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Getting Real by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson, Matthew Linderman, 37 Signals
Another aspect of the Mac OS x ui that I think has been tremendously influenced by [Steve] Jobs is the setup and first-run experience. I think Jobs is keenly aware of the importance of first impressions...I think Jobs looks at the first-run experience and thinks, it may only be one-thousandth of a user's overall experience with the machine, but it's the most important onethousandth, because it's the first one-thousandth, and it sets their expectations and initial impression. —John Gruber, author and web developer (from Interview with John Gruber) Table of contents | Essay list for this chapter | Next essay Get Defensive Design for when things go wrong Let's admit it: Things will go wrong online. No matter how carefully you design your app, no matter how much testing you do, customers will still encounter problems. So how do you handle these inevitable breakdowns? With defensive design. Defensive design is like defensive driving.
Backpack's simple take on pages, notes, to-dos, and cellphone/ email-based reminders is a novel idea in a product category that suffers from status-quo-itis. Thomas Weber of the Wall Street Journal said it's the best product in its class and David Pogue of the New York Times called it a "very cool" organization tool. Writeboard lets you write, share, revise, and compare text solo or with others. It's the refreshing alternative to bloated word processors that are overkill for 95% of what you write. John Gruber of Daring Fireball said, "Writeboard might be the clearest, simplest web application I've ever seen." Web-guru Jeffrey Zeldman said, "The brilliant minds at 37signals have done it again." Ta-da List keeps all your to-do lists together and organized online. Keep the lists to yourself or share them with others for easy collaboration. There's no easier way to get things done. Over 100,000 lists with nearly 1,000,000 items have been created so far.
Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter
We want our users to have an emotional connection to our apps. Most people don’t have a love/joy for software like geeks do. Users react with effusive emotion to these cartoony, yet seemingly tangible interfaces enhanced by robotic whirs, bleeps, and blips. You can certainly see the parallels with WALL•E, in physical and personality traits. Both are friendly, endearing, and reliable. Technology blogger John Gruber sums up audience sentiment about Tapbots apps with this simple review (http://bkaprt.com/de/6): I adore the way their apps look and sound. Ironically, Gruber doesn’t even mention the apps’ functionality, though his appreciation of it is implied. He uses the word “adore.” Gruber doesn’t just like these apps; he loves them. These anthropomorphized interfaces give users the sense that they are interacting with another living being with a personality, making an emotional connection possible.
Digital Wars: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the Battle for the Internet by Charles Arthur
AltaVista, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, gravity well, Jeff Bezos, John Gruber, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Network effects, PageRank, pre–internet, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, Snapchat, software patent, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, upwardly mobile
They can make a call, check e-mail, look up a location on [Google] Maps… don’t worry about distribution, just put ’em on an internet server. They’re easy to update; just update it on your server. The silence was almost threatening. The audience knew they were being short-changed. Apple’s developers, after all, had obviously written apps, and Jobs had boasted about the software. So clearly APIs existed. And an SDK must exist for the developers to have written the apps. Afterwards John Gruber, an independent (and professional) blogger whose Daring Fireball site is regarded as a nexus for thinking about Apple (and other) news, called the suggestion ‘insulting, because it’s not a way to write iPhone apps’,34 and said that developers could not be fooled. Jobs, he suggested, should just have said that Apple was working on it but did not have anything to announce yet. In fact Jobs was still being lobbied by Schiller and Forstall, who insisted that apps were essential; he saw apps as an intrusion, an imperfection, and liable to spoil the machine.
You could run Windows 7 on a tablet, but the experience was dire: icons were too small, and fingers too large to operate the standard Windows interface. Ahead of the launch, Apple’s detractors lost no time in pointing out that Microsoft had tried tablet PCs, and they sold about a million per year, so Apple – with an even tinier share of the PC market – was clearly on course to sell only a few thousand devices. John Gruber, a self-described raconteur (more precisely, a Philadelphia-based blogger who has developed wide and deep connections inside and around Apple), responded: ‘The hype isn’t about Apple possibly unveiling the first tablet computing device; it’s about Apple possibly unveiling the first great one.’5 Third category A few weeks later, with CES all but forgotten, Steve Jobs took the stage at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco to announce a new product – the iPad.
Being unafraid to kill existing products to replace them with better ones before your rivals do. Stripping out what is unnecessary, and improving what is left to the best possible. Even before Jobs left, Apple had an enormous internal project, called the Apple University, to educate its staff in how the most effective traits of the company could be promulgated, refined and reproduced. Even without Jobs, his spirit would still live on inside the company. As John Gruber put it, as he pondered the Apple co-founder’s goodbye, ‘Jobs’s greatest creation isn’t any Apple product. It is Apple itself.’ On 5 October, Jobs’s death was announced. Bill Gates was among the first to offer his condolences, and praise his long-time friend’s legacy: ‘The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come.
Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age by Steven Johnson
airport security, algorithmic trading, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, future of journalism, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, Jane Jacobs, John Gruber, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Occupy movement, packet switching, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, pre–internet, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Tim Cook: Apple, urban planning, WikiLeaks, working poor, X Prize
In the old days, it might have taken months for details from a John Sculley keynote to make it to the College Hill Bookstore; now the lag is seconds, with dozens of people live-blogging every passing phrase from a Steve Jobs or Tim Cook speech. There are 8,000-word dissections of each new release of OS X at the technological site Ars Technica, written with attention to detail and technical sophistication that far exceed anything a traditional newspaper would ever attempt. Writers such as John Gruber and Donald Norman regularly post intricate critiques of user-interface issues. The traditional newspapers have improved their coverage as well: think of David Pogue’s reviews in The New York Times, or Dow-Jones’s extended technology site, AllThingsD. And that’s not even mentioning the rumor blogs. Of course, Macworld is still around as a print magazine, but it also now has a website. On an average day, it publishes more than twenty different articles on Apple-related topics.
