Archive for April, 2007

Weekly WTH: April 17, 2007

Welcome to the Weekly What The Heck.

MySpace Is One Of The Most Successful Web 2.0 Startups:Â WTH? How is MySpace Web 2.0? Bad background images/music, no content, bad design, slow loading pages… I could go on. How is a website that isn’t even a real Web 2.0 site, and’s used mainly by 12-year-olds with below average brainpower, at the top of a Most Successful Web 2.0 Startups list?

Digg Users Are All Childrens (Or They Act Like Them): Ah, about time. I agree. They post and vote on rubbish, and bury good stuff (and post nasty comments).

Apple Delays Leopard Until October: Well, at least they didn’t delay it for 5 years like some companies we know…

The Real Reson Leopard is Delayed:Â Er… Maybe not…

This concludes this weeks WTH.

Google To Purchase Doubleclick

Google has announced that they plan to acquire the ad network Doubleclick soon. They even started sending info out through Google Groups. What are they planning? They’re not giving much away. Time for some educated guesses.

Some qoutes from Google:

“This new partnership represents a tremendous opportunity for us at Google to broaden and deepen our inventory of available ads and to better serve both our publishers and users. Together, Google and DoubleClick will empower agencies, advertisers, and publishers to collaborate more efficiently and effectively, which will, in turn, provide a better experience for our users.”

“Sponsored information served by Google has always been, and will always be, clearly distinguished from objective content available via our search results and across our partner network. We want you to find the information that you are looking for—be it in an ad or elsewhere—quickly and without hassle. We know that our collaboration with DoubleClick will serve and advance this goal.”

Hmmm…. That sounds like the web will be getting a little less annoying soon. How? I’m thinking Google may be trying to kill pop-up ads and other irritating ad types. Google has always had bits in the AdSense policy forbidding you to put AdSense on a site with more than x popups per session. They seem to take a dim view of pop-ups and other annoying ads. Maybe they’ll stop providing the service of pop-ups and those annoying flash ads that expand across the page and annoy the heck out of you.

There’s a good chance that Doubleclick will become integrated with the AdSense program too. They did talk about broadening and deepening their inventory of available ads…

12 Cool CSS-based Layouts

Yeah, yeah. Don’t use tables. Blah blah blah. Use CSS and all that. CSS can be a pain at times (especially if you want it to work in Internet Explorer…), but it works really well…when it works. Really, if you’re making a new layout, use CSS. Here are some really cool CSS-based layouts. Inspire yourself.

  • MediaTemple - This web host has a really cool and professional layout. They’ve got a black header with shiny black “plastic” tabs. Drop-down menus come out from the tabs and the links in them are highlighted with a cool rounded-blue image. See for yourself.
  • Ars Technica - “The Art of Technology” is this tech blog’s tagline. Their layout is even better than their tagline. The header is a nice red, with navigational tabs along the bottom. Below that, it looks like the designer is a fan of cubism. Everything is in a box. It works well though, and is surprisingly well organized.
  • DHTMLSite - A spartan layout with a navigation bar at the top. The logo is right at the top of the left-hand column. Even though the layout is lightweight, it still looks crowded.
  • Wordpress.org - Not to be confused with Wordpress.com (the blog host), this is the site where you download the real Wordpress software (which is grwat by the way). The layout is reminiscent of a newspaper, being a light white-grey with black text and horizontal lines. Nice and uncluttered, it still looks great.
  • Good-Tutorials - Their layout changes too often, unfortunately (a couple of times a year it seems). The current one is well designed, featuring blue gradients, tan, and white very well. Uncluttered and well though-out, it’s pretty good for a tutorial site.
  • The Leaky Cauldron - Prepare to be blown away. This layout is all CSS and images. Easily edging out the Table-based Mugglenet.com which has a black background too), this is easily the best-designed Harry Potter site. That’s not an easy goal either, there are some amazing lesser-known ones. The Leaky Cauldron is the biggest HP site on the web (getting over 100,000 unique visitors a day). The layout is amazing, and AJAX is used quite well.
  • Feedo Style - ORANGE! Amazingly it’s not that hard on the eyes, andi t’s not that dreaded “Safety Orange” either. Horizontal navigation, one-column content, not too bad. The diagonal-line-gradient on the background is a nice touch as well.
  • Digital Web Magazine - Nice and clean. Blues, tan, white, etc. There’s a refreshing lack of advertisements as well. :)
  • PotterCast - Considering it’s a sub-site of the Leaky Cauldron, I’d expect no less. Probably the best layout I’ve seen on a podcast site so far, it looks very unique (without being totally off-the-wall).
  • YouTube - Airy (read: no visible lines around the edges), it looks very much like a Google site (despite not starting out as one).
  • PC World - Hmmm. Reminds be of Ars Technica a little… It looks different in several ways though. It’s a bit heavy, clocking in at 74 settings on 56k and 12 on a T1. Reds, greays, and white again. It’s very dynamic, and much more cluttered than Ars Technica.
  • Digg - Digg… Take a look at it yourself. The header’s the main part, and the lower segments are just divided by lines and padding. The header conveys an amazing array of information and navigation.

