So you wanna live forever (or Opera is the best browser no one’s heard of)

So scientists, at least I’m assuming he’s a scientist – which could be dangerous, are not reporting that someday we may be able to use nanotechnology to gain immortality. Basically we could use tiny nanobots to do what our body naturally does, except better. It would enable us to avoid “transcription errors” in our DNA – which brings to mind the glitches you get on your computer when you leave mozilla running too long – thereby keeping us young forever as well as fighting most common diseases. It’s a pretty neat idea and I’m in as long as Microsoft and Sony aren’t. Last thing I need is some legacy code or DRM messing with my motor skills and I start spastically slapping myself.

As for Opera, I found a recent article that talks about how designers can edit their pages in real time and see the results using Opera 9.0. I haven’t had a lot of time to use Opera, but from what I have I’m fairly impressed. It has all the good features of Mozilla – including some additional ones built in that are extensions in Mozilla – as well as neat features like zooming and the ability to render the page you’re viewing as a text browser would – great for improving the accessibility of the site you’re designing and/or improving the SEO. The best part is of the 3 major browsers, it’s the fastest I’ve seen. Unfortunately there’s 2 problems. One is probably user error – some of the pages I’ve designed come out a little funky. I believe this to be because Opera renders the box model correctly but also reads some of the IE hacks I use – or vice versa. I did upgrade to 9 and most of this went away, so that’s a good sign. Two is the bigger problem. Only about 2% of the web users out there use it. That’s on average, and if your site or blog is about the web, especially cutting edge web technology, it’s likely much higher. But it’s still disappointing. With IE7 not looking like it’s going to fix many of the major bugs – and no real explanation why not – I almost wish they would just use all that money they’re raking in, buy Opera and plug it into Vista. But that will never happen.

Another interesting stat on that is that 5% of users still use IE5. Which leads me to believe they either can’t afford to upgrade their computer or they live in a cave. I’m hoping for a day that all users will have a CSS2 (or 3) compliant browser and designing will be a lot easier. But, not too easy, sometimes I feel I’m one good copy of Dreamweaver from being obsolete.

Random Tidbit: An interesting story about the PS3 being make or break for Sony. I had a blog recently about my thoughts on this matter. The more I hear about PS3 the more I think I’m not going to buy one. I think I’ve become an Xbox man. Which is very, very depressing when you think about it. I think I’ll just lie and say I own only the Wii…

Viral Marketing and Link Baiting

Found an interesting article about viral marketing and link baiting, which is a term I had not heard before.  Viral marketing is something that I have been thinking a lot about lately as I try to not only provide content, but also to get people to actually see the content I have provided.  Nothing worse then a good idea that no one knows about.

Basically, the two ideas are ways in which to use the new web – mainly web 2.0, community content driven sites – in order to introduce your site to the masses for free.  Essentially, word of mouth advertising meets the web.  The benefit is that it, hopefully, has a snowball effect.  As people find out about your content and find value in it, they link to it from their sites, blogs, myspace’s, etc.  This grows your linked-to rating, which helps in SEO, especially for Google.

The article also has a beginner’s guide to SEO.  If you don’t know what SEO, Search Engine Optimization, is – it’s basically a way to get your side indexed, preferably indexed high, under the searches that your content matches.  So when someone is looking for widget toolboxes and you have the site then they can find your site easily.  This is especially important for smaller businesses since they do not have the funds to use conventional advertising – tv, radio, newspapers – or to become a sponsored link for those searches – paying per click.  It again goes back to word of mouth advertising on the web – and ask any salesmen, word of mouth advertising is the strongest kind.

So besides using CSS and good XHTML to design your site, you should also keep in mind what you need to add – keywords, metatags, etc – in order to give yourself the best chance of getting your content in front of your audience.  And using sites like technorati, digg, slashdot, etc to create buzz is even better.

Random Tidbit: I can’t believe Boston is 7 games back of the Yankees.  The Yankees have no pitching and usually when I can’t watch them, which I haven’t been able to lately, the Red Sox do well.  At least the Pats are 2-1.  Although having a good preseason is rarely a good thing.  I don’t have any solid stats, but I remember hearing something along the lines of more 0-4 preseason teams have gone on to the Super Bowl then 4-0.  Not sure what finishing 3-1 or 2-2 does for you.  Time will tell.

Got Web 2.0?

Hooked on the Web 2.0 movement?  Got your digg and hooked into your Google homepage (I’m not even sure if that’s possible, but if so, I might have to sign up)?  Want to find more?  Well there’s a neat little site out there that will help you out.  It’s called the Web 2.0 Innovation Map.  Not only will it give you links to all these wonderful sites but it will also provide links to their homepages.

