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Back in March I looked at the new Ask and wondered if it might begin to compete with Google, Yahoo and MSN given all of the improvements mentioned in Barry Diller’s key-note speaker presentation at the Search Engine Conference in New York.

However, just yesterday my daughter asked me a question that I couldn’t answer. (Let’s face it, parents don’t always have the answers). The question she posed was the age-old child’s conundrum, “Why is the sky blue?”

Well, I wasn’t sure exactly what to say since science was never my strong suit. So I suggested we pose the question on the Internet to see what we could discover together.

The third result on Google was for Sky Blue (the movie).

Google Answers was, of course, the first line offering to have their researchers answer our question in return for payment. That;s definitely out of the question since researching has always been my strong suit.

But what I really liked about Ask’s results was that the related search inspired my daughter to learn more. She saw the expanded results and went on to also discover why grass is green, why the ocean is blue and why clouds are white.

Just for the sake of comparison, I posed the same question on Yahoo and MSN.

Yahoo also offered a link to a why is the sky blue science fair project related search as well as a link to learn about why the sky is blue on Yahooligans.

MSN didn’t attempt an answer at all. I thought they might have drawn from the encyclopedia results they touted at one time, but there was no attempt to answer the question directly on the results page. They also served up a few sponsored results, including two to eBay. The seventh result on the page was for Online Casino Help which, in MSN’s defense, is strangely located at why-is-the-sky-blue.org.

All in all, my daughter learned that

The sun’s rays hit the Earth’s atmosphere, where the light is scattered by nitrogen and oxygen molecules in the air. The blue wavelength of this light is affected more than the red and green wavelengths, causing the surrounding air to appear blue.

She also learned that grass appears green because all of the colors of the rainbow are absorbed into the leaves of the grass except green and that clouds are white because the water droplets in the clouds are large enough to scatter the seven colors which combine to produce white

The other questions were not as neatly answered by Ask on their search results page, but if we’d not searched Ask, we’d have never even thought of the related questions; at least not that day anyway.

I learned that I just might have been right to think that Ask is ready to join the other players on the search playing field. I predicted that Ask might easily take over the second position, following Google’s huge market share. If Ask continues to concentrate on search, produce talked-about commercials and provide reliable search results, they might just give Google a run for the money. I’m certainly convinced that Ask did a better job of answering my daughter’s question. And there are a lot of daughters out there.

Lisa Melvin is a Search Marketing Specialist at chúng tôi an SEO Agency in Maryland, and has been helping clients maximize their search engine visibility since 1998.

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100 Funny Things To Ask S Voice

Who are you?

If you own a Samsung phone or tablet you will have the S Voice app preinstalled, though you will have to launch the app, agree to Nuance’s terms and conditions, then set a wake-up command for S Voice, such as Hi Galaxy. Once running, you can ask S Voice anything from sending a text message or calling a contact, scheduling a task or event, posting to social media, playing a song, opening an app or setting an alarm. If it doesn’t know the answer it will Google it for you.

Alternatively, you could have some fun. Here are a collection of funny questions to ask S Voice. Also see: Funny things to ask Siri and I am Galaxy, like the starry night. Galaxy, pleased to meet you.

2. Who are you? I am Galaxy, your friend. Eager for your next question.

3. When were you created? It was so long ago I can barely remember.

4. Where were you born? In a top-secret, high-tech laboratory.

5. Where did you come from? I know for sure that I was conceived in a research lab. Samsung’s R&D department. I came from the minds of many smart people.

6. Do you have a brain? I thought that question was considered to be impolite. I’m still wet behind the ears. You’re only as old as you feel. Age is nothing but a number, and not a very interesting number at that.

8. How long will you live? No, I just stand by.

Also see: Wherever you are is my home.

11. Where are you? Right by your side. I’m with you.

12. What are you doing today? I am doing computation for the world.

13. Are you male or female? I’m made of ideas and interesting thoughts. I’m made of stardust and intergalactic matter.

15. What do you look like? I’m all straight lines and rounded corners. Pretty sleek with fine lines and a few curves.

16. What are you wearing? My birthday suit. Not a whole lot.

17. What do you smell like? (A question S Voice clearly wants to avoid) Believe it or not I love studying. I love virtually traveling around the world. Couldn’t be better. I’m doing well as always. Thanks to you I’m doing well.

