Techcrunch posted another update on the web based IM client Meebo, and it reminded me of my meebo experience last week. Stuck in New York JFK airport for the better part of 48hours (due to the snow storm), without a laptop and no access to IM, meebo saved the day. Thank you Meebo...you're a travellers dream.
Note to Microsoft:
I tried using web messenger, and it just didn't work on the Business Lounge computers, not to mention all of the problems with pop-ups etc. Sort it out.
January 29 | Comments (0)
This is an interesting use of the google maps. MapWoW. Fantastic for game play, not sure if it counts as cheating. I guess knowing where all of the locations for things might be considered a cheat. Although it seems like they're running into a bit of digg trouble.
Sorry; herb, ore, treasure, and location label viewing has been disabled for now. Our tiny shared host can't handle the load of digg.
Have to say i'm tempted. Ok, last WoW post...but don't they say that the first step to dealing with addiction is talking about it?
January 14 | Comments (0)
Some interesting stuff from the week...
Odopod (A design agency in SanFran) redesigns. They say they’re a two headed monster. “We’re a design studio of two minds: story and logic. When they get together, good things happen.”
They’ve done some nice work, including a great flash/html hybrid.
Make your own custom ice cream. I’m thinking my Liquorish cheesecake will be a hit!
Clockr. Now this is clever. Using flickr number photos to tell time.
January 11 | Comments (1)
Outstandingly simple, stupid ideas all of them. It's been mentioned on just about every blog, but i'm just as impressed (or dumbfounded) as everyone else. It's like we've gone back to 1995. Perhaps i'll make a big green button that doesn't do anything but refresh ads.
January 8 | Comments (0)
Since I returned from China I haven't really been feeling myself. In trying to figure out what's wrong with me (I'm pretty sure it's not bird flu), i've been using the trusty interweb and have discovered that health websites are generally shit. This whole whole sector could use with one big redevelopment.
4 tips to making a better health site.
1. Please make a search that works. There is no excuse now that google makes their search available for you to use. If you have other methods of searching (Faceted), even better!
2. Please provide access to other sources that have either more information or different information if relevant.
3. Include comments and group type features on the same page as the symptom information. When I'm reading about my symptoms I want to hear how other people have handled it...invite doctors perhaps!
4. Let me know if the medical advice is sound by providing a reference that i can check. See the BBC for an example. (Although it would be nice to know who Bob is.)
January 5 | Comments (0)
Intel launches their new site, yet another corporate site with a big header image and some news below. Isn't there anything more interesting that designers can do? I'm rather disapointed with the state of corporate web design. Common' people!
December 11 | Comments (0)
Everyday we get another press release about another product being absorbed into the Yahoo machine. Del.icio.us was bought yesterday, Flickr before that and probably many smaller properties I don't have a clue about. Not too mention bloggers such as Tom Coates (former BBC) etc. It's amazing how the hiring of real talent affects a business, Yahoo has been launching product like crazy lately and i've mentioned i'm impressed before. I wish the agency world (that I live in) would learn a thing or two about hiring like this. Hire smart people, they'll make your business better. Give them room to grow and they'll make you the best. Yahoo! has got this.
See you in a few. Off to NY.
December 9 | Comments (0)
Yahoo Answers was launched this morning. This is a very interesting service, as they've taken a community driven approach rather than the paid expert approach that a number of other similar services offer. The answers to questions are rated and then the community picks the best answer. Genius. As mentioned at Techcrunch, they need to figure out how to incorporate tagging. The navigational structure they have at the moment will break eventually.
I'm constantly impressed with the products that are coming out of Yahoo at the moment. They "get it".
November 28 | Comments (0)
A project i've been working on for the last 4 months is finally ready to go live. The Poetry Archive will launch on the 30th of November (hopefully to much fanfare and applause), allowing access to recordings of poets reading their own work. This includes a historic archive of many hard to find recordings from the past.
Update: It's now live! We had a great launch party at the British Library and recieved coverage on the BBC, the NYTimes and many more local language news papers around the world. Well done all!
November 24 | Comments (0)
I'm not sure that I need help planning for the holidays, but i'm sure some people will. Giftbox is a service that helps you organise your gift giving.
Keep track of the gifts you've received, Keep track of the gifts you've given to others, Keep track of gift ideas you have for future holidays, Keep track of where/when gifts need to be returned, Compile a wishlist of gifts and email it to your friends and family, Send thank you eCards, Receive reminders of upcoming holidays
November 18 | Comments (0)
It's as if everything 1999 is being reinvented with tags and a more integrated social structure. Riffs a new service to vote with your keyboard on millions of products, is similar in many ways to epinions and dooyoo. They do a better job of explaining it.
For the casual riffr:
You'll find ratings of the millions of items in our database, and you can search Riffs by categories or by user-generated tags that match your interests.
