Tuesday, March 29, 2011

foreclosure homes

Ryan Gavin and Dean Hachamovitch, Marketing Guy and Engineer, respectively, for Internet Explorer, have announced that the final build and release of Internet Explorer 9 will indeed be at the party they’re throwing at South by Southwest in Texas on March 14th, 2011. They’ve decided to first announce this to their very favorite community at Channel9, a bunch of developers who are in love with the internet platform, and they’ve spoken here in a video at length what the browser will be able to do.

This browser has been in production for approximately a year, and now they’re going to release it, thanking profusely the community of developers who have stepped up to help them in making this a platform that has a chance at competing with the rest of the powerhouse browsers out in the market today. As you know, Internet Explorer

Hachamovitch will be doing a keynote at MIX 10 as well, showing off how the platform is rolling out, as a sort of “look what we did in a year” sort of thing. These two fellas sitting on the couch are super excited about this rollout and after saying what they came to say, they made sure to prompt Channel9 for what they call an “uncomfortable question.” What Channel9 decided to ask about was HTML5, to which they reply “WE’RE FOR IT!”

Of course the developer community knows this already, so the question is pressed, beyond what HTML5 can do for the everyday user, what does IE9 offer the fringe users who want features that not everyone will use? Hachamovitch replies with a sort of well, we DO do that, we’ve implemented things like Navigation Timing which “got 0% usage on the web,” he then going on to say that they’ve added items that don’t just come from developers who request things, they’ve essentially come up with elements that they and people at Yahoo, Google, and etc have spoken about behind the scenes, bringing these “fringe” features into IE9 at launch.

Essentially what they’re speaking about in this video and what will be coming with Internet Explorer 9 is depth as well as quality implementation of features. We’re hoping for the best!

Surface Encounters

Maya Moore of Connecticut Huskies wins fourth All-America honor

Connecticut's Maya Moore joins select company as only the second women's basketball player honored as a four-time All-American by The Associated Press.

Surface Encounters

Small Business <b>News</b>: Social Media Brand

What is your social media brand? Do you have one? Sure, many small business owners and entrepreneurs are coming around to the enormous importance of social.

Surface Encounters

REPORT: <b>News</b> Corp. In Talks To Hand Over Control Of MySpace To <b>...</b>

News Corp. is in preliminary talks to give control of Myspace to Vevo.com, the site partly owned by top record companies, including Universal Music and Sony Music, according to a Bloomberg report. News Corp. has been looking to unload ...

Surface Encounters

For Apple, the mobile market is a cash cow. The company’s iPhone and iPad are proving to be the top mobile companions for people around the globe. Apple has sold over 100 million iPhones. Its iPad sales have hit 15 million. The company understands the mobile market and it knows how to capitalize on it.

But what about the living room? It has the Apple TV, sure, and the Mac mini is often times connected to an HDTV, but what else has Apple done to push the envelope in the living room? It still hasn’t launched the long-rumored television we keep hearing about, and it seems that offering a game console — a hope for many Apple fans over the past few years — won’t happen.

I fully realize that Apple can’t be everything to every customer. It delivers computers, smartphones, tablets, personal media players, two operating systems, wireless routers, and much more. But I also realize that Apple is an entertainment company. It’s about trying to give people more opportunity to enjoy their lives through technology. And it would only make sense if it doubled down on the living room.

Let’s turn our attention to the Apple TV for a minute.

Prior to its announcement in September, rumors were running rampant over what the former “hobby” would offer. Folks thought it would deliver gaming, interface with DVRs, include Apple’s App Store, and much more. They thought it would be a sizable update over its predecessor.

Instead, Apple offered a stripped-down alternative.

The second-generation Apple TV comes with the ability for users to stream Netflix content. It has Flickr and Internet radio. And it allows users to stream their music over their home network to their televisions. It offers movies and television shows, as well, but most would agree that it’s slim pickings for now.

At that event in September, Steve Jobs said that Apple’s research showed customers didn’t want everything a company could pile into a device. They simply want the ability to consume the content they enjoy without the fuss that might come along with something like Google TV-based devices.

But by delivering the bare minimum, Apple did itself no favors. The company took the easy way out and pretended like it no longer views the living room as a hobby. The only issue is, the Apple TV is still a hobby. It’s a device that lacks all the functionality we’ve come to expect from Apple — a company that typically prides itself on offering the best value for the cash. And at least so far, it leaves me wanting more.

So, what am I looking for? I want to see Apple improve the Apple TV by bringing its App Store to the platform. I’d also like to see some kind of gaming component come to the device, either through the App Store or as part of a more-capable platform.

