Dear reader, welcome, so now were going to test Twitter intents. Simply click on this image.

Twitter Intents test

Twitter Intents test

Read all about displaying Tweets ready for action (Retweets, Replies, Follows), here.

Now Twitter must just add the ability to embed these Intents, that would be even better.

Facebook Targeted Ads

Apparently Facebook is testing targeted ads based on the content of your status updates and wall posts. This has sparked mixed feelings in the user community. On one side, marketers are drooling over the possibilities, on the opposite side, users feel their privacy is being compromised.

We don't get the privacy issues. When it works on GMail, which operates in a way more private space, surely it shouldn't be a problem on a public timeline, should it?

There is, however, a third issue that's more important. Status sentiment is very difficult to analyse. This means that if a user complains a lot about Tesco's range of wines, they're quite likely to be served up ads for Tesco's range of wines.

And that would be a bit crap, wouldn't it?

Comeback kings

This week we saw an interesting quote through our friends at Rabbit. A study showed that prompt replies to customer complaints online makes a significant and measurable difference.

"a Harris survey showed that 18% of those who posted a negative review of the merchant and got a reply ended up becoming loyal customers and buying more."

Talking of the value of Social Media, in 2010 Coca Cola cut their ad spend by 6.6% and started investing more in Social Media.

What's the role of Augmented Reality in Social TV?

That's one of the subjects that came up in a conversation we had with some tv execs this week. And boom, here's an interesting case-study.

As part of a re-launch, NBC Univeral have created The Witness, an interactive film that integrates Augmented Reality. For Social Media points, we don't think it can compete with the immediacy of Twitter (one pitfall – you'd have to be in that location), but as far as exploring new formats goes (and the PR value that comes with it), it's definitely an interesting example.


The in-crowd

Unlike Google, Facebook has not made many false starts with products, Facebook Questions being the notable exception. It launched last year to much fanfare but never took off to compete with the likes of Yahoo Answers and the fast growing Quora.

But as always they have gone back to the drawing board to refine their product. The result is different reports RWW. The new version is not so much about finding the experts, but more about tapping into the knowledge of your crowd. Why can this be good? Says RWW:

"While everyone on Quora may agree on the best restaurant in my neighborhood, the service suffers from the same issue as something like Yelp – maybe I don't agree with the masses."


My utopia & your dystopia

We've written about all the weird and wonderful hacks people are doing to the Xbox Kinect. Officially now the fastest selling consumer electronics of all time, Mashable speculated this week that it  the next place where marketeers need to boldly go to boost their brands. The technology can tell players apart, recognise movement in 3D, do voice recognition – in short it's the next great leap in user interfaces.

Microsoft's Avatar Connect allows you to control your Avatar through movement. Mashable conjures up customers test driving cars or trying out interior decoration using Kinect. That's a little too obvious. We think Kinect could drive major innovations in products themselves through new ways of interaction. And then there is the nightmare scenario of Minority Report-like ads, jumping up at you at every turn. It's Back to the Future stuff.


Pimp your WordPress

Did you ever think your WordPress blog needs some gloss and perhaps some sexy motion, languid but snappy transitions? You're lucky, because soon iPad-glamour will be available to ordinary WordPress publications thanks to Onswipe. It includes features such as loading screens, Flipboard-like image effects and more. Nice one. Our hint? By all means go for it – after you have made sure your content is actually good. Just ask Wired magazine.

In other tablet news, the first music video shot on the iPad 2 has just been released.

Twitter by numbers

In case you haven't heard, Twitter was 5 years old this week. In the last year, the amount of Tweets per day has shot up from 50 million per day to 150 million. More interesting stats behind this link.

In related news: LinkedIn has (finally) reached the benchmark of 100 million users.


Groupon is going hammer & tongs

Or is it? Techcrunch reports a massive dip in sales in February. In an interesting post they also reveal that Groupon has not yet cornered half of the US group buying market. There is still a lot to play for.

Creatives of the week – Breakfast

Breakfast is an interactive design agency from New York. Apart from the usual stuff for their clients, it's their self-initiated projects that are getting us excited. And more specifically their attempt to be creative with Instagram.

