Save the Date – Conway Geek Breakfast

Save the Date – Conway Geek Breakfast

#GeekBreakfast

Save the Date!

The next Conway Geek Breakfast happens Thursday, May 28, at 7 am, at Bob’s Grill in Conway, AR!

Geek Breakfast is a monthly gathering, where attendees congregate over bacon, eggs and plenty of coffee to discuss topics like social media, digital marketing, design, programming, and ways to better their communities.

Conway Geek Breakfast is normally scheduled the last Thursday of each calendar month.

We look forward to seeing you on the 28th!

Coming hungry… and social!

Creating Wonder

Creating Wonder

Why I love technology – the anticipation that today, I might discover something new, and wonderous.

300 Words, 2 Minutes

Wonder Code

Throughout my career as a software developer, I remember distinct moments of wonder.

Times when I quite literally asked: “how did they do that?

My first professional engagements were performed on the original IBM PC, running under MS-DOS. As I was learning my craft, I noticed that almost all professional apps displayed their screens instantaneously; while my screens painted painfully slowly, character by character. What was I doing wrong? And more importantly:

How did they do that?

Turns out, in order to display screen content blindingly fast, one had to use undocumented, unofficial areas of the PC’s memory space; by writing directly into the PC’s display memory, screens popped, rather than crawled.

The next time that I had a similar sense of wonder, I was working on web applications. In 2005, I witnessed the Google “Suggest” feature for the very first time (you probably know it best as the drop down box, with suggested search terms as…

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YouTube Annotations – Social Media Secret Sauce

YouTube Annotations – Social Media Secret Sauce

YouTube-Icon

One of the cooler features of YouTube, sometimes done well, oft-times not, is annotations.

Annotations are links on videos that allow the user to go to a video, a YouTube channel, or an associated website, in order to boost engagement and give more information.

The main stipulation – and potential limitation – of annotations, is that associated websites must be sites controlled by the YouTube publisher, as dictated and defined through Google’s Webmaster Tools.

This is fine for links to websites you control, or your Google+ pages. But what about social media sites like Facebook Pages and Twitter Profiles? These sites cannot be claimed by mere mortals – and yet, you’ve probably seen dozens of links to Facebook, Twitter, and iTunes on videos from other YouTube publishers.

How did they do that?

I won’t bury the lede; here’s how it’s done.

In order to create an associated website link on YouTube that will send users to your social media landing sites, you need to know about HTTP 301 Redirects.

A 301 Redirect is a code that tells a web browser that a page or site’s location has permanently been changed to a new location. Redirects can exist at the domain or site level, or at individual page levels.

We’ve established that you can’t associate or verify a site you don’t own in Google Webmaster Tools. But, you can verify a page you do own, one that redirects to one of your various social media pages. That’s the secret sauce.

In my case, I wanted to redirect a link to one of my Twitter accounts (@300Word2Minutes). I really only needed to redirect a single page to this account, so I decided to simply script a landing page, to issue a 301 Redirect to my Twitter Profile for 300 Words, 2 Minutes. Here’s what it looks like in PHP:

<?php
Header( "HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently" );
Header( "Location: http://www.twitter.com/300Word2Minutes/" );
?>

verified the link to this new page through Google Webmaster Tools, and voila! I now had a site that I could associate with a YouTube Annotation.

You can associate more than one site with a YouTube account. I won’t replicate those instructions here, but you can follow the directions from YouTube support to see how to do this. Suffice it to say, once you Associate a single site on YouTube, you can actually use any Google Webmaster Tools verified site as additional associated websites.

And that’s pretty much it. Except, this:

Associated website links can be very prickly under YouTube.

Even though you may properly verify a site using Google Webmaster Tools, sometimes YouTube simply refuses to recognize them. You may have to do the virtual equivalent of “jiggling the wires” to sometimes get your links working. You can try one (or more) of the following, to get your links recognized by YouTube:

  • Clear your browser cache
  • Exit and Restart your browser
  • Remove the current associated website from YouTube Channel settings, and replace with another verified site; replace again with the link you want to use.

In short, you may have to play around this a bit. I wish this worked better.

Let me know your experiences working with Annotations, and social media sites. I would love to hear your work arounds to this very cool feature.

Quo Vadis?

Quo Vadis?

Signpost Header

If you don’t know where you’re going, then it really doesn’t matter what road you take.

300 Words, 2 Minutes

Quo Vadis?

It’s an ecclesiastical Latin phrase meaning Where are you going?

Thatis the $64,000 question for everything we say and do, isn’t it?

I think about this question – all the time – in conducting my professional and personal affairs. Before engaging in a project, starting a conversation, or resolving a conflict, I stop and ask myself two basic questions:

  • What is the desired outcome I wish to achieve? and,
  • What am I willing to do to achieve this desired outcome?

Seems simple enough.

But the simplicity of these two questions belies their fundamental analytical nature. Because, if you can’t articulate an answer for either of these two questions, then you should immediately stop whatever you’re doing, and reconsider your course of action.

