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.