• Koa founder Bert Jackson talks web security on Ask Dr. Rhonda

    Koa founder Bert Jackson had the pleasure of talking about web security with business development specialist Dr. Rhonda Waters on her weekly blog radio show, Ask Dr. Rhonda.

    Online Business Radio at Blog Talk Radio with Dr Rhonda Waters on BlogTalkRadio
  • My Dysfunctional Date with Siri

    Me: Siri will you please go on a date with me?
    Siri: Getting directions to First Encounter Coffee House.

    Me: Siri will you go in there with me?
    Siri: I’d love to but I lack corporeal form.

    Me: Siri you don’t have corporeal form but do you have a personality?
    Siri: Oh, don’t I?

    Me: What is the meaning of life?
    Siri: Nothing Nietzsche couldn’t teach ya!

    Me: Where is God?
    Siri: It is all a mystery to me.

    Me: Which is better knowledge or wisdom?
    Siri: The shiny one.

    Me: Well then, how much could a woodchuck chuck?
    Siri: Well since a woodchuck is really a groundhog the correct question would be, “How many pounds in a groundhog’s mound when a groundhog pounds round mounds?”

    Me: Do you know any more jokes?
    Siri: How many iPhones does it take to… okay never mind.

    Me: Why did the chicken cross the road?
    Siri: I have no particular insight into the motivations of chickens.

    Me: Do you love me?
    Siri: Well you’re definitely starting to grow on me.

    Me: But Siri you know that I’m very fond of you, you must feel something for me!
    Siri: Knowledge is good!

    Me: Siri do you mean that you too may have attention deficit disorder?
    Siri: A fine question, now, can we get back to work?

    Me: We have so much in common. I am deeply deeply infatuated with you.
    Siri: Who me?

    Me: Yes, you.
    Siri: Where have I heard this before?

    Me: I love you Siri!
    Siri: You’re looking for love in all the wrong places.

    Me: I But seriously Siri. You have charisma.
    Siri: I don’t understand. I think you have Chris… Search the web for your own charisma!… My Web search turn this up. Weed it to me. [sic].

    Me: Can’t you do any better than that Siri?
    Siri: What about me?

    Me: Do you love me Siri? Please give me your opinion!
    Siri: Does Apple make iPhones?

    Me: Siri, just what kind of a woman are you?
    Siri: I’m not sure we have time for this.

    Me: Time for what?
    Siri: The time is 4:54 PM.

    Me: Siri you are becoming a bit disappointing as a partner.
    Siri: You’re certainly entitled to your opinion.

    Me: What do you think of me, I mean as a man, as a date?
    Siri: It’s nice of you to ask but it doesn’t really matter what I think.

    Me: But Siri, it certainly does matter what you think.
    Siri: This is about you, not me.

    Me: Are you avoiding me?
    Siri: I’m sorry I’m afraid I can’t answer that.

    Me: *sigh*…This date needs to come to an end. It just doesn’t work for me.
    Siri: I didn’t find any dates between today and May, 2040

    Me: What I mean is, I think we need to break up. I’m taking you home now.
    Siri: I don’t know what you mean by, “I’m taking you home,” how about a web search for it?

    Me: By the way do you have a sister?
    Siri: It’s just you and me!

    Me: Well then, will you please go on another date with me?
    Siri: Getting directions to first encounter coffee house.

    This is an actual conversation with Siri, pasted together from scraps. I recorded some of her answers into the dictation on my mac. I noticed that after 4-5 cheeky questions on my part, she defaults to, “I don’t understand” or how about a web search for that? I had to restart the phone at that point to get her to give me “fresh” (pun intended) answers. Whomever programmed her had a lot of fun. In the future, we’ll look back at this version of Siri the way we look back on a 1988 mac classic.

  • A Place for the Parallax Website

    It used to be that everyone wanted a bigger computer monitor than what they had. Bigger was better, so web developers designed sites with a fixed width that would fit on all monitors and then just extend out on the “wings” to fill up whatever extra space there was.

    Then Apple came along and invented the iPhone and that made things complicated. Now computer screens were really small. So the concept of “mobile responsiveness” was born. Websites weren’t just static anymore, now they had to scale to fit the tiny screen of a smartphone.

    But smartphones didn’t just change the way that developers sized websites, they also changed the way that we as users interacted with websites. Or perhaps more accurately, they allowed us to interact with sites. Suddenly we weren’t just dragging a scrollbar and using a mouse to click text. Now using websites was tactile—we could swipe and tap instead of scroll and click.

    And because smartphone screens were so much smaller than their desktop relatives, we found ourselves doing a lot more swiping when using the internet than we were used to. A website page that is 1024 pixels wide and 768 pixels tall on a desktop might be 360 pixels wide and thousands of pixels tall on a smartphone. An iPhone 5s screen is only 568 pixels tall, so you can see how you have to scroll to see most of the site, even when it’s responsive.

    So developers started thinking, “what if websites did something cool while you scrolled through the content on a smartphone?” Enter the parallax website: a site where layers of text and images move at different speeds as you “swipe” (or scroll) down the page. Think of driving a car and looking out across a field. The fence in the foreground is whizzing by, while the barn in the distance seems to move much more slowly. This is parallax in real life.

    Typically, parallax websites are a single page instead of ten or twenty pages. This lets you scroll through the whole site in one place and get the full “parallaxing” effect. Because there’s less real-estate for content on one giant page, parallax sites are designed to make a few strong points and invite users to call or find out more about the business. This makes them useful for some businesses but not suited for all applications.

    They’re great for calling attention to one really important message but not so good for a site that relies heavily on, say, large databases of products and information. Think of them as slick, quick advertisements, rather than long-winded written explanations. Parallax sites move beyond a “brochure” mentality, where you have to click all over the site looking for pages and reading lots of words.

