Walkabout NYC is a behind-the-scenes look at the people and places fueling our creative, technological, and entrepreneurial culture in New York City. The event invites the world into the workspaces of NYC’s innovative companies like Gilte Group, eBay, MLB, Seamless, Facebook, FourSquare, Spotify and a ton more to see how they work. This year the tech edition will be on May 17th from 11:30 – 6pm. Some of the sessions are already selling out so check it out here, signup and register for your events now. See you there!
Read more of: Walkabout NYC – Behind the Scenes of NYC’s Top Tech Companies »
I just saw a pretty cool app call Cycloramic that automatically rotates your iPhone 5 to shoot 360° video or your iPhone 4S to shoot 360° photos hands-free and with no additional equipment. The app controls the vibration in your phone so it turns in a seamless 360 circle with impressive results. The app is only $0.99 so download it here and try it out for yourself.
Read more of: Cycloramic – an app to shoot 360° iPhone photos and videos »
For years retailers have been trying to figure out the right formula for integrating digital experiences and shopping into their store windows. The more shopping focused windows have been from brands like Ralph Lauren who has tried using QR codes to let you buy the items in the window or use an iPhone app to customize a Ralph Lauren Rugby shirt. Interactive store windows have used all different technologies to let shoppers interact with them like the Top Chef slot machines that were texting activated. The problem was that all of these solutions looked to another piece of technology like a smartphone to make them work. I just saw an interesting new solution to create an interactive store window at the Cartier flagship store in New York City where shoppers can open and close jewelry boxes with just a wave of their hand.
You can watch the video above which shows the entire creation process and can see the windows in action. There are motors are hidden underneath the table, along with a Mac Mini that control the movement of the boxes. I really like this approach because it let’s anyone control and interact with the windows without an additional piece of technology like a smartphone. If you are in NYC and want to brave the hoards of tourists swing by the Cartier flagship store at 52nd and 5th and check them out.
Read more of: Cartier interactive holiday windows »
I wanted to start a new weekly series that quickly details the new sites, apps and trends that catch my eye every week. These are things that aren’t big enough to warrant a full blog post but you definitely should check out because they are doing something new, interesting or really well.
Readymag is a sleek new way of creating interactive magazines (webzines) through a complete publishing platform that makes it easy to publish your content to everything from tablets to TV’s. Check out the first issue and the whole platform here.
UX Recorder iPhone App
UX Recorder is n iPhone app designed for usability professionals who need to conduct user testing on mobile Web sites. It is pretty cool because it uses the built-in hardware on your iOS device to record on-screen activity, video of the user’s face, and audio. You can then export screen-in-screen video files for viewing in QuickTime. Download it now.
Nike Air Jordan Jumpman23
Just when you thought the parallax scrolling fad was finally dead Nike launches their new HTML5 Air Jordan Jumpman23 site. Get your scrolling finger warmed up and click here to check it out.
Brandseen is a fun little game that lets you see wow well do you know some of the most popular brands on earth. You select the color you associate with each logo and get a score based on how close your response matches the original brand. I got an 89% so see if you can beat that!
Maily is a new iPad app that is not only a cool app but an interesting social commentary on the fact that children have become so technology proficient that a 4-year-old needs an email client. Maily allows kids to create email messages using digital pencils, brushes, photos, personalized backgrounds, stickers, and their most commonly used expressions. Once the email is done they can send it to a list of recipients preprogrammed by their parents. Checkout the demo video and download the app here.
Get Together iPhone App
Planning social events can be a real pain the butt. Twelve Twenty’s new iPhone app Get Together is a really new take on the problem that let’s you select a time slot, pick a subject, add participant and then you can decide on later. Download it here.
If there is something that inspires you feel free to contact me and I might just include it next week.
