Company commercilizes fish grown on land

Aqua Plantations LLC, a Wilmington-based underwater agriculture, or “aquaculture” company,  has developed a system for growing saltwater fish in tanks and is seeking investment capital to expand their business.  Aqua Plantations raises black sea bass, a type of Grouper that inhabits east coast waters, in large recirculating tanks and sells processed filets under the brand name “Carolina Black Sea Bass.”  The company currently produces approximately 3000 pounds of processed fish per year from their facility in Wrightsville Beach but hopes to secure investment and expand production to 200,000 pounds per year at an inland site near Wilmington International Airport.

In the wild, black sea bass are normally caught in traps, which leads to inconsistent yields and size,  said Ted Davis, company founder.  In comparison, Aqua Plantation’s fish are raised in 8,000 gallon tanks and fed a diet of pellets when young and then twenty-gram tilapia after they grow past a weight of one pound.  This system allows for uniform growth, and the fish are kept alive until the filets are ordered and processed.    According to Davis, the two biggest challenges are keeping water quality and feeding protocol balanced and designing a recirculating system that can be used inland.  Unlike inland freshwater systems, saltwater systems like Aqua Plantation’s cannot discharge fish waste on land.  For example, tilapia is produced in fresh water tanks, and the waste can be spread on agricultural land as a fertilizer; however, the salinity of the black sea bass’ water prevents this use and requires more advanced systems to deal with the waste.

The company is also exploring more environmentally-friendly methods to deal with the material left over after filleting.  “The best green option would be to turn it into feed for another animal because our byproduct is heavy in omega-3 fatty acids,” said Davis.  The company intends to combine equity and debt financing to develop the site and build a series of tanks and systems to raise the fish and perfect the water recirculating technology.  Davis said they are “looking for $3M for the next expansion.”

Feller US Expands Leland Factory

Feller LLC, a manufacture of power cords for high-tech devices, is expanding its Leland, NC factory.  Feller is a subsidiary of Feller GmbH, an Austrian-based power cord producer with manufacturing in Austria, Hungary, Great Britain and Leland, NC.  Feller produces power cords for electronic equipment that meet a range of international and domestic standards and have application in computer, printing, medical and high voltage usage, such as welding and uninterrupted power supplies.  Customers include HP, IBM, Agilent, GE Medical and Eaton.  According to Gregor Kysely, company president, the Leland factory will be expanding its production line by transferring machinery from the Austrian factory.  “The machinery should leave Austria on December 5th and arrive in the middle of January,” said Kysely.  After the expansion, Feller will be able to produce a complete cord entirely in the U.S; currently, the cord’s plugs come from other Feller facilities and are assembled in the Leland factory.

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Teaching a class on New Technologies for Small Business & Personal Use in January

I am teaching another class in January. More info coming soon. Not sure how much it will cost, but they are usually very affordable or no charge.

Wed. 1/28/09, 6:00 – 8:30 pm. Will be in conjunction with the Burgaw Chamber of Commerce. We will probably hold it at the CFCC Burgaw Campus, 100 E. Industrial Dr. Burgaw, 28425.

‘New Technologies for Small Business & Personal Use’. – Learn about the latest technology, gadgets, web sites, etc. that you can use to improve your business and personal interactions. Topics will include such things as wireless internet, Blackberry technology, Iphone capability, iGoogle, twitter, web site ad placement, etc.

Breakfast Panel on: What Web 2.0 means for a Business

I have attended these events before and they are informative.  Thought people would like to know.

The next Wilmington Area IT Professionals Breakfast Panel will be on Wednesday, December 10 from 7:30 AM to 9:15 AM.  For those of you who have attended prior breakfast panels you know they have been informative and provide time for Q&A from the audience.

Discussion Topic: Web 2.0 concepts and features enable a firm to communicate more effectively as well as cause a firm addition headaches. This panel will feature a discussion of what Web 2.0 is, how your firm may utilize its concepts and demonstrate the use of communication tools for small, medium and large businesses. It will be highly interactive.

To register: http://www.uncw.edu/wilmIT.

October 2008 GWB Technology Column

Local Company to Install Cameras on UNCW Campus

Access Control Consultants (ACC) maybe new to Wilmington, but has just been awarded a contract by the University to install 144 video cameras as part of a project to increase security on campus.   The additional cameras are “part of the continuing safety initiatives that UNCW launched a couple of years ago,” said Cindy Lawson, Assistant to the Chancellor for Marketing and Communications.  “When these enhancements are complete more than half of our residence hall will have cameras.”

