Category Archives: Miscellaneous

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]

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.

“mmhmm” offers a virtual production studio for video calls

Years ago Adobe bought a company (Serious Magic) that streamlined creation of professional-looking videos that featured over-the-shoulder graphics and virtual backgrounds. One product even shipped a swath of green fabric to use in keying out one’s background.

Now Phil Libin (formerly CEO of Evernote) and co. have created mmhmm, a tool that works with Google Meet, Zoom, and other products to enable the same kinds of newscaster-style presentations. I can’t wait to distract from (er, clarify!) my charts & graphs by becoming a flying Jedi Force ghost!

Enjoy the Silence

When the fam & I headed out on Friday for two weeks (twoooo weeeeks!) of road-tripping adventures, I didn’t expect to have *zero* connectivity with which to share updates, but so it goes; hence the radio silence here.

The disconnection (something I can rarely grant myself) has been mostly a blessing, and I’ll try to be good about staying off the keyboard until I return. Still, I’ll try to share good stuff when time permits. I hope that you, too, get a little downtime & get to go outside—where I hear that the graphics are amazing. 😌🤘

PS: Orbital greetings from Mesa Verde yesterday.

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A quick spin around Mesa Verde

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