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Questions for Google?

October 9th, 2008

Just to be upfront, I want to say that this is not a hit-piece on Google. They obviously do many things very well…and I use the heck out of their stuff. I just have a few questions that I hope someone will be able to answer.

In a continual effort to educate myself and stay clear of inadvertent SEO pitfalls…the more I dig, the more I think Google could easily end some of these ongoing debates.

Over the years, I have had many conversations regarding what should (and should not) be done to have a clean, appropriately search engine optimized website. Of course we’re all guessing, but I tend to approach white-hat SEO using simple logic.  But, unfortunately this approach seems to go against many of the SEO “experts”.

Question #1 -Are sub-domains treated differently than other structures?

Am I the only one that thinks sub-domains should be treated exactly like domains. Just ignore them Google…give the page the same weight as any other page. It is the same site!

I know I am going to hear someone scream “It is not always the same site”. I know this, but 99% of the time it is! should be given exactly the same weight as

Other SEO experts claim that using sub-domains gives a leg up on other URL structures, and that Google doesn’t like when you use them. In some cases they should to be used. It’s cleaner…It is part of life on the Internet! Not everyone who uses sub-domains is trying to game Google.

Question #2 – Are websites penalized because they have www and non-www versions?

WWW vs. non-WWW domains (duplicate content). Why can’t Google just figure out that if there is a site with the www, and it finds it’s way to the non-www on the same domain (or visa-versa), just ignore one. How hard would it be? Conventional wisdom says that Google penalizes sites that don’t fix this with .htaccess (or similar means) to eliminate one or the other. How crazy is that! WWW and non-WWW has been part of the Internet long before Google came along. If true, how many normal non-techie users have a site on the Internet that is getting penalized because Google can’t figure this one out?

Question #3 -Does Google use page relevance or site referrers to determine which ads to display?

AdSense Relevance. I have never been fond of the way Google senses and displays relevant (or non relevant) ads. I have heard that it uses referrer information often more than the page content that the ads are on to determine what the page is about.

For example: If you run a site that has many different topics. You have one page about SEO and another about Shoes. If you get a lot of users coming in from another SEO site, reading your page about SEO tips…then ads on your Shoe page will also be predominantly about SEO. This would make me nuts! The Adsense “partner” should be able to tag the page, and that should be used in combination with what Google senses to determine relevance.

Question #4 -Why does Google publish page rank?

And Finally! Why does Google continue to publish Page Rank (PR)? Just stop updating…get rid of it! This would end 95% of the black-hat, gray-hat, and white-hat SEO gaming. Everyone is following the all mighty PR. How crazy is that? It is like a large sign on every site!

When someone sees a PR 5, 6, 7, 8, etc…the SEO community immediately quantifies the site. All the link spamming, link buying & selling, link condoms, etc. would cease to be.  I would love to hear someone give me any reason why PR still exists in published form.

I understand that the basis of Google algorithm would still use linking and even the ranking of pages, but to publicize this is just plain goofy!

Does ambiguity and confusion help keep us sidetracked?


Curious WordPress Theme

September 18th, 2008


Curious is another free WordPress theme designed in a clean classic layout. Curious offers the following features:

– Custom graphics
– Widgetized – NEW!
– Print.css stylesheet
– Built in gravatar on the comment section
– Ready for WP 2.6+
– Valid XHTML and CSS, cross-browser tested
– Alternate background colors in comments
– Installation guide (PDF)


Live Demo

Have a look at the Live Demo.


Download Curious

Setup Instructions

After unzipping the package please refer to the Curious_Guide.pdf located in the /themes/curious/ folder for complete install and setup instructions.

Bugs and Suggestions

If you have any issues with the theme or you have found a bug, go to the contact page and let me know.

Stay tuned for updates

Curious is released and developed free of charge and will be continually improved and updated, so make sure to subscribe to the RSS Feed to stay up to date. – Customizable Corkboard

August 27th, 2008 is a customizable resource for designers and developers that I think is really cool! In an effort to be completely upfront, I will tell you that I recently purchased the site…but it is still cool! And since there is no revenue model, I think I am at liberty to share.

