Kyle Dreger

Design Principles 

Jeremy Keith has collected an impressive list of design manifestos and principles, regarding both digital and anlogue design, from a number of different companies and notable individuals. I like seeing how others prioritize different aspects of design, but the resonating message seems to be this: design for the users.

Chris Bowler on Mindfulness and Quality 

Chris Bowler:

When we buy stuff, the end result is we have to take care of it. Store it. Clean it. Back it up. The more stuff we have, the more work is involved and the more stressed we can become because of it. This fact is magnified when the stuff we buy is junk.

Exactly. All stuff has a cost, beyond that of its price tag. Invest in quality gear, and it will save you pain in the long run.

Seth Godin on Writing 

Seth Godin:

Our culture celebrates athletes that shape their bodies, and chieftains who build organizations. Lesser known, but more available, is the ability to work on our words until they succeed in transmitting our ideas and causing action.

Here’s the thing: you may not have the resources or the physique or the connections that people who do other sorts of work have. But you do have precisely the same keyboard as everyone else. It’s the most level playing field we’ve got.

I love the keyboard-as-playing-field analogy.

Video of the New Tesla D, Zero to 60 in 3.2 

No shifting of gears, just pure acceleration. Listen to the audio in the video; it sounds like a rocket ship. A $120 thousand rocket ship, anyhow.

I would love to own an electric vehicle one day; I think they’re the future of transportation for this world. And once we increase efficiency, or drastically reduce the cost, of solar technology, then things get really interesting.

If you’re interested in electric vehicles, be sure to check out what the motorcycles are doing in this space.

Empire's Definitive History of The West Wing 

Empire has a great collection of interviews and photographs from The West Wing. I particularly liked this little bit from Martin Sheen, talking about creator Aaron Sorkin:

SHEEN: Aaron’s very sticky about using precise language. It’s in his contract: you have to use what he writes! It was poetry couched in politics, but it was poetry for the common man. It made us feel that our thoughts and our emotions and our hopes and fears could be expressed in a more lofty way and be no less human. He has that extraordinary gift of making ordinary people speak in an extraordinary way.

I think that’s what I like the best about The West Wing: the characters provide an image of high intellect, but one that you felt could be attained. I’ve already watched most of the series, but my wife and I are currently working our way through season three on Netflix. Good stuff.

The Newsprint's Review of Vesper 

I had been meaning to point out Joshua Ginter’s review format for a while now. Weaving real-world images with screenshots of Vesper (screenshots, which are framed in simple, color-aware containers), Mr. Ginter’s review style is one of my favorites.

The Serial Podcast 

A new podcast, from the folks at This American Life:

Their relationship began like a storybook high-school romance: a prom date, love notes, sneaking off to be alone. But unlike other kids at school, they had to keep their dating secret, because their parents disapproved. Both of them, but especially Adnan, were under special pressure at home, and the stress of that spilled over into their relationship. Eventually Hae broke up with Adnan. And then, depending on who you ask, Adnan was either understandably sad and moping around, or full of rage and plotting to kill her.

A single story, told week by week, in podcast form. Brilliant storytelling.

AIs Are Re-Writing History 

Rob Smith:

And I’m sure, at some point in the not to distant future, a jury will be shown a photo that was altered without a single human being involved, without a trace of awareness by the prosecution, defence, judge, accused, or victim. And they’ll all get an impression from that moment that never happened, possibly of a husband’s lack of adequate concern soon after his wife’s mysterious disappearance. It’ll be “Gone Girl” with SkyNet knobs on.

The Adaptive Tab Bar 

Interesting user interface concept from the folks at Ramotion. The longer you use an application, the simpler its interface becomes.

I like the idea, but I really hope designers don’t go wild with this concept. Progressive reduction can be useful, even more efficient, for certain types of applications and certain types of users, but people tend to not do well with change — much less if it happens without their consent [1].


  1. Here’s a small experiment: rearrange the apps on your friend’s homescreen and note their reaction.
Rovio to Lose Some of Its Flock 

Sad news from Re/code, reporting on a story by Reuters:

Finnish mobile games maker Rovio, owner of the Angry Birds brand, plans to cut up to 130 jobs in Finland, or 16 percent of its workforce, saying growth has not been as strong as expected and it needs a simpler structure.

Chromebooks Selling Well in Education 

Mark Hearn, writing for 9to5Google:

During its Atmosphere Live event, Google’s Sundar Pichai announced that the company’s Drive cloud storage platform has over 240 million active users, up 190 from million since June. The Google executive also revealed that Chromebooks are largest selling EDU device in the US approaching a 50 percent share compared to 5 percent 18 months ago.

I don’t doubt that Chromebooks are selling well; they’re cheap and meet the web-based needs of most students. But I’m wondering what counts as a “device.” Is the iPad included here?

Reducing Cognitive Friction 

Shawn Blanc:

Computers are great at doing the boring, automated stuff we don’t like to do. So why not automate common tasks (like performing backups of your computer), pre-make decisions for your computer to carry out on your behalf (such as auto-filing certain email newsletters), and generally just find ways to make yourself more efficient?

I think the biggest reason we don’t do these things is because we don’t care. Seriously. In the moment, it seems easier to just continue suffering through our broken and inefficient workflows that it does to take a step back and consider if there’s a better way.

A smart look at some Mac software and workflows that can save yourself time in the long run.

