Uh, so this is a really big deal and my husband is going to only be partly insulted when he receives it this holiday. Tile App locates “laptops, wallets, keys, guitars, bikes, you name it. Just attach the Tile on to an object and locate it with the included app, it allows you to check how close you are to the missing item, within a 50 to 150-foot range. You can monitor up to ten Tiles on your smartphone.” They also happened to make a really great video to show how it works which you can watch over at Bless This Stuff.
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UX Archive logs screenshots of various apps performing their functions, and enables users to browse and easily view how they each handle certain protocols. Categories like Onboarding, Searching, Reading, Purchasing and Creating enable designers to make connections between what works and what might not, and to really synthesize the different experiences across various apps. All this information allows the most information possible to advise those of us working on new projects, and as more screenshots filter into the archive, the better off we’ll all be!
Capo 3 is a fun looking iOS application that takes a ‘song to note’ approach towards learning to play the music in your iTunes library. Pull in almost any kind of audio file, and let the app show you note by note how to play. You can even slow it down without sacrificing pitch. Looks fun!
That blogger also demonstrates his linguistic ignorance when he explains that he likes to be an arsehole whenever somebody uses the term ‘internet’ to mean ‘my access to the internet’ instead of the internet itself. As in ‘the internet isn’t working’.
I mean, just how stupid do you have to be to not realise that almost everybody who says this knows very well that the entire internet hasn’t stopped working? It’s analogous to saying ‘the TV channels aren’t working’ when your cable TV set-top box is on the fritz. It doesn’t mean you think those channels aren’t broadcasting. It means that you don’t have access to any of them.
It isn’t just stupid to misunderstand language like this, it demonstrates a wilful ignorance of spoken English, wilful because he’s clearly heard the phrase often enough to understand what people are actually trying to say.
“So what’s preventing advertisers from understanding the ROI of mobile advertising? Two things: (1) consumer shopping behavior on smartphones, and (2) fragmentation of consumer Internet usage. The first item affects the digital conversion rates that advertisers see from mobile device usage; the second item affects the ability to measure conversions from mobile devices.”
Was tipped off to Macaw this morning. It’s still in preview but looks like an amazing tool for interface design. Very much looking forward to testing it out, as it functions as a web design tool, but also spits out real code. Take your wireframes and turn them into full-blown mockups that have real code you can transfer to your developers. Just amazing. Lots of amazing features to check out on their site, like absolute positioning within the interface, but static document conversion flow upon export, reusable components, saving of common styles, default percentage CSS, and fluid canvases and grids.
Have a look at the sneak video here – functions as a tutorial and preview of what Macaw can do. And don’t forget about Sketch, which already exists and works in a similar way. You can read what Khoi Vinh had to say about Sketch here.
Via Tinybop: Hopscotch is a graphics-based programming language for kids (they recommend 5+) that uses really colorful, easy to use little tool that kids can pick up and figure out quickly. From the review:
“In it’s current incarnation Hopscotch is focused on basic programming concepts and on drawing, but the developers have ambitious plans to turn it into a robust environment especially geared for mobile (for geeks out there, the plan is to make it Turing complete). Hopscotch is easy, approachable, and fun.”
Maybe I’ve been sleeping but I just discovered DIY.org today. It’s a site where kids and adults alike can learn skills in a wide variety of areas using simple, how-to (well-done) videos. It’s super easy: jump in and check out the skills area, where you can choose to learn about being a sailor, a cardboarder, a sys admin, an animator, farmer, beekeeper – you name it, you can learn the skills. Then you do some challenges and earn skill patches along the way. You can also follow other people’s projects. I am so excited to do some of these with the family and compete.
Oh, and check out the app.
Mural.ly is the ‘Google docs for creative people’: a real time, web-based app that lets creative teams share a virtual mural. The walls are zooomable, can contain all kinds of web content (videos, photos, etc.) and teams can chat as work goes up and moves around. What an amazing tool for creative teams working on projects from different locations. Can’t wait to have an excuse to use it!
