A client asked me yesterday how secure was everything bearing in mind that the security authorities seems to be able to access absolutely anything? Hmmm another interesting question. This is a great article from the Electronic Frontier Foundation from November 20th this year about this very issue. The infographic – made by the EFF – shows you just how secure common file sharing methods are. Click on it to see the detail.
UPDATE: Encrypt the Web Report: Who’s Doing What
We’ve asked the companies in our Who Has Your Back Program what they are doing to bolster encryption in light of the NSA’s unlawful surveillance of your communications. We’re pleased to see that four companies—Dropbox, Google, SpiderOak and Sonic.net—are implementing five out of five of our best practices for encryption. In addition, we appreciate that Yahoo! just announced several measures it plans to take to increase encryption, including the very critical encryption of data center links, and that Twitter has confirmed that it has encryption of data center links in progress.
By adopting these practices, described below, these service providers have taken a critical step towards protecting their users from warrantless seizure of their information off of fiber-optic cables. By enabling encryption across their networks, service providers can make backdoor surveillance more challenging, requiring the government to go to courts and use legal process. While Lavabit’s travails have shown how difficult that can be for service providers, at least there was the opportunity to fight back in court.
While not every company in our survey has implemented every recommendation, each step taken helps, and we appreciate those who have worked to strengthen their security. We hope that every online service provider adopts these best practices and continues to work to protect their networks and their users.
Nearly every business person I work with is using gmail now. Someone asked me this morning did I know a way to search to find mails with attachments in the gmail environment. Here’s a few tips (and believe me it’s a big topic)
There are several ways to search for attachments in Gmail using Gmail advanced search operators:
- has:attachment – This one filters emails to only those that have anything attached.
- has:attachment doc – This one filters emails to only those that have .doc files attached.
- filename:.doc – Works almost exactly as the above one (but this one is the documentedoperator for searching attachment types).
- Note: filename: already implies that there should be an attachment included, so you don’t need to use has:attachment together with it.
- Note: a dot is not required before the file extension: filename:.doc = filename:doc
- filename:google*.doc – This one filters emails to only those that have doc files attached and these files have [google] in the beginning of the name (whereas filename:*google*.doc searches for messages that have documents attached with “google” mentioned somewhere in the middle of the file name).
- filename:.doc OR filename:.html – This one filters emails to only those that have either .doc or .html files attached (or both).
- filename:.doc AND filename:.html – - This one filters emails to only those that have both .doc or .html files attached.
A great website to find tips like this is the make use of site, where I found this particular article originally.
Someone this week asked us to make a custom favicon. You know that little picture that shows in the address bar of your internet browser when you land on a site.
This used to be simple to do and of course now it’s a bit more complicated.
A simple path to follow is this one
Not all browsers support all sizes of favicons. The best ‘one’ to use, is the one that will be displayed! That said In my experience, a 32×32 PNG file looks the best.
You can use
<link rel='icon' href='images/favicon.png' type='image/png' /> in your
<head> tag to specify the icon picture and keep a smaller 16×16 ICO file in the root directory as well. This will let the browsers that can’t handle displaying a PNG file for a favicon, fallback to the ICO in the root directory. (Thanks to Penguin Coder for that one)
If you want to be more thorough in a responsive way, listen to Mathias Bhyens in Belgium, he knows it all.
When Google Plus started everyone we knew took the mick out of it. Suddenly it’s a serious player.
Last year, many people dismissed Google’s Google+ social network as a “virtual ghost town.” That was then. This is now. According to GlobalWebIndex, Google+, with 343-million active users, has become the second largest social network globally. As Vic Gundotra, Google’s senior VP of engineering, observed, “That is a lot of ghosts” Facebook is still the top social network, but Google+ has moved into second place. (Credit: GlobalWebIndex)
Facebook is still the biggest of the social networks by a large margin. By GlobalWebIndex’s count Facebook has almost 700-million active users. The research group defines active users as those who used or contributed to a site in the past month
All three of the major global social networks, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter are growing by leaps and bounds. “Data collected in GWI.8 (Q4 2012) demonstrates the continued shift in usage from localized social platforms to global ones with huge growth for Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. The fastest growing network in 2013 in terms of “Active Usage” was Twitter which grew 40% to 288m across our 31 markets (approximately 90% of global Internet population). 21% of the global Internet population now use Twitter actively on a monthly basis. This compares to 21% actively using YouTube, 25% actively using Google+ and a staggering 51% using Facebook on a monthly basis.”
Even with Twitter’s growth, however, “Google+, who despite being branded a failure or ghost town by large portions of the media, grew in terms of active usage by 27% to 343m users to become the number 2 social platform. Interestingly for Google, YouTube (not previously tracked by us as a social platform) comes in at number 3, demonstrating the immense opportunity of linking Google’s services through the G+ social layer. This is also a key indication of why Google+ integrated with the Google product set is so key to the future of search and the Internet.”
Indeed so, I’ve long thought that Google’s integration of Google Plus into many of its services would lead to massive growth. But, just because people using Google services such as Gmail or YouTube got a Google+ membership didn’t mean they’d actually use the service. So, what I find more interesting is that GlobalWebIndex’s data indicates that Google+s’ members are actively using the social network rather than just their attached Google services.
Mind you, I don’t find this much of a surprise. I’m a member of most of the popular social networks and Google+ is easily my favorite of them.
