Creative Timeout

I’m taking a creative timeout – regular postings will continue in a few weeks…


Progress stops for nobody

Do you see that? That little arrow on my videos, this thing? ▶

I went ahead and added it. I don’t really like it. I know it’s a video, no need for a play button. It just adds clutter, doesn’t it. But other people might not know what’s a video and what’s a still image here. So I thought I’d give them a little visual hint.

Here’s where app programming comes in. I’ve learned a lot in the last months about user feedback. It turns out that sometimes the users are actually right, and adding this little feature, that little helper function… sometimes it improves things a lot. More than you would have expected as a designer.

Somebody requested a feature for the Doki reader: “Please add a zoom function for images”. Meh. Just turn the phone to switch to panorama view. If it still doesn’t fit, it’s too large for that small screen anyway. But then I added it, and I love it. I’m using the zoom thingy all the time now. Works great for webcomics.

Sometimes the users know better.


Whew!

It’s 2015 already. Not quite a year since this blog was relaunched, but now’s a good a time as any to do a quick recap.

I’m slowly figuring out what works and what doesn’t. I had this goal of posting at least every other day, which worked out well, but now I’ve pretty much burned through the stash of things I had prepared. So I’m going to slow down a bit. There should be enough in the archives by now to keep you busy for a while, in case you only recently found here.

As I never bothered to write it down: This blog is a collection of things I find interesting and noteworthy. Since this world is already loud enough as it is, and you certainly figured out by now how the internet works, I decided to throw out the distracting fluff and keep things simple instead. If you catch me posting something flashy, it probably means that I’m really excited about it.

If you have questions, suggestions for an article, comments, disagree with something or just want to say hi, please do!

In any case, have a pleasant new year.


The curious case of the Windows Phone UI

In a recent article I wrote about how Windows Phone 7 is Microsoft’s late entry to the smartphone game and how they reinvented their own wheels with it. Turns out I was a bit off the mark.

While the first WPhone7 device was certainly released much later (Nov 2010) than its Android (Sep 2008) and Iphone (Jun 2007) counterparts, its underlying operating system and the user interface actually predate both.

It turns out that the missing piece of this puzzle is the Zune. The Zune was Microsoft’s attempt at designing a portable media player to counter the Ipod. The Zune 30 was the first Zune device. It was released in November 2006 and came with a 30gb internal harddisk (hence the name). What’s curious about the Zune players is their UI. Continue reading Continue reading


Oh, by the way!

I’m happy to announce a new project called WAXCAT – a publisher name I’ve registered for the Windows Phone Store.

I’ve released a first application and there’s more to come. I’ve set up a small page to keep track of plans and progress: waxc.at

This will hardly be news for you if you’ve been following me on twitter but I felt like giving it a bit of an official touch. Over the next days there’ll be some articles about dealing with the Windows Phone Store and such. Maybe even a writeup of longer term plans for the waxcat project, but that might have to wait until the next app release. As with everything else on this blog, comments and critique are always welcome.


ello

This is ello, a new social network. This is their idea of a user page.

They’ll never make it out of obscurity and will eventually fade away. But I do agree with their principles on what a social network should look like.

Here’s some more stuff about ello.


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Bubble, Shmubble

Two weeks ago or so, Reddit changed something with the way they resolve their subreddit addresses. I don’t remember what this was about, but it broke the filter function of the RES extension. Now, the RES extension is a plugin that I use to filter out all the annoying crud and it’s the only way to make Reddit worthwile.

So this thing broke, and I ended up with all the news headlines I had been filtering out over the last months. It was interesting. And it confirmed my decision to abstain the news.

To wrap Operation Bubble up: Constant exposure to daily news changes a hypothetical detriment of missing out on important events for a very real detriment of depressive brainwash and propaganda. It’s a question of personal preference. I’ve learned that both options are valid, and which one is more to my liking.

Ars Technica turns out to be a decent source of relevant information. Twitter is useful for learning things straight from the horse’s mouth, because you can follow directly what people have to say who actually have something to say. There are so many good blogs and microblogs. I like this Internet thing, we might have something good going on there.


About horsepower

Ever wondered what it actually means when an engine has x horsepower? I did, so I looked it up, and here’s what I came up with.

Horsepower is a mechanical power unit and is really just watts by another name. One hp is ~750 watts. So if you have a vacuum cleaner with a 1500w rated engine, that’s two horsies for you. It’s really not that much. Continue reading

Continue reading


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Path of Exile Incident Reports

If you follow me on Steam or Twitter you might have noticed that I fancy wasting time on Path of Exile. The game itself is an oddball, but what I find to be noteworthy is the way the company handles technical screwups. They’re doing that in a professional way that is just above and beyond any other game company. Continue reading

Continue reading


Operation Bubble et cetera

Taking a step back from news media consumption is interesting – it makes you notice certain patterns.

There seem to be two main branches of news reporting. One is about products and is overwhelmingly positive. The other one is about incidents and is mostly negative. Both are generally irrelevant and thus worthless if you don’t bother for the emotional kick.

And then there’s the third branch which is opinion pieces and editorials, which boils down to people writing about their emotions on a subject. They aren’t personally affected. They have no technical insight on the subject. They write because they’re getting paid for it and they’re getting paid for it because they’re good with writing something that stirs up their readers’ emotions.

The whole shebang has some comical aspects to it, but does little for understanding the world we live in.

The key for valuable news must be in choosing my news sources wisely, and the way to do that will be to pick and choose from sources with a well defined relevancy focus. So that’s what’s up next.


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re: german content

Because of recent and upcoming changes to german copyright law, publishing law and fair-use law, I won’t link to german websites as long as these sites are not explicitly promoting a sane fair-use policy (such as Creative Commons, for example).

As I’m about to copy the archived content from nomo.cc to this blog, I will skip most of the content that has been written in german or is referencing german websites. If possible, I will attempt to translate content I consider to be essential.


Operation Bubble – Good news, everyone!

Is there such a thing as “bad news”?

Let’s say that the primary purpose of news is to inform the recipient of things relevant to him, so he can adjust his decisions to affect a personal outcome. A secondary purpose would be education.

World news consists of mostly negative narratives – war, scandals, failing politics, accidents, disasters. While the majority of it might be irrelevant to us personally, we’re still affected by the negative emotions evoked, eventually leading to indifference and cynicism.

This is why habitual consumption of world news for entertainment purposes might be a bad idea.

Now, being well-informed and educated about daily events is obviously important. However, I find that, considering the downsides, it is also important to find a way to focus on news that are of relevance to me.

It’s time to toss out the “McNews” and look for relevant and educating information.