Read more of: My weekly inspirations: July 23, 2012 »
I just saw this video for The Leap which is being described as a “revolutionary piece of hardware no larger than your iPod that’s two hundred times more accurate than any product currently on the market.” You can see from the video that The Leap brings natural user interface and gesture control to your laptop. I would love to get my hands on one to see if it really works as well and as easily as it seems to in the video. They are accepting a limited number of pre-orders for The Leap which will be priced at $70 so point your browsers here to get on the pre-order list now.
Read more of: The Leap: gesture control for your computer »
I am in love with this new video from fashion photographer and filmmaker Jacob Sutton who swaped his studio for the slopes of Tignes of south-eastern France. He filmed Artec pro snowboarder William Hughes skiing in a pitch black night an L.E.D. enveloped suit created by electronics whizz John Spatcher. The simplicity of the concept coupled with the power of the visuals is simply stunning.
Read more of: Jacob Sutton’s stunning L.E.D. snowboarder »
Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows that it is a well documented fact that I suffer from a debilitating problem where I’m rarely able to make it through a meeting without being able to describe an idea without having to draw some part of it. This historically meant that I carried a velum tablet and Sharpie everywhere and the desks of my designers are littered with these notes and sketches. More recently I have been using an iPad and the Wacom Bamboo app and stylus with great effect but it just isn’t quite the same as that pen on paper feel. It would seem that Wacom felt the same way as they just announced a very cool new product called Inkling which is the combination of a small receiver that attaches to any piece of paper and an electronic pen that work together to record your sketches. It even has the intelligence to let you record different parts of your sketches on different layers so when you transfer it into Photoshop, Illustrator or Sketchbook Pro it comes in as vector or bitmap artwork on different layers. I am definitely interested to get my hands on an Inkling to see how well it works and how actuate the the capture is when it comes out in mid-September. For a company that has been so one dimensional for so long, something changed at Wacom lately because they are really creating a lot of very unique and interesting products.
At a high level Edge will be like a Flash-like program that will output HTML5 but it gets a little tricky when you get into the specifics. This is because HTML5 as a technology platform is still changing so it makes developing a tool that uses that platform much more difficult. Adobe is trying to address that by releasing the software into previews much earlier than normal but it will mean that there may be significant changes and additions to the program before it releases a final release state. This is also why you will see that the preview version only currently does animation but Adobe has said that this will be shortly followed by shapes, expressivity and coding, and then interactivity and graphics will arrive for testing in the public pre-beta before an expected final release of the product in 2012.
Since Adobe let Apple dominate the Flash vs. HTML debate we all knew a move like this was coming. We will all just have to wait and see how powerful this tool can become to truly be something we can use as an HTML5 replacement for Flash.
Read more of: Adobe launches Edge – their Flashless HTML5 animation tool »
So if you have been semi-concious for the past few weeks you have heard of, if you’re not already using Google+. It is Google’s latest move into the social networking space following Google Buzz, Google Wave, Orkut, Google Profile, Jaiku, Google Friend Connect and Dodgeball – all have had variable degrees of success. Google is obviously looking at this as a priority and they are doing it because they are losing their grip on the real-time social Internet and need to become a big player in the social space so they can better target us with ads and search results. The site since it is still in limited Beta and they are still working on it but for those of you who haven’t been able to get an invite in – here are some thoughts on what you are missing. (And I have some invites left if anyone wants them – hit me up on Twitter and I be happy to send them along).
When you start using Google+ you see more than a passing similarity to the Facebook’s layout and functionality though there are a few key differences. The core part of the experience revolves around a Facebook style news feed called the Stream. To get content into your stream you have to add friends which can be organized into Circles which are the biggest point of differentiation and the best idea in Google+ even though it comes with a downside. Circles allows you to group friends into categories like Friends, Family, Acquaintances, Work, etc. and you can then decide when you post something which Circles you want to share it with. This level of curation and content control is something that has always been a huge problem with Facebook and forced user to curate their overall friends list instead of individual content entries. This means that you probably don’t want to be friends with your boss or parents on Facebook because once they are in you can’t control which posts they can and can’t see.
