John Siracusa

Siracusa Says

A fun collection of things John Siracusa has said on podcasts

The Finder Was My House

Well before the internet, John lived inside his computer, and the Finder was his house.

Podcast: Upgrade
Episode: #496: 40th Anniversary of the Mac Draft

John: Back before the internet, I would spend hours and hours and hours and hours, kind of like John’s parents feared he would, sitting in front of my computer. And this computer was not connected to any network. I had no way to get new software onto it. It was just a computer in my house, no modem, no internet, no BBS, no America Online, nothing. It was just me and that computer.

And in that little world, it was just like playing with a tiny, you know, electrical dollhouse. I was rearranging everything. I was setting things up the way I wanted. I would launch applications. I would use ResEdit to manipulate them. It was like being in a garage with your car and your tools. And there’s nothing else there. Like once or twice a year, I’d go to my grandfather’s house and get a new floppy disk from the Mac user group. And I’d have some new software.

But for the rest of the amount of time, I try to talk to my kids about this. I would use a computer for hours with no access to the internet and no new software. And like, what were you doing? And a lot of what I was doing was spending time in the Finder, you know, manipulating things, launching new things, moving things around. You know, I’d go into applications and I’d go back to the file. I should still put up on my old computers. I had everything so arranged. All the windows were arranged the way they were supposed to be at custom icons and everything.

It’s just it was beautiful. It was a lovely place to live. Well before we all like lived on the internet, I lived inside my computer and the Finder was my house.


A Toddler's Innate Sense of Justice

It's rude for people to try to make another phone that works like the iPhone

Podcast: The Talk Show
Episode: 391: ‘ERROR -37’, with John Siracusa

John: Yes, he was not shy about saying when we make something, it’s almost, here’s the thing. I think in his mind, it’s rude for people to try to make another phone that works like the iPhone. It’s just not quite, it’s rude. Like, no, you shouldn’t do that. And once you do that, you’re downgraded his book as bad manners, right? And it’s just a very naive view of the world. But he just really like this, we deserve this. He would be very gung-ho and he loves the patents.

And it was like, we came up with this idea. It’s ours. No one can copy it. And the sad fact is they totally can copy it and they can find a way to copy it without technically violating your patents. And if you try to fight them out, it’ll just burn up time and money. And it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Like the look and feel lawsuit that no one remembers anymore. It’s just, it’s a, it’s a tar pit for everybody involved. But his sense of justice is once I’ve done something and I do the good one, no one should have the nerve to copy us. And that’s not way the market works, nor should it be.

Gruber: It is some sort of innate sense of justice that I think is at least in jobs was misguided.

John: Yeah. It’s like a toddler’s innate sense of justice. Little kids have the same sense of justice that is just, they think things should be the way they are and it’s not really a real sense of justice.


The Substitute

Substitute teacher John Siracusa is here, so it's time to watch a movie

Podcast: Upgrade
Episode: 490: The Cat Has a Team of Lawyers

Jason: As a guest, it is John Siracusa. Hi, John.

John: I’m like a substitute teacher.

Jason: A little bit.

John: I’m not your normal Mike Hurley. I’m a substitute today, so we’ll probably just watch a movie.


The cat has a team of lawyers

Apple can play tech cat and mouse forever, but they have an easier game called send in a bunch of lawyers

Podcast: Upgrade
Episode: 490: The Cat Has a Team of Lawyers

Jason: In our chat room just sent a link saying that Beeper Mini now works again, but only if you’ve got an email-based existing Apple ID Not the phone number registration.

So they’ve taken that part out of the equation and they’re like, no just use your real Apple ID and So, okay, cat. I guess it’s back in your corner, mouse.

John: Oh, yeah But the cat has another thing the cat has a team of lawyers and like I said on ATP Apple can play the tech cat and mouse game forever and they will win it. But they also have another game that is much easier and faster to in which is hey, you’re not legally allowed to connect to our servers and use our service if you’re not an Apple device.

So especially since people trying to make money off of this, it’s probably pretty easy to send a bunch of lawyers and say yeah.

You know because there’s got to be something in the terms of service that you agree to when you get an Apple ID that says you’re only allowed to use Apple services Apple device like that’s in the legalese somewhere, I’m sure, so they can just lawyer the way out of this as well.

So there are many avenues to shutting down this business. The idea that the company thinks that they’re gonna be charging their customers two dollars a Month and build a burgeoning business and Apple’s just gonna look the other way just seems highly unlikely.


I will fight you every second of the way

I know you think you want to watch the next episode of the show, but there is no way I am going to show that to you.

Podcast: Accidental Tech Podcast
Episode: 523: I Can’t Give Him the Carrot Fast Enough

Casey: Just yesterday I sat down to watch the first episode of Ted Lasso to prepare myself for the new season. I think I’m a day behind already, but this is the time that if you watch one a day you’ll be roughly synced up by the time the new season starts. And for the life of me, the information architecture on the Apple TV app is the biggest pile of garbage. It is so bad. Maybe it’s just my brain doesn’t work the way that those designers do.

