Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Bit Torrent Study Discovers Most File Sharers Are Now Monitored

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Ever heard of torrents or used Bit Torrent to download movies, music or shared files over the internet? Researchers have discovered that anyone who does use Bit Torrent to download files over the World Wide Web will most probably be monitored.

Studies were carried out by Birmingham University and they have discovered that if someone downloads a movie or a file using Bit Torrent then this would be logged by a monitoring firm within hours of the download. Birmingham University researchers were shocked at the level of monitoring undertaken.

The findings also revealed that the monitoring did not differentiate between someone who is a hardcore downloader or someone who downloads little and are new to file sharing. Also the more popular the content or file is the more frequent file is going to be monitored.

Copyright owners are using monitoring firms to collect IP address to apply for court orders and talking to Internet Service Providers to hand over residential addresses to them.

This certainly is geared to crack down on illegal file sharing and companies who are losing millions to people who file share over the internet. With also the news of the co-owner of Pirate Bay arrested in Cambodia it is almost certain that file sharing over the internet is at a all time low.

How To Build a Mobile Website

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

In the last couple of years, the use of mobile web has increased considerably to the stage where it can no longer be ignored by web designers and developers. This is being fuelled by cheaper data services and faster mobile connections in wealthy countries. In developing nations a large increase has been seen where people are going straight to mobile phones.

The introduction of mobile websites means that mobile development is more than cross-browser as there are a vast number of mobile devices available which makes it very difficult for thorough testing. Each device can also use different mobile web browsers. For example an Android phone can have Firefox Mobile or Opera Mini installed. As long as a progressive browser is used then it will be fine.

Also the development of the mobile web has reintroduced some issues that have been ignored in the past. These issues include bandwidth which affects mobile users and the reduced screen size which presents a problem for layout sizes. To deal with these issues we are going to talk about how to get around them:

Implementing mobile stylesheets

This is the first step for adding mobile support to a website by including a stylesheet to adjust the CSS for mobile websites.

Server-side Methods & The UA String

One method of implementing mobile stylesheets is to use a server-side language to detect the user agent string. This technique allows sites to detect mobile devices and either uses and appropriate stylesheet or redirects to a mobile domain such as m.facebook.com. This approach has some advantages: it allows a website to display special content to mobile users and guarantees a high level of compatibility.

Client-side Methods & Media Queries

The easiest method involves client side detection of the mobile device. This can be achieved by taking advantage media queries, which will target the styles to the width of the device. As most mobile devices have smaller screens, devices can be targeted by detecting screens that are 480px or smaller.

<link rel="stylesheet" href="mobile.css" media="only screen and (max-device width:480px)"/>

This method targets newer mobile devices but media queries aren’t supported by many older devices, so a hybrid approach will need to be taken to reach a bigger audience.

Firstly, two stylesheets will need to be defined, one for normal browsers and another to hide elements from mobile browsers. These will then need to be linked in a third stylesheet. Finally, another stylesheet will need to be created for additional mobile device styling.

What To Change With Mobile Stylesheets

Now that mobile stylesheets have been implemented, we can now decide what styles we want to change.

Increase & Alter Screen Space

The aim of mobile stylesheets is to change the layout for a smaller screen. This means reducing layouts with multiple columns to a single column and horizontal space also becomes ‘expensive’ so mobile layouts can rarely have more than one column for content. The next stage will be to reduce clutter by adding display: none; on elements that are less important.

Reduce Bandwidth

Reducing the bandwidth is essential for slower mobile networks. This can be done by replacing or removing large background images and setting display: none; on any images in the content that are unnecessary. Another way to reduce bandwidth is to replace the navigation with plain text and css if images are used.

Other Things to Consider

In addition to stylesheets, there are a few special mobile features that can be added in to the HTML.

Clickable Phone Numbers

All mobile devices have a phone so we can make phone numbers clickable. To do this you can use the code below:

<a href="tel:441788513408" class="phone-link">01788 513 408</a>

With this snippet of code, mobile users can just click the number and call it. This link will be clickable whether it is viewed on a mobile or a computer but depending on the method of detection a class can be added to hide that it is clickable. The phone-link class can be used to disable clicking in the normal stylesheet and enabled in the mobile stylesheet.

Special Input Types

Another concern with mobile browsing is the difficulty of typing compared to a standard keyboard. This can be made easier by taking advantage of some HTML5 input types:

<input type="tel" />
<input type="email" />

Using these input types will allow devices such as the iPhone to display a keyboard that is appropriate for the input type. The above code type=”tel” will display the numeric keypad to be able to enter phone numbers and type=”email” will show a keypad with the @ and . buttons.

Conclusion

As the shift to mobile continues across the globe, support for handheld devices will become more important. Hopefully this article has given you the necessary toolkit and the desire to create better mobile support for your websites.

