Ditch that pagination! - AJAX "Load More..." = Awesome by Cory

We've reached a point on the internet where page loads are unnecessary and instant gratification is expected. AJAX has become the new standard for how we retrieve and post information. Pagination has always been one of those tedious and annoying necessities for breaking up information, and the time has come to put an end to it! If there's anything that iPhone email or Google Reader has taught us, it's that pagination sucks. Once you use either of these products, going back to the "old way" of pagination will make you want to go do some yoga breathing exercises (or am I the only one?).

Why pagination sucks:

  • when you're on page 3, all the content you've loaded from pages 1 and 2 are now inaccessible without clicking your browser's back button a few times...then scrolling back to the information you wanted.
  • Target areas of pagination links are normally tiny and hard to quickly find.
  • Pagination causes unnecessary server load when people request previously loaded information via pagination links.

A better way : AJAX "Load more":

  • Use AJAX to load additional content below existing content without refreshing the page
  • Have two HUGE buttons: "Load next 20..." and "Load All..."
  • For textual content, add a visual indicator to separate every 20 or so items to aid in knowing where you currently are in the list


I know you might be saying to yourself..."Dude, your blog still has this crappy pagination!". Yes, I am fully aware that my wordpress site you're viewing does not utilize this. My current endeavor of changing how we organize and share our photos takes up most of my time these days. That is why I would encourage you to go and write a wordpress plugin for me and the rest of the blogosphere to solve this problem :)

Digital Voting by Cory

voted1.gifHere in Denver, the voting process was quite a mess. New digital voting machines were in place, and in many locations it took 2 hours of waiting in line to cast your vote. Lots of people did not get to vote because they were pressed for time and couldn’t wait that long. I voted early and did not feel the effects of this problem. I felt that the voting system was efficient, and the voting machine was extremely easy to use (granted that i am a tech savvy geek).

The voting process as I experienced it:

Check-in: 5 Minutes There were 2 booths. At the first booth I signed my registration card in front of an election official. I then brought the card to another booth where someone scanned my card and typed some stuff into a computer. She then handed my card to a person next to her that typed some more stuff into another computer and then printed my voter access code for me to use at the booth.

Voting Machine Training: 5 Minutes The assistant educated me on every detail of how to use the voting machine and what i will expect for the review and submission process.

Voting: 5 Minutes I then went about casting my votes. Once i was done, i hit a big red button to submit my votes. I then came to a review page, where i could go back and make changes. Once I reviewed and approved the review pages, my selections printed out on a device next to the machine, and the machine asked me to verify each page of the print outs. I could also go back and make changes there. I then came to a screen that was the final, final, final page and said clearly that once i hit that red button again, that was it. I hit it and walked out.

Factors that are more likely to have caused the long voting lines:

  • This time there were only 50 or so voting places in CO, last time there were well over 100.
  • The ballot was the 2nd largest in history
  • Many voters are not computer savvy, so the learning curve was likely more steep for them

The voting machine interface: The voting machine interface consisted of a numerical pad (to input your 4-digit voter access code), a knob-wheel (to scroll though the ballet and highlight a candidate or Yes/No answer), a select button (to select/deselect your choice), and a “cast your vote” red button for the final submit. I was given 3 chances to review my selections and edit to ensure accuracy. The digital screen was very large and extremely easy to read.

I am curious to hear from some of the volunteers that dealt with all of the voters to see how people struggled with these machines…thats where I would start to troubleshoot the problem. The mayer has vowed to ensure the problem never happens again.

MusicRainbow by Cory

mr_overview.png Music Rainbow is a simple user interface to discover artists. The user controls the interface with a knob which can be turned (to select an artist) and pushed (to listen to music from the selected artist).

The demonstration is based on a collection containing 558 artists. The artists are projected onto a circle. Artists whose music is similar are placed close to each other. The similarity is computed by analyzing the audio contents of their songs. A "traveling salesman" algorithm is used to map the artists on the circle.

Colors encode different styles of music. Words describe different regions of the rainbow. These words are automatically extracted from web pages mentioning the artists.

The right side shows a magnification. The selected artist is highlighted in white. The box in the lower right summarizes the selected artist with words and colors.

MusicRainbow was developed at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) as part of the CrestMuse project. The user interface was built with processing by Elias Pampalk. The knob used in the demonstration is a Griffin PowerMate.


A new way to view your google calendar by Cory

googleclock_byambient_v3.pngThe Ambient clock combines a typical clock interface with the event data from your google calendar so you can see a simple view of your scheduled time vs. free time at a glance. The background color changes if you have up-coming events as a additional identifier. With a quick glance you can determine:

  • How long until my next event?
  • What time is my first event?
  • What time does my last event end?
  • What is my ratio of free time vs. scheduled time?

Additionally, if your google event has location information added to it, the Ambient clock will estimate your commute time to that event and display it as dots preceding the event.

None of these physical clocks are in production yet, but you can get a google homepage version. They claim that the physical version would only need AAA batterys and connect via Ambiant's nationwide wireless network.

Design Flaw of the Trash Can by Cory

We've all been're the only one around, the kitchen trash has started smelling foul and even that little ball of foil you need to throw away just wont fit in the already jam-packed trashcan (or is it just me?). You try to pull the trash bag out of the trash can, wrapping your legs around the can to get some leverage, grunting and sliding around, you spend 10 minutes just freeing the bag from the can. This is the design flaw of the trash can.

I have a simple solution...poke some air holes at the bottom of the trashcan! This allows air to flow into the bottom where the frustrating suction occurs.

Perhaps "taking out the trash" wont be such a chore now :)