One of my favorite little gadgets is the Olloclip 3-in-One Photo Lens for my iPhone 4. The tiny device slips right onto the corner of any iPhone 4 or 4s, and offers a fisheye, macro or wide-angle lens that transforms my iPhone's workaday optics into a versatile, pro-image-capturing wonder. However, I had two major problems with it: 1) It can't fit over an iPhone case and 2) the original clip does not fit snugly on a the slimmer iPhone 5 I'd been testing.
Olloclip has now solved all these problems in splendid fashion. First of all, there’s the new Olloclip lens for iPhone 5 ($69.99). It works exactly like my original Olloclip 3-in-One. Secondly, Olloclip now makes the Olloclip Quick-Flip Case for iPhone 5 (and 4 and 4s). Read more...
When Klipsch decided to insert a new wireless music system at the top of its line of Bluetooth speakers, it wasn't messing around with the Klipsch KMC 3 Wireless Music System
The 17-inch-wide Bluetooth speaker can hardly be described as pocket-sized, but its 7.8-pound weight and handy carrying handle invite you to take it along on your next picnic or beach bash. Fill it up with eight D-sized batteries, and Klipsch says you can play it wirelessly for 8 hours at its maximum volume.
When Klipsch mentions maximum volume, watch out. The company claims 105 dB of maximum acoustic output, loud enough to damage your hearing if you listen to it long enough. Its amplifier cranks out an impressive 65 Watts (130W peak) of bi-amped goodness. A couple of 2-inch aluminum diaphragm mid/high-frequency drivers handle 15 Watts each, accompanied by a 5.25" long-throw subwoofer that's driven by a hefty 35 Watts. Read more...
It’s a known universal law that if Facebook mentions the word redesign it will trigger an endless murmur of discontent. The latest update to Facebook is slowly being implemented. Despite all of the simplification and prettiness, it leaves a lot to be desired.
First, some praises. I love how the new redesign transitions users from mobile to web more seamlessly. This is great for user interface and it just makes sense when most users are on many different devices. The new interface looks cleaner and bigger. This doesn’t necessarily mean better because users will have varying capacity for change and many will not like it (at first). If the user interface strikes you as familiar – it’s because it looks a lot like Google+, but there’s nothing wrong in copying a great interface so long as Facebook does not want to be innovative.
Overall, the visual changes signal a lot of hype for little substance. In the process of reinventing the site no one thought to improve performance. For me, great design begins with two basic ideals – function and aesthetic.
Good design makes a product useful — A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasises the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
Good design is aesthetic — The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products we use every day affect our person and our well-being. But only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
The correlation between function and aesthetic.
What’s glaringly obvious with the new design is that Facebook completely misses a lot of great opportunities: simple privacy controls, photo organization, more intuitive private messaging that rivals Gmail. If we use the graph above it is situated somewhere between Kitsch and Trash. Style lies in personal taste, but most everyone can agree on function.
What does it take to get Facebook to the upper right quadrant of social network design gold, i.e. Beauty? I’ve already started a list. It’s not a definitive list by any means, but a programmatic approach to design that focuses on the complaints I’ve heard the most from users — if you have some great ideas, share it in the comment section!
From my perspective it seems that the majority of the uproar from users typically stems from a lack of oversight for privacy features and the inability to easily access them. Facebook should notify users when changes are made to privacy policies, preferably before another source. This is just good customer service. I don’t read Facebook’s blog so give me a little notification and let me choose to read it along with all of those event invitations.
Facebook should simplify and maintain privacy interfaces that are constant.
This low hanging fruit is a given, but I don’t think Facebook understands how crucial this step is. Privacy should be designed to feel comfortable and safe – even if it is in flux. This means keeping it relatively similar throughout all design changes.
Everyone, myself included, feels extremely uncomfortable when years of personal data is suddenly freed for public viewing. Obviously, a little change to a design will inevitably shift privacy settings, but Facebook should implement the new privacy settings before the new designs take effect. This amount of time will allow users to adjust to the change and give them more power, and therefore more comfort.
