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SXSW was awesome. I met about thirty backers, a couple of project creators, and several administrators of Kickstarter itself. I crashed with one backer who was generous enough to offer her room, and received the best business card of the entire conference from another, who walked around taking Polaroids:
Thanks to everyone who tracked me down over the course of SXSW. I know I promised handshakes in my backer gifts, but I'm pretty sure I gave more hugs than handshakes. To which I say:
It was my first-ever SXSW, and I heard quite a few folks talk about how large it had become. Some groused about how different it was back in the day. Obviously I have no perspective, but I had a total blast, and am kicking myself that I didn't attend in previous years. It's amazing how approachable and affable everybody is, and how willing they are to extend their time to hang out with relative strangers. The developer of my favorite-ever iPhone app invited me to have a beer within five minutes of chat. The writer of my favorite-ever link blog invited me to dinner unprompted.
Maybe I'll meet more of you in 2011.
I also printed fifty more copies of Cadence & Slang Mini, and handed out every single one, along with a ton of stickers. If you (backer or no) received a copy, you can post photos of stickers or Mini at the new Cadence & Slang Flickr group.
Oh, and I'm about a month away from finishing writing.
Hello! It's been almost a month since I last wrote here. Thanks to everyone who emailed about Illustrator; I think I have a solution worked out. Two other things are noteworthy:
1. I've worked on Cadence & Slang exclusively for the past three weeks. Surprise! My freelance contract expired recently, and I have a month between it and my next gig, after SXSW. I have enough cash saved up that I can go jobless for a month and work daily on the book – so I have, spending about eight hours a day on it. I feel really happy with where I currently am on it. In a couple of weeks I'll be giving a manuscript to my friend Daniel Bogan, so he can draw some nice illustrations.
2. I'm going to SXSW Interactive on Thursday. Thanks to the generosity of a backer, I have a place to crash a few blocks from the convention center. If you find yourself in Austin a little early, I'll be grabbing a beer or three with whomever wants to show up at the Ginger Man, at 301 Lavaca, on March 11 at 8PM. It's apparently the best place in Austin for craft beer – and with this tap list, I'd be astonished if anything tops it. We can talk about beer and usability.
If you can't make the Ginger Man or hate deliciousness, I'll be roaming Austin all weekend, of course. If you helped make this book a reality I'd love to meet you. Shoot me an @-reply on Twitter and I'll try my best. Or here's the list of panels that I'll be attending – subject to change, naturally, but I'll try to keep this up to date. (I've found that site, sitby.us, really useful, so you should head over there and add your own picks!)
You should have stickers and/or Cadence & Slang Mini by now. If you don't, email me at nickd at nickd dot org. So far only one person has expressed shipping issues, which is a pretty amazing proportion. Fingers crossed that it stays that way when I mail books.
Writing is now done for every section. In nerd terms, this means the book is feature complete, but not bug-fixed. I have the next several months to clean up the writing, fire drafts off to friends, finesse the whole thing, work with my illustrator to develop pretty doodles, and make some doodles of my own.
On the last point: it's easy to spend 37,000 words discussing interaction design (and yes, that's where we're at right now), but it's much easier to express those ideas pictorially. I'm ahead of time a little, and want to find novel ways to deal with this. It makes more sense, especially given how I've laid out the book, to establish its own internal visual grammar. Every operating system has its own way to visually express a form pull-down, for instance, and countless more ways exist to wireframe it. At the same time, the instant you use any elements from any real-world operating system, the book dates itself. But I want to express these conventions, and familiarity is on my side: after 20 years of stagnant GUI design, everyone on Earth knows what a checkbox is.
Other books have been successful with this. For example, the influential books of Edward Tufte have dozens of graphs that are near-uniformly set in Gill Sans, with the same color palette. And while I have no interest in comparing C&S to Visual Display, the concept makes sense, especially considering both books concern themselves with cleaning up current work to some degree.
So I'm thinking of trying my hand at Adobe Illustrator over the coming weeks, and seeing what happens. I can already sketch well, and wireframing looks decent, but we'll see how well I work with vector graphics for the first time. I'm super adept at Photoshop, but Illustrator... not so much. This is all a long way of saying: if you have any decent tips or resources for learning Illustrator fast and correctly (I'm acutely sensitive to there being a right way and a dumb way in Adobe products), dump them in the comments.
I'm going to SXSW Interactive, and need a place to crash. I'm weighing my options, but if you have a decent place near downtown or want to split a hotel room, let me know.
pledged of $9,800 goal
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Sep 7, 2009 - Dec 4, 2009
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You join the exclusive club of awesome people who support this. I send you periodic updates about my progress. I credit you in the book. I mail you 5 stickers. I owe you a handshake, should we ever cross paths.
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The above, and I give you access to a private site with excerpts from the book.
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The above, and a copy of Cadence & Slang Mini. Handmade, signed, and numbered by me. This is the outline of the book, with all of the rules and suggestions - only for Kickstarter backers!
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Private site, book, stickers, adulation, and an original drawing from Cadence & Slang by Daniel Bogan of The Setup (usesthis.com).
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The first three, and you give me a URL, application, etc. Then I write up a full report, probably around ten pages, analyzing it in detail.