Industry Buzz

Blogger Outreach: How to Build Relationships With Bloggers

Social Media Examiner -

Do you want to attract more attention to your business? Are you wondering how you can build relationships with the influencers in your market? To learn why it’s important to reach out to bloggers, I interview Scott Monty for this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing [...]This post Blogger Outreach: How to Build Relationships With Bloggers first appeared on Social Media Examiner. Social Media Examiner - Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

How to engage and maintain a loyal Twitter following

The Twitter Small Business Blog -

In our last video, we offered tips to help you grow a community of followers who take actions that benefit your business. Now we’re releasing a new video in our series that shows how you can consistently connect with your followers by engaging them in relevant conversations around shared experiences. As you develop your tweeting strategy, keep in mind that Twitter enables your business to participate in two-way conversations — don’t just talk at your audience, talk with them. For example, you can: ask questions to collect feedback that can inform your Twitter strategy; tap into conversations around real-time programming, such as the #WorldCup games; feature your products, services or expertise in discussions around holiday, seasonal or industry events; drive buzz for a new product launch by planning your Tweets in advance. Watch the video to learn more: By diversifying your content and keeping your Tweets timely, your business can stay top of mind with followers throughout the year. Testing different themes will also help you to determine the types of Tweets that resonate with people. Once you know what works, adjust your tweeting strategy to include more of those types of Tweets. Finally, identify the events, holidays and TV programs that interest your followers and add value to the conversations that relate to your business. Sign in to Twitter now to apply these tactics to your current marketing strategy, and stay tuned for our next video on how to drive sales.

8 simple ways to secure your Linux Servers

Reseller Club Blog -

  At ResellerClub, our primary objective has always been to provide you with powerful, secure and robust hosting solutions. While for products such as Personal Hosting and Multi Domain Hosting, we take utmost care to ensure maximum server level security and redundancy, products such as Dedicated Servers and VPS, we can ensure network level security while the OS level control lies in your hands. Let’s start by first understanding the basic concepts of a web server. A web server, simply put is a computer host configured and connected to the internet, for serving web pages on user requests. Since web servers are open to public access and often contain critical information, it is important to shield them from hackers. Although Linux based Operating Systems are relatively more secure and include inbuilt security mechanisms like SELINUX when compared to the others, a small vulnerability or bug can give a hacker easy access to your system. Keeping this in mind, we’ve put together a comprehensive set of steps that you can take to mitigate the risk of getting hacked. Always stay up to date A great way to ensure maximum server security at all times is to keep your system up to date with the latest bug fixes or the latest version of your Operating System. A good way to keep track of update announcements is to sign up for email alerts. CentOS  and Ubuntu have a security mailing list where all security and vulnerability fixes are discussed and released. Verify Permissions It is essential to review permission settings to ensure that a server remains secure. There are certain files such as the “/etc/passwd”, “/etc/shadow”, “/etc/group” and “/etc/gshadow“files that contain critical user, password and group information. These files have a greater chance of being subjected to malicious attacks. Several utilities also require read access to the passwd file to function properly, however read access to the shadow file will allow malicious attacks against system passwords, and should never be enabled and should never be enabled. Below are the default permissions and owners that should be set for these files.   # cd /etc # chown root:root passwd shadow group gshadow # chmod 644 passwd group # chmod 400 shadow gshadow Find unauthorized World Writable files The following command discovers and prints any world-writable files in local partitions. Run it once for each local partition # find /tmp -xdev -type f -perm -0002 -print If this command produces any output, fix each reported file file using the command: # chmod o-w file Data in world writable files can be modified by any user on the system. In almost all circumstances, files can be configured using a combination of user and group permissions to support whatever legitimate access is needed without the risk caused by world-writable files. It is generally a good idea to remove global (other) write access to a file when it is discovered. However, it is always advisable to check relevant documentation for applications before making changes. Also, monitor for recurring world-writable files, as these may be symptoms of a misconfigured application or user account. Set the sticky bit on World Writable directories Setting the sticky bit prevents users from removing each other’s files.  When a sticky-bit is set on a directory, only the owner of a given file is given the right to remove it from the directory. Without the sticky bit, any user with write access to a directory can remove any file from it. Use the following command to discover and print any world writable files that do not have their sticky bits set. # find /tmp -xdev -type d \( -perm -0002 -a ! -perm -1000 \) -print If this command produces any output, fix each reported directory /dir using the command: # chmod +t /dir In cases where there is no reason for a directory to be world writable, a better solution is to remove that permission rather than to set the sticky bit. Enable ExecShield ExecShield helps in reducing the risk of worm or other automated remote attacks. It comprises a number of kernel features to provide protection against buffer overflows. These features include random placement of the stack and other memory regions and special handling of text buffers. To ensure ExecShield (including random placement of virtual memory regions) is activated at boot, add or correct the following settings in /etc/sysctl.conf: #kernel.exec-shield = 1 #kernel.randomize_va_space = 1 Configure Sudo to improve auditing of Root accessC The sudo command allows fine-grained control through which users can execute commands using other accounts. The primary benefit associated with the configuration of sudo is that it provides an audit trail of every command run by a privileged user. It is possible for a malicious administrator to circumvent this restriction, but, if there is an established procedure that all root commands are run using sudo, then it is easy for an auditor to detect unusual behavior when this procedure is not followed. Set Strict password requirements Setting more stringent password requirements can be an additional measure taken to step up server security. User passwords should be strengthened with the PAM module which can be configured to require at least one uppercase character, lowercase character, digit, and other(special) character, You can modify your password by following the steps listed below: Locate the following line in /etc/pam.d/system-auth: #password requisite pam_cracklib.so try_first_pass retry=3 and then alter it to read (placing the text on one line): #password required pam_cracklib.so try_first_pass retry=3 minlen=14 \dcredit=-1 ucredit=-1 ocredit=-1 lcredit=-1 You may also modify the arguments to ensure compliance with your organization’s security policy. Note that the password quality requirements are not enforced for the root account Install LFD and Config Server Firewall ConfigServer.com has created a script which by default blocks all ports and provides you the opportunity to allow usage of only those ports on which you have applications running. Download and install these scripts from configserver.com Open the config server conf file /etc/csf/csf.conf and modify the below lines to your requirements # Allow incoming TCP ports TCP_IN = “22,80″ # Allow outgoing TCP ports TCP_OUT = “22,25,80″ In the example I have allowed port 22 for ssh, port 80 for http and only outgoing for port 25 since I do not want any other server or client using my server for sending emails. Also modify the below line to your email address. #LF_ALERT_TO = your email address Along with the firewall, LFD will also be installed. LFD is a daemon which scans log files and blocks IP addresses trying to brute force your server. You can whitelist your IP address in /etc/csf/csf.ignore. Please use caution while executing the above commands and if possible test changes on a demo server. In addition to the above mentioned security measures, we will soon be introducing SiteLock - a powerful, cloud-based, website protection service that works as an early detection alarm for common online threats like malware injections, bot attacks etc. Stay tuned to our blog for more details. We hope you found this article useful. Feel free to start a conversation about your take on this post in the comments below. We would love to know your take on this topic!

