The personal website of Chris Coyier

Archive for November, 2012

A Quick and Useless History of Bluegrass

Friday, November 30th, 2012

In the world of country/bluegrass, there was a time when Bill Monroe’s music was new and radical:

Then it started to sound typical. Then bands like The Country Gentlemen came along and, while they pay homage to bluegrass roots, were the new radical:

Bands like the Seldom Scene took it further (they had John Duffey in common):

Today, Seldom Scene kinda just sounds like “traditional bluegrass,” especially if you don’t listen to a lot of this stuff. I’d say the next major stretching of genre was bands like Yonder Mountain String Band who do some pretty out-there stuff but in most of their songs generally still sound like a bluegrass band.

Unless you are specifically trying to replicate it, I’m not sure there is “bluegrass” anymore. Bands like IIIrd Tyme Out are super good but are specifically trying to hang on to a sound of bluegrass from a time gone by.

Trampled by Turtles is similar:

Only time will tell, but I think the “right now” times will be looked at in the future as being defined by bands like the Punch Brothers:

Making Days

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

1) I love that PostSecret is still going. 2) I love stories of making peoples day totally randomly. Like this:

And like this status update from a friend of mine on Facebook:

Community Advice Posters

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

I love Susan O’Malley’s posters.


Sunday, November 25th, 2012

I just heard of this digital magazine for web developer: Appliness. I shared it on Twitter. A lot of people love it. Brad Frost had a thought:

I get his point. I’m a fan of computer reading too. And it seems like if it’s free you might as well put the content as many places as you can. Bring your content to the people!

But who knows.

Maybe the content is designed in such a way that it’s really nice inside the app and it would be kind lame to just plunk it on the web without a bunch of art direction.

Maybe they have a very specific business plan and driving app downloads is a huge part of that.

Maybe there is only so many hours in the day and they haven’t gotten around to delivering on the web yet.

Maybe they have a deal with tablet manufacturers that subsidize the magazine if it’s tablet only.

Maybe they are just plain out making a mistake.

I’m not disagreeing with Brad, I’m just saying 1) It’s hard to know the whole picture as an outsider and 2) don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Sally Bangs

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

I saw Sally bending over
She looked like a four-leaf clover

via Scott


Monday, November 19th, 2012

Not that ya’ll need a reminder that domain registrants do shady garbage, but I dislike this kind of thing:

That domain is going to expire over two years from now. Thanks for the reminder! Cripes.

Cities in 2012

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Cities I was in for at least a day:

Palo Alto, CA (lived)
San Francisco, CA
Madison, WI (four times!)
Milwaukee, WI
Roslyn, WA
Orlando, FL
Atlanta, GA
Austin, TX
Harrisburg, PA
Minneapolis, MN
Vancouver, Canada
London, UK
Warsaw, Poland
Las Vegas, NV (twice)
Elko, NV
Idaho Falls, ID
Helena, MT
Glacier National Park, MT
Rapid City, SD
Pittsburg, PA
Syria, VA
Crivitz, WI
Denver, CO
Guerneville, CA
Monterey, CA (twice)
Dallas, TX
Tallahassee, FL
New York, NY
Baton Rogue, LA
Salt Lake City, UT
Philadelphia, PA
Honolulu, HA

Kind of awesome and kind of ridiculous. I hope to cut that in half next year and get a lot more work done.

The “I Hope They Sign Up And Never Use This” Business Model

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

I signed up for MoviePass. It works like this. You pay a monthly fee of $30 and you can see unlimited movies. No “blackout” dates or anything like that. At my location, movies are $8-$11 dollars, so if I see four movies in a month, I’m saving money. The savings go up the more movies I see. If I see less, I’m losing money. I see quite a few movies, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

How did they get every theater in the country to get on board with this? They didn’t. They send you a Discover card in the mail. You have to go physically “check in” (via a mobile app) at the theater. They say you have to be within 100 yards but I was able to check in from 2.8 miles away. You choose what movie and which showing, then buy your ticket with the Discover card. Works great.

I would think the card is somehow locked to only allow this one particular purchase. I didn’t try to buy popcorn with it or anything. I suspect it might just have a really low limit and time-lock though.

What is strange about this business model is that the people that love your service the most are your worst customers. The people that essentially forget about it are your best customers.

If someone goes and sees 10 movies in a month, MoviePass loses about $70 on that customer. They love MoviePass, but MoviePass doesn’t love them.

If someone has a really busy month and sees zero movies, MoviePass earns $30 from them. If this happens regularly, they might decide to cancel their account, in which:

After the 30 day trial period, the user will be charged a $20 cancellation fee to terminate their account

You also have to send them an email asking to cancel. But hey at least you don’t have to call.

That customer that doesn’t like you very much is your best customer.

Health clubs are the same way. They couldn’t operate if they didn’t have a large base of customers who pay monthly and never show up. If every last customer showed up, they wouldn’t have enough room to fit them in the building.

I don’t think I ever want to run a business like that. I want my best customers to be my best customers.


On November 20, 2012, they updated the cancellation policy:

If you decide to cancel MoviePass within your first month of membership, you will be charged a cancellation fee of the difference between your monthly MoviePass rate and the total dollar amount of the movies you saw. If you’re paying $30 dollars a month for MoviePass and you saw 5 movies at a cost of $10 each, you would pay a $20 cancellation fee. If your subscription fees are more then the cost of the tickets, you will be credited back the difference.

After your first month of membership, there will be a flat cancellation fee that is based on how long you have been a subscriber. The breakdown is as follows:

If account is cancelled within months 2 or 3, cancellation fees are $75
If account is cancelled within months 4, 5 or 6, cancellation fees are $60
If account is cancelled within months 7, 8 or 9, cancellation fees are $40
If account is cancelled within months 10 or 11, cancellation fees are $20

A little complex, but at least it makes sense.

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