Notes

V for Wikipedia

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Screenshots of the app V for Wikipedia
Great reading experience, useful app: V for Wikipedia by Frank Rausch

I don’t stumble across or download a lot of new apps these days. In September last year though, at the Typo Days in Cologne, I have seen an ace talk by Frank Rausch, who later also spoke at beyond tellerrand in Berlin (<- links to the video of his talk). In his talk he spoke about his app and how he dealt with typographic hurdles and difficulties, when it came to displaying all the information that Wikipedia provides in a good to use and good to read, but also beautiful way. As I was curious, I bought his app right after the talk and am happy to suggest you to do the same.

His app, called V for Wikipedia, is not only one of the best designed apps I have seen for a while, when it comes to typography and how he displays information from Wikipedia, but it also is a lot of fun to use with extra feature, you don’t have when using Wikipedia directly. It is so much fun to use, that since I got it, I must have convinced at least 25 people (if not more) to also get it, only by showing them how I use it, when we are out in a city. I love the “Nearby Places” feature and often use it, when I am somewhere for an event and want to check what else is interesting around me, to explore a few places. Of course the reading experience is fantastic as well, as I said earlier. V for Wikipedia supports a lot of different languages and it is super easy to switch from one to another – in my case often between Englisch and German.

Visit Frank’s V for Wikipedia website and check all the features in detail to get an impression. But honestly, if you use Wikipedia usually, you’ll love this app. And if you don’t use Wikipedia, you’ll do from now on ;)

Interneting is hard

Oliver James has created a very nice and useful resource to learn about the Internet called Interneting is hard. It is not, like Jeremy’s Resilient Web Design, about the history of the Web, but nicely written tutorials for beginners.

Image with example of text and image combination
Clean typography and illustration style support the good reading and learning experience.

Many chapters, well illustrated and easy to read and understand makes this source a really good starting point for anyone starting from scratch. The hands-on examples help to understand and learn what you just read. And the best part: it is totally free!

Check Interneting is hard

Gelato Affogato

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Gelato Affogato
Yummy!

Inspired by Erik Spiekermann and Brendan Dawes lately: Gelato Affogato after lunch using vanilla ice cream and Letterpresso beans for the coffee.

Playing with Tuna

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Last night I was playing around with Tuna as I said earlier this week. I really like the typeface and I used the option of MyFonts to temporary use it locally on my machine to test it. I quickly changed the css to use Tuna. It would certainly need some fine tuning and playing with weights here and there, as well as some more line-height for the text bodies with more text, like in the blog posts.

A few examples as screenshots side to side. On the left side you see Tuna in use and on the right side the actual Quatro Slab with Fira Sans. Again, these are only quick sketches and also screenshots are all shrunk to fit my blog width. But I wanted to get a first impression.

Click on the images for a large screenshot made on a retina display.

Screenshot of the masthead of the home page
Masthead with Tuna thin italic for the quotes.

I really like the thin italic version of Tuna. It look more elegant than the italic Fira Sans.

I am not sure about the main navigation and might play around with different weights here next. I think it might use the forced bold variation of regular in this screenshot anyways, which is wrong of course Also on the call to action buttons, I think a bolder variation would be better of course.

But as said, I wanted to get a quick, first impression.

Screenshot of the events home page with speakers grid
Events homepage with speakers grid and intro text.

I was not sure about the main headline, but I have chosen the light italic version for h1. It looks completely different to the very bold Quatro Slab but somehow I like it.

I also like the speaker grid variations of the text. The read names in regular and the topic in italic.

Again I am not sure about the event navigation as it is right now. Needs some tinkering to find out what looks best.

Screenshot of job list on beyond tellerrand job board
beyond tellerrand Job Board with job list

I like the look and feel of the job list – which also looks similar to the blog list. The overall feeling is lighter without being actually much lighter than the Fira Sans version. Except form the main headline, where I have chosen a thin and light version as said.

Screenshot of news on home page
Latest news on the landing page.

I also like how h2, the green one, looks. Maybe I go with the bold version here, just to have some more contrast and a bit more “fun” for the eye.

