Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

The Absurdity of Computer Applications

Monday, November 21st, 2011
Frustrated Computer User Courtesy of

Frustrated Computer User - image courtesy of

The Absurdity of Computer Applications
(or, how come we work for the computers, when they should be working for us)

Imagine you’re driving your car and you go to make a left-hand turn after a light change, but your car informs you that you need to download a piece of software to make this kind of left hand turn. Now, it doesn’t end there, because, as you attempt to download the software needed, your car then proceeds to tell you that you have to upgrade your car to support the software required for you to make this particular left hand turn.

Or, how about this, you’re driving along, it starts to rain, you hit your wipers, next your headlights, then your car blue-screens on you, it stops dead, (freezes-up), because of an out-of-who-knows-where software conflict between the wipers and lights.

Let’s try another. You head out the door to work, jump in your car and start it up, but it has to “sync-up” with everything first, like with your radio, lights, wipers, etc.  Then, just like magic, your car won’t start because of a sync error, or some kind of start-up error, or you need to upgrade a certain “driver” (no pun intended) and blah, blah, blah.

As far as cars go, does this sound familiar? Of course it doesn’t. Does it sound completely absurd? Sure it does. But with computers, this frustrating goofiness happens all the time. Cars sport dozens of different features to perform particular functions which complement a car’s main purpose of getting us from one place to another. With computers, it’s a similar deal: basically, a computer sports bunches of different features to do particular things that “allegedly” compliment or enhance the computer’s original intent; which is that of being pretty much a highfalutin typewriter and calculator rolled into one.

The thing is, cars, and vehicles in general work for us. They are relatively consistently-working machines. Not a lot of fussing to get a car to do what you’d like, unless you got a very old clunker. With computers though, we’ve been buffaloed all these years into thinking they work for us, but after going through what I call “digital waterboarding” to get a computer to do some basic stuff, I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that we really work for the computers - In more ways than one.

We bump into so many business people who justifiably complain about basic-everyday info that they can’t get a lot of times through something as fundamental as email because their computer or network person tells them they need this kind of software to open this attachment, or you can’t view this because you have to download that, or this can’t do that because you got the wrong kind of deodorant. If you’re a regular end-user, you know the drill.

Here’s the way I see it, (not that it means anything), and that is, until the day you and I can work with INFORMATION on our computers, like we want, and not APPLICATIONS, we’re all going to keep getting digitally water-boarded by these things while the computer and software advertisers keep telling us how happy we are with their stuff. Now, to caveat this topic, I’m not talking here about high-end industry-specific applications, like CAD and graphic applications, etc., that’s a different ball-game altogether.

Anyway, there was a retired CEO, (can’t remember his name) who once said, “The computer revolution can be felt everywhere, except in the area of productivity.” This cat may be on to something.

Side note: Google and Apple are the only companies that we know of, to date, which actually “get” that people need and want to work with information - not applications... as long as  you use their platforms.

Follow Blackball Online Marketing on Twitter at!/blackballonline

Social Media Icons Explored – A Guide To Social Networking Sites and Tools

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Social Media Icons Explored – A Guide To Social Networking Sites and Tools

Social Media is all the rage – but what do all these icons represent? As in any other business an icon or logo is used to represent the product or company without having to see the verbiage written out. Most people relate visually and these symbols have become commonplace. We thought we'd share a rundown of some of the most popular with you to help get you up to speed in the terms and symbols of this ever-increasing medium called Social Media.

RSS Icon

RSS Icon

This is the standard RSS feed symbol. Short for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary, RSS has not been adopted by the masses as was thought when it originally came out in 1999. It does however have many uses such as data aggregation and news reader updates that go on behind the scenes. When a website offers an RSS feed this icon will appear in the address bar to the right.

FaceBook Icon

Facebook Icon

Facebook is, as of the time of this post, the number 1 website for traffic in the world having passed even the almighty Google. Facebook is a community based social networking platform that allows users to become fans, add friends, and create groups. The website currently has more than 400 million active users worldwide and growing.

Twitter Icon

Twitter is the 140 character at a time posting and microblogging wonder that allows users to follow other users and send and view their text messages. Users can add other Tweeple to lists and follow lists as well. This is an open API platform social networking site which has increased it's exposure rapidly due to the rapid exchange of information and openness of it's ability to share information.

Digg Icon

Digg Icon

Digg is a social news website made for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the Internet, by submitting links and stories, and voting and commenting on submitted links and stories. If you enjoy a story you vote it up, or digg it. If you're not so favorable to a story or photo, you vote it down.

