Seems very well-considered. This is one (admittedly geeky) thing Yosemite didn't clean up much, and I've definitely been the victim of having 10+ 'Get Info' windows appear when I should've Command+Alt+I'd instead.
This conversation nicely captures the irony of not understanding why people watch eSports:
"I can understand people watching a golf game, I can't understand people watching somebody play a computer game.""
"Well I have to say, my wife can't understand people watching a golf game because she's not a golfer. So if you're not a gamer, that's not gonna appeal to you."
Something to keep in mind around the 5-minute mark when they discuss whether or not eSports competitors are 'athletes': by definition they aren't, because athletes are people "trained to compete in sports or exercises involving physical strength, speed, or endurance". eSports competitors definitely get physically tense when $100,000+ are on the line, and they possess impressive hand-eye coordination and mental skill, but they're not technically athletes.
My very basic web knowledge came in handy recently. I was working on a group project, and my team wanted to include a few realistic-looking news headlines in our presentation.
Is anyone good with Photoshop?
We don't need Photoshop, we can just edit the website.
Like... hack it?
Right-click a piece of text
Select "Inspect Element"
In the colorful code that appears, double-click the string of text you want to change to edit it
Hit enter to confirm, and close the inspector with the "x" on the top right
This simple tip blew their minds, and I was known thenceforth the "computer wizard" of the group.
If I were to trace back all of my web-related work to a single point in time, I think it was the day I saw raw HTML code in Chrome's web inspector back in ~2010. Before then, I only kinda-sorta knew that the web was made of files and code - I didn't realize I could manipulate that code and tweak things right on my own machine. It was an awesome discovery, and very few people my age know it's even possible without "hacking".
I now impart this powerful knowledge unto you in good faith, knowing that you'll put it to good use. Spread the word about web wizardry, and explore all the secrets the inspector holds. If you can see it, you can change it - don't let any website tell you otherwise.
Here's how to change your Twitter handle from @OldName to @NewName without losing your followers, tweet history, or losing access to your old handle. From your followers' perspective, the change will be totally seamless, and it can be done in less than 10 minutes.
Here's a synopsis:
create a new Twitter account with a @JunkName handle you don't care about
change your @OldName account to @NewName, keeping your followers and tweet history intact (releasing your @OldName into the wild)
use the new Twitter account you made to quickly grab @OldName before anyone else has a chance to take it
One thing to note: Because of the way Twitter handles conversations, changing your username won't retroactively change @mentions directed toward you from other people. This means that people you've conversed with will seemingly be talking to a ghost at @OldName instead of you at @NewName. Considering the "in-the-now" nature of Twitter this isn't really a showstopper, just a mild inconvenience that'll lessen over time.
First, create a brand new Twitter account with a junk handle you don't care about. Something like "testing873626" is fine. Make the password strong, because eventually this will be the account that holds your @OldName for safe-keeping.
Now sign out of that account (or open up another web browser) and sign into your @OldName Twitter account. Head to your account page, which will look like this:
Replace the username in that first box with the one you want, and you'll see an "Available!" confirmation message.
Click the big blue "Save changes" button at the bottom and you'll be asked to re-enter your password to confirm the change.
Confirm your password, hit "Save changes" and a yellow banner will let you know that your settings have been saved. Your username is now officially changed.
If you need to change your "real" name (First & Last), which in my case still says Thinkertry, head over to your main profile page and click the "Edit profile" button. Change your name from there and hit "Save changes". The Twitter account you care about is now perfectly set up.
To maintain control of your @OldName, log back into the new Twitter account you made with the temporary handle and go to the account page. Change the username to your @OldName and it'll show as available. Old usernames are made available to the world the very instant someone changes their name, and as far as I can tell there's no time limit or name change limit either.
Click "Save changes" just as before, and head over to your profile again to tweak the account's name and description. It may also be a good idea to make one tweet from this account directing people to the @NewName account. None of your followers will see this (because they're following @NewName now), but anyone who visits your old account URL will be more likely to notice the change and follow you in the right place.
And that's it! Not as hard as I thought it would be, and my many single digits of followers are none the wiser.
With exams right around the corner, today seemed like the perfect time to organize my wallpaper collection and create a new page to share them.