Maybe it is me, but there were so many things I like about the site. First off, I thought the design was interesting and functional. It’s run with MySQL, PHP, and a bunch of AJAX. Here’s how it works:

Basically, visitors come to the site, check out the resources, then favorite them (by clicking the heart) if they like a particular resource. They can then come back to the site to find all of there favorite resources all on one page.

The resources are then sorted by how many people favorited a particular one (highest rated ones first). Users can also customize how the categories appear on the page. You just click, drag and drop and then hit the “Save Category Order” button to save your settings instantly.

Users can also submit (for review) websites that they like, or sites that they think others would like. It is nice that users do not have to register to get the full functionality out of the site as it is cookie based. The potential downside to that is if you loose your cookies. Ah…but technology to the rescue! After the first time you use the site, a new graphic will appear that says “Like using CorkDump?”. Just click on that link, and the system will email you a link that will fully restore your CorkDump cookies should you need it.

So, check it out and leave me comments about what you think. Is it cool, or is it lame?

Yet Another iPhone Post

August 22nd, 2008

I have to throw this out to the readers. I have been contemplating purchasing an iPhone for a few weeks now. I so do NOT want to stand in line at an Apple store (I am impatient that way). I also do not want to be tied into a 2-year AT&T plan. My current provider is T-mobile. I like the service, and I am on a good plan.

From what I understand, the iPhone can be unlocked to work on the T-mobile network. Has any of you had any experience with this? I believe I will have to go with a G2 Model as the new G3 can’t yet be unlocked to work with other networks.

Man, these things are sweet…and expensive! On Craigslist & eBay an unlocked G2 is running around $300-$400. Still on the fence about the whole thing. I read that there are a lot of scammers and issues with unlocking the phone to work on other networks.

…we’ll see!

SandDollar WordPress Theme

August 14th, 2008


SandDollar is a free WordPress theme designed for a clean professional presentation. SandDollar offers the following:

– Widget ready (three zones)
– Automatic Greyboxing on images
– Random image widget
– Adsense ready (widget)
– 2/3 column
– valid xhtml/css
– Crossbrowser tested
– Alternate background colors in comments Include:
– Plugins and widgets installed
– installation guide (PDF)


Live Demo

Have a look at the Live Demo.


Download SandDollar

Setup Instructions

After unzipping the package please refer to the SandDollar_Guide.pdf located in the /themes/sanddollar/ folder for complete install and setup instructions.

Bugs and Suggestions

If you have any issues with the theme or you have found a bug, go to the contact page and let me know.

Stay tuned for updates

SandDollar is released and developed free of charge and will be continually improved and updated, so make sure to subscribe to the RSS Feed to stay up to date.

Visualizing Magnetic Fields. Cool!

June 4th, 2008

Now this is just super slick. Using some sort of freaky combination of sound recordings, live video and 3D CGI visualization, boffins at NASA’s Space Science Lab (UC Berkley) have devised a way to visually represent the invisible forces of magnetic fields in video available at Animate Projects. Check it out.

Magnetic Movie

The secret lives of invisible magnetic fields are revealed as chaotic ever-changing geometries . All action takes place around NASA’s Space Sciences Laboratories, UC Berkeley, to recordings of space scientists describing their discoveries . Actual VLF audio recordings control the evolution of the fields as they delve into our inaudible surroundings, revealing recurrent ‘whistlers’ produced by fleeting electrons . Are we observing a series of scientific experiments, the universe in flux, or a documentary of a fictional world?

Take a peek at the Magnetic Movie page for a more detailed description and another video.

Use Safari’s Activity Window to Save YouTube Videos (and More)

May 30th, 2008

Safari comes with an incredibly powerful tool called the “Activity” window, which can be used to download YouTube (or any other video site) videos, files from websites, MP3s from or any other type of file present that can’t be directly downloaded, right to your desktop. There are many third party applications and services that allow users to download YouTube videos directly, but many people do not realize that this functionality is built right into Safari.

To illustrate this, I’m going to use YouTube videos as an example (.flv file format), but as stated previously this works with any online file.

