Idea for a read-it-later browser extension

Read it later services are nothing new, with Instapaper and Pocket being the two leaders of this particular niche. Apple’s Safari browser even has a built-in ‘Reading List’ feature.

My personal read-it-later strategy is to (1) drag pages I want to read later into a special folder on my bookmarks bar and (2) proceed to forget about them entirely1. The idea outlined in this blog post develops stage 1 in the hopes of turning stage 2 into actually reading articles when I have time for them.

The idea →

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A Dribbble for writing

Dribbble is a community site for very talented graphic designers. It’s not their role to debate these details. I would love to see a Dribbble for writing. A place where I can post the latest Intercom broadcast, email, even a sentence from the interface and get feedback. “You can strip the word currently there.“, “The important word here is buried in the middle of the sentence!“. “The message makes sense, but what I am supposed to do next?“.

(via The Language of Interfaces – contrast.ie)

A clever idea. I could see this being useful outside of UX circles. Perhaps for crafting the perfect marketing tweet or optimising a paragraph for SEO? I could even see some ways to make this profitable…

Personal names around the world

How do people’s names differ around the world, and what are the implications of those differences on the design of forms, ontologies, etc. for the Web?

Background

People who create web forms, databases, or ontologies are often unaware how different people’s names can be in other countries. They build their forms or databases in a way that assumes too much on the part of foreign users. This article will first introduce you to some of the different styles used for personal names, and then some of the possible implications for handling those on the Web.

This article doesn’t provide all the answers – indeed in some cases it may not be clear what the best answer is. It attempts to mostly sensitize you to some of the key issues by way of an introduction.

(via Personal names around the world – w3.org)

Worth reading for the examples they use alone.

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An idea for more meaningful ‘like’ buttons

The inadequacies of the various ‘like’ buttons that appear all over the web have been noted before, but a post from Ed Walker tonight inspired me to mock up an idea I’ve had for a simple way to bring some more semantic meaning to these buttons. Ed says:

What is the recommended button there for? The equivalent of a Facebook like? A chance to show you appreciate the story, the author or the subject?

I’ve spotted a trend on WalesOnline, whenever we report the death of a young person […] we don’t get comments (very rarely) but we do get a lot of recommendations. Constantly in the most recommended lists, knocking rugby stars and political debates down a peg or two. Facebook is for posting the RIP messages and joining groups expressing your sorrow, sharing that grief with your friends, but local media sites are the way to show the wider world (outside of the Facebook login) that the death of a friend/relative is important to the community.

It seems in the case of the death of young people it’s a way of showing you care. It says to us as editors that you think this story is important, you’re showing us it should be high up the news list and it should be featured.

(via Generation grief: A modern way of letting go – edwalker.net)

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A Twitter web client for Luddites

Old Twitter

Image: Twitter c.2007

Here’s a free idea that someone might get some milage out of. Every time a website like Facebook, Flickr or Twitter overhauls its design, a vocal percentage of users complain. ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ they will cry. ‘Why is the thing that used to be up there now over here?’ they will moan. ‘Change it back or I’m leaving’ they will insist.

Why not cater for these users that are uncomfortable with change? Build a Twitter web client that looks exactly like an older version of Twitter. Hell, build them all and let people choose for themselves how many features they want to take away?

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Down and Out in the Uncanny Valley

David from Ironic Sans has an interesting idea for a film:

Idea: The uncanny valley as a plot element

I’ve been thinking the past few days about the uncanny valley in animation. I think it could be used as a plot element in a movie. Through some bit of sci-fi magic, an all-CGI character exists in our real world, but nobody accepts him because there’s something just not right about him. He exists in the uncanny valley and so everyone has a bit of revulsion or discomfort about him.

But that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I’m not sure what kind of story would best make use of this idea. How does a CGI character live in our world? Is it a ToonTown kind of thing, where animated characters have always lived among us, and he’s the first CGI character to be born? Or is it magic? I don’t like the idea of magic in a story like this. I think it should either be sci-fi somehow, or just left unexplained.

via Idea: The uncanny valley as a plot element – ironicsans.com

I left a comment with my own suggestion for how it could be done:

I love it. They would have to live in California, outside LA, in an area dubbed the Uncanny Valley.

Or maybe it’s a future where pretty much everyone wears contacts that allow them to see augmented reality – 3D creations blended seamlessly into our surroundings. Mostly this is used to display flashy ads, and stuff. However, Uncanny Bob is one of the first computer generated creations to become sentient. He meets up with a group of renegade CG characters (misfits from old ad campaigns: a Coke Santa Claus, a swimsuit model, some kids cartoon characters etc) and together they find a sympathetic human hacker who agrees to break into Big Ad Company and rescue their consciousness from the local sever onto the internet at large so they won’t ever be deleted.

Posted by: Foomandoonian | November 16, 2010 1:20 PM

Could make a great short film!

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