August 14, 2014

Why It’s Hard to Catch Your Own Typos

Typos are mostly a solved problem in our day and age, but the psychological explanation in this WIRED article is interesting nevertheless:

Generalization is the hallmark of all higher-level brain functions. It’s similar to how our brains build maps of familiar places, compiling the sights, smells, and feel of a route. That mental map frees your brain up to think about other things. [...] We can become blind to details because our brain is operating on instinct. By the time you proof read your own work, your brain already knows the destination.

This explains why your readers are more likely to pick up on your errors. Even if you are using words and concepts that they are also familiar with, their brains are on this journey for the first time, so they are paying more attention to the details along the way and not anticipating the final destination.

August 14, 2014

Bathymetric Wood Charts by “Below the Boat”

Below The Boat — Manhattan Chart

I’m not big on art, but I totally see myself buying a couple of these when my future home is ready. The hard part will be choosing which ones to get. Below the Boat is a Bellingham-based, husband-wife company. The charts are “designed in the United States, crafted in a family-owned shop overseas, and imported”:

Starting with a bathymetric chart (the underwater equivalent of a topographic map), the contours are laser-cut into sheets of Baltic birch and glued together to create a powerful visual depth. Select layers are hand-colored blue so it’s easy to discern land from water, major byways are etched into the land, then the whole thing’s framed in a custom, solid-wood frame and protected seamlessly with a sheet of durable, ultra-transparent Plexiglas.

August 13, 2014

Robin Williams and Suicide Porn

Vaughan Bell, on Mind Hacks:

One of the first things I do in the morning is check the front pages of the daily papers and on the day following Robin Williams’ death, rarely have I been so disappointed in the British press. [...]

It seems counter-intuitive to many, that a media description of suicide could actually increase the risk for suicide, but it is a genuine risk and people die through what is sometimes called suicide contagion or copycat suicide.

Sometimes I wonder if the extent to which this stuff frustrates me is disproportionate.

Adblock & Collective Punishment

In an interview for The Next Web, the guy behind @evleaks and serial tech leaker Evan Blass explains the motives behind his decision to retire:

I also started a website, and it’s actually done somewhat respectably, but with all the leaks going out on Twitter anyway, people have little incentive to visit, and most of my tech-savvy-heavy audience seem to be pretty heavy ad-block users, as well. It all adds up to an unsustainable living, and with a progressively worsening disease [Ed; Blass was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis], I need to make sure I can prepare myself better for the future, financially.

I think the fact “evleaks” was born on Twitter and continued to be Twitter-first even after the website went live was the dominant factor in Blass’s (financial) failure. That’s a discussion for a different day though.

Adblock is one of the first extensions I install upon getting a new computer. And I’m not alone: A report published by PageFair last August showed the percentage of visitors using ad-blocking tools to be as high as 23% and growing at 43% a year. The numbers for technology websites should be even higher.

I’ve been contemplating this for a while, and I should have done it from day one, but from now on I will use Adblock in “blacklist” mode: This means the extension will be enabled only for specific domains that I add. For me these are mainly news websites: The local ones here are plagued with ads.

The truth is, most of the websites I enjoy reading are written by independent individuals. A non-negligible number of them are relatively unestablished and rely on advertising to offset some of the expenses or justify their time commitment. Coincidentally, none of them use the sketchy strategies of big, traditional websites, and most of them have only one little ad placed in unintrusive areas. I’ve previously whitelisted a handful of websites, but I don’t want to rely on my memory anymore. If I’m annoyed enough, I’ll bear the 30 seconds it takes to add a website to the shitlist.

Yes, the web is full of bad practices and Adblock successfully deals with some of them, but to use it indiscriminately is to automatically punish the minority of honest publishers. And guess who’s more likely to close shop because of such sanctions? I mean, not everyone are as venerable as The New York Times to get on this new big thing called native advertising.

When I hear people randomly saying “I don’t want any ads” as some sort of a blanket policy, I wonder whether they would be willing to sustain alternative models.

Four Years in Apple’s Ecosystem: An Expenses Report

By late 2009, when carriers and official retailers began selling the iPhone here in Israel, I was already an owner: My father had gotten me the original model a few months after it came out in 2007. I can get reminiscential here, but there’s a lot to cover in this piece as it is. I’ll only say that like many others, I never imagined the iPhone would become such an elementary object in my life. As of today, I own an iPhone 5S, a first-gen iPad mini, and a beefed-up 13’’ MacBook Pro (2013 model).

My first iTunes receipt dates back to July 7, 2010. Apple’s App Store launched in July 2008, so I can think of two reasons for why I’ve only bought my first app two years later:

  1. I’m pretty sure that like the iPhone, Apple’s App Store became available in Israel only at a later date. No matter how I phrased my search queries though, I couldn’t corroborate this remembrance, so there is a possibility I’m mistaken.

  2. Since getting my first iPhone, I’ve left iOS for two, separate and brief periods: The first time was to try a phone with a real, physical keyboard. Remember those? Anyway, it was the less-than-horrible Nokia N97. Later, in mid-2010, I wanted to find out what the Blackberry craze was all about — fittingly, after the craze had already died — so I got myself a BlackBerry Bold. If you haven’t closed this page yet, things only get better from here..

The primary goal behind this compilation was to become more familiar with Apple’s Numbers, to satisfy my growing interest in statistics, and learn more about data visualization. See, my lifelong mission is to one day become half as good as Horace Dediu. I guess it doesn’t hurt to also have my Apple related expenses in check, but that’s just collateral mental damage.

I know for a fact that even with this statistically meaningless set of data, I’ve done some mistakes and missed some key points, so I’m happy to hear from you (via email or Twitter) and improve it after it’s published. I am aware this data is anecdotal by nature. I’m also aware that becoming half as awesome as Horace is quite a challenge.

Continue Reading

July 25, 2014

Brain Crack

Hello Internet, a podcast by YouTube star CGP Grey and Brady Haran, is climbing rather quickly on my favorites list. Check it out if you’re interested in web culture. In episode #16, CGP shares the concept of “brain crack”, coined by vlogging pioneer Ze Frank. I found the original video from 2006 on YouTube, and here’s a mildly edited transcription of CGP explaining what it is:

[41:36] This is from Ze Frank from ages ago, and his best episode is this episode where he talks about the notion of brain crack, and it’s a very useful thing to think about: The idea is that what can happen sometimes if you make things is that, you have an idea… and what can happen is over time, if you don’t actually work on that thing, you start to think about how good it will be, as opposed to thinking about “How am I going to get this thing done?” As time goes on, your kind of abstract notion of how good this thing will be becomes very large, and very outsized [sic] anything that could possibly happen.

I suffer from brain cracks very often, particularly with ambitious or longer essays. One good example is “The Future of Information”, a piece I plotted in my head for a very long time. By the time I began writing it, my expectations and perception of the idea had become so grandiose that I couldn’t possibly be satisfied, no matter how many times I re-wrote it or edited my text.

July 18, 2014

The Price (and Cost) of Cheeseburgers

The average cheeseburger price in the US is $4.49, but what is the cost of one? Mark Bittman explains the difference between the two and the implications in this interesting New York Times column: (via Khoi Vinh)

Almost everything produced has externalities. Wind turbines, for example, kill birds, make noise and may spin off ice. But cheeseburgers are the coal of the food world, with externalities in spades; in fact it’s unlikely that producers of cheeseburgers bear the full cost of any aspect of making them. If we acknowledge how much burgers really cost us we might either consume fewer, or force producers to pick up more of the charges or — ideally — both.

Our calculation of the external costs of burgers ranges from 68 cents to $2.90 per burger, including only costs that are relatively easy to calculate.

Related archive item: “The American Grocery Bill” — notice the inverse correlation in the chart I’ve put together in that piece. It was partly inspired from a show I had watched on the Discovery channel: The change in food expenses and that in healthcare spending were plotted on the same graph, which resulted in an almost perfect “X” shape — one down, the other up.

July 18, 2014

“Explore Your Creativity” Promotion in the Mac App Store

Some good apps running at 50% off right now in the Mac App Store. Among them is Pixelmator, which I own and think is a real steal at $16 if you need a good photo editing app. I’ve also got the trial version of the acclaimed text-editor Ulysses (currently $21.99), and while Byword does the job just fine for me, I’m tempted to pull the trigger.

Here are the other participating apps:

I’ve read many praises of Scrivener and Slugline, too.

July 17, 2014

Google Launches Official Analytics App for iOS

I’ve tried many Google Analytics apps over the years, and all of them, including the paid ones, came with one or more deal breakers: Lack of elementary features, bugs and crashes due to poor maintenance, or/and horrible usability. I’ve only been playing with it for an hour so, but Google’s just-released app looks very promising.

