Updating blogging tools with iOS 11

Last month I wrote about iOS 11 being a desktop OS http://www.greenm3.com/gdcblog/2017/9/20/ios-11-the-mobile-os-that-can-replace-desktop-for-more-people?rq=iOS%2011 

A test for me was could I use my iPad Pro for blogging at 7x24 Exchange this last week. It worked. 

So what did I used to do? I used to use a Canon SLR 6D or 7D. Transfer images to my laptop with an SD Card. Import the images, then crop and paste.  Well I used to paste when I used MarsEdit, but when Squarespace updated to version 6, MarsEdit no longer worked and you needed to use the online authoring tools in HTML or iOS tools. I was comfortable with my Mac and MarsEdit. Before that I used Windows and Windows Live Writer. Working on dedicated editor has a better feeling for writing.

What did I try this last week? iOS 11 on iPad Pro and iPhone 7 Plus using Squarespace blog tool. I could have Squarespace blog up and Apple Notes for taking notes side by side. Take pictures with my iPhone, syncing to Photos in iCloud with wifi connection and within seconds the photos would be on my iPad. As much as it may seem like it takes a while so much faster than using an SLR. Using the iPad as a camera is just too awkward. For the slides I could go to the 7x24 Exchange app and screen grab the presentation, then crop it to get just part I wanted. And here is the main part I could save the cropped image to file. I needed images to be saved to a file on iOS to make it easy to upload the image in Squarespace blog.

It all worked well enough to use my iPhone and iPad. Next is the iPhone X. My iPad Pro is working well and maybe the 2018 version is what I upgrade to next. 

State of the Art Font is more readable than the Rest - Microsoft's Sitka

You won’t hear much about Microsoft’s Sitka font.  It is part of IE11 and in Windows 8.1.  Being an old font guy, I still get a kick out of studying fonts.  Long long ago I worked on typography at Apple and Microsoft.  What is Sitka?  I found the best explanation here on myfonts in an interview with the designer Matthew Carter.

The most recent project where you collaborated with technicians and scientists is Sitka, a new serif family that comes with MS Windows 8.1. You worked in close collaboration with Microsoft’s Kevin Larson, famous for his legibility research, and with the designers at Tiro Typeworks. Did the process change your mind about science? Type designers are often very suspicious of legibility research.

Yes, and I was too. I’ve always taken an interest in it, but I often found it was not useful for me as a designer. What I wanted was to find legibility research papers that told me things that I didn’t already somehow know by common sense. When we did Bell Centennial, we were obviously very concerned about legibility — it was for phone books, six-point type on bad paper. But we researched things in a very primitive way. I would put up two different versions of the figure ‘2’ on the wall for example and then we walked back until maybe one of them was indistinct… It was very seat-of-the-pants. 

When it came to the academic study of legibility, I did not find anything that I could use in a practical way. But then when I met Kevin Larson and got involved in this, it became very interesting. He has very definite ideas about how we read but at the same time he’s not overly dogmatic. Also, there are now better tools that study eye movement, and better understanding of how the brain reads. Talking to Kevin and the rest of the group at Microsoft, I was very intrigued. 

I would work on the design up to a certain point, then hand it over to Kevin, who would do whatever stage of testing was appropriate. He would generate results and tabulate them, and find very good graphic ways of expressing why this was better than that. Still, a lot of the results were ambiguous or even contradictory. There are still things about reading and the testing of legibility that we don’t understand. But I think we’ve sort of advanced the state of the art regarding this particular kind of typeface and what is useful about testing.

Matthew and Kevin have presented before on this topic in 2013.


Designing with Science

When Fri 11 Oct 1020
Where Krasnapolsky A
What Perspective alteration
Who Matthew Carter,Kevin Larson

Reading psychologists have shown that we recognize words by first recognizing individual letters, then using the letters to build up a word. This implies that if we want to study how to make a word more readable that we should be studying how to make letters more recognizable. We have developed a type design process where we iteratively conduct scientific letter recognition tests and use the results from the tests to inform design decisions. Using the results of these tests will require careful consideration as a typeface is a beautiful collection of letters, not a collection of beautiful letters. We will talk about the kinds of results that letter recognition tests might uncover and how those results could be used in practice.

Some of the research of typography and readability is in this research paper.


In this paper we demonstrate a new methodology that can be used to measure aesthetic differences by examining the cognitive effects produced by elevated mood. Specifically in this paper we examine the benefits of good typography and find that good typography induces a good mood. When participants were asked to read text with either good or poor typography in two studies, the participants who received the good typography performed better on relative subjective duration and on certain cognitive tasks. 

What’s Sitka look like.  I have Windows 8.1 on my Mac and moved the Sitka Fonts to my Mac OSX system.  If you want to see the results here is the Microsoft post.

