Posts Tagged ‘#squoose’

Unicorny

Sunday, February 16th, 2014
CSSquirrel #108: Unicorny

Unicorn has become something of a loaded term, especially when “UX” joins forces with it, creating a web design Ubermensch that rivals the Jackalopian ‘designelopers’ of yore.

For me, the UX Unicorn has been the phrase used to refer to a rare combination of coding, design, and UX skills that somehow creates a generalist whom also possesses deep knowledge in each of these fields, a sort of super expert that the rest of us can only look at with sunglasses and despair.

In short, its a myth. It’s up there with “social media expert”, “seo expert”, and “real estate salesman” on the list of job titles that seem to attract the kind of people that aren’t afraid to sell you a jar of snake piss, claim it’s actually a curative tonic devised originally by Solomon, complete with instructions to rub it into your scalp nightly to cure your psoriasis and raise your IQ by 20 points.

So we’re clear: I’m not harping on the field of UX, and legitimate practitioners of that science. I am, in fact, down with the UX, do my best to learn its ways, and have a coworker I hold in high esteem whom is entirely embedded deep in that field of research.

But when it comes to self-declared snooty “unicorns”, there’s been a high noise to signal ratio that is muddying up the airwaves.

Along with Dylan Wilbanks, who is a real life person in the UX field, I had some misgivings about the Unicorn Institute that’s been making the rounds with its Kickstarter Campaign. We took to our mighty podcast, Squirrel and Moose, to discuss the whole “UX Unicorn” mythos in full detail on not only one, but two long episodes.

We had feels. We had opinions.

Opinions I stand by.

…but, we just might have had an incorrect understanding of the Unicorn Institute’s true nature, created in part by a sparsity of details on the Unicorn Institute’s site at the time of our recording, and in part due to a lack of… well… asking those involved directly.

My high school journalism teacher would be mortified. My apologies, Ms. Bickley.

Last week, none other than Jared Spool himself contacted Dylan and I, mentioned that he’d listened to our podcasts about the topic, and asked if he could come onto our next episode to talk about the project.

After I finished dancing around and squeeing like a fanboi at a [insert applicable current Disney teen heartthrob here] concert, I of course said “YES PLEASE”.

What resulted was the longest podcast in Squoose history, where Spool corrected our misunderstandings and offered some deep, detailed information about what the Unicorn Institute, actually called the Center Centre, really is.

Short version: It’s amazing. A trade school for UX professionals that’s built in a fashion entirely different from any other institution of higher learning that I’ve seen.

I’m jealous of those entering the field in the years ahead, to have an institution like this to attend. They didn’t have them in my day.

It clocks in at over an hour, but I think everyone should take the time to listen to Jared’s discussion about the genesis of the Unicorn Institute, and the research and thought that went behind it. I learned a lot talking with him.

Imagine how much more you’d learn actually attending it.

If you like what he says, please consider taking the time to back the institute on Kickstarter. They’ve got five days left, and the hope is that they do well enough with the Kickstarter to offer scholarships for those that couldn’t normally afford an opportunity like this.

I still don’t believe in the UX Unicorn, instead seeing us all as variations of Dylan’s chimeras. But the Unicorn Institute isn’t trying to make those unicorns. They’re making something different.

And I am a big fan of that.

Podcast #24: Weeping Angels

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Dylan and I talked about Blink last night, as well as discussing our experiences at the Squeetup event we had that coincided with AEA’s opening night party.

Here’s Dylan’s recap of the podcast:

Kyle and Dylan talk through the implications of Google’s new Blink browser engine and what it means for the future of web standards. Also, a review of the Squeetup, a Joel Spolsky reference, and Dylan’s exhaustion causing a few too many pregnant pauses.

You can go listen to it now at 3rdaverad.io.

Squirrelcon: The First Ever Squoose Squeetup

Friday, March 29th, 2013
Squirrelcon: The First Ever Squoose Squeetup

If you’re in Seattle on April 1st, either as a local or an attendee at AEA: Seattle, then might I politely ask you to swing past Rob Roy sometime that evening to meet up with Dylan, myself, and several other web geeks? Neither of us could attend An Event Apart this year (which is bound to be an amazing if it’s anything like every other AEA has been), but we’ll be in the neighborhood, having some drinks, eats, and incredibly geeky conversations.

We’ll be there starting at 7pm. It’s right across the street from the AEA Opening Night Party, but here’s directions just in case.

Those of you on Facebook can let us know you’re coming and ask any event-related questions over here at the event’s page.

Podcast #23: We Know You Al

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Last night Dylan Wilbanks and I recorded a new Squirrel and Moose podcast. Here’s how Dylan described it:

Dylan and Kyle delve into Faruk Ates’ idea of giving non-anonymous commenters priority in comment threads. Also, the forthcoming Squoose meetup, an in-passing X Files reference, Dylan and Kyle compare age of their oldest e-mail addresses, and almost no web content.

For those of you who will be in Seattle on Monday,  April 1st (including you AEA attendees), if you’re into hanging with Dylan, myself, and a few other web geeks for a quality evening, I suggest you attend the first Squeetup (Squirrelcon? Squoosecon? Who knows?!)

If you use Facebook, you could even let us know you’re coming, which we’d appreciate.

Follow this link to listen to Episode #23.

Podcast #22: Of Google And Men

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Last night I performed my normal Thursday ritual, carefully keeping the seals that hold the ancient ones in their slumber in the deepest trenches of the sea…

Er, I mean, joining co-host Dylan Wilbanks for another episode of Squirrel and Moose.

I’d like to think we’re hitting our stride at this point. We discuss Donglegate with an enforced 10-minute limit and what I think constitutes a fairly balanced, nuanced view. We then dive into a talk about Google Reader which nicely spins into a discussion about Google’s behaviors in general these days.

Here’s the synopsis, as cleverly put by Dylan:

Kyle and Dylan delve yet again into Yet Another Sexist Incident that ended with (almost) every party looking terrible, and then a long, rambling talk about the end of Google Reader and the Twilight Of The Web. Also, why there will never be another Jeffrey Zeldman, TV stations owned by flour mills, making AR-15 parts with 3D printers, raising girls to be programmers in a brogrammer world, and their inability to properly close out the episode.

Check it out: Squirrel and Moose: Episode 23 – Of Google And Men