Yes, ladies, gentlemen, and seemingly-dead plants, it’s happening: after over 10 months of incremental work from the community, we are now releasing version 0.6 of our favorite personal productivity app, Getting Things GNOME. This release comes with some new features, lots of code improvements, many bugfixes and UX refinements (I am told that the “Better procrastination button”, presented below, deserves a place in the Museum of Modern Art).Continue reading “Getting Things GNOME 0.6 released”
For some reason, I didn’t get to see much people, and didn’t have much client work revenue throughout that year. I’m not sure why 🤔Continue reading “Year MMXX summarized in 7 minutes”
As part of my seven-years retrospective, here’s a 5-6 minutes readable summary of what I did in 2019.Continue reading “Year MMXIX summarized in 5 minutes”
- Was super excited to see a GNOME hackfest focused solely on investigating performance issues in GNOME Shell, and the great work that happened from 2019 to 2021 on that front. It made a huge difference.
- Was thrilled that Mozilla finally got their sh!t together when it comes to performance in Firefox, with the initial release of Firefox Quantum in late 2017. This was one of the first times since 2010 where I had a somewhat solid argument to convince Chrome users to consider Firefox again. Personally however, I was stuck on pre-quantum Firefox up until 2019 due to my reliance on Quicksaver’s “Tab Groups” extension (the successor to the Panorama feature), which eventually got succeeded by Drive4ik’s “Simple Tab Groups” extension, which is an absolute must-have; if you’re a chaos warrior, use it—you’ll thank me later.
- Participated in various Montréal urban design public consultation events, such as this one.
- Went to FOSDEM for the first time. It was cold and wet, and I did not see any talks, but I did see Adrien Plazas and made him wear a horribly obnoxious blue shirt. In his presence, I discovered the marvel that are lambic beers, pretty much the only beer I ever liked in my life. How the rest of the world accepts drinking any other type of alcoholic beverage is beyond me. Sorry, Red Hatters, but the Starobrno doesn’t come anywhere close.
I meant to finish writing and posting this a month or two ago, but urgent tasks and life kept getting in the way. I don’t often talk about client work here, but since this is public-facing ongoing work for a company that is insanely pro-Free-Software (not just “open source”), a company that ships GNOME3 by default on their laptops (something I have awaited for years), I guess it makes sense to talk about what I’ve been up to recently.
a few weeks three months now, I have been helping Purism structure its messaging and get its business in a better shape. Purism is, in itself, a hugely interesting endeavour. Heck, I could go out on a limb and say this venture, alongside the work Endless is doing, is quite possibly one of the most exciting things that has happened to the Free desktop for the past decade—and yet almost nobody heard of it.
Before I can even consider visual branding work (maybe someday—when I get to that point, that would mean things are going really well), there was a fundamental need to fill various gaps in the strategy and daily operations, and to address messaging in a way that simultaneously resonates with:
- hardcore Free Software enthusiasts;
- “Linux” (GNU/Linux) users and developers just looking for great ultraportable workhorses;
- the privacy/security-conscious crowd;
- the public at large (hopefully).
Cleaning up my apartment today, hoping to get rid of a pile of draft papers that has been cluttering my space for six months, I’m taking the opportunity to write about what this particular pile of paper means (yes, my blogging backlog goes that far—I am draining the swamp one post at a time!)
For the longest of times, as a designer flying under the radar (my management and marketing work is more “visible”, ironically), I did not have a proper portfolio. In fact, I had made a portfolio only once in my life, assembled in a few days in 2011. While my work as idéemarque in the past few years has led me to do a fair amount of design work, I was so busy with business work in general that I never took the time to do the massive amount of research and planning required to make a new one.
In early 2016, I finally sat down and made a new portfolio. Those who have worked with me know I’m a perfectionist, and since I had finally set my mind on doing this, I would be doing it right. It indeed took me 2-3 months of research, writing, designing, revising, redesigning, print testing, revising again and fixing issues, until I ran out of issues to fix.
From the start, I decided that it would be a top-quality print-only edition. I used beautiful, legible and readable fonts to make reading on paper a delightful experience. I invested in premium quality paper (including some semi-transparent sheets) and used a high-end printer, but not a commercial printing press as that would have been ridiculously expensive and inflexible for printing only a handful of custom-made copies. A print shop couldn’t have provided all the fancy features I required anyway (fancy binding, specialty paper, embossing, etc.). Therefore each of my portfolios is a hand-made craft—even if it might not seem that way as I made it full bleed (edge to edge). This whole project made me learn way too much about troubleshooting printer color problems, printing on unconventional paper types, faking bleeds, and the traditional bookbinding techniques of my ancestors.
In 2016, a printed portfolio might seem outdated compared to an online portfolio. Yet, mine is designed for print, precisely because the web and cheap emails have become the norm in this era of constant noise, and because I prefer to control everything in the reader’s experience—including the delivery, the typography, the texture, size, depth, resolution, and the physical (and mental) weight of the document. And not having to “/%$?%*)&!?” around with CSS and “modern” web development is a huge plus.
Some said, “How can this be such an involved process, taking you months?” to which I replied that, among other things, the document was roughly thirty pages. This got me some expressions of bewilderment, until I explained, “It’s not a graphic design portfolio, it’s a human-computer interaction design research portfolio.”
While it took a long time, the project was worth it, both as a personal challenge and from the reactions I got afterwards.
I have now decided to remove any traces of my portfolio from my website (except the photo and illustrations gallery). A website is not only a pain in the ass to maintain regularly, it’s typically ignored or skimmed anyway (basically, Schrödinger’s Visitor). For those who requested an electronic version of my portfolio over the past few months, I have insisted on shipping them the print version instead—tailored for them, of course.