iPhone 6s shortlist of new features

There are tons of rumors about what’s in store for the new iPhone being announced by Apple tomorrow.  Here’s the shortlist you care about from truly reliable sources…


Pricing structure will stay the same

$199, $299, etc…


New Color: Rose Gold


Improved Camera

12 Megapixels!  Compared to 8 in the current 6 & 6 Plus.


Force Touch

This adds one more dimension to your interaction with your phone.  Now the force you use when touching the display will have a different impact on your experience.  Imagine playing a game and speeding up the harder you press the throttle…delete buttons can now require a little more force so they’re not accidentally tapped, and maybe even protect your privacy by requiring passcodes that detect how hard you’re pressing on the screen!


A little thicker — but not really

0.2mm thicker to be exact.  Pretty much unnoticeable.


There will of course be much more – but these are the highlights to expect.  We’ll be following the Apple Event tomorrow, 9/9/15, for the official announcements…Along with the rest of the world!


Google’s many logos

Google changes their logo the way your doctor’s office changes the magazines in the waiting room.  They’re different, but not really.

Here they are…in all of their primary color glory.


















And there you have it.  The many (similar) faces of Google.  What do you think of this latest one?

Codd’s 12 Rules

Without Edgar F. Codd, who knows where modern databases would be.  You might not realize that just about everything these days is driven by a database (Facebook, for example, is just a really pretty database.)  So, Edgar F. Codd, we salute you.  And your mustache.


Here are Codd’s 12 Rules of a relational database.  All 13 are still relevant today (no, that’s not a typo).


Rule 0: The Foundation rule:

A relational database management system must manage its stored data using only its relational capabilities. The system must qualify as relational, as a database, and as a management system. For a system to qualify as a relational database management system (RDBMS), that system must use its relational facilities (exclusively) to manage the database.

Rule 1: The information rule:

All information in a relational database (including table and column names) is represented in only one way, namely as a value in a table.

Rule 2: The guaranteed access rule:

All data must be accessible. This rule is essentially a restatement of the fundamental requirement for primary keys. It says that every individual scalar value in the database must be logically addressable by specifying the name of the containing table, the name of the containing column and the primary key value of the containing row.

Rule 3: Systematic treatment of null values:

The DBMS must allow each field to remain null (or empty). Specifically, it must support a representation of “missing information and inapplicable information” that is systematic, distinct from all regular values (for example, “distinct from zero or any other number”, in the case of numeric values), and independent of data type. It is also implied that such representations must be manipulated by the DBMS in a systematic way.

Rule 4: Active online catalog based on the relational model:

The system must support an online, inline, relational catalog that is accessible to authorized users by means of their regular query language. That is, users must be able to access the database’s structure (catalog) using the same query language that they use to access the database’s data.

Rule 5: The comprehensive data sublanguage rule:

The system must support at least one relational language that

  1. Has a linear syntax
  2. Can be used both interactively and within application programs,
  3. Supports data definition operations (including view definitions), data manipulation operations (update as well as retrieval), security and integrity constraints, and transaction management operations (begin, commit, and rollback).

Rule 6: The view updating rule:

All views that are theoretically updatable must be updatable by the system.

Rule 7: High-level insert, update, and delete:

The system must support set-at-a-time insertupdate, and delete operators. This means that data can be retrieved from a relational database in sets constructed of data from multiple rows and/or multiple tables. This rule states that insert, update, and delete operations should be supported for any retrievable set rather than just for a single row in a single table.

Rule 8: Physical data independence:

Changes to the physical level (how the data is stored, whether in arrays or linked lists etc.) must not require a change to an application based on the structure.

Rule 9: Logical data independence:

Changes to the logical level (tables, columns, rows, and so on) must not require a change to an application based on the structure. Logical data independence is more difficult to achieve than physical data independence.

Rule 10: Integrity independence:

Integrity constraints must be specified separately from application programs and stored in the catalog. It must be possible to change such constraints as and when appropriate without unnecessarily affecting existing applications.

Rule 11: Distribution independence:

The distribution of portions of the database to various locations should be invisible to users of the database. Existing applications should continue to operate successfully:

  1. when a distributed version of the DBMS is first introduced; and
  2. when existing distributed data are redistributed around the system.

Rule 12: The nonsubversion rule:

If the system provides a low-level (record-at-a-time) interface, then that interface cannot be used to subvert the system, for example, bypassing a relational security or integrity constraint.

