This site showcases the (mostly) digital work of Andrew DiFiore from both Virtual Arts Studios and answerYES Interactive as well as random thoughts and experimental projects too volatile to be contained anywhere else.

 
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    Need for Speed

    As web developers we are constantly tweaking our sites for every nanosecond of efficiency. Some of us can recall the days when web surfers had to (gasp!) dial-up on 300 baud modems to connect to the Internet. We are concern with website optimization because we’re good programmers but we’re also good marketers. If you don’t engage your visitors within 10 seconds, they are gone.

    No company appreciates the need for speed more than Google. Over the years Google has provided webmasters a cadre of optimization tools but the one that I want to revisit today is Page Speed Online. Type in a web address and Google returns a Speed Score along with suggestions on how you can improve your site’s performance. This could be anything from leveraging browser caching to minifying your JavaScript and CSS files. To help organize your time, suggestions are prioritized as follows:

    • High priority. These suggestions represent the largest potential performance wins for the least development effort.
    • Medium priority. These suggestions may represent smaller wins or much more work to implement.
    • Low priority. These suggestions represent the smallest wins.

    The really cool thing is that the suggestions change depending on whether you view the site via a desktop browser or a mobile device. Given more and more people are now surfing the Web on smartphones and tablets (upwards of 60% and growing fast), this is extremely beneficial to site owners and mobile marketers alike.

    For a limited time Google is offering $75 to get started with Google AdWords. Obviously, $75 is not much of an ad spend but if you were curious about AdWords, it is a safe way to try it without costing anything. Google allows you to run ads until the $75 is spent, no need to supply a credit card.

    Here is the SlideShare from a 10 minute presentation on Facebook advertising I gave at last week’s BNI meeting. Feel free to share and download.

    I received an email today from stock photography community Dreamstime with the subject line All downloads free today? I’ve used Dreamstime in the past for finding “cheap” royalty-free stock photography and so figured this was legit. Then again, it is April Fools’ Day.  The email goes on…

    On this day the customs say always keep your tongue in cheeks, play many practical jokes and tricks, and don’t buy everything you hear or read today. Speaking of which, here’s an unbelievable deal for you: EVERYTHING IS FREE TODAY! Or is it? You’d better believe it or tomorrow you’ll see that April Fool has come and gone.

    Here’s the link… believe it or not.

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    Cool Tool of the Month: Pandora

    If work is my cerebral connection to the world then music is my emotional connection. Music is always playing in the background while I’m working and since I pretty much work all the time, I hear a lot of music (it’s playing now).

    Though my tastes vary wildly from staccato blues to ska punk, I’m a big fan of alternative rock. I hate Top 40 stations. I have no sympathy for the RIAA or the pitiful state of the American music industry. In my opinion, they are to blame for their own undoing when they decided to package musicians to feed only the lowest common denominator. When you view art (or any form of human expression) solely through the narrow lens of the bottom line, creativity and diversity are inevitably sacrificed.

    Before discovering this month’s Cool Tool, I was hooked on XM Satellite Radio (I got to listen for free since my brother was a reseller). Digital sound, commercial-free, lots of variety, I would almost be willing to pay if not for the fear that I would be encouraging radio to go the way of cable television. When my brother stopped selling XM, I lost my radio. But as fate would have it, Pandora came of age. It was love at first sound.

    Pandora is what Internet Radio should be. Hell, it is what radio should be!

    The brainchild of Tim Westergren who had the idea of a musical taxonomy initiated on a single artist or song. He called it The Music Genome Project. A personalized radio station that “learns” from the listener’s feedback. It is hard to imagine most readers of this blog have not heard of Pandora by now but if you haven’t, what are you waiting for? It is free and available on just about every device out there (one of the most downloaded apps). While you’re on their site, check out answerYES Radio.

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