Archive: April, 2014

The real problem behind “Designer Duds”

Fascinating rebuttal to my linked post from designer Mills Baker yesterday, this time from Goran Peuc:

He exposed a good question and a good topic, but exposed it from the wrong angle and with the wrong starting thought, wrong premise to the whole thing.

A premise that designers had a seat at the table to begin with.

Spoiler alert: they didn’t.

Designer duds: losing our seat at the table

Designer Mills Baker:

But for the design community, the issue is larger than anyone’s feelings, or even the success or failure of these apps. I worry about the reckoning to come when Square sells to Apple for less than its investors had hoped, or when Medium shuts down or gets acquired (or pivots to provide something other than an attractive, New Yorker-themed CMS for writers, the poorest people in the first world)…

In order to avoid losing its place atop organizations, design must deliver results. Designers must also accept that if they don’t, they’re not actually designing well.

The final hours of Titanfall

Game journalist/host Geoff Keighley’s “Final Hours” series continues with the much anticipated first-person shooter released earlier this year, Titanfall. I downloaded the app over this last weekend on my iPad and after getting through roughly half the content it’s impressive overall. Note it’s effectively a 25000 word story with some multimedia features added, mostly behind the scenes photos and videos during the game’s making.

Note there’s a few small annoyances (that may be rectified on platforms outside the iPad): there’s no text size adjustment and the app is locked into landscape mode only. Still well worth the $2 entry fee for the quality and depth of writing alone.

The Godfather: “I believe in America”

Film columnist and writer Niles Schwartz:

An attitude of the entire trilogy deals with how all corruption is equal. As Michael (Al Pacino) tells Senator Pat Geary (G.D. Spradlin) in Part II, “We’re both a part of the same hypocrisy,” and then later speaking of the political bodies combating him in Part III, “Italian politics have had these men for centuries. They’re the true mafia.” The opening of The Godfather, romance though it is, speaks the same sentiment as the prologue in the more anthropologically-correct prologue of Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas, where Henry Hill narrates, “What the organization is offering is protection for people who can’t go to the cops. That’s it, what the FBI could never get. Like a police department for wise guys.”

Typekit practice

This typography learning resource has gotten a lot of buzz online and I can see why. Typekit is a well respected source of custom web fonts, and the backing of Adobe – with its many font foundries – doesn’t hurt either. You’ll find a few quick lessons, links to many external posts along with recommended book selections.

GitHub cheat sheet

Tech student Tim Green put together a pretty slick set of features and shortcuts for GitHub and Git I’ve rarely seen elsewhere. Some of the command line Git tricks were my favorites; I had no idea you could style git status with the ‘-sb’ modifier or trivially jump to the previous Git branch with a wildcard symbol.


As I came to understand quickly with my day job, working with international dates can be a major pain across different languages on the web. Not only are you dealing with traditional localization issues, but the format and order often changes significantly. For a while I tried relying on a simplistic in-house JS solution, but that fell apart as our site expanded to a progressively higher set of languages.

Moment.js is an excellent solution to this date problem. Download the languages you need and you’ll find yourself up and running very quickly, whether the issue is display or more complex manipulation.

Content-out layout

If there’s one thing that’s extremely common in web-based grid frameworks, it’s their consistency of design. Generally you see twelve to twenty four columns all with exactly the same proportional width. Designer Nathan Ford takes a different approach: start with your site’s content and design a grid system based on visually pleasing, historical ratios. It leads to often irregular, columns for your content, far from the norm as far as traditional web design boilerplate is concerned.

Xbox One and the PlayStation 4: Weirdest. Console. Transition. Ever.

Mark Serrels, writing for Kotaku:

I can’t remember another transition that has felt so half-hearted, so conservative, so burdened by a reluctance to place proper, major bets on new technology…Despite the fact that the Xbox 360 and PS3 had been at the forefront of one of the longest generations I can remember, there was the sense that no-one had faith in the next generation of consoles.

Everyone was in a secure, definitive holding pattern.

As Mark goes onto write, both the Xbox One and PS4 have been selling very well, far better than a lot of the naysayers predicted. The results:

Now we have millions of new console owners with brand new boxes in their homes and nothing to do with them. Because development is long term game. It’s a big arse ship on the open sea and it takes an incredible amount of time to make an about turn.

It’s here that I think there’s more to the story. It’s true that pivoting fast is extremely difficult for AAA titles – true big budget PS4 and Xbox One exclusives (as in, not on any other console platform) should remain few and far between for this reason for a pretty long time, at least another year or two. You’re going to see a lot of cross-gen games with upgraded graphics on the Xbox One and PS4 and little changes elsewhere. Not only are big budget titles hard to switch up mid stream, the very nature of it being high budget and thus high risk makes it important to keep the sales base as wide as possible across multiple platforms.

But I do think indies, will fill out the release calendar significantly. It’s already the case with my PS4: this is the first console I’ve ever owned where smaller indie games like Resogun, Pinball Arcade and Mercenary Kings have about as much combined play time as the more traditional, big budget AAA releases like Assassin’s Creed 4 and Infamous: Second Son.

ShopTalk 110

Influential developer Julie Ann Horvath was recently in tech news for her public resignation from GitHub over harassment during her two year tenure. It’s illuminating hearing her story first hand and underlines a startup tech culture that’s can be very unfriendly towards women. It’s not an easy listen, but it’s important for the community to hear more stories like this so it can actively change for the better.

It’s not just a talk about Julie’s GitHub work experience either; she gives advice for moving your tech career forward, sharing workload among a team and much more.