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Are you Modern? Take the test!

modern.IE Logo

Two pro-Microsoft posts in one week? I know, Right?!

Clearly we are not masters of fate or IT news, so today’s headline is covering the new modern:IE Test Site setup to assist web developers with creating IE compatible site content.

Wasn’t it like, two days ago that I just pointed out that the big flaw with IE is that the old versions create a web design nightmare? *tap tap* .. Apparently this thing is turned on?

What does it test?

Actually the tool is a suite of tests with some specific test cases for IE browser specific issues.

Here’s a list of categories it will test and report on without setting up a ‘Site Owner’ account:

  • Fix common problems from supporting old versions of IE:
  • Known compatibility issues
  • Compatibility Mode
  • Frameworks & libraries
  • Web standards docmode
  • Help this webpage work well across browsers, across devices:
  • CSS prefixes
  • Browser plug-ins
  • Responsive web design
  • Browser detection
  • Consider building with some new features in Windows 8:
  • Touch browsing default
  • Start screen site tile

If you plug your URL in the page will test all these areas and report back to you where improvements could be made.

Additionally there is a direct link to the ‘Pinned Site Tile’ testing/design tool.

This tool lets you select an image (144×144 pixel PNG) and text for your website when a Windows 8 user wants to ‘Pin’ the site to their start menu.

My experience with the tool wasn’t great, likely due to some caching, but if you test your code against sites that do work properly you can still sort out the needed meta tags quickly enough.

Other Goodies?

Included in the suite is a link to the Internet Explorer Test Drive site to compare HTML5 features and performance with other browsers..

 
Technically, I ended up short on time to cover more, so if you dive in and start to wonder why we didn’t point out something new/interesting, feel free to let us know, we’re always open to feedback. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:20 pm on January 31, 2013


 

The Return of Blackberry

Blackberry unveiled the BlackBerry 10 today, but for it to be any success, it will need to appeal to teens as well as business. Formerly known as RIM, Blackberry was once Canada’s signature tech company and has embedded itself into the collective Canadian identity despite its recent failures.
blackberry 10
At Manhattan’s Pier 36, CEO Thorsten Heins revealed the latest smartphone called the Blackberry 10. The new phone comes with an updated OS and touch screen features

At one time, Blackberry held the lion’s share in the mobile phone industry and with its advanced security encryption algorithms, was used exclusively through business and governments. Once partnered with companies such as Yahoo and endorsed by the likes of President Obama, RIM has seen its share of market woes and had fallen behind in the very competitive mobile phone market.

Blackberry was at one time so successful that it has become a symbol of national pride (the polite, Canadian kind) normally reserved for Tim Horton’s, the Hudson’s Bay Company and hockey.

Although many users of Blackberry have jumped ship and moved to the competition, after two years of delays the Waterloo, Ontario-based company has released their latest phone with the anticipation that it will save the ailing company.

You can watch highlights from the unveiling taking place today on the Engadget site here: http://www.engadget.com/2013/01/30/blackberry-10-liveblog/

Can the Blackberry Save RIM?

Blackberry 10 vs iPhone 5 Browser Compare

The History of RIM

http://www.cbc.ca/news/interactives/timeline-rim/

SEO news blog post by @ 11:23 am on January 30, 2013

Categories:Technology

 

Feeling Old: Child of the 90s

Being a youthful person (aka: I never grew up) you could say I was a child of the 90s, but in all honesty, this new ‘Child of the 90s’ video promotion, from the marketing team behind Internet Explorer, just makes me feel old…

[iframe width="550" height="309" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/qkM6RJf15cg?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen][/iframe]
I’m pretty sure that generation YoYo came earlier & what’s up with that Apple II?

 
When I was young we had:
- 300baud vs. 56k
- 5.25″ vs. 3.5″
- monochrome vs. color
- Garfield™ vs. puppies
- Donkey Kong vs. Tamagotchi
- Handi-Snacks vs. Lunchables
- hockey cards vs. pogs

So it’s pretty close to my generation, but still makes me feel old.

Does it make me feel any affinity for IE, as if I can relate to it’s embarrassing past after remembering fanny packs?

Not really. It makes me remember when Netscape decided to put expiry dates on their browser so I was forced to install IE only for fear of support calls asking how to update Netscape.

