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?

Obamicon.Me

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

Shadows
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.

nytimes.com Outage

Graham

Reaction from Twitter user Graham Mudd, on the nytimes.com outage this afternoon.

Nytimes.com 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.

Adrienne
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.

wordpress.app

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

IMG_2875.JPG

Cupcakes! – Photo by Villafranca.

This week, the nytimes.com Design group says farewell to two real­ly tal­ent­ed col­leagues – Sean Vil­lafran­ca and Louise Ma. Sean is leav­ing to become Design Direc­tor at time.com, 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’

Twitter

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.

Chart

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:

  • Weather.com // 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’

Pownce

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.

Security”

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.