aled's cyfle

Sunday, 24 December 2006

I'm diggin' it

Posted at 2:37 pm. 0 comments

I never really got digg. I just couldn't read a single page of it because of its clustered design, unrelated/pointless comments, and mass of topics.

However, since reading this post by digg founder Kevin Rose about new features in digg, I'm converted. The tweaks in the design make it much easier to use, and now I can customise which content I want to see - meaning it's be a clustered design of the things I want to know about.

They also have new features on video diggin' and podcast diggin', which give much greater flexibility and makes viewing video's and listening to podcasts much easier.

Seriously, take a look at their video - it'll convert even scrouge!

Monday, 18 December 2006

It's Christmas!

Posted at 1:04 am. 0 comments

Well, not quite yet. There's still a week in D10 to go before we get some holidays, but I thought I'd send out a little Christmas cheer of my own... an e-card!

As I posted earlier, we were given a challenge to create a christmas card... and here's mine. Happy Holidays!

You don't seem to have flash (or you're reading this post from an rss aggregator)

A new approach to web-based WYSIWYG editors

Posted at 12:11 am. 0 comments

I've built a few tailor-made Content Management Systems for websites in the past, and one thing I've realised is that it's impossible to control the way the CMS user inputs content. Most simply cut and paste from Word, which makes awful, untidy, invalid code, and on top of that, they're likely to forget that you need to write concisely (in order to maintain attention). Accessibility is most likely out of the question unless they get plenty of training and theory explaining its importance.

There are several tools you can use to simulate a word-processor within a web browser, but they're often supported by one browser and generate poor quality code.

The best tool I've found for this purpose is TinyMCE. It's a powerful application that can be customised easily when setting up. It's the editor used by Wordpress, and with some work, it will generate valid XHTML code. It also has a plugin architecture with many great plugins to do various tasks.

I recently read an article on that touched this subject and talked about the What You See Is What You Mean (WYSIWYM) editor. A good article that I'd recommend reading if you're involved with CMS's or with blogs. The way its different from WYSIWYG is that its intention is to concentrate on "the structure and meaning" rather than the visual aspects.

I reckon that when users start to get serious about following the disability guidelines, this editor will explode in popularity. It already provides a strong basis for all other editors out there, as it concentrates on what will become the most important aspects of websites - semantics, usability and accessibility.

I'm going to keep a close eye on its developments.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

I want one of these...

Posted at 10:03 am. 0 comments

37signals have rounded up some of the coolest inventions of 2006, which include a fun-looking snow scooper, some weird light that appears to be able to wrap around you, and a GPS key-locator.

However, by far the most impressive invention listed is Janjaap Ruijssenaars's floating air mattress, which uses repelling magnets to float. Your's at a snap price of $1.5m. Once I heard about this, it reminded me of an idea I had to reduce the energy needed to run cars.

If cars were to float, then you'd only need maybe one or 2 wheels to power and steer them (mind you, I flunked physics at school). The fact the magnets would repel the bulk of the car would effectively make its weight less, requiring less fuel. You would of course need to line the streets of the world with magnets to make it work, but I thought it was a good idea anyway.

The fabulous floating mattress

Unfortunately, the cars would probably flip over due to the magnets - as would this bed, if it wasn't for cables at all four corners keeping it in its place.

Monday, 11 December 2006

Belly's gonna get you!

Posted at 1:56 pm. 0 comments

Well, maybe not, but with Christmas on its way, mince pies, cakes, chocolate and general high-calorie consumption (with me anyway), I thought I'd mention one of the most innovative uses of the internet I've seen in years. And it's in a Web2.0 vain.

traineo is a community aimed at fitness & weight loss, and you create a profile and monitor your progression to a healthier you. The genius of this is that other people can see your information, and help you by motivating you. There aren't many website dedicated to your fitness available (at least, not for free!), so I can see this thing really taking off - it even as a live counter of the total amount of calories burned by its members!

I heard about it through Techcrunch, and though I haven't signed up to it yet, I'm really excited about it.

As the Techcrunch article mentioned, its not a social networking site in the sense where the goal is to get as many 'friends' as you can get, but to interact with a tight group of buddies to motivate each other.

This is going on my new years resolutions list!

Flash & Christmas Card...

Posted at 11:33 am. 0 comments

These past two weeks we've been working on an Adobe Flash industry brief, and I've been partnered up with Lindsey.

Our brief has been set by Atticus Design & Media, and it's to create an interactive game for BP's alternativenergy initiative - an initiative to lower carbon emissions released while generating power (which accounts for around 40% of all CO2 emmissions).

We've decided to build a game that follows a journey that a Panda named Peko embarks on, helping out BP to lower carbon emissions and learn about renewable energy. Why a Panda? Because they're an endangered species.
On a slightly different note, we've been given the challenge to create a digital christmas card (again, built in flash), so that the favourite one can be used by Cyfle (I think this is why we're doing it - previous trainees have done something similar in previous years).

I've gone for a traditional-ish theme, and while it's still in development, I thought I'd give a sneak peek at what I'm working on:

Christmas Card Sneeky-peek


Posted at 11:14 am. 0 comments

Last Friday we had a presentation called Branding Essentials with Victoria Jones from Design Wales.

As you can guess, it was about branding - what is it, why it's so important, and what processes are applied when going about it. I thought the presentation was excellent, yet obviously focused towards the work of Design Wales.

I had come across Design Wales's website many years ago, and I didn't have a clue what the hell it was. It's a WAG-funded design-support agency for businesses in Wales. What this means is that it will give support and advice to any business about anything relating to design - be it branding, advertising, websites etc. What makes this scheme unique is that it's free. They also have a directory of Wales-based designers that you can search through (which has come in handy for all of us D10 trainees when thinking about where we'd like to go on our two-week placement), and they'll hook businesses up with designers. This means that if you're a designer, Design Wales might get some work for you! Unfortunately, you must be a registered business - no students or freelancers allowed.

Still, they're work has improved businesses in Wales - as was shown to us in the presentation.

We were shown several case studies of different businesses (mainly in the food sector), and got shown how the branding of one company made their business jump about 29 months ahead of their business plan - echoing the importance of branding.

We received many little pamphlets about Design Wales's work, but the coolest pamphlets we received were two trend guides with suggestions of design trends for this coming Winter and Spring.