Results tagged “AJAX” from VANTAN.ORG

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2007 11:54 AM

Looking back, 2006 was a generally good year for me and I'm grateful for it. I hope we can all continue to improve ourselves and grow stronger - be it at work or with family and friends.

Looking back fondly at 2006

Geek-wise, 2006 was a good year for Web 2.0 - though I feel it's happening mostly in the West, and Singapore has yet to fully catch on to the spirit of things. At least Google Maps made it to Singapore, finally. Politically, in the US, the Democrats capitalised on anti-Bush sentiments by winning the majorities in the House and Senate. This may signal a different approach on foreign and economic policy in 2007. The year ended on a grim note with the hanging of Saddam Hussein, which probably won't do much to end all the fighting anyway.

In late 2006, I underwent health screening and received a bill of good health - no diabetes or high blood pressure, low in bad cholesterol and high in good cholesterol. I braved a super 'flu bug without antibiotics, am still coughing periodically but hopefully I will recover on my own without the need for extra medication. After purchasing my Nike+ kit, shoes and a new red Nano, I started exercising again and walked/ran over 5km last Sunday.

Media interest in 2006 was beyond my expectations, with several interviews in print, web and radio featuring my blog, myself, the Gahmenbloggers, a foray into Second Life and work-related projects. The reporters who interviewed me were most polite and professional and in some cases we ended up SMS'ing and emailing each other with more ideas, which is a great way to work together. Also, the publicity got me back in touch with other friends who wanted to know more about my faith. So, thank you, God for putting me here and giving me these opportunities.

My second interview with Radio Singapore International was broadcast last Friday evening. I was part of a group interview in the setting up of a new blog for my agency. It's called the Youth Advolution for Health (YAH) blog and it is a CCA where students take the lead in proposing new activities and events to promote a healthy lifestyle.

I'm thankful to my group of Gahmenbloggers and the support and frank advice we have rendered to each other - may we keep the spirit alive in 2007 and beyond. I joined Yesterday, the Museum Roundtable Blog, and took part in my first music mashup with the Rambling Librarian.

I'd also like to thank management for being open-minded and supportive of all these new initiatives, trusting me to step forward and, in the words of a Canadian-Indian comedian, "Do the right thing". I'm reading Stephen M.R. Covey's book, The Speed of Trust and realise there was a lot of that going around. And based on IDEO's 10 Faces of Innovation, there was a lot of 'cross-pollination' with certain colleagues too and I hope this will continue, along with other aspects of innovation.

Forthcoming engagements

On 17 January 2007, Web Standards aficionados in Singapore will take part in the very first Web Standards Meetup. This has been initiated by my WebSG partner-in-crime, Lucian and you bet I'll be giving it my full support. Again, this is something worthwhile that is taking some time to catch on in Singapore, probably because it isn't taught in school and people think they can still get by with making things look good only in Internet Explorer.

On 26 January 2007, I will be giving a talk to the Hewlett-Packard Alumni, over at Raffles Girls' School. If you are attending this, drop me a note or leave a comment if there's anything in particular on new media trends that you want to hear about.

In early March 2007, I will attend the South-By-Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference in Austin, Texas. Of course, considering that bestselling authors, experts in blogging, podcasting, AJAX, microformats etc will be there, I'll be taking notes.

In June 2007 you can catch me and my new fusion jazz band, the Moon Jumpers, in concert (venue and exact date to be confirmed). The band is made up of talented individuals, but we need to practice more together, to gel as a band.

And for other iPod users who believe in paying for music and movies, like me - fingers crossed for a Singapore iTunes online store in 2007!

Intuitive search and the demise of Flash

October 5, 2006 11:24 PM

A new search engine which claims to be 'more natural and intuitive', may pose a challenge to Google. Quoting Techcrunch,

I haven’t seen a demo of upcoming search engine Powerset yet, but reportedly many people who have are impressed, saying they’d never use Google again.
Sounds mighty powerful to me. I'll wait for the public launch. If it's any good, expect venture capital funding to come in.

Read/WriteWeb reports that AJAX will surpass Flash in 2007.

I remember in the late 90's and early 00's when Flash took centrestage. We all wanted to learn Flash. Yugo Nakamura, Joshua Davis and Gmunk were my heroes. Then Actionscript developed a powerful, object-oriented aura, and Director lingo became a forgotten language.

