The Design of Everyday Things

Have you ever pondered why a door handle is designed the way it is or why a tea pot look the way it looks? Quite mundane objects that we don’t really spend any further thought on and take for granted that they work the way we expect them to.

The same could be argued for any piece of software, from the UI to the result after a user’s input, yet designers, developers, user experience professionals and even users often fail to see the forest for the trees and then you feel like using this teapot when e.g. using Tableau:

I would highly suggest the developers of Tableau to read this book and maybe learn a lesson or two and not put up a workaround on how to create a doughnut chart with their very powerful visualization tool but rather offer a one click solution for their users. There are a multitude of other abhorrent inadequacies in the UI and feature rich/lessness of an admittedly powerful enterprise level visualization tool such as Tableau and after 3 years of using both PowerBI and Tableau, I still prefer PowerBI simply because I feel more listened to by its Product Advocates whereas Tableau mostly ignores customer input and ideas gather dust on their community hub without any traction whatsoever. Software as an end to end service is real. Tableau may be on top today (arguably) but things can change in a heartbeat, esp. if you think you can ignore your user base.

I have no ties to either tool and this does not aim to recommend one over the other as both have their merits and downsides but from a mere UX point of view PowerBI wins hands down.

This is why the design of every day things, like door knobs, faucets or the software you are using daily to do your job are incredibly important to get right to the stroke of a t and the dot of an i. Anything less won’t do.

Why do I bring this up here? Well, it’s the same with everything you create, be it a house, a car, a painting, a piece of writing or sculpture, a software, anything we design really, your “design” matters in ways you may not be aware of and I found this book to be a must read if are into designing just about anything used by humans and I would go as far as calling it gross negligence if you didn’t, unless of course you know everything about design already, then I am just preaching to the choir…

2021 – A Writing Odyssey

2020 was the year of the pandemic and it changed all our lives in ways no one would have imaged. It also led to hardships and traumatic experiences no one was ready for. In all that chaos, it is hard to find a spark of light and I believe despite all that happened that you can find that spark and emerge from this crisis with a new hope. I am not talking Star Wars, although the analogy is not half bad. I faced a trifecta of crisis, March 2020, September 2020 and October 2020, which was just too much and still is hard.

Emerging from all this, one is left to contemplate what to do next… for me I reconnected with an old friend and started writing again and fishing! In many ways I feel like I am at a new beginning, an odyssey of sorts if you will, a journey that will lead to new endeavors and experiences.

I also started investing and am amazed by this new culture of meme stocks and reddit investors. Be it Game Stop or AMC, the doors have been opened for everyone out there to invest at the tap of a button and the pandemic just amplified this manyfold. I for one will be watching this “Planet of the Apes” story unfolding in the stock market closely and am rooting for the retail investor.

Where will this journey lead? Well, for one, I will finish this draft I am working on, maybe get a creative writing diploma, look for a new job, invest some more, maybe create a YouTube channel, go out more with my camera to take pictures and most importantly, keep fishing!

To new beginnings!

Day 1 with Twine 2

I did a lot of interactive Fiction (IF) reading in my past and dabbled a bit in inform7 years ago and recently discovered inklewriter and loved it. It’s very slick! Albeit, after losing a whole story without means to recover it, I shied away from it as it doesn’t allow for local saving. Too bad.

In comes Twine 2.0.┬áSo easy! I love it! “Day 1” is my first stab at “IF” in Twine, learning the syntax and all, looking at the wiki and trying out some basic stuff. I used the default theme Harlowe and literally hacked this together in one evening, so bear with me! There might be bugs!

I can highly recommend checking out Twine if you are into interactive fiction writing or are looking for a prototyping tool for your game ideas.

Ready for Day 1? (save as html and open in your browser)

Rambo is back!

“Heroes never die…. They just reload.” And here I was hoping they retire and shut up eventually! OK, is there ANYONE out there who has not seen or heard of Rambo? It is possible, you know. For them and for the rest, let it be known: Rambo is back on the big screen this week, January 25th 2008, written & directed by Mr. Pudding Mogul, err you know who. View at your own peril. [ Trailer ] [ “Rambo directs Rambo” interview ]

Addendum: Some Rambo fun stats

Rambo Fun Stats

“How I met your mother” Season 3 started

Here I was, not knowing about this show “How I met Your Mother” for two full seasons until a friend of mine brought it up and still I wasn’t really that much interested from what he told me. I mean, who wants to listen to a guy telling his kids the story about how he met their mother? Right? Fast forward two weeks: I have just finished watching Season 2 and to answer the question: I do and so do you! Believe me, this show is awesome, nay… it is legen… WAIT FOR IT… DARY!

James Spader wins Emmy 2007

James Spader deserved this Emmy as Best Actor (Drama). Congratulations James! It seems almost none of TV.com’s viewers think so. Only 7% thought he should win and a meager 3% were convinced that he will win. Hugh Laurie was of course a strong contender and I am looking forward to the next seasons of House and Boston Legal, both returning Tuesday, Sept. 25th.