Boosh. Called It.

Simpsons creator explains Springfield reference:

Simpsons creator Matt Groening revealed to Smithsonian magazine which Springfield the Simpsons’ Springfield is named after.

(Via The Loop)

It was Springfield Oregon all along. Suck it every other state. Another interesting fact is that pretty much everything you know from The Simpsons is named after something in Portland — Matt Groening grew up here with his father Homer, mother Margaret, and sisters Lisa and Maggie.

Just Bought QuickCursor

A bit behind the curve on this, but just bought a copy of QuickCursor, and I don’t know why I waited so long. What it does is let you set up global key commands for your favorite text editors on your Mac, send whatever’s in the current text field to them, and then when you close the document window the original text is replaced with your edited version. It’s awesome if you want to avoid having to type into a text box on a web page, or find yourself switching between text editors frequently.

A Ride in the Rain

Just went on an extended ride through the east side of Portland in the rain, on the bike I received yesterday. The combination of weather, and my old bike being slightly out of commission for a few weeks means I haven’t ridden as many places I was before. Winter can sort of make you forget how great going outside and doing something — even a little — physical makes you feel. Your body feels better, and your brain works better.

Anyone serious about development should be serious about how they treat their body. Both with what they eat, and what they do.

Rainy Bike Ride

Investing in Customer Service

There’s good article in The New Yorker this week about how Uniqlo and other companies have become more financially successful by investing in staff in numbers, training and compensation, and how other companies have failed or faltered by doing the opposite.

I’ve shopped at Uniqlo before and it’s about as close to an Apple Store experience as you’re going to find from a non-luxury clothing retailer. And although their not mentioned, clearly Apple is another company which has taken this to heart.

One who hasn’t is Home Depot. I was in one of their stores last week, and this quote from the article is a perfect description of the experience:

When Bob Nardelli took over Home Depot, in 2000, he reduced the number of salespeople on the floor and turned many full-time jobs into part-time ones. In the process, he turned Home Depot stores into cavernous wastelands, with customers wandering around dejectedly trying to find an aproned employee, only to discover that he had no useful advice to offer.

I think that anytime a company can invest in improving their customers experience, it’s going to pay off whether it’s by having support staff, or hiring more retail employees. It’s sad that the model of making things as hard for customers as they can be to try and cut costs has become something, we’re so accustomed to. Even worse is that it doesn’t even seem to work.

Making Instapaper Folders Useful

I haven’t ever known exactly what to do with folders in Instapaper. But I’m a sucker for systems and organization, so I’ve really tried. In the past I’ve used folders to turn Instapaper into sort of a pseudo-bookmarking service, but not having other organizational features (e.g. tags) makes it a pretty bad choice for that, and I want to use the right tools for the right jobs. I’ve decided that Instapaper works best when I treat it like an inbox I need to clear out — purely as a “… Later” service. The idea is that everything saved to Instapaper should be consumed and then archived, leaving no stale items.

Instead of having folders like “Recipes” and “Development” to store articles indefinitely, my folders are:

  • Read Later
    • News articles and blog posts.
  • Watch Later
    • Videos people send me mostly.
  • Cook Later
    • Recipes I’d like to try soon.
  • Buy Later
    • Things I intend to buy online (apps, Amazon).

What makes this work is a feature in Instapaper that was a bit hidden to me until now. From the Instapaper website you can save a bookmarklet for any folder and have it work just like the “Read Later” bookmarklet. I have one for each of my folders as the first four items in my bookmarks bar, so anything I save off the web can get stored in the right place automatically1. Once I’m finished with an item I archive it, and things I’m pretty sure I’ll want to look at again I send to Pinboard, where they can be organized in greater detail.

  1. Since items that get saved from apps will always go to my “Read Later” folder, I just organize those when I’m in the app.