Monthly Archives: May 2011

Free Plants vs. Zombies for Android

 

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Sorry for being late on this just found out myself. Amazon Appstore is giving away Plant vs Zombies for free !!! go grab it while you can there’s about 4hr and 30 mins left to do so you can get it by going here

Podcasts Worth Listening To: WTF With Marc Maron

One of my favorite comedians is Marc Maron. I love hard honest truths in comedy. It can be silly, it can be raunchy, it can be ethereal, cerebral or abstract, but above all, it has to be honest and real. My favorite comics pour out their hearts and souls on stage and no one does this more than Marc Maron.

Which brings me to his podcast. Every episode, Marc starts off with a monologue where he talks about his current neurotic episode. It can be about something as inane as his current food obsession, as heartfelt as a current breakup with a girlfriend or as ridiculous as his inexplicable insecurities with his weight (he’s very thin and fit). It is this inability to hold back that evokes his guests on the show to compensate Marc’s honesty in kind, which of course makes for a great listen.

Now I don’t just listen to the show for its voyeuristic qualities (though yes that plays a part). The introspective vibe of the show also has a therapeutic feeling to it, that makes me question my own actions and personal truths in life. Through Marc Maron’s flaws I, in turn, look at my own and try to find parallels between them and try to figure out what I can do to improve myself as a person. Together, we laugh, we cry, we question and come back for more.

But enough about me. Why should you give this show a chance? Well, on top of sharing everything about himself, Marc is a very perceptive listener and great at probing for personal truths with his unique interviewing style of trying to make everything be about him. This different approach to interviewing has had such an easing effect on guests that they let their guards down and reveal a part of themselves that they wouldn’t otherwise do so in a regular interview show.

Through Marc Maron’s show he’s been able to: expose Carlos Mencia’s joke stealing, have Gallagher abruptly leave because he couldn’t find a way to escape a question without coming out as a phony, rekindled his friendship with Louis C.K. after going over some past history and misunderstandings that led to the initial breakup, and much more. On top of all this, the show is also hilarious to listen to. Talk about a triple threat!

This is a must-listen for anyone who claims to be a fan of comedy and a great listen for anyone who likes good radio and wants to hear something more than silly top 10 joke lists.

Yogizilla’s Tech Basement: Sitting On The Google Authority Throne (SEO Shite)

Have you ever wondered how Google determines a web site’s position in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages)? Me too. Truth be told, all us SEO experts mostly speculate because Google does not make their secret recipe known to anyone. This may very well be the reason why many of us online marketers, web designers, and social media wizards are seen as quacks. Fair enough. Whether of whether you are on the fence about the value of SEO or SMO or not, you should at least be aware of the basic rules at work. If you have any sort of web site, online content, or Internet-based service, being visible on Google is relevant, if not paramount to your success! Why? Because having traffic that grows in spite of your direct marketing and referral efforts sure beats going the door-to-door salesperson route. Really, who has that sort of time?

SEO is NOT a black art.

Many see SEO is purely guesswork (or magic) and, while I admitted to the speculative nature of the work, there is a science to it. The most important thing to note here is that the same proven methods will have different results for different people. Hence, the foundation of SEO and SMO alike (they go hand-in-hand, really) is built out of these solid metaphorical bricks:

  • Tempering your expectations (being patient).
  • Understanding performance indicators (monitoring key metrics/stats).
  • Identifying direct and indirect competition (finding the search results that appear before your own).

If you can handle that, you’re ready for the basics of SEO. Before we proceed, I want to be clear on something:

You don’t need to be tech-savvy to do the basic SEO stuff. In fact, it may put you at an advantage because you won’t over-complicate things!

Rather than reinventing the wheel, I highly recommend listening to Dino Dogan and Dan Cristo’s podcast on Search Engine Optimization. They hit all the basics. I’ll build upon their ideas further… What Is Authority, In Google Terms?Authority in Google jargon is a pain in the ass. The elusive concept of authority goes beyond mere PageRank and how it is computed is as complex and inexplicable as Google’s ranking algorithm (which, mind you, has over 200 rules built in, apparently). Let’s simplify… Think of authority as Google’s take on “niche marketing”. It’s all about how you position content. From there, how relevant and significant the content is, according to a slew of performance metrics, determines your authority. Some say authority is contextual, which more appropriately explains keyword rankings. I’d say authority is a composite of your overall performance across categories, tags, social media, and backlinks/votes. I reckon that regular site updates, heavy site traffic, low bounce rates, and average site visit (time spent on your site per visitor) factor in as well.

Ranking high in one area does not preclude others.. Unless you’re talking close-match keywords.

