Googlecloud review (has anyone done usability testing on tag clouds yet?)

So, today I checked out Googlecloud which I saw via Ajaxian and which was released by the crew at Trade This. (phew! that’s my linking karma for the day!)

My first impression was not great. This was what I saw:

It got me thinking back to the Go Flock Yourself post in my daily links from yesterday regarding the evils (or really, the lack of usability) of tag clouds. I’m not concerned with purity of the representation in terms of font size, but in this case, the links that I’m actually interested in are going to be so small as to be virtually invisible… and I don’t even know if they’re there. This zeitgeist, who favour Britney Spears just over Linux Desktop, isn’t really much use to me.

But then…
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For shame Danna Vale

Danna Vale

Now, this is not a political blog, and I hope to rarely mention political issues here, but sometimes a politician behaves in a manner so outrageous that I just can’t help myself. Those of you in Australia who’ve been listening/watching the news this morning will know exactly what I’m talking about. The Hon. Danna Vale MP. (Its beyond ironic to preface her name with Hon. after the way she’s been carrying on).

The background is that our Federal Government is currently debating whether or not the Government (in particular, the Health Minister) should be able to control access to the ‘abortion drug’ RU486 – whether or not the Therapeutic Goods Administration had reviewed and approved use of the drug (which they haven’t even had the opportunity to do at this stage).

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links for 13 February 2006

  • I stumbed across this via http://atariboy.wordpress.com/2006/02/12/all-the-web20-you-could-want/
    At first I was thinking – so what… its a static image on Flickr with a bunch of 2.0 terms and buzzwords… but then… as you mouseover, the magic appears… using Flickr’s ‘notes’ function, lots of people have added hyperlinks to the terms in the cloud, creating a rich networked map to an enormous range of key sites and readings associated with Web 2.0
  • A digital communications agency in Berlin.Clients include Siemens and Volkswagen
  • rails against ‘clouds’ (eg. Tag Clouds) as a currently popular visual device, compares to pie charts in terms of lack of clarity.
  • MetaWrap Time Converter, Build 3
    More clever code from James, but this time something even I can play with :) The Time Convertor allows you to easily see what time it is in any city of the world (and includes links to Google Maps. v clever James). Particularly sexy is the way that you can see whether or not it is daylight in any given city (celestial mechanics, I think James said was behind it). The cities also link to their Google Map equivalent. Very nice. I’ve asked James if he can do me one where I can see where ‘business hours’ are still in play to help organise global phone conferences :)
    (tags: application mashup time global)

good lord, it’s a school yard out here (and I’m a nerd again!)

ok. So, by every standard possible, I’m such a junior-blogger. I think I’m heading into week three, or something like that, and I’ve been pretty busy at work, which has kept a handle on my blog reading as well as posting. Its been impossible to miss the bruhaha going on as the A-Listers cop a serve from those who they’ve apparently been keeping outside the gates of blogging fame and glory (via Tech.Memeorandum, yep, still loving it).

There are a lot of different takes you can have on this situation, and I have a couple… but the more I read it the more everyone is starting to remind me of a bunch of highschool kids jostling for social superiority. Trying to work out who is in the cool gang, how to get there if you’re not, why another gang is the next cool gang, or an alternate cool gang at least, how we should be nice to the kids who aren’t in the cool gang, or the next coolest gang, or the one after that.

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