So while the first part of the process looks and acts like Facebook, following your friends and getting your own followers is much more like Twitter because you can follow anyone and they can follow you without the need for their approval. This clash of two different social media conventions from two different sites creates an interesting and even confusing scenario. Since the site so clearly looks like Facebook I found myself treating the content like Facebook and I was posting vacation photos and other content I would normally put on my Facebook wall. The problem was that I wasn’t paying attention to which Circles I was sharing that content with so things I would normally never put on Twitter because they was personal I was sharing with the whole world and strangers were commenting on my vacation photos. It only had to happen once before I started paying a lot more attention to how I shared content and which Circles were selected when I posted anything. I think this is something that this is going to be a common problem and it is something that Google is going to need to find a way to address so that people understand this new dynamic.
But after spending a lot of time using and looking at how other people are using Google+ I just don’t see what the killer feature that is going to make people want to spend less time on Facebook and Twitter because those sites are such entrenched social routines by now. I just look at the group of friends of I have on Google+ which I think represent a hardcore early adopter community thus the most likely to take up a new site like this but after the buzz of the invite only access and initial exploration time wore off I get one new content post per day from that group. I also checked to see if that was a result of overall social media complacency but found that while they were silent on Google+ they all remained very active on Facebook and Twitter. So if I get nothing but the sound of crickets from a that group then I think that it’s a bellwether that the average person isn’t going to care about Google+ when they see it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Only time will tell if Google still have an ace up their sleeve and will roll out some feature that will change everything but for now I think once the invite only access to the site expires this site might very well go the way of all of Google’s other social media experiments.
Read more of: My thoughts on Google+ »
Twitter and Facebook have become engrained in the social fabric of society unlike any other technology since the invention of television. That being said, they are two sites who have a huge flaw in that they have been developed almost completely from a consumer’s point of view and they need to take the time to understand a global brands point of view to give us the tools to be able to take their sites to a new level.
Unified multilingual social media
Both Twitter and Facebook Twitter take the point of view of the average user will be self selecting when it comes to language and this obviously happens because I would only be Facebook friends or follow people on Twitter who speak the same language that I do. The problem comes when you turn that construct around and look at the interaction dynamic from the point of view of global brand that needs to speak multiple languages from one source. For example, if I wanted to have one of the global brands I lead have a global Twitter presence that talked to our consumers in ten different languages then I would have to set up ten different feeds with ten different names to speak those ten different languages. When I go through this process on one of our global web sites we serve a single user experience that can then be customized with a language drop down for those ten different languages and we even automate the process using something like an IP sniffer. I know there are hacks to get around this where you can use hash tags to mark the language you are using and then split the content when it is aggregated somewhere else but that is so clumsy and creates so much excess content for the consumer that it would make a traditional Twitter experience too overwhelming.
Brands are multi-dimensional
In a similar vein, both Facebook and Twitter need to realize that brands are multi-dimensional experiences that consumers bond with through different expressions of those brands both digital and physical. For example, a guest may bond with the global values and direction of W Hotels and/or they may bond with a physical expression of that brand like the W South Beach or W Global Glam at New York Flash Week. Right now I have to set-up different Facebook pages or different Twitter streams for every incarnation of the brand which requires a huge infrastructure to manage and keep as a viable community and communication channel. Brands need the ability to group all of these different global and local incarnations together to make it easier for guests to be able to move between this information and these experiences. I know there have been rumbling of something like this from within Facebook for years I see not tangible signs that this is a priority for them or that the brands concept will be rolling out anytime in the near future.
These sites and all social media channels need to give brands the ability to be able to manage global brand through a single Twitter handle or single Facebook experience with the tools and understanding that brands are global entities with multidimensional touch points that speak multiple languages and want to do it all through a single user experience. The value to the sites to invest in this direction is that if brands had these tools then we would be able to create infinity more engaging, more global and deeper experiences that would let consumers relationships with these site go to an even deeper level than they are now.
Read more of: Twitter & Facebook don’t understand global brands »