I see total a lack of this type of analysis happening, over and over and over again.

Projects are started, with a massive budget, but no strategy or even anything approaching a “look of…

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Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block

Writer's Block

By neglecting regular, restorative breaks in our routine, we are inviting creative starvation.

300 Words, 2 Minutes

It happens to all of us.

You’ve been tasked with writing an article. Or a speech. Or a blog post.

You sit, staring at a blank screen, because you can’t seem to put two cogent thoughts together.

Congratulations. You have writer’s block.

When this happens to me, I take a walk. Or go for a drive. Maybe watch a movie.

And many times, simply talking through my predicament with a colleague or friend is enough to kick start my creative processes.

But sometimes – sometimes – nothing comes to mind at all.

That’s because writer’s block is symptomatic; it means it’s time to stop. Take a knee. Re-fill the tank. Recharge.

It is said that in music the pauses are just as important as the notes in the score.

The same is true in our personal, professional, and creative lives. Pausing for reflection, and renewal, is as natural – and

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Professional Development

Professional Development

Professional Development

Real professional development happens the minute you hit the door, grab your coffee, and start the day.

300 Words, 2 Minutes

When you think of professional development, what is it that you imagine?

Do you think of conferences, held in warm, sunny climes… or webinars, watched over a bagged lunch… or droning, mandatory training sessions, conducted by your HR department?

Although all of these are nominal examples of professional development, they really only scratch the surface of what real professional development is all about.

Professional Development is challenging your team to punch above their weight; to tackle work that stretches their current abilities;

Professional Development is holding your team accountable, holding yourself accountable, and leading by example;

Professional Development is fighting for fair compensation for your people, and rewarding good work as you’re able;

Professional Development is firing underperformers and removing toxic influences; and, it’s putting people in situations where there is a pathway to success, and they are given the proper tools to do their work.

Professional Development is mentoring those…

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Stretching

Stretching

3W2M Logo

Fortune favors the bold.

300 Words, 2 Minutes

Back in the summer of 2008, I was asked by a large national retailer to create a couple of Flash-based Facebook applications, for their Back-to-School Campaign.

They were throwing a boatload of money at me, to furnish a ton of working code, in an unreasonable – and inflexible – amount of time.

At the time, I had many Facebook applications already under my belt, and had a good reputation in the space – which was why they chose me to begin with.

But I had never written a single line of Flash. Like, at all.

So, naturally, I accepted.

Now, not for the first time – or even close to the last time – I accepted a project without knowing precisely how every component worked beforehand; or, even how I was going to get it all done on time.

But it was by no means an uncalculated risk for me to agree to deliver a professional grade product, using an unfamiliar…

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Prioritize and Compartmentalize

Prioritize and Compartmentalize

3W2M Logo

Anything that can’t be solved today, shouldn’t be given the headspace to take away from today, what needs to be done today.

300 Words, 2 Minutes

The longer we live, the more stuff – literally and figuratively – we drag along with us.

Career, family, regrets, achievements, friends, dreams, conflicts, promises, goals – all of these take up the valuable – and limited – real estate inside our heads.

It’s a continual fight to maintain some semblance of balance, and proportion, to these competing priorities. And, it’s a never-ending struggle to keep what we truly value at the very top of the list.

If one isn’t careful, it’s easy to be totally overwhelmed by the overabundance of choice. Paralysis by Analysis is a very real consequence of too many competing priorities, and too little time or resources or – simply too little you – to address.

We are not machines. We can’t simply turn off our needs, wants, and emotions at the flip of a switch.

But we always have choice over our own actions, over our power to…

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Warning to Business Leaders Using Social Media

Warning to Business Leaders Using Social Media

Don’t confuse communication, with noise. You may delegate the noise to those in your organisation, but the communication needs to remain with you.

RichSimmonds

Restricted-access

Some messages are more difficult to communicate than others. This message is one of them. I ask that you would read this message and think; think not only about the words, but think around the reality of this message, how it could change your life, if applied even in the slightest way.

The fundamental of leadership is communication, the leaders task is to communicate the vision. Business fails when communication breaks down, in fact most problems we experience in life, can be attributed in one way or another to the lack of effective communication.

Noise is not necessarily communication, what people really desire is good clear simple communication.

We are living in a communication revolution, brought about predominantly through Social Media. However you cannot blame Social Media for this, as it was the desire to communicate more effectively that resulted in Social Media been embraced by the masses.

These masses wanted something they…

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Little Rock Geek Breakfast

Little Rock Geek Breakfast

Geek Breakfast Artsy Fartsy

The next Little Rock Geek Breakfast happens this coming Thursday, May 14, at Mugs Café in Argenta.

The Café opens at 7 am, and the group will be gathered by the big wooden table in the back.

Geek Breakfasts are monthly gatherings, where attendees congregate over bacon, eggs and plenty of coffee to discuss topics like social media, digital marketing, design, programming, and ways to better their communities.

We hope you’ll join us there!