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Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.

Mac OS X Lion Promises to Fix Annoying Usability Issue

June 10th, 2011

I was digging through the 250+ new features Apple is touting for the July release of OS X Lion when I almost fell out of my chair. Apple is finally fixing a basic usability shortfall of OS X that have has been a pet peeve of mine.

Lion will allow users to resize a window from any corner instead of being forced to use only the lower right hand corner. Yes it’s really true. Buried at the very end and classified in the lonely “Other Features” category we find:

Resize from any edge. You can now resize a window from any side or corner.

Is there really any questions as to why this would be an incredible benefit? Why it took Apple decades to do this I’ll never know but dragging my mouse across my 27″ iMac screen gets old real quick and I hate thinking anything that Microsoft makes is better than Apple. Thanks Apple, it’s about time!

Now if Apple can only fix the other major downfall in Finder by allowing one to sort alphabetically by folders first then files. While I love Macs I hate Finder primarily because it sorts files and folders as if they were the same animal. Apple makes it sound like this might change with Lion, but this is probably just wishfull thinking on my part.  Here’s what Apple says about the new Finder in Lion:

Sort files – A new button in the Finder toolbar lets you sort files by category, making it easier to find what you’re looking for. Sort files by kind, application, date modified, date added, or size.

I don’t have my hopes up that this will make Finder much better, however anything they do to change Finder will be an improvement.

The other bit of good news is the Lion upgrade is priced at $30. Click here for a full list of the new Lion OS X features.

Make Sure Your Website Content is Legitimate

April 28th, 2011

In February, Google made a significant change to its search algorithm in order to penalize and weed out shady SEO tactics such as keyword stuffing, content copying, etc. The Google change has actually forced some companies who practiced such tactics to layoff significant portions of their workforce because their Google search engine result listings dropped so severely. Take a look at this brief article from Website Magazine to read more: Crop Devastation – Google’s Farmer Update Retools Rankings.

As we’ve preached for years, your overall strategy should be to write Website content for your users, not  just to bait Google with keywords. Even if this tactic works for a brief time, in the long run this strategy will be detrimental to your online presence as has been demonstrated by Google over the last few months.

Search engine optimization is still a legitimate and very important component of your online strategy. It just has to be implemented correctly and with correct expectations need to be set for the client by a legitimate SEO firm (which can be hard to find). There is no shortcut or get rich quick scheme with SEO regardless of all the many claims of so-called SEO professionals who fill our in-boxes with their spam. As I’ve observed before, if these people are really so good at SEO why don’t they impart their skills on their own Website and reap the benefit instead of sending out spam?

To get started down the right path simply write your Website content and messaging solely for the benefit or your prospects and customers; in other words with true unique value. With that done then hire a legitimate SEO firm and copywriter to insure that your content is in line with your target keyword market which may require some slight adjustments to your copy.

There is a lot more to a long term SEO strategy but the above will give any Website a great foundation and insure that they are positioned for a successful future.

The Power of Words

April 19th, 2011

Trouble with Firefox and Windows Explorer After Windows 7 Update?

April 15th, 2011

Microsoft pushed a large Windows 7 automatic update package last night.

You may of found that after the mandatory reboot your Internet Explorer and Firefox will open and freeze up, display a blank window with no menus or control menu or buttons, or display the normal interface but not allow you to access the Web.

This problem is likely being caused by the incompatibility of one of your existing Windows 7 third party services or start-up items. Following is the process to resolve this issue:

  • Rather than start the troubleshooting by enabling half of the services and rebooting as the article describes, do the following first:
    1. On the services tab check the box “Hide all Microsoft Services” then Disable all, then Apply. Note: always click “Hide all Microsoft Services” before enabling or disabling any service through this troubleshooting process.
    2. On the Startup Tab, disable all, apply then ok and reboot.
    3. Check your Internet Explorer and Firefox; they are probably working again.
    4. Now go into msconfig (using the Microsoft support article instructions) and go to the services tab, hide all Microsoft services, enable all the services, OK, and reboot (notice that all the startup items are still disabled).
      • If IE and Firefox are working normally still, then you know the problem is with an incompatibility in one of the Startup items. Proceed to that tab and use the instructions provided in the Microsoft article for “enabling half the services” (but you will be enabling half of the startup items).  Eventually you’ll figure out which third party startup item is causing the problem. After you find the offending Startup item then enable all of your Services and reboot a final time.
      • If IE and Firefox are not working then start the process of “enabling half of the services” until you either find the service causing the problem. After you find the offending service then enable all your Startup items and reboot a final time.
  • I don’t recommend proceeding to the last step in the Microsoft article “To restore your Normal startup” which if taken will nullify all the troubleshooting you just performed.  Leave the settings on “Selective startup” However, you may need to manually enable future services or startup items in the future for them to work properly.
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