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#737: Social Media in iWeb, TotW: The 5 Rs, Apple Event Tomorrow, eWaste Recycling Event This Saturday, 10/23

 
     
 

Happy Tuesday,

There’s a great big window at our new store in Manchester, NH between the retail floor and the repairs and technical services room; it’s a departure from our first store, where technicians aren’t visible at all from the retail floor, and from the South Burlington store, where there’s only slight visibility.

Whenever Apple announces a Stevenote, there’s always a buzz around the office leading up to the event. But, I’m less exposed to customers in our first two facilities. In Manchester, I’m exposed not only to the office staff, but to our customers—all the time. Of course, there’s phone interaction now and again, but the in-person interactions are wholly different.

So many of you came back to the counter in the past few days asking us what’s coming out tomorrow. Truth is, we know just as much as you, but we’re just as excited.

Here’s hoping for something groundbreaking.

As always, thanks for reading, and keep in touch.

Matt
matt@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  Integrating Social Media in iWeb '09  
   
 

The Social Media storm continues to gain credibility as a great marketing tool and way to generate traffic to your website. For those of us using iWeb for our personal and business websites, we may be concerned about missing the trend. Luckily, it’s easy to integrate Social Media widgets right on your iWeb website and blog using the HTML Widget tool. Here are some of my favorite easy and free ideas on integrating Social Media into your website.

When discussing Social Media, there are two large contenders that almost anyone can get a handle on: Facebook and Twitter. Both are free services that are easy to maintain and easy to integrate into an iWeb website. This article will not go into how to use either service, so it’s important to keep in mind that before delving into the widgets I’m about to discuss, you will need to set up your own free accounts on each site. I would also recommend generating some content on each site before promoting it on your website.

Let’s start with Twitter. Right on Twitter’s main page there is a link for “Widgets” (note: if you’re still looking at the old Twitter site it is called “Goodies”). Twitter offers three options: a ‘Tweet Button’, ‘Widgets’ and ‘Buttons’. Now, this may seem confusing, but for iWeb’s purposes we would consider all three options to be ‘Widgets’. You’ll see why as we move on.

Let’s start with the third option, ‘Buttons’, because it is the simplest. Most of you have already seen Twitter buttons when browsing around the web. They’re the little square “t” logos and, depending on the button that you choose, are a nice low-profile item that can be added to any and all of your web pages. When pressed, this button will bring the user to your Twitter feed. Simply choose the button you’d like on your website and Twitter will display a chunk of HTML that you need to copy. Next, go to iWeb. On the lower right choose “Show Media”, which will pop out a panel on the lefthand side. In that panel, choose the ‘Widgets’ tab. Now, drag “HTML Snippet” into your iWeb page. Alternatively, you can use the menu bar by going to ‘Insert’ > ‘Widget’ > ‘HTML Snippet’.

Once the HTML Snippet widget has been dragged into your webpage you should see two boxes, one that looks like an empty rectangle (it will say < HTML >) and the other is a black box that directs you to “Paste or type HTML to embed on your page”. Simply paste the HTML that you copied from Twitter into that box and hit ‘Apply’ on the bottom right. Now you should see that the smaller window has turned into the Twitter button; feel free to drag that wherever you’d like it to appear.

The next most popular Twitter goodie is the ‘Profile Widget’. It displays an interactive Twitter Feed window right on your webpage. Go ahead and click on ‘Widget’ on the Twitter Goodies page and then ‘My Website’ and then ‘Profile Widget’. You can define settings for the Appearance, Dimensions, and some additional specific preferences. Once you’re all set hit “Finish & Grab Code”. Just like with the Button, you will be given a chunk of HTML to copy and, once again, insert a HTML Snippet into your iWeb site, paste the HTML and hit ‘Apply’. Easy-peasy!

‘Tweet Buttons’ are becoming increasingly popular. I personally recommend using them in blog entries, as putting them on a static website makes it a little less applicable to the Twitter community. When clicked, the Tweet Button automatically tweets a recommendation to check out that particular site/page/blog entry/etc. from the user’s account who pressed the button. This is a great way to generate traffic to your site because it makes the experience very interactive and “chatty”. My favorite type of Tweet Buttons have counters on them so you can see how many people clicked to recommend your page. This not only helps promote your website, but it also gives you a sneaky marketing tool to track how many people are taking advantage of your Tweet Button. Just like with the Profile Widget and Button, you can create a Tweet Button by clicking on ‘Tweet Button’ on the Twitter Goodies page, select your settings and you’ll be presented with the HTML that you can pop into the HTML Snippet.

Facebook has also joined in with a slew of Social Plugins that you can play with. I find the most popular among them is the “Like” button. Just like the Tweet Button, the Like button can be placed on your iWeb site or blog and when pressed it adds a link to your site in the Facebook Activity Feed of the person who clicked it. Once again, this is a great way to generate traffic to your site without spending a dime.

The last HTML Widget that I highly encourage on any website is Google Analytics. While it may not fall into the realm of “Social Media”, Google Analytics is another great free tool to track traffic to your website. Just follow the simple instructions to create the account (or use a Google account that you already have) and you’ll be, once again, given a chunk of HTML that you can paste into an HTML Snippet in iWeb. Unlike the other widgets we looked at earlier, this one will be invisible. Google recommends putting the snippet near the top of your main page. Within 24 hours of installation, Google Analytics will start showing you how many people come to your site, where they come from, how long they stay, what platforms and browsers they’re using and a slew of other helpful information to help you track and target your marketing and website design.

