I love Prezi … the best new way of making presentations since PowerPoint began its relentless quest to make us all stupid in 1990.
Here’s a great example. Just enjoy:
And it’s out in the wild!
SwitchCube is the name that Matt and I have chosen for our coworking space in Abbotsford BC.
We’re touring a few spaces tomorrow, and look like we’ll be ready to start making some offers on places as soon as next week. At the meetup we held last week, a lot of people were eager to get going soon 🙂
We also settled on our corporate color: purple. (Or some shade thereof …) Thanks to Kuler, we have a palette as well:
We keep hearing rumours about an Apple HDTV that is not just yet another set-top box. That is more than the “hobby” that is AppleTV. And that embodies the awesomeness that a dying Steve Jobs promised biographer Walter Isaacson when saying “I’ve finally cracked it!”
In other words, a full-on flatscreen TV with Apple technology built-in. Theoretically, an Apple HDTV will be available later this year in time for the Christmas shopping season, or early next. This will be the biggest new hardware product for Apple since the iPad – and probably the most expensive.
Where there’s smoke, there’s probably fire. And there’s been a LOT of smoke about an Apple-branded HDTV. The 64-bit question is: would you buy it?
If this future product follows the pattern of the past, an Apple TV will be an interesting animal, with innovations others have introduced but Apple will have refined. And … a few features that other TV manufacturers don’t – and maybe can’t – have.
In the spirit of informed guessing, here’s what I think an Apple TV would include …
The hardware will be spectacular in appearance but not in specifications. Apple will have what is widely recognized as close to best-in class performance and hardware, but you will be able to find HDTVs with better specs.
In other words, don’t expect a retina display for your new 50″ Apple flatscreen.
That said, it will be simple, beautiful, and functional. Think glass and aluminum, not tacky black plastic. Yes, there will be a iSight-style camera, a very simple remote (maybe your iPhone, iPod Touch, or similar), and not too many ports (more on that later).
Here’s where it will get interesting. This is what will separate Apple TV from the pack, for good or bad.
The content will be near enough complete to not make choosing Apple TV a hardship.
Apple TV will connect some dots. But it won’t connect everything, especially not dozens of legacy devices.
And finally, the biggest innovation, perhaps, besides Siri … which of course is empowered to do all it does via the capabilities of the cloud. Your Apple TV will be connected to iCloud. The cloud is the centre, and the attendant devices are simply peripherals, including your TV
And that, of course, is what will enable and undergird all the software and content and connectivity mentioned above.
So … the question remains … would you?
It’s always exciting to get new Moo cards. New business cards are cool, but new Moo cards are awesome.
Moo cards are personalized business cards. I’ve loaded mine up with my own photography, which is easily imported from Flickr. This time I decided to get full-size cards – here’s a quick peek:
Notice the nicely curved edges? And, of course, the stunning images 🙂
It’s always fun to give out a card with some personality. And to ask someone to choose which one they want … and then tell them the story of the photograph: where it was taken, when, why, what it is. That makes the act of handing over a business card so much more personal, so much more meaningful, so much more fun, and so much more creative.
And here’s the back:
There’s a pic of me on the back, which matches up with my profile pic around the web. So it should be easy to remember who I am. Notice, however that I messed up and instead of intelligently cropping, there’s only a piece of my left eye showing. I should have either cropped it out entirely, or included it entirely.
Ah well, perfection will have to wait.
Sparkplug9 has been happily logo-less for 8 years. 8 years!
However, since I’ve been consulting more intensely in the past 3 months, I’ve decided that Sparkplug9 MUST HAVE A LOGO. I mean, with a logo, even a solopreneur looks pro, right?
So, I’ve been playing with Photoshop (bad idea) and searching the web for inspiration (better idea). All I can say is: creative commons is a great thing.
So, with a little help from Abdullah Najeeb Photography, who are very gracious to post their photos to Flickr under a Creative Commons license, and a little help from Photoshop, I’ve built a logo. Well, actually, I made a few … all based around a flame from Abdullah’s photography.
Unfortunately, they suck
Next step: find an actual designer 🙂[ update ]
I’ve posted a project on Guru.com. Three designers have already submitted their proposals, so I hope to be happily logo-fied shortly!
Earlier this week I set up a Meetup group for coworkers in BC’s Fraser Valley. It contained some information about coworking, some hints on the kinds of people who might enjoy coworking, and a link to our current landing page for coworking in Abbotsford.
