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Keep It Simple Stupid

A very wise man once said, "Keep it simple stupid!"  Or if you prefer the same four letter acronym, KISS can be said to stand for "Keep it simple sweetheart."  Which ever definition of the phrase sits best with you, it doesn't really matter.  My basic point here is when designing web interfaces and how they flow to accomplish a given task, you have to keep your primary end user in mind.  When I was a twenty-something software engineer fresh out of college and ready to take on the world, this fact was brought to my attention in a VERY clear and unforgettable way.  Here's how the story goes as I remember it.

This Is Not Your Father's Profession Anymore...

A couple weekends ago, the Arizona Court Reporter's Association (ACRA) invited C2C Consulting, LLC to speak at their annual state-wide convention in Prescott, Arizona.  Randy went prepared to speak about the benefits of a website for those individuals in the court reporting profession, but because of a topic covered at a meeting over lunch, he ended up expounding upon the topic of websites to the value of social media and technology as a whole to their profession.

Small Businesses Must Get In On The Online World - Now!

Everybody's dream is to own a business of their own.  So why then, do some small business owners resist what being "online" means and stick with the former marketing mediums of yesteryear?  The answer, I believe, is lack of understanding coupled with fear, a combination that may be lethal to some businesses.  Read on to understand how today's hippest small businesses are creating boom businesses by using the digital world as their storefront. 

Do Not Track Me Bro!

The Internet has become one huge game of follow the leader.  Companies are spending huge dollars to find out all about your browsing habits.  For example let's say, you are in the market for some new sneakers.  In your quest for the perfect pair of shoes at the right price, you fire up your trusty Internet browser and begin the process of sniffing out your quarry and sizing it up for the kill; with free shipping too!  At this moment unless you take steps to ensure the sneaker manufacturers, distributors, and retail outlets are looking over your shoulder at every dark alley you browse down.  So you say, "How widespread is this?"  Or, perhaps you are thinking, "I didn't even know this was happening."  Now, keep in mind there is nothing even close to scientific about this data, but about two weeks ago I started conducting a survey on the websites I visit regularly (and no I won't name them.)  I found there are between 6 and 12 tracking tools showing up on every site.  Actually, the counts didn't surprise me at all, but the next valid question is just what kinds of tracking are they sites doing.

Doin' The Chores

Having been born and raised in the midwest, I've done my fair share of chores around the barn, some fun, some not so much.  My family raised a small herd of dairy cows when I was a kid, and as most of you from that upbringing know, some of the cows would allow themselves to be milked by machine (the preferred method), and some would not.  Not wanting the milk from those "rebels" to escape the production cycle, we milked those individuals by hand.  One necessary item to complete this feat was the ol' milking stool.  Now to be honest with you it was a complex contraption made by nailing two boards together in the shape of a T, but that tried and true design does not do anything to further the real point of this article, so you'll see my stool has three legs.  Yes; now you can say you actually know a programmer / web-developer that can milk a cow and ride a horse, just in case the internet ever goes away!   One of the most common questions we receive from our small business customers is, "Do I need a Facebook account?"  As with just about everything in the technical world, the true answer is, "That depends."  I do believe there are some common sense steps to follow regarding a company's desire to incorporate social media into their marketing and sales efforts.

Websites Need Facelifts Too!

Recently, one of our large multi-site customers went live with a totally updated and revamped site.  The thought occurred to me that this is a topic that "anyone" responsible for the regular care and feeding of a website needs to have at top of mind.  To the point of sounding like a broken record I'm sure, I remind my clients regularly that websites are very much like real-estate.  The main difference is instead of the mantra being, "Location, location, location.  It is content, content, content."  To be honest, content is only part of a successful formula for creating a site that continually draws traffic and continues to grow your business.  A website is made up of three primary parts:  content, technology, and visual (look and feel), at its simplest level.  All of these foundation bits and pieces needs to be kept current and not looking stale.  Why else do you occasionally put a fresh coat of paint on the old homestead?

Hot Technical News

Office for iPad updated with PDF export, third-party fonts and video playback support

Microsoft's iPad version of Office is pretty sleek, but it isn't perfect: it has limited print and export functions and just isn't as robust as its desktop counterpart. Slowly but surely, Redmond is changing that -- today the company announced a few......

Boston's due up next on our Engadget Live tour!

