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What I Hope to See at CES and Macworld

I found out about the strangest iPod tie-in yet only weeks before Christmas -- a site called iPodMyPhoto.com. It will take any picture you send in and process it to make it look like one of Apple's signature ads, with the subject of the shot in black, the background in a solid color and a brief headline above in white sans-serif text.

I suppose I should have seen that coming, though. IPod ad parodies have been bubbling up across the Internet for some time now, including this poke at the New York Yankees.

_____Recent E-letters_____
CES Notebook: Tips For HDTV Shopping (washingtonpost.com, Jan 10, 2005)
Media Center's Clunky Extender (washingtonpost.com, Dec 20, 2004)
Good-bye, IBM. Seriously. (washingtonpost.com, Dec 13, 2004)
E-letter Archive

Building Better Browsers

On a completely different topic ... I've written a lot about Web browsers in the past year. It's exciting to see innovation flourishing in this category of software again, which is why I found this essay by Scott Berkun to be fascinating.

Berkun, a former Microsoft developer who worked on Internet Explorer for years, discusses the various ways that people use browsers ("There has never been an 'organize your bookmarks' party or drinking game. People don't want to do it, and unless it's easy to do, most people won't.") and how browsers might better adapt to that behavior. Consider, for instance, bookmarks management, in which he makes some intriguing suggestions:

"Frequency of visitation. Sounds like part of a prison sentence, doesn't it? What I mean is that every time I go to a url (regardless of how I get there) the system should add to a counter for that bookmark. This allows me to sort favorites by frequency of use. It also allows the system to know when I'm returning to a particularly important place, and perhaps behave slightly differently while I'm there (think better/smarter caching, or other non-invasive smartness)."

Not all of the ideas here seem necessarily applicable off the bat, but they all strike me as the kind of thinking that I hope software designers can find time for every day.

(A tip of the hat to Slashdot, which pointed to this page in mid-December.)

-- Rob Pegoraro (rob@twp.com)

** Two last words: Just give! And if that list isn't long enough for you, check out Google's Tsunami relief page.

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