Archive for the ‘dulles technology corridor’ Category

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Top ten wild animals that will attack pets: Special warning for Ashburn and Northern Virginia area Loudoun County pet owners and companion animal residents

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Brambleton, Loudoun County Parkway residents, and Dulles Technology Corridor neighbors, read on. PR Newswire has released a report about the top ten animals likely to attack pets. With so many wooded areas nearby, by food sources growing more and more scarce sue to development, it’s likely that everyone will encounter a wild animal at some point or another — even more so at night while walking dogs in our area. As such, be careful to keep your pet leashed and close in order to prevent an accidental bite from an undesirable non-domestic animal kingdom stranger that crosses your path. Be conscientious while visiting local Virginia and Maryland beaches as well, as swimming dogs are just as likely to come across sea life that can cause injury as adult humans and children are while playing and cooling off in the water.

BREA, Calif., July 20 /PRNewswire/ — Sometimes our pets go looking for a fight, but other times the fight comes to them–from land, sea, and even air. Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently reviewed more than 500 laceration/bite wound claims in search of animal-inspired incidents to determine which wild animals most frequently attacked and injured companion pets in 2008. In addition to the usual suspects–snakes, coyotes and raccoons–VPI received claims for pet injuries caused by a squirrel, scorpion, javelina, porcupine, ground hog, skunk, rat, goat, beaver, woodchuck, black bear, mountain lion, hawk, rabbit, sea urchin, and jellyfish. Following are the 10 animals aside from dogs and cats that were most responsible for pet injury claims in 2008:

Top 10 Animals To Attack Pets —————————– 1. Snake ————- 2. Coyote ————- 3. Raccoon ————- 4. Squirrel ————- 5. Scorpion ————- 6. Javelina ————- 7. Porcupine ————- 8. Ground Hog ————- 9. Skunk ————- 10. Rat ————-

Wild animal attacks typically result in pet insurance claims for treatment of lacerations, bite wounds, puncture, and soft tissue trauma. Snakebites may require antivenin and scorpion stings may cause allergic reactions requiring antihistamines. Treatment protocols vary depending on the severity of the attack and costs can range from hundreds of dollars for bandages or stitches to thousands of dollars for surgery for damaged organs or broken limbs.

Though animal attack claims came from all areas of the country, javelina and scorpion claims were exclusive to the state of Arizona. Javelinas, or peccaries, are feral pig-like omnivores native to the southwestern United States. They have been known to viciously attack both pets and people. For a detailed account of a javelina attack on a VPI-insured pet, visit http://press.petinsurance.com/pressroom/267.aspx.

“Whether in urban or rural areas, pet owners should be aware of the danger posed by wild animals,” said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “VPI’s data reveals that not all members of the animal kingdom observe backyard fences, or appreciate the curiosity of a pet that may enter their territory. Always make sure that a pet’s rabies vaccine is up to date and if you know that potentially dangerous wild animals are present, or you’re in an unfamiliar area, take extra care to keep your pet close and secure.”

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency is the nation’s oldest and largest pet health insurance company and is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies. Providing pet owners with peace of mind since 1982, the company is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers and an advocate of pet health education. VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Optional Pet Well Care Protection for routine care is also available.

Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 2,000 companies nationwide offer VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and in all other states by National Casualty Company, an A+15 rated company in Madison, Wisconsin. Pet owners can find VPI Pet Insurance on Facebook or follow @VPI on Twitter. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com.

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Twitter Profit House and Club Cash Secret scam: Fleecing telecommuters for profit seems to be the work from home secret of the profit earning companies — but money is at expense of workers not Twitter click target clients

Friday, July 3, 2009

Rip-off Reports recently posted an article about a work at home idea that is advertising heavily on line right now.  Here’s their story:

AOL News recently had an article on an easy way to make money from home using the internet. They interviewed a woman who used the (1) Cash Secret Club (cashsecret.com) and (2) Twitter Profit House (twitterprofithouse.com), and also insisted that profits would only be made using both of these websites.

