Archive for the 'Internet' Category

Yahoo User Interface blog

Monday, May 29th, 2006

A few weeks ago I mentioned how I liked the beta Yahoo front page. Well, as it turns out, the developers behind the redesigned page and other Web projects at Yahoo are writing a new Yahoo User Interface or yuiblog.

Now, this blog isn’t merely about Web design or use of CSS, rather, they’re taking design to the next conceptual level discussing User Interface problems and real life solutions. Issues that I’ve been thinking about the past few months. A definite must read for those of us interested in not only appearance but utilization.

Some Web design and Web marketing ideas from the NY Times

Monday, May 29th, 2006

When I’m clicking around online, I’m always on the lookout as to how other sites utilize Web design and Web marketing techniques. One of the more interesting sites these days is the NY Times, which underwent a recent redesign. It seems that the site is still getting tweaked, and although I wish they’d do away with the Georgia/Times font for their headlines, the site manages to capture my attention.

Taking a look through the page source, I found out that they’re using a DOCTYPE Transitional with a hybrid table and CSS layout. Their CSS page is damn large, but it seems like they’re accommodating all browsers with their design.

On the marketing side of things, I was intrigued to notice the recent push for logged in readers to subscribe to NY Times related email newsletters. Rather than merely have a “sign up for newsletters” box on their side menu, the folks at the Times decided to pre-fill the box with your email address, so all that you’d need to do is press the Sign Up button. (But hey, could they make the Sign Up button a little more noticeable?)

NY Times email box


Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

Something is going on with Comcast today as I am having intermittent latency issues getting to Web sites, connecting to IM services and pulling down email.

I don’t think it’s a DNS issue as I tried 3rd party DNS servers and the situation hasn’t improved. I’m getting 408s (server timeouts) when attempting to access Web sites. I dunno, it feels like it has something to do with bandwidth.

Take a lookee here…

PING ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=47 time=97.994 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=47 time=84.802 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=47 time=80.569 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=47 time=86.192 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=47 time=76.811 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=5 ttl=47 time=76.987 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=6 ttl=47 time=86.273 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=7 ttl=47 time=88.413 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=8 ttl=47 time=87.754 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=9 ttl=47 time=77.124 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=10 ttl=47 time=83.144 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=11 ttl=47 time=94.869 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=12 ttl=47 time=99.985 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=13 ttl=47 time=80.372 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=14 ttl=47 time=93.088 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=15 ttl=47 time=82.616 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=16 ttl=47 time=79.789 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=17 ttl=47 time=80.506 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=18 ttl=47 time=81.784 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=19 ttl=47 time=93.168 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=20 ttl=47 time=97.12 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=21 ttl=47 time=90.595 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=22 ttl=47 time=90.841 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=23 ttl=47 time=78.547 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=24 ttl=47 time=95.618 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=25 ttl=47 time=78.533 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=26 ttl=47 time=79.975 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=27 ttl=47 time=92.663 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=28 ttl=47 time=76.845 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=29 ttl=47 time=79.667 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=30 ttl=47 time=92.518 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=31 ttl=47 time=78.212 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=32 ttl=47 time=77.335 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=33 ttl=47 time=79.327 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=34 ttl=47 time=78.226 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=35 ttl=47 time=79.048 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=36 ttl=47 time=78.725 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=38 ttl=47 time=77.937 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=39 ttl=47 time=77.151 ms

— ping statistics —
40 packets transmitted, 39 packets received, 2% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max = 76.811/84.387/99.985 ms

I will call tech support tomorrow if the situation doesn’t improve in the meantime. I don’t have the patience to deal with it at this time. Intermittent means at least I can get to sites and services if I can reload.

Update: Apparently, I’m not the only one complaining about this. See the Broadband Reports thread. Also this morning 5/24, I could get to,, etc. but not to cleverhack for the longest time.

