Webconsuls - Web Design, SEO, and SMO Specialists

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ocarina Advancements and Screen Capture Elements

This week was about Ocarina advancements and IPhone screen capture elements which have made my life easier. I was playing my Ocarina the other day and was marveling at the changes made on the Ocarina since the last update. The buttons don't stick like they used to, this makes playing something from start to finish a lot easier. On globe mode, you can now zoom into a particular region to listen to; or listen to only the top melodies around the world, only my melodies, and only my loved melodies. There is a new finger hole layout which I find makes playing the Ocarina much easier. I can honestly say that I am excited to see what they add on to the Ocarina next.


I recently discovered another amazing IPhone feature that will come in very handy, a screen capture element. The pictures shown above were taken with the screen capture element. No matter what you are looking at on your IPhone, whether it is a web page or a text chat conversation, you can take a picture of what you see. After you capture what you are looking at, you can then email yourself or anybody a picture of what you deem important. When looking at something on your IPhone that you want to remember or use for a presentation there are only three simple steps to take. First, find something you want a picture of. Second, press the sleep/wake button at the top of the IPhone. Third, press the home button while pressing the sleep/awake button. The IPhone display will turn white for a second if you've done the steps properly, then you can go to your photo roll and take a look at what you captured.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Kindle vs the National Yiddish Book Center

Earlier this month, you might remember, I visited Amherst, MA, for homecoming weekend at Amherst College. During that weekend Dennis and I took a side trip to Hampshire College to visit the National Yiddish Book Center. How and why we came to make this side trip is a story for another day, but suffice it to say we were awe struck as we parked our car and strolled into this incredible center. We were welcomed into the center and invited to watch a short video on the history of the National Yiddish Book Center. The words of the narrator were both comforting and chilling: "Throughout their long history, Jews have turned to books as a 'portable homeland', the repository of collective memory and culture." What struck me about this statement is while it is true for Jews, I think it is also true for most people. That is, our books ground us as we move from place to place, from home to home. Looking back on my adult life, I have always treasured my books and I have never felt quite settled in a new home (whether it be a college dorm, a new apartment or a spacious house) until the books are gently set in a place of honor. It is not that I keep re-reading these books, but the fact that they are present in my home makes me feel settled.

My books are a conglomeration of novels, history, memoirs, poetry...many were gifts from friends and family or simply passed to me from my parents over the years. I have packed these books so many times over my adult life, at least 16 times, that each time it has become a ritual to hold the books, dust them and then quietly set them on a shelf..."just in case". They represent a part of my life's history. What I particularly love to do is read the personal inscriptions that many of them hold, written by people that have touched my life.

A few months ago I was riding in a car with Darin and Lisa McClure and Lisa reached into her purse and retrieved a new "gadget." I asked her about it and she cheerfully extolled the virtues of her Kindle, Amazon's wireless reading device. According to Amazon this is "a convenient, portable reading device with the ability to wirelessly download books, blogs, magazines, and newspapers." I could see that the device was all of those things, but what about the book? In other words, what about the essence of the book itself: Buying the book, reading the book, holding the book, referring back to the book, sharing the book, and giving it a place of honor on your book shelf? What about the "dust cover(s)"? Here is how this new "reading" works. First you buy the Kindle for about $360. Then there is the download purchase vs the traditional purchase. For example, in 2005 Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. If you purchase the hardcover version of this book it will run about $35, the softcover version is about $21 and the Amazon Kindle version is $9.99. You can learn more about the Kindle by watching this YouTube video.


I invite you to visit on-line The National Yiddish Book Center. You can enjoy their video "A Bridge of Books: The Story of the National Yiddish Book Center." As you view this video, you might wonder about the meaning of the word "save".

According to Merriam-Webster's On-Line Dictionary, the intransitive verb "save" has the following meanings: "1 a: to deliver from sin b: to rescue or deliver from danger or harm c: to preserve or guard from injury, destruction, or loss d: to store (data) in a computer or on a storage device (as a floppy disk or CD)." Now ponder a Kindle vs the National Yiddish Book Center. A Kindle depicts definition "d", while projects like National Yiddish Book Center honors definitions "b" and "c".

Going back to the "portable homeland" and "just in case"...a few months ago my youngest son asked me if I had ever read The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Imagine my delight when I was able to walk to our bookshelves and retrieve my copy of this book. It had been a gift (1968 price for this hardbound book was $3.95) to me 40 years ago and still I could find it, touch it and present my copy of Gibran's masterpiece to my son to touch, read and enjoy. Simply amazing, dust cover included!
A photo of Judy Helfand's copy of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Friday, November 28, 2008

Plazma vs LCD HDTV

The old debate, Plasma vs LCD has existed as long as the technology has.
If you are like me and you have heard all of the arguments and everyone says something different, the video at the following link will sort the facts.

For example, which type is better for movies versus video games. The comparison mentions how the type and amount of light will affect each version and other aspects the lay person may not think about.

When it comes down to it for me, both Plasma and LCD bring positives to the table and while the other type may be better or worse at something else, neither is the greatest across the board. Therefore, which ever technology is a better deal for the money at a certain size is the one I will buy. Having said that, if you are using the TV for a primary purpose, then it would make more sense to utilize the technology that caters to that purpose.

