2012-03-12T13:55:43.407-04:00I had a client [over at MaconMacGuy.com] who was all worried about the fonts on her brand-new site. Given I knew about her level of technical expertise, I knew some explanation was in order.
2011-10-06T12:19:50.552-04:00AppSumo is running a contest through October 13th - the winner gets a free 50gig Dropbox account for life!
2011-02-08T14:49:21.861-05:00here's a video that aired in 1994 - a quick reminder that the 'net wasn't always as ubiquitous as it is now.
2011-02-03T10:14:41.728-05:00I teach Powerpoint as part of Mercer University's CSC125 class, and have studied presenting for a number of years as part of my teaching in various locales and situations.
2010-11-06T18:59:09.641-04:00I was in Barnes & Noble the other day and was visually accosted by a huge Nook display just inside the door. I had never had an eBook in my hands, so I walked over out of curiosity.
2010-11-06T19:00:08.600-04:00These are quotes from what is reportedly the last Rumor Central column by "Spencer F. Katt" from eWeek magazine (December 15, 2008 issue, pages 48 and 49).
2010-11-06T19:01:27.349-04:00Some quick thoughts regarding the interface on these 2 programs. Pro Tools is probably the "industry standard", and you don't hear much about Traktion. I use both - Tracktion in my home studio, and Pro Tools LE at the college where I teach, in the piano studio.
2008-11-18T09:16:36.212-05:00As someone who tracks a lot of different areas (technology and music are the two top-level categories) I've been struck this morning by the vast plethora of possibilities. So how is a businessperson supposed to decide on a course of action? As a musician and as a businessman, I'm told that I need to be marketing myself - and here are a ton of places where I can do that online. MySpace, FaceBook, LinkedIn, BrownBook, YellowPages, tons of musician directories, personal website, iTunes, Twitter, Feedburner.... the lsit is essentially endless.... and oh yeah, don't forget about video marketing and podcasting and....... It's probably the same way it's always been (which method of marketing is the most efficient for a given product) - the difference now being that I can do all of this myself given my skills in using online resources (plus some serious html/data manipulation skills - which are not necessary for many of these tools. Writing, however, is an essential skill.) But how do you decide what is a good use of your time? For me, I tend to avoid the "hot new thing" - Twitter being the thing at the moment. Yes, I'm on FaceBook, and linkedin, and mySpace, but none of them are a religion with me. I do a podcast on occasion, and several blogs like this one - but again, none of these are my focus. I do them for research purposes, partly - and partly for business reasons and online visibility - and partly because it's interesting. I've looked at Twitter - but I have work to do, and can't take the time to care what a particular Biz Guru is doing at the moment. I need time to think about what I'm working on, and to interrupt that thought-flow with a 160 character message about how someone is at Starbucks and the line is real long is ludicrous - even if they were Seth Godin (though I doubt Seth would be tweeting about Starbucks). So how do you decide? Dunno. I'm still experimenting with all the online marketing things. It's not boring!
2008-10-07T09:54:13.957-04:00I would argue not. There's a myth out there that students are just wunderkinds when it comes to technology - and a lot of adults actually believe that it is somehow genetic - that there is some innate ability to understand technology that adults have grown out of. Hogwash! There are as many ways to approach tech as there are people and students are no different in that respect. I have had numerous students tell me what techno-idiots they are. I believe they cover it up though - don't publicly admit it - until faced with a technology challenge. I'd say a key difference between the kids and the adults is that adults tend to only use what they perceive to be immediately useful, while kids tend to explore more. Perhaps this is a time issue - kids have more time because they don't have a mortgage, car payments, bills, etc. Since th estudents have more time, they can spend the time learning something new - like that new cell phone feature, new computer game, new whatever. Adults tend to only learn it if they have to - or worse, figure they CAN'T learn it because they've been out of school too long. That's just sad.
