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Start your own Google Datacenter


Google’s technology has reached a point where they have to take all the light bulbs out of shared data centres and equip technicians with ‘helmet lights’ to keep their infrastructure solutions a secret.

Long have I pondered how they initially got passed the data storage hurdle during their early years.

As an SEO, I’d LOVE to have the sort of storage to keep all my data on-hand in a giant database that’s constantly refreshing and crawling for new info. Due to the cost of HDDs I’ll have to keep running Google queries or head over to sites like Majestic where the data runs deep and fast.

At one point I even hypothesized that Google had a smart-load system that could bring storage medium (magnetic disc platters/DVDr discs) on-line quickly from a very fast storage mechanism. So while all my recent email is stored on fast access media, and when I do a search for old mail that search is running from an index, when I go to open some old mail, that delay you get is from the loader fetching the offline storage.

I doubt that any of the ideas I had were even close to the real secret, heck Google probably just had a very friendly storage deal with a major manufacturer until they were able to start making their own solutions. Yes, Google makes a lot of it’s own hardware now, and a custom built storage solution would not be shocking to me at all.

Remember about 2 years ago when REALLY big drives started becoming cheap and common? Remember when it suddenly became impossible to find a drive with less than 320GB of storage? That was roughly the time that PMR (perpendicular magnetic recording) technology hit mainstream hard disk manufacturers.

PMR drives were not only bigger (the single plater size was suddenly 320GB+) but at the same rotational speeds (~7200RPM) they were also faster, lighter, and cheaper. The instant these drives came to market I took the time to memorize the model #s of drives with the new tech so as to avoid buying the outgoing/older drives.

Enter HAMR: heat-assisted magnetic recording

Perpendicular HDD recording compared to HAMR.

Today Seagate announced significant forward progress with HAMR drives:

“one terabit per square inch”

In 2007 Seagate’s own estimates on PMR were that the density would peak at 1Tb/inch², a goal they have only now hit with HAMR. In fact in 2007 when Seagate was actively researching HAMR technology they were estimating a peak density of 5Tb/inch²!

What does all this really mean? In August of 2011 Seagate was boasting of a .722Tb/inch² capacity which resulted in 3TB hard disk models hitting the market.

Seagate claims the recent stride in density should ‘nearly double’ the capacity of current drives. If this all pans out I am putting a 6TB HDD on my wish list for XMas this year. :)

Don’t forget about our Beanstalk Minecraft Map Contest, now with ~$300 worth of prizes going into the competition it’s better than ever!

I’ll try to get some demo videos on-line this week for inspiration, and until then, good luck!

SEO news blog post by @ 12:49 pm on March 20, 2012


Successful Google Hack-a-thon

For years now Chrome has been staring down it’s nose at the other browsers when it comes to security. In fact for the last 4 years, Chrome has been entered into HP’s Pwn2Own security competition, and nobody has successfully hacked it, unlike competing browsers.
Chrome finally hacked
This year Google’s Pwnium competition, which offers $1 million for successfully demonstrated exploits, has managed to finally uncover 2 vulnerabilities in the browser’s ‘sandbox’.

The successful hacker, Sergey Glazunov, has earned himself $60,000 for demonstrating his exploit, and a heap of recognition that will no doubt ensure Mr.Glazunov of a promising future in the IT industry.

Sergey’s exploits were patched in just under 24hrs, and now the browser is even more secure than it was previously. Obviously even at $60,000.00 this was a great win for both Google and it’s users. Finding/fixing exploits before they can be used in the wild makes me all warm and fuzzy.

This leaves $940,000.00 of unclaimed cash rewards to anyone else who can find a way to exploit Chrome’s many layers of security.

Happy Sun Spot Day!

Today is also a special day for technology around the planet as we are just getting hit by one of the largest solar flares in 5 years, part of a slightly early 11 year sun-cycle that last ended in 2002.

At the moment the flare activity is a diminished threat based on expectations, or in laymen’s terms it’s currently looking like a dud.

This could change at any moment however and tomorrow is expected to be the peak of flare activity coming from sun spot AR1429. This sun spot has been growing since March 2nd and at this point it’s 7 times the size of planet Earth. It is so large that amature observers are able to photograph the sun spot without a telescope. Here’s an image of sun spot AR1429 that David Tremblay of Alto, New Mexico, took earlier today during a dust storm:

Sun Spot AR1429

While there’s no immediate health risks associated with these flares, our technology isn’t immune to the interference, and sensitive transmissions, such as GPS and flight navigations systems could be compromised at any moment during this event. There is even some concerns about power failures and large outages in the power grid.

