Category Archives: Best of Turdhead

AutoStacks Redux: Making Leopard work another way…

Several people have been asking for a slightly modified version of AutoStacks since we released the little utility this month, so I figured I’d revisit the tool today.

In its original incarnation, AutoStacks moved selected files to a new folder and created a new Leopard “Stack” by adding the folder to the right-hand side of the dock. This is the way I expected Apple’s Stacks functionality to work out-of-the-box, but apparently, others have their own ideas as to how Stacks should act: In particular, many people seem to want their Stacks to contain aliases to existing files, rather than the files themselves.

Not to begrudge these people, I’ve made some changes to AutoStacks that should appease both camps: Starting with version 0.2, AutoStacks will now prompt the user upon first use as to which way they would like to have it behave from then on (move the files, or create aliases to them).

After the first use, it will assume you always want it to behave the same way, and it will refrain from asking again until you decide it’s time for a change; On the off chance you change your mind, you can always double-click the AutoStacks application icon (i.e., launch it without dragging files to it), and it will be happy to ask you again.

Oh! And I almost forgot… Thanks to the the original creator of a nice set of overlay icons and information provided by these fine folks, I’ve also added an extra icon to each new AutoStack to help restore some order to your AutoStacked dock. Hope you enjoy the extra touch!

Continue reading

Holy $#*!, they’re playing it??

Imitation of Carl
A German-speaking Web show host imitates Carl from’s “Guess Which Hand” game in this video roundup of Web anomalies today. Thanks, although we have no idea what you’re saying.

You never know how people are going to respond to things you post on the internet. Last week, I was running behind and fretting about what to do for a February Flash game (I’m bound by the Law of New Years to post at least one each month), and I jokingly told one of my coworkers, “At this rate, ‘Find the Fish’ or ‘Guess which hand?’ is starting to sound good enough.” Fast forward a few days, and suddenly “Guess Which Hand?” (admittedly, still a dumb idea) was a reality. It took about six hours to complete start-to-finish.

So I posted “Guess Which Hand” featuring “Carl the Bus Stop Guy” just before midnight on Feb. 28 and faded off to sleep, ashamed but satisfied that I’d made my deadline. I didn’t bother announcing it or notifying any of the usual weblog aggregators of its existence.

The next morning, Carl had set a record for “least visited post on Turdhead… ever.” In fact, only 18 people had bothered to come check out Carl’s lonely game during the night. So I felt bad for him, and dropped a note on announcing his arrival.

A day later, the logs looked healthier, but lackluster — as could be expected, Carl was getting about 1/2 the traffic January’s game, Cosmic Bounce, had seen from a similar link. And perhaps also as expected, the reviews on MilkandCookies ranged from “Total crap” to “Whatever.”

But then something happened. Something amazing. Something that forced me to buy more bandwidth access and question my very existence.
Continue reading

Why Flash still beats everything else on the Web (or “How I spent my weekend on the Web”)

It’s been a while since I dabbled in developing Web interfaces using anything but Flash, and now I remember why: Everything else just sucks.

Having recently redesigned’s look and feel, I have renewed my love affair with Flash: Web designs that look just like I intended no matter what browser the user chooses to use.

Ever since Sun showed off its Hot Java browser as a multimedia alternative to the popular NCSA Mosaic in the 1990s, there’s been no such thing as a true HTML Web standard — at least not in the sense that there is one thing you can do that any browser should be able to render consistently as you intended.

You can talk about such imaginary standards all day long, and the W3 Consortium can pretend they actually exist, but after 12 years of waiting for them to show up, I’m fairly convinced that no two browsers will ever render the same markup code — whether its HTML, XHTML, CSS or LMNOP — in the same way.

Sure, you can code your way around these “standards” by picking a few you like and writing bloated code that identifies, second-guesses and coerces each browser and shows it one of 18 different layouts depending on what User Agent the browser sends the server (assuming, of course, the browser does such a thing; one must never assume it actually will, though). But why???

Screw markup languages, their standards bodies and the vendors that choose to ignore them. Screw their limitations and screw their promises.

I’m going back to Flash. A few people may not be able to see it at all, but those who do will see exactly what I want ’em to see. And screw the rest.

Yes, it’s another rant, and one that’s been often repeated over the years. I’m tired, fed up and ticked off. I’d usually blame Microsoft and Internet Explorer, but who’s to say their fake standards are any worse than anyone else’s? (OK, I will, but regardless…) Dammit, I like Flash.

TiVo: THIS is the best product out there???

I’m too angry to write anything approaching coherence right now, so I’ll fill in the details later. For now, I’ll just post a quick opinion piece in case you, too, are planning to give a TiVo unit for Christmas this year: I absolutely hate this f!$%^ing thing.

More to the point, I’m having a hard time recalling a more disappointing and frustrating experience with any product to date. A hell of a lot of promise, but only with the right secret combination (or, of course, a POTS line, which I was prepared to expect for the initial setup, but was not willing to have installed for everyday use).

Thanks to everyone who responded to my recent questions concerning TiVo vs. ReplayTV, but for ReplayTV’s sake, I sure hope many of you were wrong: I unpacked my new TiVo three days ago, and so far it’s seemed the worst implementation of a great idea I’ve ever seen (And that includes Microsoft’s Plug-and-Pray and Verizon’s Bluetooth plan!).

Or rather, it’s the worst implementation of an idea I have yet to see.

Long story short: I don’t have the time to hang out at yard sales and swap meets comparing serial numbers on used USB adapters just to find all the obsolete, out-of-production networking components one needs to actually make this damned thing work. Why a land line? No Vonage? And why will the Linksys WUSB11 Versions 1 & 2 work, but not the available Linksys adapter, version 4? (And for the record, 3 is iffy!) And why the Belkin 6050 but not the 7050? And the D-link 122, but not the D-link G122? Just how “universal” is your Universal Serial Bus, TiVo?

And has anybody at the company ever heard of a frickin’ RJ45 jack? I understand some people use ’em for networking these days.

Oh well, the TiVo’s back in the box for now, and I’ll be calling TiVo service for an RMA as soon as I calm down enough not to scream at them.

OK, if this is the good one, I sure as hell won’t bother with the competition. I’m off to return a half dozen useless wireless USB adapters now (wrong fourth digit in the serial numbers, I guess). Looks like I should pick up a few more VHS tapes while I’m at it.


How ’bout that? Looks like I had time to go into the details, after all. Not like I’m watching recorded TV shows or anything. (And yes, I realize I was just griping here. That’s the advantage of having one’s own site. And it’s called “;” whattaya want for nothing?

For a followup to this article, see this entry.