Monthly Archives: May 2018

如果General Magic晚出现10年

General Magic的神创作之所以全军覆可能是有迹可寻的:在其实最需要像Mosaic这样的解决方案帮助普适时,他们解决问题的切入点都是非要做个form factor。

就连Android的最初想法也是为了给摄像头做支持。

这种做法一直延伸到Tony Fadell做出了和Google格格不入的Nest,以及Andy Robin一直手痒痒还是走回了老IOT路线的Playground。

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Creating Easy-to-Use Interface is Evil

There is a tendency in the design industry that designers would choose a consumer mobile app project over, for example, desktop software project for business. The reason is not hard to understand – they want to work on something popular your mom and friends can know and constantly talk about.

 

Your mom and friends, and ourselves, are all consumers. Consumers tend to consume, not create.

 

They are the characters described in Amusing Ourselves to Death.

 

Easy-to-use apps are sugar coated, so consumers feel drawn to it. The more users are addictive to your app, the more gainful your app business will be.

 

Similarly, designing those easy-to-use apps are arguably easier (e.g. non-complex workflows and use cases). As a result, some designers, like consumers, could easily indulge themselves to become weaker in problem solving.

 

There’s a “Bible” in User Experience area – Don’t Make Me Think. Ever since, UX professionals unconditionally follow “ease of use” as one of the most important principles to guide their works.
dont-make-me-think-evil

 

But humans are creatives. We need tools to help us create stuff, hard sophisticated stuff.

 

We should create more, not consume more.

 

We should enable, not indulge.

 

We should encourage the beauty of complexity, not just the simplicity.

 

This is a fight against Soylents not to take over our world full of cooked gourmet foods.

 

Secrets of Apple Store’s table

The story began several months ago when Apple’s new executive Angela Ahrendts announced the overhaul of Apple Retails strategy, and I saw pictures then realized the super clean settings underneath the table – there’s no power cord! Now in every picture showed on Apple retail site, you can hardly find any power cord attached to the display table.

How come there’s no power cord?

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To satisfy my curiosity, the next day I went to Apple Store at Stanford Mall, and found every desk has a coiled power cord coming out from the ground and extended to the middle underneath the table.

“Apple must be cheating in the photographs”, I told myself after later on I visited some other Apple retails and still found all the tables have the same curl cables.

Palo Alto

 

It was not until recently that I happened to visit Apple Park at Cupertino and to my surprised I saw all the full powered iPhones, Macbooks, and iWatchs are presented on the tables without visible cords!

Cupertino

My first guess at that time was all the power outlets from the grounds are purposely designed to be covered by four legs of the table, and the cords are hidden along the table legs. I was able to ask the Apple salesman if she could shed some light if my guess was right. It turned out that she actually has no idea of what’s going on with the power and the table, and she mentioned they moved around the table very often. So it’s unlikely that the table legs are designed to just to cover the power outlets on the ground.

 

Now my best guess is they use a *big* rechargeable battery inside the drawer of the table to power all the electronics for at least a full day. Staffs, at then end of the day, have to pull out and replaced all the batteries in order to keep things working… If this is true, the amount of work to just keep everything “simple” (as we know it for Apple) is appalling.

Richard Feynman is a data vis expert!

I don’t know much about quantum physics, but found Feynman Diagram to be a great example in data visualization when reading The Grand Design this morning –

  • use visualization to explain obscure concept that’s not existing before
  • it has all the necessary anatomy (but not excessive) to form a visualization  –
    • Time Series: initial state (at the bottom), final state (at the top);
    • Legends: solid line (Electron), wavy line (Photon), helix (Gluon)
    • States: arrows where it heads, and vertex where two meet
  • The overall form of each diagram is simplified enough so it can be propagate quickly, considered that there could be indefinite possibilities in Quantum Theory
  • The neat part is it comes with mathematics expression! For example, e+ e → 2γ

 

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人工智能没法复制异国情调

加州的阳光洒进车内方向盘上,冲淡了车窗外本来高饱和度的绿油油的棕榈树;

快速行驶中广播突然传来东瀛音乐,异国情调让人浮想联翩;

回家后迫不及待的买了一张去北海道的机票。

这种的微妙情感导致的突发行为,让人类在人工智能盛行的今天/明天,似乎找回了点尊严。

Cutting a hole to make a handle

“Cutting a hole to make a handle rather than adding multiple parts.” -Jony Ive

To fully understand this, one shouldn’t just limit it to the notion of Simplicity. Admittedly “cutting a hole” delivers an aesthetics of simplicity compared to “adding parts”.

It also takes one to appreciate the art of “not re-inventing the wheel”.

Recognizing the existence, then adding value on top of it each time without even being recognized, could be difficult. Sometimes it’s easier the other way around – arbitrarily creating something new from scratch. Because by “adding multiple parts” you don’t need to carry the complexity of legacy, but “cutting a hole” requires you to understand the nature of the existing materials really well.

If you look at the evolution of Apple’s products, iPhone or Macbook, there’s a beauty of gradual improvements – avoidance of creating things that might dilute the existing value.

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(picture source: link)