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.


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.


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


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.


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:

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.

The Retina MacBook Pro is cheaper than the regular MacBook Pro

Retina MacBook Pro

  • 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
  • 8GB 1600MHz memory
  • 256GB flash storage
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory
  • 2880x1800 15-inch Glossy Widescreen Display
  • Price - $2,199.00

Regular MacBook Pro

  • 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
  • 8GB 1600MHz memory
  • 256GB Solid State Drive
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 512MB of GDDR5 memory
  • 1440x900 15-inch Glossy Widescreen Display
  • Price - $2,399.00

That’s a $200 dollar difference, in favour of the Retina MacBook Pro! “But Apple charge a premium for their RAM and SSD!” you say. So let’s find alternatives…

  • Base 15” MacBook Pro - $1,799.00
  • 8GB 1600MHz memory from Crucial - $55.99
  • 256GB 256GB Crucial m4 2.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s - $213.43
  • Total - $2068.42

So that is a bit cheaper, but it’s only $130 less than a similarly specced Retina MacBook Pro. That $130 gets you four times as many pixels, twice as much video memory and a machine that’s over a pound lighter. I think that’s a pretty good deal.

A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages

James Iry:

1995 - Yukihiro “Mad Matz” Matsumoto creates Ruby to avert some vaguely unspecified apocalypse that will leave Australia a desert run by mohawked warriors and Tina Turner. The language is later renamed Ruby on Rails by its real inventor, David Heinemeier Hansson. [The bit about Matsumoto inventing a language called Ruby never happened and better be removed in the next revision of this article - DHH].