Based on the API, they've developed a location-based photobooth called Instaprint. For example: as an event organiser or pub owner you can program the device with a certain location and a hashtag and the box will start printing all your lovely Instagrams taken at that location.


Tech insight of the Week – Node.js: The death of PHP

Our tech insight of the week looks at a punchy newcomer on the web server stack, Node.js. Node enables you to run Javascript on the server and even to build the very server itself in Javascript.

Could this be such a handy AJAX counterpart to browser-side Javascript that it will eventually kill off PHP? Read More »

With the rise of AJAX on the web, javascript rose from being an obscure, client side language mainly used for gimmicky animations and popup ads, to a proper web programming language used for sophisticated network comms between browser and server.

The server side of AJAX is still in most cases handled by PHP, causing most web developers to, apart from markup languages HTML and CSS, having to code in both Javascript and PHP. (PHP could be replaced here by Python, Perl, or any other server-side language).

Well, those days might be over, thanks to a nifty little (and I mean litte, as in extremely lightweight) engine called node.js, which not only runs javascript on the server, but actually uses javascript as the server.


A Javascript webserver? What are they smoking?

My initial rection to this is a bit similar to seeing someone building a palace out of ice, or a steam locomotive out of sand. Amazement at the amount of effort and creativity that’s being put into the idea, but very little for its actual usefulness.

Wake up and smell the future.

If this google trends graph is anything to go by, I’ll have to rethink my attitude a bit:

Node.js Google trend

Let’s have a look at the Javascript engine under node’s hood: an engine written by Google, called V8.

Why did Google write their own Javascript engine?

When Javascript was first integrated into the Netscape Navigator browser in the mid 1990’s, it’s main goal was to provide access to an HTML document’s elements (called the DOM tree), after the document has been rendered by the browser. Its use was mainly to make small alterations in content based on user interaction, like changing the colour of a button when the mouse hovered over it, or popping up small browser windows (annoyingly so).

Performance was not a big issue.

Later, people started using Javascript to, after the document has been rendered in the browser, pull more content from the server to update into the browser, thus making web pages active. A good example of this is GMail, which, without having to reload the page in your browser, adds new mail messages in your inbox. This technique is called AJAX.

Javascript is an integral part of the AJAX revolution, which was largely driven by Google. They quickly realized the severe shortcomings of most Javascript engines, and wrote their own: the V8 engine, highly optimized for speed and memory consumption.

Given the way the V8 engine was written, and the asynchronous nature of Javascript (which basically means Javascript multitasks by default), It suddenly becomes clear that Javascript, given the right implementation, could be better suited to the server side of AJAX than PHP, Python or Perl. That means, in the GMail example, that both the part that reads the new mail on the server, and the part that shows you your new mail in your inbox, could written in Javascript.

Seeing the light

Node.js extends the V8 engine with a set of libraries that makes building a simple web server as simple as this:

var http = require('http');
http.createServer(function (req, res) {
res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': 'text/plain'});
res.end('Hello Worldn');
}).listen(8124, "");

You don’t have to understand Javascript to see that that is really simple. Given that Node is installed on your server, you simply have to run a .js file with the above content with Node, to have a working (though basic) webserver.

On top of that, as highlighted in this article on Mashable, node’s footprint on the web server is extremely small, up to 1000 times smaller per connection, compared to Apache (the most commonly used web server on the Internet). This means, as your site accumulates concurrent users, your server could take 1000 times longer to run out of memory.

Apart from this, users are more likely to experience a smooth, fast user journey, because of the fact that so much less server oomph is needed to process and deliver the same data.

Node is not the be-all and end-all of server solutions – it has a very specific use, which happens to fit a common trend today: providing a lightweight server infrastructure to serve up large amounts of small chunks of data to large numbers of users.

This makes node a perfect match for the realtime web, for gaming apps, for collaboration: basically all applications where speed and concurrency of data transfer matters.

Where does this leave PHP, Python, and their counterparts?

