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Should I view the web on my mobile or use the mobile version of a website?

Today many websites have a ‘mobile’ version of the site for use with smartphones. When you access the web through your mobile, websites will automatically direct you to the mobile version of their pages.
So, which is better? Should you use the mobile versions of websites that have been created? Or should you view the pages as you would on your home PC?
The advantages of mobile versions of websites
You may be wondering why companies offer a mobile version of their website when the vast majority of smartphones have web browsers that allow you to access the pages exactly as you would on a PC.
Well, mobile websites have a number of benefits. Firstly, mobile sites display properly on small mobile phone and tablet screens. Traditional websites don’t, and often require you to scroll back and forth to reveal the information.
Secondly, if you’re using a website on your mobile it’s likely that you’re looking for different information. Mobile users are generally looking for quick facts or information or the ability to do something quickly and easily. You’re not generally interested in superfluous text or high tech graphics when you’re on the go.
So, mobile websites tend to be simpler, easier to view and more straightforward to navigate.
Why you may want to view the original version of a website
Studies in late 2011 from Pew and from On Device Research showed that over 25 per cent of people in the US who browse the Web on smartphones almost never use any other platform. That means 11 per cent of adults in the US, or about 25 million people, only see the Web on small screens.
Insisting that web users see a minimal, stripped-back version of a website may actually be restrictive. More and more people are using a mobile in place of a PC, meaning they expect to access the same web content on their phone as they do on their PC.
So, rather than creating mobile websites, many companies are improving their main website to allow exactly the same content to be available to everyone.

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Music to come streaming from the Beeb

As the biggest player in British broadcasting - for many years the only one - the BBC has an unrivalled music library which it intends to share with licence fee payers on a new music streaming service.
The Daily Telegraph has reported that a project called Playlister is likely to be launched at an iPlayer press call on Monday, October 8.
Anyone who’s gnashed their teeth at the wiping of classic TV shows from the BBC archive has the corporation’s origins as a world broadcaster to thank for this development. Faced with reaching an empire across myriad time zones, the Beeb began recording its radio shows way back in 1932. Sadly, as tape was introduced in the 1950s some old radio recordings were recorded over to save cash.
The main obstacle to such a service would be copyright issues. The BBC is said to be in talks with the biggest players in the digital music market – Spotify, Deezer and iTunes – about their deals.
And, the music business seems to be learning to live with the new online world. This week, Mumford and Sons broke 2012 sales records for their new album Babel. They did this despite not following the usual industry protocol of holding tracks back from streaming services as the record launched.
The Playlister service should be free to UK licence fee payers and without adverts too.
With everything from historic wartime speeches by Winston Churchill to some of The Beatles’ best work lurking in a massively diverse BBC sound archive, Playlister shouldn’t have any problem finding listeners.
The corporation itself has had nothing to say on the matter so any reported details are informed speculation at best. However, the BBC has made a massive success of the iPlayer, which saw peaks of 51m weekly views during the Olympic Games, and their director of audio and music Tim Davie is said to be keen to secure a major legacy from his time in post.

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Are we there yet? Internet map shows giants of the cyber sky

Ever since medieval cartographers warned their fellow explorers ‘here be dragons’ maps have been a fascinating and illuminating way of visualising our world. Now, cyber space has been mapped too by data-visualisation designer Ruslan Enikeev.

The first thing to note about the Internet map is that it’s a beautiful thing to look at. It’s far closer to one of those wonderful photographs of the night sky than to anything you’d use to get from A to B.
Enikeev, who makes no money from this project and is appealing for donations to help meet his hosting costs, has turned to the laws of physics to create his plan.

Each site is a circle, its size dependent on web traffic, and coloured according to its nationality. The relative positions of the circles are decided by the links formed as people move from one site to another.
The light blue of the United States dominates the map and the biggest body of them all is, unsurprisingly, Google.com. Challenging it for size are Facebook, Yahoo, Live.com and Twitter.

The map also links sites by their content (there’s a detailed run down of all the science involved available at the site), making for some fascinating juxtapositions. The mapper himself notes that: “a vast porno cluster can be seen between Brazil and Japan”. And, while Blogspot – Google’s blogging platform – is an American site it has been dragged close to the Iranian section of the map. Wordpress, another blogging site, floats off on its own in empty space.

The BBC’s site is a giant of the United Kingdom’s slice of cyber space and other news and politics sites cluster around it. It seems too, that lots of South Africans must use it for their news as red .za sites also orbit it closely.