Today I was informed that the meetup group had been terminated:
Needless to say, I was totally flabbergasted. Our meetup group was for people who wanted to help start a coworking community in the valley. It wasn’t about porn, and we weren’t selling anything. So why were we being closed? How were we not in compliance?
For more information you can review the Terms of Service
This is one of those cases where something that is simple is not easy. Here are the Meetup’s terms of service – to the right. As you can tell … there are a lot of terms. And a lot of words. And a long, long, long web page full of reasons why we were not in compliance.
But which one was applicable?
After a lot of reading, I think it was this one: 5.3(b)(vii). Yeah, that’s number 5, section 3, subsection (b), sub-subsection (vii). Which reads under a heading titled “Grounds for removal, sanction, and/or suspension:”
[Posting any material] that uses the Platform primarily as a lead generator or listing service for another website;
Well. Perhaps the link to our coworking signup page violates that stipulation.
Here’s how you should treat that scenario, Meetup
Here’s a wild, crazy idea. I know it’s out of left field, so brace yourself. Be seated. Hold on to your hat.
How about: you send me an email, explain that stipulation, and ask me to remove it?
I know it’s ground-breaking and earth-shattering … but do you think that might be better than arbitrarily booting a paying customer with no reasonable explanation?
No, I didn’t read your terms of service
I’m sorry, but there are 14 pages of TOS, totalling 8319 words. And I have a life.
So no, I didn’t read your TOS. And I don’t think your TOS is reasonable or customer-friendly.
So please …
So I’m asking … please reinstate the group. I’ll remove the offending link (if indeed that is the problem).
Noticed a drain on your Paypal account lately? Wondering why there’s always money missing?
I recently checked my Paypal account and noticed a subscription and recurring payment for a service that I no longer needed. But cancelling is not terribly simple in the Paypal interface. In fact, you’d almost assume they’ve built the user interface to discourage discovery and awareness of all your recurring payments. Or, at least, made it hard to find and stop subscriptions.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to finding and cancelling Paypal subscriptions:
Now you’re finished – cancelling your Paypal recurring charges in six easy steps 🙂
Theoretically this should be a lot simpler: Paypal should simply provide a link right on your account for all recurring charges so you don’t have to search for them. And … providing a clear “Cancel” link instead of a somewhat cryptic “Active” button.
If you’re clicking to see photos in an embedded gallery on a page, you should still be able to see the story, right?
Wrong, according to Gizmodo:
Not only does clicking the gallery links obscure the story, you can’t get back to it via your browser’s Back button … because with the miracles of AJAX, you haven’t really left the page. Which makes on wonder: why can’t they still show you the post?
They must be angling for more comments …
Everyone who builds or designs for the web should read Fred Wilson’s 10 Golden Principles of Successful Web Apps. Fred is a venture capitalist at Union Square Ventures in New York, and writes the not-very-creatively-named A VC blog.
Check the full article for all the details … but here are the main points:
The Jobs formula, say colleagues, relies heavily on tenacity, patience, belief and instinct. He gets deeply involved in hardware and software design choices, which await his personal nod or veto.
This is bloody amazing:
(Saw it here.)
There’s a great column at Strominator that explains exactly what it is:
The iPhone is not a phone, its the first generation of a new type of computing device. One that will change how we view computing. One that will make our lives simpler. We won’t have to learn how to use applications, we’ll just use them. We won’t worry about launching applications, saving files, quitting — just using. Every other smartphone is still based on an archaic, cumbersome, paradigm taken straight from desktop computers. Drop-down/pop-up menus, programs, files — ugh. Look how bad Windows Mobile is, and most of us are used to the real Windows on our desktops. Why should a phone take minutes to just turn on? The alternatives are not much better. Mobile OSX, what runs inside the iPhone however, is a whole new beast. Intuitive, responsive, and an extension of the beautiful hardware that it runs on.
Which is not to say there aren’t issues … as the article also talks discusses.
Count me shocked.
MacSurfer, the grand-daddy and still king of Mac news sites, has unveiled a new look, now in beta. Times have changed, mullets have gone out of fashion, Michael is no longer the king of pop, and tie-dye is out … but MacSurfer, the essense of web 1.0, has stubbornly remained completely and utterly static. So any update is a bonus.