In general I quite like the look and feel with Tuna. I think a bit more line-height for the text is needed and some tinkering with weights for the headlines and buttons as well as details like the teaser text in the masthead. I really like to hear from you: What do you think?

Plugins for IndieWeb and Kirby

If you use Kirby and are interested in the IndieWeb topic, you might like what Sebastiaan Andeweg is working on and releasing on GitHub at the moment.

Micropub Plugin

He released a Micropub endpoint for Kirby. In a blog post, he explains what basic a micropub endpoint, which he added to his toolkit (se further down) does. For Kirby, he has written a Kirby Micropub Endpoint.

Webmention Plugin

In addition, he published a webmentions plugin, which is also based on Bastians first version of the webmention plugin for Kirby. Webmentions are:

Webmention is a simple way to notify any URL when you link to it on your site. From the receiver's perspective, it's a way to request notifications when other sites link to it. Webmention is a modern update to Pingback, using only HTTP and x-www-form-urlencoded content rather than XMLRPC requests. Webmention supersedes Pingback.

Read more about what webmentions are on the IndieWeb site

IndieWeb Toolkit

Last but not least Sebastiaan is working on an IndieWeb toolkit. Is is meant to be used next to the Kirby Toolkit by Bastian Allgeier.


And if this all is not enough, you can use his IndieWeb news aggregator called IndieNews, which aggregates the news directly from https://news.indieweb.org/ ;)

Look what was in my post today

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A copy of Brad Frost’s Atmoic Design Book

More or less exactly one year ago, I have written a little post about Brad Frost’s Atomic Design Book. Back then it was ready to be pre-ordered and meanwhile it was published and Brad was busy packing and shipping the book to destinations all around the world.

Today, when I checked what was in my snailmail, I found this little package from Brad. Included was one edition of his book and stickers. But what made me happy was a personal by Brad.

Thanks a lot, Brad. You made my day ;)

Morning Coffee

Brewing a cappuccino with my ECM Technika

Morning coffee. Caught it just when it started to flow.

About productivity, efficiency and motivation

When Alex Duloz asked me on January 1st this year, if I want to write a piece for “The Human In The Machine” on his new collective blogging platform SuperYesMore, I somehow directly agreed to do it. I knew of Alex because of his past project called The Pastry Box Project and I thought it might be nice to add something. I thought I might think about productivity and what it means to me, how I define the term productivity for me. First I thought it might be easy going, but then it dawned on me that it would not be as easy as I thought.

A notebook with my thoughts on productivity vs motivation
Some thoughts on productivity vs motivation.

First of all I wasn’t even sure what productivity and being productive really means. Sure, I could have had a look in the dictionary and have a definition in general, but for me and my work, what does it mean in this relation.

While I was sitting at my desk, checking and reading several sources on how other people think about productivity and what it means to them, it more and more got clear to me, how much two other terms are connected to productivity for me:

Motivation

Let’s focus on the motivation part for a moment. I have no idea how your day looks and how you motivate yourself to get up and work. I myself am totally not a morning person, but since I have a family and kids going to school and kindergarten every day, I – if I don’t want to live a parallel life – have to somehow adapt to their daily rhythm. I write this, as this is a first big step to get productive everyday. To motivate myself to get out of bed early and not live a life, sleeping until 10am or 11am to get up into my studio around noon and work until late in the night.

When this first step is taken, a day usually does not look like a constant stream of productivity, efficiency and certainly not motivation. So, I was wondering and asked how other people motivate themselves, if they have these moments of disencourage. I read a lot about how people try to structure their workday with lists, GTD tools and techniques like The Pomodoro Technique and alike. What I did not find too often was something about how people motivate themselves.

To sum-up, what I heard from other people and what also my way of motivating myself is and therefore how they/I get productive again:

I often read that people can’t focus on something for a full workday of 8 hours anyways. The time people are able to focus on something is different from person to person. But isn’t it way better to be productive for 4 hours or even 2 hours, but being really motivated and able to get stuff done than hanging around for 8 hours and feeling unproductive and empty? De-focus to re-focus again. Which brings me to another point …

Efficiency

Certainly efficiency is something we also define for ourselves. How efficient you work and if you are satisfied by the end of the day/week/month/year, is something only you can tell and evaluate. Not your boss. Not your client. You.

