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BlizzCon 2011 Tickets On Sale Tomorrow!

It’s that time again all you lovers of the greatest MMORPG creators since the beginning of time, Blizzard Entertainment is having their yearly convention in Anaheim California at the Anaheim Convention Center. This is Blizzcon, a celebration of all sorts of gaming communities around the earth centering around Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo! You know what that means, ladies and gentlemen, they’d better have some Diablo III updates for us or I’m going to pull my own head off!

Tomorrow’s the day when you’ll get your first chance at purchasing tickets to this monstrous event, each ticket costing you a cool $175, tickets only being on sale on both the 21st and 25th of May. These tickets will go on sale at 10AM Pacific Time tomorrow and at 7PM Pacific Time on the 25th. You can purchase these tickets either at the [official BlizzCon website] or the online Blizzard Store on either date to purchase your tickets.

And what in the heck would you want to go here for? Why, it’s two days of absolutely awesome gaming mayhem! This is the sixth year this convention has gone on, this newest version offering you the following:

• Hands-on play time with the latest versions of Blizzard Entertainment games

• Discussion panels with Blizzard Entertainment developers

• Professional and casual tournaments for players to showcase their talents

• Community contests with great prizes

• Commemorative merchandise based on Blizzard Entertainment’s game universes

• and MORE!

And what’s the greatest part of the convention information? The rules on item restrictions! The strangest of these is the inability to bring in a laptop, if you ask me, but see if you think there’s anything else odd in there:

Prohibited Items: Desktop computers; laptops; electronic storage devices; edged weapons (such as knives, daggers, or swords for costumes), actual clubs, maces, or other crushing weapons; projectile weapons, even if unloaded or nonfunctional (including air guns, longbows, crossbows, etc.), alcohol, fireworks, glass bottles, cans, large containers.

**Any attendee found to have violated the prohibited items list may be removed from BlizzCon.**

Acceptable costume weapon props are limited to air-filled or soft plastic melee weapons (swords, daggers, maces, clubs, etc.) and wooden staves that are not shod with metal.

Video cameras are permitted for use in the BlizzCon exhibit halls. However, you may not record gameplay from any of the screens (with the exception of tournament gameplay), and recording the BlizzCon closing concert on Saturday evening is strictly prohibited.

Personal equipment may not be connected to any computer for any reason at any time.

Sound reasonable? No clubs! Also if you’re going to be in there and you figure out a way to feed your humble narrator information about Diablo III early, do so! Of course don’t do anything illegal, but figure it out!

[BlizzCon 2010 Wrap-Up]

About BlizzCon

When: Friday, October 21, 2011 and October 22, 2011, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. PT (both days)

Where: Anaheim Convention Center, 800 West Katella Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92802

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Bu Softball Opens Conference Play Tomorrow At Army

BU Softball Opens Conference Play Tomorrow at Army Terriers out to get more than a Patriot League championship

Captain Brittany Younan (CAS’17, Questrom’17, MET’18) has returned to the team after being sidelined with an injury all last season.

A 4-3 BU win over number-one Oklahoma February 17 is the season highlight so far

The Terriers’ eight-game win streak ended with Wednesday’s 1-0 home opener loss to BC

BU begins conference play on the road tomorrow against Army 

Playing varsity softball in New England is not for the faint of heart. Consider this: the weather caused six postponements or cancellations for the Terriers since March 21. The coaching staff was able to put together six games at the last minute, and the team traveled to Connecticut to play in last weekend’s aptly named Nor’easter Invitational.

Head coach Ashley Waters says she warns her recruits about the consequences of the brutal late winter, early spring weather, which frequently results in disrupted schedules and indoor practices.

“It is what it is,” Waters says. “I would have liked to sleep in my own bed last weekend. But you know what? It’s what you signed up for, and you know all sides of it before you come.”

The Terriers (15-16) swept the tournament with six wins, pushing their winning streak to eight games before losing to rival BC, 1-0, in the season home opener Wednesday.

Waters says last season’s second-place finish is motivating players this year as they prepare to open conference play on Saturday with a noon doubleheader at Army. Expectations are high: the coach says her athletes entered the season in the best shape since she took over three years ago and they played the best fall softball she’s seen. The Terriers currently lead the Patriot League in most statistical categories, including batting average (.286), fielding percentage (.968), and ERA (2.59)—the last is particularly impressive considering that the pitching staff comprises underclassmen.

“Sometimes you have to fail in order to learn what you need to do better,” Waters says. “They have a goal in mind, and they’re shooting for it every single day.”

The Terriers have already demonstrated that they’re capable of upending expectations. They defeated two-time reigning NCAA champion Oklahoma, 4-3, in the Troy Cox Classic on February 17. It was the program’s first time beating a team that’s number one in the country, and it clearly showed they can compete with anyone.

