Sunday, April 16, 2006

Beware of Laptops

My son, George, provides support to PCs, through his company, PC 24 Hour.

This weekend he's been trying to resurrect a laptop, that has been dropped.

No problem in that, as the nature of their use, makes them much more vulnerable to failure. But this one had not been backed up. And no paper copies had been made of important documents and contracts.

So far, Goerge has not been able to reconstruct the data on the laptop.

I never use a laptop.

Partly this is because of the fact, I like a proper mouse, keyboard and screen, but mainly because of the security problems and the droppability.

How many people have had their laptops stolen? How many have been dropped?

If you must have such a device, then make sure you back up important documents to another computer or CD-Rom regularly.

If you don't, you could end up like George's client.

Tip - Use the Daisy AutoBackup/FTP to make secure copies of your data.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Latest Version of the Daisy Web Tools

The Daisy Web Tools started as a single program used to demonstrate the use of embedded browsers within Visual Basic programs. This technology is fully explained in a separate section. The software has grown into a collection of useful programs which are summarised below :-

The latest version is now available for download.

Web Site Loading Times

Not paying attention to loading times is just sloppy.

I have broadband here in deepest Suffolk in the UK, but all I get is a 500Kb connection as I’m just on the limit of broadband from my exchange. My son gets several times this in Winchester, which is a major town of about 50,000 people. So don’t believe because someone has broadband, they can download a large file in seconds. But still it’s a lot better than dialup.

A few rules that web site designers should use :-

1. The most important is that if you can, follow the dear old BBC. Their web site must be one of the busiest in the world and each page is a separate HTML page. No on-line database or complicated ASP etc. means that there is much less handshaking before the actual page arrives in your browser.

2. Compress graphics. I’ve seen sites that use a 250Kb gif, when if it was compressed it would be perhaps a quarter of this.

3. Use proper small images rather than large ones with a height and width. Some galleries do this and they are excruciatingly slow.

4. If you want a large image, put the small one in a web page and ask people to click for the large.

5. Don’t use complicated menus that need a whole load of unnecessary junk to be downloaded from the Internet.

6. Keep pages reasonably small. Don’t have a long page that goes on and on.

7. If you have a large PDF document on your site, put up an HTML preview of some of it, so punters can check if they want to spend a long time downloading. I actually don’t like PDF, as it’s another thing for the punter to install.

8. Avoid Flash. Never seen any point to it anyway, as it just annoys clients.

But above all keep things simple, even if this means a few more pages.

Restarting the Blog

I have been remis over the last couple of years about this Daisy News blog.

So it's being restarted.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Image Theft

I have an alternative view on this.

I allow all of the images on my site, that I have taken myself to be used by others with impunity. They are only 600 pixels wide or so and more information than art. I do ask that people put a link to where the image came from.

About a year ago I did a site for a mediation company at www.indepmed.com. I needed an image to sum up divorce and separation, but couldn’t find a small image that was suitable. I thought about staging it, but then would you want a picture of yourself on a site about divorce. I wouldn’t! So I found an image from David Starkey’s book on Henry VIII and his wives. I asked his permission, he gave it and I used part of the image. I of course made a link to his book on Amazon.

So I agree about image theft of high quality images, but small, informational ones, may well be worth more to you to give away free, provided that a reverse link is provided.

As an aside to this, I’m trying to persuade a model friend to do a series of body part pictures, (not naughty ones), that can be used on web sites for free. Hands pointing, feet, eyes etc. to be used with just a link back to her site.

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