Friday, September 30, 2011

How Social Media Is Working For Small Business [INFOGRAPHIC]

If you're in business - chances are good that you're a "small" business - and you're in good company. According to the 2008 US Census data it's estimated that there are about 27,281,452 businesses - of which 21,351,320 (78%!) are "Nonemployer" businesses.

Yeah, I never really heard that term before, either.

Here's how the Census folks define a "Nonemployer" business:
Most nonemployers are self-employed individuals operating very small unincorporated businesses, which may or may not be the owner's principal source of income.
They go on to say:
Nonemployers account for a majority of all business establishments, but average less than 4 percent of all sales or receipts.
Oh, yeah, on top of that  and ANOTHER 4,661,829 have 9 or fewer employees. That means 95% of all businesses have less than 9 employees.

That's a serious number of folks.

If you're in the upper 5% - you can skip the infographic below - otherwise - stop reading this and fire up your Facebook account!

How Small Businesses Are Using Social Media


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happy 10th iPod! Sorry, But You Must Die Now. [INFOGRAPHIC]

Happy 10th Birthday! (almost - it's actually October 23rd)   BLAM!   Goodbye.

Yep, it's time that Apple put the ol' girl down and sell her to the glue factory. The world was a vastly different place in 2001. George Bush was sworn in as President, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone just came out (along with Shrek; Monsters, Inc.; and Ocean's 11), the Baltimore Ravens won the SuperBowl (34-7 over the Giants), Venus Williams won the women's Wimbeldon match, our Federal Deficit was "only" $5 trillion, unemployment was 4.8% and a stamp cost $0.34.

There were still "record stores" (Google it) where people bought physical media in order to enjoy music. Having a Sony Walkman was considered "cool" (by 2001 all the "cool kids" had a "DiscMan" - the CD version of the Walkman), but lugging those cassettes (or new-fangled CDs) around - was a hassle.

There were other players in the nascent "portable" music player category (Diamond Rio, HanGo Personal Jukebox) - but, as usual, it took Apple and their eye for industrial design (and chutzpah to charge $399 for a music player) to literally change the music industry as we know it.

There were dozens of "me-too" cheapo Mp3 players - but the iPod in all its various incarnations still out-sold all the others.

It was Google's Motorola's ROKR phone in 2005 that broke the ground on having music on your phone. It even "worked" with iTunes (although it was notoriously slow and limited to 100 songs).

Then along came January 9, 2007 - and the introduction of the iPhone... and well, you know that story. You now have a mini-laptop, game player, and GPS unit in your hand that also happens to make calls. In September 2010, Apple came out with the iPod Touch (an iPhone without the phone) - and has sold over 60,000,000 of them.

Oh, yeah, and Apple's made a coupla' bucks on the 10 billion songs and applications people have bought and downloaded... and while music downloads are nice, iCloud subscriptions and higher app prices means it will make even more money as people ditch their modern Walkman for an all-in-one device.

It's been an amazing run! Here's a look back:



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How To Get a Job At Google, Apple or Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]

As I was trolling the interweb this morning, I came across this infographic that was showing what kinds of job openings there are at the "big 3" (not automakers, tech employers).

It seems like there's a "Top 3" formula to getting hired at one of these companies:

3. Be smart;

2. Be able to communicate and use SEO words on resume (NOT "CV", but "Resume");

... and the number 1 way to get hired at one of these great tech companies....

... wait for it...


Buzz kill.

Tech Jobs With Google, Apple, Facebook


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Who Is Most Likely To Upgrade To iPhone 5 (or "4s" or whatever) [INFOGRAPHIC]

Yes, the tech world is all a-Twitter with speculation and anticipation at the prospect of Apple launching a new phone next week.

Yeah, a phone.

No one knows if it will be the fabled iPhone 5 or just a slightly improved iPhone 4 - dubbed iPhone 4S. But, one thing is for sure - no matter what the number - if the battery is better - people will buy it (according to this infographic):

iPhone 5


Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Random: After Helping Kids With Homework This Weekend

My kids just started Junior High this year - and I swear, they have more homework than I did in high school! Anyway, as I was sitting there going over some pre-algebra (not my favorite) - listening to them say "What does it matter, we won't really use it in 'real life'..."

Then, I came across this cartoon - and it all makes sense now!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How Google (and the Internet) Are Making Us Smarter and Dumber At The Same Time [INFOGRAPHIC]

Remember the "good old days" - when you wanted to read a good book you didn't flip on a screen? Or, when you were looking for work you waited for the Sunday classified section of the "newspaper" (Google it). Or, when you needed more information on something you would go to a "library" or look in an "encyclopedia"?