Each wallpaper is, in my opinion:
Large enough to not be blurry (at least, not on my 1920x1200 monitor)
Interesting enough to be worth looking at (too many "minimalist" wallpapers are just boring shapes the center of boring rectangles)
Dark enough for desktop icon labels to be read easily, and to save my eyes from blinding whiteness at night
All of the ones included fit the bill, and I've been cycling through them for the past few years. I have ~100 others that I'll need to test a bit more before sharing, and I'll do that throughout 2015.
Every artist I could find is credited, and clicking a wallpaper will bring you to the artist's preferred download page (which is a pain, I know, but they get analytics data that way). If I couldn't find the original source/artist, you'll be directed to a locally-hosted copy instead.
Every wallpaper is at least 1920x1080, and two-thirds of them are at least 2560x1440. I may display the resolutions of locally-hosted ones in the future, but not for now.
As much as I'd like to create a nicely-organized .zip file with all of them included, I'm once again reluctant to willingly redistribute the work of others. I could make one with just the 'unknown' wallpapers included, but that seems a bit pointless.
And of course, I don't claim copyright on any of these images, and you should contact artists directly if you'd like to use them for commercial work.
If you know of (or are) the original source for any of these images, let me know and I'll update or remove their listings.
Jackie is a perfectionist, willing to do as many takes as necessary to get it right, and in Hong Kong he's supported by the studio, which gives him months to shoot a fight.
.... When I re-watch his work, these little things are the ones I'm most impressed by. He doesn't need to do them and they eat into his budget, but he still does them because he wants to, and it's that 'going above and beyond' that I respect and admire.
Jackie: "But in America they don't allow you to do that, because of money."
Looks pretty cool to me, and public reception has been generally positive. A good start for one of the most highly-anticipated films of this decade.
As someone who grew up with the less-than-ideal sequels, my stance on Disney rebooting the franchise is similar to Reel Matt's:
I never thought the day would come when I could experience what my parents and so many others did in 1977 when the original film was released. That day is coming, and it’s December 18, 2015.
That's really the whole point: after 37 years, it's about time that the next generation - my generation - gets to experience the awesomeness of Star Wars that the prequels failed to capture. Given Abrams' work on Star Trek, it seems like this reboot will finally bring back that magic.
Count me among the people who were annoyed with Apple's promotional notification yesterday. It's a good cause and all, but lighting up the App Store with PROJECT(RED) coloring and working with popular app developers to tweak their icons was enough to get the word out; a un-opt-outable notification was simply unnecessary, and kindarude.
I'm sure the majority of iOS users didn't mind it at all and were happy to donate, but as Marco Arment points out Apple willingly violated their own rule to make the notification happen, and that sets a terrible example for app developers.
A thoughtful and well-edited series on the history of graphics in video games by Stuart Brown. The concluding thought in the last video is a good summary:
Graphics are absolutely important. They are an essential part of videogames, a window into another world, and a prime indicator of the technology that powers it.
However, the true value of visuals is not in their realism. A game's aesthetic does far more to establish its character than its polygon count. A cohesive style is all you need, and it's often better to stick to proven technique than it is to attempt something cutting edge.
We still need pioneers to light the way, but for most, there's no harm in sticking to safer waters. A development span of half a century means that graphics can lean on an ever-richer heritage.
We have come a long way.
46 minutes total, but worth it if you've been a gamer for a while. Definitely a nostalgia trip.
Oh, God, yeah. I try to instill this into the rest of the team but certainly I feel that what we have right now is just a giant piece of shit. Like, it’s just terrible and we should be humiliated that we offer this to the public. Not everyone finds that motivational, though.
The many internal tales of Steve Jobs aside, you don't often hear CEOs bash their own product with such gusto - particularly when Venture Capital money is starting to flow. It's refreshing to see Butterfield acknowledge his young product's flaws rather than prematurely tout its greatness.
I'm also sure that he's right about his perspective not being motivational or helpful to team members who don't think the same way. I have a similar tendency to be unimpressed with the work of most of the students I partner up with, and because I'm not so great at acting dumb, my feedback often puts a damper on their enthusiasm (even though our project ends up being better for it).
