2009-04-29

Taskfox: a GUI command line for the web

The idea of GUI command lines is cool: you have a text field where you enter textual commands with your keyboard. The results are displayed as a graphical user interface with buttons, images, etc. This is fast, because typing is usually quicker than clicking; it scales well, because one does not have the commands to make them accessible; and it is easy to discover the available functionality, because one can use the GUI to show possible completions for what has been entered already, or to browse the commands by category etc. These GUI command lines have a long history whose examples include Emacs, Oberon, and Quicksilver. The latest ideas come from Mozilla: Taskfox is a GUI command line for Firefox. If you want to find out more, I recommend a video introducing Taskfox and the Taskfox home page.

Jamendo and Podiobooks: free audio content

For private users, listening to the music on Jamendo and downloading it is free, for commercial users (restaurants, video content producers), it is an interesting alternative to the GEMA rights management association. Artists that put their content on Jamendo have no up-front costs (which makes it very appealing for less popular artists) and their contract is non-exclusive, they are free to persue other revenue streams. Artists and Jamendo make money in several ways:
  • Commercial use: Jamendo gets 50% (which is relatively high, but no up-front costs and non-exclusivity often make it worth it). Note that if a commercial user wants popular hits, she still has to turn to the more expensive GEMA in Germany.
  • Donations: Jamendo gets 50 cents (Euro) per transaction.
  • Advertising in audio streams and on web pages: the artist gets 50% (this is a new revenue stream for artists).
Related: Podiobooks hosts free audio books.

2009-04-18

Analog clock that adapts to daylight savings time

Even though this design is not too practical, I still like the idea: Tilt the clock to switch daylight savings time on and off. Without having to change the hand. After reading the comments at Engadget, one additional drawback (apart from the missing hour numbers) became clear: the clock changes 1 hour plus/minus 5 minutes, not 1 hour when tilted.
[via Engadget]

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2009-04-10

What should be the platform of your next application?

I'm currently thinking about the next steps for my information manager Hyena. It exists in two versions, as an Eclipse plugin and as a GWT-based web application. Having to maintain two versions is a major burden, so I've been thinking: What would would be the ideal platform on which to base one's application?