July 16, 2014

‘All Art to Me Is About Problem Solving’

A great Esquire interview with director Steven Soderbergh:

I think about art a lot only in two contexts. One is narrative. That we’re a species that’s wired to tell stories. We need stories. It’s how we make sense of things. It’s how we learn. When we look at what’s going on in the world and we see the immense level of conflict that seems to always be happening — you can always trace it back to competing narratives.

July 14, 2014

Lessons on Meditation

Ian Welsh has been meditating intensely for the last two months. Intensely as in five hours a day on average, and as much as ten (!) hours on some days. I’ve had a lot of colleagues and friends invite me to try meditation over the years, but Welsh’s remarks make it sound attractive (and scary) for the first time:

Meditation has a “woo” reputation, an idea that it’s peaceful and serene and lovely. Now maybe that’s where you’re aiming to get, but meditation is a tool, a process, and it is hard bloody work and often unpleasant.

Meditation gives you a good hard look at your mental habit and fixations, and you probably won’t like what you see.

I Am the Cheat

According to a recent Business Insider survey, 86% of iPhone owners use a case, with almost 60% of them citing damage protection. Of those who don’t, 50% say “cases are too bulky”. Nick Heer explains why he’s among the minority in a short post titled “I Am the 14%”:

Avoiding bulkiness isn’t an aesthetic decision, it’s a practical one. I don’t wear super skinny jeans by any means, but adding thickness and weight is unwelcome.

Here’s a true story about technology, and idiocy: Sometime in 2012, my childhood friend “Ed” started working as a marketing agent for a company1 that claimed to sell “the world’s strongest, easiest and fastest-to-apply drop and scratch protection system for the iPhone”.

Back then I had a cheap silicon case laying in my car that I’d only use rarely. Like Nick, I thought the premium for the insurance that cases provided was too high — aesthetic, comfort, and weight-wise. I refused to trade these off.

Ed had a very effective marketing technique: With the almost unnoticeable sticker-set applied to his iPhone, he’d approach pretty much anyone with the same device, and ask them what they think would happen if he dropped — or worse, threw — his own iPhone intentionally. Regardless of the answer, he’d then proceed to do just that, from about a head’s height, with a haughty smile on his face.

By the time he’d pick the iPhone back up — totally unharmed — little to no marketing would be needed, and the awed spectator was ready to shell an amount equivalent to 60 American dollars. I’d also be in awe.

I mean, I’d also be in awe hadn’t I watched Ed do this dozens and dozens of times already. On every. Possible. Occasion.

I guess it got to me that night at a wedding party we both attended. After I heard his phone drop for what seemed like the 57th time, I went up to Ed and thought I’d play a joke between two good friends:

“You know it has got nothing to do with those silly stickers right? I’m gonna prove it to you now. Here.”

When I picked up my caseless iPhone, the screen was shattered to pieces. Little and small.

I’ve purchased and (unintentionally!) dropped a few iPhones since then. The first thing I do upon receiving one is go to Ed to get a new sticker-set. It adds little to no weight, is almost invisible to the naked eye, and provides better protection than many bulkier solutions. It almost feels like cheating.

But isn’t that what good technology always does?


  1. I don’t feel overly comfortabe sharing the company’s name in the body text. If you’re curious, get in touch. There’s a clear disclosure policy on the about page, but just to be sure: I have no affiliation with this company and as far as I know they operate under a different name nowadays. 
July 10, 2014

Pinboard Turns Five

I’m not a Pinboard user. I find the RSS-Pocket-Evernote trio that I set up in January to work just fine. But reading Maciej Cegłowski’s fifth-anniversary post has left me wanting to* has made me become a paid user just for the sake of it. Cegłowski shares numbers and stats transparently, something I always look for, but this time I dig the writing as much as the numbers:

Avoiding burnout is difficult to write about, because the basic premise is obnoxious. Burnout is a rich man’s game. Rice farmers don’t get burned out and spend long afternoons thinking about whether to switch to sorghum. Most people don’t have the luxury of thinking about their lives in those terms. But at the rarefied socioeconomic heights of computerland, it’s true that if you run a popular project by yourself for a long time, there’s a high risk that it will wear you out.