Still, not a positive moment for IE, just being the browser that ’caused the least issues’, wasn’t much of a title?

How has that changed? Well now IE is, in my circles, the browser that that ’causes the most issues’.

So they grew up, but not the way we’d like, and until they expire all the old copies of IE laying around or break off to a new product name with zero ties to old IE issues, I thin IE is stuck with the ‘difficult child’ image.

When I was a kid..

When I was a kid we had electron guns we’d sit in front of, and the only thing between us and the gun firing electrons was a glass plate.

Child watching TVGun
People said it wasn’t good, told us to keep our distance..

 
Now with Samsung offering curved OLED screens they are urging us to get close, saying that the screens offer an immersive experience:

Child watching TV

 
OLED technology means less emissions, heat, and power consumption than almost any full color display technology available today.

As someone with less than 55″ inches of screen space curved around him right this moment, I’d have to say that this first screen will make it’s purchasers VERY happy once it comes to market and stops being a poster child for what’s coming.

Displays need to step-up indeed, what with all the 3d options coming out, including the very exciting Oculus Rift that’s been generating some interesting reaction videos (WARNING: Strong Language/Reactions):

[iframe width="550" height="309" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/KJo12Hz_BVI?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen][/iframe]
Candid Anthony didn’t seem very impressed until he tried it..

 
So while folks were saying the next step in displays will be to plug into our brains, it appears that we are finding another step closer without the brain jack. ;)

SEO news blog post by @ 1:30 pm on January 29, 2013


 

Facebook Social Search: Grasping for that Third Pillar?

On January 15th 2013, Facebook planted it’s so called “third pillar” of it’s social network empire, “social search”.

If Facebook *is* all about social media, and they already had a search function, how is this a big change?

Stack of coins with a magnifying glass on the pennies.
Okay, well that *is* some small change..

 
From what I can tell of the new search feature, it’s an exclusive index of Facebook, powered by Bing. So you get better/different results from the previous search options because it’s been handled by Microsoft’s search methodology.
 
So, you may be wondering, “Why isn’t Bing offering an improved ‘Social Search’ now that they have access to all this Facebook data?”, and you will be amused to note that today Bing indeed announced an improved ‘Social Search’ to users of their services.

In fact, Bing’s social search results are appended to the Facebook search results, and all clicks stay inside Facebook.

Still, what’s really ‘new’ about this search behavior?

Allegedly if I tack on action words to a search like, “visited by friends” or “popular with friends”, it’s supposed to marry the search results with social data from my friends list.

I gave that a whirl, trying to find various searches that would result in ‘approvals’ or ‘likes’ from my friends and I got very poor results.

Could it be that my tech savvy friends have dialed in their Facebook privacy settings to the point where Bing’s assistance is negligible? Possibly. And I wouldn’t blame them for it.

Then I tried some of the same searches in Google, without engaging any ‘social’ tags or features, and viola, I can see restaurants, pubs, and even retail stores that people in my circles have rated. I also know now to never have lunch with Dave, since he loves all the types of restaurants I try to avoid. :)

Plus, thanks to Google’s purchase of Zagat, I have a fallback option for accurate/honest feedback if my friends aren’t reviewing restaurants or pubs that I want to try out or are simply closer to my location.

While I’m not seeing a real improvement, FB is seeing a nice reversal of their stock prices, which were on a steady downfall last year, as we mentioned in our May 22nd, 2012, blog post: FB stock drops as SpaceX soars to success!

How long this will bolster their faltering stock value?

Will ‘Social Search’ mature into a feature that entices disinterested users to revisit Facebook?

Clearly that’s anyone’s guess, but at least they are trying to keep the ship afloat, and search traffic could help bolster ad revenue, as it did for Google.

Time will tell. ;)

SEO news blog post by @ 11:56 am on January 17, 2013


 

Journalist Freedoms: How to trample on a mouse and turn it into an elephant?

A mouse

What do you do when your paid columnist wants to write about a product that is the demise of your revenue stream, and give the product an editor’s choice award?

Well that’s exactly what happened over at CNet when the Dish Network’s ‘Hopper’ DVR w/Sling was picked for a ‘Best of Show – Editor’s Choice Award’ by CNet staff.

