> In many ways the grandest technological revolutions are a study in humility rather than ambition. — Horace DediuRead More
I said earlier that the little details matter, and I meant it. Sure, the missing punctuation or misspelled word really does matter, but it also matters *proportionally* to other things. Also a misspelled word is nothing next to a word intended as an insult. If I write that you’re a *jurk*, which is a bigger deal: that I misspelled “jerk” or that I called you a jerk?
Fill in the blank here with whatever worse insult you care to.Read More
Writing well is hard. Professional writers have said so, and they practice more often than most of us. (I’m using “professional writers” here somewhat loosely, in the common usage of someone who makes their living *for their writing itself.*) Some I’ve heard say it never gets easier, that it’s always drudgery. Some love writing, despite it’s difficulty; others despise it yet consider it necessary to tell their stories or to make their points.Read More
The world is full of writers. Many, perhaps most, don’t call themselves writers. They call themselves real estate agents or investors or cashiers or teachers or inventors or doctors or engineers or small business owners. But if you ask them to provide a list of all the activities they complete every day—just for their “work”—almost every one of them would list “writing” high up on the list of both most important and most time-consuming tasks.Read More
On January 12, 2017, I posted a piece about the January 11th press conference in which Donald Trump called CNN “fake news.” I reread my piece this morning, and I was amazed at how current it felt as I read it. It sounds like it might have appeared in yesterday’s newspaper.Read More
There’s a song that came out back in the 1980s. Maybe some of you remember it, but most of you have probably never heard of it—or of the man who sang it. (He is still alive, so perhaps I should say “sings” it.) The title of the song is “Love Is Not a Feeling.” I grew up listening to this song, and it continues to influence me.Read More
We are beginning a series that we call *Everyday Writing.* Throughout the series we will be talking about the importance of sound research, critical analysis, and quality composition in everyday writing, including the all-important writing that we do for our own personal development, but also including personal and business communications.
We will be partnering with our friends at WriteGoods.com and RealManners.Work.Read More
It’s been fifteen months since I posted my last original poetry. It hasn’t been fifteen months since I wrote my last poem, but a lot has happened in the last fifteen months and WitGlass posts and podcasts took a backseat. This poem was one of the poems I wrote in response to our family dog’s recent death.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.
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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.
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).
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.*