Neither one of these programs is honest. Both say they will charge you less than $2 and (1) send you a kit or (2) give you access to a website that will assist you in your profiting endeavors.

What neither of them say [in large print] is that they are both only 7 day trials and will begin to charge you (1) $81.32 or (2) $99.99 PER MOTH after that time. In addition, they share your contact information with other companies and automatically sign you up for other scam programs.

Hurray for the report calling it like they see it and declaring the sites *Bullshi*, and shame on AOL News for putting such a deceptive article into media circulation to tout the con.If you are looking for ways to make money at home, paying for booklet information that will then begin to repeat bill you nearly $100 per month is NOT bright.

In a difficult economy with high unemployment rates, it’s sad to see companies like these working so aggressively to rip people off. They are using deceptive advertising practices to hire workers — making people think TWITTER is hiring. Then, after submitting personal information, they bill your credit cars ad infinitum and sell your private information out.

How unethical… and more so, how unfortunate for folks hoping to make telecommute jobs legitimately possible for the masses.

Read the complete article from Rip-Off Report HERE

Looking for help with IT Marketing and SEO?

FOLLLOW CONNECTIONSPREP ON TWITTER

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2009 ‘4th of July’ Weekend in Loudoun County: Fireworks schedule and more from the Loudoun County Parks and Recreation Service

Thursday, July 2, 2009

PRCS SPECIAL EVENTS IN JULY 2009

LOVETTSVILLE INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION
(All ages) Celebrate Independence Day early in Lovettsville with a hometown parade, followed by activities at the Community Center ball field. Live music, food, refreshments, and awesome fireworks add to the fun! This event is sponsored by the Lovettsville CC Advisory Board. Advance tickets are $3.00. Call 540-822-5284.
Location: Lovettsville Community Center, 57 E. Broad Way, Lovettsville, VA
$4/Ages 13 & up, $3/Ages 3-12, Free/under 3
Friday 7/3 5:30P- 9:30P

JULY 4th OPEN HOUSE AT HERITAGE FARM MUSEUM
(All ages) The Heritage Farm Museum is a great place to spend the Independence Day holiday with friends, family, and out-of-town guests. Celebrate the contribution of Loudoun farmers during WWII with a “Heroes on the Home Front” exhibit that provides opportunities for sharing family histories, making crafts, and learning about your local community. The museum will offer special holiday hours. Call 571-258-2800.
Location: Heritage Farm Museum, 21668 Heritage Farm Lane, Sterling, VA
Free event
Saturday 7/4 Exhibit hours: 11:A-12:00P, Museum Hours:10:30A- 3:00P

OL’ TIME 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION
(All ages) Celebrate an old-fashioned July 4th with pony and wagon rides, music, crafts, “Reptiles Alive,” nature exhibits, family style games, and historic tours. Please use the Loudoun Park Lane entrance. Call 571-258-3700.
Location: Claude Moore Park , 2154 Old Vestals Gap Road, Sterling, VA
$5/suggested family donation
Saturday 7/4 10:30A- 3:00P

INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION IN MIDDLEBURG
(All ages) Celebrate Independence Day in Middleburg. The Community Center pool will be open from 11:00A-6:00P. The evening features music, games, contests, food, and fireworks at dusk. Call 540-687-6375.
Location: Middleburg Community Center, 300 W. Washington Street, Middleburg, VA
Free event
Saturday 7/4 6:00P- 9:00P

JULY 4TH CELEBRATION AT FRANKLIN PARK
(All ages) Celebrate America’s Independence Day while enjoying the local folk group, The Polka Dots, along with bluegrass sensation and headliner, Acoustic Burgoo. Food and concessions and fireworks at dark add to the celebration. Call 540-338-7973.
Location: Franklin Park, 17501 Franklin Park Drive, Purcellville, VA
$5.00/carload
Saturday 7/4 6:00P