Use filters for viewing streaming content.
Whatever happened to Facebook using Hashtags? There are days when I want to temporarily turn of politics or babies or… (insert annoying meme that everyone has shared every hour). The ability to tag content makes searching and sorting much easier to browse that ocean of conversations.
News Feed was cluttered because there was not a way for users to quickly browse and systemically change the information intuitively. Changing a feed’s media from photos to videos doesn’t solve this problem.
Improve photo albums with re-sorting options.
A lot of users on Facebook are sharing photos and the application simply does not work. In fact, I find Facebook photos to be cumbersome and unmalleable. I literally deleted all of my photos one week a few years ago out of frustration. Have you ever tried to move a photo from one album to the next? Or change privacy settings for a few albums and not all? It’s not worth it. Adding Instagram to my photo set doesn’t make me like you better Facebook Photos…
Make private messages more user friendly.
There are plenty of days when I need to send a private message on Facebook to friends but dread the act. It’s even worse if I have to find a message because it can never be located. There’s a special place where my messages go to hide and they are invisible to Facebook’s search engines. The new Chat Heads are the greatest thing for Facebook mobile but on desktop, I’m sticking to Gchat.
Don’t change the navigation bar unless the old one really, really, really sucks.
Now that Facebook has a new navigation bar I must emphasize that it should stay there for a very long time. Possibly forever. Changing the location of your most used features every few years is ok but not wise. A great design will withstand the test of time. Look at the operating system for Mac and Windows and you get what I mean. Sure, the web is more fluid but don’t waste time by getting this wrong. It’s worth investing in so now that you’ve found something you like… let’s stick to it.
Make sure your product look better than the competition.
Facebook is large enough to have an attentive and willing audience that have already redesigned their entire site. Twice. It’s just floating out there in the interwebs and most of the designers I talked to at the time almost always liked the redesigns better than Facebook.
You’re never going to make everyone happy, but you should at least pacify a few critics.
I’m going to be completely honest here – the designer in me wants everyone to love my work. Everyone. That’s a hard task when you are designing a social network for over a billion monthly users. So, what’s a designer to do when backlash is inevitable and most of the world hates your product?
Simply asking what users want will earn credibility bonus. That’s a lot of people, so maybe it’s time to start looking and listening.
Created by Meghan Koley in 2012, the Videos for Your Cats channel shows fish swimming in an aquarium, birds pecking at seeds in a bird feeder, and other visual stimuli that will make your cat go insane.
Our dogs Xochi, Loki, Shechi, and Cowboy, were not impressed. Since dogs can’t actually talk, you’ll have to watch this video to see what we mean.
Special thanks to dog owners Megan O’Neill, Cameron Scott, Ken and Donna Glenn, and Mary Long for their video contributions and to Kevin Eck for editing.
Your college selection process probably began with a large stack of pamphlets and a copy of U.S. News’ Best Colleges report and ended with a small stack of envelopes, some thick and some thin. Four years (or more) later, you started the work of turning your major into a career.
LinkedIn has created an Alumni tool for mapping your college connections that may answer the question, where are they now?
The tool shows where your fellow graduates live, which companies they work for, what they studied in school, what types of jobs they have now and what their skills are. (My fellow alumni at Pepperdine University and Cal State Fullerton were largely still in Southern California, working in two of the area’s hottest industries: aerospace and entertainment.)
“We’ve found that most people want to help out fellow students and alumni, and are open to informational interviews,” wrote Christina Allen, director of product manager at LinkedIn, in a blog post. “It’s a great way to get your foot in the door.”
But what if you picked the wrong school?
Most colleges will send along a magazine filled with success stories and other news from notable graduates. The difference with LinkedIn is that you can see the alumni statistics of 200 million people from 22,000 colleges and universities around the world, not just your own.
