Archive for September, 2007

Introducing Enso Map Anywhere

Monday, September 24th, 2007

Imagine this. You are writing an email to a friend and you mention that you want to meet at your favorite breakfast place in Chicago: Tre Kronor. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to send them Tre Kronor’s address along with a map? Currently, the only way to do this is to open your browser, load up a site that provides maps, do a search for the restaurant, wait for the map to appear, copy the URL of the map to your email, copy the address to your email (and reformat it), and finally close your browser. Gross—and you’re not even sending a map, just a link to one!

Enter Enso Map Anywhere.

Enso Map Anywhere lets you select an address or a business name and add a map in place. For instance, if you don’t know where a business is, you can just highlight its name and you’ll get a beautiful map from Google with the location marked, along with the business’s full address and phone number. Alternatively, you can use the map command on a partial address like “4611 N Ravenswood” to get a map and the full address. It’s a great way to look up a forgotten ZIP code.

So download it now, it’s free forever and works with (but doesn’t require) other Enso products. Go map happy. It maps in lots of places, from Word to Gmail. You can even use it while blogging in Word Press. Check it out:

Bongo Room, Chicago
Bongo Room: 1470 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL – (773) 489-0690
Did you mean the Bongo Room at 1152 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL – (312) 291-0100?
Mapped by Enso Map Anywhere

Undo Made Easy with Ajax (Part 1.5)

Friday, September 21st, 2007

This is the second half of the first part of the Undo Made Easy with Ajax series. If you are jumping in late, make sure to check out Part 1.

One of my readers, Alex Botero-Lowry, pointed out a big caveat to the entirely client-side event queue method of implementing Undo: If a user opens a second tab to a page they were viewing, those pages might be out of sync. In the to-do list example, if you delete three to-do items and then open a new tab/window to the same page, those to-do items would still be there. Why? Because the first page knows about the deletes (even though they are uncommitted) and the second does not.

Let’s take the client-side only approach and run with it. There is something nice about not having to mess with the back-end. We can fix the multiple-tab problem by syncing the event queue across all open pages with a cookie. (more…)

Avast ye Win-lubbers: Here be Pirate Translation

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day we’ve added the pirate-talk ability to Enso Translate Anywhere! To chat like a sea dog, all you’ve got to do is to select your text and use the “translate to pirate” command. To make your Photoshop captions more swashbuckling, just select them and use the “translate to pirate” command. Even your file names can be made less land lubbin’. Seriously, what could be better?

Want the penultimate laugh? Select an email to your boss, translate, and shiver his timbers.

Arrrr you wanting to know more about this horn swogglin’ Enso and its commands? Sail o’er to this link. And, a round of rum to Jeffrey Souza for being the source of all our buccaneer-talk knowledge!

So take out your hornpipe and grog, and download Enso Translate Anywhere, the pirate edition. Where does it run? I’ll give ye a hint: XP marks the spot (Vista and 2K too, arr).

Now, t’ return t’ findin’ me some golden interface booty.

More Enso Commands. For free.

Monday, September 17th, 2007

We are proud to announce four new Enso products. This time they’re all free.
Enso Media Remote Control
A remote-control for your music: play, pause, and skip tracks in you favorite music player without moving from your current application.

Enso Translate Anywhere
The power to translate English to and from eight other languages, in any application.

Enso Web Search Anywhere
Provides commands for performing web searches using a variety of web services, from Amazon to Youtube to your Gmail account.

Enso TeX Anywhere
Effortlessly render TeX markup into beautifully type-set equations (and convert them back again) anywhere from Powerpoint to your email.

Can’t decide which one you want to try first? Then download them all with the One Installer.


Undo Made Easy with Ajax (Part 1)

Friday, September 14th, 2007

As users, we make mistakes. As designers, we need to design with mistakes in mind, as I argued in my recent article, Never Use a Warning When You Mean Undo. Undo is the ultimate safety net, lending an incredible sense of solidity to an interface. That’s why every desktop application from Word to Photoshop provides multiple-level Undo.

So, then, why are Web apps that provide any sort of Undo so few and far between? The answer I often get is that Undo is hard to implement. I’m here to tell you that it is not.

In this series of blog posts, my goal is to explain just how easy it is to provide Undo functionality. Recently, I gave a preliminary version of this post in a workshop. After giving the front-facing demo of how Undo could work, the audience moved slightly towards the edge of their seats (it’s all you can hope for in the post-lunch session). When I opened the source code and started showing how I implemented undo, the universal response was, “Why are you bothering to explain this implementation? It’s barely anything at all. We’re software engineers. This is easy.”

That’s my point!

Adding Undo to your interfaces profoundly and positively affects the usability of your site. It reduces user frustration, and increases user trust. Both of those outcomes mean that more users continue coming back, which helps your bottom line. Remember: To the user, the interface is the product. (more…)

“Wikipedia” + “Expert” = “Wikspert”

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

I’d like to propose a new portmanteau for inclusion in the English language: “Wikspert“.

A wikspert is someone who is an expert on a topic purely on the basis of having read the Wikipedia article on that topic. In short, “Wikipedia” + “Expert” = “Wikspert”.

Once confined to an exclusive class of in-the-know computeristas, the last couple of years have seen proliferation of “wiksperts” in every level of our society. They’re everywhere. From business-school professors to burger-flippers, everyone now has a quasi-authoritative opinion on, for instance, how much corn is produced in Iowa. These trivia, once the sole purview of academic cocktail parties, have now been liberated for the masses. In fact, every one of us either knows a wikspert or is one ourselves. Personally, some of my best friends are wiksperts, and I know a suspicious amount about liopleurodons, pumas, and the ethnic make-up of Romania in the early 1800′s.