Group at A11y UX event in Cedar Rapids

Web Development Skills Help Disabled Children: Iowa Web Accessibility, UX & Inclusive Design

Iowa Web Accessibility UX and Inclusive Design LOGO (#A11y)This month’s A11y UX Inclusive Design meeting was held at the Geonetric building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Our guest presenter was a graduate student from The University of Iowa, Rochelle Honey-Arcement. She ended up creating her own major Health and Disability Advocate to truly suit her needs. She presented tonight for our Web Dev Group (see the video below). Her thesis is about immigrant parents with children who have disabilities and the perception of the quality of service that their children are receiving. She has found that support systems are much needed for this demographic. She would like to see greater online support along with real world support systems as well.

Second Half of tonight’s presentation by Andrea Skeries:

Andrea Skeries's 2016 CSUN Conference exhibit hall experience

Andrea Skeries’s 2016 CSUN Conference exhibit hall experience

Our fearless UX leader Andrea Skeries talks about her experience at this year’s CSUN Conference. Lots of hot new toys and gadgets for both visually and hearing impaired. My favorite was the smart watch for the blind with an active Braille readout known as DOT. It pairs with a smartphone and gives you information at your fingertips, literally. I can see this to be quite a viable product for anyone who is blind! Next month’s meeting we will be delving into how to make our websites friendly for all of this new tech gadgetry hitting the stores.

Officer’s guide to tracking Social Network activity: How-To Guide

Officer’s guide to tracking Social Network activity: How-To Guide

Someone in law enforcement reached out to me to teach him about social media in order to monitor activities of parolees. At first I thought about giving an in-depth how-to guide for the major social media websites. I quickly realized that this method would not only be outdated within a week, but it would also be a maintenance nightmare for me to keep up-to-date with new social media sites that are constantly cropping up. So I will be teaching you a different perspective: Using the power of Google to find where people are posting.

Let’s Google it:

Start with doing a Google search for known nicknames, aliases, and real names. If that does not work, and if the person is up to no good, odds are that person changed his name to disguise himself online.

Search by phone number:

Simply Google the phone number. My recommendation is to Google it in multiple ways. Without dashes: “5557654321”. With dashes “555-765-4321” and also the more traditional format seen on social media “(555) 765-4321”. I would drill down several pages into Google results to make sure that nothing relevant shows up.

Image search:

Aaron Van Noy in Ray Ban Sunglasses

The author in Ray Ban Sunglasses

Seeing that you have access to the parolee’s phone, I would look for the stereotypical “selfie” style of picture on the phone and use that for an image search.

Let’s use a picture of the author of this article to see not only how this works, but to also to see what results come back from this specific Google image.  By the end, you should be able to tell exactly what website(s) this image was found on.

Let’s start by downloading the image of the author by dragging the image on the right to your desktop or by right clicking and hitting save. We will need this image later to upload it to Google’s Image Search.

Navigate your web browser to Google Image Search located at and follow the steps in the images below.

Click on the camera icon called "Search by image"

Click on the camera icon called “Search by image”

Click on "upload an image" tab

Click on “upload an image” tab

Click on Choose File and upload the downloaded image or upload from the actual mobile phone

Click on Choose File and upload the downloaded image or upload from the actual mobile phone

Let’s give it a try: To get to Google Image Search simply type in as your browser.

Image Search Results:

Let’s see the results and see what the author has been up to!

Resuts of searching for Aaron Van Noy's photos online

Resuts of searching for photo above online

It turns out this image was (maybe originally) posted on (his personal blog page). However, it looks like several other websites that sell knock-off sunglasses have stolen images of the author and put them on their own websites.

Most of the sites in the search have been redirected (the URL in the search results do not match the URL that you land on) to another page.  Most take you to (owned by which is an Intellectual Property Lawfirm. Honestly, that tells me that maybe I should try to go after my stolen images. This isn’t a common result. One reason for it is I post high-quality images online for better search engine results.

Does it work on Apps and dating sites?

