Posts tagged “app”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] Who benefits when New York upgrades its ‘user experience’? [Capital New York] – [Somewhat rambling but interesting piece that – I think – compares the gentrification of the web to an app UX with the types of city changes New York is seeking to improve its user experience.] Try navigating most news sites and you’ll be dodging all kinds of digital equivalents to roadblocks, tourists and construction. Reading an article can sometimes require a mastery of mouse acrobatics, requiring you to steer from funny-looking links that, with just a graze over a photo, will awaken a sleeping giant ad that pop-ups up and takes over your screen, blocking the very words you were simply trying to read. Or a video will start playing, unprompted, somewhere in that digital box, and, although its sounds are blaring from your speakers, you can’t find it. You have to scroll and maneuver to figure out where the dang thing is and find that tiny pause button before your coworkers groan and tsk.
  • [from steve_portigal] VW Camper Van Tent [Firebox.com] – [File this one as another entry under things-that-look-like-other-things. While the design approach here is more of a gimmick, it reveals itself as a powerful way to play with meaning and irony.] If you love music, mud and Mother Nature you’re probably heading to a camp site at some point this summer. But why take shelter in some dull, conventional tent when you can recreate the Summer of Love in the hippie-tastic VW Camper Van Tent. Officially licensed, this stunning four-man (or lady, natch) tent is a luxe, full-size replica of the iconic 1965 VW Camper Van synonymous with 60s counterculture. It’s so evocative you can almost hear the Mamas and the Papas singing California Dreamin’ every time you feast your eyes on its beautifully breadloaf-ish form. Indeed we half expected Mama Cass to tumble out when we first saw this groovy Vee-Dub. You’ll be the envy of the campsite! [Thanks, Jeff Fox!]

