1894 Entries
1 Marathon

I put a little bit more time into tweaking the full screen entries tonight. Minor adjustments to the text in passive and active states. I still need to adjust how the left and right arrows are displayed here, but I think by the time I wake up in the morning @lucas will have already worked out something cool. With design sessions I find what makes the most impact is time of day and energy levels. Interface design doesn't necessarily flash to me in an instant or something like an insight. I might get an instant insight for something new we should add to Futureland, but the process of actually sketching it out is something that requires concentration. I just need to grind out a bunch of variants over days to figure out the best way to do something. So if my design session happens in the afternoon or in the evening, it's usually a wash. I like stumbling out of bed very early in the morning, making an espresso with my eyes half open and then sitting in front of my Mac barely awake with my head phones on. That's how I get my best work interface design work done. I'll try and make it happen tomorrow.

Working on active state. When you start typing the text area becomes white instead of grey and the send button is highlighted in white as well. This might need some more work still but it's a good start I think.

Adjusted the comment text to a grey instead of white in this full screen entry interface. I still need to fix the arrows to be an overlay to allow for full screen width.


Deleting Twitter

I deleted Twitter last night. It's a funny thing to write about and even think about really. It's just an account on a social network. I used it for 11 years though (lol). I think what happens with these social networks is we project parts of our identity on to them. So deleting the account becomes a killing of that identity. Deleting Twitter was not a quick decision. I ran lots of different experiments over multiple years. Tweeting about different subjects and at different frequencies. I followed people, curated my list of followers and then eventually I stopped following everyone. That last thing - unfollowing everyone - was a useful way of focusing my Twiter only on publishing. But there's always some content that shows up in explore or trending that ends up distracting me. My Twitter use wasn't super high. I was able to slowly use it less and less over time. I did not have the app on my phone and I would only use it on my Mac. The one thing I could not get rid of though, was the need for recognition. Whenever I would tweet something, I would often check to see if it had any likes. I needed to know. Is this something people liked or not? Am I a winner or am I a loser? Twitter became a way for my brain to turn thoughts into dopamine. On a subconscious level, I feel I would automatically imagine ideas that would do well within the format of Twitter. After 11 years of use, my brain had the circuitry to make that type of ideation happen whether I liked it or not. I've become very curious about how my brain might work without something like Twitter as an outlet. Deleting this account also means I am no longer on any social network except Futureland.

I've always imagined Futureland as a place where anyone feels comfortable sharing things in process, where it's easier to stick to things, and ultimately sustain ourselves. Maybe the best way to create that place for others is to try to create it for ourselves.


Today on Futureland #11

- Getting a bunch done on full screen entries. Should be ready for you soon but still things to work out.

- Some of you are using the early iOS app now which is great. If you want a link let me know. We’re slowly adding more components to it.

- Making good progress on a weekly email experiment that shares some insights about individual and community wide activity. We’ll try and send the first one on Sunday morning!

- Our onboarding is not good yet, mostly because it’s hard to tell people what FL is when we are figuring it out for ourselves! But this is something we are working on now and will build on each day :)

Good night!

Adjusting the spacing. I find it is so much easier to design on an external display than on my MacBook Pro. At least when I am doing desktop design. I find the dimensions of everything seem to click better on this larger display.

Weekly emails from FL

We're going to start experimenting with a weekly email that you can opt-in or opt-out of. It will include both individual and community wide stats. It will take practice and experimentation to find the right mix of useful information, but here's some things we can start with:

- Total entries this week
- Your most active journal this week
- Your average publish time this week
- The day with your highest entries this week

- Total entries this week
- The most active journal on Futureland this week
- The most active entry on Futureland this week
- Some recent users who have joined

We can definitely expand on this over time. What do you think?

Later dinner. Pretty standard in terms of contents though lol. Grilled burger zucchini peppers and mushrooms.

Today on Futureland #10

(1) New use case developing where groups use FL for real time public discussion

(2) Opt-in weekly individual & community wide stats

(3) In addition to the stats every user can access on any journal which can be very powerful

Added left and right arrows. Removed the entry count from the top right corner. It said, '1/11 Entries'. I'm not sure how useful that is. I'll need to adjust spacing in that area now.

As of yesterday, I have been making some kind of Interface for 365 consecutive days. The kind of surprising thing was that I didn't even realize it. I was looking through my Daily around lunch and I saw the number '365' beside Interfaces. I was thinking back to the first time I did one of these experiments with music and then code and how much my life has changed since then. It's pretty crazy to think about. I would have never imagined that doing something for 365 consecutive days would be an almost casual thing. I think after almost 3 years of working this way my mind and life has changed in a way where it can be difficult to remember how hard things were before all of this. Thanks for everything. <3

The morning combination of L-Theanine and Caffeine has been great though and something I really enjoy. I find my ability to concentrate for long periods of time increases through taking these. My ideal morning is waking up very early, making an espresso and drinking it with 200mg of L-Theanine and then immediately beginning design.

I dropped the 10mg of melatonin from my supplement stack. I found the benefits weren’t high enough and also it forced me into a fixed sleep schedule. I had a timed release version so any situation where I wasn’t sleeping 8~ hours I would feel much slower waking up. Just trying to sleep early and wind down effectively is way more effective but also way harder to do :). So yeah I dropped that.


That was also a great stress test of the current state of FL. I noted some bugs and others did too. Really cool little experiment. It gave me a lot of ideas about what else we could show on the Journals. Like units of creation outside of just the creators. A lot of people contribute to Journals perhaps not directly through entries but also through feedback and conversation. Most often this can be very insightful.


A thought from this experience so far, we need to make it easier to see comments as they happen on Journals. Maybe they show up on the same surface as the Entries in some way.


Idea: weekly insights

We’re thinking about putting together a simple email for you (that you can opt-out) that includes interesting insights on your individual activity on FL. It can also include general platform statistics so you can see how things are developing. I share more thoughts in this audio clip.

What do you think?

Might need to tighten up the side bar here a bit more but I'll do that in a different variant. I want to see through a wider one first to see what happens and how it affects the feeling of reading and composing comments.


