Category Archives: News

Random things of interest and news about SEO, Social Media, Marketing and Mobile Development.

Add SFTP User Permissions In Google Compute Engine

Adding FileZilla SFTP permissions to a Google Compute Engine (GCE) instance can be a little tricky. When using WordPress on GCE it’s really hard to deal with files if you can’t use FileZilla. This took me several days to finally figure out. Maybe it’s a simple hack to those familiar with command-line but that wasn’t me.

There was no forum or other site posting how to do this. It seems that if you can SSH into the GCE instance you should be able to also SFTP from FileZilla. However, that is not the case. You can read the files but can’t upload files.

So here is what worked for me:

I was logged in via the GCE SSH browser available through the console.

I added my user “david” to the group www-data, which is the Apache group.

sudo usermod -g www-data david

then I made sure I had write access:

sudo chgrp -R www-data /var/www/html
sudo chmod -R g+rwx /var/www/html

Hopefully, this will save you some time. If you brick your instance don’t complain to me. lol Make sure you take a snapshot before modifying anything. 🙂

What Hollywood gets right (and wrong) about artificial intelligence


Since the concept of artificial intelligence was first dreamed of, Hollywood has made a tremendous amount of money portraying it in film. Movie-goers are naturally interested in artificial intelligence and like to imagine the worst possible outcomes that could result as artificial intelligence becomes a more common part of our daily life.

Of course, Hollywood has been known to get a few things wrong when it comes to portraying scientific technologies on the big screen. What is really surprising is they actually get a few things right. Here’s a look at what Hollywood gets right and wrong about artificial intelligence.

Mind uploading

One of the most common tropes in artificial intelligence fiction is the concept of mind uploading, or digital immortality. The idea behind mind uploading is that humans can artificially become immortal by uploading human consciousness into a machine or robot of some kind. The most recent Hollywood film to make use of this trope was Chappie. Though the concept has enjoyed a lot of popularity in Hollywood films, Artificial Intelligence experts say that it’s also one of the most inaccurate. Currently, science is nowhere near being able to upload human consciousness into a machine. Though a few theorize it could possibly happen far in the future, the majority in the scientific community believe it’s nothing but science fiction.

Changes in agenda

One of Asimov’s three laws of robotics states that “A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.” But there is no shortage of movies that involve robots governed by artificial intelligence choosing to implement the Zeroth Law in which they diverge from their programmed agenda to achieve what they perceive as a greater good. In I Robot, for instance, the robots stage a revolution against the humans. According to the scientific community, movies like Steven Spielberg’s AI are more accurate because artificial intelligence cannot stray from its programmed instructions.

Robot feelings

Another favorite trope in artificial intelligence fiction is the robot that develops human emotions. Of all of the artificial intelligence myths, this one is probably the most subjective. According to experts in artificial intelligence, there is really no science to prove or disprove the possibility of robots developing human emotions. The question largely depends on how we define human emotion. Some theorize that emotions are nothing more than the result of electrical and chemical reactions in the brain. In that sense, it could in theory be recreated in a robot though that science is probably decades away.


SEO Webmasters Complain About Google Algorithm Change (Panda Update)

Jack: Did you hear about the new Google ranking change? It’s caused more problems than the Stock Market crashing!

Joe: Its totally insane how much power one small group of people have over the livelihood of so many people. I am so depressed! I thought my 10 thousand auto blogs were going to pay off.

Jack: Content is supposed to be king but my 5,000 pages of awesome content got penalized for some stupid reason. I was thinking of filing an antitrust lawsuit on behalf of all webmasters.

Joe: I am so mad! I can’t believe my dreams have been shattered by some stupid Google executive. They are so greedy and don’t share the love with guys like us.

Jack: Yeah they are just doing it to force people into their pay per click campaigns. They called us and sent us an email asking if they could manage a campaign for us themselves.

Joe: They canceled my pay per click account and said they don’t want my money! Maybe they are being paid off by big brands to kill little guys like us.

