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Agregates and comments on all the best bits of the online content stream.

Facebook And Zynga Enter Into Five Year Partnership, Expand Use Of Facebook Credits

Facebook and Zynga announced today that they have entered into a five-year strategic relationship that increases their shared commitment to social gaming on Facebook and expands use of Facebook Credits in Zynga’s games. The agreement provides a solid foundation for both companies to continue to work together to provide millions of people with a compelling user experience for social games.

“Facebook was a pioneer in opening their platform in 2007 and in just three years tens of millions of Facebook users play our games everyday, from FarmVille and Cafe World to Treasure Isle and Mafia Wars,” said Mark Pincus, founder and chief executive officer at Zynga. “We are excited about Facebook’s long-term commitment to social gaming and Zynga, and look forward to working with them and other platform providers to bring the best social gaming experience to users worldwide.”

“We are pleased to enter into a new agreement with Zynga to enhance the experience for Facebook users who play Zynga games,” said Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook. “We look forward to continuing our work with Zynga and all of our developers to increase the opportunities on our platform.”

Zynga is currently testing Facebook Credits in select games and will expand to more titles over the coming months. Terms of the agreement between Facebook and Zynga were not disclosed.

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Filed under: Comment, Design, Everything, Game, Tech

Beep, Beep, Chiptune’s Rule.

Wired recently interviewed Bill Gates, and Mark Zunkenburg in an article entitled Geek Power. The basic premise being that they rule the world, which in a certain way they kind of do. It got me thinking of what it must have been like to watch your ideas, and your geeky, basement, RPG ridden world explode into a ‘change the world forever’ invention. I had a small taste of being at the cutting edge while I was indeed in someone’s basement watching them make some 8 Bit music on their iPad, Gameboy, and PSP. Alright, it’s not going to change the world forever, but it is an invention. To the geeks I was with, it is the coolest thing that’s happening in music right now, and it felt like I was witnessing something that was about to explode into popular culture.

In San Francisco the event was poorly attended, which is surprising (although I was glad I had front row seats) as I have heard that in NYC it commands lines around blocks and people being turned away. I hope the next one I attend will be bigger, and better publicized. Watching these geeks in action is really impressive and they aren’t hipster pretend to be geeks. These kids are skinny, baggy t-shirt wearing, budding engineers who are super socially awkward and completely brilliant.

For those who don’t know what 8bit is, it’s the format that all music on old game devices came in, nowadays you can easily recreate it on any computer but to be truly authentic you need to use the right equipment. Here’s a quick overview:
You take an old console, like the Gameboy (or any other console) you download some software (nanoloop) onto a Gameboy cartridge, then you mod your Gameboy so it has audio in and out, and you play the most awesome music using what looks like a digital game board. You can also mix in another Gameboy loop, or even use your iPad as a mixer just to give it that extra spin of geek music heaven.

I plan on making some visuals using my old console collection for a friend of mine, so let’s see if I can actually make that happen!

Here is a pic from the event. And a few link to Chiptune events on You Tube.

Joshua Davis is of course at the forefront of the movement.

Live Gameboy night

iPhone Nanoloop (cheese but impressive)

Filed under: Design, Gadget, Game, Music, Tech

My big fat UI.

(it’s been way too long since I posted but if you read the tech news you’ll have noticed that we are a bit busy here at Zynga!)

Does anyone else remember the days of completely ugly websites, the Framesets, tiny text or giant garish colors rendered in HTML system text?  I remember a phase where the web was full of giant downloads, director movies and blink tags with overloaded graphical sites that had no content or were striving to be communities with no community function.  How things have changed in that department!  Although really we haven’t come that far  in terms of UI technology online, we still use HTML to render our websites and often JavaScript is used to decorate with snazzy animations.  Now with Flash ousted from iPad and iPhone HTML5 is bringing us back to our roots,  and with that a new trend is emerging, UI’s are getting bigger, smarter and more thoughtful. I love it!

