After much thought and investigation I finally made the decision to go with the Canon 50D as my introduction into the world of DSLR photography.
It was a a toss up between the Canon 50D and the Nikon D90, but at the end of the day the 50D was going to be a better overall fit.
Why the 50D?
There were many reasons why the Canon 50D got the winning vote over the Nikon D90, and here are a few reasons why.
15.1 megapixels over 12.3
It's not too much of a difference, but when it comes down to it nearly 3 megapixels is still nearly 3 megapixels.
Continuous shooting 6.4 frames per second against 4 frames per second
A good portion of the photo's that I'm going to be taking will be portrait and landscape scenary, however there will still be an element of sports photography as well.
With most important sports events occurring in under half a second, I'm much more likely to capture the right moment with 3 shots rather then 2.
Here is a very quick example of a series of shots I took yesterday of a soccer incident.
Rugged Body and water resistant connections
The Canon 50D offers a better built body. While you should be extra careful with cameras at this price range, the truth of the matter is that after a while you begin to become a little less careful with the camera and it will suffer a bump or two. It's much better to have a camera that will sustain these small knocks rather then wind up in the repair shop after the first mishap.
I also intend, after the next money bonus, to get a water housing for the camera. While the water housings are great, there will still be a lot of impact while in the water and the better made camera will always outlast the poorer competition.
Canon Interchangeable Lenses
This was probably the clincher..... apart from every person apart from Rich telling me to go for the Canon.
Having an all Canon product line allows me the opportunity to buy a single lens with multiple uses. The Canon 50D came with either the 18-200mm or the 17-85 kit lens.
I opted to go with the cheaper 17-85mm kit lens to being with, and buy additional lenses as they were needed.
The bonus for me with the Canon 50D over the Nikon D90 is that with a Canon Extender Lens 1.6x I can use any of the EOS lenses with my Canon XL1S, which means that if I do go for the 18-200mm lens it effectively becomes a 28.8-320mm lens for the Canon XL1S.
Other advantages of the Canon 50D
- Faster start up
- Better flash synchronisation
- No proprietary software required for raw files (nikon needs it's own software)
- Higher ISO settings
- Advanced auto focus (AF) microadjustment
- Faster shutter speed (1/8000 compared to 1/4000)
Nikon D90 advantages over the Canon 50D
The Nikon had a couple of things going for it too, but these weren't enough to sway the decision
- Cheaper (a few hundred dollars)
- Has HD Video (I've already got a Canon HV20 and Canon XL1s
- More points of focus (11 for the Nikon with only 7 for the Canon)
Overall what IS the best camera
It doesn't matter which camera you decide to go for, you will be VERY happy with your purchase.
Both the Canon 50D and the Nikon D90 have there goods and bads, it just depends on exactly what you're looking for and your own personal preference.
Author: Justin Avery
Lets have a quick look at some figures to allow you to gauge whether this is actually worth spending any time on.
- Facebook has approximately 140 Million Members and 18 Million Unique Visitors a month in the UK.
- You Tube exceeded 100 million unique visitors in March 2009
- Twitter increased by 1382 percent to 7 million users in February 2009 from 12 months previous, and of those lets say all of them use twitter on a daily basis.
So even if a minute number of these unique visitors were to visit your site each month, let's say 0.01% of these visitors, your website will have exposure to an additional 24,700 unique visitors.... and that’s before we take continued growth rates in the industry into consideration.
Still here? Great.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the numbers lets look at what you need to do.
For each of the below sections you will need to sign up with some kind of user name and password. Often the user name will be an email address so prior to reading on below you should take this opportunity to ask you system administrators to set up a single social media email address,
or one for each section,
All Social Networking sites provide you with a certain level of customization options. These include backgrounds, logos, or full control over the html + css.
It is important to know your branding guidelines before you start spreading the social word, so you should meet with your marketing department and get a hold of the following as a minimum;
- Square Logo approximately 240x240 pixels in size (most social networking sites will resize this to fit so it’s best to go a little bigger then required)
- Hexidecimal chart of available corporate colours (remember that no matter how hard you try to convince the marketing manager sky blue isn't the same as ski-ish blue)
- Mission Statement for your company, keep it to 30 words or less
Finally, remember to keep your social networking URL’s as consistent as possible. For example, it is much easier to remember
is much easier to remember than
It's free, it's easy, and you only need an email to set up an account (have you set those accounts up yet?)
