Supercute Futures and Reading Science Fiction

I spent the last 6 months reading. A lot. Mostly science fiction books, some poetry and some other interesting stuff. I loved it.

The science fiction collection included the following. The Nexus trilogy by Ramez Naam (Nexus, Crux, Apex). Autonomous by Annalee Newitz. Slow Bullets by Aldstair Reynolds. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. All System Red by Martha Wells. The Three Body Problem trilogy* by Cixin Liu. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. Supercute Futures by Martin Millar. Continue reading…

Sprinkling WordPress With Some Framer Magic

The People

It all started last year with beta testing the WordPress iOS app. Making software better for millions of people is a hard task. As someone who doesn’t write code, bug hunting was the way to go. The experience proved to be thrilling. I’m making a small dent in the universe.

Part of the reason was Aaron Douglas. An iOS engineer at Automattic who replied to every bug report. He didn’t have to but he did. In 2018 the trend continued. Bug reports were sent out. Emails of appreciation kept coming in. This time from Lorenzo Mattei. Another nice person.

The experience was rewarding but i couldn’t settle for it. I felt i can be of better help. Instead of looking for an answer, the answer found me.

Taking Photos

As an amateur iPhone photographer i share my photos on Instagram (@titanas) but before i do i edit them. Auto fixes. Manual color and brightness corrections. Sharpening. Saturation. You know the drill.

There is a good reason for that. Photos capture moments but beautiful photos tell a story. They trigger feelings. They make memories come alive. They inspire and aspire. They set the mood. Influence the mind.

To my surprise the WordPress iOS app didn’t offer any photo editing tools. I dug into the app trying to find a hidden menu. Did i miss a button? Maybe i had to double tap? Maybe tap and hold or 3D Touch? Nothing happened. Okay. It was time to open Framer and build something.

Flying to Belgrade

I set the water temperature at 94C. Put the beans in the grinder and made the V60 filter wet. Eyeing the scale i started pouring water in slow circular motions. Two minutes in I moved the V60 on the side and placed the cup on the table.

The smell of the Kenyan coffee filled the room. What a delight. I took a few screenshots and fire up Framer in Design mode. Two days later my working prototype idea was ready to show off. I downloaded the prototype in the Framer app and packed my laptop. I had to get ready for WordCamp Europe 2018.

On the flight to Belgrade a thought crossed my mind. A thought that didn’t leave me until i met Cate Huston and Davide Casali.

The amphitheater labeled Milky Way was full. People rushed to take a last minute sit in the center of the WordPress galaxy. Matt Mullenweg was on stage ready to deliver his keynote. Behind him a giant screen lit the room.

The keynote was rolling. A new slide appeared. Major Updates. Customization. WP-CLI. REST API. Mobile Apps. My eyes locked in the bottom right corner. 1.3 million posts and 3.7 millions photos and videos in past month. That’s a lot of photos i thought!

The room was full but I managed to find a place to sit. Cate was delivering her talk on The State of WordPress Mobile. Someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and saw my friend George. I nodded but my mind was full of millions thoughts. 3.7 millions to be exact. That and the Framer prototype i had in my pocket.

Cate finished her talk with a big round of applause. She walked off the stage and took a sit next to Davide Casali, Automattic’s product experience director. I had met Davide earlier in the day. I took a deep breath, told George i would be back in a bit and headed towards them. I sighed and took a mental note. I would either make myself look like a fool or help WordPress become a tiny bit better.

I briefly introduced myself and congratulated Cate. I was nervous. A non developer in a room mostly full of devs. A stranger talking to Automattic’s mobile lead about changes to the WordPress iOS app. My heart was pounding. All i had was an idea and a Framer prototype.

My demo was brief. I swiped through screens, tapped buttons, moved a slider. Changed brightness. Made the photo black and white with a tap. Undo the changes. Cate liked it. Davide liked it. Cate said they were thinking about photo editing for a long time. Holly molly! It worked. Framer did the trick.

I found myself lost in the same thought as i was on board to Belgrade. Maybe millions of photos can get better. Maybe millions of people can tell a better story. Maybe as a non developer i can contribute something.

Code is Poetry

Elisa Budelli replied on Slack. She liked the prototype and suggested to do a pull request on Github. I was nervous again. I don’t write code. Crap. I can’t help. Damn. Stupid me. This was all a dream.

It took me a bit to put myself together and reply. I typed that i’m not a developer in a dozen different ways. Each time i deleted everything i wrote. How can i say that i don’t write code to a person who works for a company with the motto Code is Poetry? How do i escape rejection and move my idea forward with only a Framer prototype?

There was only one way. Be honest and hope for the best. I replied to Elisa that i don’t write code but i manage my way around design and Framer. I hit enter and waited.

Framer Magic

A giant wave of euphoria swallowed me. I blinked a few times trying to moist my dry contact lenses. Then i read the message again.

It was okay that i don’t write code. Elisa said they wanted more community inspired designs an ideas. All i had to do was raise an issue on Github. And i did.

People joined the conversation enthusiastically about the first prototype. It was magical. They asked questions. I answered with new Framer prototypes. Improvements. Changes. Additions like this new crazy A.I idea I coined as “Magic Fix”. It kept happening until all was good and solid to move to the next phase.

No Fuzziness

Will the final product look and work like the one i designed if it ever makes it to the app? I don’t know and to be honest it’s irrelevant. Will Magic Fix ever happen in WordPress? My hopes are not high. Did i create something revolutionary? Absolutely not.

All i did was sharing ideas using Framer. I spoke a language everyone understood. It happened fast and it came across with no fuzziness.

