App. development is often completely senseless

Craig Mod shares his incite on how apps are made – a process he compares to making pottery. Creating a convincing argument that the how process makes absolutely no sense.

Apps mirror life in their unfairness. Time spent making an app in no way guarantees successes, financial or spiritual. Grizzled developers toil for years and ‘lose’ to the ‘chain-smoking geek’ in Vietnam with the twitchy bird. Guy doesn’t even want the money.

This is so true. How many projects have I started early, or first, or toiled for years on, only to discover someone built a similar idea and brought it to commercial or critical success.

The first pass should be ugly, the ugliest. Any brain cycle spent on pretty is self deception. If pretty is the point then please stop. Do not, I repeat, do not spent three months on the radial menu, impressive as it may be. It will not save your company. There is a time for that. That time is not now. Instead, make grand gestures. General gestures. Most importantly, enumerate the unknowns. Make a list. Making known the unknowns you now know will surface the other unknowns, the important unknowns, the truly devastating unknowns — you can’t scrape our content! you can’t monkey park here! a tiny antennae is not for rent! You want to unearth answers as quickly as possible. Nothing else matters if your question marks irrecoverably break you. Do not procrastinate in their excavation.

How are apps made?

Being early

For our first interview for The Distance, he arrived 20 minutes early to the Starbucks in suburban Chicago where we had arranged to meet. Due to a slight miscommunication, I ended up at a different Starbucks at the same intersection, so he actually waited for 40 minutes before we figured out what was happening.

Jim was gracious, though, and later explained that his penchant for extreme punctuality stemmed from his days as a professional trumpet player. As a freelance musician, he needed to be dependable — competition for gigs was intense, and band leaders didn’t want to deal with players who showed up late or weren’t prepared. Jim arrived at all his gigs early, with enough time to warm up and even grab a cup of coffee before the performance started.

Though I’m sure a friend or colleague could remind me otherwise, I share the same desire for punctuality as Jim, likely as well due to my experience as a musician in my youth. I always arrive early and never seldom arrive late. Which is to say the habit of people arriving late for meetings in Taiwan drives me crazy, because in some circles here the more important you are the later you arrive.

There so many basic skills that are all too often forgotten.

From: The Music Man

Thoughts on navigating the open sea of knowledge

We live in a world awash with information, but we seem to face a growing scarcity of wisdom. And what’s worse, we confuse the two. We believe that having access to more information produces more knowledge, which results in more wisdom. But, if anything, the opposite is true — more and more information without the proper context and interpretation only muddles our understanding of the world rather than enriching it.

Very well done, and I doubt we get expect any less from Maria Popova. I don’t quit agree with her definitions (few people reach the top of the DIKW Hierarchy) and would have rewritten the above to express that we are in a world awash with noise (data), far more noise than signal, information is scarce, and knowledge and wisdom very difficult to come by. We are constantly fed data, not information.

Data, Information, Knowledge, and then Wisdom.

Information is only the beginning of meaning.

“We live in an age of alsos, adapting to alternatives. because we have greater access to information, many of us have become more involved in researching, and making our own decisions, rather than relying on experts. The opportunity is that there is so much information, the catastrophe is that 99% of it isn’t meaningful or understandable. We need to rethink how we present information because the information appetites of people are much more refined. Success in our connected world requires that we isolate the specific information we need and get it to those we work with.” From Richard Saul Wurman’s, “Information Anxiety 2”

“We are being pummeled by a deluge of data and unless we create time and spaces in which to reflect, we will be left with only our reactions. I strongly believe in the power of weblogs to transform both writers and readers from “audience” to “public” and from “consumer” to “creator.” Weblogs are no panacea for the crippling effects of a media-saturated culture, but I believe they are one antidote.” rebecca blood, september 2000

Data is raw and often overabundant. Despite what many may say, it’s not the driving force of our age. It is, for the most part, only the building blocks on which relevance is built. Content / data en mass has limited value in its raw state.

In fact data is useless until it is transformed — in it’s raw state it has no meaning and is of little value which only contributes to the anxiety we feel in our lives.

My iPhone 6 prediction

fanny pack

If all the rumours are correct and Apple does indeed this evening (Taiwan time) introduce a 5+ inch screen iPhone, I predict we’ll see a resurgence of those ridiculous artificial leather wast bags as a man’s fashion accessory. Small waist carry-alls (otherwise known as: fanny pack, hip sack, bum bag) used to be popular in the 80’s, but with the exception of some attempts at reintroducing the accessory and stage its comeback into the fashion world in 2007, it has largely been relocated to poorly dressed tourists, sports enthusiast and/or outdoorsy types (I own one for running).

But how else would one carry such a large phone?



Colour and Contrast


Despite the weathered type, there is no mistaking the location and meaning of the device in the photo above.

Warm colours take control, we use them for things you want to pop out and get noticed. Colours like red are especially good for this purpose. Some colours have universal meaning, but some do not. Higher contrast items stand out and catch your eye, the white background above is very effective. The same red box placed on a red brick background is less effective, a problem I often see.

This is very basic knowledge but it’s consistent application requires a discipline I don’t often encounter in my day to day environment.