Girls in Hawaii - Indifference (indie pop / belgium / 2017)
Jim Coulter - Dune Sync (minimal techno / scotland / 2017)
Pure Bathing Culture - Palest Pearl (indie pop / US / 2015)
Moses Hightower - Sjáum Hvað Setur (jazz-funk / iceland / 2012)
Molly Nilsson - Hey Moon (leftfield lo-fi / sweden / 2008)
Prins Póló - Er of seint að fá sér kaffi núna? (indie pop ballad / iceland / 2018)
Tech! Design! Work!
- A car allergic to vanilla ice cream, a script that only crashes on Wednesdays, the emails that won’t travel further than 500 miles, the login screen where you have to sit down, and other black magic bugs and computing lore.
- No to NoUI is a 2013 article that’s really worth re-reading today. As computing becomes more complex, our job as designers is never to hide the complexity or to make everything seamless, but instead to make this complexity more legible and sometimes make the seams more obvious.
- How do huge open source projects succeed? There's some answers in a book called The Cathedral and the Bazaar observing two strategies, and the Wikipedia article lists great takeaways that are valid for many projects, and not just for developers. (“If you treat your beta-testers as if they're your most valuable resource, they will respond by becoming your most valuable resource.”)
- For UX practitioners: I’ve recently started using Whimsical and it’s the tool for wireframes & flowcharts I feel like I’ve spent forever searching for.
- Emoji 12.0 was announced a couple of weeks ago. There is incredible works that goes behind choosing and standardising emojis, and it’s been taking a toll on the other efforts from the Unicode Consortium to standardise the world’s alphabets.
- Intercom dropped stars and use a scale of 5 emojis to rate a customer service interaction, going from 😠 (terrible) to 😍 (amazing). They found out the hard way that emojis can be interpreted differently, and that many people will only use the heart eyes emoji in a romantic context. In fact, they could also measurably tell that some people (men) were not comfortable sending the heart eyes emoji to another man.
Masculinity so fragile that when they replaced the “amazing” emoji to starry eyed face 🤩, instead of hearts, men customer support representatives saw their “amazing” ratings grow by 17% instead of receiving “great” 😃 reviews, closing the average gap with their women counterparts.
- Unrelated, but do you know the history of the heart symbol to represent love? Surprisingly but not disappointingly, it might come from the leaf shape of a plant used as an aphrodisiac and contraceptive.
- Anyway, hope you had a good Valentime’s day.
- A thread of some of the things that are wrong with the Windows 10 UI. Rant: I have to use Windows and Office every day at work and I’m still amazed at how terrible the entire user experience is — even with the most basic features, not just superuser things.
I’m not a Microsoft hater and I genuinely think their Design department is doing a lot of great things in various exciting projects, but in 2019, their two most widely used products still haven’t grasped fundamental principles of interaction design and information architecture.
It's nice to read people that can articulate why that is. They have complexity and legacy problems that others don't, but that feels less and less like an excuse. Nobody wants to be “delighted” by an experience if you can't even start by making it not frustrating.
Good TV shows
- I haven’t read books last month and took comfort in the long dark nights for watching Netflix top shows instead. I haven’t really binged TV shows for a while, but in the last few months there’s been excellent stuff coming out:
- Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: everything is related, but it feels like nothing is… until you reach the next episode. Funny, original, engaging, excellent for people with short attention spans (like me).
- Russian Doll: “a time-loop of constant death” is maybe the best way to describe it, but that doesn’t really make it sound like it’s also a great comedy. Great plot, not too obvious resolution, amazing acting and writing. The ending feels vaguely disappointing and leaves some critical questions unanswered, but hopefully future seasons will resolve that.
- The Umbrella Academy, that just came out. The story of supernatural siblings that have been broken and split by family drama, but rejoined by bad news. It looks like it has some traces of typical American comic book superhero stories on the surface, but overall it actually manages to stay imaginative and intriguing.
- It has some storyline links with the excellent Haunting of Hill House from last Halloween, another Netflix original, which I also heavily recommend as a drama/horror show.
- Maniac was one of the stranger shows I’ve seen lately. Participants for a futuristic pharmaceutical trial are promised to get help with all their problems with three successive pills, but the experience is somewhat stronger than your average Adderall. I think I enjoyed it? It’s a very original idea and execution, goes far, far beyond what you might think in the first couple of episodes, and has amazing aesthetics. But much like Russian Doll I was too hungry for more answers by the end.
- The Good Place, which I feel like everybody on the Internet has seen, but then it turns out too few of my friends know about it so I recommend it here again. One of the best comedies of the past few years, at the level of Parks & Rec (by no coincidence it is actually written by the same person) but with added original supernatural drama. The tempo has dropped a bit in the end of the third season, but as a whole, definitely worth watching.
(Sorry I’ve dropped the aesthetic of writing everything in lowercase, turns out I’m not Ariana Grande)