Information Velocity: Traveling at the Speed of Digital

Web Hosting, Online News, and Information

In case you haven’t noticed, your morning newspaper is shrinking. The publishing and information dissemination techniques employed for the last 300 years are giving way to new technology – digital technology or the world wide web.

Go ahead, check this morning’s newspaper. Not one piece of information is “today.” It’s yesterday’s news. Sure, for local stories, newspapers still provide broader, more detailed coverage. And you get the sports news, comics, a crossword puzzle and a bunch of coupons that more than pay for the cost of the newspaper subscription.

But it’s still yesterday’s news.

Today, you can flip on the 24-hour news channel of choice and watch a car chase in California (why is it always California?) as it’s happening. Information is delivered immediately – at the speed of digital.

Or, there are numerous blogs and web sites that post news events as they happen, again beating traditional media in many cases. Today, people expect information that’s up to the minute. And they want it NOW!

What’s New?

Now, not all web sites require hourly news updates. Maggiesknittingsupplies.com probably doesn’t need up to the minute reportage from the world of knitting. I mean, how much changes from one day to the next?

But that doesn’t mean that Maggie should hire a copy writer for her site text, set her sales pitch and hope for the best. If she’s a savvy business women (let’s assume she is) providing articles on types of yarn, on-line lessons for beginners, information on other handiwork, visitors will continue to visit Maggiesknittingsupplies.com for the information and, at some point, make a purchase.

Let’s call this slow speed news.

  • It changes.
  • It encourages repeat visitors and builds a site community
  • It creates good will among members who actually bookmark the site as members of the “family.”
  • It establishes the authority of the site owner. You’re the teacher, guru or mentor.
  • It delivers a useful service to the visitor by educating her.
  • It pre-qualifies visitors be delivering a better-educated prospect ready to convert from browser to buyer.
  • It makes search engines happy.

Search engine bots visit your site regularly. In fact, you can tell search engines how often to crawl your site. Google’s default is once every 30 days but that’s an outside number. Most sites are crawled within seven days.

When the site is crawled, a snapshot is taken. This is the cached view that appears on search engine results pages. The cached view is what the search engine saw the last time the site was crawled, which could be two or three weeks ago.

And for many web site owners, changing text isn’t a critical factor to site success. You can program your site code to tell bots that text will never change. This way, you don’t get penalized for the lack of fresh content.

You see, when a search engine bot happens by and crawls your site, it compares the latest information on site to the cached view – the snapshot that was taken the last time the site was crawled. If the text is identical and you haven’t told the search engine that your site text won’t change (part of the HTML or XML coding used to actually create the presentation layer that people actually see), the site will lose rank in SERPs for out-dated content.

The reason? Search engines are in the business of delivering the most relevant links to the most relevant web sites based on the keywords entered by search engine users. Well, if nothing has changed on your “up to the minute stock market analysis” in two weeks, search engine algorithms file that in the negative ranking category and your SERPs link remains on page 154.

When was the last time YOU drilled down to page 154 of search engine results pages? Like never. Search engine users rarely go beyond the second or third page during a web search. If they don’t find the information or product they’re looking for on one of the top ranked web sites they often initiate another search using different keywords – which may place you on page 876 of Google’s SERPs since the prospect didn’t enter a keyword for which your site is optimized.

Who Needs to Be Current?

Well, any site can increase the velocity of information if the site owner is cleaver. Want some examples?

Okay, a blog can be created with a few clicks and you have an immediate outlet to deliver current news, occasional news, enable site visitors to reply to blog posts and build a community of loyal followers and customers.

A local restaurant, optimized for local search can post, not only the full menu, but that day’s specials. News every day, and the kind of news site visitors will use over and over before deciding on where to go for eats that night.

A certified financial planner can run real time stock prices to keep visitors on line all day. Or, these CFPs can post market gainers and losers, sales volume of movers and shakers and other financial news of interest to the CFA’s local client base.

An oil and gas junior can post real-time video of activity in the field. It’s like watching a realty show and it builds trust and confidence in the fledgling company.

5 Ways To Increase Information Velocity On Your Web Site

Add an RSS feed.

RSS stands for remote site syndication and it simply delivers news on a specific topic at the speed of digital. Maggie (of Maggiesknittingsupplies.com) could add an RSS feed because she enters the keywords for the information she wants delivered to her site visitors. Maggie enters “knitting” and she gets the latest in knitting news (I can only assume there must be some news in the fast-paced world of handcrafts).