Why Google Chrome is better than Firefox?

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Mozilla Firefox is one of the most used browsers today and since it was released about 10 years ago, millions of users across the world have downloaded and installed it. Features such as extensions, tabbed browsing, pop-up blocker and a search box were introduced when Firefox was released.

We used to be dedicated Firefox users for years as we never liked Internet Explorer and thought that Firefox was the best browser until we discovered Google Chrome then we decided to make the switch over to Chrome.

We made the switch to Chrome as the newest version of Firefox was just too slow to load and it kept freezing up on us every so often which got annoying but with Chrome, everything loads up much faster and we haven’t had any problems since.

Here are some reasons why Chrome is better than Firefox:

Faster loading:

Chrome starts up a lot quicker compared to Firefox and it takes up less resources which also helps with the speed of using Chrome.

Automatic updates:

This feature of Chrome is very convenient as the updates are automatic and don’t require any intervention from users. With Firefox you have to manually install each update. Automatic updates are very important for web browsers which is why this is a great feature.

Better Web Standards:

Chrome’s compliance for web standards is at 99% compared to Firefox which is about 80% making Chrome better for web design.

Stability:

This is the main reason we moved to Chrome because Firefox would crash when trying to open any website. With Chrome, we can access all websites without it crashing all the time. The reason why Chrome is more stable is because it has a separate memory process for each tab. If a tab does crash, it will only affect that tab and won’t crash the entire browser.

Chrome Developer Tools:

With Chrome, there is no need to install an extension to be able to inspect elements and make on-the-fly changes to the coding of a website. Chrome developer tools allow web developers to inspect each element of a home page, see what javascript is causing errors, make changes to live code and so much more.

Google Chrome is becoming more and more popular than Firefox due to the better add on compatibility and the reasons above, so if you haven’t made the switch already we would highly recommend you do so you can enjoy the features and benefits of Chrome.

Google Drive vs Dropbox

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

As a web design company we need to find clever ways to make our lives easier and enable us to become more efficient web designers.

A couple of years ago we used to exhaust our email space with our customers constantly emailing us images, text documents or sending us very big zip files. In some cases we had our customers post CD, USB or DVD’s to us and in some cases we had to go and get the data directly from their door step.

Then we discovered Dropbox which is a free service that helped us bring store all images, documents, videos etc anywhere on multiple computers and mobile devices. We used a great feature which allowed all of our web designers to share files with one another whilst having our own space to store personal or private data.

We encouraged all of our clients to sign up to Dropbox which helped us to accumulate more free storage space as we would introduce more people to Dropbox. Dropbox’s ethos was all about sharing hence it was very easy and simple to share with other people and with multiple computers or mobile devices which was exactly what we needed. We recently had a hard drive failure on one of our iMac’s but the web designer simply logged on to another machine and connected to their Dropbox and continued with their work.

The new buzz today in our office is the release of Google Drive. Unfortunately for me I am disappointed that the emphasis is not on gaining free space as you introduce more people to Google Drive like Dropbox but I guess Google does not need any help getting to the top. There are a couple of advantages to Google Drive which are:

  • Google are generous giving us 5gb of space in the first space.
  • Google Drive is lighting fast because hardly anyone is one there hence it beats slow speeds of Dropbox.
  • Google Drive will be cheaper to use in the long run as they can operate at a full loss to steal Dropbox’s business or customers.
  • $20 a month is peanuts to back up commercial work hence Google Drive might be a serious business storage solution for many companies.
  • Google Drive offers a good disaster recovery solution for business and personal use.

Some disadvantages to consider:

  • Google Drive has no app yet for the mobile device like Drop Box
  • Google Drive is unproven because apart from Google Maps and Analytics who uses Google Plus?
  • Dropbox will allow you to accumulate free space (upto 16gb) if you introduce people via email, Twitter, Facebook whilst Google Drive does not have this feature.

I personal conclusion is to stick with Dropbox but there is no harm in having both! If you want us to design your website for you today then call us today on Bristol: 01179 000 482 or Cardiff: 02920 290 080. We are an established web design company based near Bristol and Cardiff.

Firefox 4 Beta

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Mozilla have released the first beta version of Firefox 4. The latest version of this browser will include better support for many of the new web technologies, a new add on manager, crash protection from third party plugins and accelerated hardware support. (more…)

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If you have any questions about our services or want to arrange a free no obligation consultation contact us today or call 02920 290 080 for Cardiff and 01179 000 482 for Bristol.

Bit Torrent Study Discovers Most File Sharers Are Now Monitored

Ever heard of torrents or used Bit Torrent to download movies, music or shared files over the internet? Researchers have discovered that anyone who does use Bit Torrent to download files over the World Wide Web will most probably be monitored. Studies were carried out by Birmingham University and they have discovered that if someone [...]
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