Interestingly enough, you can rank high on several keywords and have little authority. Focusing your content helps establish authority. High participation and conversion rates from site visitors helps as well. In the manner, authority tells people your site is important, whereas PageRank is more granular, focusing on each individual page (duh). What Is A Quality Link?In their podcast, Dino and Dan discussed the importance of off-page work. They also mentioned how this area is often overlooked. Link building is a huge part of SEO but people skip out on it or try to cut corners. Certainly, smaller sites should focus on quality, not quantity. High-value backlinks have three major traits:

  • Contextual. Links from related sites tend to have the most value. When it is obvious what you are clicking to, due to all the descriptive content encapsulating a link, humans and search bots alike rejoice!
  • Natural. “Click here” links are terrible because you’re competing for “click here” search ranking. A natural link eases people into a new site without seeming out of place or “bought”. It’s all about anchor text, BABY!
  • Authoritative. A site with established authority can give you tons of street cred. If you build value, the big boys will notice and hook you up, yo.
  • Popular. The more clickthroughs a link gets, the more significant it becomes. The more significant a link becomes, the more juice you build up. Increased link juice means your traffic will start growing exponentially!

In simple terms, build something remarkable and get people talking about it. You’ll get natural links and tons of buzz if you have something special to share on the interwebz. How Does Social Media Factor In? You knew this was coming! Social media should factor into any SEO strategy because it is simply magical. Most other areas of SEO require a constant grind and waiting for the results to show but social media can produce quick results AND give you long-term growth. As Dan Cristo mentioned, backlinks from social platforms run less of a risk of getting penalized. On top of that, you gain traffic sources that will continue to work for you with minimal maintenance. It’s a very natural system. Most so-called SEO “experts” focus on optimizing for highly-competitive sectors and merely building links. This is wrong because it doesn’t tell a story. Social media, however, DOES. Making it easy for others to promote your great works makes sense, no? OR you could just work 24/7 to promote and share the hard way… Name Spaces And Naming Conventions Here’s a simple yet often-overlooked area. Dino is right when he says URLs and, more importantly, domain names are very valuable. The “rule of thumb” (inside joke, unless you listened to the aforementioned podcast already) is that optimizing top-level data for human audiences and search engines alike is HUGE. Your domain name is one of the first things that sticks out to pretty much everyone. From what I’ve seen, Google weighs domain names and URL naming conventions heavier than most other items. Content freshness is a big part of the equation but look at the “baby sites” that appear in search results. Anyone can change in-line HTML elements to target a specific market/audience but you’re pretty much stuck with your domain so a keyword-rich name shows commitment and some degree of authority too. I really like the 301 redirect idea. It really works as a traffic booster, which is why people are still squatting on good domain names. Mind you, a seksy domain name is only helpful as a good “shot in the arm”, but you still got to build upon momentum thereof or you will get buried by more authoritative, established sites. The Slight Edge In Online Marketing Let’s bring this home! Building authority and staying ahead of the competition is all about one-upping the folks dominating the top 3-5 SERP spots for target searches/keywords. That is where most traffic goes and you WANT that traffic. Realistically, you won’t hold on to top positions for long so make the most of it while you can by really delivering something people care about. See what your competitors are doing and do something better. I am not suggesting being a copy cat but why bother reinventing the wheel? Surely, what they’re doing works so borrow some pages from their playbook: find out what keywords rank best for them, how many IBLs (inbound links) they have, and what social media solutions they leverage. Also, how often do they update their site? Think along the lines of relevance, freshness, popularity, and authority.

You don’t have to have all the answers.

There’s a market for everything. Not everyone wants solutions. Everyone likes a compelling story or useful information, something that relates and matters to them. All too often, sales and marketinf folks focus too much on the numbers and technical side of things. Focus on people and good things will come. Google knows this and that is why they are looking for more natural-looking content and human elements.

Be human and appeal to human beings.

Your personal touch is part of your unique advantage. So is your story. Don’t let the technical stuff overwhelm and consume you. When engaging in online marketing/promotion, use the human touch.As an IT veteran with heavy business background, especially in sales and marketing, I have to remind myself to avoid jargon, robotic practices, and things that make me seem impersonal or scripted. These types of things make you seem fake or boring, they don’t really speak to people unless they’re gullible. Great web sites have great content but truly remarkable web sites focus on human elements: ease of use (self-explanatory), usability (how practical information is), compelling stories (something we can relate to), presentation (which is very contextual), and the like. Valuing the time of our audience members is HUGE and page loading time is only part of it. Remember that, although you work for yourself, you are really working for others: put them at the center of all you do (this is the difference between a hobby, or labor of love, and serious work). Do you…

  • Force people to sign in to participate? Why?
  • Make commenting and sharing difficult on any or some platforms? Why?
  • Go on and on about your life, derailing otherwise compelling points?

Just some food for thought there. If you’re going to take up their time, make it worth their while somehow. Gone are the days when gimmicks and trickery fooled search engines and you could “fake it until make it”. We need to be honest, authentic even, with our approach. Content is king but it’ll be a lonely king if you don’t see the urgency in getting a little more familiar with modern marketing and all that SEO/SEM/SMO rubbish that makes many roll their eyes (I saw that). Hope you enjoyed this article! Now, what will you do differently with your online stuff now that you know all this good stuff?