You’ll need a feed aggregator that collects RSS feeds from different sources like Google, Yahoo news or the New York Stock Exchange. Expect to pay for some feeds, but there are plenty of freebies and even the paid RSS feeds are dirt cheap.

Add a Blog.

Blogs are great because they’re simple, enabling the site owner to update site content without calling the programmer.

Blog posts can be as current as right now. Hear something or read something and you can write up a 400 word post and tell your site visitors the latest.

Add live video feeds.

Live video feeds of the space walk, the chess tourney, the sports news – whatever topics that draw visitors to your site. Search for “live video feeds” using a search engine and simply link up to the feed. Takes a couple of clicks and your site is current.

Do note that bots are unable to spider video or graphics content. However, add an HTML tag explaining to the bot what’s in the video feed and you’ll get a little extra credit.

Add real time updates within the topicality of your site.

One smart site owner at confidenttrader.com sells a microcap stock picking service. He keeps a portfolio of stocks that any visitor can see. No “opt-in” required.

Each day, the stock prices in the portfolio are updated, providing the site owner’s subscribers and prospects immediate updates to their own portfolio of stocks that parallel the owner of confidenttrader.com.

This keeps site visitors coming back every day to check their own portfolios because all of the relevant information as been aggregated into a single page of a web site – a real time saver.

Now, this kind of information isn’t free to the micro-cap stock site owner. He pays for the service but he also delivers a valuable service to his subscribers and the cost of the latest information is built into the subscription price.

This daily update draws repeat visitors, provides complete transparency (a trust builder), creates good will and entices subscribers to sign up for the Confident Trader’s picks. Win-win.

Add new site text.

Add informational articles to your web site and create a site archive section. When a bot stops by and compares your current site information with the cached view and sees all that new, fresh, juicy, “green” content, you move up in rank because the search engine determines that you’re providing good information regularly.

If you can’t write, hire a copy writer to populate your web site and blog with new content a few times a week. You’ll quickly discover the cost versus benefits equation tips in your favor.

Or write a few lines on what’s going on in your industry – an upcoming seminar, symposium or trade show. In other words, keep your site visitors up to date with the latest news.

This establishes your credibility and the fact that you’re plugged in to the latest news. And guess what…

…thanks to you, so are your readers.

Awesome Ways to Get Outdoors!

Are you looking for fresh ways to spend time with your friends and family? Outdoor activities getting a little boring are they? With your fast paced life gaining speed all the time, it’s easy to stick to what’s familiar; but is that any way to live? Let’s take a few minutes and look at how easy it is to break out of the same-ole-routine and into the new with wholesome activities near home and out of doors. Read on to see why it’s tough to beat having fun with friends and family outdoors in the fresh air.

One of the first things we notice as we step outdoors and into nature is that we are not alone. Life surrounds us. So the first thing to do is to slow down and have a look around. While you’re looking, why not do some bird watching. It’s fun, easy to do and inexpensive. All you need are birds and they are everywhere. Make a family game out of it. Who can find the first bird with the color blue on it? How many ducks are on the pond? Are they all the same kind? You get the idea. But be careful, once you start bird watching you’ll find it difficult to stop. Before long you’ll have a good pair of birding binoculars and a field guide for your part of the country. Then you’ll be a bird watcher with birding fever. The best part of bird watching is spending time with others outdoors; and birding is a hobby you’ll love for the rest of your life.

If you need a sport that’s a little more high tech, give geocaching a shot. Geocaching is the sport where you use your handheld GPS receiver to find caches hidden by others using their GPS receivers. This is something you can do by yourself, with friends or with your children. Geocaching teaches outdoor navigation in a fun and interactive way while allowing you to explore your own neighborhood and beyond. You’ll learn new words and phrases such as cache coordinates, travel bugs, micro-caches, benchmarking and geoteaming. All you need is internet access and a GPS receiver; some GPS receivers retail for many hundreds of dollars but many models are available for around $100. Although the sport is active in over 200 countries, most geocachers enjoy playing the game in their own neighborhoods. It’s awesome!

If a GPS receiver isn’t in your budget right now, perhaps you might give Letterboxing a try. Letterboxing is similar to geocaching in that you are searching for a hidden treasure, but in this case it is called a box not a cache and you use clues versus coordinates to locate the treasure. There are other components to the Letterboxing game such as rubber stamps and log books. Letterboxing is inexpensive, loads of fun and addictive.