NASA as always is the best spot to nerd out and view the event, they even have a 2048×2048 resolution MP4 you can watch if your computer can handle it. Just click the image below to get to the current NASA news page.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:44 am on March 8, 2012


Beanstalk Minecraft 1.2 Contest

UPDATE: Contest has been EXTENDED until May 31st 2012 in order to give all participants a chance to finish their masterpieces.

As I mention on the blog yesterday, Minecraft 1.2x has been released, and today they are already at 1.2.3 (gee that’s easy!) after fixing some bugs.


Beanstalk's Minecraft 1.2 Contest

Minecraft Map Making Competition

  • First Prize: Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) tablet + Minecraft PE installed (~$300 value)!
  • Top 5 entries will be featured!
  • SMP, CMP, CSP, or SSP!
  • The Beanstalk map contest runs until May 31st, 2012
UPDATE: While we finalize map-upload options, if you want to submit a map for us to download please use this link so we know to send your submissions to the right folks. Thanks!


We really play a lot of Minecraft here and we have always wanted a 3d fly-by of a Beanstalk.

It wouldn’t be too hard to make something in SketchUp or pay someone to make something in 3DS or Blender, but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun or as cool as doing it in Minecraft.

The problem we had was the man with the $50 to give away really felt that there should be a castle at the top of the Beanstalk, way above the clouds, for a ‘Jack’ to explore.

Up until recently there were only hacks/mods to make Minecraft maps above 128 z levels.

Now with Minecraft 1.2x and it’s Anvil format maps that issue is moot. Now there’s LOTS of vertical space to make the beanstalk, and a giant size castle!

The end result would be something like this without the limits that were in place when this video was made:
[jwplayer mediaid="3484"]

Personally I’d like to go for a giant beanstalk with a hollow interior, sort of twisting as it gets taller and more slender at the top. I’d also want to try and make something giant sized that works.. Like a light cube that’s built so that it still lights up when you hit a giant switch? Or a giant wood+wool version of a bed with a real bed placed just dead center so it looks right and is still functional?

Maps can be submitted from creative or survival, and it can be a multi-player or single player map, they just can’t require texture packs or mods to be scored. So you could fire up a server, invite a few friends, and raffle off the prize amongst yourselves, it’s up to you.

Maps submitted are ours, so you can’t send in a link to a server or a video, we want maps we can load up and test in-game. We might even offer the maps for download, but we’d have to confirm there’s zero ‘Easter eggs’ obviously.

For fairness we’ll pick the top 5 maps just to make sure we have some ‘say’ but the #1 map will be selected by voting (most of us are huge gamers/nerds so anyone can submit, anyone can vote).

I am trying to get something set aside as prizes for the top 5 (on top of the winner prize), but right now it’s up in the air and the only thing we can offer the runners-up is your name in print and your mapping skills featured/recognized on-line.

Beanstalk 1.2 Demo Map

This map was made for explaining the contest and as a summary of the changes in the 1.2 release.

Sadly we’re also busy SEOs and we can’t be doing keyword research while we’re building maps so I have to push this out ‘as-is’ and hope it’s still handy as a reference and gives folks some ideas, like how to get up a vertical shaft quickly.

Beanstalk 1.2 Demo Map Download
Beanstalk 1.2 Demo Map Download (DX version)
(DX version has 2 very large Menger sponges, and is very CPU intense. This ClearLightstone texture pack has a special ‘Menger’ Gold Brick texture.)

NOTE: Due to the differences between the weekly builds and the release versions, this map has some unusual lighting features that are not currently easy to re-produce.

This was especially difficult for me when I was making the ‘Beanstalk’ sign in the distance and only some blocks leak light. Once the lighting glitches are consistent I’ll re-visit that sign idea and animate it.;)

Up for entering? You can do so here.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:14 pm on March 2, 2012


Rick Mercer on Toews – Nailed it!

A brand new, previously undocumented, ranking signal that affects both Google and Bing would be a huge topic change for this blog. Sadly the search engine optimization world hasn’t been that exciting lately.

Heck, tech-news has pretty much been landing on two key-words, ‘censorship’ and ‘patents’, with folks amusing themselves over the similarities between Yoko Ono ruining the Beatles just like China is ruining Apple.

Lets face it, if you can’t ship your iPads over a trademark dispute in the country they are made, and you are getting international criticism over your decision to leverage cheap labour to make the rest of your wares, you are in big trouble no matter what business we’re talking about.

