Archive for May 2007

Vote Your Conscience on Facebook

Our superstar new intern, Rob “Double Tall Non-Fat” Goodlatte, just whipped out a Newsvine election widget for use on Facebook. If you have a Facebook account and want to express an endorsement for the 2008 Election, head over to the page below… it only takes a second:

Newsvine Election ’08 Widget for Facebook

This is the first in a series of excellent election-related Newsvine features coming very shortly. Stay tuned.

Daring Fireball: Enjackass

Very astute de-bullshitifying here by Mr. Gruber.

TeamSnap is a Really, REALLY Nice Site

Just a few hours ago, Matt Triplett and the fine folks at SparkPlug released a site called TeamSnap.

It is quite simply the bees’ knees.

TeamSnap is an application built on Rails designed to help people manage their amateur sports teams online, and it’s one of the best executed pieces of communication design I’ve seen in awhile. Not only is the site beautiful but everything is exactly where it should be. Within seconds, you know exactly what you can do with TeamSnap and exactly where to click in order to get started.

There are just so many things the site gets right that it’s hard to know where to start:

  • Feature set — Not only can you do the basics like publish a calendar of your team’s games, but you can even coordinate who’s bringing “refreshments”. For some reason, the team chose to make the beer icon blue which I don’t quite understand, but whatever. A lot of thought has gone into exactly what needs to be organized in sports leagues and these guys are clearly designing from experience.
  • Tour — The walkthrough is easy to follow and the screenshots are crisp and illustrative.
  • Testimonials — Everyone knows testimonials are often suspicious and overly pithy so TeamSnap created satirical ones instead.
  • Beautiful iconography — Every icon exudes a cohesive, friendly tone that makes me want to click.
  • RSS Feeds — You can follow all of the latest developments with your team not only via email, but also with your newsreader.
  • Structured data — TeamSnap ships with support for 24 sports (including “Dragon Boat”) and one of its important capabilities is storing structured statistical data for each sport. This means, you’re not just uploading a Word Document with play-by-play in it. You’re actually entering stats for all players on your girlfriend’s beach volleyball team (and then hopefully explaining everything in personal sessions later). Hugely powerful.

I’ve always thought the most interesting social networks out there were not pure social networks but rather networks built around an existing subject matter. While TeamSnap may look on the outside like a beautifully executed organizational tool, it’s actually social software built around one of the most technologically dormant (and ripe) social constructs around: recreational sports.

I expect TeamSnap to do very, very well once it’s out of beta, and I give Matt and crew a huge thumbs up for designing an excellent product at an excellent time. I will also be hiring Sparkplug the next time I need something awesome designed.

Well done you!

After another few days of trying Twitter, I’m giving up… again. :(
@Jim Ray: If you want to feel better, have a look at my new Twitter background picture. It’s the hotness.
@Jim Ray: Microsoft products are necessarily designed to withstand user abuse.
Kirk Cameron is making a fool out of himself in a debate about God right now.
Rubin: Oops, I think she might still be going out with the guy from Average Joe. Regardless… good to meet another FLA designer, right?
Rubin: I just asked Larissa Meek out for you. You owe me.
Drinking the new VitaminWater energy drink. It’s money.
Shared
Why I Just Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away:

A great essay about how toxic everyday distractions can be.

Humanity's deep future:

A group of researchers at the Future of Humanity Institute talk about where our race may be going and how artificial intelligence could save or kill us all.

Steve Jobs speaks about the future at the International Design Conference in 1983:

31 years later, it’s safe to say this is one of the most prescient speeches about technology ever delivered. Jobs covers wireless networking, tablets, Google StreetView, Siri, and the App Store (among other things) many years before their proliferation. A fantastic listen.

How to travel around the world for a year:

Great advice for when you finally find the time.

LiveSurface:

A fantastic app for prototyping your design work onto real world objects like billboards, book covers, and coffee cups. This seems like just as great of a tool for people learning design as it does for experts.

50 problems in 50 days:

One man’s attempt to solve 50 problems in 50 days using only great design. Some good startup ideas in here…

How to Do Philosophy:

If you’ve ever suspected that most classical philosophy is a colossal waste of time, Paul Graham tells you why you’re probably right.

TIME: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us:

Stephen Brill follows the money to uncover the pinnacle of corruption that is the U.S. Health Care system. A must-read article if there ever was one.

DIY Dot Org:

A beautifully designed site full of fun and challenging DIY projects. I could spend months on here.

The Steve Jobs Video Archive:

A collection of over 250 Steve Jobs videos in biographical order

Self-portraits from an artist under the influence of 48 different psychoactive drug combos.

Water Wigs are pretty amazing.

David Pogue proposes to his girlfriend by creating a fake movie trailer about them and then getting a theater to play it before a real movie. Beautiful and totally awesome.

Jonah Peretti's letter to BuzzFeed’s employees:

If you’re wondering what a excellent blueprint for a modern media company looks like, look no further than Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti’s latest email to his employees. In it, Peretti explains a lot of his company’s virtues, the most important being a relentless focus on always providing what’s best for the user. Vox Media (operators of The Verge) is the only other company I can think of which approaches this level of reform and execution.

The Covers Project:

I love this so much: a cross-referenceable database of cover songs, searchable by song or artist. Slowed down, acoustic covers — no matter the song — are so enjoyable to me that I wish it was a requirement to play one at every show. If you like them as much as I do, make sure to check out M. Ward’s Let’s Dance or Sun Kil Moon’s entire album of Modest Mouse covers.