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iCMS Content Management System User Interface - First Impressions

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 7:00 AM on August 31, 2010:

"You never have a second chance to make a first impression."

Parents, schoolteachers and elevator pitch coaches the world over utter that caution.

I thought the same as I logged into a test site created for me by web content management system iCMS.

When I arrived at the test URL, I was pleased by the site's clean, streamlined appearance, but I was waiting for a differerent first impression.

Test site for Anne Clelland with content management system iCMS's

Hamlet said, "The play's the thing," but with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the login's the thing. I've seen fair and foul user interfaces, most often the latter.  To quote from memory Dr. Eliot Engel about the opening scene in Shakespeare's tragedies, "We know it's going to happen.  We just don't know how bad it's going to be."

From me, iCMS gets three out of three stars for first impression of a user interface.

Starred user interface for iCMS

An "Admin" choice let's me know I'm in charge, not the software. I'm not overwhelmed with dropdown menus and menu tabs when I see one "Edit" button for the text and one "Edit Block" for the page.

In her video on website content management system scalability, Mary Miller begins with these words: "If you've just been given the job of creating a web page for your corporation..."

If I had been given that job to do using iCMS, past the login, I'd be past first impressions.  I'd be creating.

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You're invited to connect with iCMS on Facebook and iCMS on YouTube and to read more about iCMS on Handshake 2.0

iCMS is a content management system (CMS) from IDD, Inc., a full-service IT firm.  IDD, Inc. is a client of Handshake Media, Inc., the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Fantasy Football - Tech Showcase

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 10:05 AM on August 30, 2010:

National Football League fantasy football players - an estimated 27 million of them - are counting down to September 9, 2010, the start of the NFL season.

Fantasy football is big business.  The Fantasy Sports Trade Association, cited in The Acorn, reports that fantasy sports have a $3 billion to $4 billion annual impact across the sports industry.

To its devoted players, fantasy football is about way more than fun or fancy.

According to Henry Bass, "Selecting a fantasy football team is a math, science and art all to itself."

That's why Bass and his colleagues developed fantasy football league draft software pcDrafter.

Added 8/29/12: PC Drafter 12.0 released in time for 2012 season

From the pcDrafter site:

pcDrafter is software that you install on your PC to take the guesswork out of your fantasy football draft. During a draft, it needs no Internet connection, but before the draft, with optional registration and Internet access, it can automatically download the latest player projections directly to its powerful optimization engine. pcDrafter does a zillion calculations and sees patterns not humanly possible to find in 2 seconds. Your savvy FF mind plus pcDrafter equals an unbeatable draft. pcDrafter features automatic player updates from 4for4.com.

The "zillion calculations" through pcDrafter's algorithm made possible by today's computing power lay the foundation for the software founders' claim:  "pcDrafter software gives you a highly effective platform to both prepare for your draft and to crush your competition during the drafting itself."

Greg Alan Pisch, writes about pcDrafter for 4for4.com, "I've poured over pcDrafter with the GOLD algorithm and am convinced it's the best PC drafting software available on the market today."

Fantasy football draft software pcDrafter

Added 9/27/10: pcDrafter was featured on the WDBJ7 news.

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Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Roanoke, and Salem, Virginia real estate and homes This edition of the Tech Showcase on Handshake 2.0 is sponsored by Coldwell Banker Townside, REALTORS (R), a full service real estate agency specializing in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Roanoke, and Salem, Virginia real estate and homes.  You're invited to check out the CBT blog, Keepin' It Real Estate, visit Coldwell Banker Townside, REALTORS (R) on Facebook, and see more of Coldwell Banker Townside on Handshake 2.0

Automation Creations, Incorporated, developers of pcDrafter, and Coldwell Banker Townside REALTORS are clients of Handshake Media, Incorporated, parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Blacksburg, Virginia Hotel Reservation Site Launches - BlacksburgLodging

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 8:00 AM on August 30, 2010:

From Z. Kelly Queijo, founder of Smart College Visit, Inc. a college-visit and campus tour travel-planning resource for college-bound teens and their families:

The work we've been doing at SmartCollegeVisit on travel services for the college-bound made me realize that my own college town lacked a locally-owned resource for hotel searches. We worked with Automation Creations to create a design that includes our hotel booking services and also showcases the events and restaurant specials streaming through the NextThreeDays regional event calendar.

Pairing lodging with events makes it easy for travelers to the Blacksburg area to find out where to stay and what to do. BlacksburgLodging's Twitter list streams current postings by tweeters from the town, Virginia Tech, Hokie fans, and others who just love Blacksburg.

Find a Blacksburg, Virginia hotel with BlacksburgLodging

Folks planning to travel to Blacksburg on a Hokie football weekend can search BlacksburgLodging and find out which area hotels still have rooms available. Searches can be extended to include Dublin, Christiansburg, Salem, Roaonoke, and beyond. The site includes the majority of the hotels within a 40-mile radius. Those not listed are invited to contact me about getting added to our hotel database.

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Congratulations, BlacksburgLodging!  All are invited to follow BlacksburgLodging on Twitter at @bburglodging.

