Samsung-flavored Schadenfreude

By Michael Mulvey on October 30, 2014 11:37 AM

Things aren't looking good for Samsung:

What is Samsung's "nightmare scenario," you ask? That it will become just another low-margin Android vendor. For years, Samsung has literally been the only Android smartphone vendor to consistently turn a profit. Indeed, Samsung and Apple for a long time have accounted for all of the smartphone industry's profits as smaller players have had to force themselves to fight over scraps.

But two things are happening right now that are sucking the life out of Samsung's smartphone profit machine: It's getting squeezed at the high end by Apple, which has finally released a phablet capable of taking on the popular Galaxy Note, and it's getting mauled at the low end by vendors such as Xiaomi that are cranking out phones with strong specs that sell at rock-bottom prices.

Maybe if Samsung keeps copying Apple things will turn around?


By Michael Mulvey on October 29, 2014 2:55 PM

This post is about the newest version of Apple's desktop operating system, Yosemite. It's a short post, because I'm only focusing on one aspect of it: the typography.

In short: Helvetica is a horrible choice for a system-wide, screen font.

I work on a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and I connect to a 27-inch, non-Retina display. My comments are equally applicable to both screens.

So what's the problem with Helvetica as an operating system font?

Helvetica reads poorly at small sizes. As it does in Finder windows. There's too much letterspacing, but even if letters were tracked tighter together, it would still be less readable than Apple's previous system font, Lucida Grande.

Helvetica was designed in 1957. Yep, 1957. It was designed as a display face, and when it's used as a display face at large sizes, like on a lock screen of your phone or better yet in signage, it can be beautiful.

I'm sure there have been modifications to Helvetica to make is work better on screen, but that's like upgrading a '57 Chevy with satellite navigation, new suspension and a new engine. Sure it's going to ride better than the original, but a brand new, 2014, entry level Toyota Corolla will still drive better.

I came across a post by Eric Karajaluoto, he has a different opinion:

"What about this change to Helvetica?" you ask. It ties to the only significant point in yesterday's iMac announcement: Retina displays. Just take a look at Helvetica on any high-fidelity screen, and you see a crisp, economical, and adaptable type system.

Sure, Helvetica looks crummy on your standard resolution screen. But, the people at Apple are OK with this temporary trade-off. You're living in Apple's past, and, in time, you'll move forward. When you do, you'll find a system that works as intended: because Apple skates to where the puck is going to be.

Deciding to use Helvetica is not designing for the future. I've seen the future on my retina display and still looks like shit.

Apple could easily spend a tiny fraction of their billions and commission a custom typeface that works twenty times better than Helvetica.

It's a missed opportunity.

[Imagine if Apple evolved Helvetica the same was Porsche evolved the 911: modernize the face while maintaining it's essence, it's Helvetica-ness]

"...or you get up and do them."

By Michael Mulvey on October 29, 2014 12:56 PM

PAN AM knows how to motivate.

[via Designer News]

"I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do."

By Michael Mulvey on October 28, 2014 1:11 PM

Ignition Creative London recut the trailer for Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and it's great:

Remember, this movie was released in 1968.


[via Flavorwire]

They call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.*

By Michael Mulvey on October 28, 2014 9:26 AM

THE best escalator to opportunity in America is education. But a new study underscores that the escalator is broken.

We expect each generation to do better, but, currently, more young American men have less education (29 percent) than their parents than have more education (20 percent).

Among young Americans whose parents didn't graduate from high school, only 5 percent make it through college themselves. In other rich countries, the figure is 23 percent.

—Nicholas Kristof, The American Dream Is Leaving America

[*title is a quote from George Carlin]

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives..."

By Michael Mulvey on October 28, 2014 9:02 AM

Paul Boag on how our day-to-day jobs are soon going to be very different:

This means that those of us working in high-end agencies need to think about our long term position. The chances are we will see a growing number of agencies close their doors over the coming years. Those of us who work for those agencies may well find ourselves joining in-house teams. That or becoming much more specialised in our role.

I worked at design studios/agencies for 12 years. Last year I moved in-house as a creative director. Boag is spot-on in his predictions. I have a handful of friends who also moved from studios to companies like Facebook and Fidelity Investments. It's happening.

On the rise as software as a service (SaaS):

Unfortunately for some, web design is no exception. There was a time when self employed web designers could produce cheap websites from home and make a reasonable income. Today that is becoming hard with services like Squarespace allowing people to build their own website.

I'm a web designer and when people come to me with freelance opportunities to make website, I constantly refer them to Squarespace. Why? It's just too damn good (I use Squarespace for my own portfolio site).

Boag's post is short, but it's a must-read if you're in the tech/design world.

The Home Screen, Rethought

By Michael Mulvey on October 27, 2014 4:32 PM

Like I said, this shit is very interesting:

Deliver us from over-saturated icons

By Bryan Larrick on October 27, 2014 6:53 AM

I upgraded my machine to OS X Yosemite the other day, and while Apple is very excited about the new design, there are some things I do not like. For one, I find the default colors of the text bubbles in messages to be too bright, nor would green and blue be the colors I would choose. Unlike past versions of OS X, there is no longer any ability to choose a color I would like from the app's preferences. Apple has their reasons for removing choice from the way users experience their operating system, but personally, I don't care what those reasons are. I'm just not happy that they took away a feature I liked, and the offense is compounded by what I feel is a poor color choice.

I also feel that the new folder icons are a downgrade from previous versions. Once again, I find the colors to be too bright. But, there is a way to change the folder icons to something less stressful to a user's retinas. A programmer by the name of Yuki Yamashina has posted a how-to on github. From start to finish, the process only takes a couple of minutes, and a user can change the icons into whatever they want. As for me, I desaturated my folder icons to more closely resemble the icons from previous versions of OS X, and I couldn't be happier (see below). Thanks, Yuki!


I wish there was an IMDB for cars...

By Michael Mulvey on October 23, 2014 2:21 PM


[Mike wipes drool off his chin]

via The Verge

It's Like Hugh Jackman Playing Wolverine

By Michael Mulvey on October 23, 2014 9:23 AM

From Bloomberg:

Actor Christian Bale didn't have to audition for the role of Steve Jobs in the coming biopic of the Apple Inc. co-founder, according to screenwriter Aaron Sorkin.

"We needed the best actor on the board in a certain age range and that's Chris Bale," Sorkin told Bloomberg Television's Emily Chang on a coming edition of "Studio 1.0." "He didn't have to audition. Well, there was a meeting."

Why would he have to audition? The dude is perfect for the role.

I can't wait to see him bury the awful version Ashton Kutcher did.

[ok, I know Kutcher is a huge fan of Jobs and he didn't do a half-bad job playing him, but the movie wasn't very good]

What If

By Michael Mulvey on October 22, 2014 2:52 PM

BGR's headline:

What if iOS 9 came with a major interface overhaul inspired by the Apple Watch?

Really interesting question.

"I always liked Punisher, cause Punisher kills em dead."

By Michael Mulvey on October 22, 2014 9:23 AM

no more pencils, no more books

By Michael Mulvey on October 21, 2014 5:07 PM

BGR: Ingenious new app is every math teacher's nightmare come true

So hoverboards are real now. Uh, yeah.

By Michael Mulvey on October 21, 2014 10:36 AM

Hendo Hoverboards on Kickstarter

The Funky Robot

By Bryan Larrick on October 19, 2014 11:28 AM

Yeah, daddio! From World's Finest #224.


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