Update 2: The issue seems to have been resolved as of the afternoon of 5/24. Also, interestingly enough, my longstanding IP address happened to change too.
[tags]Comcast, routing, broadband, ISP [/tags]

Apple Store Fifth Avenue Grand Opening Roundup

Sunday, May 21st, 2006

My dear loyal readers, here’s my official Apple Store Fifth Avenue Grand Opening Roundup. Just because some of you were asking for it.

First things first, the official Quicktime slideshow can be found by clicking on the image below.

Fifth Ave Apple Store logo
The images begin when my accomplice and I emerge from the 59th Street Subway station just before 9pm, walk around the cube in awe (notice the backwards Apple logo), try to find the end of the line going into the store and literally refused to believe that the line stretched from the store entrance, past the south side of FAO Schwartz all the way around the block to 59th and Madison. The hired security guards couldn’t believe that the line stretched that far, and we overheard one guard exclaiming to another at 59th & Madison. “It ends here?!?”

We then decided to walk around the neighborhood to find a deli or something like that rather than brave the line since getting a t-shirt was out of the question. After our walk, we traveled back to the Apple Store and found that the line was only halfway down the block, so we decided to get in line at about 10:20pm. We really were only in line for maybe 40 minutes (it seemed faster, the weather was nice and people were friendly and yes, we are in the time lapse video) until we actually got inside the store. You can see our progression in the pics. Also check out the Apple Store employees cheering folks going in and out of the store. As we walked in, one employee called out, “Welcome to Apple!”

The store, as I wrote before, was a madhouse as you can see in the pictures. We stayed for about an hour and forty five minutes and aside from seeing celebrities (see the Quicktime for Chappelle), I got to talk to a few Mac-owning folks, tried out a MacBook Pro and a MacBook (check out the MacBook pic) and oh yes went up on the elevator when we were leaving. While I managed to get an Airport Express, I did dissuade the accomplice from getting a MacBook Pro that night, if anything because of the premium of the NYC sales tax and the need for a cab ride back to the 33rd Street PATH Station.

Anyway, one very tired and fun filled evening. Didn’t get back home until 5:30am.

[tags]Apple, Apple Store, Cult of Mac, All the cool kids, black plastic framed glasses[/tags]

Another social event

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

A neat little place to check out on Friday night.

Update: ifo Apple Store is blogging the wait.
[tags]Apple, Cult of Mac, I hope the PATH trains run kinda late on Fridays [/tags]


Thursday, May 18th, 2006

Don’t know if it will really work, but I figured might as well try since I have a phone with a keyboard now.

[tags]Web, Mobile Web, Mobile Web Browsers, Moblogging, Moblogs [/tags]

Yahoo Front Page May 06 redesign

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

Here’s a shocker for you, I actually like the May 06 Yahoo redesign. (Well, aside from the fact that the browser I use, Camino, is not supported already, but that’s probably because of a lack of Ajax support.) As a designer, I can see the direction where Yahoo’s designers are going with the page and it echos many of the same elements that have been recently unveiled on the newly redesigned NY Times and not quite there yet CNN home pages.

Elements I like…

*Boxy boxes. Even though these boxes are like that I do know that Yahoo uses rounded corners in their other branded pages. See Yahoo Tech for an example of this.

*Menu buttons and action box (with the Mail, Weather functions) background.

*Page colors are muted (gray and blue on a white background), stay in background, while photos and video pop out.

*Call to action colors are yellow and orange.

*Drop down hover action for the Mail, Weather, etc. functions.

*Overall feedback I heard from others about the page - new page has less text and seems easier to read.

*Left hand menu seems better organized. The caveat for Yahoo designers is that I wonder if the new organization will direct traffic differently than in the past.

*Major page elements float and have the margins around the boxes - but that was on the old page too. This is indicating that Yahoo is probably planning to allow some configuration of the boxes.

*Designed use of nearly the whole width of the page, save for a margin (depending on screen width).

Elements I don’t like…

*I think the Aqua looking accents will age a little too quickly.

*Yahoo Pulse box can’t be configured to show Pulse items you’d want to see.

