Interesting and/or cool stuff I've come across from art, design, technology, photography, movies I've watched and liked and, occasionally, my thoughts.

Noted, November 2023

Collected bits and pieces I’ve noticed this month.

In “Improving The Double Diamond Design Process” Andy Budd writes about how the “Double Diamond” design process is an ideal that does not match how design actually happens in many (most?) organisations and how it could be improved to be more usable and useful in reality.


Christopher Butler:

Interaction design is two things.

  1. managing attention
  2. persuasion

Once you come to the realization/acceptance that no one – not even the interested, motivated, and committed  –  has the kind of focused attention available for your thing that you assume they have, you will have a much better chance of capturing and sustaining any of it at all.


In “Why note-taking apps don’t make us smarter”, which is well worth a read if you care about thinking and note-taking and note-taking for better thinking, Casey Newton links to researcher Andy Matuschak’s site on note taking. Wow. I got lost in there, in a good way, for quite some time and still keep it open in a tab.


On a related note, ahem, I love how Readwise is approaching highlights and sidenotes in their Readwise Reader reading app.


Good career advice from Julia Evans: Get your work recognized: write a brag document


On good line length based on research: “Line length revisited: following the research” by Mary Dyson

Noted, May 2023

Collected bits and pieces I’ve noticed this month.

In May 2022, the Mozilla Foundation took a look at the privacy situation of mental health apps, and what they saw was not very pretty. Checking up on it a year later, still not a very pretty sight.
via The Verge
"Building like it's 1984: A comprehensive guide to creating intuitive context menus" is a good, comprehensive writeup on, well, context menus. By Height.
John Siracusa's unsolicited spec for streaming app interfaces – a short collection of table stakes features so your app doesn't suck.
"Net Promoter Score Considered Harmful (and What UX Professionals Can Do About It)" I don't encounter many NPS surveys these days, luckily, and an (even remotely) correctly timed one is an even rarer occurrence.
via Zeldman on Twitter
Today I learned that the gibberish-looking text where a word or phrase is suddenly in a different font with a lot of symbols and whatnot all around and over it is called Zalgo text.

Noted, April 2023

Collected bits and pieces I’ve noticed this month.

Jony Ive, Marc Newson, and Peter Saville talk to Wallpaper about the creation of LoveFrom, Serif, the design studio's bespoke typeface.
via Sidebar


This Figma "switchboard" tip will save you a lot of clicks and avoid a lot of spaghetti.


AI is really good at coming up with new horrible stuff. At least as good as us humans, only way faster. And this is from way back in 2022: "AI suggested 40,000 new possible chemical weapons in just six hours"


A treasure trove of 60s garage rock on Youtube.


Craig Mod's experience in Venice very much matches my own:

As I lifted her substantial luggage, careful to do so only with my legs, not my back, she intoned in German-accented English: Thank you, this broken foot of mine vould not keep me avay, nothing vould keep me avay from my dear Venice.
Her deranged veneration seemed omnipresent and fundamental to the city. I felt surrounded by cult worshipers. But they all vanished when I ippon ura’d (“one street backed” as we call it in my Japan pop-up newsletters) the sinking town. It seemed as if very few were here to explore.

Simple Type Co. is a small type foundry from Dan Cederholm of Dribble fame. They have some fun typefaces as well as some neat goods. My favs are the anchorsand tee (pictured here) and the ampersandwitch pin. What can I say, I like ampersands.

I was bummed to be hit across the face with a "subscribe!" modal though.

Noted, October 2021

Collected bits and pieces I've noticed this month.

One Day—And One Night—In the Kitchen at Les Halles

Anthony Bourdain describes one day—and one night—in the kitchen at Les Halles, his retaurant in New York City. I've read this numerous times and it's always a treat. It's also, always, a reminder to stop myself from entertaining any ideas of restaurateurship (is that a word?).

The Nash equilibrium

In game theory, the Nash equilibrium is the most common way to define the solution of a non-cooperative game involving two or more players. In a Nash equilibrium, each player is assumed to know the equilibrium strategies of the other players and no player has anything to gain by changing only their own strategy.

It is named after the mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. who, among his other notable achievements, pretty much willed himself to function despite suffering from schizophrenia by deciding that the hallucinations caused by the illness were not worth his attention.

The Clearview AI horror show goes on

From Wired:

Some of Clearview’s new technologies may spark further debate. Ton-That says it is developing new ways for police to find a person, including “deblur” and “mask removal” tools. The first takes a blurred image and sharpens it using machine learning to envision what a clearer picture would look like; the second tries to envision the covered part of a person’s face using machine learning models that fill in missing details of an image using a best guess based on statistical patterns found in other images.