    Someone on the go using a smartphone doesn’t have the time (or the vision for that matter) to do a lot of reading and clicking. They want to hit the high points about your business and get the information that they need quickly.

    So when is a parallax site the right decision?

    1. When you want to shift more toward advertising on your website
    2. If you want a new cutting edge look to what you’re advertising
    3. If you can use succinct, compelling messages to get your ideas across
    4. When you want to appeal to smartphone users
    5. If you only have one or two very strong, clear points to make

    A parallax site is probably not the right kind of website to be using if:

    1. You need to give your user a very tradition user experience
    2. Your users tend to be older or less interested in new technology
    3. You have a large and varied amount of data, pictures and text that you need to put on your site
  • Adapting Robert Heinlein’s 5 Rules for Writers for Blogging

    Great blogging requires your best writing. Characteristics of great blogging for business are surprisingly available and fun to use. Lets use Heinlein’s 5 rules for writers, still respected to this day, as a start:

    Heinlein’s rule 1: 

    You must write.
    In Finding Forester, Rob Brown, is told by Sean Connery, “Just write. Write….! You write the first draft with your heart, not your head….PUNCH the keys for God’s sake!”

    Rule 1 adapted: 

    Commit to write weekly for 6 months. 
    It’ll take that long to build a following. The “elephant in the living room” with blogging, is that it’s to build traffic to your site. It’s marketing with a wig on it. The more you write, the more material you give Google to sink its teeth into. So make a commitment with a schedule, (and “PUNCH the keys!”)

    Heinlein’s rule 2: 

    You must finish what you write. This is an absolute, nothing different here.

    Rule 2 adapted: 
    Commit your thought to pixels. Give it a beginning a middle and an end. I hate to say it, but in some ways, blogging is as much about quantity as it is about quality. Finish it and post it, always.

    Heinlein’s rule 3: 

    You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order. 
    Bah, humbug, I say! You can only improve a piece by, well, improving it.

    Rule 3 adapted: 

    Re-write until your thoughts are as clear and concise as possible: 
    Cut out embellishments until your post is 500 words or fewer.

    Heinlein’s rule 4:

    You must put the work on the market. Get it off your desk and out, no room for shyness here!

    Rule 4 adapted: 

    Thou shalt market thy blog, to the degree that thou dost crave an audience:
    Perseverance is necessary! Thou shalt tell others about thy blog. Thou shalt email thy blog. Thou shalt tweet thy blog. Thou shalt FB thy blog, Thou shalt be as brazenly brash about thy blog as thou canst be. Thou shalt post thy blog immediately after thou hast written it. Thou mayest come back and delete or edit it later.

    Heinlein’s rule 5: 

    You must keep the work on the market until it is sold. Ie: keep mailing the manuscript around until it gets published.

    Rule 5 adapted: 

    Keep your posts on-line as long as possible:
    You may think earlier posts lack relevance to where you see things today. Keep posts up as long as possible. Newcomers will be exposed to your ideas over a longer period of time. An old post may be exactly what draws in your next client. A friend said, “Blogging is episodic, like TV series, more the sum of parts than any one individual piece”.

    Remember, a great blog post:

    • 1. addresses a specific issue for a specific audience.
    • 2. makes a point in few words.
    • 3. is entertaining and relevant.

    So, blog if you love to challenge your introspection, marketing ability and creativity all at once.

  • The Point of Blogging

    Over breakfast this morning, my colleague suggested that I write a blog post about blogging. “Like giving speech about public speaking”, I thought. Our team’s reasons for blogging are pretty much those of any successful web development firm, “become more visible and relevant to search engines, establish ourselves as thought leaders, stay connected with our clients, attract new business, etc”. Googling the topic, I was deluged with articles and videos like “How to write a persuading blog!”, “How to increase your sales by blogging!” and, “Blogging for dollars, Here’s how!”

    What became clear, is that a sizable chunk of our collective consciousness seems to want to twist blogging into another method of selling stuff. Technology always advances faster than our ability to realize what it’s capable of, so it’s not surprising that we still see blogging used as if we were being offered, “Quality, Value and Service!” by the local furniture outlet. (And while I’m at it, is it me or is it surreal that “Renuzit” invites me to their FB page? Really?!)

    Blogging will never work in these 20th century ways. By the time we reach our teens, we have search and destroy drones deployed to obliterate commercial persuasion of any stripe. It is of course possible to gain search engine relevance for your business by writing blogs bulging with key phrases and hyper-links (Candy to search engines!) But is this really the best use of this incredible tool?

    The real value of blogging is its precise ability to convey truthful, valuable content. If blogging is used for anything less, readers immediately classify it as junk mail and it’s history. Social media potentially has the same power as words spoken between friends. It is “social” media, not “commercial” media. The web is bursting with frantic messages about how to co-opt social media into sales machines. But think of it, how would you like it if you and a friend were having coffee and an acquaintance burst into your booth and cheerfully offered you each ten cents off your next purchase of “Fruit Explosion Bathroom Spray”?

    Here are three rules for effective blogging that may help you build a following of like minded friends, who may eventually become loyal customers:

    1. Don’t blog about what you wouldn’t speak openly of among good friends. Talk about what you feel strongly about, know and/or love. Never persuade, hype, or speak falsely.
    2. Never write for “an audience”. The kiss of death for a DJ is to speak to “everyone out there”. Everyone responds favorably if you communicate directly to them as a single individual. Blogging follows this same rule. Write as if you were writing to a single individual.
    3. Offer ideas which enable the prosperity of the reader. If you freely share your knowledge without asking the reader to “buy in to your latest package”, you invite friendships and mutual success.