Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sean Hathaway’s Tweet-Speaking Radio

Sean Hathaway’s Tweet-Speaking Radio: Screen shot 2012-11-28 at 9.22.03 PMThis modified Philco radio monitors Twitter and speaks tweets in real time.
Read the full article on MAKE

Thank you, Zig

Thank you, Zig:
My teacher Zig Ziglar died this morning. He was 86.
Thanks for teaching me how to sell and why it mattered.
Thanks for reminding me how much it mattered to care.
Thanks for telling us a fifteen-minute story about Johnny the Shoe Shine Genius, so compelling that I flew to the airport just to meet him.
Thanks for 72 hours of audiotapes, listened to so many times I wore out the cassettes twice.
Thanks for that one day we spent backstage together in Milwaukee.
Thanks for making goal setting so clear.
Thanks for elevating the art of public speaking, and making it personal, not something to be copied.
Thanks for believing in us, the people you almost never met in person, for supporting us with your voice and your stories and your enthusiasm.
Thanks for teaching so many people, people who will continue to remember you and to teach as well.
You'll be missed.

TED: Janine Shepherd: A broken body isn’t a broken person - Janine Shepherd (2012)

TED: Janine Shepherd: A broken body isn’t a broken person - Janine Shepherd (2012): Cross-country skier Janine Shepherd hoped for an Olympic medal -- until she was hit by a truck during a training bike ride. She shares a powerful story about the human potential for recovery. Her message: you are not your body, and giving up old dreams can allow new ones to soar.

Drop a Nuke on Afghan-Pakistan Border, Member of House of Lords Suggests

Drop a Nuke on Afghan-Pakistan Border, Member of House of Lords Suggests:
smiling buddhaAs
noted
on Reason 24/7 this morning, in defense of a
nuclear-armed world in the House of Lords, John Gilbert suggested
threatening to drop a neutron bomb on the Afghan-Pakistan border to
stop insurgents from crossing. “I am absolutely delighted that
nuclear weapons were invented when they were,” Lord Gilbert said

according
to the Huffington Post UK. Gilbert claimed only goat
herders occupied the area and that a good nuking would create a
“cordons sanitaire,” or “quarantine zone."
The former minister of state for defense in Tony Blair’s
government apparently does not think the concept of
mutually-assured destruction applies to Pakistan’s conventional
nuclear weaponry, which likely can’t reach Britain, or any
speculative dirty bomb detonation it might facilitate. Since
Pakistan announced it had developed a nuclear weapon in 1998, there
have been no large-scale wars between India and Pakistan. There
were three major conflicts between the two countries before India
tested a “peaceful” nuclear
device in 1974, and countless border incursions and skirmishes
since, but few in the last decade. Perhaps Lord Gilbert should have
suggested offering Afghanistan nuclear weapons instead. Let’s hope

Iran
doesn’t blow it out of proportion.

Permafrost Makes the News... Finally

Permafrost Makes the News... Finally:

 Signs made with cardboard and paint and were placed along freeways in Petaluma, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Sacramento (except the one above, which hung for several weeks outside the Chevron Offices at Pt. Richmond.)
 If they think the Permafrost situation is bad, just wait until they find out about the Albedo Effect.





YTD - 977

Getting The Most Out Of Google Analytics For Lead Generation

Getting The Most Out Of Google Analytics For Lead Generation:
The following is a guest post from Jeff Sauer, Vice President at Three Deep Marketing, a Google Analytics Certified Partner. Jeff recently started a website dedicated to advancing digital marketing knowledge called Jeffalytics



Lead generators know that the combination of Google AdWords + Google Analytics is a winning combination for generating an inflow of high quality leads. They are like peanut butter and jelly, Forrest Gump and Jennay, Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. 
What many users may not realize is that there are many features that they can unlock in Google Analytics to make their lead generation campaigns perform better while becoming more transparent and accountable. What follows is a series of tips, trips and hacks that you can use to make your lead generation campaigns work even better. I have broken this down into three sections: ConfigurationIntegration, Analysis.


Configuring Analytics for Lead Generation Websites

Set Up Goals in Google Analytics
Yes, this is a very elementary step in your Google Analytics evolution. You surely configured goals on your site years ago, right? Well, let's make sure you didn't miss anything: 
  1. Navigate to the URL of your 'thank you' page shown after a lead is generated. Make note of the URL of this page.
  2. Make your best guess as to the value of each lead that you generate (note: you can have multiple lead values, and multiple goals).
  3. Configure your goals in Google Analytics, assigning the proper goal value for each lead you generate.
  4. Unlock a new world of reports in Google Analytics and see the real value of your lead generation efforts.


