As the rest of the world starts to wake up to the events in Egypt, I suspect many services will have difficulty handling the load.

The google’s automatic translation that is built into Chrome is really, really slick. However, it seems to be having problems handling the Arabic to English translation duties this morning:

The first true competitor to the iPhone is being released.  Here are the faqs and information released from the press conference:


Price: $179
Release Date:  October 22
Mail: Push and Pull.  No exchange at this time.
Keyboard: Physical Slide Out (versus virtual keyboard on iPhone)
Locked:  Sim-locked to T-Mobile.
Wifi: Present
Browser: Webkit (same base as Chrome)
Data Plans: $25 with unlimited Web and limited messaging.  $35 total unlimited.
Sync: To Google, Yahoo, and other online services
Network Speed: 3G network rolling out nationwide (especially in metro areas)
Desktop application: None
Microsoft Documents: Supports Word and Excel documents
iTunes and Skype: Does not support Apple DRM. No skype support yet.
Applications: Easy to develop.  Will have an application store.

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Today, I wrote a quick tech-recipe on how to use Garmin Bobcat to edit/join tracks. Initially, when I found botcat, I saw some forum posts of people wondering how to get data from bobcat into google earth.

It’s not obvious, but it is really easy.

– From Bobcat’s File menu, select Export Folder
– This will create a GPX file in the location you pick.
– Drag this GPX file into Google Earth.
Manipulation of this data in Google Earth is easy.

Google Lego 50th Anniversary Inspiration
Creative Commons License credit: manfrys

I have a small blog about hiking in the triangle. It’s nothing fancy, and my family uses it to catalog our growing love with local hiking. One of my hike-loving co-workers noticed last week that she could no longer find it through google.

The site looked the same; however, a quick source check noted thousands of spam links in the footer. The site, running an older version of wp, had been hacked.

The site got a virtual scrub down and update to the latest version of wordpress. Although the google “punishment” hurt my feelings, I understood completely. Spam filled pages should be devalued. My experience with search engine ranking is that things move very, very slowly. I wondered to myself if trianglehike would ever be found on google again.

with SPAM
Creative Commons License credit: dominiekth

Much to my surprise, trianglehike is back into google this am. The punishment was temporary and reversed (automatically, I am assuming) soon after the hack was repaired. Amazing.

Obviously, this is great news to the blogger who might accidently miss an update or two. One mistake does not kick you out of the game forever. As hard as google battles spam, this distinction between black hat malicious spam and hack-induced accidental spam is impressive.

Even more impressive is how google suppresses the power of wordpress hacks. By correctly identifying and quickly down ranking affected sites, any SEO benefits are lost. Without benefits, the hacks are not economically worth a spammer’s time.

Google is effectively suppressing the power of a widespread spam attack without excessive punishment of the web site owners. Bravo.

Matt Cutts is one of google’s most public faces. His insights into google’s philosophy and direction are high yield information.

Although usually followed for the etiquette and ethics of search engine optimization, Matt is also a highly skilled tutorial writer. Followers of tech-recipes will certainly appreciate these gems from his blog.

Moving to a New Web Host – Seemlessly moving to a new host or IP without losing google juice is a gastric reflux inducing concern. From MySQL dumps to DNS changes, these step-by-step directions will help keep the heartburn at bay.

Dynamic Adjustment of iFrame Height – The use of iFrame elements are necessary evils in some projects. Matt’s ideas and the comments that follow should help solve many common iFrame issues. Since adsense uses iFrames, it is not surprising that google would be interested in smooth iFrame integration.

Highlight Author Comments in WordPress – On Matt’s blog (and the upcoming transition of tech-recipes to WP) author comments are highlighted in an unique color for easy identification. Matt’s code and the suggestions that follow explore multiple solutions for this issue.

Downloading and Splitting Podcasts in Linux – Podcasts are wonderful sources of information; however, getting them into bite-sized morsels can be difficult. Matt’s tutorial downloads the podcasts and carves them into manageable sections for ease and comfort.