Where is Google+’s growth coming from? It’s not at the expense of Facebook or Twitter. Instead, like them, Google+ is cannibalizing smaller, local social networks. “The growth in the large, global social platforms is coming broadly at the expense of local services like MeinVz, Hyves, Copains d’Avant. Even more interestingly, we are seeing a large decline across the board in local Chinese services with Tencent Weibo, Kaixin, Sina Weibo and QZone all declining substantially, up to 57% in the case of Tencent Weibo.”
Looking ahead, it appears that the global networks, led by Facebook, Google+, Twitter and YouTube, will all continue to grow at the expense of the local social networks. Will Google+ eventually catch-up and pass Facebook? Possibly, but it won’t be soon. Even with privacy concerns and annoying notifications, Facebook is continuing to maintain its dominant position.
We have been working on an animation project recently and we had said to the guy we were working with – we actually have over thirty years experience in this field. Which led us to dig around in the archives for some samples. From days at Geers Gross who were leaders in the field of cell based animation for advertising use.
You need to double click the one above to play it. It’s an animated end sequence for Eastern Electricity.
Check the bubbles on mouseover for the one above.
We will be adding some more of these and some more recent ones too as time allows.
How to build your business website?
There are many businesses out there, perhaps yours is one of them, who have never built a website.
If you really want to do it, here are a few useful tips .
First of all, and this is really obvious, treat your website build as something potentially important to your business. Why? Let me give you an example. Last year we built a site for a business that makes specialist musical instruments. The guy who owns and runs the business (Clem) approached the task on a – to be honest - “I might as well do it” – basis.
We were essentially, as far as Clem was concerned, adding an ability to buy his goods on the Internet where previously he had been retailing them in a more conventional manner.
Suffice to say, after a relatively short period of time (just nine months), the Internet side of his business has now easily overtaken the conventional retail side in terms of volume of sales and value of sales.
In short, the nagging feeling that Clem had — that he really should do something with his business on the Internet – was well and truly confirmed. He rang me last week to talk about doing some more dedicated Internet marketing with us to grow the business even further – and indeed to express his surprise that so much business was being generated -that now this side of it alone was a full-time job.
We have said to Clem from the very beginning that his business was particularly well suited to Internet development — as soon as he spent some time (an hour or so) telling us about his business and what he did and how he went about things — it became very obvious that this was the case. He was making a quality product, in a dedicated way, and this product was sellable world-wide.
One thing is for sure — every business is different, every business is unique. So step two in approaching the task, after you’ve decided that the whole thing is quite important really — is to sit down with your chosen web developer and spend some time talking with them to tell them about what is different about your business and to make sure that they understand what it is you’re doing. Let them ask questions and answer them as straightforwardly as you can .
And as the little snippet of a case history above shows, choose someone to help you build who is going to be around for a while. You will need to talk to them as time goes on.
How do you figure out if they are be going to be around for a while? Ask them some questions about their own business. How long has it been around? What kind of sites have they been working on over the last six months? Are they busy? Can they give you references from people that have worked with? What do their clients say about them?
And don’t be afraid to ask the kind of the kind of questions that you would ask any other supplier of services. What kind of range of skills can they offer you? Will they help you write a brief? Are they good at graphic design? After all, many visitors to your website are going to be influenced by first impressions. If your site doesn’t look good or appropriate, they will be off somewhere else before you have time to say wait a minute I’ve actually got something great to sell. Do they look like they can handle typography? A lot of good website design these days hinges upon expert handling of type. Can they write copy? Do they have a track record of organising good photography? If your budget can’t stretch to original photography, do they have the ability to find good images for you?
Most important of all, have they got enough marketing expertise to actually help you write the brief?
What’s in a good brief anyway? And why write one at all?
The answer is a well-written brief will help to clearly define the task for you — and not just for you, for your website builders too. If you have an agreed brief before any graphics or coding work is done you have effectively helped to define the task carefully and clearly – in other words you’ve drawn the white lines around the playing field. A good brief helps you to clarify your own thoughts about your business and allows the objective thoughts of an outsider with marketing know-how to contribute to your business plans.
Then when you agree a budget for the job you know what you are getting for your money. There’s a working document to which you can both refer.
In our business, we usually do a production estimate first and then a site schematic. The site schematic shows you a map of your site in plain graphics . Once those two things have been done at that stage we agree costs — and once those costs are approved we write the final brief. We do this because writing the brief forms such a big part of the actual work and involves so many hours spent with the client — and indeed days spent working out the right plan — that we can’t afford to give it away for nothing.
A good brief should include — all the background to your business and what it’s doing- and the goods or products and services you are selling. It should define the job requirement, in language that you can understand, and the writers of the brief should be prepared to answer questions to make sure that you do understand. It should define the target audience – that is who your website is going to be talking to — and a flippant answer such as “the whole of the rest of the world” or “the entire Internet audience” should be treated with the contempt which it deserves .
Your brief should cover other issues such as your proposition, the support for your proposition, the tone of voice of the entire communication, and it should clearly define the timing of the Web planning and building activity.
There are plenty of other questions you should be thinking about asking as well, at this early stage in your web building activity. Your chosen web developer should be able to give you a few words of advice about the best way in which you can choose your URL — or domain name. It’s by no means as simple as it first appears and is in fact an extremely important step in finding the right web presence for your business. And just because web names are cheap, don’t expect buying and finding the right domain name for your business to be a dirt cheap activity. It ain’t necessarily so. You should allow your web developer to spend some time considering, recommending, searching and purchasing the right name for you. As we all know, time and money in any business endeavour are intimately related. And don’t make it the first thing you do either — you’ve got a brief to write first.