Seasons Greetings from Xpert Web

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Xpert Web would like to thank you for your continued support throughout 2009. From all the team at Xpert Web we would like to wish you the very best for the holiday season and a happy, successful new year. We are looking forward to an exciting 2010 and look forward to having an opportunity to continue working with you in the new year and beyond.

Australia Routing Issues

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We have decided to put up an announcement regarding this matter as we have had a few tickets now, even although it is not directly connected to our network.

It appears there are some intermittent routing issues between Time Warner Telecom, XO Communications and several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Australia including Telstra, Big Pond and Optus. Although we have not seen any recent reports of issues with Big Pond or Optus, only Telstra.

This routing issue is preventing some clients in Australia from being able to reach our servers even although our servers and network are fully operational. It is not possible for us to manipulate inbound routes to our network and we are not sure why these ISPs are not taking an alternate path to reach the data center.

The last update we had from Time Warner Telecom and XO Communications around 30 minutes ago stated that they are working to resolve these routing issues with the ISPs in question but that they have no estimated time for resolution. We will of course keep our clients updated as and when we receive more information.

This issue is impacting a very small percentage of traffic to the our network and unfortunately is outside our scope of control. We will do our best to keep the pressure up on our own bandwidth carriers to resolve this though.

Victorian Bushfire Appeal 2009

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The 2009 Victorian Bushfire Fund to assist individuals and communities affected by devastating bushfires in Victoria has been launched by the Premier John Brumby in partnership with Red Cross and the Federal Government. A number of corporate organisations including NAB, ANZ, CBA and Wesfarmers have also contributed to the fund.

Donations can be made using the Australian Red Cross website secure online donations form or by phoning 1800 811 700.

what is web 2.0

By | Blog, Web Design, Website Tips | No Comments

Web 2.0 is a term which describes the trend in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users. These concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities and hosted services, such as social-networking sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies. The term became notable after the first O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004. Although the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to an update to any technical specifications, but to changes in the ways software developers and end-users use the Web

Read more @ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Additional links

http://www.sacredcowdung.com/archives/2006/03/all_things_web.html

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/web_20_backpack_web_apps_for_students.php

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/03/10/web-20-tutorials-round-up/

IE 7 vs Firefox 1.5 vs Opera 9 – The gap is closing

By | Apache and Linux, Blog, Google News, Search Engine Optimising | No Comments

The upcoming releases of IE, Firefox, and Opera show that innovation in Web Browser Development has just come to an end. Companies are simply integrating the more popular features of rival products into their browsers. No radical changes are planned in any of the upcoming browser releases. It is very possible that in near future – IE, Firefox, and Opera will all have similar features and similar, tight interfaces.

1. IE 7 includes tabbed browsing, a capability that Firefox and Opera have offered for a while.

2. IE 7 has an integrated search box similar to that in Firefox and Opera.

3. Both IE 7 and Firefox 1.5 offer an easy method for deleting personal browsing data (browser cache, URL history, saved forms) via one menu option. The feature already exists in Opera 8.5.

4. Firefox 1.5 offer automatic updates similar to IE.

5. Opera comes with several advanced features that you can get in Firefox only with add-ons, and that IE lacks entirely.

Erik Larkin compares the three most popular browser on earth – Internet Explorer 7 Beta 1, Firefox 1.5 Release Candidate 1, and Opera 9 Preview 1. He also mentions Flock, a social browsing application. Flock rethinks the browser as a tool for creating Weblogs, organizing bookmarks and connecting with others online.

IE 7: The new Phishing Filter in IE aims to warn users if they visit a known or potential phishing site–a function previously available only via third-party toolbars.

Firefox 1.5: Firefox 1.5 includes drag-and-drop tab reordering. The new Auto-update process is streamlined and smooth.