Yes of course you could use your own email address. But what happens if you decide to leave or if you move into a new role? It becomes a pain to update or change.
Creating a Facebook Page
Visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php and select what type of category your Business Facebook page should be associated with. It could be a Local Business, Brand or Product, or an Artist, Brand or Public Figure. (note that non-profit options are under Brand or Product).
For this example I'm going to choose Brand or Product and choose Website.
Once you've chosen you Brand or Product add the name of the business/brand/product/artist, or in this case the Website….. for example “Your Company”.
The next page will allow you to either sign up with a new account (which is recommended), or with an existing account.
Sign up with your new business account email, remember the one you had created during the introduction, and you're done!
The next steps are all about creating your social profile, setting up events that you will be holding, uploading some videos that you've previously shot of such events, some photo's of your company advertisements, a list of links to your website detailing the services you offer etc etc.
You should also take this opportunity to upload the profile image, in this case your logo, and tailor the page colours to your own branding guidelines.
tweets, twits, twitters, twitterific, twitscoop, twats...... the list goes on for as long as there are as many questions about what twitter actually is.
What is it? How do I do it? Twitter, what's the point? Well here's a quick overview...
What is it?
- Twitter is like the status update function on Facebook, but you're limited to 140 characters. No picures, no wall posts, no applications, just updates.
- Twitter is what SMS used to be when you were restricted to 180 character text messages, except these messages are accessible by anyone on the internet.
Twitter, what's the point?
Aside from the figures mentioned at the beginning of this article, the point is you can use twitter for anything.
You can follow your favourite celebrities, get immediate news updates, blow your own trumpet, follow experts in your chosen field, winge about work (search for "hate" and "work" and "monday"), maintain realtime search updates on topics that concern you personally or your business........ or anything else that you might want to do.
There's a good article listing 50 ideas on using twitter for business you can read here http://www.chrisbrogan.com/50-ideas-on-using-twitter-for-business/ but here are a couple of the best picks.
- Use Twitter Search to keep an eye on what's happening in your space and identify twitter users you might want to follow.
- Share deep content/services you offer through twitter
- Tweet about things happening outside of your company that may affect your clients
- Utilise tweetdeck or twhirl to maximise twitters effectiveness.
- Utilise tiny urls
- Twitter breaks news faster then any other resource
Prior to setting up your twitter account you should utilise sites such as http://www.tweetscoop.com and http://search.twitter.com to get a feel about what is being discussed around your social networking interests.
How does it work?
- Sign up for an account and start leaving updates.
- You can choose the other Twitter user updates you would like to receive by visiting a twitter account page and clicking on "Follow". The best way to get followers when you begin is to follow users or saved searches in your field.
If you're setting up a personal account make your user name something useful, like joe bloggs and have http://www.twitter.com/joebloggs, this is better to send around the http://www.twitter.com/joe39.
Setting up your business account should follow a similar process. Remember that in both of these cases you are limited to 15 characters for the user name so keep it short. Something like www.twitter.com/cfdg for the Charity Finance Directors' Group for instance is perfect.
If you are concerned that CFDG may not be recognised as a full profile name let me put your mind at ease, you can specify a longer name in the profile section (and use the full Charity Finance Directors' Group which is associated with www.twitter.com/cfdg).
Now that you've signed up it's time to make your account more human... more social if you will.
For personal accounts a simple head shot as your profile picture will work wonders. Twitter is all about being social and making the interaction with each other more human. A nice head shot is a lot better then a picture of baby kitten, unless of course you horribly unattractive in which case a picture of Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie is perfectly acceptable.
Another important reason to update the profile image is to override the Twitter generic logo. This is often thought of as the sign of a spam account and is usually not followed by anyone.
Business Accounts will not usually have a single face associated with them, so you should use the logo you prepared at the beginning of this article. Upload the logo and start updating!