Today on Futureland #9

(1) We're trying to improve how conversations happen on FL through new full screen entries

(2) We made a little iOS app that improves publishing to FL from your phone. It supports text, photos, video and audio


Help us test our early iOS apps

We have a little test iOS app that we can share with a few friends. Its focus is entirely on publishing for now, so functionality is limited to 'Daily' and adding Futureland to your share sheet. You can use the app to quickly publish to journals from your phone - photos, videos, text, audio. This is interesting experimentation because @lucas has been using FL to teach himself iOS development to build this app. He uses a journal titled, Native Software to document his process.

If you have iOS 14 and you are interested in testing out the app, drop a comment!

Grilled sausage mushrooms zucchini and peppers. Felt very calm and focused today. Just grilled and didn’t do much else.

Just experimenting with how these look. I'll cut the grid out for now as well. I don't think it will end up making sense to show it by default.

Sketching more variants of Journal 'units' on FL Profiles. Nothing I really like yet and that's ok. It's still very early.

Just working through variants of these Journals on Profiles, might start a new file just to run through a bunch of these variants.

One of the hardest parts about creating these profiles is going to be working on the units for Journals. Just starting to sketch out ideas. This will be a grind because I need to just push through a lot of variants with this to make sure I've thought of everything.

Trying to space this grid of little squares correctly. It feels as though this grid should only be triggered in a certain instance and now by default.

Sketching out how Journals can be listed out on this profile. The height here of these bars is 56px. The draw back of this approach is how do you handle users that have tons of Journals. Perhaps there's some kind of search functionality and the ability for the user to pin specific Journals to the top of their profiles. A lot more thinking to do here.


Today on Futureland #8

(1) You can now Shadow Journals on Futureland :)
(2) We added the ability to download original media on public journal entries.

Meditated today and noticing that my mind is being pulled in many different directions. Today I let myself sit with this pulling in different directions and accepted that this was the current state of mind and then things started to slow down. The more I just sat and did not let myself go anywhere, the more my mind wanted to leave. It is an interesting thing to observe. I experimented with adjusting the focus of my attention. My glasses sat on the floor in front of me, and I let my attention point at my glasses by using my finger to point at them. Then slowly, I would turn my finger and point to myself and my attention would be on me or the space that I am. Consciousness. And I could switch these modes of attention so easily, flipping between looking out at the glasses and then inward towards myself. I think because of our vision it is much easier to fixate on outward attention, but then sometimes you fixate on thoughts often without knowing it. And it colours your perception of the outside. The hardest layer to focus on is the space that is you. The kind of emptiness that is beneath the surface.

Developing this variant of a new Futureland profile out a bit more. I've added in a profile picture, username, total entries, total journals and total marathons. The spacing feels pretty good right now I'll continue sketching and see what happens.

Today on Futureland #7 - A daily video update on our work with Futureland.


(1) There's new interface improvements to 'Daily' on desktop, a tool to help you revisit things that are important to you ever day. New skills, side projects and anything else you find interesting.

(2) Shadowing is almost ready for public testing. A way to opt-in to updates on a creator's work without notifying the creator.

This is one layout. In looking at these three components I think the first one can be tightened up a bunch. Let's see.

Starting to think about lay out options for these new profiles. Other components that will require deep thinking are, what elements should be included in these profiles and what elements should not be included. Obviously when you visit a user's profile you need key information, profiles need to function as a way to explore the Journals the user is connected to and perhaps they also need to be a way to understand a users activity. Similar to GitHub perhaps you can see some interesting data on the user's creative output.

Just starting to work on a new design for Profiles on Futureland. It's been a long time since I have had a chance to work on these and Futureland has developed a lot since we created the first Profiles. I want to work through a lot of variants on these so this will be a process. :)

Some of my thoughts on bbqing, cooking for myself and some time alone each day to do something that doesn’t involve my computer.


Thoughts on audio in general and on Futureland

Replying to @ethan’s comment which shares some thoughts on audio vs video as a means of quick communication about things.


Today on Futureland #6 - A daily video update on our work with Futureland.


(1) Making some good progress on Shadowing, a way to opt-in to updates on a creators work without notifying the creator.

(2) Early challenges, questions, and wondering about how people will end up using Shadowing


A lot later than I wanted and a bit unusual in terms of my norm, but needed to take care of some stuff. Let’s see if this public accountability can help me cut into these times.

Perhaps the border is solid when you are Shadowing. I'm worried that the black and white here is a clear enough distinction from the default shadow button. Hm.

This is how Shadows could look when you trigger it from this side bar. Also here the separation is clearer and how to toggle between seems clearer too.

Some updates to this side bar after some great feedback from @lucas. Making it clearer how to switch between Daily and Shadows. Also removed the date to clear up this interface. Feels a lot better now.

When you toggle over to Shadows. I like the idea of the background changing shades when you toggle between Daily and Shadows to make the different in functionality more clear here. Might be more pleasing to use this way as well.

Working on an initial way of handling 'Shadows' on Futureland. This interface will function as a kind of 'Home' view. It will show you all of your recent entries as well as entries from collaborative Journals where you are a contributor. You will be able to access Daily here (Journals you want to return to regularly) and you will also be able to use this view for Shadows, journals that you are shadowing. It's tough to know how to integrate all of this into our interfaces in a cohesive way. A good starting point is putting these elements in their own place for now to launch the functionality and learn more.

I took 'Daily' out of the menu in the bottom right. I think it is useful that we have this form of prioritization. Users can still navigate to a lot of different things with a single click, but in terms of importance we can put the most used things in the top navigation of the Interface and the less used things in the bottom navigation of the interface.


Added the edit button into the 'Daily' side bar and adjusted spacing a bit. I also added another icon for Daily into the top right navigation. So now there is an icon for Daily and Shadowing. The idea is that you would click them to trigger their respective sidebars on any interface. They will be persistent until the icon is clicked again. You can also trigger these side bars by using your keyboard.

Trying a 3 column layout here, where 'Daily' can be persistent as you are navigating around Futureland. And of course toggled on and off with a keyboard shortcut.

