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Beanstalk Weekly

Singapore Launches Their First Bitcoin Association [ Monday June 23, 2014 ]

ACCESS an acronym for (Association of Crypto-Currency Enterprise and Start-ups Singapore) opened its doors this week as a bitcoin focused organization. The main focus is to promote development of the best practices for digital currency in Singapore.

According to Bitcoin Magazine Anson Zeall, ACCESS’s Chairman said that:

“ACCESS aims to provide an open and clear dialogue between Singapore cryptocurrency businesses and the wider public, including regulators. With the forming of our association, we will help facilitate an ecosystem where Singapore can be a hub for cryptocurrencies businesses to grow and create jobs related to this new and growing technology.”

This could be a big step to currency reform if continued with positive effect. For more info head to Bit coin Magazine here.

I Bet ‘Cha Bite a Chip! [Tuesday June24, 2014]

Luis Suarez became king of media Tuesday for all the wrong reasons. Upset about the 1-0 win over Italy at the World Cup; Suarez sunk his not so pearly whites into defender Giorgio Chiellini. Luis Suarez is known as a repeat offender when it comes to biting almost risking his career over his insasiable taste for flesh.

None the less he created press for himself and his team and instantly became an overnight sensation with memes to very inventive Giffies.

My Favorite

Google’s annual I/O Developers Conference [Wednesday June 25, 2014]

Large competitive fetes were highlighted for Android development at Google’s annual I/O Developers conference in San Francisco Wednesday. Some amazing new features were introduced but the main focus was how all android programs had greater interconnectivity capabilities. Have a look


Pacific Rim 2 Set For Release 2017 [Thursday June 26,2014]

All I have to say is Watch this:

Rocketship Down [Friday June 22, 2014]

The launch of the new Russian Rocket was aborted today. Russia’s dwindling space program has been having a hard time getting on its feet. Last month the Proton-M booster ended in failure along with last year’s loss to 3 of Russia’s navigation satellites. The future to their space program is not looking good and not even comparable to other leading international space programs.

The automatic safety system aborted the rockets blast off preventing it from launching. Unknown what the actual problem is they are certain that the launch will go ahead Sat. Many sceptics believe that Russia will more likely end up failing to compete in space research because of its underdeveloped space program.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:15 am on June 27, 2014

Categories:beanstalk

 

Travel And SIM Card Tips For Tech Travellers

Davies at the Colosseum.

For our regular blog readers you’ll have noticed that I haven’t been active for the past couple weeks.  After being invited to speak at SMX London I extended my trip and took my family around a few parts of Europe.  There were many ins-and-outs of the trip from a “keeping in touch with the office” perspective and just a few traveling tips that I thought I’d share to perhaps help you avoid some of the pitfalls I encountered and take advantage of a few of the things I learned along the way.  I’m not going to get into “be sure to see this or that” as you’ll decide what you want to see and do but there were a few transportation and technology choices made that worked well once I had them figured out.  So here’s what I learned:

Wales & The UK

Our plane landed in London and we took off from there across into Wales.  Apart from driving a car we didn’t know on the “wrong” side of the road I didn’t anticipate any major issues.  That lasted about 15 minutes into getting lost on our way out of London.  It’s amazing how addicted one gets to little conveniences like Google Maps and without a roaming data plan I was at a loss.  I didn’t get a roaming plan as I knew I was going to use high data and was going to get SIM card while abroad.  A decision I would make again.

In the UK there are a number of options for your providers.  After getting lost I picked up a SIM card from a Tesco we ended up at for directions (for those who don’t know a Tesco is like  mini-Walmart).  There are a huge array of providers in the UK.  I opted for Virgin based on brand knowledge.  All the cards were 99p (about $1.60 US) with nothing on them.  You can simply add credits to them and use them as you will.  I put on 10 pounds (about $16US) knowing I was going to have WiFi where I was staying and this did me for the trip.  To go back in time I would have avoided getting lost in the first place and picked up a SIM card at the airport.  There were available in vending machine with credits already on them.  Unfortunately I didn’t know if my phone was unlocked (something to find out in advance) or what I needed exactly – this information was available at the Tesco.  But now you know. :)

This worked well for my traveling through the UK.

