These are the slides from the Gearman work queue talk at CI Conf in San Francisco yesterday.
BBEdit is a powerful text editor, for Mac OS X, that provides nearly everything AF-Design needs to be effective when creating apps. While it’s not perfect, it works pretty well 99% of the time. It provides powerful tools for manipulating text, code completion and more.
Recently we’ve been building more and more applications using the CodeIgniter Framework. CodeIgniter is simple to learn and powerful enough to drive even the most complex applications. It provides tools for common tasks freeing development time to focus on the actual application.
To streamline our CodeIgniter development, we created a series of BBEdit Clippings that make development easier. The clippings provide a way to quickly create common document types, phpDocumentor comment blocks and provides auto-complete for the entire CodeIgniter 2.1 framework.
You can get the clippings and learn more on GitHub.
At minimum you should have a page on Facebook and Twitter. If you are a brick and mortar establishment, you probably have a Foursquare page already (created for you by your social media savvy customers.) If this is your first foray into social media, start slowly and ramp up. Choose one network and experiment, then add another and so on. Experiment, explore and have fun.
Major networks to consider:
The new Facebook Timeline for pages provides administrators the opportunity to promote their content easily on a much wider custom tab. There are a variety of custom tab solutions available, including My Tab which provides a fully customizable canvas for you to present your brand.
Some possible uses for tabs:
Custom tabs are great if people open them, so make sure you find a compelling image or way to draw attention to the tab(s) you want people to interact with. You can replace the default tab image at the bottom right of the new Timeline header.
How to change the image:
Social networking sites may be all the rage, but it doesn’t diminish the importance of keeping your website current. Be sure to make your content fun and shareable. Top 10 lists, funny photos, and info-graphics are all great content that can be generated with some planning and will keep your visitors returning. SEO is still important but in the realm of social media, it matters less.
The jury may be out on the long term value of Pinterest, but it’s clear its popular and continuing to gain traction. Pages without images are boring and can’t be pinned. Ensure you have at least one large, eye catching image on your page that users can ‘Pin’. The added benefit is that other social networks will use that image as well, so it’s a win-win. Oh, and a cute picture of a cat never hurts.
Add share, tweet, like, and + buttons to your site! Don’t make it harder than it needs to be for people to share your content. Not up to making lots of changes? Use one of the all in one solutions like ShareThis or AddThis, both have easy to install plugins that will work with the major content platforms you are probably already using.
Since you made it this far, please share this post with others!
When is the best time for you to share content in your social media channels? It’s different for every market and product. Generally, you’ll have a feel for when it’s best to share, but consider using applications to help you optimize your sharing cycle. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite provide a way to schedule outbound content easily. Consider posting daily if you can, but don’t go to crazy, it’s easy for people to hide all your content, unfollow and unlike you.
Social media works when it’s social (duh!) If your content streams are broadcast only, you might re-think why your doing it. It’s critical to engage with your audience. Who has the time right? You do, trust me, it’s not as daunting as you think. Smaller brands might only see 2-3 questions that need responses in a week. Consider creating a separate email address for notifications so they all go to one place without interrupting your regular email. Then check it once a day. You will likely need less than 30 minutes every day or two to keep up with everything that needs responses.
Make sure your social media efforts are creating value for your company. This is challenging since it can be hard to measure how much revenue a single Tweet creates. Think of this as an advertising endeavor. Outline how much money/time you would spend for traditional advertising and instead spend that money/time on social media. If you aren’t seeing an increase in business, social media might not be the right channel to reach your customers. Dial back the social media efforts and try something else.
Look through your logs and find which content has resonated well with users in the past. Did you write a blog post that garnered a lot of attention? Re-share that content now through your social media networks. If it is out of date, consider publishing a revised version referencing the original and providing commentary on what has changed. If you aren’t tracking your website traffic, you should be.
… and always carry a towel.” ~ Douglas Adams.
Seriously, people will say rude and mean things online about you and your brand. Don’t panic and don’t over react. Be thoughtful and considerate in your response (if one is even warranted).
“When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.” ~ Thomas Jefferson.
If you are unfamiliar with the Adams quote, it’s from this book
Check your spelling and punctuation where appropriate. Be mindful of what you are posting and be careful when sharing opinions. While most of the world will never see what you post, they can read it later. Be sure you leave a digital trail you and your company would be proud of.
“Don’t tweet or blog anything you don’t want to see on a billboard,” ~ Scott Stratten
In the US, few people are thinking about Thanksgiving in July. Be smart, consider creating an editorial calendar so you can plan some content in advance. If your US based and find photographs resonate well with your audience, buy your 4th of July fireworks images in June and have them ready to share when the time is right. This is another great use for applications that schedule your updates.
Facebook will automatically transition all pages on March 30th. Page administrators are advised to be proactive in preparing for the transition now. AF-Design has created a Photoshop template to aid in the creation of Facebook design elements. Using this template, graphic designers will have the tools necessary to successfully present their brand on the new Facebook Timeline. The Timeline has three new elements which are similar to the elements of personal profile pages.
