Techshelf Interview With Me and Jeff LaMarche…

Jeff LaMarche is one of the smartest people I know and my coauthor on a number of books, including our latest, More iPhone 3 Development. Recently, Paul Mayson from Techshelf.com did an interview with Jeff and me. I just love how it turned out. If you are at all a fan of Jeff’s technical virtuosity or of our writing, this will give you a chance to get to know us both a bit.

Here’s the link to the Techshelf interview page.

And here’s a link to the audio file itself, for direct listening pleasure.

Thanks, Paul, and hope you all enjoy listening to this…

– Dave

Who’s Got the Most Followers?

The question came up. Who has the most followers on Twitter. According to Twitterholic, here’s the top 10:

# Name (Screen Name) URL Followers
1. CNN Breaking News (cnnbrk) http://cnn.com/ 781,404
2. Britney Spears (britneyspears) http://www.britneyspears.com 688,797
3. ashton kutcher (aplusk) http://blahgirls.com 665,522
4. Twitter (twitter) http://twitter.com 634,612
5. Barack Obama (BarackObama) http://www.barackobama.com 581,185
6. Jimmy Fallon (jimmyfallon) http://www.latenightwithjimmy… 531,920
7. theellenshow (TheEllenShow) http://www.ellentv.com 514,795
8. THE_REAL_SHAQ (THE_REAL_SHAQ) 512,703
9. The New York Times (nytimes) http://www.nytimes.com/ 490,821
10. Lance Armstrong (lancearmstrong) http://www.livestrong.org 488,486

As you’d expect, the list is celebrity heavy, with Britney Spears the top person on the list. A celebrity gossip site is #12. Not sure what this all means, but I thought you might find it interesting. Thanks to Rune Madsen for the pointer…

– Dave

Tiny Arrows, Tiny URLs…

Big thanks to Matt Drance: This site uses unicode characters to produce the smallest URLs possible.

For example, this is the URL for a story I was reading on the New York Times front page today:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/14/world/asia/14china.html?_r=1&hp

and this is the Tiny Arrow version of the same URL:

http://➡.ws/ከ

The arrow and the square are unicode characters. They look funny, but they work just fine.

For comparison, here’s a TinyURL version of the same URL:

http://tinyurl.com/bzar6a

But Dave, why would I care about any of this? Great question! You care if you use a service like Twitter, which limits you to 140 characters per post. If you wanted to post the Times story, you’d have used most of your character count with the original URL.

You might also care if you are pasting the URL into an email and it wraps around to a second line and no longer works.

Tiny Arrows is the most efficient URL crusher there is.

Thanks, Matt! :)

– Dave

Woz update from Dancing with the Stars…

Woz gave me permission to post his diary updates from the set of Dancing with the Stars. Be sure to watch tonight and vote for Woz.

This update came Saturday around 230p EST. I have a few more in the hopper…

– Dave

I’m living in L.A. at the xxxxx East. The last thing I need is one extra mail but if you send anything, the address is:

xxxxxxxx

I drove down with Julie and we have been skirting all over this part of L.A. and Hollywood on Segways. One of the 3 Segways I brought down stopped working, but that’s very normal for me. We glide on our Segways to any kind of shopping, dining or entertaining you can imagine, all very nearby. The elegant Grove mall is right down the street and we have visited the Apple Store (I even purchased the new Time Capsule there) and restaurants. We glide to the DWTS tailor and to the studio where we practice, which is a few miles away. It’s so wonderful to show up for the exertion of dance practice and training after floating along with the self-generated breeze that you get from a Segway, using your weight and feet like lightweight skiing. One day Julie arrived after about 7 miles and her feet actually were sore.

I like to get started on training and work hard at the start, building up a major sweat, front and back. Usually I’ll start practicing parts of the routines on my own, trying to catch things that my partner has pointed out and get them corrected, before we do it together. After a slight preparation, my partner Karina is usually ready. Karina likes a coffee to start the morning. When they do a Starbucks run they get me a cider, with no caramel, the drink I like. I bring bottles of diet green tea with lemon and also water to drink during practice. I sweat hard and get out of breath and exhausted and have even gulped down almost an entire bottle at one time. As much as I drink, I never have to go to the bathroom, I’m sweating so hard.

Over time, my feet, ankles, shins, knees, thighs, hips, lower back, and shoulders have gotten constantly sore. I never take baths but on the suggestion of Karina I took an Epson salt bath and it helped a lot. I don’t get massages but I have one scheduled soon today, so you know how much I’m hurting.