When was the last time you actually manually dialed a phone number on your phone more than once? Do you even remember your password to your favorite sites - or do you just let your browser "remember" for you?

Yeah, me neither.

Apparently, we're not alone:

Google and Memory


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Technology Way Back Machine: 1996

For those of you older than 15 - here's a reminder from whence we came: a couple of pictures of a Best Buy circular from 1996.

That's right! You can buy a pager (Google it!) for only $70!

Need an upgrade in your computer memory? No problem - we have 16 MEGAbytes (not GIGAbytes) for only $130! Need more storage - score this massive 3.1 GB hard drive - only $399!

In the market for a new craptop laptop? Check out this baby: 8 MEGAbytes of RAM, 810 MEGAbye hard drive, a whopping 11.3" COLOR display! Now only $2,500!

Oh, and for those of you who are still using any of the items pictured here - ummmm... "perhaps" it's time for an upgrade.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dear Netflix - Here's Why Qwikster Is Stupid [INFOGRAPHIC]

So it seems that this whole Netflix / Qwikster thing is blowing up in Netflix's face - and they don't seem to understand why. Well, this hard-hitting infographic from the folks over at should explain it to them:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Servoy TIP: Getting Current Quarter Date Range

I do a lot of applications where users want reports or lists that take a date in the current record and filter or find all the records "In This Quarter".

The calculation isn't all that difficult - but it's a cool time saver. Below, I've actually created 3 functions - so you can use the quarter start date, end date, or date range.

 * Return the starting quarter date for a given date
 * @param {Date} inputDate
 * @return {Date}
function getQuarterStartDate(inputDate) {
if(!inputDate) { return null; }
var inDate = new Date(inputDate);
var mo = inDate.getMonth() + 1; //remember JS months are 0-11!
var yr = inDate.getFullYear();
if(mo > 9) {
return new Date(yr, 10, 1);
} else if (mo > 6) {
return new Date(yr, 7, 1);
}  else if (mo > 3) {
return new Date(yr, 4, 1);
} else {
return new Date(yr, 1, 1);

 * Return the ending quarter date for a given date
 * @param {Date} inputDate
 * @return {Date}
function getQuarterEndDate(inputDate) {
if(!inputDate) { return null; }
var inDate = new Date(inputDate);
var mo = inDate.getMonth() + 1; //remember JS months are 0-11!
var yr = inDate.getFullYear();
if(mo > 9) {
return new Date(yr, 12, 31);
} else if (mo > 6) {
return new Date(yr, 9, 30);
}  else if (mo > 3) {
return new Date(yr, 6, 30);
} else {
return new Date(yr, 3, 31);

 * Return a search string properly formatted for the start/end quarter dates
 * @param {Date} inputDate
 * @return {String}
function getQuarterRange(inputDate) {
if(!inputDate) { return null; }
var sDate = getQuarterStartDate(inputDate);
var eDate = getQuarterEndDate(inputDate);
var theFormat = i18n.getDefaultDateFormat();
if(sDate && eDate) {
return utils.dateFormat(sDate,theFormat) +
"..." + utils.dateFormat(sDate,theFormat) + "|" + theFormat;
} else {
return null;

FileMaker TIP: Current Quarter Date Range

I do a lot of applications where users want reports or lists that take a date in the current record and filter or find all the records "In This Quarter".

The calculation isn't all that difficult - but it's a cool time saver. You can make a script that returns the result, or make a custom function.

Note that in this formula, I've created local variables - so you can use the $quarterStart and $quarterEnd dates in other places in your script.

Let ([
   $inDate = theDate; //can be passed as parameter
   $mo = Month($inDate);
   $yr = Year($inDate);

   $qStart = If ( $mo > 9 ; Date (10;1;$yr);
                 If ( $mo > 6 ; Date (7;1;$yr);
                 If ($mo > 3 ; Date (4;1;$yr);
   $qEnd = If ( $mo > 9 ; Date (12;31;$yr);
                 If ( $mo > 6 ; Date (9;30;$yr);
                 If ( $mo > 3 ; Date (6;30;$yr);
   $quarterStart & "..." & $quarterEnd

Friday, September 16, 2011

Win Mobile 8 - "Plug-In Free" (HA!)

