Mark's Musings

A miscellany of opinions, thoughts, rants and comments

7 March 2015
by Mark
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Fighting Yesterday’s Battles

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I recently got involved in an argument on the Internet with a small group of people who think that the web design standards of the 1990s are still valid today. In support of this, one of them pointed me at … Continue reading

5 June 2014
by Mark
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Meltwater and the copyright right – a brief update

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Back in 2011, I blogged on the disturbing case of Meltwater and the Newspaper Licensing Agency. If you’ve got time, go and read the original article before coming back to this one. But, if you want the TL:DR version here … Continue reading

5 February 2014
by Mark
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Best practice for online web forms

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As part of an online discussion about best practice for online web forms which collect personal information, I contributed an extract of a document that I wrote a while ago for internal purposes. Someone asked me if it was online … Continue reading

23 July 2013
by Mark
28 Comments

Google Maps, where orange is the new blue (and also the new green, and red)

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Google Maps is going through a bit of a makeover at the moment. There will, sooner or later, be an entirely new version of the web-based maps (which you can see in preview if you switch to the beta option), … Continue reading

4 September 2012
by Mark
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Grant Shapps, (snake) oiling the wheels of IP reform

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I blogged a couple of days ago about the fact that Grant Shapps, the new Conservative party chairman, turns out to have founded a company dedicated to selling SEO snake oil. The point of that article wasn’t particularly to criticise … Continue reading

29 January 2012
by Mark
3 Comments

A bit of a curious case

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A minor ripple of news yesterday concerned the fact that Curebit, a “social referral platform”, had been caught ripping off the design and layout of Highrise, a 37 Signals product. 37 Signals, of course, are probably more famous for their … Continue reading

3 November 2011
by Mark
4 Comments

Bad municipal web design

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One of the things about coming to parenthood relatively late is that I’m also late to experience something that all my contemporaries are already only too aware of: Schools are absolutely terrible when it comes to handling payments made by … Continue reading

25 August 2011
by Mark
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Web forms are not a replacement for email

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You run an online business. You need a way for people to contact you. But if you publish your email address on your website, then spammers get hold of it. The solution? Don’t publish your email address. Instead, put a … Continue reading

9 February 2011
by Mark
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Google Webmaster Tools Oops

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Just a heads-up for anyone who uses Google Webmaster Tools. This morning at work, I had an email from the marketing department wondering why a bunch of Merchant Center feeds had failed. It turned out that, for some reason, Google … Continue reading

25 November 2009
by Mark
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In web design, usability trumps everything

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In the course of a discussion about fixed v fluid width layouts for web pages, I dared to make the comment that fixed width design can actually be a usability bonus in some cases – something which is close to … Continue reading

26 February 2009
by Mark
0 comments

Another change to the photo gallery

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My photo gallery runs on  Gallery2, which I like as a storage and display system but it’s not one of the most flexible photo gallery systems out there. Other than changing the themes and templates, it’s hard to customise the key … Continue reading

13 April 2008
by Mark
3 Comments

Two new websites

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Back in the self-promotional mood, I’ve got a couple of new websites to release to an unsuspecting public today. For a long time, I’ve been thinking that the concept used for MotorwayServices.Info could well be suitable for some other kind … Continue reading

11 March 2008
by Mark
0 comments

Brief website update

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It’s been ages since I last blogged anything, so this is merely a self-serving post to remind the world that I’m still alive and point out that I’ve updated a couple of my websites. To begin with, now that I … Continue reading

24 July 2007
by Mark
0 comments

Triffle

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While the Friday Fun website is offline for redevelopment, I’ve moved most of the jokes it contained to a new home at www.triffle.org. It seemed a bit pointless to have a huge database of stuff just sitting around doing nothing, … Continue reading

1 June 2007
by Mark
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British surnames

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I’ve moved the British Surnames website to a new domain: www.britishsurnames.co.uk (kind of obvious, really). It’s also had a bit of a redesign, and a few new and somewhat funky features added.

13 July 2006
by Mark
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Snake Oil

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I was asked by a colleague to help them extract some text from a page that had been “protected” by a form of HTML encryption – the type of thing where the page is encoded by javascript and only displays … Continue reading

11 March 2006
by Mark
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Why your hotel doesn’t show up in Google (clue: it’s not their fault)

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There’s an article in the travel section of today’s Times, bemoaning the fact that you can’t find hotel websites in Google. I was sufficiently moved by it to send them this email:

1 March 2006
by Mark
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Why you can’t have too much information in your database

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This question was posted in uk.net.web.authoring: I’ve got a site on the way, where I need to add products to a sort of simple shopping basket. The plan is to add a pair of values (UserID, ProductID) to a MySQL … Continue reading

28 February 2006
by Mark
0 comments

It works!

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This is probably one of the easiest installs I’ve ever done. based on this evidence, I can certainly recommend WordPress as a blogging tool.