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Recently MightyQ noticed some chitika-like ads being delivered by adsense. Although adsense has tested various rich media ad types in the past, I have never seen interactive “gadget ads” like these on adsense before.

google gadget ad

These advertisements are being delivered from which redirects to the typical google home page:

<iframe scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ src=”…

Google seems to like the “gadget” nomenclature:


I am assuming that the ad itself was designed by Echo3 has a long history of releasing cool google gadgets. It is no surprise that they are being used to generate these gadget ads. The gadgets are driven by XML:


For pointing out their coolness, I am going to hotlink to the spinner they use. Just using that, everybody will think that some cool gadget is loading, right? ;) Wwwwwwwweeeeeee….

Google gadget ads have the same problems that all gadgets, everywhere have. They are difficult to get to work on every browser system on every OS in every situation. I had to refresh this one a couple of times in firefox 2 OS X to get it unstuck. Here it is in eternal loading…

google gadget ad loading

I can not imagine the pain of trying to code and debug this type of complex javascript. Here is firebug showing the coding structure. iFrame within iFrame, anyone?

gadget ads iframe within iframe

For rich media ads, these are very tasteful and painless. I do not have any idea how the publisher is compensated for these ads. If somebody clicks and interacts with the ad but never navigates to the sponsor page, is that enough for the publisher to get paid? Does the visitor actually have to visit the sponsoring page or compete a transaction to trigger the adsense payment?

Google has been pushing google gadgets for igoogle, for for any webpage, and for the desktop. The extension of the gadget format into adsense has started.

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Greg Reinacker is the founder and CTO of NewsGator.  He also happens to do some excellent professional photography. An interesting opportunity just walked up and smacked Greg across the head. He has pictures from a photography shoot from one of the contestants–Amy Davis.

Please allow me the snarkish oppertunity to interpret his blog post…

For the first time ever, I’ve started watching American Idol this year. And imagine my surprise when I see that Amy Davis is one of the final 24 contestants.

Amazing coincidence! American Idol is been on TV for seven seasons now. The year he finally to jump on the bandwagon just happened to be the season that he had unpublished photos of one of the finalists.

Just over a year ago, I spent a week on a small island near St. Thomas, doing a series of photo shoots. One of the models was Amy Davis. I remember thinking wow, beautiful and talented model…

We are all thinking right now… wow, being a CEO and photog rocks! Beautiful island, beautiful girls… wow. I am physically making the rock-n-roll devil hand sign over my laptop right now.

…and I’ve got literally hundreds of photos of her. So in the interest of helping her win, I’m going to post one previously unpublished photo here every week she stays in the competition.

Hundreds of photos, folks. Hundreds! Every week she’s in the contest, we get a new photo. Every week people are googling for her, Greg gets some juicy traffic. What could go wrong?


Huh, oh. :) Oh, well… at least we get to see her in some newsgator swag.

Releasing the NewsGator suite for free should get Greg some loving as well. Although Google’s Reader is superior to NewsGator’s online service, the NewsGator local clients far exceed Google Reader in speed and features.

The Ten Internet Trends of 2007

December 17th, 2007

When we look back on 2007 in a few years, these ten topics and companies will be the milestones that will be referenced and debated:

  • 1. Google Pushes Its Power
  • 2. Aggregators Polluted by the Mobs
  • 3. Mobile Web. Why?
  • 4. User-Submitted Profits
  • 5. Apple Leaps
  • 6. Microsoft Tumbles
  • 7. DRM. Die. Die. Die.
  • 8. Main Stream Media Invasion
  • 9. Politics’ Internet Fruitfulless
  • 10. Social Network Assimilation

1. Google

Google is currently the most powerful technology company in the world. With dominance in search and advertising, profits and stock prices have been impressive.

This year will be remembered as the point that google starting flexing its power to change people’s actions on the internet. Matt Cutts confirmed that google would punish people buying and selling links to influence search engine placement.

Google decreased the clickable adsense area which decreased some publishers’ income by well over 50%.

Google has openly started attacking social networks such as Facebook by joining the smaller networks through the OpenSocial API and by socializing Google services such as Google Reader. This dilutes the power that any one social networking system has. Google’s purchase of Jaiku is a direct competitor to IM candy Twitter. Google’s Android dilutes the potential power of a cellular network as well.

Wikipedia and squidoo will soon be feeling the google crunch next. Collaborative content is one of the most amazing products being created and delivered on the internet. Google’s Knol wants to compete here as well. Like many others, TechCrunch is worried about the conflict of interest:

Google says that Knol pages will be indexed into their search engine but will have no special ranking. That’s a little bit untrue, since they’ll be hosted by Google and will have the advantage of Google’s hefty PageRank to lift them in search results. And since no one will be auditing Google to ensure that Knol pages are treated just like everyone else, there are bound to be claims of conflict of interest.