ART EXHIBIT: “LENS ON LOUDOUN”
(All ages) Life in Loudoun is the subject of this juried photography exhibition of local and regional photographers. An artists’ reception will be held on July 10 from 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. This exhibit is presented by the Friends of Franklin Park Arts Center. Call 540-338-7973.
Location: Franklin Park Arts Center, 36441 Blueridge View Lane, Purcellville, VA
Exhibit runs 7/10-7/31

OUTDOOR MOVIE IN THE TOWN GREEN
(All ages) A family-friendly movie begins at dark. Bring chairs and blankets. Co-sponsored by the Town of Lovettsville and Lovettsville Community Center. Call 540-822-5282 or visit http://www.loudoun.gov/lovettsvillecc for movie title.
Location: Lovettsville Town Green, 6 East Pennsylvania Avenue, Lovettsville, VA
Free event
Friday 7/10 7:00P-10:00P

MISSION IMPROMPTU
(All ages) Catch the hilarious antics of the Leesburg Theatre Company’s improvisation group. Light refreshments will be available. Call 571-258-3400.
Location: Carver Center, 200 Willie Palmer Way, Purcellville, VA
Donations appreciated
Wednesday 7/8 7:30P- 9:00P

THE GROWING STAGE CAMP: THE WHO’S TOMMY
(All ages) Young drama campers present Peter Townsend’s tale of a young boy’s journey from pain to triumph in an electrifying evening of rock and rolle. Call 540-338-7973 to reserve your seats.
Location: Franklin Park Arts Center, 36441 Blueridge View Lane, Purcellville, VA
Free event
Thursday 7/9 7:00P
Friday 7/10 1:00P

PARENTS NIGHT OUT

(Ages 3-11) Children will be treated to dinner and lots of fun activities while parents enjoy a night on the town. Call 540-338-5882.
Location: Philomont Community Center
$20.00
Friday 7/10 5:00P- 9:00P

COMMUNITY YARD SALE
(Ages 18 & up) The space rental price includes a general ad in local classified section. Free admission for shoppers. Table rental is available for $5. Call 703-771-5913.
Location: Douglass Community Center, 405 E. Market Street, Leesburg, VA
$10.00
Saturdays 7/11, 7/18, 7/25 8:00A- 2:00P

JULY BOOK SWAP
(All ages) Swap books for your summer reading. Children’s and adult books on tape/CD, music CDs, VHS/DVD movies are all welcome. Books and magazines in large print are needed.
Location: Claude Moore Community Center, 46111 Loudoun Park Lane, Sterling, VA
Free event
Saturday 7/11 10:00A-12:00P

CHEERLEADING MINI-CLINIC
(Grades 1-6) This special summer clinic is presented by the Loudoun Valley High School cheerleaders for all levels/abilities. Session covers stunts, tumbling, motions, and dance, and ends with a five-minute performance. Participants should bring beverage and lunch. Call 571-258-3400.
Location: Carver Center, 200 Willie Palmer Way, Purcellville, VA
$20.00
Saturday 7/11 9:00A-12:00P

SUMMER KICKS SOCCER TOURNAMENT
(Ages 4-6) Join Douglass Community Center’s third annual soccer tournament. Practice on Thursday; play on Friday. All players receive a T-shirt. Register in advance. Call 703-771-5913.
Location: Douglass Community Center, 57 E. Broad Way, Leesburg, VA
$10.00
Thursday, Friday 7/16-7/17 6:30P- 7:30P

GYPSY
(All ages) A cast of talented local teens and adults present this award-winning musical. Join Rose, June, and Louise in their trip across America in the 1920’s, when vaudeville was dying and burlesque was born. Call 540-338-7973 to reserve your seats.
Location: Franklin Park Arts Center, 36441 Blueridge View Lane, Purcellville, VA
$15/Adults, $12/Students/Seniors
Thursday 7/16 7:00P
Friday 7/17 7:00P
Saturday 7/18 2:00P & 7:00P
Sunday 7/19 3:00P

