Notes

Smashing Conference San Francisco 2017

Photos of flying balloons at Smashing Conference
Ballons!

While sitting at the workshop venue here in San Francisco, I finished uploading my photos of the last four days. Covering both workshop days of the second edition of Smashing Conference in San Francisco as well as the two conference days. I hope you’ll like them.

The new Smashing Magazine website

I am quite late to the game, but these days – during the last 8 or so days, to be precise – many people in the web industry speak about the public beta launch of the new Smashing Magazine website. Some are writing about the new technical features and how they switch from a mix of various platforms like WordPress, Kirby, Shopify and their Job Board software, to a single system called Netlify. Some just point to Vitaly’s excellent article about what they actually worked on and what changed. Sara Soueidan gives a bit of background to what her part of the work was in a nice blog post. But only a few really know about the human side of things.

Next to all the sweat and tears on the design and the technical side, there was a lot of thinking involved before decisions were actually made. And I mean a lot of thinking. It was not just about giving the users a new experience, a brand new design and an even faster and more performant website. A lot of things actually had to do with the people visiting the magazine and the event. The people reading the books and the people who are the community around Smashing Magazine. I myself have only be involved a few times and we had lovely, yet intense discussions while sitting together working. But also during lunch or after the “official” work was done in a cocktail bar in Freiburg. And topics there did not circle around web performance or how to find technical solutions that work best. The questions that came up were more questions like …

What do people, visiting our events and our magazine actually expect?

How could a possible membership for the magazine look like in term of, what should be included in different packages?

How can we give people, no matter where or on which device they visit the magazine, give the best possible experience?

… just to mention a few thoughts like this.

And you can think what you want from the design or from performance or the UX of the actual beta of the website, but I am writing these lines to actually express my highest respect for what and how much work and thoughtfulness Vitaly and Marcus (and the rest involved of course!). That is very cool, in my opinion, and I think we need more people who actually care that much.

Links:

Terminal Training

Yesterday morning I bought Remy’s new online course called Terminal Training. As you might guess it teaches you how to use the terminal from the very beginning on. In the description Remy writes

A video training course to cure you of any fear of the terminal. For designers, new developers, UX, UI, product owners and anyone who's been asked to “just open the terminal”.

I myself am not a heavy terminal user or fan. I don’t fear it neither. I know about the basics, but am far from being an expert. So I was thinking Is it too basic for me or too advanced in the later parts?, but I have to say it is just great. Remy takes you from the very beginning of explaining how to navigate the file system on your computer to more complex things and pitfalls which he teaches you to avoid.

Not only is this great content for a topic which is usually not known to be a very colourful topic with lots of tasty images and things to look at, but also the way Remy recorded the video and explains everything very clean and understandable is just fantastic. You can see Remy sitting in his kitchen (I assume) sitting in front of “[…] this new Macbook Pro […]”, recording the video with the build-in camera of the mac. As mic, if I see right, he uses his Apple headphones’ mic. Quality of video and sound is great and that shows, that you don’t need high quality gear to produce video tutorials worth watching, with good content.

Content

I copied Remy’s table of content to show you what his video covers.

1. “Just open the terminal”

  • Just open the terminal (03:22)
  • Why use a terminal? (03:23)
  • Navigating directories (07:71)
  • Navigation shortcuts (01:06)

2. Install all the things

  • Running applications (05:47)
  • brew install fun (07:46)
  • gem install (06:32)
  • npm install --global (09:44)
  • Which is best? (02:13)

3. Tools of the Terminal Trade

  • Connecting programs (08:25)
  • echo & cat (01:34)
  • grep "searching" (06:22)
  • head tail less (10:24)
  • sort | uniq (07:58)

4. How (not) to shoot yourself in the foot

  • Delete all the things (07:42)
  • Super user does…sudo (07:50)
  • Permissions: mode & owner (11:16)
  • Kill kill kill! (12:21)
  • Health checking (12:54)

5. Making the shell your own

  • Owning your terminal (09:19)
  • Fish ~> (10:18)
  • Themes (01:51)
  • zsh (zed shell) (10:11)
  • zsh plugins: z st… (08:26)
  • Aliases (05:43)
  • Alias++ → functions (08:15)