The Internet speed there is good as is the WiFi data speed.  Public transportation through London is exceptional and we got rid of our car after we were done in Wales and would do so again.

France

We were only in France for a couple days and everything I had read before getting there was that it takes a couple days to secure a SIM card and having WiFi at our apartment it wasn’t going to be a big deal but the can be ordered in advance and to travel again, I would invest.  If you’re traveling to France and want data for the trip – search online and you’ll find providers who will set you up with a SIM card and ship it to you before you even leave.  I did find that my Virgin credits (from my UK leg) worked albeit at a higher rate when I went to France so that’s also an option if you’re just there for a short stay after being in the UK.

Italy

After France I headed down to Venice and Rome.  Here’s where it got sticky.  If you’re traveling to Venice – something to be very aware of is that mobile data is horrible in many areas simply because the building are high, solidly constructed, and with narrow streets.  I was on the bottom floor of a 4 story apartment and so I had to hang out the window to get any reception at all.  This is unique to Venice however.  Once outside the city the data speeds were, if anything, superior to what I have come to expect in North America.

A major disadvantage I had in determining my provider while in Italy was having no grasp on the language (certainly not enough to explain what I wanted to use Internet for) and so I signed up for a Vodafone  package that included 350 minutes, 350 texts and 1GB of data.  What I didn’t know was that the data would only work on my phone and didn’t allow me to tether.  Great for quick emails and maps but useless for work.  After a couple days I figured out that I could add credit to the plan (thanks to the SMS translate function of Google Translate’s Android App) and was back online.  There are a lot of coffee shops with WiFi but don’t rely on those for serious work as they’re not going to like it if you try to sit there nursing a coffee for more than 30 or 40 minutes. :)

To go back in time I would have selected TIM as the provider for Italy as they had far more locations to stop in to.  Other than in Venice I didn’t see a Vodafone shop anywhere and so couldn’t get proper support.  I’d have sorted out the issues much faster had I been using TIM.  You’ll also need a piece of ID.  Italian law requires that all phone number be assigned to a person and they will copy your ID with the SIM card you’re being given for records.

Tips:

So – here are the takeaways:

  1. In the UK getting a SIM card and funding it is VERY easy.  While I wasn’t able to add money over the phone with their support as my credit card was foreign, you can go to almost any shop and buy a credit to apply to your phone.
  2. In France you need to get the SIM card in advance.
  3. In Italy you should go with TIM (at least in Rome) and if you can arrange your card in advance you’ll be better off.  Don’t expect their tech support to be fluent in English.  And heck, I’m in their country so why should they be?
  4. If you can, order your cards in advance – especially if you’ll be traveling between countries.  This will give you the best prices on data in the various regions as you’ll be able to switch out as you cross borders.
  5. Verify the availability of WiFi in your apartment or hotel.  A couple times I had gotten a place that listed WiFi and didn’t have it.  This can be (and was) a HUGE problem and it happened twice.
  6. Install Google Translate and download the language package for where you’ll be in advance.  Google Translate only works with data however if you get the language packs in advance you’ll always have it working.  A perk is, with data you can take a picture of a sign (or menu, etc.) and Google with translate it for you.  Very helpful.
  7. Install Yelp or Foursquare.  You’ll have no idea where to eat or what’s good so having these apps can help filter out the bad.  I found that the best restaurants were those with the highest ratings and for which I couldn’t read the reviews without a translation tool.  Essentially – these were the restaurants rated well by locals.
  8. Trains are great for getting between cities but aren’t great to sleep on (at least the Thello between Paris and Venice).  Don’t count on a good night’s sleep but it’s very affordable if you order in advance.
  9. Order all tickets online if possible.  Standing in line isn’t fun and fortunately I only had to do it once as I’d planned ahead.  The prices are pretty much the same and the worst of it is the nasty looks you get from others as you walk past the line and walk right in to venues.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:01 pm on May 28, 2013

Categories:beanstalk

 

It’s Hard To Do The Right Thing

For anyone who’s ever found themselves blocked while trying to do the right thing, this post is for you.

