Posted 19 September 2014, 1:00 am
Qatar Museums’ website has won a Silver Award for Best Cultural Experience at the fourth annual User Experience Awards. The User Experience Awards inspire technologists to create elegant, human-centred products that solve real customer problems. They ...
Experts will discuss ways that innovative design practices contribute to business thinking. Lead academics and design practitioners with extensive experience of working in commercial environments will explore the potential benefits of collaboration, ...
Posted 19 September 2014, 1:00 am
Recent growth prompts a new name and a new home for digital communications consultancy. Digital marketing and communications consultancy We Are All Connected recently changed its name and moved from rural Sussex into Brighton to accommodate the company’s ...
Posted 19 September 2014, 1:00 am
Last week we were lucky enough to attend Brighton SEO and watch some highly knowledgeable experts do their thing and share their genius to ensure that everyone stays on top of their game. We thought we’d share our roundup of some of the best talks from the day and the key takeaway points.
How to Leverage Content Curation in SEO – Aleyda Solis (@aleyda)
Aleyda Solis is an SEO consultant and entrepreneur with heaps of experience practicing SEO around the world. She presented a fascinating and informative session on how to leverage content curation and build links. She gave us loads of handy tips on how to discover and gather content ideas surrounding a specific subject matter.
Take home point: Good curation is not just reusing content; good curation adds value for consumers.
Check out her presentation for some valuable insight into creating valuable content.
Creativity and Thinking Skills can Dramatically Improve Your Online Marketing – Shelli Walsh (@shelliwalsh)
With over 18 years creative, marketing and business experience, Shelli certainly knows a thing or two about how to develop and action creative ideas and content strategies. A reserved yet charismatic speaker, she gave an illuminating talk on how to make the most of your creative side and cultivate ideas.
Take home point: Be insatiably curious and forever ask questions.
Be sure to check out her presentation to develop your creative streak.
Head of Organic Acquisition at uSwitch.com, Lukasz is responsible for the brand’s organic visibility, conversion rate, traffic and engagement. He therefore delivered an entertaining presentation on the importance of tracking effective visits over organic visits as it represents the quality of traffic a page is receiving and its value. He also listed a number of great tools to monitor this and turn your data into actionable processes.
Take home point: For predictable verticals use year on year comparison rather than month on month.
Have a look at his presentation for some great insight into organic search.
72% of Internet Users Don’t Speak English: International Outreach – Gisele Navarro (@ichbinGisele)
Gisele Navarro is the Head of Outreach at NeoMam Studios and has developed successful outreach strategies for clients ranging from The United Nations to Macy’s. In our ever increasingly globalised society, international outreach is something that we will need to do more and more. She gave us some top tips for ensuring that your international outreach is successful.
Take home points: Outreach in English. Start with your best performing content in English, and don’t translate, interpret.
Advertising Analysis. Beyond the Numbers – Alexandra Tachalova (@AlexTachalova)
Alexandra is the Corporate Communication and Brand Manager for SEMrush and has a particular interest in customer relationship management and search engine marketing. At BrightonSEO she delved into the world of emotional triggers in ad copy, and by looking at the stats, she analysed the most effective terms for paid ads to improve click through rate.
Take home point: Using the phrase ‘now’ in ad copy has shown to have the highest impact on CTR.
Have a look at all the great stats she’s identified in her presentation.
For the final session all of the day’s speakers got on stage to share their top SEO tips. It was a great way to finish the day and gave everybody some ideas that they can implement easily when they get back to the office. Check out the video below.
Post from Apple Pie & Custard blog by SiteVisibility - An SEO Agency
Brighton SEO September 2014 – some of the best bits
Posted 18 September 2014, 4:10 pm
I've been running my "b:log" on WordPress since late 2006, but today I give you the node backed blog.
This is a two part blog post, the first covering why I moved, what I tried and a few of the high level issues I ran in to. Part two will cover some of the technical detail that goes in to running my blog on the new node platform.
These posts are not intended as walkthrough on how to do it yourself, but simply sharing my experience and bumps I ran into on the way, hoping to impart some useful knowledge along the way.
