Welcome to the second edition of our Friday Quality Linkage column. Once again, we are merely your humble internet servants, bringing you a collection of links we found interesting or enlightening this week. So brew a fresh cup of coffee, find a comfortable place, and enjoy.
Cameron Moll is experimenting with his company’s vacation policy, instead of offering “unlimited” vacation, he’s enforcing a minimum amount of time off:
In lieu of unlimited vacation, and in contrast to traditional vacation policies which focus on maximum days off, I’m intrigued by idea of requiring employees to expend a minimum number of vacation days each year to ensure their working (and personal) health remains strong.
It may come as no surprise that taking regular breaks is critical to one’s productivity. Use these tips to both rest and work smarter, and to remind yourself that short breaks to step away from work can oftentimes lead to more productive and focused time when doing the work.
Sometimes the mere act of taking on a project, whether or not it succeeds—or is even completed—is more important than the outcome. As she writes, “In our race just to finish, we underestimate the benefits of quitting.”
Alex Hutchinson and the team at Runners World did some super in-depth analysis of what the ideal conditions would be—even down to geographical location and time of year—for a human to run an entire marathon in 2 hours or less. The current world record is 2:02:57. Shaving those last few minutes off is going to require an insane number of aligning factors, and even then it won’t be easy.
Have an AirPort router? Have an external USB HDD? Here’s how to make a super-simple NAS (Network-Attached-Storage) volume you can access straight from your iOS devices!
Tobias Frere-Jones (yes, that one) provides a fascinating look into the history of typeface-naming. I never really thought about it this way before: “The name is now part of the design itself, rather than a retrospective description, or a part number. The name precedes the typeface like a herald, rather than trailing behind like a stenographer. At its best, a typeface’s name is a one-word sales pitch.”
Frank Chimero finds that words and ideas are far more powerful than the designs we use to present them:
“A young designer is beaten over the head with typefaces, grids, and rules—and rightfully so—but typography can act as a smoke-screen. There is so much to learn about the letters that it’s easy to forget about the words. Once a designer has the typographic skills in their pocket, anyone with their head on straight realizes ugly words in beautiful typefaces are still pretty dumb.”
You might think an article about one’s obsession with fitness-tracking would be dull beyond belief, and most of the time you’d be right. David Sedaris, on the other hand, managed to weave just such a story that entertained us from start to finish.
Upon paring down his work setup to a MacBook Air and an iPhone, Mr. Gemmell gained some important insights about the way he works. He writes: “A tool should be an enhancement first and foremost, not a commitment. That’s the thing to ultimately ask when you’re deciding what to acquire, and what to remove: how does this fit me?”
Lots of nerdy Apple and computing history here. There’s also an interesting tidbit about user experience design that I’d never considered before:
“Everyone assumed mice had to be phenomenally accurate to deliver a good experience. “Suddenly we realized, you don’t care if it’s accurate!” he recalls. People don’t pay attention to what their hand is doing when they use a mouse; they just care about where the cursor goes. “It’s like driving a car. You don’t look at where you’re turning the steering wheel, you turn the steering wheel until the car goes where you want.”
Caitlin Roper of WIRED examines the kind of philosophy that allowed John Lasseter and other members of Pixar to totally revitalize Disney’s animation studio over the last decade:
“And the emotional core of a movie is what Lasseter pursues. Anybody can make films that dazzle you with technical wizardry or crack you up with biting humor. But that’s not enough for Lasseter. More than anything, the world’s most emotional executive wants to make movies that you connect with, movies that make you feel. […] The connection you make with your audience is an emotional connection,” Lasseter says. “The audience can’t be told to feel a certain way. They have to discover it themselves.”
If you’ve got any suggestions for articles, videos, stories, photographs, and any other links you think we should be posting in our weekly Quality Linkage, please send an email to Shawn Blanc.