The Manual, Issue I

This post is incredibly long overdue, but a while back I made my way through The Manual and enjoyed it thoroughly. I read it in various chunks, some on the bus, some while relaxing at home; but no matter where or when I stopped numerous times to reread a sentence and just ponder the idea presented to me. The authors are all excellent, all people who I have followed online and admire. I so wanted to write  a thorough review, but that just hasn’t been happening for me, so below I share some of the thoughts that I continue to go back to as I reread the pieces.

All design has a job to do; so too does web design.
-Simon Collison, page 11

Colly’s essay was fantastic and I actually think I stopped the most while reading through it. The notions and values of craftsmanship along with the need for inquiry, it all made me pause several times.

Technology runs counter to our personhood; technology is complicated and shallow, but people are simple and deep. Our true needs are not complex. Good technology makes us feel like we are inching closer to who we truly want to be.
-Frank Chimero, page 26

Following on the heels of Colly, Frank was equally amazing to me. I have struggled mightily with the role of technology in my life. I make my living making things that work on technological devices, but I fear for technology taking over my life. I also think that technology has introduced me to a lot of very shallow relationships, but as Frank says, it should be bringing us closer to who we want to be, not farther away from that.

Jon Tan’s essay about archiving our work and how we do that has many intriguing images in it, the idea of walking into a museum with old machines running old operating systems so that we can see where we come from it incredibly interesting. We are way too quick with this technology to just dump things and not archive or remember, but remembering can be so helpful to the future.

Liz Danzico’s piece on identity and who we are also struck a chord. I chuckled out loud when she talked about signatures being longer than actual emails because we want to make sure the world knows how to find all our different identities. Is this where we are going? It also ties back to Frank’s piece, is this list of technology and identities helping us be our true selves or just a shallow representation?

Finally in The Standardista’s piece I was so excited to see them encouraging wide and deep reading in all kinds of fields to inform our work. It made me want to move to Ireland to take their course so that I would be forced into making the time to read all the wonderful books they listed. We are often so inward focused and it was great to be pushed to think outside of the code and design to what other disciplines can offer us.

Thank you to Andy McMillan, Carolyn Wood and Jez Burrows for putting together such a truly wonderful issue, one which I keep going back to again and again. Now I am waiting as patiently as I can for Issue II and all that come after.