Domainating: Brands, Art & Content

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My Cousin is on His Death Bed

My best cousin Paul is lying in his death bed.  The hospital has removed his life support and are just trying to make him comfortable.  He would have wanted it that way.  He was not afraid to die, he new Jesus Christ is his Lord and Saviour.  And he would not want to be confined to a bed in long term care even if they could save him.

My cousin loved life.  He was a great guy.  I had many friends and he clearly ranked amongst the very best of them.  He loves his family and friends.

His wife is clearly distrought.  Although she had divorced him in order to shock him into changing his bad habits,they did remain close and I know that Paul cherished his relationship with her.

I don’t know what to say, what to do.  Because I can’t.  I can’t do anything. I feel weak and alone. Though we both tried, we clearly could not fix him.  Though others tried, he did not seem to feel as if he needed fixing.  In many ways he fixed me, many times.  But we couldn’t do anything for him.

No one wanted to enable him.  There were long periods of isolation as when we tried to make our point.  And although it often seemed that our point had sunk in, he was also a smart, clever, funny guy that knew just how to win us over again.  And we had already missed him too long.

Often I thought that he got it.  He completely understood, I am certain of it.  But he could not help himself and learned how to fool the whole world.

He isn’t fooling anyone now.  We aren’t laughing together anymore.  He does not know how sad his condition makes us, how deeply his distant soul effects us, because knowing how much he did love his family and friends, he just wouldn’t have done this to us.  He couldn’t have, if he had known how terribly this tradgedy effects us.

Still, I love that man.  He was the sober voice in many of my relationships, helping me understand where I have gone wrong.  Yet he was always at odds with his own relationship with hisself.

We all wish we would have done a better job.  But he was so good at hiding his pain.

I don’t want to miss him, ever.

And yet, I know I will, always.

Still, I pray for a miracle.  Please Lord? I know you have sent me many.  Is another asking too much?

We laughed together, even at each other once we realized the other was making us laugh harder.  We knew laughter was good for the soul and had great healing properties.  I want to make him laugh again.  I need him to laugh. I don’t want to lose him.

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July 24, 2009 Posted by | The Human Condition | , , | 1 Comment

Browser Address Bar Hijacking? -Not! Or IS it?

I love FireFox.  It works much quicker than anything else and is much more reliable.  And there are all those neat little plug-in add-ons that really increase its convenience, versatility & effectiveness.  There are many great and useful little add-ons that I have used reliably and loyally. Until now, when I just noticed that something has hijacked my browser’s address bar!

It must be one of those great little FF add-ons that has hijacked my FireFox browser’s address bar, and I find that extremely annoying and a bit troublesome.  Especially since I have now uninstalled every single add-on that I have ever installed, including things like the Norton security toolbar, except for the few web designer/developer add-ons that I have found to be trusted tools.  Still, the error persists.

Or is it MY MISTAKE?  I bet it is.  Yup, it is.  Heck, the same thing happens in IE.

What is happening is that I am entering a typo when I search and I am getting Search.com results for my typo.  What is the typo?  Any name, with an extra dot com.

For instance, let’s say that you are at your home page.  Then you decide to go somewhere else, but instead of following a link on your home page or selecting a bookmark from the menu, you know the address and so you use the address bar.  Let’s just say that your home page is a dot com (.com) tld (Top Level Domain).  So in order to save typing, you just select the sometextstring in http://www.sometextstring.com/ and with that text selected, you simply start typing in the domain’s actual name where you want to visit.  But, if you also type in the extension of .com out of habit, you wind-up with the address of  http://www.foosite.com.com/.

Although http://www.foosite.com.com/ is very obviously a typo domain, c|net was smart enough to grab the domain.  So now they get all this typo traffic,  which is significant.  So obviously this is what confused me, because then c|net uses the domain at search.com to interpret the referring URL into a search term, and it looks like some search engine has hyjacked my browser address bar via some toolbar or plug-in.  So I went and uninstalled nearly all of them.

But c|net doesn’t mention any of this on their Search.com site (that I can tell in my search, using their own engine).    Instead, they seem to blame this deliberate action on a malicious software, toolbar or add-on.  VERY DECEPTIVE, c|net.  This lack of honesty and these type of deceptive business practices is exactly what I hate about corporations.  It is not immoral to do this, it is actually smart.  But if you are hassling us by deceiving us as we land there and blaming other crap over the stunt you pulled on us, you are quite simply railroading us with lies, c|net.

One has to wonder why “com” was not a reserved word in the first place, like domain (you can not register “domain” in any tld or country code domain extension).  There are simply a few words that are reserved because of such mistakes on their authority or perceived use.  Why wasn’t “com” one of those, this all seems perfectly ridiculous to have overlooked it.

