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meet markkit. the web's text highlighter

Markkit is a web2.0 text highlighter. Drag’n’Drop the markkit yellow pen into your browser toolbar. Whenever you want to highlight text in a web page, click on the markkit bookmarklet. Head’s up: Markkit works only with Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome and Apple Safari.  (You know, browsers that don’t suck.)

Want to try Markkit right now?
Click this puppy right here then drag over any text on my site!  → markkit



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neat little robot experiment: Tweenbots

Meet Tweenbots - A nerdy and fun project of an ITP student in NYC. Tweenbots are human-dependent robots that navigate the city with the help of pedestrians they encounter. Rolling at a constant speed, in a straight line, Tweenbots have a destination displayed on a flag, and rely on people they meet to read this flag and to aim them in the right direction to reach their goal.

from the site:

In New York, we are very occupied with getting from one place to another. I wondered: could a human-like object traverse sidewalks and streets along with us, and in so doing, create a narrative about our relationship to space and our willingness to interact with what we find in it? More importantly, how could our actions be seen within a larger context of human connection that emerges from the complexity of the city itself? To answer these questions, I built robots.<p>

Given their extreme vulnerability, the vastness of city space, the dangers posed by traffic, suspicion of terrorism, and the possibility that no one would be interested in helping a lost little robot, I initially conceived the Tweenbots as disposable creatures which were more likely to struggle and die in the city than to reach their destination. Because I built them with minimal technology, I had no way of tracking the Tweenbot’s progress, and so I set out on the first test with a video camera hidden in my purse. I placed the Tweenbot down on the sidewalk, and walked far enough away that I would not be observed as the Tweenbot––a smiling 10-inch tall cardboard missionary––bumped along towards his inevitable fate.

The results were unexpected. Over the course of the following months, throughout numerous missions, the Tweenbots were successful in rolling from their start point to their far-away destination assisted only by strangers. Every time the robot got caught under a park bench, ground futilely against a curb, or became trapped in a pothole, some passerby would always rescue it and send it toward its goal. Never once was a Tweenbot lost or damaged. Often, people would ignore the instructions to aim the Tweenbot in the “right” direction, if that direction meant sending the robot into a perilous situation. One man turned the robot back in the direction from which it had just come, saying out loud to the Tweenbot, “You can’t go that way, it’s toward the road.”

The Tweenbot’s unexpected presence in the city created an unfolding narrative that spoke not simply to the vastness of city space and to the journey of a human-assisted robot, but also to the power of a simple technological object to create a complex network powered by human intelligence and asynchronous interactions. But of more interest to me was the fact that this ad-hoc crowdsourcing was driven primarily by human empathy for an anthropomorphized object. The journey the Tweenbots take each time they are released in the city becomes a story of people’s willingness to engage with a creature that mirrors human characteristics of vulnerability, of being lost, and of having intention without the means of achieving its goal alone. As each encounter with a helpful pedestrian takes the robot one step closer to attaining it’s destination, the significance of our random discoveries and individual actions accumulates into a story about a vast space made small by an even smaller robot.

for a sneak peek at more robots (coming soon) look here.

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alternate reality meets Twitter

squidder barcode t shirt 480x342

Dear Squidder, you win.

why, you ask?

The genius flash-in-the-pants and optical-recognition lovers that go by the name Squidder have been showing off two new systems that tie augmented reality into Twitter. Their first project is a t-shirt with a FLAR barcode that, when recognized by a webcam-enabled computer, pulls up the encoded Twitter username and displays their latest tweet as a video overlay. Rediculious. (That means awesome, Mom.)

Augmented Reality T-Shirts:

(Please visit here for more info on the Augmented Reality Shirt Project.)

The second task, meanwhile, is cutting out the barcode and having the system recognize users by face. Redonkulous. (Even more awesomer than rediculous.)

Facial Recognition meets Twitter:

(Please visit here for more info on the Augmented Reality Shirt Project.)

Hokay soh, the facial-recognition system isn’t totally working; it currently doesn’t actually recognize individual users, just any face moving into frame. However software that can do that is already out there, and merely requires some more time and effort pulling everything together.

