Archive: December, 2012

iTunes 11

Lukas Mathis:

It seems as if Apple tried to hide iTunes’ complexity under a shallow veneer of simplicity. Unfortunately, a new coat of paint won’t fix the leaning tower of Pisa.

Behind the app: Twitterrific 5

As much as I love Tweetbot, Twitterrific 5, the new Twitter client from Iconfactory, matches my Twitter needs more effectively. This blog post breaks down the app’s development organization. This is the most important sentence:

When you have a large project, be it a movie or a piece of software, you have to have someone calling the creative shots.

The importance of sensibility in designers and developers

User interface designer Maykel:

If you want to create something, you should learn the basic level of actually implementing it. This goes for handcrafting physical products as well as interactive ones. Sure, it’s scary. Yes, it starts out being confusing. And there is more than a 99% chance that you will fail at your first try.

Five short stories and a closing thought about the Nintendo Wii U

Garnett Murray writes an epic takedown of the Wii U. His commentary on system load times and are especially damming:

Keep in mind it took 25 seconds on average to return to the Wii U Menu after loading each of these others apps, so if you were to start each app listed above once and return to the Wii U menu afterward, it would take eight and a half minutes, not including initial startup and loading time, to do it. That can only be described as fucking insane.

I’m rooting for Nintendo; more competition only makes Sony, Microsoft and other gaming competition step up their game. But there are way too many ‘what were they thinking?’ moments associated with this Wii U launch.

Fonts in use: Medium

FF Meta and Myriad makes for a a pretty rare web pairing (for that matter, Myriad solo is pretty underutilized), but Ev Williams’ Medium does the job right.

Music from the machine

Excellent profile by The New Yorker’s Alec Wilkinson of Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor. It’s behind The New Yorker’s usual paywall, but if you have access it’s a really engrossing read (admittedly as a huge NIN fan since my teenage years I’m probably a bit biased in this regard.)

There’s some interesting tech news here as well: Reznor is working with Beats Electronics on the design of a new music-streaming service that will compete with Spotify and Rdio. He argues Spotify is like “being on the web without Google” and he has a point. As noted earlier today, music curation is a huge challenge to crack. Will this new Beats offer anything really different? We’ll see.

Play strength, a Rdio feature concept

Avand Amiri:

Perhaps the solution is more holistic. A great setlist takes into account when a song was played last, its popularity, how it relates to friends’ musical tastes, and similarity to music that’s currently playing. Rdio could compute a compound index, Play Strength, and expose it in the interface to help suggest the next tracks. You don’t have to explain how you computed the index, but the mechanics are interesting. Pandora does this when they explain why you’re hearing a particular song and it adds to the experience.

We need more people like Avand working in places like Spotify and Rdio. Great music curation is a huge design challenge.


As we delve more heavily into responsive imagery in my day job, production needs increase on an already overburdened staff. We needed a way to speed up PSD comp production work, and Mac app Slicy has been a great solution so far. Slicy is simple app that auto exports and slices out clean transparent pngs or jpgs of individual layers in a PSD file. Best of all, it auto exports 1x/2x images, essential for a responsive workflow. It’s developed by MacRabbit, the team behind CSSEdit and Espresso, so naturally the refinement is really high. Highly recommended for $29.

GitHub’s CSS performance

Substantial, excellent talk by Vimeo developer Jon Rohan on steps Github took to dramatically improve their CSS performance site wide. One thing Jon stresses that I’ve found has a huge impact is just the sheer number of HTML elements on screen. People spend so much time optimizing their Javascript and CSS selectors, when sometimes the root problem is just having way too many divs.

Gifts for geeks 2012

Designer Sarah Parmenter compiles a great list. Special props to the United Pixelworkers T and the A Book Apart collection set, both are great choices for any web geek during the holidays.