MegaUpload Shut Down →
Janko Roettegers, reporting for GigaOm: The agency is alleging that MegaUpload generated more than $175 million in profits and caused “more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners.” A legitimate victory against online piracy, achieved under current current copyright and piracy laws. There’s an argument to be made that current laws do enable law enforcement to...
Being an Artist in the 21st Century →
You wanted to write, to sing, to make beautiful music and images, not sit up late in the night grappling with coding and commenting on other people’s blog posts in the hope they’ll comment on yours. You’ll learn skills you never wanted to have, and the time you used to spend making art will now be swallowed up by the endless task of marketing yourself in a world of seven billion voices, all...
Winning the Battle, Enduring the War
Even with cynics such as myself, it’ll be easy to chalk up today’s protests against SOPA/PIPA as a success. “Blackout” may have turned out to be a vague term, but the stance taken by Reddit, Wikipedia, Boing Boing and others certainly attracted attention from national news outlets, stirred fervent discussion on social media sites and encouraged citizens to action, whether...
When Wikipedia Takes a Stance →
Canadian poet and novelist John Degen, on Wikipedia’s stance on SOPA: Tomorrow, when Wikipedia turns the lights back on, and folks look up SOPA and PIPA to find out what happened, does anyone believe there will be a balanced, unbiased Wikipedia entry on the subject? How unbelievably sad. I had failed, through all the blackout buzz today, to even consider the implications of Wikipedia...
Patrick Rhone: I think there is a need for a Software Tailor. For instance, you have a text editor that works well but could use just a few changes to make it work perfectly for you. You take it to the Software Tailor and they do that for you. Rhone’s idea of bespoke software reminds me of how I view the iOS app store. While never truly customizable, I do feel like the App store on my...
Short Sighted Look at iCloud →
Ben Brooks, addressing the supposed short comings of iCloud, as described by Paul Asselin: …my best guess is that once it is working perfectly on the Mac, Apple will begin to explore ways to give Windows users some sort of access. As Brooks himself discovers, Apple already provides a utility that allows Windows users to connect to iCloud to sync email, calendar, bookmarks, contacts...
Brian Crecente and the Vox Empire
Yesterday I said goodbye to Kotaku. Today I say hello to the next big thing: That’s longtime editor-in-chief and founding father of Kotaku, Brian Crecente, announcing his departure from the Gawker media website. That next big thing he’s moving on to? A little website named Vox Games. If you’re keeping score, Vox Media (the parent company of Crecente’s next...
The Evolutionary Notebook Age
The narrative surrounding laptops this year doesn’t have to be about ultrabooks, ultrathins or whatever other term you employ to ever so slightly dimish the taste of vomit in your mouth. No matter how loathesome, the coinage of the term is only a bit player within the larger narrative surroding portable computers. For the notebook as we know it has inadvertantly broached its design peak, its...
Shape of Tech to Come in 2012 Pt.2 : The Cloud
If I had to pick one theme for technology in 2012, it would have to be New World Order. From eReaders to cloud computing to the diversification of social networks, 2012 is shaping up to be a landmark year, where the emerging technology of the last few years may finally be ready to overthrow their incumbents and step into the spotlight. Here are the trends I see emerging this year. Cloudquarius ...
Optimal Form →
Stuyvesant Parker, on John Gruber and Samsung copying Apple: Product design isn’t art, it isn’t music: products are designed for a purpose and thus have an optimal form for accomplishing that purpose. Parker doesn’t defend Samsung, and neither will I. Samsung’s public actions in fact seem too blatant to qualify as mere “coincidence”. But the recently constant...
Instagram and the Advertising Experience. →
“I think the advertising experience is going to be extremely engaging,” Systrom said. “It’s much harder with text,” but Instagram offers photos, and brand names such as Audi, Kate Spade, and Burberry have joined Instagram. I’m happy to see Instagram doing so well and finally able to reach a broader audience. The service deserves that much. Unfortunately,...
