Category Miscellaneous

You’ve Got (a) Deal! Verizon Buys AOL for $4.4 Billion

In our never-ending quest for all things ‘Net-nostalgic — and because the ‘Net isn’t that old, a lot of them refer to AOL — here is the latest: Verizon has agreed to purchase AOL lock, stock, and 5-bazillion-CD-cache, for $4.4 billion.

Sounds like a ton of money, but maybe not so much when you consider AOL was at one time valued at well over $200 billion. Then again, for a company almost no one under the age of 25 actually knew still existed, maybe that’s not such chump change after all.

In any case, here’s a terrifc “chat history” of AOL’s up/down/up again timeline from

Ding! Dong! The IE Witch Is Dead!

ie-deadWord from the Internet world — and very welcome word, I might add — is that Microsoft is finally doing away with Internet Explorer, and replacing it with “Project Spartan”.  The new browser is rumored to be something along the lines of Firefox or Chrome; in other words, a piece of software that actually works as it should!

Of course, nothing so widely in use as IE will ever really be dead, or at least not for a long while. But I can heartily say that I look forward to the day when I will no longer have to program a website to look and work right on every other browser in the world, and then re-program it all to work on IE alone. So you could look at the end of IE as a mercy killing — with the mercy going to we web professionals!

In keeping with our recent them of AOL-related posts, here is a funny article from’s Money division titled “Goodbye, Internet Explorer: 7 tech things we miss from the ’90s“. Don’t forget to watch (or listen) to the included video on dialing up AOL from a 56k modem. Ah, the sweet old sound of Internet surfin’ freedom!

Dialup Internet Access — Still Alive And Kicking

You know, I think I still have a few of these!
Image credit:

This article from my web host, titled “CyberLynk Discontinues Dialup/ISDN Internet Service After 20 Years“, got me to thinking about the old days of 56k and whether or not anyone still uses a phone line and a modem to access the Internet.  Turns out, they do!

Although I couldn’t find accurate statistics on current-day usage, a poll taken back in 2012 by the Pew Research Center found that 3% of Americans still used dialup. That may not sound like much, but it still means millions of people have to wait for that scratchy buzz and hum before surfing the ‘Net.

Believe it or not, some 2+ million folks still subscribe to AOL’s dialup service!! I have to wonder how many of those are not even aware that they’re still paying for said service.  Boy, thinking about the days when the only way onto the Web was through AOL sends chills of horror up my spine.

Most (though not all) of dialup usage is typically found in rural areas, where broadband is only available if you can afford satellite access. Of course, we’re talking about the U.S. here — I’m sure the figures are much, much higher in other parts of the world, if there is even Internet access at all.

The one thing I believe that will finally kill off dialup, even in rural areas, will be the overarching presence of smart phones — once everyone can get on the Web via their cell phone provider, even the small screen sizes won’t be as much of a hindrance as the achingly slow “speed” of dialup…


Net Neutrality – It’s a Good Thing

Heard about this “net neutrality” stuff? Assuming you are like the other seven hundred million Americans (or so) who use the Internet, if you haven’t, you should probably make a point to familiarize yourself with it, lest you end up like Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), embarrassing yourself publicly by comparing Net Neutrality to Obamacare.

Rather than go too in-depth here, we’ll let this article from The Oatmeal help out Senator Cruz (and you) get a handle on why we need it. Titled “Dear Senator Ted Cruz, I’m Going To Explain To You How Net Neutrality ACTUALLY Works“, that’s exactly what it does, in typical The Oatmeal fashion, a small bit of which is excerpted here:


Personally speaking, I think one of the reasons I love stuff like this from The Oatmeal is the Pink-Floyd-The-Wall-ishness of their illustrations. Now go call your Senator and tell them to read this blog post!

Hold Onto Your Butts!

As we’re whisked back in time to 1993, when one Dennis Nedry was head programmer at a certain Park on a certain island. (Can it really have been that long ago?) If you already have figured out what I’m talking about, then you’ll want to head right over to this site…

…to see if you’re smart enough to gain access to the main security grid.  (And don’t forget the magic word!)

