Facebook Unfriends

Could you not image a scenario¬†where being able to “dislike” something would actually be helpful? I can. How about PR people? If I have a band and I start wearing fuzzy bunny costumes to all my shows I can immediately get a concrete response on the web. As opposed to getting fewer likes on my site then normal, I might get some dislikes and know for sure that people don’t like my bunny outfits.

That got me wondering what else Facebook isn’t telling us, which led me to “Unfriends” the page where you can actually get an answer about who doesn’t want to be your friend on Facebook anymore! It took me all weekend to build and probably won’t work right for the next few weeks anyway, but it’s done enough for alpha testing anyway.

I’ll do a proper writeup on how it all works tomorrow, but for now, try it out!


Death of the Div

So last night (it was late), there were a bunch of us sitting around after class just talking (we were rather loopy since we’d been sitting at the same table all day). At one point the conversation steers towards the <div>¬†tag, Jon sketches up a sad faced <div> tag and proudly displays it to the rest of us. We all start laughing and a minute later, Jesse comes up with a funny idea for a site, deathofthediv.com.

We all laughed and thought nothing of it, then Jesse buys the domain and issues a proclamation : “Let’s put Jon’s picture up on the site, have terrible music playing and have a place where people can leave their condolences! I have 30 minutes, let’s make this site in 30 minutes and we can’t use any div tags!”

So we get to work. Jon writes up the copy, RJ finds the music, Jesse starts coding up the site, Fouhy makes a background (which we didn’t up using) and I put together the facebook comments app, analytics and favicon.

30 minutes later, this was the result!

Already, there has been a stir about whether or not the div tag is dead or even dying…

It’s my opinion that the div tag is not actually on it’s way out. In fact I think the div will remain a staple of the web development community for at least a couple more years. However, I don’t think it can be contested that with the introduction of HTML5 elements, the div tag is no longer necessary or relevant as the “most used” semantic element. The Death of the div to me, represents a shift in usage from a “go to” element for semantic markup to “peripheral” in its use and usefulness. Already I can see section and article tags being much more useful/clean. However, there’s nothing like a good wrap from the div.

Weigh in at: deathofthediv.com!

Digital Upcycling

Darden (an instructor for BDW and project manager at mondo) brought up an interesting proposal about a week and a half ago. She wanted to do something with digital junk, but recycle it or modify it in a way that makes it more valuable to us than what it was before. She coined the term “Digital Upcycling”. She also gave us a week to produce something on the BDW Wall that would display the essence of what Digital Upcycling means.

After a couple days of brainstorming and tinkering, we were finally ready to put everything together. This timelapse captures part of the process:

Creating an upcycled installation from jesse weaver.

Max created the image and Patrick and Max painted it.

George and I created the hard drive speaker wall to the left.

Jesse, John and RJ created the beat machines that ran the hard drive speakers.

Sean created the little man with the glowing eyes.

Who Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?

Today in Joe Corr’s class we were asked to pick 3 examples of people who have our dream jobs. I chose:

  1. Chris Coyier – because he’s an expert (or at least considered by many to be an expert) but he’s also an innovator. Over the past 4 years I have been following his site and community as he created it. As Chris learned our community of avid standards based coders learned as well. I chose Chris because he’s managed to transcend a boundary between “really really good” at something and “innovator” or “leader in the field” status. Not that I necessarily want to work with CSS all day or design for that matter, but simply, I would like to become a leader in the field of my choosing, whatever that happens to be.
  2. The guys/gals at Sparkfun. Again I don’t necessarily want to work with just hardware all day. I feel a variety of different technologies mixed with a little strategy would be a good fit for me…but these guys have it good. For one, they work at a small company (that also happens to be very financially stable). Second, some of these people get to play everyday! They come up with cool projects to either build or test and then do it! Who wouldn’t want to go to work everyday and get into something and not notice that they’ve passed by lunch and it’s already the end of the day?
  3. Tim Ferriss. He experiements with what he calls “life design”. Basically he’s just really good at cutting out the bullshit. As a result, he’s amazingly successful at different activities and hobbies he takes on in a relatively short amounts of time. If I had his job, I would be spending most of my time (the other 36 hours/week) innovating in different areas of technology and social entrepreneurship. Specifically, I would help entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs make companies in developing countries. I happen to believe, despite popular belief, that the entrepreneur is the central driving engine in building stable economies and by association lifting the poor out of poverty.

Interesting exercise.

Wordle – Beautiful Word Clouds

I love clouds, I love wordle…

When making up my resume…I decided to do a version in wordle just to see how it came out…turned out nicely IMO.

Wordle: resume for mike

I used the following words to describe me.

Flickr Plugin for WordPress

Recently I decided to take an ajax widget I made for a wedding website and turn it into a wordpress plugin. It turned out to be alot easier than I thought it would be!

The plugin goes something like this:

  1. The user must specify some information in the backend, specifically a username from which to grab photos.
  2. When the page loads, use a library called phpflickr to access the flickr API and grab some photos.
  3. Once we have the data, load in the thumbnails attached to each image, and link to the larger images.
  4. Then output everything on the page and include a simple yet robust pagination system for accessing new images.

Hooking the plugin up to prettyPhoto was a bit of a task…but wordpress makes ajaxifying widgets so easy now that it became my only real hang up in the entire process.

I’m currently in the process of cleaning up the code, commenting and registering it as an officially distributed wordpress plugin.

Here’s the end result:

Facebook and Wolfram Mashup

Recently Joe Corr showed us an example of the facebook api he’d been playing with. It allowed users to login via the facebook login button, then grab interesting information with the return data. In class we were playing around with several ideas:

  1. What if facebook could predict who you’ll be hooking up with after you break up with someone?
  2. What if facebook could predict who you’re most likely cheating with?
  3. What if we could predict how has a crush on you?

I came up with an idea to simply take the numbers that represent you i.e. your birthdate, facebook id, age etc. and run them through the Wolfram API to see what interesting information we might extract.

As it turns out, some of the most interesting information has nothing to do with numbers but rather information regarding your name.

Anyway, check it out!

John B. Winsor

I tweaked WordPress a bit and built a custom theme for John, a writer, who required a very intuitive backend interface. John’s goals were to crowdsource a novel and needed something more than a simple website/blog. He had a social media plan but also needed users to be able to submit their portions of a story that would be later published as a crowd sourced novel.

His target market are current/aspiring writers age 55 and up. He wanted a space where he could give advice, blog about writing/storytelling and allow other writers to submit their short stories. Among other things, he also wanted to promote his books on amazon.

Site design: Chris Znerold

Social Media: Denise Horton

Hosting: knownhost

Backend CMS: WordPress