Who’s that doggy in the WordPress 3.4 Welcome Screen?

Users that have recently upgraded to the latest version of WordPress see a welcome screen that details some of the improvements and new features in the latest release:

Starring alongside Live Theme Previews, Custom Headers and Better Captions is a very good looking golden retriever… who just happens to be our very own Darcy.

We adopted Darcy from Pets Lifeline in Sonoma County, CA when she was a little over a year old (she’s now three). She had been a puppy with a family that had kept her in a back yard and never let her see other dogs. Thankfully they eventually realised that they couldn’t keep her like that forever and we were lucky to be looking to adopt a dog at the same time.

Pete and Evan with Darcy and Stella on Blithedale Summit

Evan and Chelsea are particularly frequent visitors. The picture above (and the one on the welcome screen taken in the back of a car) is from early February, when they brought Stella for a hike with me and Darcy on Blithedale Summit and Chelsea (as always) had her camera at the ready.

Chelsea’s been looking after Darcy for the last couple of weeks while I’ve been in Europe and has some fabulous new pictures of her:


Thanks to her new internet stardom (WordPress 3.4 has already been downloaded nearly 2 million times), Darcy has a whole load of new fans now, and has been (unknowingly) receiving appreciation from lots of strangers:

And I loved the caption added to the car picture in this post. It seems some people figured Darcy out straight away!

If you want to keep up with Darcy’s antics, then you should probably follow the (misleadingly named) Daily Darcy.

Doyle Drive Demolition

Thanks to a flat tire, I found myself on the bus from Mill Valley to San Francisco yesterday (usually I take the ferry or bike all the way). It was the first time that I’d traveled over the Golden Gate Bridge since the demolition of the old Doyle Drive that connects the bridge to the Marina (and on to downtown San Francisco).

The project has a pretty cool interactive map on which you can see the work they’re doing, as well as archived webcams (click through a few days over last weekend during the demolition).

In the photo gallery I found this picture. The tunnel (bottom left) is new, but before it could be used (and accessible) they needed to remove the elevated roadway just above it. That all happened in just one weekend. There’s a lot of rubble there now!

How openness can prevail (or why WordPress has grown to what it is)

From this May 2012’s Wired magazine piece How to spot the future

Bank on openness: […] the best example may be nearly invisible, even to a dedicated user of the Internet: blogging platforms. Less than a decade ago there were a multitude of services competing for the emerging legion of bloggers: Movable Type, TypePad, Blogger, WordPress. Today, only the last two remain relevant, and of these, the small, scrappy WordPress is the champ. WordPress prevailed for several reasons. For one, it was free and fantastically easy to install, allowing an aspiring blogger (or blogging company) to get off the ground in hours. Users who wanted a more robust design or additional features could turn to a community of fellow users who had created tools to meet their own needs. And that community didn’t just use WordPress—many made money on it by selling their designs and plug-ins. Their investment of time and resources emboldened others, and soon the WordPress community was stronger than any top-down business model forged inside the walls of their competition.

Google Drive: the leapfrog

We’ve gone to great lengths to build it around an online application experience. We want this to be about creating and collaborating — and your data is there for you. I think others have taken a file/data approach, and saying you have [access to] that everywhere. It’s nuanced, but I think it’s very different.

Google SVP Sundar Pichai explaining to AllThingsD why Google Drive isn’t competing with Dropbox.

This reminded me of something I read recently (that I now can’t find anywhere, so maybe I’m making it up) about the concept of product development and Leapfrogging. Google hasn’t just launched a me-too product, but taken consumer/SMB cloud storage a step beyond the existing providers, providing an integrated data and collaboration platform. Sure, lookout Dropbox and Box.net, but I think also, lookout Singly.

On a separate note, when was the last time that Google launched something with partners in place?


Team leads are different….

Team leads are different. Your job, should you accept it, is to become what I’ve lovingly dubbed Shit Umbrella. Your goal is to find all of the peripheral stuff involved in getting the product out the door—important stuff, such as making sure the delivery schedule for the new servers makes sense for when you want to ship the product that needs them, or taking customer calls at 11 PM on a Sunday because their account quit working and they want to know why they should keep paying you, or figuring out when doing features the sales and support teams want makes financial sense—and then coming back and presenting a focused direction to all the developers so that they can get the features written without worrying about how they actually ship.

Benjamin Pollack writing about his experiences of being promoted to a team lead. It’s one of the best first-hand accounts that I’ve read of what it means to lead product and engineering teams.

I’ve seen this happen in software companies, but elsewhere too. It was one of the major reasons for my leaving the BBC: I loved being a journalist, I didn’t even slightly envy the people in the jobs above me; they were great journalists being asked to be great managers, and that’s hard — especially without support and training.


Fred Wilson on the Startup Curve

It turns out, like most success stories, the answer was simplifying the service. Taking features out. Reducing the value proposition to a clear and simple use case. This was not done in a vacuum. This was done by releasing a less than perfect product to the market, finding a few customers who wanted a less than perfect product, and then listening carefully to those customers to get to the ideal product.

Fred Wilson on how a portfolio company found the Promised Land of Paul Graham’s startup curve.

A clinical (and somewhat devastating) unpicking of the predictable “Apple’s on the slide without Steve” claptrap.

Matt Miklic

Jolie O’Dell at VentureBeat: Apple’s press conference showed a brand unraveling

While today’s Apple event unveiled a couple new improvements to an expected lineup of products, it also revealed a certain sloppiness that was absent from former, Steve Jobs-led launches.

[…] I think today’s Apple event shows that perfectionism fraying a bit around the edges. The bad pun, the goofy logo, the weird product name — all of it pointed to a leadership that either didn’t understand or didn’t care about consistency in iconography.

Obviously O’Dell is right — Tim Cook is failing to hold Apple to the high standards that Steve Jobs set for the company. Steve Jobs’s Apple never would have used an ambiguous product name like “The new iPad.”

Steve Jobs’s Apple never would have used a silly pun to announce a major new product.

And there’s no way Steve Jobs’s Apple ever would have used some

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