Author Archives: ajh

On Advice-Giving

When you counsel someone, you should appear to be reminding him of something he had forgotten, not of the light he was unable to see.

— Baltasar Gracian (as quoted in A.Word.A.Day)

On Animation Optimization

The mobile graphics model […] is mostly focused on achieving smooth animation by taking pre-rendered textures or layers and zooming, panning and blending them.

Terry Crowley

(While one of the least generally applicable quotations on this site, the above is nevertheless a remarkably succinct summary of how mobile and web apps are encouraged to optimize rendering/animation performance.)

On Debating Generously

You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”

— Daniel Dennett, sharing Anatol Rapoport’s rules of constructive argument and debate (via Nagesh Belludi)

On the Global Perpective Inspired by Spaceflight

You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’

— Edgar D. Mitchell, astronaut

On Direct Communication

“What I don’t like about Washington is people do not let you know how they feel,” he said. “They’re very nice to your face and then they take a shiv or a machete and they stab it in your back. I don’t like it. I’m a Wall Street guy, and I’m more of a front-stabbing person, and I’d rather tell people directly how I feel about them than this sort of nonsense.”

Anthony Scaramucci

On How the Digital Sausage is Made

From the outside, Silicon Valley looks like a gleaming tower of technological perfection. Yet, once the curtain is pulled back, we see that behind that shimmering façade is a warehouse of good old fashioned humans, subject to all the same biases and fallibility, but with their results now laundered through the sheen of computerized infallibility.

— Kalev Leetaru (in an otherwise droll article on Forbes)

On Google’s 2015 Logo

Two-up Google logos, before and after the 2015 rebrand. The first is a well-shaped serif font and the second is a geometric, single-stroke-weight sans-serif.

The new logo retains the rainbow of colors but sheds the grownup curlicues: it now evokes children’s refrigerator magnets, McDonald’s French fries, Comic Sans. Google took something we trusted and filed off its dignity. Now, in its place, we have an insipid “G,” an owl-eyed “oo,” a schoolroom “g,” a ho-hum “l,” and a demented, showboating “e.”

— Sarah Sarson in the New Yorker (archive)

On Designers Ignoring Those For Whom They Design

When you design in perfect settings, with big, contrast-rich monitors, you blind yourself to users. To arbitrarily throw away contrast based on a fashion that “looks good on my perfect screen in my perfectly lit office” is abdicating designers’ responsibilities to the very people for whom they are designing.

Kevin Marks

On the Obligation to Speak Out

Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.

— Elie Wiesel

On Writing for No Audience But Oneself

I think just starting to [journal] every day impressed on me how much is going on inside that I otherwise would never have made space for. I know I make space for the ideas that I feel comfortable with, but when else did I take the time to not only have thoughts about other topics and also see them written out? Personal writing is evidence of an inner life that I cannot otherwise shake off.

— Faith Hanna (via private communication)

On Interesting Cities

And though “youth-driven food boom” may sound frivolous, it is anything but. Restaurants and cafes are a big part of the personality of a city. Imagine walking down a street in Paris. What are you walking past? Little restaurants and cafes. Imagine driving through some depressing random exurb. What are you driving past? Starbucks and McDonalds and Pizza Hut. As Gertrude Stein said, there is no there there. You could be anywhere.

These independent restaurants and cafes are not just feeding people. They’re making there be a there here.

— Paul Graham in his essay “How to Make Pittsburgh a Startup Hub