Category Archives: apps

Like writing? You’ll love Draft

As I like writing more and more (even though my background is more in design and UX) I love the Draft site (HT to Nic Hodges). It lets you focus on writing and nothing else. Interruptions from colleagues and clients excluded, no one can stop them.

Screen Shot 2013-03-28 at 10.20.05 AM

Draft documents can now easily be published to WordPress and Tumblr from inside Draft. Go to Settings -> Places to Publish. You’ll then get a Publish button next to your documents.

The rest below is about the new Chrome extension, actually a direct copy+paste from the creative developer Nate Kontny (his site Ninja and Robots) in Chicago, who is behind Draft:

“Bookmarklets and browser extensions like Instapaper, Evernote’s Clearly, and Readability make reading anything on the web simple, focused, and gorgeous. Why can’t writing be that way?

So here’s a Chrome extension that lets you.

Any webpage that you can write on, you can now use Draft with. Your blog, Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, even comment boxes on websites like Reddit and Hacker News.

Just place your cursor in the box you want to write in, click the Chrome Draft extension, and Draft will open up in a new Chrome Tab. Choose an already written document or something new to write in Draft (any text from the original text box will carry over).

When you’re done, there’s a menu button to paste your work back into the text box you came from.

All of a sudden, everything you write everywhere is focused, versioned, and able to be shared with friends for help before you publish. I hope you like it. This might be the handiest and neatest thing I’ve ever made. 🙂

Click here to access the Draft Chrome extension.

I’ve also open sourced the Chrome extension in case anyone wants to make it better or start similar projects for Firefox and Safari.

Finally, the past couple weeks I’ve improved a lot of other things. For example:

Google Drive syncing is a lot better.
Draft is much more usable now on narrow devices like iPads in landscape mode.
There is a CTRL+r/CMD+r shortcut to switch between edit and view modes.
It’s been a really exciting couple weeks since I launched Draft. The feedback and support have been incredible. Thank you so much for the help, the criticism, and the motivation.

Stay tuned. Draft has so much more in store to help us become better writers. I’m just getting started.

-Nate”

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Code, Snags and Developer Gurus

The very first event I organised since joining Reactive’s Sydney office was ‘Code and Snags‘, and despite being drummed up pretty much last minute, it was a fabulous success. Some of the uber-developers from Web Directions South including conference director John Allsopp and some of his speakers attended our little shindig in Surry Hills.

Very special mention goes out to three of our guests:
Josh Clark, author of O’Reilly book ‘Tapworthy – mobile design and UX‘, currently working on mobile content experiences for the New York Times. Chatting with him actually inspired the title of my next talk at NEWTup.
Douglas Crockford, author of ‘Javascript – the good parts‘ who with his book majorly influenced how Javascript is being used today.
Paul, part of the team behind ‘Light – by Moore’s Cloud‘, a lamp driven by a web connected mini computer. It is completely open-source and has hit Kickstarter (go, pledge!). See  the lamp’s website here.

It’s safe to say that everyone had a good chinwag over beers and snags – and some serious developer bro-mance was in the air! Reactive Melbourne’s Tech Director Troy and a few of his Melbourne team later joined us for the conference itself – nice write ups of the conference speakers here on Sharepoint and here on Everguide.

Electronic Tinkering in The Rocks

The Rocks is a very pretty and tourist-friendly destination. And as I keep discovering through the council’s pop-up initiative, it is also fertile ground for creative experimentation. The case in hand is ‘&Company’ who have temporarily taken over a store next to the MCA.

Apart from showcasing emerging design talents they are offering quality hands-on creative workshops. Courses range from ‘Powertools for Girls‘ (no, nothing kinky going on here) to ‘Interactive Electronic Objects‘.

I took the latter which was an introductory course into Arduino, the open-source microcontroller / software suite for programming. And I had a blast tinkering away my Sunday, plugging cables into speakers, triggering LED lights and getting my hands dirty with (processing-based) code. There is an intermediate course still available – get amongst it!

top 2 images by &Company

 

You are listening to … Los Angeles


You are listening to Los Angeles” is a mesmerizing and beautiful collage of two sound streams. Ambient music (via SoundCloud) and live police radio (scanner audio from RadioReference.com) come together to form an audio experience reminiscent of films like Paul Haggis ‘Crash‘ and Michael Mann’s ‘Collateral‘. Other US cities are available as well – I have done a quick search on Sydney police radio but am not sure it is available online.

I just pledged a few dollars to help creator Eric Eberhardt, himself a digital product manager and UX designer, develop an iPhone app version of the site. I imagine the mobile experience, walking the streets while listening to the two streams together, to be quite an interesting (if not creepy) experience.

Near future communication at Mojo

“Swipe, tap and eat” –  a little update from the Creative Technology front at MOJO. We have partnered with Amnesia/Razorfish and the University of Sydney to develop a mobile application that could change the way we order our favourite meals. We helped MA student Stephen Davis to devise, test and program ‘BrandTable’. It is concept that allows shoppers to order food with only a tap of their mobile phone, using near-field-communication (NFC). A popular smartphone feature in Japan and Korea, NFC will sweep into the Australian market in 2012. Our video of the prototype, which you can see here, has already caught the attention of global technology blogs TechCrunch and Engadget.
We know Australians love smartphones and social networking, so we will continue to explore this technology. Any progressive creative idea, from mobile couponing, real-time scavenger hunts to launching branded films, can be propelled by NFC. And that makes it very near-future-communication for us at MOJO.

Making / Hacking Films: Creative Social Sydney

The latest Antipodean Creative Social, organised by Publicis Mojo took place at Finch, a very progressive content production company down here in Sydney. We met with Emad Tahtouh, their Head of Technology, who presented how Finch works with e.g. the Eye Writer in order to explore new creative concepts, innovative production and augmentation of video. Here is a doco of the evening.

To me it is remarkable that Finch invests in emerging and experimental technologies as they relate to video production. And if you look at Emad’s soldering table you know he is a real tinkerer. I’d be curious to know if other production companies worlwide are offering similar approaches. Or is it still left to the digital agencies to bring these new impulses into the video space?

Emad Tahtouh's work space

Emad Tahtouh's work space

Emad Tahtouh

Emad Tahtouh

CS Sydney donning the bipolar glasses

CS Sydney donning the bipolar glasses

LG Smart TV puts you into the impossibly awesome movie trailer

We recently got tasked by LG Australia to create an online campaign for their top range of Smart TVs. The general point of Smart or Connected TVs is to combine web browsing and accessing personal and social media with  scheduled free-to-air and cable TV programs.

We created a not-so serious dramatisation of the users’ entertainment options. Our “Your Digital Life” makes you the hero of an impossibly awesome movie trailer. From action, sports to romance, you can have it all. Oh, and did we mention a Nobel Prize worthy intellect holding it all together?

The talent in this example is Tim Burrowes, editor of Australian marketing blog Mumbrella. The Facebook integration contains potentially a world first. As soon as you connect via facebook “Your Digital Life” features your face, personal facts and friends prominently in the film. But additionally it uses text-to-speech to turn 2 of your status updates into dialogue in it. So true to the tag line, an LG Cinema 3D Smart TV really “puts you in the picture”.

LG Your Digital Life

LG Your Digital Life

Just today I stumbled across a classic Italian animation, “La Ligna” with a story line not unlike our “Your Digital Life”. Being framed in the television set did not seem so desirable back in the 1970s.

Additionally, BBH Labs wrote an interesting piece on the impact of connected TV on video content production and advertising. Check it out here: Part 1 and Part 2. Indeed, how much will these TV sets change the way we couch surf? What do you think?