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The Status Board

The Status Board is an iPad app from Panic.  It emulates a huge screen that’s been in their office for a few years.  The app will suck in information from various feeds and produce auto-updating panels, tables and graphs.  Mine is simple.  Here’s a screenshot I took for Rich Stevens last night.  The blurred panel on the left is the email panel.  The photo panel in the top right is a cycling Instagram viewer, showing a new photo from the people I follow there every 15 seconds or so.  I think the visible photo is a shot of some new weird cheap phones taken by Kevin Slavin.  I blurred out some stuff in my calendar on the bottom, too, because you don’t need to see me scheduling my bowel movements.

There are many Status Boards, but this one is mine.  My iPad lives in a stand next to my laptop, as a second screen.  Set up like this – and this is a very simple implementation, no graphs or tables or CSV or JSON data feeds – it’s actually an excellent glanceable information radiator.  I could put a couple more feeds into the RSS display panel (I only have three in there right now, as a churn test), but that might make it more demanding than the quick snapshot I want.

At USD $10, it’s probably quite an expensive intangible toy, especially if you don’t have as defined a use case for it as I do.  Mind you, when I said that to Chief Mechanic Ariana last night, she said, “um, besides pretending I live in a command center?  Maybe I like pretending I am Mission Control.”  So there’s that, too.

Despite its kinda-weird semiotic payload and the things it probably says about me, I love this damned thing.  It’s extremely well-designed, both practical and playful in its intent, and, for me, very useful.  It turns the volume way down on ambient informational awareness for me – Gmail gets switched off, MetroTwit gets switched off, everything I need is up on Status Board  — without switching everything off altogether.  Which, for me, is like trying to work without music on.  Not going to happen.

Published in daybook