Archive for May, 2007

Weekly WTH: May 29, 2007

Welcome to this week’s What The Heck.

One Million Zunes Sold, 99 Million to Go: “iPod Killer”? I think not…

Google Turns a Page…In a Bad Way: What happened to “Don’t be evil”? Oh well, they’re still way better than Yahoo. My advice: Don’t buy Dell.

Microsoft Deal Makes Yahoo Buy More Likely: After buying Yahoo, maybe Microsoft will buy MySpace and some other sites I don’t like.

Illinois Raids Wellfare to Pay for Failed Videogame Violence Legislation: I can’t think of a comment for that. Make one yourself (post it in the comments if you want).

Earthle - Green Google

Do you want ridiculous? Take a look at Earthle, the “Green Google.” Their goal? They plan to help people save energy by rendering Google search pages with a black background instead of white, allegedly saving energy by not lighting pixels. Insane or what? I think I’ll stick to a white background, it’s easier on the eyes.

What’s the Most Annoying Ad Type?

Ads: They help keep websites afloat, and they annoy users. Well, it depends on the ad. Personally, I don’t mind standard AdSense-style ads. Others, though….

So what type of ad is the most irritating? Keep reading to find out.

The Contenders

Flashing/Vibrating Ads

Imagine this: You’re trying to read a webpage, but this distracting banner ad reading “You won [fill_in_the_blank]! Click here to claim your prize!” is flashing red and yellow…while vibrating. Doesn’t take much imagination, does it?

In-Video “Commercials”

Commercials belong on TV, not in online video clips. On IMDB you have to watch a stupid ad before you can view a trailer. On Shockwave.com you have to watch an irritating commercial before a game loads. They’re slowly becoming more common, unfortunately.

Flash-Based Banners With Sound

At first, they look like any old banner ad. Then you hear stupid voice-clips and sound effects blaring through your speakers.

The “Winner”

The winner of the Most Annoying Ad Type Award goes to…… “In-Video ‘Commercials’”, with ‘Flash-Based Banners With Sound’ a close second. Despite the annoyance of having unwanted sounds blaring through your speakers, unwanted videos are worse. Do you really want to be forced to watch a 30-second commercial before you can see a 1-minute video clip? No way! If YouTube adds these, I’ll be very annoyed.

Does Design Matter In Blogging?

In response to Why Design Doesn’t Matter In Blogging @ NorthxEast.com.

I would say that design does matter in blogging, though it’s a bit complicated. A site with a…less than spectacular…design can do well. I’ve seen some sites with putrid designs, though the sites using the designs have good content. TamoraPierce.com comes to mind. The site of a successful fantasy author, the design is in my opinion….lacking, though there is good content. The site has a PageRank of 5/10 according to CheckPageRank.com.

As I was saying, it’s complicated. As a commenter on NorthxEast said:

“With the ability to subscribe to an RSS feed, the most important thing is the content. The trick now is trying to figure out how to still get people to come and take a look since it’s been proven that if someone finds something pleasing aesthetically, then it will draw them back.”

That makes perfect sense to me. I’m a huge fan of RSS feeds, they let me check up on sites quickly every day. If you have a cool design (and use summaries in your feed instead of the full text. *Evil Laugter*), you could get your users to come to the main site…where you will proceed to make minuscule amounts of money off every one of their pageviews (*more evil laughter*).

Of course, you need more than a smashing design. If you have something unique or interactive on your site, you’ll draw more repeat visitors. If people want to comment, they’ll have to come to your site (fortunately, no one’s devised a technology to allow commenting without visiting a site). Make it fun to navigate your blog, and people will come back for sure.

In short, design matters and it doesn’t. Just make sure you have a good design anyway. It’s better to have a good design than to have comments about your bad design, isn’t it?

Technorati’s Different

Hey! Technorati changed a bunch of stuff. The design is totally different, and they seem to have been making some changes to the service as well. What do youthink of the new design? I haven’t decided yet. Most of it looks pretty cool, though I don’t like the black bar at the top (with the annoying ticker).

Why’d they get rid of all their nice whitespace? All in all, it looks okay…but different. I haven’t really decided if I like it or not.

Goowy Webtop

Forget iGooogle and Pageflakes! There’s something better! The Goowy Webtop goes beyond what other AJAX portals can provide. It’s truly amazing, though it currently operates a little slow.

When you sign up, you gain access to the Webtop, and you’re given a free email account accessible through the webtop (@goowy.com). Logging in, you’ll be greeted by a sort of computer desktop made in Flash. A bar along the bottom lets you call up your web-based apps.

The mail window works okay, though I still prefer GMail. The IM windows work nicely, very similar to Meebo. Unfortunately, the IM app can only access Yahoo and MSN accounts.

My favorite feature, out of all the others, is the centerpiece of the Webtop. The “Your Minis” option. You click the button and you get a version of YouMinis, the other product made by Goowy. So basically the Webtop is YouMinis plus other stuff.

YouMinis, in case you didn’t know, is an iGoogle-like product made with Flash. Thus, it looks more graphic than iGoogle. Unfortuantely it lacks snap, taking ages to load your RSS feeds.

The Goowy Webtop is very cool, though it needs a lot of work.

Weekly WTH: May 22, 2007

Welcome to this week’s Weekly What the Heck!

Flickr = Censorship: Bad, Yahoo. One of Flickr’s founders apologized, but….are the images and comments back?

ReadyBoost is Pointless: Why am I not surprised? How many “innovations” in Windows have actually been useful? Fools, you should’ve bought macs! You picked the wrong company to rule the world!

$139 Linux PC: Wow! 13.5GB of storage? That take only a week to fill up! Now, if they’d add a bit more RAM and storage, it wouldn’t be too bad of a deal.

How dumb does Microsoft think we are?: Very dumb.

Microsoft Integrating Live Search Pages: Cool! Where did they think of that? Oh yeah, here’s where they got the idea.

PHPBB3 Release Candidate 1: How long have we been waiting? I’ll check Wikipedia… What? Only five years? It seems longer than that. You’re too late, SMF is king now.

21 Cool Logos

The logo is yet another important part of a web site. It’s part of what tells a visitor where they are. A logo (or banner) represents you. Below are a few cool logos/banners. Inspire yourself. As Smashing Magazine put it:

“To get things done, you need inspiration and creative thinking. You need fresh ideas and elegant approaches. And you need to be able to find them as quick as it is possible.”

When you design a website, you generally do one of the following:

  • Design a layout around a finished logo.
  • Design a logo around a concept layout.

However you design, inspiration is always helpful.
Ready? Read the rest of this entry »

Tutorial: Make a Cool Blended Signature

Forum users, need a cool signature? You’ve come to the right place. This tutorial will teach you how to make a signature by blending images together. Let the tutorial begin! Read the rest of this entry »

4 Cool Footers

The footer is generally the least noticed part of a website. This is unfortunate, since some sites have some really cool footers. Below are some that I think are worth notice.

The average viewer tends to not make it all the way down the page to the footer. This is why the part of the page “above the fold” is given a lot of attention by designers. However, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a cool footer as well. After all, some people will see it. I tend to read web pages through to the end, unless I have reason not to.

Ready of an inspiring look at some interesting page footers? Read the rest of this entry »