Friday, September 30, 2005

Zimba: an ajax communication client

Via Jon Udell, here’s gmail on steroids: zimbra. Zimbra is a beta, but looks like it does all the things I wish gmail would let me do – online calendaring and contact management (which, to be fair, gmail handles OK already) all integrated into the one interface, much like Outlook. Nice to see as a next-generation online tool; personally I hope the guys at 37signals hook basecamp into it, then I’d be really happy! I also liked the little googlemaps mash-up for showing location. Makes you wonder what Google will do to push this on a bit further - will they develop gmail as an online client some more and try to match some of this zimbra functionality?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

CMS Projects - same old story

While visiting an immense project today, the following exchange was held between someone based at the project, another colleague, and myself (this exchange is not verbatim):
"Sorry, did I hear you say you used Documentum for Document Management?" (me)

"Yes, but not everyone uses it. It isn't really that user-friendly: when you start, the next page takes a minute, a minute-and-a-half to load up, and then you are presented with a list of options that no-one understands. Oh, and that means no-one uses it - everyone gets trained, and the system can do some really good things, but it's then two months before you use it again and you've forgotten everything. So we also had some document managers, but since everyone gives them the stuff to put in, they're swamped. So the system doesn't have that much information on it." (project colleague)

My colleague and I looked at each other, as she has been looking for a killer internal argument for usability to convince others. This isn't a criticism of Documentum - a great tool in the right hands - more an expression of my continued surprise at how little thought is typically put into human "engagement" in DMS and CMS projects, not just "usability" issues, but also ongoing training and workflow analysis. No matter how many projects you work on for different companies, you always hear the same old story - it would be nice to see someone doing it the right way from the start for a change.

Technorati tags: | |

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Ajax Links

While looking for something else focused on rich internet applications, I came across the following link to A Venture Forth’s list of the top ten Ajax apps. The Periodic table is very nice!
NB: True to my promise, I used the Blogger Word plug-in to post this & it seemed to work fine.

Technorati tags: | |

Monday, September 12, 2005

theguardian Re-design

The wonky title is deliberate, since - as part of its Europe-focused (?) re-design - The Guardian has gone all compressed and lower-case. I can't really comment too much as I have yet to swing by the news-stand and grab a copy in the flesh (apologies for the mixed metaphor), but, via Tom Coates, here is Dan Hill's cogent view on the branding exercise. I particularly like the use of Flickr annotations...

Friday, September 09, 2005


I've not been too experimental with my blog recently (or particularly assiduous in writing posts), so I am going to endeavour to add technorati tags to relevant posts, think about actually re-designing the blog ("re"-design is a bit of a joke, as I didn't put too much effort into look-and-feel in the first place!), and fiddle about with posting direct from MS Word. If anyone has any suggestions for other stuff I should be doing (like updating my XFN network, for instance), just let me know!

Technorati tags: |

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Brand crises

I was just reminded of a presentation I gave last year on the role of online communication in crisis communication by the following quote from an article called "Brand Rehab: How Companies Can Restore a Tarnished Image" from the Knowledge at Wharton newsletter:

"The rise of the Internet poses new problems for post-scandal communications, adds Blythe. "Blogging can kill you. Before, when we had a problem, it was addressed in the public media. Now the Internet is many times faster, more unforgiving and out of control." Increasingly, Blythe's firm is helping companies monitor statements about them on the Internet and generate their own blogs."

The internet can make you or break you - today's brands have to react to threats in "internet time".

Technorati tags: | |

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I've recently had feedback complaining that I haven't written anything in a while - for which I apologise, only citing the pressures of moving and starting a new job. Real life sometimes gets in the way of blogging, I suppose.
Something which caught my eye today was an article in the Evening Standard pointing out that The Guardian is changing its format to a more tabloid, Berliner style, is changing its font (Guardian Egypt or somesuch), and is even changing its title typeface. As an arch-liberal Grauniad [sic] reader myself, I am slightly trepidatious, but also wonder whether the current British broadsheet transfer to tabloid style (think The Times, Independent) is anyway influenced by the Web, which is less columnar, and, from my perspective, not "broad" in a layout sense. It's just a thought, but I'm probably wrong and it has more to do with printing efficiencies or the logistics of delivery and display!
I don't remember such an upheaval in British print since colour newspapers first went live in the 80s (am I hallucinating, or wasn't the short-lived European the first, or maybe it was Today?). There must be some underlying force for this all to be happening in a short space of time - I can't believe that copycat activity is the only motivator.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Rich Wiki Editing

While I love the collaborative authoring aspects of Wikis, I've always thought that wiki markup, while nicely concise, acted as a barrier to their uptake in "the real world". Via socialtext, I've come across Wikiwyg, a JavaScript-driven wysiwyg editor for wikis (designed to integrate into existing wiki s). I just tried out the demo, and while double-clicking to reveal in-context editing is a bit counter-intuitive, it works really nicely.