Archive for the 'tech' Category

Fever° From Shaun Inman

Shaun Inman launched Fever today, a re-imagined feed reader. The big difference between Fever and other products like Google Reader, is that it is designed to help float important or trending links and discussions to the top. So rather than reading through hundreds of posts to find what’s hot, Fever analyzes all of your feeds, and looks for re-linking and repeat references.

I haven’t yet sprung for a license, (mostly because there isn’t any offline caching so that I can read on the subway). But, there is a lovely looking iPhone-optimized site, and it looks as thoughtfully and lovingly designed as his web analytics product, Mint.

Be sure to watch the video demo, and note that Fever is not a hosted service—you have to install it on your own server.

Introducing Typekit

Jeff Veen announced Typekit today, a hosted solution for embedding fonts on the web:

We’ve been working with foundries to develop a consistent web-only font linking license. We’ve built a technology platform that lets us to host both free and commercial fonts in a way that is incredibly fast, smoothes out differences in how browsers handle type, and offers the level of protection that type designers need without resorting to annoying and ineffective DRM.

Soon enough, @font-face CSS at-rule support will come to all major browsers, so use of non-traditional web fonts will increase. If this catches on, the web in 2010 might look a lot different than it does now—I wonder who will be the first major online content provider to use it?


Make your own Obamicon:

Your image in a style inspired by Shepard Fairey’s iconic poster. Regardless of your candidate of choice in the 2008 election, here’s your chance to sound-off.

From the folks at Paste, via Sean.

How Hackers Show it’s Not All Bad News at the New York Times

Apologies that this blog looks a little New York Times-y lately, but I had to share this – O’Reilly’s Andrew Savikas wrote a very interesting post on some of the interesting stuff we’re doing:

…there‘s something going on at the Times that probably won‘t make it to Silicon Alley Insider, much less the mainstream business press, and it‘s something that‘s starting to make me think the Times just might succeed in adapting to the changing rules of the media and publishing game…

So what’s the Times doing that’s so important? They’re hacking.

Savikas goes on to list a lot of examples, but the best one that I can provide is the coming release of our APIs, which will enable people on the outside to play, tinker, and mashup NY Times content. There are only a few APIs currently public, but there will be a flood of releases in the coming months.

[via Jeremy]

UPDATE: Oh man, a bit after I published this today, we launched our Visualization Lab – a partnership that uses IBM’s Many Eyes technology. More Info Here »

Ready for David Pogue

Me, standing in, as lighting is set for a David Pogue shoot.

Today, myself and a few colleagues helped Zach Wise set up and shoot some green screen video of New York Times Technology Columnist and near-Broadway performer David Pogue. The video will be integrated into a multimedia piece that Zach and I are working on, which should be done before Thanksgiving.

This is the first real video shoot that I’ve worked on, (having in the past done a lot of voice-over work with sound engineers). What’s scary is that we did this largely by ourselves – Zach found a studio at the nearby CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, we hung the green fabric, and we set up the lighting with a little help from their engineer.

David Pogue came in a short while later, I grabbed a boom mic, and we were off to the races. It was a lot of fun, and Pogue nailed the takes – I have no idea how he did it without a teleprompter, but he had us all laughing several times. And he was very patient and friendly throughout the shoot, even when we had to embarrassingly scramble back to the office for more P2 cards.

So, that was the hard part – now we have to design and build this thing. Outage


Reaction from Twitter user Graham Mudd, on the outage this afternoon. has been down for about an hour, and thankfully it wasn’t my turn to watch it. I haven’t heard of any explanation yet, but it could be anything from problems with DNS or our CDN. Who knows? I’m just a designer here.

It seems like just yesterday, when everyone was complaining about recent downtime troubles at Twitter and Amazon, including us.

Despite Adrienne Shaffer’s tweet, we’re housebroken, I swear!

Hopefully this is just a temporary blip. But, I had a good time reading people’s tweets.

6:27 pm UPDATE: The site is mostly up, but some functionality is not working, such as Search.

I’m writing this from the new WordPress iPhone app. It’s a pretty light, straight-forward interface. It allows saving posts locally on the iPhone before publishing or saving drafts to the server, enabling offline drafting.

There is even rudimentary photo support – but you can’t really control the placement or sizing of the image – it is merely appended to the end of the message. You don’t even see the image markup until it is published or saved as a draft on the server.

But even then, the limitations of the iPhone become clear – there is no copy/paste, and the classes that determine how WordPress displays uploaded images is unneccessarily complicated. (They should simplify that.)

So, though this is a pretty nice app, I’m not sure how useful it will be without more formatting options and copy/paste. For instance, I can’t even provide a link to it’s app store page. Also, why doesn’t the iPhone have characters luke curly quotes and em/en dashes?

