Ah, and you thought you were going to see a post of genius did you? Well, not yet. That’s the topic of a presenation I’m giving on Thursday to a group of State Bar communications staff. I have a few things in mind, but what are your thoughts? Still room to tweak my presentation. Add your top 5 in the comments. After the presentation I’ll be posting the slides and notes.
Today’s Wall Street Journal called One Key Fits All tells a tale of something that has been on my mind a lot lately. In the world where websites are requiring users to create accounts to participate from commenting on blogs to reading archives of a newspaper website, user accounts are inevitable. However, from a usability perspective, it is a pain in the rear to remember all the different variations of user names, passwords, email addresses, etc. for all of these websites you may participate in. The concept of OpenID enters the picture as a potential solution to this problem. Ideally it would be the one-stop-shop of user account management.
For those not familiar with OpenID, it is:
…a shared identity service, which allows Internet users to log on to many different web sites using a single digital identity, single sign-on,
eliminating the need for a different user name and password for each
site. OpenID is a decentralized, free and open standard that lets users
control the amount of personal information they provide. (Source: WikiPedia)
Where OpenID gets interesting is when you think about taking it beyond social websites and think of it with larger corporations. It is one thing for Yahoo!, Microsoft, or Google to accept an OpenID protocol, but entirely another with your bank, utilities, and investment websites start to accept it. Think about all the different online accounts you manage, how many of them can you manage with the same login and password. I “try” to use the same information for most of my sites, however, it doesn’t work that way always. Can it be more convenient? Yes.
However, it has several impacts beyond just logging in. Security, fraud issues, and framework maturity are still outstanding for other major corporations ot adopt it. But think about a level of websites beyond blogs, but not quite your financial institutions. Can associations adopt this and make it work? Of course! Can media websites adopt this an make it work? Of course! Currently over 22,000 websites accept OpenID (including this blog) as a form of identification. It is projected that this number of sites will reach close to 50,000 by the end of this year. So if you have a login/register process for your website, why aren’t you looking at something that will make it easier for users to manage their account with your site? Take a look at offering OpenID as an alternative to your current login procedures.
This article originally was published in the May 2007 issue of LLRX.
You have worked for a large firm for many years and you have made the decision to either go solo or start a small firm. You were used to having access to all your information via an Intranet, file server, and your desktop. You could practice law and let the IT department worry about when the printer jammed or if you got a virus. Now that you are solo, you are the one that has to deal with all those problems as well as practice law.
As of 1:00 today FeedBurner was officially acquired by Google. I had a quick chat to day with Rick Klau today regarding setting up an account with them and was double checking about the Terms of Service when he mentioned that they would be updated at around 1:00 today. So the rumors were true! Yes, it seems they were.
I’m excited to see where this all goes. Google just continues to get bigger, but they are making strategic buys too. I mean just think what the JotSpot acquisition will do for them if they integrate it into Google Apps. RSS is the future of content distribution, and now advertising opportunities too. I believe that RSS subscribers are more targeted than regular website pageviews and traffic. FeedBurner has a great model and it will serve Google well.
Congrats to FeedBurner. They have long been a company I’ve admired, wished I could have worked for (and now you see why!). You can read more about the acquisition at the Burning Questions blog.
Update: Google’s Announcement
Chicago Tribune Story (Free Reg. Req.)
This article was originally published in my column, Faulkner’s Practical Web Strategies, November 12, 2006 at LLRX.com
It is probably the most taken for granted webpage you visit every day—the infamous homepage that appears each time you open your Web browser. Many see it as just another page that they immediately click away from once their browser is open. Others actually change it to something more meaningful or interesting. Traditionally, the homepage, is usually set by someone else at first, but with the expansion of the Web 2.0 era and the greater adoption of RSS you can actually do more with your homepage than ever before.
The problem with homepages is that you only get to choose one page. If you are lucky enough to be able to switch this page (some companies lock down their computers so this feature is disabled) you are forced to make the difficult choice of picking a page that suits your needs. Many choose a search engine, a news site, or another favorite website. With personalized pages becoming more common place, it only makes sense to maximize that experience to get the best of both worlds. At the end of this article I’ll take you step-by-step on setting up a personalized homepage with one of the services I mention below. So let’s see what is available for you to use and how you can get the content you want all in one spot.
Ryan and Gillian Carson (producers of DropSend, Vitamin, and Carson Workshops) launched their latest product yesterday, Amigo. Amigo servers a very simple, but powerful purpose — to match e-newsletter publishers with advertisers and advertisers with targeted e-newsletter subscribers. It is a win-win for everyone and it’s free. Here’s how it works.
Amigo is similar to any other cost-per-click advertising solution (i.e. AdWords) only it isn’t a robot reading text to contextually placing the ad next to search results, it is humans searching a database of information to match ads to subscribers.
Note: at this time it is only for text-based e-newsletters, or ones who will only show text ads, no graphical based ones (yet…not sure if they will add that feature).
