links for 2009-03-25

  • 1. The Death Star was a moon-sized battle station built and controlled by the Galactic Empire in the Star Wars universe.

    2. It housed a laser capable of incinerating an entire planet in an instant.

    3. Realizing how undeniably badass it felt to threaten people with "planetary annihilation" the Empire decided to make The Death Star an integral part of their defense strategy.

    4. When they decided to build a second, larger Death Star after the first was destroyed, it became clear that this strategy was somewhat inelastic:

  • INTERNET idealists like me have long had an easy answer for creative types — like the striking screenwriters in Hollywood — who feel threatened by the unremunerative nature of our new Eden: stop whining and figureout how to join the party!

    That’s the line I spouted when I was part of the birthing celebrations for the Web. I even wrote a manifesto titled “Piracy Is Your Friend.” But I was wrong. We were all wrong.

    Like so many in Silicon Valley in the 1990s, I thought the Web would increase business opportunities for writers and artists. Instead they have decreased. Most of the big names in the industry — Google, Facebook, MySpace and increasingly even Apple and Microsoft — are now in the business of assembling content from unpaid Internet users to sell advertising to other Internet users.

  • At a well-known five-star hotel, I asked if I could extend my checkout time by two hours. I was told no; the hotel was full. Unless I paid for a half day; then they'd accommodate me.

    Huh?

    If the hotel was full and needed my room, why would it make a difference if I paid them? And if they did have the ability to extend my checkout, why would they charge me? I spoke with the manager. Same answer.

    That was the last time I stayed at that hotel franchise.

    Contrast that to my recent experience at the Four Seasons in Dallas, TX, a hotel where I've stayed several times.

    When I arrived I didn't have to stand in line to check in; the valet simply handed me the key to my room. Which was set-up exactly as I like it: a yoga mat and an exercise schedule on the bed; a bowl of fruit on the table. And they automatically extended my check out time.

    I am a customer for life.

    How do they do it? What's their secret?

  • The expected drop in internet advertising revenues this year was neither unpredictable nor unpredicted, nor was it caused solely by the general recession and the decline in retail sales. Internet advertising will rapidly lose its value and its impact, for reasons that can easily be understood. Traditional advertising simply cannot be carried over to the internet, replacing full-page ads on the back of The New York Times or 30-second spots on the Super Bowl broadcast with pop-ups, banners, click-throughs on side bars. This might be a subject where considerable disagreement is possible, if indeed, pushed ads were still working in traditional media. Mostly they have failed. One newspaper after another is going out of business across the United States, and the ad revenues of traditional print media, even of highly respected magazines, is declining. The ultimate failure of broadcast media advertising is likewise becoming clear.
  • Ensuring that search engines can crawl and index your rich Internet applications (RIAs)—so that your content can be found by others—is of critical importance to building and maintaining an online presence. While Adobe and the leading search engines are making significant strides in making SWF content more searchable, you can take additional steps now to improve your search ranking positions further.

    The SEO Technology Center helps explain what the challenges are and provides practical steps, examples, and best practices that you can follow to overcome them.

  • W3C validation isn't very forgiving at times, but it allows you to see errors that are generated by your markup. Lots of errors and warnings thrown by the validator are a good indicator that your XHTML isn't in very good shape, and might not look consistent across different browsers. Here are 10 sneaky validation problems that trip developers up, and how to avoid them.
  • CSS 3 is on the horizon, and we're all getting excited. Thanks to the latest browser updates, developers can begin working with time-saving new properties – such as @font-face. Unfortunately, the availability of these features is limited to a tiny fraction of our overall userbase. At least for the next year or so, we'll need to continue utilizing the Flash and Javascript alternatives when embedding fonts.

    Luckily, a new contender, Cufón, has made the process unbelievably simple. What makes it different? Rather than Flash, it uses a mixture of canvas and VML to render the fonts. In just a few minutes, I'll demonstrate how to use any font you wish in your web applications. Excited?

  • Our complete merchant account and gateway services integrate to your Network Solutions E-Commerce package!
  • I’ve worked with Flash for several years and have always been slightly dissatisfied with the markup needed to embed a movie in web pages. When I recently published a site in XHTML, my dissatisfaction with the markup grew as I realized that it simply wasn’t valid in this context and was bloating my pages to unacceptable levels. A leaner, standards-compliant method of embedding Flash movies was called for.
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