Buzz Blog

Dynamically generating meta tags

April 16, 2010 10:06 a.m.

<meta name="description" content="">
<meta name="keywords" content="">

I see the above empty meta tags on Web pages with disturbing frequency. If a page is going to bother having a placeholder for such things, it seems prudent to actually put something there.

The usefulness of the description and keywords meta tags is hotly contested and often speculative. Since search engine algorithms are protected as zealously as the formula for Coca-Cola, the search engine optimization (SEO) industry is left to infer the utility of meta tags. Perhaps certain "lesser known" search engines make use of them, some say. Every ...

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Updated 07/14/10 @ 10:06AM UTC by Brian Moloney

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Categories: Technology lots of fun to make

November 03, 2009 10:35 a.m.

Today, Imaginary Landscape launched This is a microsite that allows us to promote our use of a specific Web development technology. Specifically, the Python programming language and the Django Web development framework.

Granted, the idea of a technology microsite isn't really a barrel-of-monkeys kind of thing, but we have had a ton of fun with it. The reason? Mascots.

The mascot for Python is, as you might guess, a snake. The mascot for Django is a pink winged pony.


With the specific purpose of having fun, I sifted through the Web in search of two stuffed ...

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Updated 07/14/10 @ 10:35AM UTC by Brian Moloney

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Categories: Business Technology

Django/Python as the basis for a new market

September 11, 2009 10:44 a.m.

As a company, Imaginary Landscape has had great success aligning ourselves with industry verticals such as hospitals and associations and financial institutions. Although we have been deeply involved with the technology side, most clients - quite frankly - couldn't care less about the technology. They want their Web site to do certain things and look a certain way. Whether that means a SQL or Access database didn't matter. Open source or Microsoft...whatever, just make sure the site does what it's supposed to do. For most clients, the purchase decision for Web comes from marketing and their focus is ...

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Updated 07/14/10 @ 10:44AM UTC by Brian Moloney

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Categories: Technology Web News

A small example of viral Twitter

September 11, 2009 10:42 a.m.

Last year I was reading through a variety of industry writings and came upon the widely-held assertion that "less is more" when it comes to Web-based forms. Specifically, how requiring users to fill out many form fields results in less submissions.

However, I was unable to find any data to support this. It seemed like a fairly easy thing to test, so I decided to test it on our website.

At the time, the Imaginary Landscape contact form was 11-fields long. It was filled with fields that I did not need but instead just wanted. Fields like Fax Number and ...

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Updated 07/14/10 @ 10:42AM UTC by Brian Moloney

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Categories: Technology Web News

Choose your Tweets (and landlord) wisely

July 29, 2009 10:45 a.m.

According to a Chicago Sun-Times article this week, a renter named Amanda Bonnen tweeted some trash talk about her landlord:

"Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay."

This was mixed with an unremarkable stream of tweets that included:

"All of these people eating McDonalds is making me want to hurl."
"I can tell I'm on the right flight for fort meyers, the average age tends to be about 70."
"We may not win games, but we ALWAYS win at drinking and looking damn good."

Mashable did a story that went ...

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Updated 07/14/10 @ 10:45AM UTC by Brian Moloney

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Categories: Chicagoland Technology

Apple vs. Microsoft: It's just so tedious

July 21, 2009 10:47 a.m.

In an article from CNet News last week, it seems like someone at Apple called Microsoft COO Kevin Turner and asked him to stop running those nasty "Laptop Hunter" ads. You know, the ones where they give someone $1,000 and ask them to go into a Microsoft store to see what they can buy? This was a highlight of his keynote speech at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference.

Anyhow, apparently someone from Apple's legal department called and told Mr. Turner to stop running the ads. "This is a true story," affirms Mr. Turner. I wonder if they also ...

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Updated 07/14/10 @ 10:47AM UTC by Brian Moloney

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Categories: Rants Technology

Keep masking passwords, for now

July 10, 2009 10:48 a.m.

I always find Jakob Nielsen's usability columns interesting. I rarely disagree with his mostly common sense approach, however I found myself at odds with a recent Alertbox column, entitled "Stop Password Masking."

In a nutshell, he believes the common practice of displaying dots or asterisks when typing in a password to be unnecessary and a usability problem. He says that it causes users to make more password entry errors since they can not visually verify what is being typed. I agree on both counts.

He says that because password entry errors are more likely, users therefore feel less confident ...

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Updated 07/14/10 @ 10:48AM UTC by Brian Moloney

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Categories: Research Technology User Interface

A case study in the value of Twitter

April 23, 2009 10:52 a.m.

I get asked a lot about this Twitter thing. What is it, they ask. I say it is a microblogging platform, which mostly elicits blank stares. I go on to describe it in more detail, how people "Tweet" about what they're doing in short bursts. Most look quizzically, wondering why anyone would be interested in knowing when someone is blow drying their hair or eating a burrito the size of their forearm (no, really. I saw the Twitpic).

Mostly I agree that the content on Twitter is drivel. But not today.

I started today by taking the Metra commuter ...

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Updated 07/14/10 @ 10:52AM UTC by Brian Moloney

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Categories: Chicagoland Cool Web Stuff Technology

What is the deal with "Evangelists"?

January 23, 2009 11:02 a.m.

Everywhere I turn, I see the title Evangelist related to technology jobs. Am I the only one that thinks this is silly?

Webster's New World Collegiate Dictionary (Fourth Edition) defines evangelist as follows:

  1. Any of the four writers of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.
  2. A revivalist or preacher who holds large public services in various cities, now often televised.

Come on, people. Is it just me who snickers every time I hear the word Evangelist stapled onto some equally pompous title? Is it just me whose head fills with head-slap healing, Kool-Ade drinking, Tammy Faye marrying ...

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Updated 07/14/10 @ 11:02AM UTC by Brian Moloney

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Categories: Business Rants Technology

Beer goggles? Gmail to the rescue

October 09, 2008 11:10 a.m.

Google Labs just released Mail Goggles, a special feature to give you pause before you drunkenly send a late night email you'll undoubtedly regret in the morning.

According to the Official Gmail Blog post:

When you enable Mail Goggles, it will check that you're really sure you want to send that late night Friday email. And what better way to check than by making you solve a few simple math problems after you click send to verify you're in the right state of mind?

The feature is only active during late nights and weekends.


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Updated 07/14/10 @ 11:10AM UTC by Brian Moloney

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Categories: Cool Web Stuff Fun Technology