From time-to-time I have a gander at the Windows 8 blog - just to see what's happening in the world of "me-too." In one of the recent posts - Dean Hachamovitch (IE Team Leader) wrote about the fact that IE 10 will come in two flavors - one for mobile and one for desktop.


Seems that Microsoft has decided that Steve Jobs truly is an oracle of the future - and that HTML5 is awesome and the way to go:
For the web to move forward and for consumers to get the most out of touch-first browsing, the Metro style browser in Windows 8 is as HTML5-only as possible, and plug-in free. The experience that plug-ins provide today is not a good match with Metro style browsing and the modern HTML5 web.
Ummmm... what the? Huh. But it gets even better:
On Windows 8, consumer sites and “line of business” applications that require legacy ActiveX controls will continue to run in the desktop browser, and people can tap “Use Desktop View” in Metro style IE for these sites. For what these sites do, the power of HTML5 makes more sense, especially in Windows 8 apps.
I'm sorry - did I miss the part where he basically says that Silverlight (a browser plug-in) will NOT run on their own mobile operating system? And what about all those legacy Active-X controls? What are the thousands of Corporate American companies going to do when all their vendors who wrote their web-based intranet applications specifically for IE suddenly don't work on their CEO's new Windows 8 tablet?

I get the part about not wanting to run Flash (no one does - apparently) - but there is something even more subtle thrown in to the text:
 In Windows 8, IE 10 is available as a Metro style app and as a desktop app. The desktop app continues to fully support all plug-ins and extensions. The HTML5 and script engines are identical and you can easily switch between the different frame windows if you’d like.
Did you notice the word "extensions" in there? So, apparently, IE 10 Metro will not even support browser extensions!


That's really, really good news for Apple. Because if you can't run Flash, and you can't run Silverlight, and you can't run Active-X controls - then you might as well get the tablet all the "cool kids" have - the iPad.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

How Enhance Your Site - So People Don't Bail [INFOGRAPHIC]

I don't know about you - but I surf the Internet... a lot. I see all kinds of different site - some that are terrific - and some, not-so-much.

If a site is ugly, or has content from 2001 on it - I'm moving on - in all of about 10 seconds. If a site has wonky navigation - I'm out.

If a site has colors that only the (probably color blind) designer could love (ORANGE! PINK!) - I'm out.

If a site has 200 animated gifs on it - or is just an ad farm page - I'm out.

If I have to register to see some content that I was just browsing for - I'm out.

Turns out, I'm not alone! Check out this infographic to help you avoid some of the most common site issues that drive people away:

What Makes Someone Leave A Website?


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Buzz Kill Wednesday - Saving For College [INFOGRAPHIC]

To all the fellow parents out there - sorry to kill your hump day buzz... but if you're not saving $600 - $1,850 per month per child for college (like me)... well, sucks to be you (me):


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Are YOU A Workaholic? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Hey you - yeah YOU. Are you feeling over-worked? Do you need a vacation?

If you work in America - the answer is probably "yes:"



Monday, September 12, 2011

Servoy TIP: Changing A Form's Style - LIVE

I had a need the other day to change the style that was displaying on a form. My first thought was to just change all the object properties via scripting (a HUGE pain!). But, with the help of the SolutionModel (and controller.recreateUI() - in version 5.2+) - it was a snap.

Let's say you have two styles: "defaultStyle" and "fancyStyle" defined in your resources. If you use this code:

var myForm = solutionModel.getForm(controller.getName());
myForm.styleClass = "fancyForm";
Done! Be careful here - depending on how you designed your styles - things could get "wonky" (margins are the big culpret)... but man, did I mention how much I LOVE this tool?!

FileMaker TIP: Get Selected Text

The other day I came across the need to grab the currently selected text that the user had selected. I (mistakenly) thought there was already a built-in function to do that... ummm... nope.

So, I came up with a quick calculation to do it:
Middle ( Get ( ActiveFieldContents ) ; Get (ActiveSelectionStart) ; Get ( ActiveSelectionSize ) )
You can package it up as a function, or use it (like I did) in a script to set a variable to whatever text the user has selected. I hope this helps!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Always Connected is Not Always Good [INFOGRAPHIC]

Yeah, sure, you have a smartphone, an iPad, AND a laptop. You've got a mad WiFi network at home, at school, at McDonald's, at Starbucks - hell, even your MOM's got a wireless router. No wonder it feels like we can never "get away" - we're just always connected:


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Internet Killed the Postman

So the US Postmaster General, Patrick Donahoe, said if Congress doesn't act soon - that the US Postal Service will cease operations in the early part of next year.


