Monthly Archives: August 2010

How I Would Fix The New Digg

Kevin Rose is in a tough position right now.  Digg version 4 has been officially released to everyone.  One might say that the problem is many people are upset with the changes and while that is true, I think the problem really stems at the fact the Digg’s core user base is comprised of geeks (always has been and probably always will be).  And geeks are probably the hardest group of people to please when it comes to anything technology related.  Why is this?  Personally, I think it has to do with a couple of things.

One being that a lot of geeks actually understand or at the very least are interested in the inner-workings of anything tech and because of that they like to form opinions which they aren’t afraid to voice throughout various means on the web.  Another thing about geeks and technology is we are not as afraid to jump ship and move to another product/service if we feel it’s better.  In other words, we’ll try things before most other people will and report back if it’s good or not.  So when you deal almost exclusively with these types of people, it can be very difficult.

Read Article

How To: Track Your Brand Name Online

I want to share with you one of the web’s best kept secrets.  A service so awesome many companies end up paying for it even though it’s completely free.  In other words, if you are paying any of these companies who claim to track your brand name online you are most likely being taken advantage of.  The service I’m about to share with you is completely free and comes from the best possible source to keep tabs on what is being published about you (or your brand/company) on the Internet.  That being, Google.

Yep.  Google.  They provide a service called Google Alerts which allows you to setup keywords to track and anytime one of those keywords appears within the Google index, you receive a nice email providing a description and a link to the website which mentioned the keyword you are tracking.  Keywords can be literally anything – you can keep an eye on your brand name as well as your competitors.  It’s super easy.

Read Article

We Need to Kill the Windows Installer

We need to kill the Windows Installer.  More specifically, Microsoft needs to kill it.  Why?  Because it’s a poor method of installing software.  Alternative operating systems to Windows such as Mac OS X and every Linux distribution do software installations the right way.  What makes their method for installing software the “right way” you ask?  It’s flat out easier, more intuitive, and less cumbersome.

As it stands now when you want to install a piece of software on Windows you are required to download an executable file and run it.  The executable then opens the Installer which prompts you for several things.  Some of which require clicking a checkbox, selecting particular options, and clicking buttons.  How many times do I have to click “Next” to install something on Windows?  It’s a tedious task.  One that I think can also be argued to be too complicated for many end users.

Read Article

Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, Booyah Should Be Cautious of Facebook

Last week, Facebook announced Facebook Places, I’m going to spare you the details of what Places actually is because I’m sure you have read about it elsewhere.  Instead I’m going to discuss how bad of an idea it was for these companies to have partnered with Facebook for their Places product.  Who exactly partnered with Facebook for Places?  Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, and Booyah (so far, I’m sure there will be more).  This is a bad idea.

Since when has Facebook ever played nicely with their partners?  Since when have any Facebook acquisitions lived past acquisition and if they have (I can only think of one – Friendfeed) when have they succeeded?  The answer is they haven’t.  Look at their most recent acquisition of Hot Potato – they shut that down, too.  Same with Divvy Shot, Parakey, and Nextstop.  I’m sure there are others that I missed, but you get the idea.  Facebook acquires these companies not for the product, but for the talent.  They are called talent buys and there is absolutely a method to the Facebook acquisition madness.  Facebook wants to completely dominate everything in the social/mobile market.

Read Article

The Sad State of the Blogosphere

We have a problem.  That problem is the current state of our blogosphere.  It’s in complete shambles.  Unfortunately, I’m well aware of what causes this problem and it’s not easily fixable.  The cause of the problem is the need for visitors and pageviews, which both translate into money.  Don’t get me wrong – making money is great, I’m all for it.  I’m just not for making money off of a garbage product or service.  Let me explain.

There are several blogs (large or small) out there that just will post anything, especially on days some would call a “slow news day.”  I have a suggestion to those blogs.  Have you ever tried not posting if you have nothing to say?  It works for me.  The result?  More high quality (and better) content.  It’s really unfortunate that these blogs have to resort to posting such posts just to meet their visitor and pageview quotas for the day.  But it’s not just the posts that should never see the light of day that bothers me.

Read Article

Droid 2 Review

The Droid 2 is Motorola’s second release of the popular (original) Droid.  The newer Droid 2 sports several improvements both hardware and software wise.  As I previously wrote about in my 5 reasons to buy the Droid 2, I covered mostly software aspects.  In terms of noticeable hardware improvements, the Droid 2 sports a 1Ghz processor, which is fairly fast – much faster than the original Droid’s 550MHz processor.  The 3.7″ display is just slightly larger than the iPhone’s and while not as big as the HTC EVO’s or Droid X’s displays, it still looks pretty good, not to mention it fits nicely in your pocket.

Motorola did a nice job with the new keyboard on the Droid 2.  They dumped the trackpad completely and centered the keyboard; something most people will be happy about it.  The keyboard takes a little getting used to, but it’s not too bad.  Of course, you can always use the on screen multi-touch keyboard or take advantage of Swype which also available as an input method.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had much luck with the multi-touch keyboard on the Droid 2.  I definitely experience more typo’s with the Droid 2 than I do on the iPhone.  Whether that’s a touch screen issue or an Android related issue I’m not 100% sure.  Either way, it’s a problem.

Read Article

5 Must-Have WordPress Plugins

As I’ve recently written about here on BestTechie, I recently went through the process of migrating my office’s company website to the WordPress content management platform. While I was a bit naive about the whole process at first, I will say, I am definitely glad that I took the plunge. In my article, I explained that one of the things that I liked most about WordPress was the fact that it acted as a form of a blank canvas in providing a basic infrastructure that could be extend to my needs with third-party contributions.