If you have no clue yet, then it might be wise to watch this short clip:


So, what are you waiting for? Jam a cigarette butt in your mouth, practice your best Samuel L. Jackson impersonation, and if you’re a really good hacker, you might even find the Zebra Girl!

Full credit goes to Tully Robinson, the programmer who re-created this high-tech (in ’93) piece of wizardry.

Raymond Loewy: Icon of Modern Design

GoogleLoewyTrainIf you’ve been on Google today, you’ve surely noticed the futuristic train sketch replacing the usual logo, as Google honors Raymond Loewy on his 120th birthday anniversary.

You may not be familiar with the name, but you are certainly familiar with the results of Loewy’s lifetime of work in the design field, whether you know it or not.  Each time you pass a Shell station, or visit the Post Office, or drink Coke from a bottle, you are interacting with one of Loewy’s creations.

Throughout his lifetime of work, spanning 70 years in the field of industrial design — emphasis on “design” — Loewy championed the notion that manufacturing could produce items that were beautiful as well as functional.  From cars, trains, planes, boats, and buses, to appliances, flatware, dinnerware, furniture, product logos and packaging, Loewy could “claim to have made the daily life of the 20th Century more beautiful”, as he himself once said.

Want more proof? Click on the Google logo, then click on the “Images” tab of results for a broad overview of the many items that Loewy designed.  Here’s a screenshot of just a small portion of one page:


Loewy’s work with corporate logos alone resulted in many icons that are still in use today, including Shell, Exxon, Nabisco, and the US Post Office. Several graphic designers of my acquaintance would give their eyeteeth to have legacies as lasting! 🙂

The Battle Of The Brews: Coffee vs. Beer


Web design is one of those professions where being both creative and detail-oriented are integral to success.  How fortunate, then, that I came across an article extolling the virtues of coffee and/or beer when applied to those two traits!  We all know that coffee (that is, caffiene) can energize you, and help you focus on quickly and efficiently completing the tasks at hand.  Beer (i.e. alcohol), on the other hand, loosens the reins on focused activity, and actually helps enhance your creativity.

This well-written article breaks down the results of drinking each beverage in an easily digestible (pun intended) yet scientific matter, then gives reasons why you might consider imbibing each.  Moderation with both beverages is the key, of course, as drinking both too much caffeine and too much alcohol make getting any quality work done impossible. Of course, water should always be your drink of choice for optimum health, but sometimes you just gotta hit that deadline! 🙂

Read the full article here:
Drink Beer for Big Ideas, Coffee to Get Them Done

As educational as this article is meant to be, my favorite line is still: “There are lots of famous drunk artists, but no famous drunk accountants.” So true!

Need Some Inspiration?

graduation2013Feeling burned out at your job, whatever that might be?  Or just need a little inspiration to get over the mid-week hump?  Take a few moments and follow this link to check out “The Commencement Speeches You’d Wish You Heard“, written for the graduating Class of 2013 by business owners, CEOs, authors, and other luminaries, and published by LinkedIn.

With titles like “Four Things You Must Unlearn Immediately”, “Your Degree Doesn’t Mean Squat”, and “What Successful People Aren’t Telling You”, you’re sure to find some words of encouragement among these articles, no matter what stage your career is at right now.  And, if you have the time, reading the comments after each article will give you even more insight into each subject.  Highly recommended!

Comedy? Or Google Recruiting Video?

Doesn’t really matter — it looks funny either way!  And it has been a few years since I could say that about a movie starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.  But “No” to having a beer with the boss?  Hmmm.  That might be the deciding factor if I were ever to apply for an internship at Google…

Leisure Suit Tech

Thought I would share a photo I ran across a few days ago…

enterp-dedic-091776This picture was taken on September 17, 1976, at the dedication ceremony of the U.S.S., whoops, I mean the Space Shuttle Enterprise, NASA’s prototype for the recently-wrapped-up shuttle program.  Those of you who are Star Trek fans will of course recognize the majority of the “original crew” here, as well as Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, along with NASA Administrator Dr. James D. Fletcher (left).

