Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Web Secret #28: 4Q

Ever wondered if your web site sucks?

Wonder no more.

There is only one way to find out just how good or bad your website is and that's to ask your visitors.

Google expert Avinash Kaushik has created a FREE professional survey tool that asks what he believes are the 4 most important survey questions ever developed:
  • How satisfied are my visitors?
  • What are my visitors at my website to do?
  • Are they completing what they set out to do?
  • If not, why not?
  • If yes, what did they like best about the online experience?

Go to and sign up - it takes only a few minutes.

Want more info?

Watch a nine minute film on YouTube: "An Introduction to 4Q".

Read 4Q's frequently asked questions.

Survey says.....

9 out of 10 visistors to the 4Q website sign up.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Web Secret #27 - Ghost

Call me paranoid, but I am always looking for secure, free places to back up my files.

Call me frugal, but I am always looking for cheap places to stash my pictures and my music files.

Enter provides every person in the world with a free Virtual Computer (VC). Like a Windows PC, or Mac, the VC is a personal computing environment which includes your desktop, your personal settings, your files and your choice of software applications.

But unlike a PC, your VC is not installed on one physical computer - instead it is stored in professional data centers across the Internet cloud, and is accessed from any Internet browser in the world. From any computer, open the browser , enter your username and password, and continue using your VC from exactly the state you last left it in. has several advantages over a PC (or Mac):

Available from any browser in the world instead of being installed on one physical machine.

The operating system, many apps, and the first 5GB of data storage and 3GB of email storage are absolutely free.

Software (namely Web-based software) can be run without installation.

The computer is always up-to-date, secure and backed up with no action or cost on your part.

Because it is online, the VC provides new possibilities for fun and collaboration, beyond what is available on a PC.

The VC is currently in public "alpha" - the VC is already stable and usable although it does not yet have a complete set of applications, services and widgets associated with it and there are a few bugs.

The bugs will be fixed and application added rapidly over the coming weeks.

Signing up takes 5 seconds. Click START, pick your user name and your password (because is news, you are likely to get one of your first choices), and there you are. Uploading files is a snap (you click UPLOAD files). EASY!

If your nervous about trying new things, you can log in as a visitor.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Web Secret #26: How to become Web Dead

Do you feel overexposed on the web?

Maybe you have posted information that was just a little too personal. Or signed up on one to many forums. Maybe you are getting ready to job hunt and you have heard that employers are checking potential job candidates online before making their hiring decisions.

But what can you do? Isn't the Internet simply an information black hole that sucks up personal data, disseminates it to all comers, and never lets go?

I recently read a useful but somewhat overlong and technical article on how to become "Web Dead" .

Here is my succinct and easy to understand adaptation of that article, renamed "How to erase your online identity in 9 steps":

1. Assess the Damage
Start by performing an Internet search for your name on all known search engines to assess the damage. Use quotes, "John Hancock" and if you have the time, go through ALL of the returned search results. Make a reference file with the results that point to you.

2. Delete What You Can
Visit all your old blogs, online resumes, for sale advertisements, want ads, personal ads, social networks, geneology webs and bartering sites. Follow each site's protocol for deletion.

3. E-mail Webmasters Directly
If a reference to your name occurs on a blog or website that isn’t agreeable to you, a simple e-mail to the site’s webmaster will fix the problem in short order.

4. Employ ReputationDefender
ReputationDefender was founded to protect your good name on the Internet. They provide professional DESTROY assistance, helping to remove inaccurate, inappropriate, hurtful, and slanderous information about you and your family.

5. Always Use Pseudonyms
You would be surprised at the overwhelming number of novice computer users who feel an undeniable compulsion to use their real name when posting something on the Internet. To simplify things, come up with a standard pseudonym, and create an accompanying e-mail address when you post your opinions, rants, or other juicy tidbits you wouldn’t want to fall into the hands of your employer.

6. Contact
Chilling Effects dedicates itself to educating Internet users about their rights. They have also created a form you can use to send a cease and desist notice to a site owner who won’t comply with your request to remove your name from a particular site.

7. RemoveYourName
A somewhat pricier, but guaranteed service is They will not stop working until your name is off of the major search engines, and their work is backed by a money-back guarantee. Theirs is a one time process. Prices start at $995 for personal use, and go up to $2995 for the full-on business package.

8. Refocus on the Positive
If you don’t want to pay to get your bad name expunged from the public record, you can try an alternative approach. Companies like ComplaintRemover, have the ability to make positive information about you or your business appear on thousands of different websites.

9. Stay Offline
Resist the urge to reveal sensitive information. Deny the impulse that drives you back onto FaceBook to post. Once you feel you’re ready, tip-toe back into cyberspace by limiting yourself only to selected websites that don’t encourage or have the capacity for naughtiness or defamation.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Web Secret #25: RSS

Do you like having chinese food, online shopping orders, and the New York Times delivered to your doorstep? How about the latest entry in your favorite blog iWebU?

RSS is for you.

RSS, stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” It allows you to choose content you like and have it delivered to you instantly.

No more clicking from site to site to site to see what’s new. The goods are brought straight to your doorstep. RSS is offered by most major news sites (eg CNN), as well as the vast majority of blogs.

Ultimately, in order to access RSS feeds, you need a news reader, also known as an aggregator. Many people recommend signing up for a news reader as a first step in the RSS process. Actually, I think it's easier to do it the other way around.

First find a website you’d like to be kept up-to-date on.

Let's take this blog for example. On the left side of the iWebU home page, you will see a link "Subscribe to RSS Posts". A drop down menu will show you a list of possible FREE news readers. I like, which requires a 5 second sign up process.

Once you’ve signed up for a reader, you simply have to figure out what sites you’d like to be kept up-to-date on. To use the newsgator site as an example, you will notice a link "Ad Feeds"at the top in the horizontal navigation bar. Click on this button, enter the url of the website you want to sign up - in this case and there you go, you are signed up.

How do you know it's worked?

In the left hand navigation of the home page there is a link "My Feeds" and you will see that iWebU and all its existing blog entries are now easily accessible there.

Go ahead and sign up the blogs and news sites that interest you.

Now you only have to log in to one site,, and all your preferred blogs and sources are in one place!