Have been experimenting with this unusual Dasung portable e-ink display for park working sessions. It's surprisingly responsive—plenty good enough for writing, coding, studying. HDMI driven, weighs about 1.5lbs, sits in front of my normal display (& uses much less power, ofc).
Working on the reMarkable is pretty nice, but it makes me feel so passive. The device makes it so hard to write while I read, to jump around, to synthesize—I'd rather use paper most of the time.
Part of the trouble, I guess, is that this use case is too niche to get a really thoroughly-developed software stack. So things like the Kindle, reMarkable, Boox etc feel awfully "unserious" about workflows compared to my laptop. It's nice to just use my "full" setup in the park.
Downsides: this display is really quite expensive, fairly bulky, requires some fiddling to get the contrast right, obviously only works well for some types of work.

Not sure if I'll keep it… but… gotta chase those lux!! 🌞🌞🌈
Correction: on the MacBook Pro, using an external display requires the discrete graphics card, so even though the e-ink display uses less power than the internal LCD with backlight, the net power performance is somewhat worse (but still fine for an afternoon).

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More from @andy_matuschak

11 Oct
One fun way to think about extended cognition is in terms of creating unrecognizably alien mental states.

eg: someone who has never used Hindu-Arabic numerals can't imagine what is going on in the mind of someone using them to solve a problem. Unrecognizably alien mental states!
Ditto musical notation: someone who's never used it can't imagine what's going on in the mind of a composer who has.

But also, Lisp does this to how I think about representing data; drum machines do this to how I think about rhythm; probably a Bloomberg terminal qualifies; etc.
In general, the more transformative the environment, the more unrecognizable—alien; magic!—the mental states it produces.
Read 5 tweets
11 Oct
Following up: several people mentioned the original 1987 Apple Human Interface Guidelines, which I'd not read. It's not a comprehensive primer on interface design, but it is an extraordinary read—a huge amount of detail on *why* things are as they are. And a great bibliography!
It's surprisingly difficult to find a PDF of the 1987 edition online, so here you go: andymatuschak.org/files/papers/A…
If you've only read "modern" HIGs, I definitely recommend reading the 1987 edition! It's *very* different. It is amusingly difficult to imagine this passage in a contemporary Apple text. Image
Read 4 tweets
23 Sep
Why are there no "standard texts" on designing software interfaces? (or tell me I'm wrong?)

If you want to learn to *build* software, there are excellent and complete texts on the subject. It's not just a tech-vs-art thing: there are standard texts on type, drawing, color, etc.
Of course, there are lots of great books peripheral to (and useful for learning) the topic of software interface design: Inmates…, Design of Everyday Things, Tufte, etc. But these don't aspire to be complete introductory guides to the subject, like How to Design Programs.
Some close contenders:

* About Face: great coverage of broader design product process, but concrete details on interface design quite limited

* Don't Make Me Think: focused on web sites and info arch, not much discussion of interactive interfaces
Read 9 tweets
10 Sep
A bit of fun: this GIF is a "legendary" @robin_____sloan Amulet (8 8's).

base64: R0lGODdhBgAJAPEAAEeEqvij+U6wk386YSwAAAAABgAJAAACD4RvERciC9pjMDooq0KoAAA7

hash: B36F0888888889A57D77E14E9B8D4B95E11C6B6C0B48FB0D7F5E634B2D129623

@robin_____sloan I was unable to reveal the amulet via the smart contract, alas, since the text is specified via `string` rather than `bytes`, and UTF-8 encoding rules muck up the string. But/so:

Title: "A picture worth a thousand words"
Carbon offset URL: dashboard.cloverly.com/receipt/202109…
@robin_____sloan (Hope you don't mind the subversion, Robin… can a GIF be poetry?)
Read 5 tweets
8 Sep
One reason we don't have more interesting, quality structured text editors: it's *really* hard to implement table-stakes editing operations well, particularly on web.

In this video, I attempt to arrow up/down and shift+up/down to select inter-line in 8 outliners. Very yikes.
Roam was the only web outliner which got arrow up/down navigation mostly right, though with some unexpected glitches at EOLs.

None of the web outliners support interline selection. OO doesn't either. Bear does great but ofc isn't really structured. And org-mode wins the day.
This sounds so nit-picky and trivial, but I think the difficulty of getting basic editing ops done well in simple outline UX illustrates just how painful it is to make a structured text editor nice enough to live in.

There'd be a lot of value in finding a good abstraction here.
Read 4 tweets
7 Sep
@metaLulie Not a solopreneur but similar situation. Trying to work non-coercively, I’ve found it useful to understand my monkey-brain proclivities. Monkey has inertia, finds it hard to get started, easy to continue. Monkey wants easy gratification in the moment, meaningfulness in hindsight.
@metaLulie Very concretely: I find routine incredibly helpful. I’m not rigid about it—I’m happy to change it upon reflection—but everything is easier with well-considered defaults. It’s simply *true* that if I start my morning on Twitter, I will p>0.7 get no deep work done that morning.
@metaLulie I’ll regret it: in hindsight, Twitter was fun for the first 10m, then I got unwittingly sucked in, and it wasn’t really that fun. So I start my day with the internet off. Sounds like coercion, but doesn’t feel that way in the moment. It feels like “oh, right… thanks, past me.”
Read 8 tweets

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