Great Book: Designing for the Social Web by Joshua Porter

If you are looking to expand your knowledge on Social Media, check out this great book Designing for the Social Web. It discusses how social media has evolved over the past several years, what works and what doesn’t and how to best integrate into your web site whether for sales, marketing or training. It also discusses the evolution of Social Media with Amazon, MySpace and how the web has evolved. Also looks at the psychology of users and how they think during the business process. On Amazon at:


PANMA Learning Event: Tomorrow on Web Hosting Demystified 4/21 in Philadelphia

If you are involved in web development, you don’t want to miss this event to learn the latest about hosting, selecting a provider and different technologies that you may need to consider. Space is running low, so register today!

Join us for an in-depth look at the state of web hosting in 2009. We’ll discuss the latest technologies, options and how to choose the right hosting partner. If you build, recommend or have a web site you won’t want to miss this great event to make sure you are getting the best solutions from your provided. We have some great giveaways, please tell a friend to improve your chances of winning. You must be at the event to win.

Tim Dodd from will be presenting on:

1. Second Generation Cloud Systems: What do they mean, how do they work and how you can take advantage of the technology. Discussion will include a look at Amazon, Mosso from Rackspace, Microsoft Azzure And HostMySites EEC

2. Optimizing Content Delivery: If you site includes video, pdfs, large files and you want to offer the best scalable delivery options, we’ll discuss solutions from Limelight Networks and Akamai

3. Selecting a Server for hosting, shared, virtual and managed servers, what does it mean and how to make the best choice.

4. What to look for when choosing a hosting partner. We’ll discuss what you should know before signing with a provider. 

Location: University City Science Center,  3711 Market Street, 8th Floor
Date: Tuesday, April 21
Time: Program: 7:00 – 8:30pm, doors open at 6:30pm. 

Register Today: The event is free, pre-register here:

Visit us on Facebook!  Our Facebook event page:  (Your can sign up there, if you’d prefer.)

Pizza & Light refreshments will be provided by HostMySite
G2 Computers is providing some giveaways, including 2 iPod shuffles.

If you are making a presentation, check out this cordless remote to help free you from your laptop.

If you find yourself making a couple presentations a year or a month, I would recommend purchasing the Logitech 2.4ghz Cordless Presenter. It run’s under $45, Amazon:, and frees you from being in front of or near your laptop. A USB connector, neatly pulls out of the back and plugs into your computer and sliding the on button on the remote to On allows you to connect with PowerPoint, Keynote or your favorite presentation tool. It allows for forward and backward movement as well as a built in laser pointer to assist in focusing the audience’s attention and parts of your screen. There is also a built in timer, which you can preset for a time limit and the remote will buzz to make sure you know you are running low on time and its time to wrap-up. I’ve plugged it into Macs, PCs with XP and Vista and no software is installed for quick use in case you are presenting from a client site. The display also displays how much battery life is left and it lasts approx 6 months based on your usage.
I’ve tried several other remotes over the years and found this to be the perfect size, feature set and ease of use to be able to quickly use during daily presentations.

8 gigabytes of RAM makes a difference.

I’ve been using Apple based laptops for several years now and I migrated to the 17″ model when they were originally announced by Apple. One thing I have noticed is that with the last 2 generations of the unit the high-res screen of 1920 x 1200 is a must have when working with several applications or windows. The extra real estate makes it easier to multi-task or move data around while brainstorming or wire framing. I ordered the new 17″ when announced at the January Macworld and got my hands in early March. Shortly after getting the unit I added the 8 gigabytes of RAM, from, which cost about $750 but wow was it worth it. My previous units had 4 gb’s which I always thought was enough but the 8 gb’s has made for a smoother experience especially running VMWare. I can now easily have Windows XP Home and alternate open or even Vista open with XP. Now Vista is slow and goofy but it runs comfortably now while running several mac apps at the same time and dare I say its usable.

 So if you been debating adding more memory to your workstation or looking at a new laptop, check out the Apple MacBook Pro 17″. The higher end MacBook Pro 15 also now supports 8 gb’s of ram as well.

 Update, last week I got my hands on the 7200 rpm 500gb hard drive and its nice to have some breathing room on the hard drive again. Great drive, quiet, and have not notice any additional heat or hit in battery life. Now, just have to find the budget to upgrade my team’s systems.

 Next on my wish list is a 30″ monitor.

Free Lunchtime Learning Session: Hollywood Storytelling 101 – April 21

Looks like a great online event:

April 21, 2009 – from 12 to 1PM
Hollywood Storytelling 101
presented by: Gordon Lewis

Gordon???s Hollywood storytelling 101 has 10 rules for using storytelling techniques to engage learners: know your audience, appeal to the emotions, show, don???t tell, know what???s at stake, let plot flow from premise, open with tension, keep it moving, up the ante, highlight the turning point, and end with tension resolved . Gordon will show you how to engage your learning audience by creating and producing interesting and engaging e-learning scripts. He will use stories to create an environment that supports learning. Using several styles and techniques, he will show you how to light up the screen and peak your learner???s interest.


Gordon???s screen credits include TV comedy hits such as AmenFamily Matters, and In Living Color, as well as documentaries (Small Steps,Big Strides: The Black Experience in Hollywood) and animated fairy tales (Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child). He is a member emeritus of the Writer???s Guild of America. In the late 1990s, in the interest of shorter hours and career longevity, Gordon transitioned to instructional design. He has since developed interactive courseware for United Airlines, Price-Waterhouse, Cisco Systems, Traveler???s Insurance and other corporations. He is now employed as a content strategist for the University of Toyota, where he designs online courses for Toyota, Lexus, and Scion.


