Category Archives: flash

idiomag – a missed opportunity

Idiomag’s value proposition is great: A daily personalized music magazine. Unfortunately they take it too literally.

I signed up in January 2007 and have been to the site only about 10 times since, typically as a result of an email notification that new content is available. These notifications seem to come in spurts. Sometimes I get one every day for a few days in a row. And then nothing for weeks.

2 days ago I received an email that promised new content on Dinosaur jr, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Nada Surf. Awesome! I click through but can’t find any of this content. Instead I find Hot Hot Heat and a History Channel ad. Yesterday the email promised Radiohead, Nada Surf, Weezer, Kasabian. Again, the content of the “magazine” didn’t match. We Are Scientists just isn’t Radiohead. And I couldn’t figure out how I would get to the content I came for.

The idea is great but the execution sucks. The virtual magazine does indeed look like a real magazine (except for the videos). Nice layout, glossy look and you can even flip the pages, all done in Flash. Unfortunately this interaction model doesn’t really work on the Web.

How to fix it

Idiomag has good content but makes it really hard to access and share. They have built in sharing functionality but it’s really hard to discover. They will have to drop the magazine-style if they want to become successful.

I would publish the same content (including all the meta data/tags) in an invisible blog. Expose the main genres as their own page/blog (basically a tag search on the main blog). The same recommendation/matching engine can still act in the back and produce a customized main page based on tags and meta data. Users would still have their personalized content but in a form that is easier to consume. I could then subscribe to my personalized RSS feed and go check out the full rich-media blog whenever I feel like it. Enable comments and ratings and even suggest new things based on what similar users find interesting. And all of a sudden sharing is easy through simple linking.

But what about the widgets

Idiomag is available as widget for an impressive amount of sites. I just added the one for Facebook and suddenly I do see Dinosaur jr, Nada Surf and Hard Fi. At least a partial match. However it doesn’t seem to play very nicely with the new Facebook design. Widgets are great for distribution but Idiomag has to fix their main site first. And please make the edit Interests easier too. Thanks.



Browser performance issues caused by Flash?

I’ve been having issues in the last weeks where my CPU would peg at 100%. This is typically caused by a web page with an embedded Flash object (e.g. an ad or a music player). Closing the respective tab brings the CPU back to normal. This happens to me on Firefox 2, IE6, Safari 3.1 and SeaMonkey 1.1.9.

I’m running Flash 9,0,115,0. I will try upgrading to the latest version and see if this improves anything.

It’s not the first time that I see a third party component hurting performance and stability of the browser. I wonder how many extension the Mashable guys are running and how those impact the stability of Firefox. Disable/remove all extensions for a few days and see if the browser still crashes as often.

Also see “Firebug and Yahoo! Mail“.

Flash/Flex not fit for Rich Internet Applications?

For any product or service, I’m trying to use the Yahoo! version rather than a competitors product given that I work for Yahoo!. This includes Search btw. I had given up on Yahoo! Maps a while ago as the interface seemed to be getting in my way on a regular basis. They just converted from Flash to Ajax and the experience is so much better! It loads really fast too.

This is huge for Yahoo! Maps and I expect to see an increase in engagement and even unique users. Count me in!

But it’s also a major blow to Adobe in the battle between Ajax and Flash/Flex for Rich Internet Applications (RIA). Are there any widely used web apps out there that are still built in Flash? I guess there is Yahoo! Finance (when are they switching?). Google Finance is using Flash only for their charts and I think the difference between the two shows in the feel of the apps.

Kudos to the team! Keep up the great work. Google is still a bit ahead with their superior version of drag-your-route.