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LogMeIn Ignition & Tom Tom Western Europe : 2 Essential Apps every online traveling professional needs

Being a South African staying in London traveling is an essential part of my life( This was one of my main reasons for moving to London). I recently came back from a 16 day 7 city 5 country trip with my wife. We wanted to explore Europe thoroughly and we basically moved from city to city every 2 days. Now let me tell you this was an awesome and tiring trip. It was probably one of the most amazing trip I ever did but when you change cities every two days it’s like starting over every two days with a million things you need to see.

Before we left on this trip I was faced with some work related issues. Firstly the nature of the industry I work in means that I can never be to far away from my laptop. This was a bit of a dilemma for me as I have a 17 Macbook Pro which is a real pain to carry with me but it was essential for me to access my laptop when I needed to. I own an iPad but found that there where several application on my Mac which I just couldn’t mimic on my iPad.

LogMeIn Ignition

This lead me to a remote desktop client for the iPad. I did have an app for this called Splashtop which was serving my occasional need but was also very unreliable. I have ended up once or twice not being able to access my Mac especially over 3G or a slower connection. In comes LogMeIn Ignition. It’s quite and expensive app as far as apps go but wow it is worth every penny.

LogMeIn is amazingly easy to setup. You simply purchase the app and sign up for an free account online and download software for you Mac or PC. This sets up the connection for you so from your side there is very little effort to get it working and worked it did. On the whole 16day trip I was able to access my laptop every single time flawlessly. Not even once did I struggle.

Server Based Connection

It has two secret weapons which makes it so effective. First being that the application on your Mac or PC connects to a server an which mean you don’t have to setup connection with your computer by open port on your router or even struggling with your computers firewall. It just works.

Graphic Compression

The second secret weapon is the fact that the desktop view you get is compressed with LogMeIn’s compression algorithm which makes it vastly quicker than using something like Splashtop. You can also pick the quality you want or set it to auto which will set the quality depending on your connection speed.

This essentially turned my iPad into a fully functional computer which was extremely portable and I used it several times while on holiday. One of the other benefits of the app it that it if for both your iPhone and iPad so you get a two in one. If you are in the same situation as me then LogMeIn Ignition is the app for you and you can get it here.

Tom Tom Western Europe Maps for iPhone

My second problem has always been navigation. It’s always a pain going to a different country and needing to rent a GPS or even use expensive roaming to find your location. The Tom Tom Western Europe maps for iPhone has been fantastic with this. We regularly rent a car when we go traveling and this app is amazing for navigation.

But not only in the car it’s also really good for walking directions. We however only realised halfway through our trip that there is a walking routing option which vastly eased our navigation in new cities without spending any money on roaming charge.

If your looking for a mapping solution for your travels then definitely get Tom Tom Western Europe or even any of the other as listed below.

A4UExpo Day 2

So starting off day two Session on: Conversion Killing Mistakes: 15 things affiliates still aren’t doing in 2010
Presented by Dr Karl Blanks & Ben Jesson

Second session: Avoiding the Google Slap
Presented by Dush Ramachandran

Next session: Performance Marketing and Facebook
Presented by Sanjit Atwal, David Parfect & Lee Griffin

Fourth session of the day: Advanced Link Building Strategies for Affiliates Sites
Presented by Patrick Altoft

A4UExpo Day 1

In the the manner I follow I’m now blogging again from the next conference I’m attending. Today I’m attending a4uexpo which should be very informative. As in the past I’m going to upload some photos of the session I’m attending.

First session @DaveNaylor – The Three Pillars of SEO – An Advanced Review

Second session of the day: Negative SEO: Online Nightmares Come True

Presented by @DaveNaylor @SEOIdiot Marcus Tander & Ralph Tegtmeier

Third session: SEO Ranking factors
Presented by: @DaveNaylor @Dixon_Jones @WillCritchlow

Fourth session: Mobile SEO & App Strategy
Presented by Gary Beal

Fith session of the day – The Link Whisperer

Presented by @fantomaster

Think Visibility September 2010

Since I haven’t blogged in 6 months I thought it would be good to break the ice by loading some photo’s of the Think Visibility day.

