Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Useless but Fun!

File this under "Completely useless, but really cool"
There's a guy in Britain who is working on turning the old Game Boy console into a web app. He's using Java and HTML5 to make a web browser emulator, and is working on the old classics like Tetris.*

Will this wind up being another time and productivity sucking app, like the Google Packman doodle was? Probably. But its still really cool!

*Yeah, we know, you can play Tetris lots of places now. Don't be a buzzkill.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Amazing Shrinking Interwebz

Is the web getting *gasp* smaller? ten years ago, if I'd asked that question to myself, I would have laughed. The interwebz made the world a smaller place, via information sharing like never before. but today, in this article, the argument is that the web is in danger of being partitioned off to a dangerous extent. Social networking, apps, governments and businesses are keeping us within our little parameters, with much information outside those walls never to be seen, the article claims. Things like net neutrality, wireless carriers wanting to prioritize traffic, and "other 'walled garden' threats" are infringing on the internet. The beneficiaries of this would be bigger conglomo-mega-corporations, with innovation and entrepreneurship being on the losing end.

Think about it, in terms of net neutrality: if internet provider Schmoeweb says to Netflix "Pay me for bandwidth your users suck down" and Netflix says "No," then who loses? The user, who has paid for their Netflix subscription and their Schmoeweb bill, but doesn't receive the quality product. The information is out there, but they are being prevented from getting to it.

Or think in terms of a Mom-n-Pop shop. They improve the mousetrap, and are poised to sell millions, but cant make the payment it will take to get their website out of the internet ghetto that they are relegated to. Innovation is slowed or killed because people won't know what is outside of their garden wall.

The FCC is getting ready to vote on net neutrality, and as web users, developers, businesspeople, we need to pay attention to this. It could effect how exactly we carry out our business on the interwebz from now on.

Monday, November 22, 2010


if necessity is the mother of invention, what's the mother of innovation? selection?

well, dear readers, it seems that the selection of internet browser options is widening again. new on the scene is something called RockMelt, a browser that steps away from the traditional Internet Explorer-Firefox-Opera format. RockMelt was created, in part, by some of the people who worked on Netscape back in the 90s, but don't think that this is just a re-make of Netscape. It's a whole new animal, by far. It is built on the idea that people go to the internet mainly for social networking, Googling, and a few favorite websites. Those areas are set to drop down windows and panes.

to even utilize RockMelt, you must have a Facebook account. you can then link up your twitter, have your favorite websites listed, etc. its more of a one-stop for your social media and browsing, than the traditional browser, or even tabbed browsing.

another thing: RockMelt is available by invitation only. want to be the cutting-edge geek of your peer-group? you can go and request an invite at http://www.rockmelt.com

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Internet Explorer vs Firefox: Designing Differences

Here's a question for the masses: have you ever viewed a website at the office, and it looked one way, and then viewed it at home and it looked different? Or on a friend's computer versus your own? Ever wonder why that is? Have you ever wondered just how your browser works, how it translates the interwebz into what you see? If you understand how it works, it can give you a better understanding of how your website works.

Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox (FF) both use layout engines, which means they use a piece of software that takes the content—the website's code, image files, and formatting information—and shows it on the monitor. Right. No surprise there, you knew that. They both come at the web with a modular approach, meaning that they break the information down into separate modules. The engine portion takes care of the URL, cookies, scripts and plug-ins. The user interface (what you the user sees) takes care of the menu bars, bookmarks, address bar—you know, the graphic things. The HTML code tells how the web pages should be formatted, where images are located and how it all should be viewed (sizes, colors, spacing, etc.) Each browser uses a different layout engine to show you what the web has to offer. The differences that you may see on a website, when viewed on the two different browsers, comes back to the two layout engines that are the base. While they do the same essential thing, their approach in translating the information is where you get the differences in how a web page looks.

When a website is built using HTML, one way of formatting it is to build tables, rows and columns, to place the desired information. FF and IE treat these differently sometimes. In the examples here, you can see that FF creates cells that are not padded with extra space, unless you tell it otherwise. IE takes the same code and gives a bit more elbow room within the individual cells. How does that affect the end website? Too much space where you weren't planning on it is never a good thing.

The most fun of all (says the designer with great sarcasm) is when FF and IE can't agree on something called "rowspan." That is when, in the building of an HTML table, you want a cell to span more than one row—hence the name of the command. What will look great in one browser will look like a kindergartener coded it in the other.

