posted on 5/2/05 by Andy Wright
In honor of the upcoming Star Wars release: Video
of the Plasma Saber
in action. Starting at $990.00.
posted on 5/6/05 by Michael Opperman
Security vendor VeriSign found 66 percent would choose to give up their passwords for a Starbucks coffee
, during an informal on-the-street survey conducted Thursday in San Francisco.
(even though the chain is banning the new Springsteen album
. . .)
Good thing I get free coffee at work.
posted on 5/10/05 by Andy Wright
Nike places a colossal interactive billboard
â€“â€“where elseâ€“â€“in Times Square, to promote its NikeID line. Using mobile phones, passersby can customize a shoe design, see the changes on the billboard in realtime, and when finished, are sent a picture of the shoe and the URL where they can purchase it.
Why is it always Times Square that gets the cool stuff? Someone needs to do this along Hennepin's Theater District...are you hearing this, Nike?
posted on 5/10/05 by Michael Opperman
A couple of recommendations:
Reinventing the Wheel
, Jennifer Helfand
"As inventive as instructive, information wheels-or volvelles-have been used since the fourteenth century to measure, record, predict, and calculate everything form time and space to military history and recipes. In this fascinating book, designer and critic Jessica Helfand offers an in-depth look at these unique artifacts, which are not only clever and amusing-where else could you dial-in ingredients to concoct "Creamed Oysters and Celery"?-but, Helfand argues, relevant as a model for modern interactive design." Winterhouse
and a piece that passed briefly through my hands this week (a recommendation and generous loan from a fellow evangelist):
The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint
, Edward Tufte
"In corporate and government bureaucracies, the standard method for making a presentation is to talk about a list of points organized onto slides projected up on the wall. For many years, overhead projectors lit up transparencies, and slide projectors showed high-resolution 35mm slides. Now "slideware" computer programs for presentations are nearly everywhere. Early in the 21st century, several hundred million copies of Microsoft PowerPoint were turning out trillions of slides each year.
Alas, slideware often reduces the analytical quality of presentations. In particular, the popular PowerPoint templates (ready-made designs) usually weaken verbal and spatial reasoning, and almost always corrupt statistical analysis. What is the problem with PowerPoint? And how can we improve our presentations?" Edward Tufte
posted on 5/12/05 by Meghan Wilker
I have a high-tech friend
who has recently started going low-tech, a la Moleskins and the Hipster PDA
(keeping oneself organized with colored index cards).
He's enamored with this this Moleskine hack
-- I just love the idea of "hacking" a notebook.
So is this a backlash against PDAs and Crackberries, or just a passing fad? Time will tell, but I maintain that there is something nice about the tangible nature of pen and paper.
posted on 5/13/05 by Matt Gray
Imagine the following scenario: you have a paperback book open to a printed page, a camera, and an LCD projector that form a rough triangle. Suppose you have a playing card, with its back facing the camera. The front of the card partially faces both the projector and the book, so light from the projector will create a diffuse reflection from the card's face on the page of the book.
Now, you might think that it's impossible to determine the suit and value of the card from the camera's perspective—the only information available to the camera is the light reflecting off the back of the card, and the light from the open book page. However, by controlling the structure of the light from the projector in a very fine manner (illuminating one "pixel" of the playing card's face at a time), the entire card can be scanned in, a piece at a time!
"Seeing around corners" is perhaps an exaggeration, but this technology is just plain cool. For more technical information, check out the paper behind the discovery, Dual Photography, or jump straight to the demonstration video (torrent) or the paper in PDF format.
Grab the torrent if you've got the time—the end of the movie demonstrates the playing card scenario I described above. It's fantastic.
