Category Archives: Web App

BBC Beta Homepage for the Post-PC Era

The BBC is embracing the post-PC world with a reworked homepage at Here’s what it looks like on my TouchPad.

The black arrows on either side slide the screen through three other views. It’s a little bit reminiscent of how the BBC’s iPlayer displays programmes on my Bluray player, which isn’t entirely unsurprising. Some of the other features, such as setting your location, aren’t yet working but will be fixed before this version becomes the standard interface.

Compare this with the current mobile version of the site and you’ll see the change.

The BBC’s homepage was probably due for a refresh anyway, but I think it’s fairly telling that the new page is going to look the way it does. One can only assume that the BBC has stats on the web browsers being used to visit their site and they show the trend towards tablets and mobile devices. Is this the post-PC era with touch now driving the user interface, rather than keyboard and mouse?

Carbyn – An HTML5 OS

There’s been a great deal of speculation in the blogosphere regarding a new entrant into the apps-that-run-anywhere competition. Called Carbyn, it seems to be an HTML5-based OS and app store. If you are struggling to see how this is a good thing, most modern browsers support HTML5, so you can setup and use Carbyn from almost any computer or tablet that has an Internet connection. No worrying about Windows, OS X, Linux…you just get on and do what you want to do.

The London, Ontario-based company is holding its cards fairly close to its chest and is using social media to spread the word. TechCrunch managed to get a sneak peak and point out that while comparisons with Google’s Chrome app store are inevitable, it’s different in that Carbyn is an OS. Chrome apps run within the browser, Carbyn HTML5 apps run within the Carbyn desktop which runs within the browser.  Facebook is also expected to get in the HTML5 app action with its Project Spartan, so it’s an interesting space to watch.

Carbyn is using social media and word-of-mouth to good advantage. While you can sign up for an invite to join Carbyn on their website, you’ll get your invite faster, if you get your friends to also sign up for an invite. So if you are interested, please use this Carbyn link to boost my standing. I’m shameless and I’ve fallen for their cheap trick…

And yes, Carbyn appears to have Angry Birds….

IFTTT: IF This Than That

I was on Google Plus I believe and someone mentioned a site called ifttt which had just gone into public beta. The idea behind the site is to create simple connections based on if A occurred then B should result. Another words if this then that. For example I created one that says if I post a tweet with a link in it than send that link to Pinboard. Another one I created is at 4 PM I get an SMS reminder that it is time to start dinner. These are just two examples of hundreds of if this then that connections that can be created.

Some of the sites and applications that can be used to create connections include Twitter, Facebook, Evernote, Dropbox and email just to name a few.

If you create a connection you can either keep it private or make it public and publish it as a recipe. You can also use any public recipe that has already been create.

I think the idea behind ifttt is a good and some great public recipes have been created. However when I first viewed the site I wasn’t sure what to do or how to do it. There are no directions or how to videos on the site. There is an introductory video before you join, but if I watched it I don’t remember it. There is also no way to search public recipes by keyword or title. Which means a lot of people are creating the same recipe over and over again. Have you tried ifttt if you have what task have you created. If you haven’t and are interested I have some invites available.

Smashing Magazine’s 5th Birthday

Smashing Magazine is celebrating its fifth birthday and as a wee treat, has prepared a “Best of Smashing Magazine” ebook and is giving it away free. The articles are all about web design, Photoshop, typography and user interfaces (or the user experience as it seems to be called now).

It’s no lightweight either – there are 409 pages of beautifully prepared material packed with information and examples. The first article, “30 Usability Issues”, makes interesting reading even if you aren’t a web designer. By being more educated about design, as a consumer you can be more aware and critical of websites and other media. Did you know that the Macintosh logo is an example of the Law of Pragnanz? No, neither did I but you’ll have to read the article to find out what it means.

Other articles include, “Setting Up Photoshop for Web and iPhone Development”, “What Font Should I Use?” and “10 Principles of Effective Web Design”. There’s the occasional overlap between the articles but it’s never repetition for the sake of it.

The ebook is available from iTunes or for .pdf, .mobi and .epub formats, direct from Smashing Magazine. Warning – it’s 55 MB download as it contains all three versions of the ebook.

Record Your Finished Tasks With iDoneThis

There are many online and free ways to make a To-Do List, but what about those times when you need to track things already done.  For instance, I need to keep track of the number of articles I write.  Well, there’s something for that now also.  iDoneThis is a free calendar type service that allows you to easily keep track of what you have done via email.

The service is free to sign up for and offers no premium options.  There are also no ads on the page which begs one to wonder about the business model.  To sign up you simply choose a user name, enter your email address, and choose a password.  Once that is done you will be greeted  with a brief explanation of how the site works.

As you can see in the sceenshot above you can choose your timezone and you will then receive a daily email at 6:45pm local time.  You respond with a list of what you have done and iDoneThis will record in in your calendar.

The Settings page is as simple as the rest of the site – it consists only of choosing a time zone and changing your password.  You can also click on Calendar to view your list of accomplishments.  The calendar view is of the current month and you can scroll forwards or backwards to choose other months.

The site and it’s functionality are simple.  There’s no hassles of any kind in signing up or using the service.  The only drawback I have found is the inability to change the time of the daily email.