Archive for August, 2010

We Design and Customize ChannelAdvisor Stores

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Hey, are you a ChannelAdvisor customer? Yes? Well you're in luck. :) We design and customer CA Stores, both their Basic Store as well as their premium ASP DOT NET Store. Here is a very cool Premium store we did.

http://www.laretrogifts.com

We're all about matching the design to the mood and image you are looking to project. Otherwise, if your designer isn't doing that, he or she probably just stuck your logo up top, or made you a collage. Booo! Demand better! :)

We can get this ready in time for holiday selling, so contact us now for a quote! http://www.aswas.com


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Getting Into ProStores?

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Are you getting into an eBay ProStore (formerly Kurant Stores, years ago)? Well so are we! We will soon be ProStores Certified Designers, so if you are considering a ProStore, let us give you a quote on unique and custom design.

If you already have a ProStore, but want it more customised, or with a fresh look and mood, that's our specialty! Get in touch. We'd love to get your project done ASAP so it's ready in time for your holiday selling!

http://www.aswas.com


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Getting More From Website Design

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

With over 15 years in the biz of designing websites, I can finally put into words how online sellers and businesses can get more from web design and your website designer.

When starting a project, a typical web designer wants to know what you sell, what colour you like, if you have a logo, and a few pictures of what you sell. You typically end up with a website that looks like everybody else's, but with your logo and a few pictures of what you sell slapped up there.

There is a whole other school of thought when it comes to designing websites, and it's often called UX/UI, standing for "user experience/user interface." The idea is that an expert in this area is not just thinking about the layout and design of a website. He or she is taking into consideration…

  • Profiles of typical users/shoppers. Who are these people? What's important to them? Why are they coming to your website?
  • Messaging… what do we need to tell these people and in what order? How do we phrase it so that people have to do the least reading and thinking?
  • Navigation… how will people get around the website? Are you putting a bunch of rows of choices up top and then more down the sides? Does that really work for non-thinkers and non-readers? :) What are fresher and more intuitive ways to plan the navigation?
  • The best in modern design. Boxy websites with heaps of columns and dizzying home pages seem so 2002. There are better ways to design now. You don't need to settle for the same old ways, which I think for the most part don't really work for how people surf the web and how people think.

As a UX/UI expert, I think bringing in someone like me bring a whole other dimension to your website. It will help it stand out, and be easier to use. The less time people spend thinking and reading, the more important it is to have a website that is easy and obvious to use. It's more important to have a home page that makes sense, connects with your audience, and projects the most important messages in ways that make sense to your shopper.

You have such little time to make an impression on people, and technology is getting wackier… I see more and more sites using Flash while Apple is blocking Flash on everything. So if you build something in Flash, you've just kissed off everybody who might hit your site from an iPad, iPhone, or iPod as well as most mobile phones.

A UX/UI person is dedicated to making something truly work for your business. A website designer (typically) wants to take what you already have, throw it together, and get it online. It's often not very creative, and often doesn't take "deeper" ideas into account, like how your shopper is likely to behave, where your shoppers eyes will naturally go, and what messages your shopper needs in what order. A website designer typically does what you say whereas a UX/UI person is often in more of a consulting and expert role. It's not that I don't do what you say, but it's more of a relationship where the client knows they are coming to me to take advantage of my years of expertise and experience.

If you'd like a quote on some really special website work, please get in touch with us at http://www.aswas.com.


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Is Global Warming Real?

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Everybody wants to debate Global Warming. Is it real? Or is it just a typical shift like our earth has had before?

There's one thing I feel like I'm not hearing enough. And that is that whether or not you believe in Global Warming, Climate Change, or whatever you want to call it, there is NO good reason to NOT change our habits and do more for our planet.

Recycling is a great idea whether you believe people cause climate change or not. No reason to throw things away and have them pile up on stinking piles in states where we all live. Recycling is easy. You throw some things in one bin, and some in another. Then you put each bin in the right place. Or maybe where you live, you just drag these bins out, and someone takes them for you.

That was EASY. I will even throw a paper towel I used to dry my hands in the recycle bin. It can come back as a Starbucks thingy so you don't burn your hand on the hot cup. :)

Being smart with energy is easy, and will save you money on your electric bill. So even if you don't want to do it for somebody's idea of what's good for the planet, do it to save money. Turn off lights and ceiling fans in rooms you're not in. Keep the thermostat one degree higher in the summer and one degree lower in the winter. There are small things you can do that can save electricity, save you money, and don't compromise however you see your lifestyle.

Turn off water while you are brushing your teeth or washing your face. Turn it back on when you need it. Don't let it run. Cut your shower down by a few minutes. Yes, please wash :) but you could probably cut 2 minutes out of your shower every day, even if that's 2 minutes of not getting in the shower yet even though the water has heated up.

