Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Has the spoiler-alert threshold been passed? If yes, here is a Force Awakens review by Matt Drance:

The plot is a lazy, messy recreation of A New Hope: stuff hidden in a droid; wistful hero in the desert; Millennium Falcon; setpiece; genocide; setpiece; sneaky base infiltration; trench run; lightsabers; explosion. There are countless on-the-nose moments typical of an Abrams film. One particularly silly scene, where the old and new Death Stars are compared side-by-side, is betrayed by a preceding trailer for Independence Day 2, which features Jeff Goldblum achingly declaring “That is definitely… bigger than the last one.”

These were the bad parts. Then he goes to write about the good ones, too.

Me? I watched the movie and I really liked it. I could pick on things, but I’m just going to write this: it was good cinema.

60 minutes – Inside Apple

It’s very hard to resist the urge to go to an Apple Store and just buy something after seeing this – marketing? – video. I mean, how could you make a segment of the worlds number 1 business who is full of secrets without the accusation that it was just marketing and working our brains that they’re something special and noone else out there is? There isn’t much to learn, but it is good entertainment and builds the myth properly.

A couple of things I liked. First, you get to see Ive’s designers. Although for just a couple of cutaway shots, but they’re there, pretending they’re doing actual job. Then here are two sketches of what seems to had been designed by Ive himself (or at least this is how I understood):

“This is still Steve’s company” – Cook made me feel happy.

Charlie Rose is very professional when it comes to his craft of talking to people and I think he was in a position where he could press Cook on several fronts. He immediately recognizes when someone is trying to talk around what he is trying to know, he knows how to cut in to Cook, it’s all very good. This is not to say we get to know trade secrets, but it was entertaining to watch.

Here is a question asked from Cook that was the most subtle thing I’ve ever heard:

“How hard is it to say, Apple will be in the car business?”

Even Cook smiled on the elegance. My interpretation is that they’re in the car business. At the end, visiting the new campus, Ive was wearing a white construction workers hat with a gray Apple logo on it and concluded the segment, when asked, that his office will be on the top floor.

If you’re interested in seeing the segment, here is a pointer where to go to download.

The long, incredibly tortuous, and fascinating process of creating a Chinese font

Nikhil Sonnad for QZ:

The most fundamental unit of a character is the “stroke.” Think of a stroke as a single motion during which the writer does not lift her writing implement. The character for “two” is 二 and, intuitively, contains exactly two strokes. A more complicated character is 灣, the wan in Taiwan, which is made up of 25 strokes.

These strokes come together to form the 214 “radicals” of Chinese. These are usually components contained within larger characters, and each has its own meaning, like “water” (氵) or “fur” (毛) or “speech” (言). A character is usually one or more radicals—which give it meaning—along with other parts that suggests how it should be pronounced. You might notice that the wan (灣) character mentioned above contains the “water” radical on its left side; that’s because this character means “bay,” which is a very watery thing.

I rarely read long articles on the internet, but I read this one line by line.

ITC Serif Gothic is back

Yves Peters at FontShop:

More than just a new installment in the insanely popular franchise, the new film by J.J. Abrams seems to be bringing back many elements from the beloved original trilogy, one example being the dirtier, shabby version of machinery and technology. And then there is the return of some familiar faces we never dared hope to see again, like Princess Leia, Han Solo and Chewbacca. However there is one familiar face whose return went largely unnoticed to anyone but us type geeks – the ITC Serif Gothic® typeface.

This is the only post you need to read about the new Star Wars movie.

My dinner with André (1981)

Roger Ebert in 1999:

Someone asked me the other day if I could name a movie that was entirely devoid of clichés. I thought for a moment, and then answered, “My Dinner With Andre.”

This was the call sign for me to watch this movie. It is very good. If you’re done with the movie, go and read the article above (but not before). Next up: Vanya on 42nd street (1994) and A Master Builder (2013). The three films got a simultaneous release recently in the summer by Criterion.

Site Up

Matt Aussaguel:

[W]e’re excited to expand today to the world of site design and development with SiteUp, a place for designers and front-end developers to find inspiration and resources, through a daily showcase.

You can use SiteUp in two ways: share your own work to get exposure and feedback from like-minded peers, and find the resources and inspiration you need to create sites. On the showcase you can share UI concepts, front-end resources, really cool experiments – one of my favorites ;), live sites… and as always prototypes are most welcome (Videos, FramerJS, CodePen, InVision or Marvel)!

The real beauty of it is that you can interact with the site creators, see what technologies they’ve used to make it (programming language, framework, fonts, etc.) and try the site in different resolutions from SiteUp directly. You can see an example here – make sure to hit ‘Launch it’.

Worth checking out.

Apple Smart Battery case is good, embrace it

The internet has gone all out on the announced Apple Smart Battery Case, but I, for one, am welcoming towards the “lump”. The design is a clear indication that you hold extra battery in your palm. If I was in a need for some extra juice, I’d buy this. Wired has tested it:

There are no indicator lights that show the case’s battery, and no on/off switch that will initiate charge, instead the case acts like it’s part of your battery. If you put your phone in the case when it has less than 100 percent, the case will start to charge it. When the case’s battery is gone, your iPhone will use its own battery. How do you know what percentage the case is at? Pull down the Notification Center and an icon will appear near the top telling you how much juice is left in your phone and case. It’s a cool little detail that shows off Apple’s inter-device compatibility, but it’s also the only way you can gauge the case’s battery. The case has a Lightning port for charging, which means you can plug in your iPhone in its case and charge both at the same time. This adds to the illusion that your case becomes one with your iPhone, and you never have to take it off.

This is all good and that’s how I’d have designed it.

[t]he performance of the case isn’t that great. The 1,877 mAh battery won’t even give you a full charge from zero percent.

A recurring element is that a case that doesn’t provide a full charge is shit. Come on. Do we really need to get into the same arguments over and over again when Apple releases something?

Here is someone from Reddit:

Form of function = complains
Function over form = complains
Steve Jobs alive = complains
Steve Jobs dead = complains
Apple makes an Android app = losing sales
Apple doesn’t make an Android app = assholes
Apple starts iPad Pro at 32GB = why no 16GB option
iPad gets split screen = copied Microsoft
iPad doesnt have split screen = stuck in 2008

The smart battery case was never meant to fully charge your phone. It’s a battery extension for your phone where the lump seamlessly integrates with your phone, giving you the extra battery. It’s an official gadget, integrates with your notification center, in true Apple style hides as many technical details as possible, and THAT IS IT.

Design is good.

Product is solid.

Jony Ive is the man.