lovehate: 3 Found Websites, 300 Subscribers

It's not often I just start picking up new websites/services. It's not that I intentionally avoid such things, it's simply that I spend more time writing and recording than exploring. This past week, however, I've jumped in on betas of a few sites that range from the popular to relatively unknown:,,
Brizzly has certainly been the darling of the social media set for the past couple of weeks as every strained to get their invites after being pissed off that they didn't find invites for Google Wave. Combining your Facebook and all of your Twitter accounts into a web interface is fairly cool, although it's been done by sites like Hootsuite and Friendbinder plus others.
I haven't really explored Brizzly enough to find how different it really is from the sites already out there. Maybe that's because I really enjoy the functionality of a stand-alone app for Twitter. I've been using Tweetdeck for the better part of a year now, and I have no real plans to turn back to the browser. I can appreciate the pull toward a browser-based solution by people in Enterprise environments where installing Adobe Air and a Social Networking app is a pipe dream at best. Perhaps in such an environment I would be looking for the best browser solution as well.
I like that Brizzly is doing what it's doing; I just don't know if I want to be doing it.
In looking for an online solution to creating flowcharts, I suppose I should've guessed that would've been a best guess - but I'm not prone to thinking things are that easy and it actually took me a bit of searching to find it. I'm becoming increasingly impressed at the interfaces that are being developed for web applications that create/edit graphics, sounds and video. While this is also a case where a freeware stand-alone app would probably be my first choice. I appreciate that I can do this online. does offer a pretty simple interface that I found it really easy to get used to. Admittedly, I have very rare occasion to ever create flowcharts, but I was thinking of making one for a blog post the other night. I realized that, where 10 years ago I used to have a bunch of apps installed on my PC that I could use for such a task, my lack of need to make flowcharts had diminished my software options. At least if I need to make a flowchart in the future, the URL will not be easy to forget.
Wrapping up my triumvirat of web exploration came perhaps the most appropriate site for the upcoming gift-giving season: For those of you that fondly remember Woot-Offs when a series of deals would revolve around at, the makers have basically added Digg functionality to deals. Users can submit their own deals and rate and rank them. What you essentially end up with is a dynamically-changing deals network. As you start to shuffle through some of the deals, you'll be able to sort by keywords, online stores or users and vote up the deals that you like. They've even aggregated a leaderboard that allows you to check out all of the deals stats that you could want.

Living in Canada, there are many of these deals that I can't take complete advantage of, but that's what snowbird parents and VISA are for. Not a brilliant trio of websites for sure - but certainly functional for the right reasons at the right times. I don't regularly "review" websites anyway... I know, a pretty weak lovehate right?

Actually, all this is a prelude to saying thanks to my 302 subscribers on Posterous. I had to wait a week to break 300, but I've been busy and beat and bereft of ideas when I get home most nights. (I hope at least some of you are enjoying the eclectic video embeds.)

I know that when radio stations get one caller for a contest, they have the market research that establishes the ratio of callers to listeners. I have to say that the community here at Posterous has been a joy to share ideas with and to gain so much knowledge from. Thanks Garry and Sachin for kicking things into gear a year and a half ago. Thanks to the new team members for the great additions. And thanks to everyone who has read even one full post from lovehatethings.

I've got to keep writing for sanity alone. If someone enjoys the reading, that's an added bonus. There are plenty of other communities out there. I'm glad I found this one when I did.

thinglets: Graffiti Creator

If you're artistically-minded, but consumately lazy (like me) you might enjoy to generate an image like the one above. It walks you step by step through the entire process online, using Flash, and allows you to print out your creation at the end.

Fun to play with and a neat way to make your a new web banner, my gaudy creation above was made in a total of about 5 minutes... gee, can't you tell?

lovehate: Belated Thoughts on Google Chrome OS

When Google made a late-night announcement earlier this week that they would be releasing a lightweight Linux-based OS that booted in seconds and allowed users to live in the clouds, I was all YEAAAHHH! And then I thought about it and I was all YEAAAHH... I think.

In as much as love the big software, hardware and webware giants pushing each other around in order to push innovation and refine user needs and concerns, the Chrome OS is probably a good thing. Will this OS effectively help to redefine the OS concept or just essentially become an OS lite for cloud-dwellers? I really don't have a problem if this is the case, but somehow even this move doesn't have me stretching my mind to applaud where the OS has become.

For instance, while I have no doubt that 90% of what I do on my PC now could be accomplished by web apps, the other 10% cannot and, even though it's only 10%, they are things that need to be done. In fact, I can probably do almost 99% of my PC activities via online apps, but many of these things would be a pain in ass as the interfaces have not reached the ambitions of the backend web developers.

Aviary is a great tool for online photo manipulation, but it is just that, an online tool. If anyone is to spend serious time working with dozens or hundreds of photos on a regular basis, a desktop app would be hard to give up. While I've there are even options for online editing of audio and video files, I would imagine the process would take way more time that a regular desktop app.

And this said, Google is not (at least yet) proposing to take over everyone's PC with the Chrome OS. The first moves are in the "netbook" field which is a PC format that I consider a vast waste of money anyway. Why are people paying what only amounts to $150 less than a full out laptop for hardware that is limited at best and ridiculously restrictive and proprietary at worst? If a netbook is being purchased in addition to a laptop and a desktop, just for kicks, go for it. But please don't the netbook replace one of the above. Honestly, even though the form factor and interface abilities of my iPod Touch are incredibly narrow compared to a laptop, I would rather carry it in my pocket than a netbook under my arm or over my shoulder.

But back to the next phase of the OS. Hadn't we all expected more by now? Is every new feature OS essentially "window-dressing" on slightly modified backends? Are we only buying into interface updates?

How different is the end user functionality of Vista or Windows 7 compared to Windows 95 - after all it's been 14 years? [Alright all you tech-heads, there's obviously a TON of development going on to ensure speed, loads, and efficiencies have improved, but I'm thinking more interface issues here.] If I want to find a file, I still browse to a folder/directory. If I want to install a program, I still double click an executable. I'm still stuck with a mouse and cursor. I've been promised voice interface for generations, but it's still not perfect and far from ubiquitous. I see great "proposed" UIs at developer's conferences and on the Discovery Channel, but hardly anything that has moved the masses from the keyboard and mouse. And maybe this is all because, other than the prominence of interacting with the web, with PC apps, we're still doing the same things: games, word processing, spreadsheets, document handling, audio/video production/editing, email and porn.

So if the prominence of the web is the grand mover behind this alternate OS by Google and probably others soon to follow, I suppose I can cheer with a certain amount of buy-in. It'll be cool, I'm sure, but it won't be game-changing... unless the game is Bejeweled 2, then I'm sold. Until then, bring on voice or thought-based interfaces and scary-cool AI with a dose of thought-based networking and fully-immersive VR to boot. 

C'mon Google! You've got all the money. Bring it on home... or, dare I say, bring it on Chrome!