And perhaps most importantly, I’d like to see Apple think beyond its set-top box and deliver products that try something new. I’m not sold on the possibility of Apple offering a groundbreaking television, but if it can surprise me, I’m all for it.

Simply put, I’m looking for Apple to be Apple. Right now, it’s just like every other company in the living room; it’s content to have a presence but not dominate.

That needs to end.

No single company can stake claim to the living room right now. Steve Jobs just needs to take advantage of that void and do something special.

But first, he needs to take the living room — and its revenue potential — seriously.

Apple advertises its products as magical. They’re at the intersection of “technology and the liberal arts,” Steve Jobs said today. Something that moves your heart, not just your lust for technology. Will consumers still buy that in 2011?

The big picture question of the day is whether Apple has done it again. With the original iPad, Apple crushed its rivals, taking more than 90 percent of the tablet market in 2010 and selling more than 15 million units. Jobs predicted today that 2011 will be the year of the iPad 2. Based on what I have seen today, I think he’s mostly, but not entirely, right.

Competitors will discover that Apple has a lot of inherent financial advantages, including being a low-cost leader. That may not sound intuitive, but I believe it has to be true. It is selling so much volume of its products that it can get discounts on parts and manufacturing services that no one else can get.

When it sells its products in stores, it also doesn’t have to give away 20 percent of the margin to a retailer. That is a huge financial advantage. Carriers are also willing to subsidize the costs of Apple products in a way that they won’t with other tablet vendors. All of these things may explain why the Motorola Xoom, a very cool product, is selling for $800 while Apple has priced its new devices at $499 to $829, (and dropped the price of the old iPad to $399). Apple has also left very little room for rivals here, since it has signed up both AT&T and Verizon. Perhaps there is room for rivals to sell $199 machines, but users probably aren’t going to like them.

Those are reasons why any cool Apple mobile product could beat other rivals. But Apple has also done some smart things with the iPad 2. It has created another rev of its microprocessor, the A5, which has two cores, or computing brains. And it has nine times faster graphics than its old A4 chip. Since Apple designs this chip itself, it doesn’t have to give away much margin to a chip design firm. It only has to give a small margin to a chip manufacturer such as Samsung to make the chips.

Apple has also custom-designed the A5 to run Apple applications on a device with a 10-hour battery life. Apple should have an edge there, as it won’t sell the A5 to rivals. But if this is an advantage, it isn’t likely to last long, as Nvidia is being very aggressive with a new quad-core chip that it could sell to any Android rivals.

The design of the iPad 2 is where Apple has more advantages. The iPad 2 will have faster web-browsing with a new version of Safari. It has two cameras that will inspire a lot of video and photo-related apps. The availability of the Mac applications — iMovie, Garage Band, and Photo Booth — on the iPad 2 will make a lot of users happy. More interesting features will come with new releases of the iOS, or Apple’s operating system in the fairly near future.

There are some users who won’t like the restrictions of Apple’s ecosystem. If they want universal serial bus (USB) and SD card ports, they are out of luck. Apple didn’t change the resolution of its screen either, leaving it at 1024 x 768. Competitors could add these options and put emphasis on them as selling points. (Critics are disappointed that Apple did not improve the display, but that’s a big cost issue others have too).

Apple has also made great improvements in the feel of the product. It’s 33 percent thinner, 2 ounces lighter, and it has a wonderful new screen cover that doubles as a stand for the device. (It wakes up the device when you peel it back and it has micro-fibers that clean the screen when the cover is on).

Now here is why Jobs is not entirely right. Apple has come up with a stunning machine at prices that the competitors will have a hard time beating. But it is almost inevitable that Android-based tablets will gain market share on Apple.

So far, I don’t see the Android machine that will beat the iPad 2. But the potential is there, given ingredients such as Android 3.0, Nvidia Tegra 2 chips and other fast microprocessors, and 4G LTE. The latter is the main weakness in Apple’s armor.

LTE is fast, with a minimum speed on Verizon at around 12 megabits a second and actual speeds running much higher than that now. Getting access to 4G LTE is as big a benefit as having access to lots of cool apps, from my point of view. Right now, the timing of the still-young LTE technology means that Apple cannot yet put it into its mass-produced, lowest-cost tablet computers.

If LTE costs come down sometime soon, then Apple can launch a new version of the iPad to incorporate the technology. But it’s not a simple upgrade, as it means that the hardware of the machine — including the radio chip — has to change. And for now, LTE chips are larger than their 3G equivalents, so the heat dissipation and product size are affected. In other words, LTE can force Apple to redesign the iPad.

