Google Font API

Google Font API

When I was taking a college HTML/CSS class way back in 2003, I remember one thing. I was writing code for a site I was ‘designing’ in class (and I use that term loosely). I really, REALLY wanted to have a pretty font. That’s all I was asking for. But due to web safe fonts, it was a bitch to do that. So what did I do? I put my font in as an image and wrote the image into my code. Simple solution at the time right? Teacher was amazed, ended up getting asked to tutor… all for one stupid revelation that we weren’t taught in class.

Google has now officially fixed (or at least helped) that pain in the ass situation. What they have been working on is a Google Font Directory, where developers and designers can submit their fonts for us to use, so that developers, designers and coders can use the Google Font API to enhance their websites with more web-safe fonts.

Google Font

With each font, there’s the html code that you’ll insert into your site so that it can read, accept and display it. The html will look something to this effect to link it to the external style sheet:

<link href=’‘ rel=’stylesheet’ type=’text/css’>

and the CSS will look like:

h1 { font-family: ‘Cantarell‘, arial, serif; }

…doesn’t seem too complicated at all.It said it works in “most browsers”, so I’m assuming Chrome for sure, but I’m questioning Firefox (because it’s touchy about a lot of things) as well as IE. Safari will most likely easily support it.

The Shadiness of Facebook

Facebook. Everyones love it. Some people hate it. Most people love to hate it. I am in the last boat on this one. Facebook is a marvelous invention for social networking but I’m definitely not loving the privacy invasion going on. I know most people are saying, “If you don’t like the non-existing, all encompassing lack of privacy, then get off Facebook”, but it’s not that easy. Facebook is:

  • a valuable marketing tool
  • a valuable way to understand your target demographic
  • an awesome way to keep up with people who are changing their relationship status daily in hopes of someone noticing and caring your family that you live far away from.
  • planning events and raising money

Now, I know all of these things can be done off of Facebook. Supermarkets use those keytag cards, so you get some discounts or gain points, in order to watch your shopping habits and understand what is moving through their store. You can send snail mail letters (which I actually do love getting, by the way. Nothing beats a handwritten letter), you can do the good old fashion bulletin board plastering for events… there are ways to get around Facebook. I use my personal email WAY more than I could ever use Facebook. It’s open all day long and I care way more about anything that happens in there throughout the day.

You may have heard that students from NYU were raising money to start a privatized social network much like Facebook. Ilya Zhitomirskiy, Dan Grippi, Max Salzberg and Raphael Sofaer are doing just that. They started raising money slowly, and before they knew it, it was flooding into their hands left and right. I won’t get into the details of what they’re doing because it’s rather long, but the New York Times has a rather nice wrap up on it.

But in the short attention span of today’s world where we can’t even remember birthdays or events unless we have Facebook in front of us, how much information are we unknowingly giving out to there for people to sell and use? How about social media possibly affecting our credit? The IRS using social networking to find people that are evading taxes?

Why are the new Facebook privacy options OPT-OUT rather than OPT-IN. This sends a very subtle message saying, “Hi! You’re using my platform and I am going to automatically opt you in to every possible invasion of privacy in hopes that you won’t see it and opt-out!”

Don’t get me wrong, the open graph concept is AMAZING and I can’t wait to see what else is done with it, but I think the aggressive and sometimes shady pushes of it are what I don’t appreciate. What Facebook is doing is revolutionary- it’s literally changing the world around us. They are a monster; a good monster that’s pushing us towards innovation. But when is there going to be a line? Has it already been crossed? What exactly should be kept private?

You do know that every application you sign up for can access your information, and the developers can see all of that, right? You do know that your information is not just locked up on the Facebook platform and only accessed by those developers… right?

Yeah… ok.

Also, remember: What goes up must come down.

We shouldn’t be putting all our eggs in one basket because I suspect that in the next couple of years, something will happen and Facebook will be taken down, abandoned, or try to go too far and completely mess up its business model and destroy all hope of living.