This first started by competing with Microsoft through online services. Is Google’s strategy to dilute any potential collection of power?

2. Web 2.0 Aggregators

Digg and Reddit have moved away from tech. Sad.

Mob Rule. Tyranny of the Majority. Ochlocracy. Whatever you call it, these sites are the weak, fluffy versions of what they used to be. As the less-geek have moved in, the content of these aggregators have followed. Even the creators cannot control the sites anymore.

Unless you have a large social connection within these sites, you have no chance of getting an article viewed… (unless you pay for it.) Socializing is more important than quality.

Although I view both of these sites on a daily basis, they are frequently gamed, overcome with political manipulation, often filled with spamish links, and are utterly unrealiable as news sources.

What’s the alternative? You can always read what the A-List boys’s club is echoing about on techmeme. Or you can watch the main stream news… which is frequently gamed, overcome with manipulation… You get the idea.

3. Mobile Web

The mobile web is growing and growing. However, unless you are selling ringtones, nobody has figured how to make money from it. Even mobile web experts are puzzled on the exact nature of making money through mobile devices.

Plus, does there have to be a special “mobile web” anymore? The iPhone displays regular web content through a cell interface. Instead of manipulating content to look pretty on tiny browsers, manipulate the cell web browser to view existing content well on the cellular interface. When was the last time you remember visiting a mobi site?

4. User-Submitted Profits

Everybody is making money on the back on the users.

NewsVine, Squidoo, Wikipedia, Digg, Reddit, YouTube, Facebook. If you really think about it, none of these companies would work without the public building content for them. You are building content for them. Congratulations! When do you expect your check?

Even blogs and forums get boost from comments and discussions created within their communities. (Please comment, please, please, please…)

How long will people continue to sow content in the sites of others for free?

5. Apple

I personally believe that this was an amazing year for Apple. Apple stocks are certainly booming.

The iPhone has changed the cellular landscape that parallels how the iPod changed the portable musical player market. Apple’s commericals are painfully clever in their attacks against Microsoft. Leopard’s problems have been far less damaging than Vista’s which has helped as well. Overall, more and more people are considering moving to Apple’s platform.

Apple has shown areas of weakness, however. The AppleTV push has really died for the general public. With an anorexic iTunes movie selection, the AppleTV has little appeal to the nongeek. iTunes itself is having growing pains with content providers. NBC/Universal have decided to play hardball with TV shows and music. It’s difficult to know how it is going to play out. Apple is understandingly becoming weaker and weaker for DRM as well.

Being less ambitious than Vista has played well for Leopard. However, the new OS X is still causing growing pains for a lot of people. Feeling the vapor, we are still wondering where the much promised ZFS is?

6. Microsoft

As a one time Microsoft zealot, I am pained to see what has happened to Microsoft this year. Vista is failing because it has taken users too many steps as once. We all had to throw away most of our old hardware when XP rolled out. Most of us accepted this because the pre-XP experience was so unstable. XP was the successful promise of easy usage and stability. I wanted to install XP for my parents because I knew it would make things easier for them.

Today the market is different. Things worked pretty well before Vista. People do not want to sacrifice most of their hardware to get things working correctly. Plus, now we have 32-bit versus 64-bit discussion and “ultimate” products that add little except confusion.

Away from the OS, Microsoft’s search engines and ad networks are stagnant, and Microsoft certainly seems to be trying to kill html email usability. From my experience at FOWD, Sean Siebel is not an impressive “User Experience Evangelist.” At least Scoble tried.

Microsoft has made a few positive steps this year. The Microsoft Home Server is a new idea for a new market. If done well, it could be an essential box in every household. IE7 is a large improvement over IE6. Microsoft is investing in Facebook. Even the second Zune release (and the free software upgrade to the first version) is finally generating a little positive Microsoft buzz. Silverlight and Surface are sexy and innovative.

7. DRM

Could 2007 be the year that DRM finally starts to die?

Die. Die. Die.

Shawn Fanning’s original idea of drm-free Napster could exist in several different forms over the next few years. iTunes Plus and Amazon’s DRM free shows that the big guys are creeping into this direction. Steve Jobs thinks this way, too.