CELEBRATE ICE CREAM DAY
(All ages) Celebrate National Ice Cream Day at historic Lucketts Community Center with an old-fashioned ice cream social. Call 703-771-5281.
Location: Lucketts Community Center, 42361 Lucketts Road, Leesburg, VA
Free event
Monday 7/20 12:00P- 2:00P

VIRGINIA DGIF HUNTER EDUCATION CLASS
(Ages 16 & up) This is a must class for all local hunters. Advanced registration is required. Both sessions are needed for certification. Lunch and refreshments will be sold. Call 703-771-5281.
Location: Lucketts Community Center, 42361 Lucketts Road, Leesburg, VA
Free event
Saturday 7/25 8:00A-5:00P
Sunday 7/26 1:00P-5:00P

PRINCESS FOR A DAY ICE CREAM SOCIAL
(All ages) Families will join the court of the Virginia Dairy Princess Program for princess lessons and ice cream at an old-fashioned social. Girls are invited to show off their new princess skills in a pageant beginning at 1:00 p.m. The first 100 children receive a tiara. Call 571-258-3800 to register.
Location: Heritage Farm Museum, 21668 Heritage Farm Lane, Sterling, VA
$5.00/adult; $3.00 child
Saturday 7/25 12:00P- 2:00P

SUMMER THUNDER CAR SHOW
(All ages) Bring your best ride to the largest, single-day cruise-in show in Virginia! Car buffs, gear heads, racing fans, and anyone who loves driving or watching these special cars will enjoy a fun-filled, show-and-tell kind of day! There will also be food, entertainment, vendors, and – new this year – a kids’ area! Call 540-338-7603.
Location: Franklin Park, 17501 Franklin Park Drive, Purcellville, VA
Free event
Saturday 7/25 3:00P-7:00P

THE GROWING STAGE CAMP: PIRATES OF PENZANCE
(All ages) Young drama campers present this hilarious farce of sentimental pirates, bumbling policemen, dim-witted young lovers, dewy-eyed daughters and an eccentric major general – all morally bound to the often ridiculous dictates of honor and duty. Call 540-338-7973 to reserve your seats.
Location: Franklin Park Arts Center, 36441 Blueridge View Lane, Purcellville, VA
Free event
Thursday 7/30 7:00P
Friday 7/31 1:00P

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Loudoun County Fireworks Shows and Date listed by Community: 4th of July

Friday, June 26, 2009

2009 Fireworks Displays in Loudoun County for Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations — General Listings about where to go and how to plan your festivities. Things to do for Dulles Technology Corridor residents.

Listed here by community area… fun activity for children and parents — a patriotic thing to do to celebrate the holiday with friends is to plan a meet-up with family and friends to watch the fireworks together as an annual event. Fireworks displays make a wonderful low cost date night alternative, too!

EARLY DATE!!! Tuesday, June 28th

  • Brambleton Fireworks Display – 9:30pm (rain date June 29)
  • Dulles Town Center – 9:30pm (rain date June 29)

Friday, July 3rd

  • South Riding Display at SR Golf Club- 9:30 (rain date July 5)
  • Waterford – 9pm (rain date July 5)
  • Lansdowne Resort- 9:25pm (NO rain date) ** There will be a concert beginning at 7:30pm.  Fireworks will follow.
  • Eastern Loudoun Independence Day Celebration – 9:15pm (event is hosted at Sterling Golf Club)
  • Lovettesville Community Center -9:15pm (Parade will begin at 5:30 at the community center.  DC3 will provide entertainment at 7pm)

Saturday, July 4

  • Franklin Park – 9:30pm (rain date July 5)
  • Ashburn Village – 9:30pm  (rain date July 5)
  • Middleburg Community Center – dark (rain date July 5)
  • Hillsboro Community Center – dark (rain date July 6)
  • Claude Moore Park (old fashioned 4th of July) – Events held all day from 10:30am – 3pm (donations suggested)
  • Ida Lee Festivities – 9:30pm (rain date July 5) – Parade begins at 10am.  Gates open at 6pm for live entertainment before the fireworks display.

