Archive for 2011

James’ Good Time Tech Link Solution: 12/23


23 December 2011 | Comments Off

Chrome 15 is Now World’s Most Popular Browser (Version)
Chrome’s #1! Chrome’s #1!

Bill DeRouchey’s Talks at CreativeMornings/Portland
Watch the Creative Director of Simple talk about creating with an opinion.

Finding Waldo with Code
It’s officially time for him to change his shirt.

VideoSWS: HTML5 Video Player Comparison
Who know there were so many?

User Retention as a Service?
With so much attention on gaining users, what can we do to keep them?

20 Sites that Pushed Javascript to the Limit
Which sites unlocked the hidden gems of the modern browser in 2011?

GoDaddy Faces Boycott Threat from SOPA Opponents
GoDaddy supports SOPA, loses customers

WebGL Nyan Cat
It was only a matter of time…

 

Occupy Play


22 December 2011 | Comments Off

2011 was a year of austerity, occupation, Congressional bickering, dictator(ship) deaths. Good or bad, for many it just wasn’t all that fun. That’s why we’re heading into 2012 with something more than the usual resolution. We’ve got a cause, and the cause is play. It’s “play with purpose”, and the purpose is play.

We’re going to enlist you in that cause. You’ll find our new Play With Fine site regularly stocked with playstarters, perhaps some opportunities for philanthroplay. And you’ll be invited to show your contributions, and share with others. It’s a playgroundswell! But it’s not simply fun and games. Play is important. We’ll let our Play Manifesto explain:

We’re serious. Play’s not just kid stuff. It doesn’t require toys, courts, boards, computer screens, or even a customized “Play With Purpose” playground ball. That’s because play is not merely a category of frivolous activities; play is an essential perspective.

Play’s that zone of enhanced learning, discovery, creativity, and productivity that’s the exact opposite of “goofing off”. What it takes is an active, alert, focused, stress-free frame of mind. Certified playologists call it “flow”. You’ll know you’re there when you’re doing exactly what you want to be doing right now. Or maybe forever.

This is the realm of open minds and happy accidents that gave us each, as children, most of what we know about how the world works. It also yielded penicillin, The Theory of Relativity, ice cream cones, gravity, Shakespeare’s plays, the computer mouse. You know, kid stuff.

As technology gives us new ways to play and “gamify” our lives, remember that it’s all an extension of the innate sense of adventure, imagination, freedom, and curiosity that’s always inspired our species. It can cost nothing but pays off big time. It has a purpose, and yet it’s an end in itself.

Perhaps the greatest thing about play is that it makes hard things seem easy. Unstructured, spontaneous play will challenge you to work through tricky situations and rules, toward new ways, ideas, and possibilities.

But you won’t even notice; you’ll be too busy playing.

 

The Art of the Auto Reply


21 December 2011 | Comments Off

 

As living testament to the fact that every touch point is a chance to enhance brand relationships, we offer the humble “out of office” auto reply. Why not have fun with it, embue it with supernatural powers, use it to relay a poem or a sentiment? As long as you keep it relatively brief, in deference to the repetition some of your recipients may experience, the auto reply can be fun. When the FINE offices close next week, you can expect to see some effort on this front. A few early examples are below – we’ll add more. Another bonus: now you don’t need to email us over the holidays just to see the clever auto replies.

—————
Hello!

This is an automated response, from a machine.  It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until it wishes you and yours a safe and happy holiday season.

FINE will be closed from Dec. 26th through Jan. 2.   I look forward to re-engaging with you and hitting the ground running in 2012.

Cheers!
- Sam
—————
If you’re reading this, Doc Brown was unable to make lightning strike the clock tower, and I’m stuck in 1985. I won’t be able to respond to emails or voicemail until 9ish on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012, or until email is invented – whatever comes first.


Happy Holidays,

Abe
—————
Thank you for your Email. This is an auto-reply. My elves are standing in while I figure out how to program my newest iComeLately gadget to twitter-book my social-tablet.

I’ll bet no matter how many Emails you send, my little elves can easily keep up. Go ahead. Give it a shot. Email again. In fact, I’m trying to figure out exactly how many Emails my Inbox can store. When I get back, I’m going to randomly pick Emails out of a hat (well, digital hat… combined with a few random deletes). I will perhaps respond to those Emails selected.

So… send away, and increase your chances of being one of the lucky reply recipients. The big drawing occurs on January 3, when I descend back down upon this fine landscape we call the work environment.

In other words, I’m gone until the new year. Happy Holidaze to all y’alls.
—————

Hello and thank you for your message!

The FINE offices are closed Monday (12/26) through the following Monday (1/2) for the holidays. During this time I’ll be doing crazy things like: head to the grocery store *during the day* (gasp!), skip the weekend brunch rush and go during the week, an early morning hike somewhere in the beautiful Pacific NW… but most importantly: kicking back and sleeping in!

I hope this message finds you enjoying all the little things that bring you joy this holiday season.

