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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for TypePad Thu 28 Aug 08

Last Saturday I mentioned that I had done some search engine optimization (SEO) changes on my blog.  I also promised, time permitting, to explain how I did this since some of you may find yourself in the same situation.  Here it is.

Fair warning - this won't be my typical conversation or whatever you care to call it.  Rather it is a more instructional article on how to add code to your TypePad blog for search engine optimization (SEO).  If this is of interest, read on. 

Continue reading "Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for TypePad" »

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Installing Outbrain "Star" Rating on TypePad Blogs using Advanced Templates Tue 26 Aug 08

Outbrain_6Last Saturday I mentioned that I had added a way for you, the reader, to rate my articles and give me some feedback.  There are a number of these services available but I chose to use Outbrain as I liked their features.  I did mention that although they made it easy to install if you used basic templates in TypePad it was not quite so easy if you are using advanced templates.  I also promised, time permitting, to explain how I did this since some of you may find yourself in the same situation.  Here it is.

Fair warning - this won't be my typical conversation or whatever you care to call it.  Rather it is a more instructional article on how to add code to your TypePad blog to include the Outbrain rating system.  If this is of interest, read on. 

Continue reading "Installing Outbrain "Star" Rating on TypePad Blogs using Advanced Templates" »

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Surfing the Internet At 30,000 Feet - Airlines Providing Wireless Access Mon 25 Aug 08

Look_like_an_ad_no_magitisaLast week American Airlines (AA) launched mobile broadband service, Gogo™ provided by Aircell  on certain select flights - " . . . customers traveling on American’s Boeing 767-200 aircraft can access complete coast-to-coast coverage on nonstop flights between New York and San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, and New York and Miami."  Delta and Virgin Atlantic have also signed with Aircell and will be offering service soon.

AA announced "Aircell will charge $12.95 on flights more than three hours, which include American’s Boeing 767-200 flights. Each paid Gogo session includes full Internet access. Cell phone and Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services are not available. "

As an IT guy I guess I should be happy about this but the truth is that while I accept this as an inevitable event I actually have mixed feelings about this.  I fully admit there have been times in the past when I really would have liked to have had access especially on long overseas flights.  However, since Aircell use ground towers to transmit their signal we still won't have it on overseas flights.

The reason for my mixed feelings?  Over the past few years air travel has become much less pleasant.  It's more like flying the "unfriendly skies" to paraphrase and mix airline metaphors.  I'm sure we've all seen the stories chronicling assaults on the cabin crew and assaults by the cabin crew.  Recently the hot news in Houston was the trial of a co-pastor of a local mega-church being sued by a flight attendant for allegedly assaulting her over a spilled drink in her first-class seat (the jury found no assault took place).

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Blog Update Sat 23 Aug 08

This past week or so I've been busy making some changes to this blog.  Some are cosmetic, some are new features and some are just "behind the scenes" kind of changes.  I hope you like them and I welcome any comments.  Listed below are the more significant changes.

Back on August 12th in an effort to make things easier for you to read the articles I've set it up so that you can now easily see my articles on your cell phone or mobile device. The folks at Mofuse made this a very simple process for both of us.  Simply click on the Mobile badge and enter your phone number or browse to http://BBLandA.mofuse.mobi/  Give it a try.

Outbrain_2I've also added a way for you to give me feedback via a quick 5 star rating system.  But please don't hestitate to also leave comments.  The rating sytem is from Outbrain.  Once in place is very simple to us, just click on the rating you choose.  Installing it however was a different manner.  Outbrain provides widget for your blog if you use the standard formats.  However, if you use "advanced templates" on Typepad it gets very tricky.  Unfortunately, Outbrain doesn't provide a lot of guidance on how to adapt advanced templates.  I did contact the support staff and they did provide some help but ultimately I had to figure it out on my own.  Time permitting I'll write a separate article on how to do this.

I've joined MyBlogLog and have added a widget showing recent visitors to stay connected with MyBlogLog visitors.

Bblanda In an effort to improve readability I've changed the format and theme.  This include a new look and shifting  the sidebars to the right side with the content on the left.  There were also a few other cosmetic changes.

The   final change was a "behind the scenes" one.   I modified my blog to use the Technorati tags as keywords for search engine optimization (SEO).  For those of you that have your own Typepad blogs you may be aware the the "keywords" section of your post doesn't really have anything to do with SEO.  However, thanks to David Weiss over at TypePad Hacks I found a way to add SEO keywords.  Check out "A Creative SEO TypePad Hack" for more information.  Time permitting I'll also post more details on this for those of you that are interested.

As always I'd love to hear your comments on ways to improve.  Thanks for reading.

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Using Widgets To Compete - Companies must use Web 2.0 technologies to stay ahead of rivals. Mon 18 Aug 08

Your best customers don't want to come to your Web site.

If this isn't true now, it will likely be true in the future. This especially applies in the business-to-business arena, but is also true, perhaps to a lesser extent, in the business-to-consumer arena. Upsetting, isn't it? And you probably think I'm crazy too.

Here you've spent all that time and effort developing your site and I'm telling you that your best customers don't want to come see it. You put extra effort into making it look good and easy to navigate. You've probably loaded it with all kinds of goodies--up-to-date information, order tracking services and perhaps even some useful applications. What's not to like?

