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Secrets of the successful companies

It’s always highly interesting to me to see what the big tech companies that have “made it” do to get where they are. Sometimes its surprising how the little changes make huge differences. Google is full of examples just like any other company:

One of the biggest leap in search usage came about when they introduced their much improved spell checker giving birth to the “Did you mean…” feature. This instantly doubled their traffic, but they had some interesting discussions on how best to place that information, as most people simply tuned that out. But they discovered the placement at the bottom of the results was the most effective area.

Marissa Meyer, Product Manager for Google

Read the rest.

Another interesting presentation is about Amazon is supposedly one of the best sites for usability out there. It’s in their financial interest to be easy to use, because when ecommerce was new, it needed to be friendly and predictable to its users to succeed. Amazon is a “new” way to buy things and breaking the ice with new Internet users was a tricky chore for them. Check out the pages about 1/2 way through about the site redesign options, pretty interesting usability research.

P.S. First picture post! This is me at The Gates last February.

upwards view of me at the gates


Server Info

I got some name-based VirtualHosts goodness set up so you can read real-time stats of the site. Thanks to phpsysinfo for making this easier.

Edit: VirtualHosts barfed. Back to the normal way until my OS Scripting practical is over.

Edit 12/2009: This is another feature that didn’t make the transition to new hosting and I have no intention of bringing it back. So there.

Humor Technical

googolplexes of maps

Not to play second fiddle to tech news sites but this one is really cool. Google Maps just integrated Keyhole’s satellite images, so you can search for a place and see a real photograph of the place from 5,000 feet. Google bought Keyhole last October.

Here’s where I’m living right now at RIT. Reading headlines off newspapers will remain exclusively for the CIA, but what we get (for free) is really cool.

Not to pull a Bush and forget about the rest of the world …a world-wide already existing alternative is right here.

Web Design

when coding gets you down…design

I had a lot of homework to catch up with this weekend. Instead of doing that, I learned a lot about the new hotness that is CSS. Turns out its the secret to making awesome sites in much less time than used to be required.

I’ve only been kind of slacking with this site redesign thing but its going to be pretty cool when its done.

Web design is one of those fields I’d love to do as a ‘real job’ if I expected to actually get a ‘real job’ as a designer. But maybe thats just the half empty glass talking.


This can’t be legal

It was bound to happen eventually…

Some shady person has pulled out his melting pot of copyright infringement and mixed old school videogame ROMs with a little Java emulation. Meaning you can play old Sega, Nintendo, and GameBoy games for free online.

Its even got a pleasant amount of sketch. “Sonic 5 3D Blast” is definitely not a real game…and is definitely 8 bit. Enjoy!