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] Pop-up dining takes residency atop major European landmarks [Springwise] – [Very inventive, experiential PR effort by Electrolux; seems ripped straight off the whiteboard of an ideation session.] The Cube is an aluminum-clad 140 square meter dining area including a 50 square meter terrace, soon to be based in the Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels. The highly portable restaurant — which can be transported by helicopter — plans to move from this Brussels base to a different European City every four to twelve weeks. Each location is selected to offer the 18 diners within The Cube a unique panoramic view of the surrounding area, whilst creating an eye catching new addition to the cityscape for onlookers on the outside. Lunches are available from EUR 150 and dinners from EUR 200, including wine and champagne. During dinner, the head chef — selected from the local area for a short residency in The Cube — takes center stage, with the Electrolux kitchen fully on show.
  • [from steve_portigal] New MFA in Products of Design [School of Visual Arts] – [I'm stoked for this new program and looking forward to my guest lecture spot] More and more we are recognizing that designed artifacts all live within dynamic systems, and that the creators and users of these artifacts must negotiate their value, purpose, and impact in an ever-changing world. We also recognize the limits of seeing designed objects as simply things; designers, who create multiples of their outputs, aren’t actually in the artifact business at all—they’re in the consequence business. And if we consider consequences first, above materiality or ergonomics or aesthetics, we are more likely to arrive at design offerings that are purposeful, thoughtful, sustainable, and wondrous. It is from this perspective that the Products of Design program addresses the needs and desires of the world at large. Through a combination of design thinking, design making, and design doing, we immerse our participants in hands-on physical exploration, rigorous investigation, and strategic intent.
  • [from steve_portigal] Take A Self-Portrait Every Day. Every Day. Every Day [Technologizer] – [This is brilliant: an application of technology that puts the astounding within reach of everyone. Leverages the "smart" aspect of smartphones to enable new activities!] If you’ve spent any time at all on the internet in the last few years, you’re probably responsible for one of the 18 million (now approaching 19 million) views of his video, mashing together years’ worth of self-portraits into a few minutes of thrashing hair and regular shaving. His name is Noah Kalina, he’s a New York-based photographer, and he has teamed up with some other people to create Everyday an iPhone app that makes it super-easy to create your own version of this video. The app thinks about everything, so you don’t have to. It helps you line your face up in roughly the same position every time you take a shot. It reminds you to take your photos on a regular basis. It saves them all for you, and when you’ve taken enough, it automatically turns them into a timelapse video, ready for posting online.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] An iPhone App Helps the Blind Identify Currency [NYTimes.com] – [Feature Evolution: Clever use of built-in iPhone camera and speaker to provide a critical service to the blind.] For the millions of blind people living in the United States, paying for something in cash can pose major challenges because there is no difference between the size and shape of a $1 or $100 bill. To tackle this problem, many blind people set up systems to identify a bill’s value by folding the notes into different sizes and shapes, which then make them easily identifiable later. A new application, the LookTel Money Reader, available for $2 on the Apple iOS platform, hopes to help solve this problem by taking advantage of the devices camera to “read money” and speak the value of the currency out loud.
  • [from julienorvaisas] How Designer Marc Ecko Is Using Foursquare to Spank School Spankers | Fast Company – [App Evolution: Foursquare is being employed as an tool of activism – a check-in at a school gets you user-generated reports of the school's record of corporal punishment. An interesting evolution of the application, potentially turning regular users/consumers/players into citizen-heroes, broadcasting more than just location.] Beyond the Foursquare integration, there's a larger game element at play. "Think of Unlimited Justice as a game, where you're the hero. But, instead of saving some far away, imaginary land, you're doing good, right here, in America," Ecko says in his promotional YouTube video. Users of the service not only find out about school that practice spanking, they rack up points on a leader board as they watch videos, connect over social networks, and voice their discontent over the practice to leaders. "Go viral, spread the word, and build your credibility as the ultimate activist."
  • [from steve_portigal] Core77 Design Awards – [Bring distributed collaboration to the awards game, Core enters the game just as the game is changing. Well done!] Instead of bringing everyone to one location, we took a new approach to assembling the jury, distributing the field globally. No plane fuel, more legroom. Our Jury Captains are based in 13 cities spread around eight countries. Each will recruit four people from their area to form a locally-based multidisciplinary Jury Team. They get to do the judging in their own location, and we’ll provide the snacks. Once their results are finalized and validated, the teams will reconvene for a live web broadcast revealing their Winners, Runners-up and Notables, and the reasoning behind their choices. And they’ll do it all without jet lag.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] Lifelike Craig HD [Cool Hunting] – [An app that makes Craig's List look like an olde-fashioned classified section, complete with circling capabilities, on an iPad is "fantastic" indeed! What goes around comes around.] Lifelike Craig HD is a fully functional Craigslist browser that offers a fantastic visual interface. The app transforms your local Craigslist from the mundane list of links into an iPad browsable paper, complete with newspaper fonts and a classic layout. If something catches the eye you can add it to your favorites, circling it for later reference.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] NoseDial iPhone app – [The craziest workaround I've seen. Also reveals the cost of producing WTF solutions is falling to near zero] Whether you're at the Christmas market, taking a winter walk or out skiing – you don't have to take off your gloves when you want to call your friends on your iPhone anymore. Now you can dial using your nose. NoseDial isn't just a favorites list you can style individually. The app also shows you pictures of your friends and allows you to navigate through your contacts by tilting your iPhone and to then call them using your nose. Forget special touchscreen gloves and iPhone input pens, just call using your nose. This saves money and is a lot more fun.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] An App for Sharing Photos With Friends [NYTimes.com] – [Instagram is betting on word overload, predicting that people will want to share and see their friends' mobile visual feeds rather than text-based snippets.] Instead of following people’s 140-character thoughts, Instagram users can follow their photo stream and get a glimpse of what they ate for lunch and the view from their office. Instagram also plans to introduce a Web site soon. Building a mobile app before a Web site would have been a foreign concept just a few years ago, but Instagram’s founders say that communicating in quick snippets with a phone, on the go, is a new form of communication. The app is free now but Instagram plans to eventually charge a dollar or so for extra filters. “Filters are not the billion-dollar business,” Mr. Systrom said. “It’s photography. The next network is people interested in sharing life visually.”
  • [from julienorvaisas] Check Out Tagxedo, A Ridiculously Cool Word Cloud Generator [Tech Crunch] – [Yet another great visualization tool, this one highly customizable, combining word-clouds with images. The impulse to make sense of the word-avalanche on the web by morphing it into infographics is fun and beautiful, for sure, but I wonder whether conveying pretty word-frequency charts is actually providing useful information.] You can use the app to create visually stunning word clouds by inserting words (e.g. speeches, news articles, letters, slogans, themes, and so on). You can do so by uploading a document, entering a URL or simply by pasting text into the appropriate field. Tagxedo will size words appropriately to highlight the frequencies of occurrence within the body of text, leaving out small words like “is”, “are”, “do”, etc. With just one click, you can rotate the cloud, modify its colors and font, and also alternate between themes and shapes as you please. You can even upload your own images and have the word cloud assume the shape of the image.
  • [from steve_portigal] A Spray of DNA to Keep the Robbers Away [NYTimes.com] – [Technology offers new detection methods but the social performance of the tech serves best as prevention] The new system involved a device that sprays a fine, barely visible mist laced with synthetic DNA to cover anyone in its path, including criminals, and simultaneously alerts the police to a crime in progress. The mist — visible only under ultraviolet light — carries DNA markers particular to the location, enabling the police to match the burglar with the place burgled. Now, a sign on the front door of the McDonald’s prominently warns potential thieves of the spray’s presence: “You Steal, You’re Marked.” The police acknowledge that they have yet to make an arrest based on the DNA mist, which was developed in Britain by two brothers, one a policeman and the other a chemist. But they credit its presence — and signs posted prominently warning of its use — for what they call a precipitous decline in crime rates (though they could not provide actual figures to back that up).

