Tom Bihn Bags: The Side Effect

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I effing hate purses. I like the concept of a bag that has all the things you need in it at any point in time, but purses never appealed to me. I like backpacks and messenger bags (read all about that insanity when I wrote about my Pilot) and pockets, but unfortunately clothing manufacturers and fashionistas still can’t seem to grasp that there are women who would rather put all their stuff on their person than in a clutch. Especially one that looks like it came directly out of a bubblegum factory.

Tom Bihn bags: The Pilot

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So for my birthday recently I received a Tom Bihn bag, a Pilot. And I love it. I was never a “bag” person; I mean, I always had one and I always had stuff in it, but was more about convenience than it was about fashion or utility. I had shit to carry, I needed something to carry it it. My bags could have been grocery bags and it didn’t matter.

Until it did.

Link Would Totally Carry a Tom Bihn Bag

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So for my birthday recently I got a Tom Bihn bag, a Pilot. I’m going to write a longer post about it and other Tom Bihn purchases later, but the last time I ordered from them I requested a sketch of something and promised that I would draw them something back. They drew me a sweet fucking T-rex with a wizard hat, which was hard to beat, I admit. The husband has been playing a lot of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and watching just how much shit is in your inventory, it occurred to me that Link could only carry one brand of bag. Then the rest of the sketch was easy.

The Albino Farm: A SW Missouri Legend

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North of Springfield, Missouri (in the SW of the state) is The Albino Farm. Some say that the farm was actually a group home for albinos and other social “outcasts”, others say it was a hospital for the same, while still others say there was an albino caretaker who used to threaten trespassers with a shotgun. The version of the story that I enjoy the most was told to me by old friends. I’m no storyteller, but here goes!

Goal: network more (uuuuughghghghgh)

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I’ve been trying to network more, because I dislike doing so. Part of it is a dislike of socialization, especially pointless or random socialization, and part of it is a genuine anxiety that I’ll be judged harshly by my peers. Of course, everyone has this problem, but it seems like a worse problem for some than others, or some are just better at pushing past it.

Part of it stems from the fact that I’m not very conventional: I have blue hair, I have an usual name, I curse like a sailor, and I don’t really pull punches. I’m brutally honest nearly all the time (something I’ve had to work on since having a kid), and I often say that life is too short to beat around the bushes. That being said, I’m not going to try to hurt people’s feelings on purpose, but if someone asks me my opinion I’ll be honest, often regardless of the consequences. Freedom self-imposed, if you will.

I got a Microsoft Surface Pro 4!

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So a couple of weeks ago, I was surprised with a gift of a Microsoft Surface Pro 4. I had been drooling about them for awhile, and have recently decided to ramp up my freelancing business so my husband decided one would make a fantastic fourth anniversary present. It was a sweet gesture, and it’s a fan-fucking-tastic machine.

I’m not sure what I like better, the ability to touch and get things done – whether that is just opening a link on a page or selecting objects in Illustrator – or the ability to draw on the fucking screen. I miss my old Wacom tablets terribly, and this is fucking great.

I’ve drooled over a Cintiq, which is probably what you get when your digital artistry REALLY gets going, but yeah, so far I’m loving this thing. (I wrote this post on it as well, I actually really love the keyboard, it’s like my wireless one for my computer, so non-clacky and short-statured.) For now, this will be great for me.

Plus, I can code on this thing too. Sure, it’s a bit of a shock to have only one screen (what the hell did I do before I had multiple monitors?!) but it’s also a great focuser; if I can’t click into Pocket, I can’t get distracted by 14 different articles about the 2017 front-end industry or yet another review of the Tom Bihn Pilot bag.

Thoughts on the IFTTT Redesign

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NOTE: This is some user feedback I recently sent to IFTTT‘s CEO per his request on Product Hunt. I love their service, I just wanted to point out some places that this redesign might have missed the mark. Despite these niggles, their redesign was much needed and I believe quite successful, these are just some suggestions of how it could be even MORE successful. If you’ve never used their service, I highly recommend it.

Redesign

The redesign looks nice, but seems like mobile-first has translated into mobile only. What I mean by this is that some designers labor under the false impression that “simple is better” and that a design that works on mobile will be suitable for desktop. The problem is that the condensed and simple nature of a mobile design doesn’t translate well to desktop, and can often decrease usability of the desktop site [3]. In fact, Nielsen Norman Group estimates that less than 40% of desktop screen size is utilized (and that was in 2013!) in modern website design [1]. They talk extensively about the content-to-chrome ratio, or the ratio between website content and UI options (chrome), in this article which is a fantastic read even for non-designers. Stupid statistics aside, some of the “largeness” of the home page and other pages, including header and navigation, screams “not optimized for desktop” to me. Also the usage of “Tap for [action]” instead of “Click” just reinforces the idea.

Home Page

After logging in or signing up, the first thing a user is presented with is the applet discover page. For new or returning users, you are making the assumption that they read the home page and understand what applets are, or that they are familiar with your service already. This might be a fine assumption to make for new users depending on your signup funnel, but after a UX redesign not explaining the changes or what the terminology means to existing users is a misstep. Even new users might sign up assuming there will be onboarding or other startup documentation, and be left a bit in the lurch when landing on this page. I recommend providing some sort of onboarding with some definitions of terminology or even provide a default applet (perhaps notifying users of new blog posts on IFTT?) for users to play with.

Our anti-social cat decided she wanted attention. I guess I didn’t need to study.