Weekly Top 5 #16 – 15th Mar 2015

One History lesson:
The history of Lean Startup

Ever wonder how the “Lean Startup”, “Business Model Canvas”  and the “Mom Test” are related? You should really read on this article to see how everything fit together

One Slide Deck:
The Gentle and Visual Guide to Startup Marketing

Marketing can be as vital to a startup as the quality of the product itself, it’s also delicate art. Dharmesh Shah of HubSpot share with us a very easy to understand introduction to marketing for startups with this nicely designed slide deck.

One Clever UI:
Power Cords as Gadget Interface

I love how this MIT inventor added entirely new twists to what simple power cords can do. My personal favourite is the “Tug external HDD cable to eject drive from laptop”. Go check these out.

One Article:
The most productive ways to waste your time

So, apparently one of the best way to refill my mental energy is to re-watch my favourite TV shows, but i’ve got the feeling watching LOST again would just leave me as confused as I was the first time round. Whereas to improve my leadership I should play World of Warcraft

One Guide:
How I Got 6.2 Million Pageviews and 144,920 Followers

Very helpful guide to blogging, online marketing. In-depth and systematic with easy to remember tips like “No more than 25 words in a sentence” as well as more technical aspects of blogging such as article structure.
BONUS: From 8 Simple Steps To Become A Great Writer

  1. Write 50 words. That’s a paragraph.
  2. Write 400 words. That’s a page.
  3. Write 300 pages. That’s a manuscript.
  4. Write every day. That’s a habit.
  5. Edit and rewrite. That’s how you get better.
  6. Spread your writing for people to comment. That’s called feedback.
  7. Don’t worry about rejection or publication. That’s a writer.
  8. When not writing, read. Read from writers better than you. Read and perceive.

Weekly Top 5 #15 – 8th Mar 2015

One Podcast:

#HighlyRecommended A podcast that focuses on the emotional and mental side of being an entrepreneur, talks about stress, depression and everything a founder might have to face. Wonderfully hosted by serial entrepreneur Rob Walling and Ph.D. clinical psychologist Sherry Walling

One Interesting Article:
Neville Medhora’s 2015-2020 Predictions

Nev has always been one of the most entertaining marketer on the net, he has written a lot about the various life and biz experiments, this time he is writing about his predictions on where the world is going in the next 3 – 5 years.

One Video:
Jim Carrey’s Commencement Speech

The man behind the green mask is not only funny, but has an excellent insight in life and how to perceive it, extremely motivating and entertaining. If it’s too long, start from 11:00

One Article:
2014’s 8 Smartest UI Design

I’m a few months late with this article by it’s still a very good one. This article discuss trends for smarter UIs and not just limiting UI using a touch screen (Comments are pretty entertaining too)

One Deck of Cards:
Method Kit

A deck of cards that systematically help different groups (startups, developers, those working in sustainable development..etc) a way to communicate and collaborate together. I’ve not tried this myself (because of the price) but I rather like the idea

What if… typing is faster than browsing on a smartphone?

Image from www.bradymills.com
Image from www.bradymills.com

The app grid approach for smartphones has been around since the first iPhone (released June 2007) and most people are rather happy with this way of doing things. The problem with this approach is that it makes a number of assumptions:

  1. Users can remember what the icon looks like (or that we read the app labels)
  2. Users have a good idea of how our app icons are organised
  3. Users are organised

Now what if instead of the usual grid app, we take a different approach, we actually ask the users to type in which app they want? If I need Gmail, I would simply unlock my phone and click on “G” on the keyboard and all the relevant apps would come up. Maybe you can even customise each app, so that if you type in “email” Gmail would also show up. This is of course very similar to the search function on iOS and Android, my question is whether this would work better as the primary form of interaction. It’s similar to programmers who operates 90% of the desktop using shortcut keys (Such as launching an app from Spotlight)

My assumptions

  1. Users can remember the name of an app
  2. Users don’t mind typing
  3. Users are organise (giving app nicknames, hiding/favouriting apps)

The benefit

  1. No more scrolling through 20 pages of app icons trying to find an app
  2. When we add/delete apps, we will no longer be confused by change of app icon locations

I would be very curious to see whether this interface would make any difference, maybe an alphabetical scroll bar would help, adding a backup to access by grid might also be nice. A list of “favourites” (not shown in the mock up) might also help… I think this would be an interesting experiment, but what do you think? Is it just a silly idea? Please comment below

Making Google Maps iFrame Responsive

I’ve been design a lot of websites for sport studio lately, and they often need google maps which uses iframes which by default only comes in 3 sizes: small @400px X 300px, medium @600px X 450px and large @800px X 600px. Which is great if you know the EXACT size of the end user’s screen size, since that’s not possible, we need to make them responsive with the little tiny bit of HTML and CSS

<iframe src="https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m16!1m12!1m3!1d59067.01774355863!2d113.92182782515583!3d22.289782504003966!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!2m1!1sairport+near+Hong+Kong!5e0!3m2!1sen!2s!4v1425565266119" width="800" height="600" frameborder="0" style="border:0"></iframe>
<div class="responsive-map"> 
<iframe src="https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m16!1m12!1m3!1d59067.01774355863!2d113.92182782515583!3d22.289782504003966!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!2m1!1sairport+near+Hong+Kong!5e0!3m2!1sen!2s!4v1425565266119" width="800" height="600" frameborder="0" style="border:0">
 .responsive-map {
 position: relative;
 padding-bottom: 75%; // This is the aspect ratio
 height: 0;
 overflow: hidden;
 .responsive-map iframe {
 position: absolute;
 top: 0;
 left: 0;
 width: 100% !important;
 height: 100% !important;

The Result

Thank you for this handy script from Digital Inspiration

WordPress the_excerpt() not working with Chinese Text

WordPress’ excerpt is pretty useful, if the article doesn’t have predefined text as excerpt, it would  automatically create one using the first 55 words from your post to make one for you.
If the original text is:

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

The generated excerpt would become:

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of… Read More

It’s great when you’re lazy like me, but what’s not so great is IT DOESN’T work with Chinese text, because it uses the spaces in your sentence to define words, since Chinese text doesn’t use spaces like that, it doesn’t work. The only solution I’ve found is to use the following instead of “the_excerpt();”

 $content = get_the_excerpt();
 $trimmed_content = mb_substr($content, 0, 54)."<a href=". get_permalink() ."> ...Read More</a>";
 echo $trimmed_content;

This works by first retrieving the original excerpt, using the mb_substr PHP function to get the first 55 characters from the excerpt and link it with “…Read More”. If you would like a longer excerpt, simply change 54 (In programming, you start counting from zero) to your desired number.
The main flaw to this function is that if you mix chinese and english articles it won’t be able to tell the difference and end up only giving you the first 55 characters. So that will become

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by… Read More

If you have a better way to tackle this, please do share it with the rest of us.
Credits to this Stack Exchange post and yes that is a quote from Pulp Fiction 🙂

Weekly Top 5 #14 22nd Feb 2015

One Gadget:
Zolt Charger

Why are MacBook chargers so heavy and ugly? These guys didn’t think it was necessary

One Profile:
The Shape of things to come on Jony Ivy

#LongRead How much do you know about Apple’s famous lead designer Sir Jonathan Ive?

One font tool:
Wordmark for designers

Ever had to go through every font on your computer to checkout what would look good? This website is perfect for that.

One Article:
My Startup Made 200k In Its First Two Months… And I’m Embarrassed

A very insightful article on the mindset a true entrepreneur should have. **P.S. I’ve always wanted to write a book**

One Game:
Design Well

A game for designers to test their knowledge

5 Cool things #13 15th Feb 2015

One Book:
Creativity, Inc.

What an incredible book by Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar. Wouldn’t expect anything less by such highly skilled story tellers. Everything from creativity to leadership and personal growth. Highly recommended.

One Article:
20 Signs You’re Doing Better Than You Think You Are

A really wonderful reminder on how far we have all came and that although we are not all millionaires, we are still doing pretty darn good, so pat yourself in the back.

One iOS game:
Skip a Beat

What a fascinating idea, a game you control with your heart rate. Now, I don’t actually recommend you spend the £1.49 to try this slightly disappointing game, but its just the idea of it I rather like.

One Gadget:
Phorm for iPad mini

A physical add-on that allows your iPad to magically morph so that you can type using physical pop out buttons on an iPad, the future of mobile for sure.

One WTF Business:
Yoga Cards

Yoga exercise on a deck of cards for $27 each… really? people would pay for that?