Friday, June 27, 2014

Xbox 360 Renovation

Whether you're holding out for the Kinect-less Xbox One or you've already unpacked a new system, there's still plenty of life left in the Xbox 360. Microsoft will have its new system properly on track after another half dozen or so software updates, but until then, it's all about getting everything we can out of older hardware. Nearly nine years later, here's how to make sure your Xbox 360 is aging gracefully.

Cancel your Xbox Live subscription

You've probably heard that Microsoft is switching up how Xbox Live Gold works next month, but if your 360 is more of a Netflix machine than an online gaming portal, then you can start saving money right now. If you cancel your Xbox Live subscription before August 31st, you'll get a prorated refund for the time remaining -- this FAQ has more details.

Keep your Xbox Live subscription

But wait! Before you hit that button, maybe it's time to see if you've been getting your money's worth from Xbox Live Gold. It's about more than just multiplayer gaming or apps like Netflix and Vudu. The first way to save money is by checking for deals on the subscription itself. Regular pricing for Xbox Live Gold is $10 per month or $60 per year. Keep an eye out for deals from retailers like Best Buy, Amazon, eBay or even the Microsoft Store that cut the entry fee by $10, $20 or even $25. Next, check out this chart that lays out what's available to everyone, and what will still require Xbox Live Gold after June.
Protip: Check out our deals updates for a heads-up, or keep an eye on websites like CheapAssGamer, FatWallet or SlickDeals to find out when sales are happening. Otherwise, double-check any new games you buy, as they frequently are either available as bundles that shave some of the cost, or include a trial card inside that'll help you sate that weekend craving for some Halo.

Games with Gold

After Sony introduced an Instant Game Collection with PlayStation Plus that doles out free games every month, Microsoft responded by adding Games with Gold to its package. Sure, the monthly freebies are coming to Xbox One, but the Xbox 360 version has one big advantage over the XB1 and PlayStation offerings: You can keep the games. That's right, all you need to do is check in twice a month (on the 1st and the 16th), start a download of whatever is currently being offered and it's yours for good, even if you cancel Xbox Live Gold later. The only downside? So far, they've usually included older and lower-profile titles than the competition, but you can see a complete list here. This month's games were Dust: An Elysian Tail and Saints Row: The Third, and in June, subscribers can snag Dark Souls, Charlie Murder and Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition -- not a bad haul for zero additional cost.
Protip: There's an additional benefit of Deals with Gold that adds a monthly rotation of discounted games, videos and DLC -- check Major Nelson's blog to find out what's going on sale and when.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The 4 Point Perfect Digital Marketing Model

