Lots of Dutch Visitors Using my iPhone Translator App

Posted by Mike Brittain on April 30, 2008
Mobile, Personal, WWW / Comments Off on Lots of Dutch Visitors Using my iPhone Translator App

I just wanted to say hello and thanks to the guys at iPhoneclub.nl for their coverage of the iPhone Translator app that I wrote last weekend. It looked like a good article, from what limited amount I could understand, and they even took a few nice screen shots of words being translated to Arabic and Korean.

I was surprised to find this week that Dutch users account for the majority of traffic to the app, and it appears (from web accesses to the home screen icon) that people are bookmarking it for future use.

Hartelijk dank!

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Translate Words and Phrases on Your iPhone

Posted by Mike Brittain on April 27, 2008
Apple, Mobile, WWW / 5 Comments

Screen shot of iPhone TranslatorI’ve been working on learning Japanese over the last two years, and have been making a better stab at it recently. What I realized would be helpful is a quick translation tool on my phone from English to Japanese. I tried whipping one up with the Google Language API.

Try out this iPhone Translator in your browser or on your iPhone.

  1. Open http://m.mikebrittain.com/tr in your iPhone.
  2. Select a combination of languages you want to translate between, e.g. from English to Japanese.
  3. Bookmark the translation page for quick access when your out on the run.

I have a trip planned to Vienna later this year, and it would be really nice to have a quick German to English translation tool on hand. This would be promising if only I had an international data plan.

Other supported languages include Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, and Chinese.

Please try it out and leave feedback in the comments section below.

(Thanks to DryIcons for the icon I’m using on the site for iPhone and iPod Touch home screens.)

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Which Presidential Candidate Uses Twitter More?

Posted by Mike Brittain on April 08, 2008
WWW / Comments Off on Which Presidential Candidate Uses Twitter More?

Everyone’s talking about TweetStats.

Rather than talk about how cool TweetStats is, I thought I’d show off some stats for two people I didn’t realize were Twitter users until today. OK, I don’t really believe that either of these two are actually writing these, er… “tweets“.


Barack Obama is totally kicking Hillary Clinton‘s ass on Twitter.

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Getting more out of Google Calendar and Contacts

Posted by Mike Brittain on March 06, 2008
Gadgets, Mobile, WWW / Comments Off on Getting more out of Google Calendar and Contacts

I’ve been waiting for this news for a while, and friends of mine have, too. Google has opened a Contacts API to allow developers to manage or sync contacts with your Google account. Maybe I can finally ditch Plaxo, which just seems a little weird for me, now that they are trying to extend into the social network space with their “Pulse” product. All I want is an address book, and if I add a new one on my phone, I want to see it at home and at work. And if I delete one at work, I want it deleted on my phone and at home. And if my wife has access and changes one of my contacts, I want that change to show up for me, too. That seems like it’d be nice.

Additionally, there’s a first step toward syncing your Google Calendar with Microsoft Outlook. Looks like it only supported on Windows, so far. What I’m still waiting for is good syncing between Google Calendar and iCal, or even better, wireless syncing from the iPhone Calendar app. If Google were to open a sync API for Calendar, I’m sure plenty of application support wouldn’t be far around the corner.

Found this news on Matt Cutts’ blog.

Cheap lift tickets

Posted by Mike Brittain on January 31, 2008
Skiing and Snowboarding, WWW / 3 Comments

A friend pointed me at Liftopia, a site that allows you to buy discounted lift tickets for many ski areas around the country. Unfortunately, most of my regular spots are not on here. Still, it’s worth a look.

Hosting a “green” website

Posted by Mike Brittain on May 13, 2007
Green, WWW / 1 Comment

Dreamhost (my favorite web hosting company) recently announced that they have offset their carbon footprint for their entire operation. That includes the energy for their data center (and all of the servers inside), paper in their office, and even the gas used in the cars their employees drive to get to work. That’s freakin’ awesome. Which means that not only is Dreamhost green, but also all of my websites are green, too!

Make Every Search Benefit the Environment

Posted by Mike Brittain on March 31, 2007
Green, WWW / Comments Off on Make Every Search Benefit the Environment

Use Google everyday? Here’s an easy way to get the benefits of Google’s terrific search results, while benefiting green (as in environmentally friendly) charities. Green Search has the answer. A portion of money collected from ads served from search results pages will be donated to a national green charity.

There is also a super-simple installation for Firefox’s built-in search bar, making it easy to integrate into your day-to-day usage.

Part of the club

Posted by Mike Brittain on December 19, 2006
Personal, WWW / 8 Comments

I’ve been a reader of A List Apart since sometime back in ‘98, when it was still a mailing list. Today the magazine published my first contribution, which deals with using label tags appropriately in HTML forms, even when you don’t seem to have room for them.

Update Aug 15, 2008

If you’ve liked the “overlabel” JavaScript technique that I published on A List Apart, you might want to also check out the jQuery version that was assembled by Scott Sauyet.

Great viral video campaign

Posted by Mike Brittain on November 03, 2006
Videos, WWW / 1 Comment

I found this campaign this morning, and it’s nearly making me late to leave for work. It’s a fantastic use of video to push a corporate product — one that I would otherwise never have paid attention to. Will It Blend? showcases a number of uses for Blendtec’s commercial-grade blenders. These include making smoothies out of coke and half a chicken, blending a wooden rake handle, and making a tasty McDonald’s treat that probably isn’t surprising when it comes out so smooth.

Building Firefox Tabs

Posted by Mike Brittain on October 25, 2006
WWW / Comments Off on Building Firefox Tabs

When I downloaded pre-release builds of Firefox 2.0 I was surprised at the additional close buttons added to each tab. I didn’t know whether I liked them or not, but I found when I switched between Firefox 1.5 and 2.0 from time to time, I was more likely to look for the close buttons on each tab than having just one button on the far right. It was new, but it seemed right.

A story on ZDNet today confirmed that my own intuition matches HCI tests run by Google and NASA:

“Google did usability studies with eye-tracking tools and determined that
people actually look to the tab first, and it would take longer to determine
if they had the right tab and were ready to close it,” Beltzner said. “NASA
Ames recently did cognitive modeling for us on tabs. Not only was the
‘close’ button on a tab quicker, but people would be more accurate. They
also gave us good data on how wide tabs had to be before people clicked on
the wrong one.”

It’s exciting to know that these two organizations are both supporting the development efforts of Mozilla…