It's probably worth pointing out that these steps should all be done before you begin following people. If other users see that you haven't completed these steps then the chances of them following your updates are greatly reduced.
You might notice that some people have background images with their site twitter pages as well. This is important when it comes to Business Accounts as it's a sign of professionalism, and it allows you to promote more of your look and feel and also visually represent the other social media sections of your company (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) When choosing your background image either keep it the same as Facebook and YouTube, or at least very similar.
Yammer is 'essentially' the same as Twitter, but used within a closed network of users.
Yammer controls who can sign up to see and post updates based on your email domain name.
What is that? Well for instance if we started using Yammer at Squiz, you could only join if you have an email address ending with @squiz.co.uk
This makes it difficult to obtain cross country collaboration (@squiz.net.au, @squiz.co.uk, @squiz.co.nz would be all different social networking groups) however Yammer becomes beneficial if you have a security conscious IT or Information Manager as it provides them with the confidence that the information is safe.
But can't I just sign up with firstname.lastname@example.org and get access to the network?
No, you cannot. A confirmation email is sent to email@example.com and until you enable the account from that address the account remains inactive.
Remember that Twitter and Yammer are different. Yammer is about connecting within your Company where as Twitter is about connecting with the World.
Youtube has a massive amount of traffic each month, and is often under utilised when it comes to redirecting traffic to your site.
If your company produces television advertising the chances are someone has tried to find the ad via You Tube to either poke fun at it, or to remember some information that was mentioned during the ad.
Either way they're looking for you, and it's your chance to convert another user to your site.
Television Ad’s are only one of YouTube’s uses though, it’s also an excellent way to share your resources with the world. Some videos you could use include;
- A snippet of a Conference that you have run which provides the user information on how to get the full video from your site,
- A video enabled powerpoint slide presentation on a topic that you are the experts,
- Television advertising,
- A screen captured tutorial to assist your clients to use/navigate your site or use your software
It doesn't matter what it is, what matters is that it benefits your clients and will direct them to your site for more information.
Creating your Channel
Visit youtube.com and go to the "Sign Up" link in the top right corner.
Use your social media email address (seriously, this is the third time you've needed to set this up now, get to it!) and fill out the remainder of the information as you have done for the previous networking sites. As mentioned in the introduction it's important to be consistent with your naming conventions so that your clients get used to always using the same term.
It is important to remember that you CAN NOT change your YOUTUBE channel URL once you have signed up for it. Twitter can be updated/deleted and facebook can be updated if it's available, but YOUTUBE can NOT.
Once you've set up your channel you can go into My Account - Account Settings and Customise Homepage to add and remove different sections from your video channel.
Next you should go to My Account - My Channel to update the Channel Info & Channel Designs.
Channel Info holds the settings for comments, tags applied to your channel, your channel description and the Title of your channel. Remember that as with Twitter and Facebook the Title is different to the URL that is used for your pages.
To properly get the look and feel of your channel page you need to ignore the "Select a Theme" options and update the Advance Settings section of the Channel Design section.
This is where the previously organised logo, corporate hex colour list and branding guidelines come in handy.
The last option below Channel Info and Channel design is "Organise Videos" where you can customise the way your videos are displayed.
What's that? You haven't uploaded any videos yet? Well, read on.......
Uploading you video
There are some basic rules to follow when uploading your videos as well to ensure you get the maximum exposure.
Some categories in You Tube are more popular then others, and that means you have a better chance of getting it seen.
So what are the popular categories
- News & Politics
So does this mean that you put all your videos in Entertainment?
No. You should associate your video with the category appropriate for the video, however if you have a funny entertaining video you are better off putting it in Entertainment then Comedy.
Ratings & Comments
Ratings and comments are a great way to raise the profile of your video and should always be enabled. It's up to you whether you want only registered users commenting or leave it open to the public, but I say the more comments the better.... leave it open.
I've created them all, what now?
Alright, I think you mean "I've created them all, how do I now get a network of users?"
There are a few individual tips listed in the instructions above, but the rule of thumb is that people will join if you have something to offer them. Of course the chances of them stumbling across the information is slim, but by following these few suggestions you will see a steady increase in visitors.