The 4 Point Perfect Digital Marketing Model

I want to be personal now and share some strategic insights. Despite what you may have heard, investors don’t want to see a startup’s business plan, they want to see a business model. Models offer more flexibility and creativity, whereas a plan can paralyze it. Strategic models help establish patterns that lead to the desired goal. Patterns help develop consistency. Consistency leads to success. The perfect digital marketing strategy needs a consistent pattern mingled with creativity.
The digital marketing model for organic search should be built around four points of focus. Over time, each section of this model will build the brand name of the website or organization, which in turn will produce trust, popularity, and, ultimately,  conversions.
Focal Point One
High Sustainable Link Building – “Link building” is a phrase some people hate and some people love. In truth, it should be considered more like ‘link earning’ these days. The old traditional way of gaining links was a manual process, accomplished by placing simple links that are not valued by Google anymore.  Your link building efforts should be focused building content that people want to link to because of its value.
Promoting that valuable content is the next step to sustainable link building. One effective way to do so is to communicate with webmasters and show them why they should reference your content on their site. They should not be paid for it at all, and the link to your valuable resource should be relevant and not on a spammy website.
Link building is not dead. It just requires real promoting and marketing of content that represents your brand.
The focus should be on higher quality sites that don’t just give links to everyone. They link to the best resources, post new content frequently, and have a modern, clean design.
Great content promoted through the right channels will naturally build links and social shares to the website while you sleep. The best content on the web will have the best and most natural links pointing to it. Stay away from what you can manually create and focus on communicating with others that can create links for you.
Links should compliment your branding efforts. They should send high-quality referral visitors to your site with an understanding that over time it will complement your organic search marketing efforts along with your direct traffic.
Focal Point Two
On-Page Optimization – Every page on your website represents your brand. Your on-page optimization efforts shouldn’t just be focused on quality but on clarity as well.  Images should have an impressive resolution and a description as an alt attribute. Text that is unclear should be linked to a page that can offer a better description (even if it’s not linking to your website).  Meta descriptions, headers, titles and, yes, even micro data should be present on each page too.
The on-page efforts of a campaign should be the foundation of all your other marketing efforts.  Meaning, you can get all the traffic coming to your site, but if your page doesn’t offer value or clarity in one way or the other, visitors will leave without converting.
There’s always something to do with on-page optimization, even if it’s just refreshing or lengthening content to build more value. Every page should offer some kind of value, and these efforts will help you communicate that value to the search engines and visitors.
Focal Point Three
Strategic Content Marketing – Content that’s not strategically placed will often never be seen. Every brand has a target audience, which may be as big as the entire population or just a small group of people. Strategic content marketing is all about getting your content in the right place at that right time. Your target are the ones who will be the most engaged with your content, so they will naturally share and promote it if they’re impressed.
The strategic side of marketing consists of promoting through the right channels. For larger brands the best channel may be their website and social networks. For smaller brands, pushing content out through emails, social media, and even paid advertising can help make a big splash.
Consider this 6-point model to help you in your content marketing efforts:
  • Research – High-quality content should be researched thoroughly so you can offer a great resource to the world.
  • Creation – Bring all of the thoughts, opinions, research, and conclusions together to make one great, valuable resource.
  • Placement – Placing the content on the right marketing channel at the right time. It will most likely be your website or wherever you can easily communicate with your audience.
  • Promotion – The best content should be promoted through social media marketing, email marketing, newsletter marketing, or any area you use to communicate with the public.
  • Relationship Management – Content can create and develop relationships. When users comment on, or share, your content, it’s important to engage with them and establish a relationship and connection. The cycle doesn’t stop after you promote the content. Engagement is where brand loyalty starts to happen, which leads to lifetime conversions.
  • Repurposing – This complements placement and promotion, and gets your content seen on sites like PowerPoint, SlideShare, YouTube or any other outlet. Creating new content based on your old stuff makes it easier to keep generating fresh opportunities to interact with your audience.
Focal Point Four – Social Media Development
People are so hooked into social media that a majority of their time is often spent browsing their friends instead of browsing websites. Google + and YouTube are the main social platforms that can really influence search engine rankings on Google, while Facebook and Twitter will impact rankings on Bing.  YouTube is right behind Google for search queries, and since Google delivers video results with the searches, this is an important platform to be on.
Social media development should mainly be used to launch content and the brand. Brands that have larger audiences following them on social channels have the SEO advantage because they have better odds for making content go viral. For this reason alone, it’s worth spending time and money on building out and developing the social profiles for a brand.
You can look at social media sites like internets within the internet. The big social websites all have search bars and people are searching on them millions of times a day.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Are ro-bots, bots, robots, crawlers, etc as important as they were in the past?

Are ro-bots, bots, robots, crawlers, etc as important as they were in the past?

A Web crawler is an Internet bot that systematically browses the World Wide Web, typically for the purpose of Web indexing. A Web crawler may also be called a Web spider,[1] an ant, an automatic indexer,[2] or (in the FOAF software context) a Web scutter.[3]

 So it's hard to identify how the algorithm works especially if you don't use their analytics system. For instance, if I use Google Analytics, but I don't use Bing's solution, how does Bing's Algorithm take the traffic into account?

Web Robots (also known as Web Wanderers, Crawlers, or Spiders), are programs that traverse the Web automatically. Search engines such as Google use them to index the web content, spammers use them to scan for email addresses, and they have many other uses.

Friday, June 20, 2014


Responsible for providing senior level expertise on decisions and priorities regarding the enterprise’s overall systems architecture. Facilitates the establishment and implementation of standards and guidelines that guide the design of technology solutions including architecting and implementing solutions requiring integration of multiple platforms, operating systems and applications across the enterprise. Reviews, advises and designs standard software and hardware builds, system options, risks, costs versus benefits and impact on the enterprise business process and goals. Develops and documents the framework for integration and implementation for changes to technical standards. Assists in the development of and manages an architecture governance process. Provides technical guidance to project team areas as appropriate. Tracks industry trends and maintains knowledge of new technologies to better serve the enterprise’s architecture needs. Bachelors or Master’s Degree in Computer Science, Information Systems, or other related field. Or equivalent work experience. Typically has 5 to 7 years of IT work experience in infrastructure/systems environments performing systems planning, architecture design, engineering (hardware and software) and optimization.