PHP will remain to be the best Hypertext Preprocessor there is, until further notice (which is what it was built for – generating and manipulating HTML). Python will remain the language of choice for building very complex server applications quickly. Perl will remain … well, Perl.

I do think, however, that PHP, Python or Perl’s role as server-side language in AJAX communications could diminish into obscurity. Let’s wait and see.

Meanwhile, if you like to dive into Node, check these out:

Twitter wakes the Dragon

To start off this week Twitter celebrated its fifth birthday with the obligatory first tweet meme. To make it extra special, it also registered its 1billionth tweet. Woohoo!

And then, on a roll, it aroused the scorn of its API consumers by announcing that people should stop building Twitter Clients. According to the API Terms Of ServiceAn example of a Client is a downloadable application that displays user timelines and allows users to create and search for tweets. In other words, a Twitter app that creates competition for

This evoked a plethora of responses from the developer community, ranging from emotional, rational and violent, to this one from Adam Green on the twitter-development-talk google group, which probably does the best job of summing up the debacle.

“Here is a simple way this could have been prevented. If you had a developer relations person with experience and skills in dealing with third party developers, who have completely different motivations from in-house coders, he or she could have quietly passed around a draft of what you wanted to say. This would have gotten very strong negative reactions. You would have been able to reformulate it to strip out the implied threats and turn it into a positive roadmap. It could have been framed as “Here are some areas we promise to leave open for developers. If you work here, we will give you all kinds of extra support and promotion”

Microsoft launches IE9

IE9 sees the light of day, officially (and finally). And as we amusingly pointed out last week, they are flogging it by apologizing for IE6.

Welcome to the real world, Microsoft! It’s built out of HTML5 and CSS3. Sorry, say what? Oh no, seems they’re not quite here yet … sorry about that.

VW app

Volkswagen is a brand that understands the power of added value in advertising. Last year VW Sweden had lots of success with the rather abstract Fun Theory. This week it’s their Norwegian brethren that are going beyond the billboard. Combing a print ad with an Augmented Reality app, it allows people to get an interactive experience with the product and do a virtual test drive.

As they say in the film:

“Innovations can be difficult to explain in an ad. they must be experienced. Therefore, we created an app for readers to download so they could try it out for themselves, using the print ad to test drive.”

Sony Ericsson teams up with Foursquare

To complement their sponsorship of the Miami Open tennis tournament, Sony Ericsson is experimenting with a Foursquare gaming mechanic. When people check into the tournament they get the chance to win autograph sessions and the chance to toss the coin before a game.

Pretty straightforward stuff, but combine these incentives with the new features of the Foursquare app, and the location service might become quite useful. PeerSquare – just better, faster, and mobile

On the subject of making Foursquare more useful, we’ve done an update of PeerSquare. Actually, we’ve completely scrapped it, and we bring you: (mobile only).

Less than a month ago we launched PeerSquare, our attempt at turning Foursquare and PeerIndex into a wonderful Serendipity platform. Since then, we’ve moved it to the next level: mobile. It is now called, and by default it shows you interests of people who are checked into the same venue as you on Foursquare. We believe Serendipity to be a very hot topic in future, so do watch this space.

Facebook Cinema

Facebook has made another step in becoming the Facebook-wide web, by wooing the big film studios. Warner Bros is going where the people are and has announced it is making some of its films available for streaming on Facebook. US only for now.

We’re not convinced, however, that providing a store inside Facebook is the best way to sell movies. It’s not even the best way to sell movies using Facebook. If they used Facebook Connect outside of FB they could provide a much better user experience. How is being on FB itself in anyway closer to having your own site? Both are one click away, but one has bad user experience.

Interesting detail: you have to pay with Facebook Credits.


Google Maps Navigation offers turn by turn navigation with live traffic conditions, but it is still only available on Android devices and in perpetual beta, which is the Google way.

Waze aims to do the same, socially. By analyzing users’ locations while using it in real time, Waze knows what their traffic conditions are, and make it available to all users. Kind of like crowdsourced traffic data. Brilliant!

Creative of the week – the guy behind Moviebarcode

It seems this creative isn’t interested in revealing their identity, but his/her project made us smile all week.