Simply go to the YouTube video page where the video plays, click Window -> Activity and a window will appear similar to the one pictured below.

Download YouTube Videos From Safari Using Activity Monitor

We’re shown a range of different files in this list, but we’re looking for the flv video file, which will most likely be the largest file of the list (highlighted below).

Safari Activity Window

Select that file, hit copy and paste it into the Downloads window (Window -> Downloads), and the video will start downloading to your desktop. Note: With YouTube videos, the downloaded file will be called “get_video” with no file extension, you’ll need to rename it to “something.flv”, in order to be able to play it.

Peggle Is Very Addictive

May 29th, 2008

Peggle is a simple puzzle game from PopCap that seems to possess some sort of mystic time-sucking power, where once you start playing, the next glance at the clock will have you shocked at the length of time you’ve been entranced. Check it out, unless you don’t want your day to be wasted 🙂

Mac App Idea: Finder Bar Twitter

May 27th, 2008

Here’s my idea for a little OS X application, Twitter in the Finder Bar (of course, I would call it something better than that :P). As I’ve illustrated in the following image, this application would display the most recent Twitter post from your friends (vertically scrolling when a new one comes in) in the OS X Finder Bar.

Finder Bar Twitter

Twitter is a service that is a perfect candidate to be condensed down into the Finder Bar’s small horizontal UI area. It’s out of the way enough to not add to clutter, but sitting right there for when you need it. Since Twitter’s content is made up of text no more than 140 characters in length, there’s really no need for an expansive UI.

To provide some interactivity, if the user clicks in the text area it turns into an input box, that is used to write a new Twitter update. For example, in this case I might click it and write a response to Todd: “@Todd Iron Man is great. Have fun!” hitting enter to post.

I came about this little idea since I really have no need for the relatively bulky Twitter GUIs that exist today. My Twitter needs are limited to seeing the latest update and being able to reply or add my own in a snap. The current available solutions have user interfaces that are far too involved for these simple operations, and take up too much screen real estate.

If anyone is, or knows anyone with the knowledge to bring this to life, and is interested in developing this small freeware app. Let me know.

FWA Theater

May 27th, 2008

I highly recommend checking out the beautiful new motion graphics showcase site, FWA Theater. It features some of the best and most inspiring work in advertising, viral video, motion and the like.

The site itself is powered by Fantasy Interactive‘s new platform, FiV, which seems to trump sites like YouTube in every way, and it’s pretty too.

Apple Mighty Mouse Sucks

April 29th, 2008

Apple’s minimalistic, aesthetic-focused product design philosophy seems to work very successfully in nearly every product they produce, bar one glaring exception; The Apple Mighty Mouse. For some reason, this product is, frankly, an ergonomic nightmare. Oddly, it seems to be shaped like some sort of alien pod from the future/space, not formed subtly to the natural flow of the human hand like you’d expect from a direct input device. This means that not only is it difficult to use (I sometimes find myself contorting my hand in wrist-tingling ways just to complete certain tasks as a part of my daily routine web-browsing and designing) but even more annoyingly, the pitifully tiny and strangely shaped scroll ball just stopped working for me a couple of weeks after purchase.

At first it wouldn’t scroll down, then upwards motions stopped registering and finally it just completely stopped responding. Upon checking the Apple support forums I discovered a huge number of folks with similar issues, and none with a working solution (at least, for me).

Mighty Mouse

So, being completely fed up and ready to hurl this little smooth white hunk of useless shiny plastic through the wall, I ran out to a computer store and picked up the Logitech MX Revolution, having read such positive reviews for the thing by some respected bloggers (namely Glenn Wolsey).

MX Revolution

And wow, what a difference! I honestly can’t believe I’ve been using anything else over the past years. This mouse feels absolutely comfortable to hold, and has more features than ever imaginable. I’ve now set it up to have complete control over my iTunes, I can increase/decrease volume, skip forwards and backwards between tracks, play and pause the current track and even hit the “quick search” button to bring up CoverSutra‘s awesome input box to skip to specific tracks by typing in keywords.

