“On the other hand, cheap, rough paper with a beautifully set textblock hanging just so on the page makes those in the know, smile (and those who don’t, feel welcome). It says: We may not have had the money to print on better paper, but man, we give a shit. Giving a shit does not require capital, simply attention and humility and diligence. Giving a shit is the best feeling you can imbue craft with. Giving a shit in book design manifests in many ways, but it manifests perhaps most in the margins.”—Let’s talk about margins — Craig Mod
“More often than not, two people arguing passionately about something are actually arguing about two different things. Sometimes they even agree with one another, but are so caught up in their squabble they don’t realize it.”—http://www.paulgraham.com/disagree.html
“Dostoevski needed a doorstop of a book to grapple with the question: “Is it ever acceptable for innocents to suffer for the greater good?” And the Americans, a more practical people, have answered that in two words: “Of course!””—https://static.pinboard.in/webstock_2014.htm
I agree with these statements, and I disagree with those.
However, a great thinker who has spent decades on an unusual line of thought cannot induce their context into your head in a few pages. It’s almost certainly the case that you don’t fully understand their statements.
Instead, you can say:
I have now learned that there exists a worldview in which all of these statements are consistent.
And if it feels worthwhile, you can make a genuine effort to understand that entire worldview. You don’t have to adopt it. Just make it available to yourself, so you can make connections to it when it’s needed.
“"Father, there is nothing more to be done. The steps have been washed for the third time, the stone lanterns and the trees are well sprinkled with water, moss and lichens are shining with a fresh verdure; not a twig, not a leaf have I left on the ground." "Young fool," chided the tea-master, "that is not the way a garden path should be swept." Saying this, Rikiu stepped into the garden, shook a tree and scattered over the garden gold and crimson leaves, scraps of the brocade of autumn! What Rikiu demanded was not cleanliness alone, but the beautiful and the natural also.”—Highlighted by Ale Muñoz in The Book of Tea
Using Sketch Mirror, LiveView, SilkScreen, Skala Preview, AirServer & others via USB
If you design for mobile, chances are you’re using some tool that lets you preview your designs on your iPhone’s screen (and if you don’t, shame on you : )
These tools use a shared Wifi connection (be it your main wireless network, or an Ad-Hoc network you’ve created using the Sharing preference panel) to which you need to connect both your computer and your device.
However, sometimes Wifi networks are flaky. If you happen to work in an environment with many wireless devices, getting your screen to refresh might be a daunting task. Also, good luck trying to stream video using AirServer or Reflector.
But don’t despair.
Yesterday, after ranting on Twitter about these issues with @pieteromvlee, @alexisgallagher shared a tip that will allow you to connect to these tools via a USB cable.
I’ve tried it, and it works beautifully. AirServer now streams videos at 60fps without a hitch.
What you need
A USB cable (ahem)
An iOS device with the “Personal Hotspot” feature enabled
Enable the Personal Hotspot in Settings
Connect your phone to your Mac
Open System Preferences › Network
Your iPhone should be detected and added to the list of devices. Make sure it’s the last device on the list, so you’re not using your data plan for desktop browsing (you can change the order of devices by clicking on the gear icon, then choosing “Set Device Order…”)
As an extra (optional) step, you can disable your device’s Wifi connection to make sure you’re using USB.
Now you can open your favorite tool, and it will work over USB
“As I’ve noted for nearly 20 years, the Japanese camera makers don’t exactly have the best marketing departments in the world. Far from it. So they launch something with words like “Meet the new flagship of the Coolpix Advanced Performance collection” instead of “High-end DSLR image quality in a camera that fits in your pocket.” Not that such a line fixes Nikon’s price problem, but it at least explains why you’d want one.”—The Price Penalty | Gearophile | Thom Hogan
If it caught you by surprise, you weren’t paying enough attention, as the writing’s been on the wall for the last three releases (CS4 was crap, CS5 added some minor features, and CS6 was nothing more than cosmetic changes).
So now you’re wondering: what’s next? What tool should I use now that the best tool for the job of screen design is no longer a safe bet?
Here’s a thought to get you started: what if you rethink your process?.
What you call “screen design” is actually a collection of tasks, and if you think a bit about them you’ll see they can be classified in two (rough) groups:
tasks related to “micro” design (also called “details”, “pixel perfect” or “pixel fucking”), and
tasks related to “macro” design (think “layout”, “page design” or “grid hacking”)
Fireworks had the rare trait of doing both decently, so it made you forget that they’re actually different beasts, but its death signals a good time to think about different tools for different purposes.
If this reminds you of the UNIX philosophy of “small tools that do one thing well”, it’s not a coincidence. I’ve been thinking long and hard about this for more time than I’m willing to recognize in public, and the only conclusion I’ve arrived to is this: monolithic tools for design are the wrong choice. Choose one, and once your vendor announces its discontinuation you’re doomed.
Having a collection of small tools for different purposes not only keeps you safer, but also allows for incremental improvements of your workflow. Better, faster, cheaper (or even free) tools can replace your original choices, thus letting you improve your process bit by bit.
Yes, it might be a bit more complex. But it pays in the long run. It also saves your ass, as it is much easier to find a replacement for a small tool than for a mammoth like Fireworks or (gasp) Photoshop.
So… what’s my current weapon of choice, I hear you ask?
These days I’m quite happy with a combination of Sketch for micro design, and hand-coded HTML for macro design (this is actually an oversimplification, as my workflow is a bit more complex than this, but it helps illustrate the point).
Sketch is not without its faults (it lacks many features I loved in Fireworks, like master pages or a symbol library) but you can overcome most of its limitations using tools intended for “macro” purposes. HTML is a perfect fit, but other options worth considering are InDesign, Illustrator or Axure / OmniGraffle.
If you’re not yet ready to make the switch from a monolithic app to a combination of small tools, here’s my advice: make backups before every major operating system upgrades. One of them might kill your perfectly useful Fireworks. It happened with Freehand, and still miss it to this day…
“The triad of “Good, Fast, Cheap” is missing a fourth element: “Done”. Good, Fast, Cheap, Done: Pick any three. A lean prototype is a version of a product that is good, fast, and cheap; it’s just not done.”—Speed vs Quality vs Feedback (via theeconomicsofbeingborn)
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea”—Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“If you want to set off and go develop some grand new thing, you don’t need millions of dollars of capitalization. You need enough pizza and Diet Coke to stick in your refrigerator, a cheap PC to work on and the dedication to go through with it.”—