Shape of Tech to Come in 2012 Pt.1: E-Readers
If I had to pick one theme for technology in 2012, it would have to be New World Order. From e-readers to cloud computing to the diversification of social networks, 2012 is shaping up to be a landmark year, where the emerging technology of the last few years may finally be ready to overthrow their incumbents and step into the spotlight. Here are the trends I see emerging this year. E-Readers. ...
Mark Daisey on This American Life →
Lo’ and behold, Mark Daisey, who’s profile on the New York Times I linked to a few months back, is the centerpiece of this week’s episode of This American Life, sharing a radio edited version of his monologue recounting his journey to China’s various mega electronics factories, including Foxconn. A must listen. Makes us re-examine our relationship with technology as a...
The Critics Rave ... for Microsoft? →
Charlie Kindel, a longtime Microsoft manager who joined its mobile team in early 2009, compared the pain caused by starting over to the predicament of Aron Ralston, the hiker who amputated his own arm in 2003 after it was it pinned under a boulder in the Utah desert. “This boulder comprised of Apple and Blackberry rolled on our arm,” said Mr. Kindel, who left Microsoft last summer....
Funny Games on Movie Talk FM →
Brian O’lyaryz and Chris Cortes were gracious enough to have me on their podcast again, even letting me pick the movie this go’ round. Naturally, I picked one of my favorite movies, the US release of Funny Games, starring Naomi Watts, Tim Roth and Michael Pitt. Love it or hate it, and there seems to be no middle ground with this one, it’ll stay with you and I guarantee...
Dropbox vs. iCloud →
iCloud may become a direct competitor of Dropbox’s, but at the purposes of the services are different at this point. There has been lots of discussion about the specifics of those differentiations, which Hackett summarizes well in his post. However, the most glaring differences, to me, aren’t found in their implementation so much as in the experience of using both. Which isn’t...
Paul Miller's Search for Digital Authenticity. • →
Paul Miller, in an article titled The Condescending UI, achieves the truly bizarre: user interface status seeking. What starts out as an defensible critique the slow evolution of user interfaces quickly turns into a solemn lament about what essentially amounts to Miller’s own loss of geek credibility. BeOS is purely digital, with a sort of 8-bit charm, complete with pixel-perfect...
On the New Twitter for iPhone Update
Nice overall update with lots of little UI addition and fixes that add to the overall polish of the app. One of my biggest gripes with the previous version, for instance, has been addressed: The webkit browser UI is no longer a drab mush of metal grey existing separately from the rest of the UI like an afterthought. Rather, it has been replaced with the same top bar as every other view in the...
In Exchange With Gets Its Own Website!
If you’re on this site even semi-frequently, then you already know all about In Exchange With, my series of interviews with various web personalities. This project has been close to my heart and tons of fun, so I’ve decided to give it a proper home: its very own website. The interviews look - and read, better than ever. It’s an exciting step forward in this hopefully long term...
An Impromptu Real-World Test of Siri and iOS 5... →
David Chartier: Unfortunately, my iPhone 4S voice experiments didn’t go well for at least one party involved: my dogs. We’ve trained them fairly well and they know quite a few voice commands. Nearly every time I started talking to Siri or dictating part of the blog post, they would look back or hesitate at the next turn. I wager they can get used to this as time goes on, and maybe I can get in...
“[They approach problems] with a broad brush, light that brush on fire, and soak...”– All Together Now - Dec 5th 2011 Jeffery Zeldman Stephen Hackett Roger Black Katie Gillum Randy Murray
How a Quantum of Transparency Could Have Made...
As MG Siegler puts it, this whole Carrier IQ thing is being blown out of proportion. However, I don’t blame the media for running wild with the story, I blame Carrier IQ and it’s clients (whether they are the carriers or handset manufacturers) for lobbing them such an easy pitch by not being having one ounce of transparancy in their operations. Having failed to do so, Carrier IQ is now...
(Parts of) Women in Design →
Katie Gillum: There are, just scratching the surface, three main issues with this title: standardization of vaginal softness, the cutting out of the whole female body to focus only on their vaginas, and the awkward half-sexualization of the product. Important confrontation of gender issues in design? Check. Unbelievable yet real product you can’t believe anyone ever pitched straight...
