John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

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November 20th, 2006 by john andrews

Google Negotiating Access to Lightpoles for Google WiFi

This is not SEO, but it is about Google and Google’s desire to “own” municipal WiFi. Google and Earthlink have a partnership for WiFi in San Francisco, and it seems Google is also, in addition to the partnership with Earthlink, asking for separate “real estate” rights on 1500 light poles in San Francisco.

Light poles have power (obviously) and are maintained clear of trees and vegetation, and generally have a line-of-site view of their neighbor light poles. Remember when cell antennas showd up on top of water towers across the nation? Now Google wants to put WiFi repeaters (?) on light poles.

I think Google Local has only just begun.

Kimo Crossman posted this to Seattle Wireless, and also noted :

When Brian Roberts of DTIS, the city IT department staffer that is performing the negotiations testified at a public hearing on Friday 11/17 he didn’t reveal this major development even though the discussion happened at least a week earlier.Streaming video here of 11/17 hearing is available at http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=16&clip_id=2790

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September 7th, 2006 by john andrews

I love Starbucks, but not for the Coffee

Starbucks is a wonderful invention. Coffee house for those who need a coffee house, meeting place for those who need a meeting place, and mobile office for those of us who like to work and meet people in a coffee house. I spend about $200/month in Starbucks, not including the funds I add to Starbucks cards used by others. Many of the Barista’s know me by name and drink, even across the nine or so different Starbucks outlets I frequent. One time I got a frantic client call from a client on my cell, about an urgent “opportunity”. I said I’d call back in 5 minutes from my computer, because I was confident I was not farther than 5 minutes from a Starbucks. In Seattle, I doubt I am ever more than 2 minutes froma Starbucks, but I had to allow for bootup and log in time.

I sat at an outside table at the next Starbucks, opened my ThinkPad and dialed the cell. As I started with the client, a Barista came outside and said “Hi John” and asked if I wanted my regular. Wow… awesome service, but no, thanks, I was only stopping for a minute, but really appreciated it! Talk about being treated like a King! That  is a great customer experience. But that’s not the end of the story.

The client call went overtime… as everything does… nothing takes less than 30 minutes these days… and about 40 minutes later I was still there, still on the phone, and oblivious to my surroundings. Someone then placed a venti half-decaf drip coffee (my drink) onto my table. I looked up. The Barista smiled and said “You look like you’ll be here a while; this one is on the house”.  Outstanding.

Keep it up Starbucks. I’ll continue to pay $6 for the egg salad sandwiches,  $18 for the travel mug, $4 for the half-decaf soy no-foam lattes, and $30 a month for the t-mobile even though there are a dozen open routers on any given block, a government test of municipal wifi, and a community wifi project under full steam. And remember, this is Seattle - I don’t go to Starbucks because it’s the best coffee in town.

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August 18th, 2006 by john andrews

How to be Web 2.0 Cool

Once again I’m trying out some Web 2.0 applications, and once again I am struck by the style. A few observations:

  • I am going to have to extend my name. Two names are not enough in Web 2 land. Problem is, I only have two so I’llhave tomake up the rest. Something like John Brandon McAllister Andrews should do it. or John Peter Sniple-Smith Andrews maybe. I’ll have to work on it.
  • I have to personalize my testimonials. The bland, corporate ones from magazines and websites are no good anymore. I need ones from real people, hopefully people with 3 and 4 part names. It doesn’t matter who they are or where they come from, because that doesn’t have to be listed. They just have to sound impressive.
  • Remove the Dog: it’s no longer hip to tell people your work environment includes dogs, massage chairs, and a video game room. Now you need to tell them that either you don’t wear shoes, or you wear flip-flops or some high-end sandals. Oh, and Zen rooms and fountains are in, not video games.
  • Metro-sexual meet Web 2.0 : Urban is in, but not the black on black or sleather New York urban. No, we’re talking urban as in Austin or Portland urban. Urban with parks, bicycles, and useless but expensive desktop accoutrements that used to be limited to California and New Mexico mysticism. Most things that glow or gently cycle are ok (lava lamps, glow spheres, dipping birds) while flashing, flickering, or vibrating things are out. Dress? Super casual, but branded super casual, of course. Now which expensive hair gel can I get to give my hair that perfect, no-hair-gel look?
  • I need to update my style sheet, again. In fact, maybe I’ll update it every week. That seems to be the trend. Stale is the new orange, or something like that.
  • Be sure to describe yourself and your team on your website, using ego words like talented and brilliant. How else would anyone know?
  • Offer business advice. No, it doesn’t matter if you’ve only been in business for a year or so, or if you have one-big-hit and nothing else to suggest you know what you are doing. Nobody cares about that. Just state something like “I have vast consulting experience” and let the buyer beware. After all, you said you only were doing this for 2 years, so if they thought “vast consulting experience” was more than you got during your two years on one or twoprojects, it’s their stupidity, right?
  • Lead with your Designer. Web 1 was the age of the programmer. Designers were stupid. They couldn’t code, and they couldn’t manage embedded templates even. Variables? What are variables? Ah, but with Web 2.0, the designer is everything. Lead, CEO, CTO, you name it. And designers hire designers so you can be sure the architect has a design background, and so does the accountant. Tell the client this is all good. In fact, say it’s cool. Make up something about “getting it”, and show some large icons with transparent gradients. Oh, and be sure to call your simplified pages sophisticated. Don’t worry about the contradiction. They won’t call you on it, because they don’t want to be called stupid.
  • Lose the Concern, ok? I need to change my Privacy Policy. No longer do you state how strong your protections are, or how serious you are about customer privacy. Nowadays you simply say it is what it is, and if you want to participate, accept it. I need to cultivate that air of arrogance, that I don’t give a crap if you don’t like it swagger, and project it from my policy page. That is so much easier than actually trying, right? I mean, if I can simply tell them hey, if you put your data here, it might not be safe and let them assume responsibility. Duh. So obvious.

Now back to those apps…

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