Erasing the old rules of web design
This month 👾 Generative UIs | Alternative Operating Systems | Web design Esports | AR Laptops | Directory of 4k templates & UIs + loads more…
🆕 Personal Updates
This month I'm looking to experiment with Creator Club community submissions. Anyone subscribed can simply drop a link into the submission directory.
Why? Because I want a diverse pool of content to consider each month, I want to attribute you if it's selected to be featured and also create a repository of content all readers of this newsletter can access at all times. So let's try this out.
To submit content click this link and add the URL and drop your social URL if you want to be attributed (if selected).
Right, let’s get to it - time for this month’s roundup 👇
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Generative UIs/ Front ends on demand
I alluded to generative UIs in last month’s issue after discovering Brain AI. Since then it’s consumed me. I haven’t been able to get this concept out of my head. So I did some digging to see if others are exploring this paradigm shift and as you would expect on the fringes of the internet, they are.
First up we have a good friend of the newsletter Linus Ekenstam. In this post, Linus articulates the new era of software development, where software will be generated on demand, something which he refers to as ephemeral software. This will lead to the creation of single-use, highly personal, and instant apps, leading to a transformation of user interfaces, as most of the functionality will be available through natural language commands.
Next up is Josh Blair and as he put it in this post, “web design has been trending towards a singularity for the last 30 years. We’ve settled on design conventions, and everything has become very samey.” Josh predicts we are moving towards a future where the front end might not be needed at all, and the ‘back end’ might be built specifically to serve the functions of an AI platform. The age of the headless product.
At this moment generative UIs are somewhat speculative, but we can’t be far from such an advancement.
Is there a piece of software as critical to our daily interactions as the operating system? OS’s are some of the most complex and intricate pieces of software to create given how many third-party apps rely on them. Yet we take them for granted and to be honest, if they are doing their job correctly we shouldn’t really notice them. Yet, there isn’t much choice when it comes to an OS. However, there are some fascinating conceptual ideas and designs being explored. Two of which are notable are Mercury and Wonder OS. Mercury is the brainchild of Jason Yuan, an ex-Apple designer who recently left to what looks like, build a version of his speculative vision of a new interface, using generative UI principles which he outlined way back in 2019. You can read more in his manifesto and design research here and check out the landing page for the new project.
Another fascinating research project by Alexander Obenauer is Wonder OS, where he is exploring the operating systems of the future and his renewed ideas for how personal computing can better serve people’s lives. Alexanders’ work contains a fascinating treasure trove of research and insight I would recommend anyone in the tech sector to read. To my knowledge, he isn’t intending to build an OS but rather the project is meant to help spark renewed thinking about personal computing’s role in our lives and in society. Check out some of the Lab Notes to understand the sheer scale of his thinking, it’s an incredible piece of work.
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Figma Web Design Esports
No, you haven’t misread the title, Figma Esports is a thing. The Relume Design League is where web design meets Esports. The rules are pretty simple, each match consists of two players/designers going head-to-head live and broadcast via YouTube. Players have 30 mins to come up with a design based on the brief provided during the stream. At the end of the match, the audience casts their votes alongside two judges to decide the winner. If you are a Figma user you will be sure the find this fascinating and perhaps dare I say accelerating. I’ve already picked up a bunch of hacks from watching a few of these sessions.
🎁 Bonus content: While we are on the topic of Figma, Diagram just launched one of their 4 AI products for Figma - Magician which harnesses the power of AI to do everything from copywriting to generating unique icons from text.
Simulate 90s Windows games
This week I had the urge to play Age Of Empires again. Unfortunately, it’s still not available on the Mac and I can’t justify getting a Windows computer or emulator to play one game. However, through my research, I stumbled onto IEmupedia and that rush of 90s nostalgic gaming came back! IEmupedia is an attempt to preserve classic old video games from the 70s-90s. It differs from other projects because it provides these video games ready to be played from within your web browser for free. You don’t need to install anything, you can just visit the Emupedia website and start playing the games from within your chosen operating system theme from Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows Millennium.
The Worlds First AR Laptop
Picture this. You’ve had enough working within the same 4 walls all week from home. You’re craving a change of scenery to get you through the last few hours of work and fancy doing a few hours from the local coffee shop. However, you are accustomed to finer things in life from working at home - multiple monitors. But you don’t fancy being hunched over your laptop constantly flicking between screens. So what if I said you could take an augmented reality workstation display which is lightweight and comes equipped with 5G connectivity? The idea sounds pretty appealing, right? infinite additional monitors which you can augment to your heart’s content. But I’m not convinced. Firstly, power-wise, it equates to a measly Chromebook and an eye-watering $2,000 price tag. Secondly, there is no chance you will see me wearing a pair of sunglasses with a wire hanging down my face all day to unlock this ability. Lastly, you need to purchase a new laptop which has no screen. Or you could splash out $3k+ on the new Apple Vision Pro just unveiled yesterday? Just look at some of the thought and care put into this product.
Replit seems to be the new internet darling. Founded in 2016, Replit is like Google Docs for developers, allowing them to write and collaborate on software in real time. With a fresh funding round of $100m in April, they have some pretty lofty ambitions. Just check out Packy’s recent post if you're interested. However, Replit has a somewhat hidden use case. Since the launch of Chat GPT people, including myself, have been using it to generate code. For non-technical folks, this is a huge unlock, but all that code was pretty useless unless you knew what to do with it. This is where Replit comes in. Now you can take that code and use Replit to run it. Better still, if you’re not familiar with IDE’s you can simply mention in your GPT prompt you are using Replit and it will give you the step to step instructions on how to add the code to Replit. Just check out this example of someone creating the old Snake Nokia game.
Just think, you can now express what we want to create through natural language without any need to know the underlying code required to build a product.
Additionally, non-technical folks can use Replit’s “bounty” service in which companies and individuals can ask the Replit community to help build their products.
Stripe Buy Button
Stripe has been the developer’s choice of payment processing but it hasn’t been super non-technical friendly until now. Stripe just recently launched payment links and then took it one step further and provided a series of button templates in which you can simply copy and paste the code into your site like magic you have a sweet-looking styled button and the ability to take payment on your site via Stripe. Both of these recent releases from Stipe are perfect for anyone looking to quickly take payment for a product or service. Simply knock up a quick landing page and embed a Stripe button and begin selling in minutes. What a time to be alive as an online creator.
Beta Directory | Discover the latest tech products
This month’s latest early access beta products brought to you by Beta Directory are:
Snail: A new paradigm for organizing information.
Playbit: Future operating system for software creatives
Saga: Simple and fast workspace for docs, notes, and tasks.
🐽 Other links to consume
Remember pagers? I don’t, apart from seeing them in American sitcoms in the 90s. They were the first in a generation of stress-inducing buzzes and bings which now seem almost laughable compared to the notifications we receive on our smartphones. But did you know hundreds of thousands of pages are still in use today? Spok, a US company that manufactures pagers for health care providers, says 800k+ of its pagers are in use today. However, they are far from their heyday as Spok had over 6.6m active in 2004.
In 1959, the term “pager” was coined by Motorola. Fancy another dose of nostalgia? Check out this old Motorola pager commercial
That’s it for this month!
If you made it this far, hit reply or jump into the comments and tell me what you thought of this newsletter. Was this 🔥 or 🗑. I read every response 👀
Until next the next issue,
Sam | @thisdickie 👨💻