accept, at face value, the idea of splitting the country in half by land mass. We propose splitting the country according to the electoral map from the previous four Presidential elections. Any state that went for a Liberal in 3 or more of the last 4 elections will be the sole custody of Liberals. The following states voted for a liberal in 4 out of 4 of the last Presidential elections: Maine, Washington, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, California, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Illinois, Oregon, and Hawaii. The following states voted for a liberal in 3 out of 4 of the last Presidential elections: New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Iowa.
  • Liberals accept all of the terms outlined for the liberal judges, NAACP, ACLU and NOW. Liberals assume that by accepting the entire NAACP that Conservatives do not wish to have any of the people they represent as well. Liberals wish they be allowed to move to the new Liberal union, if they wish.
  • Liberals concede guns and the NRA. However, Liberals object to all cops and the entire military. Liberals believe police officers are an important part of any civilized union and wish to retain the services of those already employed in our union. Furthermore, Liberals wish to keep all military bases that currently reside within the confines of our union. This includes 31 bases in California alone.
  • Liberals accept all of the Conservatives’ terms with regards to Oprah, Michael Moore, and Rosie O’Donnell. Liberals are more than happy to take a billionaire philanthropist, a man whose first film documented the plight of blue collar men and women working in the auto industry, and a loud mouthed lesbian into the new Liberal union. Furthermore, Liberals accept responsibility for finding comfortable bio-diesel transportation for all three.
  • Liberals object to the idea of taking “capitalism” as capitalism is, in fact, an idea rather than an object that someone can easily negotiate possession of. Liberals conceded all rights to 100% free markets as Liberals believe free markets, driven by corporations’ quest for profits, left unchecked are dangerous to the markets themselves (akin to giving drug addicts unfettered access to drugs). Furthermore, Liberals insist that corporations be dividing according to the new unions’ respective borders. As a goodwill gesture, Liberals will set up a special district, with equal access to both sides, on Wall Street.
  • Liberals accept Conservatives’ demands to take all homeboys and hippies. Furthermore, Liberals wish that illegal aliens be divided along the new unions’ respective borders. Texas seems just as willing as California to accept illegal aliens and, as such, Liberals feel it’s only fair Texas and similar states bear the burden equally.
  • Liberals concede all demands on hockey moms, greedy CEO’s, and rednecks. Liberals are, quite frankly, perplexed as to why Conservatives wish to keep such worthless possessions, but concede them nonetheless.
  • Despite finding Hitler’s actions despicable, Liberals will take all copies of Mein Kampf so that future Liberals don’t repeat history. Liberals believe history is important and should be preserved no matter how horrible that history may be.
  • Liberals accept all demands on the equitable division of news organizations. Furthermore, Liberals wish to keep NPR and Howard Stern, who is an ardent Liberal and benefactor of the ACLU.
  • Liberals concede to the Conservatives both the  drug addict, Rush Limbaugh and college dropout, Sean Hannity. Liberals are more than happy to take Senator Al Franken and Cornell University alum, Keith Olbermann.
  • Liberals accept their right to pursue peace agreements whenever possible and with whomever is receptive. However, Liberals wish for a clear definition of what Conservatives mean by “threaten”. Liberals are worried this may infer to “the stink eye” or “acting gay”.
  • Liberals accept all peacful people, including peaceniks, and peaceful protestors into the new Liberal union.
  • Liberals accept all peaceful religions and peaceful religious people. Liberals naturally assume anyone not wishing for peaceful coexistence will refrain from moving to or living within the Liberal union.
  • Liberals concede rights to SUV’s, Hummers, etc., but reserve the right to create alternative fueled and/or hybrid versions that do not rely on foreign oil at their descretion. Furthermore, until such technology has been brought to mass market, Liberals reserve the right to use these things in good faith for the jobs they were designed. In other words, Liberals will continue to use SUV’s and pickups for organic farming, responsible logging, etc.
  • Liberals accept all of the terms outlined for hybrid technology and fuel efficient vehicles. Liberals believe achieving foreign oil independence is crucial to surviving in the future and, as such, request all solar panels, wind farms, and hydroelectric power plants. Liberals reserve the right to pursue responsible usage of nuclear power as well.
  • Liberals wish to accept all terms on healthcare. Liberals strongly believe in the preamble to The Declaration of the United States of America, which states that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are among our unalienable rights. Liberals believe that neither life nor happiness can be achieved without access to proper healthcare and that, by denying equal access to healthcare, you are, by definition, denying access to peoples’ unalienable rights.
  • Liberals concede the concept of trickle down economics to the Conservatives. It did, after all, work very, very well for Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush (both presided over major Wall Street crashes; 1987, 2001 and 2008 respectively). Liberals, however, wish to pursue any economic policy they wish, which may, or may not, include the policy pursued by Bill Clinton (which resulted in a $127 billion federal surplus).
  • Liberals wish to keep the shared history both Conservatives and Liberal share. It’s not easy to divide that up. That being said, Liberals concede the flag if so desired, but object to Conservatives’ use of “The United States of America”. The name implies an ambiguous network of diverse states working together towards a common goal. The homogeneous Conservative union (filled solely with conservative, Christian, white people) should probably choose a more concise name. Liberals suggest The United States of Jesusland.
  • Furthermore, Liberals wish that the Conservatives break it gently to Mississippi, Louisiana, Alaska, West Virginia, North Dakota, Alabama, Virginia, Kentucky, South Dakota, etc. they they won’t be able to get more money from the federal government than they put in anymore either. Liberals understand that Conservatives are against the redistribution of wealth and, as such, assume this won’t be an issue.

