February 21st, 2006


What's on, who's where and what we said about them

It lists far fewer events than the other event sites I've come across, but the Webtowns section of the Seattle Pos- Intelligencer site has wonderfully specific information for all the districts of the Pugent Sound area from Algona to Yarrow Point. You get concerts, art shows, readings at the local library, cinema listings, restaurant reviews, census data, traffic camsrelevant news stories and a possted history of each area - all on the same page or as links when there's too much detail to show. You can add events to your calendar . Classified ads from each area too, to tick another Web-2.0-ecommerce box. This is one of the nicest local information sites I've found.
plane feet

More event sites: AllConferences to Zvents

Ever since sbisson ranted about the poor adoption of universal event formats, I've been keeping an eye out for calendar sites that list events and I've found a couple more. I don't think they're going to compete with Upcoming.org or Eventful because they're much more focussed.

zvents is very pale-blue-and-orange-with-white-space Web 2.0, similar to Eventful: I'm seeing this look a lot at the moment. Unlike , it only covers the Bay area. You can search by events, venues, tags, groups or people, and when you get the results you can switch the list to a map view or a calendar view. With a lot of results the map and main calendar view show you the number of results rather than the individual events, but you can get a 1 day, 3 day, 7 day and 30 day view as well. Here it's the guided tours that dominate rather than the bookstore events, but when you get down to individual events they're very well presented with maps, times, repeat events, similar events, other events at the same venue... More useful details than Eventful.

AllConferences has a hierarchical drill-down of categories and an advanced search, though you can only search by one condition and picking March 2006 without a date produces events from June 2004 as well. There are conferences going back to 2001 and those are what you see when you search by City; the general search box does a better job. Look here for commercial and academic conferences.

These sites tend to be better for finding a specific event on a specific day than browsing through the possibilities for a longer period of time. For that, I want to be able to start with a large pool of results and filter them. The best filtered view of search results I can think of - and it has deficiencies still - is the hotel map view in Expedia; you can zoom in on the map to refine the list of hotels, or remove hotels from the list to clear them from the map view. I'd like the same for events; let me zoom in to an area, or a category of events, or a smaller date range, or to a time range across several days (what's on every evening next week?). Let me remove all the sports events and everything that's recurring rather than a one-off and trim down from any day in March to just these 9 days. It's all about underlying hierarchies of logical units: know that a week is a logical unit of a month, know that Kirkland is within the greater Seattle area. Some of this you can do with a folksonomy, but a categorised hierarchy is going to help for geography, discrete units (today/tomorrow/this week/next week/this month/next month/this year) and distinguishing between broad tags (music) and specific tags (baroque). Organic tagging can define a problem space, but it doesn't structure it well.

Do we have these kind of detailed schemas for describing not just the obvious properties of events (date, time, venue, organiser etc) but also the range of values so we can build the filters?

Mem to self: see Spamalot early

According to the BBC, Tim Curry will play King Arthur for the first few months of Spamalot at the Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue (2nd October till January), then Simon Russell Beale, who is currently playing King Arthur in the New York production, will take over. I love the sound of the press conference: I've been to events with spam sandwiches (security at Bletchely) and dancers (Teched Amsterdam) but never one with both at once. Spamalot is going to Vegas too: Eric Idle will design the Spamalot Experience and Grail Theatre and while the version at the Wynn Las Vegas will be shorter it will play 12 times a week for 10 years (6,240 performances).

Bad Web interface tricks #42

I got a press release about it and I like the sound of Unibind's new DIY photo album that turns a bunch of printed pages into a bound book, so I went off to http://www.unibind.com/Basic/home.html to see if I could see a picture that would make the description a little clearer. viz: "My Books makes instant hard-cover 8 ½” x 11” personalized photo albums without the need of expensive binding equipment, glue or mess.  To use, a consumer simply inserts their stack of pages with the provided front and back cover sheets.  Then he or she staples the stack of pages; places the pages in the spine of the album; pulls the yellow strips off the front and back of the album and closes the cover, which seals the albums to the pages.  Then he or she simply tears off the extra paper on the inside cover sheets at the perforation for a final beautiful customized photo album keepsake."

The site has four competing navigation tools: the buttons across the middle, the buttons up the side, the buttons across the top of the page and the scrolling images of products above them. Except that when you click an item in the scrolling images, while that item does change from wireframe to photo and a pointing finger cursor does appear, you can't actually click to make anything happen. It's Flash to make things pretty, not Flash to make pretty things an interface. And I still don't know what the yellow strips look like.

T Shirt printing recommendations?

I'm going to be taking a couple of images from Bryan Talbot's Alice in Sunderland pages to produce a T shirt.
1 because I want a picture of a horrified Bryan saying 'Am I ever going to get paid for this?' on a T shirt
2 because other people have said they want one too 
3 because I hope it will give him a bit of publicity

Any recommendations for online T shirt printing? It needs to offer black T shirts in a range of sizes and do backprints as well as the front image. Ideally a UK and a US site so folks on both sides of the pond can avoid high postage charges, but if necessary I'll go for one of each. Thanks!