Have a wonderful holiday and I look forward to connecting with you again in the new year!

All the best,
Kate

—————

Hello. This is one of those auto-reply messages. I would never talk to YOU personally in this smart-alecky way.

In accordance with the wishes of my personal retinue of hypnotists, shamans, and low-carb chefs, I will be pursuing a vigorous course of corrective therapies at an undisclosed location between 12/23/11 and 1/3/12. I hope to re-engage with you as soon as my regimen is complete.

Happy holidays!

—————

Here’s hoping you’ll be available only via auto reply next week as well! Happy holidays.

James’ 100% Technical Good Time FINE Link Solution: 12/16


16 December 2011 | Comments Off

TextMate 2.0 Alpha
The TextMate we know and love is finally growing up!

The Quicksort Algorithm Explained
…using Hungarian folk dance.

15 Web Conference Talks You Need to Watch
According to .net Magazine

Microsoft Turns on Auto Update Internet Explorer for Everyone
The internet applauds.

An Intro to OOCSS
Let’s all do our part to fight CSS bloat.

Polyfilling The HTML5 Gaps
An excellent slideshow on bringing HTML5 features to non-supported browsers.

Respond.js
Speaking of polyfills, here’s a good one for CSS3 Media Queries

Hidden Industry Dupes Social Media Users
Your captchas aren’t enough anymore.

Why Apps Are Not The Future
The web is dead, or is it? A simple case against apps.

 

Wine And Find: SEO For Winery Websites


15 December 2011 | Comments Off

From Chateau Montelena to Chateau Ste. Michelle, FINE has designed and developed winery websites for archetypes throughout the industry. When FINE acquired Big Daylight in 2011 and established a search engine marketing division, the immediate opportunity was to move beyond building glamorous online destinations and focus on directing traffic to them. We’ve learned much about how to best approach SEO and online marketing for winery websites.

One of the first revelations – many wineries simply do not own results around their OWN BRAND online. This goes above and beyond the name of your winery, and extends to every type of wine and release date featured on your website. It’s not that you don’t want wine.com or snooth.com to mention your product, it’s that ranking more highly allows you to tell your story first, especially if you also sell your wines online. With that in mind, here’s a taste of some frequently asked wine and search questions:

What should I do about age verification?

When it comes to SEO, the home page is all-important. So what happens when you are required to slap an age-verification on your homepage? We certainly don’t want Google to think your site is about “You must be 21 years of age or older to enter. Please select your date of birth below.” Your homepage also must resolve at http://www.yourdomain.com, and not redirect to http://www.yourdomain.com/ageverification.

FINE has handled this by creating a clever pop-up screen that allows the user to enter their age, while still providing plenty of search-engine friendly content directly on the homepage. You can see this in action on several FINE websites, including this Healdsburg winery.

Do I need to create a unique page for every type of wine?

YES. Don’t make the mistake of listing various types of wine on one page, instead of creating a page for each type. It may be hard for your 2007 Chardonnay to position if you haven’t really devoted a page to it. Other online retailers selling your own wine (along with tons of others) could beat you!

But I put all my tasting notes in PDFs! It’s so much easier to link to all of these from one page!

You’re right. That is easier. But sometimes building a SEO-friendly site takes some time and elbow grease. We guarantee it will be worth your while to take that fabulous PDF content, put it in a real HTML page instead, and then also continue to offer PDFs for download and printing. Some SEOs might advise you to use robots.txt or other methods to block the PDFs from being indexed since they would be duplicate content to the main pages, but we think Google is smart enough to figure this out on their own.

I want to position on Napa Valley Winery. And also Napa Valley Wines. How do I do that? Give me the secret…
Honestly, that is going to be very hard. This is what we call a “Vanity Term”. It’s an instance where you are not only competing against other wineries, but information sites, tour sites, and even hotels.  It looks so attractive and shiny, but remember that every rose has its thorn. If you want to position on that term and currently are nowhere even in the top 30, be prepared to envision someone working on this 8 hours a day for an indefinite amount of time, building content and links. Probably 2 people.

Instead of focusing on on vanity terms, we suggest you focus on keywords specific to YOU. You will find these terms in the long tail, and the long tail can bring you more traffic than any vanity term ever would. This superb chart and SEO article from SEOMoz (we encourage you to subscribe to this site) illustrates this in more depth:

I want more people to come for wine tastings, and perform better in local search.
Local search is one of the best places a winery can work to optimize your brand and website. See this separate article we wrote, all about Local SEO. Also, don’t forget the huge power of Online Reviews. Also consider linking to your Google Places page from the footer of your website.

Any other tips I should know about?
Be sure to give every page on your website a unique Title Tag and Meta Description Tag that contains important keywords while also sounding great for users. Ideally you will write these by hand yourself, but if not, then create intelligent rules that auto-populate tags to make them as descriptive as possible. Back to that 2007 Chardonnay – if you created a page for it, but didn’t optimize the title tag or description (which instead only say the name of your winery), you’ve really reduced overall relevance for that page.

