All posts in Technology

WebPlatform.org Aims to Help Developers Standardize the Web

In a rare show of solidarity some of the internet’s biggest players have joined forces and launched WebPlatform.org, a wiki of web standards contributed to by an open community of developers.

The Next Web reports that Apple, Adobe, Facebook, Google, HP, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nokia, and Opera have all committed to the initiative and that the new site will serve as a single source of relevant, up-to-date information on the latest standards, including HTML5, CSS3 and others as defined by W3c.

All documents shared will be licensed under creative commons and community users are encouraged to share code and examples under this license so all can benefit. For more information watch this video and visit the site.

Wrapping Up the Week in Tech

There’s been a lot of buzz and happenings this week in the technology world, so I thought I’d update you on some of the newest and latest stories!

 

This week Google+ quietly rolled out that you can now start a Google+ Hangout with a YouTube video right from YouTube. No flashy announcement from them on this, but this cool feature does allow you to watch those crazy videos together! I see a family Google+ hangout in my future, we can’t get enough of those funny videos….

Continue Reading →

Google+ 10 articles to help you figure it out

There has been a lot of buzz about the “new” social network in town, Google+, and there has been even more articles, blog posts, Twitter talk and chatter about all the features, what it means to the social networking future space and how people are utilizing it. So over the past 2 weeks or so, I’ve been collecting some online articles and posts about Google+ to get a better understanding and wanted to share them with you!
Continue Reading →

Fresh ID Brings Innovation to Professional Sports

Fresh ID, LLC signs Sporting KC and the Kansas City Chiefs to help them connect and engage with fans

KANSAS CITY, MO (June 28, 2011) – Fresh ID expands their client roster with the signing of Sporting Kansas City and the Kansas City Chiefs. Continue Reading →

Intefy in Kansas City’s Just for Starters Entrepreneurial Competition Today

We are so excited about an event going on tonight here in Kansas City at the Kauffman Foundation. “Just for Starters” is a forum for aspiring entrepreneurs to share a business idea with a panel of judges, in a timed presentation. Our own Matt Bartlett will present Intefy amidst some stiff competition. According to the event information:

The finalists were selected by KC Roundtable, a local young-entrepreneur group. Four judges – Grant Burcham (Bank President), Sam Meers (Marketing Expert), Grisel Wiley (Angel Investor), and Mark Allen (Successful Entrepreneur) will critique the finalists and ask them challenging questions. At the end of the night, the audience will decide the winner.

We will be hosting the event live and talking about it throughout the night @freshid and using the #starters hashtag. If you want to attend in person, buy a ticket now, or pay at the door. Registration includes attendance, alcoholic drinks and food and it will be a wonderful time!

Find out if Muslim Ranch can beat out the Pocket Shocker; or how a brand new construction company expects to be successful in this economy. See our Intefy product in action and hear what we have planned for it. Is there a KC entrepreneur who will revolutionize collection practices in the US? You must attend to find out the answers to these exciting questions and more!

Thanks to Diana Kander for inviting us to take part in the competition and allowing us to share the event live with our online friends. We’re crossing our fingers Matt brings home the prize, but even if he doesn’t we’re pleased as peaches to be selected as a finalist, and so proud of Matt we can’t even talk about it without sounding like we’re gushing (or like we’re his Mother.) We are so grateful to have him on our team, and will be cheering for him!

Watch the action live at www.twitterface.com/justforstarters starting at 6:00 pm CST tonight, July 15th.

Kristi :-)

Live Nude Events… Behind the Scenes of Like Minds 2010's Online Event

We had an interesting Thursday/Friday last week. For those who don’t know, our product Twitterface has come out of beta and is now a paid product. Pricing is still being finalized. We have a new feature that allows video on the page, as you can see by clicking the image, and the Like Minds conference held Friday in Exeter, UK was kind enough to partner with us on our first ever debut of this offering, to show their event live online while it happened in Exeter.