Like magic, the alumni tool returns the stack of college pamphlets to your room, where you can gaze at people you’ve never met and feel like there’s still time to explore your options. And instead of the acceptance or rejection letters, you’ll find at the end of your search a small list of first, second, and third degree connections in your network.
LinkedIn’s tool is part of a wave of professional networks like Identified and meritful that are finding new ways to bring higher education into the job search. But the only way for them to work is for people to fill out their profiles and start making connections.
College-bound students might want to take a look at the job placement statistics of their first-choice schools while they’re touring campuses and deciding what they want to be when they grow up. For everyone else, it’s not too late too look up your connections’ alumni groups or your own and see if there’s someone in there who can help you land a job at Facebook or NASA.
Google and Facebook are at war over search. Can multi-graph provider Ark help you from becoming collateral damage?
Neither Google nor Facebook are neutral providers of social search information. Both companies capture as much social information as possible, and then use that social data to make money.
Google is investing heavily in Google+, their new social network. Google+ allows Google to finally capture information about who their users are, who their friends are and what they share. Before, Google was blind to the social activities of its users, and it is locked out of searching Facebook. Google’s $20 billion search business is expanding into social data, an industry dominated by Facebook.
Facebook just launched Graph Search, a way to easily find out information about other Facebook members. Facebook is making it even easier to find new places, product, people and activities using complex queries against their massive social graph. While Facebook did not announce any business initiatives related to Graph Search, they will certainly monetize their search product.
There is a need for a neutral social search engine.
Neutral social search providers are not incentivized to only share their own proprietary data, like Facebook and Google. They can share search results than can combine multiple social graphs at the same time.
Ark.com: A Multi-Social Network Search Provider
Ark is a new people search engine that uses multiple social graphs to find results. Its people querying language is similar to Facebook’s Graph Search. The company just closed a $5 million seed investment round from Intel Capital, Adreessen Horowitz and other high-profile investors.
Ark is the people search engine that Facebook and Google would build if they were not competing with other.
Ark presents is a unique resource because it is a neutral provider of social data. What does “neutral” mean? It means Ark provides public information from every social network. Ark just grabs all of it, and makes it available to you and the algorithms powering their search.
You may not “Like” Starbucks on Facebook, but you check in there on Foursquare 20 times a month!
This is an “implied Like.” Ark can uses data that Facebook is not going to collect and share with its own users. Similarly, Google is incentivized to rank Google+ data high in its search results, in order to draw more and more users into its social network.
Ark is a leader in social people search. Ark founders Patrick Riley and Yiming Liu are experts at collecting social data and building search engines. Patrick and Yiming have been working for 5 years on the theory behind Ark, and now they are turning it into a product.
Ark’s Developer Platform
Ark aggregates social data for developers as well as consumers. The Ark platform API enables app developers to access social data from most of the social networks in the world.
Imagine the apps that will be created by developers gaining access to a billion social network profiles. Developers use software to access social platforms, so they have better ability to quickly collect data from multiple social networks at once programmatically. So the value of Ark.com is higher for users initially.
If Ark does a great job with their developer offering, they could lead the way in new forms of multi-graph developer applications.
Social search is getting hot, and Ark looks like the multi-graph player to watch! Readers, what do you think of multi-graph social search?
The battle between Facebook and LinkedIn for dominance in the professional networking space may resolve itself with the help of a handy new tool. Launched today, CareerSonar connects to both LinkedIn and Facebook to give job seekers a complete overview of their personal and professional networks.
The job listings are pulled from job boards and corporate career sites across the web. From there, a patent-pending technology ranks each job by the quality of a person’s connections at the company (first degree, second degree, etc.) that’s similar to LinkedIn’s connection-based approach to networking, but also includes data from Facebook’s social graph.
A quick search for “editor” revealed 186 jobs at 44 companies from both of my social networks (and 623 other jobs at 390 companies), surfacing first the companies where my friends currently worked or had worked in the past. Many of these job listings came from Indeed.com, where jobs are normally listed by relevance and date.