Trying a different approach where everything moves to the right (and closer together) when the daily side bar is trigged into a kind of 3 column layout.


Trying out another variant of this daily side bar but I'm not sure if it is going to work. Instead of being an overlay this one completely blocks out the elements below while still showing some of the elements to encourage the user to retract the side bar once they are done with it. Might not make sense. Hm.

I'm experimenting with making this 'Daily' interface something that can be triggered on any interface in Futureland. This version here takes a blurred overlay approach. Might be too much for right now and I'll try other variants. I'll also try integrating 'Shadows' into the same sidebar. You'll be able to toggle the information easily.

Another version of that clip ↓, I added a zoom so it's easier for the viewer to connect with the components being highlighted. A useful suggestion from @pugson.

Here's another clip from a video I am working on about Futureland. In this one I describe how comments work on every Journal's timeline.

A clip from a video I am working on about Futureland. In this clip, I am beginning to describe the 'timeline' that's on every Journal on Futureland.

This is current state of a video I am working on that describes recent improvements to Futureland. I'm letting myself be open while I think and work through this - so as you will see the video is long right now. It might end up becoming something that we break into components. I'll continue on it today :)

Adjusted the icon for Shadows. I could not find anything that was appropriate so I had to make my own icon for now. We might be able to do something neat when a user hovers on this icon.

I was experimenting with an open book icon for 'New Journal' on the top right menu. I reverted it back to the closed book. I also added in a new icon for the shadow side bar. Although it's probably a confusing one to use since Journals have side bars as well. I'll try something else. The idea though is that you can click a third icon at any point and it would show you all of the Journals you are shadowing for easy travelling and reviewing.

Created another variant of 'Daily' on desktop with adjusted text sizes and spacing to more accurately match the other elements on desktop. Hm. Feels better I think.

Adding in missing elements to this sketch of Daily on desktop + adjusting spacing based on using test version. Specifically here I added in the 'Edit' button to rearrange the order of Journals in your daily. I missed that and I think I improved the position of it for this context. All of the elements in Daily feel a little too big to me. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. I'll need to use it more and see what others think to understand.

The second time I almost forgot to take this daily dose of fish oil so I added this journal to my daily.

L-theanine (200mg) + double shot espresso
Fish oil (1 tea spoon)

Grilled salmon and peppers. Also Mushrooms not pictured because I ate them before I took the photo

This is essentially a huge book of scientific papers on the development of expertise in general, across disciplines and even within animals. I’m curious what this reveals in terms of things I’m learning experientially. And also I wonder if it might spark any ideas for new experiments :)

I am trying another side bar variant with the 'Shadow' button. Here the Shadow button is positioned on its own and everything else has more vertical space as a separation. I think I like something like this better.


Ah! I forgot to snap a photo today. I grilled up some vegetables, zucchini and asparagus with beef burger patties as a protein source. There was some flare ups with the grill. I need to take the grill apart and clean it out. I really enjoy eating zucchini with my meals. I feel pretty good after. I need to look into it a bit more and understand what it does to the body but I might start eating a lot more of it :)

I'm starting to experiment with integrating a 'Shadow' button on Journals. I moved the expanded menu button up to try and reduce clutter but I don't feel too good about that. I'll need to play around with the position of these a bunch. I will try as many variants as I can to see what makes sense.

It's likely very difficult to notice, but I added a grey vertical line to increase the feeling of separation a bit from the rest of the Interface.

A sketch of Shadowed Journals on the left. You would have to click some a side bar icon to trigger this part of the interface.

Adjusting this additional 'Shadowing' side bar concept to 200px to match the Journal side bar. I'll need to then center the Entries appropriately. Just seeing this through to see how it feels.

Trying to see if I can tuck the list of Journals you are shadowing into another side bar on the left. I just think it's important that you can navigate between all shadowed journals very easily. I imagine something like how Google Reader used to feel. Where you can see everything that has new updates and then quickly cycle through them seeing each Journal pop up on the screen. I do not like the idea of having too many of these tiled views on the Interface so it's going to take a lot of experimentation and just working through this to figure it out.


I spent a bunch of time today thinking and writing about different components of Futureland. Thanks to everyone who is always messaging me and sharing feedback on using this thing. I'm starting to sketch out an improved version of the Activity view, in this concept there's something called 'Shadowing'. Users would be able to Shadow journals, which means they can opt-in to updates on them but the creators will not be notified of it. This would be a careful step in understanding how concepts like 'Following' or 'Subscribing' should or should not work on Futureland.

I spent a bunch of time today thinking and writing about different components of Futureland. Thanks to everyone who is always messaging me and sharing feedback on using this thing. I'm starting to sketch out an improved version of the Activity view, in this concept there's something called 'Shadowing'. Users would be able to Shadow projects, which means they can opt-in to updates on them but the creators will not be notified of it. This would be a careful step in understanding how concepts like 'Following' or 'Subscribing' should or should not work on Futureland.


I’ll start taking this tomorrow morning with a double shot of espresso as part of some basic experimentation with nootropics.

We have a working version of 'Hints' in the developer version of Futureland. It will likely be in production very soon. While I am hovering over objects on this Interface, you will see 'Hints' displaying more context about everything I am hovering over on the bottom right of the screen. I am very proud of the work we are doing here because it's been a fun collaboration between @lucas and I and also because I believe this is rooted in good design principles.

We have a working version of 'Hints' in the developer version of Futureland. It will likely be in production very soon. While I am hovering over objects on this Interface, you will see 'Hints' displaying more context about everything I am hovering over on the bottom right of the screen. I am very proud of the work we are doing here because it's been a fun collaboration between @lucas and I and also because I believe this is rooted in good design principles.

I'm starting to feel a lot better. The fidelity of my routine is beginning to get back to normal levels. I made all of the 'Hints' more contextual. So instead of saying Journal, in some instances it will use the name of the Journal - in this case that's 'Interfaces'. This way more of the Hints are contextual to the Journal you are viewing. There's some tweaks that I still need to make to this but I think we should be able to ship this tomorrow.

Grilled burgers beef and chicken with a bunch of vegetables. Slowly getting back into my routine.