Here's another example of IE and FF assuming different things: the top margin is not specified here. FF assumes that none is wanted, while IE gives a margin of about 15 pixels unless you tell it not to.

Spacing is also an issue when bulleted lists are involved. FF loves to give extra space for bullet lists, whether you ask for it or not. IE wants to be told that it needs to make a line break, but when FF looks at it, it thinks "Two breaks! Double space!" and so you get more space between your bullets for FF. In the FF example, you can see how the additional space in the bullet list breaks the other graphics surrounding it, in a bit of a ripple effect.

Sometimes, the differences between how the browsers render a website can be tracked down to simple syntax. What IE calls "alpha transparency" Firefox calls "opacity." Both terms do the same exact thing as a end result. Think of it this way: what is the name of a big sandwich with lots of toppings? Some people call it a "hoagie" and some people call it "sub." Two different names for the same sandwich. But those differences change the way the programmer must code, therefore potentially altering how the site details come out.

So, you ask, how do designers deal with all of this? We deal with a lot of grumbling, griping and occasional cursing, that's how. We work hard on your site, thinking it looks great. Then we test it in another browser and – gah!- it's fubar. We love that when it happens, no, really. Then we suck it up, re-code and re-test until it is correct. Is it a pain? You bet. But if we're worth our salt as designers, we will always be striving to provide you with a site that you love, and therefore we want you to have a consistent website. While it would be incredible if the browsers looked at the interwebz the same, the fact that they do not is why they exist. They each offer pros and cons, and designers have to adjust to suit each.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Protect Yourself

We all know that in business, it's important to protect yourself. So we do with llc's and the like. But what about all of your hard worked for intellectual property? Here's a link to a good little article detailing the different ways that we can keep our business' intellectual property from being misused and abused. Go Take a look

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Flash v HTML5

Whether you are aware of it or not, a battle is looming on the horizon. Shots have been fired from both sides, but no full-scale battles have been waged, yet. Allies are mobilized along the battle lines, waiting on who will be the victor. So, who does this war involve? Some rouge country bent on invading another? Neighbors upset at each other over barking dogs? Google vs Bing? No, dear readers, no. This relatively quiet battle is that of Flash versus HTML5. To the victor will go the video capabilities of the web.

But will there be an obvious winner of this battle? At first, at least, they will have to share the market, with each of them doing separate things well. HTML5 will run on smart phones, while Flash either does not or slows the phone down considerably. Flash will take the video content to full screen, while HTML5 does not. Flash uses a standard format for its videos, whereas HTML5 does not—which is a pro for some and a con for others. Flash requires the user download a player, HTML5 will not demand that, being simply the standard for structuring the web.

The interesting point to watch in all this is how Flash steps up to the competition. HTML5 is still in development, and therefore is not "done" with all that it can do. How Flash responds, what it beefs up and how it innovates, will determine how well it can keep its current market share. And as always, that means better things for we the users, programmers and designers!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

We Told You So.

We at Addison Technologies would like to say "We told you so." We don't do that often, but then we haven't seen something coming for the last eight years. That is how long Addison Tech owner Woody Sims has predicted prognosticated foretold that television and the interwebz would merge into one seamless configuration. Then we happened upon this article talking about the upcoming release of Google and Intel's Android/Atom CPU driven TV venture. It only makes sense, really. Think of the practicality for the user—Hulu, Netflix, etc will be easier accessed on a bigger screen, thus opening up untapped markets in that area. Think of applications for your TV just like your smart phone (like Sony and other TV manufactures have been toying with already.) And the marketing, oh the marketing. Google ads, SEO and other online marketing tools will be taken to a new level with this. It's going to make things quite interesting for the realms of television, advertising, internet--media overall, really. Just think: you can say that you knew the folks who told you so!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Google and the Small Business

We've noted before that Google is introducing new features and tweaking old ones lately. Well, here's another observation of it. This article discusses that Google's "Local Business Center" is now called "Google Places" and has some bigger-better-more customizable features. Owners have been able to add their business to the listing for some time already, but now you're able to tag your listing with keywords, show your geographic service areas, have a business photo shoot (should you live in certain areas) and customize a QR (Quick Response) code for your business. All things that will help your consumers to find you among the sea of competitors.

