All posts by jnack

A deep dive into Lego UIs (seriously!)

Oh man… if some lab were tasked with conjuring peak delicious nerdery right up my & my son’s alleys, they’d stop here & declare victory.

Piloting an ocean exploration ship or Martian research shuttle is serious business. Let’s hope the control panel is up to scratch. Two studs wide and angled at 45°, the ubiquitous “2×2 decorated slope” is a LEGO minifigure’s interface to the world.

These iconic, low-resolution designs are the perfect tool to learn the basics of physical interface design. Armed with 52 different bricks, let’s see what they can teach us about the design, layout and organisation of complex interfaces.

Welcome to the world of LEGO UX design.

Enjoy! [Via Ben Jones, whom I deeply blame for taking me down this rabbit hole]

“Ghost Pacer” is coming to sweat you in AR

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” — Theodore Roosevelt
“Move your ass, fat boy!” — CrossFit

Okay, CF doesn’t say the latter, at least at my gym, but there’s a lot to be said for having a mix of social support/pressure—which is exactly why I’m happy to pay for CF as well as Peloton (leaderboards, encouragement, etc.).

Now the Ghost Pacer headset promises to run you ragged, or at least keep you honest, through augmented reality:

Wild view-synthesis work from Google + Cornell

Noah Snavely is the O.G. researcher whose thesis work gave rise to the PhotoSynth crowd-sourcing imaging tech with which Microsoft blew minds back in the mid-aughts. He’s been at Google for the last several years, and now his team of student researchers are whipping up new magic from large sets of tourist photos:

Check out this overview:

John Lewis’s final words, as read by Morgan Freeman

Might be the best five minutes you’ll spend today:

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

The essay’s text appears in the New York Times.

Sing Gently: “17,572 singers, in perfect harmony (from their own homes)”

Composer Eric Whitacre’s has been gathering virtual choirs for years, and with surging interest in this time of Corona, some 17,572 singers from 129 countries came together to perform his “Sing Gently.” Don’t be put off by the 10-minute running time of vid below, as the song last just a couple of minutes followed by numerous credits:

On the technical front, the YouTube team writes,

The Virtual Choir team uses every video submitted, unless there’s a technical problem with the recording. That means there are thousands of videos to sync together, and thousands of sound recordings to edit so the result sounds seamless. This time around, the team featured three sound editors, six people reviewing each submission and two executive producers; the team was scattered through the U.S., the U.K. and South Africa.

Across three different continents, they used Google Docs and Google Sheets to keep track of their progress, Google’s webmaster tools to manage thousands of email addresses and Google Translate to keep in touch with singers around the world. Singers checked the choir’s YouTube channels for rehearsal videos, footage of Whitacre conducting the song and Q&As with other singers and composers.