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Link Drop Tech Edition Number. 2 | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Link Drop Tech Edition Number. 2

This second edition of Link Drop Tech has a healthy serving of iPad and related news. There’s some visualization of data and a fascinating interview from some guys that were able to slow down the Chatroulette Porn Problem on their own service. Publishing is still trying to figure things out online. I’m surprised more people that publish a blog online haven’t gone the Kindle route yet. At the moment social and sharing means integrating Twitter—hopefully we can expand on that soon.

Cascade is the latest project by NYTimes R&D department that allows precise analysis of the structures that underly sharing activity on the web. Initiated by Mark Hansen and working with Jer Thorp and Jake Porway (Data Scientist at the Times) the team spent the last 6 months building the tool to understand how information propagates through the social media space. While initially applied to New York Times stories and information, the tool and its underlying logic may be applied to any publisher or brand interested in understanding how its messages are shared.

CRUNCH GEAR: Conde Nast Taking A Breather On Tablet Editions Of Its Magazines
While Conde Nast is definitely in the front line here, I think they neglected to consider some aspects of the new platform. For one thing, tablets are at the moment primarily used for casual gaming, email, and light browsing. It’s just what they’re good for. Not a lot of storage and (on the iPad) sub-HD screens make media consumption secondary, and many other functions it performs are also done by smartphones, making many applications superfluous. Furthermore, people are still naturally attracted to the enormous volume of free content on the web, some of which they’d be paying for unnecessarily by subscribing to this or that (like the recent NY Times paywall).

TUAW: Some spiffy cases for your Square credit card reader
But that reader is tiny and easily lost, so what’s the best way to keep track of it? A special case, of course. Unpluggd has a few options for keychain cases built specifically to hold that little widget, from $10 up to the excellent case above for $25. Yes, it might seem a little strange to spend that much on a case for something that you essentially got for free. But if it helps you keep track of the reader and have it right there on hand when you need to take a big payment, it’ll be worth it, right?

THE NEXT WEB: Inside and the international launch of the BBC iPlayer
Interestingly, the BBC’s experience matches our own here at The Next Web. Last April we unveiled a highly customisable, widget-based homepage loosely based on the BBC’s format. The problem was that less than 5% of our readers actually customised their pages and the code needed to run all that customisation that no-one was using was slowing page load times significantly. Over Christmas, we replaced it with a new design that put access to information ahead of giving readers choice and found that traffic noticeably increased as users could get to what they wanted easily from a home page that didn’t take an age to load.

TS3Cine Camera Shoots 720fps at 720p Resolution
These days, there are even cheap consumer cameras that can shoot high-speed video. However, the resolution loss in high speed mode is so abysmal that it pretty much prevents you from shooting the cool sort of slow-motion action shots you really wanted to capture in the first place. If you’ve got the budget, the TS3Cine camera can shoot not only at high speeds, but at high resolutions.

Most UX designers use qualitative research—typically in the form of usability tests—to guide their decision-making. However, using quantitative data to measure user experience can be a very different proposition. Over the last two years our UX team at Vanguard has developed some tools and techniques to help us use quantitative data effectively. We’ve had some successes, we’ve had some failures, we’ve laughed, we’ve cried, and we’ve developed ten key guidelines that you might find useful.

One of the nuanced design features on an already exceptionally thought out product/service is the rubberised upper and lower casing. Beyond surviving drops, the texture and forgiveness in the surface supports wider a range of playing positions – wedged under the headrest, jammed above the rear-view mirror. A damage-free interior goes down well with our driver, Yasser.

GET FINCH: Design Is Not The Goal
We’ve seen a big shift in the presentation and discussion around content online. The user is being offered more control and power over the presentation in how they consume this content. Cameron Koczon refers to it as “Orbital Content.” Instead of a user being forced to find and read content in an environment potentially full of distracting ads and poor legibility, they can liberate it. The user can pull it into their orbit and mold it into a useful, custom collection, for them to consume within their preferred environment.

CHEZ MONCEF: To All the “Journalists” Who Wrote About the iPhone Tracking Issue
Another rebuttal comes from Will Clarke, who analyzed the data and concluded that “Apple is not storing the device’s location, it’s storing the location of the towers that the device is communicating with.”

So this weekend I thought I’d try an experiment. I took about 100 of my blog posts (the ones that I thought were most “evergreen”), bundled them as a PDF and submitted them to the Kindle Store. The Kindle submission process was surprisingly easy. You give your book a name and upload the PDF and then choose pricing. They force you to charge a minimum of $0.99. Also, strangely, if you charge less than $2.99, Amazon takes 70% of the revenue, but if you charge between $2.99-$10 they only keep 30%.

GIGAOM: Apple Reportedly Adjusts How Apps Are Ranked
Apple is apparently tweaking its App Store rankings to factor in more than pure download numbers, a welcome sign if true. It could be an attempt to mimic what Google’s done with the Android Market which now appears to take into account daily and monthly engagement data, so this seems to be a case of Apple playing catch-up.

TECHCHRUNCH: Q&A With Geoff Cook: How We Solved The Chatroulette Porn Problem
One early finding was that images with faces are 5 times less likely to contain nudity than images without faces. If you’ve ever used Chatroulette, this will make sense as the most common pornography encountered there contains a body part other than, ahem, the face. This is useful information because open-source facial recognition is relatively advanced while other-body-part detection is much less so. As a result, it is possible to use the presence of a face to limit some of the human review problem.

MACGASM: Ottawa hospital jumps into the future with 1,800 iPads
The Ottawa Hospital has ordered 1,800 iPads for their staff, and even managed to have a local company develop the software they’re going to be using on a day to day basis. The application’s primary objective is to get as much patient info into the clients hands while at the bedside. Doctors will have access to lab results, patient histories, and medication information in front of them.

TUAW: BET’s 106 & Park app impresses with promotion and social network integration
So what they decided to do was deep dive into how their viewers watched the show and interacted with each other. From that came a whole bunch of fascinating features, from some really surprising social media integration to even a “fame lottery,” which allows their on-air personalities to directly connect with app users.

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