Webconsuls - Web Design, SEO, and SMO Specialists

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

GOOGLE is Going Places

Is Your Business Listed on Google Places?
It is funny how you happen across important marketing news on the Internet. For the past year or so, I have tried to follow YELP in the news and I have talked about the importance of side streets when it comes to marketing you and your business. The reason I have followed YELP in the news is that recently two class action suits were initiated against YELP. But imagine my surprise when I "GOOGLED" YELP in the news and I discovered this headline: "Google couldn't buy Yelp—So It's Going to War Instead". What I learned is that Google's Local Business Center is now called Google Places. I encourage you to read about Google Local Business Center becoming Google Places.


I have written about Google Local Business Center before and some of the frustrations I have encountered when trying to help our clients. According to Google's Google Maps, Earth, and Local VP John Hanke, "One out of five searches on Google are related to location, and we want to make sure that businesses are able to be found and put their best foot forward."

There is a lot of chatter or tweeting about this change, but what I find remarkable is that it does not seem that GOOGLE took the time to notify current business owners of these changes. I am speaking of those business owners who have previously claimed their Google Local Business Center listings. Google has their email addresses. Certainly they could have done this. Did you get notified? We didn't.

Here is what I have decided to do going forward, and I have urged my other team members to do the same: Read about Google Places and SUBSCRIBE TO THE OFFICIAL GOOGLE BLOG. Don't be left in the dust while everyone else is exploring new PLACES!

Watch Google's Training Video


And you can learn more here:

USA Today Technology Live

Information Week

Monday, April 26, 2010

NASA Flagship Computer Pleiades

A visualization of the Ares-1's main engine plume interacting during a type-4 stage separation with the Interstage, created at the NASA advanced supercomputing facility. The facility's current top-end supercomputer, known as Pleiades, is the sixth-fastest computer on Earth, measured recently at 973 teraflops--or 973 trillion floating point operations a second.(Credit: Goetz Klopfer, NASA Exploration Systems MissionDirectorate)

People are always talking about the times that they can vividly remember where they were when it happened. Significant events that shaped the world, moments that signified and let people know, as Bob Dylan would say, "The Times They are A-Changin". Sometimes beautiful and other times ugly, there are definitely moments in my life, that as it was happening, I said to myself, "the world will never be the same". I remember as a young child hearing stories from my parents about times in their lives that changed the world as they or anyone for that matter knew it. I would think to myself, and ask if one day something even close to comparable to the events that my father and mother lived through would happen in my lifetime.

I was born into the age of computers, despite the Internet being a relative baby, there were people who understood even back in 1984 that computers were going to revolutionize the way we live. I am not sure my parents understood it back then, but there were people that were the same age I am now who knew that they were walking into uncharted territory. I have to imagine that my grandparents felt the same way about the idea of people going into Space and eventually to the moon, as the people in the 80's felt about computers and eventually a world wide web. My generation is the generation of space and Internet combined, one could say almost Universal; with computers, we can create here on earth, environments and occurrences that only happen in the vast expanses of space. I think about what my grandparents might have said about going into space, or what my parents said about the possibilities of the Internet, and what my generation will say about what is to come?

Just what kind of computer does NASA use to achieve the impossible? The advanced supercomputing facility at the Ames Research Center is the home of NASA's flagship computer they have named Pleiades; Pleiades is an open star cluster containing middle-aged hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus. NASA Pleiades, not a star cluster, it is the sixth fastest giant computer in the world - with a current rating of 973 teraflops - or 973 trillion floating point operations per second. This computer, along with five other similar computers around the world, are bigger and faster than anything ever imagined and they are allowing us to consider possibilities we couldn't have even dreamed of.

Super computers are only getting faster and more efficient allowing the world of science to explore and examine the furthest reaches of space. I look forward to the day when I will look back on an historic monumental event in my lifetime short of terrorist attacks and war. The universe is 99.99 percent unexplored, computers like Pleiades will help us explore and understand much more.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cities Around The Country Making Attempts To Catch Google's Eye

Greenville, South Carolina recruited citizens to spell out Google with color coded glow sticks.
Last month Google announced its plan to provide a Fiber Optic network to a select group of cities. This fiber optic network would be 20 times faster than residential fiber optic services that are available now in select areas. This is big news and there are a number of cities that would love the opportunity to harness the full power of Google. Immediately after Google made its announcement, cities around the country started making attempts to catch Google's eye. You may ask yourself: what does it takes to get the attention of the biggest company in the world? Let me tell you the great lengths cities have gone to: Topeka, Kansas renamed its city 'Google' for the month of March, Mayors signed proclamations, city employees were forced to sing and dance, jumped into freezing lakes, etc.