Apparently the fact that this DVR eliminates commercials entirely, and then lets you watch the recordings from almost any internet connected device, is a big concern for the large media companies.

At one point the new DVR had CBS saying they wouldn’t have anything to do with Dish network if they proceeded with taking this device to market.

It’s enough of a threat that CBS, along with many other ‘major media companies’, have taken legal action against Dish and it’s ‘Hopper DVR’. In fact, this legal action was prior to the addition of the Sling services which threaten to further trample on their corporate profits.

Given this legal action, and the potential risk to bottom line revenue that the DVR implies, CBS directly ordered CNet to remove the Hopper from the running and re-vote on the remaining devices.

This directive allegedly came right from the CEO of CBS, Leslie Moonves, and was given to Mark Larkin, the GM of CBS Interactive News.

Mr.Larkin fought the decision while he could, getting into conference calls with CNet and CBS heads to try and avoid censoring the product.

Ultimately he was forced, against his wishes, to deliver the decree to CNet editorial staff; A task that, according to The Verge, brought him to tears:

“Sources say that Larkin was distraught while delivering the news — at one point in tears — as he told the team that he had fought CBS executives who had made the decision.”

Not only that, but CNET was barred from issuing their own statement about the removal of the DVR from the awards, and had to use a prepared statement from CBS regarding the legal issues surrounding the Hopper DVR!

Here is that official statement:

The Dish Hopper with Sling was removed from consideration due to active litigation involving our parent company CBS Corp. We will no longer be reviewing products manufactured by companies with which we are in litigation with respect to such product.

Immediately, Greg Sandoval, a regular CNET columnist, offered his resignation and went public on his Twitter feed about the incident.

Greg Sandoval's Twitter Post

Lindsey Turrentine, one of the ‘heads’ in the conference call with Mark Larkin, and the Editor-in-Chief of CNET News, took a moment to apologize for the situation, and for not resigning immediately when she had the chance.

Lindsey defended her decision, stating that she didn’t want to abandon her team and she felt she could affect change easier from her current position than if she were to resign.

Her full post is over here (at least for now): http://news.cnet.com/8301-30677_3-57563877-244/the-2013-best-of-ces-awards-cnets-story/

So essentially they could have let the whole thing slip by, and tried to avoid adding fuel to the fire.

Instead CBS has lit a bonfire that can be seen across the world, and now everyone’s hearing about the Dish Hopper DVR.

In journalism circles we call this the Streisand_effect.

 

Gonzo Journalism

What if you paid a writer, who specializes in gaming topics, to go cover a Panasonic Toughpad press event and he decided to get drunk and channel Hunter S. Thompson?

Well that’s exactly what Grant from ‘LOOK, ROBOT’ did for his coverage of the Toughpad:

“[January 14, 2013]Panasonic are launching a new tablet computer for the business market. I am not a tech journalist. I have never done this before. I don’t know what’s going on.”

You can read the whole thing here, it’s a lot of fun, and if you’ve ever been to one of these events you should be able to relate to most of his observations in one way or another.

All press is good press?

Well the folks over at Speed-Sew™ certainly seem to think they can get away with anything in promoting their products:
[iframe width="549" height="309" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/rtU3wbkRAEg?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen][/iframe]

I also keep pulling out the same old tube of Speed-Sew™, pop the cap off, wonder if it’s still good, and then sniff it!

It doesn’t smell good, and it’s not like it gives you a ‘buzz’, it’s as illogical as smelling your shoes when you already know they are going to smell awful.

By doing something in their YouTube video that I can relate to, by making the video down to earth, and funny, I am now motivated to laugh and share.

I want to say this is brilliant social media/video advertising, but sadly it’s a bad example because it has yet to go viral (some adverts never do).

Let’s give it a nudge shall we?

SEO news blog post by @ 1:05 pm on January 15, 2013


 

It’s Ok to Touch…

touchscreenIn a further attempt to swoon the public over to the “touch-side” Intel and Microsoft are leading the way in an attempt to grab the industry’s reigns. I discussed last week how Microsoft was making a bold gambit on the success of touch technology. A CNET article discusses post-CES that there is a definite trend in the laptops that were on display to incorporate touch screen capabilities.