So, why are we writing about this? Other than the fact that it's something new and business-y? Because if your time constraints don't allow you to do this for your business, or if you aren't completely confident with it, AddisonTech can help you out with that. Time and confidence, we have it!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Who Owns Your Soul?

No, this isn't going to be a post on religion, heaven, hell, etc. It seems that the British video game retailer Gamestation played an interesting April Fool's Trick on its buyers. According to this article they slipped an "Immortal Soul Clause" in their Terms and Agreements form. Buyers could opt out by clicking a button (and would have received a discount, should they have done so) but only 12% chose to do so. Gamestation says that they did this to illustrate how people to do read the Terms and Conditions that they agree to--they simply click "I agree" and go onward.

My first reaction to this: "Awesome prank!" My second reaction: "Oh man, they're right..." I'm just as guilty as the next person of this. Reading the legal mumbo jumbo on some of these things is a cure for insomnia. On a good day, I skim through the legalese, although I don't know if I would have caught the selling of my soul or not.

So, how do companies protect themselves legally, but get customer readership of the document up? Good question for all of us who have to use them in our businesses. Other than getting Pixar to animate a "Terms and Agreement" short film, how do you see a solution to this? Any ideas out there?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Now What?

*If you're not a business owner and reading this, play pretend with us for just a minute. I promise, it won't take long.

So, you're a business owner. You want your business to be front of mind with your consumers, so you become social media savvy. You Facebook, you Tweet. Just like your employees do in their private lives. But, as an employer, what do you do if your employees start posting things concerning business that weren't supposed to be public? How do you protect yourself and your clients? Like this article points out, you need a company social media policy.
We know you trust the people you hire, but unscrupulous people exist. A signed by every employee, legal social media policy can cover your rear in case of litigation, plus it should clarify issues for your employees. They then can see what is acceptable, and what crosses the line. Which is good for everyone's rear end.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Is the mighty falling?

After years of being the top of the smart phone heap, is the iphone's reign coming to an end? This article suggests that this just may be the case. In the US, the android phones are rapidly gaining ground, while the iphone is starting to dwindle. The article also points out that, since smart phones are as much about the "smart" (ie, the browsing capabilities) as they are the "phone," that it is wise to take into consideration that overall mobile browsing is up. This means that the race isn't so much about winner/loser as it is about the success of the platforms.

Ok, so what does that mean for you, the business owner? It means that more of your customers are going to be using smart phones, therefore will be able to browse more. Thus, your company website, social media and marketing will be more important than ever. Now, aren't you glad you know some super savvy people who can help you out with that?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Addison Technologies Announces Merger


Addison Technologies Announces Merger With Go Daddy

Pottstown, PA, USA
– April 1, 2010

Addison Technologies is proud to announce that they are merging with web giant GoDaddy.com as of April 1, 2010. The resulting company will keep the same quality workmanship and care as consumers have come to expect from both Addison Technologies and Go Daddy. The main change that customers will notice is that the name and logo will change, from "Go Daddy" to "Go D'Addi" in the next few months. And next year expect to see Brad Hurlock and Woodrow Sims in the Superbowl commercial with Go Daddy spokeswoman Danica Patrick! Negotiations are still underway as to how much clothing will be worn by Mr. Hurlock and Mr. Sims.

In anticipation of the upcoming changes, current Addison Technologies clients and fans are asked to do the following: Please check your calenders, and ensure that today is in fact, April Fool's Day. You may then proceed in groaning, smacking your forehead, giggling, or simply shaking your head.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Liberty and Broadband for All...

the FCC has released a plan sent to congress that will provide high speed internet for all. will this mean the end of the dial-up internet access? would anyone, no matter how remote their location, would be able to get access faster than a slow drip? will this mean more competition in the market, meaning lower ISP prices for the consumer? lots of people are asking lots of questions about this, understandably. here's a handful of articles about it, go, read, and pay attention to this in the future. it has impact on how internet, web and marketing professionals will be able to interact with their consumers.
Broadband plan for high speed internet sent to Congress
FCC unveils National Broadband Plan
FCC releases 'Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan'
FCC Broadband Plan Eyes Competition, Spectrum

Friday, March 5, 2010

Shameless Plug

Yes, this blog is going to be all about shameless self promotion. It is our company blog, we are allowed.
However, we'll help teach you, dear reader, how to shamelessly promote yourself too! Take a look at this class that our professionals at Addison Technologies are helping the Berks-Mont Business Association put on. If you are a novice in the world of social media (ie, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn,) and you would like to utilize these resources for your business, you're in luck. You will learn how do the basic things--set up accounts and find contacts; how to keep yourself and your business safe--privacy settings and security; and how to not annoy people with your new marketing toy--etiquette and common mistakes. Great stuff, right? Wondering what to do with it afterwards? Well, we'll also help you get some ideas on how to utilize it for your business. Why? Because we're cool like that. Just check out the BMBA website for details!

