Ben Casnocha, a brilliant blogger who I’ve been reading for some time now, posted a list of some of his better posts. Great reading if you’re just discovering his essays.

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Here’s a hilarious yet well-written article that determines Bon Jovi’s faces seen to faces rocked ratio.

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Someone To Watch Over Me

A quick warning: while the first thing on this site states that I don’t warn that spoilers are coming, I’m going to make an exception in this case. So, warning: major Battlestar Galactica spoilers ahead.

If you watched last Friday’s Battlestar Galactica, then you should have recognized the post’s title, the title of the episode. Not only was this the best episode of these final ones, but it ranks in among my favorite in the series. I sat on the edge of my seat pretty much the entire time. The entire concept of the episode was brilliantly executed, but the moment that really sold me (and I’m sure quite a lot of you) was this:

Awesomeness starts at around 1:10, but watch it all anyway. The surprised expression on Tigh’s face when the note hits, the relieved expression on Starbuck’s as the plays the melody and the ferocity with which her father plays the rhythm compared to just before sent shivers down my spine like no other.

If you’re understanding what I am talking about, then you realize the surprisingly important role that All Along The Watchtower plays. Bear McCreary’s brilliant cover closed off the third season with—at least in my opinion—one of the greatest television reveals ever. The instrumentation is awesome, and much like this clip, the third season had fragments of the rhythm and melody, until it all culminated in the finale with the whole song as you frantically try to piece the earlier fragments together to remember whether they gave you any clues about the Final Five.

The song itself has many fitting parallels to the show, but what I loved most was Starbuck’s description of the song as both, “Happy and sad.” It’s exactly what I think of the song! While I’m more partial to Hendrix’s version, here’s McCreary’s version from the soundtrack:

It’s criminal that this show is ending in three more episodes.

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The Home of the Underdogs is no more, sadly. As Baio puts it, thanks for the memories. (via Waxy)

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Bravo, Matt! WordPress 2.7’s automatic upgrade is a one-step process. Hit upgrade and that’s it. I appreciate user-friendliness like that. To those getting errors while trying to do that, it might be because you have an older upgrade plugin enabled. Deactivate it and then try (usual I’m-not-responsible-for-anything applies).

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Japanese Bladesmiths

I’m obviously enamored by awesome stuff like blade-making, and this is a brilliant and insightful look into the lives of a bunch of fellows that make what is pretty much the greatest kitchen knife in the world. Don’t buy it?

Japanese kitchen knives cost more than a camera, they can’t be washed in a machine, are subject to rusting and boy, they are so sharp that if you slip you’ll lose a finger or two before you can say banzai. There is no doubt that these are the best knives in the world. Nothing comes close to them in terms of sharpness. With one of these knives, you could slice fish so thin you could read a whole chapter of La Physiologie du Goût through the slices.

How expensive? Try €400. The forging and grinding processes in particular are intriguing:

Most kitchen knives today are stamped out of large sheets of metal. They are never as sharp as those made in Sakai. Master Ebuchi has been forging knives for the past 40 years, but he still breaks one knife for each three he tries to make. This is delicate work […] Hell, these are not stainless steel knives from Ikea, but a shorter version of a Samurai sword, which still need to be coated with a drop of camelia oil from time to time to prevent any rust at all.

It’s an amazingly insightful look into a tradition I am sure hasn’t changed in decades, if not centuries (in the case of samurai swords).

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Kindle 2

The Kindle 2 is beautiful. I absolutely love the new design. I completely agree with Kottke in that:

Which makes Bezos’ aim pretty clear: Amazon : Apple :: Kindle/amazon.com : iPod/iTunes Store :: Bezos : Jobs.

$359 is a bit steep, and since I have no idea if I am going to be in the United States past May, is almost a waste given that I won’t be able to use the wireless functionality, I am sadly going to pass, but assuming this stands up to a few years worth of use, I’d carry this around everywhere.

Does anyone know if they designed the Kindle 2 to allow charging via USB?

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Here’s a cool, obviously Mac-only tip I just discovered: when in Exposé, hit Tab to cycle through various applications. Quite nifty. (via rory)

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Why do certain websites insist on emailing me my password in the account confirmation/activation email and displaying it in plain-text right in the body of the email? I’m neither interested in being told my password 1-2 minutes right after I create my account, nor am I happy if someone is looking over my shoulder and catches a glimpse of my password.

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Google Breaks Search Referrers

I dismissed the large number of blank search referrers in my site’s logs from Google today as unimportant; I didn’t think much of it. But I stumbled upon this article that explains that Google’s new AJAX search results use anchors instead of query strings—anchors don’t show up in logs (the browser doesn’t send them in the referrer string)!

There’s a few issues here that I feel are worth addressing:

  1. Will Google Analytics sort this problem out for itself? I think so. If so, then I think that this is one of the smartest moves in recent memory from the web giant—if not one of the most unethical. In one fell swoop, Google essentially made every single web analytics package (with the exception of its own) useless.
  2. Obviously someone at Google knows that this is happening—they’re too large and have too many clever employees to be ignorant of this—and they may decide that the backlash of killing off search requests might not be worth it, so there might be some new method for web developers to access the information. I can’t think of what that might be, but why were the changes not rolled out with this new method? Millions of requests were probably lost because the software couldn’t decipher the requests.
  3. While I understand the personal frustration of web analytics software developers, it’s interesting to note that they entered a market where they have to rely on a competitor for survival. It sucks, but it’s business. It’s hard to fault Google for looking out for itself.
  4. I wonder if the people who are siding with Google here would be siding with, say, Microsoft here in the same situation.

I for one am not happy about this because I don’t use Google Analytics. I don’t get nearly enough traffic to care about losing a day’s worth of search referrals1 so if Google pushes a change I’m OK.

As usual, email with thoughts.

  1. I also don’t really care about search referrals too much.

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