Our Blog

Just a few comments and light hearted look on what we think about the recent techno talk.

Enforcement of cookie consent rules for analytics not a priority, ICO says. - 8th May 2012

Enforcement of cookie consent rules for analytics not a priority, ICO says

Overview information sent to TWD clients by email May 2012.....

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Batch Image Resize and Compress - 20th April 2012

BIRMEThis fantastic tool allows you to resize and compress your images, that get returned nicley zipped up. Its very usefull for clients to resize their massive images from their cameras prio to uploading to a website. Great work, Fantastic.


UPDATE: suggest you only patch portrait or landscape photos togther.

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Cookies - 9th February 2012

On 26th May 2012 all UK websites must offer users opt-in consent tools to allow cookies that pass information about your browsing activities to 3rd parties. Optanon is a managed software service that enables you to make your website compliant.





For most of my sites this really only has an implication with Google Analytics.

Most sites use session cookies in some form or other, but its not really feasible to add an opt-in on every site prior to a user doing anything!

I think the Key Phrase is 'Essential operation' cookies are allowed without consent (shopping carts, and other things that can’t work without them), so that’s ok.. it’s just things like Analytics, etc that place cookies specifically for tracking - leaving a choice of disable analytics or add an opt-in.

Given the wide use of Analytics, and that the userdata is Google's main business model, I'm partly hoping they are going to come up with a solution!

Lets see how this pans out.....


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HTML5 in Laymans Terms - 10th January 2012

HTML5With all the attention from leading technology companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft, chances are you’ve heard of HTML5.  It has been heralded as the “future of the internet” by Steve Jobs when Apple infamously eliminated Flash support on iOS devices in favor of HTML5. But all the hype fails to cover the most important question: What exactly is HTML5? 

HTML stands for “Hyper Text Markup Language” which is geek-speak for “a set of rules that tell computers how to interpret code to display websites.”(seriously, there are literal sets of rules)  HTML5 is the 5th version of these rules, and brings major upgrades to the capabilities of websites.

To oversimplify the explanation, HTML5 is a convergence of several technologies currently used to make websites interactive.

Unlike the iPhone, new versions of HTML don’t come out every year. HTML4 was introduced in 1997, and opened the door for huge advancements in website technology over what was previously possible with HTML3. To illustrate the difference in website building capabilities between versions of HTML.

HTML5 should be a similar leap forward over HTML4.  HTML5 introduces a bunch of new features, including:

  • Web applications that work when you’re not connected to the internet
  • Drag and drop file uploads
  • Voice Input 

Although many features have already been put in place on the internet, HTML5 is still in the development phase and probably won’t be finished for several years.  That means that browsers (the window you’re currently using to view the internet) are constantly being upgraded in order to keep up with the new “rules” that are being developed.  If your browser becomes outdated, many websites will cease to work on your computer.

For example: the browser that people used to view LEGO’s 1996 website simply wouldn’t be capable of viewing LEGO’s website today.  That’s why it’s important to update your browser to the latest version at least once or twice a year.

Click the links below to update your browser for free!

Update Microsoft Explorer

Update Mozilla Firefox

Update Google Chrome

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Server Outage - 4th January 2012

First and foremost we would like to thank you for your patience yesterday and hope that you will accept our sincerest apologies for the prolonged network outage of approximately1 hour. We fully appreciate the impact this issue will have had on your business/website/email and would therefore like to reiterate that we will be doing everything in our power to ensure something of this nature does not occur again.

Preliminary analysis indicates that the original cause of the incident was a large DDOS attack targeted against one or more tenants, such as us, but not us, hosted within our datacentre facility. The attack was of such magnitude that the external IP transit and peering links were saturated, causing instability. This was then magnified by the sheer volume of traffic being directed from the core routers towards their internal switching platform.

Despite the datacentre policy of over-provisioning all switch and network link capacity, this volume of traffic was sufficient to disrupt their control protocols that normally ensure proper operation of the switches. The network engineers worked quickly to null-route the DDOS traffic; however the induced instability within the switching network reintroduced problems and created others down-stream within their customer switching networks.

