The Memorized-Everything Edition Thursday, May 9, 2019

I Wrote The Book On User-Friendly Design. What I See Today Horrifies Me, by Don Norman, Fast Company

Take the screen design for Apple’s phones. The designers at Apple apparently believe that text is ugly, so it should either be eliminated entirely or made as invisible as possible. Bruce Tognazzini and I, both former employees of Apple, wrote a long article on Apple’s usability sins ,which has been read by hundreds of thousands of people. Once Apple products could be used without ever reading a manual. Today, Apple’s products violate all the fundamental rules of design for understanding and usability, many of which Tognazzini and I had helped develop. As a result, even a manual is not enough: all the arbitrary gestures that control tablets, phones, and computers have to be memorized. Everything has to be memorized.

These thoughtless, inappropriate designs are not limited to Apple. New technologies tend to rely on display screens, often with tiny lettering, with touch-sensitive areas that are exceedingly difficult to hit as eye-hand coordination declines. Physical controls are by far the easiest to control–safer too, especially in safety-critical tasks such as driving a car, but they are disappearing. Why? To save a few cents in manufacturing and in a misplaced desire to be trendy. Speech can be a useful substitute for physical controls, though not as helpful as proponents claim.


Beats Powerbeats Pro Review: A True Wireless Sports Headphone With Big Sound And Long Battery Life, by David Carnoy, CNET

Beats says these guys use new upgraded piston drivers that are supposed to cut down on distortion. They sound significantly better than the AirPods, which isn't that high a bar to clear, but the Powerbeats Pro deliver richer, cleaner sound with bass that's not only much bigger but tighter. As I said, a full seal is crucial to maximizing sound quality with these types of noise-isolating headphones, so if the tips aren't sitting snugly in your ear canals you can lose some bass.

Powerbeats Pro Review: Better Than AirPods, But Not For Everybody, by Jason Cross, Macworld

If you want to block outside noise, wear your earbuds during rigorous activity, listen for long periods without recharging, or if you really care about sound quality, the Powerbeats Pro are a better choice. If you need to hear your surroundings, or you put a premium on pocketability and quickly placing or removing your earbuds, or just if price is a critical factor, you’d be better off with AirPods.


Appreciating AppKit, Part 1< by Martin Pilkington

I often feel that AppKit is under-appreciated by those who don't have a lot of experience with it, and especially with switching back and forth between Mac and iOS development. To help try and fix that, I am going to go through some of the features in AppKit that don't exist in UIKit. In this post I'll cover the many controls of AppKit, and in a future post I'll go into some of the less user-facing features.

This will by no means be a comprehensive list, but will hopefully show you some of the key differences, some of the cool but rarely used features, and some of the things Apple will need to look at adding to UIKit to aid building truly great Mac apps.

What To Expect From Marzipan, by Craig Hockenberry, IconFactory

For the past year, I’ve been working on a new product that runs natively on three operating systems: iOS, tvOS, and macOS. As a result, I feel like I can talk with some authority on the differences between these platforms. My biggest takeaway from this project is how different interaction models have a ripple effect throughout a product.


Apple Park Campus Shown Off In New Drone Video, Mystery Stage Included, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Everything is looking lush and green thanks to heavy rains in the Bay Area over the course of the last few months.

There's A Good Chance A New Apple Monitor Will Arrive At WWDC, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Last month the LG UltraFine 4K was listed as sold out at Apple’s online store. Now the 5K model (pictured) is sold out, as well. These were the displays that the tech giant promoted for use with its Mac laptop and Mac mini lines.

The Internet Has A Cancer-Faking Problem, by Róisín Lanigan, The Atlantic

Around the time Marchand stopped posting in the Facebook group, she was arrested in Colorado for faking terminal cancer on the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe and accepting donations through multiple accounts. It seemed she had faked her illness to the Facebook group, too. At trial, she pleaded guilty and was sentenced to community service. “The entire group was devastated, angry, and in a state of disbelief,” Angelacos says. “Everyone felt they had come to know her so well. There was a huge sense of betrayal.” (Marchand and her lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.)

This was not the first time many of the group’s members had felt this way. As harrowing as the experience can be for those involved, people in online cancer support groups are routinely outed as healthy. It’s difficult to speculate exactly how common this phenomenon is: There have been no large-scale scientific investigations into the internet’s cancer fakers, and the evidence is limited to only those who have actually been suspected or caught. But among the internet’s cancer communities, it’s an often acknowledged problem, albeit still a shocking one. Among 10 people from three groups I spoke with recently, every person recalled someone being outed for faking in their communities at least once, if not more.

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I sure hope Apple employees over at Apple Park have stopped walking into glasses.


Thanks for reading.