The resulting Liberal union would take 54.16% of the GDP with it, Silicon Valley, New York City, San Francisco, the home of Boeing, most of the good wine, the arts, the movie industry, the auto industry, the entire Ivy League, Stanford, University of Michigan, CalTech, UC Berkeley, JGI (first to map the human genome), Lawrence Livermore Labs, most of Boeing’s manufacturing facilities, the nation’s largest airports, nearly all of the major ports of entry, etc.

The Liberals wish the Conservatives luck. The Liberal union will have the largest GDP for any country in the world, soundly beating The United States of Jesusland by $1.1 trillion.

The Conservatives will need to figure out where to get their movies and TV shows from. Conservatives will also have difficulty finding doctors since a full two thirds of the top medical schools now reside in the Liberal union.

Manufacturing SUV’s and Hummers is difficult when most of the manufacturing plants reside either outside of both of our new unions or reside in states within the Liberal union. Either way, those manufacturing facilities are controlled by companies residing in the Liberal union. Furthermore, most commercial aircraft are now built within the Liberal union and controlled by Boeing, which resides in two Liberal union states.

The Liberal union will also be sure to ship all of our fancy new drugs to The United States of Jesusland as five out of the top five pharmecutical companies reside within the Liberal states.

Actually, now that we think about it, divorce sounds like a splendid idea.

Coding is less science and more craft

My father is a builder, a tinkerer, an architect and an artist. He’s extremely mathematically inclined and thoughtful. He’s also got a lot to do with why I do what I do. Growing up we built, tore apart and fixed more things than I can remember; cars, boats, houses, forts and toys. From an early age it was clear, to me, that my dad loved building stuff with his hands. To this day he’s most at ease working in his shop building furniture out of wood or working on his classic speed boat. And, when he’s done with a piece, you can tell it was built by a consummate craftsman who loves what he does. I like to think that I’ve followed in his footsteps – only I build virtual things with my fingers.

This small story brings me to a recent Twitter thread started by the consummate PHP craftswoman, Sara Golemon, where she ranted (she often rants – with good reason), “Jesus Fucking Christ. Why don’t mother fucking developers go out and buy a mother fucking clue??? Take some GOD DAMNED PRIDE!” My reply to this was, “Sadly, many developers consider coding a “job” rather than a “craft”. There’s a significant difference between the two.” This was quickly followed by Helgi Þormar Þorbjörnsson saying that craftmanship requires knowledge, attention to detail, perfection, etc. My reply to this, and I think this is what my dad really passed on to me, was, “Above all, craftsmanship requires a true love and passion for what you’re creating. You naturally acquire the rest along the way.

My point is that, like it or not, people go into computer programming for lots of reasons; money, interest in computers, high demand in the job market, etc. In other words, and what’s so frustrating to coders like Sara and myself, not everyone who codes is passionate about coding. These are the people who copy and paste code. These are the people who don’t tinker or hack on side projects. These are the people who are afraid to learn or refuse to learn the Next New Thing. So how do you fix people who build their code like an Ikea bookshelf rather than a finely hand crafted M.L. Stump original?

  • Build easy to use, domain specific, concise frameworks for your coders. It doesn’t have to be Django or Ruby on Rails or Cake. Just something that removes their ability to mess up the basics.
  • Create and enforce strict coding and documentation standards. Remove their ability to go rogue and write ugly looking, poorly documented code.
  • Implement code reviews and ensure a true craftsman is in the room when they occur. In other words, shame them into writing decent code.
  • Require unit tests. This reduces the likelihood that their lack of passion will break your code in the future.

As the truly passionate craftsmen and craftswomen of our trade, it’s our duty to ensure our code is well written, well documented, works properly and is fun to both read and write. If you aren’t interested in doing such things I’d appreciate if you found work in another trade so as not to tarnish the craft I love so dearly.

You can't have it both ways

I just had a good friend send me a video that they had posted to Vimeo with the caveat that I not share it elsewhere. A public video. On a video sharing website.

This isn’t the first time such things have happened. I’ve had other friends tweet out “Having beers at Zeitgeist with a bunch of my friends. Come join us!” and then get angry when a person they didn’t “invite” showed up.