Bonus tip: There's absolutely nothing wrong with measuring micro conversions on your lead generation site. Have a PDF that someone can download freely? Set a goal and assign it a modest value (even if it's $5, the impact can be huge). Have a 2 minute video? Give it a value as well, even if it's just a dollar or two. Both PDF downloads and video plays can be tracked using GA event tracking - and you can configure goals around events.  
Track Visitors Across Domains
Many lead generation sites use third party forms and services to capture leads, whether as part of an affiliate program or a third party CRM site. While this acts as an excellent conduit to lead delivery, it can often result in missing data in Google Analytics reports. Depending on the services used, there is still a way to retain this data in Google Analytics by tracking your visitors across domains. Here's how this is done: 
  1. On your primary website, add the _gaq.push(['_setDomainName', 'PRIMARY DOMAIN']); and _gaq.push(['_setAllowLinker', true]); methods.
  2. When linking to your external domain, add an onclick element as follows: onclick="_gaq.push(['_link', 'THE LINK']); where THE LINK is your external page
  3. Add the GA Tracking Code to your third party hosted page, being sure to use the _gaq.push(['_setDomainName', 'PRIMARY DOMAIN']); and _gaq.push(['_setAllowLinker', true]); methods on this page as well. It is important to make sure you are setting your primary domain here as well. 
  4. Configure your goals to match the thank you page URL on the third party domain (or on your own site if you can redirect visitors back to your domain)
By linking visits across domains, your reports will accurately attribute visitors and goals to their proper source and medium instead of treating them as direct visitors.  
Integrate with Google AdWords Both Ways
Most of us know to share data between AdWords and Analytics and enable the Google AdWords report in Analytics, but many times this is not done properly. In addition, not enough marketers seem to take advantage of Google Analytics' ability to push conversion data back into AdWords. You really have nothing to lose when you integrate these two Google products both ways, but you have many insights to gain. Start off by making sure you configure these integrations properly: 
  1. Share Google AdWords data with Google Analytics. This may seem easy, but is often incomplete when implemented. Make sure that you 1) Turn on Auto Tagging in AdWords, 2) Enable Data Sharing and 3) Apply Cost Data into Google Analytics
  2. Configure your goals in Google Analytics as outlined above
  3. As soon as data starts to collect for these goals, you will see the option in AdWords to import your goals from Google Analytics
  4. Enjoy consistent conversion data between both products and ensure that leads are being properly attributed
Using your goals in Google Analytics for your Google AdWords campaigns can come in handy when you don't have the ability to add a traditional JavaScript based conversion code onto your thank you page. In addition, importing goals from Google Analytics allows you to track some of the advanced conversions mentioned below in Google AdWords. The result? Better analysis capabilities, more advanced conversion rate optimization strategy and more credit for the leads you generate! 

Integrating Analytics into Lead Generation Efforts

Phone Call Tracking
One thing that marketers may not realize is that for many industries, the majority of leads will come in through the phone instead of through a web form. Google AdWords understands this and now offers a robust system for tracking phone leads generated by AdWords. But how do you properly track and attribute phone calls generated from your site to a particular traffic source? You integrate Google Analytics with your call tracking provider.



This sounds complicated, but it really is not too bad. In fact, many phone tracking vendors offer a Google Analytics integration option as part of their service. For example, this works well with products like Marchex Voicestar and Mongoose Metrics among others.  
Here are the basics of how this process works: 
  1. Sign up with a phone call tracking service, create tracking numbers and appropriate campaigns
  2. Place tracking phone numbers on your website
  3. Specify a post-back URL to be visited when a successful phone call occurs
  4. Your phone tracking system will send a visit to the post back URL, complete with all Google Analytics cookie values for the visitor who saw that exact tracking number on your lead generation site


Please note that if you drive a lot of traffic to your website, it can take a lot of phone numbers and extensions to fully attribute phone calls to users. As such, you may want to start implementing this method for a small segment of your traffic and then building up to all visitors when this data proves useful. 


