Tag: design

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Katris Cali

Somewhere, several months ago, I came across Katris Blocks by Papercut Lab. We discussed their risked-impracticality for price paid—after all, cats are notoriously finicky, and truest folklore meme is their playing more with the box the toy came in. Finally, discussion led to purchase; on Feb. 6, 2017, I ordered from the seller, through Amazon, the colorful City SF set, which was discounted 20 percent from the price seen before Christmas. Less than 48 hours later, yesterday, UPS delivered the 30-kilo box (67 pounds) much sooner than ever expected; free shipping.

My wife and I made a production of the unpacking, by taking out some blocks but leaving others to support cardboard compartment play areas inside the sturdy shipping box, which we later moved to another room for continued overnight feline fun. We set up the modular blocks in the living room for nighttime cat shenanigans. This morning, I dragged the big box down to the garage and cleared the blocks from the living room sun zone, where the kitty’s frolic and tussle over territory, to the bedroom. 

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Amazon Echo Is All About You

While professing not to be a geek, sometimes I act like one. This afternoon, I requested an invite to buy Amazon Echo, which promises to bring Star Trek-like responsive computing to the home. The cylindrical device, announced today, is a Bluetooth- and WiFi-enabled streaming speaker that responds to users’ questions. Just say “Alexa” and ask something.  “What’s the weather?” “What is the largest dinosaur?” This is how search information should be, assuming Echo resounds as strongly as Amazon’s product information and demo video claim.

Voice response is exactly what consumers need from a personal device, and many others used every day that pack chips and operating systems. While humans are tool users, for which touch interfaces make sense, the ability to communicate with language sets us apart from all other species. What is more familiar than talking, and expecting response because of it? 

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Moto X deserves More Respect

Moto X should be one of the most hotly-demanded smartphones on the planet. But Motorola lacks Apple’s skill cultivating core groups of bloggers and journalists who swoon ecstatically and influence others to do the same. For example, I thought Stephen Fry’s outrageously over-the-top adjective-rich iPhone 6 review was hilarious until reading The Register’s parody, which is almost believably genuine.

Motorola bets on voice interaction over touch, making Moto X more like a device from Star Trek than the early 21st Century. Touch is oh-so 1980s—what Apple pitched with the Macintosh 30 years ago—whereas touchless is the next big thing. For people queuing up for iPhone 6 on September 19, welcome to the past. You should consider second version Moto X, which is available for preorder, if reaching to the future. 

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In Good Design, Balance of Benefits is Everything

Well, the first iPhone 6 reviews are in, and they are unsurprisingly glowing. Apple’s handpicked group of preferred, early reviewers don’t disappoint in their enthusiasm. Not that anyone should be surprised by that. But reading them all—and I did just that last night while waiting at the hospital with my 92 year-old father-in-law—common observations tell a story about Apple’s newest handset. This is one Once Upon a Time that anyone buying gadgets or manufacturing them should listen to. It’s a morality tale about putting benefits before features and the fine art of achieving balance.

Among the many missives from Apple’s love children: “iPhone 6 Review: It’s a Winner” by Walt Mossberg; “Reviewed: iPhone 6 Is a Thin, Sexy Phone with a Killer Camera” by David Pogue; and “iPhone 6 Review: Apple’s Cure for Android Envy” by Geoffrey Fowler, among many others. These reviewers really like the device, which by most definitions is exceptional—and that will surprise fanboys waving around spec sheets and yelling “copycat!”. 

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My first Kindle ebook gets a Face Lift

Last night I republished This Book is not a Kindle Single [The Rejected Essay] with the originally-intended title (The Principles of Disruptive Design) and major content updates. The preface and afterword are gone (as they pertained to the gimmick title) and there are updates throughout, the most considerable to the first section.

The updates deal directly with Apple iPhone 5s and 5c nd questions about Apple innovations, or lack of them.

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My First Kindle ebook: Trials, Tribulations, and Triumph

Yesterday, my first ebook published to Amazon, with the strangest of titles, having nearly nothing to do with the contents. In May, I submitted “The Principles of Design” to the bookseller for consideration as a Kindle Single. Singles are curated, short-form works, between 5,000 and 30,000 words. Amazon acts as editor and publisher. Four weeks later to the day, I received a rejection letter, without any explanation.

That put me squarely down the self-publishing path, which is exactly where I didn’t want to be for this first work. Books are a strange frontier to me, a vaguely familiar landscape but alien—like Mars is to Earth. I wanted Amazon to walk me across this domain. Besides, to start, I plan to write mostly shorter non-fiction essays, which look to be perfectly-suited for Kindle Singles. But the rejection email, and realization that editorial approval takes up to a month, changed plans.

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The Most Natural User Interface is You

It’s April Fools’ Day, and I’m not joking. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun, by comparing and contrasting Apple old with Apple new. 🙂 Last night I posted to Betanews: “What 1984 Macintosh marketing reveals about iPad,” which is based in part on my April 2006 post “When Magazines Mattered,” about Apple buying all the ad pages—39 of them—in the Newsweek 1984 election issue. Magazines mattered to Apple for promoting Macintosh during its launch year. Now iPad matters to magazines, for which some publishers hope to turnaround sagging readership (and ad revenues). Ha, who’s paying whom now?

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Toidy Bowl Packing

They say that kids do the darnest things or that kids growing up with newfangled technology take to it differently than do adults. These two pictures are evidence of both.

Looks like a toilet boil, doesn’t it? Turns out this Styrofoam wonder is from a first-generation, flat-panel iMac box. Flip the toidy boil over and it fits over the iMac’s lamp-like base. I must have no imagination, because I had unpacked a couple iMacs without seeing the resemblance, flipped over, of course.