To start the the season in February, BU took on some formidable foes, beating Duke, 7-4, and losing to Ohio State 2-3 at the Florida Atlantic University Kick-off Classic. Battling tough opponents is important training, especially for the team’s freshmen, says captain Brittany Younan (CAS’17, Questrom’17, MET’18).

“It’s cool to get recognized on a national stage, obviously, like when ESPN’s posting about you, that’s always a good feeling,” Younan says. “But I think it’s also cool for the underclassmen to experience that we’re there. We’re on the same level as these teams.”

Players say they are approaching the start of conference play tomorrow with confidence, but also with caution. “It’s a matter of understanding that anyone in the Patriot League can literally beat you because everyone is so scrappy,” says Jilee Schanda (CGS’16, SHA’18).

For obvious reasons, starting their final conference play has special significance for the team’s seniors, and they’re feeling a combination of emotion and resolve.

“It’s super bittersweet, but I’m not going to let myself think about that until the very end, because there’s so much to get done,” Schanda says. “We’re looking to just really leave it all out there.”

The BU softball team travels to Army this weekend for its first series of Patriot League play. All games will be held at Army West Point Softball Complex, 639 Howard Rd., West Point, N.Y. Saturday’s doubleheader begins at noon, followed by a second game at 2 pm. Game three is Sunday, April 1, at noon.

Jonathan Chang can be reached at [email protected].

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October Ppc Changes Recap, 2011

Dynamic Search Ads

You can open Dynamic Search Ads up to your whole site or specific pages within your site.  This will help people to not have to manage every little part and find keywords and manage your campaign.  I would however make sure that Google is bidding on keywords that you should be bidding on.  Giving any system full control over your account without checking it could mean that you are losing a lot of money every month.  Make sure that you are only promoting the pages that you want to get traffic to and feel comfortable spending money on.

This system is in beta and you can apply for yourself or your clients here.

AdWords Express Available in UK and Germany

One very nice thing about AdWords Express is that your business will shown in two different places for each search that a person performs if you are optimizing your Google Places account.  When people see your business in two different places on the same page, they will naturally give your business more trust.  This will help your business get more customers. Google is trying to help local business with an easy to use system that takes 10 minutes to setup and you don’t have to do much after that.

Google +1 Button Now Displaying in Google Display Network Ads


Xbox Players Ditch Consoles After Bungie Sale

Xbox players ditch consoles after Bungie sale




A recent report has claimed that Xbox players are selling their Xbox video game consoles.

In the wake of the huge news about Microsoft selling Bungie to Sony, lots of players are letting go of their Xbox Ones and going in all kinds of directions.

The sale for the consoles seems to be a drastic move. 

In comparison to the PlayStation and Xbox One consoles, “sell” search results have skyrocketed on Google and eBay for the Xbox One console. This is following the news that Sony was acquiring game developer Bungie.

It’s not hard to see why. After all, Microsoft is essentially handing over the reigns to one of its biggest competitors in a sector that is rapidly becoming more and more critical to consumer entertainment.

With Sony’s announcement yesterday that it would be acquiring Bungie Studios, there is no question that Sony is making a major play for the living room with the purchase of two of the most powerful names in gaming.

The only question now appears to be how Microsoft and Sony will proceed once they each have their massive gaming divisions under their respective corporate umbrellas.

Effects of Bungie sale

It seems that Microsoft may now be regretting selling off ‘Halo’ and the rest of their gaming business to the tune of $3.6 billion after a report from gaming site Solitaired revealed a massive surge in Xbox owners searching for how to sell their consoles online.

This is particularly true for the UK, where more people than usual started researching how to sell their Xbox console online on the day that Sony announced its acquisition of Bungie and the rest of Microsoft’s gaming business.

A new report suggests that Sony’s recent acquisition of Bungie may have been a direct counter-move to Microsoft’s deal for Activision. 

According to the PlayStation Lifestyle, just weeks after Microsoft picked up Activision-Blizzard, Sony purchased game developer Bungie, and plans to use it as the basis for a “large, independent studio that will be free from corporate oversight.”

The timing was pure coincidence, but it seems as though Sony has been planning this for some time. The site suggests that this is part of a plan to “go toe-to-toe” with Microsoft in the console war by picking up some of the biggest names in gaming, opening them up to an even bigger audience on PlayStation consoles.

Console wars

When Microsoft bought Bungie, it was seen as a huge step forward for the fledgeling Xbox-brand. At the time, Halo was still considered a PC game that had been ported over to consoles for a quick buck.

Now it seems that Xbox players have ditched their consoles after the sale of Bungie. The company was incredibly important in the creation of Halo, and many saw it as one of Microsoft’s biggest assets.

That said, it’s easy to see why so many people are up in arms about this news. After all, Bungie is one of the most talented studios in the world and they’ve been making Halo games for a long time. To see them go to one of their biggest rivals has to be a little bit disheartening, especially if you’re an Xbox gamer.

