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RSS Cleaning #1

August 3, 2010 Leave a comment

I have the bad habit of collecting more than I have use for, the same goes for RSS subscriptions unfortunately. This has resulted in me bookmarking hundreds of articles that I would like to share but never have gotten around to do. All this is a major pain since I also have the habit of organizing when procrastinating, resulting in too much time spent on sifting through bookmarks when I could do something more productive. There are times when I don’t even bookmark the article I find interesting and just keep it open until I find a category of bookmarks that it fits into.

To prevent myself from getting major headaches over this I’m going to start with something I’ve dubbed “RSS Cleaning” in which I will dump a boatload of articles into a post and write a short description of them so that you can sift through them. I’m hoping to do this once each week, in order to get used to posting regularly, but I can’t promise that yet. We’ll see how it’ll go. Since this is the first cleaning, the some articles may be “old”, but the idea is that with all the old articles out-of-the-way, newer and newer material will come up.

So let us start!

TWiST #46 with David Heinemeier Hansson
This Youtube video is almost 2 hours long and about 5 months old but it’s still an awesome episode, and if you don’t have the time then you can skip the first 47 minutes to the “real” interview. The show features David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails and partner of 37signals, talking about start-up strategies and “old-school” capitalism.

DICE 2010: “Design Outside the Box” Presentation
Another old video from February about the boom of social games and the possible future it’s heading towards. A very interesting presentation that is both thought provocative and somewhat scary.

Tab The Power Strip
I seldom find any good concepts from product designers since they tend to get caught up in the aesthetics of the product and fail to see the function and usability that needs to be there. The Multi-Tab Power Strip is different, designer Soon Mo Kang manages to successfully combine all three aspects and really make you hope that some day, it will become more than a concept.

Is it One Chair, or is it More?
As a student, one can often run out of space and furniture to sit on when having too many friends over. Shair is a concept by Jie-Jyun Lyu that could solve that issue by simply adapting to the situation and environment.

CODEORGAN
The people behind CODEORGAN have found a way to make the web a more musical place by analysing the body of a site and making sweet music from it.

EpicWin
A new and fun way to combine the productivity of task-lists with the escapism  of RPG’s. The iPhone app allows users to advance in quests, gain loot and develop skills by completing your tasks in the real world.

Internet Explorer 9: A Fresh Start, With HTML5
It’s been five months and we still haven’t heard anything new on IE9, but for those that still don’t know what IE9 will have to offer, check out the article which sums it up quite nicely.

Shooting Robert King
A documentary spanning over 15 years and through 3 wars. The movie follows war photographer Robert King from the start of his career in Sarajevo until “present” day. Throughout the movie one can see the transformation from a young naive photographer on a mission to a cynic battle-torn father doing his job that is filled with death and destruction. For those with guts strong enough to handle the more graphic pictures of war, one can see the film online on the link above.

Porn broadcast inside Indonesian parliament
The government of Indonesia ordered the country’s ISP’s to block all pornographic material from the web by the 11th of August, a move that didn’t sit well with a hacker that retaliated by broadcasting porn on the parliaments internal TV channel. The official story is that the connection is still unclear but for everybody else it seems quite crystal clear.

Graphic Design Career Tips : How Much Money Do Graphic Designers Make?
Creative director William Fridrich talks about how much a designer earns and what makes a great designer.

That concludes the first segment of RSS Cleaning! We’ll see when the next one comes up. Bye!

//Saligia

Why not goeco?

July 28, 2010 Leave a comment

The creative team behind goeco have been running a contest where competitors have the chance to win 1000 SEK, which is about 137 USD or 105 EUR. The rules are quite simple, all you have to do is become a fan of their Facebook page and come up with an innovative, efficient and simple tip to consume less energy in your home which you then post on their page. After the contest ends on the 12 of August, the team will go through each contribution and decide on a winning tip.

For those that aren’t familiar with goeco, it’s a mobile phone application that tracks you transportation behaviour and gives you feedback as well as gives you tip on how to change your behaviour to be more environmentally friendly. The application doesn’t stop there, it goes on to give you a measurement of how many calories you’ve burned and how much money you’ve spent on transportation. With this data the application can not only lighten your carbon footstep but also save you money and help you keep fit.

But if you feel that you still need to travel by car everywhere then at least make sure it’s eco-friendly. And with that I leave you with this video and say goodbye.

//Saligia

You get a bumper, you get a bumper, everyone gets a bumper!

July 18, 2010 Leave a comment

So Apple had their press conference today about their signal problem. I’ve never liked Apple as a company, they have some great products, no doubt, but for some reason the company comes off as an A-hole. I have the same feeling about the directing founder, Steve Jobs. This certainly affects my summary of the conference and the paraphrasing, but anyway, here it is:

“We’re not perfect but, neither are phones.” – While it’s a big step for Apple to admit that they aren’t perfect it feels like an excuse saying that all phones have problems, especially after all the positive superlatives that they drop on their announcements.

