Context for Quantity in Online Reading

Posted on Jun 27, 2016 in Nerdery | No Comments

In 2014 I wrote about the problem of ‘quantity perception’ that many online reading interfaces present. Here’s an excerpt:

Many formats (or interfaces) through which online copy is delivered make judging the amount of content difficult. Simply put, indicators of quantity (or length) are vague and inconsistent. In many cases, the scroll bar is our most commonly available point of reference…

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Quick Takes: Reinventing the Mail Business with Lawn Care

Posted on Jun 10, 2016 in Nerdery, Quick Takes | 2 Comments

The United States Postal Service is one of the largest civilian employers in the country1, but has been plagued with financial struggles, making news headlines several times over in the last decade. In 2010, for example, the organization posted a mind-blowing 8.5 billion dollar loss2. I remember the debate over ending Saturday service only a few years ago.

The causes of these problems (and their solutions) are large and complex, but the decline in usage of traditional ‘snail mail’ (due to digital communication) and the logistical transport efficiencies achieved at the demand of massive retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart have no-doubt shaken the foundations of historical postal services.

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1. You can read about the top 10 employers of civilians in the USA, including the USPS, on USA Today's website.2. You can read more about the USPS's 2010 losses on the ABC News website.

Dictionary.app Typeface Fix

Posted on Jul 7, 2015 in Nerdery | No Comments

eric-dodds-blog-dictionary-app-typeface-fix-apple-os-x-typeface-problem

It’s the little things.

I recently posted about OS X’s typeface in Dictionary.app.3 In short, all text was displaying as the same bold font, creating no hierarchy to help the reader parse content visually.

Before writing the post, I did my homework and discovered I wasn’t alone. Other people were experiencing the same issue. Here’s a screenshot from Nathan Spainhour’s computer:

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1. You can read my original post about Dictionary.app's typeface here.

The Other Side of the World

Posted on Jun 27, 2015 in Nerdery | No Comments

globe-sunrise-planet-earth-apple-maps-mac-osx-worldview-outer-space

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines the word worldview as follows:

A particular philosophy of life or conception of the world.

The other morning I opened the Maps application on my laptop to search for an address. The initial view that loads in the application defaults to a zoomed-in, city-level perspective of your current location. For some reason—perhaps I accidentally entered a zoom-adjusting key combination—the view was different that morning. Maps loaded a planetary view of the entire earth. Even though the image was manufactured digitally, I found the perspective breathtaking. I imagined what days were like for people far to the west and far to the east. Some of them were sleeping soundly, others were approaching the end of the day. For several moments, I felt very small.

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Rustin Impsum: True Detective Filler Text

Posted on Jun 17, 2015 in Nerdery | No Comments

iron-yard-dc-student-project-javascript-lorem-ipsum-rustin-ipsum

I recently ran across a project called Rustin Ipsum, which was built by an Iron Yard student in Washington, D.C. Scott Ross, the creator, explains his motivation4 (warning: if you haven’t seen True Detective, this won’t be as fun.):

There are plenty of Lorem Ipsum generators out there, but I couldn’t find any channeling that contemporary spirit of post-modern despair so perfectly captured in True Detective.

There was only one obvious course: build my own Rust Cohle Lorem Ipsum generator.

For a weekend project after two weeks of class, the result is very impressive5 Enjoy some auto-generated filler text:

World needs bad men. We keep the other bad men from the door. Sip Lone Star. This place is like somebody’s memory of a town, and the memory is fading. It’s like there was never anything here but jungle. Drag on Camel.

Great work, Scott. I’ll be using this often.

1. Read Scott's blog post about building a True Detective text-filler generator on Medium.2. Head over to Rustin Ipsum and give it a try.

Dictionary.app’s Unfortunate Typeface

Posted on Jun 15, 2015 in Nerdery | 4 Comments

I write often for work and make constant use of Apple’s Dictionary app6 on my Mac. Every single time I open the program, I’m surprised at the typeface and treatment chosen for normal body text.

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1. Read more details than you ever wanted to know about Apple's Dictionary app on Wikipedia.

Why I Unsubscribed from Your Email List

Posted on Dec 11, 2014 in Nerdery, Work | No Comments

I recently I wrote about unsubscribing from a good friend’s email list and how “I’m too busy” is a cop-out excuse7. That kick-started a post about how I consume the internet8. I thought it would be interesting to publish the full email I sent to my friend when I responded.

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1. You can read my post about being “too busy” here.2. You can read my post about how I consume the internet here.

Learning a City: Walking Streets and Talking to Locals

Posted on Dec 9, 2014 in Adventures, Nerdery, Work | No Comments

Years ago I had the chance to travel in China with a long-time family friend. This gentleman is much older than me (30+ years) and has traveled the world extensively.

The best way to get to know a place is to walk the streets.

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Redundant UI: Click Call to Make This Call

Posted on Dec 5, 2014 in Nerdery | No Comments

“Click Call to make this call.” 

I’m not a UI expert, but giving such self-evident instructions to the user seems either unnecessary or a bandaid for poor design. 

 

“Because I’m Too Busy” as a Cop Out Excuse

Posted on Nov 5, 2014 in Life, Nerdery, Work | 2 Comments

My wife’s uncle is an amazing entrepreneur and creative director. He shoots commercials for big brands all around the country and lives on a completely off-the-grid farm in rural Oregon. Needless to say, he’s quite an interesting and fun person to know.

For a long time, he’s sent out what he calls a Monday Morning Email. It’s a weekly blog-by-email of sorts where he shares everything from simple life lessons to time-tested business wisdom. Recently, I unsubscribed from his email list, which I’ll explain in detail in a post soon (it’s not because of the content—the writing and ideas are really good).

Shortly after I unsubscribed, Dave (the author of the email) called me to do an exit interview and learn why I stopped reading. My response was simple:

I’m just too busy to read it.

His response was exactly what I needed to hear:

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