Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Smart Coupons for Smart Phones?

The mobile coupon idea is floating around and there is no one dominate player. The basic idea is to use your cellphone as a mobile coupon repository. When you want to redeem a coupon, you show or swipe your phone at the retailer's checkout. It has so much potential but the user experience is not friendly yet. Two big problems are: not enough specific coupons and too many off-target coupons sitting in your phone's inbox.

I imagine there are much bigger players wanting to join in but are waiting to see what the little players come up with. The bigger players are happy watching the little guys try to explore this new landscape, and they will join in when the right approach is evident. The risk to the big players is that one of this smaller players may discover the best approach and may experience an explosive, viral growth, at which point it may be too late for a bigger player to gain market share.

Read NYT's article: Cents-Off Coupons and Other Special Deals, via Your Cellphone

Monday, December 22, 2008

Design Outside Your Comfort Zone

This excellent article challenges you to think outside of your comfort zone. It talks about changing your designing style, but some of its points can be easily extended to other areas of skills as well.

Visit the

Friday, December 19, 2008

Missed Adobe MAX 2008?

I missed it, too. Outside of my day-to-day job I don't have much time for anything else. So I could not get away to travel to San Francisco this past November. However, there are now plenty of videos of the seminars that happened there. Check them out on Adobe TV and see what great things are coming.

Adobe MAX Events
Intro To Catalyst
Wireframes with Catalyst

Monday, December 15, 2008

KickYouTube: Downloads for YouTube

With you can easily download any YouTube video to your hard drive. Here's what you need to do:
  1. Visit any YouTube video
  2. In the address bar insert the word "kick" immediately before
  3. Choose where to save on your hard drive
Here is a review by Lifehacker.

Street Photography: Clues

Look at these stunning photos captured somewhere on the street. Aside from their beauty, there could be hidden clues on some of them that could help steer your ideas about real-world needs. There could be some patterns in these photos. A moment of pause for pondering could reveal the clue you have been looking for. If your product or service is targeted at people, it is very important to study their movements, behavior, thrills, and fears.

The Beauty of Street Photography

MIT's Mobile Apps

Look at what students at MIT are doing. In a 13 week class they come up with and program real-world, mobile apps. It is very interesting to know what these young kids are thinking and to target your app to follow similar endeavors.

MIT students build mobile applications in 13 weeks

Friday, December 12, 2008

3D Mac Interface

Apple is very clever. Look at one of their patent filings for a radically different interface. The article talks about this interface replacing the current desktop. But can you think about how this would look like or function on an iPod Touch or an iPhone? It seems very few people can envision that far into the future. Apple's team of geniuses seem to do that so many times.

I have already seen so many, many great and amazing things Mac OS X can do that Windows may never do for another ten years. I think the Mac is so far ahead of Windows that is not even funny any more. Even Linux is so much better than Windows. This pending 3D interface will mostly be another giant leap ahead for Mac OS.

The only thing I don't like about the Macs is their price. They are so expensive relative to Wintel machines. But if I had the money, there is no question I would own a Mac.

Apple working on 3D Mac OS X user interface

Thursday, December 11, 2008

GetSatisfaction: Your New Customer Service? could be your next customer service. They are developing a social network of people who are helping each other with all sorts of issues concerning real-world companies. Their site says their current user base covers 7,863 companies and 7,622 products and services. They provide a widget to add to any site through which your existing online users can connect with this pool of "customer service reps" who are in fact just ordinary folks like you and I.

Read Fast Company's review

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

FotoBooth: Capture Instant Webcam Pics

With FotoBooth and the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) you can capture pics from your webcam, save them to your harddrive and instantly send them to Flickr. I can imagine a third-party service piggy-backing on this. You would use FotoBooth to capture pics and save to them to the harddrive. Then you would use your AIR application to read the pics off the harddrive and use them to perform a new service.

