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Last Week I Got A Mail From LinkedIn…

Announcing a new feature and inviting me to try writing posts on LinkedIn in my area of expertise. It was nice to be acknowledged as an “expert” so I clicked on the link in the email and was taken to a page containing a web text editor that looked familiar to anyone who blogs on WordPress, Blogger or just about any other content publishing platform.

LinkedIn organic posting

The toolbar contains the expected formatting functions including embedding media, photos, bulleting and quotes.

Posts can be shared after publishing to Facebook, Twitter or on LinkedIn itself.

How do you know if LinkedIn has rolled out this feature to you? Look on the LinkedIn landing page on the status bar you post from. If you see a greyed out pencil icon on the right of the box then you have this feature.

LinkedIn - create a post here

Truth and Consequences

Last night I discussed this with several people after posting on Facebook and Twitter about the feature.

LinkedIn clearly wants our content and I wonder if this feature has been rolled out to only those who are sharing their own content from outside LinkedIn:

LinkedIn - Viewed Updates

Clearly there are some obvious consequences and intentions around this new feature:

  • LinkedIn wants to drive organic posting onto their platform and ergo off our blogs (unless your blog is not specifically on your niche expertise).
  • The more one posts via LinkedIn, the greater it will increase exposure as an expert in a particular field.
  • Organic post rankings versus shared post rankings will differ. (Hat-tip to the amazing Hillel Fuld for making this point about Google+ during his BizSpark presentation last week).

The Warptest POV

Are LinkedIn really Borging blogs? Are they making resistance futile and should we be abandoning our blogs in favor of posting organically? I don’t believe so.

They are definitely interested in building a strong content curation presence within their own ecosystem but this is an opportunity to redefine your blogging strategy and plan which niche content you post on LinkedIn and which gets shared from your blog.

The other payoff is increased exposure as a professional who is an expert in their field. At the end of the day LinkedIn is about our professional presence so why not attract job offers by using this feature?

I would not be surprised is we see a Klout like ranking system connected to this feature in the future (you read it here first, right?)

I’m working on refining my list of posts and blogging strategy right now, how about you?

Your Computer Seems A Bit Sluggish…

Of course, it’s been a few months since you read and followed what I wrote in my February post “Give your Computer a Digital Double Espresso“.

<<Pause>> Okay, now you’ve reminded yourself about all that and of course are running with those tips on your Windows PC here is one more tip that will give your PC a nice performance jolt. (Windows Vista and above, just like Microsoft I’m looking towards the end of support for Windows XP).

Ready, Steady, Readyboost…

Microsoft gave us a somewhat hidden power-user surprise where you can use Flash Memory to act as extra RAM for the computer.

One qualifier: the Flash Memory (if it’s a USB stick) and the port need to be USB2.0 and higher for this to work.

What Do I need To Do?

 Grab that Flash Memory (Disk on Key) and assuming you don’t need it for anything else or that it isn’t full of vital data just plug it into the USB port.

computer - readyboost

  • When Windows opens this dialog then select Speed up my system.
  • You should be offered the chance to allocate all or part of the space available. Make your choice.
  • You should see a marked difference in computer performance almost immediately.

Things To Be Aware Of

  1. Using your Flash Memory this way will decrease its life. The read/writes being made by ReadyBoost affect what is a finite number it can handle. Admittedly this is in the millions but it varies based on generic brand / good brand. Prolonged use may render your Flash Memory less reliable in the long run (not that this should be your go-to method of backup).
  2. If you have set your BIOS to boot from USB first then rebooting your computer will leave you hanging. When you start up / reboot ensure the Flash Memory is safely removed.
  3. Yes, always safely remove Flash Memory or you may find a USB port that doesn’t want to recognize it anymore.
  • When you reboot Windows should begin reusing ReadyBoost the moment you reinsert the Flash Memory. If not then troubleshoot by opening Windows Explorer and right click on the drive from the left pane list:

explorer - computer

  • Now select Properties from the menu and go to the ReadyBoost tab and select Use this device > Ok.

readyboost - dialog - computer

The Warptest POV

This is a useful tool for boosting your computer performance when you have some memory intensive activities running.

Microsoft gives us once again an elegant, easy to use solution to a common problem as part of our OS.

Keep in mind this shouldn’t be your default state of affairs; if you are continuously running into RAM issues you may need to consider upgrading to more memory on your computer.

So add this to your arsenal of ways to give your computer the digital equivalent of a double espresso and stay productive out there folks.

… And How It Can Be Disruptive To <redacted>?

