Category is: Interwebs

Redesign time 2011

Bloggery Interwebs Recaps

Though last week’s dConstruct conference was a little more high level and blue sky than I’m used to, it still had more or less the same inspiring effect as it always has: once the second cup of coffee was safely put away I quickly found myself scribbling ideas that were only tangentially related to the speakers. It’s perhaps predictable then that I’m now planning a total redesign of this site.

I mean, it’s needed! It’s not really fit for purpose anymore. I originally built it primarily as a collection of my various web presences and secondarily as a archive of all the old posts on a blog I’d stopped writing on. Yeah, the one you’re reading now. If you look at the home page, it’s mainly a place to send you elsewhere: big links to my twitter (which is irreverent, irrelevant or both), last.fm (which since I mostly listen to music on my frustraingly incompatible blackberry is now completely inaccurate) and my photos.

See, I have the opposite problem with my photos. While I never used to update them, now I do often, and I’m really getting into photography as a hobby. Similar story with the blog, it’s not the redheaded stepchild it used to be. I didn’t even have a cv and portfolio section at first, and though they’re both now up-to-date content-wise, they could really do with some sprucing up. And as for the “info” pages, in spite of my adding some shiny canvas-based graphics I still think they’re kinda dry. Ideally they’d be boiled down to a less tedious series of h’amoozing infographics, but that’s for another time.

So I need to get a some more HTML5 action going, tighten up the basics and rework everything as a triptych of blog, fotos and work. Time to dust off the designer hat.

The Death of Facebook?

Articles Interwebs

No, probably not. But then Hotmail isn’t dead either, despite being demonstrably shit (I mean they send an advert with every email, it’s that bad), ditto Myspace; sold last week for only 6% of what it was supposedly worth six years ago. They’re slightly laughable, outmoded, archaic, past it, but far from dead.

Back in 2004 everyone used Hotmail (*cough* and Yahoo!); it was the most widespread and accessible browser-based email, nicely tying into messenger and all the rest of it. You could only hold 1 megabyte in your inbox though, and if it got full you had to start clearing stuff out. On top of that it also seemed to attract spam like flies to shit. It sucked, but we really didn’t know any better. When gmail came out that year with a flawless spam filter and a 1 gigabyte(!!!) inbox limit, everyone who cared about these sorts of things said “LOL BAI!” and promptly jumped ship. Microsoft Hotmail scrabbled around to increase their storage, and even amusingly blocked gmail invites but the damage was done.

I feel like we’re in the same place now with Facebook. It’s obviously got huge traction, with half the country having an account, but I don’t think anywhere near that proportion actually likes it. Lets be honest they seem to delight in dicking around its users; changing layouts and features for some users and not for others, not telling anyone about it in either case, not always for the better, and always needing yet another set of notification boxes to unclick. All the message threads that once started are impossible to add or remove people from. The number of times I’ve attempted to upload a bunch of pictures only to have it say “upload failed” after an hour, or spent an hour using its purportedly nifty tagging systems only to hit submit and find only about a dozen of the hundreds of tags actually stuck… It’s glitchy, to put it kindly.

So now Google Plus is suddenly on the scene, the interweb giant finally answering Facebook’s gradual encroachment on Google’s “we are the web” turf. I was sceptical after their lame Buzz and Wave efforts, but it really looks like they’re going all-out on this one. It’s already pretty comparable to Facebook, who actually made the news yesterday when it announced video chat, something that’s already available on Plus. And Skype, and Messenger, and whatever else.

Plus minuses:

  • No walls. It’s debatable whether walls are needed but it does mean no birthday spam which kinda sucks.
  • No direct messages. I guess they’ll integrate it with gmail at some point, which makes a lot of sense, but at the moment it looks like something is missing.
  • Ditto events. This could be a killer feature if they sort it and integrate it with Google calender. Here’s hoping.
  • Paucity of invites. It’s still in beta (whatever that means thse days) so not everyone who wants to get in, can get in.