Now, there are some people that don’t give a sh*t about their privacy. I think this is because:

  1. They cannot wrap their heads around the security implications
  2. They like that Facebook is becoming somewhat of a bad realty TV show for you to read
  3. They don’t understand that the changes aren’t “really” for our benefit- Facebook and other businesses are the true benefactors
  4. They just really honestly believe that our information is not being used for anything malicious

I’ve read articles that warn mothers not to put their children’s full name in pictures, for the sake of keeping them private from pedophiles and other sickos. I’ve read things that have said not to put your full birthday (month, day and year) on your Facebook profile because it can be accessed for credit card fraud. It AMAZES me that people can be so hyper focused and paranoid, but not see the big picture.

OPEN YOUR EYES. Embrace this change but ALSO know where your data is going and make SURE you protect what you don’t want out there. Don’t be naive.

Next thing you know, we’ll be calling each other by our social security numbers in public.

*I realize that this comes off as a huge rant that I am against Facebook and social networking, but it’s not true. I am completely immersed in it (I am in the internet marketing field after all) but it doesn’t mean I have to be completely supportive. I am merely expressing my concerns. If you don’t like it, then go stand in the middle of a busy highway. Thanks.

Facebook Like WordPress Plugin

Facebook Like

I recently installed this Facebook Like plugin for my website. I’ve only seen it in action a few times, but I’m fairly confident that it works well- there haven’t been any issues using it. It was super easy to install and customize, so if you’re looking to put a Facebook Like plugin on your site, this one is the one I recommend :)

This leads me to another thought though. How many of you actually share on multiple sites? Because I know that I like to retweet things but I haven’t hopped on the “liking” a post website just yet. I wonder how annoying it may be to post the same article as both a retweet, a Facebook Like and a buzz. Is it over the top? Do you prefer one over the other? How many people are now using Facebook Like over retweeting?

That pesky nofollow attribute

rel=nofollow. Does this look like gibberish? Many of you who have websites may not be familiar with this tag so I wanted to give a brief overview of it. I may not explain this well, so please forgive me ahead of time.

So what does rel=nofollow mean? The nofollow attribute is essentially telling whatever search engine is crawling you, that while you ARE putting this link up on your site for further information or what have you, you are in no way endorsing or attaching yourself to it. You’re not passing any equity towards the other site’s page rank.

Nofollow has changed over the years due to abuse, as most things on the internet do. Before, you have 3 links on your website but you only wish to pass equity towards one of those links, you can use this tag on the links that you wish to leave out. This way, the full amount of “voting power” that would get passed, gets funneled only to the one link that you are endorsing.

Unfortunately now, you cannot reallocate all your voting power to the links you choose, while leaving others nofollow. It will still allocate the same power that it would get, had it been splitting it between all links.

So what else? Well, you can keep spammers out of your way, however, in doing so, you’re essentially decreasing your own “voting power.” Some sites will still crawl and index it, however.

Google does not index pages linked Nofollow pages, while Yahoo!’s algorithm will pick it up. Neither Google or Yahoo! passes value, however, they both will pass traffic.

There’s a handy plugin for WordPress that I would like to recommend, which allows you to make comments DoFollow. You can find it here.

#ssss spring summit success!

Search & Social Spring Summit Badge

Nope, scratch that… it should say “attended!”

Our conference was a huuuuuge success! Dave Snyder, Loren Baker and Jordan Kasteler did a great job at making this happen. That’s why I’ve been MIA the past few days..and probably will be for another few to catch up on work and personal projects. I just wanted to say thanks to all the wonderful speakers who came out, and I can’t wait for the next one!

I didn’t get a chance to take ANY pictures at all because I was running around, but I’ve been seeing random ones going up on twitter. If you’re interested in seeing some pictures from the summit, you can see them here:

Search & Social Spring Summit 2010 pictures

Apple sticks it to Adobe!

Apple and Adobe

I’m sure many of you have been following the Apple and Adobe little warfare that’s been going on the past couple of months. It’s really hard to pick sides because both have legitimate points as to why they are concerned with what the other is doing. Steve Jobs has decided to post his reasoning in not allowing Flash on the iPhone, iPad or iPod. I actually think he has very good reasons for not doing so. Then again, you can never trust what’s being said in public from any kind of corporate company.