Slowly integrating back into my routine now. My eye is still recovering. I can look at the screen a bit more. I added more hints to these Journals. When you highlight over the text on the side bar on things like a Journal's title, description, contributors, Hints will give you a bit more context about it.

Still resting my eye, but I think I am getting better. Let's see how I feel tomorrow morning. Adding some more hints to 'New Entry' and 'New Journal' button.


Adding more hints to the Journal's interface. I can basically only use one of my eyes right now so it's limiting how much work I can do. This hint is for a Journal icon, which you can change in Settings.


Basically can't see out of my right eye currently so just adding some hints here. When you hover over a comment or a bookmark the bottom tool bar/info bar/'hints' (?) will show you what you are hovered over. The info is currently displayed as, 'This is a comment' or 'This is a bookmark'. It should probably include more context like, 'This is a comment from { }' or 'This is a bookmark titled { }'.

Daily on desktop
This variant is narrower and with smaller text. It's hard to really know what makes sense at this point. It's probably time to start playing around with this and seeing how it feels.

Forgot to publish yesterday! Made some chicken skewers, peppers and mushrooms. Making it again actually now minus mushrooms.

Daily desktop
Adjusted the sizing of text here and spacing. The text of the date and total daily entries is larger now. The text of the Journal title is a bit smaller. I increase the distance between the last Journal in the list and the Add Journal icon. It might be worth playing around with this a bit now.

Starting to add hints to our new Journals Interface. As I hover over buttons in the menu here, you can see hints are being displayed in the bottom bar. Here the bottom bar is displaying the purpose of each button in the menu. We will add these kinds of hints across all of our Interfaces over time. I'm really excited this! :)

Starting to add hints to our new Journals Interface. As I hover over buttons in the menu here, you can see hints are being displayed in the bottom bar. Here the bottom bar is displaying the purpose of each button. We will add these kinds of hints across all of our Interfaces over time. I'm really excited about how we're doing this! :)

One of the most beneficial things about doing this is it reminds me to slow down during the day. Usually before I look up I’m in a busy state thinking about how I’m running out of time in the day. Once I look up and then just observe the sky in that moment, I have this seemingly strange realization that every day is the perfect length.

Daily desktop
Tweaking the size of the text in the Daily sidebar. Adjusted the spacing of everything in that space. I also decreased the width to 360px and adjusted everything on the right side accordingly.

Daily desktop
Adjusted the text size of the Daily sidebar on the left side. Now I need to adjust the size of the other elements. Maybe the Daily sidebar should be draggable. Maybe that's something we can think about later.

Daily on desktop

Playing around with more stuff. So the text on the left in the Daily log can probably be smaller across everything. That whole interface can be smaller. I can decrease its width too. I added the entries in here on the right side of the Interface. A realization I had while dropping these entries in is that this side of the Interface can display your own recent entries AND also all recent entries from Journals where you are a collaborator. This might be super helpful for team based Journals.

Daily on desktop

So much to finesse here still but this gives me a 'feel'. Who knows if that will or will not mean anything as the minutes progress.

Daily on desktop

So much to finesse here still but this gives me a 'feel'. Who knows if that will or will not mean anything as the minutes progress.

Daily on desktop

Yeah something like this probably makes more sense. The width of the Daily log is now 480px here. Also it would be great if I could tag these entries some how like quickly on the fly. Like I don't want to have to write Daily on desktop at the top of each entry but I do need a way of associating this with something.

Daily on desktop

Trying a 48px distance between each Journal on the Daily log. Maybe that's too large, maybe that works I am not sure yet. It's one of those things I think needs to be felt out through use. Immediate thoughts now are that it is very unlikely that I need to split this down the center. So I'll play with some other dimensions.

Daily on desktop

The Interface is split into two. The icons and menu will of course continue floating on the right. I think I will experiment with putting the Daily log line on the left side and then a feed of recent entries on the right side. Immediate thought is that the space in the left side might be larger than I need.

Starting a design session on Daily for Desktop. Adjusting my desk to the standing position. I am trying to disconnect from the idea of sitting while working with multimedia. Perhaps I will let myself sit while writing but any time I am doing something with multimedia I will always stand. This distinction is natural because I use a separate device for writing (AlphaSmart Neo2) than I do for working with multimedia (MacBook Pro). I think this will be a permanent thing for me. Keeping writing on a separate device.

I am starting to work on design variants for 'Daily' on desktop. I'll experiment with a split screen kind of view to start where you see your Daily Journals on one side and a stream of recent entries on another side.

How β€˜Occasional’ might look when you expand it. The title highlights in white. The chevron becomes white as well and flips down and then reveals the Journals you’ve added to this section. You can see Add Journal in Occasional as well. I wonder if this is the best way to handle this.

I’m experimenting with displaying an Occasional section in Daily. The way it could work is it defaults to a collapsed state and then when you click the title or the chevron it will expand revealing any Journals you’ve added to β€˜Occasional’. You’ll be able to see streaks on all of these Journals and you can move them to Daily whenever you’d like. Or move Journals from Daily to Occasional.

I had to get someone else to hold this thing. I think this is the best one so far. I do not eat grains or sugars (outside of some fruits) but I always let myself have a single slice of these when I make them to see how it turned out :)

I'm starting to sketch out ideas for a section in Daily that is marked 'Occasional'. Perhaps it is a place to put Journals that you are not entirely focused on but want quick access to. There's a lot of Journals like that for me. Ones where I am interested in them but they are not part of my daily output (yet). I'm experimenting with making the circles and Journal names smaller for ones in the occasional section. I'll need to play with this a bunch more. I'll try keeping everything the same size and perhaps hiding it at first as well. Perhaps you tap and then it reveals any occasional Journals. The other thing I will need to work out is how to add them to the Occasional section. Maybe @lucas has some perspective on that. Once this is done I will start working on improving the design of Daily on desktop.

Hm. Adjusting my approach here a bit. If a user collapses a Journal's side bar, I think we can interpret that as the use indicating that she understand what this Journal is about and wants the information to get out of the way. So the only essential things that the user would need (if she has all the information she wants about a Journal) is the ability to perform strong actions. Viewing a Journal's store, viewing the Journal as a grid or accessing the deeper menu if she wants to share the Journal or access its settings.