More than anything though, I like Cegłowski’s levelheaded attitude towards entrepreneurship: He’s building a business in the age of startups. A useful service in the age of sexy, meaningless apps. He’s going for revenue in a time when everyone seems to be after snap acquisitions and fantastic exits. He has clients, not users.

It’s a little ironic, but in many ways, Pinboard (as a web enterprise) is an oddity. And an exhilarating one at that, if I may.

*I’ve purchased a Pinboard account hours after publishing this piece.

July 9, 2014

Risk and Uncertainty

Nate Silver’s book, The Signal and the Noise, is on its way to join my all-time favorites, alongside both of Michael Lewis’s The Big Short and Liar’s Poker.

I’ve been experimenting with the application of expected value in different fields of life, and the distinction between risk and uncertainty — often used interchangeably — is definitely important in this context:

Risk, as first articulated by the economist Frank H. Knight in 1921 is something that you can put a price on. Say that you’ll win a poker hand unless your opponent draws to an inside straight: the chances of that happening are exactly 1 chance in 11. This is risk. It is not pleasant when you take a “bad beat” in poker, but at least you know the odds of it and can account for it ahead of time. In the long run, you’ll make a profit from your opponents making desperate draws with insufficient odds.

Uncertainty, on the other hand, is risk that is hard to measure. You might have some vague awareness of the demons lurking out there. You might even be acutely concerned about them. But you have no real idea how many of them there are or when they might strike. Your back-of-the-envelope estimate might be off by a factor of 100 or by a factor of 1,000; there is no good way to know.

Regarding the latest financial recession, Silver concludes:

The alchemy that the ratings agencies performed was to spin uncertainty into what looked and felt like risk. They took highly novel securities, subject to an enormous amount of systemic uncertainty, and claimed the ability to quantify just how risky they were. Not only that, but of all possible conclusions, they came to the astounding one that these investments were almost risk-free.

Chromefree

Coming to OS X after many years as a PC power user, Chrome was the first application on my prearranged hotlist. On Windows, it had long displaced Firefox, which before it, had long displaced Internet Explorer. The only reason I even bothered with Safari when my machine arrived last December, was my curiosity as to how a Mac works out of the box; before I overcrowd it with apps. It wasn’t supposed to be a real chance.

But Safari was lightweight, surprisingly fast for browsing, easy on the battery, and slick in design. When I went back to Chrome, it felt bulky and lacked the UI cohesiveness that its Apple counterpart exhibited. That’s something I could live with, and I might have been OK with the fact that Chrome doesn’t support multi-touch gestures.

What I couldn’t tolerate was Chrome’s dramatic effect on battery life. I didn’t measure it scientifically at the time, but I didn’t need to: The difference in battery drain between Chrome and Safari was glaring. And it wasn’t within the range of a few minutes or percentages.

A few Google searches were enough to realize that I wasn’t alone: It seems that many OS X users, mainly owners of Retina MacBooks, were experiencing the same battery drain problems (to varying degrees) with Chrome. I had tried almost every suggestion in every thread that I found, but to no avail. I made the switch to Safari, which as explained, I liked better anyway.

I wasn’t going to install Flash on my system, and that was the only reason to keep Chrome around: It comes with Flash preinstalled. Sandboxed, restricted, confined Flash — the way it should be. Whenever I stumbled across a video that my Flash-less Safari couldn’t play, I’d use Federico Viticci’s macro to quickly launch its URL in Chrome.

But while Chrome’s overall battery consumption was unusual, Chrome’s battery and CPU consumption with Flash active was just crrrazy.

Update July 11, 2014: Safari started sandboxing Flash with the release of OS X Mavericks, as correctly noted by Jonas Lopes on Twitter. One key difference to keep in mind is that with Safari the player has to be downloaded and maintained regularly by the user.

All this only started to concern me two days ago, as I was streaming a World Cup match. I observed the battery life meter and it was dropping at an astonishing rate of 1% per minute. Not only that, the machine was getting really warm and the fans wouldn’t settle down. This was no longer an inconvenience, but a real concern for the longevity of my battery.

Inspecting OS X’s Activity Monitor and Chrome’s task manager, it became clear that the combination of Chrome and Flash is even more battery hungry than expected. Streaming from the same source interchangeably, Chrome’s energy impact was more than twice that of Safari’s.

Giving up videos wasn’t an option, of course, but neither was exposing my system to security flaws by installing Flash just to use it in Safari.