An here we are, the insanity of social norms being transformed by social networks before our very eyes. Somehow it’s acceptable to post a public video on a video sharing website, but not kosher for me to post that link in a chat room. It’s okay to post a public invite that’s disseminated to hundreds or thousands of people on a public service, but not okay for someone you don’t like to show up “uninvited”. And this is the inherent bullshit that’s being woven into social networking. You can’t have it both ways. You’ve got to think before you post every detail of your life to the internet. You have to have thick skin. You have to be okay with who you are and what you do as a person.

Because you can’t have it both ways.

The Rick Mathes chain letter

More fan mail from my family and friends who keep sending me stuff that you’d think they wouldn’t forward their liberal, tree hugging, hippy relative who lives in the land of “The Gays” and doesn’t even own a car. Can you imagine? No car?! I mean, he rides a bike to work! The most recent is a letter written by Rick Mathes about his run-in with a Muslim imam at a prison workshop. The letter asserts:

  1. The Muslim religion is the fastest growing religion per capita in the United States, especially amongst minorities.
  2. That Muslims are assured a place in heaven by killing an infidel.

I’m really not even sure where to start, but I’ll give it a shot. So here are a few counterpoints to this letter. Feel free to pass them on to your own friends and family if and when you get this chain letter.

  1. Actually, the fastest growing religious identity in the United States is “none”. In fact, the number of people describing themselves as having no religious identity has doubled since 1990.
  2. The definition of infidel (a term originally coined by Christians to describe Muslims during the Crusades) is “a non-believer”. Most Muslims generally accept that Christians and Jews believe in God, which makes sense when you take into account that Jews, Christians and Muslims all believe in the same God. The major sticking point is exactly who the messiah is; Jews don’t believe he/she has come yet, Christians believe it was Jesus and Muslims believe it was Muhammad. It should also be pointed out that the Old Testament is the Jewish Torah and that Muslims believe both the Torah and Bible to be the gospel of God.
  3. Don’t miss the page, which includes a reversed version of the letter and refutes the claim the minister was talking to an actual imam.

If you're so religous why did you choose that job?

Today the Metropolitan Airports Commission voted 11-0 in favor of penalties for cab drivers who refuse to transport drivers who are carrying alcohol and other legal merchandise that might be against Muslim religion. Now, if we could get the American Pharmaceutical Association to do the same for those religious zealots that refuse to hand out birth control and the day after pill we’ll be all set.

Seriously, if you’re such a religious zealot why on God’s/Allah’s green earth are you performing said job? I know that I, personally, would never take a job that might require me to ignore my own moral compass, so why did you?

What’s next? Jewish waiters refusing to serve me bacon?

Bill of Non-Rights

A family member of mine sent me one of those ultra-patriotic/conservative mail forwards that was, essentially, a “Bill of Non-Rights” that included a bunch of “get off your lazy ass and get a job” language and two things, in particular, I find laughable.

This is an English speaking country. We don’t care where you are from, English is our language. Learn it or go back to wherever you came from!

I submit that this country, from the very beginning, was multi-lingual and multi-national. I know for a fact that my ancestors didn’t speak English when they arrived, rather they spoke German and French. America is not, nor has it ever been an English-only speaking country. In fact, about 28 million Americans over the age of 5 speak Spanish at home. There’s nothing wrong with being bilingual. In fact, that’s pretty cool if you ask me.

You do not have the right to change our country’s history or heritage. This country was founded on the belief in one true God. And yet, you are given the freedom to believe in any religion, any faith, or no faith at all; with no fear of persecution. The phrase IN GOD WE TRUST is part of our heritage and history, and if you are uncomfortable with it, TOUGH!

Where to start? How about with the fact that “In God We Trust” wasn’t added to coins in America until the Civil War. Also, there’s that pesky fact that “One nation … under God” wasn’t added to the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954.

Now, please, let’s stop with the preposterous assertions that we’ve always been an English-only Christian nation. The truth is we’ve always been a multilingual multicolored nation and it’s only getting moreso. California, for instance, became the first state in the union in 2000 to be a minority-majority population (meaning there’s more of “them” than “us” if that’s how you think).

Maybe a better solution is to follow the Bill of Rights as they are, which guarantee the right to speak any language you want and practice any religion you want. And, guess what, it’s actually been like that from the beginning.

God, please kill my daughters

The state of Texas is up in arms about the fact that the governor had the nerve to require that the HPV vaccine be given to all 6th grade girls. The nerve! A vaccine that prevents cancer?! Given to my daughters?! Blasphemy!

Their reasoning? It promotes promiscuity. Please. How about you do what every other self-respecting parent does when faced with an uncomfortable situation with their children: lie. Tell them it’s a vaccine that prevents cancer and leave it at that. How about having a responsible conversation about safe sex instead of pretending that your daughter is different and won’t have premarital sex.

I’ll let you in on a little secret; 9 out of 10 Americans practice premarital sex. That study includes women from the 1940’s as well so you older folks can’t get all holy on us younger people.

My vote is every girl is vaccinated and we cross our fingers that cervical cancer and HPV is abolished in the same manner that polio was for our parents.