open source software

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 August 2014 07:28 Written by Ed Beckmann Tuesday, 23 October 2012 02:55

What is Open Source Software (OSS)?

There is a good definition guidance on wikipedia here, but here is our version. Sadly if you are in the UK, you are amongst the least likely people in Europe or the US to have heard about it. All of the software used for our business is open source (i.e. not Microsoft or Apple).

Open Source Software is generally available free of charge and exists because:

  1. it normally runs on most hardware, and is particularly efficient so you keep hardware for longer
  2. you (or someone you hire) can alter the way the program works to suit your needs
  3. being able to alter it means that you can benefit from everyone else’s ideas and improvements – you do not have to wait for what one manufacturer deems is a worthwhile annual upgrade
  4. you can often benefit from a very niche programme that someone has written because their business needs it, but is happy to share it thus share the workload of maintenance
  5. for office work there are few problems exchanging documents, spreadsheets and presentations with the main big name. Unlike your problems when people using newer versions force you to upgrade!

It can often take a while for the penny to drop regarding open source, because it is common in business not to share ideas with others (therefore missing out on their input) or give something away with no strings attached rather than sell it. Likewise it is much easier to stick with the norm rather than make your own decisions.

Well, over half the web runs on open source software, as do most car computers and electronic devices like TVs, DVDs etc. You are likely to have heard of Firefox and Opera browsers which are also open source.

It is true that fewer companies at the small business end of the market support open source, but given they can do almost all of your maintenance remotely you do not need one in every high street. Equally be aware that if you ask an “IT expert” about open source you may not get a balanced view – just like going into a Ford garage and asking what they think of Renault cars.

more details here …


We are still a commercial business, so if a piece of proprietary software is the best tool for the job, we will use it! We just do not limit ourselves to one option or 2 big brands.

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Cost of using Internet Explorer 7 (IE7)

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 August 2014 07:28 Written by Ed Beckmann Thursday, 18 October 2012 02:40

Why Upgrade from IE7

An online retailer is imposing a tax on customers using Internet Explorer 7 web browser. Getting some members of the public to keep up with new technology can be almost as difficult as getting your brand some headline exposure in the competitive Internet marketplace. Australian online electronics retailer Kogan is attempting to kill both birds with one stone by implementing an “Internet Explorer 7 Tax” on customers who use the somewhat outdated browser when they make purchases. The tax will be levied at 6.8 per cent – 0.1 per cent for each month of IE7’s existence. IE7-using customers who place an order will get a pop-up message explaining the tax and offering links to download alternative browsers that will avoid the surcharge.

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From an article in ZEN Internet newsletter.

Discover Award Winning Broadband from Zen - Up to 20Mbps downstream, Unrivalled Customer Service, 1 month contract. Services start from just £17.99 per month inc. VAT. Order Now

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disabling comments on WordPress pages

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 August 2014 07:28 Written by Ed Beckmann Thursday, 18 October 2012 09:34

Introduction – WordPress websites

Because a lot of people use wordpress for their websites, I will post a series of the more useful hints and tips that I find. Naturally your first stop should be the forums on wordpress support, but I’m also happy to share what I know in simple terms.

Comments on wordpress pages and posts

By default, most themes (a theme is the name for a a style, look or template) allow comments from readers. If you have created any posts or pages you will probably have spotted the settings saying who can comment, whether comments have to be reviewed etc. Sometimes for very good reasons you just do not want any reference to comments to appear on your pages but you are automatically left with text like “you must be logged in to comment” or “comments are closed”.

Removing comments completely from wordpress pages or posts

This is simple!

  • log in
  • go to the list of pages or posts
  • under the relevant place, click “quick edit”
  • untick the “allow comments” box
  • job done!

Useful information

These books have some very useful hints and tips:


Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series)
WordPress Revealed: How to Build a Website, Get Visitors and Make Money (Even For Beginners): 1
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