I finished up the new Mobile 360 web site tonight. I am happy in that it is visually unlike any other site I have done so far. Some sudden spark of creativity hit me and I was able to run with it.
I also employed an image replacement technique on the headlines on each of the pages, allowing me to swap out the actual headline text with an image. In case users browse with images turned off, they still get the readable text. I think I will start doing this more often.
For a long time I have searched for a simple online calendar that had several important features:
Online, accessible from anywhere, but protected by password
Easy to use, with multiple views (day/week/month/year)
Ability to have never-ending recurring events, and the ability to set them monthly or quarterly.
Some sort of reminder system to send me emails when things are due/coming up.
After about 2 years of searching, I found it. Well, it was born, rather. HipCal does everything I listed above, does a little more, and does it well. I am now getting text messages on my cell phone AND email when events are due. My main goal was to use this for reminding myself to bill clients, and it seems that it will do this well. As a bonus, HipCal also includes a Memos section and a Task/To-Do list. Everything is designed well, and it appears to be written using Web 2.0 goodness. Did I mention it is free? I just hope it stays free and stays around a long time.
Failed Redesigns is a well-written article by Joe Clark regarding the failure of web developers to use the tools at their disposal. It unabashedly mocks so-called professionals who choose to ignore Web Standards and crank out utter crap. Go boyee!
I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) over the last couple of months. I find it an interesting field with lucrative potential. Naturally, I find myself being aligned with the Lighter side of The Force, thus more interested in the ‘ethical’ search engine practices.
The reason behind all of this is that I had a web design client who got tangled up with a shady SEO firm and spent a lot of money for services that could be summed up as ‘Spam’.
Just read this to save yourself a lot of money and headaches:
If you choose to outsource to an SEO firm, be well aware of the many pitfalls that await the uninformed. SEO has classically been an industry that has attracted many untrustworthy and dishonorable firms, resulting in an unfortunate perception from many. Pay particular attention to the following:
Manipulation & Search Spam – Overly aggressive tactics can get you banned from search engines.
Link Exchanges & Free-for-All Links Ã¢â‚¬â€œ While the promise of easy link building through link exchanges or link farms is tempting, these tactics often achieve subpar results. Natural, organic inbound links from sites that your competitors canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get links from are the best way to rank well in the long term.
Optimizing Pages for Search Engines vs. Visitors Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Professional SEOs should have specialist copywriters who can craft well-written pages that attract both users and search engines. Repetitive keyword use (as noted above) is largely useless, but compelling, intelligent dialogue is a great way to get both searchers and engines interested in your content.
Guaranteed Rankings Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Guaranteeing rankings is often one of the first indications that youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re dealing with a less-than-reputable firm. No SEO can guarantee rankings, because the search engines are responsible for the results and are constantly changing. Be wary, too, of promised success at Ã¢â‚¬Å“thousands of enginesÃ¢â‚¬Â (remember that the top 4 account for 95%+ of all search traffic), daily submission (completely unnecessary) and other Ã¢â‚¬Å“tricksÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“secretsÃ¢â‚¬Â. Great rankings come from having great sites with quality links Ã¢â‚¬â€œ no tricks or secrets required.
Investigate Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The firm you work with should be able to provide references, preferably from both customers and industry folks that will let you know their skill and ability. Use your best judgment here Ã¢â‚¬â€œ if a review or response seems canned or fishy, it probably is.
No news in the baby department yet. Alicia’s due date is this Saturday the 12th. You dear readers will be among the first to know. In fact, I am considering a live webcast from the delivery room, with a chatroom where you all can ask questions and comment on the proceedings. Ok now I have considered it.
I have still been busy on side web work, nearing completion on MikeSnipesForJudge.com and MiramarSeafood.com. Still working on my brother’s site for is political campaign, as well as the larger book store project. I have employed the help of June because of her Zen Cart expertise. And I just posted a link to her site so that she will feel the pressure to do something with it.
I bought a brand new drum set for the first time in my life. These suckers are baaaaaad. This is what they look like:
They are DW Pacific CX’s.
So if anyone is in the market, I have a 6-piece set of Pearl World Series drums from 1990. These are the same drums used to record Speed.
Why did I buy new drums? I have been playing music in a band again. More on that later.