Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

VOIP Calling From The iPhone

April 17, 2008

Fring has announced that they will be offering VOIP calling capabilities to the iPhone.

From Fring’s web site:

fring™ is a mobile internet service & community that enables you to access & interact with your social networks on-the-go, make free calls and live chat with all your fring, Skype®, MSN® Messenger, Google Talk™, ICQ, SIP, Twitter, Yahoo!™ and AIM®* friends using your handset’s internet connection rather than costly cellular airtime minutes.

Bringing PC-benefits to the mobile, fring will empower you with mobility and availability as never before, integrating all contacts in to one, searchable buddy list, allowing you to see who’s online before dialing with contact availability indicators, engage in multiple conversations simultaneously, send & receive files and more.”

As an iPhone user/fanatic, I am thrilled about this capability.  It remains to be seen if AT&T and Apple will allow this to be done on a locked iPhone, but it will be pretty sweet if they do.  If they don’t allow this, then I just might unlock my iPhone.

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How To Send a Trackback With Blogger

April 16, 2008

This is a nice tutorial for how to add Trackback capabilities to your Blogger blogs utilizing the Firefox add-on called GreaseMonkey. If you are a user of Google’s Blogspot software, this tutorial will definitely help you out.

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Business of Software Conference 2008

April 16, 2008

Announced earlier this week, the Business of Software 2008 – A Joel On Software Conference is now open for registration. The conference will be held in the Seaport Hotel on Boston’s waterfront on September 3rd and 4th.

The confirmed speakers include:
 

  • Joel Spolsky, founder of Fog Creek software, author of several books and the man behind the joelonsoftware blog.
  • Seth Godin, Business Week’s “Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age”, is the best-selling author of 7 books (including Permission Marketing and Purple Cow) as well as the most popular eBook of all time.
  • Eric Sink, founder of SourceGear, author of “Eric Sink on the Business of Software” and the person who coined the term “Micro ISV”
  • Steve Johnson of Pragmatic Marketing and winner of last year’s Software Idol competition
  • Richard Stallman launched the development of the GNU operating system, now used on tens of millions of computers today. Stallman has received the ACM Grace Hopper Award, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer award, and the the Takeda Award for Social/Economic Betterment
  • Paul Kenny is one of the UK’s top sales trainers, consultants and speakers. He has worked with many customers in three continents, including IBM, Perot Systems, The Guardian and tens of others.
  • Dharmesh Shah is a geek, serial entrepreneur, founder of HubSpot and blogger at OnStartups.com
  • Jessica Livingston is author of Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days and a founder of Y Combinator
  • Jason Fried is founder of 37signals (developers of Basecamp and Ruby on Rails) and Signal vs Noise blogger

This looks to be an incredible conference full of insightful personalities and great ideas. I highly recommend anyone who is in the world of software startups plan on attending.

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Getting Images To Appear In Google

April 1, 2008

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a multi-tentacled beast. Just when you think that you have traffic coming to your site through natural search and pay-per-click campaigns, you realize that you are missing out on a ton of traffic from Google — Images.

Google’s robots can’t do a heck of a lot with images so in order for them to show up in Google’s Image Search, you need to take care to do the following items correctly:

  • Always, always, always use alt tags
    • Not only is this a requirement to make your site accessible and ADA compliant, but it gives Google something to read and relate to on your site. If I were to promote a technical coaching offering, I might have a photo of a football coach on my site (to be clever and all). It would be a compelling photo with great content surrounding it that extolled the benefits of our offering. However, Google wouldn’t know what to do with the image because it can only see my image as an image — not the brilliant marketing concept that it really is. If I added an alt tag with the phrase “Hinutech Digital Coaching Offers You Technical Assistance and Strategy for Your Small Business”, Google would have something to latch onto and would index this image with a link back to my site/page.
  • Put the image name in the title attribute
    • Similar to the alt tag, the title attribute can be a very useful way to further describe your content to search engines. It can be added to virtually any element that you have on your page, and it will be read by search engines as regular page content. The title attribute is much more flexible than the alt tag and when used properly, can result in huge gains for your index-ability within search engines.
  • Don’t use underscores in your image names.
    • Google sees these as one word. For example, an image named Hinutech_Web_Content_Management_System_CMS.jpg would be read by Google as HinutechWebContentManagementSystemCMS which is pretty ineffective for SEO. Instead, you should use hyphens in your image names to serve as word separators. If I called the previous example Hinutech-Web-Content-Management-System-CMS.jpg, then Google would read it as Hinutech Web Content Management System CMS. For SEO purposes, this is ideal. I get the name of my company, a product offering (Hinutech Web), and a solution that people would commonly search for (Content Management System or CMS).

