How to recognise a good web developer

Finding a good web developer (or development agency) can be difficult; unless you are a techie, how do you know if they are any good?  Well, the kind folks at have put together a list of questions to ask the next time you are in the market for some web development.  Click on each question for examples of good and bad answers.

As a developer with 13 years’ experience in the field, I am always delighted if a client asked me some or all of these questions, because a) it shows that they know a bit about the process of creating a website, which always helps and b) it gives me a chance to differentiate myself from the competition, who may be giving ‘poor’ answers.

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 Uncategorised No Comments

Simple charity website

We were approached to help Willen Hospice raise £25,000 by developing and hosting a website, so how could we refuse? The site allows companies and individuals to ‘colour in’ a patchwork elephant for a donation of £100 per patch.  These patches can then link to websites, giving the donor a benefit in return for their generosity.

One nice touch is the donation thermometer, which updates automatically based on the sum raised via JustGiving, reducing the human workload.

Have a look at Nelli W

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 Uncategorised No Comments

Firefox overtakes IE, but Chrome is the big winner (revisited)

Back in January 2011, I wrote a blog about the browser wars, and particularly the fact that although Firefox had overtaken IE as Europe’s most popular browser, they had both lost market share to Chrome, which was rapidly catching them up.  With a bit of Excel magic, I predicted that Chrome would overtake IE in mid-2012 and Firefox in early 2013.

Find out what happened after the jump.

Continue reading »

Monday, September 24th, 2012 Uncategorised 1 Comment

The glamorous world of web development

In films, advanced computer users often spend their development time spinning round in their chairs, cracking their knuckles, doing handstands and other things aimed at, I don’t know, increasing blood flow or something (yes Swordfish I’m talking about you).

The reality is somewhat different, or course; certainly in our office. Here, a 30-minute spell of advanced development is compressed into 90 seconds, and the cookie-eating and conversations with the rest of the team (both in the office and remotely via Skype) are revealed.

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011 eBusiness, Technology, Web Development 3 Comments

Is Bing copying Google’s results?

According to this Google Blog post, “Bing is using Google web search results”. Essentially, what is happening is that Microsoft is tracking what their users search for, and what links they subsequently click.  So if you have the Bing Toolbar installed and search using Google, the result you click on will be logged by Bing, which will add it to their own results.  Google are not happy that their search results are being used in this way.

The effects are most noticable at the fringes, in rare or misspelled search phrases, where Google’s excellent results are easily seen on Bing.  Microsoft, for their part, responded pretty clearly:

We do not copy Google’s results

Strangely, given everything mentioned above, I think that this is true.  (Also, it’s clever obfuscation by Microsoft, as Google definitely does copy websites – it provides a cache of its  latest crawl in the results – which has caused trouble in the past.)

Bing collects data from its users; it is those users who are collecting the data from Google (and presumably other search engines, both global and site-specific) and passing it on. 

Continue reading »

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 Technology No Comments

Import movies into your Netflix queue

So this post is a little different from the usual – think of it as market research.  I have it in mind to write a little app that lets you import a load of titles into your Netflix queue.  So if you have a subscription with, say, Blockbuster and you want to give Netflix a try, you could easily add the movies from your Blockbuster queue into your Netflix queue.

So the question is: is this worth doing?  Would people actually use it?

If you would, leave a comment.  If 50 people say ‘Yes’, then I’ll get started…

Monday, January 24th, 2011 eBusiness, Web Development 10 Comments

Firefox overtakes IE, but Chrome is the big winner

REVISITED: You can see whether my predictions came true by reading this post.

I see on StatCounter that Firefox has overtaken Internet Explorer as the most-used browser in Europe.  That must be the first time IE has lost the top spot since it first overtook Netscape in the mid-Nineties.  However Firefox has not increased its user base; the reason for IE’s decline is that it has lost market share to Google Chrome.

In fact, Firefox has also lost 2.5% of the market, and IE a whopping 7.5%, while Chrome has gained pretty much the full 10% that they lost between them.  Other browsers, such as Opera and Safari, have remained fairly static (although Safari, installed mainly on Macs, did gain 1% of the market, which is impressive given that it started with just 3.5%).

It will be interesting to see if these trends continue; according to my rough projections, Chrome is on course to overtake IE in the middle of 2012 and will become the most dominant browser in Europe in Early 2013.

I think that the reasons for the shift are threefold:

Continue reading »

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 Technology, Web Development 2 Comments

My lovely new Canon Powershot S95 has a problem with its LCD display

I’ve never seen an issue like this before so I thought I’d put this post up and see if anyone else had seen anything similar.  Essentially, the LCD display shows strange red smears in dark areas of the image.  It’s not the lens because, when viewed on a PC, the pictures are perfect.  But both while shooting and reviewing images, the red smears are visible on the camera’s display.  It’s not smearing on the surface of the camera, either; I cleaned the display with a soft cloth and it had no effect in the slightest.

Canon Powershot S95 faulty display
Faulty display on my Canon Powershot S95

 It’s going back tomorrow, and hopefully its replacement won’t exhibit similar problems.  I’ll let you know.


I sent back the camera on Monday 11th October, and within 7 days had delivered a replacement, which so far exhibits none of the display problems described above.  Very happy with the service from these guys…

Monday, October 11th, 2010 Uncategorised No Comments

The Times paywall, discipline and game theory

So today’s the day that starts charging for access.  You can still access the front page without paying, but if you try to read any stories it prompts you to pick a payment option (£1 for one day’s access, or £2 for a whole week).

Now I have to be honest and say that I was all set to pay my £2.  It’s a legitimate business expense, and I reckon we could manage £104 per year; I know I’d use it, too, because I currently visit The Times once a day, and often more.  However, perversely, this is what put me off.

Continue reading »

Friday, July 2nd, 2010 eBusiness 1 Comment

I’m not an expert on Parkour, but…

…even so, I’m pretty sure these guys have taken it to a new level.  Watch this video (it gets going at 0:45) and you’ll begin to believe that gravity is actually optional.

Thursday, June 10th, 2010 Uncategorised No Comments