In some ways, I do miss 2009.

Working last month with David Porter, I was reminded of a thing I was playing with back then… David remembers it may be better than me!

That’s when I was fooling around with this browser thing called Cool Iris 3D Wall for the first round of what then I was calling Amazing True Stories of Openness.

It provided, embedded in a web page and expandable to full screen view, this “wall of media” that included images or video, and each optionally linked to an external URL. It worked well for the presentations I was doing, showing the kinds of video stories now at

What worked well was I could arrow key down to go linear, arrow key left/right to jump farther, or just glide to anywhere to pull up piece of content.

What does not work well, now, is that it ran via Flash, aka. DOA now. Well not totally, it still works from a desktop. You can explore the experience at but here is a hastily recorded screen recording:

It was not trivial to assemble, the whole presentation was driven by a hand rolled RSS file.

What came of it? Besides the death knell fo Flash dependence, the Wikipedia entry paints the bleak picture:

On November 21, 2014, Cooliris was acquired by Yahoo

Someone at least is making payments on the domain

Hee hee:

Yahoo has a clear vision and unwavering commitment to making mobile an intuitive and effortless experience.

No comment.

David contacted me last year asking if it was possible to still do Cool Iris… which I answered a luke warm, “technically yes” and outlined the challenges.

I’d like to think someone out there has coded a jQuery / HTML5 version. The animated 3D wall is not strictly necessary, but the “wall of stuff” interface would be nice. I can’t say any of these are quite the same, but maybe close?

These are okay, but not quite the cool cool cool iris feeling… so 2009.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so)


  1. It was the most beautiful interface that combined practicality, with aesthetically pleasing. A perfect union of tech with art. I miss it. Cool Iris is so cool my tears have turned to snowflakes. In some ways, ahead of its time. I don’t understand why Yahoo killed it. If only someone would redevelop it and bring it back to life!

  2. One of the things that always impressed me about CoolIris (and PicLens before it) was the sheer speed of it. It was so quick to pan around it made browsing images a dream! Imagine how well it would work now!

  3. I have no idea no idea how to code but I need it so much in my work and professional life, I’d be ready to learn HTML5 and code it or be ready to pay 30$ a year to if someone did it. If there was a Groupon/Kickstarter thing where users ask for a product, that’d be awesome, we’d ask for it. Does something like this exist?

    1. Also, to me the 3D component was essential… It allowed my brain to grasp what was going on so quickly and most importantly, showed every picture passing by in big resolution thanks to the perspective. Which I need so much. Not including the 3D component from Cool Iris is like not having the icons size increased of the icon bar on Mac or Rocket Dock..

      1. Of course the 30$ were meant paid yearly at a company to illustrate how much I need it.
        Sadly chances for such a request being implemented on is so low. Therefore I believe a crowd could fund it, and since no company is planning on doing a new Cool Iris, I hoped there was some platform where crowds meet and ask together for a well developed product (not just for 30 or even 500$)

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