Adding the logo and icons into the collapsed side bar, I will experiment with adding the live user icons here but I might need to increase the sidebar width to 80px.

Here's an early look at a Journal's timeline sitting on a side bar with a width of 72px and the Entries in an adjust center position.

So I'm just starting to experiment, let's say that the collapsed side bar on Journals will be 72px and I'll build that out and see how it feels.

Alright, I think I got it balanced a bit more now. Hope I'm right about these dimensions. Back to that collapsed side bar now.

Working on the Journal side bar in a collapsed state. I'm noticing a few little issues with the spacing in my designs. I'll need to correct them before I can really move on from this.

Experimenting with adding a helpful message in the bottom footer. In this case the message is describing what a Triangle is on the Interface. I originally thought these would be like persistent messages but now I think we can actually display these dynamically as additional context depending on what the user is hovering over. We might be able to create a cool experience where a user can learn about anything on the Interface just by hovering over it.

Perhaps when you hover over a triangle (bookmark) it increases in size and displays a preview of the Entry's text like how a Comment works on the Timeline. I worry about two things. Can we get buy with a triangle as a symbol for 'Bookmarks'? Maybe. They can be things like important pieces of information or important events in a Journal. The other thing I'm worried about is whether everything on this timeline is too small. It might be something we need to play around with through use.

What if a Journal's bookmarks were triangle on the timeline? If there's text perhaps when you hover of them they could rotate and then point to the text. Right now Bookmarks are given titles but perhaps they should just display a preview of the text from that Entry. That would make creating Bookmarks much easier. You could just do it from within an Entry menu with two clicks.

I realized something. In terms of noting our own positions on a Journal's timeline, we can use the same symbol as a live user icon. Why should they be different? When you are on a Journal and see the icon of another person live on the timeline it kind of feels like you are in the same space. Why would you not see yourself in that space? We can indicate our own positions in the timeline in the way we indicate someone else's :)

I had to reduce the size of the profile icons when you hover over them on a Journal's timeline. I found this little bug where if they were too big they would collide with the live user icon to the left. I wonder if this size increase is enough. I wish they were bigger but not sure what to do just yet.

If we hover over a comment on a Journal's timeline, how should it look with multiple lines of text? I kept the width of the text preview at 80px and the height is currently 36px (not sure if that makes any sense). Perhaps as this interface is expressed through smaller dimensions the way these comment previews are displayed changes.

Maybe when you hover over these profile icons on the timeline they could look like this. They increase in size by 200% and then you see the comment text in white. I wonder if we should use white or one of the greys we are using on the other parts of the Interface. The text is small so perhaps white is the optimal choice and the entire component functions as a 'link' to that Entry so perhaps using white in this context makes sense. I will need to try and see how this should look with longer text.

Experimenting with an adjusted way of displaying the day as you hover over a Journal's timeline. Here a small circle is used instead of a rectangle. Perhaps a circle fits better with everything else. The date is displayed in white. I'm worried that both the circle and the date are too small. It's interesting to see circles and lines pop up often in these sketches.

Adding in the icon to create a new Journal. Adjusting the icon we are using to see how it feels. I made it grey instead of white to keep more focus on the icon for publishing new Entries.

Seeing how this Interface looks with a longer Journal description. I also changed the link area to 'Website' from a url to keep an exact width. I'm not sure how I feel about this yet. I like seeing the urls but this works for now.

Ignoring the floating text on the right navigation and centering Entries based on the right edge of the screen instead.

Changed the position of the store and grid icons in the left sidebar. It's closer to the title of the Journal since the icons trigger the some of the strongest actions on the Journal. I also added the 'more' icon into that little group of icons. I'm really happy with that decision because it is out of place in our current design. It feels much more balanced and intuitive here.

Adding the timeline in with circular profile icons to signal that there is a comment on that point of the timeline. You can't see the contents of these little circles but I think the various colours of users profile icons might make this looks pretty cool.

Added this footer in which provides tips and shortcuts for users. I feel good about the positioning of the text. It's aligned with the menu above, 16px from the right edge.

I'm working through each component to see if I can make the entire Journal feel more visually balanced. Been thinking about / tinkering with this for a few days now. I'm very slowly starting to form my own understanding of perception and balance. I have a lot to learn. I was looking at the counter in our kitchen the other day and I realized it has similar lines to our Journals. I need to study this kind of stuff more.

Experimenting with putting little profile pictures in each of the circles. Same effect when you hover over. The profile icons will get bigger and reveal some of the comment.

Experimenting with signalling comments with circles instead of the profile image for a cleaner timeline. When you hover over a circle it will display the profile icon and comment.

I reduced the size of the icons in the side bar and increased the spacing of them. I think they were taking up way too much space. I also 'slightly' adjusted the grey that we use for body text and in other parts of the Interface.

Up (my latest day this week). I think my body is trying to make up rest from earlier wake up times at the beginning of the week. I do not understand enough yet to really know. I can say there seems to be a really big difference between sleeping at 9pm and 10pm. Also waking up early seems to be a bit like Yoga in that you need to stretch into higher degrees of flexibility. It feels like I am stretching my body clock in a new direction.


Chinenual is Steve Tynor. He's a software engineer who dabbles in composition and sound synthesis, but can't quite figure out what genres he works in. In fact he's not really sure what many of the genre titles mean -- ambient? post-ambient? retro-electronica? chilly-tribal? acid-ambient? space music? Doing his best to fuse the right and left sides of his brain and make music.

I hopped on a video chat with @stevet today, who I find to be a very interesting fella. He has a diverse set of interests and has been using Futureland since it was just this little I was trying to code. It's still a little thing but I like to think it has improved a bunch since then :). He's always been super supportive and he has over 365 music entries on Futureland. You can listen to snippets from his process here:

@stevet also has two albums on Bandcamp. 'Feed Forward' and 'Laminar Flow'. I just picked up 'Feed Forward' and it's great!

