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User Experience

ParkVu Brand Identity Done!

On 11, Dec 2008 | One Comment | In User Experience | By Ryan Feeley

Though I’m primarily an interface design person, from time to time I work on brand identity projects. I recently finished some design work for a very compelling software startup. Though I can’t tell you the nature the software, I can show you the logo I designed.

I really can’t wait for the project to launch because I expect I’ll have a big attachment to it!

I feel stunningly elegant tonight, darling.

On 27, Oct 2008 | One Comment | In User Experience | By Ryan Feeley

I’m pretty excited because some of my work was Boing Boinged today! The blogs and the press have started making more of a fuss lately about this addictive tool and one of the best sites around, Boing Boing, called the design “stunningly elegant”.

Because of the killer visual search technology at Idée, I’ve had the chance to do a interfaces for software that does things never before seen. More recently than the Multicolr Search is TinEye and the TinEye Music iPhone App.

There’s even cooler stuff on the horizon which you will have to wait for. Idée will have provided the stunning and hopefully I will have provided the elegant.

Face Recognition Brought to Life in Picasa Web

On 17, Sep 2008 | No Comments | In User Experience | By Ryan Feeley

I was simultaneously thrilled and creeped out when I logged into Google’s Picasa Web recently and noticed it can recognize and group together faces. Curious, I turned it on and waited about 10 minutes for it to index a thousand or so of my photos. The first page of results was astonishing — about 20 or so faces of Julia were identified as being the same person and grouped together. The next few groups also contained only photos of Julia, including a group of her in her new glasses. In the entire batch there were hundreds of faces, and only a handful of different people grouped together, or that just were not faces at all (A.K.A. false positives).

I had to take the first step of associating my contacts with the faces before it could tell me who was in the photos. That was the big brothery step because it provides Google, and anyone in the future with access to that data, the ability identify my contacts in any photos Google indexes.

It is remarkably accurate and even spotted a space on the gravestone of an ancestor of mine.

It brings up interesting questions about the access to these fingerprints. EXIF data contains exact time, geotags contain exact location, and now these fingerprints can identify people. Will advertisers be able to leverage this data? Will Google allow for public access to these fingerprints? (e.g. who is in this photo) Will Google themselves be enhancing their already massive profiles of their users with this new information?

Now that “when”, “where” and “who” are no longer relevant questions, what’s next? “What”, “why” and “how”?

Loving and hating the Popcorn Hour

On 28, Aug 2008 | 4 Comments | In Hi-fi, User Experience | By Ryan Feeley

The Popcorn Hour A-100 is a wholly remarkable media player that I have been enjoying for the past few months. It plays just about any digital format you can throw at it, including 1080p video. But what’s most remarkable about the Popcorn Hour is its price — $179 USD + shipping.

I will state up front that, as an interface designer, I find the UI to be as terrible as any DVD player I’ve ever used. And if you’re as prone to configuration problems as I am, there isn’t any documentation to speak of, so you are left to the mercy of their chaotic forums.

Once running, the device, which can house its own hard drive and stream content from over the network, plays media incredibly well and improves with each firmware upgrade. If it’s connected to the internet, firmware updates are easily applied from the admin interface.

Also built into the device is a Torrent client, and as of the latest firmware upgrade, a Linux-based Usenet client called NZBget.

Recently the Popcorn Hour people released the A-110 which costs $35 more but addresses most of the firmware concerns I had with the A-100. Surprisingly it fails to add gigabit ethernet. Guys, why cheap out?