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Home Page Update

September 22, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

As you may have noticed we’ve just updated the design of the Cisco.com home page. First, let me note some things that we didn’t change:

  • The top of page navigation works the same way and has the same items. We looked at changing these, but they’re working well today and we felt there was no reason to toy with success.
  • We haven’t removed anything from the page. You can get to all of the same destinations as before.

Here’s a picture of the new home page design as it rolled out this past Sunday: image The changes from the last version of the home page are subtle, but we hope you’ll like them:

  • A bolder, interactive center area (see more below)
  • A section featuring new products that you can click through to see a series of new featured products (not just the one product we used to show)
  • A new link to the Cisco blogs.cisco.com site area
  • An overall cleaner, simpler look

I think a really neat feature is how the center area expands out to become more interactive when you click on the “expand to learn more button”: image We’ll be posting more about the new home page in coming weeks. Enjoy!

Browser Overload

September 18, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

Lately I’m having flashbacks to the browser wars of the last century. For those too young to remember, that was the era circa 1997 when browser purveyors (Microsoft, Netscape, the Opera team, etc) were releasing a browser update about every week, and those of us in the business of running Web sites were constantly scurrying to make sure our sites For those of us who work on Web sites, this was an exciting time but also a nightmare of browser compatibility issues, where every new browser release held the possibility of making some of the millions of our pages appear inexplicably broken. As the world stabilized a couple of years ago with Internet Explorer 6 and 7 and Firefox, it seemed all was right in browserland, and we could move on to other challenges. But, it was the calm before the storm. First, of course, there are all the new “web clients” in the form of browsers on mobile platforms. At Cisco, we’ve made a conscious decision to keep our mobile interface simple and fast, since we know that’s what users on the go really want. You can visit it at our Cisco.com mobile site, m.cisco.com. But new desktop browsers are flooding in again, too. First, Safari for the Mac — which sometimes behaves differently from the other two — appeared on the scene. IE7, of course, has undergone several updates, all of which need testing. Firefox 3 was recently recently released (or escaped), with a much faster renderer but enough bugs and incompatibilities to drive some early adopters to downgrade back to the earlier version. Very recently, the Chrome browser from Google was released — which of course drove our team to scramble in testing various key pages to make sure they behaved well with this new kid on the block. And, if all that weren’t enough, when I was visiting the Web 2.0 Expo this week I was reminded that Microsoft is readying Internet Explorer 8, which is available for beta download today and should be ready for the masses in a few months. Here is Microsoft’s Sharon Cohen demo’ing it: image This first thing that indicated trouble brewing was the “compatibility” mode button built right into the IE8 interface. I am sure this will go away with the final release, but it’s scary to anyone like me who works on the Web because it means some of my pages might not work in the new browser — even if they have been painstaking tested to work today. For instance, mostly our Cisco.com site looks fine in IE8, but one page that Sharon and I looked at had an odd layering problem. This is a page that works fine in all of the browsers today. There’s actually a line of code that Microsoft is providing us Web types to make sure that our pages will be compatible with the new browser if you can’t test and fix each page. You’re supposed to put this in the header of every page to ensure compatibility: <meta http-equiv=”X-UA-Compatible” content=”IE=EmulateIE7″ /> or make sure the equivalent is send in the http header on a per-site basis.All of us here on the Web team are hoping this won’t be necessary. Oh, I knew there was something I didn’t like about the last century!

We’ve Got Your Number: 24726

September 12, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

There’s so much happening from Cisco that sometimes I have a hard time keeping up, especially when I’m on the go. Fortunately, Cisco has a few mobile options to keep you connected. There’s our handy mobile site, of course, which you can access at m.cisco.com (and usually your phone will auto-sense when you go to the main Cisco.com URL as well).And, our SMS service is really taking off. Today, you can subscribe to text alerts right to your phone on a range of topics such as:

  • Field notices
  • New and press releases
  • Security advisories and recommended responses
  • General security news
In the US and Canada, you’ll receive the message from the number 24726, which cleverly maps to “CISCO” on the phone keypad. All text messages for outside the US and Canada will originate from 447797801642. These numbers allow you to validate that a text message is from Cisco and not a third party. Our mobile marketing guru Steve Lau said it best in a recent internal web article: “Everything we do with SMS is designed to provide our customers with immediate information and create more intimacy.” Go to cisco.com/alerts to sign up.Enjoy!

Virtual Worlds 2008 Conference Recap

September 4, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

What a jam packed week it was in LA this week at the Virtual Worlds conference. I am beyond sorry to have missed it but folks did a great job of blogging and tweeting about the activities so it felt like I was there. Here is my list of the most interesting announcements made during the conference.

  • Myrl launched their open beta promoting outeroperability between 19 virtual worlds: read now
  • Congrats to IBM for their award for Innovation in Virtual Worlds for the Enterprise. During the conference IBMs integration of Sametime with Second Life was announced: read now
  • Rivers Run Red and Second Life enter a partnership to develop enterprise virtual world collaboration tools: read now
  • The U.S. Air Force published the RFP for their ambitious virtual world effort, MyBase: read now
  • Vivaty announced Firefox support for scenes: read now
  • What did you think was the most exciting or interesting announcement?

    Two Must Do’s In Second Life Now

    1. Get your Second Life Facebook account activated.Second Life on Facebook There are two applications that are relatively easy to communicate with your friends on Facebook either in RL or SL. Second Friends is tailored to work on your Facebook profile once you have added the app on Facebook and acquired a personal key at a SL kiosk on Eduserv Island. This will allow you to feature your Avatar photo on your RL Facebook profile and check on your friend’s status in SL.Second Life Link on FacebookThe set up and app functions are basically the same as Second Friends but goes a few steps farther. In this case there are two ways to get access to your personal key. Either in SL on Facebook or in RL. Your friends in Facebook get the opportunity if they wish to join SL from Facebook. You can now have the choice to contact friends from RL or SL as well see if they are on or offline and post the home of your favorite SL landmark in your Facebook profile. (This will get interesting when some one flings some food). LOL2. Attend SLCC 2008 VirtuallySecond Life Community ConventionThe 2008 SLCC will happen in Tampa, Florida from September 5th -- 7th. The 2008 SLCC is an opportunity for people of all interests to learn about the many activities within the Metaverse. This convention is an opportunity to present and share ideas, learn about new and interesting technologies and to explore what others are accomplishing within Second Life. There are 3 regions inWorld which will be opened to the public on Saturday and Sunday where you can come sit with fellow residents and listen to the Second Life Convention Streams.SLCC-Business SLurl:http://slurl.com/secondlife/SLCC-Business 137/128/28SLCC-Community 1 SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlifeSLCC-Community 201/136/129/28SLCC-Community 2 SLurl:http://slurl.com/secondlife/SLCC-Community 202/128/129/28