Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ciao to microsoft

I spoke to a guy from yesterday at the e-commerce expo in London (uk) and he mentioned that Microsoft had just bought

Apparently the wheels had only just started moving so he had no idea of what the merger/acquisition would mean for us in the real world, but they had been informed MS would be looking after the data center side of things and investing into the infrastructure, interesting for MS to go into paid user based reviews?

This will be interesting as they will now know (before anyone else does I suppose) what the average person thinks about just about every product around, nice info to have if you are looking to launch your own.....?????

Monday, October 27, 2008

even the big boys can have problems

Looks like is being updated and someone forgot to flick one of the switches.

The link redirects to and not

oh dear...


cms woes

Question from Ray Stewart ICPA FCCA MICB CB.Dip PM.Dip on UK Businesslabs

I have been watching with interest how my two main websites have been performing in google. My little blog, with it's page rank of 0/10 continually pops up very high in searches and has decent traffic to it but the main site with it's (much larger!) page rank of 1/10 doesn't feature much in searches but is still getting a fair bit of traffic.

I don't really like the joomla look of the main site but it is simple to update and refresh. Is that important to google & co?

My question really is, would I be better converting the main site into a wordpress one like the blog? would it help it perform better in google & co?

Would I be better to combine the two somehow to economize on effort?

I have always thought the way my wordpress blog and the joomla site name the pages when written was helpful to the search engines. Is this true? or would I be better using just numbers for posts like lots of blogs seem to instead?

Is this the kind of stuff an SEO expert helps with - never having known one, or asked one, until now? I have just relied on reading bits and pieces on things like this and not got very far

and my response,


my 2 pence (as a CMS developer/seo guy), one thing that I have noticed with google (and other SE's) is that although the CMS you use doesn't have much affect there are things that it does that can do.

- Speed of rendering, the page has to be delivered to the spider quickly, remember web spiders dont 'see' the images so ignore them (thats a usability issue), but some CMS, build their pages slowly, or the databse they connect to is slow etc etc. I have used this before and found it good to help tune my CMS's in the past

- Page Errors, this can really harm your site. Every CMS should display some kind of user message if an error occurs, but what if the error only happens when a spider hits the page? I would advise using google webmaster tools and Yahoo site explorer with your site, at tleast this way you can see any errors that the spiders are showing up.

- Fancy controls/Ajax etc, My CMS uses very little ajax to display content, and there are no fancy javascripted menus/controls anywehere to be seen, its all plain old HTML, rememebr the spiders on read text, so how it looks is irrelevant, the best looking site can get 0 search results. Ajax and javascript can is used incorrectly actually hide your content (if used well it can help your content too) from the spiders

- HTML structure, this is the biggest problem with any web page (not just CMS based ones), the page must follow the basic HTML structure. So Meta tags, CSS and javascript in the HEAD area (except google analytics move them to the bottom of the page), content in the BODY area, Header tags in the correct order on the page, H1 at the top, then H2 etc etc, use P tags for each section of relevant content, use UL/LI for lists, etc etc.
A spider will index the structured content faster if its in the right place.

Lots of info, I am sure some will disagree, however these are all things I have had to look into over the last 2 years of developing OCRE and the best bit is every site that uses it has been indexed by google pretty quickly and all have relatively good search results.

hope that helps

Friday, October 24, 2008

ah the joy of cross browser CSS...

I have always disliked the fact that every (well most) internet browser renders my CSS differently, its not platform specific either IE6 renders some CSS tags differently to IE7.

Now dont get me wrong IE7 is better than IE6 for consistency, and it does a lot of things the same as Firefox, but someone really needs to work out an industry standard.

Anyway my latest problem was caused by a padding issue that only affected IE7, the fix was easy, but as all searches on the interent, it takes a few ties to actually find the real answer.

I found it here - IE7 css padding problem?

And it works, although it wont validate I dont care, as long as it looks the same on every browser and is accessible!


Tuesday, October 07, 2008 Code snippet mangement for multiple development machines

I run 2-3 development machines and normally save my snippets on the toolbox 'General' tab, but as I move around the differrent PCs (not on same logins etc) I use its tough to get these code bits in a manageable state and up to date on every machine.

So I have started using Mark Manella Code snippet add in on all of my machines, this is an amazing extra for VS2008.

As the code snippets are all stored in the same relative folder, I can just update this folder on each machine.

For this I use syncToy 2.0 its a cool syncing app, very easy to use, and will sync folders across the network/pc.

Now there are probably other ways to do all of this, like running bat file to copy the snippets on login etc etc, but I like to know when the files are being updated.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

server 2008 64 bit - install 1st go

Well so far so good, my first server 2008 install has gone without a hitch.
Platform install was aroun 30mins, server roles 15mins, Active directory including all the AD prep stuff on the current DC took about 20 mins.

Now installing Exchange 2007 (+ SP2 for Exchange 2003 on my old mail server first), so far its taken 45 mins and looks like it will be another 15mins or so.

Its been awhile since I have installed a mail server and had no time for a dozen cups of coffee, fingers crossed when I move the mailboxes over (with the inbuilt 'move mailboxes' tool it'll all go as well...

importing Excel to SQL2005

Such an annopyingly easy fix, just not too well documented.

I had 200 rows in an excel 2007 (this will work for most excel versions) worksheet I needed to insert into a sql table I was building.
You used to be able to use DTS in SQl 2000, but there doesn't seem to be any easy way to bring in this type of data.

First stop: with no luck, just odd SQL errors and I had no time to find the solution unitl...

This is where I found an answer that I could work with:

Now this wont suit everybody as it wont work 100% of the time with tables that already have a Primary Key, I had to delete all other table columns except the title column I was after. Once the data is pasted in, I re-added the columns back in again.

I was lucky I had only just started using this table....its always annoying to have a linked tabel used in and around the database that you then have to go and wipe/re-fill with new rows.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008


I might be a bit late to hop on the seasick steve bandwagon, but I like rock music and this guy just plays it like it is.
Wicked blues/rock music, foot stomping stuff

He is playing the Albert Hall tonight in London!