Over the years I've had all the injections of Viagra adverts and the like over and over and over. Whenever I want to change anything, I'd tend to give up, and for a few years now, I've really wanted the source of my blog posts available in (something like) github.
This post is about the move and how I run my blog now.
In a totally ideal world, I wanted:
- A fast blogging platform (not particularly for publishing, but for serving)
- Edit links for posts to go to github allowing anyone to make a suggested edit
- Archives and tag listings
- URLs would be customisable (because I have old URLs that I want to support)
- Could run on a free hosting platform like Heroku
- As a bonus, I could hack and improve the system
TL;DR here's the full source of my blog as it is today, on github: https://github.com/remy/remysharp.com/.
I knew that I wanted to move to a node backed platform. Ghost seemed like the best fit, and I've had the pleasure of meeting and listening to John O'Nolan and Hannah Wolfe speak about Ghost, and I complete buy into the philosophy.
Exporting WordPress posts (and pages) to Ghost was actually very simple (I used the developer version of Ghost locally).
The only bump in the road was the error messaging during the Ghost import was pretty vague. But checking the devtools console yielded the answer, a 324 from my server during the upload process. So I tweaked nginx to allow for larger files to be uploaded and bosh. Fixed.
The next trick was the comments - which Disqus seemed like the default that everyone moves to. Obviously nothing to do with Ghost, but this process was tricky. The best advice I can give if you're doing this and keep hitting failed imports is: validate the XML (w3c validator is just fine), and hand-fix the invalid XML.
Why I didn't stick with Ghost
For the record, I think Ghost is an excellent platform for most users, particularly if they're coming to blogging for the first time or wanting to shift away from WordPress.
However, being a developer I wanted to add a few custom tweaks, specifically I wanted an archive page, a handful of URL rewrite rules and a few of the Ghost ways of doing things weren't quite what I wanted.
One particular example is all my old WordPress posts had split markers in them which Ghost doesn't support. They do have support for creating excepts, but if you want HTML you can't (at time of writing) append a read more to the link.
I tried to contribute to the Ghost project, but I ended up going down a rabbit hole for what was effectively a tiny change (submitting a pull request to a Ghost dependency Downsize).
The (understandable) problem is that Hannah and the Ghost team are producing code that works in a great deal of environments and so a quick PR here and there are great, but I can understand why they're not merged in right away if at all: there's a much bigger picture to consider.
I thought about just forking Ghost and permanently running my own version, but there's a fairly big system to inherit when all I'm doing is serving pages...which I had done with Harp.js before.
So I made the jump to Harp.
Ghost to Harp
However, harp requires static markdown files, so I went about connecting to the Ghost database via sqlite3 and exporting each of these records out as a static HTML file, whilst building up the
_data.jsonfile required by harp to represent the metadata.
The code I used to convert is on github here: remy/ghost-harp. Disclaimer: I wrote this for my own database and requirements, so this may not work for you out of the box.
The conversion process is pretty simple, read the sqlite database, write to files. So I ended up with a folder structure like this:
. ├── harp.json └── public ├── _data.json ├── about.md ├── blog │ ├── 2007-moments.md │ ├── 8-questions-after-ie-pissed-the-community-off.md │ ├── _data.json │ ├── _drafts │ │ ├── _data.json │ │ ├── my-velveteen-rabbit.md │ │ └── why-i-prefer-mobile-web-apps-to-native-apps.md │ ├── a-better-twitter-search.md │ ├── wordpress-tagging-and-textmate.md │ └── youre-paying-to-speak.md ├── talks.md └── twitter.md
Some contents are going to be in HTML, but Ghost seemed to put my HTML posts in the markdown column (and since it's valid, it doesn't really matter).
One significant tweak I made was to put the post title into the post itself. For example, if you look at the source about page, you'll see the title in the markdown. Ghost separates out the title and the body when you're editing, but I wanted a single markdown file.
The next task was to fire up harp and have it running from my newly generated
Now that all my content is in the
public/blogdirectory (via my little rewrite script) harp could serve my content. Using a simple (empty)
harp.jsonas the config, harp automatically knows to serve anything under
publicas the root of the site (i.e.
