I’ve always been somewhat introverted, melancholic, inhibited, reserved, whatever term you wanna call it (Abeg don’t call me shy or timid). It’s origin has always seemed kinda chicken-and-egg to me: was I born this way? or was it my upbringing/habits/environment?
Getting older and being more self aware, I’ve tried (and failed, sometimes embarrassingly) to be a more outgoing person. Right now though, I’m at a point where I’m pretty content with and indifferent about it. I’ve accepted it and kinda just roll with it. It doesn’t bother me as much as it use to (say back in Uni).
But being in tech and apps and startups and these sorts of things, I have to be more aware of usage patterns of these social platforms. You see, I thought that one of the things that would enhance an offline social life was to be less and less vested in an online one. Or to keep a very wide caveat between them. I’m also very much interested in tech that bridges that gap.
At Apple’s last earnings call, one thing that many people had already stated was clear, the iPhone and other iOS devices was cannibalizing the iPod. Especially the “classic” which hasn’t gone through any iterations in years. I’m a bit sentimental towards the iPod classic, because IMHO it’s a design icon. I still think that given a few improvements, there’d still be room for it in the market:
1. Lightning connector: The iPod classic is still the only Apple portable device still using the now old 30-pin connector. The lightning connector is neater, less prone to damage and smaller which will make room for…
2. Speakers: I sometimes like listening to music out loud, or want to hear it with other people. And would probably have more music on a 160GB iPod than on either of my laptops. I want to keep my laptop firing on all cylinders while I work and want to mise smartphone battery life.
3. Flash Disk: The classic still uses a mechanical hard disk. I think it’s about time they switch it up to solid state, which will result in more reliability and…
4. Reduced size & weight: it should be slimmer and lighter. Plus they could throw in a volume rocker on the side.
5. Longer battery life: Switching to a flash memory, should result in the battery lasting longer also, the device will have a smaller panel (I think) leaving room for a slightly bigger battery.
6. Wi-fi: Plenty of people now stream music online. iTunes now has a music straming service - iTunes Radio, in addition to internet radio and podcasts, this thing has more reasons to connect to the internet, also for wireless syncing to one’s computer.
7. Music streaming providers: This one is very unlike Apple to do, they can be very anticompetitive. But before iTunes Radio was launched many people were already vested in Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, MOG and/or Deezer. Apple could work with these companies in allowing users access their libraries via the device.
8. FM Radio: I like listening to radio. I’ve been screaming that they should have brought this to the iPod since I knew what an iPod was. They did to the Nano but why are they still keeping it from the classic?
9. Earphones: Earphones have pretty much been the same since the ’80s. The one thing that irks me most about them are the wires. So thin and light, they damage very easily. It’s as if they’re intended to be disposable. Make those damn wires durable!
10. Bluetooth: to connect wirelessly to speakers, headphones, car stereo, and picture transfers between devices.
If Apple were to release an iPod with all these features in it. I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Wouldn’t You?
Another week, another Interview!. This time around, we had a pleasant chat with Dapo Olaopa (a.k.a @dpencilpusher). He is a talented Nigerian Illustrator and Interface designer. We asked him a whole range of questions and he provided unique insights into his work and thought process. FOSSWatchNG: Could you describe yourself briefly and what you do
I’ve been given a Kobo ebook reader. I was offered a tablet but I didn’t want to cost too much money plus I needed something to get my reading up. And tablets are everywhere here in Nigeria but ebook readers are impossible to find. You see, I’m a very very veeerrryyy slooow reader. It annoys me. But the thing is I’m much faster reading physical books than I am reading books on my computer or on my phone (SGS2). But if I got hard copies of all the books I wanted to read there’d be nowhere to put them! Plus I already have lots and lots of PDFs and EPUBs on my computer. So I decided having an ebook reader will do the trick.
Why a Kobo (that was a mistake but more on that later)? I looked up a comparison chart and found that the Kindle can only read ebooks in Amazon’s AZW and KF8 formats. It’s possible to convert with Calibre and not too much of a hassle but I didn’t want to jump over that hurdle at all plus I didn’t want file duplication either. I then assumed that with a Kobo, I’d be able to just switch the thing on, connect it to my laptop and dump all the ebooks I have in it. Boy was I wrong.
First of all, I have to say eink is pretty awesome; there was an illustration on the screen of the device which I thought was printed on the transparent film that covers the screen, only for me to switch it on and the image disappears!