One also has to wonder why c|net, usually a pretty smart cookie, can’t treat it’s visitors and patrons with any sort of respect.  I had nothing but admiration for them before now.  Now it sticks as a craw in my butt that they cannot treat me with respect and offer me the very url I am seeking.  Instead, they offer advertiser crap that I don’t want and has nothing to do with the original intended URL.  Search engines are supposed to be helpful utilities, not deceptive ad engines.  Clearly, they are making gobs on the traffic they are getting, but they could make a great deal more by treating us respectfully and honoring our intentions, which is exactly what a real search engine does.

Where is the ethics department at c|net now, in the toilet?  Don’t they understand what is considered ill-will can be hurtful to them as well as their patrons?

I am absolutely astonished that c|net has stooped so low.  Not because they did this, but because they hid it and were not honest, open and forthright about it.  They could have been seen as saints, and instead they are seen as thieves and scum spammers.

Grow up and get real, c|net.

July 15, 2009 Posted by | Computing, Google, Internet, Search | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Domainer’s Names Update and Portfolio Clean-up

I updated Domainer’s Names.  I didn’t do much, but I created a new Twibe, “Names“, so I added my Twitter and Twibe links to the site.  I also added my Facebook info and a Twitter tweets widget to the bottom of the page.

I still have to add a couple of “Follow Me” buttons for Twitter and for Facebook to the site.  I am still looking for a good selection of Facebook buttons, but I did find what I think is possibly the best collection of free high quality public domain Twitter icons ever, at http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/07/50-free-and-exclusive-twitter-icons/ – both raster and vector masters are included so that we can do anything we want with them (whether for personal use or for commercial use).  I hope I find some that are near as good for Facebook.

I did start a fan page for Symbiotic Design (my freelance design studio) on Facebook, but all I have done is create it and so I want to actually do something with it before I start linking to it (like design something there).  Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time as then I would wind-up messing with my unemployment.  I’ll also leave you a link to my facebook profile page as username “symbioticdesign“, even though I’ve never even sat down and looked at how I might actually design a decent facebook profile/wall/page, yet.  I need to get that stuff done, but I don’t have a large staff working for me, either.

Once I rewrite my resume (again) and  get my portfolio straightened-out for potential employers I probably will be able to tackle that, next.  Looking for a decent or dream job takes up a lot of time and energy, though.  And I’m not allowed to get too sophisticated with my new designs anymore because unemployment will only let me work a few hours a week on my own websites as that is deemed as work.  So I am trying to develop some clean and simple website designs to base others off, for now.

Right now I am just trying to clean-up My portfolio and make sure it’s presentable, as I am sure my next job will count on it, should I be lucky enough to find something in the lines of my chosen career path. There are a few domain names that I need to delete from the domain name portfolio at domainers.name/portfolio/, and a couple to add.  But I did update my main portfolio list at Symbiotic.Biz.

I did pick-up four new domains that I will use to showcase some of my photography and art as Twitter backdrops.  I’m going to use WordPress and post them via blog at TwiDrops.com (eventually) so that I don’t have to spend time designing a site for them.  Backing-up that main TwiDrops.com domain will also be TwiDrop.com, TweeDrops.com and TweeDrop.com.  Once again, I am making sure that I cover any possible misspells or misunderstandings of the brand so that the site can easily be found.

These 4 TwiDrops brand domains are the only ones that I have left off of the Symbiotic.Biz names list, but that domain name list is static and is actually short by about 100 other names that are more adult/poker oriented.   That list is easier for a kid to access, so I try to keep that one family friendly and kid safe.   I do try to list all my domains at Domainers.Name, and I am still updating that name portfolio now.

July 15, 2009 Posted by | Brands, Domain Names, Social Communities, Web Design & Development | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Career Search

Trying to find a good job is in itself a full-time job.  And now I am starting to get pretty discouraged.  Although I am still working on my own projects, these self-employment web design projects are now becoming few and far between as less work is coming in.

It is actually a pretty bad, huge mistake to make on the behalf of business, not to advertise or not to hire.  It is now, when the advertising rates are lower, and the job market is full of great talent, that companies need to continue advertising and hiring the cream of the crop people it needs not only to survive, but to grow in the face of difficult times.

Advertisers that continue throughout these hard times will be rewarded in the long run because they will have much less of a difficult time establishing brand recognition when compared to the competition that refuses to maintain brand awareness.  Part of that reason is that consumers are more careful and are now establishing lasting business relationships with people they trust.

It is the same reasoning that businesses need to continue hiring the talent required to not only survive this economy, but to grow in spite of it, because the landscape of the internet and successful marketing techniques are changing so quickly that new alliances and innovative approaches have to be developed quickly and effectively with the business community itself.  Sit on your laurels too long and it is highly likely that your company will not survive the current economic devastation we are experiencing.  If GM and Chrsyler did not teach us through their lack of innovation, we have learned absolutely nothing.