In an attempt to shore up their PC partners, Intel issued an edict stating that all new next generation ultrabooks based on its Haswell chipset, will be touch. Both companies are state that touch enabled tablets and detachable/convertible computers will become the computer of choice. Meaning that your next laptop purchase will likely be touch; whether you like it or not.

HP-elitebook-revolve
So what is a convertible computing device? Products like the HP EliteBook Revolve and the Lenovo Yoga are made with swivel touch screens that are non-detachable from the unit. Because the processor and other related electronics are located under the keyboard, they offer higher performance as the form factor allow for cooler operating processors.

lenovo-thinkpad-helix
Detachable computers are basically tablets with integrated keyboard docks. Products such as the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix place the processor behind the screen which typically results in a lower performing, higher efficiency processors. One exception to this is theThinkPad Helix, which manages to use a standard Intel Ivy Bridge chip into their tablet.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:31 pm on January 14, 2013

Categories:Technology

 

Missing Authorship Photos?

If you’ve become accustomed to seeing your charming mug in the SERPs when you are Google’ing your keywords, it might be rather unsettling to see those images suddenly disappear.

Rich Snippet SERP example

Fear not! This isn’t something you have done, or not done, this is actually kicking up a bit of fuss on the SEO forums/discussion areas today and clearly looks to be an issue on Google’s end.

In fact if you were in need of reassurance, all you have to do is hop into your Webmaster Tools account, and visit the ‘Rich Snippets Tool‘ to get a preview of what your SERPs would normally look like.

If you are sure that you’re not part of the current issue, or you’re just curious what we’re talking about, the Troubleshooting Rich Snippets page is a great resource to tackle possible problems.

Google invests another $200,000,000.00 in renewable energy..

I could have written .2 billion, or 200 million, or even 200 thousand thousands, but why play with such a large sum of money?

Google certainly isn’t playing around; With this latest investment Google’s grand total in renewable/clean energy is over $1 billion US and growing.

This isn’t just charity either, some of these investments are just smart business because the returns are very fixed and low risk.

Illustration of power saved by using GMail vs. Postal Mail

Being honest about pollution is brave, and bragging about your low footprint is begging for trouble, but Google marches on stating:

“100 searches on Google has about the same footprint as drying your hands with a standard electric dryer, ironing a shirt, or producing 1.5 tablespoons of orange juice.”

You can read more about Google’s efforts to reduce, eliminate, and assist others with power consumption/carbon footprints, over on the Google Green Pages.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:57 am on January 10, 2013


 

Google gives back free WiFi

Google’s New York offices are located in the lower Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea, and today Google announced free WiFi would be provided to the area.

Expected WiFi coverage area for Free Chelsea WiFi
Expected WiFi coverage area for free Google WiFi in the Chelsea neighborhood.

 
The image above attempts to map the coverage area described as:

“Gansevoort Street and 19th Street, from 8th Avenue to the West Side Highway including the Chelsea Triangle, 14th Street Park, and Gansevoort Plaza”

After 6 years of working in the neighborhood Google was proud to offer free WiFi to the area which has a very high density of students (5,000+) and full time residents.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, and Google’s CIO, Ben Fried, got together to make the announcement in public at 10:30 AM EST.

Given the technical nature of the area’s residents, the free Wifi offering should help pull in more tech companies with similar goals.

I know that if Google wanted to give me free internet, I’d gladly take that $60/month savings, and they are offering this to nearly 10,000 residents/businesses?!

You go Google!

Charged up about Bluetooth Batteries

Tethercell

Have you ever wanted to:
- know the charge level of installed batteries
- remotely turn on/off something battery powered
- get a warning when your fire alarm battery is low

Well now you can take control of anything that uses AA batteries, using an iPhone, and later on this will obviously be available to your tablet, laptop, PC, or really anything with Bluetooth.

The Thethercell is a new product from two rocket scientists who actually worked on the SpaceX project.

It’s essentially a AAA battery holder with a AA battery’s dimensions. The holder also has a low-power Bluetooth radio/controller chipset, which allows the battery to be checked, and turned off and on remotely.

Here’s a couple examples I’ve seen that give some idea of uses :

- install in a Click-Light
- put the Click-Light in the garage
- set the Tethercell to ‘auto-on’
- tether to your cell phone
- now you have automatic lighting

Tethercell with battery installed.