Tynker is helping teachers give kids the opportunity to learn coding concepts at a young age without requiring tons of resources or clunky downloads.
To clarify, these kids learn the logic of coding. Tynker contains a visual programming language; that is, it uses the building blocks of algorithms without all the tricks of the developer’s trade — curly braces, semicolons, seemingly inconsequential stuff that, when misplaced or missing, can screw up days’ or even months’ worth of work.
Learn more at Venture Beat’s “Why your 8-year-old should be coding.”
New favorite Tumblr: One Thing Well, keeping up with simple, useful software doing (you guessed it) one thing really well.
I was just thinking the other day that it would be amazing if there was one central location to identify the shows you like to watch, then see a list of when, where and how to watch them. With so many different options (paid and free or illegal), it’s hard to manage TV if you don’t have cable and oodles of time. Luckily, Yewknee tipped me off to Follow Shows, a service that does just that. Awesome!
I wish you didn’t have to use Facebook to login (I hate in general when that’s the only option for any app or service), but I’m definitely giving it a try because I know it will come in handy.
“littleBits is an open source library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping, learning, and fun.”
But they had me at “no soldering”. We got Dash something along these lines for Christmas, but it required a lot of assistance from adults with soldering, various tools, etc. It was a really cool little project, but it didn’t really provide Dash (10 years old) with the kind of independence and freedom of creativity we were hoping for. The cool thing about littleBits is that it’s so easy to get started, and it really does allow kids to plug in, tinker, and build on their own. No better way to learn about technology at a young age than to have an opportunity to just play with things and see how they work.
We’re going to need this. Brightnest is an amazing free tool that helps homeowners keep track of maintenance tasks around their property. It’s the easiest thing to set up in the world, and I’ve already annoyed the hell out of my spouse with a long list of to-dos.
Maybe I complain about Flickr so much because I’m personally disappointed. I was an early adopter (pre-Yahoo), and for years it was one of the sites I visited numerous times a day. It was an archive, a sharing tool, a hosting platform and a social network (that last part is huge, considering it was 2004), and over the years it’s been hard to watch it shrivel.
Perhaps most disappointing is that it still has potential. Yes, we use Facebook and Instagram more frequently, and they’re both better at real time and social sharing, but Flickr’s community still has value for photography (and could, on some other planet, compete with the more on the go platforms) proper. The groups still have value. The user influenced tagging system still has value. The people who curate their own streams have value. Just recently I found an old high school friend’s account full of photos from my youth that I had no idea existed. I couldn’t find that on Instagram. Privacy variants on Facebook make it less than ideal when it comes to search and universal sharing. Additionally, Flickr offers tools for gathering stock images, desktop backgrounds, free-to-use photos of bands and events, etc. and could continue to be a sort of social database for American culture if anyone really gave a damn about the users, but no one really seems to anymore.
Regardless, the bottom line is still true: Flickr is mostly dead. The Gizmodo article “How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet” is a great historical read, explaining the history of the company’s relationship with Yahoo and what went wrong (and more). I highly recommend reading it and am glad to see that its loss is something the web community sympathizes with and mourns.
“There’s a difference between a missed opportunity and a complete fuck-up. When Yahoo failed to capitalize on Flickr’s social potential, that was a missed opportunity. But if you want to see where it completely fucked up, where it just butchered Flickr with dull knives and duller wit, turn on your phone and launch the Flickr app. Oh, what’s that, you don’t have one? Exactly.”
There’s a lot of real talk in there, and it’s all completely on point. I’m sure that Fake and Butterfield and Champ all feel a twinge of angst when they see articles like this one, but they made a choice. The bigger question in all of this is around startups selling out to big companies with Corporate Dev divisions and bosses who might not always truly understand the potential in a platform or app. That’s ok, it’s not always crystal clear. But leaving something as promising as Flickr by the side of the road is maybe one of the saddest things that’s ever happened to the historically social Internet user base. The only way it could become viable again is if it was purchased by Facebook – and then we’d have a whole different beast and set of problems.