Category Archives: How to

How does the internet work (simple version)

One of my roles as I see it is to demystify SEO, web and internet & marketing technologies. So, I will try to do this one justice too.

First of all, lets define the internet. According to Wikipedia:

The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to serve billions of users worldwide.

So, that is quote full of jargon. This is basically the infrastructure that connects our computers, servers and any other device that uses data. And to use the words correctly the Web is mainly about the sites you use, HTML etc etc.

The geeky bit (simple version)

  • Your computer connects to your router (aka modem) either via a cable or your wifi
  • Your router via your phone line connects to the internet via your internet service provider (ISP)
  • Your browser (e.g. chrome, firefox, safari) requests a web page via its URL
  • Web sites work on the http protocol and then the servers name. e.g. http, and then
  • Your browser on your computer via your ISP uses a Domain Name Server (DNS), like a list of all website names registered. The DNS returns the websites real name which is in IP address. IP addresses are in IPv4 format are in a set of 4 numbers separated by a point e.g.
  • So, your request is now at the right server now. The server hears your request for a URL, sends the information back in small pieces “packets” via the quickest route and your computer puts it back together and compiles the pages inside your browser. That is what you see in your browser and reading this page

Hope that makes sense! And inside that you may want to know what server response codes.

Most of this all happens in less than a blink of an eye – clever hey.

How to delete your Google Browsing History before new policy kicks in

Seen a few references to the new Google privacy policy today. According to a few websites, in a weeks times, Google is changing to its new privacy policy that allows it to gather, store and use historical and future personal information. Therefore we the users have one last chance to delete their Google Browsing History, along with any secrets/scandal/work research/previous employment usage etc etc.

How to delete your Google Browsing History

      1. Go to the google homepage and sign into your account. Or when you are just logged into another service
      2. Click the dropdown menu next to your name in the upper-right hand corner of your screen.
      3. Click “accounts settings”
      4. Scroll down and find the “Services section”
      5. Under “Services” there is a sub-section that reads “View, enable, disable web history.” Click the link next to it that reads: “Go to Web History.”
      6. Click on “Remove all Web History”

Quick link to settings section.

Should you do it?

Well, many depends. Personalisation has been getting more personal over time, including more verticals and data services, and you don’t even need to log in anymore.

Generally speaking they are quite good and we do enjoy their SERPs and services. You should take take a look at your history. Mine goes back to 2005 and is really odd to see that far back. Mine is especially wierd as I am an SEO, I have a lot of work in there for a number of companies.

I am a little scared that my future Google experience wont be that good if I do this. But, I am still going to press that button.

How to revive/reboot a dead Motorola Xoom 2

Motorola Xoom 2

Motorola Xoom 2

I recently bought a Motorola Xoom 2 which I thoroughly  love and would recommend to anyone/everyone.

And yesterday I felt lost as it died, less than 30 days old. So, under the shop terms I took it back and they were about to declare it dead. But just before it was being sealed up, one of the more geeky guys guessed how to do a proper reboot as a last rite. And behold it rebooted and came back to life and works fine now.

When I was looking online for help there was nothing, so, I thought I would share. There doesn’t seem to be many Xoom 2 owners yet.

How to reboot a Motorola Xoom 2

Without further ado, its really simple. If you turn to your Xoom over to look at the 3 buttons located on the top of the right hand side…

Xoom 2 - buttons to reboot

Xoom 2 - buttons to reboot

You should hold the ‘Power’ button (top one) and the ‘Volume down’ (bottom one) for approx 30 seconds.

It will show a number of lines of boot-up code, then it will go into the normal ‘On’ procedure with the red Motorola logo, and after 30/40 seconds, it will jump to life.

Hope it helps others.

HTML5 – w3c compliant post – hoorah!

I was very pleased to see that my posts are actually HTML5 compliant.

The validation is specifically for my “How to make a simple Waterfall chart” post.

W3C validation

Whoop - most posts W3C validate

I genuinely believe that in the future that code segmentation/html5/microformats are going to be really important. Especially for e-commerce large sites. If there is only so much PageRank to go around, and this means the depth and aggressiveness of crawl, you need to make it as easy as possible. That way they can prioritize and understand what you have available.

In terms of the validation. I think I have to give all of the credit to the theme team. But at least I haven’t broken it. And I only had to turn off one plugin that wasn’t compliant (and my edits broke it) to get there!

How to make a simple positive “Waterfall chart”

If you ever need to produce “blue sky” ideas or have to explain causality then a waterfall chart can be a great way to show that graphically. Especially in the less slides in a deck is good world.

I had to do one of these the other day. I was given a cryptic old workbook from finance, which would take longer to cut & paste/decipher than to actually teach myself how to do it. Plus, it was too complicated for what I needed anyway.

I had to make a simple, “if I had to reach a target” visual representation. So, I searched around on the inter-web and came across some mathematician level answers for complicated graphs or utter rubbish. Based on this and the bits I could understand I found my own way.

I am sure there are other ways from people smarter than me. But, I thought I would share my simple waterfall how to guide.

Step by step to make your simple positive “Waterfall chart”

  • Have your starting point, e.g. current run-rate in row 2, column 3 (see figure 1)
  • List out all your activities you intend to do, to move towards the target with incremental value. So activities in column 1 and values e.g. incremental orders in column 3
  • Put your target Row 8, column 3
  • In row7, column 3 work out the difference/gap if applicable to your story
  • Column 2 is now for the “height buffer”, which will be formatted out later on. This should just be the cumulative total to effectively suspend your real data (column 3). Will make sense in a minute
  • Plot your stacked bar graph. (See figure 2)

Waterfall data sample data

Figure 1. Sample data

Waterfall chart - almost there

Figure 2. Half way there

Now you need to remove the column 2 buffer data from VIEW

  • Highlight and delete the legend
  • Right click and format the target column to make a different colour
  • Right click on the ‘buffer’ series and “format data series” to “No Fill” and “No line colour”
  • Optional extras may include the colour of any difference (if any), data labels or lines to aid digesting

Your graph should now look a bit like this. (See figure 3)

Sample waterfall chart

Figure 3. Ta-dah - Waterfall chart ready for your formatting

From now on you can customise it any way you want. Add any kind of title etc and generally put it into your house style.

But I think you will agree, it is a very simple way to represent data in a single chart. And it will make you look like a pro. That is how I make a simple, positive waterfall style graph. Hope it works for you too.