Archive for July, 2011

The Terrible Assumption of Failure


You might not know this, but I’m afraid of a lot of things. Riding bikes, driving a car, speaking in public, speaking in German, the list can get a bit long. Some of these things I do an a regular basis and they still terrify me each time. Most of these actually boil down to one “core fear”, which isn’t really a fear at all but a deeply rooted assumption of failure. Despite the knowledge that I can always pick up where I left off if I made a mistake or two, this never translated into understanding. How does something like this happen?

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Cult of Israel, a Sonata


I get asked rather often if I keep kosher (huh?!?) and if bombs go off often in Tel Aviv (no). I can’t blame those asking for their ignorance: Europeans don’t understand (nor care) that Jews are an ethnic group and are unaware that there have only been a few incidents of suicide bombings in Tel Aviv, the last of which was years ago. I’d be silly to think that any of these points are on the international agenda.

And yet – I always seem to get upset and take it far more personally than I should, when people ask me stupid questions about Israel. I often wonder if it feels similar to the way someone from Rome would, if asked if he/she voted for the current Emperor.

The reason for this uneasy feeling is that I have a love/hate relationship with Israel which runs rather deep. Truth be told – I don’t feel particularly bonded to the country. It is not my “home” and I reject the concept that a piece of land is the “natural” place for any ethnic group (or for me). That said, growing up there, speaking the language natively, serving in the IDF and knowing every back street in Herzliya have contributed to a nostalgic fondness I have towards the country, which makes it hurt so much more when observing it from the outside.

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Pretty pictures don’t make an app – how Wunderlist mistakes GFX for UX.


I haven’t blogged in a really long time out of extreme lazy, so it was bound to take something I feel very strongly about in order to change this. It just so happens that I care enough about user interfaces in order to break this vow of silence. It hurts when beautiful applications are shipped with terrible interaction design.

To-do list app Wunderlist is an example for a pretty application which ignores user experience. I’ve been playing around with it in the past few days on the Mac and have grown to like it’s simple, to-the-point functionality. Unfortunately, key parts of the UI are so terribly convoluted – Wunderlist is far from being as intuitive as it should be. I’ve compiled a list of the UI quirks which makes Wunderlist so awkward on the Mac OS desktop. aspiring app designers, take note: ignore user experience at your own peril.

I’ll list these from 7 (least annoying) to 1 (omg-what-are-they-smoking):

7) Wunderlist’s title bar does not cap the application content

Title bar does not cap the application content

Besides giving an overall “unfinished” impression, this makes it less clear where the title ends and the app begins, thus it is less clear which parts of the header area are draggable around the desktop.

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