FI Launches Kontain Alpha

Categories: ActionScript Adobe Flex AS3 Cool Sites Flash RIA

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Kontain, the Flash-based blogging and media sharing site from agency powerhouse FI launched its alpha version on November 13th. The evolution of FI’s Propod rich media blogging system, Kontain is a promising and beautifully designed site. The clean design is mildly reminscent of Virb, with a pinch of (new) Facebook thrown in for good measure.

FI is one of few firms that can do full Flash sites very well. However, understanding that it is still an alpha, the site really ought to provide alternate content for computers without Flash installed. And while the site does attempt to redirect to a slimmed down version of the site for iPhone/mobile users, on my iPhone sending to http://i.kontain.com/ failed because of “too many redirects”.

It remains to be seen if the lack of alternate content for search engines will be detrimental (although FI may have plans to provide alternate content in a future release), or if Google’s advancements towards Flash content discover-ability will overcome this sticking point.

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As a funny side note, the back-end for Kontain appears to be running JBoss/Apache on a ColecoVision (operating at 3.58 MHz).

Aurora (Part 1) - Web Browser of the Future?

Categories: Cool Sites General Software

Adaptive Path (including Jesse James Garret, who coined the now-ubiquitous term “AJAX”) and Mozilla have been putting together Aurora, their vision of what the landscape of web browsing in the future could look like.

I think the radial menus look like an interesting concept - although their behavior probably needs to be fleshed out better to be to be used rapidly by most users. It’s probably more of an advanced user feature - the 3D modeling and animation software Maya has had radial menus for years, which makes sense for that demographic, but hasn’t really caught on in other areas.

The woman in the demo video is able to change her focus quickly using a three-dimensional “spatial” view of open “web pages”. Along with that, one feature that looks incredibly useful is the highlighted contextual grouping of pages and other elements in this 3D view.

See the video for part 1 below.


Aurora (Part 1) from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

Plinko Game in AS3 using APE Flash physics engine

Categories: ActionScript AS3 Cool Sites

Via DrawLogic

Plinko game screen

Until you’re the next contestant on The Price is Right, you can play a Flash version of the brilliantly simple yet fun game Plinko. Plinko uses ActionScript 3 and the 2D ActionScript Physics Engine (APE).

Play the game: http://client.drawcode.com/em-plinko/
Learn more about APE: http://www.cove.org/ape/

Mmmm - Delicious.com

Categories: Cool Sites General

Delicious (a Yahoo! property, formerly del.icio.us), is a handy way to collect and share links online. For awhile now they’ve been working quietly on a redesign, which finally launched today. And it’s beautiful, with more social Digg-like features and a terrific looking UI. Really digging that flexible, rotating JavaScript banner on the homescreen, too.

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Read the development team’s blog entry for the launch: http://blog.delicious.com/blog/2008/07/oh-happy-day.html
Synopsis of new features: http://delicious.com/help/whatsnew

Check out the new Delicious at http://delicious.com

Spreeder Bookmarklet

Categories: Cool Sites General JavaScript PHP

While I’m still skeptical about the comprehension and retention of text read using Spreeder (http://www.spreeder.com), a JavaScript-based speed-reading tool, they do provide a handy bookmarklet and Opera plugin that makes using the service more efficient. For the bookmarklet, simply drag this http://www.spreeder.com/plugins.php

Thanks to Ryan Lanciaux for this tip.

Invitations to Aviary

Categories: Adobe Flex AS3 Cool Sites

I currently have five four invitations to Aviary (http://a.viary.com/) if anyone is interested.

Silverback - Unobtrusive usability testing software for website designers

Categories: Cool Sites Software Usability

I found this usability-testing screen capture application really interesting when I first read about it in February on Vitamin: http://www.thinkvitamin.com/features/design/how-to-recreate-silverbacks-parallax.
The article wasn’t about the software itself, but about the cool parallax background effect on the website. Which it is certainly still cool and all, but the Silverback software is definitely more useful.

In a simpler time, when software was much less complex, software makers would do usability testing. They would record real live people actually using their applications and record their actions, and then use the information they gathered to improve the quality of their product. Or file it away and forget about it…

But with the ultra-fast get-it-done-now speed-driven nature of web-based software development, usability testing has gone by the wayside. And Silverback aims to solve that.

Take a look at the video:


Silverback screencast from Jeremy Keith on Vimeo.

Website: http://www.silverbackapp.com/

Does your company do usability testing? Let me know in the comments.

Zoomii Books, the Visual Online Bookstore

Categories: Cool Sites Java JavaScript

Zoomii is “an online visual bookstore which replicates the browsing goodness of real bookstores” (quote from developer Chris Thiessen).

Keep reading “Zoomii Books, the Visual Online Bookstore”...