Carpool where you can. Share rides. Nobody gets any points for driving their own car and having to park it. See if you can travel with someone else. Save gasoline, save on pollution from vehicles, save on traffic in your area. Imagine if traffic moved faster because 1/3 of the people in your area decided to share a ride instead of taking their car too.

I'm thinking about a scooter. If I have to go 0.5 miles to Target to get some shampoo, I probably don't need to drive my V6 SUV. I could ride an efficient scooter getting a zillion miles to the gallon and putting out less pollution.

Got solar? There are lots of great solar chargers out there. Leave them in the sun, plug in something like a cell phone, and you're powered.    

Doesn't matter if Climate Change is real or not. Doesn't matter who caused it. Doesn't matter if it will go away soon. We should be smarter. We should think ahead more. We should save our resources, our community resources, our state resources, our country resources. Little bits count, and are WORTH doing.

What are some things that you do?


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Get Professional Web and eCommerce Design Now!

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Holiday selling is coming up soon. It's a GREAT time to be redesigning your website or eCommerce shop with a look that's uniquely yours. You can even be setting up your own website now. Why not drive all your traffic to your own store!

We at As Was have been building websites and designing online stores since 1995. Hey, we do this! And we're ready to start projects right away. Jump in now, and contact us about getting your own website custom designed.

http://www.aswas.com


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Must-Have Android Apps

Friday, August 6th, 2010

I've had the HTC Evo 4G for Sprint since the day it came out about 2 months ago. This phone is amazing, especially with FroYo (version 2.2 of the operating system). But you really make the most out of a phone like this with the apps you can download and use. Here are the apps that rock my world right now. You can find them in the Market.

ShapeWriter. Can't live without it. You can also try its competitor, Swype. These apps let you type words at a time instead of letters at a time. Faster than a real touch keyboard.

K9 Email. I am polling 5 IMAP accounts every MINUTE. Yes, minute. K9 has a huge number of features, and is updated often. If you are looking for really powerful email with a lot of features, get K9. My fave feature is different notification sound and vibration patterns for different accounts.

QuickProfiles. I can make phone profiles for volumes, vibrate, airplane mode, etc… I can access them with one button. My fave feature is that I can set a different wallpaper for different profiles. I use a certain wallpaper for silent and quiet profiles so that if I look at my phone, I'm reminded by the wallpaper that the phone is silent. Reminds me to turn the volume back on!

Three travel apps: Kayak, TripIt, and FlightTrack (the pro version with the TripIt integration). I'm a huge TripIt user, and I travel once or twice a month. So these are really handy for having all of my travel details in one place, and to track flights. TripIt also notifies, emails, or SMS when your flight changes, and reminds you to check in for flights. Very helpful!

Startup Cleaner keeps certain apps from starting up. Android doesn't really need a task killer, but there are a few apps I don't even want to start up.

Ringo Lite lets me set ring tones and SMS tones for different people.

Fring is my IM app right now. I really want Skype. I haven't gotten into Qik. I'm open to other IM apps. If Digsby made an Android app, I'd want that!

ColorNote is a great app for a checklist. Grocery IQ is a fun and easy shopping list.

Pandora and Rhapsody. Gotta have my music!

I'm not much of a gamer, but I do love my MahJong tile removal game. :)

I'm now playing with SayMyName Dessert. This will read email senders and subjects, SMS, and announce callers. You can control each separately. It's great for driving, working out, or any time I'm not really looking at the phone. I can hear what the email is, and decide if I want to look or not. Helpful!

Those are my suggestions!


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The Real Threat To Traditional Marriage

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

So Prop 8 was overturned in California. I read some of the articles quoting the ruling, and I noticed something interesting. What religions recognise and what states' laws recognise aren't always the same thing. Prop 8 is a matter of law and not religion. There are plenty of places where law and religion don't match!

A state can see a couple as divorced. Their religion can refuse to see them as divorced. A state will give an annulment to a religious couple even if they have kids. A state will break a covenant marriage, which is supposed to be unbreakable. So even before you bring gay rights issues into the picture, you already have a mismatch between what states recognise or allow and what religions recognise or allow. There are plenty of places where the Bible doesn't match up with
anything in the USA… like we DON'T sell our children into slavery,
even though the Bible says we can.

As a divorced woman, I know that many marriages do not last. Plenty that do are unhappy. Imagine it as an eBay seller. If you made more than 50% of your customers unhappy, eBay wouldn't even let you sell. So why do marriages go so wrong?

