Golf Site + Moving Site + Freezing weather = Move to Phoenix

The Nance’s sage advice this morning was that we should give Arizona moving companies the sites for free, so that they would move us to Phoenix (the home of the Nance).  As the 20 degree air seeps through my 1910 windows, I am sold.

I can see it now.. Free Sites on MoverWebsites.com + Free Sites on GolfWebsiteBuilder .com= lots of free golf  (and babysitting) in Phoenix.  I like it.

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Mom jeans and Quora.com

I take two months off to hang out with the kids and to enjoy the holiday craziness and before I know it I am stuck in mom jeans and have no clue what is going on in the internet world. I had dropped my religious reading of TechCrunch over morning coffee in favor of dodging flying bananas.

The new year comes around and I am woefully behind. Quora.com? Who are they? Do the sell kid’s clothes? Do they have New Year’s sale? I will be the coolest mom in playgroup for finding this gem. I dig around. I sign up. Oh – really cool concept. I don’t see any questions about child development. But, oh – how interesting? People discussing landing pages and ROI on social media campaigns. I geek out going through the discussions.

I am back. I am no mom-jeans-wearing-dinosaur.

To prove that I’ve still got it, I did my first tweet for GolfWebsiteBuilder.com (@GolfProWebsites) today. Feels good.

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The Twilio Fund and my Accent Training Demo

I’ve been playing around with an idea around an accent training website for the last month or so, and 500 Startups‘ Twilio fund deadline finally got me off my lazy @ss.     I finally finished everything for a working demo, and submitted my application with 3 minutes to spare.

Here’s a demo video that demonstrates the service (warning – there is no design applied to the site).

It’ll probably take me another month or so to finish the site, but it’s exciting to actually see things working.

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How to Gracefully Use the HTML5 Audio Tag with a Flash Fallback

HTML rocks.  It rocks harder than Poison did in the 80’s.   That’s some hard rocking.

However, browser support is a bit iffy for certain tags.  Take the audio tag for example.   Not only does Internet Explorer not support (along with the rest of HTML 5), I discovered in building out our accent training service that Firefox doesn’t support mp3 files in the audio tag.  Heh?  Can that be?   Alas, it is true.

Never fear, the internets is here.  You can use the wordpress standalone flash audio player and this great little javascript snippet to make sure  all of your users can hear your sweet music.

 

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Confessions of a Usability Test Addict

I am officially hijacking the blog to make a confession. I have a new addiction. It does not rank quite as high as my addiction to celebrity blogs or reality tv, but it is a close third. My new addiction is an old addiction resurrected. I am officially addicted to running tests on EasyUsability.com. Note: I never said it was a cool or edgy addiction.

Anyway – Doug built this usability testing site years ago and I have used it on occasion to gain feedback on the usability of sites that I was running at the time. As we were putting the finishing touches on GolfWebsiteBuilder.com, I remembered how useful the EasyUsability.com feedback has been. So, I dusted off the old site, kicked the tires a bit, and launched a few tests. I eagerly awaited the praise — this site will revolutionize the life of golf pros everywhere; stunning design… I could hear it all as I pressed Submit.

The results came in with mixed reviews. My baby is ugly in some eyes..but, as Doug likes to say, we will get there. Check out our usability test results here: http://easyusability.com/usability_tests/545/final_report.

Now, it is time to make some final tweaks to make my baby pretty, maybe run another test or two (or seven), and let this thing out in the wild!

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A copy of AuthenticatedSystem has been removed from the module tree but is still active!

What a freakin’ error that is huh?  I kept getting it while trying to work on my 3-year old usability testing service.

Turns out it’s a conflict with Comatose and rails authentication.   Here’s the fix:

http://groups.google.com/group/comatose-plugin/browse_thread/thread/284a4a6698a6d9/f698dc284eb1451c?lnk=gst&q=A+copy+of+AuthenticatedSystem+has+been+removed+from+the+module+tree+but+is+still+active!#f698dc284eb1451c

Add ‘unloadable’ to line 3 of  comatose_admin_controller.rb


# The controller for serving cms content...

 

class ComatoseAdminController < ActionController::Base
unloadable

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Turkey time with Mechanical Turk, RTurk, and Turkee

A few years ago I launched a website usability testing service called EasyUsability.  I haven’t spent a great deal of time on it in the last year or so (day job is keeping me quite busy), but it showed some early promise on getting very targeted feedback on your website, from your exact target market.      To get our website testers, we used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, a workforce on demand solution, with a robust API.

At the time, writing to the API was very pretty painful, a job that took us weeks to get right, and is still buggy in certain cases.

Fast forward to a week ago, and I am happy to report integrating Rails apps with Mechanical Turk is now much easier.   I am playing around with a website that offers accent training, which will use mechanical turk workers to help improve peoples’ accents.     Upon doing some searches for Ruby on Rails/Mechanical Turk gems, I ran across RTurk and Turkee.   These gems make integrating Mechanical Turk into your rails app a one day exercise, vs. a multi-week exercise.   Great stuff.

One tip – be SURE to have RTurk installed and configured before trying to install and generate the Turkee stuff.

 

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