Tapecasting from my Amiga...
View the world's leading gadget weblog through the retro lens, as they review the latest in shoulder-mounted mobile phones, GPS receivers the size of a TV set, hot new TI calculators, the amazing Amiga 1000 with its 4096 colors and animation capabilities, the first-ever consumer laser printer and - bonus! - "tapecasting."
Illustrated with 16-colour bitmaps and radical ASCII art, it's the cutting edge as it used to be.
Seriously though - hard to believe how far we've come in only twenty years: the kind of tech we casually keep in our pockets today outpowers all the computing power and data storage in the Apollo space program. (And today's space shuttle, too, which still operates to 1975 design standards.)
Excuse me, I have to go buy some wraparound reflective sunglasses and Ocean Pacific T-shirts now.
So my earlier Friendster redesign post actually garnered some interest from the company itself. One of their product managers emailed me and we had a nice little chat. Very cool people.
I can't really talk about what we discussed, but they liked our little design experiment a lot. I wish I could say they saw it on this blog; it turned out someone there found it through Flickr and passed it to the higher-ups. What's amazing is how fast it happened. It's either a case of the right information getting to the right people at the right time, or someone having a very extended sensor network on the Web.
The one question I have is, with the Flickr gallery getting nearly 400 total hits, why has nobody commented? I suppose if they're all from Friendster Inc. they're not allowed to – NDAs and all that. Too bad Flickr doesn't have referrer stats like TypePad. (Hint hint, Stewart.)
Diagonals and Magenta: Two Takes
Razer.ca and JamieOliver.com both use diagonal stripes and bright pinks as part of their designs. That's where the similarities end, though.
Continue reading “Diagonals and Magenta: Two Takes”
From Wal-Mart to Sustainability
While I write my follow-up piece, urban planning blogger UNplanner has a similar article, considering the possibilities of converting big-box stores into greenhouses and their parking lots into raised-bed gardens. Given the extreme dependence of the North American food chain on petroleum and natural gas at the moment, ideas like this might help us avoid something like Cuba's recent 'Special Period' or what North Korea's going through now. Check it out here.
Ikea, Wal-Mart, and the Future of Retail
Ikea are Canadians' favourite source for affordable, if disposable, Scandinavian design. Wal-Mart is, although we are loath to admit it, Canadians' favourite source for almost everything else. But if we look below the surface of these two seemingly polar opposites, there are a lot of similarities that don't bode well for the future of big-box retail.
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A persona is an simple document that describes, in varying amounts of detail, a typical user or group of users. In essence "giving a face" or personality to those users. On a large, high volume site you could have many personas, each representing a subset of your user base. A good persona is always based on user research and data and will give you a manageable icon to work with when advocating for your user group(s).
All too often, websites seem designed with little to no insight about the potential users of the site - they seem to be more like vanity license plates than usable or user-centric. Keith hits it on the head with this one!
Apple released its first multibutton mouse today. From their marketing copy:
"Alas the fate of the one-button mouse in today's multibutton world. Who has time for intuitive, elegant design when there is so much clicking to do?"
On the surface it seems like your garden-variety 4-button-and-scroll-wheel mouse, but there's some interesting innovation under the white plastic shell.
To begin with, Mighty Mouse actually has no buttons, but rather capacitance sensors that can detect changes in pressure. And the scroll wheel is actually the world's weensiest trackball, allowing scrolling in any direction. On the surface it would seem to take the best of IBM's Trackpoint nubbin as found on Thinkpads, and trackball mouse replacements - requiring much less finger travel for less strain, but also providing 360-degree freedom of motion.
And of course, there's the Apple twist. Without physical switches, how do you know you've clicked it?
A tiny speaker inside Mighty Mouse produces button-clicking and Scroll Ball-rolling sound effects.
Oh Apple, with this technology you are spoiling us.
Available now from the Apple Store for $49 US, $65 CDN.