Apple, It’s Time to Move on From “OS X” by Pauli Olavi Ojala

Pauli Olavi Ojala:

… a whole generation of users have come to the Mac platform with no previous contact to Mac OS versions 1 through 9, and no idea that “X” means something else than what it looks like. Its pronounciation has become a kind of secret handshake: if you’re a “real” Mac user, you say “ten”.

That’s a terrible way to brand a consumer product. It turns a harmless product name into a mild form of hazing: a new Mac user is bound to feel stupid at some point when the mistake gets corrected. Humiliating newbies is not to anyone’s benefit.

It isn’t the first time this is suggested. I’ve read about it on at least two occasions, and every time it makes more sense. The current name alienates new people to the platform. I bought my first Mac in 2007, and remember the moment I was corrected, “it’s pronounced OS ten.”

Apple needs to drop the X. Rename the Mac’s OS whether that means following the pattern of its other operating systems, or finding another new-user-friendly alternative.

Front-end Performance Tuning My WordPress Site by Jon Bellah

Jon Bellah:

Back in September of last year, I got a chance to see Tim Kadlec give his talk, Reaching Everyone, Fast at From The Front. I walked away with a few pretty great tidbits from the talk that left me inspired. So after I got back home, I decided to spend some time improving the front-end performance of this site.

Web performance has been on my mind recently. While doing some research, I came across Jon’s post. Although the piece is WordPress-specific, the lessons can be applied to any site.

The Evolution of Linkblogging by Manton Reece

Manton Reece:

Good conventions for blogging have been at a standstill for years. While part of the appeal of indie blogging is there’s no one “right” way to do it, and authors can have a strong voice and design that isn’t controlled by a platform vendor, we must accept that Twitter has taken off because it has a great user experience compared to blogs. It’s effortless to tweet and the timeline is consistent. For blogging to improve and thrive, it should have just as straightforward a user experience as social networks wherever possible.

Interesting thoughts, and it’s given me something to think about. I point the RSS feed to the original article because I’ve always thought my commentary wasn’t the important part. Yet, this post makes me reconsider that whole notion. Maybe my commentary is just as important to readers? Does that mean I should make them tap twice to get to the original story? What about readers who dislike this interaction?

Personally, I think this is less of an issue when the full post is visible in the feed. There are sites who only let you view a summary, and that’s where reading the full commentary before reading the original article gets cumbersome.

At the end of the day, your experience as a reader is very important to me. I hope I’ve designed the site and feed so you know when links are links, and articles are articles.

The Best Third-Party Email App for iOS | The Sweet Setup

Bradley Chambers writing for The Sweet Setup:

Email apps are highly personal. Everyone manages their email differently. For some, it’s a to-do list. For others, it’s a temporary holding place until emails are processed into a task management system. One thing is for sure: everyone with an iOS device probably uses email.

After looking at the wide range of third-party apps, Outlook is the most polished, and it’s the one we recommend as your first choice when moving away from the built-in iOS client.

As shocked as I was to read Outlook being touted as the best third-party email app for iOS, I was even more shocked to agree. That’s right, I agree.

Outlook is a beautifully designed app. Its integration with my calendar is seamless which is greatly important to me. I’m asked to be in meetings a few times a week, and Outlook is currently the best experience to glance at availability and easily RSVP.

I don’t make a habit of recommending Microsoft products, but when something is this good, I just can’t help it. I recommend Outlook for iOS, and obviously I recommend you read the full review.

Netflix’s Opaque Disruption Annoys Rivals on TV | The New York Times

John Koblin reporting for The New York Times:

Television executives have been frustrated because Mr. Sarandos has at times suggested Netflix shows would fare better than what is on cable and broadcast television. Last month, for instance, he said the Netflix show “Narcos” would be the most-viewed show on cable, not HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

Likewise, Mr. Landgraf said in an interview, “If Ted doesn’t give ratings, he shouldn’t then be saying, ‘This is the biggest hit in the history of blah blah blah.’ He shouldn’t say something is successful in quantitative terms unless you’re willing to provide data and a methodology behind those statements. You can’t have it both ways.”

Ha! Why not? Netflix has made a name for themselves doing things traditional media would never do. Why stop now?

Here’s another part I really liked from Ted Sarandos:

“Once we give a number for a show, then every show will be benchmarked off of that show even though they were built sometimes for very specific audiences,” he said.

He added: “There is a very natural inclination to say, ‘Relative to this show, this show is a failure.’ That puts a lot of creative pressure on the talent.”

That feels like a winning recipe to me. When you’re defining your own measure of success instead of being in a numbers race… well… the result is clear.


Disclosure: I currently own Netflix stock.

Managing Typography on Large Apps | CSS Wizardry

Harry Roberts:

I’ve written before about managing typographical styles across larger projects, but an issue that I still see clients continually coming up against is that of specifically managing their headings across larger and more complex apps.

The problem stems from the styling of the default h1 through h6 elements, and how this hierarchy seldom carries through the actual design and build of app-like UIs. The h1h6 pattern pretty nicely mirrors traditional print documents—where we are much more likely to have more newspaper-style heading structures both semantically and visually—however, where more app-like UIs definitely do have the semantic need for h1h6, they rarely need quite the same visual hierarchy.

This is one of those things that makes so much sense after reading. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Of course we shouldn’t style headings in apps the same way we do on blogs!

Expressive Type for Copy Blocks | Cognition

Mark Huot tells the story of overriding poorly written defaults:

When overriding everything we find ourselves writing markup such as .product-meta p or, worse yet, .product-meta p, .product-meta ul, .product-meta ol, .product-meta omg…. This is all so that we can take our system defaults and tailor them to this very specific implementation. The downside here is that our overrides are only as generic as we allow them to be. If we forget to put blockquote in our list of overrides then you can forget about using a blockquote in your .product-meta element. This is less than ideal and inevitably causes 11th-hour “fixes” to support additional markup patterns you maybe didn’t consider during design and/or development.