On Zimbio there is even a page with all of the Web 2.0 logos.  Very cool.  What is Zimbio?  It seems be a cross between Wikipedia and a blog, but I’m no expert.  Some neat community blogs on there though.  I have to look more into it to see if there’s any good CSS / Web Design ones.

Random Tidbits: Turns out I was a bit premature with Pluto the other day as we’re now down to 8 planets instead of up to 11.  I had the link and lost it.  To make up for it I found two neat Flash diversions.  One is a Japanest IQ test given to prospective employers.  I think I solved it in under 5 minutes.  Another good logic game has you diverting lasers with mirrors.  I got stuck on level 6 I think.  The problem?  Neither has good English directions.  Enjoy.

My Top Ten Sites

So I’m going away for a couple of days and won’t be able to post and I came up with the idea of sort of listing my top 10.5 sites. Not necessarily the best on the web but the ones I use the most frequently and find the most useful. Perhaps you might find something you like.

10.5: – not even rating a full number, but I’m always updating my site. I’d be surprised if the number of (non me) page views was over a dozen a week, but maybe you’ll find a template or idea you can steal.

10: – I’m a geek, I admit it. I play Magic the Gathering. And this is one of the best sites to pick up cards on the net and I have never had any problems from them.

9: MySpace – I almost hate to put this one up here. I probably use WordPress more, but I like the fact that you can share information easily with you friends. Not many of my friends have/read blogs or are into CSS and web design. But most of them have a MySpace.

8: Open Source Web Design – A huge, free collection of open source templates from beginners to experts. Stick to XHTML with CSS and you’ll find tons of great designs you can just plug your information to and have an amazing site. For free.

7: Web Developer’s Handbook – A huge collection of resources from Web 2.0 sites, to CSS and HTML tools and all the way down to color pallette generators and free stock photography. Awesome tool for designers.

6: CSSPlay – One of the best collections of CSS on the web. Anytime I need something neat, I look here first. The only problem is that anytime I think I’ve done something original, I usually find that he’s already done it.

5: MeyerWeb – The King of CSS. Enough said.

4: DilbertBlog – Scott Adams’ Dilbert is one of the funniest comic strips out there, especially if you’ve ever worked in a cubicle. The only thing funnier is Scott Adams himself.

3: – The single greatest collection of CSS on the net in my opinion. If I had half the skill of some of the people that have designs on here I’d be all right. Hopefully, one day, I’ll make one and have it accepted.

2: – This is my new obsession. I love the fact that I can store all my bookmarks in one place, categorize them easily and even share them with my friends. Awesome.

1: – I am constantly checking this site for interesting stories, great deals or even some useful CSS and web design stuff. I have yet to post or get an account, but I may yet when I have more time.

Hopefully you found something interesting that you had not seen. I just realized most were design sites, but that has been my main focus the last year or so – so I guess that makes sense. I’m sure I’ll have a revision down the road. What is your top 10.5 sites?

Random Tidbit: Want to get to know me a little more? Of course you don’t. But I’m gonna toss my MySpace up here anyways. Logon and check out my weasel – my ferret Mugsy. She gets top billing because she’s cuter and works for Skittles.

The Holy Grail – 3 column, fluid, content first template with header and footer

Ok, maybe not the Holy Grail – Indiana Jones was not involved.  But still a neat template.  It’s a simple, fluid design.  In the source, which is what the search engines see, the order goes content, left navigation, right, header, and then footer.  So they get a good feel of your site as well as the links to go through it – if you use the left area for internal navigation.  It re-sizes up to 2 text increases with no failure in both IE and Mozilla – I have to start testing in Opera soon – and will fill the browser window in each – slight glitch in IE where sometimes right will drop down the pop back up for a second, I blame Microsoft.

Left and right will cover 20% of the available space and – for those of you bad at math – content the other 60%.  The header is 100px tall – I may update this to 10em to make more fluid later on – and the wrapper holding the 3 main divs has a 100px padding.  Changing both will expand the header and push the content down.  I also found a neat trick to position things at the bottom of the window.  I may also move the footer down to whichever is further down – the bottom of the browser window or the bottom of the content.  That may be tricky though and I wanted to get this out for now.  I should have a 2 column one out soon – if you wanted to convert this one simply delete the left or right, add the 20% to either or both of the ones left and change the margin-left if need be.

I also have not had time to add graphics to anything.  Between work – I work on a major companies family of job boards – and some recent job opportunities that have sprung up, I have been straight out.  I’m hoping to rectify this soon.

Random Tidbit: Two interesting space happenings.  One is Voyager 1 is about to leave the solar system.  Pretty impressive that something that old is still going strong.  Also, after almost kicking Pluto out of the ‘family’ the tide has changed and they’re thinking of adding 3 new planets to the solar system – nothing as cool as Uranus though.  I’m almost willing to bet 10 bucks Google will buy one of them.  They buy everything else that’s new (2.0) – not that that’s a bad thing.