Also, if you sell your wine online, be sure you have registered and submitted a Google Merchant Feed.

Of course, from URL structure to website navigation, there are a variety of other factors that encompass creating a search-friendly website. But for those who run winery websites, these considerations may help guide you toward the traffic you so richly deserve.

 

James’ 100% Technical Good Time FINE Link Solution


9 December 2011 | Comments Off

Fullscreen HTML5 Video
Yeah you heard me!

Top 6 HTML5 Trends in 2011
Mobile first, responsive design and offline caching, oh my!

Embedded Tweets
Copy/paste-able HTML for Twitter.

Facebook to Launch a Subscribe Button for Websites
“Publishers will be able to add the button to their websites, much like they do with the Twitter “follow” button today, allowing users one-click access to a person’s public updates.”

The Challenges of Working Remotely
Sam Brown discusses his person experience with working remotely.

A 404 Page with Class
Kudos to mint.com for helping Justin out.

Chrome Take Their Dev Tools to the Next Level (Again)
Paul Irish gives a tour of some of the new features.

Raise Your Anchor.


7 December 2011 | 1 comment

They started in San Francisco 115 years ago. Since then, they’ve inspired what is now known as the craft brewing industry. Those who know them may know only of their signature brand, Anchor Steam. But Anchor Brewing is a brewcraft icon and innovator on many fronts, with legions of loyal fans. And their web and digital environment goes a long way to showing it as never before.

The Anchor Brewing Website
Like their beer, this site combines rich history and traditional process with some state of the art touches. Dramatic imagery from Anchor’s archives is used throughout. A drop-down “beer shelf” helps you navigate between beers using the bottles, a “Beer is Social” tab integrates to/from social media channels to make the brewery website a hub of activity. It’s all constructed using the latest technology brewcraft, some fancy javascript, which allows you to do things like navigate between images by pushing buttons or just scrolling.  A new blog is set to roll out in coming weeks, to house more history and brewcraft content than ever. Behind it all, a content management system helps keep the words and pictures fresh across the site and social media channels.

Social Media Management (Facebook, Twitter)
Anchor’s social media strategy has already tapped into significant latent demand. It turns out Anchor already has thousands of fans on Facebook that have been waiting patiently (on sites setup independently to celebrate Anchor Steam and Anchor Brewing) for Anchor to jump in. Anchor’s Facebook and Twitter presence inspired thousands of new followers in the first 2 weeks after their first ever post (“Anchor Brewing started in San Francisco 115 years ago. Then we started in social media 107 characters ago.”) Now, Anchor’s set to socialize with Anchor fans everywhere through both channels, and sharing a steady stream of FINE-generated Anchor updates and content including a calendar of new content and promotions. A new Facebook tab will be launching within a couple weeks.

In all, the Anchor digital presence is a significant step toward bringing this venerable brand to life online in multiple ways (with their distilling and corporate sites to follow). Put simply, it sets the standard for Anchor’s industry, just as they’ve always done with their products.

Change In A Bottle


16 November 2011 | Comments Off

It’s safe to say that FINE knows and loves the wine industry, having done perhaps more custom winery sites than any company on earth.  It’s an interesting mix of the old – dusty bottles in a basement, wooden barrels made by hand, revered traditions – and the new – vineyard management with satellites, online marketing, the chemistry of oenology.  Squarely in the “new” camp comes a story (originally from The Guardian) that I recently came across about Greenbottle, a UK firm that is set to start selling a paper wine bottle.

Photo: Felix Clay

Certainly, there’s many questions to be answered.  Would this package allow the wine to age properly, for one.  But 10% of the the carbon footprint of a traditional glass bottle in manufacturing and shipping?  Compostable? And keeps the wine in pristine condition?   What’s not to love?

Regardless of the benefits of this new development in packaging, I think this story emphasizes something even more important – the real test is whether or not it takes hold with consumers.   Is it really that important to consumers to have their wine poured from glass, or is it matter of comfort and expectation?   Does a paper bottle make the wine seem like a commodity, rather than a premium product?   How can wineries (and their partners like FINE) help move the needle of consumer preference for a technology (glass bottles) that has been around nearly as long as people have been making wine?

 

 

Drinkify: Pair Your Music and Alcohol Tastes


11 November 2011 | Comments Off

As part of Music Hackday 2011, Hannah Donovan, Lindsay Eyink, and Matthew Ogle cobbled together (in less than 24 hours) this great little tool that pairs a drink with an artist. It works impressively well – and some of the results are hilarious:

LCD Soundsystem = one bottle of vodka, neat
Bob Dylan = 8oz. Sipsmith Gin, 8oz. Cough Syrup (really?)

Others are right on:

Townes Van Zandt = 1 bottle Miller High Life
Atlas Sound = 1 Brooklyn Lager

Check it out at http://www.drinkify.org

 

Another mind-boggling car site


10 November 2011 | Comments Off

http://www.hyundai-veloster.eu/