Work with business users and leads to gather requirements, conduct analysis and prioritize requests
Translate business user requirements into technical architecture and implementation plan
Design and implement multi-dimensional models while adhering to enforced development methodologies.
Define and direct security requirements for DW
Design and implement the data loading (ETL) processes within the DW/BI environment

 5 years in Dimensional Modeling
 Strong Knowledge on Data warehouse Concepts, Experience with Building
 Large/Complex Data warehouses
 Strong Experience in building an enterprise Data Warehouse
 Experience in overall data warehouse architecture (ETL, Data Models and Reporting)
 Must have strong skills in PL/SQL
 Must have the ability to understand complex data relationships and business requirements and formulate efficient and reliable solutions.
Data modeling experience in OLAP environment.
Excellent communication skills, including effective collaboration with non-Technical business users.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hubspot Signals - Sign Up!

We noticed that you sent yourself an email with Signals enabled.

We've designed Signals so that you shouldn't receive notifications when you open your own emails. If you're looking to test how Signals works, we recommend sending an email to as it will show what it looks like when someone opens your email. An automated program monitors that email address and should open it within 30 seconds after you send the email.
We built Signals this way for two reasons:
  • We felt it would be annoying if you received a notification every time you opened an email you had sent (whether it was just to yourself as a reminder, or to many people). This applies to looking at messages in your sent folder, replying to a message, or scrolling through messages in your inbox.
  • Technical details about the way Gmail and Apple Mail works make it so that it's impossible to send you notifications when you open your own emails.
  • This also covers the case when you email one of your other email addresses. If you open the email in the window that has Signals installed, you won't get a notification.
If you ever start receiving notifications when you open your emails, there's a problem with Signals! We'd really appreciate knowing about it, if it ever starts happening.

Thanks again for using Signals, we appreciate it!

Hubspot Signals - Sign Up!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

What is Majestic Research?

What is Majestic Research?

It’s a place to disseminate new market reports. When we carry out market research and analysis that contains cool data and downloadable stuff, we’ll release much of it for free through Majestic Research. Quite simply it’s a mailing list that we will only use when we have something new to tell you. Something you won’t have seen before and (we hope) some things that will occasionally impress you. Some things that we do are really not about SEO at all. For example, in the summer we released the Twitter top 1,000 list through Forbes, and later released the full top 50,000 Twitter profiles… which you will still get if you join the Majestic Research list today.

If you already downloaded the Twitter top 50K list, then you are already part of Majestic Research – no need to sign up again, but don’t panic, we are using the market leading system, Mailchimp to manage the list so you will always be able to unsubscribe or change your settings. We will never sell your email address. What kinds of “Market reports” are we looking at? If we had set up the Majestic Research list years ago, some of the things we might have put into Majestic Research might have been: Downloading our “Majestic Million” list.

A list of the top 1 million domains in the world, updated with every Fresh Index. A Study on what is the best university in the USA. Some useful Excel Templates to do cool stuff beyond the web interface. In the future, with the incarnation of Topical Trust Flow, which dramatically improves our understanding of the web, I expect to be able to produce regular and insightful reports about: Groups of People influenced by (and influential in) specific topics Groups of business Country comparisons Previously unobtainable list.

See more at:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Scrum Agile Development Model

Scrum is an iterative and incremental agile software development framework for managing software projects and product or application development. It defines "a flexible, holistic product development strategy where a development team works as a unit to reach a common goal". It challenges assumptions of the "traditional, sequential approach" to product development. Scrum enables teams to self-organize by encouraging physical co-location or close online collaboration of all team members and daily face to face communication among all team members and disciplines in the project.

A key principle of Scrum is its recognition that during a project the customers can change their minds about what they want and need (often called requirements churn), and that unpredicted challenges cannot be easily addressed in a traditional predictive or planned manner. As such, Scrum adopts an empirical approach—accepting that the problem cannot be fully understood or defined, focusing instead on maximizing the team's ability to deliver quickly and respond to emerging requirements.