How to Be Right Most of the Time 

Jason Fried, writing about Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos:

He’s [Bezos'] observed that the smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved. They’re open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking.

Austin Mann Takes the iPhones 6 to Iceland 

Say whatever you will about speed, memory, apps, pixel density, weight, thickness, latency, materials, battery, LTE, NFC, Wi-fi, and cloud integration, but if the camera sucks, then — for me — so does the phone.

The iPhones 6 camera does not suck. Fantastic reviewing by Austin Mann.

The Ikea bookbook 

Ikea, six days before Apple’s September event, released a clever, short video, introducing the Ikea bookbook. From the video description:

At only 8mm thin, and weighing in at less than 400g, the 2015 IKEA Catalogue comes pre-installed with thousands of home furnishing ideas.

Fun, and in good taste.

To be fair, the iPhone 6 and 6+ are thinner than the bookbook; however, not even Apple’s best can beat that bookbook’s battery life and built-in security features.

(Thanks, T. Wolfe)

London Cabbies Don't Need GPS 

Roff Smith, writing for National Geographic, in an excellent feature about a test that all London cabbies have to pass. It’s a long read, but the whole thing is incredibly fascinating:

To qualify for that elusive green badge, you need to learn by heart all 320 sample runs that are listed in the Blue Book, the would-be cabbie’s bible. You will also have to commit to memory the 25,000 streets, roads, avenues, courts, lanes, crescents, places, mews, yards, hills, and alleys that lie within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross.

Add to that the locations of another 20,000 landmarks and points of interest—pubs, clubs, museums, parks, monuments, railway stations, tube stations, hospitals, schools, police stations, government buildings, embassies, cemeteries, churches, guild halls, theaters, cinemas—any place, in other words, a fare-paying passenger might conceivably ask to be taken or an examiner might challenge you to find.

Apple Information Privacy 

Apple:

We publish all request data permitted by law, but we believe our customers deserve to know more about what their governments and law enforcement agencies are requesting. We are actively engaged with the White House, as well as policymakers and government regulators around the world, to allow for more accurate and complete disclosures and reforms to overreaching surveillance laws and practices.

If you use Apple devices, I encourage you to skim through this page; it’s a good idea to understand how your data is being handled.

Also, The West Wing nailed this one.

iPhone Pre-Orders Top 4 Million in 24 Hours 

Apple PR:

Apple today announced a record number of first day pre-orders of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the biggest advancements in iPhone history, with over four million in the first 24 hours. Demand for the new iPhones exceeds the initial pre-order supply and while a significant amount will be delivered to customers beginning on Friday and throughout September, many iPhone pre-orders are scheduled to be delivered in October.

Huge numbers for a product that only received about 15 minutes of the two-hour keynote last week.

Mojosoft

Microsoft has acquired Mojang, the company behind Minecraft: The Mojang team will join Microsoft Studios, which includes the studios behind global blockbuster franchises “Halo,” “Forza,” “Fable” and more. Microsoft’s investments in cloud and mobile technologies will enable “Minecraft” players to benefit from richer and faster worlds, more powerful development tools,...

Lionel Messi's Improbability

If you love football, statistics, and graphs, do I have something for you. Benjamin Morris, writing for FiveThirtyEight, analyzes the astonishing career, and numbers, of Lionel Messi: In other words, if Barca-Messi and Argentina-Messi were two different people, even based solely on the stats recorded since 2010, there’s a good...

The Wrong Dictionary

James Somers: [In a dictionary], words are boiled to their essence. But that essence is dry, functional, almost bureaucratically sapped of color or pop, like high modernist architecture. Which trains you to think of the dictionary as a utility, not a quarry of good things, not a place you’d go...

Your Porch, Our Street

Frank Chimero: Here’s the frustration: if you’ve been on Twitter a while, it’s changed out from under you. Christopher Alexander made a great diagram, a spectrum of privacy: street to sidewalk to porch to living room to bedroom. I think for many of us Twitter started as the porch—our space,...

Clymer on the Apple Watch

Benjamin Clymer is the founder and editor of Hodinkee, a well-respected voice in the field of wristwatches. I’m new to Hodinkee, but it seems I’m late to the party. The New York Times called Mr. Clymer “the high priest of horology,” and after browsing the site, I can see why:...

Building 3D with Ikea

Kirsty Parkin, writing for CGSociety.org: Today, around 75% of all IKEA’s product images are CG, and they have a ‘bank’ of about 25,000 models. “These are all created at a ridiculously high resolution,” explains Martin, “We render them in 4Kx4K, and they need to hold up to that resolution. We...

Pleasant Font Pairings

I have been working with lots of web typography lately. However, although there is no shortage of web fonts available, I sometimes find it difficult identify nice font pairs. Thankfully, the likes of Femmebot, Typekit, and Daniel Eden have helped us all, by doing a lot of legwork for us:...

Margins

Hello, again. Craig Mod, in a beautifully-written piece: Reach for a book. The dedication and earnestness of those who made it is revealed immediately in the margins. If the margins feel questionable, be suspicious. Other corners were likely cut. All authors should have a Margin Clause in their contracts. Objection,...

My Mom's Motorcycle 

Douglas Gautraud:

This is a short film about how my mom became the owner of a motorcycle for the My Rode Reel competition. More deeply it is about how people use objects to connect with times, ideas, and people.

Polished, funny, and creative non-fiction storytelling at its very finest.