I don’t know if it stems from new user research but 11pt verdana is no longer the norm.  Everything feels more spacious (and by everything I am referring to a few specific sites), cleaner and easier to read. Twitter is a prime example of this new zen-esque interface, it’s sign up forms are a pleasure to use, they feel solid, and considerate. Wired.com is using different sized text to call out the relevance in it’s articles, spacing things evenly and not squishing everything into a 1024 window.  Mashable has a ton of content that loads as you scroll, it’s not a difficult script to write but it makes the whole experience that much better. Amongst many others, a notable iteration is google.com, they now fade in content after you move your mouse.  Small tweaks that make big differences.  I plan on scouring other sites looking for more emerging trends in fatter UI.  We are starting to see more well thought out interfaces, that aren’t what a designer thought would be better, but interfaces that are born out of research with real people using the real web. Now if only Facebook would follow suit.

Check out:

http://www.Twitter.com
http://www.wordpress.org
http://www.wired.com
http://www.google.com
http://www.mashable.com

Filed under: Comment, Design, Tech

Paint chips – watch it!

Loving this eye candy this morning.
Watch it here.

Filed under: Art, Design, Everything, Motion

Mini-Musings

So it’s been a busy week in the land of the web. Facebook announced a new Open Graph Protocol which means every site on the web can be plugged into Facebook, without the use of Facebook connect. Adobe stopped all development for flash on the iPhone, Zynga’s Treasure Isle is still growing faster than things that grow really fast. And the word social continues to be thrown around like a hot rock on a hot day. (Remember when everyone in advertising was talking about creating communities around brands….)

So now, with this new open standard, the web will truly be connected through Facebook, if you spend your online time logged into Facebook then the web, for you, will be one giant social experience. It’s a great idea and will surely take off with sites all over the web. But what if I don’t feel like being social? What if I want alone time? Without being bombarded with like buttons. All I have to do is simply log out of Facebook, and all those features will be turned off and I can go back to browsing the web on my own. Sweet. That’s just my personal preference.

For us at work however, it provides a whole new plethora of opportunity that I know we will be jumping all over in the coming weeks. So watch this space as we ride the wave of the new FB Open Protocol and find new ways to use it.

Filed under: Comment, Tech

Microsoft Launches Kin 1 and 2


Not a fan of Microsoft, but I am really interested in the flurry of mobile phones supporting user centered interfaces. Microsoft are calling The Kin’s ‘social smart phones’. It’s pretty neat, it sets your interface based on who you like, and who you contact the most. Streams relevant social media and local events to your front pages. Amongst other things it has a really good camera and supports flash. And of course it’s touch screen. *yawn* when will I be able to move things with my mind?

A few other notable interfaces that have been released for phones (in the states, I am sure Asia is way ahead of the curve)

HTC from Sprint... Another nice communication device. It makes the iPhone look unfocused, which I actually think it is. I love the iPhone as a hand held computer, but as a business device and communication tool? I actually think it sucks.

Then I have to mention the Samsung and Swype app (which i am sure will come to other devices because it’s so effing cool)… they broke the world record for texting by 5 seconds! Not that I care that much about speed, I do though care about their intuition in creating it, and how smart and easy this looks to use.

Filed under: Design, Everything, Gadget, Tech

Matthew Albanese – Amazing landscapes from household items.

Had to re-post this from Wired this morning, this guy is the real deal! I remember trying to do something similar and failing abysmally, the above images are made from tile grout, moss, bottle brushes and ground clippings. And this is just his hobbie! You can find out more from behance network here. or see the original posting on Wired which includes info on how he made Mars with Paprika!

Filed under: Art, Design, Tech

Space Invade your car yo!

The Cool Hunter are doing a car wrap competition and promoting it with this sweet mini… it’s in LA and NYC apparently. Have you seen it?

Filed under: Art, Design, Fashion, Gadget

Zynga’s Newest Game, Treasure Isle, Gains Three Million Players in Just Five Days

I have to say this is pretty outstanding. You can read the original article here it says a ton about our competitive edge as a company. Just to put it into perspective most games (even the more popular ones) spend months getting that kind of player count. We did it in just a few days.

Filed under: Design, Gadget, Game, Tech

Multi-Tasking comes to the iPhone

Finally. There are a bunch of other interesting updates but the biggest one for me is multitasking. I wonder if I’ll be able to flick between my open apps. Now maybe I’ll be able to leave ‘we rule’ open.

Filed under: Everything, Gadget, Tech