Opera 9: Users can choose which Web sites can run JavaScript or display images. And the impressive built-in RSS feed handler now supports Atom 1.0. However, Opera has no plans to introduce Firefox-like extensions, so if you don’t like the way it does something, you’re stuck.

Browser Market Share: Though IE has been losing market share, it remains dominant yet. The number of users jumping to Firefox has slowed recently leading some experts to suggest only a finite number of people are willing or able to try an alternate browser.

Read full story at PCWorld – Browser Face-Off

How To Enable Cookies on your Browser

By | Apache and Linux, Blog, Search Engine Optimising, Web Design, Website Tips | No Comments

I’ve been receiving lots of inquiries about enabling cookies on web browsers, so I thought it would be good to have it here as a post. It is necessary for some of the web sites, web content management systems and web single sign-on systems to have cookies enabled in order to work properly. To enable cookies, follow the instructions below for the browser version you are using.

Konqueror

  1. Click on the Settings-menu in Konqueror
  2. Click on the Configure Konqueror… item in the menu – a new window opens
  3. Click on Cookies on the left side (you might have to scroll first)
  4. Set Accept all cookies by default.
  5. Save changes by clicking Ok.

Lynx

  1. Press O for Options
  2. Look for General Preferences and Cookies (!)
  3. Set it to either ask user or accept all (more convenient)
  4. Save changes by selecting Accept Change

Mac IE 5.x

  1. Click Edit
  2. Select Preferences
  3. Under the Receiving Files option, select Cookies
  4. Under “When receiving cookies:” select the desired level of cookie acceptance
  5. Under “When receiving cookies:” select the desired level of cookie acceptance
  6. Click OK to finish

Mac IE 4.x

  1. Go to My AOL on the menu bar
  2. Pick WWW
  3. Go to the Advanced Settings option on the Category menu
  4. Click “Cookies”
  5. When receiving cookies: Click “Never Ask”
  6. Click OK

Internet Explorer 7

  1. Open your browser, and select Internet Options from the Tools menu at the top.
  2. Now on the option screen select the Privacy tab.
  3. Make sure the slider is not set to “Block All Cookies”.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0

  1. Select “Internet Options” from the Tools menu.
  2. Click on the “Privacy” tab.
  3. Click the “Default” button (or manually slide the bar down to “Medium”) under “Settings”.
  4. Click “OK”.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.x

  1. Select “Internet Options” from the Tools menu.
  2. Click on the “Security” tab.
  3. Click the “Custom Level” button.
  4. Scroll down to the “Cookies” section.
  5. To enable:
    1. Set “Allow cookies that are stored on your computer” to “Enable”.
    2. Set “Allow per-session cookies” to “Enable”.
  6. Click “OK”.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.x

  1. Select “Internet Options” from the View menu.
  2. Click on the “Advanced” tab.
  3. Scroll down to find “Cookies” within the “Security” section.
  4. To enable:
    1. Select “Always accept cookies”.
  5. Click “OK”.

Mozilla Firefox (1.0 final release and earlier)

  1. Go to the “Tools” menu.
  2. Select “Options”.
  3. Select the “Privacy” icon in the left panel.
  4. Check the box corresponding to “Allow sites to set cookies”.
  5. Click “OK” to save changes.

Netscape 7.1/Mozilla 5.0

  1. Select “Preferences” from the Edit menu.
  2. Click on the arrow next to “Privacy & Security” in the scrolling window to expand.
  3. Under “Privacy & Security”, select “Cookies.”
  4. Select “Enable all cookies”.
  5. Click “OK”.

Netscape Communicator 4.x

  1. Select “Preferences” from the Edit menu.
  2. Find the “Cookies” section in the “Advanced” category.
  3. To enable:
    1. Select “Accept all cookies” (or “Enable all cookies”).
  4. Click “OK”.