Some time ago we were contacted by a company (Eyewear Pros to be specific) that wanted to make a donation to charity.  Now that doesn’t sound hard and I suppose it’s not but there was a twist, the owner of the business is passionate about the need for glasses – especially to those less fortunate and so he asked us to help him setup a campaign in which he would make a donation to New Eyes For The Needy for each pair of glasses he sold off his website.  The folks at the charity were easy to work with and that side of things worked itself out very quickly.  But he wanted to take it further, he didn’t want to simply give money to the charity, he wanted them to end up with more glasses to distribute and so on top of the donation he offered to pay the shipping for his customers to send their old glasses.  In fact, to incentivize people further – he wanted to offer an additional donation based on the number of pairs sent in.

Once again we found the folks at New Eyes For The Needy to be easy to work with, the problem arose when we contacted both USPS and Stamps.com to try to arrange some type of pre-paid shipping solution.  We’ve all had envelopes sent to us with pre-paid postage so this has to be easy right?  Wrong.

After weeks of communication with both companies we are still unable to provide any type of acceptable solution.  the best we’ve got so far is a choice between either:

  1. Send full shipping to every client and simply hope they use it to ship their glasses, or
  2. Send them an unpaid shipping label and not cover the costs

Can you see the problem?  We know it must be possible but there’s no clear solution that anyone we’ve talked at either company to can provide.

If any of our valued readers know of a solution or a company that we should talk to, your input would be greatly appreciated.  It’s frustrating when you have a client who’s trying hard to do the right thing and can’t, especially when you regularly get pre-paid envelops included with mailings and are doing exactly what you’re trying to.

If you have any suggestions please feel free to contact us with your thoughts.

And because our client is so passionate about the charity, here’s a bit more information on it:

SEO news blog post by @ 8:28 am on July 31, 2012

Categories:beanstalk,Misc

 

Search Engine Experiment in Spam Surfing

If you took a very heavily spam-influenced search engine like Bing for example and removed the first 1 million results for a query, how good would the result be?

How about doing the same thing to the best filtered search engines available?

Well someone got curious and made the million short search engine.

What this new service does is remove a specific # of search results and show you the remainder.

I became immediately curious about a few things:

  • Where are they getting their crawl data from?
  • What are they doing to searches where there’s only a few hundred results?
  • Where is the revenue stream? I see no ads?

Given the lack of advertising I was expecting them to be pulling search data from another site?

There’s no way they are pulling from Bing/Yahoo, there are 14+ sites paying for better spots than we’ve earned on Bing for our terms..

And while the top 10 list looks a bit like DuckDuckGo, we’re seemingly banned from their rankings, and not at #6 at all. It’s funny when you look at their anti-spam approach and then look at the #1 site for ‘seo services’ on DDG. It’s like a time machine back to the days of keyword link spam. Even more ironic is that we conform to DDGs definition of a good SEO:

“The ones who do in fact make web sites suck less, and apply some common sense to the problem, will make improvements in the search ranking if the site is badly done to start with. Things like meta data, semantical document structure, descriptive urls, and whole heap of other factors can affect your rankings significantly.

The ones who want to subscribe you to massive link farms, cloaked gateway pages, and other black hat type techniques are not worth it, and can hurt your rankings in the end.
Just remember, if it sounds too good to be true, is probably is. There are some good ones, and also a lot selling snake oil.”

