Now you can block out the boss with selective hearing ear buds

Tuesday, 24 May, 2016

Ear buds that block out only selected noise sources, such as nearby phone conversations, or the sound of the air conditioner, may well be a boon for those working in open plan office environments. Or anyone in any other sort of situation, who just wants to be able to concentrate a little more, for that matter.

The first setting I tried was Office Normal. Right away, my environment changed. I could still hear voices next to me, but I was surprised by how much it cut out the TV noise, air conditioning and chatter further down the row.

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Let your smart shoes lead the way in an unknown city

Friday, 20 May, 2016

What a great way to find your way around a new, unknown city. Smart shoes will guide your movements through the streets, by vibrating when it is time to make a left or right turn.

I’ve never seen this neighborhood before, yet without so much as a glimpse at a map, I know exactly where to go and how to get there. The smart shoes on my feet know where I am headed, and vibrate when I must turn left or right. It is liberating. No more consulting a guidebook or my phone, no more asking strangers for directions. I simply enjoy the city.

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Are web design agencies going the way of the dodo?

Thursday, 19 May, 2016

Between applications that allow people to effectively create their own web presence, and bigger companies taking the web design function in-house, rather than out-sourcing the work anymore, it could be argued that the web design agency has had its day. We shall see.

Then there’s the phenomenon that’s putting the squeeze on agencies at the lower end: the so-called commoditisation of web design. Platforms like Squarespace have made good design widely available and affordable, meaning small companies with simple needs can now build their own sites. Agencies that have so far relied on this kind of business and don’t find ways to innovate will begin to see a downturn.

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Needy design patterns and popup boxes, let the backlash begin

Wednesday, 18 May, 2016

Those popup boxes, the ones I was talking about the other week, that usually prompt you to sign-up for a newsletter, and appear as you are trying to read the content of a webpage, look to have an official designation, they are instances of needy design patterns.

Or at least that’s how the Nielsen Norman Group, a California based computer user interface and user experience consulting firm, that was co-founded by Jakob Nielsen, refers to them. The aim of these so-called needy patterns is a desperate bid to increase user engagement, but the result, as far as this user is concerned anyway, is often anger.

The goal is to catch users before they abandon the site, to show them something they may have missed, or to provide one final appeal to capture their attention. And, according to the logic of exit popups, who cares if this appeal doesn’t work and users are annoyed? There’s nothing to lose, because they’re leaving anyway, right?

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Wedding photos by my drone, the art director

Wednesday, 18 May, 2016

There are good wedding photos, then there are wedding photos that are just a tad too… art directed. These images, taken by Tahiti based photographer Helene Havard, with the help of a drone, of recent nuptials that took place in French Polynesia, are clearly art directed, but without making the subjects look like they are part of a tableau, or something.

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Unreal projections in the real world

Friday, 13 May, 2016

Photos of mock, or model, or drill, objects and situations, that once existed, might do at some point in the future, or are much closer at hand than we realise. Human like robots, for instance, are but one case in point.

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Work, now down on the mundane, and up on leisure. For real?

Wednesday, 11 May, 2016

People would rather work, than spend time pursuing leisure activities, as latter day jobs are less mundane, and more enjoyable. Is that right?

People like time off, but they also like having a job. And work itself can be more or less pleasant. We’ve moved, over time, not simply into doing less work, but into doing work that contains less drudgery and more pleasure. We’re taking some leisure on the job rather than strictly cutting back hours.

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What you see is what you get, a redundant web designer?

Friday, 6 May, 2016

When I used to design websites, I would code them manually, using a simple text editor for the HTML markup. There were some who disliked my methods, and thought I should use a WYSIWYG application of some sort.

An article such as this, one I could have sent these people to, that outlined the advantages of working manually, might have been useful, even if it refers to hosted site building applications, rather than WYSIWYG editors. I really should have written one myself.

If you build websites for other people, the last thing you should be doing is promoting websites that encourage them to use a DIY approach. You’ll practically be declaring that they’ve wasted their money by hiring you for a job they can do themselves.

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Postcards from Google Earth… is that really Earth?

Thursday, 5 May, 2016

Having a great time, wish you were here. There are sure some interesting places to visit on good old planet Earth, as this set of… postcards, goes to show.

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Start me up… how to install Windows 95 onto an Apple watch

Tuesday, 3 May, 2016

There’s a few hoops you have to jump through, needless to say, but if you’re game enough to have a go, it is possible to install Windows 95, yes, from 1995, onto an Apple watch.

I was born in the nineties, and the first personal computer my family bought (a $3000 screamer with a 300 MHz Pentium II, 256 MB of RAM, and the optional Boston Acoustics speaker system) ran Windows 95. Also, this isn’t the first time I’ve installed an old operating system on a watch.

Why you’d want to do this however, I cannot say… out of feeling of nostalgia for operating systems from twenty years ago, perhaps?

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