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September 2008 GWB Technology Column

WHQR Moves To Digital Signal

Wilmington’s National Public Radio station, WHQR is putting the final touches on their digital transmitter as part of the plan to begin offering High Definition radio programming in addition to traditional FM.  HD radio allows WHQR to broadcast with CD quality sound and provide additional programming on the two available “side bands.”   John Milligan, WHQR General Manager said that “public radio has take a proactive role in HD radio” and that the station is looking to offer a total of three stations in HD.  The primary station will be a HD broadcast of the regular signal with a second channel broadcasting classical music around the clock and another station with a mix of programming to be determined later.  The classical music channel will feature local hosting for part of the day.  The third channel will “talk directly to particular segments,” said Bob Workman, Programming and Music Director, such as “the younger generation, spanish speakers.” This new format has “so much more flexibility for the listeners,” said Workman.

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Multiple domain names pointing to the same site?

I just answered this question for someone on Linked In and thought it would make a good blog post

Question:

Is there an SEO advantage to having multiple domain names pointing to the same sight? (sic)

Answer:

Google will penalize you if you have duplicate content under two or more domain names, but if you have a domain you use for a print or tv campaign, and use Google Analytics or another web analytics program, you can set up to following situation to track the campaign.

www.2nddomainname.com points to a page that forwards to the following link : www.primarydomainname.com/landing_page/?campaign_code  This can be done with a meta refresh, javascript, or apache header, depending on the server technology you are using.

Use the Google URL Builder to create a URL that will work with Google Analytics.

Another thing to remember is the www.primarydomain.com and primarydomain.com are different domains in the eyes of Google, so make sure you pick one and stick with it for all your linking, SEO, and other online marketing.  You can also set the primary domain in Google Webmasters tools.

SEO is more than just domain name, so make sure the content of the site is strong and there are lots of high quality incoming links.  Google Webmasters tools are a free way to get some good insight in to your domain.  There are better tools out there, but Google Webmaster tools is a good first start.

Completed the Google Advertising Professionals Certification

After a couple of months of putting it off, I just completed the exam for the Google Advertising Professionals certification.  The online exam was pretty comprehensive and covered some topics I had not anticipated. Most of the questions were about the mechanics of managing accounts, optimizing advertising budgets, choosing keywords and developing a marketing strategy.

In addition to this snazy logo and a link to a page verifying my status, I get access to promotional credits for new clients.  Credits may be applied to a new client account (no more than two weeks old) that I manage. Each $100 credit is good for 1-to-1 dollars worth of free AdWords advertising.

If you are on the fence about Google Adwords advertising, or just want to learn more, you should read the following overview document.  How to get the most out of your ad budget (PDF 944 KB)

Feel free to contact me via email or phone for more information about using a promotional credit or for help managing your online advertising.

Also, if you have not checked out my upcoming free class on search engine optimization and adwords, you really should attend.  It is a short, informative class, that will help you make smart online marketing decisions.

July 2008 GWB Technology Column

Digital TV

For 92% of the five county Wilmington media market, those who watch television via satellite dish or cable, the upcoming September transition to digital broadcast from traditional analog will not even be noticed.    For the approximately 14,000 people who receive a television signal over the air with an antenna a digital converter box will be required to convert the new digital signal.

On September 8th, the Wilmington media market will be the first market in the US to convert to the new digital format as part of a test by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).   According to Constance H. Knox, WILM Station Manager, Wilmington was the only one of eight markets chosen by the FCC where all stations agreed to meet the early deadline.   The station managers have held regular conference calls and worked through the small challenges that came up while installing the required new equipment, said Knox.   All the equipment should be installed and ready to broadcast by August well in advance of the September switch.  Knox said she expected to share the information gathered from the early roll out with other broadcasters around the country. Continue reading

Malformed HTML could get you banned from Google

Just a word of warning about the dangers of malformed HTML on your web site.

One of my clients, who shall remain nameless, used a free HTML WYSIWYG editor to make edits to the text of their website.  This editor created a block of text that was improperly wrapped in <MAP> HTML tags.  A MAP tag defines a client-side image-map,  an image with clickable regions.  As a result the text was hidden from the browser.

After a little more than a week, they received this message via email from Google. ( the url has been changed)

Dear site owner or webmaster of ********.com,

While we were indexing your webpages, we detected that some of your pages were using techniques that were outside our quality guidelines, which can be found here: http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html

In order to preserve the quality of our search engine, we have temporarily removed some webpages from our search results. Currently pages from ********.com are scheduled to be removed for at least 30 days.

Specifically, we detected the following practices on your webpages:

* The following hidden text on ********.com:

It then went on to display the text in question.

As a result they were dropped from the organic search results on Google.  This was particullly bad because it was over the weekend prior to the start of national television campaign.  The owner gave me a call on late on Sunday night and we started working on a plan.

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