- install in a baby monitor
- set low battery alarm
- set timer for on/off periods
- spy on people during certain hours
- batteries will last much longer

- install in an old music player
- tether to a device with motion sensor
- play white noise on the music player
- when motion stops the player switches off
- attach the device to your bed/pillow
- white noise will play until you fall asleep

Since this is a fresh product, still in the ‘prototype’ phase, I’d expect lots more ideas on uses to pop up in the future.

In fact I could see companies which use a lot of batteries looking at this as the ultimate in cost cutting/waste management options. The entry point is minimal, and the product itself is likely to be less than $10/each once the economy of scale has taken effect.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:48 am on January 8, 2013


 

The Windows 8 Gamble with Touch Technology

After a reluctant (and even hostile) reception to its new operating system, Windows 8, it seems that Microsoft has taken a billion-dollar gamble that the future of personal computing is touch technology.

gorilla
Most of us are very familiar with touch technology; it has been incredibly successful. We use it every day on our smartphones, kiosks, and tablet computers, but with Windows 8, Microsoft is assuming (hoping) that users will find Windows 8 so attractive that they will want to use it the millions of home PCs around the world.

There are three main differences between tablet screens and a PC screen usage: the angle, distance and time interval; which iterates why touch technology is appropriate in some instances, and not in others.

While many are seeing touch technology for the first time, touch technology was originally introduced in the 1980s. The reason it didn’t catch on then, was due to a problem referred to at the time as “gorilla arm.” Repeated use of touch screens in a PC environment revealed that a painful condition that would arise with its users. Symptoms included a tingling ache from incurred from the repetitive stress injuries were associated with prolonged touch screen usage. Some experts say gorilla arm is what killed touch computing during its first wave in the early 1980s. The other issue of course comes from finger-grease. It is easy enough to clean of your smartphone, but it is certainly not convenient on a large monitor.

This recent gambit by Microsoft seems to show tangible desperateness of the once mighty software company as it struggles to remain as a leader in the computer world. It may be that we are seeing the final death throes of the failing giant as it places all its energies into the uncertain future of touch technology and its Windows operating system. Some have argued that the death of the PC is inevitable; but until such time as a new superior interface comes along, the future of PC usage will remain largely unchanged.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:28 am on January 7, 2013


 

In Capitalist Amerika, Television Watches You!

Samsung SMART TV Zero Day Exploit

Thinking of getting someone a great new television for Christmas? You may want to reconsider. There have been many conspiracy theories surrounding the use of televisions by the government to spy on the oblivious population.

1984 book cover

Concerns are rising again with Smart televisions that could be used to not only survey the population by the government, but by criminals for nefarious purposes. The scenario reads almost verbatim from George Orwell’s classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four; with its ubiquitous Telescreen that monitors the private and public lives of the populace in a not-so-far-off dystopian future.

A security exploit called the “zero day” hole has been found in at least one of Samsung’s Smart TVs that if left unpatched, could allow hackers to not only glean a users social media credentials, but to steal files from connected USB devices and the ability to use attached microphones and cameras to spy on unwary individuals.

The exploit was revealed the ReVuln company who offers research on technology security issues to its subscribers, states that the hole affects the Samsung Smart TVs running the latest version of the comany’s Linux based firmware.

ReVuln – The TV is watching you from ReVuln on Vimeo.

ReVuln posted a video showing an attack on a Samsung TV LED 3D Smart TV that shows an attacker gaining shell access, copying the contents of the hard drive to an external device and mounting them on a local drive, allowing access to photos, documents, online credentials for social networks or other online services.

Samsung sells a number of different Smart TVs that combine high definition viewing with tablet-like features and allow for web browsing (Anyone remember WebTV?). One of the accessories that is offered is the Smart TV Skype Camera which allows users to chat with other Skype users through their television. So far, Samsung has not commented on the details of the security hole, or what they are doing to correct it.

Smart TVs do not offer any native security features standard to most IP-enabled devices such as a firewall, user authentication or application white listing. Perhaps most shocking is that there is no way to independently apply a software update to correct the problem. This means that without a firmware update directly from Samsung, the security hole remains unchecked and cannot be patched without voiding the manufacturer’s warranty.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:35 am on December 17, 2012


 

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