*There are some text ads in some weird spots - i.e. a text ads in margins between the boxes on the page.

*When I first viewed the page via Firefox/Windows on 5/16, the left hand buttons had different text sizes - as if to promote various services. The text size issue appears fixed on Firefox/Mac this morning 5/17.

Aside from the look and feel aspects, I will let others debate if portals are so “Web 1.0″. Personally, I have been using Yahoo News and Weather on a daily basis for some time now - I think Yahoo executes those two functions nicely and they are easier to use than some other services. If my use of Yahoo qualifies as a portal which Yahoo provides or organizes content, so be it.

However, I thought that once a long, long time ago, Yahoo had unveiled a simpler Google like search page.

I guess you just had to be there

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

From the “ooh shiny new back Macbook” thread on Slashdot today, advice for European vacationers trying to avoid sales tax on new computer equipment…

Yes, I often find myself thinking “Oooh, St. Moritz or Wilmington? I just can’t decide.”

[tags]Slashdot, Delaware [/tags]

RSS feed and blog directories

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

If you had nothing else to do on a Tuesday, here’s a list of RSS feed and blog directories.

There are quite a few services that I’d never even heard of. Some of them are useful, some of them not so. Some of them you have to be active on like RateItAll and Blogazoo (good luck with that). Some of them have broken sign up links. And some of them are old fashioned link exchanges.
Most of the earliest listed services I’ve been using for the past few years. Out of the new services I’ve discovered via this list, BlogSearchEngine has actually given me the most referrers so far.

I’m not quite sure that listing with all of the services mentioned will help blog or feed popularity in the long run, but hey, it’s an experiment for someone interested in SEO.

Apple Store Suburban Square Grand Opening

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

A not so hypothetical question for my readers: What’s worse, getting an email about a store grand opening or putting said grand opening on one’s social calendar?

Since I mentioned the Apple Store Suburban Square Grand Opening a few days ago, I somehow found myself in Ardmore, PA at the ungodly hour of 10:10am this morning. Not only was there a line out the door, it was around the corner and snaked along three sides of the building. At least I was there in time to get an official Apple Store (hugely oversized for my petite frame) t-shirt.

The line was so long (and oh yes, there was a security guard outside directing traffic) and regular people who were shopping at Suburban Square didn’t get what the hubbub was about. In fact, a middle aged couple had the misfortune to ask a few people in line around me what the occasion was.

Middle aged couple: “What is going on?”

People around me in line: “The Apple store just opened today.”

Middle aged couple: “No, really, what’s going on? What are they doing?”

An excited person in line replied with “It’s the Apple Store Grand Opening!”

Middle aged couple looked at each other incredulously and walked away.

Among the sights in the store, ooh shiny Mac Minis, 30 inch Cinema Displays, Video iPods and hot MacBookPro action. I spent about a good 45 minutes in the store, egging on a Video iPod purchase and people watching. The activity died down about 11:30ish, when the t-shirts ran out. Oh, and there were lots of bloggers. Bloggers taking pictures and video - like the quicktime movie below (hint, click on the image).

Apple Store Ardmore

Update: 5/15/06 Two things, first, in case you were wondering there’s a whole Web site devoted just to Apple Stores…now you know.

Secondly, a certain blog author made an appearance in this video about the Grand Opening.

From the site logs

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (PSP (PlayStation Portable); 2.00)

PlayStation Portable- I didn’t realize they had Web browsers now.

[tags]site logs, user agents[/tags]

A Web marketing observation on Yahoo and MSN advertising

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

I’d be more impressed with the recent announcements by Yahoo (lawsuit nonwithstanding in this particular instance) and MSN concerning their new Web advertising initiatives if I received more traffic from them. Really, how much traffic does Yahoo and MSN see as opposed to Google? Advertising on proprietary content sites is ok, but then you’re beholden to traffic patterns on those content sites.
Think simply, traffic = $ and more traffic = more $$$. You would think part of the reason for Google AdSense’s success is that the Google Network (Google specific and affiliates) commands so much traffic.