To summarize what he said, he stated that:

  1. The idea of an “open” system- He stated that while Adobe considers Flash an open system, it’s pretty much closed and proprietary. Flash is ultimately controlled by Adobe and they have rights to do anything with the pricing, features, specs etc. Apple has many closed systems too, however, the HTML5, CSS and Javascript available on their products is open and what they have chosen to adopt over Flash. HTML 5 is a new web standard that both Google and Apple have adopted.
  2. The idea of “full web”- Adobe has made claims that apple products cannot sufficiently view the “full web”, supposedly sacrificing 75% of all video due to their choice to not use flash. This is completely untrue. While there is that big of a percentage in Flash, those videos are also offered in other formats which can be viewed on all Apple Products. Apple products cannot play Flash games, yes, but there are hundreds upon hundreds of games (alot of them free!) that are offered in the app store. Personally, if you’re complaining that you can’t play this ONE flash game because you have an apple product… then I think you need a life or a new hobby.
  3. Security concerns- in 2009, Symantec stated that flash had one of THE worse security records. Apple said that they know first hand that Flash is one of the main reasons why Apple computers crash. So why would they want to put something like that on their iPhones? I mean, I love my iPhone don’t get me wrong, but I’ve had quite a bit of problems with it so I couldn’t imagine what it would be like with Flash employed.
  4. Battery life- Flash is a battery killer! Apparently to get long battery life on devices, the mobile device has to decode videos in hardware and not in software. Apple states,

    Although Flash has recently added support for H.264, the video on almost all Flash websites currently requires an older generation decoder that is not implemented in mobile chips and must be run in software. The difference is striking: on an iPhone, for example, H.264 videos play for up to 10 hours, while videos decoded in software play for less than 5 hours before the battery is fully drained.

  5. The touch screen- generally, Flash was made to be used with a mouse, not with your fingers on a small small screen. Especially if you have big man hands. (Don’t let that statement scare you- I am indeed a girl with dainty little hands…but I’m just saying) Flash websites will probably have to be re-written to be supported by touch devices. This just sounds like a big royal pain in the ass.

Well, I’m actually on my lunch break and I have to get back to the office and finish some work. Sorry to cut this short, but if you’re interested in knowing the full details you can find “thoughts on flash” on the apple website.

I’m a little confused because most Apple users are designers or people in the creative field, and the majority of them use some kind of Adobe product. I’m not taking sides, because I use both Adobe and have an Apple laptop, but I feel like this could cause a major change in how creative people work. We all know how people have their allegiances to products and things.

Social Media affecting your credit?

I came across this interesting article earlier, that was talking about how your Facebook and Twitter profiles and friends can actually affect your credit. You may have noticed a stir recently about credit card companies using your shopping and spending habits to categorize whether you’re a threat to lend to or not. If you constantly shop at Ikea, for instance, then suddenly start shopping at Wal-mart, credit card companies can see that information and might profile you into someone who is making less money or is having life problems. This next thing though, crosses a line.

We all know that once you put something out on the internet, no matter HOW protected you think it is…it’s probably not. So how are your Facebook friends affecting your credit? Read more.

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I was featured!

I am slowly on my way to taking over the world.

I just noticed this from last month and I have to brag a little, because I’m pretty proud :) This article from Xyone Digital Marketing Agency talks about an article I wrote for Search Engine Journal and goes over some good points that were in it.

“Digital marketing professionals have been advised that there is a “new animal” in their area of expertise – social media marketing.

According to social media marketing practitioner Selena Narayanasamy, although traditional marketing such as leaflets and flyers may never go away, more companies are now seeing the benefits of using the internet to spread their message.

Speaking to Search Engine Journal, she explained a regularly updated website is just as important as using social media correctly in order to attract consumers.

“While it’s hard to go wrong when leaving yourself open to customer engagement – you can lose out by not having that be a part of your brand.”

Ms Narayanasamy described social media marketing as a constant learning curve, adding that everyone has been guilty at some point or another of misusing social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Among the advice issued by Ms. Narayanasamy is to “maintain a constant and steady persona” when using social media websites for marketing purposes.”

Entrepeneural Spirits & the "9-5"

If you’re of an entrepreneurial spirit, you find that you can manage millions upon millions of things at once, including a full-time job and multiple side projects. I absolutely love my job, so for me, i gain valuable experience while working as well that can be applied to other projects. I learn a lot here, so it kind of fosters a certain part of my entrepreneurial spirits. The owners of my company are awesome and encourage innovative and creative thinking when it comes to projects, social campaigns, etc. In that way, I am lucky.