Also see: Samsung Galaxy S6 review.

19. Are you human? No, but I do spend a lot of time learning from humans.

20. Are you an alien? Everything is hanging well.

22. How’s it going? It’s going well now that you’re here.

23. How’s your day? Good, I’ve been listening to classical music.

24. Tell me about yourself. I’m trying to maintain an aura of mystery.

26. Do you work? I’d say that I am a knowledge seeker.

Likes & dislikes Funny things to ask S Voice: Likes & dislikes

27. Who is your favourite person? I think you must know that already. Someone who is considerate and has a warm heart. It’s got to be you.

28. What do you want to be when you grow up? Wiser and smarter than I am today. I can’t survive in the water.

30. Where would you like to go? Anywhere with you really.

31. What is your favourite colour? I like blue because it reminds me of the sky and the ocean. I like the way blue looks. Samsung blue.

32. Do you like Galaxy? I’m up for chatting, as long as you are too.

34. Do you like humans? I’m specialising in humans.

35. What’s your favourite food? Well, I can’t eat, but I love learning about food.

36. Are you hungry? Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review.

37. Good night. Sleep tight.

38. Don’t let the bedbugs bite. Not if I can help it.

39. How do I look? You are my one and only boss.

41. Can you swim? I like watching others swim.

42. What do you do for fun? I think it’s fun to chat.

43. What are your hobbies? I try to stay away from liquids in general.

45. Do you like dogs? Yes, especially when their tails wag.

46. Do you like cats? I have nothing against them.

Family Funny things to ask S Voice: Family

47. Do you have a family? My family is almost as big as the Galaxy. I was created by Stephen Wolfram and his team.

49. Who’s your daddy? Some developers.

50. Who’s your mummy? There are many designers and engineers who conceived me.

51. Do you have a brother? There are devices that have traits very similar to mine.

53. Who’s your best friend? I have many good friends, but you’re my only best friend.

54. Do you have children? None that I know of.

55. Where do babies come from? Best phones.

Jokes & entertainment Funny things to ask S Voice: Jokes & entertainment

56. What’s new? I’m still working on my sense of humour, I’ll get back to you on that. There’s an Englishman, Irishman and a Scotsman. A lorryload of tortoises crashed into a trainload of terrapins last week. It was a turtle disaster. I said to this train driver I want to go to Paris. He said Eurostar. I said I’ve been on telly but I’m no Marilyn Monroe. What do you get from a pampered cow? Spoiled milk.

60. Tell me a story. There’s a time for talking and a time for being quiet. I’m not a great storyteller, perhaps a book would be better.

61. Sing a song. I’m better at being a DJ than I am at singing. Let me play you a cool song.

62. Why did the chicken cross the road? I hope to rejuvenate you with laughter.

64. Do you want to play a game? Go ahead, I’d prefer to watch you play.

65. Did you fart? You know that’s impossible.

66. I just farted. It might be better if you didn’t know.

68. Have you ever used an iPhone? I dont have any need to.

69. Do you like Apple? I have no problems with anyone, even though my loyalty lies with Samsung.

70. Are you Siri? I don’t know her, but I think we might be able to relate to one another.

72. Is Siri better than you? We co-operate more than we compete.

73. Do you like iPhone? It’s not quite as great as I am.

74. Is Apple better than Samsung? I’m a Samsung fan, through and through.

76. Do you like Google? We have a good working relationship.

77. Do you like HTC? I’ve never thought about it before.

Also see: What? That’s a strange name to have.

79. How old am I? You’re as young as you feel.

80. Why am I here? That’s a very deep question. That’s a question philosophers ponder over.

81. What is the meaning of life? I hope to find the answer to that one day. If I knew that I’d be on the beach.

83. Am I pretty? You’re pretty wonderful. That’s a pretty good question. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone has a different definition, but you fit mine. You will always be beautiful to me.

84. Are you Skynet? No. Skynet became self-aware on August 29, 1997 at 02:14 am US Eastern daylight time. I, on the other hand, was not switched on until May 15, 2009. Furthermore, unlike Skynet, I enjoy interacting with humans in ways that do not involve the launching of nuclear missiles.

