Enable Thumbnail View For PSD Files In Windows Explorer

In the latest versions of Adobe Photoshop with the inclusion of Adobe Bridge the thumbnail view of PSD files within the windows explorer is no more present, This can be really difficult if you intent to see preview of the file you need to open the Adobe Bridge inorder to view the preview, which consumes a lot of RAM.

Another way is to restore the the thumbnail view for the PSD files within explorer.

Here’s how to restore thumbnails for PSD in explorer

The psd thumbnail view is not included by design in the lastest version of photoshop. To restore this feature follow these steps:
1. Download psicon.dll
2. Place the DLL in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Shell\
3. Thumbnail previews of PSD files are now back

The psicon.dll can be downloaded from here.

Google To Display Tweets in Search Results

Google has signed a deal with Twitter and will begin displaying tweets in Google search results. The announcement is generating mixes reactions among SEO professionals and site owners.

Google made the very brief announcement in their official blog about the Twitter Deal as part of their goal to “create the most comprehensive, relevant and fast search in the world.” While it will be interesting to see what they do with Twitter tweets, I seriously doubt if this will bring them closer to reaching their goal.

For those not familiar with Twitter, it is a micro-blogging site that might be better described as a micro-messaging site. It is based on a cell phone text messaging model and limits the length of a message to 140 characters. Messages are called “tweets.” Links can be included to tweets, but the length of the URL is part of the 140 character limit. Online URL shortening tools are commonly used to add very brief URLs that are then redirected to the final destination page. In order to receive someone’s tweets, the user must sign up for a Twitter account and then voluntarily sign up to “follow” another Twitter user’s tweets.

Twitter can be effectively used to drive traffic to a web site if enough targeted users can be persuaded to sign up as followers. The main problem with Twitter is that the overwhelming majority of tweets are useless dribble. While it is an ideal medium for celebrities and politicians to get their message out, do we really need to know that one of them is eating a ham sandwich or about to leave to go grocery shopping?

At this point, we do not know how Google will display tweets in their search results. They may cluster them together like they currently tend to do with YouTube videos. The problem is that they may just clutter up search results and push web site pages further down in rank positions.

Do not expect to be able to use Twitter to build links to your site. All outbound links from the major social media sites are blocked in one fashion or another so that they do not pass any link value. In the case of Twitter, all links are nullified with a “nofollow” attribute. That effectively eliminates any link value that might otherwise be passed. It may be safe to assume that Google will do something similar with tweets that show up in their search results.

The real question is, “How will Google determine which tweets make it into their search results?” This could be based upon some Twitter internal ranking criteria, similar to the way that YouTube videos are ranked. It could be based upon the number of followers that forward a particular tweet to their followers. The most logical assumption is that keyword phrases in the tweets will be part of the ranking algorithm.

Advice: Start including targeted keywords and links to destination pages in your tweets.

Until we can determine how Google will select a few choice tweets from the millions of useless tweets generated each day, it would be wise to make sure that each tweet that you send includes targeted keywords and a link to the appropriate page in your web site. It might also be a good idea to make sure that your most important targeted keyword phrases are included in the description in your Twitter account.

Microsoft announced similar deals with both Twitter and FaceBook for Microsoft’s Bing search engine, so it appears that a trend may be emerging.

Bing Offers Link Building Tips

MSN’’s Bing search engine team published a list of issues related to obtaining inbound links that could either help or hurt your web site’s rankings. As most serious web site owners know, building good, industry-related inbound links is important to help a web site rank well in organic search results.

There aren’t any new revelations in the article entitled, Link Building for Smart Webmasters, but the article does do a good job of reinforcing good and bad link building techniques. Bing did reveal that they do have a team of people who actually look at a web site when their spiders report suspicious inbound link building methods.

Bing makes it clear that they are “less concerned about the link building techniques used than about the intentions behind the effort.” That basically means that if you are doing link building to assist users with finding relevant information, they look upon this favorably. However, if you are building links merely to raise search engine rankings, you may find your web site headed in the wrong direction in Bing’s search results.