For more information about fireworks displays in Loudoun County for 2009, please visit https://brambletonbuzz.wordpress.com/2009/07/02/4th-of-july-weekend-in-loudoun-county-fireworks-schedule-and-more-from-the-loudoun-county-parks-and-recreation-service/.

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The Official Twitter Commands: Learn how to use Twitter more quickly and effectively for business and to communicate on the go with friends and family (that’s the Twitter Plan)

Monday, June 15, 2009

twitter is confusing computer confusedThere is no don’t ask don’t tell policy at the Twitter company.  So sayeth the Twitter Mods. But what does it all mean — and how do people who love the program seem to use Twitter so effectively?

Article excerpt advice directly from the marvelous moderators at Twitter.com that will help explain how the service can be used from home or on the go to help you build your business or keep in touch with friends and family all around.

The Official Twitter Text Commands

“Did you know: you can perform certain actions [while using Twitter], like following or marking a friend’s update as a favorite, by using the designated Twitter commands?  Use the commands listed below from your phone, the web update box, or your favorite third party application.” Yeah… and that means what?

Turning Twitter off and on: device notifications

Notifications are simple; in computer speak, “notifications” mean that an electronic gadget you own is going to notify you when another user somewhere in the online world has something to say to you. If you want to be kept tightly in the loop, you might want to have your notification settings turned on to warp drive mode, having all notes delivered right to your hand help phone by text so you will always know exactly what is happening on the computer in “real time” (as it happens) any place you go. However, if 24/7 communication is not for you and you are old enough to remember what life used to be like when you actually left home without your phone, then you might want to turn certain notification features off. Translation — when you scream and cry at all the constant barrage of talk, ideas, and noise and want yell out loudly into the void, “PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!”

Twitter says these are the definitions for the following options on their set up features (the back end of the site where you input your personal preferences settings choices to try to make the program do what you want):

  • ON: turns ALL phone notifications on.
  • OFF: turns ALL phone notifications off.
  • STOP, QUIT: stops all messages to your phone immediately
  • ON username: turns on notifications for a specific person on your phone. For example, ON alissa.
  • OFF username: turns off notifications for a specific person on your phone. For example, OFF blaine.
  • FOLLOW username: this command allows you to start receiving notifications for a specific person on your phone. Example: follow jeremy
  • LEAVE username: this command allows you to stop receiving notifications for a specific person on your phone. Example: leave benfu

Fun Stuff: friends, favorites, and stats!

Okay — so TWITTER is all the rage with the under 30 crowd. What happens to those of us who are part of the “them” crowd? You know who we are. We’re the ones that are old enough to remember that those people over 30 are not to be trusted and with that magical birthday age become one of THEM.

Well, we’re out here floundering about in the cyber world and are ready to give a shout out to let the Me generations know that the Greatest Generation, the Baby Boomers, the Disco Ducks, Gen X, and Gen Y are out here and that life over the birthday hump is not all that bad.

As 65 is becoming the new 40 with so many folks unable to retire in a recession economy, there is a new wave of interest in learning how to use online social networking programs to continue to promote business. That’s where online tutorials and how-to lists come into play. With Twitter being the new “thing to do” activity that needs to become a habit and part of most professional people’s day, this report on command-type features will help new Twitter users Tweet away effectively and efficiently each day.

Here’s what the mods at Twitter say:

There’s more to Twitter than OFF and ON! Use the commands below to send private messages, mark updates as favorites, or even remind someone to update their Twitter page if you’re wondering what they’re doing!
  • @username + message
  • directs a twitter at another person, and causes your twitter to save in their “replies” tab.
    Example: @meangrape I love that song too!

  • D username + message
  • sends a person a private message that goes to their device, and saves in their web archive.
    Example: d krissy want to pick a Jamba Juice for me while you’re there?

