I’m in the process of refreshing the site, so things may be a bit askew here and there. The site has been in desperate need of a facelift for a while as the snowflakes were getting a little old and the weather is getting much nicer. For starters, I have changed the header to be a bit lighter and introduced a darker background of the site pages. This will make the main area “pop” a bit more. The one area I’m not sure what to do with is the “Sidebar” on the right hand side of the page, where my RSS feeds and other links are located. I’ve been looking around at how others in the blogosphere handle these areas and hopefully something will inspire me. So in the meantime, please bear with the changes and inconsistencies that will be popping up around the site.
In a very interesting move, Google is now indicating if you are logged in when you are on their homepage (see red box in image above). This is a very interesting move in that it is taking them one deep step closer to “portal” land. But I think what is more interesting is how their homepage is, relatively speaking (of course), getting more cluttered now that there are several new services they are exposing on the homepage.
For the longest time, they have stayed true to their original simple design, and that has been a key factor in their growth. However, with all the new services they are launching and testing out via Google Labs for example, I think they may be challenged to keep the homepage uncluttered and focused on search while still giving equal exposure to new products such as Gmail, Google Maps and others. As the homepage stands now, I think its getting messy and looking a little amature-ish.
What is more interresting is when you look at the overall market that includes Yahoo, AOL, and now Google. Yahoo has always been the leader in the market and they have evolved from just an Web based service to one that includes several software applications that extend the Yahoo experience to the desktop. AOL started as a software application on the desktop that extended to the Internet. Now, they are going to focus more on Internet/Web based services while still offering the desktop software applications (AOL Client, AIM, etc.). And now Google is doing the same thing, with desktop applications such as Desktop Search, Gmail Notifier, etc. It seems that all of these online services are meeting at the desktop in a war to control how users access different services. And I have not even mentioned Microsoft, who still own the desktop but have been awful quiet recently.
It will be interesting to see how they evolve the homepage to bring forward the new features they are launching without detracting from their core Search product.
Update: In another interesting move, Google introduced a personalized homepage which pretty much signifies that they have jumped into the portal pool with both feet.
Google continues to expand the services it offers and is rapidly becoming more than just a search engine. Granted, every product that Google releases is driven by search but they definitely encroaching onto the world of the portal. Case in point is Google Maps which is actually a pretty impressive yet simple maps product. One really cool feature is that when the location you are looking for has been generated, you are able to “grab” the map and move it around similar to how you can do that for Adobe PDF documents. That is very helpful when you want to get a sense of the surroundings of where you are looking for. It eliminates the supremely annoying functionality on Mapquest, Yahoo Maps of having to click the N/E/S/W arrows to move around the map.
If you have not heard all the buzz, there’s a new browser on the block. Mozilla’s Firefox 1.0 was released this week to much fanfare. Its garnered articles in USA Today and in an ingeneous marketing move, they have taken donations from over 10,000 people to fund a grassroots advertising campaign with placements in The NY Times among other publications. And the best part is that Firefox has made some serious inroads on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer domination of the browser market. I have my Firefox button on the sidebar of this site, so if you have not yet done so, download it now! And the best part? Its an amazing browser!! It supports RSS feeds, it has tabbed browsing which is just a super convenient feature, its a very light application, and it loads pages super quick. You may never go back.
Update: The Support Firefox site seems to be having a bit of trouble under all the publicity that the site and browser is generating recently. Hopefully it will be back up soon.
As most tech fans know, Mozilla.org and its open source browser product has been making some serious inroads into the browser marketplace. In a relatively stunning market shift, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has lost almost 5% marketshare as Mozilla’s Firefox has drawn fans away. With all the security issues that Microsoft has with their code, its not surprsing that people are looking elsewhere. And my personal review on Firefox is that it is an impressive product with some really neat features including a RSS reader. Download Firefox and give it a shot!
I have created some alternate style sheets for my site. The various flavors can be chosen by clicking on any of the four square icons on the top of the right hand column on each page. I have a few more flavors that I would like to add to the mix, however they are a work in progress at present.
I will highlight the other new flavors I am working on in a future post, but my goal is to go one step further with these style sheets and develop a different page structure and interface similar to the way CSS Zen Garden does it.
Check out these Yahoo! Search Shortcuts recently released by Yahoo! Search. They are just some amazing tools for people to use to find most anything you may need. And I think the most impressive and lucrative aspect of this is how it can drill down to specific towns and regions. This is going to open up a huge amount of revenue opportunities for them.
Some of the commentary and items that I have discussed here are both boring, mundane and to someone out there, hopefully interesting and useful. I think the biggest problem I am facing what I should focus the subject matter of my posts on. I talk about sports, movies, personal items, random links, web design, web trends, marketing trends and other stuff. Maybe that is the voice I want for this blog. A little of this and a little of that. I will figure it out in short order. In any case, Happy First Birthay sgclark.com blog. Write on!!
Sadly, one of the more exciting things that happened this weekend was that I was able to connect my recently reserved (early February actually) URL https://www.sgclark.com to this very site. Its still hosted by my friends (and former employer) Tripod but now I am using my own URL. I have arrived on the Web and I am a real Web junkie…I have my own domain and my own web site! Its all about appearences I even connected the kids site to http://kids.sgclark.com.
I have recently added a new feature of sorts to the site. You can now choose wether to have the site interface as a free flowing “Liquid” design, where the text ajusts to the size of your browser window, or a “Fixed Width” design, where the width of the content area is fixed to a specific width. This feature is effective when you are looking at the site with a large resolution monitor like those massive ones Apple and Dell are putting out in that it gives more control over the layout. To change the look, simply click on the icons at the top of the green column to the right.
Problems – I am having some troubles with my Print style sheet in the Resume area when the alternate style sheets are active (Liquid Display, Valentines Day, and St. Patricks Day styles). So, if you want to print my resume using the browser print function, make sure the interface is the “Fixed Width” interface with the yellow header and the gray background.
Update: – This was a short lived experiment. I have moved away from trying to prove I can do several things with my web site and decided to just keep it simple. I may look into using style switcher scripts in the future, but for right now, I’m sticking to one design.
Seems that Tripod, my current free hosting service, is having some troubles with their FTP services. Once I am settled with a new job and some income, I am going to get my own URL and get a hosting service. I need to move on from the free hosting services and wing it on my own. Its time.
Creative Commons is an interesting site and service where you can legally protect your content, code, creativity from digital pirates while still giving people to opportunity to “use” or “share” your information.
This is an interesting site that provides direction on how to create CSS Buttons purely with cascading style sheets.