We’re not 100% sure how it works, but using some sort of compression technique, Creative X turns classic movies into barcodes. Not of the functional kind though, but of the creative. Apparently each frame of the movie is compressed into a very thin line, which combined, creates these abstract colour patters, which are truly mesmerizing.

Tech insight of the Week – Foursquare Venues on Steroids

A few weeks ago we were about to do a piece on how useless Foursquare’s venue data is, from the perspective of an API consumer. That’s all changed now.

Our tech insight this week looks at the latest changes in the Foursquare API, promising to change the way developers will look at venues forever. This is not press release marketing drivel, it is our own researched opinion. Read More »

In a very inspiring announcement that reads like a rags to riches classic, Foursquare got on the SxSW train this year with a brand new client, containing an impressive list of functionality that has the potential to boost it from mere Social Game status to the Serendipity Platform that everyone’s waiting for.

This is what happened in their shop window. As it turns out, a lot more was happening in the engine room.

Foursquare venues API

Foursquare BC

Before launching their new venues API (beta), finding something useful to do with Foursquare’s data was notoriously difficult.

Let’s take, for example, the problem of finding only venues with lots of checkins, in real time. This proved to be a major problem for us while building (mobile only)

These are the limitations:

  • Foursquare’s normal API calls are rate limited to 500 calls an hour.
  • Because of the low barrier to creating venues, the checkin-to-venue ratio is ridiculously low.
  • A maximum of 50 venues can be queried from Foursquare per venue search on the API.
  • There is no control over which venues are returned. If a venue is not in the 50 returned by a venue search, there’s no definite way of getting it.
  • The search radius for venue searches on the API is 40km.

Given these limitations, it is possible to process 50 venues, 500 times an hour. This sounds like a lot, but 25000 venues an hour is not that much when you’re trying to discover trending venues in real time. Especially if you’re firing shots in the dark, and hoping for the best (hitting the same empty venues over and over).

In steps the new venues API.

Foursquare AD

At face level, it doesn’t look like much, until you give it a second look, and read the fine print:

  • The new API is meant for userless access. This means it is built for bot usage, as opposed to front end usage. Ideal for determining venue trends in real time.
  • The new API is rate limited at … 5000 calls an hour!
  • There is a new API call, venues/trending, which automatically returns only the trending venues within a configurable radius (up to 2km)

Suddenly, even 500 calls an hour would’ve been enough.

Foursquare Beyond

Foursquare has a very vast location database. They have achieved this by making it extremely easy to create venues, and by being the first to do so. That is a very valuable resource, if dealt with correctly.

Up to now, Foursquare’s venues database was kind of proprietary, in the sense that its usability did not allow it to easily get a life of its own outside of Foursquare itself. It was mainly used for checkins.

By making their venue database accessible and usable, Foursquare have increased the value of the database by an immense amount. Add to this their actual reason for launching the new venues API: Mapping Foursquares venue data to other venue databases, like Facebook, Twitter and Google places.

Suddenly the future looks a lot brighter for Foursquare (and its API consumers)!

Foursquare III

We've always said we think Foursquare's game mechanics are not interesting enough on its own. But on Tuesday evening Foursquare released version 3 of their app and made it quite a bit more appealing. One notable feature is that Specials will be extended beyond the Mayor mechanic. Businesses will now be able to offer Specials to swarms, groups of friends, regulars, newbies, Mayors or to everyone.

But what about those users waiting to find a reason to use Foursquare? Well, we have the stirring of more compelling use cases that make Foursquare genuinely useful. It's called Explore and recommends venues to you based on a number of metrics, including the check-ins of your friends. We have played around with it and it gets the RAAK thumbs up! RWW explains it all.

Foursquare also announced that they now stand at 7,5 million registered users compared to January's 6.4. Not bad. But they really need to try and accelerate and hit at least 20 million by the end of the year.

Facebook introduces real-time analytics

While Twitter and the likes of Foursquare make occasional big releases, Facebook has been extremely busy of late. Their latest release? Real time analytics. Now you can know how many Likes any of your blog posts, apps or whatever has received.

