Monday, March 30, 2009

it's just you and me now

Being short of attention and easily distracted, I've always supported the idea of singling out one thing to look at at a time, especially in the context of art. Even in college, I used to prefer to display fewer pieces and give each one room, than attempt to ambush the audience from all sides.

An Observer article on Sunday took this thinking to its natural conclusion, identifying ten pieces of art, each of which "deserves an afternoon of your time. In fact, each deserves a room, if not a whole show, of its own."

Spending an afternoon of your time in front of one painting is something almost no one would be willing to do in 2009. And whether you think it's pretentious or attractive, it certainly gets you thinking.

It got me thinking about websites and specifically about Single Function, a site dedicated to - well, single-function websites. Spotted by Nathan. One of my favourites being sad trombone btw.

Being single-function scares people. Especially when their money's on the line and they want to see that money turn into an equal amount of stuff. The scattergun approach is tempting. But singularity cuts through every time.

Iain was recently discussing the question: Can a website make you cry? Here's another question: What single-function website would you spend an afternoon with?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

interesting, useful...

Russell's next Interesting event is apparently going to be Useful instead. Which makes a lot of sense to me.

I couldn't help but mentally overlay this onto the emotional spectrum of branding that I've been playing with. Which is self-indulgent, sorry.

I'm working on a new - and aptly - more useful version of this though. The above was a first draft and was more of a thought-piece than anything else. But I think chopping stuff up like this makes a lot of sense.

When I get my new blog up and running I intend to start trying to be interesting and useful myself.

Friday, March 27, 2009

love problems, like ice cream

From Dropular.

Labels: ,

the skinny on skimmer

It was only a couple of weeks ago I sent this email to everyone at Poke:

Subject: Will someone please invent...

Body: app/client that acts as a single inbox for ALL incoming messages in my life:

- email
- twitter
- facebook
- sms

Unless I'm missing something and it already exists??

and......... Go!

Fallon's new Adobe AIR app, Skimmer isn't quite that. But it's a great effort at lassooing (is that a word?) lots of your interactions together in one neat place. Namely, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Blogger and Youtube.

I'm not going to analyse it from a technical point of view. I can't. And I'm lazy.
But I thought I'd do a rundown of my initial thoughts/feelings after playing around with it for a day or two.

If you're a geek, read this instead.
If you like sweeping statements and a more touchy-feely analysis, read on:

As you'd expect, to make use of this aggregator, you need to enter your user name and password for each property. Let's not get into privacy issues here. Let's just enjoy ourselves.
What I really liked was the feeling of locking in each account at a time. It reminded me of what Russell Davies refers to as social docking. Each password that was accepted was like snapping another pipe onto the Skimmer machine. Mmmm, snappy.

It had a similar appeal to completing more of your LinkedIn profile and seeing visual feedback for it. Anyway..

I really like the idea of Skimmer. But I quickly realised its downfall, for me.

It's so beautifully designed; so neat; so swish that all the life is sucked out of each of the properties. All the nuances and energy from Facebook, Twitter etc is lost. It's like getting together a group of interesting, funny, passionate people and filtering their voices through a generic computerised synthesiser.

Context is vital to communication. Not just visual and cultural context, but semantic context too. I.e. Every time I read a message I had to check to see which account it was coming from before I 'got it'. And because Skimmer's design language naturally floods the application, your eyes have a little work to do to locate the right logo to get the full picture.

None of this should take away anything from the intention behind the app. And maybe (although I suspect not) the app will evolve to allow the tone and character of these properties to come through more. But I for one have already returned to the bosom of Twitter et al to marvel and wallow in their unique energies.

If there's a moral - which I suppose would help this post have a point - it would be:
If you're bringing things together, remember that it's those things that people want to engage with. So maybe I don't want that all-in-one inbox after all.

Monday, March 23, 2009

monday decay

Quite like this (from BB):

Generation Loss from hadto on

And it reminded me of this:

That's all.

Friday, March 20, 2009

first impressions

I realised earlier that when people follow me on Twitter, I have a ritual to decide if I follow them back: I skim their most recent (say 6 or 7) tweets and make a call based entirely on this shallow analysis of their interests and personality.

This six or seven tweet insight forms a kind of ever-changing first impression. You're only as interesting as your last 7 tweets. Or something.

If you follow me and I didn't return the gesture, don't feel bad. I'm just fickle and just lazy. And look, here are my last seven tweets. They make me look really boring. I wouldn't follow me ;)


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

in and out

I never get bored of slicing up twitter streams. I think these two paint an interesting picture:

Just got laid off (boo!)

Just got a new job (hooray!)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

huge url

I was just thinking that it would be funny to do the opposite to tiny url and create a site that makes massive ones just to irritate people.

Of course someone's already done it:

Huge Url


Here's a link to my blog if you want to annoy someone:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

i feel london, nyc and toronto down

For anyone trying to access these sites, there's been some sort of 'servergeddon' and it's all a bit buggered.

This means the websites are down and the email addresses aren't working.


In the meantime, have a read about Foursquare, from Dennis and Naveen. Looks interesting.

Monday, March 09, 2009

bad ad

What an awful opening line.

Media buy: Spotify - an application that opens you up to infinite music.

Opening line: "Sick of the same old music?"


Moan over.


My new favourite website.

Dropular is like having a magazine that replenishes itself.

The best bit is the navigation, which is simply the arrow keys to go down the page or to the following one.

I could sit here for hours 'flicking' through its pages.

I just bought a T-shirt as a result of doing just that.

I'm done.

Friday, March 06, 2009

give me meat

I bought this domain name a year ago. It's about to run out.

Do you think I should renew it?

self-psychiatry through charts

Still struggling to stay in the sweet spot after 30 years practicing. I was a bit of a wanker earlier.

Sorry world.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Weapon of War

This fell out of my Big Issue this morning. Umm.