Information Design Watch
February 11, 2005, 2:14 pm
An entertaining New York Times article discusses how computer researchers are trying to develop tools that help users avoid the distractions of email, instant messaging, and the Internet. This may be good news or bad news, depending how you look at it. Microsoft, for example, is working on predictive software that will decide how busy you are and shield you from all but your most important email (and you thought the paper clip was annoying).
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/10/technology/circuits/10info.html (free registration required)
February 11, 2005, 2:12 pm
Google has just rolled out a roadmap feature (in beta). Appropriately, Google has taken a different approach from established map providers like Yahoo and Mapquest. Instead of querying for an address first, then refreshing the screen whenever a user changes the location, Google’s application “stitches” map images together, allowing users to pan by dragging the mouse.
February 11, 2005, 2:10 pm
InfoWorld’s Jon Udell has a fascinating analysis of how a collectively edited Wikipedia article, “Heavy metal umlaut”, changed over time. Udell provides a voice over for a series of screen shots that show the evolution of the article’s content and organization. His discussion also covers several different attempts to place umlauts over various letters (specifically the letter “n” in “Spinal Tap”) and an incident of vandalism (WARNING: includes obscene language).
http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/gems/umlaut.html (NOTE: Scroll down if you do not see the audio controls when the page first loads.)
February 11, 2005, 2:05 pm
Many Internet sites and services are starting to provide content tagging tools to their users. Content authors or visitors can label individual content items (articles, pages) with their own terms. In aggregate, these overlapping terms create a layer of metadata that site technologists can use to inform content links, generate better search results, and build browsable indices.
“‘To me, they’re a great new organization tool for applications and large content sites,’ said Matt Haughey, the founder of MetaFilter. ‘Tags are great because you throw caution to the wind, forget about whittling down everything into a distinct set of categories and instead let folks loose categorizing their own stuff on their own terms.’”