I’ve had so much on my mind lately. The past few days I often forget to take a moment to look up until just before bed. It’s interesting. The more I live and work through Futureland the more I notice these little quirks about myself. When I’m present and when I’m in my own thoughts or processing something.

Working through the purchasing components of Futureland+ today with @lucas. Just sent this package over to him and he's implementing so we can get a sense of how stuff feels.

Adjusted the typography in this 'Thank you' to the same as the 'Upgrade' page. Again a smaller header with larger body text.

A hover state on this little upgrade component. Again not entirely happy with this yet either. I think perhaps the interaction should focus more on that 'Upgrade for' text. I will need to come back to this as I study more.

Added a header. The header is smaller than the body. I am not sure if I am happy with this right now but it is a pattern I noticed on Apple's website I thought I would try it out. I don't feel confident enough yet to make strong decisions about these mechanics so most thing remain experimental. The more I work with this stuff the clearer it gets. I also put the 'esc' for exit' back at the top because we will not be implementing that footer concept this week.


Lost control of the BBQ this evening because of a grease fire. Was a really good learning experience and I was able to put it out. I still feel pretty down about it. Tomorrow I'll be taking this thing apart to form a better understanding so that doesn't happen again. I'm pretty shook up about it and disappointed.

With persistent footer on the bottom. I'm not entirely happy with this yet because I wish the side bar was persistent in some way. Or something. I'm not sure yet.

'esc to exit' displayed on the bottom of the interface. If we implement it this way, it would represent the first integration of a monospaced font since last year.

This is likely hard to see but I am experimenting with a persistent footer on all desktop interfaces to give users tips, display keyboard shortcuts and other processing based notifications. This might help us take some stuff off areas where we display or compose content.

It might be hard to see but this is Jim (@wwwjim)'s interface for Tree Explorer on his writing tool, Reading Supply. You can play around with it here: I have to share this here because it is going to be a major inspiration in the things I sketch right now. I have such huge respect for Jim's work because I feel his interfaces push aesthetics in a cool way while retaining focus on its core functionality. It's rare that I come across a balance of those two things in a way that is executed this well.

More variants of this page. Experimenting with removing the header and moving up all of the text. This gave me the idea of putting all little tips and hints on the bottom of the screen in a bottom bar. We explore this on the publishing interface with word count on the bottom (if you haven't noticed) I think there's more we can build on there.

Trying a variant with larger text and stripping away elements. I have a lot to learn. I think for me producing more variants of everything is essential because it's not just about getting this stuff done but I need to actually go through the process of making this stuff over and over again until it clicks and I understand it on a deeper level. I need to find a way to increase my intensity while working on this :)

When a user tries to publish over 50 private entries without Futureland+, thought this could be a simple way of of notifying them. The content drops down a bunch of pixels and decreases its opacity. Then there's a simple message at the top notifying the user that they need to upgrade if they want to publish more than 50 Private Entries. It is probably worth noting here that unlimited public entries are free in case they want to adjust their Journal to public instead of upgrading.

Just making this quick before I forget to try and make another variants of the Journals that is a bit more visually balanced on the screen. I'll come back to this and I'll also need to find a way to maintain that balances across various dimensions.

Working on a 'thank you' that is shown after someone upgrades to Futureland+. You will notice that there's a rectangle here that says, 'Futureland+ onboarding film in development'. This will likely be included in the design of the page. In certain instances, I would like us to include more unfinished aspects of the Interfaces on the screen like this as a way of signalling what we are working on and also as a way of allowing users to visually see the tool develop. This might be cool if we can do it in a way that improves instead of taking away from the experience.

Don Norman is a really smart dude. I think I understand his thoughts on 'The Psychopathology of Everyday Things' pretty well now, which is just the first chapter lol. I have a deep appreciation for the work it must take to write books like this. Explaining each fundamental unit of knowledge and gradually guiding the reader to a higher level of understanding that the author reached through his own experiences.

Giving myself a bit of a break tonight. :)

Getting this concept for a 'plain text' personal website out of my head.

Just starting to think through how a user might switch to Futureland+. A lot to think through here. I actually have no idea how to design this. I need to see how other software has handled this…

I really agree with this. I like when it is easy to discover how to interact with an Interface and what each component of an Interface does but I always like when the software is kind of communicating with you in subtle ways as you are using it. It's captured well here:

Good design requires good communication, especially from machine to person, indicating what actions are possible, what is happening and what is about to happen.

All areas that we can think about more deeply on Futureland for sure.

This is obviously missing a bunch of elements. I am trying to form a better understanding of when the Entries feels central and in focus and when they do not. So I am stripping away all elements and starting to slowly put them back in to better understand how each element is affecting the Interface.

Made the collaborator icons a bit smaller to fit with the other icons. Changed the date and time convention on the Entry component and made the text smaller. I am trying to figure out how to make the Entry component feel a bit tighter.

It is a bit crazy to think that I only started this Journal on Jun 14th. It feels like I have been eating like this for a long time. Some thoughts:

(1) I do not like how much meat I am grilling. As I learn more I will figure out how to eat more sustainably.

(2) The best part about cooking for yourself is having ultimate control of what goes into your body. I have been eating really clean and seeing a bunch of benefits.

I let myself have a slice of that pizza ↓, first time having a grain in almost 2 months.


On Sustainability

Futureland is a tiny team. There's just two of us and we really care about this project. Here are a few of our developing thoughts on the Sustainability of Futureland.

Grow at a Natural Rate

Futureland should only ever grow at a natural rate. We do not want to create the biggest company in the world, we just want to be the best for our activities and our users (artists). Even if that means we are always small! We believe that if we make things people love, those people will support us. And if we don't, they won't! It is our challenge and responsibility to put in the work to figure out how to make the kinds of tools that artists love.

Free for Public Use

Futureland can be used publicly or privately. The public use of Futureland will be free. When you use Futureland publicly, anyone can learn from and interact with your process. So sharing publicly becomes a way of contributing to the lives and the work of everyone else using Futureland. You will be able to create unlimited public Entries and unlimited public Journals on Futureland.

