Social Profile – I’m interesting and boring


Disraeli’s quip, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics” could do with “and Facebook” tagged onto it, although it wouldn’t roll off the tongue so well, I have to admit.

I just received a spam mail notification from Facebook’s Social Profile app, where friends can rate you. Here are my results:

… your strengths:

best travel companion
best scientist

… your weaknesses:

best companion on a desert island

Apart from the fact that I’m far from being a scientist – maybe the egghead and specs give that impression – how can I be the “best travel companion” and then worst “companion on a desert island”? Aren’t they the same thing?

In the words of Pauline Hanson, please explain…

[tags]facebook, socialnetworks, statistics[/tags]

OLPC – I take it all back

Some will argue that I’m weak-willed, but I have made a 180-degree change of opinion on the merits of the One Laptop Per Child project thanks to Tom Coates’s article.

I’ve been pretty cynical about the OLPC previously because I found the rhetoric not really matching what I had seen (limited as that was). The main issues being whether children need laptops versus food (of course, both would be possible), the environmental arguments and also the accusations of utopianism. Tom’s piece neatly kicks those issues into touch from the outset:

For me, it comes down to the way we want to operate in the world. It’s extremely easy to adopt a pose of scepticism and cynicism about any attempt to change things or push them forwards. I’ve said before about a particularly aggravating tech commentator that naysaying is a sure-fire way to look sensible and intelligent without any of the effort of actually having to think. I stand by that, and I think the OLPC project has had its fair share of this kind of thinking.

Fair cop. I think I’m probably guilty of this.

Personally though, I believe that it’s possible to work for the good of all and improve the world. I think it’s a decent and honourable thing to apply whatever means you have at your disposal to raising the aspirations and possibilities of one of the planet’s most squandered resources–its residents. And I do buy the geek rhetoric that access to information, communication and education cannot but help people. As such, I’m prepared to give this project and others like it, the benefit of the doubt.

I still have some issues about the educational theory behind it, but they’re not huge and I think Tom is absolutely right here. Perfectionism is another form of utopianism after all.

It’s always good to read something that turns your opinions upside down. I think it’s important to admit it too.

[tags]OLPC, Tom Coates[/tags]

LED Toilet Door Mix-Up Signs, Denmark

Those crazy Danes.

(Image stolen from djaphrael)

Amusing project over at Halfmachine which involved making toilet door signs from LEDs in a club.

Of course, they can be programmed, so they switched them around based on how many times the door was opened in order to facilitate a bit of social connection. It works too, judging by the video.

Playful, social, simple. I like it. I suspect people spent some time trying to work out the system too, which all adds to it.

[tags]LED, halfmachine, Denmark, toilets, signage, interactive[/tags]

Share The Mouse on a Web Page


That’s My Mouse allows you to see share a web browsing experience with other people. You see their tag moving around as they move their mouse and any changes they make to the page. You can also add pins, write comments, etc.

It has a full API and also simple Javascript snippets to add it to your own web pages.

They seem to be keen for people to try mash-ups with it and use Google Maps as an example of usage, showing someone the way to your house. But I think it could be pretty useful for web designers working remotely to easy collaborate and talk about changes.

The Seven Stages of Falling in Love with Web Applications

Photo: eek the cat

The other day I was trying to explain the emotional relationships people have social utilities and other read/write web applications (I’m trying so hard not to say Web 2.0 – Doh!). As I was explaining I realised that they are just like any other relationship in that we’re self-centred even it we pretend we’re not and that we go through the same kind of cycles.

Here are the seven stages I came up with:

1. Searching for The One

You know they’re out there. The perfect partner who will satisfy all your needs. Your current one is okay, but maybe you don’t like their friends. Or perhaps they’re just a bit immature and messy. Something is missing, you feel like you deserve more. You feel like The One for you is out there, somewhere.

Continue reading “The Seven Stages of Falling in Love with Web Applications”

IKEA Complete Bedroom


I seem to be having a bit of an IKEA theme going on at the moment.

Following on from the Dream Kitchen site there’s a nice new piece called The Complete Bedroom.

It uses the same kind of multi-angle video technique that the other versions use, though this one is simpler. It has some nice quick-cut segments as you switch between each bedroom to contrast the hectic lives of those we are observing with the relaxing bedroom zone.

In terms of interactivity it’s very simple and the charm is really down to the filming and music, which is what ad guys are good at. But I think it’s a good blend of digital and traditional approaches.

[tags]IKEA, flash, video[/tags]