A spokesperson from Solitaired said that it was evidence of the ‘console wars’ going strong: “The console wars between Xbox and Playstation have been going on for over two decades now and the fight is still strong.” They added: “It’s interesting to see that the original creators of the hit Xbox exclusive series, Halo, are now owned by their main competitor.”

Bungie and Activision partnered with Sony to make the PlayStation exclusive deal for Destiny 2. This partnership led many fans of the franchise to question why Sony would be willing to give up on a massive fan base.

It has been revealed by analysts that many players are planning to leave Xbox and join the PlayStation specifically for Destiny 2. 

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Blackberry Possibly Putting Itself Up For Sale

BlackBerry is currently in the process of exploring “strategic alternatives” for the company, which may include putting it up for sale.

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins, as part of a five-person committee, will look at a number of options including joint partnerships or alliances, as they attempt to raise stock value and increase sales of the company’s new BlackBerry 10 smartphones.

“During the past year, management and the board have been focused on launching the BlackBerry 10 platform … establishing a strong financial position, and evaluating the best approach to delivering long-term value for customers and shareholders,” said Timothy Dattels, chairman of BlackBerry’s new committee. “Given the importance and strength of our technology, and the evolving industry and competitive landscape, we believe that now is the right time to explore strategic alternatives.”

Said Heins in a release to the Canadian Press.

The announcement caused BlackBerry stock to jump more than 6% in early trading. This news comes on the heels of rumors that circulates late last week about BlackBerry’s board and executives warming up to the idea of potentially taking the company private. BlackBerry’s transition to a new operating system and a new line of smartphones has been the subject of investor scrutiny. Going private would shield BlackBerry from further scrutiny as the new phones struggle to gain traction with consumers.

Timothy Dattels, who is a senior partner at TPG Capital, will be heading the strategic review. Dattels joined BlackBerry’s board last year and had this to say in the same release:

“Given the importance and strength of our technology, and the evolving industry and competitive landscape, we believe that now is the right time to explore strategic alternatives.”

While Heins has repeatedly stated a preference for creating and selling new products rather than selling the company, he has publicly stated that no option is off the table at this point.

Are You Taking Advantage Of Bing In 2011?

How popular is Bing and how do its SEO ranking factors differ from Google?

We are only 4 months into 2011, but I don’t think Microsoft and specifically the Bing team could have asked for a better start to the year!

Conversations about the search engine only seem to be heading in one direction, the same direction as the number of people using their service – up.

In a previous post this year I discussed how searches on Bing were increasing, well this trend has not changed. In recent posts on Mashable, bloggers are showing how, if current trends continue, Bing could well overtake Google in the US.

Summary of the current Bing trends

Bing accounted for 30% of all searches in the US during March 2011

In September 2010, Bing accounted 24% of searches

If the same trend continues it would mean by Jan 2012 Bing would overtake Google in the USA as the most used search engine

This highlights an opportunity in my opinion. While I don’t believe Bing will overtake Google in the near future, I do believe it will be a force in the industry that search marketers need to recognise and quickly!

Looking at your search strategy and ensuring it is both Bing and Google friendly will be a key consideration in the coming months. Getting ahead of the curve rather than waiting for it to become a problem would definitley be high on my agenda. The first thing to do before actioning any of the points below would be to check your traffic & rankings in Bing and compare these to Google, this will set a benchmark for you to monitor results as you progress.

Bing SEO ranking factors  - the key differences

An analysis of the differences on SEOmoz covers this subject in great detail so I have summarised pointers for you:

Bing still adds more weight to .gov – .edu – & .org inbound links

Links are absolutely key to both Google & Bing, though the Bing spam filters do not appear to be as sophisticated as Google

This doesn’t mean you should operate separate link building for each search engine, its only a matter of time before Bing catch up in this area

Tidy & short URL’s tend to be preferred in Bing

Your homepage is vital in Bing and likely ranked over most internal pages so ensure it is well optimised & converts / engages well

Links from multiple domains are key to success (large numbers from single domains is frowned upon)

Old & keyword rich domain names tend to do well

Google and Bing are remarkably similar – building two different sites/pages to separately target the two engines would appear to be a waste of energy

Bing seems to be moving much closer to Google over time; although we didn’t measure all of these results precisely last year, the similarity of the two has dramatically increased (of course, it’s also possible that Google is getting more Bing-like, though this doesn’t fit with our personal experiences)

It certainly appears that while Bing is enjoying some success it is still behind Google in various areas surrounding its ranking algorithm. Its anti spam & intelligence surrounding crawling websites & interpreting inbound links still has someway to go. Keep your search strategy consistent for both search engines, focus on:

Making sure you have a clean & accessible website(s)

Implementing natural link building techniques

Ensuring your inbound links come from a variety of quality websites

Staying clear of spammy websites & techniques

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