Is It Broken?

Brilliantly simple.

We’ve all had those moments when a site’s not working. And you wonder, is it down for everyone or just me?
answers the question for you.

You enter a URL and it tells you.


I did do a double take on the Google ad served up in the bottom right of the results page though! Yowza!

My New Invention – Suspense Pregnancy Kits

Pregnancy tests are a staple of TV drama. You can’t have a soap opera without the cliffhanger moment when someone is waiting in a bathroom staring at a wet little stick to find out if they’re up the duff or not.

And these days the technology is pretty advanced:

I just love that line about ‘the most advanced technology you’ll ever pee on’.

And it’s cool how it shows you ‘in words’ whether you’re pregnant or not. But it’s all a bit boring. And it doesn’t help with building the tension and excitement. It just says yes or no.

Imagine if Who Wants To Be A Millionaire behaved like that? “You’re wrong. Goodnight”. It just doesn’t work. You need the tease. The pauses. The moments of anticipation.

And lets face it. For most people the results of a pregnancy test are of gameshow sized importance.

So what if we changed from this:


To something more like this:

Pregnant Animation

Obviously this is a very crude prototype. The real thing would have a sound chip in it to get the heart rate racing. And the speed of flashing would vary. Probably going from fast to very very slow. A bit like a roulette wheel of fertilisation.

Or an alternative would be to have a whole group of words fading in and out of view: pregnant, not, are, you, maybe, etc. etc.

Anyway I think that there’s room to make an even more advanced piece of technology for people to pee on. Especially for the world of TV drama.

Absolut Machines

Dickon from work pointed me at: ABSOLUT MACHINES.

It’s so killer it’s not even funny. They’ve got a load of top drawer interactive music machines that you can play with over the internet. And the way they’ve done the queueing and stuff is really nice.

I’m not 100% sold on the old skool interface look, but it doesn’t get in the way so I don’t care too much.

I just had a go on the choir and it was fun. And now they’re going to send me a film of my ‘performance’. How nice.

This is the kind of shit that gets me really excited. I love stuff that still feels like magic. It makes me all hot and bothered with the thought of possibilities and the things that can happen next. And that’s a good thing.

Typographic Synthesizer – So Good It’s Magic!

You know sometimes when you see something so amazing that you almost forget to breathe while you’re looking at it. Well I’m just about finished hyperventilating after the end of this video.

The guys at have created something that creates an incredible relationship between typography, sound and a control surface. You can tweak type using knobs, and the sound is generated by the form of the letters. It’s nuts. Totally nuts.

I also love the modesty of the video, the fact it ends with an almost slightly unsure: “OK, that’s it. Thanks”. If I was wearing a hat I’d take it off to these guys.

Facebook Add To Friends QR Code

This is bloody great.

Facebook app + QR code. Sounds like someone playing ‘cool shit mashup’. But here something’s been made that is much greater than the sum of its parts.

It’s really simple. You add the Facebook app. Click ‘make my tshirt’. And you’re pretty much done. A custom QR code t-shirt is generated that you can buy immediately.

(If you’re still not getting it, basically if someone takes a photo of the funny thing on the front of your t-shirt you’ll be added to their friends on Facebook).

Whether you’d actually buy or wear one, that’s not the point. It’s just one of those really simple ideas that makes me go: “Yeah, that’s cool, I’m a bit jealous”.

Add to friends Moo stickers – I think that’s what I want… In fact they shouldn’t be too hard to hack together – provided that the stickers are big enough and hi-res enough to capture the required detail for a QR code… Hmmmm

Via: The ever excellent Random Culture



Charticles one day, NewsGlobes the next. It’s all getting a bit ‘Day Today‘ round these parts.

NewsGlobe is a project that’s come out of the stables. There’s a description of how it came about here.

For last month’s Yahoo! Hack Day, I decided to show off some of the impressive capabilities of the latest Adobe Flash Player and ActionScript 3 by building a visually interesting new way to browse Yahoo! News top stories. In a surprisingly short amount of time, I was able to mash up two existing Yahoo! services, and then represent the information in a virtual environment I call the NewsGlobe.

I love the non-committal use of ‘surprisingly short amount of time’, in my head that means a few hours. I’ve got a hyperactive head sometimes.

But I really would love to know how quickly this was pulled together. Because although, as the author admits, it’s not perfect. It is a slick piece of interface design which I’m sure will be imitated widely. And once you’ve built the engine there’s lots you can do with it…

My mind’s drifted back to The Day Today and I can’t help thinking about building News Kidneys or 3D Currency Cats:

currency cat

Powerpoint Karaoke

All this Pecha Kucha stuff is starting to get a bit dreary.

The idea of PowerPoint Karaoke seems a lot more random and challenging.

Basic idea is: people stick real presentations ‘in a hat’, then presenters get allocated a random presentation and have to present it as best they can.

There’s a great description of how to do PowerPoint Karaoke at Heathervescent.

There doesn’t seem to be many of them on popular video sharing sites (yet). There’s a few in German, but here’s one in English from BarCamp LA. You’ll get the idea:

Who’s in?

Oh and if you want to ‘do PowerPoint Karaoke’ there’s a nifty presentation randomiser that works with Slideshare, you just enter a tag and it pulls in random presentations for maximum randomness…