*This class will be offered on April 6, 2010. Space is limited so email now! Laptops with WiFi are Required.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Does Facebook Fan = Loyal Customer?

It's almost unthinkable now days to not have a Facebook account, especially if you are in business. But have you ever wondered what, if any, impact becoming a "Facebook Fan" makes on a business? Do people set the notices to "hide" or do they anxiously await the next announcement from their favorite places? Well, one business decided to find out just that. In this article they discover what we in social media and marketing have been working hard on. Facebook Fans were more loyal customers, increased their visits to the store, had more positive view of the business, and were more likely to recommend it to others. Exactly what we've been striving for.

As it was, there were over 13,000 customers on the mailing list for the business. These were surveyed, and over 600 responded. When a Facebook page was set up, the mailing list was invited, and after three months they had nearly 300 fans. The people who responded to the survey And became fans became the most loyal customers. They visited the store 20% more and spent a larger percentage of their money.

The writer also points out an interesting fact regarding the number of fans a site has: unless it's a widely known brand, you are not going to receive ginormous fan numbers. The business may have thousands of actual customers, but garner only a few hundred fans. Quality over quantity is the thought though, since those fans are more likely to become super-customers, helping to market your product on their own.

The article urges "cautious optimism" for using Facebook as a marketing tool, with good reason. Common sense says that if your target client demographic is older, less impact may be made. On the flip side of that, however, is that younger clients may be reached more. Yes, Facebook is a bit niche, but as the internet generations age, I can foresee its marketing potential becoming even more broad.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Are you at home?

I had a blog post for today, all nice and neatly prepared.

This one isn't it.

The other one will wait. By now, if you haven't picked up on this, I am a bit of a security-minded person (if you weren't aware of this, go read this then come back.) I ran across a website, pleaserobme.com that I have to blog about. The premise behind PleaseRobMe is to post when people use social media to indicate they're not at home. This means facebooking/tweeting about work, grocery shopping, travel, etc. could be posted on this site as an "opportunity." They claim that they are doing this to make people aware of their postings, and thus their personal security flaws. Potential thieves, revenge-seekers, and other miscreants can then abuse this information.

I will say that, on the tweets I have viewed on this site, they were all on profiles set to let everyone view them. So that is one simple to solve, make your personal profiles accessible only to those whom you approve. But even then, who out there doesn't have someone on their friend list or followers who you are only on so-so terms with? Are you comfortable with them knowing where and when you are home? it certainly makes me re-think my postings. which, according to the PleaseRobMe creators, is part of their purpose.

AddisonTechnologies provides social media/marketing for many of our clients, and we promise we will never be posting your GPS location or intentionally exposing you to harm, physical or financial. But what about business owners who personally manage their own social media? They have to be diligent, especially if their business and personal accounts are one in the same. To make the account private would eliminate its usefulness as a marketing tool. Those owners would be wise to make the decision--business or personal--for their accounts and stick to it.

While I'm not for their methods, I agree with the message--that of security--that these people are trying to convey. There is a notice on the site that states that they are re-thinking their direction, due to all of the press they are receiving. I hope they will be responsible in their new direction.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Google Again...

Google's at it again. Yeah, I know, it seems like we talk about Google a lot around here. But lets face it, as web design/web marketing specialists, we've got to be on top of what the giant is doing, in order to be competitive. And thus, we ponder, we discuss, we muse, we mock. And we pay attention. All to give Addison Tech's clients the best opportunities to maximize their businesses.

Now, that being said, on to the next thing we're keeping an eye on at Google!
This article talks about how Google has further set its sights on competing with Facebook and Twitter for the social media arena. Features within Google chat allow status similar to Twitter and Facebook's status. They are working on real-time streams like the others, also.