In order to contain the situation and restore normal operation, datacentre network engineers took the major step of shutting down segments of the core switching network and re-establishing each tenant connection (us being one) from scratch. This was ultimately successful, but entailed a large amount of reconfiguration and testing work which unfortunately took time and caused further intermittent packet loss and downtime for the large majority of our customers.

As of approximately 1:00 AM (GMT) datacentre engineers were able to restore full service. They have since decided that the quickest and most risk-free option for restoring full resiliency and adding additional network capacity is to bring forward planned maintenance to replace their existing core switches. Their network engineers will be working with J-TAC (Juniper Technical Assistance Centre) to complete staging of the new switches today, and will carry out emergency maintenance tonight (4th January) to perform the upgrade.

We anticipate this maintenance will commence around 2200 (10:00 PM GMT) and downtime should not exceed more than five minutes. We will issue an update once the network engineers confirm the time and an ALL-CLEAR update will be issued upon successful competition of this maintenance.

Once again, across the board we understand the negative impact that downtime can have on each and every customer. It is a nightmare for all parties involved and something that we take extremely seriously. And although what happened yesterday was extremely rare, we remain fully committed to doing everything possible to ensure that this will not happen again. performance improvements to all customers which will help mitigate similar issues in the future. We will announce these changes separate of this notification.

On behalf of our entire team we would like to thank you for your continued business and wish you the best moving forward in this New Year.

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QR code - 30th August 2011

QR - lancefrench.comBasically, a QR code is a sophisticated bar code. So what makes QR codes different than the typical bar codes you see on food products and other items?

Typical bar codes are linear one-dimensional codes and can only hold up to 20 numerical digits, whereas QR codes are two-dimensional (2D) matrix barcodes that can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters of information.

In fact, it's their ability to hold significantly more information, as well as their user-friendliness which makes QR codes practical for individuals and businesses of all sizes.

QR codes can be scanned and read by camera-equipped smartphones via software that's already installed on your phone, or with an application that you download such as Lynkee Reader or i-nigma Reader, which are compatible with a wide variety of modern smartphones including iPhone, Blackberry, Sony Ericsson, HTC, Motorola and Nokia. The readers/scanners give smartphone users the ability to read a QR code without special equipment.

For example, you could walk into a store, use your smartphone to scan an item that has a QR code on it, and have immediate access to the information.

Fore more info.... get in touch.

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Submit your Content to Google - 11th August 2011

Ever wondered the best way to submit your content to Google?

Well here is the definitive answer from Google themselves.

There is obviosly a lot more you can do but its a good start for those of you on a budget or those who like the DIY approach.

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The Most Important Google Ranking Factors - 10th June 2011

The Most Important Google Ranking Factors, According to SEO Experts

Rand Fishkin and SEOmoz polled 132 SEO experts with data from over 10,000 Google search results, and have attempted to rank the importance of ranking signals. It's not confirmed fact, obviously. Google won't provide such information, but I suppose the next best thing is the collective opinion of a large group of people who make their livings getting sites to rank in search engines, and Fishkin has put together an impressive presentation.

Search Rank

On Page

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114 Things You Should Know About Apples New Offerings - 8th June 2011

apppleApple finally kicked off its much-anticipated Worldwide Developers Conference, and introduced the equally anticipated Mac OS X Lion and iOS 5 operating systems, as well as the companys cloud offering – iCloud. As you might imagine, there are a lot of details to take in around these three offerings , so weve compiled a whole bunch of them into quick, bite-sized nuggets for easy consumption.