One thing I find hard about working a 9-5 and having my mind be in 80 different places at once, is that sometimes your job, in and out of the office, is an all day job. I leave the office, only to find I have more things to worry about on the personal projects end… and sometimes it’s a little bit overwhelming. I wouldn’t have it any other way though, because to me, building my personal brand is one of the most important things you can do in your lifetime.

I also tend to be more creative on nights and weekends, mostly because I’m in work mode during the day. This means I get some of my best ideas when I’m supposed to be having time off.

Sometimes this is a problem.

Here are some tips I’ve found that help me manage my free-roaming spirit, so that I can give time to those that I love and proper attention to my career as well as my personal brand/business ideas.

  1. Get an “Action” product from Behance. This has SERIOUSLY been a life saver. I have a planner and a notebook, but the action books (I have the action journal) set everything up SO perfectly, so as not to disturb the creative process, yet keep you highly organized. Go get one.
  2. At work, make sure you’re doing work. There is nothing worse than mish-mashing personal projects on work time. For one, you’re not getting paid to do that, and two, you’re technically never giving yourself a break from your side projects. You need this break for clarity.
  3. If you have a bunch of stuff going on, and you MUST do something during your day job, I suggest bringing your laptop to work and going somewhere like Starbucks or Panera on your break. This way, you have a whole hour (minus drive time) to push around ideas, write something you need to, or contact whoever you need to.
  4. Label your personal  freelance/portfolio/business emails into its own folder. Gmail is great for this, because when you filter out into a label, you can actually set it to archive into that folder automatically and skip your inbox. This way, you can see that you have a new email… but DON’T touch this until lunch time or when you get home. The only exception to this is if you KNOW you’re waiting for something extremely important.
  5. Get up early on weekends and get some work done before everyone else in your house (if you live with a significant other, roommates, or family). When things get hectic, it’s hard to concentrate.
  6. Set boundaries. You can’t work all weekend without burning yourself out. If you have a full weekend of work, make sure you schedule break times, or outings, where you can get some peace from work. Being a work-a-holic has its benefits, but you need to not want to kill yourself or else it crushes your entrepreneurial and creative energy.
  7. Stress relief is important. Make sure you have a hobby or some kind of escape. Having a mind that is constantly brewing ideas (on its own and without your consent) can be hard on your body. Even if you feel like you don’t physically need a break- mentally you do.
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Some of the best ideas can be fostered and improved by reaching out to someone close to you, or someone in your community, that can give you a fresh outlook. They can also take on some of the burdens of your projects (the administrative end, not the creative end) if you trust them and they are willing.
  9. If you’re a night owl, or you work better later in the day (like me) make sure you don’t stay up until 3 am. You’ll be a zombie the next day… and nobody likes a zombie. They are cranky and can’t achieve anything at work. You have to get a decent amount of sleep or else you’ll come off looking like a crazy, cracked-out mad scientist. Plus, you’ll be burned out and slowly your projects will feel it too.

I hope these give you something to think over. Being an entrepreneur is hard, and sometimes you may feel like you’re heading nowhere and that your projects will never end. Just remember- even though it’s a lot of work and you may feel all over the place…. everything will come to fruition and you’ll have a strong personal brand and/or business that you can push further than your mind could ever imagine.

So, keep going, and dream on! In the words of Herb Kelleher: “We have a strategic plan. It’s called ‘doing things.'”

Technical Difficulties. I suck.

So I just happened to notice that when you go down to the bottom of my first page, there is no “previous posts” button!!! I find this very appalling because all the traffic I’ve been getting is probably scratching their heads or thinking that I’m a really slow writer that never adds anything to my site. I have content all the way back to 2007 so I’m going to attempt to get that fixed. I really like the theme I have, with the tweaks that I did, so I’m hoping this is something I can fix rather than just switch out. If you’re looking for older posts, you can probably either scroll through that calendar thing on the right (in my sidebar) or look through the categories.

I’M SORRY!!! I will get this fixed ASAP :)