Apple can do that. But Android tablet makers might be able to move faster than Apple directly into the 4G LTE tablet market. If they do that, then they will have found a scenario where they could steal a march on Apple. Apple is not likely to let that gap last for a long time, but it might be enough for Apple to lose some share this year.

Apple’s leadership position in this market will be hard to beat, but the collective weight and reach of Android rivals could erode it. And here’s a sobering thought: If Apple eventually winds up with only 30 percent of the tablet market, it could still be No. 1, and its place as the largest technology company in the world will not be at risk.

Check out Apple’s overview video on the iPad 2 and Jobs’ comments on technology and the liberal arts below.

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Surface Encounters

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Preview of Final Result



  • PT Sans Bold – FontSquirrel

  • Free App Icons for Developers – WebAppers

Step 1

Open Photoshop and create a new document that is 1200 x 1200 pixels, 72 dpi, and RGB Color. Fill the layer with white. (Ctrl+Backspace or Delete)

Step 2

Now create a rectangle for the header and fill it with a white-grey color, then use the colors on the image for the “Gradient Overlay”. Our search and logo will eventually be part of the header.

Step 3

Create a new rectangle above the previous one, with attributes as shown below. The following drop shadow effect creates a look of a 1 pixel stroke which does increase the look of that simple bar. Note: this step creates a horizontal line.


Step 4

Now add the “Gradient Overlay” layer style with the hex codes indicated.

Step 5

Add a white 1 pixel stroke. The following stroke of 1 pixel will divide the grey shadow effect. It’ll eventually work as a divider.

Step 6

Make one more rectangle in the middle-right zone, and fill it with white and add a 1 px stroke as indicated – it will be our search box.

Step 7

One more rectangle should be created and filled with blue. Set the inner shadow as indicated below, this will be our search button. This blue works great in combination with grey, white and light-grey. Blue will be the major contrasting color we use as we work through this template.

Step 8

Add the Gradient Overlay details to the button with the details from image.

Step 9

Add a 1 px stroke to the button with the color indicated. Take a look at the first and the final result of the button so you can see the difference all these details made.

Step 10

Now add this drop shadow effect for the text placed in the search box, using PT Sans Bold. This will be the final step in creating your search button. You may want to try other fonts, but the PT Sans Bold is really good for this small button.

Step 11

Make another fill under the header section, this will be the navigation area. Here we will place the navigation links of our template.

Step 12

Write your navigation links using a dark-grey color, then add a white “drop shadow” effect. The effect used for the navigation links is the same used for the search button.

Step 13

With 1px vertical line, make divisions between each links. The lines should be black and will really increase the beauty of the navigation area.

Step 14

Over the home section, make a fill with the blue and then add a Gradient Overlay style as indicated.

Step 15

Copy the Home link, this time color it white and add a drop shadow effect.

Step 16

Create a big, grey zone under the navigation, it should be about 30% of the layout. This will be the background for the featured area.

Step 17

Now create a big, white rectangle and add some shadow with the details shown. A big stock image, a big headline and some text with another great button will be added.

Step 18

Add a any dummy image you want to that featured area. Be sure it covers more than 80% of the area. The one I chose is from a stock website.

Step 19

Add some text to it, use the PT SANS Bold font and make the font big.

Step 20

The remaining area should be filled with grey, in it we’ll place some text. This is really a secondary area which describes the image, the services, the company itself, or whatever you’d like.

Step 21

Place some blue-colored text which will be the title of the information below. Use the details in the image for Drop Shadow style.

Step 22

Add some dummy text. This could be some important information or whatever you’d like.

Step 23

Create another grey area under the featured zone, where we will add some text and icons later. Add the details as stated on the image. Mostly, the icons will promote the services offered by the company behind the website.

Step 24

Continue by adding a Gradient Overlay style for the last rectangle we have created in the anterior steps.

Step 25

Now we are adding titles and icons, as well as some divisions. The icons can be found in the resource list at the beginning of the tutorial. Be sure to choose your icons and text thoughtfully.

Step 26

At the border of both zones, create a small circle and fill it with dark brown color. Add some inner shadow as stated on the image.

Step 27

Continue by adding a drop shadow layer style. It is another small detail, but it really makes that button zone minimalistic, nice-looking and well designed.

Step 28

To finish, add a Gradient Overlay effect.

Step 29

By using the Custom Shape Tool (U), create an arrow in both circles. Now add the details shown on the screenshot.

Step 30

Continue by adding some Color Overlay for the arrow. It should also be a blue color because otherwise, it will not fit the contrast and the colors used on the whole template.

Step 31

Add a video screenshot in the free space and place a title for it. For this template, I have used a simple screenshot of a YouTube widget.