We know the data isn’t from Google either, we have the #1 seat for ‘seo services’ on Google and maintain that position regularly.

So what’s going on?! This is the same company that gave us the ‘Find People on Plus‘ tool and clearly they know how to monetize a property?

My guess is that they are blending results from multiple search engines, and likely caching a lot of the data so it’d be very hard to tell who’s done the heavy lifting for them?

All that aside, it’s rare to see a search engine that blatantly gives you numbered SERPs and for now MillionShort is, on the left side-bar, showing numbered positions for keywords. That’s sort of handy I guess. :)

You can also change how many results to remove, so if your search is landing you in the spam bucket, then try removing less results. If your search always sucks, and the sites you want to see in the results are on the right, you’ve apparently found a search phrase that isn’t spammed! Congrats!

Weak one: Google Drive

Well my enthusiasm for Google Drive just flew out the window on my second week using it.

UPDATE: Turns out the disk was full and Google Drive has no feedback at all. Thanks FireFox for telling me WHY the download failed. Oh man.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:01 am on May 1, 2012


 

Week One with Google Drive

Well Google Drive has been making a lot of headlines about ownership of files, depth of file privacy, virus scanning, archive support, etc.. etc..

One item I have not seen anyone mention is the installer/login system that Google Drive is using.

As an SEO who has to be able to test a multitude of browser versions, I’ve managed to work myself into a neat situation where each time IE is called upon to render something I get a warning message about the version I have installed.

The warning message is great because it lets me know when an application is cheating and using IE for displaying information vs. using default system calls built into windows. The most common application I see doing this is VMWare’s ESX console which has a very graphical summary of the virtual devices.

So imagine my amusement yesterday when installing Google Drive and seeing this:

Google Drive using IE
“O RLY?”

Ownership of Files

A certain technical news source (rhymes with SEENET) that’s famous for publishing outright false information, misleading articles, and brainless technical pieces, one-up’d itself yesterday by trying to scare people away from Google Drive by publishing a hard hitting new post about Google Drive an it’s terms of service.

Picard Face Palm

In order to make the story work however, they had to omit the first sentence of the section they were complaining about. Anything less wouldn’t make the post seem worth writing, much-less reading. After considerable hate from readers they actually had the nerve to ‘tack on’ the honest truth, at the very bottom of the post, instead of removing it entirely due to it being completely worthless.

The bottom line with Google and privacy is that NOBODY would use them if they abused your trust so you can rest assured that Google is doing everything they can to keep your files safe. The clauses in the TOS that state Google has rights to your files is clearly there so they can more accurately provide services that interest you.

If you take a lot of high resolution photos of animals, Google knows you work with animals. If you upload videos of cars on a race track, Google can guess you like race cars. Etc..

I’d much rather have my screen space wasted with info about the next WRC event than see a bunch of adverts for a local dog grooming outfit (I don’t hate animals, but I also don’t have pets).

File Privacy

Lots of folks are wondering how private the files are in a Google Drive.

The truth is that unless you’ve changed something from the defaults, every file uploaded is private to you. You can share files and folders with a few clicks, and there’s multiple options for how files are shared (read-only, contribute, full control), but it’s up to you to manually allow sharing.

One fellow even claimed that Google Drive was modifying the JPG files uploaded from his digital camera!?

I tested this on my own this morning with a 5.8MB .JPG @ 3968 x 2976 resolution. Yes, indeed, if I choose to view or preview the image Google isn’t going to waste my time viewing a 6MB .JPG, and instead it renders a much smaller preview to get the image on my screen quickly.

However if I choose to download the image I get the exact same file I uploaded with no changes whatsoever, EXIF data included!

Archive Support

So far I’ve had no problems with .RAR and .ZIP archives in Google Drive, and I have the option of opening the archives which means downloading individual files inside an archive is very easy. I’ve only tested Google Drive with Windows and Ubuntu so far, but as expected it’s making things very easy to share between the machines and the OSes.