First up @MelCarson

@GaryTaylor up next 10:30 – 11:15

Up next @LisaDMyers – 11:30 – 12:15

Next up Site Clinic with panel of experts – 13:00 – 13:45

14:00 – 14:45 Link building presented by @Jaamit

Next session “What spammers should do” presented by @SEOidiot

And lastly @DaveNaylor – How to Gain Ranking Dominance in Any Market Sector

SES London 2010 Final Day Photos

So the final day of SES London has arrived, to finish off the event I will be posting photos from the sessions. So be sure to check in during the day for updates.

First up for Keynote Jim Sterne (@jimsterne)

Search Advertising Tools

Paid Search, Content Networks & Display

SES London Day 2 Pictures

I’ll be posting photos of SES London day 2 during the course of today so check back to see what’s happening here.

@LisaDMyers – Social Media 101

Keynote Panel SES London Day 2

Link Building : Jim Boykin

Social Media Meets Party Politics

Social Media & Marketing Mix

Working from Home errr Restaurants I mean…

So about 6 months ago we decided to move to London from sunny South Africa. Man oh man was this a big change. We had to sell our cars, rent out the house that we own and pack up all our worldly possessions into suitcases and move to London. This was a great decision but that is a topic for a blog post on it’s own.

Now the other side of this was I was leaving my great Jobs in South Africa for the unknown but luckily I was privileged enough to be part of our companies expansion. So my move to London also had a plan attached to it. This meant that I was employed the minute I stepped onto British soil.

The only problem is I had no office and with this nobody that I could interact with during the day when I was working. So I came up with this idea. While I’m busy setting up the company branch this side, I will work away from my house once a week. I will work in restaurants all over London once a week.

So what I’m going to do is to visit a different restaurant every week and write an amateur review on the place including photos and the locations of each place. The only requirement currently for me will be that it has a WiFi connection so I can continue working after my lunch. I will probably start adding to the list as time goes buy.

I’m really hoping to find some interesting places to eat in London and will be going out of my way to find place off the beaten track. If you have a little gem hidden away somewhere in London please let me know so I can come and visit your restaurant.

Secondly I hope this will familiarize me with London and offer me some replacement for the interaction with people in your normal day-to-day work environment. Please contact me if you have any ideas on how I can maybe formalize this more.

Keeping you Posted!

Proving SEO factors as facts or myths…

So let me give you a bit of background behind the whole idea, I’m very technically minded and because of this I always want to know proven steps or facts behind things. I have been involved in search marketing for the last 5 years and in that time I have never been able to find research, which shows how certain SEO factors are influencing on rankings.

While there are several sources such as SEOMoz, SEOBook and thousands of other blogs, I have never found a resources that has setup lab conditions to test SEO ranking factors. So what I would like to do is setup a test environment in which I can set out to test each factor on it’s own.

The methodology that I thought of following was the classical A/B split testing that is used frequently in the on-line marketing environment. I would adapt this methodology slightly as I won’t be using a baseline to compare to but comparing two websites to each other where the factor has been implemented differently.

Now to setup a lab for testing – this is where the tricky part comes into play. I thought of using two different newly registered domains that are hosted on the same servers with all the factors kept as similar as possible except for the one I would be testing.

Now one of the first Ranking Factors that I would like to test out is the difference between having an .html extension and having no extension. So to do this I’m going to do some research using the Adwords keyword tool to find an industry that isn’t too competitive and setup a list of 3 keywords to optimize the site for. These website will both have domain names that have nothing to do with the industry to exclude this as a ranking factors.

As far as content and copy is concerned I will use the same amount of pages with content that share similar SEO factors such as length, keyword density etc. I will be using the SEO ranking factors as set out by SEOMoz’s Ranking Factors and try to ensure that none of these impact on the specific factor that I’m currently testing.

So after the initial test I would like to test factors as listed below

1. .com domain name against country specific such as .co.uk
2. Keyword density
3. Keywords used in internal link structure
4. Using subdomains compared to directories
5. Text bolding and none bolding of keywords
6. Dynamic vs Static urls
7. Click through rate of results on search engine result pages

This list will can be updated in the future but for now this is what I though of starting off with.

Now the next question is how will I judge the results? In the SEO industry it is common practice to look at the traffic generate determine the success of an SEO campaign. This is however not what I’m going to use. We want to determine if a certain factor has improved the rankings of a website. For this reason the ranking of each site on several major search engines will be the aspects that will be looked at.

Thus rankings will be monitored through out a period of 2 months. Now I know this is a shorter period of time than SEO’s would usually advise their clients to wait for results but because we are only testing single factors, I feel this should be sufficient time. If you however you disagree with anything, please leave a comment below as I would like to improve this research wherever I can.

