kranzo design — the flash man

Kyle Kranzo is a local Flash artist. If you want something done in Flash, check with him as I think he is taking new clients. Or, talk with me and I’ll see if I can hook you both up.

I know Kyle as we both go to Riverview Church. He just started drumming with the worship team there. If you want to see a little bit of Kyle’s work, go to the Riverview web site and note the site navigation at the top of the page. Nice.

By the way, check out the Kranzo Design web site and if it is still just the opening page, email him and complain about it.

couldn’t have said it better myself

In a WIRED.com article, Search Results Clogged by Blogs, Pete Prodoehl (RasterWeb) is quoted:

the trick to achieving prominent search rankings is fairly straightforward: “update frequently and provide good content.”

Not that I’m doing this. The point is that web sites that actually have business objectives could take this and run with it.

Copyright wars

I attended a lecture this evening by Peter K. Yu, an expert on intellectual property, at the Michigan State University — Detroit College of Law. The lecture, entitled “The Escalating Copyright Wars,” was very well delivered and provided a good opportunity to hear some thoughts on intellectual property as it relates to media and the Internet.

Yu describes three strategies that industries (stakeholders of intellectual property) have employed. They are:

  1. Lobbying — resulting, for instance, in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act which makes it illegal to bypass copy-protection technologies (including encryption of products delivered online, I imagine)
  2. Litigation — e.g., Napster no longer threatens any record label
  3. Self-help — e.g., encryption, digital watermarking, etc. before selling

Yu goes on to discuss a number of cases that illustrate jurisdictional complexities as music copyrights in the Eurpoean Union end 45 years before they do in the U.S. What does this mean for importing music from the EU that hasn’t been cleared of copyright status in the U.S. yet?

Another interesting aspect of the lecture was Yu’s application of game theory to the copyright wars between stakeholders and non-stakeholders. Yu seems to promote a nonzero-sum approach to resolving disputes. That is, how can a win-win situation be set up. He puts forward an example of unofficial Harry Potter web sites being brought into the fold now, instead of the initial approach of suing the kids’ pants off.

I can’t do justice to Peter K. Yu’s lecture here, but suffice it to say it was an hour well spent.

Great Google, Batman!

Fast Company magazine has a nice article on Google and the people and innovation behind it. One of the things that struck me about it was the recurring reference to Google’s respect for the user.

Google understands that its two most important assets are the attention and trust of its users. If it takes too long to deliver results or an additional word of text on the home page is too distracting, Google risks losing people’s attention. If the search results are lousy, or if they are compromised by advertising, it risks losing people’s trust. Attention and trust are sacrosanct.

Great stuff. Read the article.

Kudos to Johnson Consulting Network

So as part of a competitive analysis for my company, I searched Google for “web consulting in lansing michigan”. And, the first response is to jcn.com. (Envision Internet Consulting made the 4th site slot) I searched for “internet consulting in lansing michigan”, and jcn.com shows up as the second response. The first is taken by Michtek consulting, whose site happens to be DOWN right now. They have some lame excuse of needing to upgrade their web site because of increased business. Like that’s an excuse to take your site down.

The strange thing is, it seems like most of jcn.com’s business is from providing web hosting services, and not so much from actually working on web sites. Interesting. And, I wonder what the “network” part of Johnson Consulting Network is all about. Guess I’ll ask.

The web ain’t cheap!

You know, it seems like every time I submit a proposal for web development to a prospect, I feel like I have to apologize for the estimate. I know it is higher than they expect. I have been told that, repeatedly. Part of it is because I generally work with smaller companies and non-profit organizations, and part of it is because every one seems to be feeling the pinch of budget cuts and the economy.

But, the fact is, building a really effective web site isn’t cheap. It takes time, expertise, focus, and funds. Frequently, even relatively small web sites run into five figures.

Anyone can build a web site that sucks. You pay for what you get, I suppose. You want a $1,000 web site? Go somewhere else. I’m through compromising quality. If a prospect can’t afford a web site that accomplishes what they need it to, then they don’t need it bad enough.

For some insight on national trends in cost of web development, see BtoB Online’s Web Price Index. Also look at the chart on trends from last year’s index.

Alright, I’ll stop whining.

A tech company in Okemos? Who’d a thought…

So a few weekends ago I was in the East Lansing Barnes & Noble children’s section with Lila and Chey; we, I mean, Lila was playing with the wooden train set they have. Another couple with a two-year-old train set afficianado came over, and Chey and I started chatting with the couple.

It turns out this lady we met is a product manager at a company called TechSmith in Okemos. They make screen capture software called SnagIt as well as beefed-up screen recording software that they call Camtasia Studio. The software sounds very useful in user-testing. I understand it also sports the ability to record facial expressions via a web cam, and it exports its data as Flash movie files (SWF).