Once you delve into the Social Media world, you’ll find there are several other free ways to spread the word about you and your business and help generate traffic to your site. LinkedIn, YouTube and Flickr are more great examples of sites to help your business grow and help you personally connect with your customers/followers/readers. The one caveat is in the case of Social Media there can definitely be too much of a good thing. There’s a fine line between getting yourself out there and getting so in people’s faces that you’re pushing them away.

Before you get out there and start updating your status and tweeting fifty times a day, I encourage you to take some time to observe what other businesses and users on those sites do. Learn verbiage (e.g. tags, retweet, share, @) and take it slow. Try to share relevant and useful content and you’ll find the quality of what you put out there will directly correlate to the quantity of what you get back. I hope this will help you expand your iWeb site and explore the Social Media community!

 
   
     
  Tip of the Week: iPod Troubleshooting  
   
 

While many of us have switched from iPod to iPhone, or even given up either for iPad, it certainly seems that most of us still have working iPods. Every iPod’s day comes eventually, but in a wide variety of cases, it is possible to revive a seemingly dead iPod with one of five simple steps.

Apple calls them the Five Rs.

Hard drive-based iPods like iPod Classic have a telltale failure that’s easily diagnosed by simply pressing your ear to the back of the iPod. If you hear clicking or grinding that repeats at regular intervals, odds are the hard drive inside the iPod has failed.

While only a tiny percentage of these devices actually fail in their first years of existence, some do; because hard drives are like record players, it’s not surprising that shaking an iPod over the course of a year will cause hard drive failure.

The Five Rs mentioned above will not fix a broken hard drive, nor a cracked screen, nor dents on the corner of your iPod. But you have nothing to lose by trying the troubleshooting steps when your iPod isn’t working properly.

 
   
     
  From the Archives: Imagine Life Without AirPort  
   
 

With something set to be announced tomorrow at Apple’s campus in Cupertino, CA tomorrow, I thought this blast from the past fitting to set the mood. Hapy wrote about the introduction of AirPort for this newsletter August 2, 1999. We’re well on our way to one thousand issues of Tech Tails!

The AirPort is Apple’s wireless LAN technology, introduced with the iBook, that allows you to use your iBook without the constraint of wires. The two products that you must purchase include a LAN card for your iBook and the AirPort base unit. The LAN card is installed easily underneath the keyboard of the iBook. The AirPort is a small, spaceship-looking device that includes a 10BaseT ethernet connection and a 56K modem. You can use the ethernet connection if you have a DSL or cable modem. Currently, the only way to use the ISDN would be to get an ISDN router.

Apple includes its Software Access Point with the AirPort card. This software includes Setup Assistant, Wireless Network Application, Wireless Control Strip Module, and Wireless Access Point Configuration Utility. These tools allow easy setup of the wireless network. The network features 40-bit data encryption, 11Mbps access speed, and the ability to share a single Internet account among up to 10 users (though TidBits reports successful networks with 30+ iBooks).

AirPort uses the IEEE 802.11HR Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) standard, which transmits data at up to 11Mbps, but it is also compatible with the 802.11 2Mbps. This gives the AirPort compatibility with a wide range of wireless devices for your other computers. I will be adding additional devices to Small Dog’s product list for your PowerBook and Power Mac computers in September. The AirPort uses the 2.4GHz radio band and has a maximum range of 150 feet.

I think that the AirPort is a truly revolutionary device that will change the way in which homes and schools use computers. I would hope that anyone who purchases an ibook (even if it is your only computer) would also add the AirPort base unit and card for the ultimate in portability. However, sending email from the bathroom is frowned upon!

 
   
     
  Attention Vermonters and New Hampshirites: Recycle Free Oct. 23!  
   
 

If you have old, broken, and obsolete electronics, you can recycle them for FREE on Saturday, October 23rd. We are holding two events—one in our new Manchester, NH location at the Mall of New Hampshire and one at 30 Community Drive, S. Burlington, VT (Ben & Jerry’s offices)—from 9am – 3pm.

WHEN: Saturday, October 23, 2010 from 9am – 3pm
WHERE: Mall of New Hampshire, Manchester, NH and 30 Community Drive, S. Burlington, VT
WHAT: All computers, monitors, printers, fax machines, cell phones, stereo equipment, digital phones, VCRs, televisions, old cables, connectors, adapters. We will collect everything electronic except for household appliances.

Be sure to see our website for a full list of what’s accepted (and what’s not): Smalldog.com/ewaste2010

All of the ewaste collected will be responsibly processed in the US by WeRecycle. While a small percentage of the ewaste can be salvaged, in most cases ewaste is broken down so elements such as tin, copper, silicon, beryllium, carbon, iron, aluminum can be reused in other electronics. Plastic, steel and glass can also be recycled. Certain waste goes to to manufacturer take-back programs.

Hope to see you there!

 
   
     
  TT SPECIALS | 10/19/10 - 10/26/10  
   
   
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