#muchbetter / The Animaniacs reboot we all desperately need.

Given the metric tons of shit we’re all dealing with right now, it’s nice to have some comedy back in our lives. Watch the trailer and you’ll see for yourself, the writing is just as sharp and smart as it was. And it proves that while satire might need a break, comedy—when done right—still works.

What’s that? You don’t like animation? Either learn to appreciate the format and have a laugh or go grow some grass from seeds you harvested one at a time.

#goodtimes / "The fed-up chef."

Even before they get to talking about food, I can tell I’d love Gaggan Anand and his restaurant by the same name.

The meal cost $400 and came with rules. No. 1: No using cellphones, except to document the dinner and the chefs preparing it. “Please do the Instagram, the Facebook, the Twitter; give me the fame, I need the fame,” said Gaggan Anand, whose restaurant bore the same name. Clad in black, with a booming voice that suited his hulking figure, he stalked between a vast kitchen island and an L-shaped table for 14. “Those of you with good cameras, if you can take a photo of me scratching my ass, you get a bottle of Champagne.

And more rules, perhaps the best saved for last.

Limits on trips to the bathroom. “The first hour is all belted in,” he said. “After that, we will not give toilet breaks”—the meal would last the usual five hours—“but if you have to, just go quickly and come back. Think of this as a nonsmoking flight with no Wi-Fi, no network, and it’s an Indian airline, so nothing works and it’s very turbulent. You might be crashing soon, so you’d better enjoy.

Gotta love a good sense of humor. Especially when you’re approaching a four hour long dinner.

#heyjoey / Gowalla is back!

Feels like there is rarely good news about the Internet these days. Maybe that’s why this morning’s news of the return of Gowalla was especially welcome.

Gowalla was a beloved iOS application. It was one of the first to encourage real-world exploration by rewarding users to register or check-into the place they were visiting. Places could be anything from a park to a public building to the corner watering hole. The quality of the design was second to none and featured an ever-expanding catalog of icons illustrated by Brian Brasher. A lot of work went into the brand that extended beyond the digital experience. It was warm, welcome, and made travel–of all kinds—more fun.

Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for a competing experience to appear in the form of Foursquare which paired business check-ins with coupons. It was ugly and lacked personality, but the value proposition of savings a dollar off a margarita was enough to attract more users. Gowalla was shut down in 2012.

This morning a tweet from an old Twitter account announced the return of Gowalla though with a different experience based on augmented reality. I’m just glad to have it back. It’s so great to see the Gowalla brand and its kangaroo back in the world.

#travel / Supersonic travel is making a comeback.

American aviation company Boom Supersonic unveiled a scaled prototype—called “Baby Boom”—of a supersonic aircraft earlier today. The larger vehicle is scheduled to be finished in 2025 with commercial flights taking place approximately four years later. Flights like Tokyo to Seattle, New York to London, and Montreal to Paris will take four hours on the new aircraft. In addition to this amazing news, Boom won a contract last month to design a future version of Air Force One.

#winwin / "My secret weapon for helping executives understand the value of design."

In my experience many of the problems encountered are due to pour alignment as a result of even worse communication. And I think we’ve all had to bear the brunt of the results more often than we care to recall.

To help improve both communication and alignment in product design and development, Phil Gilbert (GM of IBM Design) came up with “Playbacks” as a “place where the results of all the detailed operational decisions are shown and alignment is kept with a minimum of fuss.” They are a key in IBM Design Thinking. Playbacks have evolved a bit from their original scope to become a vital tool for alignment across teams and levels of leadership. To achieve success It should not be considered a tool but a fundamental practice in product management as it is done at IBM.

My friend and former colleague Colin Naver has presented many of Playbacks during his tenure at IBM. Recently he published an article on this practice and how it has helped his career in product management and design.

#practical / The eight secrets to a (fairly) fulfilled life.

On his way to his next venture, health and wellbeing columnist Oliver Burkman sums up years of writing and research.

What follows isn’t intended as an exhaustive summary. But these are the principles that surfaced again and again, and that now seem to me most useful for navigating times as baffling and stress-inducing as ours.

Some very useful and practical advice. You’re all going to want to read through this and likely save a copy to Pocket.

#newsstand / Issues of design discourse past.

