Neal Sheeran

Rants, Raves, and Geekery

How Well Do We Know Baseball’s Rules? »


A ten-question quiz about the rules of baseball. Sam Fuld, Stanford grad, collaborated with his dad:

“It was humiliating,” he said, with a laugh that suggested he’d get over that humiliation somehow. “I would have done better if I’d closed my eyes and picked randomly. It’s pathetic to think that my three-year-old son could have done better than that.

“If you questioned about a hundred five-year-olds, they’d get five out of 10,” the Rays’ human highlight reel said, dejectedly. “And my dad and I got a three.”

I scored (read: guessed) a 5, beating 8 of 20 players, 3 of 7 sportswriters, and tying 2 of 5 managers.

I’m in the wrong business.

Union Bosses Threaten Hurricane Sandy Cleanup Contractors »


“[He] called and said, ‘Look you have to get us involved,’” recalled the source. “I said, first of all, I don’t have to; second of all, we’ve tried; and third you’ve said you refuse to work for the rates we can pay.”

Then Capobianco said something that the source would never forget.

“He said, ‘I would just hate for anything to happen,’” recalled the source. Capobianco then rattled off a list of the source’s home address, his wife’s name, his kids and their current whereabouts.

Vote Union No.

On the Surveillance Dragnet »


Erik Hess, regarding the various Government responses to the NSA scandal generally falling under the category of “this is not new / totally legal / lot’s-o-checks and balances.”

What doesn’t seem to be clear to our lawmakers is that we know all this, and we’re mad anyway. I’ll note briefly that this is the same government that couldn’t get their act together enough to avoid budget sequestration.

Well said.

Kim Jong-il’s Sushi Chef »


Completely fascinating and breathtaking story of “life” in North Korea, especially the last sentence of this paragraph:

Fujimoto and Jong-yo were given a new apartment in Pyongyang. Soon after the two moved in, a family of six disappeared from their building. Though they lacked a common language, Fujimoto claims he and Jong-yo have always been good at understanding each other. She was the first person to explain the gulags to Fujimoto, telling him “when one person disappears, it is to a re-education farm. He will return someday. When the whole family disappears, it is to a labor camp. None of them will be seen again.”

Last year, the Guardian published a long excerpt from the book Escape from Camp 14, which is unfortunately no longer online. One of the more difficult and maddening things I had read in a long a time.



Excellent mini-documentary about some found World War II footage. Interestingly enough, the footage belonged to the family doctor of my Dad when he was growing up in California.

The Guardian: NSA Collecting Phone Records of Millions of Americans Daily »


John Gruber, commenting about Glenn Greenwald’s breaking of the NSA surveillance story:

Brutal. And especially galling from a president who was a constitutional law scholar.

You can almost hear the disappointment in Gruber’s voice, along with the (now lost) innocent belief that Obama actually cares about the Constitution. How cute. And somewhat sad.

Vapors for Vesper


It’s almost midnight. One last check of the RSS stream reveals two unread items. The first is Dr. Drang:

Here’s a thought experiment: Imagine a new note-taking app written by an unknown developer. It’s has a nice, clean look and is easy to use, but it has no syncing, no TextExpander support, and no URL scheme. Assuming the app got any attention at all, how much effort would Apple bloggers put into defending that design choice? How often would the phrase “data silo” be used?

Of course he is referring to the release of Vesper, a new iPhone note-taking app from John Gruber, Brent Simmons, and Dave Wiskus. And Dr. Drang is completely correct. The reason I know is the second unread item, by David Sparks:

I’m really enjoying Vesper. It does have limitations. There is no synchronization available and, for that matter, no iPad or Mac version of the app to synchronize with. In a recent interview at Macstories, John Gruber explains they wanted to focus all of their attention on the iPhone application first. I suspect we’ll be getting additional versions for the other platforms and syncing in the future. In the meantime, I really love this app and I will find use for it.

Interesting. I have been an avid listener of Mac Power Users for a while. David has said multiple times that if an iOS text editor doesn’t have Text Expander or Markdown 1 support, it’s a non-starter. I like David Sparks, but if Joe Nobody released this app, neither he, nor the plethora of other bloggers falling over themselves to heap praise in spite of the limitations, would give it the time of day.

Update (13 June 13): Kevin Whipps at Appstorm speaks truth to power:

Why would anyone release an app with this kind of use case without a syncing option? Arment chalks it up to balls, but I say it’s stupid. These are three high-profile men with incredible clout and knowledge of the industry. They all must know that sync is important, and even if the feature is coming in the future, there’s no sign that it’s on the horizon (unless they mentioned it in an interview that I haven’t read yet). Saying that they wanted to perfect what they have and then consider sync or alternate platforms is a cop out. And arguably their biggest competition in the notes genre — Simplenote — is free. It doesn’t matter how pretty Vesper is when your content is locked to your device forever.

  1. John Gruber, the creator of Markdown, releases a note-taking app that doesn’t implement Markdown. Go figure.

Union President Chows Down and Snoozes on the Job - »


“He eats lunch when he arrives at work at 2 p.m. Then, like clockwork, he goes to sleep with a cup of soda on the table and the straw in it,” said Marvin Robbins, a union vice president.

“Then he wakes up, looks at his watch and says, ‘I have to get out before the traffic gets bad.’ He’s usually out by 4 p.m. after being at the office two hours.”

Everything wrong with unions in three awesome pictures. Vote Union No.

Stellar Week for the White House


Heckuva week for the White House. I’m sure the document dump in a few hours will be awesome. A few good reads:

Kimberley Strassel in the WSJ: The IRS Scandal Started at the Top. Of course it did.

Stephen Hayes in the Weekly Standard: What About the Video? Yeah, that stupid YouTube video that was, according to the administration, the source of the Benghazi attack.

I feel like I’m forgetting something….right, the Department of Justice digging into AP phone records. I would expect press coverage of the other two to be a bit less conciliatory to the White House now.