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”:www.manton.org/2003/01/u… 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”:www.manton.org/2005/08/p… August 2005. Doing our best work, inspired by Tufte and the golden age at Disney.
“Set unreasonable deadlines”:www.manton.org/2005/12/s… 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”:www.manton.org/2006/01/l… January 2006. I connected LEGOs and toy utility with user interface design in this one.
“Smart software bloat”:www.manton.org/2006/02/s… February 2006. In a general sense, how to add features without burdening the user interface. Discoverability in context.
“Mediocrity is the new application platform”:www.manton.org/2006/03/m… March 2006. About web, native, and hybrid applications, and when to choose one or the other.
“Customer support”:www.manton.org/2007/02/c… February 2007. Sparked by a post from Ryan Carson, I write about my own experience with Wii Transfer support.
“Bush veto”:www.manton.org/2007/11/b… 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”:www.manton.org/2008/03/f… March 2008. A little bit of a rant, reacting to the opinion that code must always be beautiful.
“Ollie Johnston”:www.manton.org/2008/04/o… April 2008. Where I comment on the death of a master animator. I should re-read this one every year.
✴️ Also on Micro.blog