A Picture Tells a Million Words

How Much is a Dynamic Picture Worth?
The old saying goes “a picture tells a thousand words” — but today that saying may actually be an understatement. Consuming information through images, rather than the written word, has become increasingly popular. With the rise of the Internet, our demand for visual information has increased exponentially, but static pictures in a world filled with dynamic, real-time information are falling behind fast. Further, the latest technologies for browsing from desktops to mobile and even entertainment devices have ushered in a dramatic leap forward in digital interactivity.

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Introducing Winstone, an ultra-lightweight alternative to Tomcat and Jetty

Recently, my frustration with Tomcat and Jetty set me off Googling for possible alternatives. After some searching, I came across a relatively new open-source servlet engine called Winstone. I think this server may well be a great replacement for both Tomcat and Jetty, at the very least as a development tool. Before I delve in to more detail on Winstone, let me share a little background on Java servlet engines, and my particular issues with Tomcat and Jetty.

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Android: So Many Device Sizes and Resolutions

Being an open-source operating system, Android enables smartphone manufacturers to create devices for all sorts of people and purposes. This is fabulous, since it opens up a world of smart handheld computing to nearly all demographics and socioeconomic groups. However, for an Android app developer—especially one who is accustomed to iOS development already—this “openness” causes a bit of a quagmire.

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Grammar Guide #5: Kill the Serial Comma and Extra Spaces

While technical writers and devotees of the Chicago Manual of Style typically use serial commas in their writing, there are good reasons for Web writers to follow the Associated Press Stylebook, which advises against them.

First, to better engage readers, Web writing is usually more colloquial and journalistic in style, which is not in line with the more formal serial comma. But there’s a more important reason for not using them. In many languages (e.g., French, German, Italian, Spanish), the serial comma is not the norm and may even go against punctuation rules. So if your site will be translated into another language, your serial comma may be lost in translation and come across as unpolished. That being said, a serial comma is always welcome if it’s purpose for joining the party is to avoid ambiguity or confusion, or if an integral element of the series requires a conjunction.

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Grammar Guide #4: Who vs. Whom

For as long as I can remember, my father has had a playful attitude toward words. When I would answer his phone calls from the road, he would ask in a low-pitched, official-sounding voice, “Is this the party to whom I’m speaking?” And though it made me giggle, it was grammatically correct. Many people struggle with when to use who and whom in a sentence, but there is a straightforward method to choosing the right word. Just ask yourself if the subject is he or him and you’ll have the answer. Here are some examples:

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Grammar Guide #3: That witch who used which instead of that.

If you are confounded by the title of this lesson, you’re not alone. The terms that, which and who often cause confusion but, luckily, there are some simple rules you can follow.

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Grammar Guide #2: One Word or Two?

As technology advances, new terms are coined to describe what didn’t previously exist. Often these terms are made up of multiple words that eventually become compound words. For example, in the 1990s most people used a dial-up connection to access Web sites, for which they would describe their state as being on-line or off-line. Now very few people use dial-up connections to access websites, online shopping is everywhere and offline can also refer to side conversations, as in, “let’s take this offline.”

Did you notice how the once-hyphenated terms on-line and off-line transformed into compound words in that last sentence? And just last year, two of the most influential style manuals (Associated Press Stylebook and Chicago Manual of Style) accepted website as the new standard over Web site. And while dial-up is still most widely accepted as a hyphenated adjective or noun, we may eventually see it as one word.

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Welcome to the Grammar Guide

The quality of content on your website is just as important as the design and usability. And while you’ve probably already developed a unique voice for your brand, there are some basic grammar rules that, when followed, make all copy seem crisp, clean and professionally written. This post is the first in a series aimed at not only helping all of us remember those long-ago grammar lessons, but also providing guidance with new terms and rules.

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Content is king. So why put it off to the last minute?

Whether for information or entertainment, commerce or connections, the goal of a website is to engage visitors. And when it comes to websites, content is king. Sure, design and usability are critically important, but without meaningful content, it’s unrealistic to expect people to engage with your site. You’ve got to deliver the “so what.”

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TeuxDeux for To Do’s

I’m horrible at sticking with an online to-do list. I’ve tried quite a few; Remember the Milk, the Gmail to-do list and numerous others. It seems that within a week or two, I forget that it exists and go back to chicken scratches on Post-It notes when I remember to do so. Enter TeuxDeux. Tagline, “What deux yeux have teux deux teuxday?

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