Footprints in the snow of a warped mind

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

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Blog Archive


<July 2008>

Blog Archive

Various Links


Blogs I Read

[Feed] Google Blog
Official Google Webmaster Central Blog
[Feed] Matt Cutts
Gadgets, Google, and SEO
[Feed] Ol' Deano's Blog
My mate Dean's blog on my space, equally as random as mine but not off on as much of a tangent!
[Feed] Sam's Blog
Sam is one of my younger brothers studying Product Design and Manufacture at Loughborough, this is his blog :) Enjoy!

The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.

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    # Tuesday, July 01, 2008

    Is Amazon back up to its old tricks?

    Tuesday, July 01, 2008 10:32:54 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    It's gift time again (for me that is!) -yey! But when I was checking out on Amazon.co.uk earlier today I was a little puzzled by this...

    On the product details page it said £4.45 shipping (correct me if I'm wrong)

    But then when you check out it's suddenly £7.36. I was checked in by this stage so did Amazon think I was prepared to pay for Express Shipping? I tried to change it to default shipping (as they often upsell) but I couldn't.

    .most odd.


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    Is Amazon back up to its old tricks?
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    CategoriesTags: Business | General
    # Friday, June 27, 2008

    West Bromwich gallery The Public fails to deliver again

    Friday, June 27, 2008 10:47:35 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    If you've had the chance to catch any of the UK news recently (or even glanced at a paper) you'll no-doubt have heard about the fantastic new art gallery that was due to open in West Bromwich last year this weekend -The Public.

    Unlike all the other articles about The Public (I ran out of words so here are a few more), I'm not interested in flaming the fact that they've placed a £32 million £52million (they went over budget) art gallery in one of the Midland's most deprived areas, or the fact that they're looking to charge around £7 for entry but instead the fact that they can't even get the simplest of things right -despite an astronomical budget.

    Despite having gone over budget, and delivering late, they couldn't even manage to get their website online. In this day and age with such fantastic and resilient hosting providers such as Rackspace, there really is no excuse for having your website offline.

    Fair enough, an "Under Construction" message could have been an amusing pun while The Public was being constructed but it has been constantly offline for the week before it's launched is simply unforgivable. Regardless of who developed it, I hope there were serious ramifications.

    Despite this massive cock-up, I'm looking forward to avoiding the £7 entrance fee and checking out the futuristic art gallery this weekend (free entry). I'll upload my photos to Flickr if I'm allowed to photograph in there, if not the guardian has a nice collection of images. At least I know there the female toilets are complete.

    Now I just need to find out when it opens.

    .shame the website is still offline ;)


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    # Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    UK Umbraco meet has a map

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008 10:25:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    As requested on the forum, we've got a map to try and work out where it should be placed, if you want to come along get yourself added: http://tinyurl.com/3oaf8x

    Instructions from Google:

    Adding and Editing Placemarks

    To add a placemark to your map:

    1. Create or open a map.
    2. Click Placemark button. Your cursor changes into a placemark icon with an "X" crosshairs. The crosshairs indicate where the placemark will fall.
      Placemark icon
    3. Move the cursor to the appropriate location. If you want to dismiss this placemark, press the Escape key.
    4. Click your mouse button to place your placemark. It should bounce into place.
    5. Add a title and description.
    6. You can also change the icon for your placemark by clicking the icon in the top right corner of the info window. You can also add your own icon.
    7. Click OK to save your placemark.
    To move or edit a placemark:
    1. Click Edit in the left panel.
    2. Drag and drop the appropriate placemark to the new location. Note that you can only edit or move placemarks on your maps, not others.
    3. To edit a placemark's title or description, click on it to open the info window. Edit the title and description and click OK.
    4. Click Done in the left panel when you are finished.

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    # Saturday, June 21, 2008

    UK Umbraco meet up

    Saturday, June 21, 2008 12:17:58 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    In a previous post about CodeGarden 08, I asked people to get in touch if they'd be interested in a UK Umbraco meet up. I've had a fair few people get in touch so I think it's something worthwhile pursuing further. The nest stage from my POV is working out the location and potential content of the meet so I thought I'd open it up to the floor.

    With the forthcoming DDD7, I thought it might be a ready-built platform that we could use but I agree with Phil that DDD7 may not be a suitable platform for a multitude of reasons.

    As I've had people from the South West and Scotland voice an interest, I don't think it'll suit the majority of people to have it based in London so suggest it is based in the Midlands -probably Birmingham as it's easy to get to (M6 from the North, M4 from London, M5 from the South -or train!) and there are plenty of places to have the meet.