Jack: I was thinking that I should buy some automated spamming software because the sites ranking now are pure spammers. Maybe my 5,000 pages just don’t have enough links to them.

Joe: Yeah Google makes little guys into spammers because we can’t compete against big brands that buy millions of links. I thought producing content was going to make us better!

Jack: Ha Ha You are hilarious. Have you heard that Google bought Beat That Quote dot com for like 50 million bucks! I looked at their back links and they are the worst spammers ever.

Joe: Sweet! I guess spamming will work if I just do it more. Too bad I just did stupid stuff like write articles & embed Youtube videos related to what I wrote about. This really sucks!

How I got 35,000 Downloads of my text messaging app & 201 sales in 45 days

I have found some secrets to making apps popular and I want all our readers who are interested to be able to see this case study and Android Market ranking tips. So here goes. 🙂

Being that I am obsessed with playing with my Droid X I decided to make some apps and it has worked out well so far. I have three apps right now. I released them a few weeks ago. I am over 17,000 total downloads so far I think. Here is a link if you want to see what I am taking about.

Free Version of the “1 Touch Love You” Android SMS Texting Application

UPDATE 4/25/11: 34797 Downloads and 10998 Active Installs

UPDATE 9/02/11: 122,857 Downloads, 18,677 Active Installs, 2,465 ratings avg 4 stars, and 560 comments!

UPDATE: 11/20/11 157,838 Downloads

Old Pro Version Video of “1 Touch Love You” App

1 App. ) Just over two weeks ago I launched a social app called “1 Touch Love You.”  I recently added a Safe Driving feature that uses GPS speed detection to the pro version. Here is the live demo video. It  makes it easy for me to send my wife ‘love you’ messages when at a stop light or when in a rush.The app makes it easy for her to respond when she is busy with kids etc. I even have it so if two people register each others phone they can text “where are you” to each other and the GPS location address link will be auto texted back. There are 50 different “Love you” type of messages for each conversation library. There are now 7 full libraries so people don’t have to manually text very often. Each time someone hits the big fat “Send” button it randomly picks one and sends it. My wife’s friends seem to love it. 🙂 So far it has around 14,000 downloads and 38% active rate. I got 21 sales amounting to about $60 in the last four days after launching the paid version. Here is the video to train users how to use it and shows off some features.

Here are a few tips I can share from my research and my own ideas. I contacted over 50 of the top Android developers and got awesome advice and feedback. Hope you all can learn from it and benefit as I have.

App Popularity:
Respond promptly to all complaints.

Always, always offer refunds to unhappy users.

Put your feedback options in your app to keep bug reports out of the Market comments. Make this very easy to use.

Make the app sharable. Put Facebook, Twitter, Email and Text Message sharing buttons directly in your app. Put some type of advanced feature in the app that is visibly disabled and only activates when they share your app.

NOTE: I temporary removed the disable feature for add and remove messages that didn’t work unless users shared the app and the install rate plummeted. I feel confident this strategy is sound. People will share apps if they get added features!

Put ads in your apps to your other related apps so users can download those as well. Keep them theme related.

Put notifications in your apps encouraging sharing your app with others after some measurable time and actual use of the app to make sure they are actually happy with it.

Use all of your text description to write about your apps in as much “keyword” rich detail as allowed.

List the names of other related apps in the bottom of your app description so you can rank better in the “related” apps section when users are viewing other apps. It is a good idea to actually write an original statement about the app and why it’s good or bad or similar to your app or not. Don’t just fill it with spam.

NOTE: Do not make your app web dependent for basic functions. If there is a slow data connection your phone will appear broken. Make the app as self contained as possible!

Making money with apps:

Release a paid version that is advertised in a free but limited version. Have all the sharing buttons in the free version send people to the download page of the paid version.

NOTE: I used video very effectively to encourage sharing and rating. Most people don’t even know they can rate and comment in the market. My app has a pretty high rating and commenting rate compared to other similar apps with far more downloads. This is vital for internal market ranking.