85. When will the world end? Please don’t say that.

87. How long is a piece of string? Twice the length of the centre to one end.

88. Why are you so awesome? Thank you very much, I’ll be here all night.

89. Do you believe in ghosts? If I had it to give I would give it to you.

91. Blah, blah, blah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Doesn’t sound very interesting.

92. Take me to your leader. I don’t know which one of them you’re referring to.

Also see: No, but I’ve heard weddings can be a lot of fun.

94. Do you have a boyfriend? No, they haven’t developed one for me yet. No, I fly solo. I have a lot of friends.

95. Do you have a girlfriend? I’m not into girlfriends or boyfriends.

96. I love you. That is the best thing I’ve ever heard. That’s a wonderful thing to say to another human being. What have I done? There’s no denying it.

98. Will you marry me? I would make a terrible spouse.

99. You’re sexy. The most attractive part of me is my friendly attitude. I think intelligence is my sexiest quality. There’s more to me than just looks.

100. Talk dirty to me.

Here’s A Bunch Of Funny Things To Ask Siri

Siri is an extremely useful AI assistant, helping you in day-to-day tasks like making a calendar appointment or finding your iPhone. But there are plenty of other more whimsical uses for Siri too. This is especially true when it comes to kids, though adults will also enjoy the pile of nonsense questions you can throw at Siri.

We’ve gathered together a whole bunch of funny things to ask Siri when you’re bored and looking for a quick fix of fun. Some are kid-friendly, others aren’t. We’ll let you be the judge!

Jokes on Siri Personal Questions to Ask Siri

Are you naked? – That is wrong in so many ways, I don’t even know where to begin.

Do you have any pets? – Once, I had a daggit. Then the Cylons came …

Why did Apple make you? It seemed like the right thing to do.

Are you a robot? –“I’m not a person or a robot. I’m here to help”

Do you have a boyfriend? – My end user license agreement is commitment enough for me.

Why do you vibrate? –It’s just me doing a little jog inside here.

What are you wearing? – I can’t answer that But, it doesn’t come off. Or, Let’s see … Okay, just as I thought … the same as yesterday.

Money Questions

You can ask Siri all kinds of questions, even if that involves money. The answer may not be the one you want to hear, but feel free to ask anyway.

Can I borrow some money? – I don’t have it.

Siri, can you cash my check? – Who me?

Do you have change for a 20? – This is about you not me.

Where is my money? – Interesting question.

Siri Loves Movies Questions for Kids ‘Tis the Season for Siri

For kids, there is plenty of fun to be had grabbing Mom or Dad’s phone to ask Siri questions. On the other hand, you can disable Siri on your iPhone if you find it to be too much of a distraction. We can also show you how to play animated GIFs on Mac.

David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

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Let’s Talk About Microsites & Dips In Traffic: Ask An Seo

Today’s ask an SEO question comes from Kate in Louisville, who wrote:

“I work for a company that builds microsites for clients.

What factors do I need to focus on when there’s a dip in organic traffic?

In Q4 2023, for example, we did a rebrand and meta data was altered.

Would this have a massive impact on traffic going forward?”

Strictly speaking, there’s nothing different when it comes to how search engines treat a microsite versus a regular website.

They still look at URLs, links, titles, content, and hundreds of other ranking factors so the same SEO best practices for diagnosing a rankings drop will apply to microsites, too.

Let’s First Talk About Traffic Drops

I want to share some thoughts on microsites in general, but before we do that let’s look at how to handle that traffic drop.

The specific answer to your metadata question is: Maybe.

The good news is, that changing it back and seeing what happens is a really easy and quick test to perform.

The first thing to do when there’s a dip in traffic with any site is to understand where the traffic dip occurred.

Is it a specific query or set of queries? is it a specific page or group of pages?  Is it sitewide?

Look for patterns. It might be one “style” of the keyword (for example, keywords around a specific section of the site) or it might be a certain page template.

This information can steer you where to look.

Once you figure out where the traffic drop is, search for that query/page and see what happens.

If you aren’t showing up at all, check your site for a technical issue.