Here’s the Secret to Successful Social Media Campaigns (Hint: P.O.S.T.)

Post Planner -

Ever heard of the “POST” method for social media campaigns? Here’s what the acronym stands for: People Objectives Strategy Technology Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff first introduced the POST method in their book “Groundswell“. In the book, they showed the POST method to be a proven way to create successful social media campaigns. Basically, POST method is the Briggs & Stratton for a successful social strategy. And people are its top priority! The Secret to Successful Social Media Campaigns = POST Method 1. People You can’t get anywhere with social media if you don’t understand your audience — your people. >> Click to Tweet << No one will Like, retweet, or repin your content if you haven’t answered the only question that really matters: What’s in it for me? If you’re trying to boost your Facebook engagement, you have to know the answers to these 2 key questions: Where do your current supporters hang out? What stories are they passionate about? 2. Objectives Clear objectives help you determine if your campaign is a success. Long-term success in social media requires lots of trial & error. >> Click to Tweet << The POST method helps you discover what you’re doing right & wrong. Here are some key questions to consider: What are you trying to achieve? Can it be measured? 3. Strategy Your strategy is more than just a plan. It’s a plan that hopefully helps you achieve your objectives. Strategy is about a value exchange. Make sure you have an answer for this: What are you offering your community in exchange for their emails, money, time, influence & attention? Whether it’s a meaningful pledge, or a sweepstakes — write down exactly how you will offer enough value to encourage fans to help you achieve your objective. >> Click to Tweet << 4. Technology Once you understand your people, objectives & strategy, you can confidently select the tools & tactics you’ll use for your campaign. For example, if your strategy is to engage millennials on Instagram, crowdsourcing content around a hashtag would be a smart tactic. >> Click to Tweet << How to Master the POST Method to Create Viable Social Media Campaigns The post Here’s the Secret to Successful Social Media Campaigns (Hint: P.O.S.T.) appeared first on Post Planner.

New Feature - The Signature Module

Everything Typepad -

Today we've released a new content feature that we know a good few of you have been asking for--the signature module! This feature is available to all Pro plans, and is ideal for signature images, sign-offs, advertisements, or anything else you want to have automatically inserted into the bottom of each post. example: inserting an image sign-off in the signature module Available at Design > Content, all you need do is insert your code into the module, save your changes, and you're done! The module will automatically add itself into each post. Note: Blogs with excerpts turned on will only see the module on the permalink page for the post. ExampleOne example of how to use the module is seen above. We chose to create an image, using our preferred font, because this specific font isn't available on all computers and we wanted to make sure all readers would see it exactly the way we envisioned. Once the image was saved, it was uploaded to the File Manager, and we copied its URL. Once the URL was in hand, we went to Design > Content, enabled the signature module, then clicked its pencil icon to configure it. Inside the field available, we added the following: <img src="URL" title="until next time" /> After that, we clicked OK, previewed our changes, then saved them. Pretty simple! And much more efficient than manually adding it to each new post we create. Things to take note about the module: it accepts HTML, scripts, and plain text it has a 1000 character limit (you will be alerted by a pop-up if it the limit is reached) there is no default styles set for the module, so it will fit with all themes images or embedded content will scale up/down in responsive themes only In our Knowledge Base article for the signature module you'll find examples of how to style the content, as well as the type of content you can add. It's really almost limitless, so we hope you give it a try! If you have questions beyond what the Knowledge Base can provide, remember we're just a help ticket away at Help > New Ticket.