So what’s next? How about the oldest of all outdoor hobbies? That’s right, stargazing. If you live in a large city and spend all of your time there, it’s easy to forget about the night sky because you can’t see it. But it’s still there and provides breath taking views that are impossible to communicate. So grab a jacket, a pair of binoculars and a loved one and go somewhere nearby where you can have an unobstructed view of the night sky with as little light pollution as possible. With a pair of binoculars you should be able to see man-made satellites, the moons of Jupiter and craters on our own Moon. Once you catch the stargazing fever you’ll move up to a telescope where you can point it virtually anywhere in the night sky and be awe struck.

There is so much available to us outdoors. Try something new like bird watching, geocaching, letterboxing or stargazing. Each of these activities has a large on-line community ready to share its sport, its tips and its passion with you. Visit our on-line education center and we’ll point you in the right direction.

Not everyone has the skill or desire to climb Mount Everest, hike the Appalachian Trail or sail the world’s oceans. But there is something everyone can do near their own homes that will open the eyes and their minds to the beauty of nature. Take a few hours this week and spend it outdoors with someone you like. Use this information and you’ll Get It Right The First Time. Get Outdoors!

Technology Implementation

Introducing a new product to a company is both a complicated and rewarding task. I speak from experience because I was the lead technical person involved when our company, XYZ Inc., upgraded our users from Outlook 2000 to Outlook 2003. This upgrade was by no means a seamless transition and many of the users were doubtful that an upgrade would improve the latency problems that XYZ user’s was experiencing. Despite these doubts, our team was able to have a successful upgrade, which solved critical issues that XYZ was experiencing.

There are several factors that a company must analyze before they decide whether they should add new technology. The most important factor is if the technology is cost effective. If the technology is too expensive then the company may lose revenue if they purchase too many licenses and overspend. The other factor is analyzing whether the employees have the tech. savvy to operate a complicated application. The education of the employees should also be factored in because while the company is paying thousands of dollars to educate their employees they are also losing valuable working time.

XYZ had recently opened several new satellite offices that were located across the East Coast. Each office had no more then 5 employees but all them relied heavily on the email system to perform their every day tasks. The current Exchange System featured 1 Exchange Server that was about 5 years out of date. Together with the board of directors, we decided that it would be necessary to upgrade the exchange system hardware. In addition, the decision was made to upgrade the software from Advanced Server 2000 to the Standard Addition Exchange 2003.

On the Server side, the Standard Exchange 2003 addition was the best choice for the company because of several different reasons. Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition is designed to meet the messaging and collaboration needs of small and medium-size corporations. With Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition, you get:
1. Exchange Server 2003

2. The flexibility to be configured as a Microsoft Office Outlook Web Access front-end server.

3. Mailbox stores and public folder stores that are each limited to 16-gigabyte (GB) maximum.

4. Recovery Storage Group (Microsoft.com, 2004)

The main reason that I requested that we upgrade our client side application from outlook 2000 to 2003 is that this application has a feature that is called “caching”. There are also several other features that this Application contains which I felt were essential to XYZ’s success:
1. Prevent junk mail. The new Junk E-Mail Filter can help you prevent junk e-mail messages from cluttering your Inbox. Learn more about preventing junk e-mail messages with Outlook 2003.

2. Block unwanted attachments. To help prevent unwanted attachments and bulky files from taking up too much storage space, Outlook 2003 blocks e-mail messages and files from people not on your Safe Senders List. After you examine and approve the message, Outlook 2003 downloads the full message and file.

3. Read e-mail messages regardless of the connection. The new Cached Exchange Mode downloads messages and other Outlook 2003 data to your computer so you can remain productive during network downtime. Cached Exchange Mode requires a connection to Exchange Server 2003. (Microsoft.com, 2003)

Most of the work for this upgrade was done on the weekend and during holiday hours. The users did not lose any productivity time during the Active Directory and 2003 Standard Exchange Server upgrade. The caching element that outlook 2003 feature’s proved to be the perfect solution for the company. This proved to be the most cost effective solution because XYZ did not have to purchase several more exchange servers to place in the satellite offices. The service patch that Microsoft introduced with Exchange 2003 offered up to 75 gigabytes of storage space. This is more then enough space for the company.