Twitterface-likemindsWhat we learned, was more than we bargained for. Things blew up. We had to make adjustments, there were issues and confusion. And of course, all of it happened in front of everyone watching… talk about exposing yourself! It’s a bit nerve-wracking to do these experiments in the social space where things could go horribly wrong and people may jump all over you about it. But it gave us so much real experience, and mostly worked well, so I am thankful we are offering this now. I wanted to recap what was going on behind the scenes of this fantastic conference and tell you what we’re doing to make these events better in the future.

The Twitterface page for Like Minds had the aim of using an assortment of services, and whenever you combine technologies, mayhem often ensues before you get it totally right. Our goals were:

  • Live Streaming of the Conference
  • Watching Real-Time Conference Conversations
  • Tweeting from the Page
  • Links to Conference Information
  • Delivering Live Blog Feeds
  • Providing an Online Experience that Extended the Live Experience

Live Streaming

Our partner and developer Joe Taylor did an amazing job of coding the video feature for Twitterface pages so that it’s easy for someone to embed a video on the page. It is super-easy to use the embed code from Ustream, YouTube or anywhere you have embed code offered and put it on the video page. It’s not as flexible as it hopefully will be in the future though – the pane that shows up beneath the video, does not automatically adjust to fit the video width, so we need to work on that. However, we can adjust that pane width after the chosen video (or service you will use) is added, to make the page look more polished. So that’s a minor inconvenience for now. Overall, I was thrilled with how adding a video and changing video codes work.

Watching Real-Time Conversations

A lot of people like to read and watch conversations without joining in, or they like to hop in and participate. We wanted this to be easy and so we added an auto-refreshing of the panes feature to Twitterface a few weeks ago. In reality, something we did not anticipate was our product producing api overage errors. We are going to have to work with Twitter to see what we can do about that. When an unknown number of people are hitting the page, and panes are refreshing every 20 seconds (or longer) it caused our limits to be hit quickly. I didn’t really know we had limits, as Twitterface is a whitelisted product, so to see this happen as the conference opened, at 4 am our time (Joe and I were up to make sure all went smoothly) nearly caused us a heart attack. What was frustrating is that we had tested this on Twitter the night before and this never happened – of course, there weren’t as many people hitting the page. Doh! We figured out that having a profile name up, instead of searches, would give tweets and not api errors so everytime we saw the api errors happening, we switched to a profile name. We’d like to thank @thebrandbuilder and @adders for being such great live tweeters as they saved our necks because we put their profiles on and still had some coverage.

Tweeting from the Page

Our product has its own login (it does not use oauth) and is meant for one person to use, like your Twitter account on the web works. But we wanted people to be able to send tweets from this page without having to leave it, and we wanted it to be secure as possible and use Twitter’s oauth mechanism. So hooking that up, in conjunction with our tool being architected like it is, was a hurdle we had to get over. With the help of our developer Tom Jenkins, who now has a dayjob but graciously did work for us in his spare time on this, we managed to get a working oauth widget on the page, and though it had a few display bugs (the page had to be refreshed if the widget box didn’t work right) it worked and you could tweet from the page.

Links to Conference Information

One of the initial features of Twitterface was links to real sites in the footer, to make navigating to other places easy. The conference organizers added their schedule, a link to ways to participate, a link to add photos to a Flickr pool and links to their sites at the bottom of the page, and we used that Schedule link constantly to adjust the page settings… we put the speaker’s name beneath the video as they were about to speak and changed that pane when they went to lunch to keep people in the loop about what was going on in Exeter.