Opera 7.x

  1. Click on the Tools-menu in Opera
  2. Click on the Preferences… item in the menu – a new window opens
  3. Click on the Privacy selection near the bottom left of the window.
  4. The Enable cookies checkbox must be checked, and Accept all cookies should be selected in the “Normal cookies” drop-down.
  5. Save changes by clicking Ok.

Opera 9.x

  1. Click on the Tools-menu in Opera
  2. Click on the Preferences… item in the menu – a new window opens
  3. Click on the Advanced selection on the top of the window. Then select Cookies from the left hand side
  4. The Enable cookies checkbox must be checked, and Accept cookies should be selected
  5. Save changes by clicking Ok.

Safari

  1. Click on the Safari-menu in Safari
  2. Click on the Preferences… item in the menu – a new window opens
  3. Click on the Security icon near the top of the window.
  4. Under Accept Cookies the Always or Only from sites you navigate to must be selected.
  5. Save changes by clicking Ok.

Need Protection: Antivirus Software Reviews

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Antivirus software is must-have protection. This review picks the best antivirus software based on its virus detection abilities, features, and breadth of protection. Whether you’re seeking total system coverage or an ala carte solution, each of the following products provides superb virus protection for Windows-based PCs. Because every system is unique, evaluate several of these antivirus products to find the software best suited for your PC and your level of experience.

McAfee, Inc

McAfee VirusScan Review

McAfee is an industry leader in computer protection and VirusScan is their #1 defense against viruses. This software comes with a ScriptStopper, to prevent virus to propagate from one computer to another via email, and WormStopper. Get McAfee VirusScan. Click here.

Ease of Use: 4/4

If you use the default settings, setup is a breeze. The default settings provide very good protection against viruses, Trojans, worms, malicious ActiveX controls and Java applets.

The SecurityCenter has several tabs besides the VirusScan tab. There is one for Personal Firewall+, Privacy Service and SpamKiller. These are other programs offered by McAfee.

Effectiveness: 4/4
VirusScan boasts one of the best virus detection records. The software received the VB100% award for 2005, the ICSA award for 2005 and passed both level 1& 2 Checkmarks from West Coast Labs.

Updates: 4/3

McAfee VirusScan 9.0 automatically downloads updated virus definitions from the Internet on a regular basis. Staying up to date will dramatically decrease any possibility that a virus will infect your computer. On Average, McAfee comes out with new virus definitions on a daily basis.

You will have to register and login to get updates-this makes the process longer than it needs be.

Feature Set: 4/3.5

McAfee VirusScan offers a rich list of features. You can set VirusScan to scan your computer at a preprogrammed scheduled time. The program also scans for spyware and adware.

You can’t add several tasks to the Scheduled Scan. This would be a nice quality so you could scan all files once a month and only program files weekly or any other tasks you would like to set up.

McAfee has an Antivirus Emergency Response Team that continually monitors the worldwide virus activities to provide you with the utmost safety. The always-on protection guards against viruses, spyware and other Internet threats that may enter your PC via e-mail, instant message attachments, Internet downloads, and web browsing.

Ease of Installation: 4/4

We didn’t encounter any problems during the installation process.

Help/Support: 4/2.5

McAfee has plenty of help options, including documentation, email and phone support. We were disappointed with their email response time-it took 5 days to respond and they didn’t answer all our questions, hence the low rating.

Summary:

McAfee is a name brand product that does an excellent job at detecting and removing viruses. Their update process can be somewhat tedious and their support department needs to answer their emails in a timelier manner.

Kaspersky Personal Network Security Package

Kaspersky Internet Security Review

Kaspersky also receives a perfect score on our review, passes all of the major virus tests, has hourly definition updates and offers an extensive feature set. This is one of the best anti-virus software. Download award-winning antivirus & anti-spyware software from Kaspersky Lab now

Ease of Use: 4/4
Kaspersky has a very clean and easy-to-use interface. The program is divided with three tabs- protection, settings and support. Within each tab, you can choose from several other functions.