Step 32

Add the text “Product Highlights” and “Case Studies.” Let the text under the “Product Highlights” be links so you could showcase some friends’ websites or resources you admire/promote.

Step 33

Finish it by creating another form for e-mails, place all kind of other information, and whatever you’d like.

Step 34

Don’t forget to make a relevant/small footer for our template. If you have paid attention, you should know how to create the same effect as below. 


All done! If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to drop a comment. I hope you enjoyed this whole tutorial!

What is your social media brand? Do you have one? Sure, many small business owners and entrepreneurs are coming around to the enormous importance of social media as a marketing, customer service, and, yes, even sales tool. But if you haven’t thought about how social media can define your brand, you are probably missing a HUGE part of what social media tools can do for your business. Here’s more…

Tools & Techniques

Creating a great brand with these blog tools. Tools that improve the look and functionality of your blog also improve your brand. A well-maintained small business blog is one of the most obvious and least expensive branding tools at the entrepreneur’s disposal even more so than social media channels like Facebook and Twitter because of how a blog can be customized to fit your needs and personality. This list of tools is a great way to start. EpicLaunch

What Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi can teach you about social media. One of the stars of the hit reality show “Jersey Shore”, “Snooki” is a perfect example of personal brand, but social media entrepreneurs could also learn much about building their own online presence from Snooki. Being yourself and using a simple, short tag to indelibly brand your identity are also great techniques in social media. One site is already trying to apply the starlets techniques in the social media space. Brand-Yourself

Tito Philips doesn’t want your comments on his blog! At least, not if they’re the wrong kind. And the wrong kind would be comments left for no other purpose than to get the blogger and his/her readers to visit your blog and perhaps comment on it in return. Why is comment trading bad? Don’t get Tito started! There are many ways to engage in social media marketing. Be sure you understand and respect some of the attitudes you may face. Blogging Bookshelf  

News & Trends

The best of the best. Want to get a look at arguably the 20 best Facebook fan pages for business on the planet? By now you should know the value of a Facebook fan page to your branding efforts. What’s also true, however, is that not all Facebook sites are created equal. If you want to take your social media marketing to the next level, have a look at this list of cream of the crop sites. Inc.com

Even churches use social media marketing! In this article on the growing market for tech services among religious organizations, we learn that many churches have also already entered into the social media space. As houses of worship, particularly huge mega-churches, expand and build congregations, it’s easy to see how social media can work as a marketing tool here as well. Is your religious organization using social media for branding? WSJ

Tips & Tricks

20 tips that will make you a Twitter star. Among the tools popular in the new digital space is Twitter. The microblogging platform can be used for business or non-business purposes and it can be the key to your small business’s success. Learn how to use Twitter like a pro and you may be surprised at the benefits your small business gains as a result. Global Copywriting

Valuable lessons in social media. Gary Vaynerchuk, author of The Thank You Economy and a successful social media entrepreneur in his own right, has many insights to share with small business leaders seeking a new way to define their brands in an age of social communications. Read some of the takeaways Vaynerchuk shares with those trying to define their businesses with social media. E-Marketing Associates

Success Stories

Doubt the power of FB to create brand for almost anyone? You won’t after you read the story of Princeton English Professor Jeff Nunokawa and “Jeffbook”, a collection of 3,221 brief literary essays on Facebook, that have created an incredible cult status for Nunokawa in the process. His motivation? Not too different from those of most marketers. Nunokawa simply started sharing where he knew his audience already spent lots of their time. The results speak for themselves. Fast Company

Increase exposure with niche social media. Blogger Mavis Nong talks about the importance of niche social media sites including social bookmarking sites as a key method of creating exposure for your online business. Mavis talks about her experience with our sister site BizSugar.com (thanks for the shout out! ) and explains how smaller more focused social sites can sometimes have a surprising impact even larger than the big guys. Attraction Marketing Online


Sponsors wanted for new SugarTone Sweet Business Blogging Contest. Put the power of social media to work for your brand. We’re looking for sponsors to help with a brand new blogging contest involving two of the fastest growing small business communities on the Web, BizSugar.com and Bloggertone.com. Learn more about the contest by reading the full announcement and get in touch today! BizSugar Blog

Surface Encounters

Small Business <b>News</b>: Social Media Brand

What is your social media brand? Do you have one? Sure, many small business owners and entreprene...

Surface Encounters

Surface Encounters

Surface Encounters

Head lice trigger body lice epidemics, study finds – National <b>...</b>

... (CNRS/IRD/Université de la Méditerranée), in collaboration with researchers from the Universities of Florida and Illinois” in the U.S., says a news statement released by the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). ...

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