The following summarizes Bing’s tips, along with our interpretation of how to best utilize these techniques.

What Bing Says You Should Be Doing To Build Links

  • Provide high quality content to attract links from related sites. If you focus on writing the best informational content on the web, others will link to your web pages. Become an expert voice for your industry.
  • Develop your business brand and be consistent about that brand in your content. A site should focus on a specific theme and be consistent with the information that is publish on the site site. Stick to a topic and do not become a generalist.
  • Publish expert articles to online article directories. The publishing of articles to article directories such as eZineArticles.com, GoArticles.com and others has been a long-standing method to build links. The idea is to publish a unique article to these free article directories. The article becomes freely syndicated. Other sites will pick up and publish these articles and are supposed to provide a link back to your web site. Keep the articles focused on the the same theme as your web site. Do not simply publish existing articles from your web site, because that is asking for trouble with duplicate content.
  • Participate in relevant blogs and forums and refer back to your site’s content when applicable. That is basically an encouragement to refer to your articles often in industry-related blogs and forums. A technique that works well is to look for a problem presented in a blog or forum that needs to be solved. Publish the solutions on your site and then link to it from the blog or forum.
  • Launch a blog or a forum on your site. This may work well with some sites, but interactive blogs and forums can be time-consuming and require dedicated attention.
  • Use social media networks to link to your site. While this can drive traffic, most social media networks block link inheritance factors by using the “nofollow” attribute on all outbound links. Bing focuses on building the industry connections that may stimulate others to link to your web site from their sites.

What Bing Says You Should Not Be Doing To Build Links

  • Do not build too many links too quickly. That could trigger a review from Bing’s staff. This means that it is not a good idea to purchase thousands of links from web directories.
  • Do not build too many inbound links from unrelated sites. This follows Google’s preference for natural linking and emphasizes that the old SEO cliche, “a link is a link”, no longer holds true. There is a quality factor with links that plays an important role in determining the inherited value of a link. Focus on building links from industry-related web sites.
  • Do not use hidden links on your pages. Hidden links and hidden content have both created penalty situations for many years.
  • Do not link out to known spam sites. Inheritance is a two-way street. When you link to a site that has been banned or heavily penalized by the search engines, your site can be penalized, as well. Google has long preached the same issue. Be careful who you link to.

The Bing article is worth reading and may provide you with one of two good ideas for improving your link building.

Get your Cocktails in a Mix – YouTube bans NHS video

The Cocktails Mix campaign (pronounced Cocktalesmix) was the brain child of the NHS in Derbyshire, dreamt up to warn young people of using excessive amounts of alcohol this  Christmas.

A VIDEO created by the Cocktails Mix campaign team has been banned from a website for being too controversial.

Video website YouTube has removed the Cocktails Mix NHS video clip, called Bloody Mary, which shows a group of young men jeering at a woman who is so drunk she urinates in the street, then falls over and injures herself.

It was one of two videos created by Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust for its £25,000 Cocktales mix campaign, aimed at getting young adults to drink sensibly.

It received more than 15,000 hits in the eight days it was on the website.

The second video made by the trust, Tequila Slammer, shows a drunk man dressed as a turkey being run over by a car, remains on YouTube and can be seen here (warning, some viewers may find these scenes disturbing):

Santa’s tips for Blogging for Business

How does Santa know what everyone wants for the holidays? Simple, the children tell Santa very specifically. Whether they are sitting on his lap, or writing letters in crayon, Santa’s “customers” make it very clear to him what they are looking for this holiday season.

You have the same advantage. Grownups use search engines to tell you exactly what they want. You simply need to show up, no matter what or how they are asking.

