Monthly Archives: September 2010

FM Talker Station and New Time – Tech Talk With Craig Peterson Expands


Tech Talk With Craig Peterson is moving and growing! Not only do we have more than 4 million downloads, and we’re now on Sundays from 4 to 7pm but…

We’re also now on an FM Talker! 96.7 FM, WQSO The Wave — in the Boston Market!

We’re still on WGIR AM 610 and WGIN AM 930, but at the new 4 to 7pm Sunday time.

Listen in and let me know what you think! We’ve got more guests lined up and more give-aways.

This weekend we’re talking about some new consumer technologies that make our lives easier. We’re also going to be doing a series on starting a home business and growing your business.

Thanks for listening!

Craig.

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Google Instant May Hurt Everyone

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

I’m going to tie the evils of Google Instant together in just a moment.  But first, I’ve got to give a little background so that the entire scene makes sense.  This doesn’t fit well onto a bumper sticker.

There’s been a debate since the advent of modern technology about the privacy of the individual.  How much information should be kept personal and how much can be used by business?

Of course, what it boils down to is rather personal.  In fact advertisers would like it to be just that — personal.  They would rather show you an ad for a car when you’re looking to buy one than when it’s a couple of years away.  They’d like to be able to show you the restaurants in your area that have the food you like when you’re hungry.  And so would you!

That’s right.  I said it.  Privacy issues aside, would you rather find out about great restaurants when you’re hungry, or see comparisons about cars that you’re likely to buy when you’re ready to buy them?  That type of as-you-need-it advertising is precisely what every consumer would like.  After all, if you’re going to have advertisers supporting the things you love then why not let them tell you about other things that you’ll love — or at least might like.

That’s where Google Instant is changing the paradigm.

Google is advertiser supported.  People go there to find relevant information precisely when they  need it.  Most on-line searches about goods and services are performed when people are looking to buy something.  Makes sense.  Going online for research is what we all do.

Let’s say that uou’re hungry on a Friday night.  You go online, type in your town’s name and the type of food you’re looking for hoping that somebody’s written some great information about a new restaurant you haven’t heard of before.  You hit Enter and you’re off.  Scanning through the results you notice that a local restaurant has a discount coupon that shows up in the ads on the right hand column of the results, you click on the ad, print up the coupon and try out a brand new restaurant.  Horray for Google and three cheers for the internet.

Not so fast.

Google’s new Instant Search Feature is really cool.  If you’re a slow enough typist, you’ll see a page of results as you type every character of your search query.  You see the page change and your eyes dart between the text box you’re typing in and the top row of results.  You see results that are relevant to what you’ve already typed.  There’s a link that’s interesting showing up and you click on the result.  But…

No Advertisements.  No Coupon.  Are you any better off?

Google’s new Instant Feature won’t show you the ads you’re used to unless you hit the Enter button.  In fact, the feature is so distracting that you tend to not look at any of the results except the first one or two and you don’t look right for ads.  So much for hundreds of millions of wasted dollars.

Companies who have been busy performing the equivalent of Political Gerrymandering by paying Search Engine Optimization companies to mess with their web sites to get them to the top of Google’s search results are now out-of-luck as people’s searching habits have just entirely changed.

Companies who rely on paid advertising using Google’s Adwords are even more out of luck, as the number of advertising results that are likely to be even glanced at is about to plummet. Google’s own studies have shown that the vast majority of people don’t even look look at the ads.

The conclusion?  It’s longer than what I have time to write here, but simply it’s to use the exact same technique that I’ve worked with my clients’ for years to do: provide good, relevant content for your users.  Don’t fret over Google’s “Page Rank.”  It’s not flashy.  It’s not sexy, but it works.

Go ahead and type “Craig Peterson” into Google’s new Instant Home Page.  Like how I float to the top?  It takes all the hard work without the flash.

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The Best Headphones Available? — Recommendation Ultrasone

Ultrasone HFI-680 HeadphonesFrom time-to-time I recommend a product or service that I use or try because I think its a good value or even a best buy.  I’ve read about Ultrasone before while doing research on headphones, trying to decide which ones to buy, and like most people I didn’t buy a pair because I wasn’t familiar with their name.

Turns out that they’ve been one of those top players that no one’s heard of.  Well, obviously some people in-the-know have been very fond of their headphones.  They’ve won numerous awards and I was wondering just how well they reproduced sound.

I grew up as a musician and around music.  I was in the top vocal ensemble as well as in the #2 orchestral band in the country.  I was a DJ and played music for all kinds of dances, weddings, etc.  And I’ve been disappointed.

Music reproduction with headphones has always been tricky and a rather personal-taste driven business.  Many of today’s headphones seem to emphasize the bass far too much, leave the mid-range muddy and good luck finding crisp, clean high frequencies.  I’ve liked a couple of in-ear monitors (which I’ve written about before), but I haven’t found open-air headphones that I’ve really liked in quite a while.

I received a press release from Ultrasone’s Press Agency describing how their headphones provide safer listening volumes than other headphones or ear buds.  [Technical Jargon Warning] Turns out that due to their technology, the ear’s perception of sound level is improved so that the sound itself can be 3 to 4 db lower when using their headphones.  This will lead to a safer listening experience as you’ve cut the actual SPL by at least 40%.  (A 3db drop is a 50% drop in power with a corresponding drop in the sound pressure.)  [End Technical Jargon]

Ok, so these are some of the safest headphones available.  Jello is safe, but it doesn’t sound very good.  So… I asked them to send a pair, and they did: the HFI-680 headphones.  Don’t tell my wife, but I think I may have another childhood crush brewing.

I listened to everything from AC/DC through Puccini, Bluegrass through Buddhist Gongs.  Simply amazing.  Particularly with my background in music and sound I’m thoroughly impressed.  This 20-odd-year-old German company has done it.

Their S-Logic™ Natural Surround Sound Plus Technology injects the sound off-center from your ear canal, thus giving you more of a feeling of listening to speakers or even “being there.”  They are designed to allow your ears to bounce the sound waves around your outer ear so that you have some additional sound depth perception, and it works.

Not only do they sound great, but they’re very light and look impressive.  When you go to pick them up, their substantial look just doesn’t match their weight.  I thought I might get a sore neck from wearing them for a few hours.  As it turns out, I hardly even knew I had them on.

With a current list price of $249 (I found them online for less than $200) they’re about the right price point for someone who’s looking for a great pair of headphones at a reasonable price.  If I were in the market for a new set of headphones, there’s no question that Ultrasone is the company I’d be looking to.

I’ve had my eye on their Pro line of headphones, too.  Some other people have said some great things about them.  [Ultrasone, if you're listening, I'd like to try them out, too...]  But then again, maybe I shouldn’t try them out.  Once you’ve had the best, it’s hard to go back — and as good as the HFI line is, their high-end PRO line must just be the best there is.

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