“ergonomically busted”

At The Verge, Vlad Savov on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge:

I am not, however, convinced that the S6 Edge is the future. Despite my best intentions and great excitement, I have not been able to shake the initial impression that the Edge is ergonomically busted. In my time using the handset, I’ve consistently pressed on-screen buttons with my holding hand — because the metal sides are so thin they are almost nonexistent — and found myself growing anxious about holding it just the right way. Yes, it’s very much like the iPhone 4 Antennagate debacle, though unlike that hardware issue, there’s a software fix that Samsung could perform to rectify things: just make the side screens insensitive to touch input when the display is on.

The Galaxy S6 Edge also doesn’t play too nicely with Google’s Material Design. Samsung has my eternal appreciation for following Google’s lead in moving to a cleaner, more minimalist interface, but Material Design emphasizes flatness and geometric regularity, which the Edge’s warping side screens disturb. They create a sort of vignette effect on white pages and are a hindrance rather than a help when editing photos.


Why Every Movie Looks Sort of Orange and Blue

The big change that digitization made was it made it much easier to apply a single color scheme to a bunch of different scenes at once. The more of a movie you can make look good with a single scheme, the less work you have to do. Also, as filmmakers are bringing many different film formats together in a single movie, applying a uniform color scheme helps tie them together.

One way to figure out what will look good is to figure out what the common denominator is in the majority of your scenes. And it turns out that actors are in most scenes. And actors are usually human. And humans are orange, at least sort of!

Why Every Movie Looks Sort of Orange and Blue

corporate governance is medieval

The “Stupid manager theory of company failure” (and its corollary, the “Smart manager theory of company success”1) remains the most popular, perhaps even the most universally accepted theory of management. Book after book, thoughtful article after article alludes to this theory and whenever a company is perceived to be under-performing, all fingers point to the leadership with demands for blood letting.

This is not a new phenomenon. When catastrophe strikes, as a thoughtful species, we have always asked for leaders to be sacrificed. In Europe during the Iron age leaders were sacrificed when crops failed. In South and Central America leaders were ceremonially tortured for similar reasons.

Of course most crop failures were due to weather phenomena and the anointed leadership had nothing to do with these causes. Nevertheless ancient correlation analysis would have revealed the pattern that good leadership meant good weather and bad leadership meant bad weather.

There was a balance to the downside however. When times were good the leadership enjoyed luxuries and praise. This was the essential deal societies made: we’ll keep you in riches and allow you to be idle as long as times are good but ritualistically slaughter you when times are bad. We’ll declare you “chief magical officer” and place all our faith in you. But, of course, if you fail, we will will be vengeful.

—Horace Dediu, Haunted Empire

Copying Chucks

An investigation by the ITC found that a total of 36 Ralph Lauren shoe styles infringed on Converse’s trademarks, including washed canvas, Western leather, camouflage shoes, and bleached denim shoes. Within 30 days of the agreement going into effect, Ralph Lauren have to get rid of these, as well as component parts, tools and molds, advertising, promotional materials and packaging related to the offending products. Ralph Lauren will also pay a monetary sum to Converse, but the amount was not specified in the public version of the settlement agreement. The brand’s main concern is putting an end to impostor Chucks.

Trademark infringement accusations can be difficult to prove in the world of fashion, as the New York Times pointed out: companies must prove that consumers associate a given design with a specific brand, and that the design is not just a part of a larger fashion trend. Companies also can’t legally trademark the functional aspects of their designs. But Chuck Taylors are apparently so clearly Converse-specific that even Ralph’s copycatting can’t cut it.

Co.Design: Ralph Lauren Forced To Destroy Its Converse Ripoffs

Last Wednesday I watched Chappelle’s creative process on stage in Oakland

This past Wednesday night my wife and I went to see Dave Chappelle do standup at Yoshi’s in Oakland.

Tickets only became available two weeks ago, and as soon as I bought my two, I realized I should have bought more, but in the 5 minutes that had elapsed they had sold out.

It wasn’t Chappelle’s best performance, but it was still awesome and I still laughed a lot. This is the best part about true “professionals” in any trade: seeing a pro on a bad day is still 10 times better than seeing someone with mediocre talent on a great day.