CNet will break it all down.
Please feel free to add your vote- LCD or Plasma?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to All from Webconsuls

Webconsuls would like to take this day to wish all of our friends and family a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

And to reminded everyone only three shopping weeks left till Christmas!

Happy Thanksgiving

Webconsuls

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Holiday Prices for Mesotherapy Treatments

Most of us want to look our best for the Holidays. Many of us want a new look for the New Year. Some of us are considering mesotherapy. Almost all of us are feeling the effects of the economic downturn.

Dr. Simin Siddiq of the Meso Laser Clinic in the San Francisco Bay Area has come up with a pricing plan that all should find attractive. She is offering special holiday pricing on some of the most popular treatments. These holiday prices are in effect from now until January 31, 2009.

Restylane is one of most tried and true dermal fillers. It can soften aging lines and enhance your natural features. Restylane is $50 off during the holidays.

Juvederm is another dermal filler. Among other things it can reduce those smile lines. Juvederm treatments are $100 off during the holiday pricing period.

VelaShape is the first and only non-surgical FDA-cleared medical solution that contours, shapes and slims the body. VelaShape treatments are 30% off during the special pricing.

Botox is a simple, nonsurgical, physician-administered treatment that can temporarily smooth moderate to severe frown lines between the brows in people from 18 to 65 years of age. It is the only treatment of its type approved by the Food and Drug Administration. During the holiday pricing time, Dr. Siddiq's Botox® treatments are $9 per unit for the holidays.

All other laser treatments are 25% off, if you buy a package.

Dr. Siddiq has offices in Fremont, Danville, and Menlo Park California. Contact her at 1-888-611-9211 or at 1-510-789-8870 for more information or an appointment. You can visit her web site at http://www.mesolaserclinic.com.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Social Media: Improving the customer experience for everyone

Recently I received an Amazon.com gift certificate as a gift. I am an avid reader and an avid kindle reader so I am sure that is what my in-laws had in mind.

I have come to rely on Amazon.com for far more than just books. This particular transaction was representative of how social media is molding the customers' experience for the better and I feel compelled to share the story.

Once people were quite wary of ordering online. Giving their credit card information over the internet to people unseen seemed scary and just not wise. Years later I make most of my purchases online. What is not to love? You can order exactly what you want. There is no trip to the mall. No walking up and down the shopping center corridor looking for that store directory while hoping for one more chance to find the exact brand and model so you can go home.

First it starts with how I select my purchases. I am a review reader and a very specific shopper. I generally know exactly what I want and why I want it. I don't necessarily come up with these answers myself, but I have trusted experts, think of them as "authority sites".

I wanted to get a few items for the kitchen. For cooking and kitchen equipment my two top sources are Alton Brown and America's Test Kitchen. Alton Brown, of Good Eats and Iron Chef America fame, has won me over again and again with his creative and campy show "Good Eats". His advice and elementary scientific explanation of why things work fascinates me and turns the once mundane chore of cooking dinner into a fun and creative thing to do at the end of the day. His show "Good Eats" is a family favorite in our house. I frequent his website for quick recipes and tips. Alton is welcome at our house any day. Here he is with some Thanksgiving tips.




America's Test Kitchen is my other authority. They judiciously test equipment and recipes. They recommend good solid equipment and explain why they favor one model over another. I have their family cookbook and it is where I get all my "Mom answers".

So with "my authorities" suggesting what makes and models are the best purchases I take a cursory look at Amazons' online reviews and as long as I don't see any glaring descrepancies in the reviews I make my purchase.

Amazon follows up and makes sure your purchases arrive on time and there is a link so you can track the delivery right to your door. Not everything is actually purchased directly from Amazon as they are the dealer for other merchants and resellers.

This time my entire order arrived within days, except for the pie dish. I had specifically chosen this pie dish for its deep well, perfect for a really deep apple crisp. It turned out that I was not the only one eying this lovely deep pie dish from the reseller unbeatablesale.com as it was sold out. My account was never charged. A few days later I was asked to review my experience. I couldn't give the transaction 5 stars as I didn't receive my purchase. I did comment that the item was sold out and while I was disappointed it would certainly not prevent me from shopping there again.

A store representative emailed me as a result of my less than 5 star rating and offered a gift certificate to use in their online store worth twice the amount of my initial attempted purchase.

They listened to my review. They care about the ratings. They care about the rating because the ratings from social media are going to affect their future sales. I am going to shop their because it is convenient and I am heard. If I am not satisfied they are going to remedy the situation.

No hassles. No buyers remorse. I like it.

Social Media improving the customer experience.

Monday, November 24, 2008

iPhone 2.2 Updates Best Easter Egg? Improved Battery Performance

Apple released the new iPhone OS, Version 2.2 on Friday, so if you have not done so already please open iTunes and update your iPhone,

New Features that Apple is touting,

Google Street View for Maps, see where you are going before you get there.
Podcast downloads over WiFi or 3G
Updated Safari, the iPhones web browser so that you always see Google search.

