Additional revenue stream is the mother of invention

Facebook is testing introducing of system that charges $1 in order for users to contact strangers (i.e. people not connected by friendship). LinkedIn has had this kind of service for a long while, and spamming based on this service is pretty minimal. Continue reading

Web Design – the new migraine

web design

I have been dipping my toe back into the world of web design, and already experiencing the difficulties that can arise if the approach is too casual. As with any web project I have been on, the project suffers where requirements are not clear and/or there is lack of clarity over deadlines. A client wants to know “when” not “how”.  In the independent web designer world, it can be a very difficult process to engage the client in the ongoing process, to ensure there are minimal last minute changes.

The way to achieve this is to run project as a continuum – all the client wants to know is when their site is up and running, and how to manage it.  That is a deadline, and for the client, that is a working site.  If you give a client more information then they need, it will be much harder to work out that deadline point.  So keep it simple – one of our big weakness in world of IT is assumption everyone knows key fundamental concepts of websites and content management systems.  A daft assumption of course, but we all can fall foul of it. Clients can be easily entranced with website features, but a casual mention/suggestion, could become an expectation in the overall deliverable.

Which leads me to … document the requirements! The independent web design world is fraught with too much casual specifications and time-frames.

These days, websites should be set up so the client can do the majority of content management and layout work on their own.  This goes against the older “control” model, but the increase in quality open source CMS’s has put these type of sites in the reach of everyone.  Still I come across clients who have been stuck in this kind of arrangement.  For example, a site that had flash for menus, most of the text.  There was no means for the client to change much at all without paying for further development. I consider that verging on immoral.

This can all be seen as madness in a business model, but I am personally not interested in maintaining client site content.  I would rather be working on the next client. I provide support models of course – there are clients who want further development or guaranteed support response times, or training.  But the overall philosophy is independence.  Perhaps it is better to think of web design as a self-manageable product, rather than a service.

Groovy DSL

The gap between language-driven requirements and code is getting smaller, but for some reason it is taking us all a while to realise that programming languages have to become more readable. If you look a piece of any code, you will dereive things that you understand. If you remove all that you understand from the program and paste it in another doc, the chances are you will have (more of less) a description of what the code is doing, that you (and others) can understand.
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Luxury Mobile and Portable Toilets for Hire – Gallery of our Mobile Conveniences

Adsense from Google usually delivers mostly relevant ads, for my site content.  But occasionally there are some ones that are just plain embarassing.  But didnt realise portaloos came in different model names – the "Classic" is the one I chose here.  If i rub my eyes long enough, hopefully this ad will disappear from the site!

www 1.0 – 4.0

I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize.

Tim Berners-Lee, 1999

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