Silly Atomic RSS

What am i missing about Tim Bray’s description of “atomic rss“? I know a bit about rss, i know a lot less about atom and i bet there are many good and valid reasons for atom’s existance, otherwise there wouldn’t have been so many smart people working away on it for months and months, but this article makes atom look a little silly. The basic premise of atomic rss seems to be “try this new thing that’s just like the old thing but sooo much hotter right now, there aren’t any real differences or obvious benefits but you just have to rename some elements, oh, and these rss elements it doesn’t support? You don’t really need them anyway.” I am missing something here, right?

Easily amused

Watch me change – best thing seen today. Create a highly customizable avatar, select an outfit to change into, watch your avatar change into the selected outfit go-go-style with trashtastic background music.
While i’m on the topic of snazzy web-things featuring bikini-clad girls let me toss in another link for good measure: an untitled piece of webzen featuring a girl falling through a sky full of bubbles and bouncing around. Note: you can drag her around with your mouse, comes in handy when she’s stuck (took me forever to figure that out, stupid me). Put some nice downtempo music in the background, lean back and enjoy. Kept me entertained far longer than i’d like to admit during a recent world of warcraft server maintenance downtime. Might help to be drunk and/or stoned to keep you entertained for hours on end (ymmv). So now you know what i’m wasting my time with.

Interview with Wil Shipley of Delicious Monster

Drunkenbatman’s interview with Wil Shipley of delicios monster is ripe with great sound bites but my favorite part is where he talks about the implementation of barcode scanning functionality in delicious library:

Humans are incredibly good at trying new and random things when they get instant feedback. It’s the basis of all learning for us, and it’s an absolutely fundamental rule of UI design.

Don’t miss “the art of delicious library” at the end of the interview, a pdf showing the user interface in various stages of development. Though i’m not a huge fan of the final interface (ever heard of human interface guidelines?) it’s nonetheless interesting to see the ui evolve over time.

Django

Django is a high-level Python Web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design.

Of course people everywhere compare it to ruby on rails already. Looks a little rougher around the edges right now, but as they say on their download page, django is “not officially launched just yet”. Simon Willison adds a little background.
While i’m on the topic of rapid development web frameworks let me toss in a link to the second rails demo video for good measure. It’s just as impressive as the first one.

SiteVista

Last week an interesting new service for web designers named sitevista launched. From their blog:

SiteVista is a service that gives you, amongst other things, screen captures of your web pages in different browsers.

I had the pleasure of meeting Paul at reboot7 and got a promotional key for the beta, so i already had some time to play around with it. As noted, sitevista is a service for testing your website in different browsers, resolutions and color depths. You submit your site url, select the tests you’d like to run and sitevista returns screen captures of the results, which look something like this cropped sample:
SiteVista result screen
Screen captures of the tested page are available in window- and fullpage-format. Window screen captures show the page as displayed inside the browser and end with the fold. Fullpage screen captures show the full page rendered from header to footer. If my description doesn’t make much sense to you i’d suggest checking out sitevista’s demo video.
Through sitevista i’ve learned that my site is ugly but usable in internet explorer 5.5 and 5, usable but unstyled in netscape navigator 4 and seriously broken in internet explorer 4, which i’m perfectly comfortable with as these problems stem from lacking standards compliance in these browsers rather than any deficiencies on my end. Testing with these browsers myself would have been challenging to say the least, as it’s not exactly easy to get several different versions of internet explorer installed on one machine.
The most interesting features aren’t live yet, however. Imho the two most interesting features to come are mp3 recordings of your pages visited using a screen reader and tests which show how your pages appear to people with color blindness. Really interesting and particularly difficult to test on your own.
With its current feature-set and pricing i’m not sure i could justify signing up myself right now, but that’s mostly because i’m no web designer and have only limited use for a service like sitevista. However as a full-time web designer i’d definitely check out their service (one day access costs $9) as i find their monthly plans very competitively priced and quite possibly worth it if you have a lot of browser-testing to do.

Festival Buddy

This sounds interesting:

[Y]ou sign up via SMS or online and you’re immediately sent an SMS with your “buddy word”. Then you go to one of the music festivals sponsored by Virgin Express and you look for someone with same buddy word. If you find him/her, go together to the Virgin Express stand and you’ll receive a free flight each.

I just wonder how it scales and what size of festivals they’re going after. This looks a lot like an invitation for gaming the system for free flights somehow, but i guess virgin did its homework and has some nice statistics to prove the viability. (via Russell Beattie)

Odeo launches &c

Probably the last to mention that odeo, Evan William’s podcasting venture, launched last saturday. Also of note: macdevcenter interview with Ev which predates the launch, but sheds some light on the recording/hosting side of odeo which isn’t public yet. I like the odeo-directory a lot more than apple’s, but wonder: is there a simple way to use itunes for subscribing/downloading with the odeo directory? Because i really like the idea of having my music library and podcasts separated and afaik you’ll have to go through itunes if you wanna take advantage of this.
Speaking of itunes, a little clarification of this: when i found their implementation pretty nice i primarily referred to their decision to separate music library and podcasts in both itunes and ipod. Many of the ui-changes in itunes suck, however. Only today i found out that it’s possible to subscribe to podcasts outside apple’s directory. That functionality is hidden under “advanced” -> “subscribe to podcast…” – a very clunky solution. For many more poor ui design decisions & changes i recommend Sven’s rundown of the whole mess.