Content is Crap, Not King. Well. . . Sort Of

For years now, we have heard the, “Content is King” line. And that’s pretty much true when if comes to SEO. But to me, when someone refers to “content,” I mostly think in terms of:

This is a Content Headline

This is some boring content


Not to mention that a lot of text just becomes a bunch of blah blah blah that users will just ignore, gloss

over, forget, etc. This is where good design practices will help to get your message across to your users as much, if not more so, than content.

A good design goes a long way. A great design will will go a long with with as few words as possible.

In working with my clients, two of the first things that I work on is:

  • Defining with absolute clarity who their intended audience is.
  • Clearly defining the messages that they need to convey to their audience.

These two items will set the stage for all web design and development work that needs to be done. It’s great that some clients want to have the newest-latest-most-whiz-bangiest-gizmo-widgety things. But if you don’t achieve these two primary objectives, you’re doing your clients a great disservice.

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Incorporating Über-Geeky QR Code Into Business Cards

I found a great site to get your own QR Code. For those unaware, QR codes are those little square boxes that can be scanned and can have all sorts of information. Names, addresses, links, web addresses, etc. qrcode The code above is my own contact information. Here’s a great article about incorporating

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QR Code into business cards. That’s a pretty smart way to ensure that your contact information gets into the proper people’s hands. As mobile smartphones gain in popularity, the ability to simply scan information in and store that data will become more and more important.

106(g)’s Have Reason To Cheer For Health Care Reform

Tucked within the over 2,300 page Health Care Reform Bill is a section titled “SEC. 461. CERTAIN HEALTH RELATED BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO SPOUSES AND DEPENDENTS EXTENDED TO ELIGIBLE BENEFICIARIES.” There are two main parts that apply to the self employed and will reduce our taxes. This section goes on to talk about amendments to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, so it’s a bit dry, but bear with me. In general, there seems to be a lot of removing periods, adding commas and changing things from, “and…dependents” to “and any eligible beneficiary” (within the meaning of section 106(g) etc. so on and so forth). So instead of using the antiquated 1986 idea of a nuclear family (Mom, Dad & Children) we now have a more realistic view of what a family is in today’s society. Are you an “Elegible Beneficiary” as defined under 106(g)? You may be if you are: a freelancer who receives health benefits from an unmarried domestic partner… like me! So what does this all mean? Basically, any unmarried person who

receives health benefits from someone else will no longer will have to report any health benefits I receive as “income.” You see, because gays and lesbians are not allowed to marry (and we are not dependents), under the definitions set up in the Internal Revenue Code, any benefits we receive from a health care plan that is not our own are counted as “income” and must be taxed. So, let’s do some simple math on our new found tax savings: If for example, if I were to go

my primary care doctor 10 times last year for routine checkups, flu vaccines, occasional illnesses, etc.: 10 visits @ $150 each (what the insurance company paid) = $1,500 – $200 in copays = $1,300 in “income” x 32% = $416 in additional income taxes. Wow… and that’s kinda estimating on the low side. What if I had cancer and racked up $100,000 in chemotherapy treatments? What if I had expensive maintenance medications? What if I had to go to the emergency room and stay in the hospital for a day or two? I’m not even starting to calculate those things. So for all of you out there who think that the new Health Care Act is going to raise your taxes, guess what? Mine are going down as a result. Yippee!

Apple Store Removes “New” Stickers from iMac & MacBook – Makes Room For Others?

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Two separate articles from have stated that the anticipated shipping date will depend upon the Intel chips being used. The latest article hinted that the chips will ship in early March, which means that apple can start selling sometime at the end of February. That will be just in time as my iMac G5 (running on OSX 10.5) seems to be getting a new vertical colored line in the screen about every 2 weeks. It’s time for an upgrade!

