SEO Book Ready For Free Download

I’ve uploaded my new book to the interwebs so you can now download and read through it, if the fancy takes you, completely free of charge (SEO Truth – A Bible For The Next Generation Of Search Engine Optimisation).

There may be a few blank pages because it’s been laid out for print; you can get yourself one of these hard copies from this website here.

Let me know what you think and submit some feedback over on lulu by all means! Cheers.

Edit: The download link works correctly now, oops.

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Microsoft Are Back On Top With Surface

I have just watched a video of the most exciting user interface ever seen. It’s not of the forthcoming iPhone nor is it any kind of Apple product. This is Microsoft Surface and it promises a revolution in how we interact with our computers and mobile devices, I’m completely blown away by not the technology behind the system, but how well it’s used to produce a product that will potentially devestate Apple’s market share.

Microsoft Surface Puts The Company Firmly Back On Top Of Apple

If you wondered why Bill Gates was suddenly agreeing to do an interview with Steve Jobs, then I’m pretty sure this is the reason. It doesn’t matter if he does badly in that discussion because as soon as Surface was on show then Steve Jobs had lost out anyway. Will Jobs have a rebuttal product that we haven’t heard about? I doubt it.

Pricing And Availability

You’ll be able to get Surface from winter 2007 for between $5000 and $10000. I know that’s a lot of money right now but they aim to bring the price down to a consumer level quickly and this is the first device I’ve seen that really will fit right in your living room, instead of just attempting to hide in a corner. Designer coffee tables go for far more and I know which I’d rather have.

The New Standard In Interaction

For me, as a search and user interface developer, this fits in extremely nicely with my view of tiling search results as images. An application using Windows Live Search in this way for not just searching but RSS feeds and bookmarks would be highly intuitive and allow the user to see what they want straight off the mark.

Surface Revolutionises Connections To Mobile Devices

One of the most ingenious features they’ve integrated right off the mark is the ability to interact with your mobile devices. We all have phones now; they started with IR then Bluetooth, now some feature WiFi. How many of you actually use these connection abilities reguarly though? I’d guess it’s a low percentage because the hardware and software we have to connect with doesn’t make it simple and easy enough to use frequently in most cases.

What Surface lets you do is put your mobile phone, PDA or digital camera directly on the table top and a ring will appear around it to signify the connection. You can then drag media to and from the device with your finger and a bit of wrist movement, it’s so simple it makes me want to cry. I spend a lot of time shouting about the need for simple and intuitive user interfaces and this is the model we should all start building from.

This is the new standard in user interfaces, keep up.


Activists or Mob? The First Digg Riots

This morning I came into work, I ran some SEO checks on a few sites and started up FireFox. As usual I browsed speculatively towards Digg for my hit of the overnight news that just wouldn’t be covered in the Metro newspaper I’d browsed through on the bus.

At first I couldn’t work out exactly what had happened. The following code was written everywhere :

09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0

Through my sleepy haze I realised it was the code for unlocking HD-DVD protection that I’d seen a couple of times on stories the previous day. It transpires that Digg were actively deleting the stories featuring this seemingly unthreatening code in response to a cease and desist letter.

Jay Adelson (Digg’s CEO) wrote on his blog at 1pm May 1st:

“This has all come up in the past 24 hours, mostly connected to the HD-DVD hack that has been circulating online, having been posted to Digg as well as numerous other popular news and information websites. We’ve been notified by the owners of this intellectual property that they believe the posting of the encryption key infringes their intellectual property rights. In order to respect these rights and to comply with the law, we have removed postings of the key that have been brought to our attention.”

Normally this would have been the end of the matter, but this is Digg after all which, “is all about user powered content. Everything is submitted and voted on by the Digg community.”

Digg users went on to no less than a full out cyber riot.

Activists or Mob? The First Digg Riots

The community flooded Digg with stories containing the code, making it virtually impossible for the moderating staff to keep up with deleting all the stories – or that’s how it would appear to the mass of the Digg userbase. As a search engineer though, I know how simple it would have been to remove any story containing the code, variations of the code, links to pages with the code on and so on. Very few would have been able to get through if any if Digg was really intent on making sure they wouldn’t have a legal battle to fight.

As I’ve stated, Digg is no standard news website though and offending the userbase would be a poor marketing choice because they are responsible for the revenue by clicking on and viewing the adverts. With Digg’s users so fiercely protective of this story it would seem like the only choice.

Just eight hours after Jay’s post, the founder of Digg and the main public figure for the company, Kevin Rose, posted this:

“Today was an insane day. And as the founder of Digg, I just wanted to post my thoughts…

In building and shaping the site I’ve always tried to stay as hands on as possible. We’ve always given site moderation (digging/burying) power to the community. Occasionally we step in to remove stories that violate our terms of use (eg. linking to pornography, illegal downloads, racial hate sites, etc.). So today was a difficult day for us. We had to decide whether to remove stories containing a single code based on a cease and desist declaration. We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code.

But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.

If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.

