Category Archives: Technology

Webapps are still a good idea

several ipads used as kiosk

Webapps were the future. Steve Jobs and Apple originally wanted the iPhone to use web pages as Apps. Then people started throwing billions of dollars at Apple so they said Apps were the way to go. However, you can still turn your simple website into a standalone iOS App using some simple META DATA.

This article on using the iPad as a Kiosk is a great starting point. I took incorporated the tips into my site (michaelmontez.com) and you can now save the page as an App.

  • Hid the browser chrome (URL bar and buttons) using <meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes" />;
  • Created a bookmark icon for the home screen and linked to it using <link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="/path/to/icon.png" />;
  • Set the color of the status bar (the options are black, gray or black translucent) using <meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-status-bar-style" content="black" />;
  • Made all events touch events, as opposed to hover events, to accommodate the limitations of the touchscreen.

The iPad was originally all about webapps. For that reason, you can still turn any webpage/site into an app, no Apple approval required.

Read the full article at Smashing Magazine

UPDATE – once you try this, you will find that you site links open in a new Safari page. You can prevent this by adding the script found here: https://gist.github.com/1042167

The left eye is worse than the right eye.

Eye Exam

Got an eye-exam this week. They took pictures of my eyes. I turned the pictures into this graphic. Please feel free to use it for your kids birthday or wedding invitation.

The left eye is worse than the right eye.

How to quiet your friends on Facebook

Do you have 100+ “friends” on Facebook? Do those 100+ friends post a lot of junk? Do some of those friends post more crap than quality? Well, you can filter your Facebook friends and only show “All Updates,” “Most Updates,” or “Only Important Updates.” What does this mean to you? Well, you know that uncle that only post game updates…now you can say, “only show me the important stuff.” And for your lover, you can select, “All Updates,” and you will never miss a post.

In your friend feed, you can hover over the news items of the person you would like to edit. On the right, you will see a little “down arrow.” Click the arrow and you will get a menu of options for this friend.

The first section will increase/reduce the amount of post you see from this person. You can also select “unsubscribe from…” This will allow you to not see anything from this person…but stay “friends.” Take that MOM!

KCRW Music Mine app – passionate people sharing music

As a Los Angeles transplant, I miss KCRW programming. Listening online is good, but the new KCRW Music Mine app is so much better than live. Not only can you listen to a well curated list of music, you can listen to the various DJ’s most recent show. Unlike Pandora or Spotify, the ‘discovery’ is taken care of for you.

Back in the day, radio station people were interested in finding and sharing new music, sound, voice, and noise and using the radio waves to disseminate it. Slowly, it became less about discovery and more about profit (so is the cycle of business). Fast-forward to 2011. Most major cities have limited music variety on the radio. A rock station, hi-hop station, and pop station (sometimes all three in one). This mono-culture does very little for the small-brand, up-and-coming band/artist.

The power of KCRW and the KCRW Music Mine app is that it returns to the days of passionate people sharing music and noise. This is not a pop-star app, and it is not hipster, WTF was that noise maker app. It’s a perfect blend of both with a fantastic touch interface. Give Music Mine a spin (it’s free – duh).

And don’t forget to support KCRW and your local Public Radio Station.

American FourSquare Badges

I have been using FourSquare for a while now and I enjoy collecting these badges.  If you are not using FourSquare, here is a little bit about it:

Foursquare is a mobile application that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. It is a friend-finder, a social city guide and a game that challenges users to experience new things, and rewards them for doing so. Foursquare lets users “check in” to a place when they’re there, tell friends where they are and track the history of where they’ve been and who they’ve been there with. For more information on how foursquare works, see our searchable FAQ.

There are badges that you can get for checking into specific types of places in a certain order. So I created a few of my own badges for people to collect. Here are the badges and how you can obtain them.

American Obesity Badge

FourSquare American Obesity Badge

Using your rotund fingers, check-in to four or more fast-food restaurants in one 24 hour period to unlock and add this badge to your collection.

Juvenile Diabetes Badge

FourSquare Juvenile Diabetes Badge

Check-in to McDonald’s six or more times in one week to unlock and add this valuable (and increasingly more common) badge to your collection.