Does this image-search trick work on dating websites like Match or eHarmony and also on apps like Tinder, Grindr/GROWLr (gay versions of Tinder) and many others?

YES! But only if you have an exact match of the images that was used online.


You will need to find the actual image used in the profile. The good news is most people use the same profile picture over and over on multiple websites.

Please note that Google is NOT at the level of face recognition software YET! So if you don’t have the exact image that was used either as the profile picture or in the profile somewhere, odds are you will not find results. Google will try to give you results of people who resemble the image that you uploaded, but often background colors or other specifics skew the results.

It is also a good idea to email yourself the images because there is a delay in indexing images on Google. So what you check today may not be live yet until 3 weeks later.

Related Articles:

JavaScript Meetup crew at MetaCommunications in Iowa City, IA

JavaScript Meetup at MetaCommunications on Saint Patrick’s Day in Iowa City

I had a great evening hanging out with a group of diehard JavaScript fans at MetaCommunications on Saint Patrick’s Day! To celebrate, they named this JavaScript meetup “Java O’ Script”! Yes, while others were out drinking just around the corner from us in downtown Iowa City, we were cuddled up talking nerdy! MetaComm supplied the venue for this meetup plus pizza and beer – way to give back to the tech community in Iowa City!

Tonight Mostafa Abdelraouf­ presented his JavaScript project. We also talked about the Slack app and how it handles updates. There was a slight lull in the discussion and we got to know each other and what we do. Learned more about Katelyn Lensch (Iowa Tech Chicks) and her work in REST api and AngularJS 2.0. Then the discussion caught fire and went on until the wee hours of the night! But when you start at 8pm and talk for hours it’s to be expected. I had a fantastic time and am already looking forward to the next event.

From left to right: Aaron Frerichs, Mike Irvine, Seth Adam, Aaron Van Noy, Nate Houstman, Donna Conn and Donna's daughter Kathline Kay Conn at Oyama Sushi & Steakhouse.

Cedar Rapids WordPress meetup group at Oyama Sushi & Steakhouse

Our meetup group (Cedar Rapids WordPress Meetup Group) usually takes place at the Linn Area Community Credit Union/Business Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but maybe I was supposed to reserve the room? Don White I let you down. My first co-hosting of the wordpress meetup didn’t go as well as I had planned. But like I was trained to do, adapt, overcome, and conquer. And that is exactly what we did. So we all headed to Oyama Sushi & Steakhouse in Cedar Rapids and had the meeting there.

We ended up working on owned by one of our unexpected guests tonight, Donna Conn, L.M.T. She is a new business owner and needed help with her WordPress website. Let’s just say I think her head was swimming with the pages of notes and information that were jotted down: SEO tips, Plugins to download, Widget help in the footer and Google Analytics was installed by me on that site. Plus much much more!

We always have a blast at these meetups no matter if we have a set plan or we just wing it (like we ended up doing tonight). I originally planned that we would go over the REST API and even posted a video of the REST api & a webinar on angular js andwp REST api on the meetup page. Often when someone comes in needing help we all help out and give them a crash course in what we know.

Side note: If you are looking for a WordPress Meetup in Des Moines, Iowa area be sure to check out the that slack channel. I’m also a member of that group but not a Co-Organizer of that group.

Fellow Nerds talk about technology at TechBrew at Forbidden Planet in Iowa City

Geeks talk shop at TechBrew. Hosted at Forbidden Planet in Iowa City, IA on Mar 8, 2016

What: TechBrew Iowa City
When: Tue Mar 8, 2016 5pm Central Time
Where: Forbidden Planet, 111 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA
Why: Because getting tech geeks talk shop out from behind the desk is really a good thing!