Read the FULL article here

  1. Mac OS X Lion is the 8th major release of the OS.
  2. It will be available in July.
  3. It has over 250 new features (not all of which were detailed)
  4. It comes with 3,000 new developer APIs.
  5. It will be only available by download through the Mac App Store.
  6. It features Multi-Touch gestures and fluid animations that let you interact directly with content on the screen
  7. New gestures include momentum scrolling, tapping or pinching your fingers to zoom in on a web page or image, and swiping left or right to turn a page or switch between full screen apps.
  8. All Mac notebooks ship with Multi-Touch trackpads and desktop Macs can use Apples Magic Trackpad.
  9. Mac OS X Lion features full screen apps to take advantage of the entire display
  10. The Mission Control feature combines Expos, full screen apps, Dashboard and Spaces.
  11. You can swipe to get your desktop to zoom out to display your open windows grouped by app, thumbnails of your full screen apps and your Dashboard.
  12. It comes with the Mac App Store built in.
  13. The Launchpad feature makes it easier to find and launch apps, and with a single multi-touch gesture, all your apps are displayed in a full screen layout.
  14. You can organize apps into any order or into folders and swipe through unlimited pages of apps.
  15. Theres a redesigned Mail app with widescreen layout.
  16. The Mail app has a new conversations feature that groups related messages into a scrollable timeline.
  17. The Mail app has a new search feature that lets you refine searches and suggests matches by person, subject, and label as you type.
  18. The mail app also includes support for Microsoft Exchange 2010.
  19. The OS includes Resume, which lets you bring apps back to how you left them when you restart or relaunch the app.
  20. Apps will save automatically as you work.
  21. Versions records the history of your documents as you create them, and gives you a way to browse, revert, and copy/paste from previous versions.
  22. An AirDrop feature lets you find nearby Macs and set up P2P wireless connections.
  23. Mac OS X Lion will be available as an upgrade to Snow Leopard from the Mac App Store for $29.99.
  24. The upgrade will be at about 4GB (the size of an HD movie from the iTunes Store).
  25. Apple calls iOS 5 the most extensive software update ever for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
  26. iOS 5 has over 200 new features.
  27. iOS 5 is a free update.
  28. iOS 5 gives devices access to iCloud
  29. Apple has not detailed all 200 features, but highlights a few as key features, which include: notification center, iMessage, Newsstand, Reminders, Twitter, Camera, Photos, Safari, and PC Free.
  30. Notification Center aggregates all of your notifications, and can be accessed simply by swiping down from the top of the screen.
  31. It shows stocks and weather at the top of the screen.
  32. It will display a little pop up at the top to let you know about it while youre watching a video or playing a game, then it will go away.
  33. The Newsstand feature automatically downloads (in the background) the latest issues of magazine and newspaper apps that youre subscribed to, and keeps the available for online or offline access from one place.
  34. iOS 5 comes with built-in Twitter integration, where you save your Twitter info, which can easily be shared with any other app. This will make it easy to simply Tweet just about anything from the device. – Twitter can be used to automatically update contacts (if theyre on Twitter).
  35. Safari gets a button called Safari Reader, which converts articles into just text, eliminating ads and other clutter on the page. Some publishers may take issue with this.
  36. It also lets you email the content to people.
  37. Safari also has a reading list feature that lets you save stories to read later (on multiple devices).
  38. Safari gets tabbed browsing.
  39. The Reminders feature lets you keep lists and assign reminders to specific dates and locations, so you can get reminded of something not only by time, but also based on when you enter or exit a specific location.
  40. There is a camera icon on the lock screen providing quicker access to the camera app.
  41. You can use the volume up button to take pictures.
  42. You can pinch to zoom in the app and edit photos directly on the phone.
  43. Mail comes with rich-text formatting, indentation control, draggable addresses, and the ability to mark items as unread, search entire messages, and S/MIME.
  44. There is a new dictionary feature that lets you look up words from any app by tapping on the word and getting a definition.
  45. Theres a new keyboard feature that lets you split the keyboard apart into two pieces.
  46. The PC-Free feature means youre no longer required to connect to a PC. You can set up and activate the box right out of the box, and software updates dont require plugging in.
  47. Updates are delta, meaning it only updates what needs to be updated, as opposed to the whole thing, which should save time and data.
  48. The Game Center will show achievement points.
  49. It will also show scores of freinds friends
  50. The Game Center will also show friend and game recommendations.