It seems that they're going "miss" a $5.5 billion payment this month (to fund future retirees healthcare); and Mr. Donahoe is asking to fire 120,000 workers; not replace 100,000 more jobs (due to attrition/retirements); close 3,700 post offices (out of 36,500); close 300 (out of 600) sorting facilities and stop Saturday delivery - in an effort to stop hemorrhaging an estimated $10 billion this year. That's on top of the over $20 billion in losses over the past 4 years.

The big problem for Mr. Donahoe, is that he needs to get congressional permission to do any or all of the proposed cuts.

Yeah, good luck with that.

We can't even get the Congress to agree on a budget for the country, let alone one government agency!

So why is the agency losing so much money? Well, as I said above, volume is down 22% in just the last 5 years - and the USPS says it could drop another 35% by 2020. The real elephant in the room is the people who work for the post office. Or, rather, their retirement and health benefits.

Labor costs make up 80% of the entire post office budget. Compare that to 53% at UPS and 32% at FedEx - and well, it should be obvious that some of those folks have to go.

As usual, the unions are screaming bloody murder at even the mere mention of layoffs. You see, the postal workers and their unions have a "no-layoff" contract. All 653,000 of them (down from 900,000 ten years ago). The source of all the red ink is mainly due to a 2006 law requiring them to pay an average of $5.5 billion annually for 10 years to finance retiree health costs for the next 75 years.

Ummmmm.... yeah.

So yes, online statements, online bill pay, email, free video chat with relatives a world away, instantly accessible catalogs and daily specials - all these modern conveniences are spurring the decline of printed (and mailed) spam documents.

And, even though the postmaster has been beating the drum since (at least) March 2010; Congress' inaction has now come back with the potential to bite it in the butt - and all during an election year run-up.

I'm sure no one wants to tell his/her constituents (especially those with rural populations) - "Oh, by the way - because we were caught up in political wrangling, posturing and inaction - the Post Office is dead. I sure hope you have one of them thar' interweb thingies..."

It's time (again) - to call, write, email, Skype, social media, tweet and bug the hell out of your Congress Person to get off their butts, take a man pill, and work out a way to keep the Post Office from going away. 

Some numbers (from back in 2010):


Friday, September 02, 2011

Servoy TIP: Number Suffix

Here's a tip for adding the number suffix - like 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc:

 * @param {Number} input - the number to get the suffix for
 * @param {Number} returnWholeString - values: 0 (or null) - just the suffix, 1 (or >0) - number and suffix
function getNumberSuffix(input,returnWholeString) {
if(returnWholeString == null || returnWholeString == undefined || returnWholeString == 0) {
returnWholeString = 0;
} else {
returnWholeString = 1;

var output = "th"
var last = 0;

if(input%100 >= 11 && input%100 <= 13) {
output = "th"
} else {
last = Math.ceil(input%10);
if(last == 1) {
 output = "st";
} else if(last == 2) {
output = "nd";
} else if(last == 3) {
output = "rd";

if(returnWholeString) {
return input + output;
} else {
return output;

Example usage:

getNumberSuffix(21) returns "st"
getNumberSuffix(21,1) returns "21st"

getNumberSuffix(13) returns "th"
getNumberSuffix(13,1) returns "13th"

Pretty simple - but powerful!

FileMaker TIP: Number Suffix

Here's a tip for adding the number suffix - like 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. You can use the formula below as a calculation, or put it into a custom function. If you use it as a custom function the parameter name would be "dataNumber":

Let( [
   isException = Case(
   Mod (dataNumber; 100) = 11 or
   Mod (dataNumber; 100) = 12 or
   Mod (dataNumber; 100) = 13; 1) ;
   last = Mod ( dataNumber ; 10 )
Case ( isException ; "th"; last = 1; "st"; last = 2; "nd"; last = 3 ; "rd"; "th") )

Pretty simple - but powerful!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Web Designers vs. Web Developers - FIGHT! [INFOGRAPHIC]

For my fellow geeks - if this wasn't so true - it would be funny. Oh, wait... it IS funny...

BTW: There IS no place like!


Attention In-Flight Users - Put Down Your iPhone! [INFOGRAPHIC]

I came across this infographic today - and, as it turns out, the people that use WiFi on airplanes are... well... almost all iOS users!

Is it because iOS users don't know how to relax? Are we so determined to play Angry Birds or Bejeweled Blitz that we can't bear to go for a couple of hours without it? Good news fellow iOS users - apparently, we're not alone!

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