Favorite essays

The best essays are the ones that contain some truth or insight that doesn’t go out of style months or years later. As I return to regular blogging (12 posts in September compared to about the same number of posts between all of May through August), I sometimes stumble upon older posts that have held up pretty well.

Here are 10 of my favorites over the last 6 years with brief comments on why I like them. If you’ve only recently started reading my blog, maybe you’ll find one of these interesting.

“Understanding Comics”:http://www.manton.org/2003/01/understanding_comics.html, January 2003. Probably the first of several essays where I write about art and software. Since I wrote it, Scott McCloud has finished his third book on comics.

“Perfection”:http://www.manton.org/2005/08/perfection.html, August 2005. Doing our best work, inspired by Tufte and the golden age at Disney.

“Set unreasonable deadlines”:http://www.manton.org/2005/12/set.html, December 2005. Code more in less time, three years ago, but still very much inspired by 37signals. I like how this post mentions my favorite animation autobiography.

“Limitations in toys and software”:http://www.manton.org/2006/01/limitations_in_toys.html, January 2006. I connected LEGOs and toy utility with user interface design in this one.

“Smart software bloat”:http://www.manton.org/2006/02/smart_software_bloat.html, February 2006. In a general sense, how to add features without burdening the user interface. Discoverability in context.

“Mediocrity is the new application platform”:http://www.manton.org/2006/03/mediocrity_is_the.html, March 2006. About web, native, and hybrid applications, and when to choose one or the other.

“Customer support”:http://www.manton.org/2007/02/customer.html, February 2007. Sparked by a post from Ryan Carson, I write about my own experience with Wii Transfer support.

“Bush veto”:http://www.manton.org/2007/11/bush_veto.html, November 2007. I’m pretty sick of partisan politics right now, a month before the election. This post reminds me of the passion I had just a year ago.

“Fancy-pants productivity”:http://www.manton.org/2008/03/fancypants_productivity.html, March 2008. A little bit of a rant, reacting to the opinion that code must always be beautiful.

“Ollie Johnston”:http://www.manton.org/2008/04/ollie_johnston.html, April 2008. Where I comment on the death of a master animator. I should re-read this one every year.