Tutorial: Moving iTunes Files onto Android Devices with Mac OS X

So I’ve had my HTC Hero phone (on Sprint’s network) for a little over a month, and I’ve been so happy with the performance of both the phone and the Android OS from Google. While Android is not chipping into iPhone sales just yet, mark my words when I say that it definitely will once the hardware is on par with what Apple provides. Yes, I am probably the only Apple/Mac fan that does NOT own

an iPhone. It’s MOSTLY because I used to do some consulting in the network development arena for many wireless providers, and I know first-hand that the AT&T Network is a cobbled-together-piece-of-crap. It basically comes down to poor technology choice + limited coverage… one can only wonder how much money they had to throw at Apple just to get them. But I digress… My only gripe has been that I have not been able to sync or move files from my Mac to my Hero. Now I understand that the point of Android is that you’re syncing to the Google Cloud rather than your PC or Mac. But sometimes you need to transfer pictures or audio files in order to maximize your enjoyment. There’s software that was included to do this with a PC, but not Mac. I tried doing it on my own, but the Micro SD card wouldn’t mount and be recognized. So I downloaded a FREE app from the Android Marketplace called “Auto Mount” by JRTStudio and guess what… IT WORKED like magic. My trusty (and very rusty) pre-Intel iMac G5 recognized the SD Card and allowed me to transfer my iTunes files over!! Keep in mind that Android will play .mp3 and .m4a files HOWEVER, it will

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Russian Government Discovers AOL… Plans Its Own Cyber-Ghetto

The Russian government, like Russian fashion, is about 20 years behind the times. (How’s that feathered hair and blue eyeshadow working out for you Svetlana?) So I was hardly surprised at all when I read a NY Times Report that Russia is sick of the West

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dominating the Internet, and plans to introduce its Cyrillic alphabet for domain names. Currently, the Internet only accepts Latin-based alphabet domains, so languages with non-Latin based

alphabets like Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, etc. have to convert over. On one hand, I have to say, “that’s great… the Internet should not have language barriers…” But on the other hand, the Russian people (as well as about 75% of the rest of the world) are already accessing websites using latin based domain names and enjoying relatively unfettered access to the Web. It’s a system that works – albeit a system that favors the West who all have Latin-based languages. Here’s the rub: The Cyrillic domains will be controlled by the Russian Government. Ewww… that could be bad Swimming Pool hire. To me, it seems that Russian Government is just looking for new ways to extort money from and/or control of companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, EBay, etc. that are ALREADY accessed by the Russian people. All these companies will now almost certainly have to shell out wads of cash, just so that they can get a .рф domain (.рф will be the extension for the Russian Federation). Not to mention the fact that Sarah Palin’s nearest neighbor will probably want to have at least a little control over content of this new Internet space that would really only be of interest to a certain subset of the world population that conveniently lives within the borders of the Russian Federation. Yeah, they kinda have a bit of history with that whole censorship thing. This Cyrillic-only web space could, in turn, have

the effect of alienating the Russian people from accessing news sources, social networking, and whatever else the Web has in store for us. It all sounds to me like the early version of AOL, which desperately tried to keep users within AOL-land (so as to increase its ad revenue) and away from the forbidden fruit of the “evil and unsecure Internet-at-large.”

Promote Your Business Locally With Google Maps and Android!

A few months back, I submitted my business information to Google Maps for another site that I run. Google Maps is yet another free service that Google offers to get you listed on their search engine. It allows you to post your physical address, phone number, website address and products/services provided. The nice thing about Google Maps is that it targets your business locally. So whether you have a brick-and-mortar store or you have a professional practice, you

can be found by users performing a search in your immediate area.Bouncy Castle Princesse Maxi Multifun So last week, I got an unexpected super-kool gift from Google Maps! They sent me a neat window decal to let people know that I’m listed as a “Favorite Place” and that they can find more information about me on Google Maps. In looking closer at it, there’s also a crazy square shaped bar code.

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Google Android – Better Than I Ever Expected

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now constantly synced and updatable directly from various apps on my phone. But wait, there’s more… the fully customizable screen allows me to drag and drop all kinds of widgets for applications on any one of seven screens (1 middle screen and three screens on either side that are accessible by swiping your finger right or left). But the greatest thing about Android is that it completely negates the argument of PC vs. Mac. The choice is: neither! The Google option is for cloud computing to store our information and sync from there – not from your computer. Our lives are becoming more enmeshed with the online world and the Android system definitely helps to bridge the two worlds.

