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I write about design, technology, and people. Sometimes I photograph places I visit.

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Don’t become an artist

Yesterday I read an interview with Erik Spiekermann, one of modern design legends. One thing resonated with me.

Learn as much about our culture as you possibly can, by reading, by traveling, by involving yourself in things that go on. But don’t become an artist. Don’t think, “I’ll do it intuitively.” You have to learn if not to code at least to appreciate code, to understand code. Because code is what nuts and bolts were a hundred years ago.

If you don’t know anything about mechanics, you can’t survive in this world. If you don’t know anything about how a computer works or code works, as a communicator, which is what a designer is — the interface between machines and man, that’s what we are. We are the interface, we interpret what the machine says into visible language. If you don’t understand how the machine works, you’re going to be laughed out of the room by the engineering guys, because you can’t communicate with them.

Maybe I’m biased because my background is computer science, but I’m discounting that because Erik and I have very different starting points (graphic design for him, programming for me) and are two generations apart, and still came to the same conclusion.

As designers, we don’t have to build cars with our own hands or use machine learning algorithms, but we need to know concepts and how they work. If we don’t know the vocabulary, how will we communicate?

WebGL cube

Sketches of WebGL cube and device rotation angles.

This demo and blog post almost didn’t see the light of day. The Web has produced impressive 3D apps recently and my concept seemed unremarkable compared to them. But after thinking about it for some time I realized I had built a Hello World example and it’s not fair to compare it to other apps. And my Hello World packs some interesting features too.

I recommend opening the link on a phone or a tablet. I tested it in Chrome and Safari, so it should work on all newer Android and iOS devices. It will also work on desktop browsers, but you’ll have to start the animation manually.

http://merlin.rebrovic.net/experiment/webgl-cube/

If it got you interested, read on about my motivation and the technology used to build it. Read more

Focus on days

Writer and artist Austin Kleon describes how he tackles work in his book Share Your Work:

Building a substantial body of work takes a long time—lifetime, really—but thankfully, you don’t need that time all in one big chunk. So forget about decades, forget about years, and forget about months. Focus on days.

The day is the only unit of time that I can really get my head around. Seasons change, weeks are completely human made, but the day has a rhythm. The sun goes up; the sun goes down. I can handle that.

This is an excellent advice on how to approach tasks that seem overwhelming. Just focus on days and you’ll get there.

Year in review 2015

Tin reads my mind:

I have mixed feelings about writing a “year in review”. Often times it feels like a boasting competition. Who collected the most miles, lectures, awards or crossed off bucket list items. On the other hand, it’s extremely healthy to stop, reflect, recap and honestly, just remember the good (and less good) times one had during a year.

Personally, benefits of reflection outweigh any mistaken perceptions some people might have about this kind of posts. And since I’m always pursuing knowledge and wisdom, I won’t bore you with numbers of travel destinations and books read. Instead, I’ll share some lessons learned during the past year and things that have really sunk in. Read more

Charming Lucerne

A panorama of Lucerne.

Lucerne is a charming Swiss town. Situated between snow-capped mountains it boasts a historic town center surrounded by fortified walls, clock towers, an Alpine lake, and trains running on time. A tourist’s bonanza.

These were the latest posts. If you want to read more, please explore the archive.

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