This software is perfect for the average home user and advanced users. For home users, who don’t want to get too technical, there is recommended settings and an easy-to-find scan button that will instantly start to scan your computer based on these settings. More advanced users can go into the settings tab and completely customize what they would like the program to do.

Kaspersky comes with three types of scan levels: Maximum – thoroughly scans all files, self-extracting archives, startup objects, disk boot sectors, system memory and email format files. Normal – covers everything the maximum setting covers minus email format files. High Speed – scans everything minus the email format files, archives and startup objects.

Effectiveness: 4/4

Like the #1 product, Kaspersky passed the VB100% award, the ICSA 2005 and the West Coast Labs Checkmark level 1 and 2. These awards mean the software detected all of the “in the wild” viruses, generated no false positives, prevented virus replication and disinfected all of the viruses that could be disinfected.

Besides being very thorough and reliable, it only took eight minutes for us to scan an 80 GB hard drive. This anti-virus software is so fast you won’t have to set aside hours to scan your computer or set it up to run at night.

Updates: 4/4

By default, Kaspersky updates their definitions on an hourly basis, which blows away the competition. This leaves a very small window for a virus to be created and infect your machine. Alternatively, you can configure the program so you can receive automatic updates or you can manually update your program.

Furthermore, the updates will resume if your Internet connection is interrupted, and the cumulative updates, the ones that contain the entire virus database, are only half the size they used to be. The latest version employs a special technology so the program will use already existing anti-virus database for a cumulative update.

Feature Set: 4/4

You can choose which files you would like Kaspersky to scan by simply right clicking on the file. You can even select a number of files to scan or just scan your entire computer.

If the software detects a virus there are a number of things you can have the software do. It can just delete the file, notify you that it has found an infected file or log the information for later use.

During each scan, there is an estimated time to finish so you can plan accordingly.

Ease of Installation: 4/4

We didn’t encounter any problems while installing this program.

Help/Support: 4/4

Kaspersky has all of the support you need. There is an email address, an online forum, phone support and a FAQ. They answered our email within 12 hours.

Summary:

Kaspersky is an easy-to-use program for the average person with plenty of customizable options for an advanced user. Just install and set up this software and you’ll never have to worry about a virus or worm infecting your computer.

Internet Security Suite

eTrust EZ Antivirus Review

eTrust’s EZ Antivirus is an easy-to-use program that’s good for computer novices and does a good job protecting your files and your computer from viruses. Download Your FREE Optimize Scan from CA!

This software doesn’t scan for riskware, adware or spyware.

Ease of Use: 4/4

The interface uses an Explorer-like file tree that you use to select individual files and folders for scanning. This program is user-friendly with four tab categories. This product is ideal for the average user, but advanced users may find the software has limited advanced features.

Though you can exclude and customize specific files and folders to scan, the software lacks the advanced features that Bitdefender offers.

Effectiveness: 4/4

In Virus Bulletin’s tests with live viruses, previous versions of eTrust’s EZ Antivirus earned the VB100% rating in seven of its eight most recent Windows tests. The only test that didn’t receive 100% was while running on the Window ME operation system.

EZ passed ICSA Labs testing for August in both the OnDemand scanning tests and OnAccess tests.

The software’s compressed file detection is limited and it only scans email when you open an attachment.

Updates: 4/4

eTrust updates their virus definitions on a daily basis. You can choose between automatic and manual updates.

Feature Set: 3/4

EZ includes a new feature called Snooze that disables the program’s real-time protection for a user-specified period-from one to 99 minutes. This is great for new software installations or to troubleshoot a system performance glitch or problem. In previous versions of EZ Antivirus, you had to reboot after disabling virus monitoring. To deactivate Snooze, simply click the Wake Now icon in the System Tray. If you forget, the timer will automatically turn off Snooze after the allotted time and restart the EZ Antivirus protection.