One of the advantages of the Sitka font comes from the optical scaling addressed by its different weights. Research has shown that different letter spacing, stroke sizes, and x-height can have a positive effect on the readability of different sizes of text. An optical family contains styles specifically optimized for each size and use case – rather than trying to be one-size-fits-all, like many of the typefaces common on the Web. Thus, you can get terrific legibility in text, and style in display sizes, all with the same family. Reading view for example uses Sitka Small, which is designed with thicker strokes, larger x-height, and looser letter spacing, for image captions, and Sitka Banner, designed with thinner strokes and tighter letter spacing, for the article titles.

In this picture we show three of the optical weights of Sitka at the 2.0em size.

In this picture we show three of the optical weights of Sitka at the 2.0em size. From this you can see how the tighter letter spacing and thinner widths employed in Sitka Heading are a better reading choice for text at this size.

In this picture again we show the same three optical weights of Sitka this time at the 0.8em size.

In this picture again we show the same three optical weights of Sitka this time at the 0.8em size. It is easy to see how the greater x-height, and looser letter spacing employed in Sitka Small is substantially better for reading the text at this size.

Digital Innovation Newspapers vs. Music Industry

Two old industries that have had the impact of the digital age hit them are Newspapers and Music.  The Music industry went digital with CDs, then MP3 ripping and digital distribution pretty much destroyed the business models of selling albums.  Newspapers have been hit from two sides.  The wealth of choice in getting the news, and the changes in advertising and running classified ads.  What to do?  Here are two different comparisons.  Music is having record revenues if you bet on live-music.  Newspapers are still trying to figure out the new way to make record revenues.

WSJ reports on the Live-Music industry and their hot summer.


The Concert Industry's Big Hot Summer

The live-music business is predicting a record-breaking summer with big tours by Beyoncé and Jay Z, Eminem and Rihanna, George Strait and Outkast

Technology is changing the Music events and making them more money.

Technology is also changing the concert-going experience. Live Nation, which now sells 16% of its tickets on mobile devices, is testing and integrating an app that allows fans to reserve lawn chairs, skip entry lines and access VIP areas using their phones. At more festivals, fans will be able to leave their credit cards at home and purchase food, drinks and merchandise with chip-embedded wristbands, such as those designed by Front Gate Tickets. At Bonnaroo, fans can use the festival's official app to find their friends and live-stream shows from the bathroom lines.

The music industry has been following the money.

Lucrative album sales are now a thing of the past and Internet buzz doesn't always translate into revenue. With acts reliant on touring for their income, many are working harder to put on better shows, says Live Nation's head of global talent, David Zedeck.

GigaOm’s Matthew Ingram reports on the NYTimes

Internal innovation report says the New York Times needs to up its digital game or else



1 Comment

NYT newspapers
photo: Getty Images / Mario Tama

An internal report that looked at how the New York Times is performing in terms of its digital strategy says the paper needs to focus a lot more on audience engagement and analytics — but can it take the steps necessary to disrupt its traditional culture?

When I read about the NYTimes it seems like the publisher has trouble hearing what the audience wants.  The competition has figured out how to listen to readers.

“Start-ups like Vox and First Look Media, backed by venture capital and personal fortunes, are creating newsrooms custom-built for the digital world. BuzzFeed, Facebook and LinkedIn are pushing deeper into the journalism business by hiring editors and unveiling new products aimed at newsreaders. Traditional competitors like The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Financial Times and The Guardian are moving aggressively to remake themselves as digital first.”

Reliable data center power, do you think about cybersecurity threats on power plants and the grid?

About 4 years ago I met some interesting folks from Idaho National Laboratory, a DOE group at an OSIsoft user conference who work on cybersecurity threats on power plants and the grid.  Information Week covers NSA joining the cybersecurity threat.

NSA Launches Infrastructure Cybersecurity Program

The "Perfect Citizen" program will seek to help mitigate cyber attacks on critical infrastructure like power plants, air traffic control systems and the electrical grid.

By J. Nicholas Hoover
July 9, 2010 08:00 AM

The National Security Agency plans to launch a program aimed at assessing vulnerabilities and developing capabilities to help secure critical infrastructure like power plants, air traffic control systems and the electrical grid.

In an e-mail sent Thursday evening to InformationWeek, NSA refuted parts of an earlier Wall Street Journal report that the effort, called Perfect Citizen, would monitor communications or place "sensors" on utility company systems, instead calling it "a research and engineering effort."

The Idaho National labs has a web site with their efforts.

National Security

SCADA/Cyber/Power Grid Security

INL National SCADA Test Bed web site

Comprehensive computer and cyber security programs are an essential element for today’s personnel computers as well as for the digital control systems that operate our nation’s infrastructure systems such as transportation and telecommunication systems and facilities such as chemical and water treatment plants.

Leveraging the Laboratory’s more than 50 years of experience in developing, operating, and maintaining complex control systems for nuclear reactors and other infrastructure systems, the INL created a Critical Infrastructure Test Range complete with full-scale infrastructure systems, remote and secure testing grounds, and an expert staff to aid the utility and control systems industry in developing tools and solutions to improve cyber security.

