The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'web 2.0'
Web toy of the day: FontStruct. A Flash-based web app which allows you to create your own geometric fonts from a selection of tiles.
The site lets you make your characters as large or small as you want, and gives you access to all of Unicode (so if you want to do the entire set of Chinese pictographs, knock yourself out). You can download your creations in TrueType or Flash bitmap format, or share them in the site's galery under a variety of Creative Commons licences. Or just browse the gallery for other users' creations, which vary from the sorts of geometric and bitmap fonts you'd expect to find to retro-styled ones, blackletter fonts, and the odd twee-looking picture font.
Which is way cool, though I can't help but think that FontShop has just wiped out its market for geometric fonts. (Not that that was unexpected; with the rise of user-generated content and better authoring tools, content is no longer a seller's market, and the standard of user-generated content is rising to the point where, even if it's on average not as good as the professional stuff, it's often good enough.)
Muxtape.com is a new web application which allows users to make online mix tapes by uploading MP3s, which then can be arranged into a "mix tape" people can listen to online. It gets bonus points for the interface, which has a minimal elegance about it and does everything other than the actual music playing in DHTML. On the down side, you only get to put 12 MP3s in your mix, and are not supposed to have more than one mix.
(For what it's worth, my one's here.)
Web Applications 1.0 is a proposal by a group named WHATWG (the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group), which consists of people from various browser developers, from projects such as Opera, Mozilla and Safari. It appears that the elephant in the centre of the room is the conspicuous absence of Microsoft, who own most of the browser market share. Which is hardly surprising, as if AJAX becomes a reality, it could cannibalise Microsoft's OS lock. Perhaps we can expect MS to specify their own, incompatible AJAX-esque technologies that are locked to their browser and technologies?
They Work For You, the website which makes British Parliamentary politics searchable and browsable, and, with any luck, politicians more answerable to the public affected by their decisions, has now released its complete source code. Any volunteers for putting one of these in Canberra?
Another use of technology to make democracy more of a reality (as opposed to just voting for who'll take orders from the people that matter for the next 3 to 4 years): TheyWorkForYou.com, from the team that created FaxYourMP.com, takes the text of Hansard, the transcript of debates in Britain's House of Commons, and converts it into a threaded, linkable discussion form, not unlike, say, LiveJournal or something. Not only that, but it keeps tabs on MPs, including biographies, lists of their interests (shares, board memberships and such, as well as details of overseas trips and gifts received), how often they speak, performance in replying to faxes, and how often they rebel against their own party line. Here's Tony Blair, for example, and the ultra-groovy member for West Bromwich East.
This sort of system promises to reinvigorate democracy and hold politicians to be more accountable to their constituents. (Do you know what your MP has been doing?) I hope that the TheyWorkForYou team plan on releasing the code, because this sort of thing should be exported to other parliamentary democracies. I'd like to see one in Canberra, keeping tabs on Federal Parliament, for one, and ones for state Parliaments; not to mention US Congress, the EU Parliament, and so on. (via bOING bOING)