If you utilize these three tips, not only will you enhance the experience for your visitors with disabilities, but you will also increase your site’s relevancy for keywords and get images in Google’s Image Search. Not a bad deal, eh?

SEO is tough, and often times you will need to go back and refactor a good portion of your site to put these principles in use. This can be intimidating, but it must be done to increase the effectiveness of your site. Moving forward, though, keep these tips for dealing with images in mind as you create and update content.

Note: SEO is a WIP. If you go to Hinutech.com, you’ll notice that we have a great deal of work to do there to get this correct. Do as I say, not as I do!

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Hinutech Book Club

March 27, 2008

As a service to my customers and readers, I am starting an online book club where we will read an eBook about technology, SEO, creativity, entrepreneurial pursuits, leadership or marketing and discuss it here and via the message boards at Hinutech.com. I have currently collected Seth Godin’s redistributable eBooks (and a few more) and would like to establish a virtual library for everyone to use to download, read and improve themselves.If you have written an eBook that falls into this category, drop me an email at bookclub@hinutech.com. If you know of someone who would like to distribute their works to an eager audience, please send them my way.

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Google As A Destination

March 24, 2008

There is a great discussion at Gigaom about Google’s transformation from a search engine to an internet destination with very insightful comments from the blog readers. From day 1, Google’s mission has been to catalog the world’s data, and each of their add-on services seeks to improve on that mission. Think about the usefulness of GMail, Google Apps, Blogger, Feedburner, Analytics (and on, and on), and each of these services seeks to enhance the world’s access to and definition of data. I don’t feel that Google is spreading themselves to thin….rather I see them as effectively executing their mission.

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Alltop

March 12, 2008

Venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki announced a new service called Alltop — a news site that provides all of the top stories for 40 of the most popular topics on the web.  It’s effectively an RSS reader for people who don’t have the time or inclination to mess around with RSS readers.  I haven’t looked at this closely enough to form an opinion (though I reckon it’s really good), but this falls squarely in the camp of “it’s about time someone did this.”

Check out Alltop and let me know what you think.

Inspired Misfires

February 25, 2008

Joel Spolsky, one of my techie heroes, wrote an article for Inc.com entitled “How Hard Could It Be?: Inspired Misfires”.

The gist of the article is about doing something when everyone else thinks it’s impossible or impractical. It’s a story that we’ve heard many times, and for us entrepreneurs, it never really gets old. People will tell you that your great idea won’t work — that you are setting yourself up for failure. They are the ones destined for middle-of-the-road thoughts, actions and lives. Thank goodness that Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Scott McNealey, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and (insert your favorite impractical success story here) didn’t listen.

The iPhone and User Experience

January 5, 2008

I received an iPhone as a Christmas gift from my wife, and after a couple of weeks of using it, I can safely say that it lives up to all of the hype that you have heard. From the effortless web browsing experience to the very effective email and calendaring applications, it’s all there.

Because I had to make the switch from my old provider to AT&T, we decided to move my wife’s plan to AT&T as well so that we could see some cost savings. They are currently running a special on smart phones, and we thought that it would be a good time for her to trade up to either a Blackberry or Samsung Blackjack II. After looking at the phones yesterday, it became obvious just how far ahead of the pack Apple is in regards to the user interface with the iPhone. Windows Mobile 6 and the Blackberry can’t hold a candle to the slickness and ease of use of the iPhone’s interface.

The iPhone might not have every feature that other smart phone manufacturers have, but it delivers extremely well on the promises that it makes. How does it do that? Through an effective, intuitive user interface. If people can effortlessly use technology, they will. Technology must be an extension of logical, normal thought, or folk simply will not use it.

AT&T’s smart phone sales ends in a couple of weeks, and we are trying to talk ourselves out of getting another iPhone. If we don’t get another iPhone, my wife has decided to forego a lesser smart phone.