.7z (7ZIP) support is not enabled yet, but at the moment the format isn’t very widely used so I doubt many users will mind the fact that you have to download the whole archive vs. opening it on-line. Obviously anti-virus scanning isn’t available on archives that aren’t supported.

Protected archives are also supported in that you can browse the unencrypted contents, but Google Drive doesn’t make any attempts to get passwords out of you, which should help with all the tin-foil-beanie types.

Limitations of Use

This one is yet to be determined. Google clearly won’t allow you to upload a 4.7GB DVD and then share it public with no limits, that would be amazingly poor insight from a company that takes great efforts to plan each move.

How much ‘sharing’ you can get away with seems to be an unanswered question at the moment, but given the lazy pirates around the globe I’m sure someone’s going to put this to the test immediately.

Another rumour floating around is that the largest single file you can store on Google Drive is 10GB. While that’s a MASSIVE file allowance for a single file, it still seems odd that such a cap would exist since you would have to be a paid user at that point. Since the cost of trying the commercial version is very low I’m going to give it a whirl and see what I find.

More to come!

Beanstalk Minecraft Map Contest!

I haven’t been flogging this very much, which is bad form given my profession, but we still have a glorious brand new Android tablet with Minecraft PE installed to give away!

How do you win this approx ~$300 prize? You play a video game, and you have fun creating a map that will be displayed and recognized by fellow gamers on our website. Yeah, life is rough eh?

Our initial contest winner of the $50 prize, Faragilus from the Ukraine, got his prize this week and we will be featuring his work with the rest of the winners at the end of the contest.

For more information please look at the original post here: Beanstalk Minecraft 1.2 Contest

PPS: I know this is a REALLY long post today but I had to toss in a Google Chrome video that really is neat. While Microsoft is spending time and money trying mock it’s competition, Google’s having fun with demonstrating it’s products and how they help people on-line connect in real life.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:06 pm on April 26, 2012


 

Robotic Asteroid Mining for Rare Elements

avi neodymium sub

When I was a teenager the coolest speakers on the planet were made by AVI Sound International in Vancouver BC and they stood out from other manufacturers because of how they used rare earth neodymium magnet structures.

Using these rare materials in speakers intended for bass was a first in the world of audio products, and AVI has helped many enthusiasts win at international competitions with their exotic products and no-compromise ideas. Even at the time the cost of using these rare minerals was really crazy, and AVI only produced limited quantities before totally stopping production.

Fast forward to 2012 and US federal authorities tasked with resource forecasts are already predicting a world-wide shortage of neodymium, and other rare minerals, that will be outpaced by our needs as early as 2015! The transition away from these magnets for things like traditional physical HDDs will help, but our needs in just the electric-vehicle industry alone is causing concerns.

Enter: Planetary Resources

It is speculation at the moment, but when you take someone with the resources and imagination of James Cameron, pick Peter Diamandis (the X Prize founder) to lead the operation, stir in some wealthy Google executives, and call it ‘Planetary Resources’ you are begging for speculation.

planetary resources logo

When Earth runs low on rare resources, the value of reaching into space for those resources starts to match up with the cost of doing so.

Bruce Willis - Armageddon

The trick is to find a way to mine without having it cost more than the minerals are worth.

It’s for this reason that we’re not likely to send Bruce Willis, or any humans, off to space with a pickaxe any-time soon.

The first industrial space mining is almost certainly going to be done by robotics, and guess who’s behind a new robot fighting show on TV called “Robogeddon”? Yes indeed, James Cameron is lending his experience in robotic battle cinema to the new show which will be hosted by Mark Burnett from Survivor and Shark Tank.