At the time, JavaScript, to me, was used minimally and for functional purposes. It was often associated with tickers, cheesy scrollers and annoying popup windows.

In time, people started writing about accessibility in Flash. Jakob Nielsen said Flash was 99% bad. Macromedia heard their views and hired Nielsen to improve things. After that was done, Nielsen said Flash was less bad but still not that great. Maybe he'll say something about AJAX soon. [Update: AJAX is discussed very briefly in a Q&A session. No strong objections so far.]

Around that time, a baby was conceived from the ashes of JavaScript. Jesse James-Garett gave it a name. AJAX is now a toddler and, being cute, everybody wants to play with it now.

My own comments:

  • I was comfortable with ActionScript up to an intermediate level, until it got more complicated. Being a law grad who taught herself HTML and CSS, moving into the realms of Java was tricky. Then I changed career path, and now no longer design in Flash.
  • I never quite understood what Flashpaper was all about. I don't like reading text-heavy documents in Flash. I'd rather use the software to convert my documents into PDF format.
  • For what little I now know of the creative web community, Flash and AJAX are used by slightly different groups of people. Designers use Flash for visual effects. Programmers probably prefer AJAX for functionality. Some people can handle both.
  • While AJAX allows the same drag-and-drop functions as Flash in many instances now, Flash is still the preferred medium for smooth multimedia animations, cartoons and audio playback.  However, there is a tendency for Flash movies to take a while to load, whereas AJAX-enabled websites I've seen so far, minimise the load time.
  • Whichever you choose, I'd appreciate it if important information isn't hidden away in some JavaScript code or a Flash movie with tiny font sizes with the right-click zoom function disabled. In short, use common sense and think of the user's needs first.
  • OK/Cancel has a parody - AJAX - 99% bad. Noooo... 
Look at who was surveyed, though. "Web developers" and organisations. Developers would obviously use a technology they're more comfortable with. Conduct the same survey with creative agencies whose focus is on more making visual impact and winning creative awards, and I'm sure Flash's popularity will be much greater than AJAX. Ask the Creative Director if his agency can do a website for you in Flash. "Sure," he'll probably say. Ask them if the website can sacrifice flair for functionality, and whether they can use AJAX instead.

There'll probably be more analysis coming in from other sites. I'll open this post up for trackback, if anyone wants to continue the discussion.

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SXSW 2007 - Pick your panels!

October 5, 2006 12:12 AM

It's time to pick potential panel topics for SXSW 2007. One person, one vote. Might I add that the new SXSW site looks much better than the previous version and we can select our panels via a drag-and-drop technique. (AJAX!)

As requested, I've shortlisted 10 panels: looking at trends 10 years from now, mobile apps, managing communities, Web 2.0 for the enterprise, interactive media for children, the me-customer, geek politics.

Another panel I picked was something that I was discussing with Ivan and Kevin this afternoon - for instance, how do we move beyond the Technoratis of today, which rank by quantities (e.g. number of linkages), to make sense in a more human, qualitative way?

Context: The Next Layer of the Net

The Net has brought us more information. More text, more images, more audio and now video. And the future only promises to bring us more access to more of it in more places. How do we find things when we don't know specifically what we want? After "web 2.0" enables the average user to create even more stuff, the next layer of the Net needs to help it all make sense. This session combines experts on technologies and individual curators and communities that are already creating context and not just more stuff.

Most unusual suggested panel topic: Chocolate. Apparently it's for people tired of geek talk. Naturally, the panelist in charge is a lady ;-)

Technorati Tags: SXSW, SXSWi, SXSW2007, Austin

On MT 3.3

July 15, 2006 10:11 AM

Sixapart have released version 3.3 of Movable Type, the blog software that I use.

Looking at the new features, I'd say tagging is my favourite, followed by activity feeds. The widgets and templates need to be tried out. New blog styles would be handy to those not so familiar with CSS.

I wish I could see some official screen shots, though. I'm curious to see if they added more AJAX and WYSIWYG editing.

Corporate users of Oracle (you know who you are) will rejoice, knowing that the MT 3.3 Enterprise edition is compatible with your database. If that doesn't convince you, a 45% promotional discount may help.