  51. You will be able to purchase and download games right from the Game Center.
  52. Turn-based games can be played from the OS.
  53. Messaging will work among any iOS users. In other words, whether youre using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, youll be able to send and receive messages to other users.
  54. That applies to text, pictures, and video, and includes Group messaging.
  55. You can also switch devices yourself in the middle of conversations.
  56. The SDK is out for developers.
  57. iOS 5 will ship to customers in the fall.
  58. iOS 5 will support iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2, and IPod Touch (3rd and 4th gen)
  59. You can give Apple your email address here to get notified when iOS 5 is ready for you to download.
  60. iCloud ships in the fall.
  61. There is a beta available now for iOS and Mac Developer Program members.
  62. iCloud lets you store content in the cloud and access it on all your devices.
  63. iCloud works with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac, and PC.
  64. Its free with the upcoming iOS 5.
  65. iCloud is seamlessly integrated into apps.
  66. MobileMe has been discontinued as a service, and the Contacts, Calendar and Mail services have been reworked to work with iCloud.
  67. Users can share calendars with friends and family.
  68. Users can get an @me.com push mail account (which has no ads).
  69. inbox and mailboxes are kept up-to-date across devices.
  70. App Store and iBookstore download purchased iOS apps and books to all your devices (not just the one they were purchased on).
  71. The App Store and iBooktore also let you see your purchase history, and download any apps/books to different devices by hitting the iCloud icon.
  72. You can replace your stuff on a new device (up to ten devices) free of charge, using your Apple ID.
  73. iCloud Storage stores all documents created using iCloud Storage APIs, and automatically pushes them to all your devices.
  74. When you change a document on any device, iCloud automatically pushes the changes to all devices.
  75. Apple Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps take advantage of iCloud Storage.
  76. iClouds Photo Stream automatically uploads photos you take or import on any device and pushes them to all devices.
  77. Photo Stream is built into photo apps on all iOS devices and saved to the Pictures folder on a PC.
  78. To save space, the last 1,000 photos are stored on each device so they can be viewed or moved to an album to save forever.
  79. Macs and PCs will store all photos from the Photo Stream.
  80. iCloud will store each photo in the cloud for 30 days.
  81. Users get up to 5GB of free storage for mail, documents, and backup.
  82. Storage for music, apps, and books purchased from Apple doesnt count toward the storage limit.
  83. Storage required by Photo Stream doesnt count either.
  84. Users can buy more storage – details on this will be announced when iCloud ships in the fall.
  85. iTunes lets you download previously purchased iTunes music to all iOS devices at no additional charge.
  86. Music not purchased from iTunes can be synced using iTunes Match.
  87. iTunes Match upgrades songs to 256 kbps AAC DRM-free versions if it can match it to songs in its library.
  88. If it cant match it, it will upload it.
  89. iTunes Match will be available in the fall for $24.99 a year (US only).
  90. iTunes in the Cloud is available now in beta without iTunes Match.
  91. iTunes in the Cloud will support all iPhones that iOS 5 supports.
  92. Apple has invested over $500 million in one data center in Maiden, NC to support demand for free iCloud services.
  93. You can give Apple your email address here to get notified when iCloud is available.
  94. Over 54 million Mac users around the world (and growing)
  95. The PC market has shrunk 1%, while the Mac has grown 28%
  96. Mac has outgrown the industry every quarter for the last five years
  97. Mac sales are nearly 3/4 those of notebooks
  98. Over 200 million iOS devices sold
  99. iOS the number one mobile operating system with over 44% of the market
  100. Over 25 million iPads sold
  101. Over 15 billion songs sold through iTunes
  102. 130 million book downloads from the iBookstore
  103. There are 90,000 iPad apps
  104. Over 14 billion apps downloaded from the App Store
  105. Apple has paid over $2.5 billion to developers
  106. Over 225 million accounts with credit cards and 1-click purchasing
  107. Over 100 billion notifications pushed
  108. 1 billion tweets sent per week (relevant considering the new Twitter integration)
  109. Nearly 2/3 of all mobile web browsing done through Safari
  110. Over 100,000 game and entertainment titles in the App Store
  111. 50 million Game Center users (thats in nine months, and is compared to Xbox live getting 30 million in 8 years)
  112. Steve Jobs Appeared at the event, despite his medical leave of absence from the company.
  113. His physical appearance has caught the attention of a great deal of commentators – many not incredibly optimistic.
  114. After rising ahead of the event, Apples stock declined in afternoon trading after Jobs speech ended
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Google - Plus 1 - 5th May 2011

