Non-ascii characters in Bundle ID

This is a note-to-self: Don’t use Non-ascii characters in Bundle ID. I’ve made this mistake twice now causing all kinds of extra time fixing the problem.

Bundle ID should not be localized according to CFBundleIdentifier Documentation:

CFBundleIdentifier (String - iOS, macOS) uniquely identifies the bundle. Each distinct app or bundle on the system must have a unique bundle ID. The system uses this string to identify your app in many ways. For example, the preferences system uses this string to identify the app for which a given preference applies; Launch Services uses the bundle identifier to locate an app capable of opening a particular file, using the first app it finds with the given identifier; in iOS, the bundle identifier is used in validating the app’s signature.

The bundle ID string must be a uniform type identifier (UTI) that contains only alphanumeric (A-Z,a-z,0-9), hyphen (-), and period (.) characters. The string should also be in reverse-DNS format. For example, if your company’s domain is and you create an app named Hello, you could assign the string com.Ajax.Hello as your app’s bundle identifier.

If you can’t explain it to a 5 year old …

One of the consistent problems I have faced both as a result of a highly irregular career path (I don’t even like the word career), and my own extremely broad interests, is that answering the inevitable “what do you do?” question inevitably leads to a stuttered response on my part.

This problem in no small part has been a result of living in Taiwan for 18 years, where design specialization is a difficult path to take.

My responses have been purposely vague and often include the titles designer, design manager or engineer. Inquisitive people, like my son, often want more detail and that’s where I usually start to fail. How to explain my work, experience, and/or my interests to non-practioners, which is to say just about everyone.

Last December I attempted to do just that, as I was required to do so as part of 3+ month evaluation presentation. I wrote the following:

For over 20 years I have worked with organisations to help them build applications, websites, music, and other digital products that work for real people.

I’m a maker, love my craft, and enjoy working with others to realise a products vision. I have experience, and am comfortable, working in a variety of roles.

我有著20年的經驗幫助各類組織製作應用、網頁、音樂 、提升使用者體驗、以及開發其他幫助人們實現其 目標的數碼產品。

我是一個製造者,我愛我的手藝,並樂於同其他人一 同努力實現產品目標。 我有著豐富經驗,能夠適應在 工作中扮演不同的角色。

I don’t like it but it served it’s purpose at the time, particularly the Chinese version.

The problem with these couple of paragraphs is that they don’t actually explain anything. And the term maker in English has all kinds of connotations that I don’t want.

So this is a problem I hope to solve over the next couple weeks as I make some time for a healthy does of introspection and define some further focus for the next few months.

Somehow, we must find again our sense of individual values, lost in this century of enormous technological advance. This very freedom that mechanical aids are giving us has welded us into unmanageable megalopolises, where people are anonymous numbers and where communication with our fellow man seems a minus quantity. We must restore the warmth and spirit we had in the smaller community. I hope that in our leisure time we will once again know our neighbor — and, if everyone knows his neighbor and learns to live with him, the entire world will be at peace.
Henry Dreyfuss, Designing for People [Dreyfuss 1955, p. 261]

Charging Station – China, Fujian

The result of months of early morning noise becomes apparent. The above is one of many new electric car charging stations on the NetDragon campus. Small electric vehicles and scooters are everywhere in Fuzhou and area. However they have made it happen, it’s something that Taiwan, and parts of Canada could stand to emulate.

Eastlink Cable Remote Usability Test

Cable operators remote controls haven’t improved much if at all.

A bit of light hearted geek fun during an otherwise emotional experience.

Over the winter I had the good fortune of being able to spend time caring for my mother while she was in palliative care. This excellent facility included many of the comforts of home, not least of which was a large screen television hung in a good viewing location in each guest room. I forget the brand but the TV had all the features that (not)smart televisions have now, features hidden and largely inaccessible to those not willing to commit to a large learning curve. Naturally, a good TV plays an important part in each guests time in the facility. Unfortunately the remote control only seemed to add frustration and increased work load for the volunteers and nurses.

Remote controls with bad UI is still a common issue.

Without fail each and every time my mother would want to watch TV she would be unsuccessful and hand the remote to me to try to fix the problem. I can’t figure this thing out she would say. I must have played with this remote for a week before I could make sense of what I was supposed to do to turn on the TV.

I wasn’t alone, with the exception of the nurses, the only way anyone could get the TV to show a TV show was by sheer luck.

After I figured it out, I decided to do little experiment. A discount usability test of a single task – turn on the TV to cable channel 5. Feigning ignorance I asked 7 visitors of various ages and perceived skills to complete the task. None of the participants were from the nursing staff as they, after repeated requests to perform the same task, had mastered the system. 6 participants are a common requirement for any test, with 1 extra in case their were issues with a participant and to provide a good practice run.

Afterwards I asked to explain how they accomplished the task, which would illustrate task flow.

The results were unsurprising. All had trouble with the remote. Most, (4 out of 7) gave up before completion and asked someone else for assistance. The remaining succeeded in turning on the TV and turning to channel 5 but did so entirely by luck so couldn’t recite the path they took to get there.

The problem is that remote control forces a specific button press sequence in order to accomplish the task (watch cable TV channel 5) but does not illustrate this requirement. Most people press the large green button with the text “watch cable TV”, but you must first press the smaller power button first. If you don’t the screen is active but you begin your hunt through the myriad of other similarly labeled buttons, all to no avail.

The fix is to properly label the sequence, with text and correct button size, or ideally, remove the need for a 2 button press for what is the most common function by combining these two actions into 1.

If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.
— Sir Ken Robinson


I turn 50 today. A fact I find very hard to believe as I feel the same as I always have, just lighter and faster.