From this point is where I have a problem. I select language, it asks me to connect to a computer or a wireless network. No wi-fi so I connect to my laptop and then it asks me to visit a URL from my laptop and since I don’t have internet on it, I can’t get past this step. So I try option 2; I set my phone as a hotsopt and connect the Kobo to it. Then it allows me set date and time. After that it proceeds to do a firmware update, it’s taking so long I hit “Cancel” at 9% hoping that will bypass the process, only to see a warning that if I cancel I’d have to start over. I cancel and put it away. Until I go to the nearby cybercafe and connect to wi-fi. Here’s annother thing, when I switch it off, the whole screen goes black which makes me feel like the screen is on, so I turn it face down so I don’t have to look at it.
So here I am. With an ebook reader (and a connector cable) and a bunch of ebooks but no way to put it together.
Epic fail Kobo. Epic fail. For an ebook reader to really make sense, one should be able to go from unboxing to reading in less than 5 minutes and with no needed internet connection whatsoever.
Epic fail to me too for not doing the homework thouroughly enough. And that’s what I get for rooting for the underdog. Next time, instead of comparing features I’d purposely look for disadvantages and gripes before making a choice.
Update: I’ve finally done the initial setup. Took about 30mins. One free ebook is in my library and it’s titled What My Mother Gave Me which is funny because it was actually my mom who bought me the Kobo.
Didn’t have desktop internet so like last year I headed to a cybercafe to follow the liveblog (streaming video would have been impossible). The Verge had the best liveblog and it was almost as good as watching video because they were updating with large clear photos as fast as anyone possibly can. Thanks Verge!
Last Saturday (24/3/2012) I was at The Network, a conference for creatives held at Chevron Club, Gbagada. It was organized by Abinibi.
These are some of the speakers at the event. (L-R;T-B) Steve Babaeko : An art director and advertising guru. Lemi Ghariokwu: An artist who specializes in album art. He did several album sleeves for Fela Kuti and many other musicians in the ’70s & ’80s. Kelechi Amadi-Obi: A well known professional photographer. Kingsley James: Founder of DigiPrints; one of the best and most well known print companies in the country. Goke Oludare: One of the major printers based out of Ṣomolu "the printing centre of Lagos".
Others included: Toyosi Akerele : Founder of RISE; a youth empowerment programme who is also in the magazine industry.
Cynthia & Teju; who came from Google Nigeria to talk to us about Google+ and YouTube.
Some notes I took down at the event: From Steve Babaeko
"Build a solid knowledge base" "Build a solid reputation" "Build trust; always be on time" "Build a strong network" "Have multiple streams of income" Adapt to survive
from Kelechi Amadi-Obi
"Make the decision to be an artist" "Do good work, and show it" "Show your work with style (packaging)” "Take your work to the right audience" "Do more than what is paid for" "Put your standards above that of your clients. Then they be able to tell you "use your discretion" “
Kingsley and Goke also spoke about the age old battle between graphic designers and printers, and why many printers insist on CorelDraw’s .CDR format when we like to design in Photoshop. Basically the rip of their machines come equipped to handle .CDR and .TIFF natively. Also exporting to PDF is also a good format for print. We were reminded to take note of resolution, the size of paper (or whatever material to be printed on) and to design in CMYK.
All in all it was very good and enlightening. Kudos to Abinibi for organizing this. Look forward to there being more and attending them.
As “award season” comes to a close, Where we take a look back at the past year and pick and/or rank our favorite things, products, entertainment, etc. Here’s my attempt at recapping 2012 and the things that I enjoyed and caught my attention last year. Bear in mind that for most of the year I was away from the city and it was kinda hard to keep up but I tried. I’ll try to make this an annual thing and maybe have a more structured “top-10” type list. You can include some of your favorites in the comments too. (Also it took me veeeerryyy loooong to compile and write this post)
Last year I created a similar list and even though I didn’t accomplish all the things on it (mostly because of NYSC), it was still a great year for me nevertheless. And I think making the list kinda helped. I had compiled this year’s since January but wanted to wait till NYSC was over to post it. To be honest, it feels like the new year starts for me once I return to Lagos. So here goes (in no particular order):
I couldn’t have said it better myself. This guy puts into words my exact feelings about my college education and what a nightmare it was.