- Add links to your email signature (directly under the name/email/website is best)
- Integrate the links onto the Home page of your website as well as at the bottom of each of the information pages or articles
- Add them to your letterhead or any other Corporate branded document you use to provide information to your clients
Author: Justin Avery
Tiny URLs, what are they?
Tiny URLs are a facility to take a long url, lets take this blog post for example http://www.surfthedream.com.au/blog/Archives/may-2009/tracking-tiny-url-analytics-using-tr.im, enter it into a text box and magically watch it transform into something smaller but albeit unreadable http://tr.im/luzK.
Why use Tiny URLs?
A lot of people are using twitter these days, I myself am running 2 accounts and contribute to a third when I can.
While it's a blessing to be able to get your message across quickly and informally, sometimes it can be tough to fit everything you need within the 140 characters, and especially if you're also providing a link for further reading or a tutorial you might be plugging.
So what is the solution? That's right, Tiny URLs.
Why track my Tiny URLs?
There are many reasons you might want to track your links in a twitter post. Any links that are coming back to your site you could identify by looking at the referral links in your analytics program like Google Analytics, but what happens when your readers are using twitterific, tweetdeck or the like? The referrals could look like direct links instead of coming from Twitter (I am currently trialing this to see how analytics registers those clicks).
Enough chit chat, how do I track Tiny urls
Alright, okay, I was just making sure we were all on the same page. Geez, patience!
I use tr.imfor my tiny urls. It's not because they offer the best service, or have the shortest urls, or send me miniature miniatures in the post, it's because I saw a big "Sign up from tr.im account" logo on their site and followed along.
Once you've registered and logged in you use the site in the same way that you would use any tiny url type site, but with the added bonus that every link that you tr.im goes into a list of "your tr.immed urls".
At a glance the list contains the following information
- Original URL
- tr.im url
- # of visits
- link to more stats
- link to the url
- option to delete from the list
- date the url was tr.immed
By clicking on the stats link for one of the urls you go to the summary page that includes
- Total visitors
- Break up between humans and bots
- Visitor location
- Last 15 visitors
There are also heading links for more information on
- Timelines (how many clicks on each day)
- Referrers (if you use the tr.im url across multiple sites like tublr, facebook, twitter, yammer etc)
- Agents (browsers, bots and platforms)
- Locations (by Country)
In the Account section there are more options to
- View all tr.im URLs
- View Top tr.ims
- Authorise twitter accounts with your tr.im account (to submit directly from tr.im)
- Claim URLs
- Update Preferences
- Change Timezone
- Add/update Email Address
- Update Account Profile
I haven't had a look through all of these options so feel free to check them out and post back some feedback.
Everything on the site is clear and simple to use. There are a few extras that might come in handy, the firefox addon and dashboard widget are my favourites but there are a few more there with more to come.
There was no export function that I could see, but that's not a big deal for me at the moment.
For those that want to do a bit more fiddling and integration they have a nice simple tr.im API available as well.
Excuse me sir, there's a time and a place for that tiny url!
As with adjusting your nether region or picking your nose, there is a time and a place for tiny urls.
You should never use them within your site and be reluctant to allow peole to link to you from their sites. For one there is no need to make urls short in this case, and it will badly hurt your SEO (or at least not help it). You should also never put them to printed material because although not damaging to SEO, it takes away from any brand that you're trying to build up.
All internal and outbound urls within your site should be tracked through an analytics program such as Google Analytics.
Author: Justin Avery
If you're new to Linux, and to Apache, chances are you are going to make a couple of mistakes when updating configuration files.
Fortunately there are a few commands to help you fix these issues before you make the changes matter.
With most changes to the Apache configuration file, you are required to restart Apache for the changes to take affect, but if you've made a mistake in your reconfiguration then Apache will still restart with those mistakes present, or what's worse it won't restart at all and you'll be without a website.
That's when a nice little command like
sudo /usr/sbin/apache2ctl configtest
sudo /usr/sbin/apachectl graceful
come in very handy. These commands return any error messages that you might receive if you were to reboot.
Once you're happy the changes you have made are right to go, use the trusty
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
Author: Justin Avery