ARCHIVE: April, 2005

Two Cool Things from Gordon: Freetag & a Post

Gordon over at ponders why he is so willing to give personal information to sites like and 43things without much thought to his own privacy. It’s a short, but interesting read.

I found Gordon’s web site because he is doing some very cool work: he’s the creator of Freetag, a set of PHP scripts for setting up a folksonomy on your web site. Yes, you read that right. A folksonomy. I’m hoping with tools like this we’ll be able to soon find out how useful folksonomies are outside of the cool ecosystems that popularized them, such as Flickr.

The Difficulty with Articulating Design

We don’t need a return to design. We need to explain what it is we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and what we expect to get from it.

Continue Reading: The Difficulty with Articulating Design

Folksonomy Article on UIE

FYI: I have written an introductory article on folksonomies over at If you have been reading some of my other posts on folksonomies, or generally following the topic, nothing will be new to you. What will be new, however, is that this one was edited by someone other than me, and so might make a bit more sense!

Holy Amazing Interface, Batman! Paul Rademacher’s Brilliant Lodging Finder

You have to see this interface! Fire up a Mozilla-based browser and take a look. It’s a paradigm-changer…

Continue Reading: Holy Amazing Interface, Batman! Paul Rademacher’s Brilliant Lodging Finder

Adaptive Path working on Ajax app?

Adaptive Path’s Janice Frasier writes optimistically about what going on in web design right now. She says that we might want to consider being amazed or inspired by things like Ajax, folksonomies, and amateurization.

More interestingly, though, is a tidbit found on a follow-up site by the developer Mike Buffington, in which he writes “I’m working on a super-secret project for Adaptive Path”. That is all he says, and since it was written 7 days before Janice’s article links to it, it’s probably Adaptive Path’s way of generating a little pre-release buzz. It looks like they’re learning a lot from 37Signals…who also makes Ajax applications like Basecamp and knows how to generate some pre-release buzz.

Well, consider it passed along.

Feedback for RSS Feed Reader Rojo

Back in November I was asked to give feedback on the RSS reader Rojo. Well, they recently redesigned, and I thought it would be interesting to go back and see what I had sent.

Continue Reading: Feedback for RSS Feed Reader Rojo

Ruby on Rails, Rife, and Cake

There has been a tremendous amount of buzz recently about Ruby on Rails, the web application framework created by David Heinemeier Hansson of 37Signals, with which they built their to do list organizer, Tadalist. Rails, of course, is written with the Ruby programming language.

Apparently some other enterprising folks saw the buzz that Rails was generating, and didn’t want their hard work to be ignored. As a result, the folks who created Rife, a Java application framework, have recently released their version of the todo list called Blablalist. This tongue-in-cheek copy of the tadalist demonstrates that Ruby on Rails isn’t the only way to quickly implement sites using frameworks.

But what about PHP, you ask? The most popular open-source web scripting language, available on every web host with a conscience? Well, there is a new framework called Cake that may be what we’re looking for. It’s only at release 0.2.7, and I haven’t tried it out yet, but I’m anxious for the opportunity. After all, I have zero time to invest in learning a new language like Ruby, or immersing myself into the wide expanse of Java.

Our Ideas are Worth Something

Words spoken are representations of our ideas for an immediate audience. They take little investment and no confidence.

Words written are representations of our ideas for a future audience. They take a temporal investment and the confidence to believe that our ideas are worth something.

Weighted Lists and Accessibility

Nick Finck explains why weighted lists didn’t work for digital-web magazine.

Your Site Should Be as Unique as Your Company

The other day someone asked me if User Interface Engineering (where I work) had any standards on what the “about us” section of web sites should contain. I answered her that we did not, because the decisions that go into a good “about us” section aren’t all that generalizable.

More specifically, every web site exists to conduct some sort of unique transaction. You may be selling unique goods, providing unique web site design, or simply writing a blog with unique content.

If what you provide is not unique, it will either become unique or fail to survive. If you do it better than others, then you will stand alone in your uniqueness. If others do it better than you, then you will fail to survive.

I could have answered the woman that every “about us” section would do well to include contact information, information about the site, and some sort of mission statement. That may have made her feel better, and perhaps been what she was asking for.

But that’s not what makes anybody unique. Sure, people may be looking for that sort of stuff, but that’s not doing good business, it’s doing average business. What makes a web site successful is exactly what is done to be better than the standard, not what is done to follow it.

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