Homesbotello's blog

Guidelight's Favorite Firefox Add-ons

As a relatively new Firefox user, I have only recently discovered the world of Firefox add-ons. As I started to explore the multitude of available add-ons, I thought it would be interesting to ask other Guidelight team members which add-ons/plugins are their favorite. The following items made our list:

Web User Tools

Extended Lifespan for Windows XP

Rumor has it that Windows XP could be offered on new PCs as late as April 2011. Previously, reports stated that computer makers would only be allowed to sell PCs with Windows XP for six months after the launch of Windows 7 (Launch date: October 22, 2009).

Have you considered a CMS?

In my last blog, I discussed adopting an always beta approach for your website, in which every web page is subject to constant evaluation and change for the better. Always beta has become a contemporary best practice as static websites continue to be less and less effective.

Unfortunately, not every company has highly-trained staff available to make these constant web updates. If this is the case for your company, you may consider implementing a Content Management System.

Should you adopt an Always Beta mindset?

Always Beta is a mindset brought about by the nature of the Internet. The web is constantly evolving with new sites, information, and applications being created all the time. Both web developers and users have embraced the fluid nature of the web leading to the development and popularity of sites like Wikipedia and Twitter.

Mac OS X Snow Leopard

Today at the Worldwide Developer's Conference in San Francisco, Apple unveiled Mac OS X Snow Leopard. The updated version of the operating system will be available to current Mac OS X Leopard users in September 2009 for $29. The Apple website dubs Mac OS X Snow Leopard "The world's most advanced operating system. Finely tuned."

Here are some of the enhancements to the OS:

What is Google Wave?

This week, most people were expecting the official announcement of Microsoft's new search engine Bing, but many were surprised that Google made an announcement of their own at Google I/O 2009.

So what is Google Wave?

Microsoft Bing - It's Official!

Today Microsoft has officially announced the upcoming release of its new search engine Bing. The search engine is said to go beyond search and help users make better decisions in these initial focus areas: making a purchase decision, planning a trip, researching a health condition or finding a local business. Microsoft is referring to Bing as a "Decision Engine."

Search Engine Celebrity Deathmatch

The world of search seems to be changing around us. First, Wolfram Alpha was recently released with quite a buzz. Wolfram Alpha is not a traditional search engine, but rather a computational knowledge engine. What's the difference? According to the Wolfram Alpha site, "Search engines give you links to pages that exist on the web. Wolfram Alpha computes answers to specific questions using its built-in knowledge base and algorithms. Wolfram Alpha has sidebar links for doing web searches."

5 Reasons to Consider Drupal

Drupal is a highly customizable, open-source content management system (CMS) used for a vast number and variety of websites, including corporate sites, social networks, online communities, personal sites, and Intranets. Why should you consider Drupal?

1. Features & Functionality - The available Drupal add-on modules and extensions make it possible to integrate numerous features and functions such as: ecommerce, news feeds, event calendars, photo galleries, blogs, forums, social networking, SEO, and many more.

Online Reputation Management

Online Reputation Management (ORM) is basically the practice of managing, monitoring, and responding to a business or individual's online reputation. In previous blog posts, we have discussed using social media as a business tool, search engine optimization, and website improvements. All of these things will affect your company's reputation, but it is important to remember that your company-released content only makes up one piece of the ORM puzzle.

IT Helps You Weather the Economic Storm

Four reasons to invest in Information Technology during a recession:

1. Increase Productivity While Reducing Costs
Information systems streamline business operations and help you do more with less. By investing in new technologies and automating business processes, you can run your business more efficiently. It may even be a good time to consider moving your systems "into the cloud." Cloud computing can reduce your hardware and maintenance costs while giving you increased capacity and greater scalability.

Windows 7 RC Now Available

The results are in. Microsoft has collected feedback from its Windows 7 Beta trial and has now officially released the Windows 7 Release Candidate. For those of you that are interested in testing this pre-release version of the software, it will be available for download through July 2009 and will expire on June 1, 2010.

