I’m a Freelance Product Designer based in the north of Scotland. You can usually find me working on my laptop with a sketchbook and my ukulele close to hand. Recently, I’ve worked on Wonderloop, Boid, Plasma Cat Media, Android Etch and ParkNav, doing web design, branding and UI design. I was a Writer at UltraLinx, and still curate UltraUI. You can follow my personal blog for thoughts on technology, design and life.
You can see more information about me and my work on my personal website, where you can also contact me regarding freelance work: grahammacphee.co.uk
Yesterday, I decided to spend another late night playing with CSS, this time in the hope of creating gradient-filled text. I did this - quite quickly, too - then decided that the little work I had done wasn’t enough. So, I took the text I had and began to build around it, and what better topic to base my creation on than the just-passed US Presidential elections. I wrote about the things which made Obama’s campaign a success - more so than Romney’s - then added some styling, and that was it done.
Later, however, I did remove the gradient text in favour of a shadow behind it; a combination which, it seems, cannot be applied at once without the shadow appearing above the text itself.
I use the internet every day. I use it to communicate, to work and to learn; so what happens when the internet and all other technology is removed from my life?
For the past ten days, I have been in Morocco - having a lot of fun. It has been an eye-opening experience which has left me to process more fresh information about the differences between cultures and societies around the world and more incredible experiences than I had ever expected. I have been blinded by the exotic colours of Marrakechian souqs and likewise by the stupefying views from the summit of the highest mountain in northern Africa. Possibly more important though is that I have come to realise many things about technology and how we use it. Seeing the people of Morocco, from travel chain owners to deprived children to teachers in mountaintop settlements, I have seen how technology is used on the most basic level and have realised how it is used when it is really needed rather than just available, or out now.
While reading The Shape of Design by Frank Chimero, I have begun to develop a few ideas regarding not just ‘design’ but the process of ‘designing’. Have a read of the first few sections of the book, if you like, before reading this to gain some background understanding - you can read the book for free online, but buy it anyway, please (even for the print design work alone; it’s beautiful).
As you may have guessed, I’m not a fan of this. I don’t care about ads being thrown in front of me so Facebook can make money. I don’t even mind Pages being able to pay for ‘sponsored’ posts. What I do care about is the imbalance that will be created by Facebook giving certain of my Friends higher priority to place their, most likely frivolous and uninteresting, news on my screen simply because they have some cash to hand.
I have seen a few press releases in my time, and if I’ve learnt anything from reading them it is that there is no harm is hyperbolising a product. “No,” we say to rational and clear descriptions of our creations! Welcome to the realm where memes and metaphors rule all. Warning: buzz-words below.
Twitter is changing. We’ve all heard about the recent update to the developers’ API, packaged very neatly into version 1.1. These changes, set to be in place in early 2013, limit developers of applications that interact with Twitter and encourage a more uniform, controlled experience and better communication between developers of large Twitter apps and Twitter themselves. There have also been some other updates being pushed recently. Updates for users.
You asked me about the iPhone 5. I said the hype wasn’t worth it and that this time Apple hadn’t delivered the magic we have all come to expect from them. We knew what was coming - and I was hoping for even more - which left the keynote being unlike any other of Apple’s I can remember. It was predictable. There were no surprise features or twists in the pitch. None. But this doesn’t mean the iPhone 5 isn’t a good phone: nor does it mean that the iPhone 5 is a glorious jewel sent unto Earth by the great lord - the big J.
My review of the Samsung Galaxy S3 was published on UltraLinx last night. I tried to take a different approach to this review, throwing all specs, numbers, figures and units out the window in favour of a review based solely on user experience. Here are a few of the conclusions I came to.
This Wednesday, Nokia held a press event to reveal the latest members of the Lumia family to the world. The Lumia 820 and 920 are some of the nicest phones I have seen. They run Windows Phone 8, are designed beautifully, just like their WP7 predecessors, and have amazing cameras.
The 920 is equipped with an 8.7MP, f2.0, 26mm ‘PureView’ shooter. The first question raised is, what is PureView? We first saw the branding when the Nokia PureView 808 symbian phone, the insane ‘phonecamera’ - not cameraphone - was released. Its main feature was the 41MP capable camera, which created extremely good quality 8MP images through lossless zooming. But the 920, and 820, have only 8 and 8.7MP cameras, so where does the PureView branding come into it?
In an interview with Joshua Topolsky of The Verge, Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, said:
PureView is about the very best pictures and videos. And when someone is trying to take the best images, they maybe try to solve the zoom problem, the low light challenges, the shaky hand opportunity - all of those things. So, PureView is about solving all of those problems.