• I won't do Timo a disservice by quoting one fragment of this essay; it's one of those lovely pieces of writing where not a word is wasted, where it all builds an argument, and you should just read the whole thing. Lots of topics I've been touching on in recent years, in part because of my time at Berg, and the designers who are my friends and peers. This is what needs to be beaten into the world, a little; the way to beat it in is to build it in, through our work and products. I should work on that more.
  • "The problem with ideas ís, the idea is often simply a way to focus your interest in making a work. The work isn't necessarily, I think-a function of the work is not to express the idea…. The idea focuses your attention in a certain way that helps you to do the work."
  • "This is just an image dump of marvel approved stills and screenshots of my work on the film. I'll do a proper post soon – this is a fraction of the work – But I had the distinct pleasure of working with Cantina Creative, leading the design of the glass screens for the Helicarier in the Avengers. I also led the design and animation of the all new and upgraded Mark VII Hud…

    Included are some partial explanations of how the HUD diagnostic functions
    Variations of it in 'all clear' mode, and a 'battle mode', after the suit has suffered damage and new windows have popped up to show depleted weapon stores and hazardous environmentals and general.

    The flight menu was designed with input from an A-10 Fighter Pilot. I like to keep my stuff accurate.

    I start all designs on paper so I included some ideas for the dock icons. In the final icons, the more detailed versions show system status based on the way they animate."

    Lots of lovely detail in the work on all the fictional UI in the Avengers – looking forward to it being unpacked.

The point of Twitter

09 December 2011

John Gruber on the new Twitter iPhone app:

What also worries me is that these changes suggest not only a difference in opinion regarding how a Twitter client should work, but also regarding just what the point is of Twitter as a service. The Twitter service I signed up for is one where people tweet 140-character posts, you follow those people whose tweets you tend to enjoy, and that’s it. The Twitter service this new UI presents is about a whole lot more — mass-market spoonfed “trending topics” and sponsored content. It’s trying to make Twitter work for people who don’t see the appeal of what Twitter was supposed to be.

Yes, that. It increasingly turns out that the Twitter I signed up for – the Twitter in my head, as it were – is the MVP of something else. And now, the MVP is fading away and the something else is taking over. Which is fine for acquiring new users – after all, by and large, it’s a given that most people don’t use your product. But my mental model is stuck around five years ago, when I signed up.

I signed up for this product because it made mass-texting people when I was in town easy, and led to lots of serendipitous drinking and hanging out when I was in the city. On the radio last year, I heard someone explain Twitter as “a tool for following famous people and seeing what they’re up to“. It’s interesting how the product described in the new app feels like the product described by that radio pundit: a consumption tool.

For me, it was always about the permanent backchannel with my friends. I guess I’m looking for a new mobile client now.

  • "Michael Abrash's classic Graphics Programming Black Book is a compilation of Michael's previous writings on assembly language and graphics programming (including from his "Graphics Programming" column in Dr. Dobb's Journal). Much of the focus of this book is on profiling and code testing, as well as performance optimization. It also explores much of the technology behind the Doom and Quake 3-D games, and 3-D graphics problems such as texture mapping, hidden surface removal, and the like." My old URL for this no longer works, but fortunately, this one does.
  • "The commercial worked on Lucas but a few years later, the computer graphics group at ILM was sold by Lucas to Steve Jobs for $5 million and became Pixar. Loren Carpenter is still at Pixar today; he's the company's Chief Scientist." Marvellous.
  • "slideViewer (a jQuery image slider built on a single unordered list)". Which looks nifty.
  • "Flicking over to the old graphics — and I, for one, found it almost impossible not to do so on every screen — shows you the game as you originally experienced it, and it looks completely different. Suddenly you remember the old imagery too. Conceptual memory gives way to visual memory, in a clear illustration of how the mind functions on different levels. It’s an odd experience, first thinking you recognise something, then discovering that the original was in fact quite different, but that you now remember that too, as additional detail. In one way it’s a contradiction, and in another it’s sharper focus." Emmett on the Monkey Island remake, and the ability to dynamically swap between old and new interfaces.
  • "Red dot fever enforces a precision into your design that the rest must meet to feel coherent. There’s no room for the hereish, nowish, thenish and soonish. The ‘good enough’." Dingdingding. +5 points to Taylor, as usual. Place, not location.
  • "TinkerKit is an Arduino-compatible physical computing prototyping toolkit aimed at design professionals. The interest in physical computing as an area in development within the creative industries has been increasing rapidly. In response to this Tinker.it! is developing the TinkerKit to introduce fast iterative physical computing methodologies to newcomers, and particularly design professionals." Standardised modules, standardised connectors, Arduino-compatible. I remember Massimo showing me his keyboard-emulating board ages ago. Nice to see Tinker productising the platform, too.
  • "The buttons are designed to look very similar to basic HTML input buttons. But they can handle multiple interactions with one basic design. The buttons we’re using are imageless, and they’re created entirely using HTML and CSS, plus some JavaScript to manage the behavior." Dark, dark voodoo, but very impressive – and excellently explained by Doug Bowman. It's nice to see Doug blogging again.
  • "If 2009 is going to see the emergence of high-quality browser-based games, then 2009 is going to be the year of Unity. It has: lots of powerful features; iPhone support; Wii publishing; a developing community; quality developers using it; and an upcoming upcoming PC version. In short, it is about to make a major splash. I feel compelled to jump in with it — the indie license is cheaper than the Flash IDE."
  • "bash completion support for core Git." Ooh. This looks really, really nice.