Thank you Wikipedia!!!

Nerd Destinations

We rounded up the best of the best Nerd destinations.  Pause Star Wars, put your chocolate milk down, and stop reminiscing about the last time you totally corrected someone that didn’t know what they were talking about — and plan your next vacation RIGHT NOW.


1) Middle Earth

Hop a flight to New Zealand.  Say hello to Xena the Warrior Princess while you’re there.  Then saddle up on a horse and head to Matamata in New Zealand’s Waikato district (that’s still how they get around in New Zealand, right?)  Once you’re there, be the first person to ask a local if they’ve seen Gandalf recently.  That one is sure to kill!



2) The Great Hall (Hogwarts Hall)

On your way back from Middle Earth, pop into Christ Church, Oxford and see the hall where Harry and his pals hatched plans to defeat He Who Must Not Be Named.  You know, Voldemort.  This church/college was established in 1546 and is steeped in old world tradition.  Sounds like a good thing right?  Well – the tradition was so strong that women could not attend the college until 1978!  Hermione scoffs!




3) District 12

So, the enchanting setting of Middle Earth is in New Zealand.  The architectural marvel that doubled as the Great Hall is in Oxford.  What does the good old U.S.A. get?  District 12.  Yup.  When the Hunger Games needed to bring to life a location that was basically barely passable as being suitable for human habitation, they didn’t even have to get on a plane.  Henry River Mill Village in North Carolina fit the bill pretty much as is.  Over the years this town was destroyed by floods, a depression, fires, and more.  Every time it tried to eek back into existence, it was wrestled back down.  Apparently the odds just weren’t ever in its favor.




4) Luke Skywalker’s home on Tatooine

Ok, let’s make this trip simple:

Step 1) Go to Tunisia.

Step 2) Locate the Sidi Driss Hotel in Matmata.

Step 3) Have someone take a picture of you staring thoughtfully into the sky (get both suns in the picture if you can.)

Step 4) Leave Tunisia.




5) Nintendo World Store

Ok – we deviated from the movie settings for this last one – but it HAS to be on the list.  You can think whatever you want about Nintendo now, but the reality is, they created an industry.  Some of the most recognizable characters in history are Nintendo characters.  Not video game history.  ALL history.  It’s of course located in Rockefeller Center in New York – where else!?  Ok, maybe Japan would have made sense.  But other than Japan, where else!?

10,000 Square feet of games, merchandise, and most importantly – tons of people Nerding just as hard as you about all that stuff!  Make the trek.  This one is too good to miss.

Sorry – did you say something?  Oh, how did we leave that one out?  Well you see, the list is 5 places long and the place you just mentioned was actually #6.  Tell us about it in the comments though!

Apple by decade: a visual guide

Apple products are ubiquitous today.  Their impressiveness is lost on us because of how gradually each product has improved.  But speed up time a little bit, and the advances that this company makes every 10 years start to look much more remarkable.  We’ll start at the very beginning…1976


Apple 1


Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak sold their car and their calculator (respectively) to finance the building of this, the first ever Apple product.


Apple III



Steve Wozniak once endearingly stated about the Apple III: “[it] had 100% hardware failures!”


Macintosh Classic & LC

The “LC” stands for “Low-cost Color”.  While the “LC” moniker stuck around for a few years, it quickly became obsolete.  I mean come on, a charger costs 60 bucks!


iBook g3 “clamshell”


The iBook G3 was the first mainstream laptop to incorporate wireless networking capabilities that would ultimately server as the model for the industry standard technology.



iMac & iphone 4




Ok, so I listed 2 products for the intro of this decade.  But I had to.  In fact if you knew what I left out, you’d be shocked (iPad, Macbook Pro, Apple TV and more!)  Here’s why I had to list 2…

As you scroll through the decades, the advances every 10 years seem almost reasonable.  Then you jump from 2000 to 2010 and the advancement is just mind-fricking-boggling.  Right!?  From the G3 Clamshell, in just 10 years, they launched, perfected, then improved the most incredible technology that we’re using today.  Phones, tablets and the most beautiful and powerful computers we use.

The 2000’s were an incredible decade for Apple.  They were doing great things, but this decade made them part of history.  We’re only half way through this decade, but it’s already off to a great start.  We can’t wait to see what the advent of 2020 holds for Apple – and all of us!

What do you think it will be?  Tell us below and we’ll see who’s right!

