Archive for February, 2009

Boxee? Hulu? Boxee is a free desktop-based media player application for Mac and Windows and Hulu is an internet-based TV content  provider offering videos from multiple media partners.

This post is a response to Hulu’s request that Boxee discontinue offering Hulu TV through it’s application while Hulu sorts out its relationship with its content providers.

You know I’m a Hulu fan and a Boxee fan. I’ve blogged and tweeted about them enough to risk fanboy status. So when I heard Hulu asked Boxee to cut Hulu access I was drafting a rant saying Hulu just doesn’t get it. Then I read the “Doing Hard Things” post by Jason Kilar, CEO of Hulu and have a renewed respect for the vision the Hulu executives are trying to uphold. I especially appreciated the candor Mr. Kilar has brought to their decision. I think it’s the wrong decision, but his astute regard for users wins him high marks and bodes well for Hulu.

The future of TV is not broadcast; it’s internet-driven. The future of web-based TV is the full, large-screen, living room experience.

Hulu has a chance to build ad revenues back into a large-screen TV experience. And they need an application landscape or set-top landscape with players like Boxee, Xbox, Playstation 3, &c, in order to make that happen.

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// Kindle 2 hits the streets

Kindle’s out, The Economist thinks the eBook is about to have its iPod moment. The new Kindle, while being touted as a big step up from version one of the device, is only really an incremental improvement on the product it replaces. 

// PalmOS bites the dust

PalmOS, which through the Palm Pilot singlehandedly brought the PDA into the mainstream, is no longer going to be developed. WebOS, the platform running on the newly launched Palm Pre is the next big thing for Palm. Given the accolades the Pre has been getting, Palm could be onto something good here.

// Everyone gets an App Store

Seven months after Apple launched their App Store, some of the competition have scraped together something for themselves. In addition to the Android Market, Samsung is going to launch one, and Nokia isn’t far behind. Look forward to some intense competition on this front; it’s unclear to me whether customers will be winners while the platform battle is going on, but it’s going to be interesting to see who can get scale.

Joe Pemberton

Physical Computing Resources

Punchcut’s weekly internal brown bag lunches let us get together to discuss a range of digital lifestyle and design subjects from Android to Wikinomics.

Andres Jimenez, Interaction Designer, led today’s brown bag lunch and walked us through various aspects of creating physical computing networks and devices for home automation, location awareness and status sharing. We were intrigued by his objects that posted mood and status updates to Twitter.

Below are Andres’ prepared collection of links. Enjoy.

Where to Buy Arduino


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This week’s Carnival (number 160) is posted at, and features our “Aesthetic Interactions” article. Other highlights from this week’s carnival post: A number of posts related to Android and its place in the market, and a post from Tomi Ahonen on the scale and reach of mobile. Check out this week’s Carnival!

Christian Robertson

Aesthetic Interactions

There is much conversation in the interaction design world about the number of clicks required to perform a given task. There are usability teams out there with stop watches and video cameras timing how long it takes users to move through a flow. While these exercises are enlightening, they often miss the more critical question: how does a user feel about interacting with the UI? We have heard this enigmatic success criterion described as the whole “user experience”, but the this term doesn’t give much insight into how we might evaluate the value of an interface.

If we can’t measure the true value of an interface solely with clicks or milliseconds, how might we establish another criterion to evaluate the impact of a design? Fortunately interface design is not the first industry to deal with this question. Architecture, lettering and typography, industrial design, communication design and fashion all have practical and emotional impacts. These fields have relied on the study of aesthetics to help evaluate their work.

While aesthetic principles overlap from one design field to another, each discipline has its own vocabulary and emphasis. Below is a list of seven criteria to evaluate the aesthetic impact of a design. This is not a complete list, nor is it an easy recipe for good design. It does not replace user testing and research (I’ll share more thoughts on that later). However, it does give a framework to understand why users are reacting to a given design. Continue Reading »