  • WHOIS username
  • retrieves the profile information for any public user on Twitter.
    Example: whois jack

  • GET username
  • retrieves the latest Twitter update posted by the person.
    Example: get goldman

  • NUDGE username
  • reminds a friend to update by asking what they’re doing on your behalf.
    Example: nudge biz

  • FAV username
  • marks a person’s last twitter as a favorite. (hint: reply to any update with FAV to mark it as a favorite if you’re receiving it in real time)
    Example: fav al3x

  • STATS
  • this command returns your number of followers, how many people you’re following, and your bio information.

  • INVITE phone number
  • will send an SMS invite to a friend’s mobile phone.
    Example: Invite 415 555 1212

Noteworthy Facts

  • using on/off username from your phone only stops notifications to the place the command comes from; you’ll still collect a person’s updates on the web.
  • using follow/leave username from your phone is the same as using on/off username
  • following someone from a phone for the first time will also cause you to follow them on the web
  • there is no way to stop following a person on the web without visiting their profile and removing them. The off, leave, stop, and quit commands will only disable updates for the device(s) from which they were sent.
  • you don’t have to use ON/OFF username from the phone, you can also set individual notifcations from a person’s profile page, or check your following page and manage all phone notification settings there.

Have more Questions?  Ask TWITTER!


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Super Bowl Commercials Advertise High Tech Hulu Site to Watch TV from Online Computer Terminals; 3-D Commercials and Programs to Come with Glasses You Get from Major Metropolitan and Rural Area Stores; Local Movie Houses Prepare for 3-D “Coraline” to Come to Town

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl 43 (played on February 1st, 2009) is history and the Pittsburgh Steelers have won. Now all the tech talk after the game is focused on the commercials… which have given Gen X and Gen Y hope that this television season will bring high tech changes to come. Commercials, commercials, oh those fabulous and funny Super Bowl commercials…

“Hulu” website promises the ability to watch major network television programming with no T.V. involved.

hulu_tv_online_via_home_office_desktop_laptop_computer_freeEnter Hulu.com, a new online service promising users can watch major network T.V. from their computer terminal desktops and laptops without needing to head to turn on their television sets at home. For those looking for the link, the service can be found at http://www.hulu.com.

Though Super Bowl night web surfing reported that HULU was going to be down for scheduled site maintenance, we’re optimistic that Alec Baldwin would not lie to us or change his tone. With the humorous Alien commercial promoting the psychological sales mechanism idea that watching your favorite programs will in fact not rot your brain but “soften it” in a positive way (so aliens like Baldwin can come scoop your brains out of your head with melon ballers so they can, “gobble them right up”), we expect the newly famous site to have Internet hits by the couch potato vegetable tons.

Next up– 3-D television and movies form the comfort of your own home.

3d_glasses_for_superbowl_and_chuck_by_intelThe classic three dimensional 1950’s & 60’s movie theater “red and blue glass” plastic and paper framed experiences, Jordie La Forge (from Star Trek the “Next Generation”) style Polarized Glasses used by movie-goers to watch Captain EO at EPCOT Center in Walt Disney World’s “Journey into Imagination” by Kodak (just one theme park over from Florida’s globally famous Magic Kingdom) have inspired multi-aged generations.

No longer a technophile or nerdy dream, “3-D TV” has hit the prime time big–with an appearance during the football mid-game show. When a commercial in the new space age friendly format made it onto our big screens and into our living rooms during the Super Bowl, people around the country cheered louder that when the Steelers made the longest play in Super Bowl History and made that 100 yard touchdown run to goal.

Not only were viewers treated to the opportunity to preview a 90 second “Monsters” 3-D  screening, we are promised an upcoming full fledged three dimensional show called “Chuck” due out Monday February 2nd, 2009.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW 3-D GLASSES WORK

Glasses Sponsored by Pepsi and SOBE can be found free at a variety of in-store locations and local displays.

Now, the trick–what to do if you have not got the proper glasses to see these technological home theater masterpieces? Simple. Head out first thing tomorrow to pick up your own family sets at the following common stores and locations across the country and the Baltimore Washington DC Metro region:

  • Target
  • Hess
  • Super Walmart

If you can’t find them easily or stores are out, call 1-800-646-2904 to have pairs delivered to your home. They might come after the programs, but better late than never; with the brilliant features of cable television reruns, DVR, TiVO, and other necessary beloved evils that allow us to keep pace with the time schedule of our modern world, it’s nearly assured that the glasses will come in handy later on down the road.