This is the best mouse I’ve ever held in my hand, and is in stark contrast with Apple’s rounded thing. If you’re considering a new mouse, then be sure to read more about the MX Revolution, and by god, think twice before grabbing the Mighty Mouse.

LiveSurface Layered Images

April 21st, 2008

LiveSurface may look like a crisp set of stock images on the exterior, but it’s true purpose is to provide a way for designers to mock-up various treatments of their designs, in true-to-life 3D placement. If that all sounds too poorly worded to comprehend, take a second to watch the QuickTime video below.

A great method for presenting a “real-world” preview to your clients. Just throw the design into the LiveSurface composition and position it with Photoshop’s Vanishing Point filter (the three dimensional planes are already set up for you), and you’re good to go.

If you’d like to have a play with one of these ingenious images, create a free LiveSurface account and they’ll give you one for nothing, just for you to tinker with.

Three Brilliant Designers Using Sharpfolio

April 1st, 2008

I’ve been stunned by some of the design that’s being showcased using the brand new Sharpfolio theme, and today I’ve uncovered three wonderful designers who’ve chosen to use it to present their work to the world.

Tim May, Ryan Klaverweide (who found a use for white.css, which will be a part of future versions) and Ali Salem have made me very proud by choosing Sharpfolio to display their beautiful work.

Here’s a couple of my favourites. Click the images to view their full portfolios.

And just remember, you’re absolutely welcome to slice, dice, rip, tear and modify the Sharpfolio theme in any way, actually, I encourage it. Use it however you wish.

Leave me links in the comments here to show me your awesome work in Sharpfolio, or what you’ve done with it.

Brand New: Sharpfolio 2!

March 31st, 2008

I’ve just rolled out a massive update to Sharpfolio, my WordPress Portfolio Theme. There’s a heap of new features, including things that many of you’ve been asking for like comment support, automatic “lightboxing” and image resizing, custom pages and a completely re-worked design.


Since this is a complete refresh, there’s bound to be a couple of outstanding issues (from my personal testing it’s fairly air-tight), and I’d love to hear what you think, so if you’ve got any comments be sure to throw them my way.



March 29th, 2008

In my opinion, there are no mobile phones in the market today that deserve to be labeled an “iPhone Killer”, or even a rival to Apple’s holy device. However, that doesn’t mean to say that I think the iPhone is the best phone on the market, there just isn’t much yet that is geared the same way.

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1

But there’s one device that is slated for release in the second half of 2008 that has really got me excited. The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 looks absolutely gorgeous, with an amazing 800 x 480 pixel resolution, 3 inch screen (compared to 320 x 480 pixel for the iPhone), supporting basically every network standard and a featuring full QWERTY slide-out keypad (along with full touch-screen capability). The software is based on Windows Mobile, but Sony Ericsson have put a huge focus on building the user interface, in an attempt to appeal to the iPhone generation. Coupled with full GPS functionality, Google Maps, WiFi, Video Calling, and a slew of other features, it really looks like the iPhone will have a worthy opponent later this year.


If you’re as enthused as I am about the upcoming release of this device, then I suggest subscribing to inexperia to stay as up to date as possible with the latest developments.

Fat Free CSS Drop Shadows

March 27th, 2008

Most of the current publicized methods for implementing drop shadows in web design are far too excessive, some require wrapping the images in three extra divs, most rely on sliced images or sluggish javascript, but there’s a really simple method to add shadows to any block-level element without the need for any of this other faff, just pure, logical CSS.

As you’ll see in the examples, one can generate shadows of any width, in any colour and on any background. This technique is also rendered exactly the same in all browsers because, well, it’s just so simple (and simple solutions make me tingle).

Example: 2px Subtle Shadow

Example Image 1
img.shadow {
background: #afafaf;
padding: 1px;
border: 1px solid #d6d6d6;

Note that the above code is suited for this site’s background colour, I figuring out what colours to use before simply copying and pasting the code.