FotoBooth Pixel Bender Edition
FotoBooth at MAX 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

Recyclables Sent To The Dump

This is a sad story. Recyclables such as cereal boxes are being sent to landfills because there are no more buyers for this stuff. Because of the downturn in the economy, it is cheaper to produce new cardboard, than it is to recycle. This is also true of other recyclables such as plastic and metal. Can anyone think of other uses for these recyclables? I thought of something, but I cannot go live with it just yet because it may be profitable for me.

NYT: Back at Junk Value, Recyclables Are Piling Up

Friday, December 05, 2008

Free Calls With iPod Touch

Now you can make free phone calls with the new, free Truphone app for the iPod touch. More features are on the way. Look for the Truphone app at the App Store under Social Networking.


Tell-A-Friend Marketing

This new widget allows any visitor to your site to instantly send your content to their friends at Yahoo, Gmail, or Facebook. If you think your content is worth spreading, you might want to put this widget on your site.

Tell A Friend @

SpinVox: Dictation in Any Format

Your voice can now be delivered in near real-time in any format you like. For example, live events can now be sent as text via email to all your email subscribers. You can also deliver the text directly to your blog or social network. That means you can update your blog via a voice call.
Springwise review

Thursday, December 04, 2008

How To Power Google Search

This site teaches you how to become a Google power user. Very good stuff to know about using Google.

Dumb Little Man Tips

Meermeer: New Website Testing

Adobe's MeerMeer will change the way you test websites. It is an online service that works through Dreamweaver. Whenever you make a code change, the changes are uploaded to Adobe's servers and you can get instant screenshots of your code running in different browsers/platforms.

However, I suppose this only works for html, javavscript sites and not dynamic server scripted pages. We'll wait and see what Adobe does about this.

Sitepoint's review of Meermeer

Catalyst Changes Flex

There is an incredible tool coming from Adobe Labs that will profoundly impact how Flex development is done. I've been involved in developing a complex online Flex RIA and one of the most tedious pieces was getting the app to look like the designer's requirements given to me as PDFs and PNGs. I find this skill of transfering a design into code very scarce, and so are the online examples. Just as a picture can say a million words, so can a design be converted a million ways into code, but only one combination works best.

Catalyst will fill this scarcity and you can see a preview at Adoble Labs. Sitepoint also has a nice review. In a nutshell, this tool will do the conversion from design to code. One limitation I see is the interactivity of charts and graphs and this might just have to be done the old fashion way.

For it to be successful, designers will need to learn how to work with it and get familiar with all the new interactive elements a Flex RIA can have. It is a new step in a designer's work flow. The designer still has to work within Illustrator, Photoshop, or Fireworks and then import that file into Catalyst. At that point, the designer would need to work with the tools within Catalyst to convert design elements into interactive Flex elements.

Developers on the other hand, just need to import the designer's Catalyst file into Flex Builder and get rolling.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

AlivePDF: Flex PDF API

Here is an open-source ActionScript 3 library for generating dynamic PDFs. It works great within a Flex interface. If you have a Flex-based application and need some kind of PDF support, you need to take a look at this.

Monday, December 01, 2008

PhotoJoy: My New Screensaver

Photojoy is really cool. It has some amazing effects for showing photos on your desktop as a screensaver. I use it to show photos from Flickr that I find interesting. For example, at the moment I have mine showing backpacks, bags, skateboards and students.

Interactive Video Objects

What are interactive video objects? Adobe is experimenting with turning any objects inside a video into interactive objects you can manipulate. So for example, if a video contains a group of friends you can separately fast forward or backwards that one person without changing the others. The way Adobe is achieving this is very clever. You'll have to see this demo video to get a better grasp of this.

This is radically crazy! Can you think of what people might do with this? I think it may turn out to be like a Photoshop for videos. With Photoshop you can take parts from different photos and blend them into a new photo which never was real. Now people will blend parts from different videos to create a new video which never happened! You will be able to create hilarious America's Funniest Videos or frame your worst enemy and show the video evidence to the police. I think Adobe is creating a monster.

Adobe's Interactive Video Object Manipulation