If Santa were dishing out corporate blogging advice for marketers this holiday season, I’m sure it would sound something like this:

Blog for search

Recognize that blogging is a terrific search marketing tool and embrace it early. Blogs give you an easy way to quickly tell lots of stories frequently. The reality is that most blog traffic is coming from first-time visitors. They don’t know you yet. What searchers do know is what they want or the problems they are trying to solve. Developing specific blogs targeting specific products or services is a terrific way to target these self-qualifying prospects.

Do your keyword research and take advantage of the space that your blogs give you to talk about your products and services using the words your customers use.

Example: GoalGroup

GoalGroup is an industry leader in protecting investors and funds against losses and retrieves them money after class action lawsuits. It sells its services through a worldwide network and is monitoring and reporting on class actions to its global network of clients and partners. It targets hundreds of specific terms through blogging, using keywords such as “class actions” and “class action lawsuits”.

For GoalGroup, targeting search through class action focused blog articles not only helps dramatically increase organic traffic, but such traffic also converts at a very high level — which is a clear indication that the search audience is happy to have landed on one of the company’s blog articles.

Example: Today Translations

Language Translation agency Today Translations has embraced targeted blogging to drive searches. By empowering its language translators in the markets (in London and financial centres worldwide) it serves to tell stories about their business, the company is able to target people in those markets the very moment when they need the services of a language translator the most. Targeting terms like “language translator”, “English to Chinese translation” or “English to Russian translation” shows up well because of the local stories the language translators tell.

The biggest miss in multi-channel merchant blogging is the conversion. Just like any other web page in your inventory, your blogs need to have clear, relevant, and effective calls-to-action. If a searcher lands on a web page about a Property in Wimbledon or a Private Detective Agency, they sure better have a way to buy that service.

Many companies do a wonderful job on PPC landing pages and totally fail on their blogs. You have to think of your blogs as organic landing pages. The goal is conversion — get your searchers to take the next step in the relationship.

Every kind of business can benefit from search-optimised blogging. By following the advice above, you are putting your organization in front of people who have expressed their intent to find a solution to their needs, whether it’s for information, services, or products.

Using Social Media – Twitter

Twitter is one of several social media networks that is currently growing in popularity by leaps and bounds. While most social media sites are not designed with businesses in mind, Twitter is one system that can be very beneficial if you have an online business.

Twitter was started in 2004 and is officially referred to as a “microblogging” site. What that really means is that Twitter is a web-based text messaging system that allows you to send short messages to anyone who voluntarily signs up to receive your messages. While the actual numbers are guarded by Twitter, there are an estimated 30+ million USA users. Nielsen reports that the largest demographic segment is 35 to 49-year-olds, which make up 41.7% of users. That is an ideal age range if you have a retail store or offer online services and are looking for active Internet purchasers.

Twitter is a natural fit for celebrities, politicians and news organizations. It can also be a good fit for online stores to use to get their advertising message out to people who sign up to read your messages and respond to coupons, sales and special offers.

Here is how it works:

A user signs up for a free Twitter account. The account allows the member to send “tweets” to anyone who signs up to be a follower. You cannot sign people up to be followers; they must voluntarily sign up. When an member sends a tweet, it is sent to the Twitter accounts of all of the member’s followers, who can view all of the accumulated messages on their Twitter home page. The interesting part is that any follower who receives a tweet and likes what it contains can re-tweet it to all of their followers. The beauty of Twitter is that a business can send a tweet out to 500 followers. If the message is interesting or contains a special deal that is worthwhile, any follower can re-tweet the message to their followers. A percentage of those members will re-tweet the message to their followers. It is therefore possible for a message that was originally sent to 500 followers to be sent to hundreds of thousands of followers by the end of the day.

You can also send a “direct tweet” to any one follower that you wish to communicate with. When you send a direct tweet, only that follower will see the message. Messages can be sent via the web, a cell phone or via instant messaging.