Is it really financially feasible to mine asteroids?
Back in 2005 Peter Diamandis did a TED video discussing how a single asteroid full of nickel-iron alloy could be worth “$20 Trillion” on the precious metals market:
[jwplayer config="550x437 Classic" mediaid="3821"]

(Oh Canada .. @ 8:35m)

When you look at the resources we need to continue advancing clean energy technologies like photovoltaic panels, electric motors, batteries, etc.., these items are all based on rare minerals we are rapidly running out of on this planet. By as early as 2020 we will start hitting a crisis of supply that nobody doubts will impact our current clean energy initiatives drastically.

So at this point we already know we can’t afford to not take this next step into space exploration and mining. The gains in science and development of the entire human race alone make the case for this work.

Another factor is the privatization of space exploration with NASA stepping out of the publicly funded access to space. This lack of a publicly financed effort makes room for all the private companies who now can see the value of the investment and competing for the business in this new sector.

I don’t need to tell the reader how excited and eager I am to hear the full ‘official’ announcement of Planetary Resources’ plans which should be coming as early as next week!

Speaking of Competitions..

April 15th was the final day of our Beanstalk map making contest in Minecraft.

While we were really impressed with all the effort going into the maps we know that most map makers are still trying to finish the maps they started.

At this point we have confirmation that all entries past the date of our prize change are interested in extending the competition.

To make things as fair as possible Dave has agreed that we will give out the original $50 prize to the best map we have now, and then give everyone until May 31st to finish their maps for the main prize.

This should be plenty of time to finish all those ‘runaway trains’ of details and tweaks that map makers find as they start to complete a major build. I know that on the demo map I could probably spend a week just detailing the cloud structures and leaves on the Beanstalk leading up to the giant’s castle.

Congrats to Faragilus for his floating castle and beanstalk map submission! We’ve sent out an email to confirm your win and will be shipping out your prize once we’ve confirmed your address info.

Faragilus’ map will also be featured along with the top finalists, and he is welcome to re-submit an updated map at any time if he wishes to also compete for the grand prize. Because the competition is still on-going we won’t be featuring any winning map content until the May 31st closing date.

Good luck and have a great time making your maps!

SEO news blog post by @ 1:49 pm on April 19, 2012


 

Google’s Self Driving Cars – More than a vision

As an SEO who loves 12 volt tech, cars, and robotics, I tend to focus on these updates from Google’s self driving car project. This morning I came across a video showing off the first official self driving car ‘user’ Steve Mahan, who is legally (95%) blind.

My only disappointment with the video was that Steve’s user # at the end of the video:
“#0,000,000,001″
..would only indicate ‘billions’ and not a ‘googol’ of users like :
“#00,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­001″
See how witty that would have been?

Okay I also wasn’t impressed with the parking, just getting the car into the slot like that reminds me of driving past the local bingo hall. Where’s the pride in parking accurately?

After seeing this sort of result from Google’s innovations it’s really sad to hear rumour that Google is pushing to trim the fat and look at reducing all the innovations it’s known for. Considering the volume of ‘Google is evil‘ and ‘Google just wants to steal our info‘ rumours that keep going around, hopefully the users can see that actions are more honest than words?

A Minecraft Demo Video?!

Yes indeed! I managed to find no solutions to the darkness issue, so I took a video of something that looks great when it’s dark: Lightning!

http://vimeo.com/39324558

In fact one of the fellows who’s helped with the detailing stole our thunder over on Reddit’s r/minecraft, but we’re cool with it. Would have been nice if he’d link over to the contest page, but we understand. *sob*

The video, even as dark as it is, does give a sneak peek of the Beanstalk we’ve been building on the demo server. Hopefully we’re providing inspiration vs. stealing all the good ideas. ;)

Speaking of ideas, we are still fishing for some good ways to detail the Goose nest and how to make ‘leafs’ that look thin on the Beanstalk. Serious brownie points are available for anyone who shares a way to get around those hurdles so we can focus on other parts of the maps.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:39 am on March 29, 2012


 

Google IO is a sellout

I know we’ve been anti-Google the last few weeks, but Google’s upcoming IO conference really did sell-out, in 20 mins no less!
GoogleIO 2012 Sold Out
With only 5,500 seats the 20 minute sell-out wasn’t too shocking, but the $2,000 EBay auction for a Google IO ticket took me by surprise. I tried to go find it for a confirmation picture but it was already nuked. Even at the full price of $900 a pop, the scalping price was over double! Heck educational admission ticket prices are only $300 each!?

