On designing an iconic bomb

Legendary icon designer Susan Kare recently gave a great and amusing talk at EG8.

On her icon set for the original Mac:

"I designed this image [unhappy Macintosh] and this bomb because I was told they would never be seen by anyone! So I thought I could be a little irreverent. But unfortunately, that was not the case.

"The programmers truly thought at the time that they would be deeply hidden. I know that right after the Mac shipped we were in our software area and a call came in fielded through Apple and it was a woman who was using MacWrite, and it had crashed, and she was afraid her computer was going to blow up! So, I felt kinda bad!"

The computer didn't explode. But Kare's icons did.

Instead, the bomb icon and the rest of the set took on lives of their own and can be seen all over the world, including in a subway station in Sweden.

Kare later worked at Microsoft, but as far as I know she didn't design the Blue Screen of Death.

Kare's icons are infamous — I have one of Kare's signed happy Macintosh prints in my office. 

Simplicity is evident in Kare's designs. Her advice: "Just enough detail."


Learning from Steve Jobs, 2 years on

Is legacy better measured by tangible accomplishment or lasting influence?

It's been two years since Steve Jobs passed away. He left us with both.

The commencement speech that Jobs delivered at Stanford University on June 12, 2005, remains one of the most inspiring speeches I can recall. It was short, personal, witty, funny and, beyond all, poignant. It was life advice, for "students" of all ages, wrapped in alluring storytelling.

Steve Jobs continues to inspire. It's worth re-listening to this speech once a year.


You can delightfully read RSS again (thanks @reederapp!)

Reading RSS on iOS is a joy again.

Thanks to Reeder 2, which is out today and is a universal app for iPhone and iPad.

The app provides access to the most popular RSS feed and sync services (I use Feedly, but Reeder 2 supports Feedbin, Feed Wrangler and Fever). It also allows you to open URLs in either Safari or Chrome.

Applaud developer Silvio Rizzi for creating a simple, intuitive, yet feature-rich app that will look stunning in iOS 7 (which arrives on Thursday, September 18) and on your new iPhone 5s or 5c.

Reeder 2 is $4.99 in the iOS App Store.


Your kid's routine, on your iPad

Kids need a routine. And now there's an app for that!

It's MyRoutine, an iPad app from Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

The idea stemmed from kids being scared about visits to their doctor or the hospital. But it extends way beyond health care. 

The app allows you to create a "story" for your child — from a visit to the hospital to taking the school bus to getting ready for bed — and lists the tasks they must complete. You create the tasks, associate a picture with each task and put them in the appropriate order. 

As your child completes each task, they can click on the photo to reveal "All Done!"

Think of it as a "to do" list for your kid — and something that can engage and delight them as they feel a sense of accomplishment.

Original source: MobiHealthNews


RUN! Zombies are chasing you!

Your mission is to help the planet avoid a zombie apocalypse.

That's the motivation in Zombies, Run! 2, an app for iPhone and Android that challenges you to reach your goals through "Zombie Chase" interval training. 

In Zombies, Run! 2, you are inserted in a gripping storyline where you must achieve your fitness goals to move the story forward. Here you'll trade the usual encouraging and inspirational messages (like "you can do it" and "you really rocked today") for zombie-related messages ("they're right on your tail; don't look back!" and "they spotted you — run!").

This app is another example of "gamification" — using game theory and tactics to incent people and improve engagement. A proliferation of apps and devices now help connect you to your health — from tracking activity and sleep to counting calories and nutritional breakdown of food.

If you fear zombies — and it will make you run faster, further and more often — this is the fitness app for you.