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Showing posts from 2011

A more confusing Internet with .brand TLDs

A few months ago, I wrote a post proposing to remove top level domains from the internet, as many people don't understand why we need TLDs. At the time I didn't know either. Removing TLDs would simplify browsing an possibly increase security by reducing phishing sites that make use of URL similarity to gain visits to potentially dangerous websites, or sites filled with ads. The ICANN, the body that manages Internet names, has for years been preparing something different but that produces a slightly similar effect than removing TLDs: allowing brands to register their own TLDs . The proposal may soon be approved has been approved . Brands would therefore be able to register their own TLDs. Google could register .google a potentially powerful TLD for their services, like Google Maps: instead of Brand TLD don't improve short urls like, but seem to be effective for use in subdomains. Registering a .<brand-name> TLD will cost

Martha Graham's Google doodle is not a video, is an image (a CSS sprite)

Today's Google doodle is featuring Martha Graham, an American modern dancer. The new doodle looks like a movie, but in fact it is only a CSS sprite. The sprite is this one:  You may be wondering how is the animation/movie appearance achieved if it only uses this static image?  The technique involves CSS sprites. A sprite is a composition of several images grouped together in order to reduce the number of required HTTP request to the server. This way a website with 50 images requires only one request for the large image composition. The entire doodle involves only one sprite, which speeds up loading a lot (compared to loading each frame separately). Google has used this technique to leverage data transfer from the servers and consequently make the animation load faster than a traditional video clip.  So how is this sprite converted to an animation? Pretend you are looking through pierced piece of paper, so that you can only look through the hole in the paper.

Weekend project: Book's I've read

It's been months since I wanted to learn databases and create a dynamic website, but it's only this weekend that I acted. In two day I learned how to use MySQL with PHP in websites and created a small project that I call "Books I've read" that stores a list of books I read (obviously). I am an avid reader and I've been storing the list of books I read (and want to read) in a text document for about a year. Finally, my project moved this list to the cloud and allows me to add, edit and update entries. The app has user authentication, so no one except me can alter my book list. The design was made in a hurry, but is good enough for my needs. Instead of using normal CSS for styling I've used LESS CSS, a dynamic stylesheet language that extends CSS with dynamic behavior, nested rules, mixins and logical operators. LESS CSS has made styling faster, but unfortunately it relies on Javascript. Without Javascript activated the website breaks. And t

Website complete: is a service that offers reviews of ideas for a competitive price. This being one of my first websites I developed I want to explain my workflow and reasoning while creating it. Dislaimer: I am only the developer and designer of the website; it is owned by E-amiga, d.o.o. I was given a lot of freedom regarding the look of the website, so it was an enjoying small project. The only guideline I was given is the general form: the client wanted it to be on one page, so that there are fewer clicks required by the user to order a business idea review. I wanted to create a website that looked professional and had a large conversion rate (the percentage of users that order the service after visiting the website). The professional look was achieved with clear lines, and attention to detail: the background patterns, the differences in border colors to imitate slight depth and a snappy feeling on hovering over the buttons among others. The resulting page is easy to scan throug

The Increased Addictiveness of Today's Video Games

This is a guest post by Miles Walker, a freelance writer and blogger who usually  compares car insurance  deals over at CarinsuranceComparison.Org. His most recent review looked at the best  car insurance quotes . Video games have always held some addiction, but now more than ever that addiction is growing. People are spending more time than ever playing the games, and game designers are constantly finding new ways keep it that way. Their efforts have a been a complete success, and some games have true addicts, addicts who play 24 hours a week or more. Visual enhancements Video games have come a long way since a certain duo of Italian plumbers started showing up in people's houses in the late 1980s. By leaps and bounds, video game graphics have become alarmingly sophisticated. Each graphical improvement increased a game's possibilities and added more depth to video games. Designers began thriving on this depth, making games with more achievements, unlocks, levels an

One language will be enough.

A few weeks ago Google released a tool that provides voice translation into several languages for free. This is a major breakthrough in democratizing voice translation technology that could bring us to an era where knowledge of foreign languages looses its importance. This is a bold statement, but I think it will happen in a few decades or maybe years. Nowadays fluency in several languages is important for several reasons including applying for a job, communicating with foreigners, travelling, education (especially for countries that don't publish enough books in their own language), accessing the internet and online resources and much more. In exception of some businesses and institutions that depend of high quality formal translations the wording required to understand a foreign text is relatively small. Most humans are not very dependent on high quality translations. For example, a tourist doesn't need to master the language of the country he's visiting, nor does an

Four qualities of good graphical visualisations

1. Show the data without distorting it. 2. Present a large amount of data and remain coherent. 3. The technique used to create the graphic should not interfere with the user reasoning about the data.  4. Reveal both a broad overview of the data, but keep enough detail for the curious viewer.

Why not discard top level domains (TLD)?

During the past few years, I've noticed an increase in the use of customized and abstract top level domain (TLD) names, such as bit. ly , bu. mp , babyli. st , etc. Even Microsoft recently registered bi. ng , and .42 has also been created. (UPDATE: Thanks to commenter tjogin for pointing out that they in fact are all country TLDs. .ly > Libya, .st->São Tomé and Príncipe, etc.) Until recently, I believed that top level domains were few, and that each served its purpose ( .com for commercial use, .edu for education, .gov for the US government, etc). The increase in usage of TLDs made me think that they are not a limitation, but that we can change them almost freely, presumed we have the knowledge to do it (Please, correct me if I am wrong and forgive my ignorance). Isn't it possible to make TLDs optional (or hidden)? Then typing just the readable part of the domain - second level domain - (e.g. google instead of ) could send you to the the a

The color clock | experiment

Inspired by Hemanth H.M's color clock project , I created my own color clock . The idea behind the color clock is to represent time in a hexadecimal color value, that can then be used to dynamically color something, like the clock background. For example 21:01:14 can be broken apart to: 21 which can be converted to C4 in Hex 01 which can be converted to 35 in Hex 14 which can be converted to 5C in Hex Putting all three numbers together gets us the color #C4355C . It has been built with Javascript and uses some CSS3 features for the design (the color transition and the radial background).

Beautiful typography for the web

There are already many websites that have began using custom web fonts using @font-face to beautify their website. Bringing custom fonts to the web increases the range of possibilities for web designers, however it can also be a drawback, if the fonts aren't used carefully. Firstly, novice designer may try to use too many different typefaces on a single website, which can become distracting and disconnecting. It is important to realize when too much is too much. As a general rule, when designing a website I never use more than three fonts. Usually I select a font font the headlines and another for the content. If required I add a third font for lower level headlines, however I prefer to use different alternations of the same font. Secondly, by using too many custom fonts, the size of the website increases. Custom web fonts have the drawback of their size. Using three to five custom fonts on a website can increase its weight by about 0.5MB which is not negligib