Also note that even if you don't link calls back to Google Analytics, phone call tracking is still an imperative part of any lead generation campaign, because it's common for 30-70% of the leads you generate to come from the phone in certain industries. 
Offline Marketing
Believe it or not, in many industries leads are still generated offline. Examples include trade shows, neighborhood canvassing (going door to door promoting a product or service), print and television advertising. These are activities that companies have been doing for years, but the problem that they run into when using these mediums to drive traffic to their website is that they don't register the traffic source properly in Google Analytics. The result: many direct visitors without proper attribution. 



How do we fix this? By following this simple process: 
  1. Create a vanity URL that is unique to your campaign (can be a sub folder or new domain)
  2. Create a tracking URL for your website using the Google Analytics URL Builder 
  3. 301 redirect your vanity URL to the tracking URL (this preserves your campaign attributes)
  4. Learn about how each traffic source performed by viewing your favorite reports in Google Analytics and paying attention to the source/medium/campaign 
Now you can put your offline and online leads on a level playing field and compare the effectiveness of both side by side. 
CRM Integration
For companies that are generating several leads a day, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system becomes imperative for keeping up with the leads coming in the door. Unfortunately, most CRM implementations are not integrated fully with the website and useful data is not shared between the two systems. This can create friction between sales and marketing, while making it nearly impossible to close the loop on what lead generation efforts are working the best.


Fortunately, people smarter than myself have found a way to solve this problem, and this solution for CRM integration by Justin Cutroni has become my gold standard for how to pull information out of Google Analytics cookies and attach to the lead record you enter into your CRM system. 

While Justin's post goes into great detail, the basic premise is this: 
  1. A visitor comes to your website and has source/medium/campaign/keyword information assigned to them in their Google Analytics cookie
  2. This information is accessible to your website by pulling cookie values out of Google Analytics using JavaScript
  3. Once this information is pulled out, you enter the values into hidden form fields underneath where your lead enters their contact information
  4. The vital information (source/medium/campaign/keyword term) is passed into your CRM system alongside the lead record
  5. Your sales team can now have deeper understanding of what type of traffic generates the best leads, all the way down to a keyword level
  6. You can use this information to refine your marketing efforts and campaigns to focus on your top performers
Sharing information between your website and your CRM system is an imperative step for making your marketing data actionable to the rest of the business. Without integrating, decisions are made based on faith and HIPPOs, instead of actionable data. As a note, with the advent of Universal Analytics this is likely to get even easier.  

Analyze the Results and Make Your Site Even Better

How you analyze your site is a very personal thing, and your mileage may vary, so there isn't a magic bullet to ongoing success with your lead generation programs.


With that said, there are several reports that can be extremely useful in Google Analytics for lead generation campaigns. I would start by paying attention to the following: 
  • Use an advanced segment of paid search traffic and then navigate to the Conversions > Goals report. Compare the goal values you created recently with a similar time period in the past. Are your results improving? 
  • Navigate to the Multi Channel Funnels report and either use standard or custom channels. What is the most common first click channel? Are you giving it enough credit in your reporting?
  • Compare direct traffic before and after implementing the integrations suggested above. Do you start to see more activity with proper attribution? Are you more confident analyzing with less of a grey area?
  • Have you been receiving all of the credit you deserve for leads you generate over the phone?
  • When a salesperson tells you that the leads you generate "suck" are you able to match their lead close rate to the source/medium/keyword that generated the lead?
  • Instead of presenting raw lead numbers in a vacuum are you starting to factor in appointments issued, quotes given and sales made? Can you calculate the true cost of sale from keyword to purchase?
When configured properly, you can use Google Analytics and residual data from GA to perform some in depth closed loop analysis on how your lead generation campaigns are performing. Savvy lead generation experts have figured out how to deliver maximum value to their clients and constituents using the capabilities built into Google Analytics. Now it's your turn. 
There you have it, the three pillars to getting the most out of Google Analytics for your lead generation website. Have any cool integrations yourself? Let's talk in the comments below.
Posted by Jeff Sauer, Google Analytics Certified Partner 

Will.i.am unveils horribly overpriced punctuation-laden iPhone camera accessories

Will.i.am unveils horribly overpriced punctuation-laden iPhone camera accessories:
Will.i.am's V.4 iPhone keyboard camera accessory
Have you ever wanted to have a better camera on your iPhone? How about a physical keyboard? Sure, there are people that want those things. The camera on the iPhone has always been quite good for a smartphone, always leading with quality sensors and optics. But Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas thinks he can make it better, and he's unveiled his new line of "i.am+" accessories with the goal of doing such.