EZ Antivirus real-time scanner operates like most other AV software and runs in the background without much of a performance hit. EZ is lacking a “quarantine” function for infected, unclean files. This feature is common on many other AV packages.

Ease of Installation: 4/4

We didn’t have any problems during installation.

Help/Support: 3/4

eTrust has great support with their support page, Knowledge Base Search and FAQs page. The support team responded to our email within 36 hours. However, the telephone support is very expensive at $49.95.

US - PC-cillin 2007 Multi License

Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2007

The good: PC-cillin Internet Security 2007 offers solid protection against viruses, hacker intrusions, and other online threats. It also costs less than its competitors and provides free phone support. Download award-winning internet security and anti-spyware software from Trend Micro

The bad: PC-cillin Internet Security 2007 could provide more aggressive spyware protection and limit or disable its own security pop-up messages.

The bottom line: PC-cillin Internet Security 2007 has a few shortcomings, but overall it’s an affordable and feature-packed security suite that reliably defends against online threats.

Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2007 is a better buy than top-selling competitors Symantec Norton Internet Security 2007 and McAfee Internet Security Suite 2007. For starters, it costs $20 less than Norton or McAfee while bundling a similar toolkit, including virus, spyware, and phishing protection and a firewall. It produces less of a drag on system performance, and PC-cillin users get free phone support–a rarity in the industry. But PC-cillin 2007 also has its shortcomings. It should be more proactive in blocking spyware downloads; it leaves some security options turned off by default to reduce the hit on your system resources; and it peppers you with annoying pop-up security messages (you can disable this feature, but the deactivation process could be much easier). Despite these gripes, PC-cillin Internet Security 2007 is a worthy upgrade and a solid buy for new users.

Setting up PC-cillin Internet Security 2007 takes just a few minutes, although it takes a bit longer if you install the optional Trend Micro Anti-Spam toolbars for Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express. We’d prefer a single setup routine for all components. The toolbars appear to have been an afterthought, and you have to rummage through folders on the setup CD to find the Anti-Spam installation files. Once setup is complete, PC-cillin downloads updated virus definitions and program files and recommends that you run a system scan. The initial system scan is optional, as it is with McAfee, Norton, and other security apps.

The PC-cillin 2007 interface is nicely organized. As in Norton and McAfee, the main Overview screen displays a snapshot of your security status. Green checkmark icons indicate that your computer is properly protected against the usual threats. Large buttons titled Update Now and Scan Now make it easy to download the latest program files or scan for security breaches. Dig deeper, and you’ll find a level of control in PC-cillin that its best-selling competitors don’t match. For instance, you can configure the real-time virus protection to scan compressed files (ZIP files, for example) up to six layers deep. The real-time scanner doesn’t scan ZIP files by default, but the manual and scheduled scans do.

Surprisingly, PC-cillin 2007′s default configuration leaves many key security tools turned off, including the Web Site Filter, which blocks specific sites or categories of sites–gambling, sex, job search, and so on–and Privacy Protection, which prevents personal information, such as your name and your telephone and credit card numbers, from being sent without your permission. It’s easy enough to activate these features via the AntiFraud Wizard, but they should be up and running right out of the box. According to Trend Micro officials, some security features are turned off to reduce PC-cillin’s drag on system performance. While it’s true that ultrahigh security makes for a slower PC, we found that PC-cillin 2007–even with every security tool activated–was less of a speed bump than McAfee or Norton.

PC-cillin Internet Suite 2007 packs an impressive arsenal of security weapons. Like its competitors, it protects against viruses and spyware, cracker intrusions, and phishing attempts, the last of which are designed to purloin your credit card and bank-account numbers. This year’s upgrade brings improved phishing protection, including a new antiphishing toolbar for Internet Explorer. Another plus: PC-cillin detects new users on wireless networks. New users are increasingly common in home and small-business wireless networks, and they often operate without any security whatsoever.