Beantown, Titletown, Bahston or Bawston; whatever you call this strong Massachusetts city or how you pronounce it, we're excited to be heading back there. On Friday August 22nd, we'll head to Royale on Tremont St. at 7PM for our third Engadget Live......

Facebook's app offers free web access in Zambia

We've heard quite a bit about Mr. Zuckerberg's plans to bring low-cost internet access to the otherwise disconnected, and today, his social network announced plans to do just that in Zambia. The new app allows users to browse weather,......

WWE Network heading to 170 new countries next month

Fans of professional wrestling seem to be enjoying WWE's new online network. The company announced during its most recent earnings report that it has 700,000 subscribers to date, which is a pretty great sum given the service's mere five-month......

DIY USB Spectrometer Actually Works

When we hear spectrometer, we usually think of some piece of high-end test equipment sitting in a CSI lab. Sure, a hacker could make one if he or she put their mind to it. But make one out of a webcam, some cheap diffraction grating purchased off ebay and some scrap? Surly not.[Renaud] pulls off this MacGyver like build with a detailed knowledge...

Apple's new online content network should deliver your files faster

If you're an iOS or Mac user, your downloads and streams are going to improve in the near future -- if they haven't already. Apple has quietly switched on its own content delivery network (CDN), letting it deliver files directly instead of leaning on......

The government still won't let Twitter share details about national security requests

Twitter really wants to tell you more about the kind of national security requests it gets from organizations like the Department of Justice and the FBI -- but the government just won't let it. The company's latest transparency report is prefaced......

Pay Different Prices To Access Different Sites: Virgin Mobile Leaps Through Net Neutrality Exemption With Gusto

We've talked about the mocked up versions of what a non-neutral internet service might look like -- whereby the service provider offers different "packages" to include different websites. There have been a few attempts to show what this looks like. Here's probably the most well known example: At some point, someone created a similar version that...

Social Media News

7 Must-Have Networking Apps to Boost Your Social Media Marketing

Do you want to build strong relationships around your brand? Are you using networking apps to connect online? Networking with the right people can make your brand stronger and more responsive. In this article you’ll discover how seven networking apps to build relationships. #1: Leverage Twitter Connections SocialBro uses a combination of...

6 Ways to Get Your Tweets Noticed

Do people pay attention to your tweets? Are you customizing your tweets for maximum attention? About 500 million tweets are sent every day. That’s roughly 5,800 tweets posted each second. Competing with that is a challenge. In this article you’ll discover six ways to improve your tweets and get noticed. #1: Personalize Retweets Many...

Why Money and Inexperience Are Escalating Sexism at Startups

It’s a story we’ve come to know well: A freewheeling, young startup founder captures the zeitgeist with a smart idea and attracts investors who are willing to stake him with millions of dollars. Then one day, his private views about gender and sexuality become public, go viral and bring a new kind of scrutiny to his company and careerTh...

Sit Back and Enjoy These 6-Second Remakes of Classic Movies

You know you've seen creativity at its finest when 120-minute movies are condensed into six-second segmentsLast week, we challenged our Vine community to recreate movies in short-form videos. Submissions ranged from comedies like Office Space and Do the Right Thing to cult classics like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and science fiction films like B...

Twitter Looks to Break Out of Its Earnings Slump

A busy second quarter of 2014 will be overshadowed if Twitter is unable to convince investors that its user growth is back on the upswing when the company reports earnings on Tuesday afternoon.The social media company is set to release its report after the close of market trading at 4 p.m. ET, with analysts expecting the company to post a narrow...

7 Things We'd Change About LinkedIn

You didn't really think sending the recruiter at your dream company a Facebook message would work, right?That's why you have LinkedIn, the definitive online platform for networking and finding new career opportunities. The website has effectively cornered the market on adapting social networking to the professional space, but it can use a few...

How to Streamline LinkedIn Sharing With Oktopost

Do you want a quick, easy way to share content to LinkedIn groups? Do you want to measure how your LinkedIn shares perform? Oktopost lets you use multiple LinkedIn accounts to schedule shares and track performance. In this article I’ll share the basic ins and outs of using Oktopost for LinkedIn sharing. Why Oktopost? Much [...]This post How...

3 Tools to Create a Social Media Hub

Are you using user-generated content in real-time? Do you want to display all of your social media updates in one place? Streaming social updates to a social hub encourages your audience to share more, in real-time. In this article you’ll discover three tools that pull your social conversations to a single hub. Why Use a [...]This post 3...

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