Bespin: A Cloud Based HTML Editor Even Lando Would Use.

bespinlogoOk, so I apologize for the uber-geek star wars reference in the title… but, i couldn’t pass it up… And for those of you who aren’t Star Wars geeks, Bespin is the name of the Cloud City from Star Wars Episode 5.

Bespin is an experimental online Code Editor by Mozilla Labs. 

I had a chance to login and check out the service for a few minutes today and it has some promise.  Even though this is just a technology preview and not a full production tool, it has some interesting capabilities.

Working with a few of the sample files included in the preview, it has many of the standard features you would find on a basic code editor… code highlighting, code repository, view files in a browser, etc.

It also includes an interesting command line option below the editing screen.  This provides you with a quick access to a few common functions.  So, instead of crowding a screen with hundreds of buttons, you have access to them through a command line.

As I was playing around with it, I tried to find the option to upload a single page, but it does allow you to load a project .zip or .gz file.

As a freelance developer, having the tools available to quickly modify a file online and on the fly is a great advantage.

It’s going to be interesting to see this grow and if it becomes a viable product in the future. 

Newspapers: It’s not the Format, It’s the Experience.

NewsPapers

For years now, the publishing industry has been having problems.  From Magazines to Newspapers, readers are leaving in droves to the web.

So, what is the obsession with having an newspaper delivered to your door every morning?  Why does it matter if the same content is delivered via email, on a phone, or on a browser?  Why are so many people so upset about having their local newspaper shut down? 

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Unbelievable Picture of the Inaguration

This may be old news, but it’s a great example of how technology is moving forward.

It’s a picture of the President Barack Obama’s inaguration.  What makes it unique is that it’s an extremely EXTREMELY high resolution picture, which allows you to zoom in to the entire picture. 

What I find most fascinating is looking into the crowd at some of the people’s expressions and faces.  They have no idea they’re being watched. 

The picture first provides you with a panoramic shot of the inaguration and it’s attendees.  Then, the controls on the left – similar to Google Map’s controls – allow you to zoom in, out and pan in all directions. 

When you zoom in, you can view objects and people with remarkable clarity for the distance they’re being shot from. 

Click Here to View

GigaPan Image of the Inaguration

UPDATE: It looks like you can also purchase the equipment from http://www.gigapansystems.com/ that will allow you to take a normal digital camera and turn it into a GigaPixel picture.

Which Came First, the Science or the Logo?

New Pepsi LogoAs some of you may have noticed, Pepsi recently redesigned their logo with a fresh new twist on their old design. 

Now, this may not be something most people would comment about, but a recently leaked document on the design process, attributed to the Arnell Group, shows the process behind the remaking of this iconic brand identity.

If you’re into design or branding, I recommend you take a look at this pdf.

Here’s a small excerpt from this document:

 The Pepsi ethos has evolved over time. The vocabulary of truth and simplicity is a reoccurring phenomena in the brand’s history. It communicates the brand in a timeless manner and with an expression of clarity.

Once you go into the document, it’s clear that a lot of time and effort has been put into the concept of the new logo and branding. 

They examined everything, from the history of the logo, the bottles, even into classical art and concepts of the early masters.

So, I have to wonder… was all of this research prior to the launch of the new logo… or did they come up with it afterwards?  However, if you’re spending millions of dollars on a new logo, you probably want more than a napkin sketch.

Great job to the people over at Arnell Group. It’s a brilliant piece of work.

An API With a Social Conscious

KivaEarlier this month I wrote about a new type of lending and investing service called “Micro Finance” which enables anyone to make a small investment and help end poverty.  The blog post I wrote about was an eBay organization called MicroPlace

Today, a similar service called Kiva.org released an interesting API that allows outside developers to connect to their database and build applications around their data.

Web Services and API’s are nothing new… companies like Google, Amazon, and eBay have been integrating them into their services for years.  However, this is the first time I’ve seen a non-profit organization open up their data for outside developers.

Here’s a few examples of the types of data available through this service:

  • all of the loans at Kiva currently raising funds
  • all of the entrepreneurs from Uganda and Peru which have fully repaid their loans
  • the latest lending activity on Kiva
  • financial nitty-gritty for any of our loans
  • the list of loans made by any one of Kiva’s lenders with a public lender page

API’s can be a very successful way of extending the brand and reach of an application and I’m extremely pleased to see Kiva embrace this type of model.  It will be interesting to see what developers create.

Google Bans the Internet… Give that Man a Raise!

We’ve all been there before… accidentally hit the “reply-all” at an innappropriate time, do the time zone conversion wrong and don’t show up for the big meeting, forget to do a 3rd spell check before an email newsletter gets blasted out to 2 million subscribers.

Most of the time, these types of mistakes are either brushed off or overlooked because, hey… they happen.

Simple Global Error

However, as you may have heard this weekend… a simple mistake by a Google employee essentially banned the entire internet for about an hour. 

It was later explained in a Google Blog Post that it was a simple error made by an employee, who mistakingly put in a “/” instead of an actual domain name.  Essentially, marking the entire internet as Malware.

Give That Man a Raise.

Now, why would I say to give that man a raise?  Well, first and foremost, I certainly hope he didn’t loose his job over this.  These kinds of mistakes happen and if Google seriously doesn’t have the safeguards in place to prevent this type of thing from happening… it’s their own fault. 

He should get a raise, or at least a bonus, for the Millions of dollars worth of free publicity they’re recieving over this.  Not to mention the amount of exposure to the fact that they actually mark malicious sites for you… how many people do you think actually knew about that?

This story has been on all the major Tech Blogs, Reuters.com, and CNN.com… so literally, Millions of dollars worth of free publicity.

Reacting to the Unexpected

Ok… Ok… I know this is a fluke and not something he should be given a raise for.  We don’t want to reward carelessness.  But, at the same time it just goes to show that you never know when a tragedy could turn into an opportunity. So, always be prepared.