January, 2013

IxD 2013: Rhythm, Flow, and Style

This article was originally published at tech.blinemedical.com

Today Carlo and I listened to a 45 minute presentation by Peter Stahl called “Rhythm, Flow and Style” which discussed designing flow and rhythm into applications. Peter started with the observation that the world is full of rhythms, but not just what people think of (namely music). Rhythms exist in every part of life, chopping vegetables, walking outside, involving in conversations, filling out forms, navigating a website, etc. All of them involve actions, pauses, and repetitions. According to Stahl there are two types of rhythm: iterative rhythm, which is rhythm of the user (engaging with the application) and there is also motivic rhythm, which is rhythm within the application. But to get rhythm you need flow.

Flow, according to Stahl’s presentation has several dimensions:

  • Known goals, with known progress
  • Perceived balance of challenge and skill
  • Sense of control
  • Focused concentration
  • Loss of self
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IxD 2013 – Production ready CSS workshop

This article was originally published at tech.blinemedical.com

Carlo and I are in Toronto for Ixd 2013 for the week hoping to pick up some interesting info on interaction and design. We were painfully reminded of the need for continual design improvement within the first hour of stepping into Canada. We rented a Hyundai Veloster and for 30 minutes couldn’t figure out how to start the car. For the uninitiated, you have to hold the brake pedal down while pushing the start button.

velocsterStarter

Today the conference started and we attended a workshop called “Sitting in the drivers seat: Designing production level CSS”. Carlo’s been doing html and css for a long time and was interested to hear what the speaker would say, whereas I am less experienced and wanted to see if I could pick up any design tips. We were pleasantly surprised when Jack Moffett started and stressed that we … Read more

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K-Means Step by Step in F#

This article was originally published at tech.blinemedical.com

Recently we had a discussion on clustering techniques at one of our weekly tech talks and the k-means clustering algorithm came up. K-means is considered one of the simplest unsupervised machine learning techniques and I thought it would be cool to try my hand at an F# implementation of it.

In short, k-means is a way to put data into groups based on distance between nearest neighbors. Technically it works with any dimension but for this post I’ll stick with 1-d data to make things easy.

K-means background

Imagine you have some 1-dimensional data like

1, 2, 5, 14, 17, 19, 20

And you want to group this into two groups. Pretty easily you can see that 1, 2, and 5 go into one group, and 14, 17, 19, 20 should go in another group. But why? For this small data set we … Read more

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Tracing computation expressions

This article was originally published at tech.blinemedical.com

F# has a novel syntax feature called computation expressions, which lets you build complex monadic expressions with minimal syntax. Commonly shied away from, a monad is simple: it’s a function whose input is some state. A monad usually manipulates the state and returns a new state (which can be handed off to another monad).

Monad’s are maybe best known from Haskell, but they exist in scheme, ML, clojure, scala, and even show up in C# and other imperative languages.

While the computation expression syntax is cool, short of the maybe monad, and the baked-in async keyword, I wasn’t sure what I could do with this. Thankfully, I found an interesting post by Luis Diego Fallas who posted an F# code sample leveraging computation expressions to read binary formatted files. However, if you are like me, and trying to better understand … Read more

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