Weekly Flaws

This weeks Flaws is a little shorter than the past two, but there is still plenty to cover. I'm skeptical/interested in the Rabbit R1 but can't commit. Also does Notions new calendar mean that it's gunning for Google?

The Rabbit R1 AI device.
Rabbit R1

V01.03 19.Jan.24

This week has been a little extra crazy, so this week’s Flaws is a bit shorter than the past two. I appreciate all the folks who have subscribed in the past few weeks and would love to hear your feedback on the content thus far. You can email flawed@designflaw.media or just hit the up/down icons at the bottom of the (email) newsletter. You can expect some changes as we go, and your input is super important to making sure I create useful content for you.

I’ve lately read a few great articles on how big tech algorithms are changing the world, often in unexpected ways. I don’t think this surprises anyone who’s been paying attention over the past few years, but it’s fascinating nevertheless. (Do you wonder why every how-to-boil-an-egg recipe has a 500-word into with a billion pictures? Yeah, algorithms.)

It’s also interesting to consider how online tools have made our IRL experiences different, and often much more homogeneous. It’s a big topic and one that I’ll be touching on in my longer subscriber-only pieces in the coming weeks. (That's a hint, in case you haven't subscribed yet.)

So here we go with the weekly flaws!

I Almost Pre-ordered a Rabbit R1, but Can’t Commit

Rabbit company logo

As I reported last week, AI was all the rage at CES this month (surprise, surprise), but one gadget caused quite a stir. The Rabbit R1 claims to be “a personalized operating system through a natural language interface.” It looks pretty sweet in the keynote video, although that’s literally the point of keynotes and it’s clear that the video neatly omits certain details, such as how did this thing plan a family trip to London in only a couple of minutes with no hiccups? (Also, would you trust any of the current AI tools to plan a family vacation to another country? If so, you’re braver than I am.)

There do seem to be some native integrations - Doordash and Spotify, notably - but as The Verge commenters noted, in many ways it seems to be IFTTT with a voice interface.

But that said, it is a really interesting concept and could point the way for some neat applications down the road, particularly for disabled folks. While I’m more than a little skeptical of its capabilities, I can say with certainty that it’s at least 99 percent less dumb than the $700 Humane AI pin. (Yeah, that’s a thing.)

I was - and still am, a little - really tempted to order an R1 just to try it out and see how it works. I was on the order page and had one in the cart, but ultimately decided to hold off. They have sold out four batches, which seems to be 40,0000+ units, so perhaps I should have gone ahead. But for now I’ll hold on to my $200 and just read the reviews.

Figma Has a Custom Clicky Keyboard

The Figma Creator Micro mini-keyboard with colorful, Figma-themed keys
Figma Creator Micro (via Work Louder)

I’m not a super keyboard nerd, even though I have too many of them. But I am interested in little tools to help my productivity (or just look cool on my desk, which I consider to be essentially the same thing). Until this week, I was completely unaware of the Work Louder Creator Micro. Ars Technica has a writeup on the Figma edition, which seems kinda neat. I can think of quite a few uses for this, especially if it works with a Wacom Cintiq. A keypad helps immensely with drawing screens but I’m not sold on the Wacom ExpressKey and a Loupedeck is overkill for what I need.

Since I’ve saved $200 on the Rabbit perhaps can pick up a Creator Micro. Probably not the Figma one, though.

Notion Finally Adds an Integrated Calendar

A line drawing of a calendar page with the number 01
A very bright calendar (via Adobe Stock)

I’m a Notion n00b, but I’ve been playing around with it recently and like what I’ve seen. A lot of folks talk about the steep learning curve, but I haven’t found it to be all that bad. At the same time, I already feel as though my workflows are too complicated and can’t convince myself to really commit to another tool.

At any rate, Notion has finally answered its users' prayers and added an integrated calendar component. Since this just dropped I haven’t had time to go check it out but plan to do so. We use Basecamp to manage our projects at 58 Creative and even with my limited experience I wonder if Notion might be a better replacement. The integrated calendar would certainly help. (But the fact that it inexplicably does not currently support Outlook calendars does not help.)

The Verge has a good writeup, but the short story is that Notion redesigned and renamed Cron, which they acquired back in 2022. I also saw some speculation that Notion may be trying to make itself a viable alternative to Google Workspace. Given Google's propensity for totally screwing up their products or just killing them off altogether, that seems plausible.

If you’re a Notion user I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Bonus content: what the hell is a cron? I'm glad you asked.

Your Audience Isn’t Everyone

Trendy older man laughing while taking a selfie.
Me, in 10 years (via Adobe Stock)

In case you missed it, I dropped an article on how to figure out who your audience is when designing a product. It’s definitely not “everyone,” although it’s not uncommon for overzealous founders to try to blanket the entire planet with their new Wunder-Produkt. And it’s not just the standard demographics that matter; you can find yourself running into regulatory problems if you're not careful.

Anyway, go check it out and as always, let me know what you think!

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