However, there is a change in the licensing scheme.

It sounds good that personal (free) licence users can now have as many authors and blogs. However, paid personal users (like myself) are now limited to a year of support, after which I presume we must renew it.

MT support is becoming a bit like AppleCare. While I most likely won't need the support (just as most of the time my iPod doesn't act up so badly that I can't fix it myself), I wonder why couldn't they just give us the MT support throughout.

Maybe I'm just nit-picking. It'll be just a matter of time before my fingers get itchy and I upgrade to 3.3.

Update: I caved in, and upgraded.

Zoho, competitor to Google's Writely?

July 12, 2006 12:08 AM

I haven't tried Writely yet, and am eager to see what tweaks Google has made since acquiring it. However Zoho looks like a good competitor. Like Writely, you can use Zoho to post to blogs and export to PDF, among other formats. It does searches and you can import documents (Microsoft Office, Open Office).

Zohoshow is another AJAX-based web application which creates slideshows similar to Eric Meyer's s5. [Update: View my first slideshow. Looking at the code, they really ARE using s5! This is going to save me time. Absolutely cool!]

Microsoft should start to get worried soon...

[Update 2: I managed to convert a simple PPT file with graphics and bullet points. However the graph did not get imported. ]

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Web browsers on my iPaq

July 11, 2006 12:50 AM

After a few days of using Internet Explorer on my HP iPaq 6828, I decided enough was enough.

First, I installed Opera 8.60, which felt more responsive. However, apart from the ability to open new pages in tabs, Opera's user interface was less intuitive than IE's!


IE in Windows Mobile 5.0 keeps things simple, with visible back and forward buttons which I can tap with my stylus or press on my phone's keybad, whereas in Opera I need to tap on a dropdown (actually, 'dropup') menu to do that.

Also, when accessing websites that use CSS properly, like, I saw a statement that my browser (Opera) was not fully supporting standards! *more surprise*

Never fear, I thought. Minimo is here! That's Mozilla's answer to mobile web browsing. I was happy that they let me download and install the .cab file directly inside my iPaq, meaning I didn't have to borrow my dad's Windows laptop to install the software via ActiveSync. (Opera has this version too, though for some reason their .cab file couldn't install on my iPaq.)

However, Minimo took a rather, um, 'maximo' time to load. After a while there's only so long you can stare at a splash screen of the Mozilla monster. It reminded me of Netscape's early days. For the first time, my iPaq was sluggish, even after quitting other programs.

I tried accessing a URL ('') which turned out to be nonexistent. While Opera at least told me there was no such page, Minimo gave me the impression that it was still trying to load the page. I waited for minutes and nothing happened.

A quick Google indicated that many other users are also complaining about Minimo's sluggishness. I was also warned that the version they provided was meant for an older version, Windows CE. My recommendation: Don't install this until they reduce the 8MB+ file size and speed up the load time. I might try moving this into my storage card and if it's still slow, Minimo has to go.

*sticks baby finger into side of mouth, a la Doctor Evil*

And sadly, when my 30-day Opera trial expires, I may not find it worthwhile to pay US$24 for the licensed version. I might very well go back to using IE for now, because it's the most intuitive of the lot.

[One consolation is discovering the Opera Platform which allows AJAX on mobile phones. Now that is something I am really looking forward to trying out!]

AJAXifying my contact form

June 28, 2006 1:12 AM

After months of de-activation I've restored my contact form with AJAX, courtesy of Wufoo. Check it out!

Update: Oh shite, I didn't realise the password-protect feature was kicking in here until I tried viewing the form on another computer. Have disabled it so you guys can view it.

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Edit images online

March 12, 2006 2:08 PM

Forgot to bring Photoshop with you to SXSW? Don't fear - Pixoh is here.

Pixoh is an AJAX (phweet!) application that lets you easily resize, crope, rotate images and save them to various image formats. I managed to crop and save one of my Flickr images in a matter of seconds.

Patenting AJAX

February 27, 2006 11:30 PM

It's disturbing to read that a relatively obscure web design firm has gone and patented an invention involving rich media apps like AJAX. What's also disturbing is how they were even awarded the patent in the first place. This would definitely hamper the development of more innovative web services.

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