Nov
02
2008
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Leeds media on an iphone

Leeds media website on the iPhone. Is that the best that Leeds has to offer? I’m guessing it also fails on the accessiblity front.

Written by Guy in: Rants | Tags:
Jul
18
2006
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need a wiki

Here we go again. I need to set up another wiki for huge project we’re involved in. So off we go on the voyage of discovery looking at all the latest wiki tools – working out which one will be best for this particular project team. In the past we’ve used zwiki and twiki. Recently, we’ve even used smf bulletin board where we thought wiki syntax was too complicated for the users. Before I get deluged with hosted web 2 offerings, I want it on our servers – cos I’m old fashioned like that!
I know Tom can easily be stirred onto a wiki rant.

Wiki – a fabulous concept, an arkward reality.

see you on the other side.

Written by Guy in: Rants |
May
05
2006
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Fixing Flash from Eola

Thought I’d make a note of these fixes for the flash problem in Internet explorer.

http://therippa.blogspot.com/2006/03/activateactivex.html

http://blog.deconcept.com/swfobject/

S’pose I better get my head around this. Surely Microsoft will issue a fix around this… or macromedia just give eola a brown envelope with some cash in it. flash websites are pretty annoying at the moment because of this.

Written by Guy in: Rants |
Apr
19
2006
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Flash gets a kick in the nuts

Apparently, Microsoft lost the court case with Eola over a patent issue, which means that they can no longer embed active-x content directly in  Internet Explorer.

An update to Windows is now filtering out from Microsoft, and these changes take effect immediately after the update is installed.

What does this mean? Well, anyone using Internet Explorer will have to click on flash movies/devices at least once to make it work. From there on in, the end user will notice nothing different, after clicking once on each piece of embedded content. So those sites that have lots of little flash and activex buttons – will be teaching users to double click on everything – cos that’s how to make it work.

I guess what goes around, comes  around. You either want software patents or you don’t?

I understand there are ways around this with javascript – so I need to start reading up!

Written by Guy in: Rants |
Mar
16
2006
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almost all ecommerce powered by javascript… apparently

at what point in the project do you discover that you need to create a page that tells people they need to have javascript running to buy something from you? well…

Almost every E-Commerce website on the internet uses a programming language called JavaScript

and here’s how to switch it back on and some words about that surface cleaner

http://www.joebrowns.co.uk/publish.asp?what=browser_help&page=1

Javascript should be there to improve the user experience – not a prerequisite.

Written by Guy in: Rants |
Feb
18
2005
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Ecademy – Switched Off

Ecademy – Business Notworking
As a freeloader, you can no longer read the content on ecademy. Not that I’ve ever read anything memorable.

So today I switched off my daily ecademy newsletter, cos there’s no point, I can’t read the content it’s promoting. So how will ecademy ever get the chance to strike up a conversation with me again? oops – they just burnt that bridge, didn’t they?

Written by Guy in: Rants |
Feb
16
2005
1

Thanks Apple

Big thanks to Apple for wasting 2 hours of my life today.

I’m trying to set up some cgi directories for some virtual hosts on an Apple xserve. To do this, I have to use VNC for the essential, mundane things like restart the webserver, create virtual hosts (you can’t do this by hand). Then I need to ssh into the box, to edit the conf files the gui creates. It may be bsd unix running apache – but it’s a right royal pain in the rear to configure.

This would be a 5 minute job on linux and everything just seems to be slightly different on this operating system. Surely it’s not too much to ask that each virtual host would have it’s own cgi bin? Surely you gui should do that task? I haven’t cracked it – will come back tomorrow and see what’s wrong.

It’s like working in a china shop. Sure I can go edit the normal config files to behave like a proper unix version of apache – but how much of the gui will I break in the process?

Written by Guy in: Rants |
Feb
11
2005
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Unhappy customer

Last night we lost everything on our Skyplus box. The nice people on the sky helpdesk just made us go through a long process of checking if things were plugged in etc…. then got us to do a factory reset…. which wiped the hard drive and our settings. I’m not a happy bunny…. We’ve lost everything recorded, including a program about racing huskies in Wales with me in it. They blamed it on power cuts and surges – but everybody has them. It’s now working – but on parole.

This is the major problem with SkyPlus being a closed system. All you can do is press the buttons and loose everything. If the hard drive on your computer failed – you could run a range of disk doctor tools on it. I love SkyPlus, has changed the way we watch TV for the better. I now don’t trust it. Shame there’ll never be an open standards based media server/PVR that will work with Sky. I’d install one tomorrow.

To make matters worse, our new fridge is now making a huge noise. Don’t think I’ll ever buy Hotpoint again. Apart from the thing always making noises as it expands and contracts through out the day, they also didn’t ship the thing with the correct number of trays as listed in the catalogue. Somebody in the company has decided to ship the fridge without these trays based on some assumption that only a few people will notice and when they get stock levels back up, they’ll be able to ship them to those that notice. That’s a brand mentality I’d rather avoid. And now the fan is on the blink.

On the inside of the freezer door, there is a sticker for the customer care line…. nice touch I thought. After working my way through the disclaimer and options, I needed to provide a receipt number. I went back to my emails and found the reciept as an attachment from Comet (we ordered it online). I phoned Hotpoint back and they said the transaction number was too short. But she accepted it and then said I needed an authorisation code from Comet to get an engineer out to it. So I phoned Comet to hear that my transaction number is not correct…. I guess their online ordering and internal systems are not quite singing from the same hymn sheet. We then worked out that we needed a store number to make the other number work. Great eh? To cut a long story short – Comet are sending one of their repair people next week to look at it. It’s all crazy and didn’t give me a warm feeling.

