The Answer To A Slow Web: Radical Simplification

Peter-Paul Koch:

The solution is simple: ditch the tools. All of them. (No, I’m not being particularly subtle here.) Teach the newbies proper web development. That’s it, really.


The web’s answer to the native challenge should be radical simplification, not even more tools.

There are a lot of tools — back-end and front-end development tools — out there. I don’t know most of them, but I do know this: what you see on a webpage is a fraction of what’s going on in the background.

DISPLAYBLOG is quite simple, a result of stripping away almost everything you’d consider standard on a website: about me page, contact page, categories, dates, archive, blogroll, advertisements (I do have a support link at the bottom), etc. I’d call that radical simplification, and it loads quickly, because there is nothing but content and a bit of CSS and fonts to load. But in the background it is built on a content management system called WordPress, which requires PHP and MySQL running a web server like Apache.

I don’t think I need all of that, so I’ve been looking for an even more radically simple solution, and I think I’ve found one: Jekyll. We’ll see what happens.

2015 MacBook with Windows 10

Alex King:

Here’s the real kicker: it’s fast. It’s smooth. It renders at 60FPS unless you have a lot going on. It’s unequivocally better than performance on OS X, further leading me to believe that Apple really needs to overhaul how animations are done. Even when I turn Transparency off in OS X, Mission Control isn’t completely smooth. Here, even after some Aero Glass transparency has been added in, everything is smooth. It’s remarkable, and it makes me believe in the 12-inch MacBook more than ever before.

This is how I would rate hardware and software quality for Apple and Microsoft:

Apple hardware: 9
Apple software: 6

Microsoft hardware: 8
Microsoft software: 8

I rate Microsoft hardware slightly lower than Apple’s because Apple’s ability to refine the smallest of details is a step up from Microsoft’s. Few companies equal Apple in the hardware space when it comes to refinement.

Software is a different story. Apple’s software, including OS X and software applications like iTunes, Numbers, Keynote, etc., are at best mediocre. At worst, it is maddening. Take a look at the reviews — by both professional and regular folks — and it is obvious: Apple makes mediocre software. (To be clear, I’m focused on desktop software; iOS gives me a better user experience than Android, hands down. Windows I don’t know since I haven’t used a Windows phone, yet.)

Microsoft never quits and the company never quit on Windows. The latest version, which will also be the last, is Windows 10 and it looks like a winner. (I’m running Windows 7, plan to skip 8, and jump directly to Windows 10.) Keep in mind the Windows 10 King installed on his 2015 MacBook is an Insider Preview edition; the finished version of Windows 10 should be excellent.

Material Design: “Lift on press”

Google > Material Design > What is material? > Objects in 3D space:

Dynamic elevation offsets are the goal elevation for the component to move towards, relative to the component’s resting state. They also ensure that elevation changes are consistent across actions and component types. For example, all components that lift on press have the same elevation change relative to their resting elevation, and toolbars that lift to allow material to slide under them have consistent offsets.

I’m trying to get a good grasp of Google’s Material Design user experience language, but there’s a few quirkiness. Here’s one: “lift on press.” That sounds counter intuitive. I press a button and it lifts? Hmm. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? I press a button and it depresses. Doesn’t that make more sense? More intuitive? Press something, and it goes in.

Update: Under Animation > Responsive interaction in the Lift on touch section:

When a card or separable element is activated, the card should lift to indicate an active state.

This makes sense: I am trying to press, hold on to, and move around the card. The lifting of the card to show that I’ve got it is intuitive. Which is quite different than pressing a button: when I press a button it should not come out, but go in.

More Data

Ariana Eunjung Cha, The Washington Post:

It has been nearly three years since Smarr discovered the issue, and he’s tens of thousands of metrics down the road, but he has yet to find a way to treat it. “People overestimate what knowledge can do for you,” he said with a shrug.

Not all knowledge is created equal: knowledge can be useful, or it can be useless. Atul Gawande, The New Yorker:

All the same, she thanked me profusely for relieving her anxiety. I couldn’t help reflect on how that anxiety had been created. The medical system had done what it so often does: performed tests, unnecessarily, to reveal problems that aren’t quite problems to then be fixed, unnecessarily, at great expense and no little risk.

My body is not perfect. Your’s isn’t either. No no, I’m not talking about how we look — though that’s true too — I’m talking about our insides. The more we measure, the more detailed those measurements get, the more we will find out about our imperfections. Some imperfections need to be taken care of sooner than later, but most imperfections don’t need to be taken care of at all. Maybe Smarr — from the Post article — doesn’t need to treat it.

The Anti-iPod

When the iPod came out it was obvious to everyone: the iPod was more useful than anything else that was available at the time. Back in the day when you saw someone carry around an iPod you knew why she was carrying around that iPod: she loves her music and wants her entire music collection with her everywhere she goes. Anyone who loves music understood that.

Andrew HunzekerHesed:

My week and a half wearing an apple watch has taught me one big lesson about watches. A watch is only secondarily used to tell time. Upon realizing this Apple’s whole advertising strategy around the watch suddenly made sense. The Apple Watch is not about utility, it is about the materials that make it up and the people who care about those materials. Watches are actually social signifiers more than time pieces, fitness trackers, or notification screens, they communicate the wealth and status of the wearer.

HunzekerHesed is on to something. Why would Apple keep everything the same from the US$349 Sport to the $12,000 Edition, except for the materials used to make the case and the crystal?

Apple makes tons of money, by selling memory chips on its iPhones. Let me explain, the 16GB iPhone 6 is $199, the 64GB iPhone 6 is $100 extra at $299, and the 128GB iPhone 6 is $100 more on top of that for a grand total of $399. Everything else is the same; only the amount of memory storage changes. To get an extra 48GB Apple charges $100; to get an extra 112GB (48GB+64GB) Apple charges $200. To say Apple charges a premium is a terrific understatement.

Most will agree Samsung makes the most reliable and highest performance memory chips in the world. Apple seems to think so and uses a lot of Samsung memory chips, so I will use Samsung memory chip prices as examples. The 64GB PRO, a class 10 micro SDXC card with a 90MB/s data transfer rate is Samsung’s best 64GB micro SD card. And that costs about $50. Apple charges $100 for an extra 48GB. The 128GB version is about $100; Apple charges double that ($200) for less (112GB).

The profit margins! And this is how I think Apple makes most of its profits, by buying memory chips at a really good price and then selling them at an insanely great price. Samsung wants to make money too, and is following suit with its micro SD card-less Galaxy S6 design.

How will Apple make most of its money with its Apple Watch? This time it isn’t memory, but materials: aluminum, stainless steel, and gold. Or to be more precise, Apple’s concocted version of aluminum, stainless steel, and gold. Samsung should follow Apple and make aluminum, stainless steel, and gold versions of its smartwatch, if it wants to make gobs of money.

So, what do you think when someone is wearing an Apple Watch? Why is he wearing an Apple Watch, especially the more expensive stainless steel version or the ludicrously more expensive gold version?

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