One of the things we have noticed and have seen mentioned across the blogisphere is much improved battery life. We use our iPhones more like a Laptop, checking mail, feeds in Google reader and what not. Saturday we went Geocaching with our iPhones, and normally this would have sucked the battery dry in the hours we were out caching. But Sat, after we got home both of our iPhones were still half full.

Nice work Apple, while Cut & Paste would have been a nice addition, this kind of improved battery performance should have been noted on the top of the list of reasons to upgrade to 2.2.

Have you noticed better battery life after your upgrade?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Remembering November 22, 1963 and Remembering the Long Tail

long tail
Yesterday was the day of remembering November 22, 1963, as it is a scar in peoples' memories for multiple reasons. Today is the day for Remembering November 22, 1963 and remembering the Long Tail with your blog posts! The Long Tail has become ever so crucial as far as placement with the Search Engines. The goal, when writing a blog, is to have as many people as possible be able to find and read your post. Content and keywords (labels) are very important when writing a post, but, a title with a Long Tail that can be found a couple times in your post is necessary.

Judith Helfand's post titled "Remembering November 22, 1963 and President John F Kennedy's Assassination" is a perfect example of the Long Tail put into practice. When you search Google with the words "Remembering November 22, 1963" Judy's post shows up 4th out of 473,000 hits. The date Nov 22, 1963 is a very historical and for that reason there are many people with websites on or relating to that date. The fact that Judy's blog post shows up before all but three of those sites is amazing, and it all can be owed to remembering the long tail.

Use a Long Tail to get more traffic to your blog post and in turn bring more traffic to your website. The key to being found online is to make yourself more search-able. Five words or more is a sufficient Long Tail for your blog post. When you increase the length of your title while incorporating it into your post, you will increase the amount of people who are able to find your post and your website.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Remembering November 22, 1963 and President John F Kennedy's Assassination



Somewhere in a trunk I will find a copy of the San Diego Evening Tribune dated November 22, 1963. There is also a copy of Life Magazine that was published November 29, 1963. I really don't have to take the time to find these mementos, because my memories of a day long ago, to which I will dedicate today's blog, remain vivid in my mind.

It was a Friday and I was a 14 year old high school freshman at Cathedral Girls' High School in San Diego, CA. Every Friday the entire student body of 400 young girls attended Mass at St. Joseph's Cathedral at 11:00AM. In procession we marched into the cathedral to take our pre-assigned seats in the pews. Sitting about five seats from me was another freshman that had a "forbidden" transistor radio in her purse. Shortly after 11:00AM this young girl slipped the radio out of her purse and, against all rules, she turned the radio on thinking she would be listening to the music of the day. Within minutes whispered talk was passed along the pew and we learned that President Kennedy had been critically wounded in Dallas, TX. This row of girls knew instinctively that we should certainly try to share this news bulletin with one of the nuns, perhaps Sister Anne Rita or Sister Eileen Leo (two young nuns who were more or less responsible for the freshman class). But how do we tell them without admitting that we were all breaking the school rules primarily by having the radio and secondarily turning it on during Mass?

We never had to admit our transgression, as suddenly Monsignor Rice appeared on the altar and whispered something to the young celebrant, Father Edward Brockhaus. And then, Monsignor Rice stepped to the pulpit and made the announcement: "President Kennedy has been shot and killed. When our Mass is concluded all students are instructed to return to their home room and be dismissed for the day. You will go immediately to your public bus and make your way home." We sat in shock, going through the motions of Mass and as the final blessing was bestowed on us all, we walked solemnly down the aisle...to be met by local news media, congregating at our Cathedral, the center of the Roman Catholic Church in the San Diego Diocese. Outside I found my older sister, Agnes; she was a high school junior and crying we made our way to the bus stop and took the 16 mile drive to our home.

When we arrived home our parents were waiting for us with our other two siblings. The television was on and remained on for the next three days, non-stop. In 1963 there were only the major networks on the three San Diego channels, NBC, CBS, and ABC. But each network channel covered this life altering event continuously: such as the transporting of the President's body to Air Force One with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy walking next to the casket. (We did not have color TV, so we depended on the TV anchor to describe her pink suit, with matching pillbox hat.) Later we would see still photos of Lyndon B. Johnson being administered the oath of office aboard Air Force One. And still later we would watch as the President arrived back in Washington, DC. I remember we wept openly for three days. Our parents wept, a sight seldom witnessed by us. We all knew that our lives had changed forever. Within two days we were still watching live coverage as Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald (the suspected assassin).

On November 25, 1963, John F. Kennedy, Jr's (John-John)third birthday, President Kennedy's funeral took place. My memory of this day is that of my family sitting in the living room watching the procession, a graceful First Lady, the funeral mass, and dignitaries from all over the world gathering to honor our fallen President. And then there is the heart warming memory of little John-John saluting his father.

Every year at this time I stop and remember President Kennedy. Somehow life has gone on, 45 years since this fateful day. And every year I have wondered how life might have been had November 22, 1963, passed without incident. Today, Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News posed the same question.