That said, some of PC-cillin’s security tools need sharpening. Its spyware detection, for instance, should be more aggressive. Like Norton Internet Security 2007, PC-cillin allowed us to download and install WeatherCast, a free utility that contains adware. (After WeatherCast’s installation, both Norton and PC-cillin identified the program as a potential threat and offered to delete it.) By contrast, McAfee Internet Security Suite 2007 took a more proactive approach by identifying WeatherCast as a threat before we downloaded it.

PC-cillin also displays too many pop-up messages. When the Privacy Protection feature is activated, a pop-up box notifies you each time PC-cillin prevents a site from accessing your personal information. This gets annoying in a hurry, and you can end the messages via the Popup Manager in the main console. A suggestion: We’d rather click a button in a pop-up box to silence the messages (McAfee offers this). Trend Micro officials say future versions of PC-cillin will likely include this feature.

Here’s a big plus: Trend Micro provides free phone support for PC-cillin users–a rarity among security-software vendors. Phone times are Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT, and (get this) the calls are toll-free. For weekend and after-hours help, PC-cillin’s online knowledge base is helpful and worth a look.

Unfortunately, we had mixed experiences with PC-cillin support. The phone experience was excellent. We experienced no wait times, and a knowledgeable and polite tech rep helped us fix a glitch involving PC-cillin and our 2Wire home-network diagnostic utility. However, one of the several e-mail queries we sent via Trend Micro’s support site was never answered. Still, Trend Micro’s level of support is the highest we’ve seen in the security space.

ZoneAlarm Pro Review

This powerful firewall/Antivirus software program not only protects your computer from hackers, it also protects your personal data by blocking those nasty viruses and Trojans. Whether you’re a novice or a computer professional, ZoneAlarm Pro makes it easy to keep your computer data safe. Download ZoneAlarm Pro Here

The new 6.5 version of ZoneAlarm Pro has strengthened their Anti–Spyware feature and added new features: Identity Theft Protection, Spy Site Blocking and Game Mode.

Feature set: 4/4

Your financial data and password lists are stored inside your computer, but a novice hacker could easily get into your system to copy these without detection. How do you keep prying eyes locked out and your private data locked in?

ZoneAlarm Pro has an option called MyVault; here you can enter any personal information you’d like protected. You can also enter a list of trusted sites that you will allow access to this private data-such as your bank website. If another source attempts accessing or transmitting MyVault data, ZoneAlarm Pro will block access.

We tested this feature by creating a test bank account number and password in MyVault. Then we tried to send that data in an email. ZoneAlarm Pro detected the attempt to send the sensitive data and blocked the transmission.

Two bonus features in ZoneAlarm Pro include the ability to block viruses and offer email protection. Most firewall software programs require you to uninstall existing anti-virus software before installing if their company also offers an anti-virus product. (This way, they force you to buy their anti-virus software as well.)

But ZoneAlarm Pro will incorporate your current anti-virus software into their firewall, allowing you to use the anti-virus product of your choice. And, if you don’t already have anti-virus protection, ZoneAlarm Pro will install their version, saving you time and money.

Not many firewall programs include email protection, but ZoneAlarm Pro uses Mailsafe software to protect you from receiving or sending viruses by email. Most people worry only about incoming viruses, but nothing is more distressing that learning a virus has sent itself to all the friends in your email address book-outgoing email protection is just as important.

You can customize settings within each field (except the anti-virus field) to tailor ZoneAlarm Pro. You can create a safe list of senders’ addresses, allowing ZoneAlarm Pro to act automatically as an email filter. This is an excellent bonus when you consider that Trojans and viruses often enter your computer by email.

Ease of use: 4/4

We at TopTenReviews rate how easy a program is to use from a computer novice perspective. We ask, “If I’m a beginner, would I be able to understand and use the options in this program quickly, without questions?”

ZoneAlarm Pro does exactly that. The well-designed control panel explains and displays available choices simply. Each field (such as program control) offers a brief description of the main choice and then shows other choices available. New users are not overloaded with irrelevant information.