In 2004, the departments of Energy and Homeland Security established two multi-year programs at INL to protect the nation’s infrastructures against attacks from hackers, virus writers, disgruntled employees, terrorist organizations and nation states.

The National Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Test Bed is funded by the Department of Energy and works in collaboration with Sandia National Laboratory to systematically analyze, test, and improve cyber security features in the control systems that operate the nation’s electric power grid. SCADA systems are also commonly found in the water and oil and gas industry.

And there is Department of Homeland Security site as well.

Control Systems Security Program (CSSP)

The goal of the DHS National Cyber Security Division's CSSP is to reduce industrial control system risks within and across all critical infrastructure and key resource sectors by coordinating efforts among federal, state, local, and tribal governments, as well as industrial control systems owners, operators and vendors. The CSSP coordinates activities to reduce the likelihood of success and severity of impact of a cyber attack against critical infrastructure control systems through risk-mitigation activities.

What is the gov'ts role and who should you contact to understand the cybersecurity threats to your power infrastructure?

Even so, the program raises unanswered questions about the government's role in -- and undefined turf over -- protecting the nation's critical infrastructure from cyber attacks, what technologies and processes might be used in such an effort, how any such effort would protect critical infrastructure owners' independence as well as privacy, and whether the effort should be public rather than classified.

I need to go back and find the business cards for the Idaho National Lab guys I talked to.  I think there would know some answers.

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Green Incident Management approach, another smart data center blogger to follow

This last week was an intense week of face-to-face discussions talking to some really smart people who are working on innovative solutions.  For example, my meeting with Smooth-Stone was quick and compressed, running at speeds of idea transfer that builds future relationships of information exchange.  When I blogged about meeting Smooth-Stone there is nothing I really wrote about that isn’t public information other than I now know 4 Smooth-Stone executives. 

I keep the GreenM3 blog constrained to either my own thoughts or public accessible information, always asking people for permission to blog about specific areas.  This way I can have intense knowledge sharing conversations and people know I won’t blog about conversations without their permission.  As one executive who I met on the phone last week, then met in person twice, and have taken him on wild ride of ideas introducing him to people who can help him execute green solutions said, “you know 95% of what you talk about, people can’t follow and you lose them.”  

Part of the reason why I write this blog is to slow down, simplify ideas, discuss publicly accessible concepts - thinking about when is the right time to discuss ideas with a broader audience. One of my long time technology friends who I am glad to start discussing his ideas is John Farmer now that he has his own blog at http://farmhead.blogspot.com/.


Here is a bit of background on John.

I've always been fascinated by machinery, whether software, hardware, or large organizations. I'm currently an Engineering Director at Adobe Systems and work on SaaS-related technology.


John’s interest and I overlap a lot, including both having black belts which is not relevant for physical fighting, but more as we have gotten older in how you fight battles and win vs. the competition in organizations and the industry.

John’s recent posts on Incident Management reminds me of a green approach to the problem.  How do you be the most efficient and effective in resolving the problem?

Tips for Handling Events, Incidents, Outages, and Maintenance

I get a lot of questions from new service teams about what they should do to prevent downtime but very few people ask for advice on how to handle an incident. This is a bit like asking a boxer for the best way to avoid getting in the ring. It’s not a question of “if” you’re going to be in the ring but “when”. There’s an old saying – the more you bleed in the gym, the less you bleed in the ring and that definitely applies to incident management as well.

John has taken the time to write three posts on Incident Management.

Having sat in on more war rooms than I’d like to remember, I thought it might be handy to write down some of the things that my team has found useful over the years. I think every service organization should have a standard approach towards three specific activities:
1.    Tips for Handling Service Incidents (just one service)
2.    Tips for Handling Service Outages (multiple services affected)
3.    Tips for Handling System Maintenance

Here is one my favorite Tips.

Get your head straight
First, stay calm. The worst thing you could do is cause a major outage, destroy some data, or make the existing problem worse in a panic. Simple problems can easily become large complicated problems after a few bad decisions made in haste. Take a breath before continuing. This is especially important with a page at 3AM or if a panicky client is in your office. Tell the client you’ll handle the problem and run through your normal procedure.

John closes with good advice that is grounded in years of martial arts practice and ways to handle the stress of combat.

I hope these posts help you with your handling of incidents, outages, and maintenance. Success here is mostly about being prepared, being calm, good communication, and practice, practice, practice. If you think your service is bullet-proof and you won’t need the practice – you’re wrong :-)

I’ll be reading John’s blog post on a regular basis, and referencing posts that I think are relevant to a green data center approach.  On my last trip, I was able to squeeze a 1/2 hour meeting with John before I flew from SJC to SEA. 

In the airport, I was able to shake hands with three of the Smooth-Stone executives I met 8 hrs earlier and were flying back to Austin. The Smooth-Stone CEO was on the flight to SEA, and we were able to discuss more ideas when we landed and I hitched a ride instead of taking the bus back to Redmond.  This last week was intensely interconnected.

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