/blog/foowill serve the file
My specific requirements for using harp were:
- Serves static content (so I'd have to compile to static .html)
- Serves in production without the
- Support rewriting of URLs, so that I could maintain my original URL structure of
/<year>/<month>/<day>/<post>rather than pointing to
- I really wanted an archive, since I was simplifying a lot of my blog design, and losing a lot of navigation
In the end, I had to create my own custom
server.jsthat would run a bespoke router (I did use an existing library, but I needed changes, so I forked my own copy).
Harp certainly made things harder than using Ghost, but I had the flexability I needed.
I'm particularly proud of the archive page, partly because I managed to write it entirely with Jade (which over the years I'm slowly starting to warm to) and partly because I now have a page that lists all my posts since the first in 2006!
The version I'm running today satisfies all the goals I outlined at the start of the project, and more.
A few bonus features I built are:
- I can add
/editto any page to quickly jump to github to edit (along with edit links being on all the posts)
- All the old demos and uploads from my WordPress site are hosted on Amazon S3 and redirected to via my
- My development environment is slightly different to production, such as drafts are visible and the disqus comments are removed
The one thing I'd like harp to be better at would be knowing what to regenerate. Due to this my release process involves rebuilding the entire blog site (~300 posts) and then pushing the changes to github and then heroku (where I'm now hosting my blog) - though this is effectively an rsync, so it's not everything that goes up.
The final product
The final product and platform consists of:
- Statically generated content in
- Source control in github
- Production is hosted on a single dyno on Heroku
- Using dnsimple for
ALIAShosting to the heroku instance (so I can serve "naked" domains)
- CloudFlare fronts the production blog
- The release process is a bash-like makefile that does all the compiling and revisioning for me
So my whole release process for this blog post is now:
$ make release-patch publish
And boom, just like that, you're reading the post!
In part 2, I'll explain some of the code that's used to drive my blog and some of the tricks I had to use to get harp to play exactly the way I wanted.
Posted 18 September 2014, 1:00 pm
WriteClub, the informal networking group for all kinds of writers, turns 5 today!
If you would like to meet other writers and talk about all kinds of stuff, such as:
- writing fiction
- copy writing
- and much more, then you should head along to a WriteClub. Absolutely everyone is welcome at WriteClub. We’re all people who either write stuff or think about writing stuff, but there’s no limit on who comes along. For a long while two of our most dedicated members were artists!
WriteClub meets in London and Brighton. Find all the details on WriteClub.net
Posted 18 September 2014, 9:19 am
Nodes 2 definitely one of my favourites!
Hi everyone, I was asked by CreativBloq to give a list of 5 of my favourite Motion graphics Plugins for After Effects, so I was happy to oblige read about them here
Posted 17 September 2014, 9:42 am
In this week’s Internet Marketing Podcast Andy talks to Dave Jackson about all things podcasting. Dave Jackson runs the School of Podcasting and has been making podcasts for close to 10 years. They discuss how podcasting has evolved since its conception, and how it is now much more accessible for listeners, with Apple set to make it an integral part of their software and podcast apps like Stitcher booming. Dave then chats about how to make money from podcasting and gives some top tips for those looking to start their own podcast.
Post from Apple Pie & Custard blog by SiteVisibility - An SEO Agency
How’s podcasting doing lately? – Dave Jackson – Podcast Episode #262
Posted 16 September 2014, 11:00 am
I’ve written some seven posts about writing tools, and they’ve been very popular.
Now’s the time to show you how my favoured tools go together into my blogging workflow.
Here’s how I write a blog post – it’s a balance between simplicity (fewest number of apps) and speed of writing (the most efficient writing environment).
Stage 1: Capturing ideas
More on this: Content Inspiration. How Do You Get Ideas For Writing.
- Drafts app on iPad and iPhone – ideas can be transferred straight into Evernote with or without Markdown
- Evernote on Macs – the Quick Note tool on the toolbar is great for this.
Stage 2: Scheduling blog posts
When I want to plan my next blog posts I go through my WFS Ideas Notebook in Evernote looking for ideas that match up with my list of target key phrases.
If I don’t have key phrase research to match an idea I want to write about, I do a quick bit of research.
I then put the post title into my WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin.
Stage 3: Writing the copy
This is where iA Writer comes in. For blog posts, I don’t write a detailed outline – perhaps just the main headline and one or two subheads, and a few bullet points.