The societal pressure to get a masters degree (esp. outside the country) just goes to show how worthless a first degree is now. The whole system is pretty fucked up. And what’s worse? Those who are passionate about education -who should be advocating a change- are stuck in the same system themselves.
If it’s this bad for us, then what will it be for future generations?
I really pray things change for the better as it will never be able to hold up in this rapidly changing world.
There are sotoo many mobile photo sharing social apps out there. All trying to compete with Instagram. A lot of people were displeased with Facebooks acquisition of Instagram, and there was a lot of talk about migrating to alternatives. The one feature I wish Instagram had was albums. And Popset has it. In addition to Instagram’s current feature set. If it’s still possible that any mobile photo sharing app will overtake Instagram, it’ll be either Piictu (which doesn’t have albums) or Popset. Popset (which used to be known as Eeve) even allows you to import your Instagram photos (Hopefully Instagram/Facebook doesn’t feel threatened and revoke that access) They both should get their acts together and release Android apps pronto.
…and you guessed right, my username is @dpencilpusher on there too.
The Android app can be really annoying and uses a lot of webviews. It loads EVERYTHING even things that change infrequently like usernames and profile pics and bios. Twitter does a much better job at caching stuff. There are a lot of spammers (commenters) too.
This was a beautiful film. It was colorful and lush; a visual delight. Satisfying, Enjoyable and down-to-earth. Funny when it needed to be. But, hearing that this was a fairy tale and that our main character’s a princess I feared it would land in “Disney Princess” territory. Well, even though it borders on it, it doesn’t have a Prince Charming for our princess to ride off into the sunset and “live happily ever after” with. I hope Disney doesn’t tie it in with the Princesses thing. One main thing that fuelled this concern was that Pixar characters when human are known to be very stylized. But Merida and her Mom -the main characters- weren’t. (most of the other characters were). They were both appropriate height (about 7 heads), muscles well defined, and no exaggerated parts. They looked too realistic; Merida even had slim, angular, (dare I say “sexy”) fingers. The main thing that’s recognizable about Merida is the shape of her head, an her big, ginger, frizzy hair (which took a lot of effort to animate) which I appreciate. It’s not really a complaint, it’s just something different and uncharacteristic of Pixar. Let’s look at other Pixar duos: Woody’s tall, skinny, limp and made of cloth while Buzz is short, stocky and made of hard looking plastic. McQueen is curvy, red & shiny while Mater is rectangular & rusty. Carl looks like he’s carved out of a block of wood while Russell looks like a balloon animal. WALL-E and EVE look like a PC & Mac (circa 1999) respectively. The only contrast between Merida and her mother is the hair and while it’s a very obvious contrast I felt there could be more.
I thought the movie might have something to do with the origin of Stonehenge but was a little disappointed when it didn’t. Enough about that. Now the story. The story was awfully predictable. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it, but there was no twist, no surprise, it just went smoothly like rowing on a straight & familiar river (not that I’ve ever rowed before). It was almost as if I knew what was going to happen before it did. This made the movie [feel] quite short.
What I liked: -Anne Hathaway as Catwoman; when it was first announced that she’d be playing Catwoman I had my doubts but I belived in Nolan and I gotta say, she’s the best Catwoman I’ve seen.
-The cast; Inception alumni; Michael Caine, Marion Cotilard, Jason Gordon Levitt, Tom Hardy, Cilian Murphy. In another universe it could be Ellen Page as Batgirl and DiCaprio as The Riddler (which I read he was actually interested in playing).
-The reference to the comics: it had parts of “No Man’s Land”, parts of “Knightfall”. Especially the scene where Bane brakes Batman’s back, recreated accurately from the comic.
-The vehicle chases.
-The fights between Bane and Batman; I caught myself thrusting my fists at the air while they were duking it out.
-The subtle inclusion of a Robin. I suspected this quite early in the movie but I read somewhere that Nolan didn’t like the idea of sidekicks (which is pretty much what Catwoman was).
What I didn’t like: -A little too much talk and less action. A little too much Bruce Wayne and not enough Batman.
-Bruce Wayne came out of the hole twice; first at the beginning of the movie and then literally towards the end. Seeing Bruce with a full beard looking messed up felt kinda repetitive.
-The Bat. There were times when it looked cool. But at other times when it was in flight and in full view, it looked like a giant mechanical cockroach with it’s wings surgically attached to its underbelly.