On my daily commute this morning, on my first of two trains I decided to tweet a question:

To which several people replied with a variety of answers. The most popular were the following: –

  1. Google Glass
  2. Google Fiber
  3. Windows 8.1
  4. iPhone 5S

There was some discussion as to what constitutes “disruptive” for example if another iPhone (even one with fingerprint scanning or a gold case) constitutes disruption.

As for Google Glass, I’m afraid I will reserve judgment for when it’s actually available to the mainstream.

The point I made in reply was that everyone was missing a colossally disruptive technology which was the elephant in the corner of the room.

Disruptive Elephant

1 Photo via Office365 Online Pictures

The Warptest POV

Hands down the technology that provided a disruptive element to all online behavior, stimulated an unbelievable amount of debate and was perhaps subject to the greatest ethical questions has to be NSA‘s PRISM.

NSA Disruptive

The discovery that the US government, specifically the NSA was able to access, store and collate just about all our online data supposedly for the purposes of identifying terrorist threats shook many people when they discovered that to spy on terrorists the government was also spying on everyone as well. Whilst much of this data was acquired by the NSA applying court orders to many big tech companies we all use; the idea of that much Big Data being stored, crunched, analyzed and turned into something usable startles the imagination. There must be a bunch of Big Data Start Ups out there feeling that the US Government has beaten them to the finish line.

Let me be clear, I am not offering an opinion on the legitimacy of PRISM existing or its mission statement, enough people have written on that.

De facto PRISM offers several services: –

  • It is the world’s largest and probably most robust backup system.
  • It is probably the world’s largest cloud storage provider.

Imagine a future where the US Government finds a way to monetize PRISM without compromising security and offers a data restoration fee to citizens who lost their data. We all know someone who lost that critical document or malware corrupted the data on their hard drive.

Sometimes refactoring a product’s scope makes all the difference. I made this point in jest several weeks ago when I suggested that Apple could save an immense amount of Development and Testing money by rebranding Apple Maps as “Oh The Random Adventures You’ll Have“.

Apple Maps

Humor aside what else do you see as disruptive technology on the scale of PRISM so far this year?

Smoking Hot Wordpress Tip

Tip of the Day is Back on Warptest…

Today I have a meaningful tip for your WordPress blog.

We all love Jetpack right? Of course we do. Jetpack is your one stop shop for managing your blog dashboard and it only gets better with each release.

Jetpack for WordPress

Jetpack has a whole slew of features to make your WordPress life easier but I’m going to focus on Stats for today.

Jetpack Stats

One of the really nice things about Jetpack is it gives you statistics that give you a nice outline of what’s working to draw traffic to your blog.

Jetpack Stats

You get a nice bar chart and basic metrics which for those intimidated by Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster Tools are a good starting point until you can learn either or both of those and how to turn the extensive information there into actionable intelligence.

Sometimes it’s also about feeling good…

Seeing which posts on a given day are getting how many views, web sources and links clicked is great and when a post has that halo effect and the numbers really start climbing you feel validated in terms of your writing and technical knowhow.

The point isn’t simply an Ego Boost though, it’s about learning what works and what doesn’t and applying those lessons onwards to bring your message to the people.

Cadbury Boost Bar

With thanks to Cadbury’s Chocolate …

http://www.cadbury.co.uk/products/Boost-2393?p=2393

What’s missing?

The one statistic that I couldn’t easily find or produce without some scripted / automated intervention was total number of views per post.

I didn’t want to have to jump through hoops or hear the Mission Impossible theme every time I wanted to track this metric but it wasn’t there at the click of a mouse.

Courtesy of the Amazing Lindsey Stirling and The Piano Guys via YouTube.com

Warptest POV

(Here is a tip within a tip:) 99% of the time if you see a problem then someone else is also feeling your pain. Sometimes this means the solution is already out there waiting to be discovered, at best you have someone to collaborate with on solving the problem.

In this case, most WordPress problems have solutions waiting to be found by searching through Plugins; I found my solution in the Jetpack Post Statistics Link which according to the Developer has one limitation “…only if the post appears in the top 10 posts for the day.”

Let’s face it though, your best work should be your most recent, certainly in terms of lessons learned (about content writing, SEO etc.)

In a nutshell, this plugin delivers nicely. Well played HomeDev.

So WordPressers, I hope this helps you out and if there is anything you would like to see in another Tip of the Day then drop me line either in the post Comments or you can get me on Twitter as @jonathanross

Technorati Site

How did I forget to claim my blog on Technorati?

