Category tools

Intuitive, minimal… brilliant to-do app

I love the idea of pre-packaged software templates to address and automate of a narrow set of tasks… I like apps.

At the same time I’m not overly smitten by hardly any of the 800,000+ available iphone apps. A notable percentage of them, even some of well designed ones, aren’t worth our time or hard drive space.

The best app is the one you can’t see… it’s transparent… you look past it and see the task at hand.

In my opinion the best app associated with computers was launched in 1995, Netscape’s consumer-oriented web browser. It changed everything and then swiftly slipped into the background. Today we don’t even notice the browser… which is just as it should be.

With that setup I’ll point to a current favorite, Clear.

I love it on so many levels. Visually it’s minimal, stark, focused, intuitive and absolutely gorgeous. From a utility perspective it’s super-tight; it’s a to-do list and nothing else.

I’ve used half a dozen to-do apps and this one is head-and-shoulders above everything else.

If you have things to-do… use this.

Simplifying the user experience

The best interfaces are the ones you never notice.

Among my favorite user interface is the dashboard on a late 70s Jeep CJ7.

Unlike modern vehicles that embrace a “more is more” mentality the CJ dash is simple and spartan.

To me it says… eyes focused on what’s in front of you. Everything else is superfluous.

The new Master lock caught my eye for similar reasons.

We all remember using Master locks in years past… “go past the 26 one time and then on the second time around stop on it and go to 15… wait did I just go to 24 instead of 26?”

It took concentration to open your lock with one try. That is sign of a poor interface.

Look at the revised interface to the left. Instead of the standard number sequence it works with a series of up-down and left-right movements.

Which do you think would be easier for an 8 year old? How about an 80 year old? Blind person?

Nice reinterpretation of a product we  probably all thought was as good as it could be.


Behind the creative curtain with Kishi Bashi

I love it when artists show us their creative process. It’s amazing to see a painter create a visual metaphor of an idea and equally cool to watch a musician compose right in front of your eyes.

The ultimate related to “seeing” an artist create is The Mystery of Picasso as it enables us to see Picasso work from the point of view of the canvas itself. It’s almost hard to imagine what it would be like to watch artists of the caliper create and yet the Picasso film delivers that level of experience.

And so I point to this podcast with Kishi Bashi. It’s as much about peering behind the creative curtain as it is about hearing the sonic mess that comes out the other side. Oh… and I dig the sonic mess.

Listen to the podcast first and then check out the Kishi Bashi a tiny desk concert video.

You are the architect and your house will be round

3D-printing is entering the realm of the mainstream. From custom, on-demand and on location created products to… houses.

Think of the most amazing structures on the planet… China’s bird’s nest or China’s CCTV bulding… now boot up a CAD program and design your own house and have it printed where you want it.

The meat of this vid starts 2:20 in.

The acceleration of learning

It’s almost funny how some people keep waiting for things to slow down. For technology to become less pervasive… for things to go back to the “good ‘ol days.”

What’s so clear is that we not only aren’t going backward… the pace of change is accelerating.

We carry the equivalent of the Library of Alexandria, once considered the found of all knowledge known to man, in our pockets.

Here’s one more gem… for those visual learners.

Corny video. Clean, educational product.


The art of the pitch… video

Pitches for capital have transformed into a world where crowd-sourcing is a key component.

Blah blah blah, the world changed, blah blah blah.

You know everything else I’ll say here… you’ve heard it all before.

Check out this pitch video. It’s strong.

More on this particular effort here.

Series 1

Go ahead, try and point to another vehicle this utilitarian, I don’t think there is one.

Sure you could point to a Unimog, (original) Hummer, a pared down CJ or pickup. As much as I love those… I think they all fail. The Land Rover Series 1 (the first in the Series 1, 2, 3 models) is as much of a utility vehicle as is possible.

They started production of the Series 1 in 1948, a few years after the war ended. Fifty years later a stunning 70% of all vehicles created are still in use.

Me gusta.

Everything is a remix

Intellectual property is the new Lego blocks.

Everything is a Remix Part 1 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Everything is a Remix Part 2 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Everything is a Remix Part 3 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Everything is a Remix Part 4 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Creating worlds via editing bits

In the summer of 1977 I was introduced to a new world, it was the world that George Lucas wanted me to see in his American epic space opera film series Star Wars. Like that film and more recently Christopher Nolan’s Inception… the below offers a quick view into a world which only has the boundaries that exist in our imaginations.

Nice little vignette.

Tyler Warren’s Bar of soap

I wrote a post a while ago called in praise of odd craft. It was essentially a love letter to a surfboard I’ve become quite smitten with.

The video below, while focused on the same board, works on an entirely different level. I’m posting this for non-surfers. Watch this video. What other sport exists where a participant literally creates their own tools? Do you know anyone that makes their own baseball gloves or anyone that makes their own skis? Granted, I posted a video a bit ago about a DIY snowboard crew… making their own craft. Still, it’s quite a rare (and beautiful) thing.

I’ll stop jabbering, watch Tyler shape and then surf his own creation. This almost has more of an intersection to sculpture and art than it does to sports.

Related, check out his art here.