TweetDeck .25: The Twitter Desktop Tool and so much more….

If you are using Twitter and looking for a desktop tool, take a look at TweetDeck. It’s in beta, it’s free and it’s available for both mac and windows.

The interface can be used as a simple 1 column feed and tweeter or you can customize it to include groups of friends, Facebook Status, Direct Messages and include several columns of information based on the size of your monitor and your needs.
For a quick tutorial, check out this getting started video by Cali Lewis/ <a href="</p>

Great Web App to check if your sites are up?

If you are looking for a tool that can help you track your web sites and alert you if your site is having a problem then you need to check out The site offers several options, including a free service. Based on your needs they offer an iPhone app for monitoring as well as e-mail, Twitter and SMS support for getting an alert if your site goes down. You also get a follow-up alert once the site is back-up and running to confirm the service has returned. I had been running an older Mac based service which no longer is support and we had tested several web based solutions over the last several months and I loved the options, pricing and solution here. Monitoring can be setup to test a particular url or for a word on a particular page. You can also get warning if the site times out or does not respond.

A look at services:


If you need a quick site checker, try the Instant Site Checker at:

Great Example of Learning and building Tutorials

Guy Kawasaki posted The Art of the Tutorial, an article for his American Express Blog . In his article, he discusses how companies, or any web site should be able to explain their business in under 2 minutes to a new client, customer or visitor. He show cases some examples for his newer startup AllTop, which I’ve posted about before as well as the production company who designed the tutorials and has produced all 3 examples he demonstrates.

They do a great job of showing, in this case, how to cook something using still shots/photography, a voiceover and simple directions. It’s a great example of how designers, instructors and everyone involved in e-learning should take into account on how to teach our audiences. I love the treatment and its effective. This technique can be applied to any business, idea, or training, think about it when you start your next production. Would love to hear your thoughts. Web Link:

Looks interesting – The Wharton Evolution of Learning Symposium, Philadelphia, May 13 –

If you are in Philadelphia are, check out this conference. Looks great and only $60. The keynote is Daniel Pink. Great writer and speaker. Check out A Whole New Mind @Amazon >

About the conference:
The world is increasingly interconnected, the face of employment is rapidly changing, and the economic upheavals roll on. Education is at a crossroads. Have we as educators kept up with this evolution of global consciousness, and have we considered the possibility that our current status quo no longer meets the challenges of today???s world? And are we prepared, if necessary, to transform an entire system of pedagogies and administrative infrastructures?

Have you seen the great content on TED?

I was first introduced to the TED talks, about 2.5 years ago, when Al Gore created his documentary An Inconvenient Truth.TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds.  The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). One of the greatest assets for web users is they have moved more and more of their content to the web for everyone to see. There’s a lot to learn, some fun, some serious and inspiring content. If you are not familiar with the content, I would recommend checking out a clip at least once a week.

Safari 4 Beta – Play with it Today!

The latest beta release for the Safari browser looks great and is fast. When you first try it out, the tabs (now above the title bar) seem a little out of place but once you play with it for a while I’ve come to the conclusion it is an improvement. So far I have not run into any problems on my routine daily sites, blogs and apps.

 As you type in a url or in the search area, a auto-drop down appears with choices which is a great time saver. There is also built in spell and grammar checking now. The new zoom in/out page view is nice implemented as well. The beta is available for both mac and windows. Full feature list at:

 Learn more at


Apple Certified Refurbished – Great Deals

With the current economy you may be looking for opportunities to cut costs but you may still need to purchase a new computer. Apple offers the latest and previous generation computers via their refurbished section where you can save $100 – $300 off the original price. The purchase comes with a full 1 year warranty and after getting several machines via this discount the only difference I’ve seen is that the machine is delivered in brown recycled box typically. Take a look the next time you are looking to add a new laptop or workstation. Some of the specials currently include:


Macbook White 2.1 – 2.4ghz $849 – $999


 iMac 20-inch 2.0ghz – $949


 Macbook 2.0ghz $1,099

Check out at the latest:

TweetDeck – Application for Twitter & Tutorial Link

If you are looking for a desktop app for mac or windows, check out TweetDeck at Its an Adobe Air based application that lets you split your feeds into smaller bites to allow for easier management as well as posting tweets. Its currently in Beta and available for free.

 Also check out this great getting started video by Cali Lewis/ <a href="<p>


Stories your parents told you…

Remember that classic story that you parents told you everytime you complained, asked for something or misbehaved? Mine was always the “classic” myth about having to go to school everyday in the blizzard with a foot of snow, walking uphill both ways. 


I was thinking about this recently while prepping for a Design session I presented at Training Magazine’s 2009 Conference. I came with the following stories that I will start to share with my little one:


Creating a Drop Shadow for Text
When I started using Photoshop, we had to buy a special Wow book in order to follow 3 pages of steps which involved, creating your text, selecting the text with the magic wand, inverse selection,   creating an alpha channel, dropping the selection, reselecting the alpha channel, offset, applying the treatment and then the client would ask you to tweak it. I didn’t have access to the book while writing this so it may be a little off but I think the longer the better for the story.

Today, you are lucky, in just about every program, you can just select a piece of text and click shadow.


I didn’t get my first cellphone until I was in my mid-20’s. They didn’t really exist prior and it was expensive but I had to have it. Today all the kids have one. 

When we were growing up there was no web. 

We had to use a single button mouse to work with our computer, at least if you were a mac user during the first 15 years.

Lastly, the iPhone, the ultimate interface for interacting with content. More about this in a future post.