2008-06-30T17:14:38.784-04:00TubeMogul is a service (free) that I stumbled across while thinking about creating a vodcast (i.e. video podcast) for GovAccessMusic.com. It allows you (after some setup work) to upload a video ONCE and publish it on several different video sharing sites. Sweet! For example: ONE upload now shows up on
2008-06-10T01:31:17.959-04:00(Disclaimer: I'm not an Apple employee, nor do I write for any Mac magazines/tech publications/etc.)
2007-07-10T16:31:02.006-04:00Hmmmmmmmm........... This is a piece of technology that I can't decide on. [Disclaimer: YES, I've seen/held/played with one] The user interface is excellent. The phone's construction seems to be solid enough to handle a fair amount of user abuse - the front glass IS glass, though, so I assume there will be a lot of cracked ones before long. I was impressed with the OS - it seems easy to navigate, and the touchscreen is indeed well done. I think the product is hobbled by the strong tie-in with AT&T, though. Their data network is really too slow to be of much use for serious web browsing....... and that's a fair amount of money a year for something you aren't going to use unless you absolutely have to. Here's what I predict most people will do: They will drop the data part of the plan (assuming AT&T will let them!), and use the web surfing capabilities of the iPhone only when newar a WiFI hotspot (where the iPhone works very well, by the way). A lot of other people, though, will just continue paying that monthly fee, regardless of whether they use the capabilities or not. Yes, the iPhone is impressive. All the hype wasn't. For me, though, there is not enough need in my life/career for a $500 cell phone/music player. For $600 I could get a fairly nice large diaphragm condensor mic!
2008-11-15T03:32:48.468-05:00(image) This is a chart I ran across on the web in my research, showing the growth in the number of websites on the WWW. It's interesting for a couple of reasons:
2007-03-02T22:55:03.856-05:00Jakob Nielsen, in his Feb. 26th 2007 Alertbox article, deals with teaching computer skills. I have said for years that we don't need to be teaching buttons in computer classes - we need to be teaching processes. "Schools should teach deep, strategic computer insights that can't be learned from reading a manual." When I taught high school computers, my big frustration with all the texts we looked at was that they ALL were focused on buttons - click here to do this, click there to do that. So what were the kids to do when the user interface changed (as it ALWAYS does!)? Better to teach them how to think, how to learn, and the overall paradigms behind the basic comptuer tasks - word processing, spreadsheets, email, search, presentation design. nielsen adds one I hadn't though of - basic debugging. His point is that spreadsheets have errors, and you need to know how to go about figuring out how to fix them. I agree. The original article is here. Definitely worth reading!
2006-12-26T11:07:04.996-05:00Ran across a fairly decent article on writing for the web. It's posted here mainly so I can go back later and read it in detail:
It isn't the best written article on this subject I've read, but it does a pretty good job summarizing the main points to remember when writing for a webpage.
2006-11-04T14:59:33.566-05:00If you haven't taken the exam yet, click here to take it!
1. There are 12 of anything in a dozen.
2. 6 outs in an inning (3 for each team).
3. If you take away two, then you have, duh, 2!
4. Of course they have a 4th of July in England. It's just no big deal there.
5. If a man has a widow, then he must be dead to begin with.
6. Everyone only has one birthday. Kinda hard to be born on 2 different days.
7. 60 minutes. You take the first one now, the 2nd one in 30 minutes.......
8. All of them. Some have MORE than 28!
9. 70. Divide by a half is the same as multiply by 2.
10. Nine still stand. Go back and reread the question.
11. None. It was Noah, not Moses. 12. Because seven ate nine!
2006-08-08T10:36:37.136-04:00Ran across this on Guy Kawasaki's blog:
Ten Questions with Seth Godin Question: Why don’t you check your Technorati ranking? Answer: Because the data won’t change my actions. Getting data for no good reason just drives you crazy. The secret is to get very flexible in the face of data you care about—changing your x every time you see y changes—and incredibly inflexible in the face of data you don’t care about.The inside joke here is that Guy made a hobby of getting into the Technorati 500, and then the 100. He succeeded, too. In my case, doing such a thing wouldn't help pay any bills. It might have in HIS case, though. I love how Seth phrased it - "Getting data for no good reason just drives you crazy". We are bombarded with so much information that it can drive you into a state a paralysis. My personal problem - given I have a tendency to want as much information as possible before acting - is figuring how when to begin ignoring additional input, and just do something. Seems to me that you have to learn to decide when enough is enough, cultivate quality sources of information, and keep your eye on the prize - the goal.
