A small, but delightful, reason I love my Apple Watch: I don’t have to sign in to my MacBook Air. 

After 20 minutes of dealing with a PC at work and logging on and off and all that, it really made me wish I could skip that step all together. 

This isn’t the only reason why I love my watch, but man is it nice. The convenience of a wearable device connecting with others and making their usability better is perfect evidence that there’s always a way to make a user’s experience better with your product. 

May The Force Be With You Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher passed away today at the age of 60 from drowning in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.

I know she was far more than just Princess Leia, but that is where she had the biggest impact in my life.

She was the first princess I experienced in media, a predecessor to the Disney princesses. How ironic is it she then became an “unofficial” Disney princess after Lucasfilm was acquired by the Walt Disney Company?

Carrie Fisher’s strength and delicacy were both present in her performance, and in the music that accompanied her. Do yourself a favor and listen to John Williams’ “Princess Leia’s Theme” from A New Hope. It’s a beautiful piece of music lead by a French horn, delicate and strong.

Some other notable musical pieces connected to Leia are “Han Solo and the Princess” from The Empire Strikes Back plus both “Luke and Leia” and “Leia’s News/Light of the Force” from Return of the Jedi. After today, the piece “Han and Leia” from The Force Awakens has even more depth since it’s not only the last time we saw both Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford on screen together, but perhaps the last piece of music geared specifically towards the Princess in the Star Wars universe.

Let us all celebrate Carrie Fisher and her impact on our lives. How did she affect your life? Let me know at @JMPin140.


We are less than two weeks away from closing on the new house. Under two weeks from another adjustment period in this crazy, crazy year. 

The 50+ days since my last post have not been kind. The traffic is worsening due to the new WMATA SafeTrack initiative. Just imagine single track maintenance will continue until March of NEXT YEAR. Last week contained commutes from just under 2 hours total to just over 3 and a half hours. 

The move brings in more logistics of drop off and pick up times from Abuela’s, or daycare, or school (Ariana starts kindergarten in the fall…yikes!). 

I will have one telework day a week starting July. That will help a little bit, but man, did we completely chew up and spit out our Greer lifestyle. 

Here’s to figuring all this stuff out. 

Private Show

It was a fun filled adventure with the family today. After some BBQ and bounce house fun, we apparently rented out an entire theater for a private showing of Kung Fu Panda 3. (Really it was a 5:00 show so who else would be at a theater?)

It’s a little hard to believe Ariana is 5 now. But hey, I guess that’s what kids do over time: they grow up.


Yesterday was a first for me as I put in an official 12 hours of work.

It was strenuous, and, to a point, mentally draining. But I had no problem waking back up and driving in this morning. 

That marathon is followed by a sprint today since I’m leaving early for Ariana’s birthday celebration.The past 2 years I was at home and we had an entire day, but I think this is a decent trade off. 

Smile and be happy

Yesterday also reminded me to smile and be happy. I am working for a great company with some amazing people. We are all putting in the hours to deliver an excellent product to our client, and we’re doing it together. 

So take the time to reflect on the positives of those long days or nights. Manage the rubber band of life. And don’t forget to smile. 

Content Strategy

Stacked books on a stair

I’ve spent the good part of the last three weeks trying to figure out how to best convey the importance of content strategy to some people.

I fear, however, that those who don’t get it might just not get it at all. Or they don’t care.

They choose to be blind to the why of content and merely focus on the how.

“So what kind of content do you want?”

“I’m not quite sure, but let’s get some wireframes.”


Does a good writer focus on the font of their article before they write it? No.

Kristina Halvorson states in an A List Apart article:

Dealing with content is messy. It’s complicated, it’s painful, and it’s expensive.

And yet, the web is content. Content is the web. It deserves our time and attention.
And that’s where content strategy comes in.

What is the reason a visitor comes to your site? Why does your site exist? What value do you give visitors?

Think on these things and develop more than the look, develop the substance.

Spool of Thought: Design for Ritual, Not Addiction

Man looking over the water

Received this UX THOUGHT OF THE DAY in the inbox last week:

Not too long ago, gamification was the go-to design strategy. The goal was to design for pleasure, to create something addictive enough to pull people away from the demands of their everyday lives. Over and over again.

Instead, says Kelly Goto, founder of gotomedia, LLC, we should be designing experiences that become part of people’s daily routines, their personal rituals.

To do this, we have to understand people’s routines, what they do once a day, once a week, once a month, or once a year. Then, we create experiences that integrate with these rituals. Experiences that enhance real life instead of distracting from it.

This is a far more successful strategy in the long term.

What a brilliant idea! (Credit goes to Kelly Goto and her talk on “Mapping Emotion to Experience.” ) 

Continue reading “Spool of Thought: Design for Ritual, Not Addiction”