PS. If you don't have a BitTorrent client, head over to the official web site and download it. BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer (P2P) technology that shares the burden of downloading among everyone who wants the file. Rather than everyone attempting to snag it from a single computer, people with more pieces of the file than others share it with the group. This greatly accelerates download time, and allows many more people to download the file without overloading the server. P2P is not evil!
posted on 5/16/05 by Meghan Wilker
My husband showed me this tonight and I had to pass it on: Safari passes the ACID2 browser compliance test
The Acid2 test
is a page (created by the Web Standards Project
) that's full of every weird piece of CSS, PNG, and HTML that current standards allow. It also includes some invalid CSS which is designed to fail.
To pass the test, a browser has to understand all the page notation. Then it has to handle the errors gracefully. See how your favorite browser fared.
posted on 5/17/05 by Michael Opperman
noticed the recently-released ChicagoCrime.org
, a "free database of criminal activity reported in Chicago which uses Google Maps to display where bad things happen." Check out a map of reported armed robberies with a handgun
, and charges for possession of crack
posted on 5/17/05 by Michael Koppelman
I was pondering what is better from a marketing perspective:
(as an example)
I think the world is starting to get used to 2nd level domains such that marketing something as newproduct.domain.com is mnemonic. I think 2nd level domains are easier to speak as well. They are also a hair more concise.
On the other hand, I think brands too often use too many domains when they should focus on marketing a single domain all the time. CNN does this, for example. The only domain they market is cnn.com.
I think a lot of companies grab every possible domain as a defensive strategy and that might be valuable in some respects but in general I think leads to defocus.
What do you think?
posted on 5/18/05 by Michael Opperman
Google will be using RSS feeds as part of its AdSense program
. We may be seeing a shift in the way that some websites handle RSS feeds.
We all saw it coming, but that's not a reason to be happy about it. Poynter's
Steve Outing discusses the issue
posted on 5/20/05 by Sharyn Morrow
Last night I listened to a piece on NPR
about the 'Contagious Media
It's a race among Web designers to see who can send out the most contagious e-mail. "Contagious media" are all those little amateur videos, singing computer animations and e-mail hoaxes that your friends send you.
And from the Eyebeam Institute
(the contest's sponsor):
Announcing the world's first Contagious Media Showdown. Do you have what it takes to corral enough traffic to win the cash prizes? Can you make the next Dancing Baby, All Your Base, or Star Wars Kid and ride into the sunset with the bounty?
This brought to mind a work of fiction I enjoyed recently called Bellwether
...about a sociologist trying to determine where fads come from. In it she writes that scientific discovery, like any other human endeavor, is "messy, haphazard, misdirected, and heavily influenced by chance." Much like the 'contagious media
' these folks are striving to create. The idea behind the contest is an interesting one, but I don't know that viral trends can successfully be engineered. Human behavior is too unpredictable and spontaneous. Still, the showdown entries have gone live, so judge for yourself
posted on 5/24/05 by Matt Gray
A blogger's last entry was used to obtain a murder confession in New York. Simon Ng, the blogger, "wrote that he was wondering why Lin was there and wished he would leave," said an NYPD spokeswoman according to the New York Daily News. Lin was his sister's ex-boyfriend, who apparently came calling to score some cash for a ticket back to Hong Kong. The suspect allegedly searched the house and killed Simon after a fruitless search. Some time later, his sister Sharon came home and was also murdered.
Simon's blog is still online, and the mentioned entry is indeed there. It is quite chilling to read an entry posted a few short hours ago by someone who is now dead. If this alone isn't sad enough, the comments section of the post contains predictable 'net insults flung at a defenseless deceased individual. However, the vast majority of the comments thread consists of three simple initials: R.I.P.
In this situation, the blog not only helped to implicate the killer, but has made many people aware of an otherwise ordinary incident. It is sad that major media cares only by virtue of the blog's involvement in the case. Now Simon's words are frozen in time, available for all to see. The blog comments board has become a memorial wall of sorts. Ignore the "blog factor" and note that the blog is just another way for us humans to connect and share with one another. Simon has effectively spoken from beyond the grave to implicate his alleged killer.
RIP, Simon and Sharon.