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The most valuable company ever? It’s Microsoft, not Apple.

Bill Gates holding an Apple Logo
Crushing your head..

The slew of now redacted articles claiming that Apple managed to take the title of ‘most valuable company in history’ is further proof that the internet is packed with people who will post anything without considering the facts.

Sure if you compare 1999 dollars to 2012 dollars with no adjustment in value for inflation (?!) Apple looks pretty impressive today, but if you want to say ‘Most valuable company of all time’, you have to factor ‘time’ into the equation.

After accounting for inflation the race between Apple and Microsoft isn’t even close, with Microsoft in the lead by over $230 billion even by conservative estimates.

At one point this morning I saw an article offering the corrected values and stating that, ‘Bill Gates would be upset that IBM was handicapped by inflation‘! This was quickly corrected after comments pointed out a few errors, ‘Bill Gates ran Microsoft, not IBM, and Bill Gates is still alive, stop talking about him like he’s Steve Jobs.‘.

I wanted to pounce on the author, calling them out for reporting on tech history they clearly never paid any attention to, but the sad truth is that it was a senior author who probably wrote the post before getting his morning coffee.

Most Valuable How?

“Money aside, what tech company is the most valuable?”

This was a good question that came up in the reaction threads to the news that Apple is doing so well financially.

If Apple went bankrupt the entire user base would have tons of options for Android tablets/phones/MP3 players/personal PCs. Linux would flourish a bit, and China would have a lot of people looking for employment. Not really a big deal.

If Microsoft went bankrupt there would be over a billion desktop PCs needing new OSes, millions of email/web servers that would need to be migrated to Linux, Hotmail/Bing/MSN/Maps users would have to upgrade to GMail/Google search/GTalk/Maps, and millions of cell phone users would either need to buy new phones or at the very least switch off Microsoft Exchange services and move over to GMail.

Sure as a web developer, we’d produce a lot more web-content without IE compatibility issues, and that’s just a quick ‘glance’ at the issue, so I could be overlooking massive problems on either side, but from a glance, the ‘value’ is clearly not in Apple’s favor, in both money and services.

Speaking of big money tech business..

Facebook is still making headlines for losses, this time one of the earliest investors, ex-PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel, has jumped ship selling over 20 million shares.

Slipery Slope Sign

When one of your primary investors pulls out and cashes in, it’s a pretty clear signal that you’ve peaked and the road ahead is looking very questionable.

Peter Thiel’s projected total for this cash out comes close to $400 million, which is a bit less than the stock options he sold when the company went public in May.

At this point investors are speculating that Peter has sold nearly all his Facebook stock, and he is apparently investing heavily in 3d Meat Printers.

Actually printing a full ‘steak’ is years away, but when they get there I want a steak where the fat is perfectly balanced with the meat ‘Kobe style’, and each little fat cluster is the shape of a tiny unicorn.

Nom nom..

SEO news blog post by @ 11:30 am on August 21, 2012


Microsoft Surface – Not a table, a tablet

All these years of spies telling us about the ‘table’ that the nerds in Redmond are calling the ‘Microsoft Surface‘, and the whole time we didn’t know they were silenced before they could finish saying ‘tablet‘.

The official video from Microsoft. A bit skimpy with the details.

We know Microsoft actually wanted to make a table called Surface, if you haven’t seen enough of it on Hawaii Five-O, there was a demonstration of D&D on it:

Yep, the link in the video description from 2010 takes you to the right spot..

The tablet was ready before the table, so the name ‘Surface’ was on the table for the new tablet. What?!

So confusion over names aside, what’s under the ‘Surface’ of this new gizmo?

- Rare materials use
- Built in kickstand
- Cover acts as magnetic KB/Trackpad

Two versions:

Windows 8 Professional
- Intel 22nm Core i5 Ivy Bridge
- 13.5 MM Thick
- 903 grams
- 10.6″ Full HD Touch Display (1080p?)
- Magnetic stylus w/digital ink support
- USB 3.0
- Mini Display Port
- MicroSDXC slot
- Up to 128GB of storage
- Larger 42Wh battery
- Will be delayed by three months following Windows 8

Windows 8 RT
- NVIDIA Tegra ARM Processor
- 9.3 MM Thick
- 676 grams
- 10.6″ HD Touch Display (1366 x 768?)
- USB 2.0
- Micro HDMI Video Port
- Micro SD slot
- Up to 64GB of storage
- 31.5Wh battery
- Will be available with Windows 8 (this fall)

So the full tablet will be for people that run or create Windows applications, want full compatibility with existing apps, and want to trade a lighter/more portable tablet for more options. If the stylus is included or a very inexpensive accessory it may make this version appealing to students and business types that hate flipping through hand written notes searching for something that could be found instantly if it was digital.

The RT version will be for the minimalist that only needs to run core applications that are compatible with the RT version of Windows 8 and it’s ARM processor. This version should not only be lighter but also have stronger battery life making it ideal as a reader or for watching DVD quality movies.