If you’re wondering ‘what the heck is Google IO?’ that could be our fault, because our post about it last year, Ooh Shiny! ChromeOS & ChromeBook, was totally about the new ChromeBook and not the conference.. Oh man!

Each year Google hosts it’s Input/Output conference to not only share a vision of what’s ahead for Google, but also to get some feedback from the developers and users that work with Google’s solutions.

As is the case each year the team of nerds over at Google have put together a ‘chrome experiment‘ for anyone with a Google account.

The splash page for the Google IO event experiment teases us with the following:

“Brush up on your geometry, dust off your protractor, and architect a machine only you could have dreamt of. Join developers tackling our latest Chrome Experiment for a chance to have your machine featured at Google I/O.”

… yet the site seems a wee bit too popular at the moment, refusing to proceed into the actual site no matter how many times your click it. I’ll have to keep trying but right now it looks like I’ll have to come back and update after lunch.

If you REALLY wanted to click something to fiddle with in your browser, and it has to work right this second, well try Browser Quest from Mozilla Labs! While the game is currently still up and running I expect it will completely flat-line as it reaches peak popularity. I am running around as DobbieBobkins if you get in.

Browser Quest is an HTML5 site, with everything using the latest web-tech available. Don’t let those 8-bit graphics fool you, this is a modern technical demonstration. I’ve seen the game work with the latest versions of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Opera, just fine, though Opera was loading like dirt because of some broken plugins.

Speaking of coming back to things. I keep saying that we will have more on the Beanstalk Minecraft map contest, including some videos to inspire folks with ideas.. Sadly I am SO out of date with video capture that it boggles the mind.

Apparently my problem with recording is missing codecs, so I installed the FFdshow package which supposedly contains the right codecs to maintain the correct color space and gamma values in my source videos. If that sounded like Spanish, in a nutshell I’m fixing some dark video issues. :)

Here’s my last upload fresh off the preview screen, and it’s STILL TOO DARK?

http://vimeo.com/39291926

So, for now, today’s post is more of a bookmark, with some Google IO teasing, to be visited again after lunch when things are less popular. ;)

SEO news blog post by @ 1:38 pm on March 27, 2012


 

Beanstalk SEO Announces Minecraft Contest

Beanstalk Minecraft Sign

The official press release for our first Minecraft contest finally went out today (though our blog readers got an early start from a mention last week).  Here’s the press release:

- – -

Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization Inc., the company that guarantees improved search rankings through the use of time-tested and ethical SEO services, is excited to announce a new Minecraft contest. For those not familiar with Minecraft, it is an online block building game that’s only limit is your imagination. With over 25 million registered users, there are some serious bragging rights to be had by competing in Beanstalk’s Minecraft contest.

Beanstalk is looking for the best Minecraft builders out there, whether solo, or in teams, to build the most nerdtacular beanstalk map possible. Something preferably hollow, twisting and tapering near the top (like a real beanstalk) that can be accended to its summit.

In our minds, no beanstalk map would be complete without a castle full of surprises to pillage at the top. Thanks to the Minecraft 1.2x update this month, it’s finally possible to fit a giant size castle floating in the clouds at the top of a giant size beanstalk. In fact a large part of the judging criteria of this contest will be to build a palace in the sky that will be the ransacking envy of your peers.

Map makers are free to add other relevant content or characters related to the many beanstalk fables.

2011 Puss in Boots BeanstalkA good example would be the recent “Puss n Boots” film which mashes together some child-hood tales.