More on this: Writing Tools Part 7: iA Writer.
Sometimes I start the ’s*** first draft’ on my laptop while listening to music – or sometimes even in front of the TV. Or having a free espresso in Waitrose – good coffee and wi-fi guys!
But normally, it’s full-screen on my iMac. At the moment, iA Writer is simply the quickest way of producing words I know. It’s such a pleasure to use that I’m writing more content.
Occasionally, I get it right in one session. Normally, though, I put it aside and come back to it later. That means I have a few drafts in development, sitting up in iCloud, so I can flesh out a draft on my iPad or review one on my iPhone.
Stage 4: Proofing, editing and tweaking
Once I’m happy with the draft, I print it out and work on it with fresh eyes and a pen. I go back to iA Writer and make the changes.
I then cut an paste into WordPress, where I add images, check formatting and do any last minute editing and proofing.
What’s your workflow for blog posts?
Thanks to Adam Baker for making his image available.
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Posted 16 September 2014, 11:00 am
[Blog] Wired Sussex Digital Media News: Cardiac Comedy 2 A fantastic night of stand up comedy in aid of the British heart foundationCardiac Comedy 2 A Fantastic night of comedy all in aid of the British Heart Foundation. 24th September 2014 Doors open at 7.00pm show starts at 8.00pm Tickets from Komedia website or Box office 4 top comics plus MC "A cracking night ...
Posted 16 September 2014, 1:00 am
Last week I read Jong-Moon Kim's essay on what he felt could have been better about Tim Cook's product unveiling and how Steve Jobs would have done it better. On reading the essay I initially felt uneasy and morbid, but since then I've been unable to shake off the content.
Whilst I don't deny the essay is an interesting piece of writing and I don't want to take anything away from the creative execution of the concept, I think it's in real danger of overlooking the fact that it's pure fiction. The characters and events in the essay are real enough, but the contents of the essay is total pulp.
I agree that Apple's current product strategy is confusing and I also agree that the product launch left me with mixed feelings. However to suppose that anything is worse for Apple now than before, is a huge leap of imagination. Firstly many people I know at Apple are much more optimisitic under Tim Cook's leadership. Although Jobs will always be recognised as a icon in the tech world, he was not renowned for being a brilliant manager. What we see on the exterior of Apple may not represent the seismic changes that have happened inside. With a product cycle that spans over at least 5 years, the output from Apple today is most likely the matters put in motion whilst Jobs was still at the helm. One thing is for sure; Apple don't make any moves without a forward facing strategy behind it. What seems defensive now, is most likely playing out over a longer timeframe than we can see.
Secondly the crux of this essay assumes that everything Jobs did was positively received. This is simply not the case. During his tenure at Apple Jobs undoubtedly launched some huge products, but the reception was not always warm. Following the iPhone launch journalists and industry observers lined up to point out the limited colours, the restricted networks and high prices. Equally the iPad was derided for its "awkward" size and social value, with many pundits calling it 'a failed attempt to recapture former brand glory'. Assuming it would have been better if Jobs had launched the same products is just revisionist history at its most destructive.
Lastly the idea of this essay turns Steve Jobs in to a fictional character. An icon maybe. But not something for the public to re-animate and fill with their own words. Imagining how Steve Jobs would think, speak an act, then dressing that up as a real event has seriously dark undertones and shows a huge lack of respect to his family, friends and colleagues.
Overall I would say that this essay does far more harm than good and is not contributing our industry in a way I'm at all comfortable with.
Posted 15 September 2014, 2:09 pm
There are no videos from this year’s dConstruct—you kind of had to be there—but Mandy’s talk works astoundingly well as a purely audio experience. In fact, it’s remarkable how powerful many of this year’s talks are as audio pieces. From Warren’s thoughtful opening words to Cory’s fiery closing salvo, these are talks packed so full of ideas that revisiting them really pays off.
That holds true for previous years as well—James Burke’s talk from two years ago really is a must-listen—but there’s something about this year’s presentations that really comes through in the audio recordings.
Then again, I’m something of a sucker for the spoken word. There’s something about having to use the input from one sensory channel—my ears—to create moving images in my mind, that often results in a more powerful experience than audio and video together.