“See! Other have the same problem.” – The excuse that they did the tests for science and a better understanding of the problem, is total bullshit. They saw an opportunity to bash on their competitors and they took it.

“We fixed our algorithm and other haven’t fixed theirs.” – Well good for you, you fixed a faulty algorithm that promised way more than it had and that should never have been there in the first place.

“We spend tons of money on testing and our awesome labs.” – And still you have problems with your phone.

“We knew, but didn’t think it would be a big deal”/”The Bloomberg article is bullshit” – So you knew but didn’t know? What is it?

“We have the best antennas ever… that drops the same amount of calls as the 3GS” – So it does nothing?

“There’s a problem, but it’s a small problem because everyone is happy” – 0,55% call Apple care about their iPhone 4 because of reception complaints while the Droid Eris, the phone that Apple bashes on, has a 0,016%.

“Bumpers will solve the problems, so everyone gets a bumper!” – The obvious cheaper solution to save face and customers.

“If you’re not happy with the iPhone, then we don’t want your money” – OK, I might have been too hard with that paraphrasing. It’s quite nice with a money-back warranty.

All in all, I think a quote from RIM says it best. “Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.”

But enough of the Apple bashing, that’s it for now. Until next post! //Saligia

TAT Home

February 16, 2010 Leave a comment

On Valentines day the Swedish developer The Astonishing Tribe (or TAT) released their new concept video for an Android user interface, called TAT Home, which relied heavily on 3D graphics. TAT is most known for creating the original Android user interface.

While there were a lot of good ideas, there were also bad ideas. Lets start by reviewing the good ideas.

The first thing they show is the Widget Fan, as they call it, it’s basically an easy way to overview and choose your home screens. The thing I like about it, is that one can easily use it using the same hand that’s holding the phone making it easier to handle.
The thing that I liked the most was possibly the Alarm. It uses a new way of setting the time for the alarm clock that I can see being really fast to use when one gets used to it. At first you might be more careful with how many times you spin(?) the alarm, but once you’ve used it for a while you probably don’t even think about it.

What I didn’t like was the Messages Widget, maybe I’ve grown accustomed to the easy way of organizing SMS and MMS with the conversion metaphor, but only being able to see three messages at the time doesn’t seem optimal to me. There’s way too much scrolling with their implementation.
The same critique goes for the Music Remote. If you have several artists and several albums on your phone then it quickly becomes a hassle to scroll between artists and album. It may be a fun and new way to show the music player but it lacks the usability that I need. It would have been fun to see how they would have tackled user-created playlists since I seldom listen to only one album at the time.

When it comes to the Contact Widget, the Weather Widget and TAT Cascades, I’m fairly neutral.
The Contact Widget isn’t something new, the Weather Widget is functions as well as other weather widgets and TAT Cascades can cause a minor problem with the depth perception of the widgets but nothing to worry about.

TAT usually have a lot of great concepts and material so it’s always fun to see something new from them. Maybe their next release might come from two of my seniors from my education that are doing their master thesis work with them., who knows?

//Saligia

Windows Phone 7 Series

February 16, 2010 Leave a comment

I may be a day late in reporting this but I’m blaming it on the Olympics and the fact that I celebrated a friend’s birthday yesterday.

Windows Mobile was never really an option for me, so when news of the new Windows Phone 7 Series came I got intrigued. Windows decided to kill the old look and feel of Windows Mobile and decided to start fresh with a new mobile OS that feels more like a social phone than their old dated miniature Windows OS.

The home screen feels a lot like a website filled with advertisements and banners, which could be bad but for some reason it feels good and the phone seems more “alive”.

They’ve done some great work integrating social media in your phone in a natural way that doesn’t disturb the user and the way to take advantage of all your media from these social sites and combine them in your phone. I like the fact that all your Flickr and Facebook albums are available on your phone by just going to your photo album tile on the phone. Everything seems really great but at the same time it’s a bit scary to have everything in your phone, at least I know that leaving your phone or computer with friends, while you leave the room for a while, is a big no-no 😛

Another feature that is really nice is the contextual search that Bing, their search engine, uses. By just typing something like pizza the engine automatically knows where you are and can list all the pizza restaurants in your vicinity. Your search is also categorized in 3 different ways from what I saw in their demo, local, web and news.

I’ll be waiting to see more on the new mobile OS before deciding on what my next phone might be, specifically I’m interested in how third-party applications are going to work with the new OS and how developer friendly it will be. But I have to say, that the new Windows Phone 7 Series looks without a doubt really promising, and it was about time that Microsoft got in the game.

You can watch the Windows Phone 7 prototype demo over at Channel 9 MSDN or just go to the official page.

//Saligia