Design Made In Germany Magazine


It’s rare that I post a random design piece or the like in this blog. But I do urge you to check out the Design Made In Germany magazine:

Why? Not only is it a good magazine. They also got the web part exactly right: The layout adjusts fluidly and smoothly to all screen sizes (including mobile). The web version is playful and gorgeous. There’s feedback buttons on every page. And it’s all shareable. In fact, it’s all made to share. There’s the standard tweet & “i like” buttons, but you can even (like I did above) embed the whole magazine in your website (embed codes).

The whole thing is one consistent experience across all platforms. Great, great, great!

Tom O’Reilly: Forget the PC, think mobile instead


Over at O’Reilly Radar, Tim O’Reilly shared the story of a friend who realized the future is here. (Hint: It’s in your pocket.)

photo (c) jan chipchase (www.janchipchase.com) Image by Jan Chipchase

The story goes something like this: Vic was out for dinner with family and friends. The adults were on one side of the table, the kids on the other. The adults were debating some issue, and Vic said, in response to a question from one of his friends, “I don’t know.” His four-year old daughter Samantha, whom everyone knows as “Tiger,” piped up from the other side of the table: “Daddy, where’s your phone?” “What do you mean, where’s my phone?” She explained that she’d overheard the question. Why wasn’t he just looking up the answer on his phone? Out of the mouths of babes. Vic said that he realized in that moment that the era of the PC was over, and that the future belonged to cloud applications accessed via phones. […] [Until know I thought] about the web as experienced on a PC, and then about mobile as an add on. The tipping point has come; that notion has to flip: if we’re trying to get ahead of the curve, we need to think first about the phone, and then think about the PC browser experience as the add-on.

That’s a good, and incredibly important point. From what I see happening all around me, mobile is discussed a lot, and of course there’s a lot of (mostly smaller) service catering to iPhones and the like. But primarily the web is perceived as something you access from your laptop, or even desktop. What’s wrong about that? Simply what I emitted in Tim’s quote above, which is:

Kamla Bhatt was busting my chops about the same subject when I did an interview with her last week for Mint, the Indian business site. “Tim, you don’t talk enough about mobile!” she said. “In India and around the world, there is a whole new generation that accesses the internet, and they have never seen a PC. To them, it’s all on their phone.”

Emerging markets and all those areas in the world where PCs aren’t ubiquitous. In large parts of the world, cellphones are the way to go, now and in the future. PCs and laptops may never make it there, at least they won’t play the same role as they do in the richer industrialized countries.

A great read about the role of cellphones in developing countries can be found in the NYTimes: Can the Cellphone Help End Global Poverty? If there’s one person who does the really cool research in this area, it’s Jan Chipchase of Nokia, who’s also quoted extensively in this article. Jan goes to all those countries, cities, neighborhoods in less industrialized countries and checks out what people do with their phones, how they interact with them, which role those phones play in their professional and personal lives. It’s incredibly fascinating; and it’s clear that we should look much more into mobile than just developing more web services for 17/15/13 inch screens and full QWERTY keyboards. Instead, small screens, different input devices, location-based and context-based features are things we should be really looking into. Interested? For a good starter reading I recommend Jan Chipchase’s blog. No matter if you read it on your laptop or your cellphone.

Ubiquity brings text back to browsing, let’s you mash up everything


Fresh from the Mozilla labs, Ubiquity looks like one of those plugins that might seriously change the way we do stuff on the web, or rather: in our browsers. It’s a new user interface that comes as a Firefox plugin, and it allows you to “ask” your browser for stuff by text. Sounds kind of… lame, or old-school? Maybe. But seriously, in this case I don’t think it is. I haven’t found the time to check it out more thoroughly, but take this video as a token; I’ll take it for a spin asap.

Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

Update: I’ve been testing Ubiquity for a few days now. First of all, it’s becoming more and more clear to me that a smart, language-based interface like this can be extremely powerful. The whole idea of on-the-fly mashups is pretty amazing. That said, it has a long way to go, just as it can be expected from an early prototype. (Ubiquity is a 0.1 alpha version.) The interface isn’t too powerful yet and doesn’t always get what you enter, emailing can be a bit awkward at first. However, the potential is clear from the very beginning. As of now, it’s something for what Robert Scoble calls “the passionates“. If you consider yourself a more settled down type of consumer, then you’d better wait for a while. If you’re one who enjoys tinkering, then what are you waiting for? Go get it and take it for a spin!

Berlin Web Buzz This Fall: Web2Expo & BarCampBerlin 3


This fall, Berlin will be buzzing with web stuff once more: O’Reilly’s Web2Expo will be in town, and it’ll be surrounded by a lot of smaller events. Most notably the way-more-intimate BarCamp Berlin in its third installment, aka #BCB3. Last year, this meant a week or so full of web events as the Twitterati flocked to town. For me, it was Nerdvana.

I had a great time at Web2Expo and Barcamp Berlin last fall, geeking out and doing video interviews with both speakers and attendees. My personal favorite? I asked Tim O’Reilly how he’d tell his mom what Web 2.0 is. Here‘s what he* said:

(*Yes, I realize the movie start screen doesn’t show Tim O’Reilly himself.)

If you get a chance, make sure to say hi. To coordinate, why not just connect through the BarCampBerlin Mixxt Network or on Twitter? Also, Web2Expo will surely put up their own conference social network Crowdvine again, but it doesn’t seem to be up yet.

And, just because it rocks, here’s the BarCampBerlin logo, designed by Kosmar:

BarCampBerlin3, Logo designed by Kosmar (kosmar.de)

It’s still early, but if you like to follow the process, BCB Soup and bcberlin3 on Twitter are a good way to go.