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Life io at Supernova
Back in March, I explained what’s been keeping me busy for so long. I’m working long term for a New York based startup Attap (pronounced ‘ay-tap’), and the product we’ve been working on, Life io, has been selected as a Top Connected Innovator at the Supernova 2006 conference this week. This means a little more information is being released on what it is, but essentially it’s a ‘Life Organiser’. Before anyone says ‘not another calendar app’, thats not what Life io is about. You’ll see! ;o)
I also want to quickly mention that working with me on the design of Life io is none other than John Oxton. They say you should never work with Children or Animals… or Friends. Working with friends is a dangerous situation, and has before been the cause of lost friendships. Thank goodness then, that collaborating with John is going really, really well! I’m working on the interface design, and John takes up the challenge of working out how to code them in CSS and XHTML. I’m savoring the freedom of not worrying about browser/platform issues! I’d love to have been at the conference with John and the Attap peeps, but it was hard enough juggling life and children to get to @media, let alone San Fransisco. Hope y’all having a good time!
What I'm doing at the moment
I keep being asked why I’m so busy, so I here’s a quick summary of what’s going on at the moment:
First of all, what I’m not doing…
- I’m not writing a book. I’ve been toying with the idea of self-publishing for a couple of years now, but it’s come to nothing.
- I’m not preparing to speak at any conferences (although I am on a panel at @media). It has to be said, speaking is not where my skills are.
- I’m not redesigning my branding and site, although I desperately want to. I have various ideas, but after sitting on them for a week or two, I always reject them. Then everytime I see another leaf logo, I get embarrased that I haven’t done anything about it yet.
Now, what I am doing…
What I am doing is working for Attap (which stands for ‘All things to all People’). As well as Riffs (which I worked on) and PersonalDNA (which I did a little work on), with another site to follow, as well as the biggie project LifeIO. My favourite part so far was the Attap ‘wee guy’ logo as he/she is affectionately known. It came together very quickly (once I’d turned the ‘a’ on it’s side).
I can’t say more about LifeIO than what the holding page does, except that I’m very excited to be given the chance to a project like this. It’s design is something to really get my teeth into. I know the amount of web apps being released is getting past silly, to the point where apathy is setting in. Barely a day goes by without another ‘Sign up, and we’ll tell you when we’re ready to Beta test’ goes by, or someone else drops the last vowel in their name. Its a harder market to release apps into than it was when Basecamp or Flickr started. This doesn’t put me off though, it just makes it more a challenge to do the best job I can on LifeIO.
I am also getting psyched up for another SXSW. I fly out next Thursday with other Britpackers, and I am so looking forward to it, despite my usual find-it-hard-to-leave-the-family-behind sadness. If you’re there, please come and say hi!
I’ve also been trying out Feedlounge and Wordpress (not as a replacement for this site, but as a CMS for a new site). More on those soon!
Riffs, now for Safari too
As promised earlier, Riffs is now able to open its doors to Safari. Believe me, no one is more glad to see this than me!
There is now a blog to accompany the site – riffs on riffs so that Attap can communicate about what they’re up to, new features & changes, as well as gather more feedback about the site. If they let me, I’ll also use this to write about the CSS issues I encountered and solved whilst designing the site.
The inaugural post explains the Safari problems that held it back at the soft launch.
There’s still more to do, make sure you send in your feedback.
Riffs: your social recommender
At last, I can finally talk about what I’ve working on for the last 5 months! It’s so hard to work in stealth mode, and when everyone asks you why you’re so busy, you have to say “a thing”. Anyway, today, Riffs has gone live in ‘public alpha’ mode.
Riffs is a recommendations engine, a place to rant and rave about anything, recommend and get recommendations. My main use for it will probably be to give music recommendations, but you could use it to rate and review a gig, movie, conference or meal you’ve just had. Perhaps you want to get users opinions of a certain digital camera? While this is the early life of riffs, there are already over 10 million items in the database, and we’ve tried to make the process of adding a new item as quick and easy as possible.
There’s also the social network side of riffs. If you see someone with similar tastes you, add them to your riffrs, and keep up to date with what they’re reviewing. There’s a lot going on in there, but i wanted to give you a brief overview.
As this is an Alpha stage, yes, there are rough edges, and many changes/improvements/code cleaning still to come. Its there to try out, give feedback and help advance. Open Firefox/Camino/Flock/IE if you must, get stuck in and have a play around. (Please feedback to Attap though!). Safari support is coming very soon!
While I was worried about the scrutiny that the code is going to get, I decided sod it. I’ve worked long and hard on this site, and the Attap team much more so. I’m proud to have got to this stage, and really want to show you all what I’ve been up to for so long. I see that 37 Signals have picked up on it already (i’m glad the logo rollover tickled their fancy so much!).
Oh, about that font. Its VAG rounded, which I did use on another project. My lesson learnt is never to include it in any more design options. In the case of Riffs/Attap though, it felt the most applicable though, so I make no apologies! I’m still desperate to use Omnes on a project though.
There are lots of CSS things I want to write about, like the fact that Firefox 1.07 threw up so many problems compared to 1.5, or the odd IE fix that saved my bacon at the last hurdle. they can wait for when there’s more time.
This is the just one of the projects I’m working with Attap on, there’s more to come…