The symmetry relates to another point in API design that I’ve been interested in lately: progressive expansion. There should be a smooth path from the simple case to the complex case. It should be like an Ogre, it should have layers.
Lately, I’m finding myself replacing free web-apps with desktop software or commercial web-apps. Allow me to explain my evolving philosophy for you.
Web applications make the most sense when people get together to create something greater than the sum of their individual parts. GitHub and Readernaut are great examples of this. The latter, in particular because its _fun_ to use, but also in its focus. The former is great in how it puts a radically different spin on the act of sharing code, but also because their team is *kicking ass*.
I am eager to pay for continuity. Ergo, I put down money for Sifter, GitHub and Flickr. Sure, it’s entirely possible that any of these services will go under. Paying for them makes that less likely, and I’m happy to vote with my dollars on an app.
“Living in the cloud” is kind of a drag. I travel just enough to want to use airplane time as a super-focused work sprint. If my links, for example, live out in the cloud, it becomes tedious to save things away while I’m disconnected, let alone impossible to access them.
Ergo, I now favor web apps in spaces where getting my friends involved is more interesting and I favor paid apps or desktop apps where I want it despite my connectivity or where my friends, as great as they are, can’t help or prove a distraction.
fn1. My friends are awesome. Its just that an app like Facebook is more of a distraction than a must-have tool. For me, at least.
I was thinking about the three-year rule while reading about Malcolm Gladwell’s observation that it takes 10,000 hours to become truly expert at something. If you really throw yourself into a job, you’ll spend 60 hours a week working. That’s 3,000 hours a year (allowing for vacation), which means you’ll hit the 10,000 hour mark a few months after your third year.
So maybe that’s where the three-year rule comes from. You’re now expert at what you set out to master. Great. Now go do something else.
Great idea! The article also reveals some of the inner workings of The Economist. A highly recommended, quick read.
The Frustrating Magical Aspect – why’s great take on the absurdity of the tools we use to put interesting shapes and colors on our screens. Here’s to hoping for interesting abstractions that are somewhere between rigorously pushing pixels and randomly drawing shapes until something neat pops out.
That John Gruber, he’s good with the words. From Bang:
Consider the Big Bang. One moment there was nothing, except for everything condensed into a single infinitely dense point. Then, one minuscule sliver of a second later: the universe. Nothing was yet formed, all the true work of forming stars and galaxies remained ahead, but the framework, the laws of physics, were set, and the rest was thereafter inevitable.
This is what everyone contemplating a new creative endeavor craves: that in the moment it turns real, to get it right. To frame it in such a way that the very act of framing propels the project toward an inexorable destiny.
That’s a really beautiful way to capture the process of turning an idea into something people see, hear, use or laugh at.
This morning I followed a link that _why shared with us, a lo-fi guitar pedal built around an Arduiono. Kyle McDonald made said pedal; he also made I Eat Beats, a drum machine gizmo built with a screen, Processing, and skittles. He also published instructions for how to build a 3-D controller. From there I found a coin-slot detector, again built with an Arduino.
Moral of the story: there is a ton of cool stuff going on with Processing and Arduino. Just let the links light your path.
At the risk of rambling too much about games: DO WANT.
The Ghostbusters video game for the Sega Master System was pretty much the first video game I played.
Left to my own devices, I end up watching stuff on TV about fighter jets, submarines, etc. a whole lot. The machines of war.
On the one hand, the history and engineering is interesting. On the other, I feel dirty watching what is essentially military-industrial complex porn.
Just wanted to let you know.