Links and articles about technology, design, and sociology. Written by Rian van der Merwe. Follow @RianVDM
My thanks again to Photo Book Flip for sponsoring the site again this week. Try it out!
Photo Book Flip instantly turns the photos on your iPad into a beautiful photo book with a single tap. Unlike most photo apps that only let you browse photos one at a time, Photo Book Flip lets you flip through your photos in variety of layouts, so you can enjoy them in a delightful and different way.
How is Photo Book Flip different?
Photo Book Flip is not your ordinary photo book creator app. Every time you choose a set of photos, the app intelligently lays out photos into minimalist templates inspired by photo-centric magazines like Kinfolk. So every time you create a photo book, it’s going to be a different experience even with the same set of photos.
Photo Book Flip also works nicely with Apple’s Photo Stream. This means all the photos you take on your iPhone, you can use Photo Book Flip on your iPad to make them into a photo book with just a tap.
Lastly, we think the best part of Photo Book Flip is that it takes the hassle out of creating beautiful photo books for you to enjoy.
A sneak peak at what’s coming up.
We are hard at work polishing and making this app better. There are lots more features to come and here’s a preview:
- Sharing features: Email, tweet, or post to Facebook individual photos as well as pages in your photo books.
- Full screen photos: Tap on any photo to see it in full screen view.
- More templates: We’re gradually adding more templates for more layout variations.
- Flickr and Facebook Support: The feature we’re excited about the most! Create photo books from photos in your Facebook and Flickr account.
In Doomed to Repeat It Paul Ford discusses our obsession with email and to-do list apps, and he makes an interesting point about this form of communication that we all love to hate:
Is there another form of communication besides email where the acknowledged goal is to hide all of the communication? Email has evolved into a weird medium of communication where the best thing you can do is destroy it quickly, as if every email were a rabid bat attacking your face. Yet even the tragically email-burdened still have a weird love for this particular rabid, face-attacking bat. People love to tweet about how overwhelming it all is. They write articles about email bankruptcy and proclaim their inbox zero status. Email is broken, everyone agrees, but it’s the devil we know. Besides, we’re just one app away from happiness. A tremendous amount of human energy goes into propping up the technological and cultural structure of email. It’s too big to fail.
There’s also these two little gems from the article:
Doing the work, responding to the emails—these all suck. But organizing it is sweet anticipatory pleasure.
Working is hard, but thinking about working is pretty fun. The result is the software industry.
And while we’re on the topic of email, here’s something else I’ve noticed recently:
“We’re implementing a new system to reduce our reliance on email.” “Cool, how will I know there’s an update for me?” “You’ll get an email.”— Rian van der Merwe (@RianVDM) July 15, 2014
The AP is increasingly starting to use software with no human intervention to write basic news stories, but Kevin Roose says that we shouldn’t be alarmed about it. From his article Why Robot Journalism Is Great for Journalists:
Robot assistance may even spur human reporters to do our jobs better. With software producing the equivalent of old-school “clip files” for us, we’ll essentially have full-time research assistants. The information in our stories will be more accurate, since it will come directly from data feeds and not from human copying and pasting, and we’ll have to issue fewer corrections for messing things up. Plus, with our nuts-and-bolts reporting out of the way, we’ll be able to focus on the kinds of stories that educate and entertain readers in a deep way, rather than just dragging simple information from Point A to Point B.
As a frequent flyer I started reading Michaeleen Doucleff’s How To Stay Healthy In Flight with great interest, but I cannot get this sentence out of my head:
In 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency found high levels of fecal bacteria in the drinking water of 15 of the 327 planes it tested.
Rich Mironov’s We Don’t Hire Product Owners Here is a treasure trove of advice and clear thinking on the dangers of not taking the Product Owner role seriously in companies that make the switch to Agile development. There are so many good sound bites, but I’ll stick with just one that hits close to home:
Don’t let your customer request list become your roadmap. Kano analysis teaches us that letting current customers prioritize your backlog for you leads to market failure. Don’t let your product owners confuse “this is what the enhancement request says” with “understanding and solving real customer problems.”
I don’t quite know how to describe Peter Richardson’s The Lay of the Land. It’s about topography, maps, and cartoons, but actually about how we see the world:
Eventually I escaped my fjord, but a few lessons of my youth have been repeatedly confirmed: topography is important, and there’s no faster way to make an impression than with a cartoon. And by “cartoon” I mean a simplification which exaggerates some details and omits others. You could also say “model,” but I like the connotations of “cartoon”; it retains a transgressive frisson that the word “model” doesn’t have, unless you’re in fashion. But anyway.
Great essay — a bit rambling, but in a way that keeps you engaged.
Maiz Lulkin has a great overview of one of the most important and most misunderstood issues in software development in his post Technical debt 101:
In software development, the dreadful consequences of sacrificing quality are widely misunderstood by non technical managers. They underestimate how detrimental it is to continued productivity and morale, and ultimately, to the overall strategy of the company.
He goes on to explain why…
Ashley Feinberg in Razr Burn — My Month With 2004′s Most Exciting Phone:
It may be hard to remember now—or to believe at all, if you’re under 20—but at the time of its release the Razr was the final word in mobile technology. For the first time, you got a sleek, powerful, and wildly expensive bit of metal to call not only your cellphone but your status symbol, too. A couple of years and a few slashes into the $700 price tag later, you could barely go outside without seeing someone flip open a Razr. In four years, Motorola sold 130 million of them, a record that wouldn’t be touched until well into the iPhone’s run.
This sounds like a terribly painful experience. Like she accurately points out in the beginning: don’t try this at home…
I’m not sure if I should really link to Kids Don’t Care About Cars because there are very few things more annoying than old people pontificating about what “youngsters” like and don’t like. Still, this part did get me thinking:
The basic premise is you’ve got to go. How you get there is irrelevant. Furthermore, the costs of car ownership… the insurance and the gas, never mind the maintenance, none of them appeal to a youngster who believes all costs should be baked in.
I’m not convinced the conclusion that car ownership is a thing of the past is accurate1, even though this is not the first time the argument has been made — see Zipcar, Uber And The Beginning Of Trouble For The Auto Industry. But as an old guy myself, I do see the product opportunities that are created by this idea that how you get places is irrelevant as long as you can get there.
One of my favorite examples of companies taking advantage of this right now is car2go. It’s a network of smart cars that you can pick up anywhere, drive anywhere, and leave anywhere when you’re done. And it’s all done through a smartphone app (or the web — if you’re old and lame of course). No matter how much I think about this, I can’t get over how magical this idea is. What a great way to fill an unmet user need.
Try not having a car when you have kids… ↩
A big thanks to Photo Book Flip for sponsoring Elezea this week!
Six months ago I was reading Kinfolk, a culture and lifestyle magazine with lots of beautiful photos. Flipping through it was a really delightful experience. Then it came to me, what if I could flip through my own photos as if they were a beautiful photo magazine, say on my iPad? And even better, what if I didn’t have to organize and layout the photos?
And that was the beginning of Photo Book Flip. After five months of design and development, the app has finally come to life.
Photo Book Flip instantly turns the photos on your iPad into a beautiful digital photo book with a single tap. Inspired by photo-centric magazines like Kinfolk and beautiful cookbooks like Mast Brothers Chocolate and Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee, the page layout features a minimalist design to spotlight your moments. And just like the iBooks app, as you flip each page, you’ll also see what’s behind the page as if it was a real book.
We think Photo Book Flip lets you experience your photos in a delightful and different way. Like what physical photo albums do, we created this app to celebrate the wonderful memories and moments in everyone’s life.