A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: January 2014 (Page 1 of 2)

On January

Goodness gracious, January is over.

family football

family football

family football

family football

family football

family football

family football

family football

family football

family football

Can you really archive time?

2007: On March | On April | On May | On June | On July | On August | On September | On October | On November | On December

2008: On January | On February | On March | On April | On May | On June | On August On September | On October | On November

2009: On July  | On August | On September | On October | On November | On December

2010: On January | On February | On March | On April | On May | On June | A Captioned July An UnCaptioned August  | On September  | On October | On November | On December

2011: On January  |  On February   |   On March   |  On April  |  On May  |   On July

2012: On April | On May | On June | On July | On August | On September | On October | On November | On December

2013: On January | On Februaury | On March | On April | On May | On June | On July | On August | On September | On October | On November | On December

Almhult, Ikea town

Picturesque, is it not?


So… we’re getting an IKEA in Amman, and I’m going to Sweden tomorrow. With IKEA.

If you google “Ikea Jordan” or “Ikea Amman”, the third result you’ll see is an existential question I asked the Internet in 2008: “Why don’t we have an Ikea in Amman? And when are we getting one?”

Fast forward six years, to today.

Not only are we getting an IKEA some time very soon, I’m also going to visit Almhult tomorrow, the place where IKEA started.

This is very exciting for me because IKEA was a big part of my life growing up. Aside from the fact that it was (and remains to be) my bedsheets, my reading chair, my mirror, my bookshelves, my favorite pair of scissors, my rug, my tupperware, and so on, IKEA was a huge part of why I decided to become a designer.

In a way, IKEA to me is the perfect example of design. They completely embrace design as gorgeous function. With IKEA, it isn’t just about designing aesthetics, but also about designing cost out and designing function in. And now I’m going to spend some time in the place where IKEA makes their things and get to meet some of the people who shape this.

So yeah. Expect LOTS of posts this week about IKEA :)

Me, on my favorite IKEA chair, my reading refuge:

Typographic Glasses

These insanely tasteful typographic glasses are, of course, from Japan.

Typefaces on offer are Helvetica and Garamond.

Oh, Japan.

I’m too old for you, Snapchat honey

I’ve always enjoyed keeping my finger on the pulse of what’s technologically “hip”.

I make an effort to download all the cool apps, just to study their user experience. I enjoy spending money on first-generation gadgets, to better appreciate their subsequent evolution. I have accounts on hundreds and hundreds of websites, email providers, social networks, web apps, news sites, etc. because I’m obsessed with trends on the web. It isn’t something new either… I became tech-obsessed as a tween, in the days of GURL, Bolt, mIRC, ICQ, Lycos, and Geocities.

Then one day… news related to Snapchat started filling my RSS feeds.

Teens immigrating by the millions from Facebook to Snapchat. Snapchat rejects Facebook’s three billion dollar offer. Teens sexting on Snapchat, consequently banning app in schools around the world. Snapchat user information leaked.

Snapchat was suddenly ALL OVER MY NEWS FEED.

Of course, like any self-respecting, self-styled technologist, I went to the Google App Store on my HTC One handset and downloaded the Snapchat app. Then, I pressed the magic button: “Find friends”.

It started searching. I waited. And waited. And waited.

Then only one contact showed up: Team Snapchat.

Shit. You see, I have thousands of contacts saved on my phone, and many of them are technologists too. Not a single one of my contacts had an account on Snapchat.

I couldn’t try the stupid application because I had no one to try it with.

Suddenly… I felt old. Really old. I’m 20 years older than Snapchat’s target audience. The technology isn’t designed for me. I almost wanted to cry.

Then a while back, I decided to try my luck again at finding friends on Snapchat. Lo, and behold! I found one contact. One, amazing contact. Ahmad Humeid, the technologist daddy of Amman.

Now I can at least test the stupid, age-ist app.

What a single red blood cell looks like when balanced on a pin

This incredible image was captured using a scanning electron microscope. It’s been colorized to provide contrast, but this is actually what it would look like if you balanced one red blood cell on a pin. Amazing.

Via io9

Oh, Twitter, Your New Icons Make Me Want to Cry

What in the world possessed the design team at Twitter to pollute their interface with these horrendously-designed icons?

Everything about them is wrong… like the strange birdhouse icon for home. The ugly feather in the camera-shutter-style box. The absurdly weird ears of the really horrendous silhouette of a person’s head, and the strange space beneath the jaw. The gray rounded corners of the message icon.

And each seems to be designed by a different designer, who had no idea what the other designers were planning to do. No consistency whatsoever in the style, the colors, or the size of the rounded corners.

Actually, the entirety of the top bar is a design disaster. Everything is… floating. Like the poor Twitter bird in the center.

I feel like someone sent me back to 2007.


Things I Love to Collect: Junk Mail

When I was younger, I was the world’s worst hoarder, collecting the most random, absolutely worthless junk: pressed flowers, pretty buttons, interesting wire, scraps of paper, lovely candy wrappers. My room was a disastrous mess of things that I thought were pretty or interesting.

With time, I’ve somehow lost my interest in material possessions, junk and otherwise, but specifically with junk, because junk is really hard to archive.

Instead, I started collecting a different sort of non-material junk… junk mail.

I love receiving mass emails. I have a whole folder dedicated to corporate junk mail in my inbox called “Interesting Junk”. I love trying to follow the writer’s thought process in why he or she used that specific copy. I mean, why was the decision made to greet me with “Dear” instead of simply “Hello”? I love seeing how designers are trying to make me buy stuff.

The psychology of mass is just fascinating.

So… if you ever receive interesting junk mail trying to get you to upgrade, buy a product, follow the newsletter, join a service, unfollow someone, share your email, or whatever, please send it to me.

Junk mail makes me happy. Especially when it’s very smart junk mail.

It all just fades away, doesn’t it?

Our first glimpse of the dusty remnants of an exploding star:

From io9:
“It’s a massive plume of dust that formed shortly after the star ripped itself to shreds. The observation was made using the the brand new ALMA telescope — and it’s one that will help explain how galaxies got their dusty and dim complexion.”

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