Movie Theaters offer 3-D Coraline at select theaters but expect 2-D “Coraline” to draw big crowds as well (despite being a technical notch below, storyline and film stars promise to make it family friendly and good). coraline-3d-movie-theaters

Until the glasses and plethora of new realistic home programs arrive, we’ll be satisfying more of our cravings that draw us  into the virtual world here in the Dulles Technology Corridor by visiting our home theaters in search of the new movie “Coraline” due out in February 2009. Expect to be dazzled with in depth images created by the same folks who brought us “A Nightmare Before Christmas”.  Click the links below to find information on your local show times and locations before you head out into the winter cold.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT FOX CINEMAS IN BRAMBLETON

Fandango Theater Tickets to locations offering 3-D shows

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FYI News: Dulles Technology Corridor Residents are Digg Diggin’ Slate.com’s Redesign and Jack Shafer’s Experiments with Blogging and SEO

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Revival of an Article excerpted from Jack Shafer–Posted to open the local community discussion in the Dulles Technology Corridor about the successful use of DIGG, and giving us all a great explanation of how their service is working for patrons and Internet writers in the international web-based writing market.

Digg and http://www.slate.com are both places of interest we are watching; check them both out as the Net’s up and coming trends for personal favorites bookmarks and blog watching. With friends and neighbors in Ashburn spending so much time in our Wifi and high-tech FIOS oriented neighborhoods, cocktail party and boardroom discussions about SEO benefit from knowing the latest and greatest inside scoops from the Internet community.

Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2144785/

Slate Magazine
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Digg Me or Bury Me

Using (or is that exploiting?) a people-powered news aggregator to attract hits.

By Jack Shafer


Slate‘s redesign, which launched Monday, includes a feature that some Web sites have had for years: A front-page pane that displays the most-read stories, the most blogged, and the most e-mailed. For obvious reasons, staffers are as interested in the “most” lists as readers, and so on Wednesday (June 28) our copy chief Rachael Larimore sent around e-mail asking if anybody had an idea why a two-year-old piece by tech writer Paul Boutin (“So Tired,” July 13, 2004) had cracked the daily top five.

Not to take anything away from Boutin, but the piece isn’t anywhere near his best. It’s a light story about tired.com, a site that invites readers to send e-mail describing why they’re tired.

Josh Levin, Boutin’s editor, quickly determined the origin of the story’s new popularity: Digg.com, the husky and growing people-powered news aggregator. Digg has 300,000 registered users, reports Google Watch, draws 8.5 million unique visitors a month, and serves 9.5 million pages a day. Think of Digg as a Billboard Top Million, only for Web pages rather than CDs.

Here’s how Digg works: Registered users submit Digg-worthy Web content—news stories, blog entries, videos, pictures, what have you—to the site by writing a synopsis and linking back to the piece. Then, other registered users “community rank” the submission with votes, aka “diggs,” and the highest-ranked stories earn promotion to Digg’s front page. Registered users can also “bury” stuff they don’t like. Think of the registered users as thousands of unpaid editors—or filters, to use Webspeak—and regard their picks as the wisdom of the crowd, to use James Surowiecki‘s felicitous phrase. Nonregistered users are free to explore the site, of course, and click through to stories. Think of them as readers (or drinkers).

Digg’s FAQ says submitted stories reside in the upcoming stories section for between 12 and 24 hours. The story drops from the queue if it doesn’t earn enough diggs to rise to the Digg home page and is automatically jettisoned if it receives enough “bury story” demerits. It’s very Darwinian.

