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. 

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Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 Technology No 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:

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

How websites reward ambition

In a nutshell: Because they scale really nicely.

This was brought home to me recently when I was drawing up a proposal for a client who plans to set up a new business networking group, or more accurately, a network of networking groups.  Our M.O. involves a lot of upfront business analysis, so it was clear that the optimum solution involved much more than a simple website with some card payments for bookings.

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Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 eBusiness, Technology, Web Development No Comments

Slowly backing away from 3G?

I love my 3G laptop card, even though it nearly cost me £1,050 the last time I used it (in Spain, watching video highlights of the US Presidential debates).  Yikes!

Now I see on TechCrunch that AT&T has bought Wayport, a US WiFi hotspot operator, in a $275 million deal.  I wonder if that will prove portentous for the UK, where mobile carriers are still trying to recoup their £22 BILLION investment in 3G licenses.  If the operating costs are significantly higher than WiFi, will we see the same thing in the UK?  And if so, who are the big players in the WiFi hotspot market?

The Cloud already provides a similar service for O2 and Orange (although they levy a monthly fee, unlike AT&T), while the others are either doing their own thing (T-Mobile) or ignoring WiFI altogether (Vodafone).  If WiFi continues to grow, while being much cheaper to support than 3G, will we see the incumbent carriers invest more heavily there?

Should be interesting to watch, in any case.

Thursday, November 6th, 2008 eBusiness, Technology No Comments