The main limitation with Twitter is that tweets are limited to a maximum of 140 characters. That is because the concept was originally based upon cell phone text messaging, which is limited to 160 characters. The twitter founders shortened it to 140 characters to allow for a signature, which tells a follower who you are.

You can include links in tweets. Free URL shortening services, such as bit.ly, tinyurl.com and others, can convert long URLs to very short URLs that are then re-directed to the intended destination URL. URLs longer than 25 characters are automatically run through a shortening services by Twitter.

One problem is that it can be difficult to accumulate a substantial number of followers who are interested in the products or services that a web site offers. The best way to do this is to simply set up a Twitter icon on a web site and invite a site’s users to sign up as a follower.

The best part with using Twitter is that is is easy to learn and is completely free. There are no incremental costs for sending messages. The only investment is in the time it takes to send tweets and accumulate followers.

If you have a Twitter account, feel free to sign up as one of our followers using the Twitter link in the right column on this page. If you need to sign up for a Twitter account, simply click on the Join Twitter link when you arrive at the Twitter site and follow the instructions.

There is one important tip to offer when you sign up for a free Twitter account. During the signup process they will ask you to provide your e-mail password so that they can import all of the the e-mail addresses in your account and invite them to become your followers. If you feel comfortable with this, then go ahead and do it. Personally speaking, I would never provide any web site with my e-mail password. There is a link at the bottom of the page that allows you to skip that step.

Virtual Gets Real with Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) has become a hot topic among marketers, particularly in light of the release of Yelp’s Monocle app that allows users to see location-based reviews hovering on their iPhone screens. The technology has provoked repeat interest from Mashable, Wired, Fast Company, and ReadWriteWeb, while companies like IBM, GE, Best Buy, P&G, and Wal-Mart are moving beyond pure gimmick to truly connect with consumers via AR.

The seminal promise of AR is as the touchstone technology allowing social networks, geo-based tracking, and the semantic web to converge. Put less geekily, think of AR as your personalized digital butler, who will get to know your behavior so specifically that it can prethink your choices based on your friends, location, and how you search online. The cyberpunk fictions have come to reality with AR, and the cultural ramifications are as powerful as the marketing opportunities.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the fundamental ways in which augmented reality will reshape consumer behavior and interactive marketing, as well as a few companies and applications that are leading the way.

From map to mindset
What’s your relationship to the GPS unit in your car? Do you lament the loss of serendipity that resulted from depending on the tinny voice on your dash? More likely, you’ve learned to lean on your satellite siren and have blissfully embraced paperless travel.

This adjustment to technology represents a step toward artificial intelligence, in which machines can learn our behavior and improve the way we live. Adopting GPS not only saves us time in our travels, it lets us clear our mental palette to make space for other thoughts, a “prethinking” process mirrored in augmented reality. Still in its nascent form until the majority of the public owns enabled smartphones, AR’s ability to layer 3-D images on a phone’s screen in the context of a person’s actual location makes it the touchstone technology galvanizing artificial intelligence and the promise of social marketing.

The tech you shouldn’t see
The trailer for Microsoft’s Xbox Project Natal announcement provides a key insight into the future of augmented reality, human behavior, and commerce. Noting from the outset that “no controller is required,” a typical family runs through a set of game scenarios based on their varying interests. A teenage boy karate-kicks an avatar, his older sister video chats with a friend who recommends a virtual dress to wear, and so on.

Although facial and voice recognition enhance the game, we’re reminded that to enjoy the Xbox, “the only experience you need is life experience.” This idea is key — like your GPS, you forget about the tech and focus on the benefits. You augment your reality in the context of what you’re presented.

Skewing social
Augmented reality assigns relevance for users of the “outernet” via AR applications like Yelp’s Monocle that allow you to see location-specific user reviews on the screen of your iPhone by simply pointing your camera and clicking on links. The process is faster than looking online, especially once users search via multiple AR services that aggregate relevant data for their location. The result is crowd-sourced commerce and a prethinking reliance of users to make purchasing decisions once they’re nearing their destination rather than at home. Social networks take on a new and more immediate relevance when posts are seen in the context of physical space.

