Amazon Kindle (update)

November 23, 2007

This video gives a closer look at the device. A few things that caught my attention:

  • For selection, the Kindle uses a wheel in combination with a seperate (very narrow) display to indicate the ‘cursor’. Since the current E Ink displays have a relative slow refresh rate, showing a moving cursor on it does not work…
  • It seems that the service side of the offering is more mature compared to the existing Libre and Iliad e-readers. For instance, what’s nice is the ablility to buy content directly from the device (using a cell phone type connection), so no need to connect to a PC first. Also, there are several newspaper subscritions available.
  • I still do not like the device design, it is not appealing at all. For instance, the ‘page turing bar’ of the Iliad reader is so much more elegant than the standard buttons on Kindle. Regardless, I understand that the device is already sold-out!
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Multi-user interaction

November 22, 2007

There are several initiatives that focus on multi-user interaction on a single (large) screen. Dutch start-up Wunderwall has developed a properietary system that uses the gyro mouse for interaction on a large projected image.  Another solution comes from Megaphone: use your phone as controller. Their focus is on gaming at public places (combined with advertisment), but there is no reason why such an approach would not work in collaborations (office meetings). So give your meeting participants finally a chance to show off their mobile phone in a meeting by letting them vote on your proposal! 


Amazon’s eReader: coming out Nov 19

November 16, 2007

amazon_kindle.jpg 

Finally, Amazon is going to launch their much anticipated ebook reader in the US. The first photos and specs show a device that looks like a calculator from the 80’s! If this going to be the final design, this thing is a non-starter even before it hits the market. It will be interesting to see if Amazon can motivate publishers to start selling their content online and how to deal with DRM issues. There seem to be deals with NewYork Times and WSJ. Amazon will be competing with Sony’s Libre and Irex’s Iliad. This last company has the advantage of a more sophisticated display, since they are developing their own display electronics (all of the devices are based on the same E Ink material). Irex is planning a larger version and updated design by the second half of 2008.


Quote of the day

November 14, 2007

“Running social networks is like starting nightclubs. You need music and beer, of course, and some hard-to describe magic that draws people to the club.” From NewYork times article: Inbox 2.0: Yahoo and Google to Turn E-Mail Into a Social Network.


Ease-of-use should not mean neuter-the-software

November 13, 2007

Following my previous post about creating passionate users, Ianus pointed me to another interesting article on Katty’s blog: Ease-of-use should not mean neuter-the-software. It is about finding the right balance between making products simple and yet powerfull.  This reminds me of a trend called ‘Status skills’  : knowing or mastering a certain skill gives you status (more than the classical status symbol of owning expensive goods). Think of people spending most of their time improving their gaming performance or becoming very skilled with Photoshop.  In a way, powerfull products should allow users to get better at using them and showing (off) to others what they can do with it.


Creating passionate users

November 12, 2007

Last week, I noticed that Katty Sierra presented at the Web2.0 conference at Berlin, talking about “creating passionate users”. Her blog contains lots of interesting stuff such as this graph. Also, here is her practical guide on how to create (passionate) user communities.

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Drawball

November 12, 2007

Drawball is a funny application that let’s you sketch or draw on a very large ‘community canvas’. Your work will appear as very small part of the overall canvas (you will need to zoom-in to be able to draw upon it). In a way, the ball seems to mimic the earth and your sketch as your tinny little contribution to it. If you click on ‘playback‘, you will see how the drawings evolve over time…