That’s a lot of change for a grand old dame … but there could be more.
Social features like commenting, submissions, and voting might make MacSurfer less of a jumping-off site and more of a social hub … which I think would translate into significant value for its owners. At any rate: wow – great to see the change.
MediaTemple (my host) just released an interface to control your entire hosting account via iPhone.Pretty cool.A little trendy, but I can imagine this being extremely useful when on the road. To be honest, I bet it’s easier to use than their current control panel, which I’ve never been able to fully understand.Now we just need WordPress for iPhone.
Not enough, Scoble – you run more posts than that that in a single day sometimes. Having to click to a new page just to see what else was posted today is not optimal.. . .. . .I just went recently went down to 10 posts/page from 20, and it really sped up load times. But I don’t think I’ve ever done 10 posts in one day.
1. Blow both balloons up first (to stretch the balloons)
2. Let the air out of both
3. Blow up the balloon that’s supposed to be bigger (on the outside)
4. While holding the outside balloon put the other balloon inside it
5. Blow up the inside balloon6. Blow up the outside balloon just a bit more
7. Tie them both
Buzzword beats current Ajax-based offerings like Google Docs and Zoho Writer in both usability and aesthetic impact. And in a few months, when a desktop version is released, Buzzword will pose a serious challenge to Microsoft Word, the current king of document editing on the desktop.
But Wired is right: this is an amazing product. I managed to snag an early invite to check out the beta, and it already feels polished and more than usable. It uses Adobe’s Flex to achieve near-desktop feel on the web, and eventually is intended to use AIR to run on the desktop as well.Uploading and placing an image, working with tables, saving and undoing with key commands instead of having to use the menus all the time, plus all the word processing basics … it all seems to be there.Very cool.I’ll play with it a little more and post something a bit more detailed …
Sometimes I can’t believe the lengths people will go to in order to save money. Michael Shannon has about 2500 words and perhaps 25 illustrations on 5 pages teaching you how to create your own Moleskine-like notebook.I think I can do it simpler and cheaper.Here’s his steps:
- Materials Needed
- Tools Needed
- Step 1. Cut paper
- Step 2. Fold paper
- Step 3. Collate folios
- Step 4. Mark spine
- Step 5. Punch holes
- Step 6. Sew signatures
- Step 7. Glue signatures
- Step 8. Glue endpapers & cover
Here’s my steps:
My way: $9 plus a couple of bucks shipping. His way: hours of effort, some money for materials, massive PITA factor.I rest my case.
Sometimes it’s hard to convince PC users of the benefits of Apple computers and Mac OS X.
Since their computers are hardly personal, and just tools, and essentially lacking style and personality, they don’t understand, can’t grasp, cannot fit in their brains the concept of an interface that has been obsessively designed to fit, to function, to form an environment that accepts and welcomes people.
Maybe the iPhone will solve this problem. Check out what this Time reviewer says:
The user interface is crammed with smart little touches — every moment of user interaction has been quietly stage-managed and orchestrated, with such overwhelming attention to detail that when the history of digital interface design is written, whoever managed this project at Apple will be hailed as a Michelangelo, and the iPhone his or her Sistine Chapel (Steve Jobs can be Pope in this scenario). If you’re not a reviewer, chances are you won’t even bother to look at the manual. Translucent, jewel-like, artfully phrased dialogue boxes come and go on cue. Window borders bounce and flex just slightly to cue the user where and how you’re supposed to drop and drag and scroll them. When you switch the phone to “airplane mode” (no electronic transmissions, for use on planes) a tasteful little orange airplane slides into the menu bar, then zooms away when you switch out again. (This was so pleasurable that I repeatedly entered airplane mode while using the iPhone, even though I wasn’t actually on an airplane.) As soon as my phone realized it belonged to someone with a nonsense-name like Lev, it started correcting typos like “Leb” and “Lec” to match.
That’s the zen of Apple taken to a whole new level.
Every time I see something like this in the mainstream press I think: clueless.
There’s little question the iPhone pulls a lot of great wireless functions and applications into a very cool package. But most of those features aren’t exactly new. Google Maps for mobile? Practically any smartphone user can download the application to his or her device.
It’s not about: is it possible. It’s about: is it elegant, simple, natural, obvious, easy, beautiful, friendly. Most importantly: is it normal. Does it just feel normal to surf the web on your phone, locate and listen to music on your phone, to make make phone calls even.
