In the category of “The New iTunes is Here” . . .

The new macOS High Sierra has arrived and brought with it a new iTunes. People have long asked Apple to reduce the bloat of the iTunes app on macOS, and this new version does that. Whether it does that well or not is a matter for discussion.

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Troubling Things about the Las Vegas Shooting

This headline probably already generated a half-dozen ideas in your mind, with one or two standing out from the rest. If you started a list, you could probably come up with a full dozen or more things about the Las Vegas mass shooting that are troubling.

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In the category of “UI design has a new solution” . . .

“The Airbnb Tool That’s Changing UI Design”

Mark Wilson, writing for Fast Company:

There’s a hot new design software being used today by major tech companies like Airbnb and Google to build new apps. But the tool, called Lottie, wasn’t born from your typical designer.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Frustrated by the same design-to-development bottleneck experienced across the industry, Abdul-Karim began to think. If he could use After Effects to build an app interface simulation or prototype, why couldn’t he just use After Effects to just make the real app itself? Now he can, thanks to Lottie–Airbnb’s own UX prototyping tool, developed by Abdul-Karim and a pair of engineers at the company.

This is the sort of creative problem-solving I love to see.

Lottie’s technical prowess is outpacing its user friendliness. And the Airbnb team needs to figure out how to translate complicated animation-meets-code capabilities into turnkey features inside the software.

This is the common progression in creative problem-solving: the more powerful the tool becomes and the more tasks it is capable of completing, the more difficult it becomes to keep it simple for the user. This is one of the things that has always set the iPhone and its iOS user-interface apart from its competitors; in general, the iPhone is easier to use, even for—perhaps especially for—the uninitiated. iOS itself has shown the truth of this, though, as the number of functions and the number of apps has increased. This is why there are so many new single-purpose apps in spaces where the established players’ apps were becoming too complex.

One of my favorite apps—and a great example of this—is iA Writer. It’s a brilliant piece of simplicity, originally created over five years ago as a single-purpose writing app. Originally, all you could do with the app was write and edit, but the stated purpose was to create a distraction-free writing environment. It does that very well and is still my favorite writing app. iA Writer has continued to add functionality, including a type of versioning, embedding or file-linking, and other design features. I don’t use most of these newer features, because I’m not yet convinced that the time and effort to learn them would be sufficiently rewarded. Another way of saying this is that iA Writer has either (a) not convincingly described the benefits of these new features or (b) not designed them in a sufficiently user-friendly way. I’m not picking on iA Writer. I think it’s a wonderful app. I’ve tried many writing apps, and in my opinion, iA Writer is the best app available for the act of writing. It is a perfect example of the principle I’ve described, though, because as it has added features, it has also added complexity, some of which now demands improved design to restore simplicity for the user. It wouldn’t be a good example if it were not such a brilliant design to begin with.

Our digital tools were constructed for another era, one that is fading away to obsolescence even faster than your current smartphone.

Indeed.

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Thoughts on the Advancement of Civilization

All advancement of civilization, society, and culture depends on the consolidation of knowledge (cognition, apprehension, tuition), insight (*re*-cognition, understanding, comprehension, intuition), and skill (wisdom, application).

 

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Two Final Thoughts Before WWDC 2017

Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference begins today (5 June 2017), kicking off as always with the Keynote at 10 a.m. Pacific Time / 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

This article started out this morning as a list of five things to look for at this year’s WWDC, but time constraints have reduced it to just two. So here are the two I think most significant.

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WitGlass Original Poetry: “Shards of Memory”

This is my second original poem posted here on Wit.Glass. This one originated nearly two-and-a-half years ago as a poem, but the story it tells is more than twenty years old. It is a true story—as well as I am able to re-member the fragments that remain in my memory. I have also live-recorded a spoken word performance of the poem.

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The Mega ShowNotes for WitGlass Unfiltered Episode 25

The show notes I assembled for Episode 25 of WitGlass Unfiltered are so detailed that I thought I’d offer them as their own WitGlass Drafts post, as well.

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What I’m Listening to Now: Thursday, 25 May 2017, 3:29 p.m.

James Blunt’s music has been an irregular yet frequent feature of my playlists for the past ten years, starting with his album *All the Lost Souls,* released in 2007. That album was not my introduction to James Blunt—I was familiar already with his previous radio releases—but it was my introduction to his albums as whole units. 

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In the category of “nice little article on the history of Apple’s Newton PDA” . . .

Twenty years ago, I was deep in pursuit of my undergraduate degree, and as much as I loved technology, my budget for technology was $0, so I didn’t spend much time thinking about technology except for what I perceived to be of immediate use to me.

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WitGlass Original Poetry: “Long Ago”

I’ve been promising poetry, and here is your first original poem introduced exclusively on WitGlass. This poem is the longest poem I’ve written to date, and because of its length, it seemed the perfect way to introduce poetry here on WitGlass, not just in written form but in spoken form, as well. So I live-recorded a spoken word performance of the poem, as well, and broadcast it is part of an episode of my podcast *WitGlass Unfiltered.*

 

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*WitGlass Unfiltered* Show Notes are Now Fixed

I don’t know exactly what caused the problem to start with, but the complete show notes for *WitGlass Unfiltered* Episode 16 and Episode 17 were not there in the iTunes Podcast list. 

