Tschüß 2016

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Hallo werte Leserschaft. Falls es noch jemanden gibt, der diese Webseite aufruft. 2016 stand bei mir, was das Erstellen von Inhalten anging, ganz im Zeichen der Videokunst. Mein neuer Lieblingsspielplatz heißt RRRADIOVISION und findet auf YouTube statt. Man hat mir gesagt, dass das ist, was die coolen Kids jetzt machen, daher habe ich fast 60 Videos produziert und über 1400 Abonnenten in nur einem Jahr gesammelt.

Das finde ich toll. Toll war auch 2016, zumindest auf persönlicher Ebene. Auch, wenn dieses Foto dort oben (geschossen von Martin Wolf, professioneller Fotograf und Webentwickler) impliziert, dass irgendwas nicht so gut war, ist es einfach nur ein witziges Bild, das mich zeigt, wie ich vor der Löwenburg in Kassel sitze und literweise Blut durch die Nase verliere. Wäre mein Lifestyle aufregender, könnte ich das auf die Schlägerei, oder den Kokskonsum schieben, aber ich habe einfach sehr empfindliche Nasenschleimhäute. Tja.

Und weil, wie gesagt, 2016 im Jahr des Videos stand und 2017 das ganze noch intensivieren wird, ist hier mein Jahresrückblick in Fotoform. Aber in einem Video. Ist verwirrend, ich weiß.

☰ Vorläufiges Ende

Einige mögen es vielleicht schon gemerkt haben, für alle anderen: Ich beende UARRR.org an dieser Stelle erst Mal. Nach über sechs Jahren fühlt sich der Ort nicht mehr richtig an und etwas neues musste her. Das heißt nicht, dass es hier niemals weiter geht, aber derzeit spielt hier die Musik:

marcel.io

Danke für zig hervorragende Jahre und wir sehen uns auf der anderen Seite.

☰ A Good User Interface

A Good User Interface
has high conversion rates and is easy to use. In other words, it’s nice to both the business side as well as the people using it. Here is a running list of practical ideas to try out.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this list of things you might consider the next time you’re building a website.

☰ So you're looking for an alternative to Photoshop?

Now that the dust has settled, I’d like to talk about Photoshop, Fireworks, Sketch and potential alternatives to the former.

I just have to get this out of my system and there may be some parts that are highly subjective and a bit of rambling, but nevertheless, here we go:

Boredom.

You’re all bored and thus looking for something new. Everything else changed since I started playing around with Photoshop eight years ago. The internet, mobile phones, browsers. But somehow the program we’re designing stuff in stayed and with Fireworks gone there isn’t even a possibility to change to a “better” alternative anymore.

I’ve got the feeling that many people wish to use something else than Photoshop for the solely reason of using something that’s more fancy and made by guys like “us”. Photoshop only works with several plugins and extensions, you can’t even edit rounded corners without them! Then there is something like Sketch, that allows you to do so right from the start. Neat, isn’t it? Sure.

Everyday Work.

Sketch is a great piece of software. This isn’t a pamphlet against Sketch, or any other programs, it’s more of a love letter to Photoshop.

I don’t know how your average workday looks like, but I’m not just “designing apps”. Sure, the result will be an app, but I have to retouch photos, enlarge backgrounds, build patterns, export assets, handle impressively large and complex files, need a way to see the result directly on a screen of a smartphone, etc.

My point is: I don’t just work on one kind of task, it’s a huge mix of different things and as cluttered and full of options and features Photoshop is, as capable it is to handle what I have to do for the task at hand and nearly every other possible task, that might come in the future.

“Photoshop has so many features I have no use for, it’s absolutely bloated!” is – in my view – not a valid argument to think it’s not the right tool to do your work. I don’t ever use the 3D features, so what? There will be a day I’ll need a bloody three dimensional cube on some kind of wood background. Is Photoshop capable of doing so? Sure it is. Does it hinder my work if there is a feature I rarely if ever use? It sure doesn’t.

Initial effort

It’s not even a bad thing that you need additional software to reach your goal. Sketch allows you to export 2x and normal assets. That’s amazing, but Slicy does the same thing (much better) for Photoshop. The amazing thing here is that there is something that solves this problem. Editing rounded corners? There are several plugins that allow you to do so.

To have to install, manage and remove additional tools is not a weakness, it’s a privilege. There is a slightly higher initial effort, but as soon as you’ve found the right tools, hacks and plugins, you’ll be more productive in Photoshop than in every other software. Not based on one single task but on the greater picture of what our job is about. Photoshop is able to adjust itself to your needs, take a bit of time to make it do what you want.

Photoshop feels kind of messy, there is never a “correct” solution for a problem. I understand it might feel like a relief to switch to software that shows you how to do something and you just don’t have to think about potential other solutions, but here is the thing:

Our job isn’t easy or at least not trivial. This whole pixel pushing thingy is not a clean task, you have to test things, you have to have the possibility to apply quick and dirty solutions and you have to have a better and more “long term” way of doing the same thing for final production.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to know there are alternatives and I salute everybody who switches their projects to Sketch or similar solutions. I just wouldn’t recommend it. It’s just so much easier to do these things in Photoshop and Illustrator as long as you invest a bit of time and research to build your work environment as good as possible.