Delivering Live Blog Feeds

Like Minds had two official live bloggers using a service called CoveritLive to do real-time coverage of the day. Our dream was to drive these feeds, since they had an RSS feed, into the page but we needed a way to do it. The awesome @dlvrit service saw my pleas for help on Twitter and gave us the PERFECT solution. I was so happy. Unfortunately, you can’t test CoveritLive without them going live, so what we did not know was that our solution was not going to work. Until we were Live and in front of thousands of people, of course. The RSS feed produced only some sort of timestamp, not actual coverage, so later in the day we discovered @adders was blogging live, and tweeting also about his live posts, and so we switched to his tweets and it helped so much. We love http://dlvr.it and will work with them in the future on live event feeds though – they supported us above and beyond what we anticipated and their tool is excellent.

Providing an Online Experience

Despite all the technical problems and glitches, one thing we seemed to actually deliver on was providing a great online experience for virtual attendees. This is important, because Like Minds and we at Fresh ID want to come up with ways to do paid attendance to certain events in the future. So a good experience is very key to this working at all. Throughout the day, attendees watching the Twitterface page seemed to have good things to say about it – like they felt like they were in Exeter, that they loved watching it online, that it was so good to be able to watch it live they felt they could cry. In reality, you can go to Ustream and watch a live event. And of course you can set up hashtags and things in your own Twitter client and keep an eye on things that way. But what we wanted to create was an extension of the Live Event, and that means branding. That means attention to detail, and focused conversations, and cutting out the noise. So I think what worked for people, and the reason we’ve created the product, is that they were attending a branded experience online, because they couldn’t be at the real event in person, and they felt the connection because it was planned, branded and constantly monitored to ensure a smooth experience and really, the best one we could give them despite technical issues that gave the Fresh ID team headaches all day long.

So, the net result of the day was pretty positive, both at the event, and on Twitter from what we could tell. Here are some things we’ve learned, that will affect our product offering and future events:

  • Events must be monitored every single minute, by someone. I got up at 4 am because in the UK they were going to start around 10 am. Joe had stayed up – it was 2 am his time in California, and thank goodness we did get up/stay up because the api limit issue would have made this page unusable had we not started making changes to refresh times and adjusting pane settings to not display the error when it happened. The opening of Like Minds was smooth and fun there it seemed, but it was a nightmare for us and drove home the continual monitoring issue, which we had not planned for. I’d had two hours sleep because of getting the page finished Thursday night, so though I didn’t plan to stay up, it wasn’t optional. My team was also not around – Joe eventually went to bed and Lisa and Matt were en route to meetings and the office. So during their lunch, I got ready very quickly and drove to my office to continue monitoring until Matt got there, and then he took over the rest of the day. We will be offering this as a service to companies who need it, but people who do not hire us to do this DEFINITELY need to plan to have a person attending the page and making constant adjustments to keep things flowing.
  • One of the things Like Minds did to us was use video from two different ustream channels, which I sort of figured out on my own. LOL! We did not have a member of their web team on a phone speed dial or even Twitter.  I mostly worked with Scott Gould to set this up, one of the founders and event organizers, and I didn’t want to bother him because I knew he was busy at the event. Fortunately, I happened to notice he had streamed from both a LikeMinds and a ScottGould ustream channel, so if one went off-air we checked the other to make sure we weren’t missing something. But we needed communication with a member of the tech team there – it would have helped us know what was going on and when they were going to stream or not stream.
  • We have to talk to Twitter directly about these api issues, and we’ve never worked with them directly. Fortunately for me, I am making that Lisa’s job. Haha! I hope we can get that improved, but if not, we know how to get around it during an event.
  • The official hashtag for Like Minds is @wearelikeminds, but no one tweeted from it all day and we needed it when we had to switch from a search to profile views only because of api issues. I really recommend that you assign someone to tweet from the official account – even if you have to ask a participant to do it and hand over the login temporarily. For people wondering what is going on, that would make a big difference and it would have solved some of our problems doing this live offering also.
  • The presentations could not be viewed behind the presenter, but with some adjustments they could have been. We are going to design a combo video/slideshare page I think, but it would have been very nice if the presentation had been dropped down behind the presenter (almost even with his feet) so online viewers could see the slides and hear the person talk at the same time – in fact, that would totally rock!
  • Organizing the remote event team, with the team on the ground, for fast communication via skype or twitter makes sense. We will make sure to do this in the future. I actually think it helps for the remote monitoring team NOT to be at the event, to minimize distractions. It is too easy to have to put out fires at the event and lose track of monitoring this page – for us, our sole job was to watch the page, fix issues and keep things flowing online, and we were not hit up with other issues that took focus off of that task by being in the building where it was happening.
  • When Like Minds broke for lunch, there was no Ustream feed for at least an hour and a half. I think we lost some online viewers then. I know that in the future Scott wants to enable video at the lunchtime talk sessions – that would have helped, or even having an event take place on stage (maybe one of the lunches is done there) would have helped not break the momentum of online viewing. I loved the lunch idea though – they had numerous mini-sessions over lunch at different restaurants around the city! Such a cool idea. Attendees got to choose the type of food, speaker and type of conversation they wanted to have.
  • One of the things I noticed, was that this conference WAS very pleasant to attend online. When I got up at 4 am I was still in bed. So here I was in my jammies, comfortably propped up on pillows in the dark, while everyone in England was looking dapper and had makeup on and their hair done. Yet I was learning the same cool information they were – it was REALLY pleasant! And watching the tweets from people actually there, plus being able to tweet without leaving the page was very nice. This is an experience I would want to repeat at tons of other events… not just conferences, but musical events or education of some type – it really did work like I envisioned it, aside from our little issues (which we will find a way to make better!)

