Tag Archives: Reviews

The TelePresence is strong with this one

(Image from Bernard Leong)

I’ve experienced Cisco’s TelePresence technology and I must say, it’s pretty amazing.

I met up with bloggers Daniel Cerventus and James Yeang to test the TelePresence 3000, recently. It was all pretty informal, which is good; no major PR fuss, no jostling for front row seats or fighting over swag. They showed us to a room, sat us down and bang, we were looking across a table at people in Singapore just like they were sitting right in front of us.

The folks in Singapore were, in fact, sitting in a room much like ours. It was tastefully lit, had three 65-inch screens and chairs and a table.

But as we introduced ourselves and got to know a little about them, it felt more like our two rooms were magically linked together, rather than just a bunch of people talking to each other like they weren’t thousands of miles apart.

If you’re used to Skype or MSN video calls, just imagine what it would be like to be talking to someone far away yet be completely free of lags, audio clipping or just about any other annoyance that comes with modern video-conferencing. It’s not that I’m being paid to say this, but TelePresence is just that good. I’d love to have a look at their usability case studies because it’s wonderful how they made it so easy to use.

Of course, we ended up chatting long past our time limit, but hey, it’s not every day you get to experience a bit of science fiction come to life, right?

While the cost and practical use may deter private ownership, I’d definitely recommend this sort of tech to companies as a way of improving communication between offices and cutting down travel costs. You’d probably end up saving a hell of a lot more with one of these babies in your HQ, where you can dial in and ‘meet up’ with your counterparts practically every day, instead of wasting money flying people all over the place for short business trips, all year round.

You can find out more about what Cisco does on their blog.

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Filed under Cool, Development, Events, Geek, Ideas, News, Previews, Trends

Watchmen

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Watchmen is probably the best comic ever created, next to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and of course, Ronin.

The comic, which is going to be made into a movie and slated for release in March 2009, should turn out to be pretty cool, too, since it’s directed by Zach Snyder (the dude who did an awesome job with Dawn of the Dead and 3oo).

What’s even cooler, though, is the fact that the pre-launch buzz is being channeled through a blog and not a typical flashy-but-useless Hollywood film website.

Blog entries are written by Zach Snyder and include news from last year’s Comic-Con, production stills and art. More importantly, it also comes with RSS, social bookmarking buttons and even a Flickr widget.

Woohoo.

No, seriously, this is awesome.

This is how we do.

It’s refreshing to see a big film studio like Warner Brothers move away from those traditionally terrible film websites that aren’t user-friendly, don’t encourage feedback and never work properly, anyway.

I’ve been telling people the same old story since Day Frickin’ One; blogs aren’t just a great way to talk to your fanboys, they’re also a great way of sustaining the hype. If you know how to feed the right information to the right audiences, you can maintain the hype for as long as you want to.

The downside to Watchmen’s blog, however, is that you can’t post comments, so say goodbye to trackbacks, linkbacks and good old fashioned human discussion.

Zach, if you’re reading this, please enable comments! Comments are important!

=)

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Filed under Advertising, Blogs, Content, Cool, Design, Events, Geek, Information Architecture, News, Social Bookmarking, Trends, Usability, Web, Widgets

M&C Saatchi

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Last month I wrote a post where I made fun of some silly ad agencies websites.

I rattled on about their bad information architecture, user interfaces and highlighted some major design flaws.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t have a problem with any of these nice multinationals.

I’m just letting off some steam, see, because I’m still frustrated about how ad agencies like to use the Web. I’m a little frustrated because even this year, the year of Twitter, the year of Semantic Web, the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Eight, some people are still preoccupied with presentation over content.

Some people still insist on long Flash intros, loading bars and strange storytelling when they should be concerned about content because content is what fuels social interaction and, duh, that’s what connects people to the Web.

(Like you, my loyal reader. There’s a reason why you keep coming back, yes?)

So, yeah, most ad agencies get the whole ad agency website thing horribly wrong.

M&C Saatchi‘s website, however, is an exception to the rule.

By the looks of their Home page, this is one agency that knows how to play ball.

Hey, look, grid-based web design! Hey, look, well-categorized information that includes news features and press releases! Hey, look, detailed search functions!

Slap my ass and call me Daddy, they’ve even got an accessibility statement page! And you can even download and print a contact list and their portfolio of work…in PDF!

Granted, the website was designed by the UK digital agency *play, but I bet that Someone Somewhere had to go through a great deal of wrangling just to convince the management to buy the simple idea.

I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings, but In My Honest Opinion this is how an ad agency’s website should look and behave; structured, simple and straight to the point.

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Filed under Accessibility, Advertising, Design, Development, Information Architecture, Reviews, Trends, Usability, Web

YouLicense

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YouLicense is an online music licensing business that lets artists (and amateurs like me) deal directly with people looking for musical content, whether it’s beats, ringtones or even complete songs for television, film, ad campaigns etc.

The best thing I like about YouLicense is that it has a pretty detailed submission process; you decide how to tag and describe your music, how it’s going to be licensed and even what sort of contract you want to use to cover your music.

I’ve just uploaded some hip hop and breaks to my profile. Buy them, okay? And don’t forget to rate the ones you like. =P

While we’re on topic, here’s a sample of a new drum n bass tune I’m working on at the moment; it’s called ‘Fundamentals’ and it’s got a wobbly bassline. Yipee-ki-yay.

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Filed under Advertising, Content, Cool, Music, Portfolio, Reviews, Social Networking, Web

Presidential Candidate Web Design Review

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In December last year, I ranted about how impressed I was with Barack Obama’s website.

Dustin Brewer, a web designer from Oklahoma, recently did a great job of reviewing all of the presidential candidates’ websites.

Dustin looked at the websites’ design, coding and navigation, pointing out a lot of interesting things along the way.

If a candidate’s appreciation of websites reflects their attitude towards campaigning, and perhaps even governance, then if I had to pick a favorite again, I’d still put my money on Obama. =P

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Filed under Design, Development, Geek, Ideas, Information Architecture, Reviews, Trends, Usability, Web

Inspire me, now!

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Inspire me now! is a blog that plugs awesome art and design.

Notice the simple interface? The uncluttered layout? Well, that’s probably because the blog is run by a dude called Szymon Blaszczy who is also, surprise, an information architect.

See! Told ya information architects pwn.

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Filed under Art, Blogs, Cool, Design, Ideas, Information Architecture, Reviews, Trends, Usability, Web

BP.com

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If I was the boss, I’d change some of the photos on BP.com.

Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s a great website because it’s based on a grid layout, it’s search-friendly and it’s quite easy to use (and that means it’s journalist-friendly, too).

But if I owned an oil company, I’d make my website look exactly the opposite of what people expect from an oil company, because, and here’s the thought: when you’re in the business of selling gas, do you actually have to show people that you’re selling gas?

Do you have to use photos of gas stations, refineries or oil rigs? I’m playing the devil’s advocate here, but aren’t you free to paint a slightly different picture?

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Filed under Accessibility, Advertising, Information Architecture, Reviews, Usability, Web