Photoshop is like grandfathers workshop. There may be 20 similar tools and at a first glance most of them feel dispensable and the whole shed looks messy, but your grandfather knows where everything is, what to use first and which version of which tool is best for the task at hand. (What a brilliant metaphor. Good job, Marcel.)

Conclusion

I don’t understand why so many people are keen to switch to premature alternatives but I don’t blame anyone to do so. There might be a new standard in ten years, who knows. I keep testing the alternatives but as long as there is nothing that helps me to be faster and more efficient in every facet of my daily work, I’ll stick with my beloved Photoshop.

Like I said, I think Sketch is pretty good it’s just too early to do efficient work with it. Feel free to bash me on Twitter for this post. You’ll reach me at @UARRR.

PS: Make sure to read “Photoshop is a city for everyone: how Adobe endlessly rebuilds its classic app“. It’s worth your time.

☰ Welcome back to my adolescence.

I’m 16 again! Everything began with me buying a XBOX 360 and now it’s just like seven years ago: I’m playing games on a desktop computer.

What happened? That’s easy: I rediscovered my love for gaming through Battlefield 3 on the XBOX. Everything was so shiny and amazing. Weapons and bodies all over the place, Martin, Philipp, Kim, Kevin and me talking while we win and lose against strangers. Basically a lot of fun.

But somehow it wasn’t good enough. Aiming with a controller is a pain and I knew it would be much better if I just could use a mouse for it.

Fast forward.

I have no idea what kind of hardware the cool kids are buying today so I told Leo what I wanted from a gaming-system and he put together the list of things I would need. Here it is:

Kampfschiff 01

Fractal Design Define R4 Black (on Amazon)

Kampfschiff 02

be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 550W (on Amazon)

Kampfschiff 03

Alpenföhn Himalaya (on Amazon)

Kampfschiff 04

Samsung 840 Pro series 2,5″ 128 GB (on Amazon)

Kampfschiff 05

Intel® Core™ i5-3470 (on Amazon)

Kampfschiff 06

G.Skill DIMM 8 GB DDR3-1600 Kit (on Amazon)

Kampfschiff 07

ASUS P8Z77-V LX (on Amazon)

Kampfschiff 08

Microsoft SideWinder X4 Keyboard (on Amazon)

XFX HD7950 Dual Fan Black Edition (on Amazon)

I wanted a system that’s able to play everything that’s on the market and at least most of it in the best quality as possible. This morning I tested Crysis 3 and it looked and felt amazing with all settings as high as possible. Mission accomplished. I’m totally overwhelmed by how good games can look these days. The last “beautiful” game I played on a PC was Half Life 2, some years ago. That should put things in perspective.

Leo chose the graphics card you see above because of my need to use my 27″ Apple Cinema Display. It’s huge, it’s beautiful and I need it for my work anyway. There is no space for another big display on my desk at home and although I know that the ACD is far from perfect for playing games, it’s good enough for now.

Also I’m looking forward to producing more videos for Saving Princesses, which is a bit tricky with just a 128GB SSD, but I’m planning on buying a huge HDD soon.

Boom. Headshot.

☰ Urban Planners Battle For Bragging Rights In The New Sim City

John McDermott:

We brought together some of the most interesting urban thinkers to play the new version of the city planning game to see who would make the best fake metropolis. But building a sustainable city from the ground up is harder than it looks.

I’m so looking forward to tomorrow, when the new Sim City is finally available in Germany.

☰ Moves for iPhone

It’s not often that I’m actually impressed by an app. You’ve build a new weather app and it’s beautiful and kind of unique? Good for you, I don’t care.

I get why everyone is building weather apps, the data is easy to get, it’s no problem to display it in form of an icon and you have a ton of ways (yes, you can measure ways in tons, shut up) to build something that looks :f1 new :f2 . The only issue is that you still haven’t build something new. There are dozens of apps that display the same data in another way. Weather apps are a perfect playground for bored developers and designers.

Movesapp

However, I am impressed by Moves. Found it three days ago and it’s the best app you never have to open again that I know of. It basically tracks your location all the time, without any strange social options attached. Over the course of a day it tracks your movement and the kind of the movement. Walking, running, cycling, motorized transportation, everything. It even detects if you’re not moving and creates a place for that time.

Why would you need that? You don’t. I think it’s interesting to see where and how fast I walked and how long I have been at a place. It’s just like using DayOne everyday, there is no immediate value but collecting data over a long timeframe makes the data itself kind of valuable when you look at it at a later time.

There are always two concerns when you’re using an app like Moves: How much battery power is lost to it? I don’t know, it sure uses a bit, but I personally don’t care because I can recharge my phone everywhere I go. The second one issue is: Is there a way to export my data? There isn’t. But the developers promised an export function for the future.

I’m very impressed by Moves. It’s simple, it doesn’t need me to do anything but moving around, I don’t have to remember to open the app and I get a beautiful representation of my walking habits.

Homescreened!