Posted by Belle in Office Stuff on July 23, 2011
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Back in April I was interviewed by Sam Barnes on his popular Web Project Management Blog and talked about how we manage projects at BeansBox and some specific tools that we use. One of the tools that is worth a special mention is Co-op.

As the business owner + project manager here, I have the constant challenge of keeping tabs on project budgets and making sure our resources are well utilized in a very fast-paced environment. To do that, I not only have to set up schedules and tasks on Basecamp beforehand, I also need to know what everyone is working on right now and will work on next to be sure things are running smoothly. Otherwise a small slip-up here and there would easily creep up in a few days, and throw our schedule and budget off course.

Some managers like to "check in" face-to-face or get updates via email, IM or daily meeting to find out the team's status, but I found these methods too disrupting or inefficient. I certainly don't want to nag people by asking "What are you working on?" every other hour or wait until the end of the day to get an update (sometimes this would be too late already because of the dynamics of juggling multiple projects).

Imagine every one in the team can easily update their "work status" like tweeting, and have a centralized place to share their agenda. This is how Co-op solved the problem for us. 

Posted by in Drupal on July 22, 2011
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BeansTag is a page title, meta tag and meta description management tool we created for multi-lingual Drupal websites. It makes use of the path alias as an identifier for the SEO attributes, you could add them to any path alias and they would be shown in the web page. It fully supports any content type including views, panel pages as well as nodes.

We have been using the Nodewords module in Drupal 6 for a while. It is the most popular SEO tool in the Drupal community and supports for custom page title, meta tags and meta description management. However, since Nodewords does not take the language prefix into account, we are not able to use it for multi-lingual Drupal sites (which we build a lot in Hong Kong) as the translated nodes or pages always share the same path alias. 

So we created BeansTag with the goal to overcome the internationalization issue in Nodewords with a simpler user interface. Installing BeansTag is easy and straight forward. Follow these steps:

 

1. Get the latest BeansTag sourcecode

2. Download and enable the BeansTag module. You will then find the Update BeansTag button in the Admin menu.

3. Browse to the page which you want to use BeansTag with and click the Update BeanTag button. If the BeansTag for that path alias already exists, the current values of BeansTag will be loaded and you can update it with the edit form. If no BeansTag is found, the current path alias is loaded and you can create a new BeansTag immediately.

4. You could manage all the BeansTag in Structure -> Manage BeansTag.

Let us know what you think of BeansTag in the comments.

Posted by David in Office Stuff on July 15, 2011
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These days in Hong Kong, you can walk down any block of any street and chances are you'll see at least one or two buildings being torn down or built up. Signs of progress...what else is new? Only that we've also become a victim of this, kicked out of our building because its destined for demolition sometime later this year. Already, the building next to us has been bulldozed...such a pleasant sound having demolition crew go off all day long while you're working....NOT.

The plus side of all this is that we've found a great new space where we'll be moving too, several blocks away in the chill side streets of Sheung Wan.

Here's a Photosynth "before" shot we took of the exterior of the building....renovation is well underway and we're so psyched. Further updates to come!

Posted by Elmer in Geek on June 15, 2011
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BBC, the worlds largest broadcaster with about 23,000 staff, is currently developing an iOS application which will allow field reporters to broadcast news live from their iPhone devices, Journalism.co.uk reports.


Posted by David in Digital on April 08, 2011
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I'm a bit of a photography hobbyist. Starting with SLRs and medium format cameras back in high school and college, I would clock in many hours in the schools' darkrooms back in the day. In the 90's it was all about the digital compacts, starting with 2 mp Cybershot models and moving on up to 8 mp IXUS's. I then switched back to manual cameras, playing around with Lomos, Actionsamplers and the like. The 2000's is the age of DSLRs, which is what I use now. So I've pretty much tried it all. But for the past few years I've been taking much less photos. The size and weight of my DSLR made it difficult to take it around everywhere, and I wasn't happy anymore with the quality I got from my digital cameras. Plus I had too many goddamn cameras!

Last August I purchased my third iPhone, the iPhone 4, with its HD screen and 5-mp camera. I loved that I could finally have an excellent camera inside my phone. Even then, I only used to it to for visual note-taking and the occasional family photo.

And then along came Instagram.

I've played around with other photo apps before, but there was something about Instagram that got me hooked from the start.

1. Its fast, responsive, and easy to use: upon opening the app, its clear exactly what you need to do. Theres a very simple and single-minded path, making it no-fuss and reliable, perfect for spontaneous shots…..its not trying to be a whole bunch of different things (which is where other photo apps have failed), and its great at what it does do.

2. Your photos look damn good, maybe even a little bit better than it should. Their camera filters are that good. This was a huge insight on the app developers part. Their focus on making these kick-ass vintage camera emulators totally nailed the reason why photo hobbyists love playing around with cameras - because of the individuality and nuance each camera gave to their photos. The Lomo is an excellent example of this, known for its contrasty, saturated colors and grittiness. I used to tweak my digital photos in Photoshop to make them look Lomo-like! To get the same effect with Instagram, you press the "Lomo-fi" button. Purists may condone this, but I think its amazing what the developers have done. Along with all the other filters, Its like carrying 15 cameras around with you. Now with the new tilt-shift filter, you now have instant (simulated) depth of field. It just gets better and better.

Posted by Belle in Digital on March 12, 2011
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After two long flights, I'm finally at South by South West! For those who haven't heard of SXSW, it's an annual film/music/interactive conference conducted every march at Austin, Texas, since 1987. It's a really awesome event for web geeks. As a SXSW noob, I'm only here for the interactive conference this time. After picking up my badge this morning I attended a few interesting sessions and booths. The one I particularly enjoyed was "Your Meetings Suck and It's Your Fault" by Kevin Hoffman from Happy Cog

Posted by in Drupal on March 08, 2011
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The first day was pretty much for the speakers. So, Except for picking up the T-shirts and passes, there was nothing much for today.

Posted by in Drupal on March 06, 2011
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How terrific is that? We have started using Drupal as our major framework for slightly more than half a year and we have launched more than 6 awesome Drupal sites! We love Drupal and we are going to explore more at the DrupalCon Chicago 2011!

We are now heading to Chicago, and for sure will keep you guys updated for this exciting event!

Posted by Elmer in Marketing on March 03, 2011
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After receiving numerous complaints from content providers now under siege by content scrapers, Google update its mighty algorithm to target these type of websites. When I say content scrapers, I actually mean websites that publish content already produced by other sources. In many occasions, websites that originally create content -- fresh news or blog entries -- fall behind an army of site scrapers in the search engine ranking battle. Losing the positional tussle means loss of potential traffic they could have gotten had they been ranking more prominently.
 
Posted by Elmer in Marketing on January 19, 2011
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Even before the concept of search engine optimization was introduced, robots.txt has been a fixture on websites. With or without SEO, its purpose was clear: to request search engines to ignore crawling certain files and folders as specified in the protocol. These pages may have been placed on our servers for convenient access to certain people, but with the concept of open Web, whatever we uploaded can now be seen by anyone who has access to the Internet through search engines. That's where robots.txt comes into picture.


With SEO we have become more aware of what search engines can do. Our purpose of doing SEO is to make our pages more visible, thereby attracting more visitors who see its more prominent search engine placement. But prominent search engine placement for wrong keywords and pages is not only embarrassing, but also damaging especially if it involves moderately sensitive information such as next week's menu for a restaurant website or an upcoming promotion of a shopping mall.

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