Rackspace President Taylor Rhodes Unveils OnMetal In GigaOm Structure Keynote [Video]

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

Rackspace President Taylor Rhodes this week took the stage at GigaOm Structure to deliver a keynote on the right (and wrong) way to scale. During his presentation, Taylor unveiled a new Rackspace offering called OnMetal. Check out video of Taylor’s keynote, featuring special guests from Pantheon, Docker and CoreOS: OnMetal Cloud Servers are single-tenant, bare-metal systems that you can: Provision instantly, instead of in hours or days. Manage as easily as virtual cloud servers through our Cloud Control Panel and the OpenStack API. Integrate with your existing cloud architecture. Mix and match with multi-tenant Cloud Servers. Pay for by the minute, with utility-style billing only for the resources you use. OnMetal gives you the simplicity and performance of colocation, the high availability of single-tenant servers and the agility of the cloud—all in one place. OnMetal is available now through an early availability program, and will be in general availability in late July. To learn more and to sign up for a test drive, head over to rackspace.com/onmetal/.

Increase Website Performance with Managed Hosting

InMotion Hosting Blog -

Our Managed Hosting team was created to ensure your server is properly setup the way you need it. In operation since early 2013, this team has helped hundreds of customers solve their unique hosting challenges. They are software and hardware experts and know how to optimize high volume, high demand websites. What can Managed Hosting do for you? That depends on what type of server you have and what your overall needs are. For example, if you’re looking to increase the performance of your WordPress site, our team can install plugins, check your database settings, and give your entire site a thorough review. They can then provide recommendations to improve performance and implement them for you. That’s just one example of what Managed Hosting can do. Below are some specialties of Managed Hosting. Shared Hosting Reseller Hosting VPSHosting Dedicated Servers Application Performance Tuning Database Optimization Complete Site Transfers Security Implementation Server Administration LAMP Stack Tuning Custom Hardware Setup You can read more about what Managed Hosting can do here.

Rackspace Startup Program Spotlight On Tricky: Helping Skaters Share Video On The Rackspace Cloud

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

Tricky is an iOS application for skateboarders to record video of tricks with their smartphones and share them with friends and fellow skaters. Skaters can build and explore the Tricky Video Map, which is an archive of trick clips from spots in your city and around the world. Skaters can also submit videos from competitions hosted through Tricky and sponsored by brands and local shops for prizes and exposure. “It was mine and my two teammate’s senior year at Syracuse University. It was snowing like crazy and I was sitting in class. I just wanted to be outside skating around so bad or at least watch skating that has been done around my area,” explains Tricky Founder and CMO Will Bater. I was sort of wading through Instagram and Vine looking for some quick clips to watch under my desk and after a few minutes I thought I could do this whole sharing trick clips for skating thing better and then the wheels started spinning.” Bater took the idea to his co-founder Nick Brown and interviewed fellow skaters for insight on how to design the system before building it. With data in hand from his peers, Bater took the idea of Tricky to another friend, Sam Gass, who joined the team as CEO. “Our passion is driven by the fact that we are all working in an area that we love,” Bater says. “We want to make something really fun for other skaters to use with each other and to connect the community in a virtual space.” The Tricky concept was presented in April 2013 at the Raymond Von Dran Idea Competition at Syracuse University. Team Tricky pitched its idea for a $5,000 prize and a spot in the New York State Business Plan Competition. Tricky won. With seed money for the startup in hand, Tricky reached out to the Rackspace Startup Program for its cloud hosting needs. “After some research, I decided to go with Rackspace,” Bater says. “I received nothing but glorious praise from people that have experience working with them. The Rackspace Startup Program has really helped us with a year of free hosting, but the people that I’ve worked with going through the process has helped the most. They have really helped me get a grasp on what the heck I’m doing and how it all works on the back end. They have helped me answer questions and point me in the right direction.” What’s Tricky planning for the rest of this year? “In 2014 we see the release of Tricky v1.0 for iOS, and hopefully the Android version,” concludes Bater. “We will be building up our users, marketing, skating, adding more brands and shops to our sponsors and doing lots updates to v.1.” The Rackspace Startup Program is helping Tricky get to market with its iOS application that enables skateboarders to share trick clips with friends and fellow skaters. Drop the Startup Team a note and let us know if you need help building your startup.