Mr. William James Adams's i.am+ line is a perplexing set of beasts, consisting of four "foto.sosho" cases that add considerable bulk to your iPhone while also adding new elements to the camera. All four add a grip to the right side of the landscape orientation, but sadly don't add do anything fancy with that grip like adding a reserve battery pack for the iPhone. They all also include a built-in flash purported to be of higher power than the single LED bulb on the iPhone, thought you've got to use the shutter button on the case to actuate it and the volume button on your phone.
So, there are four different versions of the foto.sosho? There are, and they come with even more unnecessary punctuation, as seems is the way of Will.i.am. The C.4 is intended for the iPhone 4/4S and has a "modern" look (it's all smooth and lacking in excess accoutrement) in black or white and includes a screw mount for the included standard, 0.67x wide macro, and 0.28x fisheye lens attachments.
If you're not into the modern look, then there's the V.4, which includes the same lenses and mount and adds a slide-out landscape keyboard that pairs with the iPhone via Bluetooth. The V.4 also has vintage styling, which you might think with a slide-out landscape keyboard means it's going to look like an HTC Touch Pro or some other pre-iPhone smartphone, but actually kicks the styling back several decades for something a little more retro chic. The i.am+ foto.sosho V.4 (the punctuation nightmare continues) comes in white/gold or black/silver color combinations.
Lastly, there are the V.5 and L.5 models, which really ratchet things up a notch. The aforementioned C.4 and V.4 only augment the iPhone 4/4S cameras by mounting an additional lens element over the existing hardware, whereas the x.5 models circumvent the iPhone camera hardware entirely by adding on a 14-megapixel sensor with a 5x zoom lens, but only for the iPhone 5. Will.i.am promises that the camera will provide better image quality than what the iPhone offers, but somehow we expect there will be tradeoffs to be made. The V.5 includes just the camera attachment, while the L.5 throws the slide-out keyboard as well. Both x.5 models are of the "vintage" look, with your choice of silver and brown leather, all white leather, or all black leather.
Will.i.am's V.4 iPhone keyboard camera accessory
If you're thinking this all sounds pretty ridiculous, you're entirely right. The benefit of the iPhone's camera is that it's not only quite good, but it's also slapped into a slim and light package that slips into your pocket or purse without a worry. There are plenty of existing attachments that allow you to add zoom, wide-angle, and other lenses to the iPhone, and they do it without the excessive bulk of the foto.sosho line. Sure, they don't add a flash, but if we're being honest here, the flash units on point-and-shoot cameras typically fall short of even barely adequate, let alone whatever flash unit is included on these accessories. Take the Olloclip, for example. It just slips on over the corner of your iPhone (a new model for the iPhone 5 is coming soon), and if you don't need it it's easy enough to pop off and leave in your pocket or bag. foto.sosho isn't going to be so quick-and-easy optional.
Aside from the extra weight and thickness of the foto.sosho line, there's also the pricing, which it turns out is the most ridiculous part of this whole exercise. The C.4 is retailing for a whopping £199 and the V.4 for a galling £299. If you're wanting to see those numbers in United States Dollars, that's $318 and $478, respectively. Yes, more than three hundred gorram dollars for an iPhone case with a mount for cheap screw-on lenses, a flash, and a bulk-adding grip. And another $160 if you want to add on a Bluetooth keyboard. Olloclip retails for seventy bucks and includes fisheye, wide-angle, and macro lenses.
Or you can pay £199 to carry around a bulky iPhone with screw-on lens mount with only half of Will.i.am's name attached to it. The only thing saving us from this absurd punctuation.laden nonsense (besides the pricing, which should only appeal to those suffering from empty craniums), is that the foto.sosho will be available only at the three Selfridges stores in London, starting on December 6th. There's also a new i.am+ plus service launching alongside the foto.sosho that aims to needlessly replicate Instagram with basic photo editing and filters.
Pricing for the V.5 and L.5 hasn't been announced, but we wouldn't be surprised to find that it's least another £100 for each level up, making the top-tier L.5 an appalling £499/$798. At that price you've crossed over from point-and-shoot pocket camera range to entry-level DSLR territory. Sure, a Canon EOS Rebel T3i with an 18-55mm lens is quite a bit bulkier than any of the potential iPhone+foto.sosho combinations, but it also will take much better pictures - and it's priced at $699.99.
But, you know, there's always the need to show that you have more money and than sense. Common sense that is, because your style sense will be clearly evident as you walk around with your thick vintage-look iPhone camera thing. Or so we're told.
Source: The TelegraphEngadget