And on this day the design community received a gift from the heavens in the form of Emigre magazine, for free.

The final six issues of Emigre magazine, co-published with Princeton Architectural Press from 2003-2005, are now available as free PDF downloads from the Emigre website. These six pocket-book sized volumes were a final effort by Emigre to highlight and encourage critical writing within graphic design. We believed that design, as a cultural force, was worthy of an evaluative look, so we turned an inquisitive eye on our profession. All six issues have sold out years ago. We’re now making them available for free to anybody who’d like to revisit or who missed the excitement of the often heated debates that were circulating within graphic design during the early years of the 21st century.

If you liked Emigre and want more of that type of writing consider the digital publications Design Observer and Brand New, and Eye magazine—which just published its 100th issue.

#fishon / “Puck yeah!”

As anticipated here’s BrandNew on the Seattle Kraken identity:

While the rest of the year crumbles around us, 2020 has been a very good one for sports logos and now we have a team called the Kraken and while that could easily go wrong in so many ways this doesn’t disappoint in any single way. I don’t know what it is about “Kraken” but whether it’s rum or robotics it’s a name that delivers so much without breaking a sweat and, here, when paired with “Seattle” it just blows up instantly with the mere idea that a kraken could live in the Puget Sound. As if the attention to detail wasn’t so good so far, the secondary logo of an anchor has the Space Needle at the top. I mean, c’mon!

I could not agree more.

#themurricane / "Being Bill Murray."

An older article that includes this piece of advice:

Ask Murray about his reputation as the master of surreal celebrity encounters and he grimaces, not eager to explain his motivations. But he will concede that he’s aware of how his presence is received. “No one has an easy life,” he says. “It’s this face we put on, that we’re not all getting rained on. But you can’t start thinking about numbers—if I can change just one person, or I had three nice encounters. You can’t think that way, because you’re certainly going to have one where you say, ‘What did I just do?’ You’re a disappointment to yourself, and others, imminently. Any second.”

Something to remember when you’re cruising through Instagram.

#idiocracy / "Readers don’t always know what “editorial” means, and the word itself has multiple uses."

This is exactly why bloggers should never have been treated like members of the press earlier in the century. The rise of editorial content in the form of blogging (without proper disclaimers and public education) helped to propagate ignorance on what is news versus editorial. And then cable television jumped on the bandwagon and turned what was left of news into nothing but 24/7 editorial and punditry, though it is consumed as “news.” What’s really a shame (and not currently helping) is that members of the Baby Boomer generation—who grew up on Walter Cronkite—can’t tell the difference anymore.

By the way, we still have a good old fashioned news program. It’s called PBS Newshour.

#thepivot / "We act and behave like a brand new restaurant every year."

Monocle 24 talks to the sibling owners of Canlis, the best restaurant on the West coast, on their multiple, amazing pivots during the pandemic. “How do we throw our entire selves in being three completely different restaurants.” They prepared long before the shut-down and have kept all 1500 of their people employed.

A must listen to everyone in business.

#repurposed / It appears that MailChimp purchased Courier magazine.

Wow! From their email announcement:

We’re excited to share that Courier, a London-based media company, has recently joined the Mailchimp family. Courier’s mission is to help modern small business founders and entrepreneurs like you work smarter, realize your dreams, and live life on your terms. And starting today, we’re bringing Courier’s stories, interviews, and guides to the Mailchimp site, so all our customers can benefit from their insights.

Courier’s existing website is still up and running. The MailChimp version seems to be selective (maybe?) about which articles are brought over. And there is a distinctive difference in the creative direction between the two properties.

#typography / Hoefler&Co goes on the campaign trail.

Mr. Hoefler with an interesting tidbit on the usage guidelines for the Biden campaign: “Working together, we came up with some guidelines for the campaign’s typography, which would help articulate thoughtful messages with attentive typography. Words of action would be set in Decimal’s declarative small capitals, while the supporting syntax would rely on Mercury Text Grade Four.”

#moreplease / "The Towers of Ladakh."

A National Geographic podcast with a cool story about “a mechanical engineer teams up with an unlikely band of students who use middle school math and science to create artificial glaciers that irrigate Ladakh, a region in India hit hard by climate change.”

#viewsource / “The matter of collaborative costs.”

