Do you need a new coffee table?

This one ain’t exactly cheap, but it will definitely impress any visitor, from casual mobile-user to alpha-geek: Microsoft built the “Surface” Hardware, an innovative touchscreen (which actually isn’t a touchscreen but uses five cameras to track visual input) that allows for a unique user interface experience. But hardware is pretty boring with proper applications, and that’s what this video is all about:

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Synthasite offers $1.000 plus press coverage

best of synthasiteAnd all you have to do is use their free webpage editor, which rocks anyways. All pages made with synthasite are eligible for the competition, the results will be presented to the public on January 5th next year. But there’s actually a lot more than just plain old money at stake: especially pro-bloggers dig all kinds of buzz for their persona/projects, so this sounds like a nice deal:

Winners will receive (a) a free SEO lesson, performed by SynthaSite CEO and SEO Expert Vinny Lingham, (b) $1000, (c) be featured in a SynthaSite press release, in the SynthaSite newsletter and posted to Vinnys blog, and (d) be able to post a “Best SynthaSite” logo on the winning Web site(s) (collectively, the “Prize”). Awards will be announced no later than January 5, 2009. The approximate value of the Prize is $4,500.

The names of the winner will be announced on January 5th 2009, the competition began today. In case you haven’t tried Synthasite yet this is a good opportunity to take a closer look at an interesting online service: while many providers specialized in free blog hosting, Synthasite chose a different approach. After the (free) registration the user can build his or her own page in a pretty advanced online editor. This tool not only allows for custom structure but also interactive elements like a shop, a video gallery, various forms and widgets. Design and features are widely customizable. When publishing a page, the owner can either stick with a Synthasite subdomain, buy a dedicated domain for $15 per year or download the whole page to host it elsewhere.

synthasite editor
Synthasite’s editor screen

Besides the great usability, there’s one feature that really makes synthasite stand out: there are no third party ads. That means a webmaster can chose to use ads for his project, but Synthasite never interferes with banners, pop-ups and the like. I’m not sure how these guys pay their bills by the end of the month, but obviously the service is making enough money to start the contest. So if you’ve been looking for a quick and simple way to build a non-standard homepage from scratch, Synthasite might perfectly suit your needs anyways. And if you’re planning to enter the contest, you should keep the criteria in mind:

All entries will be judged by a panel of experts based on the following equally weighted judging criteria: visual appeal of site, focused purpose, and/or innovative use of widgets.

Good luck! Even though I’m generally not a big fan of third party infrastructure (you never know what might change), I must admit that this is a pretty nice idea – I’m curious about the winners, since I’m a mediocre designer at best, I’ll skip this one.

Coldcut vs. TV Sheriff: Change gone come?

Coldcut and TV Sheriff“They’re awfully hard to tell apart…” Turn up your subwoofers for this one! For their latest drum-and-bass powered assault dancefloor shakers Coldcut teamed up with America’s notorious TV Sheriff: it’s vivisection time aka: this one is great remix of the media frenzy that broke out over the final phase of the presidential elections:


DJ Uppercut: The Attack of the Ninja

Even though music videos are not quite the booming genre, they seem to make their comeback online. While MTV and other television channels play less and less music vids, creative artists these days us the net as their primary distribution channel. Shane Lester did this outstanding short movie for DJ Uppercuts Attack of Ninja, a masterpiece of animation and style. Turn up the volume and go fullscreen!

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Blog Action Day 2k8: Against poverty

blog action day 2008Blog action day 2008 is fighting global poverty by raising collective awareness in the blogosphere: Blog Action Day is an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the worlds bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion.. This year, the international grass-roots fight against inhumane living conditions aka poverty form the topic of one of the largest blogosphere campaigns ever.

More than 10.000 blogs have registered their postings so far – that’s hell of a press coverage for a movement that’s strictly driven by a few brave individuals who believe that pointing enough people to the root of a problem will eventually help to solve it.

