disinformation architecture


I miss Vindigo. The service that ran this mobile application shut down last September. It was the reason that I had a Palm Treo, and it was totally worth the subscription price. It worked like this: You selected your city (mine’s New York). Then you selected the options you want for a number of different categories – Restaurants, Museums, Music, Shopping, Services… The one I used most was Movies. 

Under Movies, you could see everything that was playing that week, read reviews, and check local theaters and showtimes. Ok, there are lots of sites and services that let you do those things on a mobile phone or smartphone now. Here’s the part I really miss – I could easily save any of the movies to “My List” and then, when I wanted to go see something, instead of having to search for it, or sort through everything currently playing in theaters, I just looked at My List and asked myself “What do I feel like seeing today?”

(more…)

I don’t know what’s been going on with the Facebook application “FunWall” in the past couple days. I got about a dozen messages forwarded from people – some of them were the same message being forwarded multiple times by the same person. Some of them consisted mainly of a semi-pornographic scribble and a message telling people to forward it and see what happens.

(more…)

A couple months ago, I wrote a post about disinformation architecture in Facebook apps. Recently I noticed that the app had been improved in some ways. For one thing, you don’t get interrupted quite as often and asked to invite your friends. When you do have the opportunity to invite friends, the “skip” button is now a lot more prominent, like so: 

Skip Button on Flixter Quiz

Unfortunately, they couldn’t leave well enough alone. (more…)

I enjoy Facebook, but I find some of the available apps increasingly annoying. Aside from the fact that many of them are pointless, I’m really disturbed by the tactics they frequently employ to make themselves ubiquitous.

One of the apps that, in a general sense, I actually like is an app that lets me rate and review movies, share my opinions on films, and read about the opinions of others. It includes a “Movie Compatibility Test” which tells me how close my taste is to my buddies’, based on comparing our ratings for some 50-odd movies. It alerts me every time one of my friends has taken the quiz, so I can go check how well we matched up. I love movies, and all this sounds pretty cool. The problem is… (more…)

This evening I went to see a documentary called Helvetica with some friends from work. Normally I wouldn’t write about films here, but this one seemed appropriate. Positioning itself as a documentary about a font, it was actually a broader exploration of the evolution of typography and what a font communicates. 

Helvetica logo

Helvetica was created in the late ’50s. At the time it solved many graphic design problems and it sort of took the modern world by storm. Later, there was some post-modern backlash, but the font was already so ubiquitous, there was no going back. The film depicted the views and feelings of many prominent designers, and offered a wide range of perspectives on the font.

(more…)