John: Just give up and search, because if you have a goal in mind, that UI will fight you every second of the way. Their whole point is that they don’t want you to have a goal. They want to say, don’t you try to watch something, let us tell you what to watch. But what if I already know what I want to watch? It’s like, no, sorry, that’s wrong user. You should not know what you want to watch. I know you think you want to watch the next episode of the show you’ve been watching. For the past 30 days, all you’ve been doing every night is watching the show. You probably want to watch the next episode, but there’s no way in hell I’m going to show that to you. Try and find it.


Sell More Macs

Tim doesn't want to hear it, but the answer is sell more Macs.

Podcast: Accidental Tech Podcast
Episode: 559: The Tall Lettuce

John: The Mac is a great product. We love it. They don’t sell as many of those as they do iPhones they don’t even sell as many of those as the world does Windows PCs and So the thing Apple see always seems to be proud of is the quality of their product But I feel like I should say we deserve part of your money because we sold 17 billion iPhones That like we did that and that makes you able to make money on our platform Why not because the phone is great, but we sold a billion of it’s like one degree like they they’re so focused on We’ve done such a good job on our products. That’s why we deserve this one.

I wish they were focused more on how can we sell more of these and if you wanted to sell more Macs for example You’d cut your margins you’d make a low-cost macbook that we keep talking about that Well, maybe you’ll actually be really like there are different ways to sell more Macs.

And I love the fact that they made the max better and they’re great and they’re awesome. That should help them sell more But if you ever really want to move the needle on Mac gaming, you shouldn’t be like people should be coming big games on our Platform maybe we just need to make the technology better.

No, Apple, you need to sell more Macs That’s how you do it. Sell more Macs. I know Tim Cook doesn’t need to hear that


I did fix one incorrectly curled apostrophe

John's fixing the world, one incorrectly curled apostrophe at a time.

Podcast: Accidental Tech Podcast
Episode: 556: Apple Chips Are People

Casey: John, while you’re taking over the CMS, can you make it so that the button that does new episode automatically disables it as soon as it’s tapped, checked, clicked, whatever?

John: So you know the story of the cobbler’s children don’t have shoes. I will do things for the end user, but for us I’ll just say be careful when clicking, Casey.

Casey: Fine. Fine.

Marco: Oh man, John, you should be able to do like a, like, you know, conflict save detection.

John: Yeah, let’s not get crazy here.

Marco: Maybe you could do a whole Google Docs, like, you know, live editing thing. Just re-implement Subetha edit all, you know. How hard could it be?

Casey: Small matter of programming.

John: Just, yeah, well. I did fix one incorrectly curled apostrophe, so I’m really doing the important work.


Do you agree to maintain smithfamily.com?

Domains are easy, unless you're everyone other than you.

Podcast: Accidental Tech Podcast
Episode: 549: Unathorized Trash Can

John: And what if they don’t want to deal with domains? You’d be like, oh, it’s easy. Dealing with domains is easy. It’s really easy to control. And fast mail setup is really like, you say that because you’re listening to ATP. But your kid may not want to have anything to do with computers.

So you can’t actually, you know, oh, I’m just going to have a family domain because there’s like, there’s no continuity plan. Unless you have like a chain of younger relations who agree to continue to maintain smithfamily.com in perpetuity, don’t give your kids email addresses on that, don’t make them use it.


Millions of Person-Hours Wasted

USB-C has a long life ahead of it, just like USB-A, which has wasted millions of person-hours and devastated billions of lives.

Podcast: Accidental Tech Podcast
Episode: 553: Cut the Bridges to the Mainland

John: There are actually rumors that like, I think Apple has some patents on this, but Apple patents everything they ever think of, like every company, like magnetic connectors. That’s what Marco was kind of looking at. It’s not like MagSafe, but for data, right? So you wouldn’t actually have to have a hole in the device to stick a plug into, just magnetically connect to it. There’s all sorts of problems with that or whatever.

But anyway, I think there will be a successor design, but this USB-C design I think has just as much legs as USB-A. USB-A is like one of the worst connectors of our entire lives because of the external symmetry and internal asymmetry just frustrating just millions of person hours wasted putting the plug in twice or whatever.


Herds of Roombas

Do Roombas come in herds or litters? Or nothing at all?

Podcast: Robot or Not?
Episode: 242: A Group of Robots

John: animals any animal that’s solitary we don’t have i don’t think we have a collective noun for. I mean i suppose maybe if you have like snakes where they have like a a litter of snakes if a whole bunch are born at once or something like that but yeah it doesn’t apply to roombas because they don’t they don’t form groups so there is no collective noun they’re just robots. Or roomba. Or vacuums.