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Koken

Todd Dominey has been busy with his latest creation, Koken. Koken is a new web site publishing system developed for photographers, designers, artists and creative DIYs. It provides creatives with tools to manage, edit and publish personal web sites of their work. I’ve been working with Todd, designing the icons for the interface he’s created, which is looking fantastic.

What I particularly love about the way that way that Todd has announced Koken, is his use of a Facebook Timeline to show the history of the app. I’ve never seen this done for an app before, but its a grand idea, and an fascinating insight into its development.

Zootool

Main Zootool Window

The last thing I needed was more choice in apps for keeping a ‘Design Scrapbook’, but that’s what’s happened with Zootool. At first glance, it looked like just another FFFFound, Ember or Img Spark, but it turns out it’s much more than that. The developer, Bastian, told me to think of it as more of a visual Delicious. Once I got into that mindset it made more sense.

Using Lasso to round up content on the page

Organise content into packsZootool ‘lassos’ not only images, but documents (like PDFs), videos, and pages (not complete pages yet) and stores them in your ‘zoo’. Content can be organised into ‘packs’ (folders) and as you would expect, it stores the original URL, and offers fields to change the title, and add tags or a description. It also provides integration with services like Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook, along with short urls, for sharing what you’ve found.

So, rather than having favourites being stored on different sites like Delicious, Vimeo, YouTube etc, they’re all in one place. In some ways I think of it as a huffduffer for anything that isn’t audio.

What’s particularly interesting is how well it’s been engineered to act like a Mac desktop app. Double clicking or pressing space bar on the thumbnails, takes you to the detail view, just as you would expect. Multiple thumbnails can be shift-selected, and to put content into a pack, you can drag and drop it. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now, and I think it’s rather spiffing! It works so well it feels like it’s been a part of my workflow for long time.

Zootool includes an iPhone optimised view, but an app is in development

I do have a couple of concerns however. With any system that has tags, I never feel it’s worth the effort of tagging unless I can be sure that the tags are portable in some way. I can download a bookmark file from Zootool (with delicious tags), but should the service ever go down, all that data and effort is lost. This is where desktop apps like Leap that support OpenMeta win. I feel this especially in tools like Evernote and Littlesnapper – is it really worth tagging if I then change system in a few months? The answer is no – I’m tagging less and less for this very reason.

It also exists online only. Part of what I love about Evernote (which isn’t really a comparable service BTW), is that it’s everywhere, even when I don’t have a connection. However, Zootool still has a place in my life, even if it isn’t used as a design scrapbook.

If you haven’t tried Zootool yet, I recommend you give it at least a few minutes of your life. While you’re there, here’s my zoo

Life io at Supernova

life io

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!