Author Archives: Scott Carroll

Our Best SEO Advice

Our Best SEO Advice

We get a lot of questions about Search Engine Optimization and how to be the top of the search results for Google. Here is our usual response to clients.

Google spends a metric shit ton of money on software development to properly index billions of web pages. They have an effective system in place to filter out garbage sites and analyze content. The best SEO advice in the world is:

  1. Write clean, valid code that takes full advantage of what us nerds call semantic HTML. This means that the proper tags are used to mark up the proper text. H1 tags are very important headings, H2 tags are secondarily important, etc. TITLE tags are very important, keywords and descriptions are at the bottom of the importance list due to their overuse/misuse.
  2. Keep it simple, Google has algorithms in place to prevent overuse of keywords, just sticking words in randomly is BAD. The best thing to do is to write with keywords in mind, but also write for a human reader. Their spider analyzes sentences and word counts more than any other piece of software in history. They know the difference between spamming keywords and properly formed relevant sentences.
  3. Inbound links are golden. The link back to your site is a vote in favor of you. It should also contain keywords if possible and be on relevant sites that share similar keywords.
  4. Register your domain name for as long as possible, they know when it was registered and when it will expire. If your site is registered for 5 years, it means you are in for the long haul, not some fly-by-night spammer.

All of this can be found, direct from the horse’s mouth, here: http://google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769

PHP Framework Comparison

PHP Framework Comparison

What is a PHP Framework?

A PHP framework is a set of functions and classes written in PHP that provides a starting point for developing web applications. Frameworks vary in directory structure, feature set, and documentation/support.

Why Use a PHP Framework?

As a PHP developer, it is frustrating to have to code projects over and over again from scratch. Many projects share common features such as mail functions, file handling, database connection, converting and translating text, and on, and on. By alleviating these common coding tasks, a good PHP framework allows a developer to focus more on custom business logic.

I am going to compare a few common PHP frameworks that I have used, feel free to add your own opinions and any frameworks I will inevitably miss.

Read the rest of this entry

Zend puts PHP on a cloud (Amazon’s).

Zend puts PHP on a cloud (Amazon’s).

Version 1.8 of the Zend Framework now allows direct access to Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) . This allows for PHP developers to easily tap into the scalability advantages of distributed computing. Through Zend_Service_Amazon_S3 PHP applications built with the new Zend Framework can easily tap into scalable web resources whenever traffic spikes or if the application demands more resources than the host server can provide.

Kubuntu 9.04 – Jaunty Jackalope Joy!

Kubuntu 9.04 – Jaunty Jackalope Joy!

I have been using the latest release of Kubuntu on my Sony VAIO VGN-NR110E and I am impressed with the advancements the Linux community has made. When I first got into Linux and the open source movement, KDE and Gnome were fun to tinker with, but they were not usable for daily tasks and were hard to set up. Of course, this was in the days before broadband was widespread and winmodems were the standard. Linux was definitely not ready for the desktop. Read the rest of this entry

Kodak ESP 7

Kodak ESP 7

We normally don’t do product reviews of consumer hardware, but I had to post my frustration with Kodak’s wireless ESP 7 multi-function printer. Kodak touts itself as saving money with its new line of Easyshare printers, but even though the print is cheaper, it seems to run out faster. It is also a problem since the color ink is all in one cartridge – you run out of one color and you have to replace the whole thing. The printer is also loud, and slow to start.

Mine was among the many printers that have issues requiring the unit to be returned to Kodak and often, returned again. The first issue I ran into was “Top Tray Jammed, Pull Tray Out….Top Tray Jammed, Push Tray In…Top Tray Jammed…” error. Pressing “Cancel” got me past this problem, as there is no paper jam. That is just an annoyance, but now I am stuck with an “error 6202” which is apparently because of the scanner motor not being able to move. The reason for this became apparent as soon as I opened the printer up and noticed that a cable had come loose. As soon as I hooked the cable back up, the printer was back to working again. But, now I am out of ink again after I have only printed about 20 pages. Bottom line, avoid these printers at all costs. I have never had this much trouble with a printer. 

Don’t take just my word for it, here are links to other reviews about the Kodak ESP 7:

http://cnet.nytimes.com/multifunction-devices/kodak-esp-7/4852-3181_7-33342058.html
http://reviews.bestbuy.com/3545/9018519/reviews.htm
http://www.photographyblog.com/news/kodak_esp_9_esp_7_all_in_one_printers/ 

Even the ESP 5 is apparently flawed:

http://www.fixya.com/support/t1905975-paper_jam_error_light_kodak_esp_5

QCodo/QCubed

QCodo/QCubed

I have been developing applications from a PHP framework and code generation system called QCodo recently. And more recently, its community-driven branch dubbed QCubed. The QCubed platform is beneficial to me mostly because it allows object-oriented PHP code to be generated from a MySQL database structure (as well as many others) . I use PHP/MySQL almost exclusively in projects here at Piranha Method, so this is a perfect tool for me. Read the rest of this entry

Microsoft Windows 7

Microsoft Windows 7

I have had a chance to toy with Microsoft’s latest beta offering, and I must admit that I am not too impressed. I am still complaining about bugs in their current stable Vista platform. Most people are still holding off on upgrading to Vista, and many are actually downgrading to Windows XP.

Windows 7 seems to be a minor update to Vista. I have found nothing spectacular with this system. The biggest improvement is what the MS camp is touting to be a more compartmentalized system that will (Finally!) allow components like Internet Explorer to be removed. The ultimate goal being to provide a smaller footprint on custom systems, such as netbooks or Media Center PCs where Linux systems are gaining a higher market share.

Microsoft is releasing it’s stranglehold on Internet Explorer to focus on it’s Windows Live endeavor. It now seems that Microsoft is swapping focus from their desktop applications and are now focusing more on Internet SAAS. This move is obviously an attempt to compete with Google’s online applications. Windows Live is a big part of Windows 7 and Microsoft is using this to funnel users into their services.

In conclusion, Microsoft is still the same old Microsoft. Windows 7 has no new innovations and is just another avenue of income for the folks in Redmond.