The Blog

How to protect your images online

One question which comes up frequently is how website owners can protect their images from being stolen. One of the first things to realise is that almost any information, be it text or images, placed online is in the public domain and therefore vulnerable to thieves. One simple rule to follow is therefore not to put anything online which you would not like to be stolen.

However, one of the primary reasons for operating a website is to display your products and if your products happen to be images (e.g. artwork or photography), it’s difficult to advertise these without placing them online. So, a catch 22 situation arises, where on the one hand you wish to represent your work in the best way possible, but at the same time, you don’t want your work to be ripped off.

Another important point to understand from the beginning regards the enforceability of copyright. As we‘ve said in a previous blog post, copyright (when breached) can be very difficult to enforce unless you are a very large company (usually a corporate) and even then, it can be difficult to control.

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Dealing with plagiarism (abuse of copyright)

Websites packed full of quality content stand the best chance of better search engine listings, but what do you do if somebody is so impressed with your copy that they they use it on their own website, word for word?

We’re under attack!

We were recently made aware that the wording of our ‘One Page Websites’ page ( has been copied (word for word) on the home page of a South African web designer’s website (prompting this advisory blog post). They will remain nameless (for now!). Usually, this is the behaviour of an amateur ‘bedroom web designer’ but you’ll be surprised how commonly this happens. Naturally, this is an infringement of copyright and there is a standard course of action can be followed.

Give them a chance to surrender

Before taking legal action, every other avenue should be explored but strict deadlines should be enforced. In the first instance, it’s usual to contact the offender and send a ‘cease & desist’ message. This is a polite but firm request for the offence to be dealt with. There are many free templates available on the web which offer an easy to follow format.

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Keep focused on those 4 P’s

Who said “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”? It’s a great outlook for times like this.

As long as you have the famous 4 P’s checked off and you keep impressing your customers (preferably with a smile), a business will have little to fear. But don’t overlook them for one moment. Vital ingredients:

  1. A PRODUCT which enough people want to buy
  2. An appropriate PRICE
  3. A PLACE where it can be bought from
  4. PROMOTION (tell the people who want to buy it, where they can buy it from)

Yes, it’s that simple! Just make sure you can tick the bullets above. For more information visit Wikipedia’s page or just Google it.

This is, of course, just the distilled version.

Network Accessible Storage offers constant backup and accessibility at modest prices

Netgear RND2000 ReadyNAS DuoGrowing small businesses (especially home based) often eventually require data to be accessible from a handful of computers. In the early days of a business, this usually means data is stored on a nominated dominant PC. The hard disk of this PC is accessed via a network (usually with the wired/wireless router).

This is fine for a short while but data can be slow to access from other PCs and regular backups of critical data (usually to an external hard disk) should be performed. In many cases, pressure on time and resources can lead to backups being overlooked, with disastrous consequences (see Back up your data before it’s too late).

If any of this description applies to you in any capacity (and that includes home users with large photography and music collections), I would urge you to consider the adaptation of Network Accessible Storage. In simplest terms, this means connecting a box containing a stand-alone hard disk to your network via the router, permitting data to be quickly and easily accessed by all your users/family members.

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New .co domains could be a waste of time

.co domainsYet another domain type has become available, this time .co – direct from Columbia. Registration companies are hailing it as another ‘must-have’ domain but we’re not so convinced.

Google have just announced that owners of websites using a .co domain will be able to target users internationally. There was speculation that it could only be used to target Columbian markets but this concern has been swept away. Other popular country assigned domains which are able to be used internationally include ‘.me’ (Montenegro) and ‘.tv’ (Tuvalu).

However, we still think this domain type could be very slow to catch on (if at all), in a similar way to the failure of domains such as I can imagine somebody asking for a web address and repeatedly having the same conversation:

“What’s your website address?”
“It’s mybusiness dot co”
“dot what?”
“No, that’s it – just dot co…”

How many times would you have this conversation?

Thunder flys invading screens…

Thunder FlyAfter several years of poor Summer weather, last year turned out to be a fantastic Summer here in North Norfolk (although not so great in other parts of the UK). Yes, we DID get the promised ‘barbecue Summer’ last year. And this year, we’re having another spectacular Summer, although the lack of rainfall hasn’t been appreciated by gardeners and farmers.

So why I have taken to the that old English favourite, discussing the weather? And how does technology come into this? Well, during this hot Summer, there’s a tendency to use laptops outside (or in areas exposed to outside). And, here’s the problem:

From personal experience, backed up by countless similar experiences shared online, it’s seems very common for thunder flys (also known as ‘thrips‘) to crawl under the top layer of laptop screens. Once under the screen layers, they can usually be seen crawling around for a short while (like a mobile comma!) until eventually they die and become a permanent feature. Of course, you may have seen the same problem with picture frames.

If you do ever notice a thunder fly crawling around your screen, the best advice is to switch the screen off and hope that the thunder fly walks away of it’s own accord (they’re attracted to the heat and light). Don’t squish it! Otherwise, it will certainly be there forever. Maybe, aiming a lamp towards the edge of the screen may help to lure the thunder fly out before it inevitably expires in a random location?

Any other tips or advice on this problem are welcome. It seems incredibly common.

Manage your emails online using Google Mail (Gmail)

The traditional approach to managing emails

The majority of businesses prefer to use a ‘client based’ software package such as Microsoft Outlook to manage their emails, contacts and calendar.

Microsoft Outlook screen shot

Emails are downloaded from the mail server to the users computer (using the POP3 protocol). Under this set up, it’s important that users keeps their email database backed up, alongside all their other important data.

Users are sometimes able to access their emails when away from the office using a webmail facility which effectively gives users direct access to the emails currently stored on the mail server (but not those previously downloaded back at the office).

Gmail – a better option if you’re always on the move?

For clients who are based in different locations or travel a lot, the traditional approach described above isn’t ideal. Users can’t access the emails previously downloaded (sent/received) back at the office. Nor can they access their contacts or calendar.

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Blast the dust from your PC!

A dirty PC with a can of Dust-offI often visit clients who don’t have the luxury of a dedicated in-house IT technician.  As a result of this, PCs are often not serviced regularly, if at all. Nor are any basic ‘housekeeping’ tasks undertaken.

One particular issue which all PC owners can take charge of themselves relates to the cleanliness of the inside of their computer box. These can be easily accessed by undoing a few screws (or latches) and once every 6 months it’s a good idea to ‘jet blast’ the interior components and circuit boards with a pressurised air canister. Don’t use a vacuum cleaner! There are dedicated products for doing this. These can be purchased online and from the obvious outlets such as Maplins and PC World.

Computers require a constant flow of air to keep temperatures at a safe working level. However as the fans constantly pass air through the machine, this inevitably builds the interior up with dust and all sorts of other rubbish (e.g. pet hairs and dead insects).

If the detritus is permitted to build up it could eventually cause operational problems and lead to overheating. In some cases it could pose a serious fire risk.

When did you last clean the inside of your PC?

Google rewards faster web pages

In a move to encourage web designers to create leaner and faster web pages, Google have incorporated page load times into their famous secret algorithm which determines search rankings. I’m surprised it wasn’t already a factor.

Read the full story at IT Pro magazine

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Domain Name Renewal Scam reminder

Domain Renewal Group envelope

Here’s just a quick reminder about the scam known as domain slamming. If you’ve received any warning about your domain name expiring and the chance to renew it immediately, proceed with absolute caution and ensure you read our previous blog post about domain slamming. If you’re a client and want us to check it for you, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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