Design Is a Job by Mike Monteiro
Do you start your own company? Do you aim for design director at a large firm? Do you become a well-sought consultant where you only work six months of the year out of your swank modernist home in the hills? The choice is yours. But I’d caution you to stay away from jobs that take you away from the thing you love to do, which is to design things. Although your definition of “designing things” may change. My friend John Gruber once said that Steve Jobs’ greatest accomplishment wasn’t designing any particular Apple product—it was designing Apple itself. At some point you may get to the point where you’re no longer designing specific products, or specific websites, but instead helping to design the teams that design those things. And eventually designing the companies that those teams design within. But you don’t stop designing.
3D printing, 4chan, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, barriers to entry, book scanning, Cass Sunstein, death of newspapers, en.wikipedia.org, Internet of things, John Gruber, Marshall McLuhan, Nicholas Carr, recommendation engine, RFID, Saturday Night Live, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand
And it’s not just “big-name, big-brand” storytellers who we choose to trust. People like Carr and Bittman have a clear platform for their views, but we’re also seeing “no names” build big brands around their big personalities—people who anoint themselves and then build their trust level by delivering content that is valued. If you’re an Apple computer enthusiast, you surely will have heard of John Gruber, a Mac expert and writer. He isn’t associated with any big-name news outlets or magazines, but he has built a loyal subscriber base with his website daringfireball.com. He is the sole employee and makes a very healthy six-figure income by selling ads on his site and giving talks to companies. Gary Vaynerchuk, a bigger-than-blogger personality, developed Wine Library TV, his own online network of wine reviews and ratings, which claims 80,000 viewers a day.
Being Geek: The Software Developer's Career Handbook by Michael Lopp
The cover image is copyright Mark Weiss/Corbis. O'Reilly Media * * * Dedication To Spencer and Claire. My daily reminders of the value of caring about someone deeply. Praise for Being Geek "Michael Lopp is that rare beast: the completely honest manager who uses plain language. You want to know how to cultivate a thriving career in this industry? Listen to Lopp." John Gruber, Daring Fireball "I've seen too many people who were technically brilliant but who you didn't want to let out of a locked room, because you knew they'd get eaten alive in the real world. Being Geek gives them a fighting chance to adapt to corporate life and manage the 'messy parts' of real life." Thomas "Duffbert" Duff "Being Geek is a must-read for geeks and the people who need geeks to achieve the impossible."
Technical Blogging: Turn Your Expertise Into a Remarkable Online Presence by Antonio Cangiano
Albert Einstein, anti-pattern, bitcoin, bounce rate, cloud computing, en.wikipedia.org, John Gruber, Lean Startup, Network effects, revision control, search engine result page, slashdot, software as a service, web application
But they really boil down to either providing commentary or giving actual technical instructions (or a mix of both). A pundit blog showcases an author’s insights into an industry or a particular niche. It is typically filled with essays on relevant topics or quotes from other interesting blogs and news stories to which an opinion is added. The perfect example of a pundit who mostly blogs about Apple is John Gruber and his popular blog, Daring Fireball. An instructional blog focuses on HOWTOs. The aim of this type of blog is to provide tutorials or reference material for readers. There may be an opinion here and there, but these are mostly a collection of factual posts. For an example, check out igvita.com (a screenshot of which is shown within the introduction to this book). Which one should you choose?
3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, declining real wages, demographic dividend, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, follow your passion, game design, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, industrial robot, invisible hand, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Gruber, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, new economy, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, race to the bottom, reshoring, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, Tesla Model S, The Chicago School, The Design of Experiments, the High Line, The Myth of the Rational Market, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, tulip mania, We are the 99%, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar
The second featured the two designers introducing themselves and explaining why they needed help. It had music by the Franks, some speed editing, and a lot of honesty. Provost and Gerhardt asked people to pledge $10,000 to begin making the Glif. To their amazement, they raised the entire $10,000 in just over an hour after Daring Fireball, a website hosted by tech maven and one of the most powerful Apple commentators, John Gruber, ran the video. And the money kept pouring in. They had expected maybe four or five hundred orders, but in the end, they received $137,417 for five thousand preorders from 5,273 “backers.” The top sites for generating business were Kickstarter, their own site, Google, Facebook, Daring Fireball, TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Weblog), Twitter, and the Economist. “We were blown away,” said Gerhardt.
The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz by Aaron Swartz, Lawrence Lessig
affirmative action, Alfred Russel Wallace, Benjamin Mako Hill, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brewster Kahle, Cass Sunstein, deliberate practice, Donald Trump, failed state, fear of failure, Firefox, full employment, Howard Zinn, index card, invisible hand, John Gruber, Lean Startup, More Guns, Less Crime, post scarcity, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, semantic web, single-payer health, SpamAssassin, SPARQL, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, Toyota Production System, unbiased observer, wage slave, Washington Consensus, web application, WikiLeaks, working poor
He wanted openness, debate, rationality, and critical thinking, and he refused to cut corners—even at the age of thirteen. RSS itself was fundamentally about sharing, taking the content out of its presented form on a website and allowing it to be redistributed and aggregated by other individuals and entities. Another of Swartz’s projects, the webpage authoring tool Markdown (2004, co-designed with John Gruber), was a lightweight tool to easily generate webpages and blogposts by turning marked-up text into HTML. Both point to one of Swartz’s central driving passions: making the creation, distribution, and freedom of information as easy and frictionless as possible. Swartz’s technical skills were obviously superior, but what differentiated him from most programmers, even some of the greatest open-source gurus, was the way he went about his technical projects.