The elements of directing

Tetsuya Takahashi, Executive Director of Xenoblade X:

There are also some decisions that are not easy to make. Like when one person would be happy with a decision, but someone else would not. Facing such decisions where there is a trade-off is all part of creating something. Ultimately you have to rely on your intuition. I try to make decisions not only considering the immediate consequences, but also considering where [we’re] heading in the future.

When creating something original, a person needs to come forward and make hard decisions based on intuition when data says otherwise.

John Frusciante is back

John Frusciante:

I now have a Bandcamp page and a Soundcloud page and have put up a bunch of unreleased music of my past. My own name has been taken by several people, so one is called and the other is called


This music is all free of cost to the public, and can be downloaded or streamed on Bandcamp and Soundcloud. With the exception of Zone, this is all music which was made purely for the sake of making music, rather than for having it released and thereby sold. In other words, Zone is the only song which was intended to be on a record.

When someone releases music on a label, they are selling it, not giving it. Art is a matter of giving. If I sing my friend a song, it goes from me to her, at no cost. That’s giving.

And now we’ve been given a couple of songs. I’m a huge fan of his solo work, with the Empyrean leading my personal play-count chart. I’ve come to like Letur-Lefr and PBX, too, no matter if they were weird next level shit. It’ll be interesting to listen to this unreleased work, I’m sure I’ll be able to connect. Frusciante is, and has always been, a true artist.


If you want to use your iPad (and iPad Pro) to access your Mac display to draw on, get Astropad. You need to have both the Mac component (free) and the iPad app ($20) in order to get it work. With this you can have a true Wacom Cintiq experience where your tablet is your Mac screen. Here is a video with a small demo on the iPad Pro and another one comparing the iPad Pro to a Cintiq.

/via Daring Fireball

Visuals in El Capitan

I’m not the first to say that in Yosemite this entry field looks like a button, but since in El Cap made the buttons more like buttons, it’s even worse. Mind you, I was fine with Yosemite, but I feel the next iteration is a step backward. In El Cap there is a subtle gradient, and the visuals had been changed also – to be even more like buttons. I don’t understand why. Why fix something that wasn’t broken?

Did Apple really make a stylus?

“If you see a stylus, they blew it.” – Steve Jobs, 2010

Now that the iPad Pro is shipping with one, this question needed to be answered. And there is an answer, given by Tim Cook to the Independent:

“Well, we didn’t really do a stylus, we did a Pencil. The traditional stylus is fat, it has really bad latency so you’re sketching here and it’s filling the line in somewhere behind. You can’t sketch with something like that, you need something that mimics the look and feel of the pencil itself or you’re not going to replace it. We’re not trying to replace finger touch, we’re complementing it with the Pencil.”

It makes perfect sense: manipulating the UI with touch is one thing, but for creative professionals you need a lag free, palm-rejecting, pressure sensitive pencil. I’d just mention one more thing: I still could imagine a cheaper pencil for text or quick sketch drawing even on my iPhone. But I guess it will also come as an extra accesory.

It’s not the hackers we should be afraid of

Rich Mogull for TidBITS:

Reports emerged yesterday that a security exploit broker paid $1,000,000 for a browser-based iOS 9 attack, setting a record for buying and selling a computer exploit, at least in public.


[a] reliable iOS exploit can run into the low-six figures on exploit markets. Government agencies use these for surveillance and law enforcement, and iOS is consistently a tough nut to crack. (…) The agencies that do purchase it will most likely use it judiciously in order to lengthen the lifespan of the attack and minimize the chances it will end up in Apple’s hands.

I recommend reading the whole article. It is painting a very frightening picture. I mean, it’s logical and certainly true, but I wasn’t aware how this business worked. Even though you have the latest OS installed, you must know, that if you’re targeted, government in the US has access to your phone. (What they can get out of it is a different question.) This 1 mil gig was good for show, but the real deals are not announced anywhere in any form.

New stuff in Sketch 3.4

The update is finally out. Here are the parts from the changelog that caught my attention:

You can now create a quick mask for a selected bitmap just by clicking the Mask button in the toolbar

I thought maybe you can apply a gradient to the mask only, which then will result in fade effect, but that didn’t work. :( Am I missing something?