Speaking of nailing things, Rick Mercer just released a video sharing his take on the Vic Toews debate:

Beauty job eh?

The main goal of this post was to make sure I shared the video that should have been included with yesterday’s Vic Toews blog post.

On top of not catching the video as it came out, I didn’t post a Week 4 macro image to guess at. (Yeah, I know right?)

So here’s the final February macro image for guessers who want to hedge their chances at getting picked:

February Macro number 4Big Hint: This is relevant to the Vic Toews discussion.
If you think you know what this is, or where this is, send us your best guess via Twitter or G+

SEO news blog post by @ 11:46 am on February 22, 2012


Vikileaks – Oh Toews..

Let me just start this off with:

Not a Child Pornographer
While that seems like an odd preface, this is Vic Toews’ style of politics.

From the beginning of Vic Toews’ efforts to push bill C-30 onto Canadians he’s been mighty unpopular with technologists that understand what such a bill would require in terms of cost to implement and maintain. Further to the technologists complaining about the expense of such a proposal, there’s groups pointing to the missing evidence that the bill is needed, groups asking for evidence that the bill would have any positive effects, and finally there’s the groups of people who enjoy civil liberty without being called ‘child pornographers’

So when I heard this morning that ‘Anonymous’ was threatening Vic Toews with a leak of information it was an instant blog article.

Risky VicKeep in mind that since the last blog post I made on Vic (here), someone (allegedly within parliament) leaked his Twitter activity exposing the semi un-known rumour that he’d cheated on his then-wife with his under-age babysitter and still has an ongoing affair with the young girl.

Now, if that info is already on the wires, what does ‘Anonymous’ have that’s too private to share unless Vic gives them no choice?

Plus if folks want to defend the freedom to post pretty much anything on-line, why post threats that give merit to the efforts of Mr.Toews?

Don’t get me wrong, I totally get the hypocrisy of Mr.Toews putting forward a bill that seems more about his own personal evils than any honest need. I can see why Anonymous might feel they MUST get involved to save Canada from this man’s ill considered blind crusade. I just wish they would either give Mr.Toews both barrels or say nothing.

Perhaps Anonymous was going for a scare tactic because they don’t have any further dirt on Vic? Seems like the minister doesn’t have much fears and won’t be taking the threats seriously at least. In an open letter delivered on the weekend Vic’s crew seemed totally unconcerned about the threat chalking it up to the ‘usual politics’ saying the RCMP would be involved in this any future threats, with no plans to stop anything.

So while this incident has been a great spotlight on Bill C-30, it looks like a toothless threat to deter a man who’s willing to label people as ‘child pornographers’ simply for not agreeing with him. Anonymous should have seen that one coming.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:28 am on February 21, 2012


Sprouting a New Year

Happy 2012 everyone! I hope everyone had a safe and responsible new years while still having as much fun as those who didn’t!?

I know safety and responsibility were duly addressed as this is pretty much how I celebrated 2012:

Forever alone for new years
My resolution for 2012 is to celebrate harder.

This new year of technology will bring many many things for website owners, promoters, and the users. Yes, there will more than just calendar panic, and while we’d love to tell you to hurry up and get your site to #1 on Google before the world ends, there will be insights into improvements and new options for promoting your company, products, and services on-line.

So what’s sprouting today? I have to be honest here and admit I’m still unpacking xmas gifts and sorting myself out from the holidays.

One work related gift was a ‘Chia Bart’ from a secret Santa (thanks Dave!):

Chia Bart

I was just telling a client that people love to watch things grow and improve, we’re kinda wired biologically to do that. In his case the products he sells grow and they are FASCINATING to learn about so I’m hoping they take my advice and start publishing more info.

As proof of how easy and interesting it is to watch something grow, I’ve decided to track ‘Chia Bart’ via the blog and let everyone share the fun of giving clay a hair cut.

Week One:

Week One of the life of Beanstalk SEO's Chia Bart

At this point I made the pancake syrup out of the seed mix and I applied it to the head leaving it to ‘stick’ while I was off on vacation.

Normal Chia Pets are sprouting between day 3-5, with the instructions for Bart saying 1 week to sprout.

Looking at the picture I have to wonder if the holidays or dry air didn’t ruin my first attempt?

Time will tell!

SEO news blog post by @ 4:15 pm on January 3, 2012


Happy Holidays From Beanstalk *<{}:o) }}

Merry Christmas image.

