The Wilderness Downtown, features HTML5 native video and audio, Canvas-animated birds that fly away from your mouse clicks, interactive SVG fonts, and photo panoramas from Google Maps Street View. You enter in the address of where you grew up and it pulls the images for that neighborhood to personalize the video to match your own memories.
The Wilderness Downtown was clearly a very large project and included numerous programmers, but if you’re looking to pull off something similar, or just want to play around with some of the tools used to create it, Cabello’s post provides enough of an overview to get you started.
The goal behind the Diaspora project is to create a social network that puts users in charge of their own data. As the developers put it, Diaspora aims to be a “privacy-aware, personally controlled, do-it-all open source social network.” Diaspora made headlines earlier this year for raising some $200,000 from online contributors (including Facebook).
The initial code release is considered pre-alpha — in other words, a long way from its end goal — but it’s now available to development community. If you’re a Ruby on Rails expert and you’d like to try hacking away at the project, you can grab the code from GitHub. It’s been made available under the GPLv3 [Update: It's actually the AGPLv3].
At the moment, Diaspora is capable of sharing status messages and photos privately with your friends, finding friends around the web and controlling who see what with something Diaspora calls “Aspects.”
The roadmap to October’s alpha release includes adding Facebook integration, Data Portability support and internationalization. For more details on Diaspora’s goals and timetable, check out the detailed roadmap and wish list. You can also read more about this most recent launch at Epicenter, where Wired reporter Ryan Singel is on the Diaspora beat. If you’ve got strong opinions of what Diaspora needs or doesn’t need, be sure to jump on the mailing list and make yourself heard.
Twitter launched a full redesign to its website Tuesday, showing off changes that lead Twitter.com away from its humble stream-of-updates past and towards a more interactive, app-like future.
The new Twitter went live to a select few users Tuesday afternoon and began rolling out to everyone else Wednesday. If you don’t see it yet, you will soon.
The website now has a new two-panel view. Your familiar stream of tweets runs down the left side. On the right side is a dashboard of sorts, where you can see recent activity from your followers and the people you follow, trending topics, and the list of people you might want to follow.
Click on a tweet and it expands in the right panel. There, you’ll see rich media like photos and videos, associated conversations, recent tweets by the author, and mini bios for any other people mentioned in the tweet.
Overall, the update plays on features found in popular Twitter client apps like Tweetdeck and Seesmic, and it looks quite a bit like the official Twitter app for the iPad. Somewhat like those apps, you can dive right into videos or photos without leaving the Twitter website, whereas the old site required you to leave the site or launch links in new browser tabs.
Scrolling in the timeline on the left panel is infinite. New tweets keep loading at the bottom as you scroll, so you can just keep cruising backwards into time as far as you’d like.
When you expand a tweet by clicking on it, if there’s a video or a photo from a supported site (YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr and TwitPic were all included in Tuesday’s launch) it shows up nice and big. Videos play right there, and Flickr photos are accompanied by thumbnails to the rest of the photoset, if there is one. You can choose to see embedded photos and videos from only from people you’re following, or from everyone.
Images, videos, maps and retweets are all carried over to the new individual tweet pages. “People can much more quickly grok the context of a tweet,” Twitter CEO Evan Williams said at the launch event Tuesday.
To send a new tweet, you can either use the old box, still in its familiar location, if you’re on your home page. Or, if you’re elsewhere in the system, you can click on the little icon up next to your user profile picture to launch a floating window.
Something else very appy — Twitter has incorporated keyboard shortcuts.
Keyboard shortcuts are definitely a geeky power user feature, but ask anyone who uses them in Google Reader or Gmail and they’ll tell you they can’t live without them. In fact, the keyboard shortcuts are very close to those apps.
@mentions are now accessible from a tab at the top of your timeline:
As are retweets:
There’s a new search box at the top of the page. Run searches and you can save them (click the “Save this search” button up top) to keep track of new results. Saved searches will then live in a tab next to Retweets at the top of your timeline.
Lists are handy — I keep two or three that I browse every morning to catch up on tech news. Twitter has moved your lists into the last tab at the top of the timeline.