NOTE: App ranking seems to be based on a combination of download rate and viral spread mixed with app crashes, freezes and uninstalls counting against those metrics. The most important factor is positive ratings and comments along with a high active user rate.

NOTE: Bad comments, spam and sabotage comments are common in the Android Market. 🙁 AI developers should ban together for protection. You can rate down bad comments and mark them as unhelpful and even mark them as spam. This is pretty cool because your positive comments can float to the top of the list. I got about 10 people I know to rate and comment to get my app going. If anyone needs a real app review of something they are proud of let me know. I would love to leave a positive comment and rating if the app deserves it. 🙂

Not using ads at all is an option, well sort of, there are hardly any apps using CPA affiliate links in their app functionality. If you provide a cool app that is basically a service, like a calculator or finder tool, find CPA networks or companies that have click tracking capabilities and send customers to them on a revenue sharing model. The advantage is the link does not look like an ad plus the payouts are usually 20 times more profitable than click ads like AdMob and Adsense who just rip you off.

NOTE: There are some errors users are going to experience with AI apps. I strongly suggest you use AppToMarket and set your API level to at least 7. Allowing old phones to install your app will create tons of bad ratings and bad comments because they don’t have a new enough phone to handle your apps.

NOTE: Adding too much functionality and complexity will kill your active install rate. I added a ton of cool features and saw my active rate drop by 10% which was over 1,000 users at the time because I thought I was adding cool stuff. Keep it simple or get your app ranking killed in one day! The last thing you need is 10 uninstalls where the user click “Defective” as the reason. 😉

NOTE: Amazon is selling apps so get yours in there as well!

Generally, my experience with getting into Android development has been shockingly awesome. I am so grateful to Google’s AI team and AppToMarket! My life course has been altered permanently for the better. 🙂 I am more confident now then ever that moving into app dev was the right move for me. 🙂 Not quitting my high stress high paid day job anytime soon though. 😉 I genuinely appreciate everyone in the AI forum’s insight and feedback. A special shout out to the guys who figured out the math for the GPS speed calculation. I had to add a ton of stuff to stabilize the readings but i worked out! Thank you very much in the most serious way. 🙂 I hope the conclusions of my research somehow provide value to you in a way that makes you more money!

Have a great day making awesome apps! Add me to your contacts and Facebook and Twitter. I love Skype video and screen sharing though! I want to stay in contact with everyone here and I will keep you up to date in my adventure from going from my current expertise to delving in the app world.  If I can help you in any way like you have helped me don’t hesitate to ask. Again, sincerely thank you for all the info and advice from the forums! 🙂

P.S. Text me a link to your app in the market and we can build some real reviews and comments!

David Johnston
Skype: intelicoast

Homemade salad is the best! Thoughts on SEO.

Salid PictureOptimizing salads can be far more fun than optimizing websites to perform well in Google. With the new changes they made old school SEO has unfortunately become important again adding extra work required to compete.

At some point Google will be so smart they will know exactly what people are looking for. The problem with that is new ideas and products will have a harder time making it to market since there are no market or algorithmic signals to let Google know that people will need the product or service as soon as it becomes popular enough.

They are of course attempting to account for that but no one can predict future innovations without stifling innovation in the process. Its a catch twenty two.

In the near future the barriers to market are going to be almost insurmountable. Getting started now is vital to anyone who wants to even have a chance in the future.

My sincere recommendation is for anyone reading this to at least set up a blog and post once a week about the idea you have for maybe starting a business someday.

You can get started with a free account. They make it really easy to get going. Set up an account for each idea you have. You can also buy a website domain name through them.

Starting the clock on a domain name with the product or service as part of the name can literally save you thousands of dollars in the future. In fact if you don’t own a well ripened keyword rich domain you may not have a chance at all.

So as I eat this awesome salad and write this, I am thinking of all the millions of people who are passing up the chance to even have a chance in the future.