Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quantum leaps

There's no feeling quite as satisfying.

You take an age shuffling the chequers around the board, and then with one final move... whammo... a veritable hop, skip and jump over a bunch of obstacles that propels you to the next level.

This is how I feel today... now... having spent a long, exhausting, but ultimately hugely rewarding day with IT specialist James from the West Midlands National B2B Centre initiative looking at every aspect of the site and this blog, with a view to not just improving each in its own right, but then integrating them to make more than a simple sum of the parts.

Yet even despite this marathon, we barely scratched much of what the agenda had planned, and so here's hoping for another, equally rewarding session soon.

So what did we achieve? Well, let me count the ways...

Oh, Blogger, How Art Thou?

With all due deference to Larry and Sergey, Google may have some nifty kit, but they don't make it easy to use it all. Especially for an IT padawan like me, so it was almost reassuring to find James struggling on occasion, too. It was almost ironic, if reassuring, that he had to use Google to find forums that explained stuff waaaay better than Google Help or Forums did.

Several Easy Pieces

But persevering was worth it, as we managed to effect several, and better yet automated links between this blog on Blogger, my new Twitter feed, and also FaceBook.

With luck, and a fair wind, posting this will result in a version on both.. no hands!

At the moment it looks like it might be going to my personal Facebook rather than the Group, but James is sussing out a fix on that.

Doing 'Da Biz

Of course we are not just looking at the civvy end of the street, but also the B2B one, too. So now we have also created a complementary Linkedin Group: 'Here's One I RE:made Earlier'. This I am hoping to complement the networking I need to do with the business community with and RE:tie, as the others serve the public audience. Top of the list for working on tomorrow!

And I am hoping it is a happy coincidence rather than potential for clashes, that another B2B network I'm on, Plaxo, has now hooked up with LinkedIn, too.

So in theory, so long as I keep the content useful, informative and entertaining, there is a good chance of reaching out, capturing and growing audiences via greater blog outreach too.

Direct To A Screen Near You

Speaking of which, it's now even easier to opt to get these various pearls of wisdom delivered fresh and toasty via either a feed or emails... your choice. Just check the new icons top right.

And, Finally, What A Site!

We even got cracking a bit on some additional functionality on the main site, too, though there's no way round what is a rather venerable, and hence creaking back-end system.

Most immediately, I have discovered how at least attach blog hyperlinks on some key areas, so readers who think that not much has happened since Emma sadly moved up in the world a few years ago might discover a veritable cornucopia of info has continued on since in complement here on Blogger ever since. And, with luck, the new activity this creates will help web crawlers log more activity. Try this. Mind you... memo to self... a link back to the site page!

And as computer guru David of sound-i, who inherited our system and keeps trying to coax another web 3.0 app out of a web 1.0 skeleton, has just failed to say no (though his 'Yeeeess' did seem to have a slightly furrowed brow attached), it seems there may also be functionality we can soon add to install better updated feeds, plus.... customisable ad management.

This latter will be a real plus if it can be done, enabling us to truly prove the flexibility of the ad system, especially in complement to the postcode location facility.

Hence we may soon realise my dream of being able to offer, say, an Autogas national brand ad on the LPG master category page, but then see individual postcode specific 'classifieds' for local converters appear as the viewer surfs on and is immersed in all the site can offer.


Upon reflection

I crank an eyebrow...

Obama's climate guru: Paint your roof white!

As a potential, simple, 'why not?', as this comes from the new President of the US's Secretary of Energy it has to be given a full and fair hearing.

However, I do wonder whether a full ground back to ground enviROI analysis for such a proposal has been carried out. Ignoring the aesthetics issues, the correct paint needs to be produced, applied... and maintained. Looking at an exterior wall to my property, after just a few years the paint is flaking, being subject to aggressive seasonable weather conditions.

So I, or blokes I hire, are to invest in regular multi-litre purchases of paint (what is its manufacture consequences?) to cover a pretty hefty area, on a regular lifetime basis? That's a lot of raw materials and man-hours.

I am also not so sure how many traditional tile materials will take to retroactive application of an alternative coating for which they were not designed.

What may be more productive is with built-in planning, whereby reflective tiles are manufactured and required to installed with new-builds and renovations.

Equally, as they seem to dig our road up four times a year, maybe the various authorities who get excited about such box-ticking efforts might like to ponder light(er) tarmac too?

And all farmers could be required to grow only year-round, light-foliage crops? Is an all rape diet practical?

Telegraph - Obama's green guru calls for white roofs

Guardian - White roofs and 'cool' cars - Obama's US energy secretary gives Prince Charles tips on tackling climate change

One thing I do note in all this is that the press release on this 'gathering' of 'great minds' has been pretty much run as is by most of the MSM. Not too encouraging on the calibre of science reporting and scrutiny in this arena.