I had been able to look pretty optomistic about all of this until now, as I know that I have great talent to offer the right company for the right position.  Unfortunately, I am not getting any favorable replies from anyone, anywhere.

Admittedly, I am located in a bad spot here in South Dakota.  Very few companies here get the new medias.  They are still having trouble accepting television’s role as a marketing tool, much less understanding that every single business and professional require a well branded portfolio that can represent the business in a positive light 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (or 366 days per year on a leap year).

We started out here not simply because I have roots here, but because it is such a great place to raise a family.  However, due to the considerable lack of understanding for the incredible advances in technology and new media, my skills have largely been ignored by the community as a whole.  Plus, it is more of a challenge for me to get the word out about my business when I am working out of a home office.

However, I am still trying to remain positive in my career search despite the frustration I have encountered.  But just like taking my business to the next level by aqcuiring a commercial property, it seems that in order to be noticed by potential employers outside my own area, I really need to personally visit their locations.  This is actually much more difficult than I would have thought.

It takes so long just to establish contact with a potential employee that it is significantly difficult to setup a scheduled appointment with any one of them.  And herein lies the real problem, because I have no problem visiting any location in the pursuit of a career advancement.

While it is true that I will make significantly less than I would be getting as a freelance artist/designer/copywriter/webmaster/seo/promoter/marketer/director on a contract basis, the reason that I am looking to find a decent career in the web design industry and relocate to wherever I am required for such a new position is the very attidude that I am facing because of the ignorance in this area for my industry.

Although getting to a few interviews for my craft is still a vital concern of mine, I have run into an article that was quite eye-opening for me.  In fact I actually started writing this post so that I could mention it. Therefore I should possibly apologize for this post since I am sort of backing into this recommendation, but I found that the Seven Great Questions to Ask at a Job Interview was a great article posted at Lifehack. If you are looking, or thinking of looking for a new position, I highly recommend that you read this article.

Remember, the interview is for you, as well.  Any company would want you to make an informed decision if you are offered the job.  They don’t just want people who can offer winning interviews, they actually require a person that is capable of performing the job and fulfilling its requirements as they see it,  as an educated leader.  But if you don’t know what that position entails, you are probably flunking the interview as yet another amongst the masses of applicants they are getting, anyway.

Though I have had a few interviews, they have not been in my chosen field of web design.  I know HTML, XHTML, CSS, graphic design, branding, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, copy writing, keyword optimization, search availability, website optimization, online marketing, social networks, one way link building, search engine marketing, PPC adverising, as well as traditional marketing and advertising.  I am also gaining knowledge and experience in Flash and have quite a few tricks up my sleeve for other creative solutions to web design issues.  In short, most serious businesses need someone like me directing their creative art department.

I just don’t have the resources to expand my business to the next level with a commercial presence and a complete advertising campaign.  And just like any other advertising business, I would be doomed to failure without a significant advertising campaign.

Which is why I am quite serious about relocating out of this family friendly area back into a metropolis where my talents would be valued and exploited.  I need a steady career that my family can count on guys, and if you are checking out my blog, please consider that I am quite serious about excelling as the web designer everyone would want.

July 10, 2009 Posted by | Brands, Employment, Government/Politics, Graphic Design, Media, The Human Condition, Web Design & Development | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Create a Quick Website Logo or a Page Heading for Free

The Standard Logo logo. Created with the free website logo/heading design tool on site.

The Standard Logo logo. Created with the free website logo/heading design tool on site.

I setup a simple page at Standard Logo so that anyone can use Xara’s simple free 3D Logo/Heading Design Tool.  This will allow some who cannot afford a professional designer (such as myself) the opportunity to get online on a smaller budget.

Remember that there is no alternative for a professionally designed logo.  However, I have seen so many websites without even so much as an attempt at a decent logo that I feel sorry for them.  This program isn’t going to make a fancy icon for your logo, it will simply extrude your font or otherwise give it a 3D look.  So as long as you are going to use the characters of your name, you shouldn’t run into imporoperly using any of the subliminal messages that symbols, colors and graphic images send out.  This way, if you stick with your company name, website name, or an acronym, you shouldn’t have to worry about getting in trouble.  Just play with the Logo/Heading Design Tool at Standard Logo and you should find something you like and can use on your website (possibly even your business card).

The StandardLogo.com logo, as created through the on-site free 3D Logo/Heading Design Tool.

The StandardLogo.com logo, as created through the on-site free 3D Logo/Heading Design Tool.

July 6, 2009 Posted by | Brands, Domain Names, Graphic Design, Logo Design, Web Design & Development | Leave a comment

Windows Laptop(s) & Windows Notebook(s) Info Sites Online

I have just setup a few domains that I think should do pretty well…

Windows Laptop TM logo

Windows Laptop TM logo

I liked how the letters flowed together (once I worked at it a while).