We use anonymized data to show you the number of times people saw Like buttons, clicked Like buttons, saw Like stories on Facebook, and clicked Like stories to visit your website.

Oh, and did we mention the analytics includes information about demographics, such as age, country, gender?

Canada Tourism makes Twitter mural

Here's a nice example of bringing Social Media offline to create awareness. To show their southern neighbours that Canada was a destination worth considering, the tourism board created interactive installations in big American that displayed tweets and photos in real time from people enjoying Canada.


Twitter saved the video star

A lot is being said about the future or not of the intersection between TV and social. We tend to think that Twitter is the killer app to accompany TV. Al Jazeera, has however put some more thought into TV and social. This week they launched the Al Jazeera Twitter dashboard, that tracks unrest across the Middle East and Africa. And they are launching a show with social media at its centre.

Group coupons – an interview

So what exactly is Groupon? And how is it social? We went to visit our hyper successful neighbour to find out. The main take-away: see Groupon as an alternative way to spend your marketing budget.


There's an API for that

It took 3 years for 1000 public APIs to be available, but in the last 9 months we went from 3000 to 4000. RWW reports on the incredible growth of interfaces and how it is becoming a mainstream business practice.

It notes that some APIs are launching without a legacy service. The API is all there is. Others, like Twitter, promote internal usage. is built on the same API that's available to developers.

APIs are part of what Jeff Jarvis calls a new business practise where you should either be part of a platform, or be one yourself. One thought we have had a for a long time: why has Ebay not turned their reputation system into an API?

Android sound and fury – iPad not so much

This week Android became the top smartphone in the US. While Apple released the iPad 2, which led to much ado about not so much. It's not that we think the iPad is not a great device, we just don't think the new one offers much new.

In other news, 22% of US doctors were using iPads at the end of 2010.


This poster would have been hilarious, if the whole IE6 saga was not so tragic. This dysfunctional but widely used browser has held the web back for years. Now Microsoft has climbed on the anti-IE6 bandwagon and offers groveling apologies.


Authenticity – what is it?

A war or words erupted this week as websites like Techcrunch introduced Facebook comments. Facebook famously requires users to use their real identities. For some people, accustomed to a web that first prided itself in anonymity, this was a bridge too far.

People yearn to be individuals. They want to be authentic. They have numerous different groups of real-life friends. They stylize conversations. They are emotional and have an innate need to connect on different levels with different people.

Robert Scoble provided a passionate counter argument. It was precisely the fact that users put their lives through real identities on the line, that was driving impetus, the power of the Egyptian Facebook protest. That was the power of real authenticity.

These “authenticity is dead” people are cowards. See, where I ONLY post opinions I’m willing to sign my name to, lots of people are actually cowards and just not willing to sign their names to their mealy-mouthed attacks.

Creative of the week – Mike Lacher

Ever wondered what your lovingly designed website would have looked like back in 1996? Check out Mike Lacher's Geocities-izer and a few other of his cheeky online 'products'. Read More >>


Andrew Mason founder of Groupon

According to Forbes, social buying site Groupon is the fastest company from zero to 1 billion dollar in revenue in history. Still many people do not know what it is and how it works and whether it was for them.

RAAK spoke to Hristina Hristova of the Groupon social media team and asked her a few pointed questions. What was obvious to us when we visisted their London HQ was that the company is bristeling with energy, quickly filling up every floor of the building they occupy near Liverpool street.

Our main take-away – for most business Groupon is not really a way to make money directly. Rather it should be seen as a marketing spend. It is a way to drive massive amounts of new custom to your business. What interested us is the extent to which Groupon helps businesses prepare for the waves of customers they drive to them.

As a bloke, I am struck by the nature of the deals they offer. Facials and the like seem to be the order of the day. And yes, the typical customer is female, young and tech savvy. But I have the feeling Groupon will ,like to change that.

Groupon sees their main competitors as Facebook Places. I asked them about Foursquare, but no. Facebook is the threat, even though Places are yet to see much traction.

Part 2 deals shortly with Groupon’s European history.

Mike Lacher desribes himself as a designer & writer. But really, he’s a funny man. And he uses his design, writing and programming skills to do funny stuff on the internet.