Unless you are developing ARM based Windows 8 applications, no programmer will want the RT version since it cannot run applications that haven’t been ported to ARM. That means if you code up solutions for yourself, you’ll either have to re-compile for ARM or avoid that platform.

Not having tried the RT version of Windows 8 I can only assume the browser choices will be anything you can possibly think of, as long as you always think of “Internet Explorer 10″. This was discussed in our post on browser options for Windows 8 ARM edition.

Design Details – First impressions are everything!

Rumour has it that the ‘kick stand’ was a really hard design choice because it ruined the ‘flow’ of the product shape, regardless of how essential it is in practice. To make-up this design shortfall they apparently over-engineered the hinge system to have the ‘feel’ of a luxury car door??

If that wasn’t exotic enough, the case of the Surface is made from a special magnesium process called ‘vapor-depositing’ which results in an amazingly thin/strong material which is still cost concious enough for mass production.

Personally, if I was Microsoft, and I wanted to kick some Apple hiney all over Silicon Valley, I would have dipped into my XBox parts bin and made a “Pro 360″ version of the surface including:
- Built in Kinect motion controller
- Bluetooth controller support
- Embedded 3D Graphics hardware
- Special ‘kit’ for XBox owners that allows a ‘mobile’ mini-game to be saved to an ‘authorized’ client on the owner’s Surface for each game in the XBox owner’s game library

If you give your tablet exclusive perks that worked exclusively with your console, you might actually make your most loyal consumers feel like they made some savvy choices. It’s what Apple does this all the time. ;)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:02 pm on June 19, 2012


It’s all coming up Google?

When it’s my turn to tackle the SEO news for our blog I first look specifically at ‘technology’ news headlines for relevance, and then I usually filter it out a bit to nail a topic that our readers can relate to/find useful.

Today’s news feed looks like I just went to Google’s news blog and did a copy/pasta, yet in reality Google WAS the news this morning.

Here’s the list of headlines:

    • Google places is gone and now merged with Google+ Local
    • Google Plus places now features Zagat review information (Kyle mentioned this in yesterday’s blog post)
    • Facebook drops Google chrome as a recommended browser (and then removes the whole page)
    • Google’s new ChromeOS Chromebox is available for purchase
    • Google’s not yet available ’5-core’ Nexus 7 tablet makes a sneaky appearance a few days early on a benchmarking website
    • And a new Google World of Wonders video from Japan:

Google+ Places

First impression?

“Pretty cool, and very personalized information about locations in my area.”

Right off the bat it told me where Dave likes to eat..

Which was funny because he’s recommending a restaurant that’s famous for either utterly ruining every aspect of the dinning experience or totally nailing it.

Google Plus Places
Dave must be lucky. ;)

So like anything on-line:
Zagat reviews aren’t perfect.
Everyone has an opinion.
People have unique interests.

At least this is Google, so we know that it’s trying as hard as it can to learn and suggest things to ‘me’ based on personalization.

So if the first visit doesn’t introduce you to your new favourite restaurant/pub/coffee shop, I wouldn’t write it off, just try it again later.

Stock isn’t the only thing dropping over at Facebook

This image has been popping up in Google/Technology news all morning:
Facebook Unsupported Browsers

Since Chrome and Safari both share the ‘webkit’ engine, there’s almost zero possibility that Facebook is dropping support for Chrome.

In fact I would say this is more about making Opera stand out vs. dropping support for Chrome. Especially since the FB developer page used to recommend Chrome!

Given that FB pulled this link down completely, I’m going to venture a guess that this was even possibly a mistake.

Chromebox for Sale

The Chromebox is a cute little SFF (small form factor) PC from Samsung with the ChromeOS preloaded and ready to go.
Google Chromebox
You can pick one up today for $329.. However if you don’t want some extra hardware, or wait for something to ship, you can download and install ChromeOS on an old laptop, or inside a virtual PC, to give it a try and see what’s good/bad about it before investing.

Thanks for going open source Google, we love you, again. ;)

Google Nexus 7 Tablet?

June is on my calendar for a ton of reasons, one of which is that it’s ’6 months’ from the date that Google said they were planning to launch a tablet ‘in six months’. :)

Asus is apparently the manufacturer, so the tablet will be sturdy.
NVidia’s ’5 core’ Tegra 3 Processor will be doing the thinking, so it will be fast and power smart.
NVidia also supplied the ULP GeForce graphics processor, so 3d graphics/games are supported.

Beyond those stats we’re really guessing based on this leaked info:
The unit that popped up on the benchmarks was running Android 4.1 JRN51B, at 1280×768 resolution, had 1GB of RAM installed, and 16GB of local storage.

So for now this is just a huge teaser and we’ll have to wait for a more official announcement.

Last day for Beanstalk Minecraft Map Submissions!



If you didn’t already know, we’ve been running a Minecraft Map Contest for the last two months and this is the final day for entries!

SEO news blog post by @ 12:56 pm on May 31, 2012


Yahoo Axis – What the Flock?