As an advertiser you want to reach a select target market. It doesn’t matter if it is 10 qualified recipients or 10,000, we know that targeting your ads is better than a shotgun approach. So Amigo makes getting your ad in front of that target audience easier. After creating a free account you will want to add a new ad to the Amigo database. Simply add a title for the ad, a headline, body text, and a link back to your Web site (though you will want the link to go to a targeted page, not your homepage). Then choose the target audience you wish to receive this type of ad. Set a price per click you are willing to pay for someone who clicks on the ad. Once the ad is submitted you can check out the statistics of the ad through a dashboard feature. This then lets you see if your text is working for your ad or if you need to change it. Plus you can also track to see if those who do click through are purchasing from you to see if you are getting the ROI you were looking for.
As an e-newsletter owner you can add your publication to the Amigo database and identify the topic(s) it covers and the audience it is sent to. Then you can search the Amigo database for advertisements that match your criteria. Select which ones you want to display in your e-newsletter, follow the instructions and add the text to your next issue. When the clicks start rolling in from your subscribers to the ad, you make money. It’s that easy.
If you want to see the progression of how Amigo was thought of, developed, and launched you can check out their Barenaked App blog which recorded the entire experience.
Tubetorial, the brainchild of Brian Clark of Copyblogger. Tubetorial is a site that features “Step-by-Step video tutorials for online success.” This is one to definitely grab the RSS feed for and to check out. The video quality is great and the content is just as good.
Grab the RSS Feed
I recently have been coming across a nagging problem with my IBM ThinkPad that has been frustrating–not enough disk space. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this problem, and I’m sure it is not prone to just ThinkPad’s. Rather, in the digital age where everything is BIG, F A T and bulky, disk space on laptops become short pretty quick. When I purchased my ThinkPad two years ago I didn’t upgrade to the larger hard drive. When in the world was I going to fill up 40 GB of space, especially when I have a desktop that will hold my music, photos, etc. Funny how that thought process was short sighted. The reason I purchased a laptop was because I needed a new computer and wanted one that was portable. Hence the ThinkPad. Thinking my older Dell would survive for a few more years, and the limited disposable income that I had, I didn’t upgrade to the larger hard drive. Well two years later I discovered my Dell was dying a slow agonizing death, and I was using my ThinkPad almost exclusively. That’s when things started to fill up.
I got an iPod for Christmas and of course my Dell couldn’t handle iTunes, so it went on the laptop…along with a ton of music. Same with the photos from my new digital camera, not compatible with my old Dell either. So between photos, music and my trigger happy right-click-save-file-to-hard-drive habit, my HD became full quickly. I merged, purged, and deleted temporary files as long as I could until I just realized I needed more space. Thus, I was on a mission.
I did all the research any person would do to find an external hard drive, but knew that I didn’t want just an EXHD. I needed something more robust. Why? Well with an EXHD you need to have it connected to your laptop all the time to work best–or at least to access the files on it. Seems silly to purchase only a 5 GB EXHD that is portable when for about the same price tag you can purchase a 250 GB EXHD. The answer? A network storage drive. I already had a wireless network set up to roam with my laptop around the house. Why not connect a NEXHD to it? Problem 1: NEXHD‘s cost more for less space. Problem 2: They are harder to find.
I had toyed in my head with the decision to just bite the bullet and purchase an EXHD rather than a NEXHD because of accessibility to one (every store had anEXHD, but not every one had an NEXHD). The tipping point for my purchase came last weekend when I was fed up with the stupid error of “Your disk space is almost full….” I headed to Best Buy to see what I could find. At Best Buy I was trolling through all the EXHD‘s and saw that Western Digital was having a sale on their “Book” EXHD (it literally looks like a book that would sit on your desk). It was 340 GB and I was pretty happy with the choice (except that it came with Google Desktop Search and Picassa pre-installed for you to use…which I didn’t). Then I came across the Buffalo LinkStation. My dreams came true. For $150 I was able to get a 250 GB NEXHD that could connect to my wireless network, be accessible from multiple computers, store my music, photos, files, etc. and was c|net top rated to boot.
Once I got the new LinkStation home I was up and running in less than 10 minutes from opening the box. The LinkStation connected to my network on the first try, the software it installed was minimal on the HD of my Laptop and the footprint on my desk was smaller than my wireless router. Much like a router, there is a Web interface to add additional security to the LinkStation. Getting my laptop to see the new LinkStation was as easy as mapping a network drive and only took about five clicks. If, for some reason, I end up running out of space on the LinkStation, I can piggy-back a separate EXHD via a USB cable to the LinkStation to expand the space. The LinkStation also has the ability to be a printer router as well which allows me to print from my living room instead of being connected directly to the printer in the home office.
Since I’ve installed the Buffalo LinkStation I have migrated all my music, photos, and files to it and cleaned up my laptop HD. I will probably use a combination of My Documents on the laptop and initiate a back-up process to do a nightly back-up to the LinkStation while I’m sleeping. I can access the LinkStation while un-docked from my home office desk and roaming around my house wirelessly. I plan on attaching my old Dell to the network soon and migrating all the documents I need off of that to the LinkStation and possibly converting it to a Linux box to play around with…if I have the time.
Get a Buffalo Technology Linkstation 250 GB Network Storage Center External Hard Drive from Amazon.com.