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 webstandards.org 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.

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Monday, September 24th, 2012 Uncategorised 1 Comment

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 procamerashop.co.uk 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

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

Can’t upload a Word document? You need to close it first.

If you are a savvy web developer, you almost certainly won’t allow users to upload any old file to your site in case it’s a virus or other malware. You’ll probably use MIME types to restrict which files people can upload.

The trouble is the for some reason, when you have a Word document open, it reports a different MIME type than when it is closed, which will scupper your upload routine.  Since the type reported makes it look like an executable file (and therefore potentially dangerous) your code probably won’t allow it, and rightly so.

The solution, therefore, is for your user to close the document before they try to upload it.

I’m not sure whether this is specific to Windows/IE (I wouldn’t be surprised) but if you have trouble uploading Word docs, this could provide to solution.  (When I have time I’ll test how other document types behave…)

Monday, May 10th, 2010 Uncategorised No Comments

It was late. I’d been up for 21 hours…

… and I was halfway through this article before I realised what they were up to. Do they have a special commissioning department for this stuff?

Thursday, April 1st, 2010 Uncategorised No Comments

Yes, you could get in trouble for that

I presume you’ve seen this:

And you may have read this.  But did you spot this?

Williams then alerted the emergency services on her mobile phone. “I wasn’t on hands-free, but I figured I wasn’t really driving the car,” she said.

Now I know why she didn’t come forward immediately; probably getting legal advice…

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 Uncategorised No Comments

What on earth was Google thinking when it added the fade effect?

I am totally confused on this one: Google, so often a shining beacon of good interface design and elegant functionality, has for some unknown reason added an apparently unneccessary fade effect to its homepage.   It starts off sparse, then the rest of the content appears once you move your mouse in the window.

Check out my tasty simulation after the jump.

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Wednesday, December 9th, 2009 Uncategorised No Comments

Never give up

This made my day.

Russel McPhee, a stroke victim paralysed for 20 years, has been able to walk again after injections of Botox. Apparently, Botox is comonly used to treat the muscle stiffness experienced after a stroke, but usually shortly after the episode, not two decades later.  The difficulty is that Botox relaxes the stiffness, but also the muscle tone, which makes controlling the newly relaxed muscles very difficult.

But here’s the bit that really grabbed me:

Crucially, Mr McPhee had repeatedly, over the years, attempted to get out of his wheelchair and stand on his own.

He was not successful, managing at most a few seconds on his feet before he collapsed.

“Often I would lie on the floor for hours, just hoping that someone might drop by so they could pick me up again,” he said.

Those repeated, heart-breaking attempts to stand built up a core muscle strength on which his doctors and physiotherapists were able to work.

This is a guy who simply refused to give up.  Even though bitter experience, built up over 20 years, must have told him that attempting to stand unaided would lead to failure, that walking was impossible, he never stopped trying. This immense willpower, sheer bloody-mindedness really, meant that when modern medicine came up with the tools to unlock his body, he had the core strength to make the most of it, and finally walk again.

Thursday, June 4th, 2009 Uncategorised 2 Comments