After selecting a friend’s profile picture, I was given the option to “ask for a referral.” Clicking on the button revealed a surprisingly useful pre-populated message:
(For the purposes of this article, all identifying information has been removed.)
For professionals who are not actively seeking a job, there are also “sonar alerts” that automatically deliver job opportunities to the candidate’s inbox. The alerts can be sent on a weekly, biweekly, or daily basis. It’s not unlike the “jobs you may be interested in” feature on LinkedIn, but again, it includes Facebook opportunities as well.
While there are many people on Facebook who opt out of putting their personal information on their profiles, there are enough available to broaden the selection without having to convince others to join.
At the time of its launch, CareerSonar has listings from technology-based employers like Apple, Fab, Intuit, and Salesforce. By combining the best of Facebook and LinkedIn, the application may catch a wider variety of companies and job titles.
Imagine easily purchasing the products you see in print ads with your iPhone. “Everywhere commerce” is the vision of German app startup Shopgate, which will enter the U.S. market in early 2013.
Shopgate enables consumers take pictures of print ads and then purchase products within them using their phone. Product tagging works without QR codes – similar to how Facebook identifies your friends in pictures and suggests them for tags. People touch the product tags, put the items into shopping carts and then purchase products via a mobile storefront.
Shopgate has a great UX. Watching this app work, you can see how seamless mobile commerce can be in the future.
Shopgate executives say “Products as POS” (Point of Sale) is the future of mobile commerce.
Combining mobile purchasing ability with offline advertising creates interesting new dimensions for ad agency creative directors and technology teams. It will be interesting to see new concepts for ad campaigns paired with innovative purchasing flows in the future.
ShopGate’s product tagging + purchase functionality only works for the 800 companies using ShopGate technology, but you can see mobile commerce’s larger potential in this app.
Who is Shopgate?
Shopgate is a German startup.
Shopgate’s founders started and sold Sofort.com a leading mobile payments platform in Germany. Dieter Kartmann, Andrea Anderheggen and Ortwin Kartmann are now using their mobile transactions expertise to create next generation mobile shopping experiences.
Shopgate works with both product companies and retailers.
Shopgate offers full spectrum of mobile commerce functionality in addition to product tagging. QR codes, mobile coupons, product catalogs and API based integration with their platform are all available.
Shopgate creates both native apps and HTML5 mobile sites. Native eCommerce Apps are available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Mobile storefronts are accessible via the phone’s web browser, and can integrated with existing eCommerce sites though partnerships with major platforms like Magento, OS Commerce.
Skype today released an upgrade to the phone call and messaging service that will make it more compatible with the Android tablets that will soon be flying off the shelves for the holiday season. Here’s what reviewers have to say about version 3.0:
Android Community: ”Overall the new user interface looks beautiful and is easy to work with on tablets. They’ve also introduced an option to sign in and merge your Skype account with your Microsoft account — since they bought Skype — for those interested in that feature.”
Engadget: ”Skype has also updated the app with its latest SILK audio codecs, attuned specifically for human speech and — more importantly — varying internet speeds. After some initial ‘robot voice’ while connecting, we soon had no issues with several international video calls through WiFi.”
SlashGear: “However, we noticed that the new Skype update on the Nexus 7 is landscape only, and the camera is portrait style, meaning that the camera doesn’t use up as much of the screen as it could. Definitely a bummer indeed, but the update still brings a lot of new design tweaks to Android tablets, and we can’t complain too much about it.”
The new version of the app is optimized for Android tablets including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, the Google Nexus 7, Acer Iconia, Asus Transformer Prime, Motorola Xoom and Sony S and is available for download on Google Play.
Citia is a new iPad app that condenses nonfiction eBooks into sharable, 3-D note cards. In this episode of “App Slap,” we take a look at what Citia does with Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly’s latest book, What Technology Wants.