My favorite iPad feature

Tap Left Margin -> Next Page; my favorite feature of the iPad. This means I can comfortably read while drinking tea and not worry about which hand holds my iPad.

The majority of the time I’m reading a book I just want to go forward. It always felt clumsy to swipe with my left thumb. Advancing with just a tap means the device never breaks my flow.

Hack the Cover

If digital covers as we know them are so ‘dead,’ why do we hold them so gingerly? Treat them like print covers? We can’t hurt them. They’re dead. So let’s start hacking. Pull them apart, cut them into bits and see what we come up with.

This is an essay for book lovers and designers curious about where the cover has been, where it’s going, and what the ethos of covers means for digital book design. It’s for those of us dissatisfied with thoughtlessly transferring print assets to digital and closing our eyes.

The cover as we know it really is — gasp — ‘dead.’ But it’s dead because the way we touch digital books is different than the way we touch physical books. And once you acknowledge that, useful corollaries emerge.

Craig Mod – Hack the Cover.

Explorable Explanations

Do our reading environments encourage active reading? Or do they utterly oppose it? A typical reading tool, such as a book or website, displays the author’s argument, and nothing else. The reader’s line of thought remains internal and invisible, vague and speculative. We form questions, but can’t answer them. We consider alternatives, but can’t explore them. We question assumptions, but can’t verify them. And so, in the end, we blindly trust, or blindly don’t, and we miss the deep understanding that comes from dialogue and exploration.

Explorable Explanations is my umbrella project for ideas that enable and encourage truly active reading. The goal is to change people’s relationship with text. People currently think of text as information to be consumed. I want text to be used as an environment to think in.

Bret Victor – Explorable Explanations.

We need to reinvent the article

We need to reinvent the article. Sean Blanda illustrates that it’s time to rethink not just the article but how information is published on the web. I agree. My favorite narratives are those that answer long, winding questions by telling a story. They are more akin to a short book than a news story. This recent New Yorker piece is 50 pages and over 20,000 words when I drop it in to Pages.app. I loved that article, but defaulting to the same mental model and design presentation for a few hundred word piece about NFL draft trades is ludicrous.

Friday night craft: new mousepad

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I got a new desk a while back which has this great walnut top. I use a Magic Mouse so I didn’t want to scratch the desk up over time. Problem is I really don’t like normal mousepads.

The solution was taking a small ceramic tile and covering it with an old map of BLM land in Oregon. I like how it turned out.

A week at the Oregon coast

Last week I spent Monday through Thursday at a friend’s beach house in Waldport, Oregon. It was a half work week, half vacation week. Snapped a few photos, went on a nice little hike, and got lots of reading in. Good way to recharge the batteries.