I know all the Section 508 Rehabilitation Act guidelines push software companies to some additional efforts regarding accessibility, but one has to wonder if all that money at Microsoft wasn’t able to deliver a better speech recognition technology for Vista. Check the painful (and humorous) efforts of this guy trying to write a Perl script.

Google has just launched the their 2.5D maps! Thanks to technology by Immersive Media, we can now travel through streets with high resolution photos. Imagine now, being able to insert custom messages and interactivity in street images. Wow.

Google Street View

Don’t just stand there ! Take a walk in San Francisco. Or Denver, Las Vegas, Miami or New York.

(Flash Player 9 required)

Source. Slashdot, O’Reilly

EstudioZed

Interesting study by ZenithOptimedia, found at Julio Alonso‘s blog, with several questions to proeminent spanish bloggers and more than 2.000 phone interviews.

Favourite insights:

  • Most people get to know blogs through friends
  • Users read mostly their friends blogs, followed by tech blogs
  • 44% of interviewed users admit they might change brand due to comments read on blogs
  • LiveSpaces and Blogger are the dominant publishing platforms
  • Advertising is well accepted, as long as not too intrusive
  • Users see blogs as an independent medium, with participation as the main feature

Link to study (4Mb pdf).

Many books have been written based on blogs, but few actually receive my respect. Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design is the result of many writings by Michael Beirut at the outstanding blog Design Observer, with 272 pages discussing design with no pictures at all (only 79 different typefaces).

Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design

Michael made an interesting point on why to write (a book or a blog) :

“I’ve found that writing is a way to slow things down again, to question my own premises, to force myself to pay attention to things I might otherwise file away after the quick glance. (…)  I discovered that putting the words on paper changes the claim those words make on your attention. Is it better? Is it worse? The answer may be different for every reader. As a designer, I am very grateful I’ve been given the opportunity to let you see for yourself.

European Ad formats

EIAA has just published a new report (PDF, 220kb) on the popularity of online display ad formats of their european membersÂ’ networks. Analysing over 300 billion online ad impressions between July and December 2006, they’ve reached some interesting remarks:

  • Traditional Banner (aka full banner) is loosing popularity (now only 13%)
  • Super banners (aka leaderboards) are getting the biggest share with 35%,followed closely by the Medium Rectangle with 33% (shorthandly called M-Rec here in Portugal)
  • Rich media and video banners are also seeing strong interest from advertisers, thanks to improved user experience and customer retention

The European Interactive Advertising Association (www.eiaa.net) is a unique pan- European trade organization for sellers of interactive media.

The relationship between an advertiser and a consumer has surely changed. They’re breaking up! Or so it seem to Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions at bringtheloveback.com .

Link to YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZDXfB0Rd4Q

Thanks for the tip, Filipe.

Offf 2007 Barcelona

Since 2004, i’ve attended OFFF at Barcelona. This year, having met/seen most of the speakers, i’ve decided to skip this event and focus a on more diverse subjects (maybe @media 2007 or Let’s Interact). I’m glad i did it since most of the talks are now available through Nice to Meet You and BD4D at http://ntmy.org/offf2007/.

If you’re into Post-Digital Creation Culture, Flash or Interactive development watch some of the panels by renowned names such as Craig Swann, Joshua Davis and Neville Brody (above) or the brilliant folks from North Kingdom.

Powerpoint Fun

That’s one title i never expected to write. Except if i haven’t picked these gems from Presentation Zen, Amongst others, you should check this video from comedian Don McMillan.

Can’t wait for tomorrow to follow this up to all the account managers 🙂

 Spock search engine

Just received my beta invitation to Spock, a startup focused on searching people, exploring an area where Google isn’t very active. Being in the middle of some recruitment process, i find it very hard to get in touch with people that have few or none information online, and they don’t seem to care enough about networking with other professionals or uploading their portfolio/CV .

The obvious choices to this kind of task would be LinkedIn, Wink or Monster.com but even these are quite limited in their search features. Spock ads some interesting features such as people tags, relationships between profiles or user reviewed data (sort of WikiPeople) . Most of this information is aggregated thanks to web services such as Google API or meta tags provided by (many) social networks, and Spock is bringing them all together in one place.

If Spock gets some traction, it will be one of the most interesting search companies I’ve seen in a while, specially when you consider the amount of competitive advantage you get with large amounts of user data collected, and in this case, a rather interesting one: business contacts. Really interesting would be if they manage to implement microformats.

I’ve got 3 invites left, so contact me and you might get one. Oh, some screenshots as an appetizer: