iOS 7

Everyone has an opinion

As Harry C. Marks is so keen to point out, no one asked for my opinion (or yours for that matter) on what I think of iOS 7 and honestly, I haven&;t touch the new operating system in person, so I feel that I am ill-equipped to provide such an opinion. However, I can discuss the fever-pitch that occurred prior to the unveiling and the reactions after the fact since Mr. Marks is correct that everyone seems to have an opinion and love it or hate it, iOS 7 is polarizing and people want to talk about it.

The fact that people want to talk about it is a net win for Apple in my mind. Apple has always had mindshare (and profit share) if not marketshare in the smartphone and tablet space. Every time someone thinks of a smartphone interface—in both hardware and software forms—Apple is the first company they think about. Given that amount of credence, any change, especially one as giant a step as iOS 7 will be, is going to get reactions that span the gamut; for the record, I am with Mr. Marks in my sit back and wait to have an opinion until it is actually released approach, but I generally like the new look.

In addition to people&;s opinions about iOS 7, I am consistently reminded about that complaints about iOS 6, or iOS 5, and so on down the line. Designers, users, developers alike all have to expound on what is wrong, missing, or just badly designed, but when Notification Center was released with iOS 5 in all its linen-covered glory, designers were perturbed that the depth metaphor made no sense. Allow me to explain and then link to a better explanation on the subject: the linen backgrounds in iOS exist to show a bottom to the interface, to conform to a depth metaphor. When an iOS user brings up the multitasking tray to switch to a recently-used application, the linen is there because you are beneath the current interface. However, the linen is also there when a user pulls down Notification Center, which pulls down in front of the current interface. Designers don&;t like sloppy software metaphors and I, too, am annoyed by the linen idea for this reason. Follow this link for a more in-depth discussion of this topic.

In iOS 7, the linen metaphor is gone, as are most textures and illogical depth schemes. I would like to offer up as food for thought the idea shared by Gizmodo&;s Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan: instead of flat (which many were expecting), we got depth. But I want to take that idea a step further because instead of just a depth metaphor of a linen background underneath an interface, we instead received logical (almost physical) interface depth, which is exactly something that I would expect from an industrial designer like Jony Ive. Parallax software design and the nature of transparent user interfaces of the past aside, the transparency that Apple is using in the new Control Center (Video) and Notification Center (Video) interfaces forced them to stay honest to the notion of depth, as everything &;beneath&; an interface is blurred but not blocked from view. I welcome these types of changes that attempt to bring clarity to an interface through transparency (both in design and communication of intention).

In addition to the fixed metaphors, there are many updated features and UIs on which onlookers could be focusing, including a few really interesting sharing and background features for developers; instead, they choose to spend their time rethinking an interface they have yet to see in person or use, an interface that may not be set in stone in some of their areas of complaint. Perhaps Apple is listening to complaints, perhaps not, but in the end, I think the net gain is in seeing an interface that is fresh that Apple can use to grow into the future.

Check out the iOS 7 page on Apple.com for more information on Features and Design of the upcoming release, scheduled for this fall. Also, watch the iOS 7 video.


Read, Think, Share, Repeat

The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.