Cover Image: An image that takes over the top of the page. This image has two possible initial views when a user visits the page. Users who have smaller monitors or default browser size will see a shorter version of the cover image. These users need to scroll up to see the entire image. The design template provides a layer and guides for aligning your content to maximize the effectiveness of the page. This image should be 851×315 pixels. Facebook warns about placing promotional content or asking for on site actions such as Like, Share and so on.
Profile Picture: An image that represents you or your brand throughout Facebook. The image should be square and at least 125×125 pixels and fill the frame – Facebook will add any necessary borders automatically. Also note that Facebook uses scaled versions of this image throughout the site, specifically on stories you post to your Timeline and those stories that appear in Newsfeed. Experiment with scaling the image you selected and make sure it still looks “good” at 50×50 for the best user experience.
Favorite Application Icons: Images that convey meaning about important/featured applications on the profile. This is a great way to draw attention to your custom Facebook tabs and applications such Tweets and You Tube videos. These should be 111×74. Facebook will apply a stroke and rounded border to the image.
After you have created your visual elements, return to your Facebook page and enter the preview mode for the new profile. In the preview mode, you can upload your creative and ensure everything looks the way you want.
NOTE: Once you publish your page – your default tab will NO LONGER WORK. While this may be a problem in the short term, this is something you should prepare for now. Facebook will transition all pages automatically. The best way to mitigate this is to add a post to your page that features the tab you want to highlight and Pin it. Pinning is done by hovering over the top right of your content, clicking the pencil and the click ‘Pin to Top.’
After uploading your new creative and making the necessary changes to your profile, and if you are ready to go live – click “Publish” and the new Timeline will show for all viewers!
Congratulations, you’ve successfully migrated to the new Page Timeline! Like us to stay up to date on the latest Facebook changes that affect your Page and your applications and share this post with your friends!
Have you ever seen an info graphic or a chart and wondered if you could trust the information? This post grew from a discussion on Twitter about that very thing. Specifically a chart from the recent iPhone 4S launch that drew lot of criticism from pro-Windows media. The tweet read, “This is why I now think Apple is in HUGE trouble. They flat out lie.” Lie? Really? What did they lie about exactly?
Notice anything dishonest in this slide? I don’t, in-fact quite the opposite – I see the work of a smart graphic designer presenting the information in a way that makes their company look the best. Lets take a step back and consider the options.
Apple could have…
… used a pie or bar chart to show total units shipped to date. Perhaps this would have been clearer, but certainly wouldn’t have made Apple as impressive looking – and remember this WAS a marketing event.
… shown just their adoption numbers without Windows included. The fact that Apple is poking at Microsoft in this slide is part of the reason we’re still talking about it, it invoked a reaction which increases publicity.
… shown the same adoption over time using units instead of percentage of installed base. Not unlike the first option, this would have been seen as lackluster and not painted Apple in such a positive light.
… skipped this slide entirely.
Ultimately it comes down to this – regardless of what Apple does, it will be highly scrutinized. What is your takeaway?
Yesterday, Tim Cook introduced the world to a new and improved iPhone 4S. It’s been met with luke warm reviews and many jokes about how little it has been improved. I think most of the industry is wrong and here’s why: Siri.
Siri was first an artificial intelligence company – founded in late 2007 – that aimed to integrate all of the worlds API’s into a nice clean interface. It was well funded and it developed an awesome natural language interpreter that tech bloggers displayed some fanaticism over when it was revealed to the world. Then a few months later it was snapped up by Apple (April 2010) and has been largely silent – until now.
It turns out that people like Robert Scoble weren’t wrong. In fact Siri is an amazing technology. Not unlike the recent changes to the mouse navigation in OS X Lion, Apple is showing us the future of how we interact with machines in general. Users of other handsets, such as Andriod, can argue that Apple didn’t pioneer this concept – and they’re right – but Apple perfected it. Besides, this is really all very Star Trek, “
Computer Siri, what is the weather in Cupertino?” However, unlike television fiction, this is real – and it’s here now.
Scheduling meetings, finding the weather and those sorts of applications are a great start. What’s truly amazing will be when it replaces the keyboard & mouse entirely. Okay, I know that’s a little extreme, but is it really so hard to imagine? Apple has been working on killing the mouse already – promoting an external
touchpad Magic Trackpad getting us all comfortable with multi-touch gesturing. Why couldn’t some future version of Apple’s desktop OS have Siri baked right in? “Siri, send a screenshot to Tom” and our faithful digital assistant just does it, snapping the current screen and sending it to Tom. Siri might even ask me if we want to provide any more to the message first. This is hardly pushing the limits of what Apple demoed yesterday.
So, while much of the tech media continues to discuss whether A5 Dual Core processors, 8 mega-pixel cameras, and small screens make the iPhone 4S underwhelming for consumers, remember the star of yesterday’s show wasn’t hardware, it was a software assistant named Siri. The real change is supplementing multi-touch interfaces with voice, further reducing our dependency on pointer devices and keyboards – virtual and physical. In 2007, Apple showed us the joys of touch interfaces. They weren’t the first, they were just the first to do it well. Likewise they’re not first with voice, they’re just the first to do it well and Apple has shown us a glimpse into the future of computing.