Back to the practice, after getting ready to start with Karina she might grab me sort of privately just before the camera turns on and say “Steve…we have to have a talk.” At that point she gives me talk about things I’m doing well enough for myself but that need work on to look right for the dance. With the camera rolling, she might also so instruct me, but in less of a parental correction mode, more like a nice teacher. The one approach does shock me (about things I’m doing poorly) and I listen hard and do try hard to correct them and improve them. When I learn how to improve I usually have to skirt Karina aside for a while and just practice it over and over and over, getting it mostly wrong. When I get one thing right I forget to do the other 20 things. but after enough repetition I actually learn things and learn to do them together. I know that my head can’t remember the thousand things we do in a 77 second dance, but my muscles learn it and my head finally forgets.

I am so glad when I actually manage to do the right thing with my hands and not forget what my feet are supposed to do at the same time. I know that I’m not the only dancing celebrity going through this, from the little talk I’ve had with a couple of them, from what I hear from the dancers, producers, and directors, and from what Mark Cuban, a former contestant on this show, shares with me.

I rarely take aspirin, and even then only for the worst headaches. Sometimes I don’t even take it for a headache. But I have wound up on a few occasions so far taking Alleve to reduce my pain, and I have to say that I believe it has been helpful.

In our dancing, there are two aspects, roughly like the trees and the forest. I need to run through the entire dance order to get in my head what comes after what. I can’t tell you how many times I had to stop practice runs just because I got to a point and forgot what thing comes next. Then there’s the work on individual parts. We’ll be dancing through and Karina will be saying, as we dance, things like “stand tall”, “small step”, “lasso”, “meow”, “look at watch”, “head high”, “stand tall” and so forth. She’s done it so many times that now I hear her saying it even when she’s silent and it helps a ton, I can tell you.

My best moments are when I did something more correctly that I had been trying to get down. I can tell when it actually reached my muscle memory and will probably stay more correct from then on.

I was scared at the start but smile a lot now. Our second song, for the Quickstep, is “Oh Boy” by Buddy Holly. Anyone who knows me knows that when I hear music I like my feet start tapping, whether I’m at a concert, in a movie, driving or just standing. I love music this way and my feet want to dance so badly but I never get up to dance because I have no idea how to. Well, that Buddy Holly song is one of those. My head perks up with the biggest smile ever and my feet just start moving as fast as they can and it’s the most fun ever. In our quickstep dancing, my feet are making me dance, rather than vice versa. We cover so much dance floor space so fast that it’s like riding a Segway, and the dance is over too soon for me, rather than seeming so long. I feel like the luckiest person there to be able to dance to that song.

At some point in the near future, possible extended slightly due to some performers dropping out, I’ll have to learn new dances pretty much in 3 days. If I make it to the semifinals I’ll have to learn 2 dances in 3 days. If dancing is your thing, that’s nothing and you can do it in a couple of hours, but for me, this seems so impossible that it’s my biggest fear and worry right now. I hear stories of men refusing to do 2 dances and basically just standing there. I hear stories of men and women coming to tears. I hear stories of planned fake injuries. The only thankful thing is that not many of us have to reach the semifinals.

I’m enjoying this experience right now so much that I’m going to try to go all the way. If enough fans and friends vote for me, we’ll find out what my physical limits are. Keep in mind that at 58 years old, I’m the oldest contender this year. Watch how fast young kids pick up dance and aerobics steps and learn video games and you’ll understand what that means. One of my competitors is a 17-years old Olympic gymnastics gold medalist. I say that the others are all fingers and I’m the thumb, out of place. Of course that is also true for Steve O. of Jackass fame. I feel like an underdog and the main things I have going for me are popularity for having created such a great company, for being an outstanding engineer, for caring about kids, for being a fun and nice guy, and for my general personality. I have a lot of fans in parts of the world that normally don’t show up in the demographics for entertainment like this show, and if they come out of the woodwork and watch me dance, and VOTE FOR ME, then the producers and the industry will recognize this group like never before.

Please, especially close friends, understand that I am very pressured and don’t have time to answer all calls and email. Some of you have tried to call me during practice but we are so busy that I don’t even bring my phones anymore. I am going to try to twitter occasionally, but hopefully I can get info like this on occasion to the related “vote-for-woz” websites that I have heard of but not had time to peruse.

best to all of you in your endeavors,

and may something this shocking never happen to most of you!,

Woz

Safari 4 Beta, in the house…

So far, I am enjoying the Safari 4 beta. Here’s a link to the download page, if you are feeling adventurous. One problem I’ve encountered is the handling of subwindows (panes that open within a web page). Under 3.1, the subwindows work just fine. In beta 4, the subwindow elements are unselectable and the page becomes useless. All I can do is hit the back button or close the window, which is a real pain if I’ve already entered a lot of data on the page.

Sending in bug report now.

– Dave

My RSS feed is up and running…

Stu and I got the RSS feed for my blog up and running. Please subscribe and let me know if you run into any problems. You’ll find the feed on the right hand side, about halfway down. Enter your email address, click Subscribe. You should receive a verification email. Any problems, here’s Stu’s home phone number. Nah, just kidding. Email me: dave@iphonedevbook.com

– Dave