Over the past, I’d say, year and a half the term Web 2.0 has been thrown around an awful lot, but with no true definition it’s hard to peg the meaning of the word. For some its definition is a style (subtle gradients, shines, and beta tags), while for others it’s a term used simply to describe the change in technologies used on the web today (AJAX, Ruby on Rails, etc.). I personally see Web 2.0 as a guide more than anything.
While I don’t live or swear by it, I think many do. As a guide the term Web 2.0 gives us a vision of something more intricate, more advanced, yet easier to understand. It produces thoughts of products like Flickr or YouTube. With all of their features and technical intricacies they still remain two of the simplest tools on the web. Web 2.0 is the thought that design and the tools we use to communicate can be advanced and visually pleasing, yet simple at the same time.
This, to me, is the true meaning of the term Web 2.0. I realize I’ve just blabbered on about the most over talked about subject of the year, but with so many different definitions around I just had to throw my own opinion in.
Goodbye Trillian, hello Meebo. Other than losing the ability to chat via IRC I couldn’t care less about parting with Trillian. It does nothing but slow down my laptop, and even though it is a great program I really don’t need it. Meebo is all I need from now on.
Over the past few weeks I’ve made a serious effort to cut down on the number of resources I rely on. I’ve uninstalled Thunderbird, Firefox, Trillian, and a massive load of other programs that add to the frustration of online activity. I’ve imported all of my bookmarks and compatible plugins from Firefox to Flock, which now manages my bookmarks and my feeds, which I have reduced from about two hundred to maybe twenty essentials.
Thanks to the invention of multiple homepages I can now check my email via my Google Customized Homepage, sign into MySpace for communicating with my friends who are too ignorant to use email, take a quick glance at all my feeds, check up on Random Shapes, AND log in to my Meebo account, which allows all of you wonderful readers to talk to me at any time.
Anyway, the main reason I wanted to write this post is to let you all know that I’ve added the nifty MeeboMe widget to the sidebar of my blog so you can check my online status and get in contact with me whenever you want. Now to issue a challenge. I challenge each and every one of you reading this to cut down on the number of programs you use. Use plugins to combine apps, delete unnecessary files and programs, see exactly what you need and what you don’t.
To be honest the only programs I really use now are Flock (for email, RSS, IM, and general web browsing), iTunes (for musical pleasure), Photoshop (for designing cool shit), and my anti-virus and anti-spyware programs which do a great job and run virtually invisible. Like I said, cut back and see just what you need. Leave me a comment letting me know how it goes and what you now use.
With the emergence of AJAX and similar web technologies we’ve been introduced to multiple new features that many users have never seen before except in Desktop Applications. Features line inline editing, drag and drop, and the ability to customize items without ever having to refresh. Up until now we’ve only ever seen these features in the desktop applications we know, love, and use on a daily basis.
While these technologies make using the web easier, and certainly more pleasing, the simplicity comes at a cost, a cost some may not be willing to pay. These technologies not only offer a new way of browsing, but also a new learning curve to explore. It is expected that the majority of internet users are not savvy enough to quickly adapt to inline editing and similar features, which makes building a website around these types of features extremely difficult, but there are a few ways to help break in new users.
Offer some sort of invitation. Style certain parts of the page, important parts, in a different color, or with a noticeable effect that will help attract users. Make sure they know exactly how the website works and how they can use it. Write an introduction post or a simple tutorial, perhaps a video for those who need extra help. Remember to write your guide in laymen’s terms as not to confuse the simpler browsers.
Tool tips or cursor changes are a great way to invite users into new features. When designing a website with these new, rich media technologies it’s important that they know how to use them right off the bat, or your concept and ideas will quickly fall through. While designing a page it’s easy to forget about the user and get lost in your own design fantasies, but you must remember that the user always comes first.
Can you smell that? It's the smell of fresh pixels, of computers overclocking to keep up with all the memory Photoshop's using. Yes, today is May 1st, the day of a million reboots. For those of you thinking I'm on an acid trip, I'm not. I'm talking about the CSS Reboot and it's Flash Counterpart, the one that started it all.
While Textonic has been neglected for the second or third time in a row I did manage to do a miniature redesign of my portfolio, though the loss of PSD files prevented me from doing a complete overhaul. But you can see the progress here. IE users beware, the site is somewhat broken, and looks a whole lot better in Firefox or another similar browser. But don't worry, I'll be doing a complete redesign over the summer, maybe for the Fall CSS Reboot.
But other than my site a few reboots have really stuck out in my mind. One of those is the Random Shapes redesign, which I, unfortunately, had no part in this time around. Another brilliant site is that of MattBrett.com, what an amazing new look, and who says Pink doesn't look good anymore? Now if only Evan would launch his redesign so I can give him some crap about it.
As many of you may know Yahoo! has just launched their Yahoo! Mail Beta service, and invites are pretty hard to come by, unless, of course, you know a way around it. First of I'd like to thank my good friend Edward for introducing me to this method through AIM, thanks a lot Edward. Getting Access to the Beta is actually very simple, so follow these steps and you should be all set with a brand new Yahoo! Mail Beta account.
- Log-in to Yahoo! Mail
- select Account Information
- Go to Member Information –> Edit
- Under General Preferences you should see a link that says Language & Content, click on it and select English – United Kingdom from the list of options.
- Now click Finished and return to the main Yahoo! Mail page. You should see an invitation to Yahoo! Mail Beta, accept it and you're all done.
It's just as easy as that. Afterwards you can change your Language and Content settings back to their default and continue with access to the Beta service. At a first glance the interface seems to need a bit of polishing, but there's a ton of nifty features available that make this a ton better than similar services like Hotmail, though not quite up to GMail yet. I'm anxious to see a final, stable release available to the public, it should be nice.
Well, the past few days have been extremely interesting to me. I'm slowly seeing the downfall of Digg.com, a social networking website where users choose the stories they want to see, or so we all thought. In the recent weeks situations have occured where multiple stories appeared on the front page of Digg.com. The odd part of this was the first 20 or so Diggers dugg each article at exactly the same time. One of those Diggers was Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg.com
Doesn't this seem just a bit too shady to be a coincidence. When this information was presented at ForeverGeek the submitter was banned from Digg and the story removed, apparently a Terms of Service violation. All similar stories and submitters were also banned or suspended. I'm far too angry to go into details, so I'll leave you here.
The FG post mentioned above should provide more than enough evidence against Digg, with numerous similar articles cited. Let me just say that I've been a faithful user of Digg for a while now, but that all stops now. I'm abandoning this service and I suggest everyone else do the same. The system is corrupted and Digg is wrong in banning people for unfounded ToS violations, especially when users chose the stories they want to see, not the editors.
Everyone remembers the Blogger Code, right? You know, that thing that sits ont he sidebar of many a blog, letting everyone know who you are, what you’ve done, and who you’ve done it with? Well, it’s back and better than ever. That’s right, Blogger Code 2.0 is here with some fresh questions and a brand new look by Derek Powazek.
So in honor of this new release I’ve once again participated in the survey, and my results are posted below. The site says not to hotlink the background image, but I’m doing it anyway, just to see what happens.
B5 D++ T- K S+ F I+ O++ X+ E- L++ C– Y1 R+ W++ P++++ M5 N N+
Update: I guess WordPress doesn’t want to play nice, because all it’ll do is spit out the link by itself, oh well. Anyway, check out my blogger code above and be sure to take the survey yourself.