We were very pleased with the analytics behind spreading the word about the event Twitterface page. One thing we did at the 11th hour was a press release, informing folks that this would be a live event online. We definitely want to do that earlier than midnight before the event, next time. LOL! Because that press release was picked up by numerous sources – Lisa has the exact count. We’ve had over half a million potential tweet impressions of the twitterface.com/likeminds2010 link, and 75o of the aggregated bit.ly link for that url, and it was mentioned online in blogs, on Twitter and on Facebook in more conversations that I don’t have a number count for. We had over 660 people watching the page it seems, from Google Analytics. That number is important, because only 300 people or so could attend the actual event in Exeter before it was sold out (and it was sold out.) So they increased attendance twice over in online attendees – pretty cool!!

I want to thank all of the people on Twitter who helped us test this page with a live ustream video of race cars in the wee hours Thursday night. I wish I could give you all a present – you helped us so much and we’re very grateful you took the time to test the tweeting and video watching for us.

We have had many inquiries about doing this for other events, including SXSW which is coming up soon. Contact us and let’s talk about hooking this up for your event! We’d love to keep experimenting with what we’re doing and perfect the kinks in the process.

In the coming days we’ll be hearing from someone who attended the event virtually (@brandguardian is writing a blog post) and I am eager to hear what others thought, so if you watched our Twitterface page during the event Friday and want to share your experience, please let us know in the comments!

How to Use EchoSign & VisualCV to Create a Private Portfolio Process

The Business Problem: You’re a designer, engineer, architect, musician, writer or another type of professional who needs to have prospective clients sign an NDA prior to viewing certain work samples or information.

The Fresh Solution: VisualCV + EchoSign Accelerate the Process!

EchoSign is an effective way to have documents (like an NDA) signed electronically. The cost is free for 5 signatures a month, with Pro, Team & Enterprise plans available that range from $12.95 to $299 per month. You simply prepare your documents in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, Text or PDF, upload, and send them via an email form to one or more people. When all the signatures are collected, EchoSign will send copies to everyone as well as save a copy in your online account. A pretty valuable service, for businesses of all sizes… in fact, it’s even integrated into Salesforce so sales folks can close deals more quickly.

But combined with a private VisualCV, you can create a powerful process that might help turn that prospect into a client, faster than ever before. Here’s how this works:

With this solution, you have a couple of options for sending the prospect to your private portfolio once they’ve signed the NDA:

• When you get the email receipt for the signed NDA, log into visualcv.com and “Share” it to send an email to your prospect that will contain a secure link to your VisualCV.