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] Check-In On Foursquare Without Taking Your Phone Out Of Your Pocket [TechCrunch] – [Solutions tell you a lot about the culture you are looking at because they indirectly – or directly – announce a problem – in this case a real First World Problem] Future Checkin is an app that allows you to check-in to your favorite Foursquare venues automatically when you’re near them. You don’t have to do a thing besides simply have your phone on you and this app will check you in while running in the background with iOS 4. Check-in fatigue in particular is a growing problem. A number of heavy users of Foursquare that I know (myself included) have been complaining in recent months that it’s getting a bit tedious to have to pull out your phone each time to check-in to a venue. This app is really designed for people who are getting check-in fatigue, who often forget to check-in to places, or who don’t want to be rude by pulling out their phone in social settings.
  • [from steve_portigal] Cameo Stars | Have Celebrities Come Over…To Your Facebook Page! – It’s always been fun to see celebrities in unexpected places – whether playing themselves in a cameo TV or movie role, or just being themselves in their everyday lives. Cameo Stars takes the fun of celebrity cameos to a whole new level by enabling today’s top entertainers and athletes to make virtual cameo appearances right in your and your friends’ everyday lives, where they come to life right in your social network profile or mobile device! Launched in 2010, Cameo Stars is partnering with today’s top personalities in entertainment and sports to break new ground in the burgeoning virtual goods market by enabling celebrities to make virtual cameo appearances in the everyday lives of fans online. These “social cameos”, invented, created, and distributed by the company, transform exclusive celebrity content into virtual goods designed expressly for the intimate stage that social media provides.
  • [from steve_portigal] Delhi Police Use Facebook to Track Scofflaw Drivers [NYTimes.com] – Almost immediately residents became digital informants, posting photos of their fellow drivers violating traffic laws. As of Sunday more than 17,000 people had become fans of the page and posted almost 3,000 photographs and dozens of videos. The online rap sheet was impressive. There are photos of people on motorcycles without helmets, cars stopped in crosswalks, drivers on cellphones, drivers in the middle of illegal turns and improperly parked vehicles. Using the pictures, the Delhi Traffic Police have issued 665 tickets, using the license plate numbers shown in the photos to track vehicle owners, said the city’s joint commissioner of traffic, Satyendra Garg. With just 5,000 traffic officers in this city of 12 million people, the social networking site is filling a useful role, he said. “Traffic police can’t be present everywhere, but rules are always being broken,” Mr. Garg said. “If people want to report it, we welcome it. A violation is a violation.”
  • [from steve_portigal] 1962 glass could be Corning’s next bonanza seller [The Associated Press] – An ultra-strong glass that has been looking for a purpose since its invention in 1962 is poised to become a multibillion-dollar bonanza for Corning Inc., expecting it to be the hot new face of touch-screen tablets and high-end TVs. Gorilla showed early promise in the '60s, but failed to find a commercial use, so it's been biding its time in a hilltop research lab for almost a half-century. It picked up its first customer in 2008 and has quickly become a $170 million a year business as a protective layer over the screens of 40 million-plus cell phones and other mobile devices. Now, the latest trend in TVs could catapult it to a billion-dollar business: Frameless flat-screens that could be mistaken for chic glass artwork on a living-room wall. Because Gorilla is very hard to break, dent or scratch, Corning is betting it will be the glass of choice as TV-set manufacturers dispense with protective rims or bezels for their sets, in search of an elegant look.