The article points out, however, that other forays into this realm have failed for Google. Users are typically unwilling to give up their Facebooking to utilize Gmail's functions. In my personal experience, I understand this completely. I have friends on Facebook that, while I don't mind talking to in that format, I wouldn't want them having access to my email. (These are the chronic "they're tracking this email and will send you $1,000 for every forward!" emailers.) Plus, quite frankly, I'm lazy. I took the time to find all these people on FB. I don't need to find them again on some other network that does the exact same thing.

But, lest we forget, this is how Google got big. They took something that someone else had already done, tweaked it, and did it better. So we would be wise to not discount them entirely yet.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"That's amazing. I've got the same combination on my luggage"

Passwords. We all have them now days. Lots of people despise them, most tolerate them, and idiots write them down on post-it notes stuck to their monitors. It seems like all the time we're hearing about security breaches when accounts for some major company are hacked. Ever wonder why it is that accounts are hacked so easily?
Well, as this article points out, the Rockyou.com breach allowed an opportunity for that FAQ to be answered. Imperva studied the 32 million passwords that were hacked, and some interesting findings came up. Passwords haven't evolved much since 1990.
Think about that.
Think, if your hairstyle had not evolved since 1990, how much ridicule you'd be subjected to. You shudder at the thought, don't you? Yet our unevolved passwords make us vulnerable to much more than ridicule. Many people use the same password for their email, work, bank information, online bill payments, twitter, etc. By one being hacked, the rest are compromised. Are you able to access any sensitive data at work? The hackers can access it too. Money in your bank account? Its not secure any more.
This isn't just a pesky matter of having to re-set your passwords and set your facebook status to "hey everyone, i got hacked, that last post wasn't me, dude." No, this is a mindset. The article states that the top 10 most common passwords (of the Rockyou.com scandal) were:

1. 123456
2. 12345
3. 123456789
4. Password
5. iloveyou
6. princess
7. rockyou
8. 1234567
9. 12345678
10. abc123

We've all been told by our IT people that the most secure passwords are those that have upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. It's a pain, I know. But if your little fingers aren't getting a workout while typing your password, it's not a good one.

*wipes brow and steps off of soapbox* Now back to your regularly blogged snark :-)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

We will be a real company when:

January 14, 2000 is the day Addison Technologies became incorporated. The idea was simple enough: design, host and market web sites. Addison has lived through the dot com crash, 2 recessions and what appears to be on of the tightest credit crunches in history. I remember a line we used frequently over the course of the past ten years: “we will be a real company when…” . When was whatever we were trying to do was accomplished. We will be a real company when:

We have toll free numbers
Our first employee
We have our own air hockey table
We have over 10 servers
we have over 20 servers
Health insurance
Our own controller
Have a devoted customer service rep.
We have 100 clients
We have 200 clients
We have 300 clients
Two T1 lines
Have multiple offices
Have our own Jet (well that one is still in the works)

This saying turned out to be prophetic, because somewhere along the way, we became a real company. Congratulations are in order, but more importantly we would like to offer thanks to all the helped along the way. Thank you for not just helping, but becoming part of the Addison Technologies family that continues to grow by the day. The next ten years will be just adventurous as the last, and we can’t wait for the next thing, that will make us a real company!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Quick Questions

So, dear readers, I was reading through this story about how a researcher has shown how Google is in bed with spyware, cheating its advertisers and annoying its users. Now, my first reaction to this was "Well, that figures." But after thinking about it for a minute, I came up with a couple of points, things I thought I'd never have to ask:
1) Is anyone sadistic enough to Like pop-up ads?
and, assuming the answer to number 1 is a big, fat "no!" then
2) Many browsers (like Firefox and Opera) come with an integrated pop-up blocker that work beautifully. Who wouldn't take advantage of that? And for those of you who are committed to browsers like IE who don't have that...
3) Who, nowdays, doesn't use a pop-up blocker?
I mean, really? Several places offer blockers that work well, over the years I've used various ones with success.
Now, I'm never for a company screwing its clients, nor for a company annoying its users. Its bad form. The point I'm getting to is, I would have never known this was going on, if I hadn't read this article. I would have gone on assuming things were all right and proper, because I wasn't seeing the offending ads. How many people are like the pre-article me? Lots, my friends.
Which brings me to my other point: if you're not going to let trusted professionals help you (like our marketing team at Addison Technologies)then become educated. Find out these things yourself, not in a tinfoil-hat education or instant expert way, but in a become savvy in what you're asking/receiving way. Things generally go more smoothly if you understand how they work.
Now, I'm off to read up further...