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New Site: Greenbelt Alliance

Last week I launched a new client project – rebuilding a large site for  the Greenbelt Alliance. It was a complex project that spanned the last 8 months or so and included alot of stakeholders and a complex planning process that intersected with a revamp of their long term strategies.

We used WordPress (of course – and after my training they are now WordPress experts) and customized the presentation of events and people in a variety of contexts. Many landing pages were customized with  the amazing Page.ly MultiEdit plugin that allows the client to edit the various pieces of these multi column landing pages with featured content via easy-to-manage, custom built shortcodes.

Donations, subscriptions and other CRM actions is integrated with Convio’s services via act.greenbelt.org.

logo smaller New Site: Greenbelt Alliance

Protecting Open Spaces & Creating Vibrant Places: Greenbelt Alliance brings people together to protect what people love about the Bay Area and to make it an even better place to live.  Learn more .

You don’t have to be a WordPress expert in San Francisco to have a site like this for your business or non-profit. Just contact HelloARI Design and I can give you  a free demo of how easy it is to use WordPress to streamline your online business presence. 

Posted in Design, WordPress | Leave a comment

Tether Relaunches iPhone Version

tether logo Tether Relaunches iPhone Version

Tether is an application (2 apps – one for your Mac/PC and one for your iPhone/BB/Andriod)  that allows you to share Internet access from your phone to your  laptop (or other wifi device)  using your smartphone’s data plan. No need for jailbreaking or paying extra for WiFi hotspots or data “tethering” plans.

I have not tried it yet but will soon – I wish I had know about it before I gave up my unlimited data plan. They have had a real battle with the AT&T/Apple corporate control … But they came up with a innovative technical solution. Reminds me of how the clever Dropbox guys hacked OS X core to get their amazing technology to “just work”.

Tether’s new version for the iPhone is purely based on HTML5 and creates a completely wireless connection over AdHoc. This circumvents the need of buying the application directly from Apple’s App Store and allows any iPhone or iPad with a data connection to allow tethering.

via Tether Relaunches iPhone Version | Tether.

Posted in Inventions | Leave a comment

ManageWP vs the rest: remote WordPress site management

managewp logo ManageWP vs the rest: remote WordPress site management

Some great new tools out there to monitor and update a number of WordPress sites from one central place. Here’s some notes I’ve gathered – please share your experiences in  the comments.

As part of my services as a web developer and WordPress expert, I have to manage many websites for my clients — it’s a tedious chore to track the latest  plugin updates, and  WordPress versions. Most updates go smoothly but on occasion plugins conflict and updates can even make your whole website become unavailable.

When people sign up for my WordPress small business web hosting service they get to avoid all these headaches and let me manage their WordPress updates. I include at least an hour per year for the updates and that’s plenty for most small businesses.

But that leaves me with a growing number of WordPress sites to manage. So to the rescue come a new generation of tools to



I’ve been hearing about them for a while and have been enjoying the free trial service. They are the best and most comprehensive service and offer a free trial. But they are not cheap. I had a problem adding a site and their support was very responsive – that’s a great sign.

main features:

  • bulk install, update and management of plugins and themes and WP
  • backups to FTP, DropBox or S3
  • email notification: for updates and other stats
  • clone or migrate a WP install from one site to another,
  • SEO tracking tools (for highest tier price)

more features:

  • One-click automatic login to any website
  • Bulk Add Posts/Pages and  Links
  • Simple cleaning of spam comments, removing post revisions or optimizing database
  • Built-in pageview statistics
  • Restrict login to your ManageWP account by IP address(es)
  • Two-factor login authentication (email code)
  • Backups for your websites (to your server, Amazon S3, Dropbox, FTP or an email address)
  • Schedule daily, weekly or monthly automatic backups
  • Easily Clone or Migrate website from one domain/hosting server to another
  • Bulk User Management (change your admin password on all sites with ease, add/remove users, change roles…)
  • Add and manage Sub-users in your account
  • Run code tool
  • Google Analytics dashboard widget
  • Traffic alerts (receive an email if your daily website traffic changes by set amount)
  • Website Uptime Monitoring
  • Remote Maintenance mode
  • View PHP error logs

Here’s my wishlist of features:

  1. Incremental backups: this make all the difference in  the world when it comes to making a backup of a big site and committing to the computing resources to make it happen often.
  2. Backup options:  stored at managewp.com . I wonder if they could team up with vaultpress to offer that service within their service perhaps? Ideally I would like a less expensive option since I’m already paying for a server-level (domain-level) backup.
  3. Multiple service levels/flexible billing:  I have lots of WP sites but not all of them need the higher  level of service so I’d like to adjust the service level for each site (eg: not all sites are concerned about SEO).  I’d like to have a per-site billing system so I don’t have to think about the big price leap from 50 sites to 51 sites. I add my WordPress sites one at a time (as I build them for my small business clients) so i’d like to be billed one at a time. This would also make ManageWP more competitive with the free offerings out there (see below)
  4. Automatic backups – I am dreaming of an email telling me that my site was updated with screenshots before and after the update! Or maybe not an email but adding before and after screenshots or a few key pages would save alot of work in assuring the completeness of a backup


The competition:

WP Remote
WP Remote  handles updates to installed plugins and themes remotely via the WP Remote website and provides quick access to core updates. It can also create full off-site backups. Seems to be free but hard to tell from their site.