BlacksburgLodging and Automation Creations are clients of Handshake Media, Incorporated.

A Blacksburg Handshake

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 5:00 AM on August 27, 2010:

Kate Jenkins and Erik C. B. Olsen


Kate Jenkins, Membership and Marketing Director at the Blacksburg Country Club, shakes hands with Erik C.B. Olsen, Transportation Planner of Blacksburg Transit, a department of the Town of Blacksburg, Virginia.

Photo credit: Diana Lyons, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Virginia

Mobile Apps for Women in Business - A Mobile App Wish List

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 8:30 AM on August 26, 2010:

We did the numbers on women and smartphones, I bought a Droid X, I read Juniper's prediction of 25 billion mobile app downloads by 2015, and we launched the Handshake App ASAP,  a mobile app for memberships, groups and communities.

As a businesswoman, the Handshake App checks off an item on my mobile app wish list.  The Handshake App is a way for me to have a group of people important to me app-available, with the most important need-to-know info right-now click-able or tap-able, wherever I am, not where my computer is.

What would be my next app download?  I went shopping with the intent to buy.  This is what I found - or didn't find - on mobile apps for women in business.

As a result of that post, I was asked what I was looking for that I couldn't find.  If "there ought to be an app for that," what was the "that"?  "What do women want?" was extended to "What do businesswomen want in a mobile app?"

I am working on my wish list. Women in business, what's on your mobile app wish list?

Please take our Mobile Apps for Women in Business Survey.

On my wish list?  More apps for the Pomegranate Phone.

Thanks to Z. Kelly Queijo for the link to the video.

These posts may be of further interest:

The Apps That Connect Us - A Report on Women, Smart Phones and Mobile Apps
This Woman's Gotta Have Mobile Apps (case study)
Women and Apps - Mobile and Social
Best Mobile Apps for Women
Women and Smartphones

Wired Conclusions

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 5:45 AM on August 26, 2010:

The ineffectual banner ad, created (indeed by the founders of this magazine) in 1994 - and never much liked by anyone in the marketing world - still remains the foundation of display advertising on the Web.
- Wired, The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet.

The print cover of the 18.09 issue of Wired reads “The Web is dead.”  The turned pages - and the articles are page-turners - read:

The Web is dead.
Long live the Internet.
Two decades after its inception, the World Wide Web has been eclipsed by Skype, Netflix, peer-to-peer, and a quarter-million other apps.

Who's to Blame:

Us: As much as we love the open, unfettered Web, we're abandoning it for simpler, sleeker services that just work. Article by Chris Anderson.

Them: Chaos isn't a business model. A new breed of media moguls is bringing order - and profits - to the digital world. Article by Michael Wolff

- from Wired, The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet.

Excerpts from "Them," Wired, by Michael Wolf:

"According to Compete, a Web analytics company, the top 10 Web sites accounted for 31 percent of US pageviews in 2001, 40 percent in 2006, and about 75 percent in 2010. 'Big sucks the traffic out of small,' [Yuri] Milner says."

"Content companies...depend on advertising to fund the creation and promulgation of their wares...The Web was built by engineers, not editors. So nobody paid much attention to the fact that HTML-constructed Web sites - the most advanced form of online media and design - turned out to be a pretty p- - poor advertising medium."

"According to a 2009 comScore study, only 16 percent of users ever click on an ad, and 8 percent of users accounted for 85 percent of all clicks. The Web might generate some clicks here and there, but  you had to aggregate millions and millions of them to make any money..."

"Even in the face of this downward spiral, the despairing have hoped.  But then came the recession, and the panic button got pushed.  Finally, after years of experimentation, content companies came to a disturbing conclusion.  The Web did not work."

"Since the dawn of the commercial Web, technology has eclipsed content.  The new business model is to try to let the content - the product, as it were - eclipse the technology."

The Web Is Dead? A Debate on the Wired site, not in the print magazine, features commentary from Tim O’Reilly, John Battelle, and Chris Anderson.

Our conclusions:

Handshake 2.0 - a content site - and sites like it - are competing for 25 percent of the pageviews not "sucked up" in the 75 percent of traffic heading to the top 10 Web sites.

If only 16 percent of users ever click on an ad, that means that 84 percent of Handshake 2.0's users - or users of a content site like it - would never click on an ad.

The Web may or may not be dead.  But, given those numbers, advertising as a revenue model for a content site is dead.

Mobile Apps for Businesswomen

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 8:00 AM on August 25, 2010:

Although I am a case study of one, not a research study, I am a woman, I am in business, and I am looking for - and not finding - mobile apps that I perceive would be of value to me as a businesswoman.

I am a market opportunity.

Where is my mobile app? I’ve had some insights as a result of seeking my mobile app.

Mobile app store search matters.  I typed brand names and keywords into the search field in the mobile app store on my smartphone.  I didn't find what I sought.  An app store may not replace Google as the top source for search, but if I were a company hiring another company to make my company’s mobile app, I would want my brand name and keywords describing what my company does in the app’s title and description.