Of course, Twitter is just one source of information; Squidder is also suggesting that the system could call up a Facebook profile, or in fact just about anything.

Is it all getting all Minority Report in here?

[via Official UK LG blog]


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the itsy bitsy search engine

Meet TinyAsk, a tool that provides simple access to the worlds best internet search engines and information resources RIGHT FROM YOUR ADDRESS bar. :) Pointless? No. Brilliant. Read on.

Just type in the address bar followed by yodur search term, hit enter, and search!

Ex: in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

You can also use it in page links: Carmen Sandiego

want more options?

But wait, there’s more. The follwing lists a extension of short-cuts for the TinyTask tool. TinyTask, by default, searches all these resources. But what if you only wanted to focus on one? It does that too! :) For example:

To search Digg ONLY - use
To search Google ONLY - use
To search Live ONLY - use
To search Mahalo ONLY - use
To search Netscape ONLY - use (Not sure why you’d fucking bother, though?) :)
To search YouTube ONLY - use
To search Yahoo ONLY - use

TinyTask was Developed by David LeMieux

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shhh! i'm watching a video for fuck's sake

quick! drag this button into your toolbar:


Meet Quietube: Online video without the distractions. This little app lets you watch web videos without the comments and crap, just by dragging the button above into your browser’s bookmarks toolbar. Once you have it up there, head over to YouTube, Viddler, or Vimeo, and find your favorite clip. Once the clip starts loading - just his your new bookmark button “Quietube” in your toolbar and view in peace.


OH! and you can then make short URLs too, to send the quietube version of the video to your friends (instead of the one on YouTube that is full of bullshit, and totally mean comments.) They hurt. They really do. :)

Here’s an example.
Here’s a quick tutorial.

Huge props to STML @ Apt for this one.



lose "wait"

So you show up at your favorite Cheesecake Factory ready to stuff your fat face full of fried foccacia, but the line is around the friggin’ block. You have two choices: Sit and wait. Forever. (Whilst holding the dumbest invention in all the land - the buzzing beer coaster.) Or head to the next spot on your list. Maybe their line won’t suck. But let’s face it you really wanted some fucking Cheesecake.


Now you have a new option (are you listening Cheesecake Factory?). Your mobile number. Yep. Your mobile number. Vis-a-vis the fine folks at Qless.

QLess is looking to provide a more logical system that uses your mobile phone. You can check into a line by sending a txt message or making a phone call, without even the need for someone to physically check you in. Then, you’ll simply receive a txt message or phone call when your turn in line has come up.

What does all that mean, fatboy? (Geez I’m angry today). Now you can go and walk the avenue with your hot date until your txt arrives. When it does, txt the hottie back at the Cheesecake Factory and let her know you’re 10 min away. (She’ll bump you 10 min in line) est voila! your seat is waiting. Neat, right? You might have even walked off some of that double order of corn fritters you’re about to order because you can’t help yourself every time you go. Too much info? :)

but wait, there’s more

In addition to making things more convenient for customers, QLess offers establishments that use it a number of marketing and research features. For example, you can send out coupons to customers that are waiting in line, and utilize analytics to see how your establishment is trending in terms of return customers or average wait time.

While restaurants are the most logical place for something like QLess to take hold, the company is also targeting kinkos, post offices, and the DMV, and pretty much anywhere you want to shoot your face off because “those fucking morons behind the counter can’t seem to get their shit toegether…”

As a customer, there’s not much more to see other than a txt message and a high five from your amazed friends, but as a business that might want to consider implementing its service, QLess’ website offers some more details on the features and how to get setup.

So what are you waiting for (ahem Cheesecake Factory, ahem…) get your asses over to and make me a sandwich!



hello! runners map

Saw this over Iain’s shoulder yesterday and I just had to share. Running is a solitary sport. But the interwebs (and all sorts of mobile / community apps) have created a tremendous opportunity to “lessen the running loneliness” as it were. Adidas Japan, making full use of leading-edge web technology, has introduced a brand new app that aims to do just that.