2006-06-23T09:16:24.530-04:00I joined getafreelancer.com a few weeks ago - I've placed a couple of bids, and have won one job so far. It has been fascinating watching the projects that come up on my 5-times-a-day emails.....and the bids that come through. Quite a few of the projects are from people who apparently think that having 1500 articles that are keyword rich will make their site successful......but they are willing to only pay $50 for 1000 articles. There are also a lot of obviously pre-fabricated bids on projects - often with terrible grammar. I wonder if those companies ever get any work. Why would anyone assume that you could get quality copywriting - articles - by paying $1 a page? I've also seen projects where someone wants a Flash intro page plus a 35-page site - and it has to be modern, high quality design, mind you - but they have a $100 budget. Maybe I should start thinking of getafreelancer as a flea market instead of a project area.
2006-06-16T15:09:05.386-04:00As a long-time web designer for small businesses in the mniddle Georgia area, I've been watching the growth of Flash (from Macromedia - oops, now Adobe).
When Flash started appearing on the scene, it was hailed as the end-all be-all, and was used for all sorts of goofy things. Then there was a backlash - search engines didn't know anything about Flash, so designers decided to use Flash for just some bells and whistles.
Now, it seems the industry has matured to the point where Flash is - as it should be - just another tool in the web designer's arsenal. (There's a corollary in music and the 12-tone music of Arnold Schoenberg, and how it started out as a musical philosophy, but has ended up as a tool in film composer's arsenal for getting a certain sound - but I digress).
I'm aware of the huge number of things Flash can do - but at this point have had no need for most of the, - especially the back-end database capability. I have been taking advantage of the new video capabilities in Flash 8 - that has been nice for a campaign website I'm webmastering (Dale Washburn for State House, Georgia district 137).
One of the things that attracted me to web design is that there is always something new to learn - and for me the key is keeping track of what the capabilites are. I can always go learn how to do something new - heavens there are tons of tutorials on the web, if you know how to search - but you've got to know something is possible first!
Well, back to the websites.
2006-06-16T15:16:16.680-04:00From a newsletter that just arrived from Small Dog:
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the HIPerWall is an array of no fewer than FIFTY Apple 30-inch Cinema Displays. These units are in a grid ten wide by five high. There are 25 Power Mac G5 Dual Core towers, each with two displays attached, and an extra Power Mac G5 just for coordinating the graphics and managing the high-level display functions.
The Apple 30-inch Cinema Display is a perfect fit for this application due to its extensive resolution capabilities, and narrow border design. If you haven't seen one of these brilliant displays, you need to get to an Apple location and see it in person.
The Mac platform provides the robust UNIX-based operating system that's integrated with the open source components used by so many research teams. The machines are fast, the video capabilities provided are outstanding, and the hardware is plug and play.
The goal in building the HIPerWall was to provide a tool that allows researchers to view and manipulate data sets at extremely high resolutions.
Be it terrain visualization, disaster simulations, or a large digital microscope, the HIPerWall allows researchers to seeks solutions to problems as never before.
For more information on this topic: http://www.apple.com/science/profiles/hiperwall/
2006-11-04T14:46:04.560-05:00Observations from the Knee-Deep South So true, So true.....
2006-04-04T17:07:55.680-04:00OK, so that title is probably an obvious statement. What may not be so obvious is that there are two basic schools of thought regarding setting one up. Think about the online versions of a particular company - there might be one or several websites, some blogs, forums, entries in a usergroup, emails - all of these work together to create the virtual company. For the virtual version to be effective - or at the very least reflective of the flesh-and-blood version - these elements need to be coordinated to some degree. This is where too many compnies, especially Small companies, miss the boat.