Daniel, John Kennedy, Jr, Aaron - March 1991
As an aside, I later met John F. Kennedy, Jr. He was a guest at our inn in March 1991. Imagine my surprise to realize that the young Mr. Kennedy had checked in late on a Friday night with his old college friend. The reservation was in his friend's name. Suffice it to say, as the weekend progressed I asked John Kennedy if I could take a picture of him. He agreed and we went to our owner's quarters. Our sons, Aaron and Daniel, then 10 and 7, sensed this was a special occasion. Aaron seemed to know that it was important for John to know how much his father had been loved by his parents and grandparents. He handed John a letter from his mother, Jacqueline, which had been sent to my father back in 1964, expressing thanks for the small donation my parents had made to the Kennedy Library. John stood quietly in our home, carefully studying this letter, his mother's note, rubbing his hand against the paper and then with a smile he returned it to Aaron.

Yes, it is Saturday. This is not a technical blog, but you do have to wonder about a nation that connected 45 years ago today with television, radio, newsprint, photos, magazines and a common bond of a shared loss. This was a day that shaped our lives forever.

Feel free to leave a comment of your memories from November 22, 1963.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gas Prices Below $1.75?

As we all have probably noticed, unless you take a cab or public transportation in a major metropolitan area (excluding LA), oil and therefore gas prices have been dropping consistently over the past few months. More specifically, since July fuel has dropped in half, according to the linked article. I am far from an expert, but my review of the issue has this due to reduced fuel consumption, projected usage and other supply and demand factors.

This decrease in energy cost, including heat and natural gas is one positive of the current tough times. Moreover, this drop in energy cost then leads to a potential drop in food and transportation costs; the same areas that when gas was spiking were out of control- plane flights, food etc.


So while the economy is in a slight decline, the positive side of me says, here is what good has come of it. Hopefully this decrease in fuel will jump start the positive attitude we Americans need to pull out of this slump.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

What's Black Friday?

Black Friday November 28th 2008 Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving where most large retailers offer amazing discounts primarily for Christmas shopping. Stores like Best Buy and Staples open as early as 5AM and offer door buster deals for the first 100 customers. CompUSA (now bought out by TigerDirect.com) has their door buster deals starting at midnight after Thanksgiving.

Black Friday is not an official holiday but when standing in line with hundreds of shoppers, it does feel like one. You can expect huge crowds and lines going around the store before they open (Fry’s Electronics in particular). If you’re lucky enough to find something you went there for, bring something to entertain you because you will be standing in line anywhere from 30min to 3hours.

It's known to be one of the busiest days of the year in terms of actual sales volume. In my family, after Thanksgiving we usually stay up all night playing games and just spending time with family and close friends till about 5AM. Once the clock hits 5AM, we hit the stores for tremendous savings. www.bfads.net is a website that reveals most of the ads of the large retailers before the print ads hit the newspapers. This year doesn't look as good as far as great deals are concerned.

Where will you be this Black Friday?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Download Zone Alarm Pro for Free

Tuesday starting at 6am PST you will be able to download the full version of Zone Alarm Pro for FREE FREE FREE!!!  Why? It is ZoneAlarm's Birthday and they are giving you the free gift,

Click Here NOW To Download Zone Alarm Pro for Free! 



#1 Firewall
Proactively protects against inbound, outbound, and program attacks while making you invisible to hackers.
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  • Kill Controls  instantly disable malicious programs .
  • Passes Independent Leak Tests* - to verify complete blocking, see test results.


Anti-Spyware
Award-winning anti-spyware automatically prevents, blocks, and removes spyware.
  • Spy Site Blocking   prevents accidental visits and malicious communication with spyware sites.
  • Kernel-Level Spyware Prevention   protects at the operating system level.
  • Hourly Signature Updates , expanded coverage, and faster detection to find and remove aggressive viruses.
  • Inbound and Outbound MailSafe   quarantines suspicious attachments, stops harmful messages before viruses transmit to your computer.
  • Expanded coverage   catches certain kinds of spyware like adware that others ignore.


Total ID Theft Protection
Uniquely combines offline ID protection services with online PC-based technologies to stop thieves from stealing your identity.
  • PC-Based ID Protection   utilizes a combination of anti-spyware and web browser security to block, remove, and disable programs designed to steal your identity.
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New interface delivers a simple overview, One-Click "Fix It" buttons, and customization controls for more advanced users.
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Check it out!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ocarina: Ancient Flute-like Wind Instrument

iPhone
The ocarina is an ancient flute-like wind instrument believed to date back some 12,000 years. While several variations exist, an ocarina is typified by an oval-shaped enclosed space with four to twelve finger holes and a mouth tube projecting out from the body. It is often ceramic, but many other materials, such as plastic, wood, glass and metal may also be used.