Radiohead’s In Rainbows “pay us what you want” experiment is exciting. Saul Williams and Trent Reznor are doing something similar.

Give them the music for free and sell them on the other stuff. It’s coming.

8. Main Stream Media

How about give them the content for free, too?

The New York Times is finally free. Online circulation is having to make up for the dying dead trees distribution:

Nationwide, average daily paid newspaper circulation declined 2.6 percent in the six months that ended Sept. 30, compared with the previous year, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, an independent organization that monitors the industry. Sunday circulation dropped 3.5 percent nationwide during the same period.

As the main stream media looks to supplement eyeball views with online content, their articles are appearing more and more in news aggregators. How long until we figure out that some of digg’s top users are on the payrolls of popular newspapers or public relations companies?

As advertising dollars move from TV and newspaper to the internet, the main stream media is following. How much this will drown out the current boom on citizen journalism is unclear.

9. Internet and Politics

Howad Dean’s success and subsequent failure seemed to grow from within communities within the internet. Was online activism a good idea too early? Will the traditionally nonvoting, young, internet crowd actually play any role in the upcoming elections? These are the questions that campaigns are asking .

Campaigns are on MySpace, FaceBook, and YouTube. You can not read digg or reddit without reading about Ron Paul or Kucinich. Of course, strike911 received active buzz throughout the internet without getting support from the general public or receiving any real main stream press.

This campaign cycle should be a great test to see if online voting and protesting will cause any offline results.

10. Social Networks

Online social networks have continued to grow throughout 2007. The large players like MySpace and Facebook are ubiquitous. How they are changing our interactions with our personal worlds are staggering. The influence and entertainment role of TV is being largely supplanted by these social networks. For many, offline social interactions are first initiated and planned online. Small niches of personalities and beliefs can find like-minded partners.

The success of YouTube and Flickr is obviously dependent on their social interactions. Digg and reddit are driven by social interactions. Dating networks are thriving.

As more of our social lives are played out online, more of our personal information is accessible online as well. More of our personal actions and characteristics are targeted by advertisers. More of our actions can be collected and used against us. Will an insurance company be able to find out that you are a member of a tobacco social group or a Huntington’s disease facebook group? The ultimate balance between profit and privacy will be difficult.

11. Memes?

Oh wait.. I left out lolcats. I am not sure if that’s a trend or a plague, but 2007 is certainly the a year of it. Or maybe it’s not a trend, maybe it is a meme. Who knows anymore…

As I reread my article, my overall feeling is that our experience on the internet is becoming more complex. The name “google” no longer gives most people warm and fuzzy feelings. Digg and reddit are often manipulated more than main stream media. Facebook is looking to trade privacy for profits.

The idea of a “do no evil” company is more likely an untruth than an oxymoron. Previously, we thought it was possible on the internet. No more.

Of course, I would not want to do without Facebook, Digg, Reddit, or Google. We all benefit from the battles between Apple and Microsoft. Companies need to make money to survive. The balance is tough.

The real world continues to invades our idealist internet utopia. “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” but I would rather be here than anywhere else.

As a tutorial writer and editor, most of the blogs I read on the internet are (not surprisingly) help-related.  Previously, one of my favorite sites to scan was Google Answers; however, it is now dead.dead.dead.

By random I stumbled across uClue which is one of the many Google Answers clones. While mindlessly scanning through the entries, I noticed the following q&a:


    To David – are most uclue members former/current staffers at google?


    Your question contains a large kernel of truth, but is in need of two
    significant clarifications.

    1). It’s not the case that most Uclue researchers were formerly
    researchers at Google Answers. We *all* were.

    2) We weren’t staffers, though. Instead, we worked on contract with
    Google during our GA days

Interesting, huh?

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TechCrunch stated that Google was declaring “Jihad On Blog Link Farms.” Yes, Google finally declared war on people trying to manipulate pagerank through the buying and selling of links.

The penalty just may be a superficial change to the toolbar number and may not actually demostrate a true penalty. Is anybody reporting dropping SERPS yet?

Anyway, I started chuckling when I noticed this set of links being circulated…

SEO pagerank drop

The listing of penalized pages started showing up on blog after blog. Of course, this serves as a ton of fresh incoming links to all of these pages which will ultimately help to increase their pagerank again.

Lemons ->lemonade. No press is bad press. Etc. Etc.