Event Tip: “Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design”

I got and email from Mike yesterday night. He suggest that we both go and visit an exhibition in the Vitra Design Museum dealing with Vitor Papanek’s work.

The exhibition is called Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design. If his name rings a bell, it might be, because he has written Design for the Real World, up to the date one the most widely read book about design that was ever published. And even though the book was published in 1971, I think it never has been more relevant than these days, as it deals with topics like inclusion and social justice for design. His socially and ecologically oriented approach to design in the 1960’s is timeless and reading his books, as the one mentioned above or How Things Don’t Work (1977) and Design for Human Scale (1983), will still and definitely help you to be a better designer.

In the exhibition, taking place from 29 September 2018 to 10 March 2019, drawings, manuscripts, films, prints and much more – some of them never presented before – will be exhibited.

So, I guess, I have one more thing to do in this year. With or without Mike ;)

Read the full description for the exhibition “Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design”

Error Messages the Wrong Way – KLM

Screeshot showing an error message from KLM while I was booking a flight
You get, what was going wrong, right?

I wish error messages would be more readable and understandable. This one here is from the KLM website during a flight booking. WTF?!

An App for Your Event

An email from X: “My name is X, I represent ABC-company - mobile app for conferences and expos https://…
Could you guide me please with whom I can discuss partnership opportunites?”

Me (knowing what he actually wants): “That would be me. I attached my Partnership Document for your information. Cheers and have a lovely Friday.”

X: “Thank you for your answer. Unfortunetly you didn't understand me correctly. We offer our service to events like yours. May we make skype-call I will show to you our service and discribe how you can earn with ABC-company.”

Me: “Ah ok. Sorry, not interested.”

X: “Are you not interested to earn more?”

Me: “Of course. But not interested in using a mobile app at my events. I wish nobody would even use a mobile phone during the event to focus on what is happening onsite and enjoy the event and chatting to other people.”

Why do I even reply to such emails 🙄


Notes to Myself

My friend Brendan Dawes created a notebook. But if you know Bren, you know that it is not only a standard notebook.

Photo showing a collage of shots I took of the notebook by Brendan
“Notes to Myself” by Brendan Dawes – click for more photos

Brendan sees this notebook as as creative inspiration and interruption as it is not just a blank notebook, but comes with a selection of his thoughts on making things. A lot of the pages furthermore come with grids, generated by his GridMaker. The whole package also contains three pencils as well as a poster with more things Brendan learned during the years running his business.

Check the product page for Notes to Myself for further detailed information

See my set of photos of Notes to Myself

Longitude Gin

Photo showing Longitude Gin in three bottles
A new family member in my gin collection

New gin family member: Longitude Gin. Just picked it up only a street away from my place. Something I look forward to try with Keir Whitaker visiting me in a few days.

My Photos From Smashing Conference in Toronto

It was a bit silent over here lately. One reason is my work on beyond tellerrand in Berlin, but another reason is, that I was away for a week and spend my time at the first Smashing Conference in Toronto.

Image shows a collage of photos from Smashing Conference in Toronto
Impressions of the first SmashingConf in Toronto – click to get to the full album

Not only was it the first event for Smashing Magazine in Toronto, but also the first one with a new concept to be tested. Vitaly asked the speakers to not have slides while presenting. It was allowed to use the projector for other reasons, maybe to live draw or live code during your session, but not simply for slides. Except for a ver few speakers, everyone followed this task and even though I heard critical opinions before the event (I was sceptical as well), the majority of the presenters not using slides, as well as the attendees really enjoyed the different way of presenting.

I created a set of photos with impressions of the main event as well as the workshops and the jam sessions, on the evening before the conference. The overall atmosphere at the TIFF Bell Lightbox was really good. Not only the cinema, which was used as the main theatre for the talks, but also the sponsors and breakout area and the lunch and learn room was well visited. The lovely weather and Toronto added to the overall good vibe.

Have a look at my impressions of SmashingConf Toronto 2018

The Worlds First Cyber Attack

In the 1790’s the world’s first national data network was constructed in France and it was a mechanical telegraph system made of a chain towers to communicate with each other.

