Friday, November 8, 2013

Apple's over-minimalism

Here's a short exchange from this post.

M Johnston wrote:
“Apple has been getting into the habit of obscuring functionality for the sake of aesthetics, and that’s not good design. So let’s hope that this is a short-lived trend.”

I answered:
I couldn’t agree more, I have thought that myself more than once. It’s really frustrating that they can’t see the wrongness of it.
In fact, the whole idea of iOS7’s design is “well, now people have gotten used to smartphones, we don’t need to show what’s a button anymore.”

The trend is not new. In the old OS, there used to be lines in the top of the active window. Those were grip lines. Up through the early stages of OSX, these got more and more line pinstripes, and eventually disappeared totally.

And how about mice with a cord so short it can’t reach around a small laptop!? But it sure looks more tidy!

I think Ive and Jobs are/were over-infatuated with minimalism, at least a little bit. I’m a minimalist myself (I keep my desktop totally free 80% of the time), but it’s important to know where to stop. Where you hurt functionality is the limit.

I refined the design of my web sites (made it all myself) for years (it only took years because I have no real training as designer). But then I couldn't go further without getting "fancy", and "fancy" hurt things like readability or navigation. There are quite narrow limits on the web because of all the different devices it needs to work on. So I just stopped, my artistic sense would just have to bite its metaphorical tongue, because it had reached a hard limit.
It's not regrettable, much. Form must follow function. Fine art is only free where there is no real function.

An example. How would you ever know that you 
can tap in those areas to go to the playing app? I suppose the title is meant to be the button, but it's just quite hard to hit it, both on the iPhone and iPad.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Terry P cheaper in the UK

My UK (or European perhaps?) readers may be interested to know that Sainsburys eBookStore is selling Terry Pratchett books cheaper than Amazon.

If you don't know Terry Pratchett, you are really missing out. I'm currently re-reading most of his books for about the third time. (Oh, take no notice of the garish covers. Terry told me that the publisher says they sell, but I never cared for their super-saturated colors much.) (Another note: his first two books are amongst my least favorites. Neither the story nor the humor is as sharp as it became in the witches books or the Watch (city guards) books.)

Ooh, I just thought of a funny coinkidink: I first discovered Pratchett when I lived in Edinburgh in 2000-2001. And it was in Sainsburys supermarket of all places!
(Well to be exact (and to increase the brackets count (!) in this post), the very first one I read was his very first, years earlier, but like I said, the first two did not catch my interest and I still think they are weaker (along with other books featuring Rincewind the wizard).)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Flote tablet holder

I'm still pleased with my gen-1 Flote.
And I think I'll get the table model too.

Funny enough, today I got the iPad Air. It is definetely a better "presence" than previous generations. (Compare it to the first one, man!) Prettier, lighter, good to hold.
But: I think for it to really become a one-hand device for reading/browsing at length, it still needs to be about 150-200 grams lighter. So stands like the Flote are still very relevant.

Not to mention that rumors about both Samsung and Apple coming up next year with 13-inch tablets are thickening, hurrah! (If we are lucky, they'll just fit in the current models.)
[I think that when we some day have a 13-inch reader at 250 grams, we have finally the perfect reader machine.]

Look at this: finally an iPad who can hold all my favorite episodes of Phineas And Ferb:

Over 100 Gigs free!