Adobe AIR 1.5 for Linux

Categories: Adobe AIR Eclipse Software

One of the engineers on my team prefers to use Linux for development (specifically writing Java code in Eclipse), but has been a bit dissatisfied with Adobe’s release lag in pushing out Flash run-times like AIR for Linux (Ubuntu in his case).

A month after the Adobe AIR 1.5 release on the major platforms (Windows and OS X), Adobe has released AIR 1.5 for Linux, which covers the Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSUSE brews. Even 64-bit Linux users can join in on the fun (

More detail is available on the Adobe AIR blog:

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.


Categories: General Software

An effort to recognize (and filter out) stupidity in blog comments via weighted Bayesian analysis. Useful for filtering out excessive “LOLs” and too many text-message style abbreviations, I think this is a brilliant idea.

Also, love this from their FAQ (emphasis in italics mine):

Q: Do you really expect to be able to detect and filter anything that’s conceivably stupid?
A: No, of course not. You’d need real AI for that, and beyond a certain point it’s simply subjective; after all, a sufficiently advanced AI would probably filter out the whole of human discourse, which isn’t the idea.

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:
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.


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