The logic behind this is quite simple, pad the element with 1 pixel of spacing to reveal its background colour (which is set to an appropriate shade of grey), then set the element’s border to a 1 pixel solid, lighter shade of grey. This gives a subtle (and in my opinion, good-looking) shadow effect, and won’t give you any headaches in the long run. I recommend using Photoshop to create a 3 pixel drop shadow on a layer (using your site’s background colour as the document background) and use this to reference your shadow colours.

If you’d like to see some more examples and take a look at the code, I’ve set up an Example Page. Using the methods documented there you can generate shadows of any size, even though I do believe the more subtle look is much nicer.

I’ve used this technique on a handful of client’s sites, even on dark backgrounds and it always works wonderfully, and since there’s no extra images, tricky javascript etc, you feel a lot cleaner when using this 🙂

The New Design

March 26th, 2008

As previously mentioned, I’ve just switched over to WebRevolutionary’s new design. While the old design was quite well received by most, I felt that it lacked the versatility I needed, had fairly poor typography, and, well, I was getting a little bored.

New WebRevolutionary Theme

To some, the new design (unofficially named “Greyscale”) may not look quite as flashy, or as colourful as the previous incarnation, but that exactly what I was aiming for. The new theme is geared towards being clean, legible, well layed out, wider and more flexible. I enjoyed diving straight into the markup with this design, skipping the Photoshop mockup process entirely. This means that I was able to give more focus to the functionality and practicality of the blog, rather than it’s digs. I’m sure I’ll be tweaking this thing around for weeks, so if you find any gaping holes or oversights please get in touch with me.

In this new era for WebRevolutionary, I’m going to focus on making the posts colourful enough to balance out the… greyness of the layout, both in the literal and metaphorical sense.

As for the old red/black/blue theme, I’m about to start cleaning it up for public release. Either one individual who’s looking for a solid, unique theme for their blog, or, failing that a free download for the world to ingest. If you’d like to discuss the prospect of making the theme yours, again, just get in touch.

Schweppes Beautiful Slow-motion TV Ad

March 10th, 2008

I’ve always been amazed by ultra-slow-motion video, it’s fascinating that such beauty can be revealed from seemingly mundane actions by looking deep at their transience. Who would have thought that I’d be staring at my monitor, mesmerized by a water balloon popping, or a piece of popcorn exploding.

The Schweppes company has just released a beautiful new television ad, as a part of the “Burst” campaign, filmed in Australia, which

[..] consists of five videos using slow motion cameras at 10,000 frames per second to capture the final moments in the trajectories of water balloons. The Schweppervescence moment is linked with the bubbles in the air moments after the pouring of Schweppes lemonade, dry ginger ale, mineral water, tonic or soda water.

Cool, huh?

Beautify Your iTunes Movie Collection

January 25th, 2008

I’ve said it before, I’m a real stickler for organization. For some odd reason, my Music collection must contain only full albums, with correct covers and ID3 tags. I just can’t stand having anything out of place. Even with this sort of near-OCD, I’ve for the longest time had a mass of Movies and TV Series’ on my computer in various formats (DivX, XviD, etc) and various resolutions. All sorted only by filename.

Thankfully, I discovered that iTunes serves as a downright excellent means for managing all this (the Movies and TV Shows tabs aren’t for nothing). Sure, it would take some time to convert my collection from random formats to MP4, but with great tools like Stomp (beautiful icon and interface) and VisualHub (not-so-beautiful icon and interface), but the outcome definitely worth it.
I painstakingly (over many weeks) converted all my media to H.264 at an iPod classic-compatible 640px wide resolution and a relatively high bitrate, then using the wonderful MetaX filled out the futuristic meta-data of each file, giving my movies automatic gorgeous covers and other details.

iTunes Movie Meta

Finally, with a properly-sorted media library I can sleep soundly. Sure, it means when I download acquire new Movies and TV Shows I need to convert and tag them, but that only adds an extra few hours. It’s well worth it.

Design Police

January 18th, 2008

Heh, I can think of a few wonderful places to stick these 🙂 Wonderful concept, let’s hope that the Design Police help win the war on bad design.

Design Police Page 1

Design Police Page 4

Via bblinks & Oneplusinfinity ? swissmiss

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