For the passionate riffr:
Express your opinions on anything by writing a short riff, or a long review, or just look for things that other riffrs have contributed, and rate and/or comment on what they've written. You can also get personalized music recommendations just by rating a few albums!
Riff on... Music, Books, Movies, Cars, People, Places, Events, TV, Sports, Restaurants, Games, Software, Websites... and anything else.
I've always been a heavy user of opinion sites, perhaps this will be the site to get me to contribute.
November 14 | Comments (0)
Looks like Google is entering the same game as Mint and Measuremap by allowing smaller sites, sub 5 million page views/month access to statistics. However they’re offering it for free…like only Google can.
Google Analytics tells you everything you want to know about how your visitors found you and how they interact with your site. You'll be able to focus your marketing resources on campaigns and initiatives that deliverROI, and improve your site to convert more visitors.
I'll be trying it out on folkmann.ca and i'll let you know how it goes.
Update: I've been waiting over two days to see my stats, and this morning Analytics kept kicking me out and back to the google homepage. I've very disapointed and i've just recieved an invite to Measuremap, so I think i'll try that.
November 14 | Comments (0)
Looks like the ecom giant has finally started letting people tag the products in their catalogue. At the moment it's only available to 50% of the Amazon.com audience and isn't available to other countries yet. Kokogiak has a good write up and links to Flickr photos for those that can't see it.
I would imagine that the tags will prove to be an interesting way to find other books, improve Amazon's search and eventually replace any hierarchy in their navigation. However, I can see spammers having a good time with this, Amazon will have to create some tools to deal with this...that or the community will have to self police a la wikipedia.
It also lends itself to serving some dodgy results. For example, I tagged Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell with "fantasy", other items tagged with fantasy included the latest Britney Spears album.
It will be interesting to see how the experiment turns out.
November 14 | Comments (0)
Nice little site by Snickers. A quick game each day that gives quick satisfaction. The games are fun, but the send to a friend method of data collection is a tired. Can't anyone come up with a more clever way to get my details?
November 11 | Comments (0)
Most people have never heard of Web 2.0, let alone many of the companies that call themselves such or use the associated technologies. I'm reminded everyday how few people know (or even care) about the changes that are happening online at the moment. Just this morning, I was talking to my other half about Podcasting, expecting that she'd know what it was. After listening to me ramble for 5 mins on the subject she asks "What's Podcasting?". It's was a good reminder that the vast majority of the web viewing public are still new to these concepts and that knowing who your audience is and what they understand is still as important as it ever was.
If you're unsure if a website falls into the Web 2.0 category, or if you're curious you might want to try this validator. So far folkmann.ca is only a 2/13...so i'm clearly not 2.0 enough.
November 8 | Comments (0)
Sometimes people are smarter than computers. At least Amazon seems to think so. Amazon's Mechanical Turk is the most interesting thing i've seen in a long time.
Complete simple tasks that people do better than computers. And, get paid for it.It's been a long time since we've seen anything innovative come from the retai giant. Impressive.
November 6 | Comments (0)
Facinating article by ATKearney about department stores and their collective pain in a specialists market.
Traditional department stores are caught in the middle. Once thriving and profitable, many are struggling to compete with hard discounters and high-end specialty shops. So far, these new competitors seem to be winning, with industry analysts ready to sing department stores swan song. After years of teetering on the brink, are department stores doomed to obscurity? Or are they poised for a surprisecomeback?
Some very insightful comments on the future of retail. Is the same thing happening online? I'm not sure. Amazon and Ebay are both similar to department stores and they seem to be the runaway successes. Although, there is still plenty of room for the smaller stores to make large profit in niche markets, and perhaps erode the base of customers that the "online department stores" have created.
Early days, we'll just have to wait and see.
November 4 | Comments (0)
Suprglu, holding all of your web applications together. Do you use, Flickr, Del.icio.us, Blogger or 43things? Now you can get all of your feeds from any of these applications all in one place, and you'll eventuallybe able to publish the list as one big RSS feed.
SuprGlu is about bringing the pieces of your web content together into one central place for you, your friends, and maybe even your friends to-be.
With the advent of so many fun to use applications, it is a shame for us to not use them. So keeping that in mind, what would be even better is to blog them.
I've registered and i'm not yet sure how this will fit into my consumption of media. At the moment I use my.yahoo.com to manage my RSS feeds (although i'm probably going to switch as it's starting to burst), and I use each other service individually.
It's an interesting concept, however i'm not sure the model has been completely worked through. Would I add all my feeds to this? or just my own content? Is having content all jumbled together better than other navigational methods, or the viewing habits i've developed? How is this different from including all of my other content as links from my blog, or importing the RSS directly into folkmann.ca?