– Measuring distances between layers now also works with ⌘ (Command) to drill down into groups
– You can now Option-hover layers in the Layer List to measure distances between it and the selected layer

This is very cool, measurement got better.

– Improved Background Blur rendering
– Background-blurred layers no longer have white edges

Better but at the edges it still gets halo.

– Added the ability to drag embedded SVG images directly from the browser into Sketch
– Scrollbar in the layer list no longer obscures the hide/lock icons
– New gradients are now based on the current fill colour
– The Color Picker correctly highlights identical colors among the presets


In 3.4 when the color picker is selected you cannot zoom the canvas any more. Which is better than what it used to be, because previously it completely fucked up the zooming.

Also they made improvements to the hierarchy drag and drop. This time we have an Apple Mail-like visual clue where the drop will happen.

As a user of the software I think these tweaks made it better, but I’m interested in their longer term plans, especially what they think of prototyping interactions or designing with constraints.

See what’s next

Client: Netflix
Strategy: Gretel
Design + Animation: Gretel
Typefaces: Gotham Bold, Gotham Book

And then some:

Netflix needed a brand through-line: a conceptual and visual thread to connect everything. Our challenge was to create something broad enough for a global brand but still unique and identifiable. To create something variable yet systematic and bulletproof. It had to be visually striking, adapt to any format, and hold up to interpretation by agencies and vendors around the globe.

Our solution: The Stack, a visual metaphor and an identity system in one.

It’s worth paying attention to this. E pluribus unum.

What’s Object Oriented Programming?

Amogh Talpallikar on Quora:

I haven’t seen a better explanation about OOP till date than the one given by a guy who never had any formal engineering training but always had clear idea about everything he did and preached, be it technology, design or art.

He is referring to Steve Jobs in an 1994 interview for the Rolling Stone:

Objects are like people. They’re living, breathing things that have knowledge inside them about how to do things and have memory inside them so they can remember things. And rather than interacting with them at a very low level, you interact with them at a very high level of abstraction, like we’re doing right here.

Here’s an example: If I’m your laundry object, you can give me your dirty clothes and send me a message that says, “Can you get my clothes laundered, please.” I happen to know where the best laundry place in San Francisco is. And I speak English, and I have dollars in my pockets. So I go out and hail a taxicab and tell the driver to take me to this place in San Francisco. I go get your clothes laundered, I jump back in the cab, I get back here. I give you your clean clothes and say, “Here are your clean clothes.”

You have no idea how I did that. You have no knowledge of the laundry place. Maybe you speak French, and you can’t even hail a taxi. You can’t pay for one, you don’t have dollars in your pocket. Yet I knew how to do all of that. And you didn’t have to know any of it. All that complexity was hidden inside of me, and we were able to interact at a very high level of abstraction. That’s what objects are. They encapsulate complexity, and the interfaces to that complexity are high level.

And here we are in 2015, when Aaron Sorkin made the following lines into a movie:

Steve Wozniak: What do you do? You’re not an engineer. You’re not a designer. You can’t put a hammer to a nail. I built the circuit board! The graphical interface was stolen! So how come ten times in a day I read Steve Jobs is a genius? What do you do?

Steve Jobs: Musicians play their instruments. I play the orchestra.

I have less and less inclination to watch this movie.



FE-Schrift has been the only typeface used on new vehicle registration plates of Germany since November 2000, except for plates issued to military-registered vehicles, which still use the former DIN 1451 typeface. (…)

The motivation for the creation of the typeface was spun in the late 1970s in the light of Red Army Faction terrorism when it was discovered that with the then-standard font for vehicle registration plates—the DIN 1451 font—it was particularly easy to modify letters by applying a small amount of black paint or tape.

I recommend reading the whole article.

Everything about the new emojis

Jeremy Burge on the new Apple included emojis:

Apple has released the iOS 9.1 update for iPhone and iPad, which includes 184 new emojis. This makes iOS the first operating system to include every single emoji in the Unicode Standard.

