October 25, 2004

The Web was built by ants on LSD

Great quote from my favorite usability curmudgeon Jakob Nielsen:

Unfortunately, much of the Web is like an anthill built by ants on LSD: many sites don't fit into the big picture, and are too difficult to use because they deviate from expected norms.

LABEL - Form Field Label

Well, shoot howdy. I never knew HTML had support for labeling regions of forms : LABEL - Form Field Label. This lets a user click on chunk of text next to a radio button or checkbox rather than clicking just that itty bitty box. You learn something new every day.

October 24, 2004

Web search pages - Look and Feel

I wonder if anybody is going to go after a 'look and feel' infringement of all the 'new' search sites that are clones of Google's spartan user interface (like the good old days of Mac .vs. M$). For example, IceRocket looks like a stylesheet on top of Google. Although a9.com is spartan like Google, it's at least creatively different.

October 23, 2004

Flickr: Photos tagged with water

I'm a very visual person and at the end of the day (or the beginning, depending on the clock) I like to slowly scroll through the lastest images flickering across the conciousness of our planet via my favorite Flickr Feed : Flickr: Photos tagged with water

October 15, 2004

Google Desktop Search - personal search and web notifications

So of course, I downloaded Google's Desktop search. I was pleasantly suprised at the simplicity and "it just works" aspect. The results are interesting. I haven't really missed not having reasonable search.

Something that intrigued me was that they use an HTTP server on the client to serve up the pages. This may be more interesting than just search. Lots of desktops have Web servers - mainly Mac OS/X - but Google can use this to build very powerful network applications. And when enough Windows users trust Google and allow a conduit for software downloads, the door is wide open for Google to deliver those Web native apps. Something I'm thinking of is an HTTP based notification mechanism - Google's search alerts delivered more live than email, pings to your blogs built with Blogger, GMail notifications. (Speaking of GMail, I'm suprised Google Desktop doesn't index that.)

I wonder if the Google's desktop server can return XML for search results. Kind of interesting to think about subscribing to your 'personal web' search results as a feed.

I like the term 'personal web'. Way back when I first started at DataChannel, some of my early notes talked about 'world wide web', 'corporate web' and 'personal web'. The company was into push at the time, later it got into enterprise portals and I eventually built a subscription and notification service for that portal product (after returning from a scintillating stint at KnowNow). There was a company from Seattle that had a localhost based Web server app for subscriptions to live notifications - very enlightening to see a web server on the desktop as the application framework. Notifications, desktop web servers, 'personal web', push technologies - it all sounds so familiar...

October 09, 2004

Who's Zoomin' Who

Len Bullard also seems concerned about pervasive monitoring networks and their effect on our societies:

Sensor webs ARE the 'next big thing' and I doubt that came up at Web 2.0. Even the developers of these systems recognize their implications for privacy and fundamental liberties, but say as the inventors usually do, that subject is beyond the scope of their work.

October 02, 2004

RFID or Spychip?

Looks like RFID has some annoying applications in terms of privacy reduction. But privacy is a matter of identity, and identity is difficult to determine - or, at least it can be made difficult to determine.

Build a small reader that monitors RFIDs close to either you or a local Starbucks, broadcast these via a p2p wireless mesh, and return a random sampling of this identity stream whenever a reader queries for IDs. Perhaps store a stream of RFID responses in a memory stick for those times you are not near a wireless 'freedom zone'.

Are citizens banned from creating new RFID applications yet?

Oh.. it looks like RSA already thought of jamming.

October 01, 2004

bash.org - the cure for what ails you

If you've had a bad day at work, read this. It will make (almost) everything all right again.

Darth Obasanjo turns against the Dark Side

A promising young Jedi takes his first step...
I now realize I prefer an Open Source solution so I can hack it myself.

Presidents take a bite out of Amazon

Amazon had a sev-1 ticket yesterday due to customer orders dropping for a period of time. Cause? The presidential debates.

I wonder what used books were listed for sale after the debate...