Ease of installation & setup: 4/4

We experienced no difficulties while installing ZoneAlarm Pro.

Reliability: 3.5/4

We tested ZoneAlarm Pro’s ability to protect a computer system’s vulnerable open ports. An open port is a small doorway in your computer system that allows data to enter and leave. When you use a chat program online, for instance, your computer opens four ports to allow data to flow back and forth quickly. ZoneAlarm Pro was effective at protecting ports. ZoneAlarm Pro passed the Trojan test with flying colors too; no destructive Trojan programs made it past the firewall.

The only test ZoneAlarm Pro failed was the refer test. The referrer test checks to see if the firewall allows general computer information (such as your operating system, browser, location, IP address) to be seen by others online. Almost every firewall program we tested failed the refer test.

Help/Support: 4/4

ZoneAlarm Pro’s documentation is well organized, making it easy to find answers fast. Learning to use the different fields and options that ZoneAlarm Pro offers is simple too, since this software is designed for a novice to understand.

ZoneAlarm Pro also has instant chat support available online. This allows you to enter then fine-tune a question. Then the support staff guides you to the right answer. ZoneAlarm Pro also has premium phone support available for a fee.

Summary:

There are hundreds of software firewalls on the market today. Each claims to protect you from intruders. But few also protect your computer and your email from hackers, Trojans, viruses, porn ad images, and unwanted cookies. Like having a guard dog at the door, ZoneAlarm Pro delivers peace of mind by taking care of all these undesirables for you.

Making Email Work For You

By | Blog, Email Marketing, Website Tips | No Comments

With the multi award winning GroupMail range of products you can take the effort out of your marketing, bulk email and mobile SMS text message requirements with complete ease and total peace of mind.Email is without doubt the most important Internet technology available, with that in mind you need to make sure that you have the right tools available if you want to use it for your benefit.

With GroupMail you can easily

  • Send highly formatted professional messages that are personalized for each of your recipients [more]
  • Manage an unlimited number of fully customizable groups/lists with an unlimited number of recipients in each [more]
  • Keep your valuable recipient details private and completely secure. [more]
  • Run and maintain CAN-SPAM compliant Newsletters with powerful automated subscription, removal and filtering support [more]
  • Handle bounces automatically and verify recipients with ease [more]
  • Send messages directly to your recipients from your desktop, or through a dedicated e-mail server using multiple connections. Works with MSN and practically all corporate email systems [more] *
  • Send personalized wireless mobile SMS text messages to recipients using our unique free Email to SMS gateway tool [more]
  • Prepare and schedule messages for delivery any time in the future [more]
  • Prepare and send your messages in practically any language and with any encoding [more]
  • Fully control and target your mailings with powerful filters, in-line message scripting, reply management controls, customizable headers and in-depth logging & reporting [more]
  • Work with existing customer lists, data and information in practically any format (databases, files – including CSV, address books and more) [more] *
  • Do follow-up mailings with precision, resume from failures with complete peace of mind and have access to all send related details in highly defined reports and logs [more]
  • Extend functionality through a growing range of add-ons [more]
  • Click here to download

GroupMail Comes in 3 Editions

  • GroupMail Free Edition is completely free. [download now]
  • GroupMail Personal Edition
  • GroupMail Business Edition [This is the version I use, it is worth every penny]

Optimizing Images For Web Pages

By | Blog, Search Engine Optimising, Web Design, Website Tips | 2 Comments

If you want attractive, fast loading pages on your web site, then you must optimize the images that you use. Optimizing essentially means finding the right balance between image file size and image quality. There are various ways to do this, and here we’ll discuss some of the common options.

Reduce the Image Quality:
Although this sounds like a disadvantage, it actually is not since digital pictures usually have a far higher resolution than any computer monitor can display. By reducing the resolution, or the number of pixels displayed per square inch (dpi), you can effectively optimize the image for both display and download purposes.