The day started with hugs and handmade cards from the kids while I drank my first strong cup of coffee for the day. Next up was a slow 5K run around the nearby track – in this heat with each 5k I lose about 1kg of water weight.

The day continued with a trip to the FamilyMart to call a taxi from the service console there. Thanks to what must be a powerful lobby group, Taiwan seems to have outlawed Uber and has no real local alternative. I miss the convenience of 滴滴出行. The taxi delivered me to Fe21 where I watched the first of two ridiculous movies I had planned for the day, The Mummy and the slightly more torturous Transformers. I enjoy being entertained by the silliness of Hollywood movies with their high production values and sometimes great production art. Lunch was at my favorite coffee shop Ink Café where I enjoyed a latte, sandwich and salad, and some free sweet they were handing out.

The day ended takeout sashimi from our local favorite, cheesecake from again, Ink Café, and a late night glass of whiskey with a group of Sheryl’s colleagues. Being tired my introversion shined, but I was delighted to hear people talk about topics of a great deal more depth than what the youngsters I had the pleasure to be around in China talk about. Even more delightful, this was a group of people who actually paid attention to one another. In China, you could have diner with a group of people and they would spend the majority of their time looking at their phone screens.

But for an increased drive to see, experience, and do much more, I have no real change in plans for the 2nd half of my life. It’s more of a feeling that things are just getting started vs. starting to wind down.

A recent Pew Research Center survey of 1,408 technology and education professionals suggested that the most valuable skills in the future will be those that machines can’t yet easily replicate, like creativity, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, adaptability and collaboration. In short, people need to learn how to learn, because the only hedge against a fast-changing world is the ability to think, adapt and collaborate well.
The most forward-thinking, future-proof college in America teaches every student the exact same stuff

Newstand in Fuzhou

I love these newsstands scattered throughout Fuzhou. They are reminiscent of what I have seen in Paris and to a lesser extent Hong Kong. Unfortunately they have largely been transformed into places to buy cigarettes and/or water, and in what I have seen in Paris, they remain to sell items for tourists. What a good opportunity these represent as a community hub where you can have an opportunity to meet people or connect with someone who sees the comings and goings of the neighborhood. Maybe if they offered free wifi and a charging station it might entice people to linger.

A quick departure

NetDagon’s very impressive ChangLe campus attracts allot of new recruits and tour groups. Really well done and the whole campus is incredibly well maintained. Missing from the picture is the new executive “borg like” apartments on the right. While it deserves all the attention it receives, it becomes obvious over time that the campus and office buildings were designed more for the “wow”, than for the needs of employees.

Some decisions are difficult. While I am really excited to be returning to Taiwan for these next few months and have a direct impact on a new company’s product, I can’t help but feel a tiny bit of disappointment that I am leaving China early without accomplishing all I had set out to do (it was a big list). I’m a bit of an outlier, an odd duck, for a lot of good reasons, but instead of wasting time trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, I thought it best to part ways, quickly, and on friendly terms.

I hope to write more about my experience in the coming weeks

Travel Tip: For the love of God, stand at least 10 feet away from the luggage carousel at airports when awaiting your luggage. Avoid human pile-ups. Respect your fellow travelers and only approach when you see your bag. Occasionally, you’ll catch the glance of another observant traveller and just nod in silent frustration.
Jamie Rupp, Founder/Designer, Relwen

Good design means not leaving traces of the design, and not overworking the design.

People shouldn’t really have to think about an object when they are using it. Not having to think about it makes the relationship between a person and an object run more smoothly.

(The principle of) Design dissolves in behavior is about finding products beautiful not simply because of the way they look, but from the experience of interacting with them.
Naoto Fukasawa from Szita, Jane. “Without a Trace.” Dwell Sept. 2006: 134-140

To be minimalist …

I believe we have to get away from the idea of minimalism as a style and instead understand it as a way of thinking about space: its proportions, its surfaces, and the fall of light. The vision is comprehensive and seamless, a quality of space rather than forms; places, not things.

Minimalism is not an architecture of self-denial, deprivation or absence: it is defined not by what is not there, but by the rightness of what is there and by the richness with which this is experienced.

…the glory lies not in the act of removal, but in the experience of what is left. Profound – and pleasurable – experience is located in ordinary experience: in the taking of a shower or the preparation of food.

For me, comfort is synonymous with a state of total clarity where the eye, the mind and the physical body are at ease, where nothing jars or distracts. This emphasis on a quality of experience is important. Some people seem to have an idea that the only role the individual has in such spaces is the capacity to contaminate. In the sort of work that interests me, the antithesis is true: the individual is always at its heart.
John Pawson

Fujian “Soundart”

I returned to China yesterday after a 3 month absence. There is much to write about the past 3 months and my return to working here, but I think the above video might be a good start. This was what I was greeted with at 5:55am today. Still suffering from the worst jet lag I’ve ever experienced I was up at 3am anyway, but only here would they be allowed to produce such soul destroying noise this early in the day (and it’s been going non-stop for 8 months). This may be a contributing factor as why most of my colleagues are now spending there time away from this campus.

The Story of the Chinese Farmer

Once upon a time, there was a Chinese farmer who lost a horse. Ran away. And all the neighbors came ‘round that evening and said, “that’s too bad.”

And he said, “maybe.”

The next day, the horse came back and brought seven wild horses with it. And all the neighbors came around and said, “that’s great, isn’t it?”

And he said, “maybe.”

The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity, and it’s really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad, because you never know what will be the consequence of the misfortune. Or you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune.

Because every person knows what he likes, every person thinks he is an expert on user interfaces.
Paul Heckel