Google buys Motorola

Business economy

For a mere $12.5 billion, Motorola Mobility now comes under Google’s umbrella. Google has a bit of cash on hand – $39 billion and it seemed like a good deal to them.  As Google moves into new markets, we must remember that their slogan is “to do no evil.”

With this acquisition, Google obtains a portfolio of 17,000 patets with another 7,000 patents pending globally. Their move stems from their drive to control the Adroid world from beginning to end.

Although the smart phone market is still dominated by Apple’s iPhone popularity, there are probably 150 million Android phones, which commands the largest smartphone market share.

This is an interesting event in the world of technology.  Read more at TechCrunch.

Chesa
www.computergoddess.com

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And the Lion Roars!

Computer consulting, Computers

While I consider myself an early-adopter, at the same time my approach to major computer upgrades is one of caution. After all, I can keep working safely if I let the rest of the world test the new software and operating system upgrades for me.

I have a client who was not so cautious and even though he is a home user with personal needs rather than the more demanding business requirements, it was a headache for him when he updated to the latest Apple operating system, Lion.

Two issues created a problem for him:   Quicken and iPhoto.  Quicken 2007 and earlier will not run on Lion (OS 10.7) and unless you have the latest version of iPhoto, you will feel a heart-stopping jolt when iPhone is simply gone after the upgrade.

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Resources online for Japan earthquake info

Online information

The 8.9-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami have all but crippled Japan. There are many places online to turn to for information and aid and CNet has compiled a valuable page for Japan earthquake info.

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Never cut the marketing budget

Business economy, Marketing, Online marketing

I just have to say this. Today’s economy brings some struggles many didn’t anticipate. But one of the things that causes me great concern for some businesses is the reduction to the company’s budget across the board.

Obviously as revenues drop in this fear-based economy, it makes sense to look at the corporate expenses more closely.  Maybe the company institutes a hiring freeze. Perhaps business travel can be replaced or reduced by online meeting and webinar services such as GoToMeeting.com or FreeConferencing.com. Maybe those executive expense accounts can be looked at more closely. This all makes sense.

But what does not make sense is a reduction to the marketing and advertising budget. These expenditures are revenue-producing and not expenses that should ever be cut. In your industry you may have noticed that there are fewer players; you see fewer ads on TV and radio; and you can see less competition online from your competitors. This is perfect proof that maintaining or even increasing your marketing and advertising budget is the right, competitive move for this kind of economy.

When this economic cycle shifts — and all cycles come to an end and change into something else — if you have maintained or expanded your marketing efforts, your company will be on the top looking down at all those companies who cut back their marketing efforts and expenditures and now are having to catch up with you.

Chesa Keane
www.computergoddess.com

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My history with the Mac

Computers, Macintosh

My computer of choice is the Macintosh and has been since January 24, 1984, when I was sitting in a classroom at Apple’s Palo Alto training office.   January 24th was an important date:  it was the day that the Mac was revealed to Apple shareholders and the world.

I turned in my order form for this new wonder computer and was probably the first in Reno to get a Mac.  it has been a love story ever since.

I still have that Mac, upgraded to a Fat Mac (512k RAM with a double-sided floppy disk) and it works beautifully.  Slowly, but it works.  I have owned more than a 20 Macs (probably more; I can’t remember the Mac stream that has flowed through my office) and now own four laptops.  My love for Apple has never died.  In fact it has spilled over to several iPods and my 3rd iPhone.

An article that I recently came across was especially interesting, John Sculley On Steve Jobs, The Full Interview Transcript, published in Cult of Mac on October 14, 2010. When Apple was first building computers, all computers were manufactured in the U.S.  Now, like all other computer manufacturers, their computers are built overseas.

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Images and copyright infringement

Online Issues, Web Design, web development

Most people who are unfamiliar with copyright infringement issues and laws will pull an image off the Internet by Googling a subject and clicking on the images filter at the top of the page. When they find a picture that works perfectly for their needs, they simply download it.

What they don’t realize, however, is that every image taken or created in the United States, as well as most other countries, is owned and considered to be copyright-protected by the artist. This means that if the owner of that image chooses to, they can sue you for copyright infringement.

Often website owners take extra measures to protect their images and this makes it necessary for you to take care not to grab the wrong image — the one that will get you sued.

Don Crowther (www.doncrowther.com) has written a great article about how to both protect your images from unwanted downloads and how to find free and legal images that won’t violate the artist’s creative rights.

In the article, he explains how the website, www.creativecommons.org, provides licensing agreements clearly outlining what rights an artist may assign to his work and what the restrictions and allowances are for the image you want to use.

Crowther describes how to find good images with licensing rights assigned and explained by using Flickr’s advanced search function to seek Creative Commons-licensed images. Creative Commons is a website that offers free licensing agreements that you can use on your website stating the restrictions and parameters of usage for that photo or other work found online. When a license and the rights are clearly associated with the work, the legal system will support that artist should their rights be violated.

