Lush Bucket Cafe, Ultimo

Lush Bucket Cafe, Ultimo

Campos Coffee. 623 Harris St, Ultimo. There are not too many places around Ultimo where Campos is on sale – the distinctive umbrellas and signage had called out to me a few times, but this was my first chance to try the place out.

Don’t be fooled by the street frontage: inside there is plenty of space to listen to the background music, be dazzled by the array of lunch options and sweets: there’s even a bench against the window so you can watch the traffic go past.

Coffee is competently made (though the decaf is pre-ground). My first coffee (a normal sized decaf latte) has some leftover grinds at the bottom of the glass, and the milk is a little too thick. A decaf piccolo latte, though, is just right; served in a half-full piccolo glass, it has great balance between the coffee and milk, and leaves me wanting another.

Website: lushbucketcafe.com.au

DVD: I not Stupid (Xiaohai bu ben)

DVD: I not Stupid

My first introduction to Singaporean cinema. Three primary school kids in the lowest English+Maths class – EM3 – struggle with their home lives and try to find their place in society.

Even if you don’t understand Singaporean culture (and I certainly don’t), you’ll find a lot to laugh about, and a lot to cringe over in this film. Cleverly illustrates the difficulties that parents and children face as they grow up.

Movie: Winged Creatures

Movie: Winged Creatures

Thanks to a giveaway on the disassociated.com blog, I had tickets to go and see this film. As such, I really wanted to like it, and there were some clever bits to it, but overall, it didn’t seem to develop the characters enough, nor have them interact with as much depth as I would have liked.

Great to see a few different Hollywood talents put together in this way: Guy Pearce was excellent in his role as a doctor struggling with his lack of power to save people.

There is some sex in the movie, and – unusually for Hollywood – it’s never presented as solving any problems, or empowering anyone: it’s more an expression of brokenness. Likewise with the portrayal of Christianity: it’s something that one of the characters retreats into, but there’s no sense that any reality lies beneath.

Book: Designing for the Social Web

Book: Designing for the Social Web

This book only has a few things to say, but it says them very clearly, with great case studies, and presents a framework that can actually be followed in practice.

The whole book can be summed up as an explanation of the “usage lifecycle” that details the journey from a user being unaware of your site to becoming a passionate user. There are four hurdles to overcome: awareness (which takes a user from unaware to interested), signup (from interested to first-time user), return visits (from first-time user to regular user) and emotional attachment (from regular to passionate user).

Each of these hurdles presents its own design challenge, and the book shows examples of how popular sites have jumped these hurdles, and provides a way of thinking about each problem and its solution.

There are also details on what it means to have authentic conversations online. Worth a look is this story (linked from one of the footnotes) on How Flickr builds communities online (click on the images at the bottom of the page to advance through the story.

Another insight worth mentioning: the notion of “designing for collective intelligence” – as the user base of social software gets larger, different challenges will be encountered, and need to be solved – the reaction of the community itself becomes part of the design challenge.

Designing for sharing is something that we see regularly, but it goes beyond having a “share this” button on every piece of content. Have you made it as easy as possible for your users to spread the word about content? Can they embed content on their pages?

The final chapter presents the helpful tool of funnel analysis. List out the different steps of your online process, and see where you are losing people. For everyone who gets to your first page, how many make it through signup and actually perform the first task you want them to perform?

Lots of helpful content here. Well worth a read.

Cafe 407, Surry Hills

Cafe 407, surry hills

Allpress coffee. 407 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills. I noticed people walking around nearby with Allpress cups, and was pleasantly surprised to work out the source. Oddly, there’s nothing outside the cafe to suggest such a high-quality coffee is made here.

Inside, this place feels like an old fish-and-chip shop’s fittings have been given some paint and pictures to bring them up a notch: to go a step further, it would be necessary to do some serious remodelling, but it seems that with mostly takeaway customers that this is unnecessary.

The decaf latte is good: this would be a place worth revisiting if you’re in the neighborhood, and surely one of the better cups available in a two-block radius.

Movie: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Movie: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (HP6)

Saw this on the IMAX: the advertised feature of going IMAX was that the opening is in 3D. Sadly, I think this particular employment of 3D was something of a waste of time: I didn’t even notice when it went back to 2D.

It was a good Harry Potter film, and it made me want to re-read the books again. There’s nothing much to say about it, really. If you’re a fan of the saga, you really have no choice but to go and see it, if you’re not into it by now, then I wouldn’t really waste your time.

Like previous movies, it makes precious little sense without having already seen the other movies and read the books – they don’t make any effort to explain Quidditch, for example, it’s just straight into the action.