Don’t mind this just testing the claim blog feature on Technorati ( EBRCTKF4U2FR )

Just when you think you have done all that hard work to ensure your blog reaches everywhere it’s meant to…

Technorati Site

I’m not sure how I forgot this but I know how I discovered it, I’d added the awesome Broken Links Checker Plugin to my WordPress installation and presto I see these problem links in the report from my old blog. This is a really good plugin to add 1) if you have moved your blog from another platform and 2) just to keep an eye on all that valuable content you link to.

Back in the day when I was writing to my blog on Blogger I used Windows Live Writer which makes it incredibly easy to tag posts for sites like Technorati. If you only use one Application for posting to your blog and you are on a PC then Live Writer is it. I give it a strong recommend.

Windows Live Writer

With the move to WordPress combined with upgrading to Windows 8 I just never installed Live Writer. I do all my posting either from the WordPress web dashboard or I write the drafts in Word 2013 which has most of the features I need for posting to my blog and in addition saves a backup of my posts to my Skydrive account. Ah well, lesson learnt and thanks Technorati for making the claim blog process so easy and fast.

double espresso

Follow these steps and your Computer should run as if it’s mainlining Double Espresso:

 Caffeinated and happy

I know it’s cappuccino but it’s caffeine and it’s smiling. 

  • Check how much hard disk space you actually have free on your computer. You would be surprised how often we forget this one.
  • Backup all your photos, documents, music etc to either cloud storage (Google Drive/ SkyDrive/ Dropbox/ Box) or buy yourself an external hard drive and copy everything there.
  • Winning Israeli startup Soluto allows you to remove all the things slowing down PC boot and browser. Either you can go to Soluto.com and download and run the app yourself or if you already know someone with an account and tech savvy they can invite you and remote manage your tech issues.

Soluto.com

Keep in mind that every day is be nice to your Tech Support Guy… they are giving you cheap if not free help. Last year as a favor to a friend I waded through their visiting father’s Windows 95 laptop when it ground to a sudden halt; he was kind enough to offer to pay and when I declined he brought round a six pack of Samuel Adams beer.

  • Uninstall programs you just don’t use. All those freeware / bloatware apps you installed a year ago and haven’t used since… terminate with extreme prejudice > Add/Remove Programs.

Note: If this is purchased / licensed software ensure you have the license and disk / installer elsewhere before removing.

  • CCleaner this is like Windows Disk Cleanup on steroids and will dispose of all the accumulated temp files on your system and in your browser cache. Open CCleaner to the cleaner tab > select / deselect the options you want > analyze will tell you how much you can delete > Run cleaner; keep in mind this will also remove all your logins to sites you use like so make a note of all your user names and passwords somewhere safe.
  • CCleaner also can clean redundant information from your registry. This is a power user activity, if you want to know more contact me.

CCleaner settings

  • Run Windows Update and install all critical updates – for ease of use have it set to download and install your updates automatically.
  • Assuming you have antivirus / antimalware run the updates then set it to run a deep scan and go do something else more interesting while it runs. If you don’t have security apps on your computer then stop what you are doing and read this post while you remedy this severe oversight.
  • Defragment your hard drive – again while running this go read a book, drink some coffee, call a friend you haven’t spoken to recently or go for a run.

    Note: Don’t overdo this. Defragging your hard drive is a once in a while activity.

  • Updating freeware programs:  there is a reason Adobe and others bring out patches and often it’s because a security issue needs fixing. You can do a lot of this easily via Soluto or you can use Filehippo‘s Update Checker.

If after all this you still find that your computer is running slowly then something may still be running in the background eating up resources or your PC is struggling due to demands beyond its available resources. It may be time to consider upgrading and it may not mean you need a new computer but perhaps a small investment in extra RAM, a better Hard Drive or even a replacement for your low bandwidth Wi-Fi card.

That just about sums it up. If you are having problems still or are a bit anxious about attempting this adventure without a guide then get in touch.

Before making this blog into Warptest.com it resided on Google’s blogger (or blogspot).

Google’s services work using Geolocation; just go to Google.com in your browser and see if it redirects to a domain for your country.

Google becomes image

The Problem:

When you are running your or a clients blog on Blogger you want actionable intelligence from your site analytics.

Having every visitor to your site redirected by Google Geolocation or Geodomaining can turn your analytics into a mess.

The Solution:

If you want to bypass this there is a relatively simple solution as I shared with some friends who were dealing with this and discussing it on Twitter.

If you were sharing your blog URL as:

http://yourblogname.blogspot.com then instead share http://yourblogname.blogspot.com/ncr

Where the /ncr = No Country Redirect

This is a relatively easy fix and should see your analytics back as useful again in no time at all.