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In the category of “I love it when the same people shower praise on immigrants and then turn around and assume they’re stupid” . . .

The hysteria surrounding vaccines and scheduled vaccinations is well-documented. The term “fever-pitch” comes to mind after reading this article.

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In the categories of “sad day for America” and “@CNN gets the tone of this article right” . . .

The sun is setting on one of the great Southern cities.

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In the category of “if @SenJohnMcCain is for it, I’m agin’ it” . . .

John McCain is a war hawk. He obviously desires war and all its fruits. I don’t know why; but his track record is very clear.

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In the categories of “great piece by @Gruber on the Mac Pro” and “viva la MAC Pro!” . . .

Despite my lack of Pro Mac products, I have watched and listened in pain as Apple remained silent on the Mac Pro, as users complained about the status of the Mac Pro. I have always felt that at its core, Apple is a “Pro” company; its products are designed to reach as close to the ideal as possible for all-around usability. So more recently, as I listened for word from Apple about their ultimate Pro Mac machine, I felt that this could be a watershed moment for the company. In my humble opinion, if the company were to abandon the Mac Pro market, it would signal the end of the company as we know it.

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In the category of “if @CNN would always produce objective reports like this, maybe we’d start to trust them” . . .

Ex-spies weigh in on Russian hacking allegations

CNN—this time in a report by Mallika Kallingal—just can’t seem to refrain from shading the truth. They desperately want real evidence that Trump is a Putin pawn, but none has yet come to light. So they get three real former spies to comment on the situation and all of the spies’ comments support a much more relaxed take on the situation, at least implying if not outright saying that it is unlikely Trump or any member of his team actively “colluded” with Putin. CNN must not have been satisfied with that, because their introduction to the spies’ comments throws shade at Trump, but CNN is so good at it, that their shade is strong yet so subtle:

President Donald Trump's campaign and its alleged ties to Russia has been a big part of the political conversation this week.

There are new reports that Trump's associates may have coordinated with Russians before releasing information to damage Hillary Clinton's campaign last year. FBI director James Comey told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that the FBI is investigating alleged links between Russia and the Trump campaign and the extent of Russian involvement in the American election.

Russia’s interest in the United States is not new. During the Cold War, Russian agents were planted on US soil to spy on the country, and many of them were caught by the FBI. CNN spoke to KGB and FBI agents about the Russia hacking allegations and how espionage has changed over the years.

These comments are innocuous enough, except for two things. First: any kind of positive summary of the three spies’ comments. In other words, the sort of color commentary CNN always gives if the evidence or interviews lean they way they like. Second: the articles linked. Oh, boy, you must read them, if you want to understand the angle of this (somewhat) objective report. Here are the links to the two articles (the links are also included in the quote above, exactly as the CNN article linked them):

It’s imperative that you read them also if you merely desire to understand why CNN—and others—desire so badly for Trump to be caught colluding with the Russians. Ask the questions. Please! Ask the questions. What is CNN trying to accomplish? It is most definitely not mere accounting of the truth—whatever Jake Tapper says.

In the category of “where are the late-night comedians on this one?” . . .

Donna Brazile admits she passed debate questions to Hillary, blames Russians

Donna Brazile, folks:

“By stealing all the DNC’s emails and then selectively releasing those few,” she explained, “the Russians made it look like I was in the tank for Secretary Clinton. Despite the strong, public support I received from top Sanders campaign aides in the wake of those leaks, the media narrative played out just as the Russians had hoped, leaving Sanders supporters understandably angry and sowing division in our ranks.”

I did something wrong because I wanted to but now I’m going to blame someone else who actually had nothing to do with my wrongdoing but is an easy scapegoat because, well, Russia. I mean, c’mon, we all know they don’t like gays in Russia, right? You know that, don’t you? And if they don’t like gays, just imagine what else they’re capable of. If they only liked gays we wouldn’t have to be so hard on them. It’s their own fault, really. And it’s their fault anyone found out about me sending debate questions to Hillary. See how terrible they are? See how not liking gays leads to bad things? If Russia only liked gays, no one ever would have found out I sent debate questions to Hillary.

In the category of “I was born a poor black child” and “cha-ching!” . . .

Hey, look at me! I’m just an ordinary man (who happened to be president).

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In the category of “progressives prevail” and “glad to know in advance” and “I can scratch this off the list” . . .

“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston.”

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In the category of “this is why @realDonaldTrump is winning” . . .

This is the kind of logical goop that actually hands the win to Donald Trump. Camila Mendoza says good manners don’t apply anymore. Isn’t that exactly what the Trump followers were saying throughout the campaign? Didn’t they say that the other politicians and media personalities no longer deserved to be treated with so-called good manners because they had lost that high ground long ago? Isn’t that exactly what many in the mainstream media—and many other Trump opponents—argued against? And now you’re handing that over to him?

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