Although The Internet of Things is hardly mature, we’re already used to hearing how people can control their lights, thermostats, and just about anything you can imagine from their cell phones. Software, sensors and network connections are coming together to foster a future where the things we carry most often (cell phones, computers and tablets) are starting to control or help fulfill an increasing number of our everyday needs.
All of this is amazing, but in some ways not nearly as incredible as some of the technological innovations we’re starting to see on the materials side. More often than not, we look right past the surfaces that cover our devices. We focus on computer chips and processing speed, but some of the most interesting innovations in our cell phones and televisions are happening just on the surface.
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Have you noticed that when it comes to duration related statistics, Google Analytics has two? One is Average Time on Site and the other is Average Time on Page. If you’re interested in learning the difference, keep reading.
Like learning to play a new board game, this is one of those things that’s best illustrated via example. Let’s pretend someone visits our website at 3:00pm. At 3:02 they click on a link that sends them to a second page on our site. At 3:06 they go to a third page. At some point after that they exit our website. We know that they were on the site from 3:00 to 3:06, but in general, we don’t know how long the user was on that last page.
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A couple weeks ago I started taking a Coursera course entitled Internet History, Technology, and Security. The course has been a fascinating journey into what’s made our Internet what it is today, and so I decided to scribble down some of the lecture material that caught my interest.

This is by no means a complete summary of the lecture material, so if you’re interested I highly recommend you go check it out. Without further ado, my favorite points (mostly in the form of rough notes) from week two…

Leased lines and store and forward as a predecessor to the way the web works today. Email deliverability used to take hours or days in the early 1980’s, depending on things like size of message and how many messages were in the queue.

Overthrowing Closed Networks

People wanted to figure out how to pay the phone companies less. This is what inspired DARPA and the invention of packets, which break data into small pieces and allow for a more efficient, distributed network.

Right about this time supercomputers hit and many thanks to Larry Smarr who ultimately becomes a big player in NCSA, academics everywhere start to realize how access to computers could improve their academic research.

Telecom lobbyists tried to block the efforts to get the federal government involved because they said it would interfere with the private sector. They made a few exceptions for the NCSA because at the time this program seemed irrelevant.

Side Note: This reminds me a lot of how Netflix started getting movie studios and television networks to license their content for streaming. In the beginning they’d say, “This is just an experiment, it won’t touch that many people.” Because it didn’t feel like a threat, the studios were happy to agree.

Other Significant Developments

1969 Michigan’s Merit network was also a predecessor because they built a state-wide network aimed at end users. This, along with partnerships with IBM, MCI and others positioned them to become the $15 million National Science Foundation funded network that would connect all the supercomputers.

Even though the NSFNET was half as fast as the EDGE cell networks, nature still found a way. The network grew significantly and in 1989 – 1990 things like the Cleveland FreeNet starting bringing network access to regular people.

In 1995 the project was decommissioned because it was determined the network should be commercial as opposed to nationally funded.

Thing this stuff is interesting? Join me for week three of Internet History, Technology and Security taught by Charles Severance.

The following piece has been living on a mostly forgotten Blogger account for awhile now. I thought of it recently and decided to move it here.
I think I may have met God tonight. Not in the “I found Jesus” sort of way, but Jesus may have found me. She walked up when a friend and I were on the corner of 1st Avenue and 3rd Street, debating whether or not we ought to pick up the scrap wood slats we’d found laying on the sidewalk. “To bedbug or not to bedbug?” we asked each other, and of course the prospect of using the strong wood pieces for an insulated rooftop-fort beat any risk imaginable. Just as we were gathering everything in that awkward 10 foot tall Christmas-tree sort of way, a woman walked up with a black four wheeled granny cart labeled “Easy Wheels.” “Put it here Mami,” she insisted, and so we had no choice.

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If you use Gmail in the browser, chances are you’ve seen Google’s latest attempt at making a little extra money off of its users. In addition to those sidebar ads you may have learned to ignore by now, Gmail is dropping email-looking promotion ads onto the top of the Promotions tab in that brand new, fancy tabbed inbox they gave you. In case you haven’t seen it (or if you just want to confirm we’re talking about the same thing), those ads probably look something like this:
Gmail Ads

If you just want to get rid of these pesky new ads, skip to the “How to Get Rid of The Gmail Ads” section of this article below and I’ll take care of you. If you’re interested in my gues as to why Gmail did this, keep on reading on, my dear friend.

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It’s been a little quiet here, and for that I apologize. It’s time for me to get back into writing shape. Until then, I plan to write periodic updates of the best things I’ve read and seen across the web. Enjoy and feel free to reach out

Interesting News

Who ‘wooda’ thought? Ikea uses 1% of the world’s wood supply each year. Imagine how much wood they’d use if their products weren’t actually hollow – (Daily Mail)

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Today we are proud to welcome Nicolas D’Alleva of, a call center service company for large and small businesses alike. Without further ado, I give you his tips for capturing the attention of your target audience.

In online writing, everything comes down to the hook. You have mere seconds to attract the attention of the reader and only a few more to get your message across.

Capturing the attention of a fleeting audience may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By utilizing a few tried and true strategies, you can increase the views and reader retention rate of your blog. Here’s how:

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social media

Today we have the pleasure of hearing from Jayvee Saldana of The CEO Magazine, a business magazine aimed at the high level executive. Enjoy the article and let you hands on an online copy now.

Marketing to today’s customers is all about interaction. Thanks to the Internet and constant access to information, people want to feel connected to both their friends and their businesses. As a busy CEO or top executive, you might not think you have the time to develop a proper digital marketing department and instead waste time with traditional marketing routes like print and radio ads. While those are still viable options for smaller markets, as a company you should be thinking globally. Building a brand involves utilizing the latest technology to reach a vast audience, and digital marketing can help you achieve that goal. The following offers a few ways to maximize your digital marketing strategies.
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Over the past few years I’ve focused my attention on marketing and the business of attracting attention. I obsessed over the things I could do to build exposure across blogs, Facebook, and across the web. Before long I realized that unless the thing I’m marketing delivers a wow moment for the consumer, then my work is wasted. That’s when I started focusing on engineering, on-site optimization, user experience, and design.

I’m at that stage where I’m reading about process and taking things in piece by piece. If I want to master this arena though, I’m going to need to dig into the details and put more of these principles into action. Today I stumbled into a post by Paul Stamatiou. Paul offers a crash course on design. The short reads he mentions in his article are listed below:

Designing the Web by Mark Boulton

The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web

Principles of Grouping

Visualizing Fitt’s Law

0to255 – Awesome tool for

Tileables – Patterns

I plan to read each of these, as well as the list of longer reads he includes at the bottom of his post. As I sift through each resource and apply what I’ve learned to create better online experiences I’ll be in touch.