Everybody works in a different speed and gets work done slower or faster. If you have deadlines or a boss standing in your back and they generally like the outcome of your work, they should learn to give you the time and freedom to get your work, your projects done and calculate with your pace. If you work for your own and have no one telling you, you are too slow or un-efficient, you should sit down from time to time, to reflect and think about your work and how you used your time. This is what I do. I take my time and think about how I got certain tasks done. But you have to be honest to yourself. It sometimes is frightening and feels demotivating in the first place. But if you do this regularly and really sit down from time to time, to evaluate your way of working, it helps.

Not only does it help to make you a happier person as you are improving, but it also helps to get a better feeling for what you do. Also if you work for clients and not, like in my case, on your own event or your own product. And with feeling, I don’t only mean the feeling for how much worth your time is, as you are able to estimate this way better, if you actually know how long it takes you to get something done. No, I also mean this feeling of being unproductive. You learn to understand, that this sometimes is exactly this: just a feeling. And with being self-confident that you do work efficient and are productive, you can fight this feeling. You are able to measure your productivity.

A notebook with some thoughts on productivity vs efficiency
What is efficiency? And who decides how efficient you are? – Click for full size image …

Enjoy what you do

All productivity and efficiency aside: I’m a huge believer in the idea of that only what you like to do, what you are motivated to do, is something that you are able to do in a good way. At least in long term you will end up hating what you do and yourself for doing it, if you don’t enjoy it. I don’t say: be a dreamer, believe in and love what you do and then the success is coming automatically as it was waiting exactly for you and your idea. Nope. This is something completely different and not as easy as it sounds sometimes.

What I say is more or less meant the other way around: the stuff you don't like to do is going to kill you and your motivation in the end. It sometimes takes quite some courage to make a decision and it even is pure laziness maybe, next to fear of course, stopping us from making a big change. Not only work related. But if you don’t change it, you never know, if maybe this change would have been something that made you happy … or happier at least.

Tuna Typeface

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Tuna Typeface by Felix Braden and Alex Rütten
A lovely new typeface by Felix Braden and Alex Rütten – Image by Ligatur Inc for http://tuna-typeface.com

Yesterday I stumbled over a post by Lagom, a magazine which my friend Elliot Jay Stocks and his wife Samantha Stocks publish. They pointed me to a website for a new typeface called Tuna. I directly liked it a lot and even though of switching my beyond tellerrand website to it. For sure I'd have to do some tests, but I did not want to miss the opportunity to tell you about this typeface by Felix Braden from Cologne and Alex Rütten from Berlin.

Tuna is a typeface for for print and screen and I really like the calligraphic touch in it. Check all the details about Tuna on their website.

Working with Mates

Last week from Monday to Friday I had my friends Bastian Allgeier and John Davey here at my house to learn the one or other thing about Kirby. John is new to Kirby and I had a few questions as well and so we planned this trip, which was actually planned as a trip to Berlin, for quite a while. Not only turned it out to be great fun to see these two people, but it also reminded me how much fun it can be to work in a team. The conversations we had were absolutely refreshing and inspiring and even small things like a comment to something you do on your event site were pure joy as usually we all, at least John and I do, sit in our home office alone and mostly don’t get direct feedback to ideas. I enjoyed the three days a lot and hope we are able to repeat this pretty soon.

Funny enough on Friday, Anselm Hannemann has written about a similar topic in his Web Development Reading List.

But did you know it can be so much fun to improve as a team?

This was one of the statements (yeah, I know it was a question, but I think it has more rhetorical meaning than that it is actually a question) he made and he is absolute right. From time to time it can be quite refreshing to get together, to get new views on ideas, your work, or even to as questions. A team is not really only a team when working on the same project. Event if you meet and work on your own stuff the whole time, you are working all together. The benefit of this is also the time in between working times: we took a long walk in the forest, went and got some dinner in the evening and enjoyed a few coffees and – yes, of course – the one or other glass of gin.

Learning about Kirby with John and Bastian