Ocarina-type instruments have been of particular importance in Chinese and Mesoamerican cultures. The Ocarina played an important role in China's long history of song and dance. The ocarina has similar features to the Xun, another important Chinese instrument. Cortes' expedition to Mesoamerica resulted in the introduction of the ocarina to the courts of Europe. Both the Mayans and Aztecs had produced versions of the ocarina, but it was the Aztecs who brought the song and dance that accompanied the ocarina to Europe. The ocarina went on to become popular in European communities as a toy instrument

You can now play the Ocarina with your iPhone! You have access to several keys and modes that can be changed in order to play a full variation of songs. Rest the iPhone on your ring fingers and thumbs with the headphone jack facing away from you. Use your index and middle fingers to cover the four holes. In order to play your Ocarina, you will need to blow into the microphone (you will see a small gold arrow where to blow). The mic is sensitive, so try not to blow very hard (if you are puffing your cheeks, you are blowing too hard).

I feel like the iPhone Ocarina is the most engaging application out there. It is a lot fun and with a little bit of effort one can learn to play some great songs; you can also transpose your own songs on to the Ocarina. There is a "globe mode", where you can listen to what people all around the world are playing on the Ocarina. Download the Ocarina by Smule for your phone and start making music with your iPhone!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gmail Voice and Video Chat...assumes you want to see and hear your associates!

The other day I signed into my Gmail account and noticed a new link at the top of the page. The link says: "New! Video chat." Usually I learn about new Gmail tools from Webconsuls' technical director, Darin McClure. What crossed my mind is why hasn't Darin sent me or us an email extolling the virtues of this new tool. Not like Darin to not jump on a Gmail bandwagon. Hmmm! I even reviewed the Webconsuls' blog to make sure I hadn't missed a blog about this new tool. Couldn't find anything.

I ignored the bold red font, "New! Video chat" for a few days, but yesterday I was a little curious. So, I clicked on the link. This is what I learned:
* Voice and video in Gmail only works with the newer version of Gmail in supported browsers: FF 2.0+, IE 6.0+, Safari 3.0+, and Google Chrome.
* Download the Gmail voice and video chat plug-in, quit all open browser windows, and install the plug-in.
* Sign in to Gmail.
* In the Chat section of your Gmail, select the contact you want to call. If they have a camera icon next to their name, you can make a voice or video call to them; just click Video & more.

Now the first thing to remember is that you need to have a web-cam. If you don't have a web-cam, then Google has made it easy for you to purchase one. According to their site: "We tried to make buying a web-cam easier by working with Logitech and Buy.com to offer high quality cameras at up to 30% off with free shipping until November 30th, 2008." The prices quoted range from $39.99 to $89.99. But, not to worry, I already have a web-cam, so I was good to go.

My browsers met the requirements, I downloaded the Gmail voice and video chat plug-in, I quit all open browsers, and I installed the plug-in! I signed in to my Gmail account and lo and behold, there I was in a little window...Judy at work! Great, right? Here is what I noticed:
1. My Web-cam sits right on top of my monitor, so I could see myself very clearly, but I could also see my co-worker, Dennis, at work at his computer desk. You see when we are both working my back is to him, a kind of "what I don't see won't hurt me" position. But now I could clearly see him working away.
2. I could also see the little camera icon next to my name in the "Chat" box on my Gmail page, but interestingly enough the only associate with a camera icon next to their name was Malik. I could see that Malik was on-line so I tried to connect with him with video chat. Well, he could chat, but what I discovered is that he was experiencing problems with Video Chat. To quote Malik: "crashes my browser every time though". Not good and I read on-line that other users were experiencing this problem. Bugs!!

You need to be aware that this new tool is being rolled out by Google, which means not everyone has access to the new tool at the same time. Don't assume that because you have access that all of your friends can access it, just yet.

Here is my first take on this tool: Fun tool. Free tool, unless you need to buy a web-cam. I don't really know if it will take the place of Skype, as Google video chat does not allow you to connect to landlines, but it is one more tool for the tool box. Whether it will be the sharpest tool in the box remains to be seen. Also, I noticed that once you have downloaded this new tool, there does not seem to be a way to just "turn it off" should you not want to be contacted via video chat. This is a little disconcerting, but maybe I just haven't played with it enough. I do know that the software is not activated unless you are signed in to your Gmail account, so maybe that feature is the main "shut-off" valve. In other words, you can be signed out of your Gmail account and still be running "Google Talk" on your desktop and chat with friends and co-workers the old fashioned way, sans webcam.

According to the official Gmail blog: 'Once you install the plug-in, to start a video chat, just click on the "Video & more" menu at the bottom of your Gmail chat window, and choose "Start video chat." You'll have a few seconds to make sure you look presentable while it's ringing, and then you'll see and hear your friend live, right from within Gmail.' The operative phrase in this statement is: "You'll have a few seconds to make sure you look presentable." Yikes!!!

Here is the bottom line: if you are always signed into you Gmail account, the webcam is running and you better be prepared for your friends and co-workers to want to video chat with you. You better keep your desk straightened, your hair combed and not be wearing your PJs at 3:00PM.

