Clean Computer

Whenever my computer starts running slow, I shut it down and vacuum out the fan area. Those air dusters are only partly effective. It’s like sweeping a rug. You’ll get some of the dirt out, but there will still be a lot underneath.

Plus, a complete shutdown and restart every now and then is actually good for the machine. It’s sort of like a vacation for people. If you work every day of the week with minimal breaks, you’re going to burn out fast.

by Enid Ahylhienatta
Technology Consulant
Residential Life Magazine


Weakest Link

I never expected it would be my teen daughter that I would catch checking out a porn site. Apparently, she stumbled upon it by accident, and I was walking by the “family computer kiosk” at just the right (or perhaps wrong) moment.

Her story (which I have no reason to disbelieve) is that, while doing research for a school paper, she clicked a link on a completely “safe” website, and ended up there. No one got in trouble, and we all moved on with our lives. But the incident got me thinking. Should web professionals be held accountable for the content that is linked to and from their sites?


Know Your Content

Of course, anyone updating an online presence — be it a website, blog, or even social media account — should be well aware of the outbound links they are displaying. But what happens when those links change, or when the sites those links point to get taken down, or even hacked?

A reasonable content audit is expected, but it is inefficient and even unrealistic to expect site owners to go through every single piece of content they have ever posted, in some cases going back several years. Further, I don’t know of anyone who routinely audits their Facebook page.

So in most cases, questionable content is not realized until it is caught by someone else. That could present an awkward and embarrassing situation for the content owners.


Wild West

The other side of things concerns websites that are linking to your content. In some cases, you might not even know this is happening. Spamming and phishing may become the least of your worries.

If, for instance, you are being linked to from a variety of unsavory sources (porn, etc.), it won’t take long for your site to get referenced as an akin member — meaning search engines could begin indexing your site in the same categories as porn. That’s fine if you’re a porn site, but completely the opposite if you’re not!

Clean House

A good rule of thumb to follow is to perform regular audits on your current and recent content, and to purge or archive content that you no longer plan to audit. Doing so may prevent you from a future uncomfortable scenario.

by Enid Ahylhienatta
Technology Consultant
Residential Life Magazine

Simplicity Never Goes Out of Style

Just back from a vacation, I recently submitted my review of the hotel. My thoughts were generally positive, but there is something I just can’t get past.

It was a “boutique hotel,” and certainly had character. Some of the amenities, however — perhaps styled to be ‘avant garde’ — presented a real-life usability issue.

Not Our First Rodeo

Our group included seasoned, college-educated, world travelers — none of whom was immediately able to determine how to use the faucet, or get the air conditioner to work! That’s a problem.

Of course, after a few minutes, we were able to figure out both devices. But the point is that we should not have had to spend any time at all to decipher these everyday tasks!

Sacrificing function for unique style is a poor and ill-informed idea. Whether your passion is hospitality, web design, or anything in between, you should never lose sight of your guests’ comfort, and your focus should continually be on a positive, pleasantly-memorable overall experience.

by Enid Ahylhienatta
Technology Consultant
Residential Life Magazine

Play It Again

I wish people would stop sending me game requests on Facebook. I know I said I wouldn’t write another ‘downer’ thing, but this is what’s on my mind right now, and I’m supposed to write what’s on my mind.

Anyways, yeah. People are always sending these requests for their games, and I can’t figure out if it’s actually them that’s sending them, or if, like, the system sends out an automatic request, maybe every time they log in? Either way, it’s super annoying.

No, thanks

No Way Out

And then you go to block the app, and you can’t do it! Or I mean, it lets you do it, of course, but then, like, a couple hours later you get a request for the exact same game! Like blocking the app was totally useless! It’s just frustrating is all.

Oh, and then once I actually asked a friend to stop sending all these requests, and she flipped out! Totaly took it as a personal offense. She wouldn’t talk to me for, like, two weeks, and even now she says she has to “be careful” what she does and says around me in case I “go crazy again.” Whatever.

I’m not going to go on about this, but I needed to get it off my chest. Just because you might like to play a game, that’s fine, but not everyone wants to do the same thing, and you should honor their wishes and stop trying to push things on them.


by Chelsea Abrahams
Residential Life Magazine

Time Out

A friend recently “informed” me of a tool that blocks online ads. Truth be told, I’ve been using the application for years now!

While I do believe in free expression, am generally anti-censorship, and feel there is a time and place for all web content (even advertisements), today’s marketing campaigns have become invasive and beyond aggressive.

Subtle Sell


Back in the “old days,” online marketing was resigned mostly to banner ads. While it’s true that some of them used ‘flashy’ elements in attempts to attract attention, most advertisers took a ‘conservative’ approach.

This may have been due — at least in part — to the rather limited technological resources available at the time, and even a certain skepticism amongst many who wanted to “see what this Internet is all about” before allocating huge amounts of time, resources, and money into this aspect of marketing.

Today, of course, the web — both websites and social media — must be an integral part of any successful marketing campaign. But the material does not have to be so invasive.

In Your Face

Today’s Internet is cluttered with:

  • fly-out ads
  • floating banners
  • Flash elements
  • ‘pulse’ ads that require a user to physically ‘x’ out of them in order to view a page
  • and more

So it’s no wonder that the demand for an ad-free user experience is stronger now than ever before. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

(Almost) Full Circle

This is not okay

If advertisers would step back and take a more relaxed approach, most web users would be more willing to accept a compromise. It is similar to an argument. If both parties are shouting, resolution is all but impossible. But when the voice of reason is offered in a calm, controlled manner, common ground is soon realized.

Today’s advertisers need to be willing to tone down their current aggressive stance in an effort to reach that common ground, even if it means they may — at least initially — have less eyes on their messages. In the long run, they would see an increase in sales and profit, as well as a rebuilding of trust from a currently apathetic consumer community.

by Enid Ahylhienatta
Residential Life Magazine


Many websites today — including Facebook and other social media — rely heavily (in some cases solely) on user-generated content, or UGC. UGC is the photos, videos, status updates, and more that people upload to websites — social media or otherwise. Though UGC has, for the most part, kept pace with the changing landscape of the web, the measure has been in practice since the earliest days of recreational Internet use.

What’s Mine is Yours

In most cases, people “own” their UGC, though there does exist some scenarios where UGC becomes shared use once it is created and/or uploaded. In rare instances, it becomes the sole property of the receiving entity. These instances should be carefully examined to determine the validity and intention of the receiving site(s).

Everyone’s bae

Keep It Flowing

A growing number of websites that rely on UGC also enact a moderation queue and contribution standards. This should be taken into account before posting any content on these platforms. Further, it will be up to people themselves to decide the benefit of contributing to UGC platforms. Each person will need to examine whether it is better to contribute UGC on an external website, or to instead create a personal blog that could directly promote personal brand or image. In the spirit of full disclosure, it may be important to note that Residential Life Magazine was “born” following situations that encompassed rather restrictive UGC guidelines.

Many people will find themselves in a sort of balance between enterprise digital material and UGC. In the end, these decisions are largely a matter of personal opinion.

by Enid Ahylhienatta
Technology Consultant
Residential Life Magazine