ChittahChattah Quickies

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] Google Voice Now Available to Everyone in the U.S. [Fast Company] – [Spend a few minutes with this fun, fascinating, rich infographic describing A Modern History of Human Communication] Google Voice, which began as an app called GrandCentral before Google bought it back in 2007, is a difficult beast to explain. It's sort of like a phone management system–it gives users one number which, when called, rings however many devices that user wants (cellphones, landlines, work phones, whatever). It provides an alternate web-based voice mail system which transcribes voice (sometimes well, sometimes with odd and hilarious mistakes) and pops the messages into your email for listening or reading. It's also a mobile app for Android and web (that web app can be used by the iPhone and Palm's WebOS phones) that can place outgoing calls.
  • [from steve_portigal] A Moleskine Cover for your Kindle? [Design Sojourn] – [Associating your analog experience with a digital product: sometimes it evokes relevance, sometimes it screams desperation. Moleskine?] The interesting question with this Kindle cover is whether people associate the Moleskine brand with the design of its product/cover and or associate the brand with the product’s function i.e. sketchbooks? Whether this Kindle cover makes sense or not, it is always interesting to see how brands with strong design languages leverage it on product extensions. They even have a cool design justification that does make sense: "The very idea of this new cover came from the Moleskine “notebook hackers”, who create their own custom-made accessories weaving together paper pages and digital tools. Throughout the web, hundreds of communities and discussions can be found where such Moleskine “hackers” publish their inventions. Dedicated blogs, Flickr pages, and even YouTube videos highlight the power and vitality of the Moleskine digital-analog connection."

