Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
TypeRacer: Fun, fun, fun.
These questions have many answers, and the inquiry is certainly worthwhile. But sometimes, I think, we get too hung up on the details. We worry so much about technology choices and whether or not we can implement drag-and-drop/mashups/social networking/slick animations/3D that we forget about something pretty simple. That's right, kids: we forget about fun.
Not TypeRacer, though. They didn't forget an ounce of the fun (full disclosure: I'm a sucker for typing games. I remember my seventh grade typing class, and the inexplicable drive I felt to conquer the terrible IIgs typing game we played all class, every class. Years later, I became hopelessly addicted to PopCap's TyperShark). Not since iSketch have I been so hooked on an online game.
TypeRacer is dead simple: type in your name, wait for the green light, and type a pre-defined sentence as fast as you possibly can. The faster you type, the faster your little VW Bug moves across the screen -- hopefully fast enough to beat all of the other players competing against you in the same heat. I found myself playing over and over again -- "this is really my last game, for real this time" -- loving the feeling of waxing the chumps puttering across the screen at 25wpm (no offense, of course), and losing my cool when I get beat after mistyping strange words like "ultraviolence".
But I'll tell you what, I can't stay away: there's nothing like a little head-to-head competition, a simple interface, and an assault on my pride to keep me coming back for more. Yeah, I'd love to be able to play against my friends, and the leader board could use a better way of tracking scores (I'm not exactly sure when scores seem to randomly drop off). But these are small quibbles with a great app.
So here it is: you don't need the latest technology. You don't need whiz-bang effects. You don't need crazy, exciting, innovative new features. What you need is a good idea, boiled down to its core, and a great, accessible, fully-realized implementation of that idea with as much of the complexity removed as possible. It doesn't matter what technology you choose (remember how they shot The Blair Witch Project on tiny little camcorders?); let the zealots have the religious wars while you make a great piece of software. Use what you know. Make something people have a lot of fun using, and you'll certainly be a success.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
In the interview we discuss the nature of 3D interfaces, some things to think about when attempting 3D, and just barely scratch the surface on the differences between Papervision3D and Away3D. Kinda timely given Andrew's post on 3D just a few days ago.
Finding the "right" way to use rich innovative features like 3D is a topic I'm really passionate about. We didn't get into the usability aspects of it as much as I'd liked in the interview, but I'm hoping to do a panel at MAX or Web 2.0 NYC later this year and get more into it. Is that something you'd be interested in? Leave us a comment if you don't mind.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Do you have a passion for Google and the Internet? Do you desire to help improve the quality of Google's search results while impacting millions of users on a daily basis?
Google's Search Quality Evaluation team is recruiting enthusiastic, web-savvy individuals to work with new technologies in order to improve the quality of Google's core search product. With a focus in webmaster communications, you'll be responsible for maintaining external communication with web publishers while also focusing on search quality improvements. The ideal candidate will be detail-oriented, have strong analytical skills, and bring innovative ideas to improve access to relevant information on the web. Candidates will also be passionate about technology, be familiar with typical web practices such as managing a domain name as well as with Internet infrastructure, including WHOIS directories and Internet Protocol.
- Investigate designated domains and URLs and identify areas of concern and interest
- Troubleshoot technical issues and collaborate with engineering teams to make large-scale search quality improvements
- Establish and maintain proactive communication with external web publishers
- Work on special projects and cross-functional initiatives within Google
- BA/BS degree
- 1-3 years related experience in an Internet company and with web research a plus
- Familiarity with typical web practices such as managing a domain name
- Familiarity with internet infrastructure such as DNS, TCP/IP and WHOIS
- Previous experience with a programming language such as Perl or Python a plus
- Public speaking experience a plus
- Blogging or online content editing samples a plus
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
On to business!
Adobe announced recently that AIR will be released for Linux and has released a beta version on their beta site. My buddy Dave Meeker has a great analysis of what this means for the desktop on his blog, so I won't repeat it here. Check it out.
Second, I've been accepted as a regular blogger on InsideRIA.com - an O'Reilly blog about all things RIA. I'm very excited to join the team and will do my best to keep both blogs updated regularly. Today we had a ground breaking post talking about some new features in the next version of Silverlight that might cause Adobe some problems - check it out. ;)