Under the WonderTonic moniker he’s made quick, rough and cheeky ‘products’ like the Steam Powered YouTube and A href=””>Wolfenstein 1D, which turns the classic game into a 1-pixel high ‘environment;, but the one project that made us smile this week is his Geocities-izer.

If you want to see what your website would have looked like if it was designed by a 13-year old back in 1996, then

Facebook launches new commenting system

People are saying this could be a game changer. Facebook's new commenting system still keeps the capability of sending your comment to the Newsfeed, but if a friend comments on that inside Facebook, the friend's comment goes back to the site on which the comment was made. Another new feature is the ability to float comments by friends to the top.

There is another reason media owners might be persuaded to go for this button. Because it requires real (or Page) identities, abusive comments will be severely reduced. Check the link above for an implementation on Techcrunch.

Facebook Pages an option for deep integration after all?

Just last week we dissed Facebook Pages as an option for deep integration of functionality. But, argues Econsultancy, the introduction of iFrames gives us much more functionality to play with and opens up exciting possibilities.

In essence, the move to iframes means full CSS, Javascript and standardised HTML can now be used when creating and editing pages, giving many businesses the opportunity to directly import their existing websites into Facebook.

Whether more capabilities will solve Pages' poor usage remains to be seen. We are still fans of the taking-Facebook-to-you model, rather than you going to Facebook.

UNIQLO launches Facebook-powered lookbooks

Like UNIQLO did. Contagious Magazine reports that the Japanese fashion brand has tapped into the taking-Facebook-to-you model to build Uniqlolooks.

…a website and global communication platform run on Facebook that enables people all over the world to share their UNIQLO style.

We predict a significant uplift in traffic from Facebook to UNIQLO, similar to what the Huffington Post and Spotify experienced when they followed this model.


Facebook having a whale of a time, buys Beluga

RWW had a good article on Facebook's buying of the mobile group messaging app Beluga:

Beluga launched less than six months ago, started by ex-Googlers Lucy Zhang, Ben Davenport and John Perlow. If you haven't yet used Beluga, it's a simple app for communicating with multiple people at once. You create a "pod" (Beluga's name for a group) of people and each time one of you sends a message, everyone else gets it. It's a bunch of custom-created group chat rooms. In these "pods", you can not only share text but also pictures and locations. And not everyone even needs to have a smartphone, as the app accounts for your feature-phoned friends by sending them SMS instead of in-app content.

SXSW is coming

Some reckon Beluga will be the standout service at this years SXSW festival. The annual knees-up is the place where Twitter came good and Foursquare was launched.

Another service that is looking to break through obscurity at SXSW is Hashable. This app allows you to easily keep track of people you have met through Twitter hashtags. While it has some interesting new interaction features, we are not convinced that it has strong enough utility value on its own.

Interested in SXSW? Quora has good lists of non US start ups going to SXSW, interesting panels, hotels and parties.

Social Eyes launches

Another service that harnesses the power of Facebook's social graph has launched. But SocialEyes does it using video. Writes GigaOm:

The service, which will live as its own site and as a Facebook application, allows users to carry on multiple chats throughout the day and lets people tap Facebook’s social graph for conversations. Users can pop in and out of individual chats or combine them together in group sessions called scrums. Users can also join or start their own private groups among friends or participate in public groups based around hobbies and interests.

The NYTimes are excited too:

Users can leave the windows open so the friends can see and hear one another even when they’re not chatting. They can mute or pause certain conversations if they don’t want their friend to see or hear them, but it can be a little creepy, especially if someone forgets that a chat is still going on.


Facebook Like = Share = Like

Facebook is apparently killing the Share button, but integrating its functionality into the Like button. So when a user 'Likes', it will pop up a dialog giving them an option to enter some text that will accompany their Like into their Friend's Newsfeeds.

This will probably cause higher engagement, but it might also discourage people to Like, now that they can easier comprehend what their Like will do.