Digg on,

Kevin”

This post is on Digg’s blog, and is complete with a Digg submission linking to it by Kevin himself. Many have taken this as Kevin and Digg coming around to their readers point of view and allowing them with good grace to post the code as they see fit. I don’t agree, to me this post is a last ditch attempt to reason with the Digg users and say: you lose the whole site, or you get to post your dumb code. It’s also the quickest way out for Digg, by allowing the posting they no longer make it necessary and they can remove them in a day or two when everyone has clean forgotten.

As always in these situations I highly doubt that more than 5 or 10% of the Digg readership were actually involved in this – but if they shout and scream loud enough that’s all that’s needed for them to get what they want over the reasoned arguments of everybody else. Digg by allowing this has opened themselves up to a hundred other groups who will want their own way on the most popular social news site on the internet in the future.

If you’re a Digg user or have any thoughts on this new mob dynamic I’d like to hear from you in the comments, I’ll keep this story up to date as any more comes in.

update at 12:35 02 May 2007

I read this blog piece on Digg’s troubles, it’s an interesting bit of opinion from a female who are in small supply on the popular social news website and I’d have to agree with a large portion of it.


What’s Going On?

I realise I haven’t made any posts in a while – so I thought I’d attempt an all encompassing update on what I’ve been up to with my various projects and some technology related personal junkage (not a word).

Firstly, big news here, I got extremely bored of being completely unable to buy a Nintendo Wii from anywhere in the UK. I’d like to think that if Lik-Sang were still around I’d have bought one from there but due to Sony’s increasing bizarre death throes that won’t happen. I haven’t been playing with the PC much recently, I don’t have time and I don’t see the urge to spend money on upgrading a system to the current elite state needed for modern gaming whilst it’s in so much flux at the moment. My AMD 2600 system lasted ages, probably a year or two before it needed really upgrading, at the moment with DX10 and new chipset designs emerging constantly it’s just a monetary nightmare to keep up on.

Ah yes, the news, instead of the Wii I went out and bought an Xbox 360. The reasoning for doing so was pretty simple:

  • It’s portable enough to shove in a backpack and take places.
  • The controllers are wireless, and so is the networking.
  • It looks awesome, it has Gears of War (which i’d heard was not half bad).
  • It costs about £300 all told with all the gubbins I need to have a good time with a friend on it.
  • It has a huge number of titles out already.
  • In future, it will plug into my shiny new hd set (long time off).

xbox 360

Whilst I’m doing those, you may like to know why I didnt get a PS3 instead, because they’re also available right?

  • I don’t have half a grand to shell out on a machine to play games on.
  • Sony are seemingly content to ignore their market and subscribers.
  • I don’t believe blu-ray will succeed, and even if I’m wrong, the last ‘in house’ formats they put out haven’t done so well… PSP discs, Minidisc, Memory Sticks, Betamax and I’m not going to take the risk on what will become a virtually useless machine if it fails (plus to Microsoft for having the sense for NOT embedding their HDDVD drive no matter how much people whine).
  • I’ve heard rumours of key developers being unhappy with the development functionality, meaning less decent games for me.
  • My PSP’s screen broke, whilst sat in a drawer, virtually a month after warranty expired, grrr.
  • Sony didnt get an exclusive for GTA IV, and it seems to be their own fault.
  • Sony seem content on infighting and letting idiot spokesmen run loose to damage the reputation of a very powerful bit of kit in the eyes of the well informed gamer. Bravo Penny-Arcade by the way.

In a word, my Xbox experience has been excellent. Live just works, Gears of War is fantastic online and the best experience I’ve had since Counter-Strike probably. I don’t care about Halo 3, UT 3 is going to be my first choice seeing what a brilliant job Epic did with the hardware for Gears of War. I still want a Wii, but it’s never going to give the sheer hardcore gaming experience that Microsoft have done so well with 360.

In other tech goodness. I have finally succumbed after years and years and years of repetitive, procrastinating, arduous and never bloody ending grinding from Apple Fanboys. No no, I didn’t get a macbook, that’s a step too far for now.

I bought an Ipod Nano, 2GB. I’m starting small. It’s been good to be honest, very practical, simple and does exactly what it’s meant to do without asking me annoying questions every 10 seconds. It’s also very small and errr…

I…

Well. Underwhelmed really. I think part of the problem with it doing everything neatly and correctly is that I don’t ever find reason to tinker with it and as such it seems like it really is only skin deep. With a PC, or non apple device, it’s always doing something wrong and you begin to understand how it works because you’re always fixing it. I miss that (though it is nice not to have to notice it all the time). Sniff.

PROJECTS! Allegro is no more, well it’s just not called Allegro anymore. Following trademark discussion with the lawyer under dwellers they’ve told us that we probably shouldn’t try and trademark that for fear of inciting the wrath of companies with far more under dwellers than our own. A new name has been conjured from the twisting networks of our over burdened brains but I’ll wait til we launch the product before we unleash it this time for fear of more soothsayings from the lawyer folk.

The project formerly known as Allegro should enter it’s final development phase at the beginning of next week all things going to plan. From there it’ll be released in first beta, for people to test and poke holes in so I can fix them.

Finally, over at www.home-james.co.uk we’re working on putting together our own SEO and PPC blog where you’ll be able to read up on the latest techniques, technology and ask questions about how best to improve your search engine rankings. That should be released at the same time as the project formerly known as Allegro so it’s an exciting Q2 for us.