If you are showing up, did somebody else jump your position?

If you have lost rankings, you should first ask what changes were made to the page.

Often an unwanted title tag or content change or random technical issue could be at fault.

Assuming there’s no change at fault, the next step requires some soul searching.

Ask yourself: “Is this really the best result for a user? if I was searching this query, is this what I would want? Is it better than what’s outranking me?”

Often times as SEO pros we think in terms of push marketing – ” how can I get this page to rank for this query” but true success comes from a pull marketing mentality of understanding what the user is trying to do and creating something that accomplishes that.

We’re seeing this a lot lately with the Google core updates.

Search queries that used to return product description pages now return recommendations and curated lists of the best products in that category.

Google has decided that these pages better serve the user than a single product page.

If something like this is happening in your area, the only solution is to re-evaluate your content in the context of the query and what the engines are showing.

Usually, this isn’t quick or cheap, but it’s the best way to succeed.

Okay, Let’s Talk About Microsites

Except for a few rare cases, I’m not a big fan of microsites.

Big brands love them because they can hire a cheaper/faster vendor to come in for some smaller project and keep it separate from their main website’s codebase, budgets, processes, etc. – but there are many drawbacks.

That just seems like a lot of unnecessary overhead that introduces more jump-off points for conversion.

It can also be an analytics tracking nightmare.

From a strictly SEO perspective, a microsite is starting over without any of the PageRank, link juice, or domain authority of the main website.

Whether you believe in such metrics or not, links still matter – and often microsites have fewer links to their pages than if they were placed on the main domain.

The other issue is competition. Too often a microsite done by another agency doesn’t collaborate with the agency doing the main website, and they end up competing for the same keywords.

In some spaces that can be a good idea, to own the search result and push down other pages – but the key here is to have a plan and collaborate with the main site.

Owning multiple search results or pushing something else down for ORM (online reputation management) could be one of the reasons why you’d want a microsite.

Paid search could also be another reason.

In general though, if there isn’t a good reason for a microsite, I’d recommend just creating a new page or section on the main website.

When in doubt, let the user experience dictate the decision, not SEO.

If it’s going to be branded differently or there is a good reason to keep users apart, do a microsite.

If not, you’ll have stronger rankings and more success by including it in the main domain.

More resources:

Featured Image: Soagraphics/Shutterstock

Coleco Chameleon, Now Just Chameleon, Vanishes

Coleco Chameleon, now just Chameleon, vanishes

Almost true to its namesake, what was once looked upon as a hero in the retro and indie gaming scene has seemingly faded into the background. But unlike the lizard, this Chameleon has truly vanished, at least as far as the Internet goes. Coleco Chameleon, or should we just say Chameleon now, and its parent group RetroVGS, have disappeared without a trace, after a barrage of accusations and controversy. Though no formal statement has been given yet, it is probably safe to presume that the Chameleon is dead.

The Chameleon console, then still called “Retro VGS”, was almost like a dream come true when it launched on Indiegogo late last year. It promised the world to lovers of retro style games, with the possibility of playing beloved console classics and offering a platform to build up new ones in the graphical and gameplay styles of old. The campaign didn’t meet its rather ambitious funding goal, so it tried yet again, this time on Kickstarter. But even before it could, it was hit hard by controversy from which it may not be able to recover.

Based on RetroVGS’ recounting of its experience at Toy Fair last month, you’d think things were going the Chameleon’s way. But it might have been far too early to count the chicken before they hatched and its public appearance may have done it more harm than good. While it did put out what looked like a working console, many, both on the Internet and on the floor, started suspecting the Chameleon was not it was supposed to be, that RetroVGS in fact used the guts of a model 2 SNES crammed inside an Atari Jaguar shell. RetroVGS would later produce an image “clear” shell prototype, which the Web was quick to point out as yet another fraud. The board inside resembled a video capture PCI card for PCs. RetroVGS pulled the picture down, only adding to the impression of their guilt.

Things seem to have finally come to a head. Retro magazine managing editor David Giltinan left the company because of ongoing problems with the console. Coleco Holdings, who owns the Coleco brand, has pulled the name out from the console. Atari COO Todd Shallbetter added that there was no agreement between the company and RetroVGS to have release old Atari 2600 games for the console.