Most of the employees were satisfied with the new version of Outlook 2003. XYZ decided against purchasing a long-term support plan for the application since I was knowledgeable about the product. It was decided that if employees had any questions or complaints about the new application they would be brought to my attention. I was able to answer most of the questions without any problems. XYZ was still covered by a guaranteed 90-day support plan with Microsoft so I was able to call Microsoft and have them solve problems that I was not able to answer.

I had to deal with several different vendors while performing the upgrade. Microsoft, Dell, Sonic Wall, Symantec and Webroot were just a few of the companies I had to work with. For the most part, I was unsatisfied with most of the customer support I received from these companies. Symantec and Webroot did an adequate job when I was having some difficulties performing the upgrade. I had horrible experiences with the other companies when attempting to deal with their technical support teams. For this reason, I discourage the users in our company’s network from calling these technical support companies directly. Instead, I have them come to me if they are experiencing any problems with a newly implemented technology. This is the main support plan that we provide for our users:
Principals of Service
We believe that technical excellence is only a part of providing a completely satisfying experience to you. Easy Network Inc. also concentrates on making sure your service experience with us is unsurpassed. We constantly focus on courtesy, professionalism, and good communication.
Principles of Methodology
1. Simplicity. We believe in simple, effective, proven network designs. We do not implement complex, hard to support systems merely to be on the cutting edge of technology.

2. Reliability. We believe in using high-quality, brand-name equipment more than pays for itself in better reliability—and systems that don’t fail don’t require as much expensive attention.

3. Cost effectiveness. We understand that there is a trade-off between obtaining the perfect system, and one that is affordable and can do the job. Our goal is always to provide you with the most cost effective services and systems to meet your needs.

Introducing a new product can be a complicated, but reachable undertaking. Budgeting, proper planning, establishing protocol and good relationships are just some of the responsibilities management has to address in order to have a successful product introduction. The companies overall chance for achievement is greatly improved if the new product is introduced appropriately.

[http://www.theeasynetwork.com]

References:

Exchange Server 2003 Product Overview (2004), Microsoft.com retrieved on June 17, 2006 from the World Wide Web. http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/evaluation/overview/default.mspx

Outlook 2003 Product Overview (2003), Microsoft.com retrieved on June 17, 2006 from the World Wide Web. http://www.microsoft.com/office/outlook/prodinfo/overview.mspx

Outdoor Education

Outdoor education usually refers to organized learning that takes place in the outdoors. There are various outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, canoeing, ropes courses, and group games. Some of the aims of the outdoor education are to bring the children closer to Mother Nature, builds self confidence, how children can manage difficult situations, to enhance personal and social development. The various outdoor activities include abseiling, backpacking, camping, canoeing, Geo caching, kayaking, nature study, questing, rafting, rock climbing, ropes course, sail training, snowboarding, and way finding. Outdoor education is education ‘in’, ‘about’, and ‘for’ the out of doors.

Outdoor education can occur in a school yard, swamps, meadows, forests, shores, lakes, prairies, deserts, estuaries, and biomes. About explains that the topic is the outdoors itself and the cultural aspects related to the natural environment. You can teach about mathematics, biology, geology, communication, history, political science, art, physical skills, or endurance in outdoors. But students mainly learn about soil, water, animals and plants as it is related to natural environment. ‘For’ tell us that the purpose of outdoor education is related to cognitive, psycho-motor, and other domains of learning for ecosystem. Abseiling is an outdoor activity. It is the process of descending a rope under control, used in rock climbing, mountaineering, caving, and canoeing. It is also called as rappelling, rap jumping, rappling etc. Various equipment that are needed for abseiling is helmets, gloves, and boots, knee-pads, ropes, harness, and rappel device. Backpacker packs all of his or her gear into a backpack. This gear must include food, water, shelter or some other little things that are needed. Backpacking may last just for a weekend or even for weeks or months.

Camping is an outdoor activity. Campers get away from the urban areas in general and enjoy nature while spending one or more nights, usually at a campsite. Camping equipments that are needed includes a tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, portable stove, lantern, and hatchet, ropes, and chuck box. Some campers may prepare food by cooking on a campfire, use equipment called as Dutch oven. Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a global positioning system receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers anywhere in the world. Rafting is a challenging recreational activity utilizing a raft to navigate a river or other bodies of water. Outdoor activities that are conducted by Pali institute include deep creek hike, outdoor cooking, forest ecology, orienteering, bird brains, wilderness survival, animal survivor, day hike, archery.