In case you weren’t around on Planet Earth at the time, this was BIG news. Not only for NASA, and those of us interested in the future of the space program — which had heretofore ended with Apollo 17, the last manned flight to the moon, in 1972 — but also for Star Trek fans, as we were in the middle of the ten-year hiatus between the  cancellation of the original series, and the premiere of the first motion picture, which wouldn’t take place until 1979.

Oddly enough, this Enterprise never actually flew in space. It was designed to test re-entry systems, and made several flights after being hauled aloft on the back of a Boeing 747 specifically adapted to the task.  The overall design of the shuttle underwent subtle changes to reflect these real-world tests, and although these changes were applied to the ships that eventually went into orbit, they were never retro-fitted to the Enterprise.  Today, this space program icon resides at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City.

Not that this photo has anything in particular to do with web design, but I find it amazing that so much of the “imagined technology” from the original Star Trek series is actually around today.  Communicators (cellphones/smartphones), touch pads (iPads and tablets), and so on. Heck, some of the tech, such as floppy disk storage, has already come and gone!  Hard to say what the next 30 to 40 years will bring, but personally I’m waiting for the transporter…

Do You Zite? You Should!

What is Zite?

Zite is an app for your iPhone, Android, or tablet.  A free app, I might add.

What does it do?

Zite is a “personalized magazine”.  It pulls in content from all over the web, and presents it to you in categorized pages.  Even better, it allows you to decide which categories you want to see.

What kind of content?

As they say on the Zite site, “current events, important ideas and smart opinions that are circulating in our world — what’s happening and what’s interesting.”

How is it personalized?

In addition to the above, each time you read an article, you can choose to give that article a thumbs up or a thumbs down.  Zite keeps track of the choices you’ve made, and over time works to present you with more of the content you like, and less of what you don’t.  You can even connect Google Reader and Twitter accounts, if you have them, to further personalize Zite’s choice of reading material.

I’m not big on promoting brands as a rule, but I would definitely recommend this app to anyone.  Especially if you’re like me, with a wide variety of interests, and no time to go out and manually search for what you like to keep up on.  And Zite is proving to be a useful business tool, as well, providing me with ideas and sources for both marketing my business, and using in my business.

Give Zite a chance today; you’ll be glad you did!

Daniel Pink’s “Drive” – Motivation in 10 Minutes!

Daniel Pink's "Drive"Thought I would re-post this video on “The Truth About Motivation and Drive” (first posted, by me anyway, several months ago over at the Business Power Network Blog) as it is a favorite of mine, and has lately sparked a discussion about its application in a non-employer/employee environment, via my friend Steve Baker at The Great Game of Business (see my previous Facebook post for that link).

First, you should know that this is not a “quick and easy” video to watch; some thinking will actually be required! Second, I can guarantee you that it’s the most entertaining talk about the psychology, sociology, and economics of motivation that you will ever see. Boy, if that doesn’t make you want to hit the Play button, I don’t know what will! 🙂

Thirdly, and maybe this should have been “firstly”, if you live in the corporate world, you need to watch this video IMMEDIATELY. Then show it to your boss. Then show it to your boss’s boss. Keep moving it up the ladder until it reaches someone who really cares, because these ideas COULD create far-reaching changes, for the better, for all corporate employees if acted upon. And that statement’s coming from fifteen years of corporate working experience where the idea of anything other than “carrot and stick” would have been unthinkable.

Lastly, if you live in the self-employed world (as I do), while you’re watching this video, consider how you apply the concept of “autonomy, mastery, and purpose” in your everyday existence. What IS your motivation? Are you a “purpose-maximizer”, not just a “profit-maximizer”? I’d love to hear some feedback as to how you think these ideas could apply to you. Okay, then, here you go!

The Truth About Motivation and Drive