EISOffice.net Launched, Switch to In-House Design

March 28th, 2007

I spent seven wonderful years designing websites for Somerset Design Group, a design consultancy that grew out of the IT department of Somerset Fine Art. In general we would be working on a many as a dozen sites at any given time, with an assembly-line approach of moving the project from concept to design to implementation and production. There was a constantly-moving flow of interesting projects and if a project wasn’t very interesting, well you were only stuck with it for a limited time. On the other hand, the come and go could make you feel like a surrogate mother. The projects you liked were only with you for a limited time as well, and when your part was finished, you had to hand them off to someone else to raise. I believe effective website design is a cycle of feedback and revision that allows the site to evolve to better serve its purpose and embrace new needs not even thought about when the site was commissioned. Too often, I saw good websites whither on the vine – instead of evolving, they remained the same for months or even years, becoming more stale and antiquated by the day.

Moving In-House

So at the beginning of the year, when an opportunity came up for me to move to EIS Office Solutions, a 2-year old, rapidly growing office supply company looking to establish itself on the web, it was an opportunity to stay with a project long-term and see what I could do with that evolutionary process. The move is something like a lawyer from being a partner at a law firm becoming a general counsel at a company.

I’m proud to announce that the first iteration has launched at www.eisoffice.net. EIS Office Solutions specializes in providing compatible ink and toner at tremendous savings to companies like HISD, Wells Fargo, Lowe’s, Cola-Cola, Kolache Factory, and Steve & Barrys University Sportswear to name a few at an average of 35% less than OfficeMax, Office Depot and Staples. We’ve also added 30,000 Office Supply products and am in the process of adding more technology products.

Adobe Releases New Creative Suite

March 28th, 2007

Yesterday Adobe Software released a major upgrade to its Creative Suite, including Photoshop CS3, Photoshop CS3 Extended, Illustrator CS3, Flash CS3 Professional, Acrobat 8.0 Professional, Fireworks CS3, Contribute CS3, Dreamweaver CS3, InDesign CS3, After Effects CS3, Premiere Pro CS3, Soundbooth CS3, and Encore CS3. It’s exciting whenever Adobe releases new software package, but since Adobe and Macromedia have merged, it’s the single source for software most interactive professionals use on a daily basis. Most of my day is spent shuffling between the browser, Photoshop and Dreamweaver, so anything that makes that a more seamless, productive and creative experience is welcome. Prices & features below:

Adobe: Launch Event Webcast, Creative License Promo

It’s expected to ship April 30, 2007.

Think Secret: Adobe Creative Suite 3 pricing revealed

Bundle Price
Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Standard (Flash CS3 Professional, Dreamweaver CS3, Fireworks CS3, and Contribute CS3) US$999
Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium (Flash CS3 Professional, Dreamweaver CS3, Fireworks CS3, and Contribute CS3, Photoshop CS3 Extended, Illustrator CS3, and Acrobat 8.0 Professional) US$1599
Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Standard (Photoshop CS3 Extended, Illustrator CS3, InDesign CS3, and Acrobat 8.0 Professional) US$1,199
Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium (Photoshop CS3 Extended, Illustrator CS3, InDesign CS3, and Acrobat 8.0 Professional, Flash CS3 Professional and Dreamweaver CS3) US$1799
Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium (Illustrator CS3, After Effects CS3, Premiere Pro CS3, Flash CS3 Professional, Photoshop CS3 Extended, Soundbooth CS3, and Encore CS3.) US$1699
Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection (Photoshop CS3 Extended, Illustrator CS3, Flash CS3 Professional, Dreamweaver CS3, InDesign CS3, Acrobat 8.0 Professional, Fireworks CS3, Contribute CS3, After Effects CS3, Premiere Pro CS3, Encore CS3, and Soundbooth CS3) US$2499

Judges join the Blawg-ranks in the Legal Community

March 26th, 2007

Lawyers, as a profession, seem made to blog. The Houston Chronicle notes a growing trend in judges who blog, featuring State District Judge Susan Criss, in Galveston County, who posts As the Island Floats and State District Judge Gil Jones.