I haven’t discovered any downside to this. If you know of any I would love to hear about it.

Technorati Tags: ,,,

del.icio.us Tags: ,,,

Last week I posted the link to the Techcrunch article “” as it referred to various company’s efforts to provide comprehensive testing coverage for Android; this involves testing on a variety of handsets and tablets.

image

Many of you know that I work in the field of testing and more and more frequently the projects involve mobile platforms.

There I was innocently thinking “How nice, finally Techcrunch is doing an article related to testing.” what I didn’t take into account (before my optimal caffeine dose) was the actual subject matter wasn’t purely testing, it was also related to the subject of Android Fragmentation.

Fragmented Android

Weekly “caffeine compatriot” and my Go-To Guy for all things Android, @Brassman75 posted an article on his Brassnet blog:

 I’m sick and tired of all this talk of Android “fragmentation”

Where he makes some strong points against the whole issue of fragmentation. I recommend reading this.

Warptest Perspectives

From my point of view the only failure Android has is a marketing or branding failure here; one man’s fragmentation is another man’s flexibility.

Android as a mobile OS for Smartphone and Tablet may be on many devices of different configurations but this isn’t necessarily a negative.

If you are set on owning and using an Android device then there is almost certainly a device to suit your specific requirements. The official Android site allows you to browse and compare here.

image

The real questions remain, what is Android doing to counter this negative perception, where is it coming from and will Android continue to just let the OS sell itself?

Do you use Facebook Events? It’s a feature I like and end up using a lot.

(Saying that I don’t manage my calendar from Facebook and I find the export event feature a real pain. I tend to just copy paste to my GCal then sync with my mobile.)

Facebook has another really nice feature Places. It’s the Facebook entry into Locational Services and “Check-Ins” and at present is available mainly to iPhone and Android phones or on other Web enabled mobiles via the following URL: –

http://touch.facebook.com

This feature allows the user to share their latest or real-time location.

How come Events and Places don’t converge and work together?

Places uses Bing Maps and has a “Get Directions” Feature but when I checked, it doesn’t use the last check-in as Start or End point.

If I was testing this feature I would definitely be reporting this as a bug.

Facebook_Mobile_Places

m.bing.map

If I accept an Event why doesn’t Facebook piggyback on Places to offer me a route to the Event. Neat options would be: –

1. Give me a route now (at time of accepting the Event invite).

2. Offer me a route each time my location changes in Places.

3. Let me set an “alarm” for x hours before the Event to check my location and offer me a route to the Event.

So what do you think, should Facebook start maximizing these features to give users a more convergent experience?

Technorati Tags: ,,,,,,Locational Services

Well I wrote this last night and decided to re-read it in the early AM. I wasn’t sure when I was going to get back to it so I set it to auto-post; a neat feature (thx Live Writer).

Some things are just meant to go together. Yes I’m stuck on this convergence  mindset right now. I keep seeing things that should meld together.

Awhile back I wrote this blog piece “Goo.gl is the peanuts, Google Bookmarks are the Chocolate” this is my follow on. No doubt, eventually I will have an epiphany and see a way of combining most if not all these services. (Perhaps Google will be so impressed with my vision that …)

Goo.gl is Google’s link shortener with a slew of useful features built in; including analytics and a QR Code generator for each shortened link.

googl_shortener

However, the one feature I would be adding to this to make a truly killer service is Google Alerts.

google-alerts

The moment you shorten a URL it is clearly of relevance to you to post it, track the analytics so why not have an alert created on the fly for whenever someone references the content of that URL. The alert could be auto-set to use either title tag(s) from the page or keywords or simply allow the link creator to define the alert themselves.

What do you think? Useful – more or less?

There you are happily drinking your coffee, starting your day off with strong, productive intent and something goes wrong with your PC.

An application freezes, hangs or crashes. Things are unresponsive and you feel frustrated, annoyed and held back from getting down to work.

The list of possible culprits can be endless and rather than shooting in the dark at a diagnosis there are a few things you can do to track down and resolve the issue: –

  • Contact me or my brother’s company and we’ll sort out your problems [remember, nothing’s free in life :-)]

    image

  • If a website or web application is misbehaving consider using a cache cleaning tool like CCleaner, nCleaner or Windows Live One Care Clean-Up or simply try using an alternative browser.

    image

  • If this doesn’t help, then it may be a bad plugin / add-on in your browser; run your browser in safe mode to see if the problem recurs. If not then you are going to have to test to see which add-on is the problem by activating them one at a time and returning to the problem site: –

    1. Internet Explorer (IE8) – right click the IE icon on the desktop and select from the menu Start without add-ons.
    2. Firefox (3.x) – from the Start Menu – run and type in the command line "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe” -safe-mode" and enter
    3. Chrome – simply open an incognito window and plugins etc will be temporarily disabled
    4. Opera – open Opera – from the menu go to Settings – select Quick Preferences and from the menu deselect the Enable Plug-Ins  checkbox.