Butterworth's comment reminds of a story Jony Ive recently told:
I remember having a conversation with [Steve] [about] why it could have been perceived that in his critique of a piece of work, he was a little harsh. We’d been working on this, we’d put our heart and soul into this, and I was saying, ‘Couldn’t we ... moderate the things we said, a little bit?’
And he said, ‘Why?’ and I said, ‘Because I care about the team.’ And he said this brutally, brilliantly insightful thing, which was, ’No Jony, you’re just really vain.’ He said, ‘You just want people to like you, and I’m surprised at you because I thought you really held the work up as the most important, not how you believed that you were perceived by other people.’
And I was terribly cross, because I knew he was right.
It seems like the key thing to convey when discussing a product's flaws with team members is to remind them that it's the work that you're unimpressed with, and not them as a person. Unfortunately it's human nature to take any kind of criticism personally, and sugarcoating stuff or ignoring things entirely to avoid hurt feelings only ends up hurting everyone in the end.
It's tricky, and after almost a decade of practice I've only gotten marginally better at it.
As far as concept videos go, this is a pretty good one. There's definitely some voodoo, but a healthy dash of plausibility makes it palatable.
The primary criticism I've read about this video is that some of the touch gestures shown are too complex or opaque to be effective. I agree in principle, but I'd also say that there's probably no better company than Adobe to figure out and standardize the equivalent of keyboard shortcuts for touchscreen interactions.
Unfortunately I can't find the source on this - it may have been something I learned in one of my classes - but I recently came across the notion that for certain professional applications like the ones in Adobe's creative suite, immediate "pick up and play" usability is less important than immense functionality. At some point, the capabilities of a program become so extensive that expecting a brand new user to be just as efficient as a professional becomes unrealistic. In a way, being called a "professional" means that you've put in the time to master all of the shortcuts and intricacies of an advanced program, and dumbing down what experts can do for the sake of grandmas trying to crop photos isn't worth it.
Although my usability background makes me reluctant to say it, I think I agree with that point. If tablet computers are ever going to become as "productive" or useful to the highest level of Photoshop professionals as an iMac with a keyboard, advanced and (probably) invisible gestures and shortcuts are eventually going to be necessary.
I think Apple recognized that fact when they took a stab at creating advanced gestures with iPhoto for iPad. They largely failed, as Lukas Mathis documented, but there's still hope that advanced gestures can be taught and integrated in such a way that they become essential to the workflow of professionals.
So yes, some of the interactions that Adobe thinks we'll use in the future seem kinda weird and foreign right now, but if professionals really need touchscreen equivalents for Ctrl+C and Alt-drag then I think Adobe is uniquely positioned to figure out what those should look like.
When I was at Macworld, the weight of an article could be quite oppressive. If you had something interesting to say, but it really couldn’t bear more than a few paragraphs, you had two choices: Just swallow it and not write anything, or fluff it up with empty filler until it seemed more substantial than it actually was...
Generally we were not interested in fluff and filler, so those stories would go unwritten. Maybe they’d get salvaged as a tweet. But a lot of interesting, albeit small, stuff would just fall to the floor and be swept away with the other detritus at the end of the day: Amusing, interesting tidbits that would never be seen because they didn’t cross some imaginary threshold.
Discovering the right balance between artistic fluff and bite-sized bits is a big part of why I write here. It's good practice, and by practicing semi-regularly I'll hopefully be less afraid to publish smaller, more fragile thoughts that are occasionally worthwhile to share.
Extracting and thinking about the important bits hidden in fluffy stuff is what I like to do, and that often takes more than 140 characters to do well. Thankfully this site is so small and cheap to maintain that I don't feel pressured into fluffing up anything I write. I'd like to keep it that way.
A human-factors expert will join a team investigating the fatal test-flight crash of the Virgin Galactic passenger rocket plane to study why the co-pilot prematurely unlocked the ship's pivoting tail section, the National Transportation Safety Board chairman said on Monday.
"We know already from having the lever move from lock to unlock that we need to get a human-factors person in here because the question then is why did that happen when it happened," Hart said. "The human-factors person will be here today."
I suspect that, like the crash of Air France Flight 447 and so many other aviation-related incidents, it'll come down to a miscommunication between the human and the machine: what the co-pilot thought the system's current status was and what it actually was at the time the lever was pulled.