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] New Artisanal Pencil-Sharpening Project [Details Magazine] – [It looks like the artisanal food and craft movement may be fading in cultural relevance if it's subject to this level of brutal skewering.] "What better to complement your collection of limited-edition notebooks, small-batch liquors, and locally sourced honey than a pencil sharpened by a true artisan? David Rees, author of the comic book series Get Your War On and My New Fighting Technique is Unstoppable, discovered his passion for sharpening pencils while working for the U.S. Census Bureau. Now he's parlaying his old-school skills into a mail-order artisanal pencil-sharpening business."
  • [from steve_portigal] An App for ‘Despicable Me,’ to Use at the Theater [NYTimes.com] – [Is there a difference between multimedia enhancement and advertising-supported distraction?] Best Buy Movie Mode is being released in connection with “Despicable Me,” an animated 3-D movie in which an aspiring supervillain named Gru inherits three little girls. The marquee feature of the app is called the Minionator, which translates the gibberish of Gru’s little yellow henchmen called Minions. In theaters, the Minionator will work only during the closing credits, but on Blu-ray disc throughout the movie. “It is disturbing to have people doing things that take people out of the movie,” said Patrick Corcoran, director of media and research for the National Association of Theater Owners. Many theaters warn patrons to turn off their phones. Movie Mode tries to appease those who dislike distractions. The app automatically turns off a phone’s ringer and dims the screen to discourage texting. It does not disable the phone. It will still vibrate.
  • [from steve_portigal] Black Taxis offer tours of Belfast [SF Chronicle] – The Black Taxis of Belfast grew out the height of the Troubles. City buses were subject to bomb and sniper attacks as they passed through the strife-torn neighborhoods. Safe passage had to be arranged via taxi, and the taxi drivers could only operate within, never across, each neighborhood's boundaries, The ads for Black Taxi tours promise a neutral historical narrative. That's a tall order, as many drivers have a genuine history on one side of the conflict or the other. Some lost family members. Everyone lost friends. Still, the mere fact that the murals are now a tourist attraction, rather than a touchstone for violence, may signify that peace has actually arrived in Belfast. "We debated whether to encourage this trend or to downplay it," said Bernard McMullan, a representative of Tourism Ireland, of the popularity of the Black Taxi tours. "But in the end, we decided that it was an important part of our history. There's no point in denying it. Besides, it's interesting."
  • [from steve_portigal] Nissan adds noises to Leaf electric vehicle as safety precaution [WaPo] – [The design challenge of creating new, yet familiar feedback cues] After exploring 100 sounds that ranged from chimes to motorlike to futuristic, the company settled on a soft whine that fluctuates in intensity with the car's speed. When backing up, the car makes a clanging sound. Nissan says it worked with advocates for the blind, a Hollywood sound-design company and acoustic psychologists in creating its system of audible alerts. Nissan's sound system is the first created by a major manufacturer. The company says it is controlled by a computer and synthesizer in the dash panel. The sounds are delivered through a speaker in the engine compartment. A switch inside the vehicle can turn off the sounds temporarily, but the system automatically resets to "on" at the next ignition cycle. At speeds greater than 20 mph, any car, electric or not, makes significant noise because of the tires slapping on the pavement, engineers say. The noises for the Nissan operate only at the lower speeds.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Skirting the Glut of iPhone Apps [NYTimes.com] – The average iPhone or iPod Touch owner uses 5 to 10 apps regularly. This despite the surfeit of available apps: some 140,000 and counting. [The iPad] doesn’t mean that people will change their habits. Actually, it may just make them feel a tad more overwhelmed. The next generation of gadget users might prove different, but for now it is clear that people prefer fewer choices, and that they gravitate consistently toward the same small number of things that they like. For every zealous owner whose iPhone is loaded with little-known programs that predict asteroid fly-bys, there are many more who seldom venture outside the predictable. Most say they’re too busy, too lazy or just plain flummoxed by the choices. “I think I’m supposed to want more of them than I have,” said Julie Graham, a psychotherapist in San Francisco. “There’s this sense that I’m missing out on something I didn’t know I needed.”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Stereotyping people by favorite authors – In our Reading Ahead research, we heard about how people were both exploring and communicating identity through their choices of reading material. Identity is a complex internal and external mechanism, where we (explicitly or implicitly) project outwards to imagine how we might appear to others…an internal act that feels or draws from the external. So the existence of lists like this, while tongue-in-cheek, validate that this process is real.
    (via @kottke)
  • Scott Baldwin on the fine art of listening – Try changing how you listen. Try to capture the message (listen with your ears, mind, eyes and heart). Make eye contact, use an open posture and be attentive to body language, volume, tone and pace. Look deeper than just the meaning of the words and try to understand the reason, feelings or intent beyond the words. Be empathetic, objective and analytical.
  • An iPhone app for ethnography – Really? I haven't tried it but I am not encouraged by the description. What we're looking for doesn't always fit into predetermined categories (indeed, how are you to be innovative if the type of data you are gathering is already classifiable?) and there's a danger in conflating data with insights (or as the blogger here writes "outcomes"). Raw data is overwhelming and takes time and skill to process, if you want to find out anything new. Now, we spend a lot of our time just wrangling (copying, renaming, organizing, sharing, etc.) all sorts of data, so I'm up for tools that can help with that; but I think it's easy to go overboard and create tools for uninteresting – or unreliable – research results
  • Lisa Loeb Eyewear Collection – Not an SNL parody ad from 1997, it's a real product line for 2010 (via @CarlAlviani)