Plus pluses:

  • Circles. Some people don’t like the overt social stratification but only you can see how you’re categorised your contacts, so I don’t think that matters. For my part I like that it’s not hidden under several sub menus a la Facebook, and the interface is much, MUCH better.
  • Speed. Everything’s faster. You only really notice when skimming through photos but it makes Facebook’s theatre viewer thing look like it’s grabbing everything by dialup in comparison.
  • No adverts. They’ll probably change this eventually but frankly I think they’re much more interested in uptake than revenue for the moment; Google have deep pockets. Besides this is all about how it is now, not how it will be, plus Google ads are always less obtrusive and more relevant than Facebook ads. Fact.
  • Integration with googledocs / gmail / gcalender. In the top bar for these sites you can now see how many “red squares of joy” you have pending on Plus, and not only this but when you click on it you get a dropdown that shows you the relevant content and allows you to add comments as if you were on the page. You can also use the chat function on gmail too, so basically you can stay completely uptodate without leaving your email page.
  • I’m told the web app is outstanding from everyone that’s used it.
  • Picasa: Google Plus images is essentially picasaweb, which is already integrated with a desktop version. Things tagged on the web are tagged on my computer, and I’m pretty sure I could upload all my 19k photos onto Google Plus (at no charge), something I wouldn’t dare even think about with facebook. In fact yesterday I deleted 50 photo albums on facebook. It took 45 minutes, and I left ones that were either too epic or too recent, but I want to do a little bit to wean myself (and my friends) off it.
  • You can delete. Completely. Sounds silly but you can’t on Facebook. I think that speaks volumes about their relative ethoses. Is that a word? We’ll go with it for now.

Either Facebook stays rubbish and all but the blissfully ignorant bail to Plus, or they up their game in response to their first real competitor. I know which one I’m betting on, but either way we win. I’m excited.

Paying for flickr

Articles Interwebs Photography

I just shelled out £25 for another two years of Flickr membership. I wasn’t going to bother initially, after all there’s always facebook, but after two years of membership I’ve become accustomed to the perks. The unlimited upload isn’t that useful as I process all my pics before I upload; I could easily get by on with the limited 100 megs a month. However with the free account you can only see the 200 most recent pictures, and even then only at low resolution, so upgrading was a no-brainer. It probably helps that one of my pictures of a recent Portishead gig was used in some random music review. Or so they tell me. It’s in Croatian so it could be anything really. Perhaps it’s a Yahoo! plot to stroke my ego and have me pay them money.

Ideally I’d like to set up my website to display flickrd pictures on the front page, tucking the blog away somewhere else. At the moment not many people actually look at my favourite photos, never mind the larger versions, which is a shame.

Here’s another pic that was used, this time for a travel site. Or something.

hall

More on OiNK

Interwebs

DJ Rupture defends OiNK. Interesting to see it from an artist’s point of view, albeit an enlightened one.

RIP OiNK

Interwebs

Techcrunch excels itself (which isn’t that difficult) with the best article I’ve seen on the recent peer-to-peer crack-down, where OiNK and TVlinks recently got pwned. Some OiNK facts from those in the know here.

“The web is my social network” – T

Interwebs

Yesterday I was in Brighton attending a workshop on Microformats. I was foolishly there more than an hour before I needed to be, so and wandered around for a while checking out the town center (yeah ok I was totally lost). Anyways the workshop was lead by and zomg Jeremy Keith zomg Tantek

Watching Fox makes you grumpy

Interwebs

Jeff Jarvis gives a breakdown of a statistical study of political/media tribalism in the US. Covers the decline of traditional media as well as what the tribes think of each other.

Introducing “Blueprint”

Interwebs

Finally, a CSS Framework, hurrah! I’ll never have to dirty my hands with CSS ever again! Heh, well clearly not; I loves me my CSS! In any case it’s really interesting, both as a promising framework and just as a library, drawing together many best practices including such joys as vertical grids, horizontal rhythms and Eric Meyer’s recent reset. I’ve already learnt quite a bit about web typography-in-action, and I’ve only been messing with it for a bit.

With my latest blog design I’ve been trying to make it as CSSy as possible, and having such a clear-cut design-based css resource is great. It’s not done yet, but it’s already looking very sweet. And people in the know are loving it, so it’s got momentum from the get-go.

De-noobed

Interwebs Recaps

Last Friday my job title changed. Twice! From “associate client-side developer” to just “client-side developer” and then to “front-end developer”. Either way my lack of noobness has been officially recognised, which is nice. On the other hand my parents, having no knowledge of the industry, just think “front-end developer” sounds a bit rude. They might have a point.

Stalking the future

Interwebs

Minority Report type computers may be closer than I thought! Wootsauce. Now if they can only invent one that you can use sitting down, and without getting RSI, that would be good. Speaking of which, the bloody iPhone is out in a couple of days on the other side of the pond, and the gadget freaks are all a flutter. It won’t be over here for a few months yet, but am I bothered? Hah! As if I could afford one anyway. Besides, I’d much rather have a big-assed table.