Today is my cousin Nate’s birthday.
When we were kids, my aunt and uncle would fly him out to Colorado and we would spend our summers working for my dad, playing video games, and blowing our hard-earned cash on comic books at the local shop.
Years later we were roommates in Kansas City, and in 2005 Nate was the best man in my wedding. He’s a stand up guy worth celebrating.
Happy birthday, Nate. (And sorry for the crappy picture. It’s the only one I could find.)
I mostly use 1Password on my Mac to generate and save passwords and logins for websites. But on my iPhone and iPad it makes for a fantastic way to keep notes and other top-secret info safe and secure. And now that it has free cloud syncing via Dropbox (which works perfectly), 1Password just became that much more useful and vital to me.
With the amount of [shared information](http://shawnblanc.net/2010/06/tasks-and-devices/) I keep between my iPad, iPhone, and Mac, apps which sync via the cloud are becoming a necessity while apps that don’t are quickly becoming so cumbersome to maintain they’re almost useless.
When at coffee shops I order an 8-ounce, double Americano with a little bit of half-and-half steamed in.
I used to just add cream to my Americano at the coffee fix-up bar, but now I ask the barista to steam a little bit of half and half in to the drink instead. (This is not the same as an Americano Misto. An Americano Misto is half water and half milk.)
There are several advantages to getting the half-and-half steamed in:
* It keeps your Americano piping hot (by not pouring in cold creamer).
* It adds flavor (the steamed milk gives a latte-esque flavoring to the drink).
If you prefer lattes or cappuccinos, an Americano is about half the cost, but with the steamed-in creamer it tastes nearly the same.
On occasion the cashier wants to charge me $0.50 extra — calling it a “breve”. Sometimes I think that’s a crock, and I tell them they already offer free half-and-half at the coffee fix-up bar but that you would prefer the barista to steam it in for you so your drink stays nice and hot. And sometimes I realize I’m at a local coffee establishment and every little bit helps them keep the lights on and the coffee hot.
It’s a great drink. You should try it sometime.
A brilliant Safari plugin for people who are in any way involved in the web design process.
Neal Pollack wrote a great piece for Wired Magazine which looks behind the scenes of the start and growth of both Gowalla and Foursquare. I use Gowalla and picked it mostly because I love the look and feel of it over Foursqaure. But I always assumed the two apps were basically the same. And though it’s true that they both have the same foundational usage — go places and get rewards for checking in — the two apps reward and encourage those check-ins quite differently.
A trip I put together on Gowalla featuring some of the premier parks, shops, restaurants, and other locations around my home town of Castle Rock, Colorado. You only have to visit 3 of the 11 spots to complete the trip, as it’s built for someone who wants to spend a few hours visiting the best spots in town and grab a good bite to eat.
Jason Santa Maria:
> I think itâ€™s safe to say the web is not the domain of just the geeks anymore — we all live here. And those of us who work here should have sophisticated, native tools to do our jobs.
It’s a fantastic article by Jason with an overview of the tools used for Web design, along with his pitch for what the “[InDesign for HTML and CSS](http://www.zeldman.com/2010/07/05/an-indesign-for-html-and-css/)” program could look and act like. In short, Web designers are in need of a fluid and interactive canvas to design on, not a static one.
Paul Graham on thinking in the shower:
> I think most people have one top idea in their mind at any given time. That’s the idea their thoughts will drift toward when they’re allowed to drift freely.
Paul’s fantastic essay is all about idea cultivation, which has to happen before there can be any sort of [idea capturing](http://shawnblanc.net/2010/07/shower-ideas/).
> With Tumblr, I don’t need to think about things like scalability or reliability. I don’t need to make sure my caching plugin is up to date and working because they probably pay dudes to make sure their servers stay up. The fact that I get all of this for free was another big mark in Tumblr’s favor.
There are some trade-offs I’m not ready to give up yet, but my list of reasons to stay with WordPress does seem to get a little bit shorter every day.
A nice overview and some good tips from David Chartier. I use iCal every day but rarely use the Web-app version of MobileMe Calendar. I am glad, however, to see that there is finally some collaboration features being built in.
What I’d really like is improved handling of event reminders. Including a way to keep my laptop, iPad, and iPhone from all buzzing an event reminder at the same time if they’re in proximity to one another, as well as syncing the dismissal of on-display reminders.
A great review of Simplenote by Adam Pash on Lifehacker. I don’t do as much long-form writing in Simplenote as Adam does, but it is certainly one of my most-used and most-beloved apps on my iPad, iPhone, and Mac (Notational Velocity).
([Via Minimal Mac](http://minimalmac.com/post/806562867/the-holy-grail-of-ubiquitous-plain-text-capture).)
Every little thing they do is magic.
Phil Coffman prefers AutoStitch [over Pano](http://shawnblanc.net/2010/07/pano/) for taking panoramic photos with his iPhone. AutoStitch has a few more options than Pano does, and it seems better at rendering the final panoramic photo.
But I wouldn’t agree that AutoStitch is all this as well as being *easier* to use than Pano. With Pano you just launch it, follow the in-app instructions as you snap each each photo, and then click done. With AutoStitch you’re use the native camera app for snapping the photos, you then launch AutoStitch to select and import your photos, and after the panoramic is rendered you have the option to crop it.
My first attempt at using AutoStitch turned up a horrendous panoramic. But after a few more tries I was able to get the hang of it. And ultimately, it does produce a better end product. So all that to say I think I prefer AutoStitch now, too. Thanks, Phil!
Pano is my current favorite iPhone camera app (second only to [FatBooth](http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fatbooth/id372268904?mt=8)). It’s a very minimal app that does one thing quite well: help you take multi-shot panoramic images. The UI is so clever anyone can use it. And it’s a lot of fun to take such high-resolution, well-made panoramic shots using your camera phone.
Here are some shots I’ve taken with Pano: pne of [Kauffman Stadium](http://www.flickr.com/photos/shawnblanc/4747466661/) from the nose bleeds, and one of my [then-cluttered office](http://www.flickr.com/photos/shawnblanc/4778180115/). (And sorry, but no example shots of FatBooth pictures will be posted. My wife would kill me.)