• Send the private VisualCV automatically using an autoresponder. You will need to first share it from within the system (send it to your own email address) to generate the secure link, which you can use in other emails. Create an autoresponder in your email program that will automatically email that special link to your prospect once the form is signed. (You may have to create a new autoresponder for each prospect, unless you can define some scripting actions that will make the process work based on emails or subject lines.)

That’s it! Imagine the other possibilities for round-trip processes and electronic approvals that you could design with EchoSign to make your life easier or your sales efforts more effective. You could…

• Receive an RFP -> Send a Proposal -> Receive a Signed Contract

• Send Offer to Applicant -> Receive Acceptance -> Send New Hire Policies -> Receive Signature

• Send & Receive Legal, Medical, Financial, Insurance or Real Estate Documents (to name a few)

• Get new hires onboard with an HR document pack in 10 minutes flat (like EchoSign does)

Get the tools and let me know what you think!

>> VisualCV
>> EchoSign
>> Mutual Non-Disclosure Sample

Visual CV: 8 Reasons Every Job Applicant Needs One

I recently wrote about visual resumes, and asked recruiters on Linked In if they felt they would be more effective than a traditional resume or not, with mixed comments.

After that big post, I discovered Visual CV, a free (as of right now at least) hosted web application that makes putting together a visual resume EASY. I spent some time this morning putting mine together, and I am hooked. Here’s why:

1 | The interface is intuitive enough to use without help – always a plus for never-before-seen-or-used software.

2 | The CV sections are completely customizable, draggable, and easy to add or delete.

3 | The presentation is nice and clean. Though I wish I could insert my own brand elements, the three options for the resume design are pleasant enough to look at.

4 | You can pack all the information a company or recruiter might ever need, into one nice page.

5 | Your resume can be shared, forwarded, printed or saved as a PDF.

6 | You can quickly insert photos, video, diagrams, documents, links and anything else you can think of to help create a great impression. (Check out Guy Kawasaki’s resume!)

7 | The nature of it being hosted for you online, plus the ease of editing, makes it a living document… change it any time you think of something that would make it better!

8 | Sending a link takes much less bandwidth in a talent manager’s inbox than a resume attachment. They can check it out, easily forward it, and let you know if they’d like more information or an electronic document.

Being a user experience designer, I do have a few, teeny requests of things I wish they’d add or fix:

• The executive resume design bothers me. It doesn’t feel quite as “smooth” as the other two.

• I didn’t see an option for recruiters to access a Word doc or plain text option, though you could add one to your portfolio and create a section for it or link to it.

• I cannot help but want more advanced options for branding the design of the resume to make it my own. :-)

• I long for web stats so I can see who has been checking out my resume. (UPDATE: stats are there – I just missed them before!)

• There is either a bug, or a hiccup in Safari on the Mac, with the text being copied/pasted. It didn’t always come in at the same size, and I had to hit return and back up several times, to make it all the same size. A size option for the text would be a nice addition to the Bold, Italic, etc. options.

My resume is a work in progress, but feel free to check it out, and while you’re there, create one of your own! http://www.visualcv.com/kristicolvin/

And if you are a hiring manager or recruiter and would like to fill out my brief survey on whether or not a visual resume can be effective for applicants, please do!

What Does Celltop Cost on Your Alltel Phone?

Celltop_cellsSo many people are searching every day for the costs associated with Alltel’s Celltop feature, and finding the design critique on the Celltop user experience I recently posted, that I felt I should provide specific pricing information if possible. I have done some more research about the cost of using Celltop on your Alltel phone. Maybe this can be my good deed for the day. :-)

Please note, this information is from the software on my LG Scoop phone, which appears to be different than the software in screenshots on the Alltel site, so the pricing and application information is subject to change. (And not all applications are available on all Alltel phones.)

Continue Reading →