UPDATE (from my Mac): Here is the link to the app.

Thsrs – The Shorter Thesaurus

Thsrs seems like a good idea: when you’re having trouble expressing yourself on Twitter in less that 140 characters, query the only thesaurus that only gives you synonyms shorter than the word you’re looking up.

omfg, lolz.

Farewell Sean & Louise


Cupcakes! – Photo by Villafranca.

This week, the Design group says farewell to two really talented colleagues – Sean Villafranca and Louise Ma. Sean is leaving to become Design Director at, and Louise is going to freelance, full-time.

I’m still new around these parts, but Sean and Louise made me feel at home. We’re going to miss you guys! (But, we are hiring…)

Continue reading ‘Farewell Sean & Louise’


Do you <3 Presley?

Twitter built a cute little thing for Valentine’s Day – type @nedward <3, and you can send a little valentine tweet to a Twitter friend. I don’t see any official blog post about it, but Twitter co-founder Biz Stone tweeted about it.

Enjoy, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Playing Around with the Google Chart API

I’ve been playing around with the new Google Chart API, released earlier today. The API enables easy creation of charts, dynamically:

The Google Chart API returns a PNG-format image in response to a URL. Several types of image can be generated: line, bar, and pie charts for example. For each image type you can specify attributes such as size, colors, and labels.

My example is shown below. I can think of a lot more convenient methods of creating graphs, especially when chartable data is usually already in Excel or Numbers spreadsheets. Still, pretty fun to play around with – check out what Brian Suda makes of it, on 24ways.


Free Wi-Fi in Midtown

Holy iPhone grail! Who needs to wait for muni-Wi-Fi?

TiVo HD and Copy Protection

Why do I pay money for this?I am an avid hockey fan, since I was a kid growing up in Buffalo. I love watching the game, and I especially love watching my hometown team, the Sabres. For the past 2 years, I’ve forked over $150 to subscribe to the NHL Center Ice cable package, so that I can watch every game of the season. With our TiVo, I can record each game, and watch it whenever I have time.

That is, I did, until this season started. We recently upgraded our TiVo unit from an old DirecTiVo, to the new Series 3 TiVo HD, which apparently implements unnaturally strict copy protection on premium content. Because the new unit utilizes CableCards, TiVo has different rules for these TiVos as compared to Series 2 units, according to their support page:

Since the Series3 and TiVo HD are DCR devices, in addition to the Macrovision rules for analog content, they must also comply with the content protection policies for Digital Cable content.

What this means is that NHL Center Ice content is copy protected, and will be deleted within hours of the game’s completion. Gone. Irretrievable.

Continue reading ‘TiVo HD and Copy Protection’

Gmail Adds IMAP Support

Via the Official Google Blog:

Gmail adds IMAP support
“Are you guys ever going to do IMAP?” Well now I can say: Yes. Yes, we are doing IMAP. In fact, we are doing it for you for free on all devices and platforms.

This is great news, especially for iPhone users, (instructions here). Now, you can keep your mail account synched between multiple computers and devices.

UPDATE: Derek makes a good point about some advanced mail settings on the iPhone – make sure to align your Drafts, Sent, and Trash folders.

2007 Web Design Survey

A List Apart releases the results of their 2007 Web Design Survey, and I’m feeling nicely average for my profession.

Close to 33,000 web professionals answered the survey’s 37 questions, providing the first data ever collected on the business of web design and development as practiced in the U.S. and worldwide.

ALA provides a PDF with the survey’s findings, but they also provide the raw date in Excel format, which you’re free to play around with, pivot, and chart.

Apple’s Web Apps Portal

Still no word on when or if Apple will officially allow 3rd-party apps – but some of these are really cool, so long as you’ve got wi-fi or AT&T EDGE. Here are my new favorites:

  • // Way better than their old mobile site, with forecasts, and maps.
  • Fandango // Set your location, and movie times are not far behind. This is also way better than their old Mobile site, (as well as MovieFone’s).
  • Tipr // It takes your check total and a specified tip percentage and generates a total that is a palindrome – so you can ensure that you’re not getting ripped off.

And, some oldies that haven’t yet made it into the directory:

Google Acquires Jaiku

I don’t know many Americans that use Jaiku, a Twitter-like service that allows you to micro-post your day from the web, or mobile phone. But, with the announced acquisition of the Finnish company by Google, I bet more will take a look.

A Q&A on the deal is available on the Jaiku site, but they are freezing new sign-ups for now.

Free Wi-fi

The secret is outI’m not sure how I feel about the concept of free wi-fi in coffee shops and bars – sure, we all like “free”, and I’m always careful to order refills and tip the baristas copiously. But, it can be impossible to get a table, because of wi-fi squatters.