Relative to how fantastic the solution I found is, the search took quite some time. This isn’t the case with most obvious solutions — they tend to spread and capture the first or second spot in search results rather quickly.

This solution is an open-source, highly customizable Safari extension called ClickToPlugin, spun from Jonathan Rentzsch’s original ClickToFlash, and well-maintained and developed by Marc Hoyois.

The layman’s explanation to what it does with browser video players is that it attempts to load them in HTML5, a format which Safari supports. Battery consumption is (obviously) higher than with web browsing, but nowhere near the power hog that Chrome and Flash were.

I tested ClickToPlugin with several websites, including YouTube, several streaming services, and even custom players that you might see on websites like Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. It takes a tad bit longer to load, but has worked flawlessly so far.

Appendix 1: A Provincial Rant That You May Skip

I’m especially concerned with my MacBook’s lastingness since Apple products and their respective accessories and parts cost hundreds of percents more in Israel than they do in the US, thanks to a reseller monopoly. Said monopoly wants to punish consumers who — like me — choose to buy their Apple machines abroad, either due to price or availability. Here’s the answer I got today from this company’s representative when I called to ask about a battery replacement: “I can’t give you a price for a new battery until you bring it to our labs, but I can only tell you that the hourly rate at our lab is 449 NIS” (around $131).

Based on some digging I did on the web, I conservatively guesstimate that two years from now, a battery replacement for a 2013 13” Retina MacBook Pro would cost around 1,300 NIS (~$380). That’s conservative, trust me.

Appendix 2: Where Chrome Still Triumphs

I no longer need Chrome installed on my MacBook, but there are still, in my opinion, three aspects where Chrome remains superior to Safari:

  • Tab and window management (see update): You can reopen multiple closed tabs, drag a separate Chrome window into another window to turn it to a tab within it, or vice versa — drag a tab out of a certain window and turn it into an independent window. This is especially convenient when you accidentally click on “Open in New Window” instead of “Open in New Tab”.

    Update July 8 & 12, 2014: My pal Riccardo Mori informs me on Twitter that it is possible to drag tabs out of their windows in Safari (click, hold, drag). Later, Jordan Rose and Jared Cash explained (within seconds of each other!) that “tabbing” a separate window into another is also possible, but first, one has to choose View Tab Bar in the View pane. Thanks all!

  • Web inspector: I’ve found Chrome’s web inspector (developer console) to be far superior to Safari’s — it’s faster, better at targeting certain elements, and allows you to export your changes (such as CSS changes) in a separate file.

  • Extensions: For example, although I’m sure alternatives could be found in other extensions or through AppleScripts, I do miss CoLT — a markdown compatible plugin that allows for smarter copying of links.

Hopefully Safari will catch up with these in Yosemite.

The Bear Case for Paid News

Nowadays, it seems, a report on the state of journalism pops out every other week. The latest I examined, by The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, surveyed 18,000 people from 10 countries on the issue of digital news. As a news-anchor, I was especially interested in this one.

The survey presents data in nifty interactive charts, and covers areas like social media, mobiles and tablets, disruptive vs. traditional, and paying for news. The latest should be of special significance in light of Pew’s recent study, which showed a decline in advertising dollars, and a sharp fall of 33% in total revenue in the last 7 years (based on US data).

Data Highlights

  • Momentum: There has been very little change in the number of people who pay for online news. In most countries the figure dances around the 10% mark.

  • Upside potential: Of those who aren’t currently paying, 15% say they are likely to pay in the future.

  • Reach: In most countries print still accounts for more readers than online, and newspaper groups have kept their substantial reach and influence.

  • Social media: 57% of Facebook’s and 50% of Twitter’s users say they use them to find, share, or discuss a news story in a given week.

  • Mobiles and tablets: Tablet owners are twice as likely to pay for online news. A stronger correlation was found among Apple tablet owners, but no significant correlation towards any manufacturers or operating systems was found in the case of smartphones.

So, the days of print may not be as few as initially predicted, but the upward trend in digital subscriptions, caused by the introduction of many online-paywalls, is flattening. It seems like news organizations are struggling in the arena where the battles are headed.

More from the report:

Our findings are consistent with the recent Pew research report in the United States which suggests that industry activity does not necessarily mean more individuals are paying for news but rather that ‘more revenue is being squeezed out of a smaller, or at least flat, number of paying consumers’.

