Watchscreen: Conrad Kramer, developer of Workflow

Each week, I ask someone to share their watchscreen, examining how they’re using Apple Watch, what apps are useful, and tips or tricks they have. This week, I’ve asked Conrad Kramer (Twitter) to share his screen.

Kramer-head

Conrad is one of the young and brilliant developers behind Workflow, winner of a 2015 Apple Design Award, as well as the excellent (but less well-known) DeskConnect. Workflow is the most powerful iOS app I’ve ever used as it has the power to automate repetitive tasks and link tasks together to do things that simply wouldn’t be possible otherwise. He and the Workflow team have been hard at work prepping their upcoming update for iOS 9 and watchOS 2, but he was kind enough to take time to answer some questions for me.

So, Conrad, show us your watchscreen! Continue reading

The Irreducible Reality of Form

In the second to fourth centuries, the philosophy of Gnosticism became popular. Though it had many variants, a key tenet was that matter was a lesser emanation of a kind of divine spirit. Human spirits were thus spiritual and good, but human bodies and matter were physical and evil, a limitation that had to be escaped in order to achieve true gnosis or enlightenment.

Why on earth do I start an article about technology–and this is an article about technology–with an ancient philosophy?1 Because good design of technology has to be based on an anti-gnostic notion that humans, fundamentally and irreducibly, are physical creatures and use physical products in a physical world. Those physical products, just as fundamentally and irreducibly, have a specific physical form that can be well or poorly suited to a human’s physical body or to the physical world.2 These forms both limit and enable functionality that is unique to that form. This interplay between a form’s function, it’s suitability to the human body and it’s appropriateness for the physical world is what design considers–and it is the interaction of these elements that has led to the success and failure of many technological products.3

Continue reading