A terrific point taken from “The design systems between us,” an insightful essay from Ethan on the cost of dedicated design tools and development decisions may not scale outside of engineering.

Modern digital teams rarely discuss decisions in terms of the collaborative costs they incur. It’s tempting—and natural!—to see design-or engineering-related decisions in isolation: that selecting Vue as a front-end framework only impacts the engineering team, or that migrating to Figma only impacts designers. But each of these changes the way that team works, which impacts how other teams will work and collaborate with them.

If you’re in the business, I encourage you to read and re-read this post because it alludes to another evolution in our industry that will shake things up. It’s not clear if it will be good or bad for designers and/or developers, but it has the potential to have a bigger impact than Responsive and Ajax combined.

#billmurray / The French Dispatch.

A Wes Anderson film starring Bill Murray about a newspaper—are you kidding me?! Ye gods! I hope the suits aren’t going to sit on this until a cure for COVID-19 is found. I don’t care what’s playing, going to a movie theatre is at the very bottom of my post-pandemic checklist.

#movetenspaces / "Senet is an all-new independent print magazine about the craft, creativity and community of board gaming."

I love it when my interests converge with independent magazine publishing. My copies of Senet have not arrived just yet but by the photos, this looks to be a fantastic publication.

The magazine promotes board gaming as an art form. Each issue includes previews of the most exciting and intriguing upcoming games, features which explore the tabletop experience and the creative processes behind it, and reviews of the latest releases from both major and independent publishers.

The tell will be in the quality of the writing, but I’m hopeful and look forward to future issues.

#typography / The Type Directors Club is dead.

”…the board has decided to dismantle the organization in its current state and end the lease on the Club’s physical space. The board believes the club should be reconstituted in a new, more inclusive form, under different leadership in the future.”

This is in response to the TDC called out recently for racist perspectives and practices by a former board member Juan Villanueva. He writes, “I hate burning bridges but the bridge of racism needs to burn.”

#missingmanual / Four principles from a working mom worth applying to all of our lives.

“I’m a professor who teaches and a consultant who advises various organizations, married to a committed working spouse [and] the mom of four children: the oldest is seven; the youngest is just over six months old.

I’ve come to believe that the difference between going to bed feeling content or disappointed at the end of the day has a lot to do with the expectations we set for ourselves. Let’s lower our standards. Better yet: Let’s use this moment to shift them to something more reasonable.”

Solid advice from a mom who knows a thing or two about the hustle.

#notgameon / "Boot Camp will not work on Apple silicon-based Macs."

I can’t say that I’m surprised. When I read the analysts’ reports about this move to ARM my first thought was, Basecamp is screwed. I believe this happened before when Apple made the move from PowerPC to Intel. I can’t imagine that Microsoft will lift a finger to create a version of Windows that will run on ARM chipsets which possibly means this is the end to dual-boot Macs (emulators will possibly figure this out if there is an adequate market demand). This seriously puts a cramp into my initial thoughts about switching to PC gaming instead of buying into the next generation of consoles. Maybe it’s time to follow in Dolan’s footsteps and take up chess.

#want / #000000 {lives:matter;}.

A must-buy t-shirt with a design that is a “nod to the art/design/tech community while (always and forever) reminding folks that ‘Black Lives Matter.’” Proceeds go to worthy charities.

#reading / The 2020 Eisner Awards Nominees.

It’s a shame that Valiant did not make the list this year. Immortal Hulk, Doctor Doom, Invisible Kingdom, Once & Future, and Undiscovered Country were all delightful news to me and I picked up the first story arc for all of the titles (Marvel books are on sale right now and regularly). I also came upon The White Trees, Afterlift, and Starship Down. I love it when the Eisner Awards points me to titles I would have never considered checking out otherwise.

#typography / MacOS Catalina users have access to premium typography.

What better way to kick off a new week than with free, amazing type? I wish more Monday’s started off this way.

Apple has recently licensed fonts from type foundries such as Commercial Type, Klim Type Foundry and Mark Simonson Studio to be used as system fonts on Mac OS Catalina. But since these fonts are an optional download, many users of Mac OS X are not even aware they have access to them for free.

Over-saturation of Domaine, Produkt, and Publico is imminent.

