collects minimalist website design. Their philosophy revolves around less is more and doing more with less is the goal. Webdesign is a bit different than just design, especially design aesthetics, because people's browsing habits are better described as informed glances. So usability is exceptionally important. However, minimalism is consistent with high usability so there is a natural union there. This site was designed along minimalist lines.
I am a fan of minimalism in software engineering. It is simple precepts such as don't repeat yourself, don't duplicate code, don't make long methods, etc. Minimalism in software coding is small, sharp methods and classes which only do one thing and are unit tested.
It is a similar issue in application and User Interface design. Subtract all that isn't necessary and minimize the amount of code that is needed to support the absolutely necessary features. This simplifies the design, reduces code coverage, and hence improves quality and user experience.
But what of embracing minimalism as an ethic outside of just design and engineering? I have been fortunate in my life that I have been reduced to a laptop and a bag of clothes several times in my life. So I am not carrying years of stuff around with me each time I move.
When I came to Phoenix I came with a laptop, a bag of clothes, a car and a cat. I decided not to get many of the normal aspects of modern living including a tv. To my surprise I didn't miss it. Which was an informative experience. When I deleted my facebook account I discovered the same. I didn't need it and its absence didn't lessen my life.
From what I can see around the internet of those that are living minimalist lives, some seem to embrace it as anti-consumerism, de-cluttering, or austerity. However, many others seem to have more universal definitions of minimalism that go beyond anti-consumerism, for instance
Minimalism gives us the advantage of being able to ruthlessly eliminate that which does not contribute to our lives in order to more effectively spend our time, the most finite resource of all.
Which is a broad statement of pursuing what brings happiness and fulfillment. There are economic necessities built in around that of course. I often say that I spend a lot of time working, a lot of time sleeping, and a lot time commuting so I should have a kick ass job, a kick ass bed and a kick ass car. To satisfy those I have an expensive bed and car.
Another definition of minimalism
is the simplification of life such that everything you do brings value to yourself rather than burden without return;
What Minimalism is really all about is reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff - the possessions and ideas and relationships and activities - that don't bring value to your life.
Alternatively the definition of clutter
, both possessions and schedules, is equated directly with stress; a negative impact that is predicated by complexity, over-burden, overload and plain old too much;
A minimalist life removes the clutter from our lives that heaps stress upon us. It embraces cleaner rooms, cleaner surfaces, and cleaner schedules.
I won't become a digital nomad and consult on billing systems and operations centers while living in a tent in Tibet. But I think the application of minimalism has merit outside of software engineering and design. The areas where I have applied the ethic, such as not having a TV, and not having lots of possessions, clean surfaces around the home, etc have all been beneficial to my life.
Cutting your possessions down to on hundred items, and then down to fifty. Interestingly when he cut down from 100 to 50
, all of the things cut - other than the deck of cards - were clothes. I know the two areas I can cut down on are books and clothes.
Our house is a bit like a library as I keep books longer than I am likely to read them again. And despite my minimalist - male? - approach to clothes, I still have more than I need.
I do throw things out if I haven't worn them in six months but clothes are problematic. They are cheap and they are plentiful; additionally they provoke nostalgia constantly. They are hard to throw out at times.
My wife made the comment that the stuff strewn on the floor made us look like yuppies. This is a photo of those objects. Coffee cup, Macbook and Design magazine. Ironically the magazine is a bit old school. We were clearing the old magazines out which is why that was on the floor. Most consumption of that kind of information is now done through the laptop, ipad or phone.
We recently bought new sofas for the lounge room and it started a round of getting rid of things we haven't used in a long time. Books were the main ones to go as one of the pieces of furniture that no longer fitted in was a very large bookcase. Any book we wouldn't reread we got rid of. And there was a few. We sold what we could of the furniture and gave the rest away via craigslist. Danny at simplify your life
had a similar year;
I learned that we need to simplify, not only our possessions, but also our activities. I stopped being a member of certain groups that do not contribute to my life. I also deactivated/deleted my Facebook account and Twitter account.
I have deleted facebook and don't miss it at all. Never had a twitter account. The third one that is dubious whether it adds value or not is LinkedIn. It has raised suspicions
from me before about its use and value. Worse, it has been getting more spammy and facebook like lately.