We have recently learned a very valuable lesson in this regard. Over six years ago, I was asked by my client to create four websites to represent their four sister-businesses.  The client wanted the sites to be different, yet complementary to each other.  Since four sites were being created at the same time, we chose to use a subcontractor for the base design while we would do the content management.

Because the subcontractor was a referral from a trusted associate, I did not think I had to be concerned about the copyrights on images used for the project. The sites were completed, the client was satisfied, and the project completed.  All seemed to be good.

But wait! Three months ago I received a call from the client — the sites were still up and running — informing me that they had received a call from Getty Images who was notifying them that they had Getty images on two of their websites that had not been paid for and as a result were in violation of the artists’ rights.  To the tune of $875/per website.

After some negotiation with Getty, I managed to get the settlement amount reduced to $675 per site.  Of course, this is our responsibility, not the client’s and we agreed to pay the bill.  We assured both Getty and our client that we did not know about the infringement, nor would we have willingly used these images without paying for the license to use these images on the website.

Two lessons here:  1) if you use a subcontractor, be sure that you are aware of the source of any artwork used by them for the work and 2) be prepared to step up to the plate and take responsibility should this situation unknowingly occur.  Even though it was the subcontractor who illegally used these images, there was never a question that we were the company contracted to do the project and it was up to us to make situation good again.

You can prevent this major headache by exercising strong control over the creative used by your subcontractors.  Frankly, we feel fortunate to have avoided a worse situation with the settlement we managed.

For further detailed information check out on Don Crowther’s site.

Chesa
www.computergoddess.com

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The state of the Internet

Internet Consulting, Online Issues

This is a terrific post on the various elements of the Internet as it stands today. It was designed and animated by Jess Thomas a week ago for a lecture at AIGA Baltimore in February 2010. Thanks to Jess for this great visual explanation of where we stand on the many facets of the world wide web.


JESS3 / The State of The Internet from Jesse Thomas on Vimeo.

 

Chesa
www.computergoddess.com

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Managing your Internet presence after death

Internet Consulting, Online Issues

Something most people don’t think of as they expand their online presence is:  After I die, what do I want to happen?  This is an interesting question.  With this new service, you can make your own death announcements and choose other options for your websites, your social media and those photos, etc. that you leave behind.

Check it out:  www.mywebwill.com

Chesa
www.computergoddess.com

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Pay attention to the FTC’s new rules

Internet Marketing, Online Issues

As of December 1st, the new FTC regulations came into effect and these regulations will directly affect you if you sell products online.  The FTC guidelines are online now and you will want to read and understand how these guides govern endorsements and testimonials affect bloggers and website claims.

Clearly, testimonials can help bolster your product and service advertisements.  But take care that when using testimonials that convey an experience with a product or service that the claim being made is provable — that is, simple disclaimers that state “results are not typical” will not be enough to satisfy the FTC Act.

Additionally, material connections between advertisers and endorsers must be disclosed.  That is, the post of a blogger who endorses a product and also receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement and the connection must be disclosed.  Likewise, if a company refers in an advertisement to findings from a research organization that was sponsored by the company, this relationship must be disclosed.

Even celebrity endorsements are affected by the new FTC Act.  Now both the advertiser and the endorser may be liable for false or unsubstantiated claims made in the endorsement or for not disclosing material connections between the advertiser and the endorser.

The FTC provides a 12-page FTC Guide that outlines the new regulations and give clear examples that will help you comply with the new FTC Act.  It would be a good idea to take the time to read this document as it may affect how the FTC views your online presence.

Bloggers and forum managers may have difficulty with this new Act if they allow comments to their postings or aren’t careful watching forum participants.  An example offered in the guide tells of a discussion about a particular MP3 music download technology that is the focus for several posters and one of the posters is an employee of a manufacturer of products under discussion.  The FTC Guide states, “Knowledge of this poster’s employment likely would affect the weight or credibility of his endorsement.  Therefore, the poster should clearly and conspicuously disclose her relationship to he manufacturer to member and readers of the message board.”

The problem is that a blogger or forum monitor may have difficulty identifying an anonymous poster’s background and connection to the product’s manufacturer.  The burden, then, in the example given seems to be on the poster to make the proper disclosures.  Will this happen?  I’m not convinced that it would — and if not, what are the consequences.

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Beware of “Twilight” scam

malware, Online Issues

Don’t get bitten by the “New Moon” movie download. With the Twilight craze in full swing, fans are being baited with the promise to watch the movie for free. What really happens is that viewers get more than they bargained for—malware installed on their computer.

Remember the old saying, “If it sounds to good to be true, then it probably is”. Pirated content is never good for anybody.

Read more at PC World.

Chesa
www.computergoddess.com

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