Archive: October, 2013

State of web inspector

I’ve been a big fan of Safari for a while; generally it’s my browser of choice in my free time. But for work, I never found it came close to the quality of Chrome, almost entirely due to its poor web inspector.

With Safari 7 out the door as part of OS X 10.9, things are very different. Safari took a huge step forward with their inspector; it’s the first that I’ve used for more than a few minutes without immediately closing the page in question and switching to Chrome Dev Tools. This post details all the changes, the most notable being CodeMirror, an all in one solution for making permanent CSS and JS edits right in Safari. Cool.

iOS 7 colors

Gradients and colors inspired by iOS7, generated by designer Tom Oude Egberink. The clean design fits very well with Apple’s aesthetic.

On video game reviews

Game critic Tevis Thompson, writing a very long rant on how broken the state of video game criticism is:

The very outlandishness of my numbers points to how ingrained our pitiful review scale remains.  It speaks to how easily we submit to the tyranny of the perceived majority.  It’s the same kind of thinking that leads to the many ridiculous sacrosanct positions held by the gaming community.  To say you consider Ocarina of Time not a great Zelda or find Half-Life 2 overrated or prefer Metroid to Super Metroid, as I do, demands an explanation.  It invites skepticism of not only your opinions but of your very motives.  What’s your deal?  You’re just trolling for clicks.  And why should I listen to you anyway?  You didn’t design the game.  You don’t represent the average gamer.  You’re just some vocal minority.

Overall I can’t say I agree with Tevis. If anything, when I read criticism from Giant Bomb to Polygon and Tom Bissell on Grantland, we’re getting better criticism recently, not worse. You just have to know where to read. It doesn’t help either that Tevis uses inflammatory language frequently (e.g. “thin-skinned boys”, “straight middle class white gamer”).

But there are some good points made, especially with regard to the general uniformity in game scores for select AAA games (including Bioshock Infinite). If you dig gaming, read reviews, and especially if games journalism matters to you, it’s worth your time.

Scroll hijacking

There’s a lot of designers and developers who love the design of Apple’s new product pages. But I’m not one of them and it’s almost entirely due to its very forced input methods. Designer Trent Walton explains it perfectly.

Gravity: vfx that’s anything but down to earth

There’s been many, many articles written since Gravity debuted on the cinematography and CGI involved in its production. But this extended feature over at FXGuide, with six videos and plenty of photographs, goes into more depth than I’ve seen elsewhere. I’m still amazed on how much they pulled off successfully in this film.

The Panic office

I’m already a big fan of Panic’s Mac app Transmit, so maybe I’m a bit bias here. But these offices are gorgeous. Love the multicolored, diagonally striped carpet on the main floor.

Flat UI and forms

Designer Jessica Enders, writing for A List Apart:

The problem is that in the push for simplicity, flat UIs may have gone too far. With content, things like drop shadows, gradients, and borders may well be no more than useless “embellishments.” When we read a multi-page news article, it doesn’t matter much whether the mechanism to move to the next page is a button or a link. With forms, however, distinguishing between a button and a link matters far more.

A thesis that argues for more visual contrast than average for forms may sound a bit simplistic. But it’s not; Jessica goes into some really excellent design examples to show how just a tiny bit more distinction or hierarchy can have significant form conversion effects.


I’m already a huge fan of Scott Jehl’s picturefill responsive images technique. It’s a simple javascript based polyfill that adds the proposed picture element to your site. I’ve used it repeatedly on my professional work and side projects.

But I noticed one important limitation of the base work; because it’s JS powered, there’s a brief moment where the pseudo picture element “pops into” the layout after the initial load. For some pages that effect is acceptable, but for my latest work, I needed more control on when the picturefill effect is activated.

That’s where this fork by developer Tyson Matanich was very helpful. It’s a simple but powerful idea: add an extra method to activate the picture element early before a full DOM load. However I found the rest of the extra options and functionality too much for what my project needed; instead I took the basic gist and forked my own copy of Jehl’s original for actual usage. Works great.

384 pages of CSS

Web developer Louis Lazaris takes a novel approach to extended CSS instruction: spend $7 in the form of an e-book and get 83 solid CSS articles from Impressive Webs. No extra promos, no extra advertising. Smart.

Gliding over all: the cinematography of Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad may have been gone for a few weeks now, but stumbling on this wonderful video essay really drives home how much DP Michael Slovis had influence over the show’s look. It’s illuminating to see a video essay with the original soundtrack removed like we see here; you’re left with nothing but the images and your memories of the original episodes.