Quidco – Best Maintenance Page of the Year

Don’t you love it when something surprises you and puts a smile on your face? It’s especially cool when you’re faced with something that normally evokes a negative response. That’s just what happened when I tried to visit Quidco and found their “We’re undergoing maintenance” page. You’d expect to see someone being upset when faced with a site that’s temporarily unavailable but here I am, grinning like an idiot.

Here’s the page:

quidco-maintenanceI thought this was pure genius. Nothing like a cute monkey to cheer you up!

To Protect and Serve .. but not to inspire trust?

I came across an interesting website today, that of West Yorkshire Police, which is interesting in that it has an Online Compliments Form and an Online Complaints Form. A couple of things hit me about those forms, which inspired me to put pen to paper (well figuratively anyway).

The first thing that struck me was how much harder the Complaint Form is to fill than the Compliments Form. Not in terms of the amount of information you need to fill, but rather in terms of the extent of personal information needed. The Complaints form requires you to fill in your Date of Birth and Address, while the Compliments Form doesn’t need a Date of Birth and your personal details are an optional section. While seeming inocuous, this sort of different can easily skew and statistics generated by how many forms are submitted, a skew that is not immediately obvious when looking at the results.

The other thing was the Verisign Trusted logo at the bottom. Study the following image and tell me what you think:

If you’re noticed that the website is not actually secure you get full points. The problem with the image is that it implies trust, it plays on the viewer not having the technical wherewithall to check whether the page is indeed secure. If there’s one thing that’s worse than having an insecure system, it’s having a system that claims to be secure and isn’t!

Goes to show how careful you need to be on the Web out there!

Brand New Build – Brand New Theme

Well, after I woke up a few days ago to find that this site had been compromised, I wiped the whole thing and started afresh (well, almost the whole thing, I kept a backup of all the content of course). It’s a brand new WordPress installation and I decided to clear out all my old themes and plugins and only install what I needed. It’s quite refreshing sometimes actually to start from scratch.

Anyway, I’ve got a brand new theme in place, the awesome BlogIT! WordPress theme by my mate Hyder. You’ll have to bear with me while I find my feet, these theme makes excellent use of any graphical resources you have on your blog, and to be perfectly honest, I’ve never really devoted much attention to styling. So I’m resting on the theme for that, but hopefully, I’ll be learning as I go along and the site will look prettier and prettier 😉

Have a poke around and let me know what you think!

The ABCs of Power Conditioning

The beauty of the Web is that there’s always something new to learn at every turn. Take today for example, I learnt all there is to learn about Power Conditioning thanks to the PowerVar website. They have a great page that describes in lots of detail the various stages a UPS, including this diagram:

The different stages are:

  • The Surge Diverter
  • The Low Impedance Isolation Transformer
  • The Power Line Filter
  • The Voltage Regulator
  • The Battery Backup
  • The Frequency Regulator
  • Ground Guard

You can read all about them in their concept document titled The ABCs of Power Conditioning. It describes every stage in a bit more detail and once you’ve read through it you’ll understand a bit more too.

Here’s the interesting thing about the PowerVar website. By sharing the information above, they are making their site more memorable to its visitors. They are providing value that people can share with one another and in this way creating conversational value that turns into thought leadership. This is the sort of value that people need to focus on when building a website. If the site just focused on the company and their products I probably would have never mentioned it here, and linked to it in the process. They actually have a whole section of their site dedicated to technical articles which make some really good reading.

So next time you’re looking for a UPM solution, Uninterruptable Power Supplies or Power Conditioners, check out the PowerVar website. There’s lots to learn there.

Choosing my Christmas Gifts

I know it’s a few months till Christmas, but a number of retailers are already getting ready for Christmas. Yes, there are stores already advertising their Christmas merchandise; so I thought I might as well get planning what I want, or maybe what Christmas gifts I’m getting for other people.

Here’s a great idea; a digital frame that sticks right to your fridge. You can load it up with a bunch of photos and get them to run a slideshow of your loved ones.

Or how about a Laser Cosmos, a projection unit that can display a magnificent stellar display in your room.

Both these items are in the Christmas gifts section on I Want One Of Those. Check them out, there’s a great collection of stuff.

Want your camera fixed?

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Image via Wikipedia

Here’s an interesting service consisting of a company that will fix your camera; they fix any camera anywhere in the world. The claim to have the fastest possible camera repair at the best possible price. I’ve had a quick skeet of their website and they indeed seem to support a huge variety of cameras. The thing that I find fascinating is that they can deal with your problem if you’re based in the US; but they can also deal with your problem if you’re based in Germany, France or even Estonia. How’s that for worldwide coverage?

It’s fascinating how technology today has managed to make the world a smaller place. Offering a world-wide service is no longer impossible, global brands like McDonalds are pretty common place and people are quite happy to move from one country to the other for work, pleasure or even a change of lifestyle. Interesting times huh?

What’s in an online casno?

Here’s an interesting thought. What does it take to run an online casino? Well, obviously you need a website, and a good one at that, but you also need a team manning phones, content editors and marketeers. You also need to operate within a legislative and taxation framework favourable to your activity of course (like in the Isle of Man *grin*); and you need a as you can see, it’s not just a website that you need.

It’s easy to do some research about Internet Casinos by visiting an aggregator like Online Casino Topic, a site which provides an exhaustive review of some of the best online casinos around, with insight on how the games work, what sign-up bonuses they offer and their payout percentage. The great thing about a website like this is that a plethora of different online gaming sites online, so it’s always good to do some research. They also offer reviews on US online casinos who are not fully accepting US players.

It’s an interesting industry, which to tell you the truth I haven’t been exposed to much; but there’s lots to read if you want to learn more about casinos online. Don’t just focus on the technology though; that’s interesting, but not where all the innovation is happening. Look at the operational elements, the back office, the money trails and the people who actually make the site work. That’s where the interesting stories lie.