Having played around with WordPress for the last couple of days, I have tried a number of third-party plugins, five of which I would highly recommend to anyone looking to use WordPress to manage a business website. In no particular order, here they are:

Read Article

The Most Common Methods for Protecting Laptop Data

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Storagepipe.  Storagepipe provides online backup software solutions that help companies manage remote laptop data protection.

Laptops are data-loss time bombs.  Because they get banged around a lot, they’re more likely to suffer damage. And because they’re expensive and portable, they make ideal targets for thieves. This is further compounded by the fact that company laptops often store some of the most important strategic, management and sales information.

Any company that plans on allowing their IT hardware to travel off-site must adapt their data protection accordingly. Here are 3 of the most popular solutions that companies use to ensure that their laptop data is securely protected.

Read Article

How To: Access Information From Offline/Unavailable Websites

We’ve all been there. You’re looking up a set of directions, a tutorial, or some form of information on the Internet, only to find that the site that Google returns as a result is down. In many cases, finding another set of directions or another site with the same information is a simple task, but in some cases – especially those where the information you are trying to find is on a very specific topic – you’re out of luck. So what do you do when the server that you are trying to get information from becomes unavailable?

One of the things I do when I cannot access a site is immediately return to the search results and explore alternative results. But as my luck often has it, the most promising result is always off-line. In many cases, search engines such as Google will display a “cached” button directly underneath the search result. Clicking this button will (usually) bring you to an indexed copy of the page you are trying to view. However, cached versions usually lack the level of formating, layout, and imagery that the original version of the page had. In cases where the information you are looking up is solely text-based, the cached version should be sufficient. However, if the page has accompanying image or video content, you will surely find yourself out of luck.

Read Article

BlackBerry Torch: Too Little, Too Late?

For a while now, I have been a loyal BlackBerry user. Being the original “smart-phone”, the BlackBerry has gained an excellent reputation in the business field over the last eleven years. With mobile email, SMS and media messaging, and mobile Internet, the BlackBerry was the first device to be considered a “mobile communications device” as apposed to simply a phone. While the Curve provided to me by my office isn’t exactly the latest and greatest, I have always been content with the overall performance and power of the device.

But that’s the thing. I’ve been content. I haven’t been too impressed with any of the features, especially as I see the new features being made available on the iPhone and Android-based phones. Don’t get me wrong; I know my phone is outdated. But tonight I began to consider upgrading my phone. Having been a BlackBerry user for as long as I have been, it was only natural that I started looking at the new BlackBerry.

Read Article

Confessions of a WordPress Convert

When one surfs the Internet and visits websites, it is a rare occurrence for that person to consider how the websites they visit are managed and designed. Sure, people will sometimes ask themselves how sites work and how the people behind the site manage it, but not many know the amount of effort that it takes to manage a content-rich website. The fact of the matter is, many websites employ the use of a content management system, also known as a CMS.

The great thing about content management systems is that they allow the publishers behind the site maintain it with relative ease (usually through a web-based editor), and are able to make the management of content a simple process. Moreover, content management systems allows for the “flow” of a website to be easily maintained, and ultimately aids in the creation of a seamless and uniform look among pages.

Read Article

How To: Build and Maintain an Audience

When I left the Audience Conference on Saturday evening, I felt I had learned something.  Truly learned something new.  I cannot say the same is true for every conference I attend unfortunately.  Often times when I leave a conference, I either haven’t learned anything (but I still typically meet some interesting and great people) or I have just had ideas or things I’ve known reinforced.  To me, that isn’t beneficial.  I’m going to outline some key ideas and advice that I was able to take away from the conference with the hope it can help you build and maintain an audience as well.

Be passionate.  This is something I have always said as well.  If you are passionate about what you do, people will take note.  Of course, being passionate and having knowledge on the particular subject can go a very long way.  It’s also worth mentioning that if you are passionate about what you are doing, you will continue to do it even if no one is reading, listening to, or watching you; because it’s something you enjoy.  That’s important.

Read Article

The 5 Best Android Features

Let me make it clear that I had never owned an Android-based device until yesterday when I purchased the Droid 2.  I never had a true understanding of the way the Android operating system worked and obviously I’m still learning as it’s only my second day using it.  However, here are 5 features which stood out to me after using it.

1. I have found that I really like the voice control functionality.  It is definitely much better than I had anticipated and I wish the iPhone had these capabilities (though I’m sure it’s just a matter of time).  I love how you can easily send text messages by simply talking and it will transcribe the message with exceptional accuracy.  Likewise for directions, search, notes, etc.

2. The seamless Google Voice integration is awesome.  I never used Google Voice before on my iPhone because the integration on iOS just isn’t there.  But now with my Droid 2, you can bet that I’ll be handing out my Google Voice number instead of the one I have assigned from Verizon.

Read Article

5 Reasons to Buy the Droid 2

Yesterday, I purchased the Motorola Droid 2.  You may (and probably are) asking yourself why I would purchase the Droid 2 when I’m content with my iPhone 4.  My reasoning?  I wanted to experiment with something new.  Plus, I love gadgets.  So why not?  I had a Verizon line which was eligible for an upgrade so I did it.  I got an Android device.

I wasn’t sure which to get though.  Aside from wanting to get something which just came out for review purposes, here are the 5 reasons I chose the Droid 2 over any other Android phone out there today.  Keep an eye out for the full review in the next week or so.

5 reasons to buy the Droid 2:

1. The Droid 2 comes with Android 2.2 (Froyo) preinstalled, which means WiFi tethering and mobile hotspot are available right off the bat.  Additionally, you have access to the latest Adobe Flash.  Of course, there a bunch of other features and updates that come with Froyo which you can learn more about here.

Read Article
>