Now as I mentioned before please leave comments to help me to improve this research. I would love to hear from anybody, which can help me improve this. Unfortunately I can’t release any specific info about the domain, industry or content as readers could scew the results. I will however release them when the research is concluded.

Please also share this with your friends and collogues to get more people involved. I really believe in the saying – two minds are better than one and would love as much input as possible.

Well now I need to get cracking the first test scenario so let me know what your thoughts are. Have an awesome day!

Cloud computing and Traditional software

What is cloud computing?

Googling cloud computing provided me with the following definition – “Cloud computing is a style of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet.” The term “cloud” is used as a metaphor for Internet so what this means is that instead of applications and data living on your computer it moves to the Internet. A web application doesn’t run on your local machine but rather on a server or server farm that is connected to the Internet.

Why would you use it?

Well there are a few benefits to doing thing this way. Firstly the biggest benefit for me is the fact that you can access your data from anywhere with an Internet connection. I’m one of those people who are completely dependant on technology so I’m never very far from my data. By using cloud computing for things such as my email, spreadsheets etc., I can access my data from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.

Secondly applications run remotely on a server or server farms and not on your local computer. What this means is that your computer will not be doing the processing involved in these applications, freeing your computer’s resources for other programs such as your browser or your music players.

The other benefit is you will never need to download updates for applications, which run on the cloud. When the vendor updates it on his server/s the next time you access your cloud application it will be updated. This leaves less space for viruses and malware to infiltrate your computer via applications, as vendors will be able to update their applications immediately as vulnerabilities are identified. Effectively increasing your security that much more.

What restrictions will there be on web applications?

Now you might wonder if there isn’t going to be restrictions on the programs that run over the Internet. Well currently there definitely are restrictions on cloud application. You will not be doing complex CAD drawing online yet but you will be surprised what you can already find online. Photoshop.com is an online application that allows you to do basic photo editing for free and it all happens quicker that Photoshop would run on most computers.

Google Docs allows you to edit your spreadsheets, Word documents and quite a few other document types. You are also able to save it online and access it from anywhere even from your Smartphone. The best of all is it’s completely free meaning that you can now do your document processing without even installing one application.

Online cloud applications include simple software such as the office software I mentioned above but extend to advanced applications such as project management, computer-aided design, video editing, point-of-sale and the list goes on.

The new HTML 5 standard, which was published as a working draft by W3C in January 2008, is set to revolutionize cloud computing even further by incorporating standards that will allow you to work on your cloud application while your offline. This means that even if you can’t find an Internet connection or if you find yourself without one temporarily, you will still be able to do your work.

Dangers of cloud computing

Recently Google announced that they had been a victim of a sophisticated hacking attack. In their statement they stated that intellectual property on their corporate network was compromised but that they believed their cloud-based customers data remained safe. For me this might be the case but it really exposes the dangers of cloud computing. If your data is stored in the cloud and it is compromised then you effectively run the risk of your data being stolen. If the mighty Google can suffer such an attach then why not others. Data security is still definitely a worrying factor when it comes to cloud computing.

For me the benefits still far outweighs the dangers so for now I will definitely be one of the cloud computing fan boys till I’m convinced otherwise. Hopefully the convincing won’t be the result of my data being stolen.

My Ultimate toy for 2010 (iPhone controlled helicopter)

When I first saw this I was a bit skeptical on how it would work but after watching the videos I’m sold. This has to be and early winner as it promises to take augmented reality games to a new level. Can you imagine flying in a race against your kids one day in you backyard that feels like you are in a Star wars movie. Well it’s not that far away.

Parrot, a company that is usually involved in bluetooth devices, is responsible for this great innovation. Here is how it works. The heart of the AR.Drone contains all electrical components and two cameras. The first camera, which is under the structure, is connected to an inertial measurement unit. This unit allows the AR.Drone to measure speed and allows it to perform stationary flight. It also compensates for wind turbulence in outside flight. This technique is usually only used in military applications but has been adapted for this helicopter.

The second camera broadcasts a video stream to your iPhone or iPod touch which makes you feel like you are in the pilot seat. This will allow game developers to build augmented reality games, which manipulates this feed.

2010 has only started but this has taken my pole position for gaming innovation for the year to date.

Quandr - A startup I co-founded

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Google Qualified Professional
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Silicon Cape
Sempo Institute Certificate