#nerdvsgeek / An oral history behind the Star Trek episode that saved "Next Generation."

A fun read with a kicker!

As great as “Yesterday’s Enterprise” is, it is a source of some regret for one of its key creative architects.

“I wish we did this as the plot for Generations,” Moore says, referencing the first Star Trek feature film featuring The Next Generation crew that he co-wrote with Brannon Braga. “If we hadn’t have done that episode, then [the movie] would have been the Enterprise-A coming through that wormhole, and you’d have Spock and Kirk and everyone on that ship, we’d play the same story. They — the original crew — they had to go back to their deaths. And Guinan knew Kirk, and Guinan knew Picard, and that would have been an amazing movie.”

Can you imagine? I agree with Brannon, this plot would have made a fantastic film. There is a lot behind this one storyline that a cinematic format could have addressed so much better.

#typography / Under Consideration takes a look at the identity for Think 2020, IBM's annual technology and insights conference.

The work was a joint effort between artist Imogen Heap and a UK based creative agency called Field. I enjoyed the story behind this work (near the bottom of the page) and how Imogen seemingly wandered around Armonk—IBM headquarters—to record different sounds to incorporate in the work. It reminded me of watching Ben Burtt share his many stories on creating sounds for Star Wars in a similar fashion. And any time IBM Plex (one of the all-time best type families) gets front-row attention it’s worth sharing.

#utopia / "There is no plan to return to normal."

Vox looks at models (from left, center, and right-leaning institutions) projecting how to return people back to work and restart the economy while the virus continues to linger. One insight that seems certain: Mass-and-ongoing testing (when the nation has built the infrastructure) and mass surveillance are coming to the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, and Never Ready for a Real Crisis.

It might be a good time to brush up on 1984.

#utopia / Hey, who wants free Dungeons & Dragons stuff?

As part of a stay at home, play at home campaign the game publishers are giving away resources during the quarantine—Especially for parents.

With schools closed around the world, many parents and caregivers are at home with their kids, including many in the D&D community. If you are in need of fun & educational material to share and/or play with your kids, you can check back here each day for D&D stuff to help during this time. If you (or someone you know) is a younger gamer, we’re also releasing resources to make it even easier to get into D&D.

When I was in grade school the smart kids were pulled into special creative and critical thinking classes. One of the things we did was play Dungeons & Dragons to teach a number of team mechanics and to extend our imagination.

#utopia / "Larry David, master of his quarantine."

Be sure to add this to your reading list for the weekend. I mean come on, it’s not like you have anything else to do. Parents, give this article to your children and have them present a report on what they learned. It’s not like they have anything else to do either.

#utopia / RIP The Outline.

Sad to see it go. I would have liked to see what evolution looked like for all the effort they put into the design. I shudder to think how many more of these announcements are coming.

#utopia / Inside Delta's command center the week the coronavirus devastated the airline industry.

An interesting look behind the scenes of what it looks like to manage an entire airline, and the current decision making to reduce risk to passengers and the company.

On Friday, in an extraordinary letter to employees, chief executive Ed Bastian announced a 40 percent cut in capacity—the biggest in Delta’s history, including after 9/11. “The speed of the demand falloff is unlike anything we’ve seen.”

Feels like airline mergers are on the horizon again. Here’s Business Insider on “the fallout” from 9/11 and the coronavirus.

#viewsource / "Using a DSLR as a Webcam."

While working with Jesse I noticed that his video looked remarkably better than mine. In this post, he documents his entire setup which includes a Sony A6000. Cool setup! I’m going to dig into this and make improvements to the Airbag headquarters.

#utopia / "I ran the White House pandemic office. Trump closed it."

An op-ed piece from Beth Cameron, former senior director for global health security and biodefense on the White House National Security Council:

When President Trump took office in 2017, the White House’s National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense survived the transition intact. Its mission was the same as when I was asked to lead the office, established after the Ebola epidemic of 2014: to do everything possible within the vast powers and resources of the U.S. government to prepare for the next disease outbreak and prevent it from becoming an epidemic or pandemic. One year later, I was mystified when the White House dissolved the office, leaving the country less prepared for pandemics like covid-19.

No doubt part of the Drain the Swamp Make America Great Again initiative. Now we’re living in a swamp and America doesn’t feel so great. Nice work.