Off-topic content will be judged the opposite. For example, replacing the castle with a model of the Millennium Falcon might be funny, but we can’t give out points for unrelated efforts. Please keep in mind that Beanstalk is looking for original content, so if existing designs are submitted, they will not be considered for judging, but rather fed to our pet Endermen for dismantling.

The rules for the contest are simple:

  • You must include an actual map file that Beanstalk will keep in it’s secret stronghold to load up and test in-game. (no videos, pics, or links to a server please)
  • Maps should take full advantage of the new Anvil map height limit available with Minecraft 1.2x.
  • Game mode isn’t important, and maps may be submitted from either ‘survival’ or ‘creative’, and they can be single or multi-player.
  • Maps with inappropriate Easter eggs, other than maybe some golden ones for the judges to mine, will also become fodder for our Enderbros.
  • Rumor has it that there is a very good chance that incorporating the Beanstalk logo into your design will gain favor with the judges, but this sort of butt-smooching should be secondary to brilliant design.
  • Designs should be made with Minecraft’s default textures in mind, so if you are using texture packs or mods, be aware that they cannot be ‘required’ and will not be considered in the judging criteria. If we get additional content with the maps we’ll consider using it for videos/screen shots after a winner has been picked.

To avoid a popularity contest, and keep some control, Beanstalk will select what they feel are the top 5 maps. The winner from the top five will be selected by the Minecraft community to keep the results impartial. So if your map makes the top 5, make sure to tell all your diamond hunting friends to vote.

First Prize

- For the best beanstalk map is an Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) tablet. We will purchase a brand new Acer Iconia Tab A100 (NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual-Core 1.0GHz, 1GB DDR2, 8GB Storage, 7″ Multi-Touch Display, and Dual Webcams) that we will install Minecraft Pocket Edition on before shipping it to the winner.

Beanstalk is also working on prizes for those who finish in the top five and we might even add in a few Easter Egg prizes throughout. At a minimum, the names and mapping skills of the best entries will be featured on Beanstalk’s site. Enter today and you could have your friends making creeper faces when you win this sweet tablet.

The Beanstalk Minecraft contest runs until April 15, 2012. Entries will be accepted at any time, but if you are updating a map already submitted previously please be very clear about it so we do not disqualify a map for multiple entries.

A demo server is running right here: mcbean.dyndns.org (contest over – link removed)

The idea of this map is to show what we mean about ‘giant’ scale structures, and we also tried to demonstrate all the new features of the Minecraft 1.2 update as well. Hopefully the style of the building is unique enough that we aren’t ruining anyone’s submissions. ;)

Contest details and updates will be posted to the Beanstalk website @ http://www.beanstalk-inc.com/blog/tag/minecraft/.
About Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization Inc.

Since October, 2004, Beanstalk has provided ethical and effective SEO services. They pride themselves on being there for the long haul, as “black-hat” tactics may give short-term benefits, but will not help you to rank in the long run.

Luck and chance are also not factored in to Beanstalk’s methodology. Search engines use complex algorithms and Beanstalk makes sure to stay within these rules to provide you with the greatest benefit. Even though search engine rules will change over time, the quest for quality content doesn’t. The journey towards a better, more usable, internet is something beneficial to us all.

In essence, Beanstalk wants to build great websites and great community, that keep client pages ranking high. Beanstalk works hard for their clients, proudly stand behind their work and guarantee a solid ROI. The internet will continue to change, so make sure that you change with it.

SEO news blog post by @ 8:45 am on March 15, 2012

Categories:beanstalk

 

Beanstalk Offices Closed

Power outage at Beanstalk SEO.

Due to fairly significant wind storm, the power in our offices is out. Since 99.9% of the work we do requires power and the rest involves the ability to see 3 feet in front of ourselves the offices are closed today as power is not estimated to return until 4PM PST.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause out visitors and clients.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:18 am on March 12, 2012

Categories:beanstalk

 

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