bjorn-vandervoo-2014Hi, I'm Bjorn van der Voo, I'm a webmaster, digital champion, and marketing manager based in Portland, Oregon.

Formerly focused on magazine and trade publications, my work has evolved into web publishing strategies for a broad range of clients. My four main focuses are webmaster services, digital marketing, project management, and print publishing.

I help businesses with a range of services in the digital realm, from content creation to web system setups to marketing outreach. I can also help identify emerging revenue streams and foresee ways to keep processes flowing long after my work is done.

My plain-speaking manner enables me to work with a wide variety of clients and make complex projects look simple.


Patent Madness

At first glance, the world of patents would seem pretty far from web dev and print production. However I'm encouraged that Congress might make an attempt at patent reform.

The recent purchase of Motorola Mobility by Google for 12.5 Billion Dollars has brought some fresh light on this mess. The Goog put out a blog about their struggles with patents and current patent law in early August.

I'm of course no lawyer (if you don't count my off-shore, online law degree) and certainly no patent lawyer. I have as much intent to dive into this subject as I do to read all my EULAs in the bathtub by candlelight.

However my gut tells me something will remain frozen in the land of dev — web or otherwise — without any changes.

Another publisher takes a feint at Apple

For us in the publishing trenches, keeping up with iPad app rules is liking jogging in yogurt.

When you've got a web production budget in the low four figures, it's even worse.

So with that in mind, I'm almost pleased to see Amazon and its Kindle take a jab at the iPad rules. As reported on this link here, Amazon is attempting to side-step all the revenue-restriction rules by building a Kindle store in HTML5. They've released it first for Safari on iPad, Safari on desktop and Chrome. That's Apple territory, no doubt about it.

By building it in HTML5, customers can read offline, purchase books, and Apple doesn't get the 30% cut that's been odious to many publishers.

New ad unit launched

About a year ago I began developing a new ad size for my employer's business website, You've probably seen one of these before, where it takes advantage of the extra space around a website's core. I chose to call it a Wrap Around High Impact ad.

Read more: New ad unit launched

Back from the dead

Last week I started working on a website for a family member, another van der Voo. While creating their database name, I entered the first thing that popped into my head: "vdv". The system kicked back an error, informing me that "hey dummy, you've already got a database named that." So I said, "oh yeah, that's the database for my website," And I moved on and came up with another Db name.

I moved on and didn't get too much farther on their site. Then I came onto my site early this week to post an update. Lo and behold, the whole website was empty. Gone. Zip. Nada.

What?! I grabbed my guts and headed into the trenches, looking under the hood, and checking with the host company if there had been an attack or a hardware malfunction, etc. While I was waiting for their reply, it started to slowly dawn on me: I had tied the two different websites into the same Db.

No wonder it was blank. I had started a new blank website and swapped out all my content, here on this site.

Well, long story short, I had to do some resurrection from the dead. Thankfully I had all my bak_ Db files, and the site lives on!

Just Like Indiana Jones

Today I swapped out the architecture and bones of in the first phase of an editorial transition. I felt a little like Indiana Jones, swapping in a bag of sand to steal the gold idol. Except, y'know, not as bad-ass, and probably vice versa. I was placing gold and getting rid of the bag of sand.

Phase two will be an overhaul of the CSS, typography, colors and graphics. While not the worst CSS I've ever seen (or caused), it's starting to sag under the weight of its age, almost four years. It will be a fun challenge to start over.