I have been involved with a small company where there was little recognition of the "fabric effect" created by having multiple online presences. As webmaster it was my responsibility - I thought - to make sure there was some coordination, or at least some crosslinking going on (plus a mdoicum of SEO work done). Sadly there was little recognition of the need for this, and those duties were given to some else who has few if any web skills. As a result the organization will not get the full benefit of those sites they have labored to create, and they will be of use only for those people who are already part of the oprganization.
To me this is a waste - sites should not only be sources of information for those already involved (for a business, the customers, for a nonprofit, the members), but also serve as a resource for those who stumble across it....and you increase the "stumbling odds" by cross-coordinating the virtual fabric created by these multiple threads.
There are 2 organizing principals I have seen at work in the virtual companies. The first says that everything should spring from some central location - perhaps the primary company website. The theory here is that one central location makes it easier to find, and from there a potential customer can locate just about anything.
This version requires significant search engine awareness when designing the primary website - and even much MORE awareness when looking at the online fabric that makes up the virtual version. If there is only one entry point, then there MUST be some effort and time put into making the site search engine friendly, and some effort spent marketing the site in some form.
The other school of thought what I call the "Cast your bread" model - a biblical reference that is particularly appropos. The original quote reads "Cast your bread upon many waters......". In this case I am referring to the idea of having multiple online presences, each cross-linked and referring to each other. IF all of the resources are search engine friendly, then you increase the odds of an online browser stumbling across your resources.
So what's a webmaster to do when cast aside? In my case, go find some other clients!
2006-02-28T14:18:38.936-05:00Ever heard of monk-e-mail? http://www.careerbuilder.com/monk-e-mail/ You can have a (customizable) monkey either read a message to a recipient (using text to speech technology), or you can record your own voice via microphone or regular land line/cell phone. A very cool technology demonstration "brought to you by careerbuilder.com"......and a potentially good marketing tool in the right circumstances.
2006-02-23T11:21:46.510-05:00In class today I talk about some of the collaboration features that Microsoft put into Word - specifically the change tracking options. That got me thinking about software, features, and the tree falling into a forest (does it make a sound if no one is there to hear it?) My answer to the question is yes - it makes a sound. The real question is: does it matter if no one is there to hear it? In the same way - if there is a really cool feature in software, but no one uses it, does it really matter? So the developer has to find some way of informing people about the feature (that's marketing), and training people in how to use it - or even WHY they would want to (that's training/education). Case in point: Apple, a few years back, incorporated Publish/Subscribe into Clarisworks (now called Appleworks and dying). It was a really cool feature that I used a fair amount. The idea was that you could create, say, a logo in a draw document, and publish it. Then you could subscribe to the logo in a WP doc. The logo was a live link back to the original logo - make a change, and the changes automatically propagated to the WP document. It worked much better than what Microsoft came up with (OLE), which is to say it actually worked all the time, and was really easy to use. But Apple did a lousy job of telling people about it - and teaching people how and WHY they should use it....and so the feature was dropped after a few years. That should probably start another thread about feature bloat in Microsoft Office.......but I'm tired of typing, and now have some papers to grade anyway.
2006-02-09T08:58:10.456-05:00I am again teaching a beginning computer class at Mercer University - focusing more on Office than anything else. The class gave self-designed powerpoint presentations, and I have to admit I was fairly impressed. A few students had taken my teaching to heart and had gone way beyond the builtin stuff - several didn't use a single bullet point (which was WONDERFUL). I stated that my goal for the module was to insure that none of them were responsible for any deaths by Powerpoint. The text we are using, while it is full of graphics, screenshots, and handholding - really bothers me. I don't see my purpose - or even the purpose of the class - as teaching buttons. If I teach buttons, then additional training will be needed every time a new version comes out. But if I teach concepts and paradigms, then the student has already learned how to learn, and can teach themselves. It goes back to the old homily about giving a man a fish versus teaching him to fish...... Is there a textbook out there that gives the underlying paradigms for the Office-type activities? I have not seen one. Perhaps it is time to write one.