Google Page Creator (Beta of course)

Googe Page Creator BetaNormally I wouldn’t blog about yet another new Google product release. Now would I? 😉 Hey, I’m not the Googleblog you know.
But this time they’ve released a product that lets my mother create webpages in no-time, although I doubt if anyone’s waiting for another bridge-site. (Sorry mom. :-))

So what is it?

It’s an easy-to-use webpage publishing system. It’s easy as point & click to start creating pages, all with the familiar Google GUI as used in GMail/Base/Reader/etc. The site is currently coupled with your GMail account, meaning your mail username is also used to address the site. You’ll get a 100MB of space, so that should be enough to build a photoalbum or the likes. Uploads are handled beautifully by the way. And linking to other pages or sites is automatically checked, so it’s hard to make a mistake there.

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Internet Explorer 7: Beta 2 Preview available

IE 7 LogoIt’s public! So if you want to have a go take a look at the Internet Explorer 7 website.

But before you do so, also take a look at the IEBlog:

Especially note:

Can I run the preview and IE6 at the same time?

No, the preview is a system upgrade that replaces IE6 on your computer with the preview code.

As Chris Wilson pointed out, “‘IE’ is actually a collection of system components – networking, browser hosting, core HTML rendering, printing, etc. When we install a new version of IE, we’re installing it for all applications that use these system components – including the tiny iexplore.exe itself.” Because of this, we do not support the various hacks that allow side by side running of IE6 and the IE7 Beta 2 Preview. Running with these could cause issues with the stability of a system.

But that quote from mr. Wilson did not end there. He made a remark that I, as a webdeveloper/-designer, found rather interesting:

… That’s why it’s hard to have multiple side-by-side IEs. We are working on a solution for just HTML rendering, but we can’t have multiple system components installed with the same name.

Now if MS made THAT tool available I would be happy. Hope they don’t forget to put in a IE 6 rendering engine and for old times sake a IE 5 engine… That would make testing/hacking a lot easier.

Note: I’ll refrain from installing as I don’t want to compromise my dev-system.

Olympic Imagery 2006

Torino 2006 identityThe Winter Olympics 2006 in Turin are going to break loose some time next week. In case you didn’t know. In any case I just found out about the new ‘identity’ of The Games. Poynter Online is running a small story about the visual identity: Knowing Your Audience: Lessons from Olympic Imagery

Where the story is going I don’t know. But you’ll probably see those graphics multiple times on television.

Google Code: Web Authoring Statistics

Over at Google Code they ran a survey, in December 2005, looking at a couple of webpages trying to find out which elements and their respective attributes are used most. And more importantly how they are used.

We took a sample of slightly over a billion documents, and looked at what elements were used on the most pages, what class names were used on the most pages, and so forth.

Pretty interesting read this Web Authoring Statistics study.
E.g. why would anyone use a <table>-tag and not put any <td> or <tr> inside? Beats me… Is it a remnant of MS ‘HTML’? Or someone deleting a table in a WYSIWYG environment? And there are more examples.

Which Browsers matter in 2006?

BrowsermixIf you are planning to build or rebuild a site this year you may wonder at some point which browsers you should support. If not, you should! Just looking at your new design in IE 6 is no guarantee it works and behaves the same in any other browser.

Not that long ago the browser shortlist consisted of IE 6, combined with IE 5, IE 4 & Netscape 4. And maybe some other occasional ‘weird’ browser. But times have changed and are changing. IE 4 & Netscape 4 are ancient history, support for IE 5 has been dropped in most cases by Microsoft itself. And there are emerging new browsers, either driven by innovation or security issues.

So what browsers should you support today and for the upcoming year(s)? Simple question, simple answer: Check your visitor stats and build/optimise for what they use.

Continue reading “Which Browsers matter in 2006?”

Learning 101 – IKEA style

Don’t ask me how I got subscribed to Will’s Weblogg-ed. But reading today’s post on ‘Learning 101‘ leaves me with an ‘IKEA‘-feel to it. Especially:

  • Use visuals!
  • Use the filmaker (and novelist) principle of SHOW-don’t-TELL.
  • Use “chunking” to reduce cognitive overhead.
  • Don’t rob the learner of the opportunity to think!
  • Context matters.

To name a few. This makes you wonder why so many people are still figuring out how they will ever finish their newly bought ‘Billy‘… Hold on:

  • Emotion matters!
  • Since stress/anxiety can reduce focus and memory, do everything possible to make the learner feel relaxed and confident.

Maybe it’s time to replace the paper instructions with something else… *Surpressing the how-to-bolt-together-your-IKEA-furniture.blogspot.com-thought* *REAL HARD*

The Orange Icon, part 2

Feed Icon Microsoft has decided. The feed indicator in IE 7 is still orange!
Most surprisingly it’s the same one that Firefox has. Well, not so much of a surprise, because it was the Mozilla foundation who kindly ‘donated’ it:

Thanks again to the Mozilla team for making the icon available and helping us do the right thing for all browser users.

It’s a good thing there’s some in-browser ‘standardisation’ on the RSS/Atom/Feed front. But what about those orange XML/RSS/Atom chicklets everywhere? How about some standardisation there? Maybe in conjunction with the above mentioned icon? Like so? Feed Chicklet

Animated shorts

I love ’em! Especially the CGI kind. Having some experience with 3D apps, I know how time- and resource-consuming it is to make a perfect animation. Not to mention the skills needed.
(Allright, stop-animation with clay is harder. Sorry Gromit. But I hear … they’re also turning to computers to speed up the workflow. Heresy, I say! ;-))

Anyway, there is a wealth of demo-reels and animated shorts to be found on the web. So let’s start with a household name in computer generated images: Blur Studio. Here’s their animated short: Rockfish.

Rockfish Still by Blur

Synopsis: ‘Rex Hunt’ meets ‘Tremors’.
View the short: Large version / Small version (Quicktime required)

Yahoo! Local Maps Beta

Yahoo Maps Beta LogoYahoo! Maps is offering a Beta version which is based on Flash! – shock & horror – What were they thinking? 😉

I do like it. It’s snappy, looks good and simply works. (hearing that MS?) Go see the Yahoo! Maps Beta for yourself.
For instance check out the ubiquitous “Pizza in Redmond” sample. Hover & click to see more info. Nice. Although at the largest zoom-level you won’t find anything.

Another nice feature is Live Traffic with which you’ll get up-to-date traffic info like congestions and construction work details. Now all they need to do is add the rest of the world and of course satellite imagery. Take a look at the features overview.

How about an API you ask? Here are the Yahoo! Maps Developer APIs.

Also see TechCrunch’s story on the Yahoo! Maps Beta and WeBreakStuff’s first look .

On a sidenote: Is it the time of the year or what? It seems everyone is releasing stuff like crazy.

The Orange Icon..

You know the one that signals a webfeed (formerly known as RSS or Atom). Over at Microsoft they’re pondering what new icon they should pick. Mind you, this single icon will be viewed by millions of upcoming IE 7 users.
So all you usability guru’s, web designer, graphic designers, … if you have an alternative or an opinion go and leave a comment on their Team RSS blog now!!!

This is what they’ve come up with so far:

  1. beta 1
  2. gleam
  3. ring
  4. spark
  5. waves

Personally I’m not sure what to think of it. Besides “I don’t like them…”. Maybe it’s because they’re ripped out of their context, namely the address bar of the upcoming IE 7. Or it’s just something brewing in the back of my head. (And should I tell Microsoft…?)