-The motive of the villan. I like that the stakes were high. I understand that Bane was working for Talia Al Ghul. But she wants to avenge her father (and to purge Gotham of organized crime & corruption) does that warrant blowing up an entire city just to get one man? I like the severity, it’s the motive that just doesn’t hold water IMHO.
-Batman recovering too quickly, it seemed a bit unrealistic; his leg in the beginning, his back in the middle and then after being stabbed at the end.
-There was absolutely no mention of the Joker. None. A hallucination of Ra, his daughter, a photo and flashback of Harvey Dent, even Dr. Jonathan Crane (Scarecrow) made his third appearance but no one even name-dropped The Joker. It’s as if the guy never existed.
-I know I hate it when action films dwell on romance. But the relationship between Bruce Wayne/Batman and Selina Kyle felt very hollow. He even seemed to be more into Miranda Tate (and that’s not just because he slept with her).
-Secret Identity. While Bruce Wayne and Batman went into hiding for different reasons, they resurfacing at the around same time shoulda given it away. It made everyone, especially Commissioner Gordon (whom I assumed already knew) and Selina Kyle (I couldn’t tell if she was just playing along, but “my powerful friend”? Really??) seem stupid.
-I hate it when in movies (or books) someone just explains the plot twist in one fowl swoop through a series of flashbacks instead of the thing coming together by itself. That’s what happened here.
Summary: Despite all my nitpicking, I really really enjoyed the movie. Definitely one of my favorite films of the year. Totally worth seeing in the theater. Totally worth revisiting. But seeing as I couldn’t pick at this many dislikes in The Dark Knight, I’ve gotta say the, the 2nd film is the best of the trilogy.
I had been following the progress of both Foursquare and Gowalla since they launched at SXSW in 2009. Even though I didn’t feel the need to join either until recently. I was more attracted to Gowalla because of it’s beautiful & colorful design (obviously), and because it was less popular (you see, I like rooting for the underdog) so I joined. Then they released that version 4.0 which nobody understood how to use even though it was still beautiful, then a few weeks/months later they announced the sale to Facebook. Needless to say, I was unhappy with the news. First because they gave-up, second because they sold out to big blue. I deleted my account but didn’t jump onto Foursquare yet. I wanted to watch the space to see how Gowalla’s exit will affect it.
If you had asked anybody to mention Location Based Services they knew, they’d mention Foursquare first then [most likely] Gowalla. Despite the fact that Foursquare had more users, and more activity, Gowalla still had the recognition of being their rival.
February is over! Big thanks to those who patronized. Progress, completion & payment details are being communicated to you via email. And thanks also to those who shared. I have to go for NYSC and would probably not have access to my computer, [desktop] internet etc. for a while. Hence I wouldn’t be taking up any requests for design work for now. When I’m available again, I’ll announce here and on twitter.
UPDATE: I don’t leave until the 22nd of March. I’ll be using the remaining time to tie up loose ends on current projects.
I’ll also take 3 requests (via email) for simple, non-elaborate, colored & shaded illustrations for N7,500 a pop. See regular procedure here.
Very practical guide to getting the best out of social media rather than wasting time on it. And it’s the kind of thing where you can see examples of people who are using these principles and it’s working for them both at home and abroad.
Oh Hollywood and sequels! Part 1 was way better! This movie was enjoyable but it didn’t feel like a Sherlock Holmes movie should. Too much brawn over brain, a little too much humor and that mental(or was it psychic?) pre-emptive strike thing was over exaggerated in the last fight with Moriarty. It was more of an action movie than a mystery solver, and that I didn’t like.
Totally good read. It could as well have been an autobiography, but then again after reading it, Steve Jobs writing his own autobiography is probably a bad idea. Makes you really get to know the man behind Apple’s great products and the company’s culture as a whole. Oh! And Pixar too! (can’t forget Pixar) And now I finally understand why the iPad has no stylus…
Nonsense! Or will it? Really? One of the biggest complaints users and developers (especially developers) have concerning Android is fragmentation; specs, button placement, screen sizes, etc. Screen sizes: Samsung has phones from 2.8” all the way up to a 10.1” tablet, in 0.2” increments; it’s ridiculous. Android app developers have to cater to all these screen sizes (and more) & resolutions, they have to draw visual elements in vector, or include multiple sizes or just leave the app to stretch, contract or crop to whatever screen size the app finds itself on. This leads to the apps being resource heavy or ugly or both, varying experiences across a myriad of phones etc.