There are three core roles[8] and a range of ancillary roles. Core roles are often referred to as pigs and ancillary roles as chickens (after the story The Chicken and the Pig).
The core roles are those committed to the project in the Scrum process—they are the ones producing the product (objective of the project). They represent the scrum team. Although other roles may be encountered in real projects, Scrum does not define any roles other than those described below.[9]

Product Owner

The Product Owner represents the stakeholders and is the voice of the customer. He or she is accountable for ensuring that the team delivers value to the business. The Product Owner writes (or has the team write) customer-centric items (typically user stories), ranks and prioritizes them, and adds them to the product backlog. Scrum teams should have one Product Owner, and while they may also be a member of the development team, this role should not be combined with that of the Scrum Master. In an enterprise environment, though, the Product Owner is often combined with the role of Project Manager as they have the best visibility regarding the scope of work (products).[citation needed]

Development Team

The Development Team is responsible for delivering potentially shippable increments (PSIs) of product at the end of each Sprint (the Sprint Goal). A Team is made up of 3–9 individuals with cross-functional skills who do the actual work (analyse, design, develop, test, technical communication, document, etc.). The Development Team in Scrum is self-organizing, even though there may be some level of interface with project management offices (PMOs).

Scrum Master

Scrum is facilitated by a Scrum Master, who is accountable for removing impediments to the ability of the team to deliver the product goals and deliverables. The Scrum Master is not a traditional team lead or project manager, but acts as a buffer between the team and any distracting influences. The Scrum Master ensures that the Scrum process is used as intended. The Scrum Master is the enforcer of the rules of Scrum, often chairs key meetings, and challenges the team to improve. The role has also been referred to as a servant-leader to reinforce these dual perspectives.
The Scrum Master differs from a project manager in that the latter may have people management responsibilities unrelated to the role of Scrum Master. The Scrum Master role excludes any such additional people responsibilities. In fact, there is no role of project manager in Scrum at all, because none is needed. The traditional responsibilities of a project manager have been divided up and reassigned among the three Scrum roles, and mostly to the Development Team and the Product Owner, rather than to the Scrum Master. Practicing Scrum with the addition of a project manager indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of Scrum, and typically results in conflicting responsibilities, unclear authority, and sub-optimal results.[10]

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Signals, the free tool we use to produce our report

When you write sales emails all day every day ... it's easy to get sloppy.

So I started studying what was and wasn't working to help improve my own sales email strategy. I also read what "the experts" had to say to compare and contrast their pitches with my own experiments.

I ended up gathering enough information to understand how to write my emails so that my prospects actually responded to them.

I turned this into a sales email template that's helped me crush my sales goals. 

Of course I get that everyone has their own email strategy, but for those interested in seeing what others are doing, just clickthrough the slideshow below -- I promise it's super light / quick to read.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Are your emails safe, Andrew?

Are your emails safe, Andrew?

Last week, thousands of Take Action members joined us and many other groups in pressing for real surveillance reform in the USA FREEDOM Act. But whether or not Congress pulls through, there are things you should know about keeping your emails safe and secure.

An email actually goes through a lot of steps between when you hit "Send" and when it lands in the recipient's inbox. Your message is secure only if both the sender's and recipient's email providers encrypt them in transit. We've put together a page that details how this kind of encryption works, and which email providers support it.

Take a look, and see how your provider, and those of your friends, performs.

Educate your friends about email security. Share this:

Educate your friends about email safety.

Share on Google+ Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Gmail has supported encryption in transit since 2010. But 50% of the email sent from other providers to Gmail users and 35% of the email sent from Gmail users to other providers is not encrypted in transit. That's why we're working to make end-to-end email encryption more accessible to every user, regardless of their email provider.

A big part of making everyone's email safer is educating your friends about why it's important. Do your part by spreading the word today:

More soon,

Derek Slater
Google Inc.

P.S. June 5th is Reset the Net Day and we're taking part. Join this effort, and find out what you can do to secure your part of the web.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Analytics On Demand

Analytics On Demand is an online service of analytic modules that allows a public library to load data from their ILS or other electronic systems and immediately view usable reports with additional patron or collection insights. Meaningful results from analyzing and predicting patron needs and interests by household can assist libraries in allocating budget for resources, services, and collection development. Who uses your library? What do they use? Who does not use your library? What are the demographics of your customers?

