Monthly Archives: March 2008

Home »  2008 »  March

AppRev3: Quamut

Barnes and Noble have launched a “how-to” application called Quamut. (Video review has been removed until I can find a better screencast app…) First thing to note is that I’m not sure how to pronounce the name. Not a great start. Then they have a clever but equally mystifying tag line (which appears to be trademarked) – “The Go-To How To”. They must have missed the simplicity memo. The biggest mistake they make is assuming that everyone will get what it is. And they needed to. It presents like a portal from the late 90’s and even when you click through the information is not exactly structured in a clear way. It looks like they have hedged their bets between an About.com information source and a online version of Dummies guides. I also didn’t think their search was that great. Just a headline and the text in the page. ‘How-To’ is a big subject area and I need to find stuff quickly or else I’m out of there. You compete against Wikipedia and just emailing all my friends. Nothing to blog/write home about.

AppRev2: Restyleme

Quick review of Hot or Not extension Restyleme (via Killerstartups). Basically you upload a picture and people give you the thumbs up or thumbs down across a range of categories like hair, accessories and smile. So it’s not saving the planet, but it is a little bit of fun and you might get some honest advice about those jeans you’ve been wearing for 3 years. Simple application with quick pick up and easy concept. They had a couple of usability issues around mystery meat links and also some confusing terms. Plus they yelled pretty loudly that I needed to login but didn’t give me an option to do it or to join. Social elements are pretty weak. A sign of all web apps these days thinking they should have social. Actually, this would work amazingly as a Facebook app. Dump a Facebook picture in and my friends can rate it. On the monetization side, they do have some reasonable advertising options by upselling you the things that people tell you need some work. They may also get into dating like Hot or Not did. 1 Minute Video Review of Restyleme.com (takes a minute to load, and doesn’t fit quite well, I’m working on it…)

Sydney Barcamp – April 5 and 6

Look, it’s a Barcamp Originally uploaded by bigmick Finally we have the barcamp sleep over in Sydney. Woohooo!. Make sure you come and make sure you make everyone else come! Register for Barcamp Sydney 3 Now See you there.

How Long Should a Trial Period Be?

Screencast.com trial period – 7 years Originally uploaded by bigmick I noticed on Screencast.com that they are giving me a 7 year trial period. Wow, they are really patient. Or maybe they know I’ll hit the 200mb long before that. But it raises a good question that lots of companies I’m working with ask. “How long is a good trial period?” Of course it’s a piece of string question. It really depends on the product, the customer, the price, and 100 other factors. Some trial period examples: – World of Warcraft offers a 14 day trial period and is $15 a month. – Screencast.com says they offer a six month trial and their service ranges form $7 to $25 a month. – Quickflix DVD’s by mail offers a month free and ranges from $10 to $40 per month (and their customer service listens to blogs). – Atlassian offers 30 days free trial for their enterprise wiki and issues management tools. But here is my list. Please help me refine, build on it. 1. Long enough for someone to love it. At a minimum, the trial period needs to allow a customer to find it, install it (if required), set it up, play with it, and find the golden joy. And […]

AppRev1: Digital Footprint Calculator

I’m going to start trying to do an application review each day. I found a cool way I can use Skitch and Jing to put myself in the video and still make it a quick screencast. Here is my first one; EMC Digital Footprint Calculator Screencast¬† – (warning, old screencasts app used, so it’s a bit ugly…) EMC Digital Footprint Calculator Website (video size isn’t quite right yet, but I’m getting there. Plus, this one is less a review, more a walk through, but it’s a start)

We Are All A Service

*SMILING PUG* – HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, FROM THE SWEETHEART PUG, MEL C *-*Originally uploaded by *SMILING PUG* I love the Company – Customer Pact which I think the Get Satisfaction guys put together. Read it and if you’re nodding agreement and are prepared to wiki in blood then go for it. Join the team. I’ve always been a ‘big on service’ guy but the thing about this pact is that it’s two way. The customer has responsibilities too. It also makes you realise that when you’re building a web application, you are providing a service. You are serving someone. And that can be a noble thing. It can be cool to put together some whacky tech to impress the crew, but until it goes up and someone is using it in their lives then it’s just a box with flashing lights and buttons. I wonder if the principles can be applied to other situations too, like employees and employers (both ways actually), and relationships. Too deep? Pact away!

Workshop: How To Use Web 2.0 Tools

charade #16 answer Originally uploaded by ndrwfgg (Note: If you are one of my really geeky friends, you can probably click away, but you’re friends might be interested.) Recently I did a workshop for Government people who wanted to know the basics about web 2.0 applications (blogs, micro, wiki’s, etc). It was good fun and there was lots of interest. Some of the attendees said that they’d try and have a go at using the tools, but were still a bit unsure. So with the Slattery IT group, I’ve put together a workshop on how to use the various web 2.0 applications and tools. A small group of 5-10 people, in a nice, friendly computer classroom. We’ll slowly walk through all the applications and give you a real, hands on experience. You’ll setup and use; * A blog. * A wiki. * Twitter for micro blogging. * LinkedIn for business networking. * Facebook for social networking and it’s “advanced” features. * Forums. * Photo sharing. You might want to do this because: * You want to see what the fuss is about. * You need to use the tools at work. * You want to use the tools at home. * You need to recruit Generation Y people. If you’re […]

Off topic: 3GB MBP

3gb in my MPB – FREEDOM! Originally uploaded by bigmick Just installed an extra gig into my MacBook Pro. And it worked first time. Maybe I have shaken off that curse I earned when my dad bought a 100% compatible Commodore 64 Disk Drive and Hardball didn’t work.

Default Settings Are The Science

Dave Tilefile Originally uploaded by bigmick Offering hundreds of options in a web application is easy. Picking the right defaults is tougher. I went to a corporatey event in the tech space last week when Ernst and Young held their first ‘EAST – EArly Stage Tech’ event. Dave Bollinger from Tilefile and Richard Watson from What’s Next spoke about innovation and how it often springs from nurtured accidents. I totally see how people and applications evolve in small and big ways through the random things that happen to them. Hire a new person, someone drops by the site, the developer tries a new approach. I find that ebb and flow the easy part of building web applications. It comes more naturally to me in how I think and work. One way to get lots of creative playing is by offering plenty of options. Let the users decide how they lay out the page, how they sort, how it works. Lots of buttons, drop boxes, navs and clicks. By far the harder part is picking the defaults. The one single way you are going to present your web application to new users coming in. It’s crucial. They aren’t going to give you the benefit of the doubt and they aren’t going […]

The Fuss About Friend Feed & Video Review

There is a big of buzz around FriendFeed right now and lots of people as asking why. I did a quick video review of FriendFeed here if you want to see what it’s about. Follow Mick Liubinskas on FriendFeed here.¬† Basically it let’s you aggregate your the feeds of different applications and networks and show them in one stream. So I can see my Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube all together. You can also add friends and see what they are talking about, and have a stream of all your friends feeds. Hence, Friendfeed. It’s picking up pace, but I’m curious to see whether this will become something people visit once and don’t come back, visit occasionally, or use regularly? Also, do you want it all in one place, or do you prefer to be able to roam around and have different ‘tastes’ depending on your mood? Let me know your thoughts.