OnMetal: The Right Way To Scale

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

For big or rapidly growing Internet companies, one of the largest pains is scaling their application. We often hear about companies that must re-write their entire architectures from scratch every time traffic grows by 10 times. And then they spend significant engineering resources continuously reworking major parts of their architectures even after those rewrites. Scale is hard. And it can be costly. And the real cost of running and scaling large Internet applications isn’t just in hosting, but in engineering and management. Think of it this way: humans are more expensive than computers. That’s why Rackspace’s Managed Cloud continues to make economical sense in the age of commoditization of the cloud hosting industry. But let’s look closer at the engineering expenses. Back when I ran Mailgun, an email infrastructure startup Rackspace acquired, we were one of a few rare startups that ran 100 percent on bare-metal, dedicated infrastructure. Nearly everyone else used public clouds. We’d talk at “scaling dinners” with other YCombinator founders and compare notes on scaling various technologies, obstacles, victories, scars and hosting expenses. I heard about scaling horrors in the cloud; something we’d never experienced at Mailgun, despite our traffic being high for a startup our size. Why did cloud-based startups have such a hard time scaling “in the cloud?” The short answer: multi-tenancy. Multi-tenancy in clouds leads to inconsistency in performance behaviors, a noticeable increase in the complexity of the application and increased engineering spend to address that complexity. It’s subtler than simply a “noisy neighbor problem.” Let me illustrate in a simple example. Suppose that to serve a web request you need to fetch pieces of data from nine compute nodes (caches, DBs, what have you). Note that some calls are synchronous (like B1 to B2 to B3), but others are executed in parallel (A to B, C and D). Now, let’s do the math: what is the total time required to service this request? The answer is simple: 20 milliseconds minus the slowest of the three asynchronous “paths” (A->B1->B2->B3). One can assume that you grow by adding a number of nodes and continuing these relatively simple calculations. Instead, here is what happens in public cloud environments: The networks and physical machines are shared with other companies, and one can’t rely on consistency of performance in all three dimensions: network, storage and compute. This means that the response time of each node is not constant, it is a range of values, oftentimes measured experimentally. In other words: you cannot know it ahead of time. Some of the nodes may become unavailable or, similarly, may not respond within the experimentally determined performance envelope. The overall response time becomes dependent on the complex probabilistic equations instead of a simple algebraic one as seen above. So how do Internet companies deal with these issues? They over-provision, getting more nodes than they need to raise the probability of a response coming back in a reasonable time. They increase complexity of the application itself. Requesting, say, 10 nodes and running the benchmark to pick the most consistent node (and cancelling the other nine) is a very common technique. They increase the complexity of the application to deal with nodes that may disappear. In the end, over-engineering and driving up complexity seems to be the universal answer to pains caused by multi-tenancy. Over-engineering means spending more money hiring smart engineers to – you guessed it – over-engineer your app. This is why many companies migrate off of clouds to go back to good old colocation hosting. The scaling curves push them toward making a hard choice: abandon elasticity and start managing their own gear. Today, Rackspace wants to alleviate these pains. We’re waging war on complexity and want to offer a simpler way to scale. We do this with a new product line called OnMetal. What Is OnMetal? OnMetal servers are single-tenant, bare-metal servers provisioned via the same OpenStack API as our cloud. They can be spun up as quickly as VMs to offer the agility of multi-tenant environments with the performance of single-tenant hardware. OnMetal servers are our own design and are engineered in a highly opinionated way. We’ve made them 100 percent solid-state with external cooling, leading to increased mean time between failures (MTBF). They are also incredibly large, so you’ll need fewer of them. Who Is OnMetal For? OnMetal is for large or quickly-growing Internet businesses thinking about moving from colo to cloud, or vice versa. Why Should You Care? OnMetal combines the simplicity of consistent performance and the economy of colocation with the elasticity of the cloud. Running your high-traffic production environment on consistently performing bare-metal machines means less over-engineering, more simplicity and – ultimately – lower costs. Because OnMetal is a part of the Rackspace Managed Cloud portfolio, our customers won’t spend as much managing their servers. This is our answer to the creeping complexity of scaling. Let’s Dig Deeper As you may know, Rackspace is a member of Open Compute Project. This allowed us to leverage hardware that borrows from the wisdom of Internet giants who’ve developed server designs optimized for high server count and economy. Open Compute also allowed us to make changes, particularly around reliability and serviceability, of the gear we’re offering. We’ve created opinionated chassis designs. The chassis is all solid-state. We’ve removed cooling fans from the boxes and do not using any spinning media. This reduces heat and vibration, and helps increase MTBF. The configurations are opinionated as well. In order to deliver the economy of colocation that customers require, we had to figure out how to optimize the configuration based on specific workload requirements like “database transactions per second per dollar” or “total RAM per dollar per hour.” This led to the following configurations: Note that we went with the fast 10-gigabit network for all instance types, because network performance is becoming increasingly important. For detailed descriptions of OnMetal servers and exact pricing, we invite you to sign up for a limited availability program to test them out or come and talk to us about your scaling needs. We expect OnMetal servers to be generally available in the Rackspace Northern Virginia data center next month. Why Bare-Metal? We’re not offering these machines as single-tenant VMs for a couple of reasons: First, several customers expressed concerns with virtualization tax, which becomes more important as the number of servers grows. While hypervisors continue to get better, we’re routinely meet customers who feel the impact of this tax. Second, and even more exciting, we see a technology trend in software that renders virtualization less useful.  In a single-tenant environment like OnMetal, one does not need to isolate tenants/customers, resulting in the application management and isolation that virtualization brings to the table. Third, the progress in operating systems has delivered a native capability to isolate apps using containers. Companies like Docker and CoreOS provide tools to run fully isolated applications without relying on virtualization, and we see this as an emerging trend to run at scale: containers on bare-metal. And, ultimately, OnMetal is all about scale.