Google is introducing the most significant social feature to its search service yet, adding a one-click button to allow users to recommend sites and share those recommendations with their friends.

Plus One will initially only be accessible to 2% of Google's English-language users in the US, but it will be seen as a rival to Facebook's increasingly ubiquitous 'Like' tool which appears on hundreds of thousands of third-party sites.

Appearing as a small icon next to each search result and text ad, logged-in users can share their recommendations with contacts through their Gmail address book, Google Reader and Buzz contacts and, eventually, Twitter contacts. Google would not comment on whether Facebook contacts could eventually be integrated.

Google is characterising Plus One as a different function to Facebook's Like, saying that recommendations are only shared within the context of relevant searches, rather than spamming all contacts. Social is widely seen as the next generation of web services, but Plus One will also begin to influence the ranking of sites within search results listings. Users will be able to choose for recommended sites to be more visible in search results.

Google is also planning to extend the service to news publishers so that they can integrate Plus One on story pages.

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Netvibes anyone - 28th January 2011

NetvibesEver wanted to keep up with everything on a specific subject?
Netvibes is the answer. Netvibes is the fastest way to track your real-time Web. All in one place and always up-to-date. http://www.netvibes.com Instantly create as many different dashboards as you'd like to, track all your latest interests.

Thansk to ABC for showing me this, very cool.

Search for something - dashboard it. The first personalized dashboard publishing platform for the Web. Digital life managment, Widget distribution services and brand observation rooms.

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Google Translate - 7th January 2011

Google TranslateNow here is a great free web page translation tool from Google. Just perfect for the small business that has the occasional need for translation. See it in action on the right of this page. Simply select your language from the drop down and wait as the page its translated..... Brilliant

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Google SEO starter guide - 4th January 2011

googleIn the current economic climate, more and more of our clients are trying to do thier own SEO. Here is a helpful document from Google on some of the basics.

We want your website to be a success, and we do understand SEO can be expensive. This document is a great starters guide. If you host with us, dont hesitate to give us a call and we can discuss some techniques. DOWNLOAD the guide Here

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A Very Techno Christmas - 21st December 2010

I was emailed this recently, and wanted to share it.

Technology seems to have taken over delivering the message....
Enjoy this and of course Christmas.....


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GIMP anyone - 9th October 2010

So you have taken a great photograph...

Now you want to edit it, what do uou use?


Well now there is a fantatsic new open source alternative, and that basicaly means free.
Its a true alternative to Photoshop, and fantastic news for the home/small business user.

Download a copy today and try it, you will be amazed....


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Google Instant - 10th September 2010

googleGoogle Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. They are pushing the limits of search technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster. The key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type.

The most obvious change is that you get to the right content much faster than before because you don’t have to finish typing your full search term, or even press “search.” Another shift is that seeing results as you type helps you formulate a better search term by providing instant feedback. You can now adapt your search on the fly until the results match exactly what you want.

Faster Searches: By predicting your search and showing results before you finish typing, Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.

Smarter Predictions: Even when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, predictions help guide your search. The top prediction is shown in grey text directly in the search box, so you can stop typing as soon as you see what you need.

Instant Results: Start typing and results appear right before your eyes. Until now, you had to type a full search term, hit return, and hope for the right results. Now results appear instantly as you type, helping you see where you’re headed, every step of the way.

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.co Domain Names - 21st July 2010

Do you believe the hype?

I am not sure...

.co domainsThe release of the .co domain extension for a mere £30 a year could be just a fantastic marketing ploy by the men in Black. After all, none of us want to be left with the competition owning our domain name. Hype it up, market the hell out of if and we will all rush to buy the new domain names, just like the domain name rush of a few years back, when plenty of people made lots of money.

But what about the .net, .info, .eu  and .names, of old. They tried to get us to buy these in their hundreds and many did, but you wouldn’t be bothered if some else owned the .eu now or would you?

