Apple’s new 2019 Mac Pro is a stunning achievement with power to spare for professionals who work in 3D and video editing, with a price to match. But for those of us who work in audio, it’s overkill. Where’s the Mac for us?

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The new Mac Pro at WWDC 2019. (Image credit: Nate Swanner,

Before 1998, the Apple product lineup was a sea of beige desktops, minitowers, full towers, PowerBooks and servers, with confusing numeric model names. (And the Newton.)

Apple had lost market focus, propelled forward mostly on inertia from their 80s dominance of the personal computer market, and an industry that — till then — had provided double-digit profit margins.

It was difficult to find a shop with Macs to look at, much less buy, as their retail presence had shrunk to nearly nothing; mostly catalog orders from large distributors, or a handful of specialized value-added resellers who looked down their nose at you if you weren’t from a large institutional buyer, like ad agencies or school boards. …

First of all, go read @jukesie’s great piece, I’m Not A Recruiter, I Just Play One on Twitter.

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Title shamelessly lifted from The Specials’ 1979 hit single.

Scenario 1: The Online Search

You’re looking for a job in user experience.

You go online, to your favourite jobs portal, or directly to a favourite company’s careers site.

You select your region, you select your filters, you enter some search terms. Something about this feels like the Web circa 1999.

You sift through the results.

For some reason, 50% of the listings are for engineering positions that don’t apply to you.

A few look like they might be user experience jobs, but upon closer examination, seem to require proficiency in COBOL. …

In 2010, Jeffrey Zeldman wrote “An InDesign for HTML and CSS?”, which explored the idea of a web prototyping tool, accessible and familiar to visual designers, that would output decent code that could be handed off to developers. Eight years later, have we reached that goal, or is it time for a new call to action?

TL:DR; Yes, it’s time for visual design tools in the browser. But read on if you’re interested in why.

A world made by hand: Design before the computer

Visual design’s roots are in handcraft. Cave paintings, petroglyphs, clay sculptures, hieroglyphic alphabets; tapestries, mosaics, paintings, calligraphy; hand-cut type, watercolours, lithography, silkscreen; in all of these, the artist executed their work manually, even down to creating their own art materials. This remained true well into the 19th century age of mechanical reproduction.

The user interface of handcrafting, if you will, is direct manipulation; the physical transformation of materials, the application of pigment to canvas, the placement of type into composing sticks, the pressing of roller to paper. …

Recently I got into a playful, good-natured exchange on Twitter with my friends and colleagues Steve Bissonnette and Warren Wilansky of Plank about the name of the confab they co-run with the Bureau of Digital, Owner Camp.

Billed as a retreat for creative studio owners, it got me thinking about the nature of ownership, and the cultural meaning of the word “owner.”

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Apologies to Warren for being irksome, but let me expand on where I was trying to go there.

To own a company is different from owning property.

A company is a legal construct, an intangible arrangement. What ‘company ownership’ strictly means is that you may have founded or invested in the company, are listed in the official company registration and tax documents, and are entitled to a share of the profits. Depending on your company structure, you may also be personally liable for its losses and debts.

In public companies, ownership is more diffuse, defined by who has the most shares, and the appointment of management and compensation becomes more complex, but that’s basically it. …

When you’re not the audience for “security theatre,” it’s all too easy to dismiss its effectiveness.

The great and respected user experience guru Jared Spool wrote a long and thoughtful piece about the usefulness (or lack thereof) of conference codes of conduct, which you can read here.

This comes after a week of relatively polite uproar when some people — all white men, for the record — declared codes of conduct to be toothless, namby-pamby, politically-correct feel-good pablum.

The idea of a conference code of conduct is to create a social contract around permissible behaviour at an event. It’s not a legal contract, and that is where some people miss the point. …

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It’s Remembrance Day here in Canada. It’s not a statutory holiday in Quebec yet, although there is a bill pending in Parliament to make it so. For the most part, retail stores are open.

I had some business banking chores to take care of, so I zipped up to my closest branch. I had checked online first to make sure they were open today; nothing on their site indicated they wouldn’t be. When I arrived, the place was shuttered, with a “We’re closed today” notice tacked up in the window.

“Huh. That’s weird, the website didn’t say they’d be closed. …


A.J. Kandy

Lead UX Designer, Hitachi ID Systems. May contain nerdery and pop culture references.

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