About the only thing that is of use is the recommendations, but I never give them out, partly because I don't think LinkedIn is that important. For vanities sake I will record them here since the upshot of this blog post is that I am going to delete my LinkedIn account. This recommendation is from John, a good mate and a very talented systems engineer;
Cameron is an expert in his field. He is very organized and self motivated. He takes his projects very personally and puts his full effort into each of them going well above and beyond what is required. He is detail oriented but at the same time does not get caught up in them, by laying proper ground work and "framing" the project before he starts in, he is able to develop software that is maintainable and understandable by other developers. Cameron is also a great team player who doesn't simply delegate work but enthusiastically jumps in with the team.
It was with that group that I started using JUnit in anger back in about ... 2002? I had to do an NTCIP Driver in Java. Consequently I got paired with a very bright Mathematician/Programmer
to help me out with the bit manipulations and byte mathematics. Especially as Java doesn't have unsigned types, so we had to manipulate all that stuff in util classes to get the correct bytes for the driver.
One of the things I remember the most was Randall doing the bitwise operations in his head and using his fingers to show the output. He would have all four fingers of both hands on the table representing the byte and would remove a finger from the table to represent an off bit. It was like watching him play piano as he bit shifted up and down in his head.
The other recommendation I got was from Scott who I was a cube neighbor with. Again for vanity's sake;
Cam is a very smart and talented developer. His impact was immediately felt when he was brought onto the team. He showed initiative in not just his own area of expertise (and job description), but also wanted to really understand what was going on with other parts of the project we worked on.
He is level headed and showed excellent leadership qualities and was able to interact with his colleagues and managers very well. I would give Cam an excellent recommendation.
That is for where I am working now. It is pretty wide system with a tonne of stuff going on and million other systems to be integrated with. It is a big enough system that its topography still has some gray areas. There are also multiple arms to the system so you have to everyone's mate just to get an idea of what is going on in the system, what it is being used for, and what it is being bent to; in order for people to be efficient and get what they want for it. Quite challenging really to maintain that while improving the quality, design and code-base concurrently.
Anyway, back to the main purpose of the post; deleting my LinkedIn account because it does not add value to my life. To delete your LinkedIn account it takes several steps, clicking of buttons, etc;
To close an account and remove your profile from LinkedIn, take the following steps
1. Log into the account you wish to close.
2. Hover your cursor over your name in the top right of your home page and then click "Settings"
3. Click on "Close Your Account" under Personal Information.
4. Select a reason for closing your account.
5. Click on "Continue".
Like facebook they keep your profile active for 24 hours and it gets reactivated within that time if you want it. You also have to click three buttons to really, really, really close the account.
It is done. No more LinkedIn.
on simplifying life and possessions; "Have I reached the age, or has society reached a point, where getting rid of a couple of decades of satellite junk becomes appealing. Or is it just synchronicity?"
Probably all of that. Additionally we are getting on in age and doing well for ourselves so if we need anything we can go out and buy it. There is no need to keep something hanging around in the off chance it might get used again. Space is a scarcer resource than money.
I have been lucky enough to have my possessions pared down to a bag of clothes and a laptop three times in my life now between moving to the United States and different life events. I think that is informative because each time it happened not having anything was not a big deal as it turned out. You quickly build up new possessions and stuff anyway. Everything is pretty much geared toward the accumulation of stuff and it seems to happen without external force.
My wife is into the modernist look in house design and styling. I always liked it but have picked up a strong appreciation for that architecture, furniture and approach to light and space. I always enjoyed uncluttered spaces but the modernist style is to pare that space down into its absolute necessities and go from there. Consequently the house has concrete floors, glass furniture, low sofas, white wooden furniture, etc. The kitchen is stainless steel and birch. It is a good design ethic and my wife has wonderful taste.
When I worked at the previous place I had a lot of fun working with the User Experience designers. I picked up some of their design ethic during that period. It also helped point out a lot of bad design and usability. I am reminded of this; apple product, google product, your company's product
Another influence is software itself. One of the best ways to ensure high quality software is to write less lines of code. This means making white space talk in your source code and making methods smaller, tighter and mono-functional. This extends out into wider life as well.
