1. Simplicity is not the absence of clutter, that’s a consequence of simplicity. Simplicity is somehow essentially describing the purpose and place of an object and product. The absence of clutter is just a clutter-free product. That’s not simple.
    — Jonathan Ive

    (Source: telegraph.co.uk)

  2. Typeface matters

    When iBooks was updated during the second week of December 2011, it removed some of the existing typefaces and added some more. It was a welcome move, if you were to go by some reviews from type experts. I didn’t know what to make of it. I was fine with the old version; I hadn’t changed the default or even explored the options. 

    After reading some of these reviews, I decided to conduct a small experiment. I will change the options and read for some pages - all the while consciously noticing how my reading is affected. I don’t have any expertise in type, so I decided to go with how I felt. There were four new typefaces: three serifs (Athelas, Charter, Iowan) and one sans-serif (Seravek).

    With Athelas, as I am reading, my eyes would wander fast to the next line even if I haven’t completed read the current line. Sometimes I would have read the lines without really thinking about what I had read. Also, text looked a little cramped up and somewhat too business-like.

    Charter was better. But even this suffered from the problem wherein I would sometimes read the lines without really thinking. 

    Then came Iowan, my favourite. It looked great. It was comfortable to read. It was perfect for long form reading. It didn’t suffer from the problems the above typefaces did. I have been using Iowan for months now, and still feel it is the best. I tried using Athelas and Charter in between, but always came back. 

    Here’s a sample page with Iowan (unfortunately, the image is stretched):

    Iowan, iBooks

    Seravek was good, but I prefer serif typeface for long form reading. Among the older typefaces, Palatino was good. If Iowan weren’t there, Palatino would be my choice. 

    But Iowan is no magic pill. A major lesson learnt is that choosing a good typeface depends on the task at hand. What is good on high resolution screens isn’t necessarily good on low resolution ones. What is good in digital form isn’t necessarily good on print. A good typeface for long form reading isn’t necessarily good on bill boards. Also, it is very subjective to call a typeface good. The important thing to learn here is that typeface matters, and you should choose the right one depending on your task.

  3. Hayao Miyazaki

    I stumbled upon this profile on Hayao Miyazaki recently. Hayao Miyazaki is the genius behind films such as My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle. The article is based on a lot of interviews made over time by Hayao Miyazaki and his colleagues. 

    If you are a fan of Hayao Miyazaki, and don’t know much about the person, you owe it to yourself to read it. Hayao Miyazaki talks about his roots, what inspires him, his process, TV (Heidi, Future Boy Conan), Takahata, Ghibli (its past, present and future), and his movies. 

    It’s a long read. Hence, I have made the PDF and ePub formats of the article (same content, but with my layouting and edits). 

  4. One cannot always tell what it is that keeps us shut in, confines us, seems to bury us, but still one feels certain barriers, certain gates, certain walls. Is all this imagination, fantasy? I do not think so. And then one asks: My God! Is it for long, is it for ever, is it for eternity? Do you know what frees one from this captivity? It is very deep serious affection. Being friends, being brothers, love, that is what opens the prison by supreme power, by some magic force.

    Vincent van Gogh, letter to his brother, July 1880

    Source for quote: Open, by Andre Agassi

  5. Build something that fixes the insanity of modern education. Or helps people weather the upcoming financial crises and rise in unemployment. Or improves the health of people around the world. Or brings neighbors closer together. Or helps people run small businesses. Or strengthens the bonds of families. Or puts existing abusive, mammoth institutions out of business (pretty please).

  6. Great advice on asking. Either because of shyness, fear or ego, we don’t often ask and lose out a lot - wasted time, wasted effort, not-so-great relationships. I’ve been guilty of it myself innumerable times. The next time you want something, just ask. 

    (Source: brainpickings.org)

  7. 04:23 10th Oct 2011

    Notes: 5340

    Reblogged from lilly

    Tags: tumblrize

    Be yourself and work as hard as you can to bring wonderful things into the world. Figure out how you want to contribute and do that, in your own way, on your own terms, as hard as you can, as much as you can, as long as you can.

  8. Surat Lozowick:

    Place lasting value over beguiling immediacy; sustainability over disposability. 

    (Source: minimalmac.com)

  9. Improv, for life

    I was recently reading the memoir Bossypants by Tina Fey (of 30 Rock fame). There is a section in the book that I found to be very interesting. In the section, Fey talks about the rules of improvisation. (Wikipedia - Improvisation is the practice of acting, singing, talking and reacting, of making and creating, in the moment and in response to the stimulus of one’s immediate environment and inner feelings.)

    Fey proposes that some elements of improvisation could (and should) be incorporated in our daily life as a way of living. Fey says she views the rules of improvisation as a ‘worldview’. In fact, she goes as far as to call them ‘The Rules of Improvisation That Will Change Your Life and Reduce Belly Fat” (the last part is a joke, of course). While we definitely shouldn’t completely live by the rules of improvisation, I think it benefits everyone to understand how and why improv works. 

    Rule 1: AGREE. Always agree and SAY YES. 

    Fey’s example:

    Actor 1: “Freeze, I have a gun”

    Actor 2 (bad improv): “That’s not a gun. It’s your finger. You’re pointing your finger at me”

    Actor 2 (good improv): “The gun I gave you for Christmas! You bastard!”

    In real life, this seems non-sensical. I’d rather have someone tell me I’m wrong when I’m wrong. Where Fey says that it is useful is with respect to ideas. Rather than shoot down other’s ideas or proposals immediately, agree “and see where that takes you”.

    At work, this kind of thinking must be used during brainstorming sessions. We often see a person throws an idea and another person rejects it immediately. The whole idea of brainstorming is to go wild with ideas, whether feasible or not. Most of the successful companies today started off with a crazy or an “improbable” idea. 

    Rule 2: YES, AND.

    Fey’s example:

    Actor 1: “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here.”

    Actor 2 (bad improv): “Yeah…”

    Actor 2 (good improv): “What did you expect? We’re in hell.”

    Actor 2 (good improv): “I told you we shouldn’t have crawled into this dog’s mouth.”

    Kirby Ferguson, in Everything is a Remix, argues that almost every invention or innovation is a remix of existing art. You innovate by taking in something already existing, understand it and you either add on top of it or improve it. Or you apply it in an entirely different situation. 

    Don’t hesitate simply because it is someone else’s project or idea. If you can add value to it and if you like it, you should do so. 

    Rule 3: MAKE STATEMENTS. (or “Don’t ask questions all the time”)

    Fey’s example:

    Actor 1 (bad improv): Who are you?  Where are we?  What are we doing here?  What’s in that box?

    Actor 1 (bad improv): Where are we?

    Actor 1 (good improv): Here we are in Spain, Dracula.

    Who likes that person who is always complaining? Don’t just come up with questions and obstacles, present solutions. 

    Rule 4: THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, only opportunities.

    Well, it’s really nice to say that it’s not a mistake, but an opportunity. Not always. Mostly mistakes cost you. The secret is to reduce the cost. Like Ed Catmull of Pixar says, “Fail early, fail often and learn fast”.

  10. Turning of the Powell-Mason cable car at the Powell and Market turntable, San Francisco. I found it to be very amusing.

    Great that they have managed to keep the cable cars operational to this day.