My Favorite Second Hand

second hands typically come in two flavors:

  1. tick—wait on each mark for almost a full second, then snap to the next mark.
  2. sweep—move continuously.

then there’s this one:

slow tick

i’ve only ever seen this once. this motion lets you pinpoint the exact start and end of each second.

normal ticking doesn’t help because the movement is so quick you can’t see it; you actually just keep time in your head and predict when the hand will move. sweeping is useless. hence the best flavor:

  1. slow tick—wait on each mark for a partial second, then move slowly to the next mark.

this lets you perceive time more precisely, which is the whole point of a clock. does it ever actually matter? i doubt it. but it’s elegant and it’s sensical and it feels so right to me.

my relatives were just trying to replace their dead old wall clock. i didn’t mean to talk them into a fancy $120 atomic one.

Clear Umbrella

clear umbrella

the only acceptable color for an umbrella is clear.

why would i want to block off almost half of my field of view? it feels restricting. isn’t it just nicer to see what’s around you?—and besides, there are views to be seen.

but clear also broadcasts the key feature of an umbrella: it’s waterproof. not all fabrics are waterproof; they have to be specific kinds, and usually treated with a coating. a clear canopy can only be made of plastic, which is an inherently waterproof material.

a clear umbrella makes its most functional aspect its most prominent one—a harmony of look and function. that’s good design.

Clear Ruler

clear ruler

this is the best ruler i’ve ever used.

every ruler should be clear, so you can see what’s underneath and whether you’re in the right place. 0 is directly on the left edge, as it should always be; it makes alignment much easier. and since a ruler’s length is defined by precise measurements, why not its width too? so this ruler is exactly 3cm wide, with a 1cm grid covering its surface, which helps for drawing parallel and perpendicular lines.

this ruler doesn’t just look good; its look informs its function. its look makes it vastly more functional, and you couldn’t have any of those useful functions without the beautiful look. it’s a harmony of look and function; that’s good design.