It may be a struggle to find a practical use for all this beautifully presented information. Enikeev has mapped more than 350,000 sites and over 2 million links and created something of beauty.

View the map here:

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Wiki War of Words


The argument over the Government’s proposed communications data bill went nuclear last week when the founder of Wikipedia compared the planned surveillance of web traffic to that found in Iran and China.

Jimmy Wales says his legendary site will encrypt all its Internet connections with the UK if the bill goes ahead.

And Wales is far from alone in his criticism. Under the new law, mobile phone companies and Internet service providers will have to keep a record of every email sent, phone call made and page clicked. That’s an extension of previous powers, which obliged phone companies to keep records of phone calls and text messages for 12 months.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the web, entered the fray last week, warning that the UK would loose its valuable international reputation as a free web nation. He urged the public to campaign against the bill.

If Berners-Lee was moderate in his language, others have not been so measured.

Wales told members of both Houses of Parliament examining the proposed legislation: "It is not the sort of thing I'd expect from a western democracy. It is the kind of thing I would expect from the Iranians or the Chinese and it would be detected immediately by the Internet industry."

Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group, said: "Bluntly these are as dangerous as we expected, and represent unprecedented surveillance powers in the democratic world."

Home Secretary Theresa May argues that burgeoning online crime means law enforcement must follow where cyber criminals lead them. But industry representatives warned parliamentarians that the very act of creating such a vast data store would attract those criminals.

Linx, the London Internet Exchange, said a raid on this stored information – including personal details of millions of UK internet users – would amount to, ‘a significant threat to national security’.

The same body warned that the Government would now be in control of a massive ‘profiling engine’, which could ‘represent a dramatic shift in the balance between personal privacy and the capabilities of the state to investigate and analyse the citizen’.

You can join campaigns against the bill becoming law online and read more about the legislation at the Parliament website.



A couple of campaigns.


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Blogging tips from the top of the Google mountain

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama might think they’re battling to become the most powerful man in the world, but Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Webspam has the online marketing world at his fingertips already.
Mr Cutts is the man tasked with making sure what you type into that Google search box is reflected accurately in the results. His enemies are the web’s spammers, link sellers and black hat SEO operators all desperate to cheat their site into the Promised Land that is page one of search results.
The way Google works – and one of the reasons it has become the search engine of choice – is a fearsomely complex world of mathematical algorithms and analysis.
This month Cutts spoke about a new Google search algorithm called Penguin. Penguin has been released across the web and it’s wiping out dodgy guest blogging as an SEO tactic. 
Guest blogs are often used by online marketers to bombard search engines with positive inbound links to a site. But Penguin is spotting – and marking down – links from duplicate or near duplicate blogs posted across the web.
But it’s not the end for guest blogging, as long as it’s high quality. This is good news for good authors, whose subject knowledge is now being recognised by Google and flagged up to searchers.
The web is a fast moving world and Google is constantly updating its methods to stay ahead of the black hats. Cutts – speaking on Google radio – also revealed a new algorithm is aimed at exact match domain names. These sites try to gain ranking by using a common search term – www.lotterysecrets.com say – as their site name. Cutts says his new tool will mark these sites down if their content isn’t up to scratch.
Good content is the lifeblood of any search engine. It’s getting harder and harder to ‘trick’ the likes of Google, meaning quality content is increasingly the best way to get a site up the rankings.
Anyone with an interest in online marketing ought to be listening to Mr Cutts.

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No .co as UK addresses look to drop a dot!

The people in charge of the UK’s internet address book are proposing a new shorter naming protocol for British websites which they say will offer better security online.
Nominet is a not for profit company which as the .uk domain name registry regulates all web addresses ending in .uk. Until now all .uk addresses were third level domains, with the familiar abbreviations like .co.uk, .ac.uk, or .org.uk.
Now Nominet is consulting on dropping that third level part of web addresses in favour of a simple .uk.
It may seem a rather academic discussion, after all what’s in a name. But Nominet says that the new addresses will allow them to introduce more security measures and ensure that websites who register them will have a real off line UK presence.
Nominet says it will scan all .uk websites for malware and viruses and give them a domain name system security extensions (a digital signature) that will assure browsers that they are looking at a genuine site.
Site owners who are notified of malicious software in their web space and who do nothing about it could have their registrations suspended.
National boundaries will be enforced with good old snail mail playing a part in the registration process to ensure that .uk registered sites have – at least – a valid UK address. That’s important because Nominet’s research found that 80% of us try to use .uk sites for transactions when at the moment they could be run from offices in Timbuktu or Tehran. 
Current owners of .uk address won’t be forced to drop their .co or .org immediately. But if the change goes ahead Nominet is likely to want the whole .uk web to migrate to the shorter naming system in time.
At the moment the wholesale cost of a Nominet address is £5 for two years. That’s likely to increase to – if reports are to be believed – as much as £20 a year.
Nominet is consulting on the changes until January 7, 2013 and you can have your say at their website.