WindowsLaptops.com logo

WindowsLaptops.com logo

This one above was based on the colors of the WordPress design theme/template.

WindowsNotebook.com logo

WindowsNotebook.com logo

I like how the checkmark reflects the angles of the W and the dot of the i turned out to be the icing on the cake that completed the illusion.  In this case I am actually experimenting with keeping the text as large as possible and incorporating the checkmark to appease the web media image optimization cops.

Windows Notebooks logo

Windows Notebooks logo

It probably doesn’t seem like I spent a lot of time on the logos for the plural versions of these domains.  But I was specifically matching them up to the colors of the WordPress design theme/template that I want to use for those two, so I didn’t want them to not look alike and if you visit the articles blog/site, I think you’ll agree that they match-up pretty well there.

I also wanted the plural versions to seem more like a conglomerate or at least a partnership between the two sites.

I did want the singular (non-plural) version domain name logos to offer their own unique identity, as they offer great value in a premium domain name.

I plan to get these posted online elsewhere, in my profile (Doug-Peters.com), and featured at Premium Brand Name, but I have a birthday party to go to for my 70 year-old uncle Gordon (great guy, by the way).  So I am just throwing out these images and thoughts as quick as I can so that all this will get posted somewhere.

I really like these sites and there are already some great reviews and tips and tricks posted.  I will be obviously be posting more articles, as well.  I will definitely be looking to post some laptop/notebook mods and hacks on the plural version domains.  The singular version names will probably be a bit more conventional.

I added about 3 pages to the WD&D group at Google Groups.  One was a resource links page.  I’m thinking that when I get it further along, I might just post it here.

Anyways, I have been extremely busy trying to clean-up my portfolio, working on my resume and doing just about everything I can think of in order to get my next web designer, online marketer, SEO, ad writer, copy writer, graphic designer, brand expert, illustrator and/or webmaster position.  Let me know if you have anything for me.  😉  This looking for a job is worse than a full time job.

I am getting tired of it.  I am ready to move to either coast, Chicago, or anything.  But if I don’t get something soon I may wind-up as an auto salesman.  Which wouldn’t be bad, but I wouldn’t be as creatively challenged.  Which is simply when I am the most excited and happiest.  😉

July 3, 2009 Posted by | Brands, Computing, Domain Names, Graphic Design, Logo Design, Media, Web Design & Development | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Recent Website Projects

I am spending so much time trying to find the right web/graphic design job for myself that I am completely forgetting to blog once I get something done.

There is just so much going on, lots of personal projects to do and recently when Max broke his nose a few weeks ago, I pretty much tried to just keep an eye on him all the time after that.  The poor guy couldn’t play any sports at all, before.  That’s not easy for an active kid, especially a black belt that likes to excersize.  So he’s been stuck reading or playing video games.  Although he enjoys that, its still no way to spend the summer.

About a week and a half ago, or so, I finally finished the new Mrs. South Dakota 2008 website for April Kelling, our SD pageant queen.  I still have to tweak one page, the gallery.  Some of my fellow designers in the Google Web Design and Development group gave Me a pretty hard time because I left the table in the code to format my grid on the Gallery Photos page.

While I had never intended to leave it that way, I mentioned that I used a table to ensure that the website was done by the deadline and got all sorts of crap for it.  Hey, I’ll do whatever I need to in order to make the project come in on time.

Actually, the more I think of it, I still think that the tables did a much better job of formatting and displaying that thumbnail grid.  But, in the interest of bettering my craft, I will try and straighten it out using just CSS in my spare time.  That’s what this project was, a spare timer.  I was paid very little and so in a sense I wound-up donating a portion of my services to her cause.  But April Kelling is actually a very cool lady that is a big part of the community and so I am glad to help out with some of the design work and the web hosting.

April, as I am sure you will read on the website, is a business owner.  She co-owns Green 4 Ever, Inc., which I also designed earlier this year.

I am still awaiting a few minor pieces to the puzzle for both websites (a couple of photos), but both websites are up, functional, and I think looking pretty good.  I’m told they are getting lots of compliments on them.  😉

Although these projects are much smaller than my other recent projects (such as the Midwest Metal Works, the Diesel Rebuild Parts or the Syd’s Eastside Auto Parts websites; or my own portfolio website at Doug-Peters.com), they have been challenging in their own unique way.

Now I have a couple of website projects of my own that I need to get online.  They will use a shared design, but I will make each one it’s own unique color.

But I still have to look for a job, too.  As you know, that IS a full-time job.

July 1, 2009 Posted by | Web Design & Development | , , , , , , | Leave a comment