We often talk about the internet as a revolutionary new medium, and it is. But it is revolutionary in the way that it collapses geographic and temporal distance; we can have instant access to almost any information from almost anywhere in the world. That’s great, but it doesn’t introduce anything fundamentally new to our perception of the world. Instead, the internet accelerates what was already possible.
Even that acceleration is itself part of a longer technological evolution that began with the telegraph—something that Brian drove home in in his talk when he referred to Tom Standage’s excellent book, The Victorian Internet. It’s probably true to say that the telegraph was a more revolutionary technology than the internet.
To find the last technology that may have fundamentally altered how we perceive the world and our place in it, I propose the humble gramophone.
On the face of it, the ability to play back recorded audio doesn’t sound like a particularly startling or world-changing shift in perspective. But as Sarah pointed out in her talk at last year’s dConstruct, the gramophone allowed people to hear, for the first time, the voices of people who aren’t here …including the voices of the dead.
Today we listen to the voices of the dead all the time. We listen to songs being sung by singers long gone. But can you imagine what it must have been like the first time that human beings heard the voices of people who were no longer alive?
There’s something about the power of the human voice—divorced from the moving image—that still gets to me. It’s like slow glass for the soul.
In the final year of her life, Chloe started publishing audio versions of some of her blog posts. I find myself returning to them again and again. I can look at pictures of Chloe, I can re-read her writing, I can even watch video …but there’s something so powerful about just hearing her voice.
I miss her so much.
Posted 13 September 2014, 2:09 pm
This article makes me feel happy and hopeful. The guardian is taking the design guides that it developed for its digital editions over in to the printed material.
Regardless of what you think of the design choices in here, the principle has to be admired.
Article via Design Week
Posted 12 September 2014, 1:30 pm
It was a problem because I’m no good at multi-tasking, and I focused all my energy on dConstruct (it more or less dominated my time for the past few months). That meant that something had to give and that something was the organising of Indie Web Camp.
The event itself went perfectly smoothly. All the basics were there: a great venue, a solid internet connection, and a plan of action. But because I was so focused on dConstruct, I didn’t put any time into trying to get the word out about Indie Web Camp. Worse, I didn’t put any time into making sure that a diverse range of people knew about the event.
So in the end, Indie Web Camp UK 2014 was quite a homogenous gathering. That’s a real shame, and it’s my fault. My excuse is that I was busy with all things dConstruct, but that’s just that; an excuse. On the plus side, the effort I put into making dConstruct a diverse event paid off, but I’ll know better in future than to try to organise two back-to-back events. I need to learn to delegate and ask for help.
But I don’t want to cast Indie Web Camp in a totally negative light (I just want to acknowledge how it could have been better). It was actually pretty great. As with previous events, it was remarkably productive. The format of one day of talks, followed by one day of hacking is spot on.
I’m looking forward to switching my website over to
https://but I’m not going to do it until the potential pain level drops.
Well, I’m afraid that potential pain level has not dropped. In fact, I can confirm that get TLS working is massive pain in the behind. But on the first day of Indie Web Camp, Tim Retout led a session on security and offered up his expertise for day two. I took full advantage of his generous offer.
With Tim’s help, I was able to get adactio.com all set. If I hadn’t had his help, it probably would’ve taken me days …or I simply would’ve given up. I took plenty of notes so I could document the process. I’ll write it up soon, but alas, it will only be useful to people with the same kind of hosting set up as I have.
By the end of Indie Web Camp, thanks to Tim’s patient assistance, quite a few people has switched on TSL for their sites. The https page on the Indie Web Camp wiki is turning into quite a handy resource.
Posted 12 September 2014, 1:13 am
Online office supplies retailer, Paperstone is launching its first ever affiliate marketing programme and has awarded digital marketing agency, iCrossing the business. iCrossing won the account following a competitive pitch earlier in the year. As ...
Posted 12 September 2014, 1:00 am
These photos are the most recent added to the BNM Flickr Photo pool.
This list of subject headings is generated from the last 50 posts made to the BNM mailing list which also had a response.
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[Bookmark] g4u - Harddisk Image Cloning for PCs
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