Let’s say you did all this and things are still not working, what next?

Windows has a set of Administrative Tools in the Control Panel of the OS and amongst them is a tool known as the Event Viewer. The Event Viewer records by category the occurrence of various Events during the boot and operation of the PC.

OPERATION:

  1. From the command line (Start – Run) type the command "eventvwr" and enter.
  2. Or, from the Start Menu – Settings – Control Panel
    1. Select the Administrative Tools icon image
    2. Now select the Event Viewer image

The Event Viewer contains a categorized tree that breaks down the different issues being logged. For our purposes the two most important are Applications and System. From the left pane select one and scroll down looking for Warnings  and Errors.

imageBy selecting the properties of an error you can drill-down and find the error code and then search on Bing or Google for the specific exception or error message.

This can provide a good direction for finding the problem.

As an added bonus you can go to the Action menu and save the log file. This can be helpful if your Tech support doesn’t have Remote Access to your PC – save the file as a *.CSV and they can open it in Excel and filter the data to display the errors.

All this assumes the following: –

  • Your OS is kept up-to-date.
  • Your 3rd Party programs and plugins are kept up-to-date.
  • Your antivirus and or anti-malware are up-to-date and you have recently scanned your computer to ensure no malware is present.
  • Your computer is not being used to try out and then uninstall a variety of trialware. If you have to do this then try using a Virtual machine the best being either Microsoft Virtual PC or VMware. I guess I’ll get into the whole virtualization discussion in another blog piece but if you want to know more feel free to contact me.

Hopefully, at some point in this list you will have struck success and are able to continue to work without to much outlay of time and effort. Good luck!

Technorati Tags: ,,,,,,nCleaner,,One Care Live,,Event Viewer,

Guy Kawasaki the founder of several Start-Up companies including the great Alltop and his blog How to Change the World has been busy.

My Photoimage image

He is one of those people I make a big effort to pay attention to and frankly would love to meet in person.

When he’s not blogging or rocking the world of the Web, he finds time to write books and for his latest he offered a competition to designers. In addition to a cash prize of $1000 the best cover design for his new book will be selected to be the cover for his new book.

I thought that was pretty cool. Some undiscovered talent was going to suddenly be thrust into the limelight and have a great credit to their portfolio.

Apparently though this competition caused a wave of unrest and anger even with cries of "exploitation", folks quoting the rules and regulations and so on.

Whilst I was digesting all this, watching my Twitter feed, scheduling appointments for an impending trip and dealing with tasks on my To Do list all this percolated thru my cerebellum. It reminded me of an article that I read several months ago on Rodale Publishing’s Men’s Health Magazine (don’t judge me) http://www.menshealth.com/men/best-life/life-lessons/the-hazards-of-cynicism/article/2d63f48b03776210vgnvcm10000030281eac 

image

Mike Zimmerman, the author and a pretty good writer (to understate the case) writes about "Why Men Fail" and shows from some of the successful men in business, entertainment and sports he has met and interviewed a common trait that none of them exhibit – cynicism.

This article spoke to me on many levels at the time and since and in this case with Guy Kawasaki’s competition it popped into my head again. I don’t want to rail on the folks criticizing the competition as I don’t know you all. I assume some of you are sincere in your comments but at least some of you have fallen into the cynical trap of assuming the worst here and to my mind YOU’VE MISSED THE POINT!!!

There are times even if you are on the top of your game, a big name in your field that you are going to want to indulge a bit and do work for little if not any monetary reward (short term).

I’m a QA / Testing Professional, often a manager, team leader or consultant. I have joked recently that I should start a company and call it the QA-Team and get permission to use the A-Team logo and theme to brand myself. (Yes I thought of this prior to the reboot of the TV series)

qateam

The point is that there are times when it is in your interest to think that the value of the recommendation you get or improving your exposure virally are worth more in the long term than the money itself. Now don’t get me wrong, I try not to refuse payment for my work but I’m imagining someone like Guy Kawasaki opening his contact list and letting all the relevant contacts know they should be hiring me.

At the end of the day the folks who want to see this for what it really is, a tremendous opportunity for exposure and a virally raised profile, will do so. The others won’t. I know which camp I would rather be in.