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.

BLOG POSTINGS AND MUSINGS

Fascinating site design

Popular scifi and entertainment website io9.com just gave itself a site overhaul, and I find myself just mesmerized by its construction. On first blush, it doesn't appear like that big a deal: main column 640 pixels, right column 320 pixels. Gee, big whoop.

But check out that right column. In my Mac Firefox browser, the right column has an infinite scroll... without scrollbars. I'm a big fan of the scrollwheel (or scrollswipe as it were these days), so having the hover activate my scroll is joyous. The right column now goes on into infinity, and clicking an item loads it into the main column without effecting your position in the right column.

I haven't had time yet to do a cross-platform test, or break down its construction. It's entirely possible that it's based on the dreaded frame-designs that were so popular in the Internet's hey-day, which would be pretty funny for me to be gushing over a multi-frame-design.

But if so, it's come a long way, and if it maintains great SEO, io9.com has found a great way to inspire infinite inter-site web surfing.

UPDATE, FRIDAY FEB. 11: Turns out io9.com has announced they will be adding scroll bars to the right column. While this makes perfect sense, design-wise it makes me a little sad. It sure was pretty cool while it lasted! But for those with no scrolling interface, probably not so much...

UPDATE UPDATE, MARCH 9: Turns out io9.com is part of the gawker.com media empire, and the entire web platform for all sites was upgraded. The site redesign was a huge mess, as this blog will further delve into. Somewhat more amusing in a train-wreck kind of way is the CEO's memo, which reveals little tidbits like the construction does mess up their SEO with Google (see above original posting/I-told-you-so) and that the web dev team is in Budapest.

Best Tech Support Reply Ever

For the past year or so, the tech support at my web hosting company had gone down a dark path. If I reported slow downs or non-responses from their server, their responses started trending towards UE (user error).

The messages usually went on about 10 paragraphs and covered all the ways that my sitebuild is most likely the problem. Needless to say, this got pretty frustrating. While I completely understand that my sitebuild impacts response time, if the server is broken, the server is broken. No matter how awesome my MySQL Db is tuned, it's not going to load a website if the server is busted.

Well, all that said, this is the Best Tech Support Reply Ever. I reported a server problem and a request that I don't receive a reply about my sitebuilds:

"Bjorn,

Your site-builds don't suck. Our engineers have been on this since shortly before you reported it and are seeing response times improve after they put a fix in place.Your sites should start loading within 15 minutes, if  the problem hasn't already cleared up for you. We apologize for the inconvenience."

Upgraded entire company to Adobe CS5

It took about 10 months, but I've finally updated the company to Adobe Creative Suite 5.

There were many obstacles along the way, from hardware to the necessary budget to pay for it. The first step was getting the whole team on Intel-based Macs. This included the writers, and it was hard to find the necessary equipment. Their PowerPCs were perfectly fine for writing on, but wouldn't handle the upgrade to Adobe InCopy CS5. However by juggling around equipment as people came and went over the course of the year, rather than just purchasing them right off the bat, I was able to get all the machines up to specs under-budget.