Time will tell, but I don’t see paywalls being a sustainable long-term model for mainstream. Not with the kind of journalism it produces today.

The definition of journalism at Wikipedia reads like so:

Journalism is a method of inquiry and literary style that aims to provide a service to the public by the dissemination and analysis of news and other information.

And the twentieth century journalist was indeed tasked with both the delivery (dissemination) and the interpretation (analysis) of information. But can the twentieth century news company still do both in the twenty-first century?

As I’ve written before, I believe not. Not profitably anyway:

I think big organizations will dominate news breaking and reporting for a long time to come. They will still be responsible for the “what,” but less and less for “what does it mean?”. They’ll serve mainly as middlemen of information — an important and nontrivial task in itself — but not much more beyond that.

With their current business model, big syndicates operate horizontally and therefore cannot satisfy dedicated crowds. They can’t go in-depth with the subjects that matter to some of us all of the time, only those that matter to all of us some of the time.

The only comparative advantage legacy organizations still have today is in pure news reporting — the kind that relies on precedence, accuracy, and speed. But this kind of information quickly becomes abundant (through social media) and/or irrelevant, which effectively drives its value to zero. The only way to monetize this content — meant to be consumed by many but not valuable to most — is through wide-reach and advertising.

June 21, 2014

The Four Motives for Writing According to Orwell

Four years before his death, one of the most influential writers of the 20th century explores what had led him to become one:

Putting aside the need to earn a living, I think there are four great motives for writing, at any rate for writing prose. They exist in different degrees in every writer, and in any one writer the proportions will vary from time to time, according to the atmosphere in which he is living. They are:

  • Sheer egoism
  • Aesthetic enthusiasm
  • Historical impulse
  • Political purpose

Orwell expands on each of these four motives in this essay, titled “Why I Write”. Fantastic.

FIFA, Data, Rebecca

  1. I stopped watching football (premeditatedly) around seven years ago. Still unsure whether it was a general loss of interest, or because the national team I cheer for is Denmark. Don’t ask.
  2. I did, however, get to watch some of yesterday’s World Cup opening game between the Brazilian hosts and Croatia, including the pathetic penalty call that changed the dynamics completely. My instinctive reaction was something along the lines of “WAT!”, but then I remembered having watched this excellent fact-compiliation by comedian John Oliver, about the monopoly that governs the most popular sport in the world. It’s only natural then, that after having fed the Brazilians with so much crap, FIFA is inclined to give back a bit.
  3. The World Cup of Everything Else: Which of the 32 coutnries would win if they competed in unmarried women, Nobel prizes per capita, or most internet users?
  4. If you’ve somehow missed KPCB’s 2014 internet trend report, it’s 164 slides of data worth exploring. Michael Lopp has some interesting highlights.
  5. How the NYT prepares obituaries in the age of instant: 1,700 are prewritten, and a dedicated “obituary editor” manages the operation.
  6. Links in this post are set in purple1, Rebecca’s favorite color: I’ve never met Rebecca Meyer and haven’t heard of her until a few days ago, but her story left me struggling not to choke. Rebecca died of cancer five days ago, at the age of six.

  1. See #663399Becca on Twitter. 
June 8, 2014

Ace Hotel, London

Yes, I mostly geek over digital stuff, but believe it or not, I do posses the ability to appreciate elements that reside outside of a box and aren’t made of pixels. With London being my favorite city in the world, the website for the newly established Ace Hotel there is a prime example of excellent attention to detail. Especially in the tourism industry, a resort’s website is rarely both flattering and functional. This one is an exception.

June 6, 2014

OS X Yosemite: First Impressions

Min Ming Lo takes a nice first look at Yosemite from a designer’s standpoint:

Apple revealed a sneak peek into Mac OS X Yosemite earlier this week. Not surprisingly, Apple updated its desktop OS to match iOS 7′s design language. The new OS X now embodies a brighter and flatter styling, coupled with icon updates, font changes, and translucent materials. Here’s a quick look at the visual design changes in Yosemite and my impressions of them.

I tell you, those screenshots have me waiting even more impatiently for this fall to arrive.

One thing that does raise some concerns — though it’s really too early to tell — is the legibility of Helvetica Neue as a system-font. My pal Riccardo Mori explained in-depth why he thinks it’s a bad idea, but after WWDC took place he examined the screenshots and began wondering: Is it Helvetica, after all?