Consigned to history

I recently noticed a forgotten box in the loft as I retrieved the projector screen. It was my old 35m slide projector lying there forlorn and unused, having been overtaken by the technology which brought us Powerpoint.

I had forgotten how I used to prepare a slideshow in the 80s.

35mm_slide_projectorIn a touch of nostalgia let me just run through the process. First of all the slides were all photographed using a 35mm SLR camera and slide film such as Kodachrome, Fujichrome or Agfachrome. Slides were duplicated using (not surprisingly) a slide duplicator which was fitted in place of the lens and using daylight or a flash gun as a light source. Composite pictures were taken by over-exposing the component images and creating a montage within the duplicator. Graphs were hand drawn and then photographed. Text was created using Letraset rub-on lettering on coloured board. All the slides were then mounted and had to be “spotted” and numbered so that you could insert them into the carousel correctly, upside down and reverse side towards the projector bulb. You might use glass protection to stop the slides “popping” with the heat from the bulb and going out of focus.

The worst thing that could then happen was that you dropped the slide carousel, the (supposedly) locking lid came off, scattering the slides everywhere and you were due to perform in two minutes time.

Oh, happy days!

What old technology do you remember that has (thankfully) been overtaken by new technology and pensioned off to the darker recesses of your loft?

 

Other beerbuses are available

I wrote in praise of the 770 #beerbus but let’s not forget that other buses and beer festivals are available, such as the 14th May’s Tockwith Festival, back after a year off. You can catch the X70 or 412 service from Wetherby

You can visit Tockwith’s website here

Bardsey’s Beer Festival takes place on 19th March. Here’s a link to their Facebook page You can get there on the X98 and X99 buses.


 

Need a website? Have a look at the Beer Festival portal which offers a complete website and social media package wthout the need to pay for hosting or a domain name.

Click on the image below:-

screenshot_bf


 

Click on the image below to go to a legacy beer festival website:-

cropped-BF21

 

Instant Everywhere

For many, reading on the mobile web is a slow, clunky and frustrating experience – but it doesn’t have to be that way. The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project is an open source initiative that embodies the vision that publishers can create mobile optimized content once and have it load instantly everywhere.

This is the introduction to the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project, an open source initiative to speed up access to the Internet on mobile phones by providing stripped-down content that will load faster over a slower mobile phone signal. Not surpisingly Google is involved and it seems to be a natural progression from last April’s campaign to ensure that websites are mobile-friendly, even penalising non-compliant websites by downgrading their SERPs ranking.

Want to ensure that your website meets this standard? Speak to your website designer (or your ISP if you use a drag-and-drop design service such as Wix).

If you want your WordPress site to be compliant get in touch and I’ll explain how you can do it and ensure that your site’s SEO doesn’t suffer either.

You can view the mobile version of this page here

#shouldhaveusedwordpress

In praise of the 770 #beerbus

Transdev operate the 770 bus service between Harrogate and Leeds on a daily basis, nicknamed the beerbus because you can travel on it to numerous beer festivals in the course of a year.

These include:-

Harrogate Round Table – 4th-6th February, 2016

Harrogate Town AFC – probably May, 2016

Spofforth – 11th and 12th March, 2016

Wetherby Lions – 28th May, 2016

Boston Spa – 19th and 20th February, 2016

Clifford – 25th June, 2016

Bramham – probably October, 2016

Thorner – probably April, 2016

Leeds – 8th to 11th September, 2016

You can view and download a timetable here (but do bear in mind to check any changes since this article was written on 23rd February, 2016)

Are you planning a beer festival in the area? Tell us the dates.

Need a website? Have a look at the Beer Festival portal which offers a complete website and social media package wthout the need to pay for hosting or a domain name.

Click on the image below:-

screenshot_bf

Click on the image below to go to a legacy beer festival website:-

cropped-BF21

 

Live-Code sites with Chrome dev tools

Edit HTML and CSS with Chrome Dev Tools.

Following on from my two previous blogs about Child Themes for WordPress here’s news about an article published in .Net magazine’s November 2015 issue. Written by Caner Uguz, its shows you how to use Chrome Developer Tools’ CSS and HTML features to try out different layouts.

In principle it’s similar to the techniques I described in my Child Theme articles but Caner suggests that it is a useful techniques to give immedite previews, especially when sitting before a customer. He even describes how you can save these changes to your actual development files.

Caner has created a video to go with the magazine article. You can view it here:

https://netm.ag/chromevid-273

You can also visit his website

wetherbyweb_screenshot

 

Child themes part two

One of the points that I didn’t mention in my Child Themes blog article was the fact that, if you create a child theme any alterations you make aren’t overwritten if the parent theme is updated by the author or by WordPress.

This is a danger if you make any alterations solely to the parent theme.

TalkTalk hack was a SQL injection

The latest news from the BBC and their technical editor Rory Cellan-Jones:-

Analysis: Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC technology editor

The company first indicated that the “sustained” attack was a DDoS, a distributed denial of service attack where a website is bombarded with waves of traffic.

That did not seem to explain the loss of data, and later TalkTalk indicated that there had also been what is known as an SQL injection.

This is a technique where hackers gain access to a database by entering instructions in a web form. It is a well known type of attack and there are relatively simple ways of defending against it.

Many security analysts were stunned by the idea that any major company could still be vulnerable to SQL injection. (My highlight)

Read the whole article here

 

Child themes

As you gain experience and confidence in using WordPress you may want to try new techniques such as theme design and plugin development.

Theme design is probaby the one you will start with.

You can learn how to create a theme from the ground up but there is a method that has a lower learning curve and provides you with a safety net along the way – that’s child themes.

