Author Archives: Ken

Helping older people to get online

Archive

In the next couple of weeks (16-20 May) there’s an event called Spring Online Silver Surfers Day.

 

This is a national campaign with the intention of getting older people to use computers and the Internet. There will be thousands of events across the UK.

 

Anyone including businesses, organisations and individuals have been invited to run ‘digital awareness sessions’, to help older people get to grips with the medium.

 

The events can be held anywhere, from people’s homes to school halls to boardrooms or libraries. There’s no fixed agenda for organisers, but each one will be supported with a marketing toolkit. This includes leaflets, appointment cards, and posters.

 

There’s also a cash prize of £1,000 to help with developing future computer learning activities!

 

Want to get involved? If you’d like to run an event, or find out more, follow this link.

 

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Find what you’re looking for with Qwiki

Digital Marketing

When you search for information on a subject on Google, do you find it easy to make sense of the results you find?

Google is often accused of listing websites in its search results pages that are ‘spammy’, that don’t really contain meaningful information about what you’ve searched for, and are there just to make a few dollars in advertising.

Whilst Google itself is addressing this ‘spam’ issue, it’s certainly an opportunity for other ‘cleaner’ search engines to get in there and explain stuff in a better way.

Enter stage left ‘Qwiki’, a new search engine which recently won ‘Best Startup’ at Techcrunch. Built by the team originally behind Alta Vista, Qwiki is “where information becomes an experience you can watch”.

When you do a search on Qwiki, the search engine turns the information it finds in the search results into an interactive presentation. You get a mix of photos, videos and extra links, along with a computer generated voice over summary.

The Qwiki “curated information experience” is hugely different from Google’s results pages, so much so that one of the judges at Techcrunch referred to it as “your personal HAL”, a reference to the talking computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Wow. Big claim!

Take a look and let us know what you find.

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Happy Birthday Wikipedia

Digital Marketing

Wikipedia, that online encyclopedia of unquestionable truth and veracity, ahem, has made it to 10 years. In Internet terms, that’s an ice age.

The ‘free content’ idea of Wikipedia.org was launched by Jimmy Wales in San Francisco back in 2001.

In his anniversary speech Mr Wales said to “I remember that first day. I clicked on edit and I wrote ‘Hello World’ and that was the beginning of Wikipedia and all the things that have come since then.”

Nupedia

The site concept originally came from online encyclopedia ‘Nupedia’ whose editors didn’t like the idea of letting users add or edit articles. Nupedia bit the dust back in 2003.

Web 2.0

Wikipedia was the very first ‘Web 2.0’ project in the sense that it allowed users to easily add content from their own web browser.

And how has it got on? Well Wikipedia now hosts over 3.5 million articles distributed over 23 million web pages in 270 languages. That’s a big website, and a fast growing one too – there are 1,100 new articles every day.

Despite my earlier comments Wikipedia is generally thought to be accurate, although the nature of user generated content is that some of it is bound – for a time at least – to be less than true.

Wikipedia itself warns: “Some articles on Wikipedia may contain significant factual inaccuracies, IE information that is verifiably wrong.”

Wikipedia has always been – and intends to stay – non-profit.

Do you use Wikipedia? Have you tried adding or editing any articles? Leave us a comment below.

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The most boring day in history

Digital Marketing

Do you know your famous dates from history? Got anything for the 11th of April 1954? Well don’t worry – you can carry on going for the brown pie in Trivial Pursuit. Because that is the date identified by a team of Cambridge scientists as ‘the most boring date in history’.

Nothing Happened!

It was the only day in the 20th century that was devoid of any major news events, even the birth or death of anyone famous. All that happened was a General Election… in Belgium.

This date was uncovered by the scientists who were in the process of developing a new search engine comprised of millions of facts spread out over history. The aim was to create a database which made searching for particular days and events much easier.

The search engine has been given the name TrueKnowledge.com and the strapline “The Internet answer engine”. The project is led by William Reeve, who founded ScreenSelect.co.uk which merged with LOVEFiLM in 2006.

A spokesman commented “The irony is that having done the calculation, the day is now interesting for being exceptionally boring. Perhaps we need to calculate the second most boring day”.

Take a look at TrueKnowledge.com and let us know what you think.

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Blekko cuts the spam out of the Search Engine Results

Digital Marketing

Do you ever Google a topic only to find the results page full of spammy, text rich sites, or websites selling suspect products? See what I mean by Googling ‘cure for tummy ache’ – there is a huge range of results, some of which rank highly just because they have loads of text on the page and a keyword rich domain name. Only a few are what I’d call trustworthy and authoritative.

Blekko is a new search engine designed to weed out these spammy sites. It’s a human edited index that has been created using ‘slashes’. These are lists of trusted websties in particular categories – all searches are limited to results served in these categories.

There are almost a thousand of these slashtags that have been created by the Blekko team, headed up by Rich Skrenta, “The goal is to clean up Web search and get all the spam out of it”,

Blekko already has an index of over 3bn pages. But when you search on there you only see the top results. And those results are quite different from Google’s, which (claim the Blekko team) can’t tell the difference between genuine sites and those created just so they grab traffic.

Blekko also have a go at Google regarding their lack of transparency about their results algorithm. By contrast, Blekko shows extra data such as the number of inbound links, to a site, where they come from, and how long they’ve been there.

Have a look at Blekko and let us know what you think. Can you find your website in the relevant search results on Blekko? Do you see a better list of results? Leave us a comment below.