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Seen Reading – a "literary voyeruism blog" set mostly (I believe) in Toronto – What is Seen Reading?

    1. I see you reading.
    2. I remember what page you’re on in the book.
    3. I head to the bookstore, and make a note of the text.
    4. I let my imagination rip.
    5. Readers become celebrities.
    6. People get giddy and buy more books.

    Why do you do this?
    Readers are cool. Authors work hard. Publishers take chances. And you all deserve to be seen!

    (Thanks Suzanne Long!)

  • Choose What You Read NY – Choose What You Read NY is a non profit organization that offers free books to New Yorkers, encouraging its residents to read more, giving them an alternative to the free papers that get tossed out and even the digi-trash that crowds our time. In doing so, we help to recycle used books that would have unfortunately been thrown away.

    You will find us near major subway stations on the first Tuesday of each month.The idea is that once someone is finished with a book, they either drop it off in one of our conveniently located drop boxes or back to us at a station. Unlike a library, there will be no due dates, penalties, fees or registrations. We only ask that you return it once you are done so that the same book can be enjoyed by another commuter.

  • What was the last book, magazine and newspaper you read on the subway? – 6000 people respond and the New York Times posts the results
  • How and what people read on the New York City subways – Plenty of detailed examples of people, their books, and their travels: "Reading on the subway is a New York ritual, for the masters of the intricately folded newspaper, as well as for teenage girls thumbing through magazines, aspiring actors memorizing lines, office workers devouring self-help inspiration, immigrants newly minted — or not — taking comfort in paragraphs in a familiar tongue. These days, among the tattered covers may be the occasional Kindle, but since most trains are still devoid of Internet access and cellphone reception, the subway ride remains a rare low-tech interlude in a city of inveterate multitasking workaholics. And so, we read.

    There are those whose commutes are carefully timed to the length of a Talk of the Town section of The New Yorker, those who methodically page their way through the classics, and those who always carry a second trash novel in case they unexpectedly make it to the end of the first on a glacial F train."

    (thanks Avi and Anne)

  • Lego grabs ahold of customers with both hands – From 2006, great Wired piece about Lego's approach to involving ardent fans/customers in developing future products.
  • Noting:books – the simple yet dynamic way to track your reading, from the dates you start and finish a book, to your thoughts along the way.
  • CourseSmart brings textbooks to the iPhone in PDF; major readability challenges ensue – “It’s not the first place to go to read your textbook,” Mr. Lyman said of the iPhone app. But he said that it could be helpful if “you’re standing outside of the classroom, the quiz is in 10 minutes, and you want to go back to that end-of-chapter summary that helped you understand the material.”
  • Nice profile of Lego’s business culture and the tension between growth and losing track of their legacy – But the story of Lego’s renaissance — and its current expansion into new segments like virtual reality and video games — isn’t just a toy story. It’s also a reminder of how even the best brands can lose their luster but bounce back with a change in strategy and occasionally painful adaptation.

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