People often rely on show notes of podcasts and minutes of business meetings to document important discussion topics.

At a recent dinner with friends, we discussed a number of interesting technology and social topics. Here are my dinner notes!

Identify an image using Google Image Search

If you have a photograph of a person, place or thing you can’t identify, try uploading it to Google Image Search. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Google Images: http://www.google.com/imghp — then click on the camera icon in the search field.
    Google images
  2. Drag and drop your sample image, paste its URL, or do a simple file upload. Here’s an example (source: Wikipedia): Flower example
  3. Google correctly identifies it as Magnolia virginiana.

Magnolia Virginiana

Options now that iWeb has been discontinued

  1. You’ll definitely need to find alternate web hosting for your iWeb-authored site after MobileMe is completely discontinued on June 30th 2012. I use 1and1.com for many web hosting clients.
  2. Consider Squarespace as another slick way to build and host a website. It uses point-and-click visual design and is highly customizable. You can even add PayPal and other e-commerce options if you have items to sell.
  3. If your goal is to build a more complete online store, consider Shopify. It has an easy-to-use store builder and handles of all the hosting and e-commerce details for you.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips

  • Try to use your target keywords in the page’s “title” tag and limit its length to 70 characters or less.
  • There should be a single “H1” headline per page. Try to use target keywords in this page headline!
  • Think about two different audiences when writing website copy: the reader (a person); and visiting search engines that index your page contents. For example, if you’re writing a headline about the health benefits of blueberries:
    • Cute headline, but poor SEO:  Blue is the Best Food Color
    • Much better SEO: 5 Reasons Why Blueberries are a Super Food for a Healthy Life
  • Try using Websitegrader.com as a quick (and free!) SEO grade.

Is the iPhone Expensive? It Depends.

Apple now offers a brand new iPhone 3GS for FREE. Yes, yes, I know — it’s a way to lock you into a two-year data plan with AT&T. I only said the iPhone was free!

Teenagers and Cell Phone Use

According to a Pew Research Center, most teens are 12 or 13 when they get their first cell phone. Seventy-five percent of 12 to 17 year-olds owned a cellphone in 2009, up from 45 percent in 2004.

A week ago, The Buffalo News had an interesting article titled “Getting the good from the gadgets.”  It described how some high schools are adjusting their policies to allow students and teachers to use cell phones during school. Obviously this controversial topic will continue to evolve as we all — students, teachers and parents — become ever more dependent on mobile technology.

Dropping Home Landline Service

  • Percentage of U.S. homes that only had a wireless phone in 2007: 13.7%
  • In June 2010: 26.6%

“The phrase ‘home telephone number’ is going the way of rotary dial phones and party lines,” says Stephen Blumberg at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. The trend toward wireless-only homes shows no sign of slowing down, it said.

Source: http://bit.ly/tE2Yjh

Selling Hours vs. Products

Several of my dinner companions do business like I do — they offer professional services to businesses and charge by the hour. The problem we all admitted is there are only a finite number of hours that can be billed in a day and a maximum rate the market will bear. It might be a good idea to  add the sale of products or licensing agreements to capture more passive income — perhaps using sites like Etsy.com as an online sales tool.