Monthly Archives: June 2014

Moon Medicin is trippy. And I like it.

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Have you ever experienced something that was so trippy, surreal and ethereal that you thought was a dream, but turned out to be real?

Last week, I had one of those experiences.

“What happened?” you ask.

No.

I was not tripping on acid, popping pills or high on the stickiest of the icky.

I saw Moon Medicin at Neuehouse.

Why was it so trippy?

Well, if you’ve never experienced a Moon Medicin show, it will be somewhat hard to explain.

But here goes nothing.

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Moon Medicin is a five piece band consisting of lead vocalist and guitarist, Martin Luther McCoy, DJ and background vocalist, Jahi Lake, drummer, Swiss Chris, bassist and background vocalist, Mark Hines, and keyboard and background vocalist, Sanford Biggers.

Moon Medicin is also a performance piece, created by Sanford Biggers, which explores the creative intersection of music, visual and performance art.

Indeed, the pieces that Moon Medicin performs are mashups that push the boundaries of music and performance art.

Moon Medicin shows are one part live music, one part DJ, one part visual and one part experiential.

You’ve got to experience a Moon Medicin show to truly understand how you can be transported from sitting or standing in a performance venue, to a sandy dune in the desert, feeling waves lick at your toes in the ocean, or running frantically through a forest.

Trippy right?

Perhaps it was experiencing Moon Medicin from the steps at Neuehouse.

Maybe it was the combination of the lighting, the massive visuals projected on the screen behind the band or the other worldly music they play.

It might have been the ghostly silhouettes of passers-by against the backdrop of the frosted glass windows.

I could go on and on trying to figure it out, but I’ll do you one better and let you peep a short video from their set at Lincoln Center in April.

Moon Medicin Lands at Lincoln Center – Weird Fishes, Soul Assasinator, The Great Escape from Visualeyz on Vimeo.

If you get a chance, make sure you check ’em out.

It will definitely trip you out.

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Don’t be a jackass! Read before you comment (or repost).

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File this under “rant.”

Has this ever happened to you?

You wake up, pick up your iPhone, open the Facebook app and start reading through your feed.

The first thing you see is an image of Morgan Freeman (or some other celebrity) with the caption “RIP”.

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You admire Morgan Freeman, feel a fleeting sense of loss, and reflexively “like” the post.

Or how about this?

You’re on the train commuting to work.

Your friend’s timeline includes a post about KFC using biologically engineered chicken with a graphic image of a skinless, four-legged fowl.

Does KFC use genetically modified chicken

A visceral feeling of disgust overwhelms you and instinctively, you “share” the article he posted, adding “The FDA has to stop this!”

Or perhaps this?

Skimming the headlines of your favorite online rag, you come across a compelling article title, like “Taco Bell warns employees against directly exposing skin to food.”

Taco Bell warns employees not to touch food

Alarmed, you comment, “I can’t believe that anyone would do this!”

Nothing wrong with any of these fairly common occurrences, right?

Wrong!

The problem with your reactions to each of these scenarios, is that the information you liked, shared or commented on, was false.

Morgan Freeman is not dead.

The image of KFC’s genetically engineered chicken is an internet hoax.

The Taco Bell article was in The Onion.

I’m sure that this has happened to all of us at least once (if not multiple times).

You happened upon something that, at first blush, seemed plausible, but upon further examination was a crock.

We’re not gullible, but how do we find ourselves in this position?

Are we daft?

Simple-minded?

Stupid?

No.

We’re just lazy.

Think about it.

Do you actually read the full articles you find in your feed or simply skim the titles (or look at the picture) before “liking”, “sharing” or commenting?

No you don’t.

Like most people, you just skim.

You see a compelling image on Facebook and respond automatically.

You read a controversial article title or comment to a post and just react.

Instead of mining the article to gain a substantive understanding, you’re content with the superficial sheen of knowledge.

And you comment, repost or share without context or perspective.

