1. The medium with which you choose to express a message shapes that message — be careful it doesn’t contradict it.

    Case in point: A Rational Web Platform (via @brucel)

    • hosted on google silo
    • long complex ugly URL
    • presentation tied to paged dead-tree media with ugly results: text breaks across artificial “pages”
    • no author URL, just corporate silo email, and email != web
    • javascript required
    • no microformats2 or even semantic HTML article markup — even js-generated markup is predictably disgusting with vast quantities of nested divs and spans with inline styles
    • Redirecting to different (non-canonical? difficult to tell due to ugliness) URL due to large amounts of traffic, likely indicative of infrastructural problems or incorrect medium
    • Broken on mobile devices:
      the body text is tiny and does not wrap, the high-traffic warning is truncated and unreadable

    Everything about this is anti-web, practically screaming “ignore me”.


    • Host on personal site or project commons with CC license
    • Short, consistent, readable URI
    • Static semantic HTML with microformats2 h-entry for easy citations, archival and replying, no JS required — this would also solve infrastructural problems as HTML is pretty easy to serve and much faster than JS-rendered DOM-heavy “documents”applications
    • Author attributed by name+personal (non-silo) URL, with profile photo/logo for quick human association
  2. Mac OS 10.6 spaces vs 10.9 full-screen apps/desktops — switching gestures a welcome addition, but muscle memory persistent “physical” location lost, replaced by ambiguous time-based UI which does exactly what you mean half of the time, and causes flow-breaking confusion+excise the rest of the time

  3. Celebrating oneoldernessday at the office by finding my Icelandic name – it’s either Bjarndal (bear dale) or Bjarnhéðinn (bear skin, pronounced byarn-hey-thinn).

    The ever-awesome @briansuda and Ninja got me a copy of berglondon.com/products/svk — loving the affordances of having ink you can choose not to see, also pondering the possibilities of additive fanfiction where you add your own internal monologue/headcanon/background details in-place over the canonical storyline.

  4. Bad Gauge Design

    Compilation of some sub-optimal gauge design I’ve come across recently. First up is BBC iPlayer’s speed tester+comparison tool:

    A circular gauge indicates line speed, speed test results are shown in a table above a graphic of a pyramid, a tube and a small stick figure. Below a table is shown comparing your speed to various reference speeds including HD TV, TV, TV, TV, and radio.

    Ignoring the questionable pyramid chartjunk, there are a bunch of issues here — the use of arc length and exceedingly inconsistent scale on the skeuomorphic gauge, the strange choice of colouring on the comparison bars (is green good and red bad? or better/worse than my connection?) and the totally useless “status” column add up to a confusing graphic.

    A series of semicircular yellow gauges show a hash rate of 18 kilohashes per second, a pool hashrate of 211 megahashes per second, a share rate of 0.02 shares per second and net hashrate of 12.60 gigahashes per second

    The next is this set of dials from pool.dogechain.info — again the use of arc length is unnecessary, and very few comparisons are possible. At first, the scales look fairly sensible — perhaps the maximums are pool maximums, or averages or something?

    An identical series of semicircular gauges is shown with different numbers but all still half-full

    Uh, apparently not.

    These dials are always half full. They use up hundreds of pixels of colour and drop shadow, taunting you into thinking you’re getting some sort of useful comparison, when actually they’re informing you that two times twenty three is forty six. Astonishing.

    Simply erasing the colour creates a much cleaner graphic

    which can be further improved by clearing some of the resultant whitespace

    The addition of time-series data might make a genuinely useful contribution, as could some comparisons or proportions allowing your rate to be compared to the pool average or total.

    Another welcome, and obvious addition would be “how much do I make per second/minute”, “how much have I made so far”, “how does that compare to other miners” and “how much is that in real money” — these are the questions that I as a miner actually want answered when looking at a dashboard, but the few relevant statistics which are shown are relegated to a small corner.

  5. Idea for focus-maintaining anti-rabbit-warren UI: “current task” bar, simple user-editable text field present on all screens, subdued but not inconspicuous, persistent reminder of current short-term goal.

    Should be somewhere out of the way but accessible at a glance, i.e. only eye movement required to see what it is. Key combo to instantly clear and focus for editing.

  6. Reflecting on 2013 with my . Biggest things personally have been making my second , moving to Iceland and meeting+working with all the great people over here. Lots of and progress, including a great indiewebcamp in September.

    Looking forward to 2014: more cooking, more indieweb progress, seeing more of Iceland, going to some gurdy festivals, improving hardware hacking abilities, connecting my gurdy and other devices to the web and each other.