Windows XP going, going, gone

Microsoft has stated that computer manufacturers will no longer be allowed to preinstall Windows XP on new computers after Jan 1, 2008. It’ll be Vista or nothing (or you could buy a non OEM version of XP online, I suppose). Dell is already getting ready to abandon XP. How long until XP is no longer supported? Hopefully I’ll have a Mac by then.

InstantStorm - Turn SWFs into Screensavers

Ever wanted to make your own screensaver? Now you can. Er… You can if you have Macromedia flash (currently like what $600 from Adobe?). Anyway, if you already have Macromedia Adobe Flash, then you can create screensavers for free. The program that allows you to do this is known as InstantStorm.

With InstantStorm, you just give it the location of a SWF file, set a few settings, and hit create. You’ll end up with an EXE that installs your screensaver on any Windows computer (I haven’t found a program that can do Mac ’savers yet).

You can customize the installer quite a bit. You can add a logo to the welcome screen, change any bit of text in any of the wizard steps, etc. You can also create an About box for the screensaver.

InstantStorm is a pretty cool program, though I wish you could make the background black instead of white (the background show around the edges of the SWF if it’s too small).

GMail Invites

Google recently opened up GMail, so anyone can signup without an invite or cellphone. What are we supposed to do with all our invites now? I have 50 still! They continue to accumulate, even though no one needs them anymore. Why doesn’t Google just remove the limit entirely and just say, “Hey, invite all your friends to GMail!”? It would make more sense.

On a similar note, April is “Pester Everyone You Know Until They Get GMail Accounts Month”. Happy pestering. :)

Webby Nominees Announced

The nominees for this year’s Webby Awards have been posted. In the overabundance of categories, we have some good sites this year. Digg, Del.icio.us, and Flickr have all been nominated under the “Best Practices” category, and Gamespot under “Games-Related”. There’re plenty more. There’s no way I’m about to read through all of them. There are hundreds!

Gmail Not Behind, Just Going in a Different Direction

I agree with the Web Worker Daily’s entry. PC Magazine needs to stop bashing GMail. GMail is the future. I don’t want bloated drag-and-drop things that behave like Microsoft Outlook. GMail is the best, most intuitive email client I’ve ever seen. Their GMail Domain Email is wonderful too. It works exactly the same as GMail, but you get your domain name at the end instead of GMail.com.

Weekly WTH: April 11, 2007

Welcome to Weekly What the Heck, where we take a news headline or two (or three — oh WTH, how about four?) and comment on it. You get the idea, here we go.

Zune 2.0 and “Flash Zune” Details Leaked : What? Didn’t Microsoft learn their learn their lesson with Zune 1.0? Besides, where’s Zune Service Pack 1?

HTML5, XHTML 2, and the Future of the Web: WTH? Internet Explorer barely supports HTML4 and XHTML1 (not to mention CSS…). So Firefox will support the new standard and Internet Explorer won’t for another 5 years…

100 Million iPods Sold: What they didn’t mention was how many were replacements or “spares”.

MacBook Stolen, Mac Identifies Theives: Hmm. These Macs sure are getting smart. How long until they can run away? Mr. Jobs, take note.

This concluded this weeks Weekly What the Heck.

PCWORLD: About Apple’s 100k iPod Milestone…

PC World has a bit to say about Apple’s recent;y attained milestone of 100,000 iPods….

(Note the bullet points and poll at the bottom).

 
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