We at Beanstalk would like to thank all our clients, blog and article readers and supporters for another fantastic year.  As we head into the holidays, it’s a fantastic time to reflect back on the past year and be grateful for being part of a wonderful community and for the clients that have allowed us to continue to do the work we love, for people we love to do it for.  We wish you and yours all the very best this holiday season and hopes for a very prosperous new year.

For all our clients and those wishing to contact us, we will have special hours of operation over the holidays.  They are:

December 22nd – closing at 1PM for our staff Christmas party
December 23rd – closed
December 24th – closed
December 25th – closed
December 26th – closed
December 27th – open and ready to serve you

If you are a client and there is an urgent need to contact us over the holidays the email emergency (at) is where to direct your emails to insure they don’t get mixed in with others.  This email will be checked periodically over the break however during this time an emergency will be defined as a crucial event such as a site being down or other major issue.  Unfortunately we won’t be able to respond to all casual questions.  We’ll all be spending time with our families and loved ones and hope you are too. :)

So once again … from all of us at Beanstalk to all of you: Happy Holidays.  Now stop surfing the web and get to the festivities. :)

Special Thanks:  To Gemini Computers and Jim Boykin and his Internet Marketing Ninjas for the kind thoughts and appreciated holiday gifts.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:05 pm on December 22, 2011


The last USB flash drive you’ll ever lose..

Do you have a general distrust of the local area network? Store all your SEO research, metrics, stats, etc.. on a USB flash drive and end up lending it to mischievious co-workers? So you know what it’s like to lose a flash drive to someone’s pocket?

Well those days are over my friends, the chicken foot USB drive is both comical and functional:
Chicken Foot USB Drive
Not only is it IMPOSSIBLE to miss it’s presence protruding from a PC, but it’s also a good laugh when people do a double take wondering why there’s a chicken jammed head-first into your PC.

Plus if someone pockets the drive, the odds of it making a trip through the laundry are much slimmer than a traditional USB flash drive.

You can’t put a price on this kind of functionality folks!

After going through a bucket of pens I’ve become very wise to the powers of the co-worker pockets.

“You want to borrow a pen to go over a webmaster tools checklist? Sure!”
Want to borrow my pen?

Have a great weekend.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:55 am on December 9, 2011


Give back to Wayback – Donate to Internet Archives

Any webmaster/SEO will tell you that you can never have enough backups of your content. They will tell you this because they have tried to keep enough backups but ultimately even the most OCD backup plan will leave you wanting more.

When it comes to website backups the Wayback Machine has saved me many many times from wondering what a site ‘used’ to look like or ‘when’ an issue was added to the site for those ‘who done it’ moments.

Say you wanted to find out when a logo was added to a client site to make sure that the typo in the image didn’t come from your offices? If you put the URL into the Wayback Machine, and start looking through older versions of the page you can usually find the date it changed in minutes:

The service is very well laid out, straight forward, and advertisement free, yet they backup web pages, and on-line content, for the entire planet, employing over 160 people in the process!

If you don’t know about the internet archives, take a look and see what you’ve been missing out on. I know a lot of folks are amazed when I pull something out of the fire by fetching an old layout from years prior to even dealing with the client. It’s not black magic, it’s just the internet archive.

Heck even just browsing old movies in the archive is fun!

[jwplayer config="500x398 Classic" mediaid="2985"]

Night of the Living Dead
The Last Man On Earth
The Three Stooges

There’s plenty more on the site, and some of the videos are really interesting, and there’s support for Flash, HTML5, MPEG, and OOG.

So regardless of who you are, search engine optimization specialist, web-master, graphic designer, etc., and regardless of how you use the Wayback Machine, or other Internet Archive features, it’s a great service that runs on donations…

Yes, your donations.

Thanks! ;)


SEO news blog post by @ 11:45 am on December 8, 2011

Categories:Articles,html 5,Misc


Do iframes count for SEO?

Great question!

I swear I’ve seen iframes crawled before but even if I haven’t seen iframe data in search indexes, it’s not something that we should just count on and forget about, especially with the growing competition in the search engine market. I’m looking at you Blekko.

So how do you test such a thing without wasting time waiting eons for the results to appear in the SERPs? Here’s how!

The text below is just an iframe:

Seems like a unique phrase that very few, if any search engine optimization companies would use, so it should work well.

After a few days if we’re never seen for the above phrase but we are seen for the below phrase, the question is answered. We’ll run the query across the gamut and see if we can’t report back on who/how quickly it’s crawled. ;)

May many Russian rockets sail past the Earthling moon and delve into many Martian delights with a souvenir to show for it.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:54 pm on November 7, 2011


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