Innovation

Managing Buzz

How to get Buzz comments out of your Inbox

Google rolled out Buzz recently and it’s started messing with my inbox (my Google profile). The first issue is that by default it puts an item in your Inbox every time someone comments on something you’ve posted or on something you’ve commented on. This item looks like a new email and I get an alert on my phone for new email. My group of friends is already used to commenting on Shared Items in Google Reader so I’ve been getting these emails all the time. I created the filter above in Gmail to take all of these items, which start with Buzz:, and tuck them away in the label ‘bz’ (‘Buzz’, like ‘Inbox’, is a reserved system label).

Hide Buzz

If you absolutely hate unread counts, you can go a little further. You have the option of hiding the Buzz label in Gmail’s Label settings. This will tuck it away next to Spam in the more labels drop down. That way you can check it at your leisure instead of being compelled by the unread count.

UPDATE:

Turn off Buzz

If you just want to turn Buzz off, you can find it at the bottom of Gmail.

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Innovation

Google Reader like

I never really used Google Reader’s ‘like’ feature. I mean it just seemed like a black hole to me: click the button and who sees it? It’s not like Digg where the votes are the focus and easily visible to the content creator. If I like something enough, I’ll add it to my shared items.

There are some cases where it does turn up useful. Pictured above is a screencap from Netflix’s New choices to watch instantly RSS feed—you can find all Netflix feeds here. Netflix added about 160 films to Instant last night so by the time I saw the feed this morning it had been augmented by everyone’s ‘likes’ (yes, I already knew Goonies was good). This is handy since the feed doesn’t show you your predicted rating. I usually end up thinking, “Is that a movie I heard about… was it good?” which leads to me clicking through and finding out, no, no it’s not. Now at least I can see what other people dig.

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Innovation, Portfolio

Tumblr the enabler

My love of Tumblr was pretty obvious in my previous post where I built a theme to do exactly one thing. One of my favorite aspects of the service is how quickly you can launch a new blog, attach a domain, and add contributors.

The Tumblr community has noticed this and has launched many many very niche themed sites… which I absolutely love. One of the first I remembered was FUCK YEAH SHARKS. There are quite a few “Fuck Yeah” sites like this on Tumblr, so I launched Fucking Curated a while ago to post a new niche Tumblr site every day. Recent favorite examples of this type of site are: three frames and Hot Chicks Picking Up Dog Poop.

I’ve started a few more sites that are usually an IM or lunch table joke that I turn into a blog in ~5 minutes. Tattoos that make your belly button a butthole was thrown together as filler for Fucking Curated. I setup Twisdom for Lon after he sent me one too many examples of Twitter asshattery. Headline WIN! was launched on a day with some particularly hilarious blog headlines. Look at this fucking hacker was started right before Defcon and is a spoof of the classic Look at this fucking hipster.

While most of these are throw away sites, I’m certainly glad that Tumblr provides free tools for taking a joke too far.

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Innovation, Portfolio

One Shot, a Tumblr theme

One Shot Tumblr theme I know it may not look like much, but I just put the finishing touches on a new Tumblr theme for “single serving sites” called One Shot. About two years ago I came across the site amiawesome.com and immediately knew what to do with a domain I had been holding onto for a while: eliotsucks.com. Am I Awesome? was hosted on Tumblr so I decided to do the same thing. I just cut and pasted the static page source into the “custom html” section of Tumblr and used their simple domain mapping. Eliot Sucks had the word “FALSE” in big black letters. Continue reading

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Innovation

Invert-Z

Vulnerable iPhone

First person shooter video games often have the option to “invert Z axis” as part of the controller scheme. Normally when you press down, the character’s gun points down. When inverted, the camera will look up when you press down. Inverted Z movement was actually the traditional behavior in games. Players using joysticks with flight simulators would naturally pull back on the stick to bring the nose of the plane up. It was when gamepads became more abundant that regular Z movement became standard. The stick/pad is much shorter and you just point where you want to shoot. That doesn’t mean inverted Z is “wrong” in newer games. The game is showing you the perspective of the player. If you think of the view being generated by a camera on a tripod you would push down on the tripod’s handle to make the camera look up. I used to play with Z inverted, but I’ve learned to play normally with recent console generations.

Right now I’m typing this on a MacBook. I use two fingers on the trackpad to scroll. As I sweep down, the text on the page goes up. Sweep up, and the page text moves down. When I switch to the iPhone or the ADP1, my fingers and the text move in the same direction. On these devices, the direct interaction with the text “makes sense”, but going back to standard scrolling on a computer just seems odd.

I wonder if we’ll start inverting Z again.

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Innovation

Mahalo is live

mahalo
Jason’s new human powered search engine, Mahalo, is live. Last week the engineers were trying to figure out a weird load spike around 3PM every day. At least today they know what it is: people clamoring to access the site. I’ve been in LA recently to hang out with CK since he’s been working on this project since leaving Netscape. (If you want an appropriate ringtone for Jason or CK I suggest this one that I grabbed from Pimp My Ride.)

There’s no shortage of press coverage:
Webware
Wired
TechCrunch
Battelle
Search Engine Land
WSJ
Fox
Winer
D5 AllThingsD
ZDNet
CK
Jason

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Innovation

the Uncanny Valley of user interface design

Bill Higgin’s “the Uncanny Valley of user interface design” discusses why Windows apps should look like Windows and web apps should look like the web. Unfortunately he shuffles the fact that the web app Zimbra intends to replace Outlook into a footnote. He is right that it makes an odd looking web app and I do find our company’s SAP jarring because it’s web based and used to look like a crappy Windows app. I think it’s interesting that the new Netscape browser’s Netstripe theme pulls it in line with current web apps even though it is a web browser. It gives a much stronger mental connection with the content than Firefox’s random bits of color. As a long time Linux user I grew used to inconsistent interface. It didn’t matter to me what it looked like as long as it worked.

Another aspect of the robotic ‘uncanny valley‘ that we’ve already run into is the chrome not matching the intelligence; manufacturers of real looking human skin for robots have found a lack of acceptance because the robots appear to be mentally challenged humans (sorry, I couldn’t find reference for this). In software, this is Microsoft Bob.

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