Kill Screen Reviews Skyward Sword →
This sense of being trapped in a pedagogic exercise is inseparable from the core meaning of Zelda. Skyward Sword is a learning simulator, a near-perfect progression of object lessons—physical and logical—that revive in adults the forgotten sense of amazement in learning, while remaining uncomplicated enough to engender a sense of grown-up mastery in younger players. This trick cannot be...
The Case Against Curation →
Randy Murray: A web site or a blog with links pointing to other web sites or blogs is not being curated. The problem with Murray’s arguments is that the emphasis on what is being curated is all wrong: Writers curate the entire content and structure of a website, not only links to outside articles. Writers producing a website certainly do “reporting” and...
“People say horrible things about what [this] work is like; 1 eventually, the...”– All Together Now - November 27th 2011 Mandy Brown Adrien Cahen Brent Simmons Brian Barrett Craig Mundie
Determining the Audience
Following this week’s duo of fantastic articles by Brent Simmons and Rian van der Merwe attempting to explain the dearth of enjoyable reading experiences on the web, it struck me that a big part of the problem is determing who your audience is. In an essay titled Investing in the Future of News, Alberto Ibargüen outlines a few basic questions any publisher or journalistic entity should ask...
It's Good Marketing →
The obvious conclusion one can draw from this article is that Craig Mundie is likely a dunce on account of claiming , straight faced, that Apple’s success is due only to “good marketing”. A more insidious conclusion would be that Mundie is a dunce, since he’s completely oblivious to his own admission that Microsoft spends no effort adequately marketing their own...
On App Dieting
Smarterbits favorite, Patrick Rhone: On a recent episode of the podcast, I discussed a plan for yet another crazy experiment. – To reduce my Mac to the out of the box install and limit myself to only five third party apps and utilities (feel free to listen). The reason? Well, it is the same as any other crazy experiment I do… Another month, another Minimal Mac experiment, another challenge...
The Pummeling Pages →
Brent Simmons: I think it was in the Space Merchants (or maybe in The Merchants’ War) where this future was predicted: lower-class people would be subjected to a ton of advertising — accompanying every moment awake and asleep — while upper-class people would be insulated. I’d go so far as to add that it isn’t only the technically proficient that are forming this upper-class, but...
Just Let webOS Die Already →
The overwhelming sense is of waste. HP bought itself a Ferrari, then immediately wrapped it around a tree. Remember the launch of the first Pre and how excited everyone was about Palm’s resurgence? Remember when HP bought Palm and everyone was excited for webOS’s resurgence? Anyone?
AirPlay and iOS's Endgame
“What comes after the MacBook Air?” Erica Ogg wondered about the future of the MacBook Air last week, indirectly questioning the fate of all notebooks and truth be told, PCs in general. The answer is relatively simple: the future of the MacBook Air is a device with a similar form factor and better internals. Other note-UltraBooks are arriving at the same destination, perhaps less...
The Authenticity Hoax is Dead →
It was never going to work out that way. From its very origins, the quest for the authentic was motivated by that most ancient and base of human urges, the desire for status. Real.
“This is a very big and increasingly crowded market 1 because really, who cares...”– All Together Now - November 20th 2011 Marco Arment MG Siegler Jeff Bezos Danielle Sacks John Gruber
In Exchange With Shawn Blanc
As the eponymous man behind the popular shawnblanc.net, Shawn Blanc needs no introduction. He has been adding his own unique perspective and voice to design and technology topics and news since 2007, becoming in the process a leading voice in his field. More recently, Shawn transformed his website into his career, taking the leap into becoming a full time writer. Shawn was kind enough to take some...
WTF Mobile Web →
Examples of bad design for mobile web views aren’t an argument against designing specifically for mobile. Ironically, buried on the top left corner of the site (which, FYI, you’ll never see visiting the site on Tumblr’s mobile view) is a “Do It Better” page full of handy information on properly designing for mobile.
Dave Winer Dislikes Mobile Web Design →
Dave Winer, complaining about Google’s mobile search results page: Designers really need to hear the following, loud and clear: The iPad browser is fully capable. It doesn’t need you to treat it differently. Spend 30 seconds with an iPad and you’ll notice that, in fact, it should be treated differently: you interact with it by touch, it can display graphics in different...