The biggest blogging mistake you’re making

Blogging is an art form.  There’s no right or wrong for the most part.  There are popular blogs about feet, and unpopular blogs about the Kardashians.  So, why this huge disconnect?

It really comes down to one simple philosophy: Don’t talk…listen.

So what does that mean, right?  How can you blog without talking?  You can’t.  You have to talk.  I’m talking right now – to you.  But the trap people fall into very often is that they blog about what they want to talk about.  And if your goal is to be the only subscriber to you’re blog, then that’s no problem.  But, if you’re hoping some other human being will read what you’re writing, then you need to listen, listen, listen.

You need to write what other people want to read.  I want to write about the creative process we went through on a particular website design that took forever.  They want to read about how to deal with a difficult client.  I want to write about the amazing evolution of mobile technology in such a short time.  They want to read about the latest mobile device and its pros & cons.  I want to write about the art of songwriting and what how great it feels to play the guitar.  They…….don’t want to read anything remotely related to that.

Your audience is king.  Period.  You need to listen to them and write for them.  Do a little research.  Don’t spend the next 6 months researching (you could easily do this), but do some research.  See what people like to read.  What are some of the most popular blogs in your category?  What are some of the most popular blog posts on those sites?  What are people sharing on social media?  This is your research.  It gives you a window into the mind of your audience.  You’ll likely find that what most people want are short, easily consumable articles.  Lists are great.  “Top” this, and “Worst” that.  Those are things that are easy to jump into and consume.  Step by step how to’s are also great.  But while I’m telling you what you’ll likely find, don’t listen to me.  Do you’re own research with your own audience.  Trust me, if you listen closely enough, they will tell you very clearly what they want to read.

What do you see your audience asking for?

What it means to “use social media” for your website

You hear it constantly!

“You need to be on social media for your business.”

“Are you blogging?”



It’s a lot simpler than it sounds.  It can get complex, and it can grow into something that completely drives your business or your website.  But at it’s core, it’s pretty straight forward.  Here’s the 5 minute explanation that nobody seems to want to reveal.

Using social media and blogs (which are a form of social media) are a way of driving people to your business or website.  It’s that simple.  Think of it like the postcards and other mailers you receive in your mail every day.  Local realtors, gardeners, stores & small businesses send these things out constantly.  Now, you’re not going to decide that you want to buy a house because you get an ad from a realtor, but when the time comes that you do want to buy a house, the first person that comes to mind to help you will be the realtor that you get all of those mailers from.  And when you go to look for their information — there it is!  In today’s mail again!

That’s what social media and blogging is all about.  It’s a way for you to continuously put information and content out to people so that when the time comes that they need a service or product you can fill, you’re where they naturally turn.

So how do all the pieces fit together?

Ultimately, you’re trying to keep people going to your website and keep your name on the top of their mind.  You have to sort of work backwards here.  Let’s start with a Facebook post or Tweet (Twitter.)

A business posts on Facebook: “Did you know you lose almost 100% of the value of installing a pool in your yard?  But new windows keep almost all their value?  Check out this post to read more about where your hard earned money is best spent on your home!”

You click on it, and it’s a link to a blog post on that person’s website talking about exactly what you expected.  It’s not an advertisement or anything.  Just good quality information that people want to read.

Why do they do this?  It’s to build a ‘readership’.  They want to create content (blog posts, Facebook & Twitter posts, etc.) that people want to read.  And they want to do it consistently.  If you pick up a magazine from a store a couple of times and love it every time, there’s a good chance you’re going to subscribe.  Same idea here.  If someone likes the content you’re producing over and over, they will become regular readers of your blog and possibly even subscribe to it (yes, that’s a thing!)

So now what do you have? You have a bunch of people constantly reading your blog, and very possibly, visiting your website to do that.  2 things come out of this:

  1. People coming to your website is a good thing.  It helps your search engine rankings, and it means that people are already only a click away from using your service.  The hardest part about getting someone to take action from your website is just getting them there.  Nobody goes to the store just to buy a candy bar.  But once they’re there, the candy bars fly off the shelves!
  2. Your blog posts will promote you.  They are not (and should not be) ads for you.  They are just useful content.  Don’t get it?  Well, you’re reading this blog post.  I’m not promoting our company in any way.  But what I am demonstrating is that we have an understanding of how this whole internet thing works.  If you like what you’re reading here, and keep reading, you’ll come to realize that we know what we’re talking about and can help you with any website needs you might have in the future.

