Sketch, the hammer and a rusty nail

I really like Sketch, a vector design tool by Bohemian Coding. It’s a fantastic app that I love using. In theory.

When I first tried version 2 of Sketch I was quite surprised how powerful a simple interface for a vector app can be. I liked it a lot for some interface work and also for illustrations which resulted in my talk at last year’s Fronteers Jam (Slides) and a tutorial for net magazine.

But lately I’ve had a bad feeling each time I started Sketch. As great as its tools are and as great it is to achieve some things much faster and more intuitively than in Photoshop or Illustrator there is something that troubles me. As natural as working with vectors next to pixels feels and as great as the exporting features fit into a modern workflow for a web designer, Sketch is flawed in a lot of ways.

At the end of the day software is a tool. And as someone who builds websites for a living, I need these tools to be reliable but Sketch isn’t. As much as the hammer and nail metaphor is overused when it comes to talking software, I need a hammer that works. Every day. For every nail. And Sketch doesn’t come close. It just isn’t reliable.

Sometimes combining and subtracting shapes work like a charm but as soon as it comes to something a little more complex than two shapes it mostly doesn’t.

Sometimes converting an outline into a shape works. Most times it doesn’t.

Sometimes changing fonts works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

This is fun for a while. The thrill of being surprised at any step on the way if the software you’re working with will be able to handle the next action. Or what kind of idea it has, to do something different than you expect. But that wears off pretty fast. Especially if you’re trying to get work done.

Sure, for some problems there are workarounds but not for others. I’m not using a simpler software to add complexity by learning the workarounds. I could stick with the complex software in the first place.

And the performance is just unacceptable. And I’m not talking about the video with thousands of circles. I’m talking about adding one image to my comp and the app being pretty unusable on a 2013 Mac with maxed out RAM.

There have been countless updates and even a (paid) major version since I started using it. But it feels like the problems and bugs that get fixed are replaced by new ones. Sketch gets features pretty quickly and most of them are very useful. My problem is that I could live without most of them if the features that are in the app already worked at least most of the time. But they don’t. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like that will change somewhat soon.

I’m still using Sketch for some tasks where it really trumps everything else but every bug I encounter makes it harder and harder for me to use it for anything. I’m back to Photoshop, Illustrator and actually mocking stuff up in HTML and CSS now. PS and AI are way more expensive and some of the stuff that’s a breeze in Sketch feels like hammering a rusty nail into your eyeball. But at least the hammer works.

I’d love to see Sketch getting some major bugfixes soon but for now I’m tired of its escapades.

Driverless cars and their financial implications

In other words, now you’re into the operation of an autonomous car for $2,300 per year, on average, or just about 25% of what you’d spend to operate a human-driver vehicle. Would 75% savings be a tipping point for the consumer?

I can’t wait for driverless cars and what they’re going to do to society and the concept of getting around in the city. Even in foreign cities:

For example, given a robot fleet of Manhattan taxis, The New York Times reported, the cost per trip-mile of your future ride could drop from $4 per to about 50 cents per trip-mile.

Bastian Allgeier on Simplicity

In the last two months I moved away from SASS for all new projects, though I know how helpful it can be in many places. I moved away from inuit.css, which I really liked as a CSS toolkit and went back to better structure my own CSS. I ditched Angular for Kirby 2 and went for a very reduced and tiny combination of loosely coupled js components.

Basically Stephen made me throw away lots of my work from last year and I’m very thankful for that. It helped me focus again. It helped me to get back to a more simple — pen and paper-like — setup and to recognize that I hardly loose anything. Instead I feel I gain a more direct connection to my brain.

I’m not quite as radical as Bastian and I am still using SASS for most of my CSS for example. But I noticed something similar where you put off some work and dread doing it, because you made it complicated yourself. Sometimes writing something plain and simple from scratch may be a lot faster than to automate everything and build the perfect tool for the job. By the time you have all your tools and workflows running you might be done otherwise.

Englis(c)h

Starting today I’ll be posting in english from time to time. Especially for photo captions and comments on link posts that direct to english articles. That’s not completely new on here and even after changing the software behind this blog a couple of times and removing some articles on the way there are still a few english entries that survived. Like this one with the most memorable email I’ve ever received.

With older attempts to blogging I tried switching completely. Unfortunately I’ve learned the hard way that I miss writing in German from time to time especially if I need to hit the right linguistic nuances. In other cases there could be one language that fits the content better or I just feel like writing in it.

Other times I might want to reach the broadest audience possible or one very particular group of people. So there probably won’t be any system to it. I like to hone my written English a bit as well. So in case you spot an error feel free to point it out to me. That extends to German, too.

Since this is my private blog I figured I can do whatever I want and you have to deal with it.

Unterschiedliche Definition des Wortes „fair“

Ein durchschnittlicher Internetnutzer verbraucht lt. Bundesnetzagentur1 nur 21 GB im Monat. Damit alle das Internet gleich gut nutzen können, reduzieren wir ab 01.10.2014 und ab einer Nutzung von 300 GB in drei aufeinanderfolgenden Abrechnungsmonaten (dem 14-fachen des Durchschnittsverbrauchs) die Geschwindigkeit auf bis zu 2.000 KBit/s. Dies erfolgt erst ab dem 4. Monat und jeweils erst ab 300 GB bis zum Ende des Abrechnungsmonats. Auch mit der reduzierten Geschwindigkeit kann jeder problemlos surfen, E-Mails abrufen, Facebook nutzen und auch YouTube-Videos ansehen.

Schön schöngeredet, o2. Natürlich sind 300 GB ein ordentlich hohes Limit und es mag sogar sein, dass es das 14-fache des Durchschnittsusers ist. Aber erstens ist es eine Milchmädchenrechnung, weil hinter einem Anschluss in vielen Fällen mehrere Durchschnittsuser hängen und zweitens geht der Traffic in den nächsten Jahren sicher eher extrem nach oben. Online-Backups, der umstieg von Fernsehen auf streaming, der Umstieg von HD auf 4K, Smartphones, die ihre Bilder und Videos über die Cloud synchronisieren.

Glücklicherweise haben viele o2-Verträge einmonatige Kündigungsfrist. Ich würde schnellstens irgendwo hin wechseln, wo eine Flatrate eine Flatrate ist. Provider sollten zukünftig gar nicht auf die Idee kommen, dass das eine Option für Zusatzverdienste ist.