Manufacturing on Spec
Ryan Block, in September, on the manufacturing of the Kindle Fire: From there, Amazon’s team determined they could build a tablet without the help and experience of Lab 126, so they turned to Quanta, which helped them “shortcut” the development process by using the PlayBook as their hardware template. Although Amazon did refresh the ID of their PlayBook derivative,...
Moving money is an exceptionally regulated business. We’re in Iowa, which is sort of conservative — I don’t know if that helped us or hurt us, but long term I think it helped us. We figured to do this legally, we had two options: We could take in a tremendous amount of money and go out and get licenses, which is how most people do it. But we didn’t have access to that...
The Spec is Dead →
MG Siegler: We’re starting to see backlash against reviews of products that just do spec-by-spec rundown. Because really, who cares how the device sounds on paper? It’s how it feels that matters. Only now are we realizing that it was never the think of it that mattered. I felt otherwise at the time, but I’ve really grown fond of - surprisingly - Gizmodo’s reviews of the...
“Many people will attempt to sell you lifestyles as being in your interests,...”– All Together Now - November 13th 2011 Patrick McKenzie Eric Smith Kyle Baxter Kroc Camen Bret Victor
One the one hand, it’s surprising it took so long for a simple, no frills music player to show up for OS X. On the other, it’s unnerving to imagine a future where all of the platform’s apps are a homogenous pastiche of Twitter for Mac’s user interface. In conclusion, I don’t know what I want more: To praise Simplier for what it is, or reproach it for a lazy design...
Writing With Grandview
Words typically work best in relation to one another: Sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph. So what then do we gain by negotiating text one word at a time? This is the challenge proposed by Grandview, an unorthodox writing application that allows you to see - and type - a single word at a time. Many of Grandview’s reviews struggle to describe its nature or purpose. The words...
Brooks Review Goes No Logo →
Ben Brooks launched a redesign of his website today, with a noticeably unorthodox omission: his logo. His explanation: The truth is that I dropped the logo on accident when I was designing the new site (forgot to paste back in the relevant code) and I kept designing without it. Then I realized it was missing and added it back in, hated it, and I removed it again — this time on purpose. ...
A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design →
Bret Victor: If you’re with me so far, maybe I can nudge you one step further. Look down at your hands. Are they attached to anything? Yes — you’ve got arms! And shoulders, and a torso, and legs, and feet! And they all move! There’s lots of food for thought in this piece but his conclusion seems to lead us towards motion interaction, which - if I take a stroll through my...
“Now, if this phone had arrived before the iPhone, people would have been...”– All Together Now - November 6th 2011 David Pogue Simple Ilama Leigh Alexander Mat Honan MG Siegler
Designing for Mobile →
Dave Olsen: This focus, by removing unnecessary fluff and cruft to fit in the constraints of both the device real estate as well as network limitations, helps craft a better and more useful user experience. I think it’s a really interesting way to approach design and maybe we need more of that in higher ed. Need not apply solely to designing for mobile. You can always benefit from the...
Egg Freckles on Pixelmator 2.0 →
Thomas Brand, on the new release of Pixelmator: I like to think of Pixelmator as the version of Photoshop Adobe would have made if they still cared about designing great creative software for the Mac. Adobe didn’t release an Intel-Only, 64 bit optimized version of Photoshop until CS5 back in April of 2010. That’s a full 4 years after Intel processors powered every computer Apple...
The New Fusion Ads, From the Perspective of the...
Fusion Ads was purchased today by BuySellAds. As Fusion’s core product, I’m concerned about what will happen to my shelf space and the customers who will browse it. Saying things will stay the same is an empty promise. They already have changed. If Microsoft went and bought every Apple Store tomorrow and claimed everything would stay the same, it’s doubtful many would believe...
Finally, The Verge
Finally, months after the mass exodus and living underground planning their Next move, the former editiorial core of Engadget launched The Verge, their newest and most ambitious project to date. I feel underwhelmed. Maybe it was the constant hype leading up to yesterday’s big day. I can’t put my finger on it. The website looks amazing, to the point of almost being visually...