I don’t really have an answer; I guess if you have a spare £30 then maybe it’s worth a punt. Domains can be very influential in Search Engines.

However I still believe if you have a good business and offer good service and a good website, you will do well regardless of the actual domain name you trade under. There are plenty of companies with strange domains that have done very well in their sector, in some cases it’s a distinct advantage.

So, yes I guess it’s worth £30 even if you know you’re being robbed....

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iPhone 4 - 24th June 2010

iPhone 4I just can’t wait for the new iPhone 4 to launch. I totally loved the old one, it was everything to me, I was almost obsessed, unlike my friend Julia who was completely obsessed ;-)

I won’t be giving £500 to Apple to be the first, I will wait a week and get it from O2, in my experience the best network by far.

I will say there are better o/s out there, who would bet against Android with the big G behind them. And yes Blackberry is a better business tool (Patrick), that is far more configurable.

However, what I want is a phone that looks great, is easy to use and has a bit of a sense of humor and one that is not taking itself too seriously.

I want an iPhone. I want a built in Light Saber and an ocarina.
I want a phone with built in toys...

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i-Pad.... mmmmm :-( - 1st June 2010

ipad Hit or Miss???When I first heard about the launch of the i-pad I was very interested. The huge success of the i-phone was down to Apple’s ability to simplify what we wanted to do with a ‘phone and to make it work well for us. Combine this with a lot of things we didn’t even realize we wanted to do with our ‘phone and to-die-for design and you have a winner.

As the launch got nearer, little was given away, a few leaks but I was still keen; then it launched.

Now some of you hardened Mac fans who will buy anything with a Mac logo on (Apple TV anyone?), I am sure will love it and come up with a 1000 uses but for me, here is the deal…

  • No phone
  • No camera
  • No multi tasking
  • No CD
  • Few ports
  • It’s very expensive for what you get
  • A micro lappy has more power and features for the same money

So that’s it really; I love the concept but it’s just a large i-phone, so if you want to like a small person with an i-phone, pose about and not really get much actual work done, then the i-pad is for you.

If you want to get serious, stick with a decent 3G phone and decent laptop, even a Mac book.

I hope the next generation will get to grips with it, because a small tablet in my briefcase for client meetings and to take home would be fantastic, but it has to cut the mustard so I can still work and function or before you know it, it’s just another dusty gadget (remember the PalmV in colour?).

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Google Maps in 3d.... - 3rd May 2010

3DNow I love 3D... except the silly glasses. I have uneven ears, and a broken nose from many years on the rugby pitch, so the one size fits all 3D glasses make my ears and nose hurt….but enough moaning!

Ever since my first 360deg cinema and 3D shows at Disney I have been hooked. I am not sure what it adds to viewing a normal B2B website or if I could be bothered but time will tell.

I am still of the opinion that when it comes to your commercial business website it’s all about access to information and only using technology that works for that particular problem, not just technology for the sake of it.

But I love fantastic technology that just makes things better and 3D maps is just pure genius and a perfect example of technology used well.

Well done the boys and girls at Google.... keep ‘em coming...

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Is it ever really FREE... - 5th April 2010



We all want it cheaper, better, quicker and now it seems we want it FREE... I include myself in this and don’t really have a solution, it’s just an observation.

As more and more companies offer free services and automated tasks to give us a so called better deal, things are quite literally becoming free - particularly in the technology sector.

However, you just can’t get 25 years of experience and do it with a text editor or piece of software. It may well do almost as good a job until there is a problem, but you have to remember, you get what you pay for.

I often take a step back and divide the cost by the number of hours I expect something to take or divide it by a reasonable wage to work out how many hours will be spent doing the task.

If it’s unfeasibly low, then it’s fair to say I won’t be getting what I think I am, as everything has a profit margin.

I sometimes consider what will happen if the free culture continues and as I see it there will only be one outcome. If most things become free, then there will be no jobs, if there are no jobs, we have no money, and if we have no money we won’t be able to do any of the non FREE things we like doing.

So even if loads of things are FREE we won’t be any happier, but we will have a lot more time to enjoy NOT doing them.

Just a random thought...

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Just a little RANT

QR - lancefrench.com