6. Furthering your command line

  • Piping workflow (08:14)
  • Setting environment values (03:04)
  • Default environment variable values (01:46)
  • Terminal editors (06:41)
  • wget and cURL (09:53)
  • ngrok for tunnelling (06:38)
  • json command for data massage (07:51)
  • awk for splitting output into columns (04:11)
  • xargs (for when pipes won't do) (02:15)
  • …fun bonus-bonus video (04:13)

Pricing

I myself got the Master Package. Not because it has 17 more videos, which certainly is nice, but because I’m old-fashioned and like to download the videos also. The special launch price for this package is $99 and I think this is great value. There is a cheaper package for $59 that comes without the ebook and without downloadable videos, but might be ok for you to start with. A third price, $299, is meant to be for teams. All packages come with unlimited updates, which makes me guess that Remy is going to update the training at a later point.

terminal.training by/with Remy Sharp

⇾ Simple Icons

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SVG icons for popular brands, maintained by Dan Leech.

Good Bye Fontblog

During my morning read of several blogs in my RSS reader (yes, I am using RSS still), it was sad to read that the German Fontblog closing the doors. For 13 years I read many articles on this blog, which was started by the Fontshop AG in 2004. In 2015 I already was sad when I read, that Yves Peter said Goodbye to Fontfeed, a blog he was running. So the only one still existing in that range now is the Fontshop News now – correct me if I am wrong.

I mean, yes, I can see that writing for your blog eats quite some some time. Especially if you write longer blog posts and articles. But it is sad to see their statement, that conversations and discussion will still be led in social media. They write …

Solche Diskussionen gibt es auch heute noch. Wir führen sie in den sozialen Netzen, schneller, einfacher und demokratischer, denn jeder Empfänger ist auch Sender […]

Translates to something like …

This discussions still exist. We just have those discussions in social networks, faster, easier and more democratic, because each recipient is also sender […]

Sadly this is what many people tend to do and think nowadays. Social media is faster, reaches more people and people can interact easier.

Not completely right in my opinion. Not every medium is a platform for discussions and rich conversations. What about Twitter? 140 characters – really? Even Facebook or Google+. It is no platform, where I want to read a long article on Typography (maybe just a matter of taste, I know). I don’t want to go into detail and criticise social media – I use it myself, a lot – but it is sad to see this all or nothing mentality. Why not using the blog as source for thoughts and writing and then social media to point people to it. Even discussions can be led with using things like Webmention, for example. And this across many social media platforms leading all to be shown and collected on your own blog. It’s far from being perfect, but maybe a start into the right direction?

So yes, even though many new blogs pop up and people start to write more in their own blogs again, even though many new newsletters are created every day, I fear that those personal platforms and ways to express your thoughts and ideas are fading away.

Underlook

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Photos of horses from underneath by Underlook.net
Giving a different perspective with his Underlook project: Andrius Burba. Copyright of the images above by Andrius Burba.

This morning, while having a coffee, I stumbled over a project called Underlook by photographer Andrius Burba. He took photos of animals from a very different perspective: from underneath. The results of the images are sometimes funny, sometimes just simply beautiful, but always interesting. Maybe because chances are rare, that you see a horse from underneath without being hit by their hooves. Maybe only because you don’t usually have this perspective. One reason for sure is, that he did great work catching those animals, like cats, dogs, horses and rabbits, in front of a black background (accept from the rabbits), which gives every image a very high contrast. I myself got caught by the horses somehow.

But check yourself what you like most in Underlook

⇾ “A Day with Shopify” in Bristol – write-up

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Nice write-up by Oliver Lindberg for “A Day with Shopify” in Bristol last year.

Abstract: The Art of Design

Watching Abstract: The Art of Design on Netflix at the moment. Season 1 contains 8 episodes right now. Everybody a well-known name in their discipline. I quite like the way it is done. I watched Christoph Niemann and Paula Scher so far. Totally in love with the work of both.

Other episodes in season one are with:

If you want to see Paula Scher live, watch out for beyond tellerrand Berlin announcements. Just saying … ;)

⇾ Handling images in Kirby

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Sonja Broda, aka texnixe, has written a very nice article about how to handle images in Kirby.

Read: Handling images in Kirby

⇾ Do responsive sites have to be so tall on mobile?

Kevin Vigneault asks an interesting question with:

Do responsive sites have to be so tall on mobile?

He doesn’t only ask the question, but comes up with some thoughts on what to change in his opinion.

Read: Do responsive sites have to be so tall on mobile?