10 things you should know before submitting your site to Google

January 29th, 2007
googlehalflogo

The same way you clean up your house before your guests arrive, the same way you should get your website ready for Google’s crawler, as this is one of the most important guests you will ever have. According to that, here are 10 things you should double check before submitting your website to the index. If you want, you can view this article as the correction of the top 10 mistakes made by webmasters.

1. If you have a splash page on your website, make sure you have a text link that allows you to pass it.
I’ve seen many websites with a fancy flash introduction on the index and no other way to navigate around it. Well, Google can’t read into your flash page, and therefore it cannot bypass it. All you have to do is put a text link to your website’s second index, and the deed is done.

2. Make sure you have no broken links
I know this is kind of obvious, but you’ll be surprised to find out how many errors is the Google crawler experiencing daily due broken links. Therefore, you’d better check and double check every internal link of your webpage before submission. Don’t forget that your links are also your visitor’s paths to your content. It’s not all about Google, you know :)

3. Check the TITLE tags
Since you are able to search in title tags on Google and since the title tags is displayed in the top of your browser window, I’d say this is an important aspect you need to check. This doesn’t mean you have to compile a >20 keywords list there. Instead, make it a readable sentence since it’s viewable by both crawlers and surfers.

4. Check the META tags
Rumors about Google not caring about META tags are not 100% correct. Google relies on these tags to describe a site when there’s a lot of navigation code that wouldn’t make sense to a human searcher, so why not make sure you’re all in order and set up some valid KEYWORDS and a valid DESCRIPTION. You never know.
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The $25,000 computer mouse

January 24th, 2007
diamondflower

Now here’s a little gadget that aims directly to those that really have money to spend. However, that doesn’t keep us, mortals, to have a look. What you can see in the picture is the world’s most expensive mouse, that costs ~$25,000. The retail price is set at 18,600 Euro.


The product is called the Diamond Flower and is being produced by Pat Says Now. You might be wondering why a simple concept as a computer mouse can be so expensive. Well, 59 brilliants are scattered all over the mouse’s surface. Also the main surface is made out of 18-K white gold. Out of the 59 stones I mentioned, one is about 4mm in diameter, practically doubling the others.

After reading a few details on the producer’s website, I noticed that technically speaking, the gadget is just a plain old computer mouse. Has 3 buttons, a scrolling wheel, PS/2-USB connectivity PC or MAC. What I’m showing you in the picture is the scattered version of the mouse, but its name (Diamond Flower) comes from another designed version of the product, one whose brilliants are arranged to form a flower silhouette.

Personally, even if I’d have that much money to practically throw away, I wouldn’t spend them on this kind of a gadget. What about you?


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Keyboard that glows in the dark

January 21st, 2007
glowinthedark

Now you can light up your Quake sessions between friends. I’m going to review the Zippy EL-610 USB keyboard. In its essence, it’s a notebook style keyboard, with a low keystroke and with a special feature. The buttons will glow in the dark, lightening up your keyboard when it’s dark in the room. As you can see in the picture, the light has a blue nuance.

Behind the 88-translucent keys is a flat sheet of electro-luminescent material – the same stuff that puts the glow in “Indiglo” which lights up watch faces around the world.

Like I mentioned, the keyboard should be connected to your USB plug, to receive power, and its main purpose is usage in environments where there is insufficient light. Being only 18mm thick and weighting less than 500g, it would be a great asset to any travel bag. No software is required for this keyboard to work on Windows 2000 or WindowsXP platforms which have at least one USB port free.

The electro-luminescent light generates no heat, but it creates a little imperceptible buzz sound that you hear when you’re a first time users. By using it everyday on a regular basis you finally get to automatically ignore the sound.

Despite my thinking, they’re not expensive. The cheapest I’ve found goes up to ~$45 and the most expensive retails around $60.


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Cool trick to rename your Start button

January 20th, 2007

I remember the first book I read about Windows ’95. They were beginning proudly to present the differences between it and it’s predecessor, Windows 3.11, and the first thing they mentioned was the Start button.
Now here’s an interesting trick if you’re tired of that green little button in the lower left corner of your screen. It’s quite simple and it doesn’t take more than 2-3 minutes.

