Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

F*cking awesome technology, shame about the name

I’d like to give two awards to SpongeCell, an AJAX calendar that got written up in TechCrunch today called SpongeCell.

The first awards is our F*cking Woeful award. SpongeCell? Dudes, that is truly an inherently bad, bad name, but it’s an even worse name for a calendar app. If there’s a single person out there able to guess that SpongeCell is a calendary app then I’ll let Kiera Knightly give me a spongebath (Hey, what can I say I’m risk averse…)

Mind you, if you thought SpongeCell was bad then wait for the tagline – “the absorbful calendar”. OMG.

Why does every Web 2.0 company feel the need to invent a new verb. Just because Googling has entered the public vernacular, everybody now wants to create or reinvent a verb. Sure, it worked for Digg and quite clearly it rocks for Squash, but for most of you peoples, it just sounds dumb.

So guess what? On SpongeCell you can “sponge”. (You’re still thinking about Keira aren’t you. Stop it, now) The great pity is that the act of sponging is one of the coolest things I’ve seen on the Internet for a very long time. Not quite as good as a Kiera Knightly spongebath but pretty damn tops nevertheless.
Generally, the act of adding a calendar entry sucks. You click on enter, add a subject. You pull down some drop boxes to add the start date and end date, whack in a location and press save. You’re constantly back and forth between the mouse and the keyboard and its just a right-royal pain in the neck. A couple of AJAX calendars have tried to make that easier by letting you simply type an appointment straight into a time slot on your calendar, which is nice.

But not as nice as SpongeCell. Say you want to have a meeting with Squash tomorrow at 10am. You simply go to the SpongeBar (a place where you can enjoy a spongebath while sucking back on a beer? Unfortunately not) and type “Meeting with Squash tomorrow at 10” press the sponge button and it gets translated into an event.

That’s not even the really cool part. You’re on the road, you meet an old buddy and you decide to hook up tomorrow night at 7pm. You simply pull out your mobile and text message or email to the generic address sponge@spongecell.com and it’s added. Magic. Or you text message or email the words “Next” and you get your next appointment. Send Today and you get today’s appointments.

Now that’s F*cking Awesome. Amidst all the Web 2.0 hype and hoopla you seldom see the technology being used to do really simple things like making a simple act like adding a calendar entry or retrieving calendar information this natural and intuitive.

BTW, the Sponge guys are having a release party. No word as to whether it will feature sponge baths, Kiera Knightly or more crap branding. Incidentl, the company’s media release notes that the four-person team behind the product includes the president, a chief scientist, a chief technology officer and a chief architect. Bet you’re so surprised there was no chief marketer!

Filed under: Online Applications, Online Calendars

6 Responses

  1. Asher Moses says:

    It sounds cool, but is it superfluous? I mean, mobile phones and PDAs have had calendar features for ages, and most newer ones can sync with desktop calendars just fine. So why would you want to waste time and money texting an AJAX calendar to find out what appointments you’ve got that day?

  2. Phil Sim says:

    Your assuming you have a desktop calendar. If your trying to move away from desktop apps as I am, I think this is a great initiative. I reckon it will be standard functionality within 12 months though…

  3. Asher Moses says:

    True – but if you dont want to use a desktop app why not have your mobile device’s calendar as your primary calendar. No syncing or texting required, albeit the interface may be slightly more clunky.

  4. Phil Sim says:

    Even still, entering a new diary entry with a text message is far easier than entering it with cludgy phone interfaces and controls..

    All said, I just think its a really clever way to interact with an application and I’m surely it will be widely copied in no time at all…

  5. […] F*cking awesome technology, shame about the name Spongecell… the absorbful calendar. What is it about Web 2.0? Every startup has to invent a new verb, and then the regular online evangelists felate them for having realised the second coming of Christ in an AJAX interface. But despite positive advancements in online interfaces, most “web 2.0″ applications are still a right-royal pain in the neck compared to a desktop application. […]

  6. […] F*cking awesome technology, shame about the name Spongecell… the absorbful calendar. What is it about Web 2.0? Every startup has to invent a new verb, and then the regular online evangelists felate them for having realised the second coming of Christ in an AJAX interface. But despite positive advancements in online interfaces, most “web 2.0″ applications are still a right-royal pain in the neck compared to a desktop application. […]

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