Google will provide the network free for the city that wins, (consumers using the services will be charged). The speed will be incredible, 1GB/sec fiber, 100 times faster than the average American's Internet speed. Digital communications and measurement firm Steketee Greiner and Co. analyzed over 90 cities across the US to determine which city was trying the hardest. Not an easy task, according to Tech Crunch, "through measuring activity around online conversation, digital syndication, presence, involvement and activation, to determine which city will come out on top. At the moment, Steketee reports that Duluth seems to be in first place, with Grand Rapids taking second, Topeka coming in third place, Fresno in fourth place and Sarasota rounding out with the fifth spot".


Unfortunately, I live in a city that did not make as much effort as the others. I submitted a request here in Eugene, OR for the opportunity to experience Internet the way it was intended, but, I fear there were not many here who did the same. Oh well, perhaps in the future we will have the ability to partake in the experience. At the end of the day it makes me happy to know Google is encouraging other Internet providers to offer the same kind of services. Internet should be in every home, whether you can afford it or not, live in the country or city, there is no reason why you should not be connected to the world.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Google Promising Faster Service

Where did all the paper go? I am not very old, but, I can still remember when paper dominated my life, it seems like it was everywhere. Years and years of paper work, school work, personal writings, and daily reminders; then there were piles of devices designed to hold all the paper - binders, notebooks, and I'm sad to say even Trapper Keepers littered the house and office. My parents had it even worse; they need garages to hold all their paper work - literally. In the 26 years that I have been on this planet I have accumulated a wealth of writing, a fraction of my folks, but still enough to make a presence.

In the last few years paper has been removed from my life almost completely, with the exception of receipts and medical records, I do not use paper for much of anything anymore. Even better, I do not have a hundred and fifty binders scattered around my house. This has been made possible for me by the use of Google Docs, documents you create that can be shared and edited by whomever you want; Google Docs are saved and secured on Google's servers, what I like to call the Google File Cabinet. Unlimited storage for whatever you write. Google Documents has revolutionized the workplace, created a much more efficient clutter free environment.

Millions of people now use Google Docs and there is greater demand for improved performance. Google is now promising faster service and real-time collaboration tools for Google Docs. "The main improvement was to create a common infrastructure across the Google Docs products, all of which came into Google from separate acquisitions", said Jonathan Rochelle, group product manager for Google Apps. Many of the real-time abilities that Google Wave has will be incorporated into Google Docs; that way people who have access to the document you are working on can see the changes you make as they are happening.

If you are not using Google Docs, I encourage you to do so; GDocs can really save you a lot of time in your day to day work. It's free and it is user friendly. According to CNET, "Microsoft is also intent on delivering online office-productivity services to its customers, with plans to release online versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to users with Office 2010. That will be introduced in May for business users and June for consumers". This means Google will have to get on the horse to compete!
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Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Importance of Story In Your Life

A great photo to highlight the importance of story! Joann Eagen, Agnes Eagen, Pat Kimball, and Judy Eagen, Winter 1951
I am writing this blog today because Chris Brogan has challenged his readers to write about the "importance of story in your life." Chris was talking about Don Miller's latest book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life and from this came the challenge. Apparently if I am timely enough with this post I might receive a free copy of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life. In an earlier post, February 21, 2010, Chris Brogan encouraged his readers to use social media to "Turn your lens on your family. Tell family stories for future generations."

For those of you who know me (i.e., my immediate family, team members, relatives, friends, previous co-workers, blog readers), I am most generally known as the storyteller. If you give me a subject I can probably tell you a story from my life that relates to that subject. While many may roll their eyes, get the "hook" or give me the old wind-up signal when I start to tell a story, these are the same people who will ask if the yearly holiday letter is ready to mail or have I posted to the Webconsuls' blog lately.

When I was assigned to be the Saturday morning blogger for Webconsuls I allowed myself the freedom to write about any topic, it did not have to be technical in any fashion. So you can imagine my blog topics have been all over the map.

My father liked to share stories about his life and I liked listening to him tell a good story. Today I am thinking back to couple of years ago when I shared with my two sons a letter that had been written by my father in 1950.