Just because an app can be made doesn't mean it should be made.  Oh, there’s such foolishness out there.  And, frankly, ineptness.  An app I downloaded yesterday, which will remain nameless, required a kill app to force it to release its death grip on my smartphone's browser.  Ridiculous.  Today, I am not a fan of mobile app developers enamored of their own code and not attentive to what the market - that would be moi - wants and needs.   

Mobile apps for women don't target women in business.  I'm not this and I'm not trying to be and I'm all about this but that latter one requires people to be successful in business.  That would be moi.  And if I can do the task better and faster on my computer, it's not a mobile app.  These apps recommended for women entrepreneurs look tediously like more work, not less.

The print cover of the 18.09 issue of Wired reads “The Web is dead.”  Chris Anderson writes in “What Happened,” that the future will be “less about browsing and more about getting.”  Yes, please.  I want to get my app and I want it to do something for me.  Right now.

Anderson also writes in Wired, “Within five years, Morgan Stanley projects, the number of users accessing the Net from mobile devices will surpass the number who access it from PCs.”

I will be one of those.  I am a market opportunity. 

Where’s my app?

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Our compiled stats on women and smartphones may be of interest.

Content Management System Scalability

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 6:00 AM on August 24, 2010:

Handshake doesn't need a web content management system (CMS) yet.  In answer to Mary Miller's question, What content management system are you using?, I answered that our sites are built on TypePad blog software.

When we outgrow TypePad and have multiple users and multiple projects going, some published, some in development, we'll need a web CMS like iCMS.

The NewVa Corridor Technology Council (NCTC) web site is built on iCMS so, as a member of NCTC, I see iCMS in action.  iCMS reminds me of Google Docs - it's a collaborative way to create information, but for the web.  

Depending upon their roles and responsibilities in the organization, some iCMS users can create and edit, some can publish, and everyone can contribute what they can and access what they need.  Even every NCTC member has access to the site through the Member Directory.  As they grow and evolve, member companies can control and update their own content, including mission critical company descriptions and contact names. 

Mary Miller explains how website content management system iCMS can scale and grow with a company or organization.

You're invited to connect with iCMS on Facebook and iCMS on YouTube and to read more about iCMS on Handshake 2.0

iCMS is a product of IDD, Inc., a full-service IT firm.  IDD, Inc. is a client of Handshake Media, Inc., the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Even for Non-Profits, It's Still Who You Know

Posted by Maureen Carruthers at 9:45 AM on August 23, 2010:

We all know strong businesses are built on strong relationships.  We spend a significant chunk of our working time cultivating relationships through networking events, community service, marketing, and good old-fashioned phone calls.  These relationships are so important that even businesses exist - like Handshake 2.0 - to help other businesses build the relationships they need to be successful.

Muscular Dystrophy Association Lock-Up Relationship-building is just as important for non-profits.  There is, however, one key difference.  As a business owner, you represent your company, therefore you and your staff can do most, if not all, of the relationship-building work your company requires.  

A non-profit is not “owned” by its executive director. It is owned by the community. Therefore, the most effective way for a non-profit to build relationships is not through the connections of its staff, but rather through the connections of its community leaders.  

This means that the best way to help a favorite non-profit succeed is to treat it as you would your business. 

Not sure where to start?  Here are seven relationship building ideas to get you going.

  • Recommend a non-profit organization’s Facebook page (here’s how to do it). 
  • Talk about your favorite organization on Twitter (and other social networks), and share/retweet what they say about themselves.
  • Invite the Executive Director (ED) from your favorite non-profit to attend your next cocktail party or barbecue and introduce him or her (and the organization) to friends likely to help support the cause.
  • Write a blog post about your favorite organization’s most recent, or better yet, upcoming, event.
  • Open Doors: Help the organization’s ED get a meeting with other community and business leaders you know.
  • Call a friend and ask him or her to volunteer with you or to match a recent donation.
  • Ask for donations in lieu of birthday gifts. (Here’s an example from a fellow Virginia Tech Grad

With your help, and the help of your friends, the community cause closest to your heart will soon be in the hearts and minds of your neighbors as well.

From Anne Clelland of Handshake 2.0:

Kat McClinton, Program Supervisor of New Life Recovery Center is the "who you know" who suggested to organizers of the New River Valley of Virginia's Muscular Dystrophy Association's Lock-Up that they contact me.  When I was a volunteer counselor at the Center, Kat "went to jail" for the MDA.  I'm honored to follow in her footsteps, even into a "Lock-Up."  Feel free to help "bail me out" by donating to the MDA.

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Maureen Carruthers writes about nonprofit marketing at Low Hanging Fruit.  

Who's in FRONT? Steve Price

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 7:00 AM on August 23, 2010:

Steve Price



Automobile salesman Steve Price is featured in the August 2010 issue of Valley Business FRONT.

Valley Business FRONT is the monthly magazine for in-depth business news in the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valley of Virginia. You're invited to read moreFRONT and to follow Valley Business FRONT on Twitter, @vbFRONT.

Photo credit: Jane Dalier