And that’s how it all works.

  1. You want people to buy your product or service.
  2. To do that, they need to visit your website & trust you.  To get people to your site, you need them to have a reason to go there.  To get them to trust you, you have to demonstrate your knowledge and integrity.  Blog posts do these things.
  3. To find your blog posts, you need to get people to read them.  Facebook and other social media ‘teaser’ posts can get them to do this.
  4. For those teaser posts to reach anyone, you need to have an audience on these social media sites.
  5. To get that audience, you need to invite people to watch or ‘like’ your page so they see your posts.
  6. But first, you need to actually setup the pages for these sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)

So to get #1 above to start happening more, start with #6 an work your way up!

How do you use social media?  What tips can you share in your experience?

SEO: Then and Now

SEO is like fine wine…it gets so much better with age.

And now, at the ripe age of 20, it has hit its peak — much like me.

What is SEO?  SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.  And it basically refers to methods and practices used to ‘help’ search engines find a website.  Put simply, SEO is the blanket term for hundreds of different things people focus on to drive more traffic to their website.  Why is it important?  See the previous sentence.

In the beginning, there were websites.  They were all over the place.  www.this.com, www.that.com and www.nobodywilleverseethis.com (aol.com was during this time too.)  But unless you knew exactly where you were going, you couldn’t find anything.  Enter: search.  Search changed everything.  The websites that did the searching are “search engines.”  And just like any other technology, it started out very simply.  Come on….let’s look…


The first real search engine site is created.  Webcrawler uses a program (referred to as a spider) to “crawl” through the internet one site at a time and see what’s happening on each one.  It ranks the top 25 sites across the internet.

Some other search engines are actually updated by people.  Yes real people sifting through the internet and ‘ranking’ sites.


Google pops up.  I could end the story here, but I’ll keep going.  Google improves on how sites are ranked by looking at backlinks.  Backlinks are basically other sites that point to your site.  For example, if you create a website dedicated to the movie Top Gun (thank you, by the way, for doing that) and your neighbor creates a similar site, the old search method would rank you roughly the same.  But let’s say that 100 other websites around the internet are “talking” about your site.  And by talking about it, I mean they have a link to your site somewhere on their site.  These are backlinks.  Google looks at these and decides that your site should rank higher.  It gets a little more complex than this, but you get the idea.

1998 – 2011

So, a whole bunch of time goes by and the algorithms used to rank sites gets better and better.  But at its core, it is still pretty much based on links, keywords, and other things that are somewhat easy to fabricate.  If you can fit the word “chocolate” on your website more than the next guy, this helps your ranking when someone searches for “chocolate.”  You can buy thousands of fake back links for a few dollars.  And in general, there are various ways to “fool” the search engines.  During this time, Google continually improves how its search works and actually penalizes companies for using these tactics to fool their rankings.  Companies like BMW & JC Penny lose their high ranking because of the tactics they use.


Google introduces Google Panda.  There is a lot to explain here, but the long and short is that Panda is a new approach to ranking that focuses on the quality of the content of a site, and not quantity of keywords or links.  The specifics are of course closely guarded, but it’s clear that if you are producing quality, unique content regularly, Panda will like you.  The biggest mystery is why they called it Panda.  I mean, pandas are black and white which seems to contradict the ‘grey’ area Google is now looking to for ranking a site.  Also, a panda eats one food.  One food — it’s entire life — one food!  Again, seems to go against the idea of creating unique & diverse content.  Personally, I would have called it Puma, but that’s just me.


Over the last few years, Panda (and other search products & variations) have continued to improve.  So what does that mean for SEO today?  It means that the internet has caught up with thousands of years of business.  Before computers existed, people had businesses.  And if you wanted to keep customers coming back, you needed to do quality work and keep your customers happy.  That is finally true for the internet.  If you want to keep people coming, you need to put the work in.

SEO now means creating content for your website that is relevant, timely and unique.  Keep producing content.  Write articles & posts people want to read — and more importantly, share!  Share them yourself on social media.  Then repeat.  You will start to build a loyal readership which will translate into traffic on your site, which will translate into higher rankings on search engines, which will translate into higher traffic on your site —- are you seeing the cycle here?

There are still tips and tricks for great SEO, but they’re no longer ways to “work” the system.  They’re ways to entice and engage your audience.

What are some of the SEO techniques you have used?  How have they worked?