For the record, I un-installed the "plug-in" yesterday, because I don't want to be the first one on my block to use this software...I am going to wait for Darin, Lisa, Dick, Dennis, Malik, Keith, Dan and Dennis to "plug-in". I don't want to be the cheerleader and I am still wondering why the usual cheerleaders are not cheering...just yet.
To learn more, view the video below and I promise to keep you posted on this new tool. Let me know what you think by posting a comment here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Google AdWords- Analyze Your Ad Performance

Analyze Your Ad Performance
-Ads Diagnostic Tool Are your ads showing for a particular search? Find out with this tool.
- Ads Preview Tool See your ad on Google without accruing extra impressions, and preview your ad as it appears to users in other geographic locations.
- Disapproved Ads Find out which ads have been disapproved and why, (editorial status).
- Conversion Tracking Define campaign goals and then pull data to determine which ads are the best at helping you reach those goals.
- My Change History Browse changes you've made to your account since January 1, 2006.

When it is all said and done, your ad performance is what determines your minimum bids for keywords for positioning, or in other words- the above analysis is how to make your campaign as cheap as possible by being efficient and relative according to Google.

Contact us at Webconsuls for more information and feel free to add to this topic if you have additional notes.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

ATT Fuze (HTC Touch Pro)

HTC Raphael, ATT Fuze, Touch Pro
AT&T Announces the release of the Fuze (HTC Raphael 101). For those of you familiar with the Diamond that came out not too long know how the new HTC interface, HTC TouchFLO 3D, which is convenient and addicting to use.

Sprint released their version of the same device but kept the original name, Touch Pro. For the most part the devices are the same except Sprint's Touch Pro is running on a CDMA frequency and AT&T's Fuze is running on GSM (which can be used as a world phone by unlocking it).

Spring may have kept the name the same but AT&T kept everything else. RAM capacity on the Fuze is 288MB where as the Touch Pro by Sprint has 256MB (This could be because of the bloated software installed).

Both HTC devices allow you to watch TV, browse the internet, and even listen to XM radio via 3G network.

The best part is it has a 640 x 480 pixel resolution screen. Yes, a VGA screen on a Windows Mobile device. Has a 3MP camera on VGA screen that allows you to record videos as well; having a separate digital camera pointless.

This is quite an amazing phone starting at $300 with a contract (price is a bit high but should come down soon). If you like this, you’ll fall in love with HTC Touch HD (coming soon).

What do you think about the phone? iPhone competition or not quite?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

3G iPhone Apps A Techie Would Love (and I do)

3G iPhone Apps A Techie Would Love. (and I do)
From My "Apps of the Moment" file comes,
  • Geocaching app from geocaching.com - go iPhone based treasure hunting at will.
  • Distant Suns , a hand held planetarium, for those "What's that in the sky daddy?" moments.
  • Ocarina , right outa The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, play and hear others play too!
  • WiFiFoFum WiFi sniffer app, because you don't want to be on a full channel now do you?
  • WinAdmin when you must change the default doc from the beach.
  • PhoneFlix . Update your Netflix Q from your iPhone
  • GPS Tracker update your location to the web every 5 seconds
  • PixUp for getting your full size iPhone images to Picasa
  • Dimensions rules, and turns your iPhone into a ruler among other things.
  • iDicto because you can get the recordings off the phone via wifi
  • Network Ping Lite , ping tracert and telnet, what geek doesn't love to ping something?
Some of these iPhone apps are free, others cost a few bucks. All of them can be found on my iPhone.
What iPhone apps have you found yourself using and not deleting? Any must haves that I missed?
 .

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How to Find a Photosynth in Live Search Maps

Photosynth is a new technology which takes two-dimensional pictures, knits them together and produces a three-dimensional navigable image set. Because of its three dimensional quality and the viewers ability to navigate through the collection of pictures Photosynth is especially suited for sharing spaces and locations.

Microsoft's Live Search Maps just made finding these synths a lot easier. Here is how to explore the up and coming world of geo-located photography.

To search for Photosynths:

1. Go to Microsoft's Live Search

2. In the search box type in your business, category and/or location you are searching for.


For my example I am going to search for "San Clemente, CA" because I know that a few photosynths have been added.

3. The Microsoft Live Search Maps have various collections of media available. In order to pull up the photosynth collections we must select "explore Collections" and there are two places to make this selection.
in the top righthand corner


or along the left hand side



To select only the photosynths

In Honor of Veteran's Day I am going to embed the Photosynth from Park Semper Fi, Marine Monument, San Clemente, California.



Great Uses for Photosynth Technology include:
  • Using photosynth technology is a great way for businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry to highlight local attractions and to give virtual tours of their grounds and rooms.
  • Realtors will also find immediate application as nothing showcases a space like photosynth, especially helpful for highlighing architectural features and small details within a larger scene.
  • Photosynths can be embedded into websites or shared via email.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Webconsuls Live Event Coverage of the Oxbow World Longboard Tour at San Onofre



The Oxbow World Longboard Tour came to town last week, And Webconsuls was there to cover the show. Surf legends and 44 of the worlds top longboard surfers were treated to hot and glassy surf for the entire contest. This year the event was located on the historic Surf Beach at San Onofre, the heart of Aloha on the US mainland. The winner, Bonga Perkins, was kind enough to sit down and answer all of the tough questions for our littlest interviewer. For more from the Oxbow World Tour 2008 San Onofre Championships please visit, LBChampionship.com. Video By Ella G. McClure, Questions By Ella G. McClure

For help with getting your live event on the internet,
Via Blogs, Youtube, Twitter, and other social media venues please contact us here at Webconsuls.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

There is Nothing Wrong with Change

I wanted to take this Sunday morning to talk about the recent progress made in the United States of America. I am twenty four years old and I have not seen many monumental things take place, that when I am older I can look back and say, "I was there to witness it". Barack Hussein Obama winning the Presidential election was my generation's "moon walk", it was something that I never thought was possible; and now that it has happened I can not help but feel like this election was amazing. I have a restored hope in the nation and its people, the 2008 election made loud and clear that anything in America is possible; or as a quote that my mother likes, " don't let your dreams die inside of you".

