Dan Barber

Distraction

I’ve realised recently that I spend far too much time looking at things like Twitter, Hacker News and Reddit. It has become almost an impulse to just load up something bite sized to read whenever I’m waiting on something or when I get to work.

I’m confident it’s affecting both my productivity and my creativity so I’m going to try an experiment somewhat inspired by begriffs article Going “Write-Only”. I’m going to avoid social media and short-form reading for a week (to start). This means no Twitter, Hacker News, Reddit, Arstechnica or any other sources of bite sized information. I will restrict myself to long-form reading like books or articles I’ve saved to Instapaper (of which I have quite a queue!).

Hopefully after a while the craving for that junk food of information will diminish.

ZX Spectrum +2

ZX Spectrum
Photo by Gonzalo Merat / CC BY NC ND

The second computer to ever enter my life was a Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2. This machine had colour, 3 channel sound and a built in tape deck. I was in love!

ZX81

Close up of Sinclair ZX81
Photo by Barney Livingston / CC BY SA

With the 30th anniversary of the Mac just gone by I thought it would be nice (and a little self indulgant!) to write about some of the computers I’ve owned in the past. I use Mac’s almost exclusively now but it wasn’t always the case.

Flat UI and Forms

Jessica Enders:

The problem is that most flat UIs are built with a focus on the provision of content, with transactional components (i.e., forms) receiving very little attention. What happens when flat and forms collide? User experiences can, and often do, suffer.

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An Update

It’s been quite a while now since I last posted, and much has happened over the last 12 months. We’ve moved to a new city and started new jobs.

Design Eye for the Developer Guy

Here are the slides from my talk at Digpen VI in March. I’ll get the audio up too as soon as I have it.

Moving Away from Google

In light of Google’s recent announcement that they will be shuttering Reader (among other things) I’ve decided that it’s time to move away from Gmail and reduce my reliance on any services provided by Google.

We're Creating a Culture of Distraction

Joe Kraus:

I want to ask people a simple question: are you happy with your relationship with your phone. Do you think it’s a healthy one?

I don’t think I have a healthy relationship with mine. I feel a constant need to pull it out – to check email, to text, to see if there is something interesting happening RIGHT NOW. It’s constantly pulling on my attention.

Great article. I’ve begun to notice this with myself and my wife. Might have to implement the “no phone” Sunday.

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GIMP is Now a Self-Contained Native App for Mac OS X

PetaPixel:

GIMP, the image editing program that’s a popular open-source alternative to Photoshop, is now easier than ever for Mac users to start using. Though it was completely free, installing it has long required that X11 also be installed — a major pain in the butt. That changes with the latest version of GIMP: the app is now a self-contained native app that’s a breeze to install. It’s as simple as dragging and dropping.

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Slugtastic v1.0.0

I’ve just released my first proper Ruby gem. It’s a simple permalink style slug generator for ActiveModel. Check it out at Github and use it in your Rails project by adding gem "slugtastic" to your Gemfile.

Usage is very simple. Just add the following to your model:

ruby has_slug :slug, :from => :title

This will generate a slug string from the title attribute and store it in the slug attribute unless the slug already contains a string. The slug is generated pre-validation so you can still use validates_presence_of :slug.