Please Keep Back 500 Ft. – Site Renovation In Progress

As a web developer I always get asked by all sorts of people about my own website. For the past year or so, my sheepish response has always been, “Errr.. umm… well… I’ve been so busy, I haven’t really had time

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I work with a team of experienced programmers and graphic designers, and my main work is in development and implementation of WordPress sites and blogs. We can work with you on just about every level that you need for the web. This includes things like setting up your domain and email accounts, submitting your site to search engines like Google and Yahoo, working on your a visual identity and brand, developing your website,

developing online advertisement campaigns, blogs, social media strategeis for sites like Facebook and MySpace as well as social bookmarking. I also perform search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) services

More Great Stuff From GOOG: Insights For Search Allows You To Analyze Keywords And A Whole Lot More

While poking around in Google Analytics, I recently stumbled upon a new (or at least new to me) tool from Google. For all I know it could have been around for a year, but anyways… It’s called “Google Insights For Search” and it is currently in beta. Here’s

what it

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does in a nutshell: you can see the rise and fall in popularity among keywords. In typical Google fashion, you can also make comparisons between keyword popularity. Here’s a sample: A review of searches for Facebook vs. MySpace shows that there could be an inverse relationship in popularity between the two sites, and that crossover in popularity occurred around January 2009. Interesting. Now with that data you can also inflatables for sale in canadadrill down to yield all sorts of yummy data: What states are more popular for Facebook? What states should MySpace focus its efforts? Now, what if you’re an online retailer who sells both Xbox, Playstation and Wii consoles? Could it help me to guesstimate trends and plan inventory for the months ahead? You bet! Check it out here. You can even chart all three against major news releases related to the search term. Not to put too fine a point on it, but you just don’t get any of these types of tools with Bing, Yahoo or Ask. The Google people are just so way far ahead of the curve in delivering value.inflatable camping tents


I believe that every person should be able to get a well designed website for a reasonable amount of money. As a business owner myself, I know that you have to wear a lot of different hats and your time is valuable. Perhaps you don’t have the time, desire or technological know-how to develop your own website. Perhaps you would like to have a “Facebook strategy” but don’t know where to begin. Perhaps you would like to advertise on Google, but want to

deal with the learning curve of a new aspect of your business. My team and I can help you with all these things to make your website

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My name is Jim Parrillo and I am a freelance

website developer and online strategy consultant living in

Rochester, New York. I have been designing and developing websites since 1997 and have experience working with WordPress, Concrete 5, phpBB, Joomla! as well as things like HTML, Flash, javascript, ColdFusion and PHP. Previously, I worked as a project manager in the real estate development and wireless fields. Past clients have included Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T. Please take a moment to check out my portfolio of recent projects.

Times New Roman (1992 – 2009)… at least on the web.

Using professional fonts for the web has been a problem for designers since the days when the Mosaic browser was being developed at my alma-mater, the University of Illinois. Here’s the problem in a nutshell: most good fonts are intellectual property, and cost money to put on your computer – as a result, there are really only a handful of universal and interchangeable fonts (Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Garamond, etc.) that are available on all computers. This issue has restricted designers to only very specific set of fonts – if you don’t use universal fonts, nobody can read your page. Web pages quickly became pretty boring and lacked any kind of vitality. To resolve this problem, a number of workaround solutions were developed. First, designers wrote text into a photo file such as a .jpg or .gif. This was effective for about 2 years, until Google and Yahoo started scanning pages and couldn’t read the words. To the search engines, all they saw was the file name (“rc_1_head.gif” instead of “Big Sale Today” for the right column header). Next, some really smart guys worked on the problem and decided to replace the text with a small Flash file that would convert the plain text into a highly styled Flash file. This is called sIFR and is pretty commonly used today. The only problem with sIFR is that it’s kind of a pain in the ass. You have to create the files in Flash Professional (if you’re willing to shell out the cash for it), then you have to upload the files, then you have to put the sIFR code and javascript into the web page, then you do a workaround hack to include the sIFR text because search engines (still) cannot “read” a flash file so the text still wouldn’t get picked up by any search engine. It’s not impossible, but it is kinda wonky and is really not an elegant solution. Well, the next great leap in the quest to eradicate boring text from the web is coming very soon. It’s and from what I have seen, it will become a dominant force for the web over the next 10 years. Its simplicity will make it accessible to all developers, and its library of highly professional fonts is growing fast. So far, it’s only in Beta testing, so it’s not widely available. But you can find out more information on their blog. Typekit seems to work like this:

