WiFi, web application and a Starbucks with rentable small office(?)

Web applications for iPod Touch and iPhone are now released by Google, which include search, gmail, calendar, docs, etc. I tried them a little and now the home page is already bookmarked as my portal site. It works fast!!! I even found it works faster than the apps installed in iPod. Amazing!

It works so well that I even think an iPod can go well without apps installed, which might have been the original plan by Apple though. With a browser that works, most of the things can be done. In the near future, graphic and motion apps will be available. Even fonts won’t have to be installed in your PC.

By the way, my commuter train now throws a campaign that allows us to use free WiFi for as long as we want once a day. It’s only for iPod Touch users. (There’s no iPhone in Japan yet.) With that service, I don’t have to buy a newspaper or magazine to read on a train: I can read them on the net. (Sometimes I have to pay some money to be a member to have a full view of the contents, of course.) Also, I can deal with Word and Excel documents, move the data and send them by email. With a small device, I can WORK on a train. I can also read the blogs I have to check.

I believe this is already a business that someone started, but I hope there’s an office to rent, which is equipped with a PC with a browser and a WiFi connection. You can choose a scanner, printer or fax as an option, and the fees depend on the hours or days you rent and the office size (from one for 1 person). Renting a cool office for yourself costs a lot, so there will be lots of people who want to rent a beautiful office where we even think they want to invite someone. How about an office like a Starbucks? I’ve seen many people talking to their customers or affiliates in a Starbucks store. Soundproof walls should be installed so that we won’t have to worry someone will hear our talks. And this is what I want: you can order a coffee from your PC and a clerk will serve you. The fee is automatically added, so it’s easily done. Or, there can be a bar counter where you can pour your coffee for yourself for free.

The data is stored in the web server, so other people can access it from other places. WIth that, you don’t have to be a freelance.
So what do you think? Or are there places like this already?
Cool office you can rent at a Starbucks?

Customizing your drink in website before going to Starbucks

Customizing your drink in website before going to Starbucks

How about having a website where you can customize your cup of Starbucks coffee as you like (hopefully intuitively with lots of visual aids) on your PC, mobile or PDA and SEND it to your favorite Starbucks store? You just go to the store and tell your number given in the website, and the clerk says “OK, you pre-ordered ‘Grande Add shot Caramel Light Whip Caramel Sauce Mocha Sauce White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino’, right?” instead of your saying it. In the website, you see other customers’ choices, suggestions, tips for your choice, rankings, etc. Some of those are already realized in the Japanese Starbucks website, but I believe they can add some Amazon-like features to it. It’s wiin-win-win situation for you, Starbucks and other customers.

Future of Internet Search

future search engine

This idea is mostly based on what I thought for a search engine portal’s design competition (not Google’s) held a few months ago in Japan, where mine was picked for the first round. I redesigned it a little bit after that (especially after getting amazed by the latest touch screen technology). By looking at the future user interface by Apple’s iPhone, Microsoft’s Surface, Multitouch and so on, it is quite obvious to predict what the future user interface will be like. These are good examples of making the user experiences “intuitive”. I won’t elaborate on it, but “being intuitive” is essential when it comes to developing a user-friendly website. Not only website but whole other stuff which requires a user’s control.

“Search” is to look for and find something. When we look for something, we usually picture the object’s color, shape, size, etc. first in our heads. Then you think of the place you saw the object last, go and look around there to find something similar to what is pictured. You use your nose to smell and hands to feel and get unwanted objects away. In this design, the search results, websites, contents, images and banners are all “objects”, which are identified as icons. You look for something just like you do in the physical world. It has a table like plate in the middle and there are icons on it. Through the real-world physical movements, intuitive controls of “search” is realized. In addition, an unreal but ultra-practical action is incorporated by taking advantage of technology.

In short, this search can do:
Put and remove stuff by drag & drop
Organize icons to categorize scattered icons
Quick preview just like you take and see stuff closely
Set stuff you need aside for laterPile up icons, etc.

homepage

Home page
This is what you see first when you log in. It’s as simple as Google top page.

personalized home

Portal Home
For the personal portal site like iGoogle, you see ad banners and customized contents, tools, etc., but all of them are shown as icons. You can touch, move, pile and throw them just like books and paper. Your favorite items (clock, memo pad, calendar, RSS reader, weather news, etc.) can be added as you like. Simple mail app allows you to read and write mail quickly. The customized tabs on the left show the category you pick up, such as news, music, movies. By clicking one, the related icons rush into the screen.