US bans BP from new government contracts after oil spill deal - Reuters

US bans BP from new government contracts after oil spill deal - Reuters:

TIME

US bans BP from new government contracts after oil spill deal
Reuters
By Roberta Rampton. WASHINGTON | Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:26am EST. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government temporarily banned BP Plc from federal contracts on Wednesday over its "lack of business integrity" in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in ...
BP Temporarily Suspended From Contracts With US GovernmentBusinessweek
BP suspended from new US gov't contractsThe Seattle Times
US Blocks New Contracts With BPWall Street Journal
Chicago Tribune -The Guardian -AFP
all 808 news articles »

WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning's jail was not suitable, says commander

WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning's jail was not suitable, says commander:
Former commander of Quantico marine base tells pre-trial hearing of ignored protests to Pentagon over condition of jail
The former commander of Quantico marine base in Virginia has revealed to the court martial of Bradley Manning that he warned his Pentagon superiors that the jail on the base was insufficiently prepared to deal with the long-term detention of the WikiLeaks suspect.
Daniel Choike told a pre-trial hearing in Fort Meade, Maryland, that when Manning arrived at the brig on 29 July 2010, having been arrested in Iraq on suspicion of being the source of the massive WikiLeaks dump of state secrets, he informed his superior officer in the Pentagon that in his opinion Quantico was not the right place for the soldier should his detention last long.
"I didn't feel that PFC Manning should be detained more than 90 days in the brig," he said.
In the end, Manning spent nine months at Quantico – three times the maximum Choike thought appropriate. The soldier's treatment there prompted international protests from the UN, Amnesty International and other organisations that likened it to torture.
Choike's admission that he had been aware of problems relating to Manning's incarceration at the Quantico brig came on Tuesday, at the end of an intense first day in the latest pre-trial hearing in the soldier's court martial. The army private, who worked as an intelligence analyst in a military base outside Baghdad from 2009 until his arrest in May 2010, faces 22 counts relating to the transfer of hundreds of thousands of confidential US documents to the whistleblowing website.
After about seven hours of questioning, Choike told the judge presiding over the court martial, Colonel Denise Lind, that he had been concerned from the beginning that the brig at Quantico was unprepared for the long-term detention of such a high-profile case as Manning. He said he was worried about dealing with the media, about co-ordination of command and about medical handling of the detainee.
He added that he "constantly" told his superior, Lieutenant General George Flynn, based in the Pentagon, that there were problems with the soldier's prolonged detention in Quantico.
The testimony throws into a new light the events at Quantico during Manning's nine-month incarceration. His treatment under a so-called "prevention of injury" order, or PoI, has become a cause célèbre for his supporters, who believe that the soldier was subjected to unlawful pre-trial punishment in an attempt to squeeze him for information that might prove useful in any ensuing prosecution of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.
This week's hearing is attracting considerable media attention, because it holds the promise that Manning might speak in public for the first time. He is listed on the defence roster of witnesses, though he has not yet been added to the official order of play for the hearing.
Should Manning be called, it is not likely to be on Wednesday. His defence lawyer, David Coombs, is expected to question first Marine Colonel Robert Altman, who was commander of the brig while the soldier was detained there. Then the defence will turn to three forensic psychiatrists who were responsible for Manning's medical care at Quantico: navy captains William Hoctor and Kevin Moore and army colonel Rick Malone.
The defence will be quizzing the doctors about the recommendations they made to the military hierarchy about the state of Manning's mental health. Court documents already released suggest that they advised on several occasions that the soldier was well enough to be taken off the PoI and returned to the general brig population, as he was no longer a suicide risk, yet the marine commanders ignored their specialist advice, in contravention of military rules.
Article 13 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice prohibits punishment before trial of any individual, on the same assumption as that in civilian law that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Should the judge be convinced by the defence argument that Manning was subjected to unlawful pre-trial punishment at Quantico, she has the power to reduce his sentence should he be found guilty, or even throw out all the charges.

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