The way it works is that your parent theme will read the css in your style file and prepare the layout. However if it then detects a child theme it will read the css it contains and will overwrite the parent theme’s css where appropriate.

As ever there are a number of techniques to simplify this procedure, including a clever plugin to create and edit child themes.

There are a number of advantages of a child theme:-

Requirements to build a child theme

  1. A live WordPress website
  2. A current theme that you want to use as the parent theme
  3. An installation of the plugin Orbisius child them creator
  4. An installation of the Firefox Developer edition browser on your computer
  5. An Internet connection

For this blog I am going to use a website I have already mentioned, harrogateaccessplatforms.co.uk and the Vantage theme.

The first step when logged into the Admin screen is to go to Appearance->Orbisius Child Theme Creator and from Available parent themes choose the one you want. Tick all three boxes and then click ‘Create Child Theme’.

Orbisius creator screenshot

Orbisius child theme creator screenshot

Now go to the site by clicking on ‘Visit site’ which will drop down when you hover your cursor over the site name top left next to the Home icon.

Now right click on the white background and choose ‘Inspect element’ from the drop down menu. Two sections will open up at the bottom of the page, html on the lift and css on the right. Find #masthead and {background followed by a circle. Click on the circle and choose a colour from the colour scheme which opens (I chose red #F64414). The masthead shoud now have changed to red.

HAP header in red

Now copy the css from #masthead to the curly bracket after border-box;

#masthead {
background: #F64414 none repeat scroll 0% 0%;
padding: 0px 35px;
box-sizing: border-box;
}

Go back to the site’s dashboard, choose Appearance -> Orbisius Theme editor. On the left is a text area called style.css. Scroll to the bottom and add the css copied from the browser #masthead to border-box;}. Click the teaxt area’s Save button.

Red header with white text

Now go back to your browser where the masthead is red and the grey text ‘Working at height’ would show up better if it was white. Highlight the text, right click and choose ‘Inspect element’. On the right you will find a css section beginning ‘#masthead .hgroup .support-text’. Scroll down to color, click on the circle and chnage the colour to white or #FCF7F7.

Copy the section:-

#masthead .hgroup .support-text {
line-height: 1.2em;
position: absolute;
right: 0px;
top: 50%;
margin-top: -0.6em;
color: #FCF7F7;
max-width: 50%;
font-size: 2em;
}

Paste it into the text area of style.css after clicking on Appearance -> Orbisius theme editor and again save it. Visit the site again and you now have a red masthead with white text.

Orbisius theme editor

In this way you can work through a site changing all manner of properties such as font, font size, font colour, background colour of the masthead, body, pages and posts.

As I wrote earlier, compare sflicker.co.uk and harrogateaccessplatforms.co.uk. They both use the Vantage theme but as you can see they can be completely changed with the techniques described above.

I hope this post has been useful.

Get in touch if you have any questions.

Mobile friendly websites

You’re aware of the April deadline by Google where they said that after the 21st their rankings would take into account whether your website was mobile friendly or not and if it wasn’t they would downgrade your site.

Unfortunately there are still designers who are providing new sites that don’t pass Google’s test.

Make sure yours isn’t one of them – Check here

I collect buts

Have you noticed how many sentences involving websites include the word ‘but’ somewhere near the middle of the sentence? Well, just as other people collect butterflies I collect these ‘buts’, deal with them humanely then mount them on a pin and add them to my collection. Here are a few examples:-

  1. “I like my website design BUT I think the background colour should be a bit lighter
  2. “I want to blog, Facebook and tweet BUT I just don’t have time for all three”
  3. “I like WordPress BUT I’m worried about security”
  4. “My website describes my products and services BUT I want to be able to sell them online too”

Here’s how I dealt with these ‘buts’:-

  • “I’ll just add a bit of css to the sylesheet to lighten the background”
  • “There’s a plugin that automatically publishes your blog articles to Facebook and Twitter. I’ll add it to your site”
  • “There’s a security plugin which detects brute force login attacks on your website and blocks them. It will block individuals, networks and even countries”
  • “Secure online shopping is a feature of modern WordPress websites and is so popular that WordPress bought the company offering the main software used for online shopping”

So, bring me your ‘buts’ and I’ll add them to my collection.

No ‘buts’ were hurt in the writing of this article.

 

Free Business Advice

With every wetherbyweb website you will receive free business advice.

How can I offer this?

Simple!

Before becoming a full-time web designer I clocked up more than four decades as an export sales and marketing manager with more than a dozen companies. I left each one with higher profits or or higher turnover (or both) than when I started.

I also managed a German subsidiary company for two years, bringing it back to breakeven after a long period of lossmaking.

Even if my product experience doesn’t directly relate to your activities it shows how I can adapt to the demands of widely differing markets.

So ask me for a website and I’ll throw in the business advice for free.

Read more at wetherbyweb.com/ideas-2

A beer festival promotions concept that works

Are you planning a new beer festival and looking for a winning formula?

wetherbyweb can offer an integrated package comprising a CMS website, Facebook page and Twitter account that combine to attract sponsors prior to the event and visitors on the day.

The CMS (Content Management System)  uses WordPress to provide a website that can be managed easily with little prior experience, includes an easy-to-update Blog to keep your followers up to date and feeds your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) with news and updates automatically.

All for a cost of less than a £1 a day. Your domain name comprises yourname.beerfestival.co and there are no additional hosting fees.

Here are the viewing figures for the years 2012 – 2014, showing how site visits peak in the run up to the festival:-

Beer festival viewing figures

See what a succesful site looks like at wetherby.beerfestival.co