Archive: Miscellany

Embrace the terminal

Developer Una Kravets presents a slightly different take on the command line tutorial I posted a few weeks ago. Instead of a more comprehensive take, Una sticks to basics and essentials. Very useful for command line newcomers.

Apple saves publishing…for itself

Joel Johnson, writing for Fast Company on Apple News and other related publishing consolidation:

For publishers, Apple News and Facebook Instant Articles are simply another revenue stream that puts content where the audience has chosen to be…For readers, assaulted by bad advertising, these curated feeds could be a better—or at least universally banal—way to consume words and images. But it is unclear if most publications will be able to survive on only the revenue granted by these platform companies alone, and it feels incredibly aggressive for Apple to openly state that it—or at least some of its developers—have decided that advertising is always unwelcome, unless it happens to be advertising that Apple itself lords over.

This is exactly one of the major concerns I have with Apple News. Strong consolidation of media under a monolithic company like Apple generally doesn’t bode well for journalism and publishing in the long run.

The art of the command line

A huge compendium of smart tips and tools for using the command line effectively in Linux and Mac OS. For example, here’s one set of keyboard shortcuts everyone should know when navigating with Bash on OS X:

In Bash, use ctrl-w to delete the last word, and ctrl-u to delete all the way back to the start of the line. Use alt-b and alt-f to move by word, ctrl-a to move cursor to beginning of line, ctrl-e to move cursor to end of line, ctrl-k to kill to the end of the line, ctrl-l to clear the screen.

Building responsive teams archive

An archive from my earlier webinar hosted by InVision. I cover techniques on equipping your tech team for responsive web design and native design across mobile devices. The techniques are admittedly derived heavily from Agile methodology (daily standups, project self assignment) but I’m a true believer they can boost productivity across many team structures.

The 10 commandments of good form design on the web

Really enjoyable post by Mono designer Johan Ronsse on how to design great web forms. I especially like the simple before and after animated gifs that illustrate exactly what changes to make and where.

Digital archaeology: how Double Fine, Disney, LucasFilm and Sony resurrected Grim Fandango

Dave Tach, writing for Polygon about Tim Schafer revisiting Grim Fandango, an adventure gaming classic from the 90s:

Just because Schafer wasn’t making adventure games didn’t mean he’d left them behind, as evidenced by his determination to remake his old games. Now, thanks to Disney, LucasArts and Sony, he had an opportunity to revisit one of his best. And the first order of business was to figure out what Double Fine had.

File by file, the developers cataloged the information pulled from floppy discs and DLTs to recreate the original game as faithfully as possible. Now, what would they do with it? The answer is straightforward: Not much, because nothing much needed to be done. To Schafer, remastering should be about delivering the original game with the original intent, but tweaked to take advantage of modern technologies.

A wonderful remaster from earlier this year now accompanied by really solid, in depth reporting.

The tiny designer

Very solid design (with an unusual color palette) to a free 5-week email course. As author Jarrod Drysdale writes:

The Tiny Designer is a course about the big (monumental, even) design that we can make together. Non-designers will learn the important parts of design, so that you can understand what designers do, achieve your goals, and better communicate your ideas. Designers: learn to teach and guide others through your design process so they’ll better appreciate what you do.

I’ve written previously (and given a webinar) about team relationships and how important collaboration is. This course looks like it could share some helpful, related advice.

The heroic Mad Max masculinity

Slashfilm’s Angie Han on yet another aspect of Mad Max: Fury Road that’s great (seriously, if you haven’t seen this movie yet on the biggest screen possible, get on that stat):

But the film has just as much to say about men — specifically what masculinity is, and what place it has in our society. At the center of the film are two types of masculinity: the toxic, destructive kind represented by Immortan Joe, and the healthy, productive kind represented by Max. The conflict between them drives the movie, and points a way forward for our world.

Building responsive teams

I’m giving a free webinar over at InVision a week from today (6/9) at 3pm EST. It’s all about building responsive teams, teams well equipped for responsive web design and native design on multiple, changing devices. No prerequisites – if you’re a designer, developer, project manager, or practically anyone working in or around a tech team, hopefully you’ll find something of interest. Just register in advance and you’ll be able to stream the video and audio live. (I expect an archive of the talk will be up later as well for those who can’t make it.)

The billionaire’s typewritter

Practical Typography’s Matthew Butterick on Medium and other similar writing platforms:

We can’t say that Medium et al. are offering minimalist design. Only the veneer is minimalist. What they’re re ally offering is a shift from design as a choice to de sign as a constant. Instead of minimalist design, a better term might be homogeneous design.

Matthew is clearly anti-Medium with his stance here, and he goes onto attack many fronts; lack of typographic customization is just the beginning. Pro or con Medium as a publishing platform for the future, it’s nevertheless an excellent read.