This service allows the public library to:
  • Better understand the community that they serve
  • Predict what people are interested in
  • Deliver relevant services

Specific features include:
  • Simplicity—no data formatting. Extract and load the file(s); the applications clean and format the data
  • Census demographics and lifestyle characteristics (MOSAIC)—Your library data is ‘blended’ with other demographics data within the application to provide additional meaning and insight
  • Fast and only you handle your data—No need to deliver data to offsite agencies or IT departments requiring delays in processing and/or computer programming staff; you load the file and immediately see and be able to act upon the results
  • Easy-to-use predictive and spatial analytics
  • “Visual analytics”—Represents visually to easily tell your story and create a new path forward

Advantages over other solutions available on the market:
  • Household-level data—Identifies and analyzes your patrons to the household level, not the block group (block group analysis identifies the dominant ‘cluster’ which can be misleading)
  • Lifestyle segmentation—Using MOSAIC, which has undergone a complete rebuild in 2013
  • Easy, usable formats—Export reports to Excel, PDF, Word, HTML
  • ‘Anytime’ report generation with updated files—life is not static or a onetime event;  take action (add library content, initiate marketing programs, etc) and then measure the effect by re-running the applications 

The first seven standardized apps include Patron Profiles, Collection Intelligence, EBooks(overdrive), Magazines (Zinio), Audiobooks, Database usage, and Computer usage.

Share with others, run unlimited reports, training & setup, and marketing services are all included. Gale Analytics On Demand is available at special pricing through June 30 so consider starting now! Get the data you need to know how your library is impacting your community and where.   

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Update from Google on Net Neutrality

Last week, our Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, asked you to tweet at your senators and urge them to pass real, meaningful surveillance reform. You spoke out strongly along with thousands of people around the country. This week, we're taking the next step.

The CEOs of major Internet companies, including Google, sent this letter to the U.S. Senate calling for real surveillance reform.

Read the letter and be sure to share it with friends.

Read the letter now.

Surveillance reform is only real and meaningful if it includes limiting the bulk collection of Internet data (e.g., who you email and who emails you). As it stands, the USA FREEDOM Act doesn't prevent bulk data collection — but the Senate has a chance to change that and close the loophole.

Reset the Net

Here’s what we’re offering…

  • Adium & Pidgin for private (OTR) chat over Gtalk, Facebook, Yahoo, MSN, XMPP / Duck Duck Go and others.
  • Textsecure and Redphone for Android and iPhone (we hope), for private SMS and voice calls.
  • HTTPS Everywhere for browsers
  • GPGtools and Enigmail (as a bonus for more sophisticated users)
  • TOR (as a bonus for sophisticated users or those with anonymity needs)
  • Tips on how to enable full disk encryption on your computers, phones, and tablets, for easy, strong protection in extreme situations. 
We decided to only offer free software tools in the privacy packs because they make it easy for outsiders to verify (and improve) their security, and because the freedom they give users helps advance the state of the art. Given how the US government induced once private tools like Skype to add backdoors, we feel that’s important. It also narrows the choices a lot to ensure we aren’t seen as playing favorites.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Twitter Conversion Tracking

It’s critical for advertisers with direct response objectives to be able to understand the impact of Twitter ads on their bottom line. With that in mind, we’re announcing the general availability of conversion tracking, a measurement and reporting tool which will help advertisers understand the full conversion impact of impressions and engagements from Promoted Tweets so they can properly optimize their campaigns. Conversion tracking is available to all advertisers starting today.

How does this work?Let’s say a shoe retailer wants to measure how a specific Promoted Tweet campaign drove purchases on their website. Using conversion tracking, the retailer would create a “purchase” conversion tag and place it on their purchase confirmation page. When a user reaches that page, the tag reports to Twitter that a purchase event has occurred. Twitter then matches that event against the set of users who have viewed or engaged with any valid Promoted Tweet campaign. Campaign analytics report the total number of users that converted and cost per action (CPA) without identifying who viewed or engaged with the Promoted Tweet, allowing the advertiser to focus on the campaigns that are driving the most cost-effective purchases.