New MacBook Pro

I’m very lucky. I got a new computer. It’s a shiny new Intel-based MacBook Pro. I have to say I’ve not noticed that I’m getting more work done in a shorter period of time. But I’m sure I will eventually, perhaps.

My favourite feature is the built in camera and the silly little application Photo Booth. You can use the laptop like a, guess what, Photo Booth. And it’s got some hideous filters built into it that can make you look like a total freak (see below) or check out this Fickr Cluster. What fun.

Photo Booth Example

I’m sure I’ll feel the benefit of the state-of-the-art computing power at my disposal one day. But until then, bring on the easy-to-use novelty features…

There’s a serious point in here somewhere, honestly. I’m not quite sure what it is. But I think it’s something about creating easy, simple, straightforward applications on new pieces of technology: things that let people feel that they can do something new and different, that they couldn’t do with their old piece of kit.

It’s like when you get a new mobile phone. Some small part of you hopes that your world will somehow be better, different, more social. Something should improve. The adverts said so. The man in the shop said so. But typically there’s nothing noticably different – all it would take is one little application that you can fiddle with for 10 minutes and show to your mates down the pub. Then you’d feel that your investment was worth it (for a fleeting moment).

Tivoli iSongBook

iSongBook

I really like this new Tivoli iSongBook, it’s an iPod speaker system plus radio (edit: I’ve just realised it’s not new at all). There’s so many iPod speaker systems out there, but none of them really do it for me. Even the lastest Apple one kind of leaves me cold. On the other hand this one borrows from the styling of the iPod, but then makes it all its own. The fact that the dock flips out from the size and can be stowed away is really cool. Plus it’s got other little touches like the fact it’s properly shielded so you can have it near a TV or computer.

I’m sure that it’ll sound really good too, Tivoli things that I’ve experienced in the past always have. I’ve got a basic radio that I’ve had for a few years and it’s got a lovely warm sound for its size.

PEZ MP3 Player

pez mp3 player

Who cares about Apple, Creative Labs, Sony and all those guys. Surely the best MP3 players simply have to be made by Pez. It’s got a tiny memory, looks really flmsy, the battery life is bound to be shocking. But there’s something strangely desirable about this PEZ MP3 Player.

The site I found it on CoolestShop.com has some other really nice stuff in stock too: nice teeshirts, rude trainers, and more.

Feedburner – RSS + nice touches

feedburner page

I’m now going to attempt a cunning blog maneuver, I’m going to try and join two recent posts together (admittedly in a bit of a clumsy way).
Feedburner is a really cool service for bloggers or web site owners. It allows you to make your RSS feeds much more manageable and measurable. It helps end-users to subscribe to your feeds by creating a page that is accessible to almost any web browser, and then gives you a choice of how you’d like to subscribe to a feed. It handles this in a dynamic fashion: if your browser can deal with feeds it doesn’t get in the way, if it can’t, Feedburner steps in and helps.

Anyway, in my quest to make more sense of RSS feeds I was browsing through my Feedburner pages, and I chanced upon this:

feedburner dialogue box

I thought this was another really nice example of a charming (if very US-centric) dialogue box. Rather than saying ‘you must be registered to view this page’ and not letting me see anything. It dims out the underlying content (see main image) thereby teasing me in, as well as up-selling in an approachable human way.

I liked it anyway.

Smart Error Page – Odeo

Odeo Error Page

You know those pages that come up when a web page has moved, or you’ve typed the address in wrong? (For the technically minded they’re called 404 errors, but you don’t really need to know that unless you’re in the business). You don’t see as many of them as you used to, but they’re still around.

This is one of the best ones I’ve ever seen, from Odeo. Why do I like it? Well it’s not the copy, it doesn’t even read proper to me. It’s the fact that they’ve got a cute little tickbox that allows me to say that I’m not happy about the page being missing. From what I can tell it doesn’t actually do anything (maybe it gives them some reporting behind the scenes, but it’s invisible to the user).

But that’s not the point. It lets me get the frustration of ‘the machine’ not working off my chest.

I’m halfway through writing a piece on ’emotional architecture’; how you can create emotionally positive results by doing simple things with your website. And how this should be built into your site planning process. I may never finish it, but this is a good example of the kind of thing I’m talking about.

Aaaaargh!

virgin radio imageVirgin Radio have another one of their infuriating but brilliant ‘see how many artists you can spot‘ thingies. This time it’s moving video not just an image. Unfortunately I can’t keep up, it’s too quick for my puny brain. I’m a big fan though.

Run London – RouteFinder

run london

Funnily enough a second post about an AKQA piece of work in one day, they must be doing something right. And in this case they really are: Run London – RouteFinder. An extension of the undoubtedly great brand property Run London, this time a trendy mash-up with Google maps.

But this isn’t just a fashionable me-too, this is a really really smart utilisation of Google’s mapping API. It allows users to overlay and share their running routes. You can search for routes by postcode, type of terrain, whether it’s well lit at night and more.

Nice work.

Diablogue: Life takes….

Life takes visaDiablogue (a new find on the blog trail; thanks Russell) pointed me in the direction of a new online Visa campaign produced by AKQA. Life Takes Visa

As the Diablogue guys say there’s some sweet moments in there. But I can’t help but feel that this is just a load of nice little ads glued together into a website.

For the money that was spent on this piece of interactive advertising, I’d have thought they might have taken the opportunity to do something, well… ‘interactive’? Instead it’s just a load of nicely produced FakeReal scenarios, which support the offline advertising brilliantly. It’s a really nice piece of ‘online advertising’ in that sense. But it left me wanting more.

The thing that really puzzled me though was the copyright notice at the bottom of the page:

microsoft/visa

How come an advertising website is copyright Microsoft?

I did a bit of digging around and found that there’s a version of the site that you can get to via http://lifetakesvisa.msn.com/visa.asp which has an MSN frame at the top. Not sure how ‘exclusive’ the deal is, and how it came about.

From where I’m sitting I see a lot of the big online media owners trying to get closer to ‘creative agencies’ so that they can deliver richer, more extensive, online advertising that’s exclusive to their network. It’s almost like good online advertising could be considered content. Imagine that ;-)

Wall Stickers

robotsI ran into these the other day on the ThinkGeek site. Giant Robot Stickers. I thought they were pretty special. So I did a bit of digging around and found that they make loads of cool removable wall stickers. Blik is the name of the company. I’ll let you know how I get on…

LED Throwies

LED throwiesSimple, cheap and pretty. These LED Throwies stick to any metal surface and make it look pretty. Can imagine some really nice interactive type applications with these at the core. Check the video at the Graffiti Research Lab (their re-use of Jose Gonzales made me smile).

Only downside, someone’s got to clean up the mess…