They are still coming up with a name for their service – it’s very new. Minimal functionality but it’s free and they promise not to start charging – which makes me wonder if it’ll really get continual development. Log into any site from  the central control panel, view WP version, some troubleshooting links. Update 10/2012: there has not been any progress on this product in a while.

Only $67 per year, this offers a php script that lives on your cpanel-based server. Offers uploading and updating of themes and plugins, backup, RSS autopost and quick WP installs based on profiles you configure.

UPDATE: 10/2012

This is a brilliant idea – all the management features but you host it yourself so there are no ongoing fees. Best of all – the basic software is FREE and addons are available for extra features like backup. I am using this and so far it’s working well.


Yet another new offering – still in beta but coming soon… Offers 3 features: 1) Remote WordPress Updates 2) Manual Backups 3) Scheduled Backups

Posted in WordPress | 5 Responses

What’s the difference between a logotype and a logomark?

When clients ask me to design a logo for their business I always start with this discussion of what kind of “logo” they need

A “logo” is often made of a logotype and a logomark. But not every business needs both.

eyebm 300x125 Whats the difference between a logotype and a logomark?

The letter "IBM" written in a certain number of blue stripes is a logo. The blue is very specific and there are a different number of stripes depending on the size of the logo.

Usually when using the word “logo” people are thinking of logotype. A logotype is the name of a company that is designed in a visually unique way for use by that company. It may be displayed in a preexisting font  that is customized to some degree or another.  Or it may be built from geometric shapes that abstract letters for a specific effect. There can be other specifications associated with the design of a logotype that are referred to more broadly as corporate identity elements. These include PMS colors and how much empty space is required around a logo.





 Whats the difference between a logotype and a logomark?

An apple with a missing "byte" out of it is the logomark of Apple Inc.

A logomark  or “symbol” does not generally contain the name of the company — it more abstractly represents that company.. It may or may not always sit next to the logotype and there may be a few types of marks in the corporate identity system that get used in different contexts. These rules will be spelled out in a brand usage document.


Do I need a  logomark?
How to decide if you need both a logotype and a logomark? It depends on how you will use your logo and what business sector you are in. Designing a logomark can add a significant cost to your brand development process so budget can be a factor too. Some new businesses will start simple and add a mark after the business grows and perhaps gains more (or sometimes less – meaning broader)  focus.

It’s important for all logos to remain equally readable  at each zoom/ scale level. You may not be buying a giant billboard but printing a logo a few inches across on a brochure is a much higher resolution environment than on a website.


To see some logos I’ve design head on over to my logo design portfolio or just download my updated identity design portfolio PDF.

Posted in Design | 1 Response

The Great Wall & Felishino in NYTimes

The 2nd time in 4 weeks that a client of mine was featured in  the NYTimes…. congrats to the Great Wall…


arinyt The Great Wall & Felishino in NYTimes
On the first Friday night of each month, a large wall of an Oakland office complex morphs into an outdoor theater. A projector on a nearby rooftop shows videos a hundred feet tall on the exterior of a building at the corner of West Grand and Valley Street. The spectators — most of whom also attend the monthly event called Art Murmur in nearby galleries — stand or perch on the curb to watch the show.

via The Great Wall – NYTimes.com


and recently another client was featured:

sora 300x121 The Great Wall & Felishino in NYTimes
The classic Japanese children’s song “Tako no uta” (or “Song of Kites”) is a cheerful ode to flying. It is also one of many Japanese cultural references embedded in “Sora and the Cloud,” Felicia Hoshino’s rich, clever and appealing book. Offering both English and Japanese text, it is itself a lovely tribute to the joys of soaring high.

Oh, that reminds me of a 3rd client who was mentioned in the NYTimes just last October – the Tenderloin Economic Development Project was featured in an article about the ongoing transformation of the tenderlion area of San Francisco.
Posted in Web Design | Leave a comment

OPEN SHOW @ Apple Store

Best of OPEN SHOW 2011

January 19, 2012 (Thurs) 7-9pm

Apple SF Store
1 Stockton St., San Francisco (map)

I’ll be giving a 20min artists talk (slideshow) of my Interface series—this is an encore presentation of what I presented last year at Stanford.

Rapidly growing into a worldwide movement, OPEN SHOW is a series of free monthly curated artist-talks that feature 5 or 6 photographers who have 10-15 minutes each to show a 20 image story (or 4‐7 minute video/multimedia project). Beyond offering a stage to get great work seen, shows are also incubators for emerging photographers and works in progress. This evening is a “best of 2011″ encore so it should be an especially compelling show. More info at openshow.org.

Jeremy RourkeOut to See
Brandon TauszikPray For Mercy
Michael MulladyIn Memory of Fabienne Geichmar
Yoni Klein & Alka JoshiBlink
Cera HensleyHere Nor There

Come experience this unique live show featuring the six best projects from 2011 curated from hundreds of submissions. Work includes a photo collage music video, powerful images from Haiti, surreal landscape dioramas and more. (I am the more, I suppose).