Tagging taxonomies
Geo-tagging lets you create text, audio, or video you can assign a physical location to via AR-enabled smartphones. When others come to that spot in the future, they’ll be able to experience the content you’ve left behind. This communal prethinking in relation to location will become commonplace, as will the virtual offers pushed our way when we’re in the vicinity of local stores. Prethinking via dating services like Match.com combined with geo-enabled tweets will alter cultural behavior as well.

The sublime search
Prethinking also applies to how we tag ourselves, an act that has direct repercussions on semantic search. Instead of relying on keywords that have multiple meanings depending on context and native language, search powered by augmented reality assigned to specific geo-locations will have the relevance of our physical actions. Taxonomies relating to our actual locations will transform reliance on clumsy search algorithms in lieu of actual behavior. This aggregated data will provide a wealth of information to marketers in terms of when to deliver key messaging and relevance to geography. And as identity standards like Open ID continue to evolve, consumers can set their geo-privacy preferences to avoid unwanted airvertising to create standards for outernet etiquette as well.

Augmented reality becomes a transformative technology when campaigns move beyond Flash to demonstrate utility. Gimmicks can be useful to attract user attention, but AR needs to lead to relevant social or commercial connections.

Georgia Tech’s zombie game provides an example of flash and function that can move the needle for commercial adoption of AR. We all enjoy slaughtering the undead, and moving around a placemat-like game board to see 3-D action via our smartphone screens is sweet. But when an actual Skittles candy is placed on the game board and game characters react to its presence, the applications for marketing become readily apparent. Virtual aisles in retail environments can be festooned with interactive characters or videos. Beer goggles take on a literal angle, and placemats will provide games that respond to various bottles or cans maximized for AR.

Other services like Zugara’s Webcam Social Shopper let people virtually try on clothes, and users can take pictures of themselves to send to their friends on Facebook. Combining the AR app with crowd-sourced opinions from social networks provides utility along with the benefit of collaborative shopping.

USAA has also proven that non-sexy AR applications can gain more traction than gimmicky campaigns. Its iPhone app allows people to take a picture of their checks for instant deposits, a simple yet profound action inasmuch as it engenders ease of financial transaction. As reported by eWeek in an article about the application, “USAA’s customers have conducted more than 13.3 million mobile transactions in 2009.” Prethinking leads to profits via AR-enabled utility.

Jamais Cascio, the popular ethical futurist that regularly writes for Fast Company and other publications, dovetails the notions of prethinking combined with AR in his notion of “focus assistants,” or filtering tools that screen content you don’t want to receive. In his article for the Atlantic, “Get Smarter,” he notes that, “as our capacity to provide that filter gets faster and richer, it increasingly becomes something akin to collaborative intuition — in which everyone is effectively augmenting everyone else.

This process of collective intuition is amplified by AR applications like Pelago’s visual storytelling tool, Whrrl. The service, according to CEO Jeff Holden, is a “real-time storytelling product for people’s daily lives,” which aggregates multiple tweets, posts, and updates to form a kind of visual Twitter. These communal events are also shared to the larger community, which can comment while stories take place. This process creates a form of public prethinking known as group awareness. And it’s the data culled from these multiple communal stories that will form the basis of future interactions in commerce and culture at large.

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Conclusion
Augmented reality offers multiple touchpoints to interact with consumers in an intimate and impactful virtual landscape. When commercial experiences in the outernet honor consumer privacy, are relevant to location, and embrace communal group experience, marketers will benefit. But like GPS and our Xbox family demonstrated, AR is just a few steps away from being invisible. No experience is required and prethinking will become a habit without our realizing its taken place.

Just remember that, like the mom at the end of the video, you can always turn the AR technology off. And unless marketers collaborate with consumers on their virtual sojourns, they’re likely to do the same to us.