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New Release: Background HTML and more

Softwate Update

We’ve just released a new update to our Website Builder that bring to life some great features.

Background HTML: Tiling and more

On the 2nd of February update we gave you the option to have no background at all. We’ve now updated this feature so that now have a number of background HTML image options. This include tiling, no tiling, and horizontal or vertical tiling.

This give you a lot more flexibility. You might want to try anchoring the image to the top centre, or the top right or left. You can also choose whether the background image will be fixed in the browser or scroll with your page. Try it – it looks very cool.

Quick access to stuff

We’ve had lots of you saying that’s a pain in the proverbial and sometimes confusion. Now you have the option of ‘quick access’. If you double click on something that is on the page master, you can jump straight to it. This means you can double click on the background to reach the ‘background’ panel in the design menu. This makes moving around the control panel a lot quicker.

You can always turn off the feature by clicking ‘Edit’ > ‘Preferences’ and then turn off ‘Auto Page Master’.

Restricting your page length

Since we’re shortly going live with the new blog feature, we had to remove page length restrictions, since articles, posts and comments can flow on and make the page bigger. So the page length max of 3600 pixels has been removed, allowing you to make things as big as you want. What I would say is that pages beyond a certain length aren’t very engaging, so keep thinking about whether or not your website visitors like long pages.

That’s it!

Some quite nice design changes with this update – let us know what you think!

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Google Hotpot: Making Recommendations even more important

Digital Marketing Social Media

Towards the end of last year Google launched a ‘recommendation engine’ called ‘Hotpot’.

Hotpot collects ratings and reviews about places, and ties them to your social circle. When you search for a local business such as a restaurant, Hotpot surfaces those results that have been recommended by your friends. The idea is that if they liked a place, then you’ll probably like it too.

Hotpot is integrated with Google Maps for Mobile. Users can leave ratings and reviews using their phone. And if they’re on an Android device then opinions can be expressed using a widget, with just a few taps of the screen.

Each time you give a rating, that rating is used to judge what you or your friends might like in the future.

This is an exciting development for local businesses looking to boost custom. The idea is that if you look after your customers, they’ll leave you positive feedback, which their friends will take into account when buying your type of service.

We’ve spoken previously about getting good reviews and Hotpot takes this to a whole new level.

Have you tried Hotpot? Leave us a comment below.

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No dotCYM for Wales

Archive

What is your domain extension? I mean the bit at the end – what your domain name ends in? Most of us in the UK are happy with a .co.uk (including WebEden), although some opt for the ‘global’ domain ‘.com. There are a load of others to choose from (just search for a domain name to see what choices there are).

The organisation that decides on and administers domain extensions is called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

After a long campaign, ICANN have decided that Wales will not be given it’s own domain extension.

To the dismay of campaigners, and despite a load of campaign funds given by the Welsh assembly, .cym has just been assigned to the Cayman Islands.

The campaign for .CYM for Wales has been running since 2008, when ICANN decided to admit a load of new Top Level Domains (TLDs). TLDs are either generic (like .COM) or country specific (like .co.uk, .fr etc.)

dotCYM supporters believed that .cym for Wales would “play a strategic role in validating Welsh culture and language” and “make it easier for individuals and groups who wish to associate with the community to identify with other users around the world”.

There are already Welsh versions of Windows and Office, an apparently a Welsh Mac OS X will launch soon. But it’s the end of the road for .CYM.

Are you based in Wales? Do you think that Wales deserved a .CYM? Or does it not really matter? Leave us a comment below.

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How to explain computer stuff to your less tech-savvy friends

How to

Last month we let you know how to explain the Internet to your, well, less interested friends. And here’s another way you can help with their computers.

Do you – as someone who takes an interest in computers, the web, building websites and all that stuff – get asked tech questions by your friends and family all the time? Do they always want to know why ‘it won’t print’ or ‘where is that file’ and ‘how do find that website’?

Well here comes Google to the rescue with a website designed to help people (well, kids) teach others (erm, parents) about computer basics.

It’s called TeachParentsTech.org, and it lets you choose from over 50 how-to videos to send to people who don’t know how to do stuff. It’s all the way from basic copy and pasting onto other things like how to share a big file. You can customise an email and thend send the video off to the person who needs help.

Here’s a video with a bit more detail:

So no longer will you spend half your evening and weekend helping others with their computer problems!

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WebEden Product and Price update

Softwate Update

Some Good News

In a couple of weeks time we’re updating the specifications on most of the WebEden packages. We’re applying higher Webspace and Bandwidth allowances to every account. And for all current customers we’re not changing the prices of your account.

We’re also simplifying things so that resellers can resell on any of the new products, though there will be lower site limits on some packs. Existing customers will retain existing site limits, and existing Resellers can move to new packs if they want to or stay on their existing plans.

Yeah!

Some… less good news

From the same time we’re putting up the price of all packages. The price change will not affect current customers. If you already subscribe to WebEden the amount we charge you will not change. This price change applies to new customers and upgrades only.

Booo! Why?

We haven’t change the price since we launched at the start of 2005, and this means that we can increase the amount we invest in our development team to improve the products and services.

So if you’re planning to buy or upgrade, make sure you do that in the next couple of weeks.

We’ll let you know the details of the changes once they’ve been finalised.

Thank you for your ongoing support. And feel free to leave a comment below.

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