#utopia / Is it canceled yet?

“Coachella—sadly no.” An informative, single-function site with a bit of dark humor mixed in for good measure.

#viewsource / Python, movin' on up.

From Wired magazine (I gotta hand it to those folks, they’re trying to bring back the magic. Be a cynic all you want but I’d rather live in a world that’s trying to bring the magazine back to its roots than one that just gives up. Okay, back to the story about languages.):

Python is one of the world’s most popular programming languages. In fact, it’s more so than ever. Python climbed from third place to tie for second in the latest ranking of programming language popularity published by the analyst firm RedMonk.

You know, this site used to run on Movabletype that was initially powered by Python. Maybe it’s time to bring it back. Just kidding Jesse!

#typography / The highlighter of 1484.

Working on three different branding projects, I have browsed through a good deal of type families lately. Most families contain a fair amount of glyphs (boxes, stars, etc.) but on occasion, I’ve come across the symbol of a pointing hand. I didn’t think much about its use until recently after coming across the article “Point, don’t point.”

[The] pointed-finger symbol goes by many names: mutton fist, printer’s fist, bishop’s fist, pointer, hand director, indicule, or most unimaginatively as “a hand.” Scholarly consensus has pretty much settled on the word “manicule”, from the Latin maniculum, meaning “little hand.”

Scribes and scholars—sometimes readers—used a manicule to “emphasize a significant word, phrase or passage” much like how readers today use a highlighter. FF Franziska, the type family used in the upcoming Airbag design refresh has such a mark and now I am intrigued on how to incorporate it here in the future.

#nerd / Atari is now a brand of hotels.

From the official website: “Atari Hotels level up hotel entertainment with fully immersive experiences for every age and gaming ability, including the latest in Virtual and Augmented Reality.” It makes sense to integrate a hotel around these entertainment options given the popularity of gaming. But only if the tech and content are constantly updated. Otherwise, it will end up like today’s movie theater lobbies rocking Time Crisis II and Sega OutRun.

#nerd / IBM smacks down Google on it's claim around quantum computing.

“Google picked a problem they thought to be really hard on a classical machine, but IBM now has demonstrated that the problem is not as hard as Google thought it was,” says Jonathan Dowling, a professor at Louisiana State University.

As a fellow IBMer it makes me feel good to see Big Blue getting into a bit of a street fight here. While I didn’t work with the quantum computing folks directly, I followed some of their work and it’s truly badass—IBM doing what their brand always makes me think of: Deep research and development into the future.

#travel / "I took the world’s first 20-hour flight. Here’s what it did to me."

A first person account of the record breaking 19 hour non-stop flight from New York City to Sydney, Australia. The flight was setup to run a number of experiments including how to get passengers through such a grueling flight while acclimating to the destination time during the travel.

Marie Carroll, a professor at the University of Sydney who’s overseeing the passenger research on the flight, rallies her troops at the back of the plane. “This is the time, guys, when we really have to work through this,” she tells them. Moments later, they’re leaning against the food trolleys in the galley, stretching. Next, they perform upright press-ups among the empty economy sets. As a finale, they attempt synchronized dance moves in the aisles. All in the name of science. It looks like cabaret, but beating jet lag is serious business. Beyond the sleepless nights and daytime fatigue, experts say critical processes including heart function and metabolism are upset when the body clock gets disrupted.

It will be interesting to see how the research impacts the passenger experience on future long-haul flights. I once flew from Dallas to Shanghai and it took 14.5 hours and even though I had a first class cabin on a brand new Boing 787, the travel affects hit me like a wall and it took an entire day to recover.

As the number of annual airline passengers increases from “4.6 billion this year to 8.2 billion by 2037” I’m sure this research will come in handy. Meanwhile, the Guardian pledges [“How to explore the world without harming it.”]()

#utopia / "Stories of People Who Are Racing to Save Us."

From the editors of Wired magazine:

Climate change. Flawed algorithms. Deadly diseases. Tech monopolies. We are facing many existential challenges that need to be tackled head-on before it’s too late. Many of these problems are of our own making, consequences of our relentless push for progress. Fortunately, there are lots of people who are racing to save us from ourselves—progress we can definitely get behind.

It’s great to see Wired getting back into its game, and on these topics.