Houston Chronicle: They share court humor, serious questions: Judges break into blogs

Google Books transforming academic research; realizing the dream of Alexandria

March 26th, 2007

Released in 2004, Google Book Search has surmounted legal and technical obstacles to move from fanciful idea to breathtaking reality. It currently has over 10,000 public domain works indexed and scans more than 3,000 books a day.

Tech oracle and book entrepreneur Tim O’Reilly recounts an impressive story on how Google Books is having real, present effects on how academics are conducting research – How Google Books is Changing Academic History.

Common legal issues facing E-commerce Companies

December 23rd, 2006

Jonathan D. Frieden at the EcommerceLaw Blog has a great run-down of common legal issues that face E-commerce businesses.

Issue # 1:  Protection of Domain Names

Issue # 2:  Protection of Original Website Content

Issue # 3:  Website Terms of Use

Issue #4:  The Potential for Universal Jurisdiction

Issue # 5:  E-Mail Marketing and Managing Risk Under the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003

Issue # 6: Keyword Advertising and the Effect of Trademark Law

Spammers on the March

December 7th, 2006

About a month or so ago I started getting hit with pretty substantial increases in spam each day. I updated filters, fiddled with settings. Nothing seemed to do the trick. This NY Times article confirmed what I suspected, things are going from worse to ‘worser’ –
Spam Doubles, Finding New Ways to Deliver Itself

Customers Size Up a Company’s Website in 6 seconds or less

November 27th, 2006

Wired Magazine reminds us that The Importance of Being Pretty applies to websites as well. “Internet users can give websites a thumbs up or thumbs down in less than the blink of an eye, according to a study by Canadian researchers.”

I don’t know why this should surprise anyone. We make these kinds of snap judgments all the time. This was the subject of Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent book Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking. People make the same kinds of judgments about websites based on looks that they do with other people or any print-based advertising or physical location. How you look communicates something to your prospective customers. It’s important to look good and it’s important to communicate the right message.

Pitfalls of E-mail Sign Offs

November 27th, 2006

Lola Ogunnaike explores the pitfalls of e-mail signoffs in The New York Times. It may do more to inspire rather than allay your fears of sending the wrong message in e-mail correspondence, but it’s worth the read. I’ve never considered using ‘Best’ to sign off an e-mail, but now I certainly never will.

New York Times: Yours Truly, The E-Variations

Media Companies looking for Online Gurus

November 26th, 2006

In Seeking an Executive to Tame the Digital Future, NY Times Richard Syklos reports on the challenge media companies face finding the right person to guide the through an online strategy with the following mock wanted ad:

WANTED Digital media genius to guide a nimble — or at least we like to think we are — media giant through transformation from analog to digital in all its gory glory.

JOB DESCRIPTION To take all the stuff we produce for other formats, like TV or print or film, and figure out how to shovel it onto the Internet in a way that makes money.

QUALIFICATIONS The ideal candidate might also have ideas for ways to make a few dollars online that don’t directly stem from our so-called traditional media businesses. (You know — like that whole user-generated thing that the kids are doing. P.S., loved the video clips about how Mentos and Diet Coke mixed together create a chemical reaction — maybe we can turn it into a prime-time special or a theme park ride financed by these brands?)

COMPENSATION Pretty sweet for as long as you last.

RETIREMENT BENEFITS Well, don’t plan on it.

Smaller companies, of course, face similar obstacles, but with fewer resources.

Laptop Nomads

October 16th, 2006

USA Today ran a recent article Working out of a ‘third place’ that put a name to my nomadic existence.

An estimated 30 million Americans, or roughly one-fifth of the nation’s workforce, are part of the so-called Kinko’s generation, employees who spend significant hours each month working outside of a traditional office.

This rootless army is growing 10% annually, according to Gartner Dataquest research. The reason? Corporations are increasingly supportive of teleworking for reasons that range from saving money on office space to needing a backup in the event of a natural disaster or terror attack.

“With technology what it is, it’s far easier to bring the work to the people than the people to the work,” says Jim Ware of the Future of Work, a Bay Area enterprise that helps large companies such as Boeing anticipate workplace trends.

Most of the time I like to go in to my office downtown, but since I moved to a coffee-shop rich environment with seemingly universal wi-fi, I’ve found it increasingly convenient to set up shop at Julie Victoria Cafe, Crossroads Coffee or Salento’s .

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