LaCie is a tech company that understands design and marketing. Even though it's in the business of computer peripherals and components--products that don't exactly scream glamour on their own--it's never shy to apply its creative notions to items as diverse as speakers and USB hubs. But the company may have truly outdone itself with its latest effort, finding beauty in the most unlikely of subjects: an external hard drive.
AT&T is still struggling to convey the fact that it is a seamless blend of two companies--the "old" AT&T with Cingular. Cingular was a brand sensation, having been created out of whole cloth and gaining massive market and mindshare in a very short amount of time. I remember the first time I saw an ad for it, in a subway station in San Francisco, and was struck by how fresh it was, from the name to the color to the lively logo. At the time I knew nothing of its provenance (a merger of … Read more
Del.icio.us, the hugely popular social bookmarking service, has finally unveiled its new look. It's the biggest visual change the site's had since its launch in 2003, and the result of nearly a year's worth of work. Besides a face-lift, the service has undergone several enhancements, both in how you browse new links and search through them. Of course, this new site isn't open to everyone. In classic Web 2.0 form, access is limited to a select few in the form of a beta preview the Del.icio.us team is using for feedback before rolling out the changes to everyone.
The site first announced its intentions of a massive re-design in early February, and just a few months back noted some fun statistics about their usability testing lab, which had apparently used more than 2,000 Post-it Notes to organize observations about the re-design. This may not sound too impressive, which is why I'd recommend taking a look at this picture, which gives me headache just to look at.
The first thing you'll notice about the new Del.icio.us is that the name has forgone its dots to simply be known as "Delicious." Besides making it easier for newbies to pronounce, it's also a departure from its roots of a small, independent Web site who was one of the first to pioneer the gloriously cheesy domain name hack, a practice that's even led to a startup that figures them out for you. The other thing you'll notice is that there's more emphasis on tags, and tagging in general, as they've been given a much more prevalent look and presence throughout the site.
The real change, however, is in search and navigation, which have both been streamlined and made faster. The old Delicious search was a tad on the sluggish side, whereas the new search is noticeably faster. The results have also been improved to show you who was the first to save it as a bookmark, along with pushing the tags out to the side in case you feel like drilling down by genre. The navigation now features drop-down menus to let you quickly drill down to various parts of the site, skipping an extra page view or two.
When it comes to actually creating new bookmarks on the Delicious site, the process is like Miss South Carolina: pretty but slow. Despite the advances in page design, you still have to navigate through two separate pages to add a new link via URL. I prefer the newer trend of opening up a lightbox pop-up to let me enter in information, and then getting shot back to the page I was viewing before. There's a handy bookmarklet to add whatever page you're visiting, which is actually the fastest way to add new content to the site short of clicking a site-integrated "add to Delicious" button, but the current system is still prohibitive for batch link uploading.… Read more
Have you ever known exactly what color you wanted to use to paint a room but had trouble describing it to another person or finding it in a paint catalog? How about finding the hexadecimal code for adding a specific color to your Web site?
For those of us hue-challenged Web users who can't tell Kenyan Copper from Korma, Chirag Mehta has created a very cool Web application for determining a name for any color you want to use, as well as its hexadecimal and RGB values.
Simply and accurately titled Name That Color, the Web-based application consists of a color wheel with a tint/shade box in the middle. Combine both input tools to specify the exact color you want, and that color's name, hex value, and RGB values will appear on the right. The larger outer box will display the color you've selected, while a smaller square inside that box will show the actual color of the closest named match.… Read more
Enough with the carping. We've been complaining recently about speakers with designs that are uninspired or downright boring. You'll be thankful to know that there's one that has finally shut us up (however briefly).
The "Dodecasub" from Elemental Designs bears an impressive form that matches its unique name. This beast has a dodecagon casing (that's a 12-sided polygon, for those of us who failed geometry) and boasts 10 subwoofers measuring 10 inches each that can blast 600 watts apiece--or, as Audio Junkies puts it more graphically, enough to "leave you feeling a little … Read more
And here we thought the "Serene" phone was weird. Bang & Olufsen, normally one of our favorite tech-meisters, is again testing the limits of our imagination (if not patience) with another avant-garde design--from a remote control, of all things.
The new "Beo 5" eschews the compact and streamlined form favored by most of today's remotes, including its predecessor, instead looking something like a doorknob with an LCD glued onto it. Navigation is handled both by the click wheel on its aluminum ball handle and its touch screen, which has 12 "dynamic buttons" that … Read more
We bet you never thought you could one day design shirts from your phone, but with My Custom Product Designer, you can. With this little application for iPhone, you can design any number of shirts, hats or other items at CafePress.com. Simply start with a blank T-shirt and add text and artwork to make your ideal design.
iPhone Link: http://www.cafepress.com/iphonecart
The wacky Web 2.0 train has just collided with the computer hardware industry.
The idea of user-generated PCs isn't groundbreaking, but the level of creative control that buyers have is broadening. Take NVousPC, for instance (after you've figured out how to pronounce it, of course. Take your time). The new company, launched today, hopes to cash in on consumers who want to exercise complete control over the appearance of their notebooks.
The president and co-founder of NVousPC is former Alienware product development engineer Oscar Zapata. He escaped from his former employer a week before the company was snapped up by Dell. … Read more
Remember, folks: different does not inherently mean "bad."
I was surprised at the reaction to my article, published this morning, titled "Coming to grips with the iPhone's design." Specifically, with the way some people see a discussion of design tradeoffs as an attempt to tar and feather the nonconformist.
Yes, you can use your iPhone with one hand. But it's not as easy as some would suggest. Some reviewers didn't think it was that big a deal, some thought it was more of a problem. Whether or not you think it's easy … Read more
Web design purists who favor simplistic pages like Google.com can take heart. A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed software that can measure the clutter of a page or map, and potentially point designers in a direction that's less eye-crossing.
Ruth Rosenholtz, principal research scientist in MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS), and her colleagues developed a mathematical model of what makes an object harder or easier to see in visual display. That model incorporates measures of an object's color, contrast and position on the page. The team then used it … Read more