Suprglu, I need reasons to believe. If you're listening, i'd love to hear some...i want to be convinced. [tip:Francois]
If you're a podcaster, you may want to take a look at Fruitcast. They've created a service that puts ads into your podcasts so that you can make money, much like what Adsense does for websites. They say:
Want to earn income from your labor of love? Putting ads on your podcast is now as easy as signing up for an account and changing the URL of your podcast's RSS feed.
If you don't know what podcasting is, wikipedia has a good entry.
Update: Techcrunch has a full write up.
Looks like the sleeping giant has finally woken up. Microsoft has just launched Windows Live, taking a first step into the feed arena among other things. They've also said that they're also going to add a bunch of other online services, to faciliate project management, expense reports and billing. Michale Arrington at CrunchNotes has live blogged the launch event for your enjoyment.
This looks like the beginning of Microsofts foray into software as services, it'll be interesting to see the battle between Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft over the coming months. For the customer this can only be a good thing, more competition brings interesting services (at least for now).
November 1 | Comments (0)
Communicate early and often. (And when you’ve got to tell people they have to keep waiting, make them feel good about it.)
An excellent example is the following message I received this morning from Measure Map (blog metrics).
Hey, remember when you signed up for an invitation at Measure Map? We wanted to let you know that we haven't forgotten about that. We've got a nice healthy list of folks waiting to get in, and we've just started sending out our first few invites - we hope to get everyone into the service in the next few weeks.
Just wanted you to know that we're still holding a spot for you.
I’m glad the Adaptive Path team (the company behind the service) has taken their own user experience advice when it comes to customer service. Let’s hope that the end product is as good as their communication skills. I’m sure there will be plenty of reviews soon enough.
October 27 | Comments (0)
As mentioned in my last post Yahoo has been on a bit of a roll and surprise surprise they've launched yet another interesting product.
Trip Planner is a new tool that helps you organize your travel research from Yahoo! Travel and all over the Web to a trip plan. Save hotels, attractions, and useful web sites into your trip plan, then add your own notes, tags, driving directions and more. When you’re done, you can share your trip with a few friends or with the entire Yahoo! Travel community.
There on to something here. However, at the moment it's only integrated with Yahoo travel guides to populate your "trip" with information. I hope they open this up so that you could import content from other services*....perhaps comments from 43places or importing information found on Yahoo! Blog search. Until then, i'll be sticking with del.icio.us to keep track of my travel related research.
*(You can add links to other websites, but it doesn't pull any information through to your trip.)
Yahoo has been on a roll lately with lots of new services (Video search, 360, etc.) but by far the most interesting development has been their foray into the creation of sponsored content. In the last few months they've launched Richard Bang's Aventures and Kevin Sites in the hot zone. It seems that Yahoo has caught on to the fact that people will be more open to advertising if they are giving something interesting in return. I'm sure we'll see more of this as brands try to become more integrated with our lives rather than just bombarding us with messages.
October 25 | Comments (0)
Cutting out the middle man has long been the best way to optimise the money you make. The fine folks at A List Apart, 37signals and Coudal Partners have joined together to create their very own ad network between their sites. They say:
The Deck, the premier advertising network for reaching web and design professionals. The three sites serve up millions of page views each month and The Deck ad program is uniquely configured to connect marketers to a targeted, influential audience.
In a way the advertisers are effectively sponsoring the sites. It will be interesting to see how this pans out. Hopefully they will keep the viewing public appraised of its success (although we might be able to tell if Adsense Ads start appearing). Each site is big enough to manage the relationships with advertisers, which will stop most bloggers from trying a similar model. However, I would imagine that it won't stop some of the bigger bloggers giving it a try.
October 24 | Comments (2)
Michael Arrington at TechCrunch posts:
I’m skeptical of companies that continue to launch with these domain name abominations (dropping vowels, using random ccTLDs and lots of extra dots), but if the service rocks, I will forgive all.
Isn't the resurgence of domain name creativity just a reaction to the lack of available "proper" domain names? I don't mind people showing some flair in the creation of something as mundane as a URL. Be honest, Flickr, Del.icio.us, ma.gnolia, etc. is at least more interesting than the last time people started adding bits to URLs. Remember, IVillage, Estamps.com, etoys.com etc.
I would imagine that there will be some backlash in terms of their respective memorability, we'll have to wait and see. It's just another trend, and next year there will be another one. Hell, I've even bought a couple of abominations myself!
Yesterday, I managed to get a hold of a developer preview of the new Flock browser. So far, i'm rather impressed. It integrates my blog, del.icio.us bookmarks and flickr into one package.
We'll have to wait and see what in roads it makes against the other browsers. If anything it will force Microsoft and Firefox to think differently about upcoming versions and perhaps take a page from the Flock book.
Will it change the web? Not sure, but i'ts the first bit of true innovation in browsers that we've seen in a long time. Good work Flock team!
Update: The flock browser is now live for developers. Read the warnings before installing!