Annual Pricing

The tools we make are for people who understand that some things can only ever be finished on longer time scales. That's what makes those things special! Learning a new skill requires practice. Tending to a garden is a slow and joyous process. Writing a book or making a film requires continuous attention for months and years. Our tools are designed for exploring and sharing these types of experiences.

Active Refunds and Pure Revenue

We want all of our revenue to come from users who actually use Futureland. We call this 'Pure Revenue'. There's a pattern in subscription based businesses where a lot of revenue comes from users who forget to cancel their subscriptions or from users who do not use the tool. We do not want any of this revenue. We will actively seek out users who are not using Futureland and ask them if they want their money back. If you purchase a paid version of Futureland and do not see value in the tool, you can get a full refund. We see it as our responsibility to create tools that our users love. If people try our tools and do not love them, they will always be able to get their money back.

Priced for Sustainability

We do not want to create the biggest tools, we want to create the best ones for our users. The best tools are ones that can last over many years of use. This means we need a sustainable way to continually put time and money into the research, experiments, design and development of these tools.

Futureland will not create the cheapest tools, but we hope that our users feel the higher quality and deeper thinking warrants the higher price. A higher price also means we can achieve a sustainable project with fewer users. This allows us to spend less time trying to chase new users and spend more time focusing on improving tools for the users we already have.

Here's a few early thoughts on pricing:

- Free: Unlimited Public Entries, 50 Private Entries
- Plus(+) $240/year: Unlimited Public and Private Entries, API access (coming)

Just seeing how this might feel with Interfaces between the text. Most of finishing the home page is just writing each section, which in this case is the hardest part. It's kind of helpful to sketch out a few Interfaces right now but more useful to just keep writing.


Projects and Outputs to Journals and Entries

If you have been using Futureland, you know that two important terms are Projects and Outputs. Today we are changing those terms to Journals and Entries. These terms better reflect the expanding use cases of Futureland and the work we have been putting in to improve the tool.

A Project was a skill you were learning. An Output was a daily unit of progress towards the completion of your Project. The hope was getting to 365 Outputs in a Project. This would mean you had worked on learning a new skill by creating something for 365 consecutive days. Quite a few users have completed these Projects in a range of disciplines like computer programming, visual art, 3d modeling, yoga. It is a life changing experience to go through.

As we continue working on Futureland and improving its functionality, it is becoming clear that this tool is expanding beyond just learning skills through a daily Output. Futureland is becoming a way to continually bring your attention back to anything that is important or interesting to you. This still includes learning new skills, but it has expanded to include other things like your observations, relationships, research, experiments and more. Projects on Futureland are starting to feel more like unique digital Journals.

I created an open Journal where anyone can share photos of the Sky. By adding it to my Daily, it encourages me to look up and appreciate the sky each day. Since it is an open Journal, anyone can add an Entry and it currently has 146 Entries. I have Journals for research themes I am working through like, 'Sustainability' and 'Self-reliance'. I have a private Journal titled, 'Kaito' that I use to cultivate a healthy relationship with my son. I have one for Meditation, Yoga and the various books I am reading. Whenever a Journal is important I add it to my Daily until it is time to remove it. Others use Futureland in similarly expanding ways, Disconnecting by @tmm, Native Garden by @ethan and @sloane, making art by @marco, organization by @justin, etc.

This might seem like a simple change of terms, but it's an important step for us. It took a lot of work and experimentation to get to this point. It's really cool to be a part of Futureland and to observe how this little experiment continues to develop.


I removed the large sign up text from the bottom of this page since it is already in the top right menu. I think we can highlight it in a more interesting way. The top right menu is also a persistent location available to the user as she reads through all of the materials. I'll think about a more interesting way to highlight. Something moving on the screen would be very nice.

I added a bunch of opacity to the Futureland logo, adjusted the inactive sections to be a deeper grey and change the little highlight icon from a circle to a square which I think works better. I increased the line-height of the text to 28px and adjusted everything else accordingly.


I am experimenting with adding new sections to this home page concept. So you can explore various components of what Futureland is and believes in a focused way. In this little Sketch, the current sections are 'A Network of Digital Journals', 'How to Learn with Futureland' and 'On Sustainability'. I am not sure what the final sections will be. They will be added as they are completed.

Imagining a how a user might navigate to different sections of this homepage. I wonder if it makes more sense to put this little list based navigation on the right side of the Interface.

I enjoyed this summary of the differences between Industrial Design, Interaction Design and Experience Design.

None of the fields is well defined, but the focus of the efforts does vary, with industrial designers emphasizing form and material, interactive designers emphasizing understandability and usability, and experience designers emphasizing the emotional impact.

It is interesting to think about Interaction design as having a focus on understandability and usability. I think it's the primary focus of Futureland right now. Forming an understanding of the activities that users want and need to perform. And making our logic and conceptual thinking easy to understand through the design of the Interface. It's been a super cool experience so far.

I am working on a new modular home page concept for Futureland. As I have mentioned in earlier writing in this Journal, I see a 'home page' as kind of a table of contents for an interactive experience. It is a way of holding the entire concept of something in your head. There's a bunch of stuff we need to work on for Futureland to have a great home page (table of contents), but we're slowly starting to work on components of it. As each component starts to make a bit of sense we will update the home page with it.

Futureland allows you to create a network of public or private digital journals for anything important or interesting to you. These digital journals have very unique abilities. You can instantly jump to any point in time. Seeing a Journal's progression from a day ago, a month ago or even years ago. You can use a feature called 'Daily' to stick to Journals that need your attention every day. Maybe ones that you are using to learn a new skill or ones that you are using to get healthy. You can share Journals with your friends or share just a single entry. When you're working with others, you can add them to a Journal as collaborators so they can share progress and insights as well.

Using Futureland is a different experience. We find it is difficult to overstate the power of continually bringing your attention back to the things you care about most.

Working on a new home page for Futureland. This will be updated modular. There's a bunch of things to explore and add.

Learning a new skill is the inevitable byproduct of repeating the right behaviours. If you write some kind of code every day, you will learn how to code. If you make some kind of music every day you will learn how to make music. This pattern applies to every skill that you want to learn. Animation, filmmaking, meditation, yoga, gardening, writing, Jiu Jitsu, anything. In a world where we have access to unlimited information, the only thing standing in the way of continuous learning is practice. Futureland helps you repeat the activities that lead to the acquisition of new skills and it visually documents your progress through public or private digital journals.