I had a friend working on the Flock browser team right until it lost momentum and became clear that it was too much, too soon…

Amy's Winehouse - Too soon?

Here we go again with a new ‘all-in-one’ web browser concept, this time from a very big name?

**Update: Turns out that the leaks were really just rumors. This hype mill is a ‘googol‘ times more intense than it should be considering this is ‘just a plugin’ (unless you count Apple devices).


Paul Rudd doing the Double Take
Yahoo..? New?!?

Microsoft owns Yahoo right? So if Yahoo is releasing a new browser + a suite of browser plugins for people who refuse to switch browsers, what’s going on?

Well apparently giving people the option to ‘choose’ MSN/Bing/Yahoo wasn’t working out so well. Now you can run a browser or a plugin that removes that annoying hassle of choosing who’s search services you are using.

Y’know how Firefox and Chrome allow you to sign-in to your browser letting you seamlessly move from one location to the next? Yeah Axis is going to break ground and re-invent the web by also doing that same thing.

Y’know how Google is showing you previews of the sites you’re considering visiting within the search results? Yep Axis will finally let you do that, again.

Is this even a new browser or just IE9 with some ‘fluff’ and Yahoo branding? Tonight we will get a chance to try it hands-on and find out, but for now we have a few videos we can watch over on Yahoo Video.

One of the points my Economics teacher used to hammer home is to view each promotion as the promoter relating to their target audience.

If you have a good product with a smart client base, you can sell your product by focusing on real traits and strengths. Just demonstrate the product and avoid all pointless elements that distract the consumer from your product information.

Enjoy those videos and the clever/unique symbolism that hasn’t been copied too many times since Apple used it in 1984. :)

Does this mean Bing/Yahoo rankings will be important?

Who ever said they weren’t important? Okay, well expert opinions aside, you should never burn the Bing bridge, especially not with cell phones that default to Bing and new versions of Windows that also default to Bing.

It’s never wise to put all your eggs in one basket, and this is true of search engine placement/rankings as well as eggs.

Even if Yahoo Axis only manages a week of public attention, that’s one week of people around the planet searching Bing for a change.

If you rank really well on Google, we’re not going to suggest you intentionally tank your rankings for a short-term gain on Bing. The cost of recovering from such a move would probably be far more than simply paying for some pay-per-click coverage via Microsoft’s AdCenter (Link removed – no longer available).

There’s already folks worried about ‘Yahoo’ impressions vs. Bing impressions and the following advice has been posted in the AdCenter help forum:

1) You are currently bidding on broad match only, add phrase and exact match to your bidding structure.
2) Look at keywords with low quality score and optimize for those specifically.
3) Install the MAI tool and check on expected traffic for adCenter, you can also see what average bids are for specific positions.

Only 7 Days Left!



Talk about old news? I mentioned this just 2 days ago?!

We still have 7 days left in our Beanstalk Minecraft Map Competition! Check it out and even if you’re not entering, please let others know it’s coming to a close and we need all submissions by the 31st!

SEO news blog post by @ 10:03 am on May 24, 2012


No Browser Bans on Windows 8 ARM Edition

We could have ‘spun’ the information that it’s very unlikely we’ll see competing browsers in ARM edition of Windows 8, explaining that the difficulties make it the same as a ‘ban’…

…But we respect the fact that all (3?) of our readers come here for the truth on these topics, and only dirty laundry needs a spin cycle.

Where else is FireFox ‘banned’?

ChromeOS ? Yep!

iOS ? Yessir!

So why would Firefox/Mozilla come out today and only complain there’s a ‘ban’ on Firefox for Windows 8 ARM Edition?

Well from what I can tell, they never did, and the ‘b-word’ was all ‘spin’ by a very annoying technology news site that keeps amazing us with bad headlines and horribly inaccurate publications.

The TRUTH is that it will be VERY hard for any company to get approval for a browser running in Windows 8 ARM Edition because it’s not just ‘another version’ of Windows, it’s a Mobile OS with very clear goals that make it unique.

First of all is memory handling and battery use. By now we should all understand that you can’t deploy programs coded for x86 operating systems and expect them to sip carefully on resources like batteries and memory without some major changes.

Since ARM is aimed at ‘portable’ we can also expect people to seek more privacy and security on these devices. Allowing any-old-app onto the OS won’t happen. You’ve had to have a certificate to publish your apps on Microsoft’s mobile operating systems since the very first days of Windows Mobile, and that will not change any time soon.

If Microsoft wants to protect the quality and end user experience of their mobile products, locking down risky third party software clearly is one of the best ways for them to do it.

This is in no way a ‘ban’ on applications, and Microsoft admits that they are willing to help developers reach a quality standard that will permit them to publish to this new mobile platform.

On the plus side, I was tossing out some rather negative feelings about Microsoft’s investments in technical news sites, and this latest fumble leaves me with some doubts as to who’s invested in whom. Either that or this oft mentioned news source is chock full of people who not only don’t know what’s going on but they don’t even know the hand that feeds them? Crazy.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:10 am on May 10, 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


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