My personal favorite in the new set is 🕴 Man in Business Suit Levitating. I also like the miscellaneous tweaks. Too bad, facepalm will be a 2016 thing. The post above omits the following four emojis: ❣ ☠ 🏵 🏺 However, the short post is complete listing all 184 new emojis.

TLDR: “1Password leaks your data”

Dale Myers is concerned:

For those of you who don’t know, 1PasswordAnywhere is a feature of 1Password which allows you to access your data without needing their client software. (…) The file that had issues was 1Password.agilekeychain/data/default/contents.js. Being a curious kind of guy I opened the file to see what was in there. The answer is the name and address of every item that I have in 1Password. Every single one. In plain text.

AgileBits isn’t:

Back in 2008, we introduced the AgileKeychain as a way to help our users better synchronize data across platforms and devices. At this time, 1Password had significantly less processing power to draw from for tasks like decryption, and doing something as simple as a login search would cause massive performance issues and battery drain for our users. Given the constraints that we faced at the time, we decided not to encrypt item URLs and Titles (which resembled the same sorts of information that could be found in browser bookmarks).

I looked at the file in question and indeed, just as Dale pointed out, everything is there. I’m also concerned by the justification of AgileBits, they certainly don’t seem to care deeply about this. Mind you, both parties acknowledge that a new storage format, called OPVault that is supposed to resolve this, will be enabled by default. The reason they hadn’t done so is because of some backwards compatibility (srsly?).

On the Mac you can terminal-magic yourself into the future, but be sure to backup your data first. Dale’s post will definitely push AgileBits to do this more quickly, so I’ll wait until the official migration is out.

The whole thing made me realize that 1Password is a black box at this point. Should they migration fail with my database, I won’t really be able to get my data out of their encrypted files, my only option seems to be reverting to an earlier backup hoping they’ll be able to read that. Now I need to figure out how to back up my data so that I can read it at my own leisure.

Ghost Dog (1999)

I’ve seen this movie at least two times, then yesterday I watched it again. The movie got better after each viewing, I think that’s due to my aging and perhaps understanding the world more. There was one thing I did miss though:

Ghost Dog also makes friends with a little girl named Pearline (Camille Winbush), to whom he lends the book—Rashōmon and Other Stories—he received from Vargo’s daughter. Paralleling a major theme of Rashōmon, Louie and Ghost Dog have different accounts of the circumstances of their meeting: in Louie’s flashback he shoots Ghost Dog’s attacker in self-defense, while in Ghost Dog’s flashback, Louie shoots the attacker just as the attacker is about to kill Ghost Dog.

This detail is certainly there, but I could argue whether the viewer, who is not familiar with the Japanese book and doesn’t look for clues, is able to catch it. (I wonder when Jarmusch observes that during test screenings and exit interviews the audience is not able to catch this part, sees a responsibility to ux it better, so that everyone understands, or is it on a level of finesse where he could just let it go? I wish I could ask this question from him.)

Anyway, I’m going to re-watch Le Samouraï, which was an inspiration for Ghost Dog.

Adobe releases Acumin

Sally Kerrigan over at TypeKit:

Coming in with a staggering 90 different weights and styles, the Acumin family is the latest typeface from Robert Slimbach, the principal designer at Adobe Type. It’s our pleasure to add this to our library for use on the web and for syncing. (…) Type historian John Berry wrote an extraordinary background on the history of neo-grotesques and the design process that Robert went through to shape Acumin. Take a look at the Acumin site for more details, as well as suggestions from Robert about usage and an interactive type specimen.

She is not kidding, the Acumin site is amazing, I’ll set some time aside to enjoy it from A to Z. It’s so great that with my Creative Cloud subscription I’m able to use this font right away.

There are new mice in town

Steven Levy got a rare look inside Apple’s Input Design Lab:

The input device, dubbed the Magic Mouse 2, would look to users exactly like the previous model. But on the inside and underneath, everything would be different, mainly because Apple was switching to a rechargeable lithium battery instead of the previous replaceable alkaline ones.

Late in the process, everything seemed to be going fine. The internal lithium battery was custom-engineered to fit the cavity. The redesigned antenna — necessary to deal with the potential interference from an internal battery — was working well.

But one thing was totally unacceptable.

The mouse didn’t sound right.