>>RSVP AT FACEBOOK (optional)

Some images from my Interface series…


RELATED: video of my presentation of this work at Stanford last year
ALSO: Read the post about me over at the SFMOMA Artists Gallery blog

Posted in Fine Art Photography, San Francisco Art | 2 Responses

Compleat: paper cup with integrated lid

image3 Compleat: paper cup with integrated lid

Paper or plastic? When it came to cups the answer was always “both” since you didn’t have a choice.

Now we do.

So the main goal here is to make plastic, carry-out lids obsolete.The design has flaps similar to takeout cartons that fold over to seal in cold or hot beverages, while creating a sipping spout. See their site for a quick animation.

This is the kind of brilliant rethinking of everyday objects that makes me think we might evolve out of this chemical swamp we call home.

via: The Compleat Cup | One Piece Paper Cup.

Posted in Inventions | Leave a comment

Switch from Godaddy (WordPress.org) to WordPress.com for SEO

Happy New Year everyone. Some more notes about SEO and WordPress and various hosting options…

Screenshot 2014 06 05 17.24.11 300x112 Switch from Godaddy (WordPress.org) to WordPress.com for SEO

An interesting account of one person’s experience with Godaddy and WordPress Hosting.

Continual frustrations, annoyances and poor value for my money

I switched from my old hosting provider (Godaddy), to WordPress.com because Godaddy was giving me issues every other week, or had caching issues, and did not support gzip (fully) etc. Plus the $5/month I was paying was not worth it.

via Why I switched from Godaddy (WordPress.org) to WordPress.com « one cool site.


Also: a related discussion about SEO and WordPress.com. Interesting opinions on pros and cons of keeping a simple site at wordpress.com in order to improve SEO. Topics include:

  • Is Domain Mapping better for SEO?
  • Whatever.wordpress.com may outrank Whatever.com

> Read my other Godaddy related posts
> Read about myWordPress Hosting service

Posted in WordPress | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Panoramic Video: Kogeto vs GoPano

Neat stuff – 3 options for little gadgets that attach to your iPhone and allow you to shoot 360 degree videos.

GoPanoMicroApp 300x200 Panoramic Video: Kogeto vs GoPano


I see complains about fuzzy videos and an explanation that teaches alot about how it works.

But my main issue with this is that it wont shoot stills – that might be more fun for me to play with actually. I think it’s got a wider angle of view than the Kogeto. It’s also slightly bulky – at least compared with the competition…

 Panoramic Video: Kogeto vs GoPano



I  was at first surprised to find a competitor. Very similar but physically smaller and i think that’s a big plus.

  • their kickstarter comments
  • they say “The 4s is going to vastly improve the quality of Dot videos due to the 1080p resolution so we’re really excited”
  • The Dot let’s you view the full 360 in their player – i like that better than dragging around a video to see the whole thing. But you can’t see the screen while sooting and you can’t see as much vertically (gopano sees 90 degrees)

other comparisons:


wait, there is a 3rd option: BubbleScope
360x120degrees in a package that looks smaller than goPano. Update: on sale now for iPhone and some Android phones. Nice videos on their site give a full demo of the software.

Posted in Inventions, Product Reviews | 1 Response

WordPress SEO Research Tools

In this article I will review some web-based tools and some WordPress plugins that can help your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) process on your website.

Web-based tools

google adwords keyword search 300x180 WordPress SEO Research Tools

Google AdWords Keyword Tool
This tool helps you evaluate the usefulness of keywords and helps you find related terms for your WordPress based site.  Just input a series of search terms and the Keyword tool tells you how many people searched for those terms, and  related terms, (globally and locally).  Sort by keyword, number of searches or competition. searches measures Competition measures how many people are actively marketing on that term through Google Adwords. It gives you an idea of how difficult it might be to rank for that particular term. Try out the  exact match and phrase match features also, as it can increase / decrease the search volume dramatically.

Google Insights for Search
Rank keywords against one another and lets you see their performance over time: Some search terms are more useful to your business than others, and search term values can change over time.  In terms of SEO marketing,  it can be a great strategy to rank for a keyword which is starting a meteoric rise – but only if it’s relevant to your content of course.

For example, if you are the only cell phone accessory store with content about the iPhone the week the iPhone is announced, and your site is equipped to close sales, you’ll likely draw a lot of traffic and sell a lot of product.

read about more Tools To Improve Your Online Marketing Campaign by Yoast

WordPress SEO Plugins

  • WordPress SEO Plugin: this revolutionary plugin has a variety of tools to help you analyse your pages and posts as you build them. The powerful SEO tools are right there in the editor and they include many educational tips as well.
  • Redirection: This one lets you add redirections manually – from an old url to a new one. Avoiding broken links and properly setting up 301 redirects is important to keeping your SEO rank when changing your site’s link structure.
  • Permalink Finder: This clenver plugin automatically redirects your old urls to your new ones based on keywords in the url. For the right situations this could save you many hours of rebuilding links manually.
Posted in Web Design, WordPress | Tagged | 1 Response
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