To be sure, you've probably made all the right moves and really do have a good Web site. The thing is, competitors have good Web sites too. Having a site is no longer unique and competing companies' sites often have many of the same features.

The frustrating thing about technology is that it is very difficult--some would say impossible--to maintain a technological competitive advantage. The competition can do the same things you did. And if you were the trailblazer, rivals might be able to learn from what you did and accomplish it more quickly and less expensively. Sad to say, life just isn't fair.

The good news in all of this is that customers want all of that information--they want those cool applications--they just don't want to come to your Web site to get it. They want you to deliver it to their Web sites or intranets.

Continue reading "Using Widgets To Compete - Companies must use Web 2.0 technologies to stay ahead of rivals." »

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Going Mobile Tue 12 Aug 08

Like The Who in the classic rock song, I'm Going Mobile!  In an effort to make things easier I've set it up so that you can now easily see my postings on your cell phone or mobile device.  Simply click on the Mobile badge and enter your phone number or browse to http://BBLandA.mofuse.mobi/  Give it a try.

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Business Analyst Job Description Mon 11 Aug 08

Camiseta_cv2_jloriFar and away my most popular post is Let's Get Down to BusinessEven though it was written about a year and a half ago, 20+% of my recent site visits are to this article coming in either through Google searches or Jonathon Babcock's review of this post.  Why is this so popular?  I think it is because it contains a great business analyst (BA) job description that gets to the heart of what a business analyst really does.  This job description doesn't just cover the skills they need but focuses more on the competencies that will make them successful.

Having just gone through the process reviewing a fair number of BA resumes I'd like to add one more item to the list.

Be able to describe and communicate the value of a project in terms of both its benefits and costs in terms used by the business community that will effectively obtain leadership understanding, support and approval of the project.

In other words the BA has to be able to "sell" the project.  Ultimately it is the responsibility of the business owner or sponsor to sell the project, however, the BA has to be able to play a critical support role in selling the project.  As I did in the original post I highlighted this competency in blue to convey convey the essence of what distinguishes a good business analyst from a good applications person.

The reason I've added this is that after reading a number of resumes it was apparent that many claiming to be BA's are missing this critical competency too.  (Perhaps I should have used a different colors since it may not be all that common with BA's either.)  How could I tell?

Continue reading "Business Analyst Job Description" »

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The Paperless Workplace Mon 04 Aug 08

Paperless_office_thaths_2One of the great unfulfilled promises of technology is the paperless office.  Computers were to rid us of all that clutter and paper shuffling.  To be sure we have seen a significant reduction in paper but it is certainly not the nirvana we were led to expect. 

When was the last time you got a real inter-office memo on paper?  It's been a long time hasn't it?  Email has made the inter-office memo extinct.  However there are days when I look at the number of emails in my inbox and can't help but wonder if this is a good thing or not.

A recent post by tech consultant Vinnie Mirchandani, outlining about his attempts to go paperless, illustrates that going paperless is certainly not easy--nor is it for the faint-hearted. As Mirchandani illustrates, there are just some situations when having paper is the right solution.

The biggest advantage paper has is the usability factor.  I can quickly scan the entire page, add notes to it, highlight important sections, hand it across the table and say "take a look at this", or fold it and put in my pocket and take it with me.  Oh I know there are technological answers to all of these but now of them are as easy as the old methods. 

The reality is that although technology promised a paperless world most of the technology effort was directed elsewhere.   Technology just wasn't that focused on usability. 

We have a monitor tethered to a computer and interface via a keyboard and mouse and we've had that arrangement for a long time.   Voice recognition and touch screens have continued to evolve and improve but these alone aren't enough to solve the paperless usability issue.

Continue reading "The Paperless Workplace" »

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Update on Web 2.0 and the Enterprise - ExxonMobil on Twitter? Sun 03 Aug 08

Pagasus_orionoirI recently wrote about about "Why Companies Need Web 2.0" and it now appears that the we have a real life example of how this can be used.  I say appears because the company in question, ExxonMobil, denies that they are using it.

The Houston Chronicle reports "Exxon Mobil says it's not behind Twitter account".  It seems that someone named "Janet" claiming to be from ExxonMobil in Irving, Texas has been using Twitter to communicate the company's message by pointing out the company's philanthropic efforts, explaining polices and answering questions.  Up to this point there does not appear to be any effort by "Janet" to discredit ExxonMobil.

However, ExxonMobil says this is not being done by anyone there and wasn't even aware of it until the Chronicle called and asked about.

Perhaps this is a well executed hoax or maybe as so often happens in large companies the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Regardless of whether or not this is legitimate it does illustrate how technologies like Twitter can be used in the corporate world.  If it is a hoax maybe it will have the side benefit of stirring the corporate world to take a look at the possibilities that these technologies offer.  I'm sure that someone will point out the dangers of Web 2.0 and how difficult it is to control etc.  While security issues are important they should be viewed not as a roadblocks but an obstacles to be addressed and overcome.

How are you using Web 2.0?

"pegasus" photo by orionoir

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