Interesting discoveries #07

Time flies when I’m busy. It seems like April’s here and it’s a rude awakening for me. I’ve met interesting people lately, some from the Singapore Humanism Society and also from one of the frontend developers kinda meetup.

1. Google Whatsapp

Rumor has it that Google’s acquiring Whatsapp. Had a quick conversation over this this evening and it’s a sensible choice for Google. Even if it is 1 billion. Google has not been fast enough to jump into messaging and the other companies are taking over. LINE and WeChat has been especially popular in Asia and Google’s probably finding this hard to ignore. If Google does get Whatsapp, I can imagine improvements to it. I love to watch for SMS integration in this, especially for the iPhone.

2. ChannelNewsAsia has a new design

Woah new design. It definitely a great improvement. The new site takes some getting used to but this is a great step forward. They are a couple of jarring mistakes, more on the choice of colors and there’s some awkward color decisions. I do not think the trend graph is sensible too. Love the bigger images and larger text.

3. Mad Men

I’m watching Mad Men this month and advertising is such an interesting industry. I thank Grace for getting me to watch this. If you’re looking for some drama to watch, this is something.

4. On web design in general

Web design has evolved so fast that tools can’t keep up. I find that designers are painstakingly using Photoshop to work on their designs and there’s no way Photoshop can express responsive layouts. Designers can probably imagine how the layout would change in their minds but it’s too tedious to create mockups. In the bigger design houses, some designers got their hands dirty and do HTML and CSS to just design directly. I think that has to be the way at some point of time. The web designer title is evolving. I see this as an interim though, perhaps tools will catch up and allow designers to express web designs better. Seriously designing a whole website in Photoshop or InDesign is making lesser sense these days. (Note: I’m a web user interface developer.)

5. Grunt.js

Grunt.js is such a joy to use, I’ve been automating some LESS.js and minification tasks at work and it’s making me happier leaving these highly repeatable task to this wonderful tool. I’m starting to use this more efficiently and have introduced this to my colleagues at Tremor Video as well. It’s a slightly different workflow as what we are doing but definitely worthy of further exploration.

6. My best 50 bucks spent

I’ve been bring the phone charger and adapter back and forth for months. One day I bought a set to keep it at home and have my existing set at work. The new adapter at home charges both my Apple iPhone 5 as well as the Amazon Kindle together. I now have one less thing to think about when going home from work. That freed me to think about under things and I swear this reduces my overall stress. Consider getting yourself a set of these too.

7. The curse of credit cards

The curse is to watch out for payments. I’ve been scalded once, OCBC charged me 60 dollars for late payment for 20 bucks. That upset me. I have 8 credit cards today and I only use 2 regularly. I know what to do. I’m just waiting for the time I can cancel without a penalty. I recommend everyone to have as little credits cards as possible. Forget about the dinner discounts, they’re limiting your dinner choices anyway.

8. Roger Ebert, RIP

Roger Ebert died at age 70 after battle with cancer (Sun Times). Ebert, 70, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV for 31 years, and who was without question the nation’s most prominent and influential film critic, died Thursday in Chicago. He’s one of the best writers I admire. Have a look at this article that’s not movie related.

Google Chrome’s new tab

This is the new Google Chrome New Tab window in Canary (latest build):

New Google Chrome New tab

I see where Google is going with this. This is really advantageous for Google. Effectively they are changing people’s perception of what a browser and Google is and moving Google ever so closer to the user. Google is now the browser. And Google Plus appears to be part of the browser now.

I don’t think the FCC is going to be too pleased, but well, that’s another story.

Dropbox 2.0 in Mac ejects itself

That’s a really nice touch. After installation of Dropbox 2.0 in Mac, it ejects the .dmg for you. I do the usual — you know — after install, eject the .dmg file. I’m pleasantly surprised I don’t have to do that. That’s a great experience you gave me as a user. Although in all good intentions, I wonder does that mean applications can eject my external hard disk should they choose to.

Still it’s a nice touch and I will remember it as that. And the new user interface for Dropbox is amazing too. Kudos there:

Dropbox 2.0

With the recent USD100m acquisition of Mailbox, I am excited to see what’s coming up next.

Georgia is most credible font

Interesting finding:

We all know that we are influenced in many, many ways — many of which we remain blissfully unaware of. Could fonts be one of them?

Renaud had written 52 essays in total. Eleven were set in Times New Roman, 18 in Trebuchet MS, and the remaining 23 in Georgia. The Times New Roman papers earned an average grade of A-, but the Trebuchet papers could only muster a B-.

And the Georgia essays? A solid A.

Source: New York Times

Most of us in college has been told to use Times News Roman though.

Microsoft.com’s upcoming design

This is the soon-to-be new design of Microsoft.com

View the new design.

Remarkable improvement over the current. I often wonder what the good people at Microsoft are doing with such a terrible front page.

What’s impressive here is its adaptive design. Try resizing your browser window and watch the components size themselves appropriately. It’s not an easy feat.

One complaint though, the site looks too sharp.

Kinetic wave sculptures

Reuben Margolin, a Bay Area visionary and longtime maker, creates totally singular techno-kinetic wave sculptures. Using everything from wood to cardboard to found and salvaged objects, Reubens artwork is diverse, with sculptures ranging from tiny to looming, motorized to hand-cranked. Focusing on natural elements like a discrete water droplet or a powerful ocean eddy, his work is elegant and hypnotic. Also, learn how ocean waves can power our future.

Maker Profile – Kinetic Wave Sculptures on MAKE: television

Nice pieces of art.