Watch YouTube in ASCII mode, save bandwidth


The first April Fool I have seen this year.


Insightful landing page case study

In our analysis of Rand’s effective face-to-face presentation we noticed that he needed at least five minutes to make the case for SEOmoz PRO. Yet the existing web page was more like a one-minute summary. Once we added the key elements of Rand’s presentation, the page became much longer:

Short versus long body copy case study

It’s interesting to note that, which is known for its relentless testing, tends to have extremely long product pages. Just see the page for its Kindle reader.


There’s a lot of useful information in this article, but this page length comparison and the technique of writing copy with ‘curiosity rather than overt “buy me” language’ were the big takeaways for me.

Posted in SEO | Tagged

#0044CC – The one hundred million dollar colour

Microsoft also tested multiple versions of blue for links in their search results. A specific color of blue (#0044CC) drove $80-$100 million dollars a year increase over the light blue the design team tried first.

(via & found via Andrew Parker)

Andrew references Douglas Bowman in his post, who quit Google’s design team, citing an example of the time the company did extensive testing to pick from 41 shades of blue. It seems that perhaps Google have it right.

GeekTool: A system monitor for Mac OS X

GeekTool is a system monitor for Mac OS X, which will let you display system information or various feeds from the internet on your desktop. It’s like Conky for Linux, if that means anything to you. There are many, many scripts you can use to display weather forecasts, CPU and RAM usage, free HD space, the latest XKCD, unread emails, the track now playing, Twitter messages and pretty much anything else you can think of. As the examples I’ve attached to this post show, you can do some really creative desktops.

Continue reading

Handy Cardiff Bus live departures map

Cardiff Bus live departures map

Fellow Cardiff public transport users – you have my sympathies! Hopefully, the following post will mitigate your suffering.

Cardiff County Council provide a handy Google map that displays Cardiff bus departure information in real time:

From this site you can locate real-time bus departure information quickly and easily.

No more waiting around for late buses; by using GPS technology to monitor the movement of our vehicles, we can accurately predict the arrival of buses at our stops for several hours into the future.

Its cold, you should not be waiting for a bus for more than five minutes. We can help!

When you click on any of the stops, you will see a list of the next departures. What’s even more useful is you can detatch the little lists into separate windows and bookmark them, so you can keep an eye on your next bus home without having to load the map and find your stop every time. I have a few key pages bookmarked on my iPhone, which works nicely enough. A proper mobile version of this site would be extra useful.

The homepage gives you options to search by service number, stop number and postcode, so you can get the information without using the map. It’s all rather helpful and nicely done.

I notice Cardiff Bus don’t seem to link to the service, which is a shame.

My bad. Cardiff Bus do have a good links page, that I really should have seen. Thanks to the commenter below, who also points out that the map is not just for Cardiff Bus services.

[Updated 11th March 2010]

8-bit New York

8-bit New York

8-Bit NYC is an attempt to make the city feel foreign yet familiar, smashing together two culturally common models of space: the lo-fi overhead world maps of 1980s role-playing and adventure games, and the geographically accurate data that drives today’s web maps and GPS navigation. I hope to evoke the same urge for exploration, abstract sense of scale, and perhaps most importantly unbounded excitement that many of us remember experiencing on the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Commodore 64, or any other number of 8-bit microcomputers. Maps offer us visual architectures of the world, encouraging us to think about and interact with space in particularly constrained ways. Take some time to think about New York a little differently. Set out on a quest. Be an adventurer.

Continue reading

“Mad libs” style form increases conversion 25-40%

A while ago, I came across a unique registration form built by Jeremy Keith for his audio sharing site, Huffduffer. Though it asked people the same questions found in typical sign-up forms, the Huffduffer registration form did so in a narrative format. It presented input fields to people as blanks within sentences (Mad Libs-style, if you will).

Huffduffer madlibs signup


There’s even some A/B testing information to lend some weight.

I know I posted a link to this article on Twitter yesterday, but I thought it was such a clever and simple idea that I wanted to make a note of it here.

Posted in Web

How to fake being social on social networks

Updating three social networks daily sounds like an easy task. But what if your goal is to update these sites a certain number of times in specific ways, but after a busy week, you realize you may have updated each site with a status update daily, but forgotten to accept friend request or respond to messages. So for this to do list item, I will define what specific updates I would like to do daily.

  1. Twitter daily actions
    • Check and respond to direct messages
    • Check and respond to Mentions
    • Send three relevant status updates daily
  2. Facebook daily actions
    • Check and respond to inbox messages
    • Update business pages
    • Happy Birthday greetings
    • Check and respond to group / page discussions
    • Send three relevant status updates

[etc, etc]

(via How to Write a Clearly Defined To Do List –

… what the hell? I’ve never needed a reminder to check messages people send me. You just read them. If you are too busy, you read them when you’re done or need a bit of a break. This stuff shouldn’t be a chore. It shouldn’t be so unintuitive that you need a fucking list to remind yourself that you give a shit what your ‘friends’ are saying to you!

Oh, and please, don’t forget to ‘send three relevant status updates daily’. It hardly matters if you don’t have anything interesting to say, does it? Just knock up some drivel about how to sell your crap on Twitter without looking like you’re just trying to sell your crap.

I should probably just not read blogs like this…