To me, the real threat to traditional marriage is the imbalance between people in a couple. This imbalance can be played out a number of ways. Maybe one person makes most/all of the money, and the other person feels "kept." Maybe one person is hyper-sensitive, and makes the other feel like he or she is "walking on eggshells"… that if you say or do the "wrong" thing, no matter how small, it'll be a battle. Maybe the couple isn't a good sexual match. Maybe they don't have similar core values, religious beliefs, approaches to child care, levels of neatness or organisation.

Isn't Marriage Supposed To Be "Hard" and Take a Lot of Work?

That's a story we tell ourselves when things are hard. When the relationship was GREAT, we didn't tell ourselves, "Well, this is just supposed to be hard and take work…. why is this so great and easy?!?!?" We matched the story we told ourselves to what our reality was, hoping we'll feel better. When the relationship got hard, we told ourselves, well, that's just marriage… it's hard. We need to stop telling ourselves made-up stories to try to feel better. We need that cold splash of water in the face.

Be careful of the stories you tell yourself. "Love will conquer all." Well, it may not. I found my love didn't do squat when it came to trying to deal with a dry drunk with unresolved childhood issues. I didn't cause those problems, and I can't fix them, which is a good lesson for everybody: you are unlikely to be able to fix problems you didn't cause, especially deep ones from before you met your partner. Love didn't conquer anything.

Another story we tell ourselves is that we've put so many years into this, why walk away. We don't keep a car because we've had it for 10 years. We don't sell or junk it because we've had it for 10 years. We get rid of it when it's not right for us anymore. I think relationships should be the same. I think people should consider disconnecting when the relationship isn't working, and can't be fixed… even if it's a vintage car. :) Putting more coats of paint on it won't make it better.

So How Do You Find That Successful Relationship?

Hey, I'm not perfect. I'm talking more from experience of long-term relationships that ended (badly). But I do have friends who have been married for decades, and say the spark and lightning are still there. Those people chose the right people. I'm hoping that right choice will come my way soon, if it hasn't already. :)

Think about your relationship with your best friend. You don't have to TRY to make that person happy. In fact, nobody would dream for a second that it's your JOB to make that person happy! You're each responsible for your own happiness. You don't have to say the right things or do the right things. You and your best friend just click, and you can talk about anything. You can say something, take it back, reshape it, try again, and your best friend doesn't pick a fight with you.

To me, the success or failure of a relationship always comes down to balance, equality, and how you share. This comes back to not the genders of people or the religion, but it comes down to who we choose as our (hopefully) life partner. It's about our expectations. If you expect your partner to "make you happy," that's a lot of pressure on that person. I prefer dating a happy person who wants to share that with me rather than someone looking for me to say and do all the right things so he'll be happy.

To me, the threat to traditional marriage isn't gay people. It's not religious people who want to superimpose their beliefs and preferences on everybody else as if there is only one right way. The biggest threat to traditional marriage are all of us who chose the wrong people and stayed. There is at least one fantastically right life partner out there for you… someone who makes you feel loved, supported, beautiful, and full of lightning. Life is short. Go find that person. :) Your marriage is a model for how your kids will see love… if you wouldn't want your kids in a relationship like yours, go find a really healthy one that they will hopefully use as a model instead.

And on a side note, that's why I like Chelsea Clinton… I like a girl who is JUST NOW marrying a guy she met 17 years ago. I think if more people took extra time to live together and see how the relationship evolves over time BEFORE getting married, we'd see a lot less divorce. Think about your the person you were dating 17 years ago. :)


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Why I’m Off Twitter

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

As of a few months ago, I'm pretty much off Twitter. I still have accounts. Some still have feeds going to them. But I haven't posted anything. I check maybe once a week to see if anybody has @ me. I'll respond to a direct message because I get an email. But that's it.

What happened?

Facebook. Let me explain.

Let's say I post an eBay selling tip to Twitter. If someone responds to it, I don't know about it. You didn't see her response. She didn't see your response. It's not threaded or logical in any way. It's really disjointed. And since I have no idea either of you responded anything, I haven't responded either.

I used to live in front of a Twitter app, waiting for someone to respond so I could respond right back. And it just wasn't happening. It was disjointed. Some people responded days later. It didn't seem like a conversation anymore. And when people do respond, you're like, "What are they responding to? I don't even remember."

Facebook has that mostly solved. When I post something, and you respond, I get an email. When someone else responds, it's there under what I said and what you said… so it's linear and logical. You can respond to my other friends. They see what you said. It's more like a conversation.

I think that building communities is about having that conversation. Facebook lets that happen. Twitter seems to be more of a broadcast, a shouting out there through a toilet paper roll, and not really knowing if anybody says anything back.

So I think I'm done with Twitter. I can't make time for it. I'm having quality interactions on Facebook, both on friends' walls and on business/fan pages. My time is best spent where I'm finding quality interactions. So is yours. :)


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