Chrome

Gatorade’s 360 Degree Immersive Baseball Experience is Pretty Damn Cool.

With the Kansas City Royals about to clinch their first division title in 30 years my head has been a little baseball focused these days. This afternoon I came across a new interactive ad from Gatorade designed to work in Chrome, or the latest mobile app version of YouTube. Yes unfortunately for some, you have to check this out in Chrome.

What we have is a 360 degree virtual reality baseball experience that puts you the viewer in Bryce Harpers Point of View (I wish it was a Royals player though). When you load the video you can pan around the stadium from the on deck circle while waiting to get up to bat in the bottom of the 9th. Then you get to go toe to toe with a Major League pitcher and see if you can smack a fastball out of the park.

 

It’s a great use of technology with little product placement or marketing going on. It is however memorable and there is a tiny little Gatorade logo in the bottom right corner of the video reminding you who brought you this experience.

Wordpress Are You Listening? Fix Your iOS Experience.

I just spent 30 or so minutes composing a post using the WordPress App for iOS on my iPad. As I was wrapping up I began to insert images into the post only to have about half of them fail. Apparently the latest update to the app has broken the insert image feature. If you select more than two, it will fail to upload all of them to the WordPress servers. Along with this, the app no longer posts to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

I have been a WordPress user for six years now, and for the most part a huge fan. When working correctly it is a powerful content management tool, that is far more robust than Blogger, or SquareSpace in my opinion. Note that I said “When working correctly”. WordPress if you are listening, you need to take note of the following constructive criticism.

About a week ago WordPress updated its desktop authoring environment with a new simplified editor. As the screen takes what seems like days to load yu are greeted with the juvenile “Beep, beep, boop” phrase. If and when the page finally loads, there are far fewer options than the old editor, a confusing UI, and a slightly cleaner look. WordPress must know that they have issues, because in the upper right corner of the screen they have a link that takes you back to the classic editing environment, which I have done every day since they rolled out the new set up.  This isn’t such a big deal for me, well not a big deal until they get rid of the classic editor and force us to use the new one. At that point I’ll probably drop WordPress and move on. Yes that is how much I dislike it.

I chose WordPress because it was billed as a professional tool. Because 6 years ago and earlier it had recieved so much good press and reviews from people y that used it daily, and because even businesses were using it do to the robust tool set and depth of professional themes. The latest update feels like they have rolled it back to amature hour. I get ease of use. I get clean simple design. I get streamlined UI. What I don’t get, is “Beep, beep, boop” and the removal or hiding of tool sets.

Now lets talk iOS.

WordPress for the iPad is a joke. There is no other way to say it. It’s horrible. The app is so bad that with each new update they break something new. In the latest version they broke image uploads, social media hooks, spell check, categories, and more. They failed to fix the ability to embed video from Vimeo, or YouTube.  With each update the iOS app has remained unstable, buggy, and feature broken. With each update WordPress says it has done “Bug Fixes”, but with each apparent fix, they have introduced even more.

WordPress in Safari, or Chrome on iOS is no better. The pages do not load correctly, even when you “Request Desktop Site” in Chrome. The editor simply doesn’t load correctly. Simple things like scrolling, and selecting don’t work. Embedding images and video is difficult, and the overall experience is just goofed. Even simple acts like selecting a line of text don’t work well. It’s so bad that if I have to use my iPad, i now have a multi-step workflow that involves drafts, and multiple apps.

The first step is to write all the text out in the Pages and copy the text.

Step two, go to the WordPress app, create a new post and paste.

Step three, save the draft.

Step four go to Safari and open the draft.

Step five embed video and save the draft.

Step six, go back to WordPress, open the draft, embed any images one at a time.

Step seven, select the image tag, cut, go to the insert point I want the image to appear and paste. (Yes the iOS app doesn’t embed images at the place where your cursor is. It embeds everything at the bottom of the post. Another fix needed) Save the draft.

Step eight. Launch Chrome, and spell check. Save the draft.

Step nine launch Safari, open the draft, and publish.

WordPress are you listening. This is an excercise in frustration. You need to step it up and fix your product. Fix it, test it, and then roll it out. Right now it feels like your dev team is just throwing crap at the wall to see what sticks.

Traveling to Mars, Measured in Pixels.

I am constantly discovering cool little websites designed to take advantage of HTML 5 and Chrome extensions. Distance to Mars website, was created by David Paliwoda & Jesse Williams, to take advantage of some of the emerging new web technologies by calculating the earth’s distance to Mars in pixels. I like this because most of the day, the common unit of measurement I touch is pixels. If you have Chrome installed, use it to view this site for the best experience.

earth

“Not the Same” Approach to Music Videos.

Since MTV and VH1 really don’t show music videos anymore, it’s nice to see bands breaking out of the music video mold and doing something new.

tanlines_medium

Recently  OKFocus was asked to build an interactive music video site for “Not the Same”, by the band Tanlines. The site looks sort of like the Photoshop interface, with layers and a toolbar pallets that let move and resize band members plus choose from a selection of backgrounds that include still images, webcam feeds, and low res video animations. There is even a hook to Social image giant Instagram that allows you to load images tagged #notthesame. It’s a pretty fun site, and definitely a very cool way to do a music video.

Monday Inspiration. The Carp and the Seagull, an Interactive Film.

Here is a little bit of Monday inspiration. If you use Chrome as your browser I suggest you take some time and check out this new immersive, interactive film from the Creators Project and Evan Boehm from Nexus Interactive Arts.

The video below is the trailer for the WebGL and HTML5 film called ‘The Carp and the Seagull‘. This short 3D environmental film was made using the WebGL standard that allows you to be immersed in a world where you embark on a dark journey.

Rendered in a wire frame polygon style The Carp And The Seagull’s look is reflective of the characters emotional and spiritual states, which takes place in a cube that the viewer can rotate. This allows the viewer to switch between the characters physical and spiritual worlds as the story unfolds in real-time.

This is a great example of where the web is going  as designers and storytellers take advantage of HTML 5, WebGL, and other emerging technologies.

Introducing Google’s “Chrome Book”.

For me, the jury is still out on Google’s “Chrome Book” set to launch later this summer. What I am sure about is the look and feel that Google has developed to explain the product and its features. These animations are great. They have a fun casual look to them and they explain what the product is without becoming dry, stuffy, academic, or boring, something that isn’t easy to do when you are talking about technology.