by Walter Krivanek

What Facebook is lacking

Force Choke hand

Normally, I avoid arguing online but from time to time I come across a post on Facebook whose sheer ignorance and stupidity makes my inner Darth Vader want to Force Choke some sense into the author. That’s what Facebook is lacking. A Force Choke button for Jedis. ;-)

Force Choke button

Offscreen Magazine

I’m leading a digital lifestyle. My work-related print magazine subscriptions have all long been cancelled. Therefore I was pretty skeptical when I first read a tweet about a new magazine in print covering digital topics. I still took a peek at their website and I’m glad I did.

Photo of the Offscreen Magazine on a table next to an iPad

The first thing that caught my eye was the name. Offscreen. It seemed to imply that using ink and paper was not something a stick-in-the-mud publisher insisted on but was a very deliberate decision; a core part of the concept. The clean and beautiful design of the website further suggested that the creators themselves place great value on form and function of things. Both assumptions turned out to be very true but what really sparked my interest then, was, that Offscreen apparently wasn’t about technical how-tos, trends or techniques but about the “human side of websites and apps”. Curious, I ordered the first issue and was hooked from the moment I took it out of its envelope.

“Offscreen is a new periodical with an in-depth look at the life and work of digital creators — captured in enduring print.”

The look, feel and even smell of it is just beautiful. And it holds its promise: Over a hundred pages are offering a pleasant glimpse into the lives of “the people behind bits and pixels.” You get to know them a bit, learn about their very different backgrounds, careers, philosophies and even daily routines. Instead of narcissistic ego trips, you’ll find essays, stories and interviews about passion, creativity and success, or better, different definitions of success. All on visually stunning pages.

But why use paper at all? Print is a single-purpose, distraction-free and offline medium. When done right, these features can work as an advantage. And in the case of Offscreen, they do. You don’t need any devices you’d normally use for work to read it and flicking through pages is, at least to me, a welcome change to the digital world. While Offscreen won’t herald a renaissance of print media as such, it definitely serves as a showcase for how a print periodical should be made in times of fast moving bits and pixels.

I found Offscreen to be very inspiring and recommend it wholeheartedly. I am very much looking forward to the next issue.

Tabula rasa

Today, I’m rebooting my website. No, I’m reviving my website. Twitter killed it. More or less.

That’s just what happens when you start publishing your ideas, findings, projects and opinions on [enter your favourite social networking service here] and neglect your own blog. A long time has passed since I published my last article here. Two years, to be exact. Aeons. Which is a shame, really, because I wasn’t idle in those years. I’ve done a lot of projects which I wanted to write about in more detail but didn’t take the time to do so. And I guess, the fact that I didn’t like the design anymore added to my hesitancy.

Well, the time has come – in the truest sense of the word. I was finally able to spare a few hours to redesign my website, clearing the path for new articles. Because they didn’t quite fit anymore, I put all of the old ones, both in German and English, away into the Legacy category, where you (and Google) can still find them.

I’ve deactivated the comments for the time being, because the discussion moved away to the services where the blog posts are being shared, anyway. Trackbacks, however, are still active and very much welcome.

I’ll be writing about my work, my passions and the occasional geek out.