Musings of a Manchester Drupal guy

Drupal, Open Source, Analytics, Social Media.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Everyone knows my birthday and mothers maiden name you idiots!

As Sony owns up to a major hack join the long list of major corporations to announce security breeches, isn't it about time web sites decided to stop using easy to acquire credentials like mothers maiden name and birthday as challenges / password reminders? With so many recent hacks, few people can be sure their private data is not in the public domain. As a customer, I am sure my data is no longer private. Whilst devices like Barclays PINSenty are frustrating to use, they are far more secure than using easily hacked strings, memorable places and dates.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Who needs overseas when this is on your doorstep?

Seeking to avoid the madding crowds of the Easter Lake District I headed for the tranquil bliss of Buttermere. On Sunday the lake was like a mill pond. Walking along the lake shores you are surrounded by some of the most outstanding scenery I've seen, anywhere. Relatively unspoilt by commercialism, the valley retains everything which people first explored the Lake District for. Solitude, stunning unspoilt landscapes and clean air free from traffic noise. My idea of heaven.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Hidden gem - Under Skiddaw garden centre

If Keswick is feeling too busy an full of loopy tourists, I will in to a secret escape. Just minutes drive from the town centre is a fab little garden centre with a very specisl little cafe. Head for Underskiddaw, its on the right.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Make shift tent for kids


Inspired by Ray Mears, ive taken some rope and tied it to the tree, attached it to a garden cane and then tensioned the remaining length as a guy rope at an angle. Next i attached a second guy and tensioned.

The cover is a canvas 3m x 2m from an army surplus store with eylets in, peg tight and enjoy!

Maybe make paper flags and staple on pole or guy ropes as an extra activity.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Little Chef / McDonalds caption competition

Friday, April 15, 2011

Churchyard, Oxford University


Birdsong and utter peace, perfect escape from the city bustle. Wonderful city to explore nooks and crannies.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Celebrating a year in Manchester

Livelink have had a fantastic first year in Manchester. Time for cake! Any excuse. Thanks

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Monday, April 11, 2011

One of the most ambitious, inspirational new gardens on the planet

The Highline Project in New York is transforming what one was a derelict and baron overhead railway line into an ultra modern inspirational public space. With influential dutch Piet Ouldolf garden designer conceiving the layout these new high level landscapes promise top be a significant new landmark.


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Chester Zoo - how not to conduct web visitor surveys


This invasive web survey is slap bang in the middle of the buying process and asks questions of the very item it immediately blocks from view. Whilst polling opinion is a valuable source of customer feedback, web site owners should never forget that gathering this information is secondary to the buying process. The customer should have time to be reassured their purchase was successful before hitting them in the face with a dialogue.

An alternative is to fire an email linking to a web survey immediately the order is complete. This will stay in the customers in box, reminding them to fill the survey. The example above could not be adequately filled in because it asks questions of the confirmation email which could not have arrived by the time the form is presented. Think harder Chester Zoo.


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Saturday, April 09, 2011

Chester Zoo Brilliant! - Save 5% by booking online


Chester Zoo has been transformed in recent years, many more improvements over the winter too. Several new exhibits including wild dogs and much better meerkats enclosure. Baby elephant too!

This trip we booked online which saved queues on arrival, just scanned the print out and go. Yes, print out! Whilst there is no mention on the web site, you do need a printer in order to pre book online. This caused a bit of stress as we don't have one. Apart from that, a great service and one of the best days out in Cheshire.

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Friday, April 08, 2011

£750 Raised for Red Cross New Zealand Earthquake Fund - Massive thanks to everyone!


A couple of weeks have passed, and after our initial donation from our generous sponsors we have just added another £120 after a very successful cake sale at St Michaels church in Macclesfield playgroup last Thursday. So in total we've managed to attract £750 of support, way beyond our wildest expectations.

The run was held in Warrington, grandparent to the rescue to look after Amy, whilst Kathryn and I had a very enjoyable 6.3 mile (OK it was nearly 7 but don't tell Kathy!) in perfect cool sunny conditions.

We've posted regular news on the Rise Up Christchurch Facebook Group which clearly had an uplifting impact on a lot of people over there. We received well wishes from Kiwis around the globe. So not only did we raise a lot of money but lifted spirits too.

So thanks once again, wonderful friends, colleagues and people we didn't even know from far flung places around the globe. You are great!

Paul and Kathryn

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Detailed report about CMS Market Share 2010 including Drupal, Joomla, Wordpress

As a manager of a Drupal based digital agency I found this extensive PDF report about CMS Market Share for 2010 by well worth a read. Some telling insights about where certain platforms are succeeding and failing to perform.

Drupal has some ground to cover regarding its ability to convert users during the evaluation process. Wordpress continues to dominate market share across most metrics. 

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Manchester Central in sun


Contrary to popular belief the sun does shine up North

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

50 Major brands data hacked, are you next? What should marketers do?

Today Mashable report that Epsilon have been hacked resulting in over 50 major US brands having client data compromised. In recent weeks emailed customers informing them that the security of customer names and email address had been breeched whilst stored on a third party system (Silverpop). BBC and The Guardian both reported on this story and handled the breach well by reporting it quickly to customers and advising them of the risks of phishing.

With the increased sophistication of email marketing software most companies rely upon third party partners to deliver solutions, each one is under attack from hackers, no-one is safe.

What should marketers do?

Don't assume you are safe, challenge all your third party vendors for a security audit. Marketers should be aware of the likelihood that data will be compromised and plan for this eventuality, have an emergency communication strategy in place. This should include email, social media and announcements on web sites. With social media prevalent in most peoples lives bad news travels fast. Consider employing social media monitoring tools like Radian6, these may give you early warnings of a breech. Smaller companies might consider Raven Tools or Google Alerts (less so).


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Friday, April 01, 2011

Revealed -> VERY interesting famous to connect to on LinkedIn - catch them quick!

Today a number of significant individuals joined LinkedIn. Make connections with them before this feature is removed.


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