I am not sure whether Obama is going to make a good President. I am not sure if he is going to right all the wrongs of our past. All I know is that the world has been forever changed as of late; fortunately I can say I was alive to be a part of our transition into the future. I am excited and overjoyed with America's new promise and with the restored hope that the people's voice can and will be heard. What will tomorrow bring? I can't wait to see!
"There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction."
-Winston Churchill-

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The new road we will travel...change

Amherst College Choral Society. Can you find Dennis?
This weekend Dennis and I are attending homecoming at Amherst College. It is a sentimental journey for Dennis, class of 1968. I have been on this campus a number of times over the past 30 years, but yesterday was special for a number of reasons. While taking an afternoon stroll we came across a wonderful new, slightly larger than life-size statue of Robert Frost. I stood there admiring this work thinking of how the campus must have looked when Robert Frost was an English professor at Amherst, off and on from 1916 to 1938. I thought if Robert Frost were alive today what might he think of our most recent election. The last election Robert Frost witnessed was 48 years ago today when John F. Kennedy made history as the first Irish Catholic to be elected President of the United States. I remember that election night. I was eleven years old and I remember watching the returns with my Irish Catholic parents. I remember the tears in their eyes. When John Kennedy was inaugurated on January 20, 1961, he invited Robert Frost to speak at the inauguration. It was remarkable.

This week Dennis and I watched the election returns with our adult children. We watched History unfolding. Again remarkable. So today, again I will walk the Amherst College campus with Dennis, we will watch a football game, meet old friends, enjoy a concert. Robert Frost Statue Amherst College


And we will ponder the words of Robert Frost in his "The Road Not Taken".

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


Here's to the new road we will travel together...

Friday, November 7, 2008

2008 10 Best Cars


2008 10 Best Cars

1. BMW 3-series

2. Cadillac CTS

3. Chevrolet Corvette

4. Chevrolet Malibu

5. Honda Accord

6. Honda Fit

7. Mazda MX-5 Miata

8. Mazdaspeed 3

9. Porsche Boxster and Cayman

10.Volkswagen GTI

Three basic areas created the evaluation metric for this list (data from 'Car and Driver'),

1st. how well the vehicle performs its intended functions. Sports cars are expected to be fast and exhilarating, whereas it is presumed a family sedan will be frugal and practical.

2nd, there is a preference for the more engaging cars in each category, be it athletic driving manners, a attractive look, or a powerful engine.

3rd, is it a good deal? An inexpensive car that’s fast, fun, and practical will certainly rise to the top of this list.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Multiple Computers using Synergy not KVM

How do you hook up multiple computers with a single mouse and keyboard? You might be thinking of a KVM switch but what if you don't want to use one monitor for all the computers? Say you have a few computers each with their own monitor but you want to share the keyboard and mouse throughout it?

Synergy lets you easily share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers with different operating systems, each with its own display, without special hardware. It's intended for users with multiple computers on their desk since each system uses its own monitor(s). Below is a picture of my computer and laptop. A Desktop with 2 monitors and a laptop screen, all using a single keyboard and mouse.
Dual Monitors using Synergy at Webconsuls
All you have to do is install the software on each computer, configure it to pull the keyboard from the other computer and its as easy as that. Manuevering from one computer to another is as easy as moving the mouse off one screen to the next.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Who is Going to Win the 2008 Presidential Election?

True to form Google is prepared for Election 2008. Check out Google's Embeddable Election Map. Watch real time election results. Use the drop down menu to alternate between Presidential race, House and Senate.



Here are some online resources for today's elections.

On the Issues

Fact Check

Get out there and vote. Don't forget your "I voted" sticker as many Starbucks, Ben and Jerrys, and Kripsy Creme etablishments will be rewarding those exercising their right to vote with a free tall coffee, free scoop of ice cream or star-shaped doughnut with red, white and blue sprinkles respectively.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Are Filters Important? Ask Sarah Palin



Spam comes at us from many directions. It is estimated that on any given day 88% to 98% of emails sent across the internets are spam or virus laden. That begs the question, how good are your filters? Do you get 1 bad email a day? an hour? a week? Or has email become such a wasteland of spam that you no longer bother to read it and go directly to instant messaging or Facebook and Twitter. It looks to me like Sarah Palin needs to check her filters, as no "Flapper" should have ever let that kind of call thru. (a Flapper being the human equivalent of a filter.)

As Sarah found out, it is a good idea to check your filter regularly. Like your car, not just to see what has been caught, but also to decide if too much junk is getting thru.