Meth-Cooker

FourSquare Meth Cooker Badge

Check-in to three or more drug stores in one four-hour period (after buying up all the Sudafed of course) to unlock and add this valuable badge to your collection.

[ad#336x280 - Image Only]

Put Your Best Facebook Forward

Want to PIMP your Facebook profile page? Well, maybe not “pimp”, but at least clean up your Facebook profile. You can do some cool things to your Facebook page. Your profile photo can be up to 600 pixels in height but only 200 pixels wide. So fire up your Adobe Photoshop (or Adobe Fireworks) and start building a new profile page.

Clean up the images on your Facebook Profile

The other thing you can do to your profile is edit those pictures in the photo bar above the status updates. These are images of you people have “tagged”. As your images are tagged, they are added to the bar. But sometimes the images suck and you’ll want to remove them. When you move your mouse over the image, you’ll see a small “X” in the upper right corner. Clicking the X will remove the image from the bar an replace it with the next image. Keep removing until you have your five favorite images in the bar.

[ad#336x280 - Image Only]

Being ON Google VS. Being IN Google

The difference between being on Google and being in Google is vast. There are essentially two sections on the Google search engine results page, ORGANIC LINKS and SPONSORED LINKS. Organic links live in the area right in the middle of the page. Sometimes there is a map but most of the time it’s just a list of results. They are called ORGANIC results because they happen “naturally” (not paid for). Google has an algorithm for organic search results. It’s based on hundreds of factors and if you think you know what the factors are, you can game the results. Gaming your website to get better results is called SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

There are hundreds of companies (individuals mostly) that can get your site IN Google. These people are SEO people. SEO people take your website and add loads of text related to your businesses topic as well as “optimize” little elements of your site (meta data, title tags, headers, image tags, etc.). All this text and all these little tweaks can add up to big results if it is done correctly and ONLY if you constantly maintain these elements. It’s a perfect business because it’s a service that never really finishes. You can always “optimize” something else on the website and Google is always making changes to it’s algorithm so you have to go back and make those changes as well. Your site can be on the first page of “Baltimore Homes for Sale” one day and on page five the next day simply because Google made some changes to the formula. You could spend thousands of dollars (if you hire someone) and countless hours (if you do it yourself) only to find your site the victim of Google’s whims. But large companies do spend these large amounts of time and money because you can SEO your way to the top of Google’s search results. For the small business operation, this is not going to be an option. You have other things to worry about (like helping your old customers and acquiring new customers).

On the other part of the search results page are where you find the SPONSORED LINKS. These links (technically they are ads) are paid for. You can pay Google to be in this section and give your business exposure. This section is where Google makes most of their billions of dollars. Tell me no one clicks on these links and I will tell you that Google made $2 Billion in the last 3 months (last quarter) of 2009. People look at and click on these ads.

When I talk about getting ON Google, I am referring to using Google AdWords. Using Google AdWords is the easiest, most complex thing you can do for your business. Here’s what I mean. In it’s basic form, Google AdWords requires you (the business owner) to create an advertisement (text only), pick some keywords or phrases related to your business, and set a daily or monthly budget. Piece of cake, right? Well, no. You’re not an advertising specialist, or a keyword analyst. You can build a great ad but pick the wrong keywords. Or you pick great keywords, set your budget at $100 a day (not expecting to get THAT many clicks) and find yourself with a $3000 bill at the end of the month ($100/day * 30 days).

Just like there are SEO specialist, there are SEP (Search Engine Placement) specialist. If you are a small business, I would put my money with an SEP specialist before I put it with a SEO specialist. With a SEP specialist, you can set a budget and let them run your ads. You only have to worry about answering the phone and running your business. Similar to SEO, SEP specialist are usually individuals, but there are a handful or large SEP companies. I would recommend using one of these larger companies.

There are a lot of things you can do as a small business owner to increase your Internet exposure. Take advantage of all the free options, then slowly dip your toe into the service options. Don’t spend more then you can afford on Internet marketing and never spend money on print advertising (yellow pages, newspaper, etc.) until you have exhausted all your online options.