Thoughts on How to Speak Machine

How to Speak MachinePicked up John Maeda’s How to Speak Machine: Computational Thinking for the Rest of Us and read through it pretty quickly, but I’m not sure it was a worthwhile read for me and I don’t think I’d recommend it for anyone already familiar with modern software design.

Maeda spends the majority of the book’s 200 pages explaining the basics and extolling the value of UX research, product design, agile delivery, and iterative development and comparatively little on the actual premise of the book.

Both Amazon and Maeda frame the book as a way for designers to understand “the complex world of AI and machine learning”, but while it hints at AI’s transformative potential these mentions are more speculative than practical. There really isn’t any actionable insights or detailed explorations of how AI can concretely impact design work today.

Continue reading “Thoughts on How to Speak Machine”

Zelda to star in new The Legend of Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom game

Finally, Zelda herself will be the main protagonist in a mainline game in the series named after her. (Not counting CD-i games.) Yesterday, Nintendo surprise announced The Legend of Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom coming already this September to Switch:

Looks pretty darn great. Like a cross between the Link’s Awakening remake with some of the open ended puzzle solving ideas from Tears of the Kingdom.

While I like that the gameplay isn’t just palette swapped Zelda for Link hack and slash, I do hope that Zelda is actually able to occasionally solve some of her problems by murdering a bunch of moblins with a sword. Pretty excited for this one, might be one last great hurrah for the Switch before the next console comes out in 2025.

Use AI to highlight and summarize podcasts with Snipd

Been enjoying using Snipd lately for capturing podcast notes/highlights.

Anytime there’s something I want to capture I mark it and their AI generates transcripts & highlights. Those highlights are then automatically exported to my PKM (Obsidian) making it easy find later for future reference. Worth checking out if you listen to a lot of podcasts and especially if you’re already using some sort of system to save the highlights to.

Check out this example of a snippet from a recent episode of Cal Newport’s podcast:

I still use Overcast for all my tech/sports/entertainment podcast listening, but having a separate app for my business/design/productivity shows that helps me remember what I learn has been really useful.

In the path of totality

Wasn’t sure what all the hubbub was about beforehand, but super glad I took the time to go outside and observe what turned out to be a pretty incredible sight. The actual 3 minutes (minus the 2 minutes blocked by the clouds) during total occlusion were pretty remarkable.

Extra special getting to see it next door to my kids’ elementary school to hear all the chatter and screaming and squealing they were doing.

Thoughts on Deep Work

Deep WorkAs a person who is constantly multi-tasking, I’m worried I’ve broken my brain. Well at least that’s my takeaway after reading Cal Newport’s book Deep Work about the importance of deep, focused work at a time when it’s easier than ever to be in a constant state of distraction.

I’ve been listening to Newport’s podcast for a bit and reading his newsletter that often touches on similar topics, but Deep Work is where he first outlined many of his ideas on focus, distraction, and the huge opportunity for knowledge workers who turn the other direction to get ahead in their lives and careers:

The Deep Work Hypothesis: The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive. (Page 14)

The book is structured around the following main ideas:

  1. The Value of Deep Work: Newport posits that deep work is crucial for mastering complicated information and producing better results in less time. This skill is becoming scarcer in our increasingly distracted world but is more valuable in the knowledge economy.
  2. Working Deeply: Newport offers strategies for cultivating a deep work habit. This includes working with greater intensity and creating rituals and routines that foster the ability to concentrate deeply. Key suggestions include minimizing distractions, scheduling deep work blocks, and adopting a work philosophy that accommodates deep work. (More on those philosophies in a bit.)
  3. Enhancing Focus: In the last several sections on the book, Newport outlines several strategies to cultivate deep work. He emphasizes the importance of embracing boredom to train the brain for focus, advises limiting social media to minimize distractions, and recommends reducing shallow tasks through delegation and careful scheduling. Together, these practices aim to create a productive environment where deep, concentrated work prevails, ensuring that valuable, skill-enhancing tasks receive the attention they deserve.

As a person already bought into the idea that deep work is valuable and that meetings and emails are the devil, I got the most value out of the book’s actionable advice and strategies that demonstrate how I can implement deep work principles to improve my productivity, satisfaction, and success. Continue reading “Thoughts on Deep Work”

Texas WR Xavier Worthy is fastest man in NFL Combine history

Texas Longhorns wide receiver Xavier Worthy is fastest man in NFL Combine history after running a record 4.21-second 40-yard dash yesterday.

It’s the way the crowd gasps and then cheers when the original 4.22 announced time that give me goosebumps. So cool. Just a human doing something better than any other human before that’s all. Watch the NFL Network simulcam version with Worthy’s run overlaid with John Ross’ former record run below to see Worthy’s incredible initial acceleration:

Truly insane speed.

A Book Apart is shutting down

A Book Apart is shutting down:

An Event Apart closed up shop in 2022 and now their book publishing arm is doing the same. Their short, easy to read books on responsive web design, mobile first UX, and content strategy over a decade ago were foundational texts for me as I was growing as a user experience professional.

Sadly, considering how rarely new posts are showing up A List Apart, I worry it might be next on the chopping block.

Favorites of 2023: Games

2023 favorite games of the year

Came close to making this more like my books list and just including the favorite games I played this year, but played just enough brand new games to put together a top 5 from games that actually came out in 2023. I continue to play all my games either handheld or while on the elliptical, so the Asus ROG Ally was big addition this year letting me play pretty much every game on this list that’s not on the Switch.

Anyways, here’s my favorite games of 2023…

1. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom for Nintendo Switch

A truly remarkable achievement in ways that I’m not sure any of us could have guessed when Nintendo announced they were making a sequel to Breath of the Wild. Tears of the Kingdom refined pretty much everything my former (spoiler) favorite game offered and added seemingly endless new ways to traverse, interact, and manipulate the vast world. Put in over 220 hours into it. Maybe my favorite game of all time.

2. Sea of Stars for PC/Xbox

Finished every single thing you can possibly do in this game, unlocked all the secret endings, and played over 55 hours of it and loved every minute. I’ve never actually played Chrono Trigger, but maybe how much I loved this is sign I finally should?

3. Lego Fortnite for PC/Xbox

Apparently I play Fortnite now? Me and the youngest have been into the new Lego game mode that’s half Minecraft and half Valheim. She mostly spends her time building in the Minecraft side of things while I explore and do combat and collect resources in the Valheim side. Super fun and looking forward to see how they continue to add to it. (God does it need a freaking compass.)

4. Super Mario Wonder for Nintendo Switch

Can my number four game of the year also be my most disappointing? I liked this less the recent 3D Kirby and Yoshi games and SOOOO much less than the fantastic Odyssey and 3D World, so not sure if it’s 2D games I’m not digging or if it just isn’t good as I had hoped. Maybe I’ll hop back in and try to 100% it and see if that improves my enjoyment.

5. Dave the Diver for PC

Loved the main gameplay loop but bounced off of this once they started adding more and more on top of the diving and fishing I bounced off it a bit. I had about 12 hours of a TON of fun though before that. Continue reading “Favorites of 2023: Games”

Invision is shutting down

Pour one out for Invision: InVision design collaboration services shutdown | Inside Design Blog

Tools like Invision, Zeplin, and Abstract came about to fill in feature gaps in products like Sketch and Photoshop and as those products added similar functionality and then Figma came in and ate all their lunches. I wonder if Invision turned down acquisition by Adobe at some point or did they really thing they could build their own design tool and compete?