Here at Webconsuls we use GMail for our domain email. Today I bet Palin wishes Google had a service that could filter her calls, perhaps when Grand Central comes outa beta.
.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Google will Release Third Beta of Chrome

Google's user friendly browser appropriately titled Google Chrome is the "Cat's Meow" of browsers. Your ability to navigate easily coupled with advanced applications makes Google Chrome worth its weight in Chrome. As with every beta project there will always be kinks to work out, and with every subsequent release Chrome can and will only get better. Google fixed scrolling with laptop touchpads and better reliability for those users who access the web through a proxy server. The new version of Chrome has improved performance and stability with a number of Plugins like Flash and Quicktime; they have also worked out a lot of security problems as well. Chrome added the ability to add words to the built-in spell checker.

If you already are working with Chrome then it will automatically update itself with the Third Beta within the next few days. I believe at a certain point in the near future Chrome will be the only browser you need to work with. In my life and work I use Chrome for 98% of my Internet activity, Chrome is by far the best browser I have worked with.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Turn your clocks back at 2:00AM Sunday, November 2nd, except if you live in parts of Arizona or Hawaii


Coffee-Maker
2008 Daylight Saving Time (DST), aka daylight time, will come to an end on Sunday, November 2nd at 2:00AM**. So if you happen to be awake at 2:00AM on Sunday morning and you don't live in most of Arizona and Hawaii please remember to "fall back". Most people will go around their home before they go to bed on Saturday evening and reset all of their clocks. They will check the kitchen stove, microwave, coffeemakers, wall clocks, grandfather clocks, alarm clocks, their wrist watches, etc. Depending on the age of your automobiles or the sophistication of your car you may need to reset your vehicle clocks, as well. Your computers will update automatically and the good news is if you have cable TV your local cable company will automatically update your cable boxes. "Springing forward" and "falling backward" can be exhausting.

40 year old oven clock
If you take the time to read the history of daylight saving time you will find that the pros and cons continue to baffle countries, states, counties, etc. When these governments debate the benefits, typically research shows that most of these benefits are never realized. But that is not my problem this year. You see this year I moved to Arizona, one of two of the United States that chooses not to observe "daylight saving time". Arizona is actually located in the Mountain Time Zone which means that when it is 10:00AM in California (PST), then it is 11:00AM in Arizona, except during "daylight saving time" when Arizona does not "spring forward", which means from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November it is the same time in Arizona as it is in California! Now just to confuse the issue a little more, part of Arizona includes the Navajo Nation and the geographical boundaries of the Navajo Nation include parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico; therefore, the Navajo Nation does observe "daylight saving time."

Cable Box
Time zones can be quite entertaining. We tend to zero in on our own time zone and sometimes have trouble with the simple computation of adding or subtracting hours to determine what time it is in another time zone. Let me give you an example. When I was an innkeeper in New Hampshire (EST) it was not unusual to get a phone call at midnight with someone requesting to make a reservation. Invariably when I would inquire where they were calling from they would say something like California (PST). If I had been awakened from a deep sleep, I would further inquire "Do you know what time it is in New Hampshire?" And more times than not, the response would be: "Oh, isn't it 6:00PM? Isn't New Hampshire three hours behind us?" No....New Hampshire is three hours ahead of California!

I, too, have been time zone challenged over the years. When I first moved to Alaska in the winter of 1983 there were four time zones Alaska. Yes, you read correctly, four time zones in one state. This became a problem when Dennis would travel throughout the state and he would call home to check in, many times forgetting that he was two time zones away from me and I had already gone to bed! Fortunately, in September 1983, Alaska went to two time zones. Some at the time referred to this new larger time zone as "political time." The New York Times reported on September 18, 1983: "Transportation Secretary Elizabeth H. Dole ordered changes Friday that will put most of Alaska in the same time zone and end years of confusion and communication problems in the state. Under the action, taken under the Uniform Time Act of 1966, all but the extreme western portion of the Aleutian Islands will be consolidated in the Yukon Time Zone. The change takes effect on Sunday, Oct. 30, when the country goes off daylight time. Alaska, the largest state in area, stretches across four time zones. That has created problems in doing business within the state, with the rest of the United States and with foreign countries. The changes were made at the request of the Alaskan authorities, who had complained of the difficulties of dealing with four time zones, after public hearings in the state."

Wall clocks need to be changed
The good news for me is that tonight I don't have to go around the house and change all of the time pieces, but I do have to remind myself for the next four months that I do live in the Mountain Standard Time zone and not to call my California Webconsuls' associates too early in the morning. Remember Mountain Standard Time is one hour ahead of Pacific Standard Time. This means when it is 6:00AM in Arizona, then it is 5:00AM in California!

This morning it just occurred to me that Fire safety officials encourage people to use the two annual clock shifts as a reminder to check the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. I wonder how Arizonians remember to check their smoke alarm batteries, since they don't need to reset their clocks. I will let you know how this works out for us.

By the way, since it is Saturday, why not share some of your own anecdotes about Daylight Saving Time?

**Daylight Savings 2012 ends on November 4th at 2:00AM.
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