Meet Hello! Runners Map developed by 777interactive. The user/runner can show up either pre/post run and draw their route on a map. Once drawn, the widget then gives them their route mashed up using Google Street View to preview and “pre-run” their run. But what I thought was really cool was that you can share that mashup - a fun way to play and display your runs for other friends (foes?). Put it on your bloggy pants or even on your MyFace and SpaceBook. Heck even tweet that shit. Pretty neato.

Oh, and bear with some of the translation weirdness. This launched in Japan. Weeeee!



tune in to twitter radio

from the site:

Mark McKeague, a student at Queen’s University Belfast, has invented a radio that tunes in to and broadcasts messages posted on the social-networking site Twitter. In addition, the tweets are sorted by sentiment, such as happy or sad, based on their content. McKeague, who studies music technology, has created an interactive version of this radio twitter that allows people to listen to messages posted on the website in real time.

“I came up with the idea when thinking about the amount of information that is being broadcast on the internet, through numerous social networks and personal sites,” said McKeague in a press interview. “There is so much information being broadcast and most of it goes unread and unnoticed. I wanted to find a new way to use this information.”

McKeague found a radio when he was home for Christmas and liked its old-fashioned style and feel. He took it apart and added an Arduino microcontroller, commonly used in DIY electronics projects, that picks up on the radio’s tuning dial. He added a connection to the radio’s speakers and wrote software to download tweets and send them to the radio.

Via: Technology Review



display your DNA

You might have heard of the new craze of being able to DNA and Gene map with companies like 23andMe where you get a “Mint-like” output of your bodies most intimate and intricate details - including ancestry and health related risks as you grow older. Sweet. Sign me up.

But this post isn’t about that. It seems there is another company rushing to the DNA documentation business, but this time - as an Art Form. That’s right. Apparently your DNA is beautiful and you can hang a snap of it in your room. Check out DNA-DX.

from the site:

DNA-DX has fused science and art to bring you GenePortraits. These dazzling paintings are the most beautiful and modern Canvas representations of the most important person you know, You.

the process is simple:

1. Customise your GenePortrait through our website
2. Send us your DNA sample using our ‘painless cheek swab’ sampling kit
3. Await your masterpeice




(free) tilt-shift maker

This site enables anyone to easily transform any existing digital photos into tilt-shift style miniatures - for free.

Here’s one I just made as a demo. (A shot of a shack more than 200 yards away from the camera, I took in Montana in 2002.)

And the original:




sweetness!! jimmy uses the interwebs

More innovation in the music world. I love when musicians dabble in social media. When done right, it can be a elegant smashing of the “3rd wall”.

Jimmy Eat World has just launched a new site for its American tour that uses Twitter to give fans an easy way to chat about each concert before, after and during the event. Awesome. To use the system, simply send a tweet to @jimmyeatworld, followed by the date of the upcoming concert you’ll be attending. Here are the complete instructions:

Check out the new Jimmy Eat World tour section at! You can tweet about our upcoming tour dates by tweeting @jimmyeatworld #YYYYMMDD (where YYYYMMDD is the date of the show). For example, @jimmyeatworld #20090223 can’t wait to see you in New York!

Tweets pertaining to each show are separated and presented on their own pages, wich is awesome as it makes each show moving forward gets a “social documentary” of sorts that could live on far longer than the show or the band themselves. Really amazing way to relive a moment. Imagine reliving woodstock? Actually scratch that.  Bad idea.

Anyhows, it’s a cool system, but it could probably use some work - for example - the length of the hash tags (#___) could get frustrating if you wanted to really chat it up. Hey guys, why not use an easy abbreviation for each show #sf_jimmy).

Just another sign that Twitter is definitely going mainstream.



Google Latitude: schedule impromtu meetups or stalk people. the choice is yours

Welp, if you read my last post you prolly saw my rant about Loopt and Tweetie and how 2009 is the year for location based networking. Wait for it…waiiiit for iiiiit….