    In regards the format/content of the meet, does anyone have any suggestions? We could follow Niels' and Per's open format or we can have a more structured theme? I've not had too much of a think as to subject matter but some I have come up with so far:

    • An introduction to Umbraco and what it is (many of the people I've spoken to have only just started using Umbraco)
    • Examples of Umbraco how Umbraco can be used
    • More advanced Umbraco functionality (membership etc)
    • Getting to grips with XSLT
    • How to sell Umbraco to your clients

    So that's where I've got to so far, does anyone have anything to add?

    BTW the logo is just a working logo atm, need to have Niels approve it ;)

    Update: I have posted a post on the Umbraco forums about a UK Umbraco meet here


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    UK Umbraco meet up
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    CategoriesTags: Development | The Site Doctor | Umbraco | Web Development
    # Wednesday, June 18, 2008

    Talk about a confusing error message

    Wednesday, June 18, 2008 11:37:58 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    I don't mind when I get told I've made a mistake -or there's a problem with the system but this error message kinda takes the P! Quite what the developers were thinking when they wrote this one I'm not sure!

    What do I do? celebrate that it went through ok or commiserate because it failed?

    The "Ok." relates to the transaction completing without an issue, the "Stop" actually says that it failed so it's not even "Part A was ok, but Part B failed". Really odd, someone needs to look into testing their system.

    Looks pretty though!


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    Talk about a confusing error message
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    CategoriesTags: Design | Development | Random | Testing
    # Monday, June 16, 2008

    The Site Doctor gets yet more features –this time for tackling MRSA with our stressballs!

    Monday, June 16, 2008 11:39:28 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    Since our recent feature on CSS Mania, we've had it pointed out to us that The Site Doctor is getting featured all over the place. The most recent two relate to our new brochure -more notably The Site Doctor branded stressballs which are apparently protect against MRSA.

    The first feature was in an industry magazine (PRW) check out a photo of the article here. The second feature was from EPPI (you can see it online at: http://www.my-catalog.at/37483_eppi62/ -Pg 76). Ok neither actually talk about The Site Doctor but at least our logo is getting out there!

    Thanks to Mark Bailey from the UK stressball manufacturer -Urofoam for letting me know about these two.

    If you've seen The Site Doctor mentioned somewhere leave me a comment, I'd love to hear!


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    # Thursday, June 12, 2008

    The Site Doctor gets creative with print

    Thursday, June 12, 2008 9:59:50 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    After months of  painstaking work I can FINALLY reveal what we've been beavering away on -our new brochure with a twist. If you're involved in marketing at all you're probably already aware how hard it is to print interactive designs. Regardless of that, we needed some way of advertising so we got our thinking caps on.

    The brief was simple: we needed to come up with a way of marketing our bespoke design and development services. Being a creative company we also wanted something that stood out from the other 1,001 West Midlands based web design companies. It should also reflect the attention to detail and quality that goes into our web design and development.

    Our target audience was to be high end management so the brochure had to be quick and easy to navigate, have clear calls to actions and require minimum effort to read (unlike my blog!!).

    As all "good" ideas* start with a pen, napkin and one too many coffees, we trotted off to our favourite Costa for a brain storming session and here's what we came up with:

    * not all good ideas do but some do but it's a good excuse for a coffee.

    We went through all sorts of ideas ranging from having themed TicTacs produced, to sending out branded bottles of wine, most of the ideas were dismissed because they had either already been done or would just be binned/eaten and forgotten. We needed something that stood out.

    For those of you who can't understand our scribbling's, we decided upon a brochure with a twist (or two).

    The First idea was to make the brochure quick and simple to navigate -like the websites we develop so we decided to go a little Avant Garde (off the wall/pushing the boundaries) and opted for a coloured tabbed navigation system, the idea was taken in part from an Argos catalogue which uses colours to separate the sections. I felt combining the tabs and colours would ensure the brochure was quick and easy to use.

    The next issue we addressed was how to get the reader to open the brochure, it sounds silly but getting someone to open the brochure (let alone reading it) is pretty hard to do so we decided to offer the reader an incentive and what was better than our new stressball? Why not put one on the front of the brochure?

    I've jumped a few stages in our thinking but here's the final product -a brochure with a stressball attached to the front, mimicking a pill packet (complete with foil on the inside to get the pill out), coloured tab page navigation and loads more.


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    # Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    Missing ratings from Windows Live Writer

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008 10:11:16 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    As fantastic as it is, and I love the Flickr plugin (being new to Flickr this was what convinced me) but although they look the same, there are a couple of differences (that or I've not found them yet). One of the big issues I've found is that you can't filter the results by ranking, here are two screenshots, the first from Windows Photo Gallery:

    And Windows Live Photo Gallery:

    So where has the "Ratings" tab gone I wonder.

    The other thing that I've not yet worked out is how to flag photos as "Private" and be able to hide them -perhaps that's not possible.

    Another thing that would be nice is if it remembered when you had uploaded a photo to Flickr and stopped it re-uploading.

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