The day I shared this was Father's Day 2008 and since my father had passed away in 1979 neither of my sons had the opportunity to know my dad. I decided that I would send a copy of this letter to Aaron and Daniel, so that they might have some insight into their maternal grandfather, Joseph Raymond Eagen. The letter was written to my mother on December 16, 1950, addressed from Hungnam, Korea. My father was aboard the USS Kaskaskia. According to Wikipedia "During December she arrived off Hungnam to service ships engaged in evacuation operations in that area. Throughout the harsh winter months, Kaskaskia continued vital fueling missions between Japan and Korea." If you choose to read the letter it is here. Just click on each jpg and they will enlarge.
Page 1 Daddy's Letter December 16, 1950
Daddy's letter, page 2

Page 2 Daddy's letter December 16, 1950
Daddy's letter, page 1


Happily both Aaron and Daniel enjoyed reading my dad's letter. Aaron referred to it as "fascinating" and Daniel called it "amazing, like nothing I ever read before." A story well received, all brought about because my brother, Michael Eagen, found the letter, created jpgs, emailed me the letter and I was able to email it to my children. Fabulous.

I must tell you that if you read the letter you will know that my dad talks about buying and mailing some special jackets. Daniel wanted to know if I still had the jacket! Well, I don't, but I do have a great photo of me with my sisters and Pat Kimball. Now you know the story behind the photo at the top of today's post.We are all wearing our "jackets". It is Winter 1951.

So this is today's important story. Enjoy! And, by all means, let me know what you think of it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Census 2010 - Be Part of the Snapshot of America

2010 Census Mailing Envelope
United States Census 2010 Envelope


Have you checked your mail this past couple of weeks? Did you find a 6 X 10 inch envelope from the U.S. Census Bureau simply addressed "TO RESIDENT AT"? The fact that this official government document is not personally addressed to YOU may prompt you to think that this is junk mail. It is not. The point of not personalizing the addressee line is to reach every person residing in every single abode. The last census was taken in 2000. How many addresses have you had in the past 10 years? Where were you living in 2000? (for me that was three addresses ago)You see what I mean?


Ok, let's get to the meat of this topic.

Fact: Your domicile was or will be sent by First Class U.S. Mail a Census Form.

Fact: Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution specifies that the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives is to be distributed proportionally among the states on the basis of the census to be conducted every 10 years.

Fact: The 2010 Census Form is one of the shortest in history: just 10 questions that only take about 10 minutes to answer.

Fact: If a completed census form is not returned from your address, a U.S. Census Field Representative will visit your domicile and attempt to obtain an accurate count of the number of people living at your address.

Now let's assume for argument sake that you don't complete the form and a U.S. Census Field Representative comes to your door. Remember, if you don't send back your form, you may receive a visit from a census taker. If a census taker visits you, here's what you should do:


• First ask to see their ID. All census workers carry official government badges marked with just their name; they may also have a "U.S. Census Bureau" bag. Click here for more info.

• Note that the census taker will never ask to enter your home

• If you're still not certain about their identity, please call the Regional Census Center - to confirm they are employed by the Census Bureau

• Answer the census form questions for your entire household (you must be at least 15 years old to answer questions) so that the census taker can record the results for submission to the Census Bureau

Follow this link for the list of questions that the Census Worker will ask you.

Above Information Provided by the US Census Bureau.

I think you get the picture, but allow me to add some fun to this process. You might want to take some time, no matter your age, and learn a little more about the U.S. Census. Here is an interesting YouTube video about the Census and the Constitution.


For those of you with school age children this can be a real learning experience. For your convenience here is a Census Historical Highlights 1790-2010. You may want to visit Ancestry.com and get a free trial membership. You can then search for U.S. Census Reports that document your grandparents, parents, etc.

For example, I never knew my grandparents. Both of my parents were born in 1918. This means that the first time my parents were counted was the 1920 census. Below you will see the census reports for 1920, town of Denton, Montana (2000 census population 301) for my father, Joseph Eagen, and town of Butte, Montana (2000 census population 33,892) for my mother, Marie Lynch. The story goes on…


Census Page Denton, MT, Eagen Family 1920
Denton, MT 1920 Census Page Eagen Family


Census Page Butte, MT Lynch Family 1920
Butte, MT 1920 Census Page Lynch Family