And what do we do in response?

Do we read the article our friends have posted, re-posted, liked, or commented upon?

No.

Most likely we’ll add our ignant (aka “ignorant” for my Ebonically challenged readers) two cents to the fray.

There have been a spate of articles recently discussing the prevalence of “blind posting” (I believe I’ve just coined a phrase).

Blind posting refers to posting, reposting, liking, sharing or commenting without reading the article first.

The issue with blind posting is the rabid dissemination of inaccurate information that quickly goes viral.

Or, worse still, is the advocacy of a position that you don’t truly support.

Actually, the worst thing is that you look like a jackass.

Don’t let social media turn you into a jackass.

Read before you post.

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Size matters. Three tips for building a better app.

app under constructionAnyone who knows me, knows I’m in the app space.

I’ve been developing apps, managing the development of apps and critiquing apps for years.

As such, I’ve seen my fair share, both on the development side and as a consumer.

There have been absolute standouts – apps that I swear by, for their sheer utility and execution.

And there have been the sheer fails – apps that deserve to be put out to pasture and their developers shot (acts of mercy, let me assure you).

And everything in between.

What separates a brilliant app from a crap app?

I thought you’d never ask.

There are a number of things that makes one app a star and another a dud.

Anything from great (or poor) UI, to UX, to competitors apps (doing it better or worse).

But today you’re going to learn the three tips for building a better app.

Drumroll please…..

1. Size matters.

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If you’re going to build an app, remember that you’ve got extremely limited real estate to work with.

As my handy dandy graphic illustrates, with a mobile phone, you’ve only got so much space to work with.

You’re only going to able to place so many buttons before it’s a crammed, jumbled mess.

Not only does it look bad (to have a bunch of buttons) it also reduces the utility and functionality of your app.

And there is nothing, NOTHING, more frustrating than being unable to access a function from your mobile device because the button or icon is too small.

Many an iPhone screen has been shattered from sheer frustration that it’s owner felt being incapable of accessing an item on an app.

With space at a premium, the smaller the screen size, being judicious about how much you place on the screen is essential.

The more stuff you put, the smaller each item becomes, the more difficult it will be to access those items.

People complain of “fat fingers” as the reason for mistyping or shooting out emails before they’re actually done.

But the truth of the matter is that buttons are often so close together that you’ve got to use surgical precision to not make mistakes.

It’s not just button size that’s an issue, text size is just as important.

Tiny text is stupid.

Who wants to use a monocle just to read their screen?

Tip: Make your text big enough to see and  buttons big enough to press.

2. Not there. Put it here.

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I’m sure I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating.

There is limited space on a mobile device.

As such, the placement of buttons and actionable portions of the screen, is as important, if not more than, the size of the button.

I hate apps that place buttons along the screen edge.

Think about how many times you’ve found yourself pressing an “inoperative” button over and over again – seemingly right on the icon.

But never able to actuate.

If you’ve got a protective case like the Otterbox, which has a wide beveled edge along the screen, trying to access any button or navigation element is virtually impossible.

If you’re not conscious about the placement of your buttons and navigation elements, you’ll definitely frustrate your users.

Tip: Space your buttons and navigation elements far enough apart to avoid “fat finger” syndrome.

3. Show me what you’ve got.

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I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “less is more.”

I’m not sure if that’s an actual ‘adage’ versus a mere ‘saying’, but you catch my drift.

The point is, when it comes to apps, keeping your interface clean, and focused on your primary functions and navigation, is best practice.

What to do with all those secondary functions?

Stick ’em in a menu, that’s what!

Users have come to expect that there’s more to your app than meets the eye.

Updating your profile, accessing settings, providing feedback: these are all elements that, while important, don’t need to be front and center.

More importantly, things that are essential shouldn’t compete with the primary functions of your app.

Tuck them away in a discrete, easy to locate and intuitive location – a la the menu.

 Tip: Place non-essential items in a well designated menu.

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