searching animation

Search screen (Each icon is supposed to show the website’s image actually. Lazy me!)
Input the keyword and hit “Search”button, search results roll in the window until there are a certain number you first set. The keywords you used are displayed clearly in the screen. In most cases, a screen with lots of objects in it look busy and not aesthetically pleasing, but here I tried to make the search results themselves become a part of design. Each result icon is shaped according to what it is categorized: website, image, RSS, groups, ad banners, etc. The more the website is optimized for SEO, the more chance it has to appear upper and left side of the screen, thus stands out. If the number of the results hit the limit, the next group will be put in the area below the first one. You can see them by clicking the arrow, of course, but in the transition, the “camera” moves downwards.

search results aligned

Search Results Aligned
After the results roll in the screen, the “Align/Categorize” buttons appear in the top right side. “Grid/Scatter”, “Category”. The Grid button makes all the icons align straight on the grid, while the Scatter button mess them up. When you click the Categorize button, icons of the same category flock together.

When the cursor is over an icon, the meta data is shown graphically, which allows you to predict the contents of the site quickly before actually visiting.

quick look at website

site map preview

You can also click the “Site Map” button to easily get the visual structure of the website. Also, “Links” button gives you the sites linked to it.

favorite box

Favorite Button By clicking the “Favorite” button (or dragging an icon towards the button), it opens and becomes ready to store icons. Here you can stock results you like for later review. Drop an icon there and it is automatically aligned and its simple introduction is shown. When there are multiple icons in it, they are categorized automatically.

favorite box functions

I want to use a search like this, but I’m afraid the hardware won’t come up with the data processing… We have to wait for a while.

Read blogs on iTunes: To use an iPod Touch as an offline RSS reader

Blog on iTunesI would be really happy if I could read blogs or RSS feeds on iTunes because that means I can “carry” and see them on my iPod anywhere I go. That’s important to me because there are so few “public WiFi” places around me. Using the iPod’s text storage function is not good enough because it has lots of limitations for viewing websites.It’s natural to think that an iPod connects to the net and save data necessary when it’s available and switch to an offline mode when WiFi is not available.

Ultra thin display

sheet searching words
Accustomed to Google search so much, I sometimes look for “a search button” even when I read a real newspaper looking for a specific word. So it would be nice if there is a device like this to quickly find and highlight the word you specify. It would be even better if it can tell you the meaning of a word you don’t know. It’s so light and thin that you wouldn’t mind carrying it around at all. Oh, if there is a keyboard that can attach the screen to it, it’d be really good if it works as a computer.

translucent display
Pubic billboards and spaces are so much filled with information that it takes you time to find what you really want. With this transparent sheet, only you can see the info you want on various places like walls, floors, ceilings, notice boards, etc. In a large building with many people coming for the first time, such as hospitals, this sheet could be handed to a visitor (especially a senior) as a guide. This way, what you see and how you see it can be customized.


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Simple Projector

simple_projector
If you’re away from your computer and it tells you that you’ve got mail (visually), isn’t it useful? A simple USB connected projector reflects simple info against the wall, ceiling or desk. If your desktop is filled with lots of windows, it might be helpful if a “Meeting starts in 5 min!” message suddenly appears on the wall. Or if you’re concentrating on something so much you don’t want anyone to talk to you, you can say “Do NOT Disturb” without having to actually say anything.


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My Dream Mac (Macbook Touch? Mac Nano?)

Please check out the latest post “My Dream Mac #2 (Macbook Touch Concept)“.

My Dream Mac #2 (Macbook Touch Concept)

(I updated my dream mac in a later post. See this one, too.)

macbook_touch5

Now that iPhone and iPod touch are out, “touch panel” is proved to be great by the world. I hope a mobile mac like this will come out. Technically it must be possible for Apple to produce this kind of PDA-cum-laptop. I’ve always wanted to carry a very thin light Mac (not an iPod/iPhone) running OS-X with Wi-Fi and bluetooth. I can give up a DVD drive and USB connection as long as it has bluetooth.

It has a thin lid you can flip open downwards, which can work as a keyboard. It can slide behind the screen when it’s not used.

12 inch might be too large for a touch screen because we use it much more closely to our eyes than a usual screen.

Please make something like this, Apple!

macbook_touch1

macbook_touch2macbook_touch3macbook_touch4macbook_touch6

horizontal keyboard app for iPhone

horizontal keyboard app

Think it’s quite hard to type in a limited space, so how about taking advantage of the ipod’s width (at the expense of the full text view you typed)?

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This work is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.