February 2012

I started my blog back in December 2010 and it's still going strong. I've posted at least once post a month since then, so feel free to browse through the archives.

How I Use A Mouse

One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that I tend to use mice slightly differently to everyone else I have worked with. I’m sure other people use mice in the same way, I’ve just not met any of them yet. I’ll try to explain how it works…

Most people tend to use their mice to the right of the keyboard. This is the way that the ‘instructions’ that come with computers suggest, and this is the layout that advertising material tends to show. Totally normal.

This makes sense because normally, when the user moves the mouse up on the desk, the cursor moves up on the screen. Obvious really.

I actually hold my mouse at a -90 degree angle to the way it is normally held. When I move the mouse to the left on the desk (though still up form the mouse’s point of view) the cursor moves up on the screen.

As you can see here, having the mouse in front of the keyboard means I can move my hand there faster than if I moved it to the right of the keyboard, by pivoting on my elbow.

When I’m not typing, I can actually have my arms folded while using the mouse. I find this very comfortable. I’m not sure when I started doing it, but I remember doing it around 2005, and I’ve always done it since.

Does anyone else do this?

What’s your every day carry?

Yesterday I posted my what’s in your bag post, and today it’s time for the every day carry post. These EDC posts have become a bit of an internet trend, with loads of people posting the contents of their pockets for everyone to see.

Windows Phone

So Windows Phone is pretty cool right? I’m using a Samsung Omnia 7, though I would love one of those Nokia Lumia phones – I’m quite happy to use this one until it breaks. (it already has a couple of chips out of it – woops)

Earphones

My current earphones live in the case that came with my Zune earphones way back. I find it extremely handy and they have a cute Zune branded cable tidy.

As for the earphones themselves, I’m currently using some Nokia ones provided to me by Douglas Radburn because my Samsung ones broke. I’m actually on the hunt for some new ones… so I’ll be sure to post my findings.

Wallet

I got my wallet from All-Ett a few years ago and I absolutely love it. I try to keep the amount of stuff I carry down to a minimum and this wallet suits me just fine. In the picture above it carries a couple of receipts, two £10 notes, and seven plastic cards, yet it is still extremely thin and easy to carry.

Keys

My keys are also on the minimal side, carrying only what I need, but I also have a Swiss Tech Utili-Key for opening boxes and fixing glasses.

Again, as usual I try to keep things as simple as possible. I don’t usually carry anything else around with me, apart from the obvious stuff like my watch, my glasses. Oh and clothes…

The ‘Real’ Windows 8 Logo

The new Windows 8 logo, as shown above from the Microsoft blog post that announced it, has been designed to compliment the Metro Design Language and also has roots in the Swiss International Style, which is all about typography, solid colours, strong lines and grids.

Over all I like it, but when I first saw it I felt like something was a little off with the ‘beams’ on the window. It looked like the perspective was messed up or something.

Later I came across an article about the new logo by the design agency Pentagram – who were commissioned by Microsoft to create the new logo. After thinking about it for a little while I understand that the beams are like a grid on top of the rectangle shape, and because of this understanding the logo looks better to me.

This is a bit like seeing the arrow in the FedEx logo for the first time.

You can tell this version of the logo looks slightly different to the one posted on the Microsoft blog. As Pentagram explains, the window shape itself has been chosen to be a rectangular shape in perspective, but the actual beams (or grid lines) are separate from the shape.

The perspective drawing is based on classical perspective drawing, not computerized perspective. The cross bar stays the same size no matter the height of the logo, which means it has to be redrawn for each time it increases in size, like classic typography.

You can see these lines are cut out of the coloured shape, and are not in perspective at all. The idea is that each time the logo is drawn the lines are always the same size, as shown below.

Seeing the logo in this view makes me appreciate the design a lot more, but the problem is that the version that is on the Pentagram website is actually quite different to the one on the Microsoft site.

Here is an animation which Kean created for me which show the difference in the beams and text between the two.

So which one is the real Windows 8 logo?

I find it really hard to believe that Microsoft would be able to convince everyone – from OEMs to the press – to render a version of the logo for the exact size they need, every time they need it. So I think they’ve had to compromise on the design given to them by Pentagram.

I’m not sure which is the ‘real’ Windows 8 logo yet, or if Microsoft are going to make any more changes before it gets released to the public. But I’m going to place my bets on the version that Microsoft posted to their blog.

I’m assuming they’ve just picked a width for the beams which fits well for the majority of sizes shown in the new operating system, and decided to stick with that moving forward.

I wasn’t the only person to notice this, Long Zheng has a write up on his excellent blog. He suggests changing the beams to fit in with the perspective of the rest of the logo, and I think his version looks pretty good too.

What’s in your bag?

I’m a big fan of the what’s in your bag and what’s your every day carry style posts that have become an internet trend. People uniquely try to get just the right combination of things they need for their own personal tasks, and it’s super interesting to get an inside look into what they they find important.

I have a few bags, but the bag I carry around most of the time is actually my Tumi work backpack, which goes to and from Branded3 every day.

HP Laptop

My HP laptop for work. I just recently got this one to replace an HP G62 and it is a million times nicer to use. My biggest complaints about the G62 were related to screen resolution, stupid extra keys, and a funny touchpad. All of which are fixed.

I also have a SanDisk SD card plugged in all the time which I use for Windows Ready Boost. I’ve used this in desktop computers before, but this is the first time I’ve done it with a laptop.

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse

I only just got this mouse, so I’ll be writing a review about it in the coming weeks. I tend to use mice in a bit of a strange way (at -90 degree angle to most people) and it works just fine for my needs.

When I’m in the office I pair this with my Natural Keyboard for epic coding.

Zune HD

I usually have my Zune with me at work for listening to music in the office through our speakers or using my earphones. As most people know, the Zune HD isn’t actually manufactured any more, but it still works with Zune Pass just as well as the day I got it.

Oh yea, and I keep it in an Apple iPod sock. Kinky right? The earphones I use are not pictured here, but I’ve included them in my every day carry post.

SanDisk 16GB USB Stick

This rather beat up looking USB stick where I keep a backup copy of all the scripts and tools I use, as well as installers for all the software I use.

I’ve always had a USB stick specifically for work stuff since I was at Sumo, and it’s a good habit to have as it ensures you’ve always got the stuff you need when something bad happens.

MUJI Document Folder and Notebooks

I’m always carrying some kind of documentation around, and it’s usually A4. Currently I’m using this folder from MUJI for these kinds of documents, and my two Moleskine notebooks for everything else.

Charging Cables, Keys and Pens

I always have charging cables for the laptop, the Zune and a Micro USB which I use for my phone and Kindle. Also keys are pretty important, and so are pens. Currently I’m carrying a Sharpie and a Style Fit Meister 3.

So yea, that’s everything. As usual I try to keep things as simple as possible, and this meets my needs completely.