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  1. Sign up for an account.
  2. Register the web domain that you plan to use their fonts on.
  3. Pick the fonts you want to use and insert a small javascript into your webpage header.
  4. Add a small CSS tag to any text that you want styled.
  5. That’s it!

You can see a demonstration of this in action on Chris Coyier’s website: Chris made an on-the-fly screencast to see how it worked and to me, it’s elegant and brilliant. BRAVO to the TypeKit people for coming up with an elegant and simple solution to such a complex technical and legal problem! I can’t wait to test it out for myyself!

Google Takes on Windows With Chrome OS

For about six months now, Google has made its Chrome Browser freely available for Windows users to download. Mac users (like me) are still waiting for our version… but that’s OK… I’m not bitter.  Anyways, Chrome has been a pretty stable browser.  And designing websites for it is a snap – unlike Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) which is really glitchy.  For a lay-person’s discussion of how Google Chrome browser works, check out this neat comic.

You see, IE is the most common browser, despite all the other free browser options that are available (Safari, Firefox, Opera, etc.).  However, the way it works is really screwed up.  When you design websites, you always have to put in extra hacks for the various versions of IE.  Otherwise, you hear complaints about how text does not align properly, images are in the wrong locations, etc.

The funny thing is that you hardly ever hear those complaints when sites are viewed with other browsers. Kinda makes you think…

In addition, all these extra coding hacks to the CSS make websites bloated with longer load times and larger file sizes.

Anyways, this new Chrome OS from Google is planned to be an open source project and initial release will be for lightweight netbooks with later releases for more robust computing.  It’s obvious that Google is planning to unseat Microsoft and their bloated Windows system (have you heard anyone rave about how happy they are with Vista?).  You can read Google’s announcement about Chrome OS on the Official Google Blog.

We can only hope that with more users changing their OS away from Microsoft, we will finally be able to stop requiring all sorts of nonsensical hacks that should be unnecessary.

Updates Coming Soon!


been rather busy over the past few weeks working on several WordPress projects. I know this isn’t much of an excuse… isn’t EVERYONE busy? In the meantime, I do plan on making some updates to Hopefully, I’ll be able to post information about some of the recent web design and development projects that I have been working on. Lots of exciting stuff here Inflatable Water Game! In the meantime – I hope

everyone had

a great holiday weekend – whether you were celebrating the Canada Day or the 4th of July (sometimes known to Brits as ‘Thanksgiving’). Cheers!

WordPress, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways…

After a bit of an absence, I have returned back to the WordPress platform for blogging. I would say it has probably been about a good 2 years since I last worked with it, and I have to say that the improvements have been tremendous.  In addition, the number Plug-Ins, Widgets and Themes that are available just seem to boggle the mind.

Now that I am working full time blogging and developing websites, I think I am definitely going to stay with WordPress. Here’s my basic reasons:

  • Truly a five minute setup as they claim
  • Themes, themes, themes… they’re all over.  Most are free or very low cost. Hunt them down and make your site fantastic!
  • You can extend your site’s abilities with various Plugins.  They can do all sort of things: Shopping Carts, Online Payment Processing, Photo Galleries, Contact Forms, Links to Facebook and Myspace.  It’s pretty endless.

With the WordPress platform, you are really only limited by your time and creativity.

New Blog, New You…

This blog will serve as a companion

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