May spark further debate? You don't say! How is this horror show still allowed to operate?

via Pixel Envy

The Start menu

Lukas Mathis briefly on the Windows 10 full-screen start menu being killed in Windows 11. I always liked the full-screen menu too.


Marcin Wichary shares a neat little text utility from his days at Medium.

We're getting some flavour of this with tools like Grammarly (alternative wording and tone suggestions), but it's not exactly as lightweight and elegant and natural feeling. I do miss having the definitions + spelling features available for any text I select, regardless of what app I'm in. Or maybe I just don't know how to invoke it?

Also, I... dislike it when people who tweet often bulk-delete their tweets, leaving odd gaps in the thread.


Everybody's favourite typeface website I Love Typography now has a store.


Frank Chimero is a designer who writes, this time, about colour:

"Late day, late August, ocean front, looking out: wine dark sea, red ochre sky, and at the boundary? From nowhere: chartreuse."

Noted, April 2021

Collected bits and pieces I've noticed this month.

Om Malik has some samples of what happens when computational photography meets (more) artificial intelligence — Apple's ProRAW image format combined with Adobe's new Super Resolution feature.

Huum, an Estonian design sauna heater maker has won two more Red Dot awards, very cool! I mean hot!

You should buy a whole chicken, really. I've never considered eating the cartilage, until now, and learned there's a piece of chicken called the oyster.

Microsoft is planning to replace Calibra with a new default font in Office apps. I never really liked Calibra. (via The Verge)

In other things Microsoft, a concept design that doesn't feel like a concept — reddit user u/Alur2020 re-imagines the Windows File Explorer UI. (via The Verge)

Hackers for Dear Leader: The Incredible Rise of North Korea’s Hacking Army

"In Conversation: Mads Mikkelsen" in The Vulture had this nugget in it:

"My approach to what I do in my job — and it might even be the approach to my life — is that everything I do is the most important thing I do. Whether it’s a play or the next film. It is the most important thing. I know it’s not going to be the most important thing, and it might not be close to being the best, but I have to make it the most important thing. That means I will be ambitious with my job and not with my career. That’s a very big difference, because if I’m ambitious with my career, everything I do now is just stepping-stones leading to something — a goal I might never reach, and so everything will be disappointing. But if I make everything important, then eventually it will become a career. Big or small, we don’t know. But at least everything was important."

"Waves of Abandonment" The number of neglected abandoned oil wells in Texas alone is startling, the result of lax regulation and jerks running oil companies.

"When New Yorkers Were Menaced by Banana Peels" A brief history of slipping on banana peels in New York.

On watch typography

File that one under unexpected — Liz Stinson writes on Hodinkee how among stellar examples of watch face typography like Hermès' beautiful custom numbers, there are some rather 'meh' approaches from otherwise big names like Rolex, but this one certainly takes the cake:

Patek Philippe, for example, has used ITC American Typewriter and Arial on its high-end watches.

That's right, the Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar Ref 5207G, with a price tag of around a million dollars, has Arial on it's face.

via Pixel Envy

Penny Dreadfuls & Murder Broadsides

A fun read on the history of Penny Dreadfuls - cheap, easy to read, mostly pulpy fiction - and Murder Broadsides - one-sided sheets printed and sold in time for executions, recounting the crimes of the condemned.

From the article:

Enter the penny dreadful, typically eight or sixteen pages, printed on cheap paper, taking its serialized story cues from gothic thrillers of the previous century. Most of the stories are now forgotten, but one notable exception is everyone’s favorite homicidal barber, Sweeney Todd.

All with a generous sprinkling of type nerdery, as you'd expect from I love Typography. Come for the macabre, stay for the type. Go read Penny Dreadfuls & Murder Broadsides on ILT.

Image credit British Newspaper Archive via ILT.

Font Detectives

Glenn Fleishman in a fascinating story for Wired that involves the Prime minister of Pakistan, Justin Timberlake, a rabbi and typography.

The prime minister’s daughter, Maryam Sharif, provided an exculpatory document that had been typeset in Calibri—a Microsoft font that was only released for general distribution nearly a year after the document had allegedly been signed and dated. While Sharif’s supporters waged a Wikipedia war over the Calibri entry, type designer Thomas Phinney quietly dropped some history lessons about the typeface on Quora, and found himself caught in a maelstrom of global reporting. Phinney said that because Calibri has been in use for several years, people have forgotten that it’s a relatively new font.