This afternoon, I’m sitting at Fall Cafe in our new neighborhood, and looking around at the other tables – each with a laptop – and I see a lot of empty cups – these people have been sitting here for hours. As you can see from the new signage in the window (left), this cafe believes that free wi-fi brings in customers. But I wonder if some people won’t become frustrated with the squatters, and go elsewhere for their coffee?

Continue reading ‘Free Wi-fi’


Anybody got a Pownce invite? Pretty please?

UPDATE: All set, thanks Rich!

Movable Type 4 Beta

Well that was fun – I tried to upgrade to the new Movable Type 4 Beta, and it completely hosed my MT database tables. Luckily for once, I backed up everything, prior to taking the leap – so we’re back up running now.

It might be a good time to finally switch over to WordPress?

SXSW: Day 1

4 restless hours of sleep, and 1 Jetblue direct flight from BOS to AUS, and I found myself in Austin. Checked into the hotel and met up with the EchoDitto folks, and other friends. There are like 4 Jasons, 2 Justins, a John (me) — so it gets confusing.

70 degrees here, 55 or so at night. This festival totally takes over the city. Met some cool people last night, and the first panel this morning was cool — i started in “why XSLT is sexy”, but bailed for “emerging social and technology trends”. Next up, “How to Bluff Your Way in Web 2.0”, with Andy Budd & Jeremy Keith… which I expect to be hilarious.

Only complaints are that the hotel is a bit of a walk, across the river. And, i’m sick… so i’m completely groggy and don’t feel like talking to anybody. but, i’ll get over it.

Another problem is trying to explain my job, and what the Localization industry is. It comes off sounding really lame, considering everybody I talk to works small design shops…

So if you have any ideas how to punch it up a bit, let me know.


Windows is driving me insane at work — all of these little security fixes that get in the way of productivity.

Last Friday, I installed the latest Windows updates and rebooted at the end of the day. When I get to work and log in on Monday morning, I get this security warning every time I click on a zip file:

Annoying IE/ZIP popup security warning

Internet Explorer
This page has an unspecified potential security risk. Would you like to continue?

Um, yes, permanently.

It only repros (so far) for ZIPs on network shares and mapped drives. I’ve got Win XP SP2 & IE7… any ideas?

Windows Live Writer (Beta)

I’m posting this from inside Windows Live Writer, a newly released “weblogging” application by Microsoft. It’s a slick little windows app, with support for publishing to Movable Type, WordPress, as well as Live Spaces, by default.

Paul Stamatiou has an extended review, but here are some of the features:

  • WYSIWYG Authoring
  • Spell Check
  • Photo Publishing
  • Map Publishing, (via Live Local)
  • Compatibility with Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, WordPress (and many others)

Also, like most good WYSIWYG editors, it allows you to toggle over to HTML code view – (taking a quick look at this post, I see that it writes pretty clean code).

Note: There is no support yet for Tags, a new feature in MT 3.3. (Categories & Keywords are supported.)

More Information & Download

UPDATE: Om has a nice review:

It is not often, I say good things about Microsoft products, but with this free-blogging tool, I have to say: write on! …the software actually lets you use your blog styles for editing, has ability to add plugins, and has an SDK to extend the functionality of the program. You can also swap out  Microsoft Maps for say Google Maps.

Adobe Flash Player 9

Product Manager Emmy Huang writes in the Adobe Development Center:

As we looked at our goals for Flash Player 9, however, we realized that it would be too limiting to continue to evolve the existing engine. We wanted to create a watershed moment in the history of Flash Player, and to deliver it we needed to be able to innovate without constraint.

As a result, ActionScript 3.0 is essentially a full rewrite of the ActionScript engine. ActionScript 3.0 executes in a new, highly-optimized virtual machine known as AVM2, which we built for efficiency and performance. Although AVM2 will be the primary virtual machine for ActionScript execution going forward, Flash Player will continue to support the older AVM1 for backwards compatibility with existing and legacy content.

However, in order to take advantage of the new features, we’ll have to wait for the release of Flash Professional 9, (or play around with an alpha patch for Flash 8), according to the FAQ:

Designers and developers interested in using new Flash Player 9 features are welcome to explore the public alpha of Adobe Flash Professional 9 ActionScript 3.0 available on Adobe Labs.

It’s curiously timed… isn’t it unprecedented for Macromedia/Adobe releasing Player 9 almost a year in advance of Flash Professional 9? And, I don’t think that we’ll see wide-spread adoption until there is actually some Flash 9 content out there on the web. I’ll start paying attention in 2007.

Diesel Sweeties

dump.gifI love Diesel Sweeties

I prefer to name my computers and devices after imaginary girls who would never go out with me.