Google Bends Highways (possibly space and time)

According to Google Maps' new Earth view, this highway overpass takes over the street underneath. Still Ranks #1 for Pub Cheese Recipes

Don't say I didn't warn you. But my little expriment forever ago due to a bar bet is still keeping this site #1 for the chosen search term: "pub cheese recipe".

Gotta love it, I know I do.

Combining Drupal 6 Webforms and Views

Combining the Webforms Drupal modules with Views to display output doesn't look like a good way to display submitted results.

In a rushed attempt to put together a business directory, one approach I took was to combine the above 2 modules. There were a number of viable possibilities for allowing users to create a business listing on the website, but one requirement I settled on was that they didn't have to register. Another was that I didn't want them to simply use the Contact form so I'd have to re-enter the information elsewhere on the website. With this narrowed spec, I thought I could allow anonymous users to submit address, then use Views to display it. Unfortunately that doesn't work.

Now I'm not saying it's impossible. You could hack together a solution. Or you can customize an existing module or make your own to display Webforms data. This was just a rushed try.


The webform anonymous users could use to enter address info

The Views setup to display the Webform submitted data

How To Install Flash 10 in Portable Apps Firefox

The Portable Apps version of Firefox does not provide native Flash support. In prior versions of flash, there was a workaround. This has long ago stopped working. Here's a fix that worked for me. Copy a Flash 10 plugin DLL from an existing install into the Firefox Portable Apps version.In this case it's installed on my machine at the following location. The linked file is my own, provided for convenience.

C:\Common Files\Adobe AIR\Versions\1.0\Resources\npswf32.dll

Copy it into your Portable Apps Firefox directory here:

Facebook as an E-commerce Platform

Facebook is slowly becoming an
ecommerce platform for physical goods. Right now you can star the sales
process on FB, but the actual payment transaction has to happen
elsewhere. Their current strategy will be to allow for the full
ordering process to stay on site.

What does that mean? It means that organizations (who are
effectively using FB) will be able to leverage their existing fan pages
to generate sales. By keeping the transaction on site, it increases
conversion because it reduces friction. Javascript Fail

As if the internet needs more examples of utterly incompetent big company sites that horribly fail at handling a lack of javascript:

Google Lags in Indexing New Sites

The other day I launched a new website. It's another one of my niche sites; exploiting a particular narrow trend or topic. Here's the breakdown of activities over the course of the first few days.

  1. Register domain
    Install Drupal
    Load commonly used Drupal modules and configure the backend of the site
    Create documentation around the project, strategy, monetization, etc.
  2. Install a suitable theme and work on the look and feel of the site
    Create a logo and other promotional graphics
    Register the brand name on various services: Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Flickr
    Add the site to Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Google's index submission service
    Submit the site's sitemap.xml file to Google, Bing, et al.
  3. Develop the site navigation and main sections
    Generate a few initial blog posts
  4. Contact and interview subject matter experts in the niche this site is dedicated to
    Begin social networking involvement (traffic spikes this day for the first time)
  5. Comment on relevant blog posts on the web; link back to the site
    Write enough posts for the next week and schedule to auto-publish each day
    Further research the niche and document who the experts and influencers are

Where's the problem? Despite heavy Twitter traffic, comment linking, and submitting my site to Google, it didn't get indexed until 6 days later. The domain was registered on a Friday. On Saturday I submitted everything I could to Google. By Wednesday, the comment linking (inbound links from external sites) showed up in Google, but I had to search for my domain name to find them. It took until early Thursday for all the site's content to finally show up in Google.

Why Local News is Irrelevant

During a big snowstorm in Boston on 2/16/2010, I checked WBZTV's website. Given that I had to drive into the city (a bad idea, but I had to), I checked their local traffic cams.

This is what I got when I clicked on their "Downtown" camera:

Click to enlarge.

It was footage dated 2/11/2010. Very helpful WBZ. This is why you're irrelevant in the new Internet era. You and all the other local news websites.

Modders Inc Review

Do you build and mod your own computers? Modders Inc is a great website for people who tinker with their own PCs. Unlike other tech sites with superficial content, these guys have real in depth reviews. They spend weeks with products before writing about them.

Jason Calacanis spoke with Dewayne Carel in episode #38 of TWIST (This Week In Startups). Carel is the man behind His question was how to deal with a website whose site stats had plateued. Despite regular spikes in traffic, it would always settle back down to the same level. Watch TWIST, below, for the full episode. And visit Modders Inc for some great pc building content.




TWiST #38 with Stefan Weitz

Why Don't Consumer Companies Sell Replacement Parts?

I really hate companies that don't sell replacement parts for their products on their websites. Granted, selling directly from the manufacturer to the consumer might bypass the the  distributors. But that shouldn't prevent the consumer from getting parts directly. At the very least, if the manufacturer wants to push people to get spares from "authorized resellers", at least make it easy to get schematics and parts data.


The latest case for me is a less technical one. In fact, I'm looking for a replacement watch band for my Seiko Coutura. Seiko: your website as useful as a wheelchair at Disneyland. It's next to useless.

Why don't you sell replacement watch bands directly? Or at least list which part/model number watchband goes with which watch. Then I can find it elsewhere.

It's important to maintain a long term relationship with your customers. And that entails what happens after the sale. The product itself is one thing. But a customer who enjoys the product will stick with the company. He'll buy accessories, upgrades, etc. In my case, the watch is a beautiful watch. It really is. Make no mistake about it. Despite my gripe about Seiko's incompetent website, I do like their products.
Contrast with Seiko:,,productid,,AU00027N

The site has loads of product info, model numbers, specs, etc. Not only that, but the guy running it has a YouTube video of the actual product. He recorded a product info video of a watch band! Out of all the bands he must have in stock, this is amazing.
Seiko, why can't I do this on your website:

Select my watch model -> See compatible watch bands -> Buy

What an idea!


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