Red Hat Announces Sales Records and Acquisition of French Cloud Company eNovance

Web Hosting Industry Review (WHIR) / Web Hosting Talk -

Wednesday Red Hat announced first quarter results posting a 17 percent increase in revenue. According to the press release, "Our strong start to FY15 is a direct result of our ability to consistently deliver meaningful value to enterprise customers," stated Jim Whitehurst, President and Chief Executive Officer of Red Hat.…

Finally, Elastic Computing That You Don’t Have To Share

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

We all want the best of both worlds: a car that’s sexy and fast, as well as safe and affordable; a meal that’s healthy and also satisfying. When it comes to IT, companies that are operating at scale have been telling us for years that they wish they could get the agility of the multi-tenant public cloud, along with the simplicity, consistent performance, and predictable cost of single-tenant servers. Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to choose between the two anymore. Rackspace today is announcing the early availability of a new product that will change the way the world thinks about scaling production applications. It’s called OnMetal — and it delivers elastic computing that you don’t have to share. OnMetal offers single-tenant, bare-metal servers that users can spin up or down as quickly as VMs — in a matter of minutes. And there’s more: These servers are accessed through an API, just like VMs. You pay by the minute, just like with VMs. But OnMetal servers are much simpler and more powerful than VMs. They are built on OpenStack software and Open Compute hardware. The API for OnMetal is the OpenStack Nova API. It’s familiar to users of any OpenStack public cloud. And users don’t have to worry about vendor lock-in. OnMetal servers are customized for specific workloads. There is no hypervisor, and no virtualization tax. There is no sharing of metal with any other user. OnMetal came about through the daily conversations that we at Rackspace have with the smartest engineers and leaders at the biggest and fastest-growing Internet companies. What’s on the minds of these cloud users is not the unit price per instance/hour of compute. Instead they are concerned about more significant costs —especially the cost of inconsistent behavior and performance, caused by noisy neighbors on cloud networks or disks. These pain points are inherent in the multi-tenant nature of today’s public clouds — including ours. They are driving massive increases in application complexity and computing costs as users begin to grow and scale. Those costs are rising even amid the much-ballyhooed price cuts for units of compute by major cloud providers. This rising complexity and cost on the multi-tenant cloud is hitting customers in four main ways: They spend more on engineering time and talent to architect for failure on the multi-tenant cloud, which is complex and hard. They also spend more on engineering to deal with inconsistent performance, which is even harder. They spend more on infrastructure, because over-provisioning is one of the major ways to compensate for inconsistent performance. They spend more through the virtualization tax, which can diminish disk and network performance by 5 percent to 20 percent. The cloud users we talk with believe, as we do, that virtualization and sharing a physical machine are fantastic tools when you’re starting out, or if you stay relatively small. But those users say that once they start to get big and their traffic rises, colocation becomes more attractive for its simplicity of scaling, consistent performance, and predictable cost. Those conversations got our product teams thinking about how to give everyone the technology that the world’s leading Internet companies use to scale. Those giants don’t use VMs or off-the-shelf servers for their core operations. And neither should you, if you’re big — or plan to get big. Our aim was simplicity at scale, with a high ratio of performance to cost. Here’s how we’ve achieved those goals: All of the OnMetal servers are solid-state. There are no moving parts. That means less heat. Less vibration. This greatly increases the mean time between failures. The configurations are highly optimized for specific workloads. We have servers customized for databases, for low-latency caching, and for handling web requests. Our database server, for example, offers 3.2TB of PCIe flash storage, 128GB of RAM, and more than 200,000 IOPS. Specializing the gear not only boosts performance but helps keep costs under control. We believe the network should have consistently low latency. That’s why we’re arming OnMetal cabinets with 10-gigabit networking and minimal network over-provisioning. The final ingredient in the formula for successful scaling involves a company’s most-precious asset — it’s engineering talent. As you grow fast and get big, you need to think carefully about which IT tasks to handle in-house and which ones to delegate to a trusted service provider. If you work with Rackspace, you can leverage our scaling engineers and DevOps specialists to run OnMetal machines and other components of your stack. This way, your company can stay fast and lean. You can focus on building your app, instead of swelling your payroll with a lot of engineers to run IT that doesn’t differentiate your business. One company that uses Rackspace to stay fast and lean is Pantheon, which helps businesses build and run more than 70,000 Drupal and WordPress sites. The Pantheon team has test-driven Rackspace OnMetal. Here’s what CEO Zack Rosen says about it: “We’ve all been trained to think of the cloud as generic virtual machines on demand. But the future cloud will be built with containers deployed across bare-metal servers provisioned via API. We believe Rackspace’s OnMetal service is the future of infrastructure as a service.” Now, let me admit to something that many of you already know: Rackspace is not a hardware company. We are a service company that listens closely to business customers like Zack and works to make computing simpler for them. We are proud of OnMetal because it addresses a big pain point that we’ve heard about from customers. We’ve designed OnMetal in an entirely open-source manner meant to encourage emulation and improvement. As it catches on, we believe that the technology behind OnMetal will address many of the issues — around isolation and control and security and compliance — that until now have kept many companies running IT in do-it-yourself DCs or in colo facilities. It will also make it easier for innovative companies to grow. Both of these developments will be good for cloud users and providers alike. Where we at Rackspace will differentiate ourselves is by providing managed services on top of OnMetal. We will help fast-growing companies scale their most-precious resource — their engineering talent. OnMetal will be widely available in late July. In the meantime, we invite you to learn more about it, and sign up for a test drive, at rackspace.com/onmetal/. We welcome your feedback.

