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Weekly Recap: Kinetic Type, Hearses and Change

While neither V for Vendetta or this kinetic typography are new, this animation was new to me this week. You can check out 14 additional kinetic typography pieces based on popular movies at Inspired Mag. Rocky and Nick the Greek were also contenders for this hero spot.

Also typography related is The Big Web Show’s episode 18 where they speak with Roger Black, co-founder of Webtype, an online font foundry that also hosts the fonts for use in your CSS3 based designs. Besides having some really nice fonts, I love their browse options.

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Google offers instant results because 2.5 seconds is too long for users to wait for results. It seems crazy that such a small amount of time would make a noticeable change in user behavior but Google has stats that prove it. Years ago it was based around the number of results to display based on the difference in milliseconds to return those results. Today (last week) Google added instant results to cut this number down even more. According to their blog post this could save the world 11 hours every second.

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Earlier this month Twitter posted stats on third party app usage and it showed that by-and-far most users use the Twitter website and mobile site, followed by Twitter’s own branded apps. The third party apps are only used by a small (but active) percentage of their users. This could be why Seemic, who just announced the launch of Seesmic Desktop 2 (SD2), is focusing increasing their support for additional web services (RSS, YouTube, Zappos). Some of this support is through their new plug-in architecture. For a quick overview check out TechCrunch’s coverage of the announcement.

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Big changes at Microsoft. Stephen Elop, President, Microsoft Business Division, has left the building to become CEO of Nokia. In an unrelated note, the Redmond campus celebrated the (manufacturing) release of Windows Phone 7 with some black humor, a hearse and a parade. And what parade would be complete without doing a scene from Thriller. Though I’ve been impressed with what I have seen of Windows Phone 7, it’s has a huge uphill battle to live up to the hype of this parade.

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UX Magazine had an interesting editorial on converting the URL bar into a form of navigation/breadcrumb system.  There are some good concepts behind the potential use of the very static and possibly foreign component included in every browser. Some things needed for this concept to become a reality is out side of the browser’s control, though you can see signs that the browsers are starting to go in this direction.  For example, in Google’s Chrome browser has implemented a system that bolds the domain and grays out the rest of the URL info. Though somewhat random when it occurs, Chrome also boxes out a website when you’re entering your search/URL. To see it in action type “google.com anyTerm,” it does this for other sites as well, but not always and I’m not sure why or when.

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Ending this weeks review with some fun. Take a bunch of animated GIF’s and synch them up with Girl Talk’s spliced samples and you have the making of an Internet Meme du jour…Cache Rules Everything Around Me by Evan Roth

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Code Tips

Image extraction via RegEx

I recently was working on a project where I needed to write some RegEx (Regular Expressions) to extract image tags and the image’s source URLs out of RSS feeds.  Though RegEx can do some really impressive things with finding specific strings in a mass of text, it’s also a royal pain in the ass to write, especially if you don’t work in RegEx everyday.  For those that never heard of RegEx, I point you to Wikipedia, they can better explain what it’s all about way better then I.

As I mentioned my goal was to extract image tags and it’s source URL out of RSS feeds.  Part of this wouldn’t be neccessary if people actually used the image node within RSS rather then adding the image to the description’s contents…but I degress.  Knowing that these expressions may fulfill a common need I am posting them below.  Currently this is separated into two separate expressions, making it a two step process to extract the image’s source URL.  Doing it this way was less complicated and easier for me to verify it’s functionality.  If there is someone more familiar with RegEx and can optimize this into a single expression I welcome your input.

Extracts complete image tag <img ***** />
    (<|&lt;)img([\s]*[\S]*)([\s]*|[\S]*)*/(>|&gt;)

Extracts source URL from image tag
    (?<=src=”)([^”]*)(?=”)|(?<=(src=’))([^’]*)(?=’)

These expressions could easily be editied for extracting other HTML elements from RSS or other texts.