Classic TV Worth Watching: The Twilight Zone

If you’re like me you would await every New Year’s Eve or Fourth of July for eager viewing of the Twilight Zone marathon on the WB network. That is, until the Syfy network grabbed the rights to it in recent years. Well for us Twilight Zone fans who don’t have cable, this isn’t an obstacle anymore. Netflix now has the whole original series in its instant-streaming library (you can read me gush more about Netflix at my respective blog).

For those of you who live under a rock and have never heard of the Twilight Zone, allow me to inform you. Before “The Outer Limits“, before “Tales From The Darkside” and before HBO’s “Tales From The Crypt” there was the original “Twilight Zone” series by Rod Serling. The Twilight Zone is an anthology series that presented self-contained episodes which delved into the mediums of the paranormal, mystery, supernatural, psychological thrillers, suspense and the whimsical. These stories usually ended with an unexpected or disturbing twist. They would also be infused with themes that would comment on social issues of the day (racism, war, society, government, etc.)

The Twilight Zone is such a well written show that it appeals to all audiences, from the big-thinker to one who just likes to watch a good story. Despite the fact that this series was done back in 1959, it still holds up to the test of time (something that isn’t easy for most sci-fi shows). I can’t gush enough about the skill of writing that was put into this production. The dialogue and exposition are so compelling in each episode that you’re not fazed by the stylized acting of that time. Every human emotion of anguish, contempt, fear, anger etc., is so brilliantly displayed in each episode that you can’t help but want to watch more.

For the Twilight Zone fans out there with a Netflix account, I tell you to rejoice! Add the series to your queue and re-watch some of your favorite tales and more. To those out there that have never had a chance to experience Rod Serling’s brilliance, I tell you to stop dilly-dallying and immediately add TZ to your queue. You won’t regret it.

Show your support for these upcoming NYC events

I figured since I cannot be there to help support the events I can at least blog about it about it and spread the word to those of you still living in NYC. So please promote and share this as much as possible. Thanks a lot.

Here’s some brief info about the upcoming events in NYC:

One Voice Goes a Long Way

One Voice Memorial Weekend BBQ

Time
Sunday, May 29 · 9:00am5:00pm

Location

Created By

More Info

ALL DAY BBQ event…
Lets make a day out of it…let’s be there as early as possible to get a good spot!

One Voice 1st annual BBQ for Memorial Day weekend, Monday we are off so let’s enjoy our Sunday…

Flushing Meadows Park: Exact location will be announced later on.

Please feel free to bring the kids. You can also enjoy many other attractions of the park zoo, carousal, science hall, etc…

We are asking that everyone brings a different dish, platter, or food to throw on the grill…if you’re unable to bring food please make a $5.00 donation towards the food provided by One voice…

We will be generating a list to keep track of who is bringing what, please get in contact with Cathy or Carmen to let them know what you will bring no later than MAY 21st, 2011 reason for this is so we know what is left to be purchased.

If you have a grill, cooler, chair, games, blankets, bring it all let’s sit back and enjoy the day…

Walk Now for Autism Speaks

Time
Sunday, June 5 · 9:00am12:00pm

Location

Created By

More Info

The walk approximately 1.5 miles through the streets of lower Manhattan.

The Walk starts and ends at the South Street Seaport.

Registration begins at 9:00 am

Stage Program begins at 10:00 am

Walk begins at 10:30 am

You can register here

Brooklyn Queens Day Clean Up

Time
Thursday, June 9 · 12:00pm3:00pm

Location
Elmhurst Queens

Created By

More Info

Here is an event you dont want to miss. We will be teaming up with Al Perna from Perna Foundation for kids to do a graffiti clean up in Elmhurst Queens. The kids are off from school so feel free to bring them. Perna Foundation will provide all the supplies we need: Painting supplies and gloves. All we need to do is show up and represent One Voice. I know its a weekday and most of you work. But please see if you can attend this one event. Cops will be on duty to close off the entire street and the newspapers will be there as well to cover the story.. Again pls pls try to attend this event. We want to be able to put One Voice in the newspaper article.The exact location is to be determined. The times for this event is from 12 noon to 4PM. Please spread the word.
Corona Day
Time
Saturday, June 18 · 8:00am11:00am

Location
Flushing Meadows – Corona Park Near the Old Swimming Pool Area in front of the Lake

Created By

More Info

This event will be all about promoting One Voice. We will have a table set up and hand out information about what One Voice is about. There will be other companies and organization promoting as well. So we figure we will make a bar-be-que out of it. So One Voice members will be promoting One Voice and enjoying a small bar-be-que among members. We will not be allowed to sell anything at this event. However we are thinking of having a small arts and crafts table set up. If you have any ideas on what we can do to help promote One Voice please let us know.

So if you can make any of these events or want to send a donation if you can you can contact Catalina Hidalgo On facebook or go to their facebook page here One Voice Goes a Long Way. Thanks For listening I mean reading.

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