No, Chappelle wasn’t slaying us with razor sharp jokes (no doubt some of them were sharp). This was a Chappelle figuring out a new act, testing out new jokes, swimming into uncharted territory where he might or might not be greeted with a hearty laugh. I was witnessing the comedic process. Yes, comedy has a process exactly like the processes found in music, writing, sports and graphic design.

At one point he straight up admitted some of his jokes were half-baked (no pun intended). One of his bits talked about how the next group of people he felt bad about besides black people was fat, black people. He gave examples like Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Yeah, Chappelle has some fucked up thoughts in his head and he’s not afraid of talking about sensitive issues. At the end of his act he revisited the fat black people bit and said (I’m paraphrasing), “Look, I know this fat, black people thing isn’t working great right now, but in a few months it’s going to be fucking comedy gold! Trust me!”

Seeing Chappelle having the courage to test out jokes he’s never done (or only done a few times) is a great lesson to to everyone who makes things. You need to create that first draft of your book, or first take of your song, or first design comp for your website before you can improve on it, refine it, hone it.

You have to embrace the process.

Perfect art doesn’t pop out of your head fully-formed.

Tribalism & False Dichotomies

Lukas Mathias:

Once you have two groups of people, each advocating for its own position and reinforcing its own beliefs, people seem to start turning off parts of their brains. Things get emotional. Assumptions turn into unquestioned facts. At this point, people are no longer looking for solutions, or for common ground. They’re fighting an adversary.

Tribalism based on superficial, insignificant criteria — the computers or phones we use, the sports teams we like, the clothes we wear, the car brands we drive — is pretty common human behavior, and we fall into it easily.

But if you take a step back, you’ll notice that the whole discussion between these two groups is now based on a fallacious assumption. People have replaced the actual question they’re trying to answer — «how should this UI look and work?» — with a different, misguided question: «which of these two options should we pick?1″

This is a false dichotomy.

I’ll be bringing this thinking to my next critique.

Understanding Apple Watch

Rene Richie has some great insights on Apple Watch.

First the problem with ‘day-of’ reaction pieces:

Demo areas aren’t real life. The product you’re experiencing isn’t yours. It isn’t connected to your accounts, it doesn’t have your data, and it isn’t set up to your personal tastes. You’re also surrounded by people and noise, you have limited time, and you want to try out as many features as you can. It’s tough to keep the context in mind, to set your expectations accordingly, and to try and extrapolate a product’s demo to its real-life usage. It’s what leads to day-of reaction stories that are sometimes very different to week-in review pieces to months-in review pieces.

And on how Apple Watch fits into the hierarchy of devices (Mac > iPhone > Watch): Notifications and, to some extent Siri, not icons, are going to be the primary portal to apps and activities.

If deeper, longer-form interaction is needed, you’ll absolutely still be able to do it. You’ll be able to tap and spin and swipe and otherwise move through glances and apps and do almost anything you want to do. You’ll even be able to use handoff to continue an especially deep or time-consuming activity on your iPhone, the same way you can handoff from your iPhone to your Mac today.

That’s the advantage of Apple staging convenience and complexity. You can do more with an iPhone than ever before, but you still can’t do everything you can do on Mac, and some things you certainly can’t do as efficiently. You can do a lot of very important things, however, and do them even more conveniently. And that means you don’t have to go running back to your Mac as much as once did.

With the Apple Watch you’ll also be able to do a lot, but not everything you can do with the iPhone. You’ll be able to do some very important things, however, and even some unique things, even more conveniently. And that’ll mean you won’t have to go reaching for your iPhone as much as you do now.

The iPhone is a finer-grained convenience than the Mac/MacBook (for certain things) and the Watch is a finer-grained convenience than the iPhone (for certain things).

Laurel Canyon

When I first came out to L.A. [in 1968], my friend Joel Bernstein found an old book in a flea market that said, ‘Ask anyone in America where the craziest people live and they’ll tell you California. Ask anyone in California where the craziest people live and they’ll say Los Angeles. Ask anyone in Los Angeles where the craziest people live and they’ll tell you Hollywood. Ask anyone in Hollywood where the craziest people live and they’ll say Laurel Canyon. And ask anyone in Laurel Canyon where the craziest people live and they’ll say Lookout Mountain.’ So I bought a house on Lookout Mountain.

—Joni Mitchell

via The Selvedge Yard