Measuring the value of Twitter

Econsultancy has an in-depth post on how they measure the value of Twitter. Here is just one excerpt with regards to their Econsultancy Twitterfeed account:

Further analysis shows that ‘Twitterfeed’ referrals have a higher average order value than both ‘’ (which can be defined as non-‘Twitterfeed’ links on and also – perhaps surprisingly – customers referred via natural search. This backs up my hunch that customers who have clicked on our Twitterfeed links are far more highly engaged than those who visit via ‘’ (ditto search). And also that it pays to engage, as the theory goes.


Facebook Places bigger than Foursquare?

Robin Wilson seems to have gotten the inside track on UK Facebook data. They told him the following numbers:

  • 26M Active UK users on Facebook
  • 14M UK users visit everyday, spending an average of 25 mins on Facebook
  • 35+ age group is the largest demographic
  • 2.6M UK Facebook users are over 55 [10% of total users]
  • 4X more likely to purchase due to an ad on Facebook vs standard display ad due to social element
  • 3M active UK users of Facebook Places. [This was perhaps the most impressive stat]
  • That would probably make Facebook Places much larger than Foursquare in the UK (Foursquare claims 6.5 million registered users worldwide.) A note of caution however, as this Tweet indicates: Foursquare seems to still outstrip Facebook for actual checkins.

    PeerSquare and the serendipity platform

    We knew it was a good idea, but when we launched PeerSquare last week we had no idea it would be so well received. Om Malik's GigaOm linked to it in an article titled The Race to Build a PageRank for the Social Web Continues.

    Techcrunch also covered PeerSquare in How smart is your startup incubator? Check in on PeerSquare and find out.

    We think there are two main reasons why PeerSquare is a good idea. It allows you to see who at a venue has authority. But on a more basic level, because of Peerindex's topics, it gives a fuller picture of who the people are. As it happens Google's Eric Schmidt gave a fascinating speech at the Mobile World Congress. In this video at 9:10 he makes the following point:

    "We are used to the phone as a communications platform, and increasingly so as a data / browsing platform and computational device, which everyone is excited about now, but what about the phone as a serendipity platform? What about your phone helping you learn new things and meet new people you would not otherwise. That is the future…"


    Sorry to labour a point – but mobilise your ass

    In the same video Schmidt makes a startling admission (5:48). Every ambitious target they have set for the adoption of mobile technology has been exceeded. Last year he predicted that within two years smart phones will outsell PCs. But that came to pass – on a quarterly basis – in mid February! The changes that are happening are so fast he says, that many people do not appreciate how profound these changes are. Developers now think mobile first, because this is where scale is.

    Creative of the week –

    Finding the phantoms, Timo Arnall, tries to make visible our ever increasing but invisible radio wave driven world. In his latest project he visualised wifi signals. Read More >>

    Painting with Wifi

    In South Africa, where I’m from, dancing is often referred to as throwing shapes. On the other side of the planet Fin Timo Arnall does not throw (or make) shapes. He tries to discover hidden ones. That’s cool!

    With his project Immaterials (video) he tried to discover the active signals of RFID tags – and yes he also did it with London’s beloved Oyster Cards.

    Now, working with Jørn Knutsen and Einar Sneve Martinussen they have visualised Wifi signals – Immaterials Wifi light painting.

    Immaterials: Light painting WiFi from Timo on Vimeo.

    Here is how they describe the project:

    A four-metre tall measuring rod with 80 points of light reveals cross-sections through WiFi networks using a photographic technique called light-painting.

    We built the WiFi measuring rod, a 4-metre tall probe containing 80 lights that respond to the Received Signal Strength (RSSI) of a particular WiFi network. When we walk through architectural, urban spaces with this probe, while taking long-exposure photographs, we visualise the cross-sections, or strata, of WiFi signal strength, situated within photographic urban scenes.

    Based at the Oslo School of Architecture & Design he leads an international research project on the applications of various technologies in consumer products. 

    His PhD project ‘Making Visible’ investigates the use of visual media to explain emerging technology. Here he is discussing his Making visible theme, including where his research might lead, including the impact on interface design.

    IxD Spring Summit 2009 – Timo Arnall from Umeå Institute of Design on Vimeo.