It’s quite hard to pick an individual favourite pen because each one is handy for different purposes. However a good start is to write about my favourite pen collection. This is an Edwin pencil case purchased from JetPens which contains a collection I call my “White Pens” – you’ll see why.
The pencil case itself has two main compartments which open right out. Included are a number of pockets – though I mainly just keep a set of pens in each compartment, and only use the pockets when I need them.
My main pens are all black – with a pencil and eraser added in for good measure – both of which are extremely handy for university work. I generally prefer using black ink for writing, but I do like to change my inks. I’m rather fond of Uni’s Jetstream ink – but I also really like their gel inks. This is what makes up the main body of the pens, with a couple of extras to fill in the missing pieces.
I also have a set of colour inks which I use when making notes, creating diagrams and drawing mind-maps. These are all 0.5 mm and look really good together.
There’s always favourites among favourites – and in this case it’s the Jetstream Alpha Gel and the Kuru Toga High Grade. The pen is super comfortable and very thin (I put a 0.5 mm refill in there). It’s generally awesome for writing in small Moleskine notebooks. Whereas the pencil has a super cool revolving mechanism inside which keeps the lead sharp, this is what I use for writing most of the time while I’m at work.
While this is mainly about hardware, many the principles still hold strong for software – including applications designed to follow the principles of the Metro design language.
Actions for designing Metro applications
Keep it light & simple
Focus on primary task
Do a lot with very little
Fiercely reduce unnecessary elements
Use whitespace to delight your users
Make sure things feel fast and responsive
Typography is ideal for information
Remember that type is beautiful
Use clear, straightforward information design
Be uncompromising in sensitivity to weight, balance and scale
Motion brings your app to life
Make it feel responsive and alive
Use transitions to give context and improve usability
Create depth and dimension by using motion
Focus on content, not chrome
Delight users through the content instead of decoration
Reduce visuals that are not content to the minimum
Content can become the UI so users interact with the content directly
Design for the form factor
Be authentically digital
Don’t try to make it what it’s NOT
Always be direct
While I do believe that the Metro design principles are super important, I do not feel the need to treat them like a fad and just start redesigning everything in the name of Metro. For example – I have seen people update their websites and say “Hey look at my new Metro site!” which just makes me think they are missing the point…
Follow the actions listed above at all stages of your application design, and make sure it fits in with the good design principles that has lasted for so many years. Keep at it, and you can’t go wrong.
But don’t kid yourself – Metro is not the ultimate interface, it’s just the (very cool) start of a whole new generation.
I remember the first photo I took of Jupiter – well the first one that mattered anyway. I’d recently got a zoom adapter for my trusty old Canon G9 and I thought I’d try pointing it at Jupiter to see what I’d get. After a lot of playing with the settings, I managed to get this shot -
What you can see here is Jupiter and some of it’s moons in a big mess of light. At first it just looks like some kind of camera movement – but upon checking WorldWide Telescope I confirmed that this was the correct location of the moons from my location at that time of night.
I was hooked, naturally. I thought I’d just share a few of the more recent photos of Jupiter – both of which were taken with my shiny new Canon 7D -
Jupiter’s moons through the clouds.
Jupiter and Uranus (the bluish light at the top left)
Microsoft has a nifty little tool called xsd.exe which lets you create serializable classes for the .NET framework from an XSD or XML file.
PS>.\xsd juliankay.xsd /c /l:cs
Microsoft (R) Xml Schemas/DataTypes support utility
[Microsoft (R) .NET Framework, Version 2.0.50727.3038]
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Writing file 'C:\Users\Julian.Kay\Desktop\juliankay.cs'.
Unfortunately it doesn’t come with the latest versions of Visual Studio and you have to download the Windows SDK to get hold of it.
Everything can be downloaded for you, and any dependancies are automatically selected as required. I remember how tricky it was before: you had to download all this stuff, then click on each installer in turn. What a pain!