When things go wrong, it’s a great opportunity for a company to have great conversation with an old customer. Get it right and you’re well on the way to building a long term relationship. Get it wrong and you’re burnt.

Written by Guy in: Rants |
Feb
10
2005
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Ecademy – my weekly rant

Ecademy continue to loose the plot. There’s a new pricing structure where those that don’t pay, can do very little. I think this is a huge mistake – but maybe their tipping point allows them to cull the free loaders. Can you imagine a hotel foyer that allowed business people to use it, only if they wore handcuffs or were part of their business club? It wouldn’t work. People would feel uncomfortable, they’d always be one in your group who isn’t a member and has to wear shackles. It’s the ‘open to all’ aspect of Ecademy that got it off the ground, and now they’re turning their back to bite their roots. I don’t think ecademy should be free, there should be a basic level that is useful to all, so that the network will grow and be useful to all, with a membership plan that is value for money. I have a sneaky feeling that some of this culling of freeloaders has to do with keeping the service alive from an infrastruture point of view. In 2004, they went through a significant period where the website was too slow, taking over a few minutes and several ‘page refresh’ button hits to just to get the home page on your screen. At the time I was paying my full monthly fee and asked if there was anything I could do to help them with the infrastructure problems. (I always offer to help people before filing complaints) To which we got the classic denial of any problem, go away kinda thing. It was only at the local meetup where you found everbody else was having the same problem. To which one ecademy advocate/leader stated that you don’t need to use the website, it’s the gatherings that are only useful.

I think I was well within my right to get annoyed that I couldn’t access the website that was costing me 10 pounds a month to use. It’s not the amount – more the principle. When you’ve got tousands of people paying ten pounds a month, investing their time for free to build a network – where exactly was all the money going?

Anyway – in the ‘testimonial’ part of their website they list a few people happy with the service. Well dig a little deeper and it once again demonstrates it’s just a pond full of accountants, life coaches and recruitment consultants.

I can honestly say I’ve already made a not insignificant sum of money directly linked to Ecademy, for which I am thankful

Of course you have, you’re one of them head hunters. Why would I join a network to meet you? I know why you need to meet me.

Written by Guy in: Rants |
Feb
02
2005
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VentureWhere?

Made it to VentureFest for all of 30 minutes – that’s nearly as long as I spent in the Dentist chair this afternoon. The race course carparks were rather full, hinting at a killer event, but that was the peak of my excitement. Why are these things full of accountant, banker and solicitor stands. I think you’re supposed to attend the seminars – but it wasn’t obvious, so I wandered around twice, spoke to a few people about offices and business angels but nothing to write home about.

There was a floor with what looked like lots of young entrepreneurs exhibiting on behalf of their schools. This looked interesting – but again it wasn’t clear what you were supposed to do. It reminded me of how much of my drive and ambition was forged from the 2 year ‘product enterprise’ entrepreneur project I did at University, many years ago. This stuff is important – planting the innovation seed to create the next generation of business leaders. Heck, if asked today, I’d have volunteered some time to mentor these kids.

Anyway, it wasn’t just me that came away a little numb. I’ve heard similar mutterings from other venturefest first timers. Maybe you needed to be part of the first wave to understand what it’s all about.

Written by Guy in: Rants |
Feb
01
2005
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VentureFest-erm-what-a-thingy?

http://www.venturefestyork.net/
Most of the local businesses we talk to seem to be going to this event. But does anybody know what it actually is? I’ve been to a few presentations that have waxed lyrical about this thing – and everybody does seem to be going, even my wife’s boss asked if I was going, after wrestling with the registration form. They so need some plain talking customer experience support. They even handed out a leaflet at one meeting without the event’s date on it.

To be fair, the website behaves just like everybody else that’s putting this event together – they assume you know about the event and why you need to be there. They are so passionate about it’s success, they assume everybody knows what it is. I failed to fill in the registration form – I got to a point where they asked you which ‘streams’ you wanted to sign up for and which meals you wanted…. erm… panic, abort…. All I wanted from the web site was a clear overview of what the event actually is, a simple ‘how to venturefest for the first time.’ I still don’t know whether it’s an exhibition that you turn up to and walk around or a regimented series of seminars.

It’s one of those classic goofs. Does it say on the tin what it does? Are there instructions for use?

Roll on wednesday….. better pick a good shirt and polish my purple cow in the elevator pitch.

Written by Guy in: Rants |
Jan
02
2005
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Ecademy no more

Now that I’ve read Ricky’s excellent poster – Ecademy – the big picture, which explains what ecademy has to offer, I’m happy in the knowledge that ten pounds a month can be better spent somewhere more worthy.

I struggle with ecademy as a concept….. Our network of trusted collegues, peers and dweebs draws from over 10 years of working with talented people in our industry. From what I understand, ecademy advocates ‘volume’ as a success factor – stating ‘in 1,000 business connections there could be 100,000 pounds of business’.

We trade on reputation, we invest time in relationships, technology, fundamentals and passion. Connecting to a thousand businesses for a few gigs, is wrong. ecademy is missing the boat – I bet Hugh could knock them into shape – but I always got the impression the founders have never truly wanted to listen.

Written by Guy in: Rants |