I think my current focus on minimalism and simplicity is a culmination of all these influences. I think too, I have too much stuff, too much stress, and not enough fun. Stuff and stress can be minimized, fun can be maximized, and finding the path to achieve those is self-absorbed, selfish, indulgent to an extent too, but hopefully with high pay-offs. I am enjoying it so far.
; "Everything you own costs you something, no matter how much or little you originally paid for it."
Very true. You have to wash it, clean it, store it, insure it, maintain it, etc. Larger houses are a lot of work as they have more stuff in them, more space means more carpet, more sideboards, more square feet to heat and cool, and then more equipment to keep the house homogeneous, more windows etc.
It is actually difficult in some areas of the United States to buy a small house. The newer areas have single family homes that start at 2,700 sq ft. If you want something smaller you have to buy a town home or condo and even they are pretty big. The condo I owned in Ashburn, Virgina was 1,200 sq ft.
I am reminded of the ongoing cost of source code. Every line of code that is written has large costs and the initial cost of getting that line of code into production is pretty small. Once it is in production that line of code has to be maintained at production level quality for as long as that software application is used.
More importantly that line of code has to be flexible enough to support changing requirements and not lock an application into being unable to support new features or business models. That isn't an argument for complexity and abstraction, it is an argument for that line of code doing one small tiny thing and no more.
Source code needs to be as simple and to have as few lines of code as possible. It is a minimalist ethic as well as every line of code cost you something no matter how much or little effort you originally put into it.
Most Popular on South Sea Republic
The articles that have been viewed the most:
Most Popular Restaurants in Phoenix
Phoenix Eats Out
is the restaurant review site for Phoenix
and Old Town Scottsdale
which lists the modernist and contemporary restaurants, taverns and bars in the greater Phoenix area.
This is the list of the most popular restaurants pages from phoenixeatsout.com that have been viewed the most;
My personal favourite restaurants in Phoenix are AZ88
, Humble Pie
, Orange Table
, The Vig
and others coming close behind. View the complete list with the photo-journalistic style images on phoenixeatsout.com
Most Popular Hikes in Arizona
Arizona is an outdoor state and has lots of hiking in the city and around the state. Phoenix is unusual for most cities in having several large mountains in the center of the city with great hiking. Anyone who comes to Phoenix has to do the Echo Canyon trail on Camelback
and the Summit Hike on Squaw Peak
or Piesta Peak. The views of the city, suburbs and surrounding mountains are wonderful from Camelback and Piesta Peak.
For more experienced hikers there is the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale that has several difficult and strenuous hikes in Tom's Thumb
and Bell Pass
. Alternatively, you can hike the highest mountain in Arizona. At 12,600 feet Humphrey's Peak
is a long and difficult hike.
Alternate Australian Constitutions
Between 2004 and 2009 this site, southsearepublic.org
, was a constitutional blog based on scoop which focused on Australian and global constitutional issues.
One of the strongest aspects of it was the development of constitutions by those involved in the blog. These constitutions are the outcome:
The constitutions were built using principles from Montesquieu's separation of powers, the enlightnment's universal political rights and the ancient Athenian technology of sortition and choice by lot.
Archives For South Sea Republic
South Sea Republic started in 2004 as an Australian constitutional blog in 2004 based on scoop software. It was an immigrative outgrowth of Kuro5hin. The archives for each year since then;
The articles are ordered by views.
Who Is Cam Riley
I am an Australian living in the United States as a permanent resident.
I am a software developer by trade and mostly work in Java and jump between middleware and front end.
I originally worked in the New York area of the United States in telecommunications before moving to Washington DC and
working in a mix of telecommunications, energy and ITS. I started my own software company before heading out to
Arizona and working with Shutterfly. Since then I have joined a startup in the Phoenix area and am thoroughly enjoying myself.
I do a lot of photography which I post on this website, but also on flickr. I have a photo-journalistic website which lists
the modernist and contemporary restaurants in phoenix. I have a site on the Australian Flying Corps [AFC]
which has been around since the 1990s and which I unfortunately
lost the .org URL to during a life event; however, it is under the www.australianflyingcorps.com
The AFC website has gone through several iterations since the 90s and the two most recent are Australian Flying Corps Archives(2004-2002)
Australian Flying Corps Archives(2002-1999)
which are good places to start.
Websites Worth Reading
Websites of friends, colleagues and of interest;