LinkedIn Icon

LinkedIn Icon

LinkedIn is the premier business social networking tool in our opinion. Gathering a following is harder and more lucrative as well. The quality of business class connections is stronger in our opinion. The site is all about business and that's why it made our list – professional networking at its finest. LinkedIn has more than 60 million users worldwide, of which about half are in the United States.

YouTube Icon

YouTube Icon

YouTube is a video sharing website on which users can upload and share videos about just about anything. Originally founded in 2005 and bought by Google, YouTube changed the Social Media landscape forever by introducing streaming video and video sharing capabilities that have evolved with the technologies and data capabilities we take for granted now.

These are but a few of the vast number of social media sites out there now. Many are sure to disappear and many more are sure to appear. Do you have a favorite we have not mentioned? Leave a comment and we'll try to include it in a second version of Social Media Icons Explored.

Blackball Online Marketing provides Pittsburgh Online Marketing Services to small business and home based business. We wish to acknowledge Wikipedia, Top Ten Reviews, and Find Icons for their outstanding sites and great information.

Pittsburgh Online Marketing Technologists – How To Choose One

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Pittsburgh Online Marketing Technologists - How To Choose One

Pittsburgh businesses are fortunate in the fact that there are many talented Internet Marketing companies locally. As the Internet marketplace becomes more diverse it is important to choose an SEO consultant or SEO Search company that best fits your needs and budget.

We have been writing for some time about the need for businesses operating in the Pittsburgh Internet Marketing field to handle many aspects of Online Website Promotion. Many factors weigh into your choice for an Internet Marketing Engineer. Here are a few questions to ask of your Pittsburgh Online Marketing candidate.

Factors To Consider When Choosing an Online Marketing Pro:

First things first. Ask if the Internet Marketing Company or consultant you interview has any experience with your industry. This can eliminate a lot of research and you should be able to communicate freely with industry specific terms. Do they ask about the scope of your project and budget? These are good questions to begin with as they allow for the conversation to define your needs and expectations.

You should be able to tell whether the internet promotions specialist is resourceful by the questions they ask you as well. Are they merely reading a script? Or are they asking questions which relate to the current topic in your conversation?

Do they understand the fundamentals of On Page SEO?

Is there a clearly defined procedure they follow or do they evaluate your site or blog to determine the best course of action for your business? Both methods can be correct for certain situations. The key is to know which method to use and when.

Do they ask about the importance of keywords and how they relate to your business and overall online marketing strategy? Keywords drive what you want to rank for; they are the lifeblood of your site; and your business’ success or failure in the digital world.

Do they understand the fundamentals of Off Page SEO?

We define Off Page SEO as encompassing all forms of listing your business throughout the Internet not directly related to your website.  Off Page Search Engine Optimization includes preparing relevant Press releases to promote your new venture or publicize your current online marketing efforts. If you are in an established industry this question and strategy can easily be answered by some online recon on your competition. Sites linking back to yours with relevant keyphrases are called Backlinks and they are very important as well.

Traditional Media could also be termed as Off Page SEO or Branding. A comprehensive marketing plan will allow you to reach potential customers in other areas. Why limit yourself to just one form of advertising?

Do they understand the fundamentals of Social Media and its value?

The secret of Social Media is that it is "social. Wow, shocker right? The real value of social media when it comes to your business really depends on if your target audience uses it. Secondary to this is the brand reputation management piece. Direct selling on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Etc. is not near as effective as passive selling and information dissemination. Helping people is good business! It helps define your business as an authority on your marketing niche and allows for another great source of lead generation.

Does the SEO or Online Marketing Company have a Social Media component to their business? How many Twitter followers do they have? Do they know how to use them to further your Internet Marketing goals or are they Ttweeting for the sake of Tweeting? Can they communicate this to you and your customer? In short; are they making the most of their Social Media influence?

Are they short sighted when it comes to alternative methods other than Google?

Many businesses are unaware of the existence of Bing and Yahoo when it comes to comprehensive coverage in an overall online marketing strategy. Google still dominates the Search Engine Market but why exclude the other percentage of potential customers. We believe that failure to explore all avenues of revenue generation is like leaving dollars on the doorstep.

Do they have the ability and resources to combine all theses skills into a cohesive Online Marketing Plan?

Knowing how to perform all these tasks is meaningless unless your chosen Online Marketing Technologist can deliver. All these techniques require resources and time. A combined commitment from the business and the Online Marketing Technology Company are necessary.

Whether you ultimately choose Blackball Online Marketing or another Search firm or consultant, we would like the opportunity to speak with you regarding your business and its Online Marketing needs. Contact Blackball Online Marketing for your small business website promotion and speak directly with a Pittsburgh Online Marketing Technologist to assess your needs and give you a solid evaluation. Our initial consultation is always free.