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Are you ready for the fourth generation?

Politicians are already arguing over how to spend the cash that will come in after a deal was struck that will see 4G mobile internet hit the UK early next year.
A row between providers had been holding up the roll out of the new mobile internet standard. The Government had allowed Everything Everywhere, the merged T-Mobile and Orange who’ve just rebranded as EE, to steal a march by using part of their spare 2G capabilities to launch 4G.
Now threats of legal action have been dropped. EE will still get in first with a 10-city launch at the end of this month, with six more cities to follow by the end of the year. The rest of pack will get their services up and running by the summer of next year.
Many major economies including Germany and the USA, already have 4G (some minor ones like Estonia too). Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller reckons the UK will get a £2-3 billion bonus from the new, faster network. The auction for the bandwidth needed is likely to bring around £4 billion for the exchequer too.
EE is now promising: "superfast mobile internet at speeds typically five times faster than 3G speeds today". In fact, a standard speed test run by the Guardian found 4G was nine times faster when downloading and 4.5 times speedier on uploads. That, however, is on a virtually deserted network. 
The lucky first ten cities are: Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol, Liverpool, Cardiff, London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow and Sheffield. Belfast, Derby, Hull, Nottingham, Newcastle and Southampton will be on 4G by the end of the year. You can check your postcode here (http://ee.co.uk/coverage).
The big deal with 4G is that it is bound to accelerate the move towards accessing the web on mobile devices. EE is, naturally, trumpeting the iPhone 5 link, but not all devices previously sold as 4G ready will work on their network. To ‘log on’ on October 30 you’ll need one of these: iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE, Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia Lumia 820, HTC One XL and the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE.

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Five Twitter Marketing Tips

Twitter can be a great way of connecting your business with existing customers and promoting your services and products to a large audience covering many demographics and several nations. To help you market your business effectively, we have put together a few tips to help you engage with your current and potential customers.
1. Follow wisely. Following others is a good way to increase your own twitter followers but in addition to potential and existing customers, you should always try and follow other important individuals and businesses in your industry. You may have difficult finding the relevant twitter members to your business, but there are several sites such as We Follow which will allow you to search for keywords relating to your business. Don’t just follow these individuals, try and converse with them on occasion whether it’s commenting on a tweet by them, asking a question or sharing a thought.
2. Tweet wisely. The beauty of Twitter is that anybody can tweet whenever they want and as often as they want, but this has unfortunately led to a lot of businesses throwing out an endless stream of promotional tweets. However, when it comes to Twitter it’s a case of quality over quantity so make sure that instead of hundreds of links you post useful, interesting content that twitter users would be interested in reading about - whether in the form of links or just updates.
3. Track the success of your links. Twitter automatically shortens normal links so that you don’t use up too much of your 160 characters, but by using sites such as bit.ly you will be able to view more in-depth statistics on each individual link such as the number of people who have clicked on it. This will give you the opportunity to assess the success of that particular tweet and see what methods work best when marketing on your twitter.
4. Don’t slack off. This is easier said then done because when you’re having a busy few days or you’ve got other things on your mind, you may well forget to keep updating your Twitter. Try to post at least once a day, even if that post is just about the weather or about why you’re not able to Tweet much - it instills confidence in your potential customers and gains you credibility, not to mention the possibility that these tweets may directly or indirectly lead to new customers.

5. Make sure you’re reaching the right demographic. It’s all well and good posting regularly and in an engaging manner, but if you’re doing so to a random selection of individuals who would have no interest in your products or services, what’s the point? For many online stores your target demographic may be quite all-encompassing, but the vast majority of businesses will have a specific target demographic in mind. There are several websites such as the previously mentioned We Follow which can help connect you with potentially interested customers as well as other relevant businesses but you can also search manually for interested individuals and follow them first. Searching related keywords on twitter will bring up people who are talking about these kinds of items and then follow them. 

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