Ubiquity for Firefox – From Mozilla Labs

I’m still a firm believer that technology will make a programmer out of us all due to the “standing on the shoulders of geeks” principal (discussed here), this is where the collective intelligence/skillset of web users as a whole is easily leveraged by t…

I’m still a firm believer that technology will make a programmer out of us all due to the “standing on the shoulders of geeks” principal (discussed here), this is where the collective intelligence/skillset of web users as a whole is easily leveraged by those less able through the creation of modularised cloud-based tools and massive simplification of those tools. It’s nice to see those steps are being made here by the Ubiquity plug-in for Firefox, from Mozilla Labs.

This plug-in adds a natural language (for now English) input to Firefox for performing a wide variety of tasks. These include updating your Twitter status, opening a map in Google maps, viewing/adding to your gCalendar and more. I imagine it’s also possible to leverage XUL when certain commands to add a drop target for services like Flickr. See the video below for a visual walkthrough.

In allowing a user to perform a task, there’s always a balance between how much the user needs to know in order to reach the goal (specifically, “commands”), and how quickly they reach the goal.

Mouse interactions like buttons and drag and drop are fantastic metaphors for simplifying certain tasks, but in simplifying what a user is required to do for an operation they can in-turn require a lot of individual steps, not to mention the extra design considerations and screen real-estate. In contrast, a command-line is perhaps the most venerable of user input devices, to many it is the fastest way to get a job done, yet it has suffered from the problem that the user must reach an expert level of knowledge over the commands available to become proficient.

Our collective skills evolve far slower than our technology, and so it’s down to the aforementioned geeks to bring the bar down to a more attainable level, of course that is what software aims to do on the whole. Step in natural language, which is a platform already familiar to most, and an application independent way of performing many of the “commands” we need to know in order to get by on the web today.

Let’s just hope the language engines have come a way since “dig ground with spade”… “ok, use spade on ground” 😉

Nonoba – Free Flash Multi-User Server, API, Hosting and $20,000 Competition

I’ve just received an email from Nonoba with information on their new multi-user offering, which includes an AS2 and AS3 API, but what I find particularly interesting is that they also include free hosting and execution of your game logic.

The aim app…

I’ve just received an email from Nonoba with information on their new multi-user offering, which includes an AS2 and AS3 API, but what I find particularly interesting is that they also include free hosting and execution of your game logic.

The aim appears to be to lower the barrier to entry for anyone wishing to create a multi-user game. These can include turn-based, or real-time games. They currently have some demos up on the site, and these include Nonoba Racer, Fridge Magnets, Multiplayer Asteroids and DrawPad.

Finally they are holding a $20,000 USD competition, with a first prize of $15,000 for the best game built on the new API.

Sign up for the beta here.

More information on the APIs here.

Nonoba

Adobe Sponsored Poker Event III

It’s that time again :)The 3rd Adobe sponsored London Poker Tournament is now open for registration. The event is completely FREE and will take place on the 27th May at 7pm at the Loose Cannon Poker club in Cannon Street. Adobe are providing the beer…

It’s that time again 🙂

The 3rd Adobe sponsored London Poker Tournament is now open for registration. The event is completely FREE and will take place on the 27th May at 7pm at the Loose Cannon Poker club in Cannon Street. Adobe are providing the beer and prizes as usual. This event is open only to those who use Adobe products professionally. Don’t worry if you’ve never played before as there are always lots of newbies and the dealers at your table will be giving you all 20 minutes of training if you need it. Go register at www.pokercoder.com and if you have any further questions, contact the organiser at sean@pokercoder.com.

Register at: www.pokercoder.com

Adobe Sponsored Poker Event – Part Deux

It’s that time again, the Adobe sponsored London Poker Event is back. Luckily for me I can make it this time, and I hear from friends it was a great night last time round. It’s been a while since I’ve played but with such a mix of people there the prizes…

It’s that time again, the Adobe sponsored London Poker Event is back. Luckily for me I can make it this time, and I hear from friends it was a great night last time round. It’s been a while since I’ve played but with such a mix of people there the prizes are anyone’s 😉

Huge thanks to Sean and Adobe for making this happen. Here’s the info, link at the end:

The second Adobe sponsored London Poker Tournament (organised by Sean
McSharry
) is taking place on Monday 25th February at the famous Loose
Cannon poker club in Cannon Street EC4. The event is FREE and open to all
professional Adobe software users. Adobe are taking care of the bar tab
and providing some impressive prizes for everyone who makes it to the
final table. Don’t worry if you’ve never played poker before, there will
be lots of novices and you all get 20 minutes of training before the event
begins.

Invariably it’s the beginners who usually do best, as was born out by the defending champion, Steve Riglesford, who will be there to see off all challengers, flaunting his winners bracelet no doubt. The event is next Monday and there are still some places left, so go to www.pokercoder.com and sign up quickly if you want to attend. You have to
register at the site to get in on the night.

You’ll also get the opportunity to network with Adobe representatives and fellow industry
experts (an invaluable career opportunity and a really great bunch of
people).

Sign up for this free even at www.pokercoder.com.

Jooce Invites (Not Joost!)

For the “cyber nomad” (cyber-cafe frequenter), Jooce is a new web-based venture which aims to give:

Multi-network-chat – instant message your friends from your jooce desktop, no matter which IM client they use
Instant file share – share files insta…

For the “cyber nomad” (cyber-cafe frequenter), Jooce is a new web-based venture which aims to give:

  • Multi-network-chat – instant message your friends from your jooce desktop, no matter which IM client they use
  • Instant file share – share files instantly with your friends just by dragging and dropping
  • YouTube upload – upload your favourite YouTube videos to your jooce desktop and share them instantly with friends
  • Public desktop – express yourself with your fully customizable public face on the internet
  • Media Player – play music, watch videos, create playlists;
  • File Storage – secure online storage of all your files – accessible from any internet connection anywhere in the world.

This reminds me somewhat of Wallop, a kind of MySpace evolved. It’s probably important to remember that you or I might not be the target audience for this sort of thing. Generation Y (and later) eats up the sorts of features on offer by the bucket-load, and the not-so-tech-savvy of all ages could perhaps enjoy the way it brings together a lot of functionality into one manageable entity. Geeks like myself might prefer to use other disperate services that are potentially harder to use but offer extra functionality or features, and this can make it easy to pick holes in these sorts of things, but in reality I think there’s a lot to be said for this sort of thing. For one, having your music collection online (ignoring the issue of DRM for a second) would mean that you can hotdesk or visit a friend and not worry about where it lives. It’s one for the “coffee shop generation” perhaps.

Jooce

An interesting feature of Jooce is the split between public and private “desktops”, where you can organise your content and publish it or keep it secret by dragging it between the two. The duality of public/private personas when online is something I spoke about in my recent presentation “Touching the Future”. I think it’s something that people growing up with the internet now will have to learn early on in their development, so Jooce’s implementation helps to make this easy, making it very clear what you are publishing about yourself.

Jooce Desktops

It will be interesting to see how successful Jooce is, one thing is for sure, giving people methods for hacking in extra functionality (Facebook), and building in transparency (linking/searching), is something that bolsters any social network. It’s something that is traditionally harder to achieve in all-Flash affairs, but with good APIs it is definitely achieveable. Let’s hope these concepts are core to Jooce.

I have 8 Jooce invites to give away, first come first served…