A summer guide to microbreweries

Oh, How Pinteresting! -

With the official start to summer just days away, many of us are getting ready for road trips to our favorite places. For beer lovers, we’ve pulled together a guide to more than 150 of the top microbreweries from Pinners around the country, to inspire you take your own adventure - near or far! From Russian River Brewing Company in California to Keg Creek Brewery in Iowa to Atlantic Brewing Company in Maine, people are showing their love for local and distinct brews by creating brewery Place Boards. Saving your favorites to your own board can help you plan to hit the road for a tasting tour. What other way can you learn firsthand how beer like Salt Lick Pecan Wood Smoked Saison, Stump Knocker Pale Ale, Rondy Brew, and YAHHHRRRGGG! got their names? For more inspiration, check out Place Boards from Pinners for areas such as Oregon, Denver, Louisville, Michigan, and New Hampshire. Based on Pinner favorites, microbrew options are so plentiful, you can plan a trip across many regions in the U.S. Whether you’re looking to find the perfect beer, eager to see if an anticipated brew like Pliny the Younger lives up to its hype, or just itching to find the specialized seasonal beers across regions, these Pins will have all your beer bases covered. What are we missing? Sound off in the comments! —Malorie Lucich, Communications Manager, Currently pinning to Bay Area Beer Tour

7 Tactics for Writing the Best Facebook Posts *Every Time*

Post Planner -

I’m often asked… Aaron, what are your biggest pet peeves when it comes to Facebook? Answer: I’m easily annoyed by bad descriptions on posts. Especially those automated posts that only show a headline & link — the ones that happen when people automate their blog feed. I’m not against automation per se — just lazy automation. If you don’t take time to write a decent post, how can you expect your fans to click the link or read what you’ve written & shared? Too many page owners believe that ANY article will get clicks & go viral. That just doesn’t happen. The best way to get more people reading your stuff (and to boost your organic reach) is to make sure your description is strong. Here are 7 ways to write the best Facebook posts — every time. 7 Tactics for Writing the Best Facebook Posts *Every Time* 1. Personalize Your Posts The best posts for marketing on Facebook are those that get personal. Personalizing your descriptions makes them unique so they stand out in the news feed among all those boring headlines. >> Click to Tweet << 2. Tell Stories Share a story! People connect with you through stories. Tell fans about a personal experience or just explain why you shared the post. For example: // Post by Ahna Hendrix Social Media Consultant & Freelance Interactive Designer. 3. Compelling Quotes Do you ever get writer’s block? Perhaps sometimes you feel brain-dead after a hectic day at work. And coming up with cool stuff to post on Facebook isn’t in the cards. I’ve been there. When I have a hard time thinking of something to post, I usually just snag a compelling quote from an article & use that to describe the link. You know which passages will appeal most to your audience. For example: // Post by Co.Exist. 4. Ask Questions A surefire way to get someone to engage with a post is to ask a question. Questions raise curiosity & curiosity gets people to click. >> Click to Tweet << For example: // Post by Co.Create. 5. Brief Remarks Brevity is never a bad thing on Facebook. It’s the “soul of wit”, right? Here Entrepreneur magazine keeps it brief: // Post by Entrepreneur. 6. Calls-to-Action Use your Facebook posts to spur fans to action. >> Click to Tweet << Ask them to: Click a link Read your post Comment about the post Like this: // Post by Alex Beadon. 7. Upvote-Inspired Method Hopefully, you’re still with me — because I saved my favorite tip for last. I call this the “upvote-inspired” method. Use this technique to juice up lots of different Facebook posts. It’s easy — just add an upvote to the description to get more people to click: #4 is my favorite I’ve tried #3 & it works #6 will shock you You won’t believe #9 Here’s an example: // Post by Ahna Hendrix Social Media Consultant & Freelance Interactive Designer. Summary Basically, if you’re not putting effort into the descriptions on your posts, you shouldn’t expect lots of engagement on your Facebook page. The best page managers use a diverse mix of content & personalize every post. Are any of my suggestions in your best practices arsenal? What techniques do you rely on to get fans to Like, share & comment on your posts? The post 7 Tactics for Writing the Best Facebook Posts *Every Time* appeared first on Post Planner.