Does Gmail make sense for your business?

During the current economic climate, most businesses are looking for ways to cut costs and many have begun to move applications "into the cloud." If your small business is re-evaluating business needs and interested in cutting IT costs, you may want to consider using Gmail for your professional email accounts.

How does Google represent you?

In the past few days I have heard a lot of buzz about Google Profiles, so I had to check it out. According to Google, "A Google profile is simply how you present yourself on Google products to other Google users. It allows you to control how you appear on Google and tell others a bit more about who you are."

Is Twitter Making an Impact on Your Business?

The micro-blogging site, Twitter, is still growing like wildfire and has become a popular social media marketing tool for business. But how do you judge success on Twitter? Do you look at your number of followers, @ messages, direct messages, retweets?

Is it time for a website upgrade?

With the current state of the economy, many businesses are cutting internal spending, but it may actually be a good time to invest in your web presence. Here are two reasons why you might want to consider a website upgrade:

Is Cloud Computing a Good Idea for Government?

I recently came across an article from the Washington Post titled, "Tech Firms Seek to Get Agencies on Board with Cloud Computing." This article discusses some of the pros and cons of using cloud computing for government agencies. Cloud computing has been a major topic of discussion for business and more and more consumers save their information "in the cloud" everyday. But does it make sense for government?

Social Media: Proceed with Caution

I just read an article about a team owner being fined by the NBA for "tweets" posted on his Twitter page. Recently, there have also been similar stories about executives offending clients with "tweets" and blog posts. I think this is a good example of the dark side of social networking.

IE8 Officially Released

Microsoft has officially released Internet Explorer 8, the latest version of its free web browser. This version of the browser is promoted as making it easier, faster, and more secure for people to surf the web. Check out a list of new features here.

What does this mean for your business?

Search Queries Getting Longer

According to Hitwise, search engine queries have increased in length over the past year. When comparing February 2008 to February 2009, there has been a slight decrease in one, two, and three word search queries, while queries with four or more words have increased. Search queries with eight or more words have seen a 20% increase over the same month last year.

Social Networks and Blogs More Popular than Email

According to a recent study by Nielson called Global Faces and Networked Places, social network/blogging sites are now the fourth most popular activity on the Internet. This activity has now surpassed personal e-mail. According to the study, "Two-thirds of the world's Internet population visit a social network or blogging site and the sector now accounts for almost 10% of all internet time." The study also states that the social network audience is getting older.

The Battle of the Browsers Continues!

Apple has just released a beta version of Safari 4, which is being promoted as the world's fastest web browser. According to the Apple site, Safari executes JavaScript up to 30 times faster than Internet Explorer 7 and more than 3 times faster than Firefox 3.

You can run, but you can't hide...from the Internet

Yesterday, I was reading an email from the Austin Business Journal and saw an article that Southwest Airlines is beginning the test phase of a plan to equip their planes with Internet via satellite technology:

Windows 7 Beta

This January, Microsoft released a beta version of the new Windows 7 with overwhelming response. In a recent post on the Windows blog, an announcement was made that the Windows 7 Beta download would only be available until February 10th.

Is your website accessible?

In 2008, Guidelight participated in the Austin Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR-Austin) sponsored by Knowbility. This event promotes the tools and techniques that make the Internet accessible to people with disabilities. The event really opened my eyes to accessibility issues and changed the way I looked at the Web. Not only is creating an accessible website the socially responsible thing to do, but some companies have even faced lawsuits regarding their site's lack of accessibility.

To Tweet or Not To Tweet?

Recently, I have seen article after article about If you are not familiar with Twitter, it is a micro-blogging site that allows its members to answer the simple question, "What are you doing?" Some articles are praising companies for their use of Twitter as a marketing tool and other articles tell marketers not to waste their time.