Static pixels are beautiful but interaction with beautiful pixels is magical. And like beautiful photos, interactive designs and prototypes tell a story a thousand times better.

Fictional Memoji Character

iOS 12 Memoji To Make Apple A Virtual Reality Platform

Memoji. Okay hold on for a moment. Before i get into it let me tell you I’m a sucker for performance and speed. iOS 12 delivers both. The engineering prowess that went into it is fantastic. Same hardware. Optimized software. Better user experience. Admit it. You love it too.

Performance boost today is one thing. Seeing the future is another. Apple revealed the future in a subtle Apple way. Again. If i could peak one thing from the iOS 12 release that would be Memoji. And tongue detection.

Memoji and Tongue detection on iOS 12 are very important

Memoji is the most exciting new feature of iOS 12. Yes. The personalized cartoon-ish characters are the future of Apple. The future of the whole world. Whether is going to be a great or ugly future… we will see.

What Apple is doing with Memoji is preparing for the virtual future. Virtual Reality is coming and Apple’s is getting ready for it. Augmented Reality is okay today. In the near future AR will be a sub feature of Virtual Reality.

You read that right. AR games and AR apps act as a bridge to VR. We are in the transition phase. Memoji brings us a step closer to mainstream Virtual Reality. A la Apple style. It happened with the iPod and the iPhone. It happened with the iPad and the Apple Watch. It’s happening with iPhone X.

In iOS 12 users can customize their Memoji. A single person can have multiple Memojis too. And that’s key. A billion or so users with customized virtual characters for fun. That’s the starting point. A billion users. Okay?

Memojis for Apple’s Virtual Reality Platform

Okay. What’s coming next is magical. Apple’s VR product will have a low barrier to entry. Very low. A billion users will jump right in to experience the virtual world. Starting on day one.

No need for setting up a virtual character. Or avatar. It’s been in your pocket the whole time. Chances are most people will have multiple Memojis. The same way it happens in real life. We have sports outfits, shirts, jeans, beachwear, nightwear and eyewear. We buy Halloween costumes. We do makeup. We die our hair. We trim our beards. You get it.

As in real life with real world IDs and photos, Memojis are linked to Apple and iCloud accounts. Authentication problem solved. Apple’s Virtual Reality product will be a platform from day one. VR will go from niche to mainstream in a day.

As Siri gets better it will become the underline power of Memojis. Virtual characters will look and act like the real person but in a virtual world. A quirky world but a world with rules. Rules to be followed or to be broken.

Are you getting it? Tongue detection on iOS 12 is a very important thing.

Gift box

WordPress Gutenberg Design Facelift

I started using Gutenberg, the new editor for WordPress, and immediately fell in love with it. I believe that Gutenberg is the best thing happened to WordPress after Jetpack.

Gutenberg is the best thing happened to WordPress after Jetpack

While playing around with Gutenberg a few things didn’t click. I spent a few hours and the result is the mockup you see. It’s an idea to improve the familiar without changing to something new. It’s a different approach on the super hard work all everyone has done and will be doing so far. That’s it.  Continue reading…

Instant Articles Plugin for WordPress

WordPress Core DNS Prefetch And Our Instant Articles Plugin

I met Stanislav a little over a year ago in Stockholm. We met in Slussen and decided to go to Starbucks. Johan & Nyström would be a better choice for sure.

We spent almost two hours chatting about WordPress. That’s why we met after all. I had this idea about making WordPress better. Stanislav was eager to listen. I was eager to share my thoughts. Continue reading…

Twitter logo

Twitter’s Biggest Problem Lies In Every Tweet And You Hate It

Twitter was built 9 years ago. About a year later the hashtag was born. SMS was on the rage and 160 characters were all we had for the time being. Twitter’s 140 characters messages left enough space for ads to match the 160 characters of SMS.

This is before the rise of smartphones, wireless broadband and the popularity of photos and videos. Fast forward to 2015 and the state of Twitter today. Continue reading…

The Heartbreaking Truth Of The A.I World Today

The Heartbreaking Truth Of The A.I World Today

As much as we want to celebrate A.I today, the sad truth is that Artificial Intelligence is used for slave work. Not intelligence.

We design and operate so called intelligent programs to solve specific problems. We feed those programs with data to make them more efficient at the job. There is nothing intelligent about that. Continue reading…

Google RankBrain, IoT SEO & The Quantum A.I. Lab

Google RankBrain, IoT SEO & The Quantum A.I. Lab

Google RankBrain reveals the future of search and the death of SEO as we know it. The answer lies to Google Quantum A.I. Lab Team.

For Google to make sense of the world it needs to understand more of it. Search engines must go beyond mere keywords and related terms. The real world is a complicated place with way more data than text. Continue reading…

Headspace App Review, Free Meditation For Mindful You

Headspace App Review, Free Meditation For Mindful You

Headspace is a free meditation app. Aiming to improve your mind and life and reduce stress. Discover mindfulness for a better you. Read the full Headspace app review for details. If you are impatient this is the short version.

Conclusion. Headspace is the best meditation app. It offers more than guided meditation and mindfulness. It’s a handy, beautiful guide to a better self. It’s backed by science and years of experience. It just works.

If you want to know how and why it works delve in the app review. Continue reading…

4 Free Super Easy & Reliable WordPress Performance Plugins

4 Free Super Easy & Reliable WordPress Performance Plugins

The key to WordPress speed and performance is simplicity. Less plugins means more WordPress speed and performance. There is a good reason for that.

WordPress plugins are pieces of code outside the WordPress core. They exist in a parallel universe so to speak. For the plugins to be useful and functional they have to make a jump in the WordPress core world. Continue reading…