The Social Media Balancing Act

I recently made this comment to an old friend on LinkedIn and thought I would pop it up as a brief post since it distills an issue we are all facing in just a couple words:

For business, we are most active on Twitter (@mad_house) and Google+ (www.bit.ly/madplus). At the moment, MAD House Graphics just uses LinkedIn and Facebook  for personal use.

I love the way social media sites let people connect/reconnect, but they really can eat up a lot of time. I’ve been working to find a balance between being an accessible communicator and a productive worker. It can be a small challenge at times.

For many who make their money by communicating (sales/account reps/customer service/public relations) social media is less of a distraction and more of a valued tool, but for those of us who build things the balance can be harder to strike.

updated 2001-0822 to include mentions of Google+ & Heello.com http://heello.com/madhouse … we’ll see where this new contender from the twitpik people goes

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The Phantom Lab’s Newly Redesigned Site is Live

The Phantom Lab

The Phantom Lab Website

MAD House Graphics was very please to have had the opportunity to work with Fabbros Design of Yorklyn, DE and The Phantom Laboratory, of Salem, NY on this beautiful new website. The Phantom Laboratory produces dependable, high-precision phantoms and innovative custom solutions for the medical imaging and radiation therapy fields.

Noteworthy aspects of this job: Attractive and simple flash-free slide shows throughout the site on the product pages, W3c validated html coding, modern css techniques, extensive jquery use and an apple inspired navigation/search bar. The large thumbs at the bottom of the homepage maintain the hover text even after mousing away, the document library has some beautiful collapsing lists and there is a handy Additional Products Carousel at the bottom of each product page. MHG also set up redirects for the search engines so the pagerank earned by their old site’s pages would not be lost in the transition.

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How are you getting online content to your TV?

I have a Sony Blu-ray (view at amazon.com), a Wii and the Xbox that can all get netflix and other services. The Sony is pretty cool and I use it pretty often. However, I primarily use an Acer AspireRevo (view at amazon.com) with a cool Lenovo Multimedia Remote (view at amazon.com) to push Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, Hulu, Podcasts and other online content to our 42″ Toshiba TV (view at amazon.com). The revo even has an HDMI out.

I use wifi to stream my online content and have been typically very happy, but I’m sure if I bothered to run a CAT5 it would be even better. Oh and I shouldn’t forget to mention that my Tivo Series II(s) can also connect to many of these online services but they are way too tedious.

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Why are registrars allowed to prospect for domains?

I recently saw that mhg.org was available from godaddy for $8800. Does anyone else see the conflict of interest here? The organizations that control the domain registry are also domain prospecting. Do you think they might have a unique advantage over the masses? I do! Shouldn’t their position involve a trust that excludes them from owning domains (other than those needed for their core business)?

related terms:
domain kiting, domain tasting, domain prospecting

Registrars have a uniquely unfair advantage when domain prospecting.

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Madhouse’s great big list of important domain extensions

In order of importance to US businesses

.com  –  The gTLD (Generic Top Level Domain ) the park avenue address
.net   –  gTLD originally meant for groups and communities
.org   –  gTLD originally for non-profits and still best-practice to reserve it for that
.us    –  ccTLD (country level domain extension) for United States
.mobi  –  TLD meant for mobile … future prospecting may not end up that important
.biz   –  gTLD meant for Businesses
.pro   –  gTLD (Top Level Domain) for professionals
.co    –  ccTLD for Columbia… or “company
.ws    –  ccTLD for Western Samoa… or “website”
.tv    –  ccTLD for Tuvala… media publishers might move this up to position #2 after .com
.cc    –  ccTLD for Cocos (Keeling) Islands
.info  –  gTLD could be moved up for informational sites
.name   –  gTLD could be moved up for a personal site
.me   –  as in “myself” and “I” (ccTLD for Montenegro)

NOTES:
1)  source: the sometimes foggy brains at mad house graphics
2)  non-profits should move .ORG to the top of the list
3)  list based on importance to US companies

Would you move .CC down? Would you put .CO before .PRO? Have you seen many companies snapping up .CO’s? Is .CO a rising star? Maybe we need to rethink our .CO position 🙂

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“No wonder CompSci grads are unemployed”

I liked this article
“No wonder CompSci grads are unemployed” By Dominic Connor
http://bit.ly/h3CygX

It makes me also think of something a bit closer to home.  We get a lot of kids with graphic design degrees and no web skills looking for jobs. We also have a lot inquiries from younger adults who refer to themselves as web designers but don’t have any small ability to hand-code.

I firmly believe anyone hoping for a future in design (web, print, otherwise..) should make sure they possess some web skills and of course web designers, regardless of their preferred design tools, should be able to handle raw code with just a simple text editor.

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Privacy Protection through your registrar

If you own a domain you should maintain forwarders (email address aliases) for your addresses in the public domain record and direct them anywhere necessary. People tend to mistakenly sign up for “Privacy Protection” from their registrar because we all value privacy, right? Privacy is a good thing, who wouldn’t embrace it?

However, what most of us really want in regard to our domain registration is protection from spam. We can quickly direct a forwarder anywhere temporarily or permanently, direct it to as many people as needed to keep everyone in the loop, and change it in an instant if it starts getting spam.

I would only recommend the privacy protection to someone who would like to hide their ownership/identity from others. Spam protection is best done with a disposable forwarder.

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Integrating jQuery Fancybox and Tooltips plugins

In the process of adding the lightbox plugin at fancybox.net to a client’s website, it became necessary to integrate it with the jquery tooltip plugin that was already in place and in use on the site to create styled tooltip hovers on certain of the images there.

sample image showing tooltip plugin - image copyright Nancy Carol Willis, all rights reservedsample image showing lightbox with title overlay - image copyright Nancy Carol Willis, all rights reserved
images copyright by Nancy Carol Willis, all rights reserved

As the method of adding tooltips to the images conflicted with how the rel="" attribute was used by the lightbox for grouping sets of images, this required a bit of alteration to the lightbox plugin. Continue reading

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Open Letter to Godaddy

You need a good usability expert for your public facing website.

The domain manager has improved greatly over the years (albeit somewhat slow). However, getting to the domain manager is a confusing and ever changing experience. Navigation should not be constantly changing depending on where you are in the site and it should only take one click with login to manage my domains.

Sometimes the Domain Manager is in the drop down under “Domains” sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it is on the left of the dropdown menu, sometimes on the right. Sometimes the domain manager link is in the left column, sometimes you aren’t in the right part of the
site and the domain manager link isn’t there. Sometimes you click the “domain management” link and end up at the page with account alerts… the domain manager link is gone from the left column and has moved to the page’s body. When in the body sometimes it is a text link to the left & top of the table, sometimes it is to the right & top.

I focused my comments on getting to the domain manager, because that is what I need and use the most, but every area of your site should be as clear and succinct as possible.

OK, I took some time to rant because you guys have been great for da house. I’m expecting this will never reach the right people, but if it does and you want anymore feedback feel free to contact us.

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