# Catch up

Because this has never been a link blog, I’ve never felt the need to comment on what everyone is buzzing about. A good thing, too, because I’m both a slow writer and otherwise employed; I’d never be able to keep up. Consider this an agglomeration of thoughts over the past few days (or weeks) that haven’t gelled into posts of their own.

Today saw the launch of a new site by Shawn Blanc, The Sweet Setup. It’s sort of like The Wirecutter or The Sweethome, but with with the focus on iOS and Mac software, mostly iOS. The site’s started with a bang. Shawn’s been collecting review articles for a couple of months on the sort of staples everyone should have—Twitter client, weather app, journaling app, podcatcher1 (no RSS reader yet, I noticed)—and promises to grow with new reviews and other tips and hints. My article on calculator apps ends with the recommendation you’d expect if you’ve been visiting here for any length of time, but you should check out the other articles. Even if you think you know why an app is being recommended, you’ll probably find a nugget or two of new information to help you either make a decision on what to buy or use an app more effectively.

Speaking of The Sweethome, last month they published a massive update to their post on big ice cubes, summarizing a series of tests which were, to some extent at least, a response to my rather snarky and dismissive discussion of their original post. They make a good case for big ice cubes, but I did notice a few things:

• In their time/dilution graph, they choose a water/whiskey ratio of 1.00 as their cutoff for a tasty drink despite an earlier comment that a ratio of 0.50 would taste watered down. This matters because a lower ratio would mean that both large and normal cubes would be watered down in fairly short order and the difference between the two would be only a couple of minutes instead of five.
• They put error bars in the dilution chart, but not in their time/temperature chart. This leaves the impression that only one temperature test was run for each type of cube, which I doubt. There’s nothing wrong with giving averages, but there’s something to be said for consistency of presentation.
• As someone who’s not a whiskey drinker, I was surprised to see that people worried about dilution would add 3 ounces of ice to 2 ounces of whiskey. Is this normal? That much ice certainly isn’t necessary. But if that’s what people do, then I concede that bigger is better.

When I saw that David Sparks’s new book was about email, I figured I’d be able to take a pass without missing much. I have, after all, been using email for a long time and am a veteran of procmail filters, fetchmail recipes, and mutt. But I don’t use those tools anymore and haven’t for almost a decade. And when I looked through the table of contents, I saw that David was addressing my problems with applications and plugins I hadn’t seen before. So Email is now on my reading list.

But it’s not at the top of my list. That spot’s reserved for Paperless, David’s first ibook. I’ve fallen off the paperless wagon and need a refresher, so I dug up my PDF of Paperless. I realized, though, that I no longer have to trudge through a PDF2; with Mavericks came iBooks, and I can now read the book the way it was meant to be read. I bought a new copy in its native format and will be starting it this weekend.

Finally, Daniel Jalkut wrote a post today about the value of stability in software, a topic I have some interest in. He was responding to a recent article by Michael Lopp, but you don’t have to read Lopp3 to appreciate what Daniel’s saying. We are all, at one time or another, too quick to latch onto new apps just because they’re new.

1. I’m going to keep using that term until it comes back in fashion again.

2. Like an animal.

3. Personally, I make it a habit not to read Michael Lopp or Paul Graham or Clay Shirky. I’m sure I’m missing out on a lot of profundity.