The redesign uses some cutting-edge web technology, including LABjs to speed things up and jQuery for the animated, Ajaxy twiddly bits. Also: the awesome Modernizr library, which checks your browser’s capability of handling different HTML5 doo-dads and adjusts the website’s code accordingly.
These changes show Twitter extending a big juicy lollipop to users — by providing people with a more rich experience directly inside the browser, there’s less of a reason to go download an app. This is bound to cheese off a good number of developers who have much blood and sweat (and cash) invested in their own Twitter client apps and web experiences. However, there’s still a place for those apps — Twitter has built this new interface on top of its own API, which means that any capable developer out there can do something very close to this design, or improve on it, on their own.
One big caveat: Twitter has the power to bypass its API rate limit of 20,000 requests per hour that it enforces for third-party applications. Only Twitter and selected partners can pull more tweets than that. These rates will change as Twitter grows, especially now that the service has got over 90 million tweets per day to play with.
Also, it’s doubtful this update will coax users away from their favorite apps.
Many people who use the website to tweet — Williams says 78 percent of active users have used Twitter.com in the last 30 days — will likely adapt to this update rather than reject it and run to a different experience, like a Tweetdeck or Seesmic. It exposes much more information than they’re used to, but by and large, the changes are useful and add more contextual value than visual clutter.
So for people who have only ever used the old Twitter.com, or even those (like me) who use apps occasionally but heavily favor the website, this is a radical change, but a positive one.
Those endeared to their third-party apps will probably look at the new Twitter.com and say, “Huh, neat, looks more like my favorite app than the old site.” Then they’ll go back to their app and tweet about it.
What do you think of the redesign? Tell us in the comments.
In this week’s rip roarin’ round up: Windows, on your iDevice; stop motion animations, created; frogs, cared for; Sims, following their dreams; cooking, made almost easy enough for me to do; Google Voice, on your iPhone, and much more! More »
TV is rapidly moving online. But you already knew that. What you don’t know—because it’s nearly impossible to tell—is exactly what shows are available online right now, where they’re located, and what’s worth watching. More »
Oregon’s Willamette Valley produces some of the country’s best wines. But it’s also subject to the infamous “Pineapple Express”—heavy rains blowing in from the Pacific that can ruin grapes. Unless you’ve got a vacuum. More »
Global mass mailing worm masquerades as business message but links to malware, McAfee Labs warns
A new Internet worm dubbed “Here You Have” is streaming into worldwide inboxes, offering a dangerous payload, according to McAfee Labs. The worm, which travels via spam email with the subject line of “Here you have,” or “Just for you,” masquerades as an email with a link to a video or an attached document file. However, the email actually contains a link to a malicious program that can disable security software and send itself to all the contacts in the recipient’s address book.
Corporations around the world were particularly affected by the worm on Thursday as it clogged up their email systems. Consumers could be affected as they go home and log onto their machines. For this reason, McAfee Labs has labeled the worm as a “medium” risk, and warns all computer users to delete any email with the “Here you have,” or “Just for you,” subject line.
Although the dangerous link has been taken down, neutralizing the threat, it can still spread through remote machines, mapped drives and removable media, Labs warns.
If you have an up-to-date and properly configured McAfee security software product then you are protected against this threat.
The Hook: You receive a spam email with the subject line “Here you have,” or “Just for you,” and a link or attachment that looks like it leads to a video or document file. It may appear that the email comes from someone you know.
The Methods: The email invites you to click on the link, and once you do it prompts you to download a file. This file is actually malware that disables the security software on your machine and sends itself to everyone listed as a contact in your address book.
The Dangers: Once you are infected, your computer has diminished security protection. Your machine is also being used to spam your friends and contacts. If you are on a corporate network, the network could be clogged as the worm works its way through address books.
Bottom Line: Do not click on the link in any email with the subject header “Here you have,” or “Just for you,” even if it appears to be from someone you know.
Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim:
1. Never click on a link in a spam email or IM from someone you don’t know. Be suspicious of strange emails from family or friends: their accounts may have been compromised.
2. Use comprehensive security software, to protect you from viruses, spam, and other Internet threats, and keep the software up-to-date.
3. Set your operating system and browser to automatically apply updates.