Volcano Report, The Kilauea Edition

What’s more hot than an erupting volcano?

While vacationing on the Big Island of Hawaii, I visited the active lava fields of Kilauea to witness the birth of new land as lava meets the Pacific Ocean. The incredible plume that rises into the air is created from the instantaneous vaporization of water into steam as the hot lava hits the ocean water. Learn more about Kilauea at the United States Geological Survey’s website. http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/kilauea/
I used a digital SLR camera and a small pocket-sized FlipVideo camera to capture the action.

Slide show images of the approach to the Kilauea lava flow. Watch a time lapse view of the violent interaction of lava and water. Look carefully and you can see rock exploding out of the ocean.

Watch a two minute video from the “safe” viewing area looking out to where the lava meets the ocean.

Kilauea Lava Meets the Ocean from Robert Simpson on Vimeo

WHITEHOUSE.gov Web Design Features

Web design features of the new WhiteHouse.Gov site.It was interesting to turn to the Ideas section of today’s Boston Globe where freelance writer, Matthew Battles, compared the Obama and Bush administration’s design of the WHITEHOUSE.gov website, Extreme Makeover  WHITEHOUSE.GOV EDITION.  My last blog entry on the inauguration recommended that teachers use the new site as a way to teach the basic principles of Web 2.0 to their students.  Let’s examine a few more design features that make the site worthy of study.  Click on the picture for a larger view.

1) The main toolbar cleverly conceals plenty of content with submenus that popup when your mouse cursor hovers over them.

2) Simply type in your email and push the Get Updates button to automatically receive emails whenever new content it uploaded.

3)  Displaying a rotating stack of pictures is a popular technique to share content without forcing users to click through tabs.  Only four featured headlines is just right in my opinion.

4)  That little RSS icon may be small, but it’s quite powerful.  Saving this feed to your browser means that updates come to you as soon as they post to WhiteHouse.gov.

5) Search is definitely the center of attention.  It invites users to the content.

6) Leaving these “breadcrumbs”  help users know exactly where they are.  Spread some breadcrumbs by visiting a few pages.