The only sites you need for Web Design Inspiration

BigRock Blog -

Great design is the work of creative minds. But sometimes the creative juices just seize to flow and you can find yourself in a fix. While changing your workspace and rethinking your entire work process are ways to think differently, sometimes all you need to do is see great work to get inspired. For all such situations here is our list of must visit places for all your design food. Design inspiration: We don’t have to say much about this website, the name says it all. You can find some of the most unthinkable design ideas and there will be times where you will go “Why did I not think of this” The site is beautiful, with minimum distractions, no categories, just a search box and a great feature to search by color. That’s right you can search for designs that are using the color that you love. Also after a recent update, once you login in to your account you will notice that your feed is full of designs of the people you followed. We’d recommend not using any search, just keep scrolling and keep getting inspired. Dribbble: This portal was specifically built for all designers, developers and other creative folks to showcase their talent to the world. You can follow your favorite designers, friends and also share your work with them, however you will need an invitation from an existing member to do this. What we really liked about Dribble is that every art work is accompanied with the palette of colors which were actually used. This came in handy particularly when we were trying to find images with similar colors. Behance: Just like Dribble, Behance is another great platform to showcase and discover creative work. In fact these two are the most widely used and popular destinations for all designers. What keeps them apart is the ability of Behance to upload an entire project in one go, which is not possible with the later. What’s also cool is that you can follow all your favorite designers to keep a track of all their new work. It’s easy to find creative work as they have well defined creative fields (categories) and you can also filter using most viewed and most liked. Although we believe that design is universal and a single community the ‘find designs as per country’ option can be good for people to find local designers (maybe for jobs/project proposals). Pinterest: It is going to be rare if you have not heard about this phenomenon. Pinterest is a platform where ideas can be discovered for any project or interest, hand-picked by people like you. You can find stuff of your interest (pins) and save them to your boards to be viewed for a later time. This platform is very image centric and hence it is a perfect junction to share and showcase awesome design work. You can find tons of new ideas as food for your design inspiration here. We would love to give you a head start with Pinterest so check out this board. There you have it, that’s our list of places to visit, for some really sweet design inspiration. So what are you waiting for, go feast your eyes and get your design instinct tingling.

Introducing the New LinkedIn Job Search App for iPhone

LinkedIn Official Blog -

Did you know that applicants who apply to job opportunities on the first day they’re posted are 10% more likely to land the job? That means that if you are an active job seeker, your job search can’t stop just because you’ve stepped away from your desk. Launching today, the new LinkedIn Job Search app for iPhone provides a one-stop shop for your job seeking needs. Whether you are actively on the hunt for a new gig or just keeping an eye out, the new app comes packed with the core LinkedIn features you’ve come to rely on to help manage your job search, including: A streamlined end-to-end experience: Landing your dream job can feel like a full-time job. So we wanted to make it easier to find, research, and apply for your next opportunity by maximizing your “in between” moments. The next time you’re in a line for coffee or stuck waiting for a delayed flight, why not jump start your job search from your phone. Customizable search: Job searching is not a one-size-fits all process and we want to make sure you have the tools to find just the right fit. To take a more tailored approach, you can use Advanced Search to filter jobs by fields such as title, location, company, industry, or seniority level. Recommended jobs tailored for you: You have a lot on your plate, so let us do some of the heavy lifting for you. Based on your saved searches, jobs you’ve viewed, and your LinkedIn profile, we’ll surface new and relevant opportunities for you. Be in the know: Finding a job that interests you is just the first step. Use the app to learn more about the company and check out who you know that already works at the company to get the competitive intel you need to stand out. We’ll also make sure we’re keeping tabs on the jobs that interest you with important notifications when jobs you’ve saved are about to expire or when a recruiter has viewed your application, or when there are new jobs that meet your search criteria. LinkedIn Job Search App from LinkedIn More than 40 percent of you are currently using mobile to look at jobs on LinkedIn. We get it. It can be hard to search for a job while you’re at your desk, not to mention the potentially awkward conversation with your current boss. Our goal is to help make this process easier for you and to help you be discreet. Everything you do within the app will be completely private and not shared with your network. The new Job Search app for iOS is available in the US only for now and can be downloaded in the Apple app store. We look forward to hearing your feedback and to continue improving this experience to help you land that dream job.

