Friday, September 11, 2015

Let's go full screen

Quite a few things changed this summer... I got a new job role in a new position, finally officially taking part in IBM Design. The folks who follow me know this had been a long time in the works. Now it just begins, I have so many new things to learn. On the technical and on the design side, there are tons of subjects I'd like to learn about and master. I feel like on a continuous learning mode currently. Lots of input, few output - for now. I expect this to pay off quite soon.

Until last week, I had been moving my work computer to a Mac. As expected, this is really a bliss to use. To transfer, that was quite more work, as my previous laptop, running Linux, was quite customised with many apps. Org-Mode, Node, Eclipse...

All that took quite some time to reinstall and configure. Now I'm done and I can start the fine tuning. It's not like I do not know Macs, I've had one at home for the last 5 years. But the Macbook Pro has some subtle differences, like in the keyboard layout.

What I notice, is that with the high number of applications I have open at work, and the fact that I navigate between the Macbook standalone and connected to the Thunderbolt Display, the management of the windows has gotten a mess. I was used at the Linux version that manages windows per virtual desktop. Very handy when you have like 5 different Firefox windows open... OK, maybe there lies the problem. And then, when using the 15" screen, the problem gets even more accurate.

So I started by reducing the number of windows open. What I noticed then, is that I was just better off having almost all set to full screen and then navigate through Ctrl+Tab between the windows.

I have done this for around a week, and it works really well actually. My screen is less cluttered, I spend less time navigating through windows. In the end, I can work more focused. So I'm keeping it that way for now.

On Sept. 30 (spoiler!), El Capitan is getting released. This is a very good news for me, especially on the performance aspect. But one cool feature I cannot wait for is the split screen mode. This feature is really cool, because it will just fix the problem of context when working full screen. Sometimes, just one window is not enough, and two would be preferable. If I really need more, I can still switch back to non-full-screen mode, but I think this will stay occasional. Being able to combine two apps that way will permit to have the needed context without the overall distraction, so I'm really looking forward that feature!

Let's see how long I'll stick to full screen...

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Time Is Ripe for Disruption

Of course everyone is now talking about the Apple Watch. I do too, on Twitter, at lunch and occasionally with friends. Somehow it's not clear to me how much impact it will have. Other smart watches have had, I would say, mixed success. Are they really smart actually? I would say informed at best, and only on certain points like your heartbeats, position and other yet underused metadata.

And also there's the look. Luxury watches are incredibly elaborated from the visual point of view, and have been the result of decades of design work. I don't see the smart watches there in the next years, but that's only my point of view. I mean, this is where the bar is.

But let's suppose those wearables get really smart. Let's say my calendar is integrated. The device also knows my position, and follows me every day. Like Google Now already does, it will understand where I live and where I work. So the watch can just notify me when to go to work and back home. Integrate your todo list and your mail in this, put a base time management principle (I do Pomodoro and go to lunch at 12am), and you almost don't need the time anymore. Why should you? That way you can keep your head free of managing your time and work on being creative and productive. Someone wants to meet this evening? Surely your wearable can tell you if you have enough time to do it, and can even tell from your health data if you rather need a nice evening with friends or to stay at home and sleep early. It could help you prevent burn out by identifying patterns, so you can work efficiently without going too far. Possibilities are basically endless.

Meeting with friends is just a matter of notifying each at the right moment to go and where to meet. Getting a train is just a matter to arrive at the train station at the right time, and if you have still time to get a coffee before. A train "arriving at 15:40" is quite useless, better is to know that you have already done half the way and you'll be at your destination in 40 min.

Many tools, like video streaming tools, or the Kindle software, show you what percentage you have accomplished and can evaluate when you'll be done viewing/reading - depending of your own speed for books. So deadlines can be evaluated much more precisely with automation, instead of having to calculate an approximation. Appointments are dying. Most people used to agree on appointment to meet, and those were commitments. Now we adjust by messaging 30m before that we'll be late or early, or will meet somewhere else. TV is in decline, YouTube videos don't have a prime time, neither does Netflix. So knowing "what time is it" is getting irrelevant.

At the end, you might forget what noon is, and not know at what time you have to wake up. Because this is not a goal in itself. And the importance of time with named hours might just get back to something reserved to some people or dedicated activities, but irrelevant to most in their day to day life. This will probably not happen in the next one or two years, but let's review this in ten years.