Fight for the right…

First up today – Tron got arrested. Sort of. It turns out that some of the scenes were filmed in a nuclear base – and supposedly they shot potentially classified material when recording the movie. If you’ve got a copy, be careful that men in black don’t crash through your skylight, ala minority report.

If you do get thrown in the clink for owning a copy, not to worry, ChipIn is at hand to help you raise bail. Just throw their handy flash widget on you your “LockedUpForWatchingDisney.com” blog, sit back and watch the money come rolling in.

If your appeal fails, you may need to learn how to fight back. Take some hot tips from this fine example of quality 1990s choreography. You might need to work out your own relevant puns after you’ve beaten “Jeff the Hammer” into submission.

If all goes well, you’ll be out in 5 for good behaviour.

Stuff I saw.

I’ve recently started ‘surfing’ again – trying (and probably failing) to keep up with everything thats going on in my sector, interesting ‘n.0′ sites, and just stuff which is inspiring and relevant to my day to day. I keep most of it in delicious, but thought i’d share some of the key links here.

DoMyStuff.com is a ebay for lazy people. kinda. if you have something to do, post the chore on domystuff.com, and people in your area can bid to do it. For instance, scan 200 photos and burn them on to a DVD, tidy your apartment, even clean out your ears. Perhaps, as heard whilst watching Syriana last night “Send a fool to do a fool’s errand”, but hey, who’s the fool when you’re paying them dollar?

Next up, Channel4Radio.com – an interesting technology progression for C4 to take, usually people move from radio to telly, not vice versa – but they certainly have the content to make the less ‘play a bunch of tunes’ type programming work. Its effectively a large bunch of podcasts, extended content of some of their programming – but there’s already a good amount of fresh new content especially for 4radio. Its a good mix of music, documentary, current affairs and hollyoaks. Don’t tell anyone at work though, your sysadmin will probably bring the burned-out router down on the back of your head after your entire office start swamping the connection with their streams. Personally, its just a good excuse to listen to the lovely Alexa Chung. Mmm.

Finally, something workywise – ConceptShare – for online sharing and discussion of creative (pdf, psd, jpg etc), with annotation, commenting etc. We already use something similar to this at work – we rolled our own (we’ve been using something basic for y[uh]ears, and are just adding basic annotation and notes to it using HTML and Javascripty loveliness, but this looks like a very well rounded tool for getting up to speed very quickly if you don’t have time/in-house development resource (or don’t want to re-invent a perfectly nice wheel).

FOWD2007

I was at FOWD2007 on Wednesday – Future of Web Design (I’d missed Future of Web Apps) with Rory, Nicki and Joel from de-con. It was an interesting mix of speakers and topics, some more compelling and attention holding than others. Some downright boring and I switched off (sales pitches, or showing sites from 4 years ago?), and some completely engrossing (Ryan Freitas from Adaptive Path was really good, Denise Wilton of moo.com/b3ta and George Oates of flickr were both great, and i had the opportunity o of meeting them over lunch in the sun with a pint).

I have to say – i’m not sure anything truly groundbreaking was said – but many valid points were made – primarily with regards to making a user feel engaged and more importantly ‘comfortable’ in their experience with your app/site. This doesn’t mean everything has to be soft/wacky/zany and say “yay, you’ve saved your profile”, its about getting the tone right for your audience. Lots on the experience is as much a part of the content as the core product/message – which i’m not sure i agree with 100% of the time – you have to consider some things are utilitarian, and work well, unobstrusively, just get the job done, let other things worry about bevelled edges and light language, but everything has its place – choose the right tool for the job – even Florian from hi-res! was saying HTML has its place.

The most interesting aspect was how ‘geeky’ a large portion of the day was. It was not a design conference, it was a web technologies conference, of which design plays a massive part. There was, based purely on anecdotal evidence, and a quick glimpse of namebadges, an equal measure of people calling themselves ‘developers’ as well as ‘designers’. Many of the discussion was around new technologies, such as Apollo and Silverlight, and of course, many of the most popular sites are very much technically interesting, perhaps more than design interesting (i’m sure many people would disagree). Convergance is certainly here now, but i wonder if its more convergance of roles (designer/developer) than anything else. And quite neatly, the end panel debate touched on this topic – is everything moving to fast, do you need to be a jack of all / master of none?

I’ve always felt specialising is a more sensible route – yes, new technologies and tools crop up, and its important to stay aware of them, but in the inevitable shakedown, knowing how to do something really well will always stand you in better stead than being second-rate at many things (of course depending on your job, if you’re consulting, or overseeing a wide range of people, your speciality is knowledge of a wide range of areas perhaps, rather than hands on practical syntactic knowledge).

Interesting Discussion

From Flavorpill:

As part of the London Book Fair, writers Margaret Atwood, Andrew O’Hagan and Erica Wagner, along with Faber & Faber chief executive Stephen Page, put their heads together to discuss the future of the printed page. Advances in technology mean that libraries are becoming digitised (led by Google Book Search), and electronic paperbacks — such as an iPod-equivalent for books — could be next. As publishers plot responses to the digital push amid the intellectual-property minefield of censorship and copyright laws, the best of London’s bookworms and bloggers examine the nitty-gritty details of the debate.

http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/

Summer is here

Dave at work is pure South African MAN. He eats meat whilst its still attached to the animal, and has been longing for the grey British skies to open and let through the golden warmth of the glorious sun. Okay – its only Easter, but I’m not in the least bit surprised he’s the first guy I know to be going to a barbecue this weekend.

Straight from the horse’s mouth, Dave provides us with the SA BBQ etiquette. Watch, listen, learn, and get your coals out!

Word Clouds from Amazon

Amazon have started producing word clouds for books in their catalogue, based upon the most commonly used word within the book.

Take this for example:

Does anything eat wasps?

Hover over the word for an occurance count, click on the word for a list of excerpts containing that word. Very very neat. They’re doing all of the things you’d want to / would do in a book store by allowing you to flick through the index and contents pages, and providing you a level of inspection of the content which you’d never be able to grasp by simply flicking through.

When they’re able to let me feel the stock of the paper, then maybe i’m sold.

There’s also a review of Does Anything Eat Wasps over at Books in the Bog.