TechBrew at Forbidden Planet in Iowa City

TechBrew at Forbidden Planet in Iowa City

Friends geeking out at TechBrew at Forbidden Planet in Iowa City

Friends geeking out at TechBrew at Forbidden Planet in Iowa City

Fellow Nerds talk about technology at TechBrew at Forbidden Planet in Iowa City

Fellow Nerds talk about technology at TechBrew at Forbidden Planet in Iowa City

People at Startup Weekend In Cedar Rapids, Iowa

My Experience at Startup Weekend Cedar Rapids March 4th 2016 #swcr16

StartUp Weekend Cedar Rapids logoThis will be my second Startup Weekend that I’ve attended, but my first Startup Weekend in Cedar Rapids (my very first was Startup Weekend Iowa City). I’ve decided to pitch my app idea this time. My mentor David Oliver told me to pitch my idea at the Iowa City startup, but I was worried that someone would take my idea. However, I’ve been so busy and have never had the chance to get working on this project. So this time I’ll be taking his advice and giving my pitch (a total of 1 min) to say in a concise manner what my idea is.

My 1 minute “pitch fire” speech (60 seconds goes FAST):

So what is my pitch? Well, here it is from beginning to end.

Hello my name is Aaron Van Noy. I’m a full-time website designer and marketer with a passion for pinball and tech. My idea is to create an app that plays nicely with preexisting social media sites using their APIs. The photo based app is called Crowd Zoo (subject to pivot at any time). This app will allow people to check-in to an event like a wedding, a sporting stadium or even an event like this, Startup Weekend Cedar Rapids. When groups use our Crowd Zoo app, small photos will automatically stream from right to left on everyone’s device. Simply flick up to auto post on the user’s predetermined favorite social media. Someone is always taking a picture from a better angle than I and I’d love to post it on my stream. All photos in this app will be geotagged with precise location of the picture. Stage 2: The event coordinator can prompt all users to participate in a “group photo” in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 CLICK! Images can then be stitched together on the server to create a matrix style fly around effect or a crowd walk through. These photos may give enough information to even create a 3D world walk through at a later time. So who is with me to start this Crowd Trainer App (Looks like I’ve already pivoted)?!

Last minute change. Told to SCRAP above & focus on the solution:

I was advised by multiple people from the Startup Iowa’s Slack Channel (Becky Smith, Trevor Carlson, Riley Eynon-Lynch, Mark Hadley, Tim McDougall and others) to NOT focus on the solution, but focus on the problem. Because people understand it from that perspective better. People have the same issues that they can fully grasp and relate to! So here I am hours away from my first pitch… and I’m changing how I’m going to pitch it. I honestly don’t think I would have enough time to pitch everything about anyway.

New redesigned “pitch fire” speech will be passionate and mostly off the cuff:

So I will be focusing on the problem and who is feeling the pain of the problem. Not the solution.

  • Problem of retweeting/reposting live event pictures cross platform
  • I know that person over there got a better picture from that angle than I.
  • Scour social media to find the image
  • Live icon preview of all pictures
  • Simple flick uploading
  • Use geotagged images for Matrix affect.
  • Wedding walk though
  • Get everyone to take a picture at the same time
People at Startup Weekend In Cedar Rapids, Iowa

People at Startup Weekend In Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Start with a game called “Half Baked”:

Start of Half Baked game at Cedar Rapids Startup Weekend

Start of Half Baked game at Cedar Rapids Startup Weekend

Grab random words during Half Baked game in Cedar Rapids

Grab random words during Half Baked game in Cedar Rapids

During the game Half Baked

During the game Half Baked

A game called Half Baked with the words Tasty Hippo

A game called Half Baked with the words Tasty Hippo

Video of the accepted pitches at Startup Weekend:

Team Collab Music:

I joined Collab Music and quickly ran into problems with the basic idea. The word Pivot come out of my mouth Friday night. It was a dominant word as we discovered more about our potential clients… Musicians.

Customer discovery and interviews:

Customer discovery and interviews at Guitar Center

Customer discovery and interviews at Guitar Center

Closeup of walls of guitars of Guitar Center in Cedar Rapids, IA

Closeup of walls of guitars of Guitar Center in Cedar Rapids, IA

Watch it live on Twitter! Use the hashtag #swcr16:

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