Ordinarily, an archived piece such as Boutin’s might garner a couple of hits a month for Slate, but the Digg referral produced 26,506 page views of it in one day. The user who nominated Boutin’s story, “Pitfan,” submitted it to Digg on Monday, June 26. It’s the only submission he’s ever made to Digg under that name, although he’s dugg 129 pieces since registering on the site in November 2005. As I write this Friday morning, Boutin’s story has earned 1,586 diggs, which makes it the 65th-most-dugg story on Digg’s Technology section this week. That’s not a huge number of diggs by the site’s standards. The most-dugg story of the week in the Tech section is a Digg blog piece about the rollout version 3.0 of Digg, with 10,317.

The dramatic resurrection of Boutin’s story inspired me to compose a piece about Digg—the column you’re reading now—and to digg it under the username “ShaferAtSlate” within minutes after Slate posts it to test the referral power of Digg. If Digg can steer enough readers to an old story about a marginal Web site to make it one of Slate‘s top stories, what might it do for a fresh story about a powerful Web site?

Ordinarily, my columns pull anywhere between 8,000 and 40,000 page views a day, the traffic being determined by the sexiness of my subject and other variables. I credit blog discussions of my columns about blogs, New Orleans, race, and TV blondes with generating tens of thousands of additional page views. I always benefit from links from Romenesko, the top aggregator of press news and opinion, and when a “Press Box” appears on the Slate home page with a big illustration or graces the MSN home page, my average page counts can double, triple, or grow by 10X.

In my pursuit of extra hits, I’ve taken what I consider to be an ethical and transparent path. There’s nothing inherently wrong about promoting something you wrote, especially if you promote it using your own name. If you don’t digg yourself, who will? Digg’s terms of service prohibit individuals from creating multiple accounts to artificially inflate a digg count, a policy I consider sensible. Inflating digg counts with multiple accounts is as sleazy as fraudulently boosting the Amazon ranking of a book you’ve written by purchasing them in bulk from the site. (Some authors have done just this.)

If I were a craven seeker of hits, I’d link directly to my Digg submission here. Instead, I’ll offer only a modest pointer: If you want to digg or bury this piece, search for “slate.com” in Digg’s search window and scroll the results until you find it. (At present that search query returns 21 Slate stories.) The summary of my story will explain who I am and why I wrote the column and submitted it. Upon submission of my piece I’ll also send e-mail to the Digg team to inform them of this experiment. If they decide this experiment violates their terms of service—which I don’t think they will—they’ll be free to delete my digg from the site.

In my mad quest for hits, I’ve given myself a leg up by writing about Digg instead of, say, puppy-dog tails. Digg users love stories about the site. At least six of Digg’s top 30 stories this year are about it, and most are about technology, owing to its origin as a tech-centric site. The more techie an article, the better its chance of rising, I’ve observed. But Digg’s tech focus is changing, with beta sections named Science, Videos, Entertainment, Gaming, and World & Business now rounding out the site.

The surge of hits Digg sent to Slate proves that Web sites with lots of stories in the bank—we’ve published about 33,000 stories in 10 years—could better exploit those archives. We routinely “recycle” old stories when events give them new relevance, we published a list of the most-read stories from 2005 in late December, and in our 10th anniversary celebration last week we exhumed some of our greatest hits to commercial success. If the digging of Boutin is any guide, readers are eager to trust other like-minded readers to guide them to good content. Maybe Web sites like Slate should set up Digg-like voting booths to do that. Slate‘s discussion forum, “The Fray,” which already requires registration, could be adapted to this end.

Will my quest offend Digg users as an evil manipulation of their beloved site and prompt them to bury my submission? They tend to despise users who engage in self-promotion on the site. Or will they judge my story on its own merits?

I’ll be back in a couple of days with a follow-up reporting whether I got dugg or buried.

******

Bloggers, don’t try this Digg experiment at home before you read Monetize‘s “Can Your Site Survive a Digg?” The piece predicts that the tidal wave of hits could swamp and sink your site if you’re not prepared! Send ideas for other “Press Box” Web experiments to slate.pressbox@gmail.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise. EarthLink folks: Turn off your spam filters if you want me to write back.)

Jack Shafer is Slate‘s editor at large.

Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2144785/

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