Recent Articles By Andrew Orr [RSS]

Apple Books is a Love Letter to Readers

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I previously wrote about how Apple Books has greatly improved in iOS 12, and Ryan Christoffel agrees in his own rundown of Apple Books as a love letter to readers.

Apple could have easily taken the look of apps like Music and Podcasts and slapped it on Books, and it would have been fine. The company did nothing of the sort, though; instead, Apple Books offers one of the most drastic departures from existing iOS design norms available on the platform…

Books’ design isn’t entirely foreign to other iOS apps – there are some similarities, such as the abundant use of white space – but overall its differences far outweigh any commonalities. And those differences prove that there’s still plenty of room to expand the accepted design norms on iOS.

The Ad-Filled Web Is Now Called the Bullsh*t Web

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I first came across this article via Daring Fireball, and it discusses the Bullsh*t Web, a term for the ad-filled web we’re now familiar with.

Take that CNN article, for example. Here’s what it contained when I loaded it:

  • Eleven web fonts, totalling 414 KB
  • Four stylesheets, totalling 315 KB
  • Twenty frames
  • Twenty-nine XML HTTP requests, totalling about 500 KB
  • Approximately one hundred scripts, totaling several megabytes — though it’s hard to pin down the number and actual size because some of the scripts are “beacons” that load after the page is technically finished downloading.

Ads are necessary to keep things free, but the amount of crap that most modern websites are filled with is unnecessary.

The Daughter of Steve Jobs is Publishing a Book

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Lisa Brennan-Jobs, daughter of Steve Jobs, is publishing a book on September 4, 2018. She tells the story of “the pride and pain of a childhood spent navigating the vastness between her struggling single mom and Apple’s mercurial founder.” She wrote a book adaptation for Vanity Fair where she discusses some of her experiences.

In the spring of 1978, when my parents were 23, my mother gave birth to me on their friend Robert’s farm in Oregon, with the help of two midwives. The labor and delivery took three hours, start to finish. My father arrived a few days later. “It’s not my kid,” he kept telling everyone at the farm, but he’d flown there to meet me anyway. I had black hair and a big nose, and Robert said, “She sure looks like you.”

My parents took me out into a field, laid me on a blanket, and looked through the pages of a baby-name book. He wanted to name me Claire. They went through several names but couldn’t agree. They didn’t want something derivative, a shorter version of a longer name.

The Daughter of Steve Jobs is Publishing a Book

A UI-UX Designer Just Created a Siri Concept

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I wrote about Kévin Eugène before when he created a macOS concept. Now he’s back with a Siri concept, and it looks great. The concept is called iOS Mogi, and it’s based on something called parallel help. Basically, it involves Siri being able to work in the background to carry out your commands, instead of the current “issue command, Siri reply, done, exit.” Siri opens as a small notification, instead of taking up the whole screen. This is the true future of virtual assistants. They should be able to do things on their own in a more proactive way than iOS 9 Proactive ever could.

You know how sometimes, you feel frustrated when you try to send a message with Siri, and end up taking your phone and typing your text? In iOS Mogi, instead of relying completely on Siri to do things for you, you can ask it to help you get things done faster. No more wandering in the UI, simply begin your sentence with « I want to… » and Siri will let you do it, without leaving what you were doing (in iOS Mogi, what you are doing is really precious).

A UI-UX Designer Just Created a Siri Concept

Google: "Don't Be Evil, Unless We Can Make Money"

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Google is working with authoritarian China to build a censored version of its search engine, completely sh*tting on its old motto “Don’t Be Evil.” With dollar signs in its eyes, Google (and Apple mind you) can’t resist the siren call of dystopia:

The project – code-named Dragonfly – has been underway since spring of last year, and accelerated following a December 2017 meeting between Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official, according to internal Google documents and people familiar with the plans.

The planned move represents a dramatic shift in Google’s policy on China and will mark the first time in almost a decade that the internet giant has operated its search engine in the country.

Should Apple Ban Alex Jones From its Platforms?

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Facebook and Spotify have recently removed some content from Alex Jones from their platforms. In my opinion I think Apple should be next. Recode reports on Spotify’s move:

Infowars founder Alex Jones is getting another slap on the wrist from a major tech company: Spotify, the music streaming service that also streams podcasts, has removed multiple episode of “The Alex Jones Show” for violating the company’s policies around hate speech.

Before I get emails from readers accusing me of political bias (it happened recently) let me give you my take. Regardless of whether Alex Jones is considered alt-right, conservative, or whatever you want to call him, this shouldn’t be a political issue. People from all political sides should support compassion for others, as well as support evidence-based discourse. Alex Jones isn’t compassionate, and many of the things he says aren’t based on evidence.

Donut County Game Available for Pre-Order Today

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Donut County game, a story-based physics puzzle game about a mysterious hole in the ground developed by Ben Esposito, will be launching on PlayStation 4, Steam, GOG and the App Store for iOS and Mac on August 28. Published by Annapurna Interactive, the publisher behind critically acclaimed titles What Remains of Edith Finch, Gorogoa and Florence, Donut County is currently available to pre-order on today on the iOS App Store and Mac App Store. In the game you explore negative space by giving players control over a hole in the ground, and combine objects in the hole for surprising effects, solve puzzles by launching them back out, and ruin everyoneʼs day by devouring everything in sight. App Store: Donut County – US$4.99 | Mac App Store: Donut County – US$12.99

Donut County Game Available for Pre-Order Today

Japan Display Inc Shows off Futuristic Technology

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Japan Display Inc., a Japanese manufacturer known for producing iPhone screens, unveiled some futuristic technology at a recent event.

The presentation, perhaps unintentionally, highlighted the company’s challenges in reducing its reliance on screens for mobile phones, which account for 80 percent of revenue. Samsung Electronics Co. and Sharp Corp. earlier this week reported earnings that took a hit from sluggish global smartphone sales and JDI is due to report first-quarter results on Aug. 8. In addition, Apple is shifting to next-generation organic light-emitting diode displays, which JDI doesn’t produce in mass quantities.

I love me some futurism, and it’s good to see Japan Display start to branch out now that we seem to be in peak smartphone.

How to Improve Your Black and White Photography

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The Phoblographer shared some tips to improve your black and white photography. The world of monochrome is a fun journey, and as a black and white photographer myself, it’s always good to get tips and tricks. There are nine tips to help you get started:

  1. Plan to shoot black and white before you take the shot
  2. Look for the abstract
  3. Shoot in RAW or use color filters
  4. Use long exposures
  5. Dodge and Burn
  6. Understand how light is affected
  7. Use HDR
  8. Emphasize mood
  9. Subvert Expectation (take black and white photos of things you would expect to be in color)

There’s more to it and just taking color away, and you can read the article and watch the video to learn more.

This Safari Concept Redesigns it for iOS

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A design project called Refresh takes a look at Safari on iOS. It’s a Safari concept that redesigns it based on tab management, saving and recalling, context sensitivity, and better organization. Managing a lot of open tabs that span across different tasks should be easier to handle. Browsers should help in sorting open tabs and making sense of past browsing sessions. Saving information and files for later should be more intuitive. Browsers should help categorizing saved information and surface it when it could be relevant. Browsers should be more proactive in suggesting useful actions depending the different types of websites that you’re visiting. Create a space for work, one for research of your thesis, and one for that Thailand trip you’ve been planning. Every time you switch between Spaces all open tabs and saved links are still there, but they won’t disturb you when you want to focus on something different.