(In case you’re wondering why Linux isn’t mainstream, that’s why. The answers are no.)
That’s Apple’s primary genius. Not always to be first – but almost always to make wizardry easy, even commonplace … while still being elegant and sexy.
It’s hard to believe that people at major weblogs and web content companies don’t know this yet, but Microsoft Word and the web don’t really see eye to eye:
(At least for people on non-Microsoft browsers and platforms.)
One of the most interesting parts of the Stevenote a couple of days ago was when the VP of something or other for the iPhone division messed up hand-typing something into his iPhone.
I don’t read a ton into that – I’d be a little nervous too, in front of 5000 people and, most particularly, my incredibly demanding, incredibly perfectionist, incredibly seuccessful boss.
But it did start an interesting chain reaction of thoughts in my brain: what if the iPhone keyboard is pure genius not for it’s ease of data entry … but for it’s difficulty?
Let me give some context:
I think the iPhone will not be nearly as fast at text-entry as most hard-button smartphones. You won’t be able to type by feel – you’ll have to be looking all the time. Your fingers won’t develop nearly as much of a kinesthetic knowledge of the letter positioning. Your speed will be way down.
Whoa. Hold up. Not your speed … Jessica’s speed.
Jessica is 17. Jessica texts every hour of every day. Jessica has thumb calluses from texting. Jessica has 50 friends her age who all text. Jessica runs her social life through her phone’s little keys.
iPhone is not for Jessica.
However, if you’re like me … I’d like to do a little more texting, if the user interface didn’t suck big brass monkey balls. But the effort curve is too steep for the small amount of texting that I would do, to get good at it, to do it regularly. So I don’t text. And when I do, it takes forever. iPhone is going to radically speed up the limited amount of texting I do.
iPhone is for me – and for you. (If you’re like me.)
Do you have one of those cheesy motivational posters on your wall? In your company, somewhere? It’s probably something about teamwork, or hard work, or persistence, or excellence, or …
Boring! Old hat! Cheap! Manipulative!
Welcome Demotivators from Despair, Inc. Now these are fun. Their customer (dis)service page says “We’re not satisfied until you’re not satisfied.”
I like the one on consistency … “it’s only a virtue if you’re not a screw-up.” Or the one on consulting: “If you’re not a part of the solution, there’s good money to be made in prolonging the problem.”
At least they make you laugh. And that might be the best motivator of all.[tags] funny, motivation, demotivator, despair, joke, john koetsier [/tags]
More content to come, as per usual. We’ve only got his recent paintings up … nothing before January of this year. That’ll come with time, however. It was important to get this up as soon as possible as Jeroen just had a show in the Netherlands, and some of his paintings are going up for public display and sale here in Vancouver next week.
. . .
. . .
PS: Jeroen is pronounced yer-roon. It’s a Dutch name (as is mine, sort of) and Jeroen is originally from the Netherlands.[tags] jeroen vermeulen, art, website, john koetsier [/tags]
Text Link Ads just informed me that (yay!) they’ve sold another ad for me. (You can see ’em down near the bottom of the right column under, appropriately, text link ads.)
This is cool, because it pays the hosting bills and because I make more from TLA than I ever did from Google AdWords. It’s even more cool because text link ads are incredibly aesthetically better than AdWords. But it’s uber-cool because the latest one is for VentureThree.
Naturally, when someone wants to market themselves on my blog, I check them out. And VentureThree has the coolest interim site I’ve ever seen.
The title at the top says Branding | Brand Consultants | Strategic Identity Consulting Design, and the page looks like this:
Simple. Direct. Powerful. Intriguing. Bold. Clean. Smart. Beautiful.
I love it. I want to work for a company with that kind of strategic aesthetic vision.
. . .
. . .
In case you’re wondering, I haven’t posted anything about any of the other advertisers on this site … so it’s not like you buy an ad, you get a puff piece. Just so you know!
🙂[tags] venturethree, branding, consulting, brands, john koetsier, adwords, text link ads [/tags]
Check out this screen from Seeking Alpha.
Here’s what I see when I read this:
Sorry, I already don’t care because the way you put your message together is rude. Here’s how to do it:
Simple, friendly, easy, natural, and quick.[tags] usability, forms, comments, john koetsier, seeking alpha [/tags]