Let’s not forget even in these times of worldwide financial crisis that our global problems can and must be solved on a global level. Large parts of all billions of people inhabiting this planet neither have neither clean water nor enough food. We, the people of industrialized and in comparison absurdly rich 1st-world-countries don’t just have the moral obligation to help these people. We also have to help them because large parts of today’s poverty were caused by incredibly greedy politics of economics in the last few decades.

Therefore, my personal wish – despite all panicking because of the stock-market crisis – is that help for the poor will remain on top of our political agenda.

Blogcatalog premium features rule supremely

…over any other blog catalogue. These guys offer very good value for very little money, considering the popularity of the site. Some of my blogs have been listed for quite a while now, and I like the looks and usability of my blog catalogue profile page. Instead of trying to spam as many irrelevant directories as possible, bloggers are much better off concentrating on a handful of important dirs, and bc is definitely one of them.

Today I became a “supporter”: for 6$ a month bc offers a pretty impressive range of feats: supports receive a special profile icon, geta beta access to all new features and surf a completely ad-free site. Any freeware adblocker can do that as well, but not if you’re on a public computer.

I can almost hear your thoughts – nice, but why should I pay for this? Okay, here’s the two killer features: first of all, donors are able to integrate their other social media profiles and leverage their catalogue presence by doing so. Currently only twitter is supported, but Digg, Delicious, and others communities will follow in the near future. And finally, here’s the juicy part: bc offers increased visibility, or in their words:

As a premium member your blog will be prominently displayed on our homepage, helping you get the exposure your blog deserves!

There’s also a weekly snapshot update (a recurring task that bc should do for every users anyways, as it’s in their own interest) or you might wanna spend some more money: an additional business model enables users to rent sponsored category links, the prices vary depending on the demand, but start as low as 8$ per month. Recently, Jeremy did an interview with one of the bc founders on these listings and on their newly launched social search. The reason why the made their prices so cheap is that they hope to make a lot of people use the premium services – at least in my case that worked quite well. I think this longtail-business-model is a lot smarter than high-prize premium placements and it shows that a good longtail site (containing no pr0n) *can* indeed be monetized.


If donating some money for enhanced exposure in the bigges US blog catalogue (we’re talking pagerank 7 here) sound like a good deal to you, simple login and chose “donate” in the account-menu. No subscription fees, just chose the time span (starting form one month), pay via Paypal and you’re all set.

New hardware: Ultimate Quadcore blogging power

QuadcoreYup, I did it: just bought ridiculously expensive new hardware. 4 Gigs of fast Ram, a quadcore, 1 TB harddisk memory… I bought all the parts at noon an assembled them today, currently I’m installing the OS and everthing is working fine. Turning so many crews was actually a lot of fun, I haven’t done this in a while. At first I actually wanted to by a ready-to-run system, but including personal configuration I would have had to wait a week. The craving for new hardware simply was way to strong, so I took the old-fashioned road:

Quadcore Rechner

Since my computer is on most of the time, silent hardware is very important to me, which means: silent cases for all harddisk, super-silent coolers, passively cooled graphics adaptor, silent power supply and case. I was really amazed when I turned my new workstation on for the first time: the CD-ROM is by far the loudest moving part, amazing! This upgrade should make video editing a lot easier in the future.

PC Zusammenbau

I picked an Intel Quadcore 2,66MHz, 12 Megs of Cache on an Asus P5Q board and an Asus 8600 GT Silent graphics adaptor plus 4 Gigs of 800MHz Ram memory. Looking forward to writing my blog postings a lot faster in the future :mrgreen:

Xsara, SEO dog #7: The day after the pagerank update

Yup, there was a pagerank update this weekend which showed a couple of very interesting tendencies: Google is putting even more focus on the update cycles of a given page, gets stricter with domain pagerank but gives away a lot more juice for deeplinks. Incoming links are of course still the most important factor, but sadly Xsara has been relying too much on good reputation…

Xsara, diaries of a SEO dog #7

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