If you wonder how come you missed it so far, I’ll tell you. It’s actually hidden, as in not available, and we’re going to have to tweak your computer up a bit.

The process consists in a single step and that would be editing explorer.exe. For this, we will need a simple tool, that I provided for you for a quick download here. It’s called Resource Hack and it’s just about everything we need. So, download the ZIP archive, extract it and run “ResHacker.exe” from inside the archive. Click File, then OPEN, then point out your ‘explorer.exe’ in your Windows directory.

A browsing tree should open with the menus on the left. Click on String Table and you will see some numbers. Expand 37 (or 38) and click on “1033”. You should see a quoted line in the right window, that says: 578,”start”. You can make the desired change for 37 and 38 as well. So, replace the “start” between the quotes with whatever you want it to display, then click “Compile script”.

Now, all you have to do is restart your computer, or simply log off and back on. The start button will display the chosen text. Here are sample results below. Enjoy the trick.

startbuttonbefore startbuttonafter
BEFORE AFTER

UPDATE: Due user comments, I’ve considered the following trick. If you can’t overwrite explorer.exe, save the file to “explorer2.exe” for example, in C:\Windows (or whatever your Windows directory is), then you’ll have to tweak up the Registry to accept the settings.

Go to Start, click Run and enter “regedit” in the text box. Push Enter, then browse through the tree up to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SOFTWARE -> Microsoft -> Windows NT -> CurrentVersion ->Winlogon. Check out the list, and you’ll have a “Shell” entry mentioning “explorer.exe”. Change it to “explorer2.exe” and reboot/logoff.

This should be it for good ;)


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9 funny versions of Google’s front page

January 20th, 2007

Long live the Photoshop talented users. I have gathered from all over the internet 9 funny Google mock-ups I liked. I’ll say nothing more, and I’ll let you enjoy the images and their description. Click the thumbnails to enlarge the photos.

Google Despair – The search engine for the irretrievably lost. Search for your youth, innocence, brain cells or for general sanity. Any search is hopeless in despair. gdespair
Google Ex-Girlfriends – Hookup search engine. Google is not responsible for divorces, separations, unplanned children or murders that result from using the service ghookup
Google Media Finder – RIAA edition. Do you dare searching for copyrighted materials? Sue me now. gmedia

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The 7 hidden pages within your Firefox browser

January 18th, 2007
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I found myself staring at the “about:blank” parameter for an IE installation today, and that got me thinking if it works in other browsers too. It did. I’m using Firefox, and that cleared the address bar to a blank. And then I figured the developers HAD to include some more address bar commands and started looking them up. Here’s what I found:

about: A simple prompt without any parameter will display the Mozilla “about” information. Since it’s accessible from the top menus as well, it’s not quite a hidden feature.

about:buildconfig Obviously, it will show the build platform configuration and parameters

about:cache Will display info and statistics regarding your disk’s cache, including the name of your cache’s directory and a list of the entries you can find there. By default, Firefox doesn’t allow you to view the cached webpages, so this can be an useful option.

about:config Oh look, many many info. Indeed, it’s the most complex and meaningful of them all. Careful on what you plan to change here, your browser won’t run properly after if you play with the wrong things.

about:plugins Of course, what is Firefox without it’s powerful extensions? This option will display detailed information about all the plugins installed for Mozilla Firefox.

about:credits It’s time to give the credit to whoever deserves it. There’s an alphabetically sorted list of all the people that gave their contribution to the development of Firefox.

about:Mozilla This is a weird thing. It will display the so-called “Book of Mozilla”. Something similar was present in Netscape too. There’s actually no real book although the quotations might give you that impression.

Have fun browsing through your browser’s internal features.


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The first Apple computer – 30 years ago (photo)

January 17th, 2007

thefirstapple

This is Apple I. The first Apple computer. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the most famous members of the Homebrew Computer Club, designed it over 30 years ago, in 1976. It was mostly a kit computer. Users bought the workings and built their own case.

Many leaders in mainline computer companies like IBM and Digitial did not believe at that time that personal computers were powerful enough to have a market. Sales of the Apple I and other PC’s that followed it, proved them wrong.


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