Labnotes

Weekend Reading – I … shave … Yaks …

Published on

The first step ...

Adam Keys:

The first step is to admit you're shaving a yak.

Design Objective

§ Brilliant and funny presentation by Aral Balkan: Superheroes & Villains in Design:

Can design be so amazing that it makes us feel superheroic? Can it be so poor that it angers and frustrates us? Can design actually be evil? YES says Aral Balkan emphatically in this insightful, inspiring and often hysterically funny talk.

We have one of these elevators in our building, and I use Clipper, so I can attest the forces of evil do exist.

§ Another presentation you don't want to miss: Airbnb Design Talk with Luke Wroblewski. Great examples of optimizing the signup and checkout forms (check out the Skeucard link below).

Another big takeaway: the difference between designing for mobile and designing for print. You know which one Photoshop is good for. On the other hand …

§ Pentotype is a brilliant touch-based Web app designed to be used with an iPad for wireframing and mocking iPhone apps. Inception.

You must try their hands-on demo. Best if you have an iPad, but you can get a feeling for it with a mouse.

§ When designing, the most precious resources are the users. Treat them with respect. And who's better at advocating on behalf of users than Kathy Sierra?

Your app makes me fat:

If your UX asks the user to make choices, for example, even if those choices are both clear and useful, the act of deciding is a cognitive drain. And not just while they're deciding... even after we choose, an unconscious cognitive background thread is slowly consuming/leaking resources, "Was that the right choice?"

Lines of Code

§ MailGun is offering a free email validation API for web forms.

§ So, what's new in Bootstrap 3?

In case you haven't been following the Bootstrap 3 work-in-progress, let's start with a quick summary of what's changed for 3. Everything has changed. For starters, the 2.x grid has been completely rethought in an effort to acheive "mobile first". From Bootstrap 2.3.2 to 3.0 RC 1 there were over 1,600 commits, 72,000 additions/deletions and 300 changed files.

§ While it only ever matters if JS is slow for the app you're trying to build, I do enjoy reading these generalist articles when they come with testable data. 5 Myths About Mobile Web Performance:

Recently we’ve heard some myths being repeated about mobile HTML performance that are not all that accurate. Like good urban myths, they sound compelling and plausible. But these myths are based on incorrect premises, misconceptions about the relationship between native and web software stacks and a scattershot of skewed data points. We thought it was important to address these myths with data that we’ve collected over the years about performance, and our own experiences doing optimizations of mobile web app performance.

§ How bad is it? Android Fragmentation Visualized (July 2013).

These 11,828 distinct devices represents 10% of our traffic. Just like IE 8, except we can test 3 versions of IE, but not 11,828 versions of Android.

The "less popular" iOS commands 35% of traffic, almost all devices running iOS 6, and in just three screen flavors.

§ Not quite as good as Luke Wroblewski (see video above), but certainly a very compelling UI experiment: Skeuocard progressively enhances credit card input.

§ This will be amazing for optimizing demanding JS apps – Google WTF (Web Tracing Framework):

Rich tools for instrumenting, analyzing, and visualizing web apps.
Make your app jank-free at 60fps!

§ Transit — Super smooth CSS transitions & transformations for jQuery.

§ grunt-notify — Automatic Notifications when Grunt tasks fail. Supports Growl, OS X Notification Center, Snarl and Notify-Send.

§ object-inspect produces readable string representations of objects in node and the browser.

Startup Life

§ Dealing with the Mentor/Investor Whiplash:

You cannot let that happen to you. You are the domain expert on your business. You have spent way more time and energy thinking about your business than someone who takes a 30 minute meeting with you, having never thought about it for one iota, and then gives you a ton of advice that you are doing everything wrong. You have to learn to hear that feedback but not react to it.

§ How To Price and Sell Your Startup’s Product:

There are four different models that I’ve experienced: up front payment, freemium, limited free trials, money back guarantee. Picking the right one depends on a number of different factors. Below is a table that summarizes these four approaches.

§ Research trumps anedotes. The Science Behind Team Spirit: Using Synchrony to Deliver Effective Startup Pitches As A Team (PDF) and The Scienece Behind Team Spirit:

The goal of this paper is to shed light on the importance of team synchrony, especially when pitching an idea to a potential customer or investor, and to guide you through the best practices for establishing strong team dynamics and overall synchrony.

§ How to Grow: 21 Tactics to Acquire Customers:

I hate the term growth hacker, but I love the concept. The idea that you can grow a business from 0 to thousands of customers without much of a marketing budget is a beautiful thing, and very much the result of growth hacks — free marketing tactics that grow traffic, brand, links, and eventually, a customer base.

§ Everything there is to know about startup competition:

Take your eye off competitors for a moment and you’ll notice that your own company doesn’t have any customers. #morepressingproblems

None Of The Above

§ Authy is a new two-factor authentication app for iOS and Android. It's well designed, compared to the other apps I tried, and comes with a companion Mac app that grabs the token over Bluetooth, although more of a gimmick than useful feature.

§ WelcomeMat.co lets you create ASCII art welcome mats for your HTML page.

§ Brian Krebs has the worst readers:

Earlier this month, the administrator of an exclusive cybercrime forum hatched and executed a plan to purchase heroin, have it mailed to my home, and then spoof a phone call from one of my neighbors alerting the local police.

§ I'd pay to get my browsers to do that: Al Sweigart:

Browser plugin idea: Appends to your user-agent, "By accepting this HTTP connection, you agree to nullify your terms of service."

The Silly

§ DevOps Borat:

Law of Murphy for devops: if thing can able go wrong, is mean is already wrong but you not have Nagios alert of it yet.

§ DownloadMoreRAM. Just downloaded 4GB of RAM to my iPhone, 10 sec, $0.

§ Sayings 2.0:

  • Never judge an app by its icon
  • A watched status update never gets liked.
  • Close, but no WiFi.