We may never know the exact reason(s) why the co-pilot pulled the lever too early, but I'm sure the investigation will reveal ways that the system could be improved.
Here's their announcement video. The app is displayed for about 10 seconds total in the 60-second spot, and those 10 seconds are chunked into tiny, incomprehensible pieces. The rest is just filler of people with great fashion sense having the time of their lives while I'm sitting here in my dark room fiddling with emails.
And here's the introductory video that Google says will help you "quickly learn how to make the most of your inbox". Every new Inbox user receives an email with a prominent link to this video, and it does a terrible job of teaching anything.
I've watched it 3 times, and I still don't understand what's going on. It doesn't help at all that the narrator's finger clearly doesn't match up with the animations, and that certain transitions seem to be completely missing (like at 0:51). By the time the narrator started talking about flipping a switch to see things you've pinned and adding reminders to your inbox, my brain was long gone.
Every time she demonstrates how "simple" doing something is, her finger taps on 3-4 additional things that she assumes you're already familiar with. That's not how you teach people - that's how you waste their time.
Compare these to the announcement videos of Google Now and Google Glass that I discussed a while ago. Google Now was introduced with realistic actors doing realistic things, and Glass was too (although to a lesser extent). Both were far better than Inbox's introduction, and although they didn't demonstrate the specifics of an app's interface, something tells me the producers of those videos would've done a better job explaining the human-centered why of Inbox, and the contexts in which it can be better than regular email.
I've been keeping close track of the new and interesting widgets that've been coming out recently, and frankly I'm surprised by how readily the tech media exalts widgets as being one of iOS 8's greatest features while ignoring the fact that they're being put in an entirely nonsensical place.
Yes, calendar and to-do widgets are both perfectly logical additions to the "Today" view in Notification Center. But does a calculator, your latest Dropbox changes, or an app launcher really mesh well with what the "Today" view is supposed to be about? Do those widgets present useful, at-a-glance information about the things you need to worry about "Today"? Do they even have anything to do with the word "Today"?
No they don't. They have no logical place being there. If Apple really wanted these kinds of widgets to be in Notification Center, they should have put a "Widgets" tab at the top and and let developers run wild. Instead, they seem to have allowed Widgets and Today view to merge into a clumsy mess.
If you're thinking, "but the widgets are opt-in, it's not like users would get confused when they manually add a calculator widget," I'd say that's beside the point. Apple neglected to build the right home for widgets in iOS 8. They imagined a world where Fantastical could replace Apple's own calendar widget in "Today" view, they built that world, and then for whatever reason decided to allow calculators and file change trackers to live in the same house. Those widgets simply don't belong in that tab.
I feel for these developers, because Apple outright wasted their time. PCalc and Launcher are being rejected simply because Apple neglected to establish the ground rules that would've prevented Today view from becoming the Widget view it is now. They witheld that ugly conversation from the exciting keynote of WWDC 2014 and ended up bringing something like OS X's ill-fated Dashboard directly to iOS.
Now Apple has to take a PR hit for it, and rightly so. At this point I really do wonder if Apple will add a new tab to Notification/Action Center in iOS 8.2; at which point James Thomson's excellent work won't be for naught after all.
iOS 8 includes a new accessibility feature that adds a dark filter over the entire screen. This means that for the first time ever, you can make your screen become even dimmer than the lowest brightness setting available in Control Center, and you can activate it from anywhere with a simple triple-click of the Home button.
Here's how to set it up:
Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Zoom and toggle Zoom on
Triple-tap the screen with 3 fingers (yes, it's a very weird gesture) to bring up a dark-colored popup
Tap "Full Screen Zoom" and then drag the zoom slider all the way to the left
Tap "Choose Filter" and then tap "Low Light" (your screen will get darker)
Tap outside of the popup to close it and go back to the Accessibility menu
Scroll all the way down and tap "Accessibility Shortcut"
Triple-click the Home button and the screen will return to normal
Exit Settings and enjoy
If you're a night owl who likes to read at night, this additional filter is huge. My Nexus 7 became my primary nighttime reading device as soon as I discovered an app called Screen Filter, and I've been wishing for the ability to make my iPhone's screen dimmer ever since.