Two bankers hacked this system and classified the first cyber attack with their acting. It was a clever hack and and showed one things that counts today still:

[…] regardless of the technology, security is like a chain and humans are always the weakest link.

A short read of about 3–4 minutes worth reading.

Smashing Book #6

Photo showing the design of the Smashing Book 6
The Smashing Book 6 design by Chiara Aliotta

Today the Smashing Book #6 was pre-released and announced and yes, you could say, I am part of the Smashing Magazine team and therefore I am biased, but let me just say a couple of things:

  • the announced content looks absolutely promising
  • the value for money is ace
  • if you like practical books, that one is yours


Let me just list the chapters and people who have written the chapters to show you what I mean, when I say it is a practical book:

  • Making design systems work in real-life – by Laura Elizabeth
  • Accessibility in times of SPAs – by Marcy Sutton
  • Production-ready CSS Grid layouts – by Rachel Andrew
  • Strategic guide to CSS Custom Properties – by Mike Riethmueller
  • Taming performance bottlenecks – by Harry Roberts
  • Building an advanced service worker – by Lyza Gardner
  • Loading assets on the web – by Yoav Weiss
  • Conversation interface design patterns – by Adrian Zumbrunnen
  • Building chatbots and designing for watches – by Greg Nudelman
  • Cross Reality and the web (AR/VR) – by Ada Rose Cannon
  • Bringing personality back to the web – by Vitaly Friedman

Looks good? I think it does.


If you pre-order the book is $29 instead of $39, the e-book $14,90 instead of $19. Already a great price. But what I really can’t see in Vitaly’s post in Smashing Magazine is, that, if you are a Smashing Member, you save another damn $10 (I think that is with the highest plan – but you can definitely save money with the lowest plan as well), so that the whole package only is $19. That, for a printed book, is a lovely price, in my personal opinion.

Do I get any money for this shameless advertising plug? Nope, but I am happy to advertise for something, where I think it is good value for money.

So, my tip: become a Smashing Member and use the benefits of that throughout the year, like the money you save on this book and many more benefits.

I Like This One of Claire and Me

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Photo showing Claire L. Evans and me sitting next to the stage during beyond tellerrand 2018 in Düsseldorf.
Claire and me sitting next to the stage during beyond tellerrand 2018 in Düsseldorf. Photo by Florian Ziegler.

I like this photo of Claire ( and me a lot. Dreaming and smiling ;)

Just stumbled over it while looking for a few photos for the partners. Thanks again Florian for taking the photos!

Apogee Duet 2 and Skype

I just tweeted this:

I can’t get my @apogeedigital Duet 2 USB to work with the latest @Skype version. On none of my Macs. Anyone having an idea? It used to work back in the past and I only updated Skype and not the Duet 2 or its software/firmware. Thanks for help!

This morning – actually yesterday morning – I was setting up a podcast recording for my twumble podcast with Bastian Allgeier. I used to use an USB mic for that, but recently got a new Sure SM 7B and am selling my Rhode USB Podcaster (I’ll write about this later). I connected my Duet 2, opened Skype and picked the Duet USB in the audio preferences of Skype. No input signal …

I recorded the conversation with Bastian using another input device for Skype and locally recorded my own track with Quicktime (since I could not record anything with Audition when using Skype – but that is another story).

After our conversation, I spent a lot of time searching the Web, tried everything, I could think of, but I did not find a solution. A few hours back I have written the Apogee support, as well as I posted a question in the Skype support forums.

Now the Apogee support got back to me with the following, very simple answer:

Skype is considered a 1 input, 2 output software in terms of audio. This means that you would only get signal from input 1 on Duet. Do you have your microphone attached to input 1, or input 2 on Duet? When you have Duet selected as the audio input within Skype's audio preferences menu, and your microphone attached to input 1, do you see signal on Skype's meters?

Doooohhhh … this really is the only thing I did not try to do. I connected my Duet to all my macs, but always had the mic connected to the second input. Now, that I connected it to the first one, it works.

This did cost me a lot of time today and maybe this post saves another person a bit of time, when finding it, while searching the Web for a solution.

Many thanks to the support of Apogee though!