I told you so. :)

Meet Google Latitude. Google’s next foray into location based networking (miss you, dodgeballl. sniff.) It lets you see where your friends are on a map (Google Maps for mobile and iGoogle) so you can plan an impromptu meetup, see that a loved one got home safely, or you know, stalk people.

But that’s not the bad news. The bad news? (No iPhone support yet.) Grr.

It was only a matter of time before Google entered this market, and no doubt millions of people will soon be flooding the service with their up-to-the-minute location details. With the combination of Google Maps, Google Latitude, Google Friend Connect, and Android, it’s not very difficult to begin daydreaming about the potential for this service.

But it’s also a leap of faith as a user, entrusting Google with yet another piece of data that helps them figure out the puzzle of understanding you - and how and where you’re likely to perform actions that put money in Google’s pocket. It will be interesting to see where Google goes with this one - and interesting to see where you’re going, you know, now that I can stalk you.




Neato. Just discovered Webmynd and I really like it. From the site:

Personalize your search — Visualize your browsing. WebMynd helps you find and keep track of information from the sources that you most value. Personalize the right-hand side of Google with sources such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Amazon, and your WebMynd visual browsing history. Record your browsing like a DVR for the web with easy privacy configuration.
See images, reviews and download for Firefox here.



get rich quick with the new platform fund. ok, not really. but kinda...

It is getting mixed reviews, but I think this is fantastic. Want to make something geeky but need an extra 3k to do it? Ask these guys.

Consulting firm Herman Blackbook launched a new micro-fund for application developers who want to build stuff on top of “Twitter, Boxee, AppNexus, Trulia, iPhone, etc” called the New Platforms Fund.

You give up a little bit of IP…and they are only investing in “up to 10 cutting edge ideas.”

Whatcha think? Get on it!



Ford Parental Control 2.0?

Meet MyKey Ford’s new programmable key/dashboard that does three basic things: it allows parents to limit a vehicle’s top speed, it allows parents to limit the stereo’s volume up to 44% of its max, and it allows them to set a sustaining chime if the seatbelts aren’t being used.

I applaud Ford for their efforts trying to take a proactive stance at attempting to make driving a bit safer for teenagers. But the new Ford MyKey is taking the driving nanny thing too far. Ford, sometimes you can over-do it with technology and this new innovation takes the cake.

Parents: talk to your children. Teach them about their automobile. Healthy relationships have a foundation of trust. When parents respect and trust their children their relationship matures. When parents trust their children and their children make a mistake (like a speeding ticket or god forbid, an accident) - lessons are learned - valuable lessons.

I can admit to learning some big driving lessons when I was a teenager. I sometimes think back at how lucky I was being able to walk away from some of the predicaments my car and I found ourselves in. And today, I cringe in fear at the thought of my children driving someday and making their own choices behind their own wheels. But, as scary as it is - I’m OK with that the responsibility I have as a parent to let my children make their own decisions and help them learn from their mistakes. That’s what parenting is about. And if there is one thing I learned from being a teen with too much energy - any attempt at bridling my spirited nature - was met with much retaliation.

I for one don’t want Ford teaching my son about automobiles. I’ll happily take that task on myself.



this is just awesome

So I found this site today. There is something about this app that celebrates Typography in every way my brain is inclined to see it. Play with it…and don’t forget to enter your own letters. Really amazing stuff - for such a simple toy.

Typography is a special thing for me. I wouldn’t say I’m the best Typographer - far from it. But I am always fascinated by typefaces and their relationship to how expressive a designer can be in any medium. I’ve found over the years (and it has always amazed me) how certain designers can really have communion with Typography while other so called “Designers” don’t even scratch the surface. To me, Typography is something that appeals to all senses. It’s a design adventure. (Just ask my buddy Erok (and his Typography Friday experiments.



trip it!

Hey there. I discovered this neat little single-server today: Trip It!

what is it?

Trip It is an instant travel planner. Book your hotel. Book your back massage. Book your air fare (just not on Delta, apparently) and sent it to and Trip It will organized your itinerary and send it to you. Awesome. Would have been a Rich Idea if ANY of your favorite Airline or Hotel brands thought of it first. But they didn’t. So now one will have to acquire them. :P