In your Face(book): How to tune your Web design for Facebook images

GoDaddy Blog -

More than ever before, images matter in Facebook®. The explosion of mobile devices, coupled with the ever-changing Facebook newsfeed algortihm, has put imagery in the front and center of communication. However, even gorgeously designed sites sometimes show broken links or display poor (or irrelevant) thumbnail images when they are shared in Facebook. What gives? There are three things that commonly cause issues is displaying images from shared links in Facebook: incorrect image sizes, incorrectly set OpenGraph (“OG”) tags, and old images stored in Facebook’s image cache. Size matters Embedding images that don’t conform to the minimal sizes recommended by Facebook is a common problem. Similarly, images that have irregular dimensions in either height or width are culprits in causing site shares to look ugly in Facebook. Thankfully, there are guides out there that can help. Facebook itself publishes a guide that lays out what image sizes are expected for various types of posts across both desktop and mobile shares (scroll down to No. 4 there), as well as a set of guidelines for Facebook ad image sizes. In addition, Jon Loomer has created a series of excellent infographics that outline the various Facebook image sizes for different use cases. This is a great place to start in understanding what image sizes are most relevant for Facebook shares. For example, this image should look great in Facebook since it is 1,200 pixels by 627 pixels, which is their recommended size. Specify Open Graph tags Facebook will usually try to make a best guess as to which image (or images) to use as the share image and thumbnail for any shares that occur through the Facebook platform. Sometimes it’s the largest image on the page. Sometimes it’s the one at the highest resolution. Other times it’s the first image that Facebook sees as it’s scanning your site. Frankly, it seems a little random. To combat Facebook’s capriciousness, you can explicitly specify which image you want to use by way of Facebook’s Open Graph (or “OG”) tags. In particular, you can use the og:image tag to designate the exact image to use when people share a link to your page on Facebook. By leveraging the og:image tag, you can specify a URL that points to the exact image you want to use. Of course, since you are pointing at an image that is at the perfect aspect ratio, it should look gorgeous in Facebook. Pro tip: When using OG tags, you don’t need to actually point at an image that’s embedded in that particular page of the site. As long as it’s a valid URL that points to a valid image, Facebook should pull it in without question. Please use this knowledge wisely. Clear the cache Sometimes you (or someone else) share a link to a page before you’ve finished building it out or before you set up the Open Graph tags for it. In these cases, it’s quite common for Facebook to share an incorrect or outdated image. It’s a pain. Here’s a trick that fixes it: Go to the Facebook developer site here. Put in the URL of the page on your site that’s pulling in the incorrect image. Presto! Facebook will dump the cache with the old image in it, and refresh it with the image specified with your Open Graph tag. Nifty, eh? So, your turn. Are there particular things you’ve done to make your Facebook shares more stellar? Or are there plugins or extensions for WordPress® (i.e. WordPress SEO by Yoast, All-In-One SEO), Joomla!® or Drupal™ you’ve used that help in getting your Facebook share imagery to look the way you want? The post In your Face(book): How to tune your Web design for Facebook images appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Social proof: Using testimonials to grow your business

GoDaddy Blog -

For a prospective customer not entirely sure how good your product or service is, the right testimonial is the most important piece of marketing material you have. A testimonial serves as proof that your company is so great to work with that your past customers are willing to stand up and help you win over new buyers. But to be able to win over a new customer with that sort of social proof, you need to take a focused approach to testimonials. Collecting anything past customers send you and sticking it into a brochure or a single page of your website just won’t cut it anymore. Collect customer questions Before you jump into gathering testimonials, start collecting the questions your customers ask you. If you can, look for the questions they asked before they signed a contract or made an initial payment (before your customers really became your customers) — it’s rare that only one prospect will have a given question. Having a third-party vouch for you can help reassure a new customer. While a visitor to your website will know that you cherry-picked the testimonials you display there, he’ll still find it reassuring that you got those testimonials in the first place. You’re looking for the potential issues that are likely to worry someone who is considering working with you. That might include questions about what you’re selling, but it’s more likely to focus on matters like how a buyer knows she can trust you or how quickly she can expect you to fulfill an order or turn around a project. Ask for specific testimonials Even if you’re doing awesome work, it’s rare that many of your customers will send you testimonials. It’s just not something many people think to do. You’re going to have to ask for the testimonials you need. And if you’re asking for those testimonials anyhow, why not make sure you get exactly what you want? You can ask for specific testimonials that address the questions you’ve already collected — it can be as simple as asking how you did at following up with those questions over the course of working together. Make it clear that you’re asking for a testimonial that you can publish — testimonials are always more effective when you can pair the recommendation with a picture, as well as a name and a title. It might be useful to create a form that your customers can easily complete. After all, they’re more likely to give you a testimonial if it takes very little effort on their part. Depending on how you market your business, you might want to consider collecting testimonials in audio or video formats. Asking a client to spare a few minutes to repeat what they’ve written in front of a camera can be worth your while. Evaluate your marketing materials With your new testimonials in hand, take a look at your marketing materials as a whole. Testimonials can be useful across a wide variety of promotional materials — social proof can liven up websites, brochures, and other communications with your clients. Focus first on adding testimonials that address common questions or issues in the buying process. Build these recommendations into the body of your materials. Broader testimonials, such as those that discuss your trustworthiness, can be more effective when framing other information. You might include these types of testimonials in sidebars on your website or as pull quotes in your brochures. Sprinkle testimonials throughout the materials you use to reach prospective clients, rather than isolating them in one section of your marketing materials. The post Social proof: Using testimonials to grow your business appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

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