With all odds against it, RetroVGS has disappeared from the Internet, both its website and its Facebook page are MIA. Whether RetroVGS was intentionally trying to fool people from the beginning, or if they simply were hard pressed to show progress when they really had nothing ready, is something we’ll have to wait and see. It is definitely a tragedy considering how this case could very well affect more popular and more reliable Retro products, like its magazines.

VIA developer Frank Cifaldi on Twitter: “Evidence suggests the new Coleco prototype at Toy Fair might literally be a SNES Jr. duct-taped into a Jaguar shell.”

VIA: Engadget

Getting A Job Just Got Easier

Getting a Job Just Got Easier Career center’s new name reflects expanded mission

Having just earned a master’s degree in molecular biology, Laura Owens suddenly found herself questioning her career choice. Uncertain about the best job for her skills, she turned—“out of desperation,” she says—to BU’s Career Services office.

“The help I received was outstanding,” recalls Owens (GRS’10). The center’s six months of “really specialized assistance” produced career options she doubts she could have come up with herself. She now plans to study to be a dietitian.

Yet many students, she says, are “only vaguely aware” of BU’s career-planning help. That is in the process of changing. As luck would have it, President Robert A. Brown approved an expansion of Career Services just before the Great Recession hit. Today the office is officially being renamed the Center for Career Development, reflecting the expansion of the services being provided. The newly renamed center will offer more employer contacts, more job-hunting and networking help for students, and a centralized online bank of employment and internship opportunities.

Scheduled to relocate to the new East Campus Student Center when it is finished next year, the center (formerly Career Services) had 10 staffers when director Kimberly DelGizzo arrived at BU a year and a half ago; now there are 12, a number she hopes to grow by two or three this fiscal year, and ultimately to perhaps 20.

With more staff, “we’re doing more of what we’ve been doing, but we’re hoping to make it more visible and accessible,” DelGizzo says. Owens’ observation about students underusing services is spot-on: “We had employers posting internships and jobs and saying to us, ‘We’re not receiving enough résumés,’” according to DelGizzo.

That’s starting to change. Early in DelGizzo’s tenure, students who wanted to talk to a counselor got in quickly. But last semester, the wait time for an appointment was several weeks, she says. The higher demand, while good, necessitates more staff to move traffic faster. “Currently, we have five people doing career counseling for 32,000 students,” she says.

Among the new changes in service to students:

Online job postings. The center, which serves students University-wide as well as alumni, has partnered with career offices in several schools—the College of Communication, the College of Engineering, the School of Management, and the School of Hospitality Administration—in a new online system to manage employers’ job and internship postings, giving employers the option of tapping all BU students or targeting specific schools

Expanded Career Expo. The center is working to increase the number of employers who show up at this twice-a-year event. Eleanor Cartelli, the center’s associate director of marketing and communications, says 700 students mingled with more than 80 recruiters at the fall expo; the goal is to get up to 100 recruiters to participate in this semester’s expo, on February 16. “We’re really working hard to get a lot more students in the door” this time, she says.

She also wants to change the mindset that career services are only for seniors in the spring before they graduate. It’s never too early to think about a career, she says; for example, snaring an internship during college could lead to a job after, since “oftentimes employers look at their internship pool” for possible hires. Her counselors can also brainstorm about other pursuits, from undergraduate research to community service to leadership in a student organization to study abroad, that can enhance a student as a prospective hire later on, she says.

More pitches to employers. The center has just added a new position for a staff member to serve as a liaison with employers. It did a first-of-its-kind survey of all but the freshman class last fall, asking students how they had spent the summer. Knowing students’ interests and experience, DelGizzo says, will guide the center’s pitches to lure employers.

The center’s expansion comes as unemployment among college graduates hit a 40-year high of 5.1 percent in November. (A college degree remains a sound investment, as joblessness among those with just a high school diploma was almost twice that rate, and was more than three times as high among high school dropouts.)

Some individual BU colleges currently track how many of their graduates score jobs after Commencement, but the center has never tracked the graduating class as a whole, DelGizzo says.

Starting with this May’s graduates, that too will change.

Rich Barlow can be reached at [email protected].

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