These quoted sentences distill the premise of this book and what Don Norman defines as 'good design'. In his view, a well designed thing is optimized for what a human wants to do, is easy to use and if it is really well designed it is also fun to use!

This book covers everyday things, focusing on the interplay between technology and people to ensure that the products actually fulfill human needs while being understandable and useable. In the best of cases, the products should also be delightful and enjoyable, which means that not only must the requirements of engineering, manufacturing, and ergonomics be satisfied, but attention must be paid to the entire experience, which means the aesthetics of form and the quality of interaction.

I'm starting to work on a new 'home page' for Futureland. The way I see this project is that a home page is essentially a visual table of contents to navigate the conceptual elements of this project. It's a way of presenting all of the information someone might need to form a complete understanding of what Futureland is. It's presented in a specific way and should eventually be visually appealing while always letting function dictate its form.


Futureland is designed for you to transform anything. To transform something is to change its nature, function or condition. You might want to transform one of your abilities like becoming someone who can make music or write software. Perhaps you want to transform the state of an idea into something tangible. Maybe you want to transform the environment around you. Or maybe you want to transform your relationship with someone or something. Futureland is designed for these kinds of transformations.

To transform something, you need to repeat specific behaviours, widen your identity, take in high quality inputs and reflect often. Futureland integrates all of these activities into a single, simple and powerful experience. There is no other tool like this and it is the product of our own research and experiments.

I am starting to make some small improvement to the settings Interface for our Journals. No major changes, just widening it, including a space to add collaborators and improving the usability a bit if I can.

I'm going back through Chapters 1 and 2 of this book to make sure I understand them. I think I'll extrapolate a bunch of the insights into my own ideas to try and figure out to what degree I understand the concepts here. I think one of the things that I can work on as I am designing interfaces for Futureland is Discoverability. Don describes this as, "Is it possible to even figure out what actions are possible and where and how to perform them?". I also think in terms of practicing the skill of design it would be helpful to regularly pick up or observe objects and go through my own thorough analysis of their design. How discoverable is this tool? How easy is it to understand?

Knowledge how - what psychologists call procedural knowledge - is the knowledge that enables a person to be a skilled musician, to return a serve in tennis, or to move the tongue properly when saying the phrase "frightening witches." Procedural knowledge is difficult or impossible to write down and difficult to teach. It is best taught by demonstration and best learned through practice. Even the best teachers cannot usually describe what they are doing. Procedural knowledge is largely subconscious, residing in the behavioural level of processing.

I'm moving around our navigation menu to see if it feels better in any other position. It's funny we have tried so many different things with this. Last week I spent a bunch of time designing an icon based menu and @lucas put a bunch of time in trying to get it to feel sharp from an interaction perspective. At the end of that work, it still never felt as good and simple as just having a text based menu at the top right of the screen. It requires the least thinking and allows for an immediate and direction understanding of what everything does. It's funny how that works. Kind of cool. I hope as we move through designing more of this tool we can stay focused on letting function and simplicity drive the decisions we make.

Knowledge is both in the head and in the world. Technically, knowledge can only be in the head, because knowledge requires interpretation and understanding, but once the world's structure has been interpreted and understood, it counts as knowledge. Much of the knowledge a person needs to do a task can be derived from the information in the world. Behaviour is determined by combining the knowledge in the head with that in the world.

Sending @lucas another package of Interfaces that attempts to improve the publishing interface on Futureland. These interfaces accommodate every type of media (except audio) which I will dive into soon. It would be super tight if our experimentations in native software eventually take us to a point where we can quickly drop audio into any Journal.

Adjusted the width of the media to 480px and centered. Feels better like the media is 'framed' which makes sense if you are just publishing something with out any notes. Once you start typing the media will transition to the left side of the Interface to make room for writing.

Perhaps with no text the media takes up the entire width and is now below the text prompt. If you type something the media will hug the left side of the Interface as in the other sketches.

Trying out putting the media on the right side with a few details about the file so that the focus can remain on the writing. Feels right. I think this should only be triggered when you start typing though.

Starting to adjust this publishing view so that it can accommodate more media dimensions. It also displays the file name and file size now. I am not sure how I feel about this yet because it's kind of cool, but also kind of unnecessary. I'll try another approach where I really tuck the attachment into the side. I also think it should only ever be tucked in when you start typing or if you have already been typing.

Very experimental right now. Having Daily pop out on the right side of the screen on Desktop when you click its icon. Perhaps it can stay there persistently if you want so that it does not take you away from the current screen you are on. There's a bunch of information missing here, just trying to get a feel for if this makes any sense. I will probably have to design a dedicated desktop one to know. Seems like that much screen for this kind of interaction might be overkill on desktop though.

Perhaps more specifically, Chapter 1 explores the relationship between us and all of the objects around us. Chapter 2 explores our relationship with our mind and body and how that affects the way we live and now Chapter 3 seems like it might explore our relationship with information and how that ultimately affects how we navigate objects and our lives. Chapter 1 and 2 have a lot of depth. I'm not sure if I want to move on yet until I have a complete understanding of these two. It might be worth taking some time to go back and deconstruct them further.

Experimental. Putting the menu in the top part of the Interface to see what happens. This opens up the right side of the screen, which can be used to expand and collapse 'Daily' so you can see it without ever having to leave the screen you are on. Not necessarily liking this. I'll try and integrate the side bar Daily with the existing icon based menu and see what happens.

I have been making some design improvements to publishing on Futureland. There's A LOT of continual work that needs to be done on this but these are small steps in a positive direction. This is a little package of interfaces I am sending over to @lucas for some early feedback.

Also it's likely that we will be pushing a new side bar to all Journals soon. And a new menu too. There's ways we can refine both of those things and I'm sure you will tell us how once you start playing with those things.

Dimming the publish button when you haven't typed something. Going to highlight it in green just now to make it clearer and more functional. A suggestion from @pugson.