Crop Images:
Photos and other graphics often have more surrounding detail than is needed for your purpose. Zero in on the subject of your picture by cropping away any unnecessary white space or clutter. This will reduce the picture size (and load time) while focusing the visual impact directly on the subject matter.

Resize Images:
This one is easy. Why post a huge photo on a web page when a smaller one will serve just as well? Just resize the height and width of the photo in whatever graphics program you use on your computer before uploading it to your server. Do NOT simply reduce the height and width dimensions in your html code as this continues to use the huge file size and merely displays it in a smaller area of the page.

Image Optimizing Tools:
There are some excellent tools available for optimizing images, and one of the best is Irfanview, at http://www.irfanview.com, a free download that enables quick and easy image compression, cropping and resizing.

Click here for Adobe Photoshop CS2! .If you have Adobe Photoshop, you might want to read the optimizing images tutorial at http://catalyst.washington.edu/catalyst/how-to/scanning/minimizeImages.html which has excellent step-by-step instructions.

There are also free online tools. Netmechanic offers free sample use of GifBot, at http://www.netmechanic.com/products/GIFbot_FreeSample.shtml, which displays optimized versions of any image you upload, ranging from 90 percent down to 10 percent compression. MyImager, at http://www.myimager.com, is an online image editor with many different effects options, plus the capability to reduce colors in gifs and reduce quality in jpg format. There are many others – just search for “online image optimizer” in Google for more options.

One caveat – never optimize the original image!
Save a copy instead, and optimize that version so the original is always available in the future if you need it again.

Re-Using Images:
A common mistake among web hosting beginners is uploading the same image into multiple image folders. If your web site has several different directories, each with its own image folder, it might seem logical to upload the logo.gif into each image folder and call it into a page with a link relative to that directory. But consider – if you do this, then your server must reload the logo image every time a visitor moves from one directory on your site to another. Instead, use the same image path every time you use the image. That way, the server loads just one image which is then cached on the visitor’s computer and re-used for each page that displays it. This can greatly improve page load time if you have a number of common images, such as a logo or menu buttons.

Choose the Right Image Format:
Most web images are created as either gif files or jpg (or jpeg) files. There are pros and cons to both. Basically, gifs are best for simple graphics or line drawings. They can be created with a transparent background or used in simple animations and are often optimized by reducing the use of colors. The jpg format is better for photographs or full color images, but cannot be animated or used with a transparent background. For more detailed information on this topic, including side-by-side sample images, read David Eisenberg’s informative article, “Why Good Images Go Bad – A Guide to Effective Use of Images on Your Website” at http://www.catcode.com/imgguide/index

What is a Content Management System?

By | Blog, PHP, Search Engine Optimising, Web Design | One Comment

A Content Management System (CMS) is a piece of software that runs on a server. Typically a database application, a CMS makes it easy to publish and administrate content.

Some basic features that are common to all CMSes:

Separation of content, structure and design

A CMS improves the lifecycle of your website for years to come. The “look and feel” of your site can be changed or relaunched, leaving existing content and page architecture untouched. No need to worry about copying and pasting content into another site, simply publish your new design and the CMS will pull the content into the new look.

Easy content production, no programming skills required

If you can use a computer, you can manage the content for your website. Using a graphical user interface, authors can simply create text, insert images an multimedia files, schedule content (and much more) to build and maintain a dynamic website.

Just imagine: You will never need to make another menu button again, or pay a web designer to do it for you. Each time you add or change a page, the menu will automatically update to reflect the change. Having to learn or purchasing photo editing software will not be necessary. You can upload images straight to the web from your digital camera / DV camera or a scanner.

Common advantages of a CMS:

  • Decentralized maintenance.
    Typically based on a common web browser. Edit anywhere, anytime. Bottlenecks removed.
  • Designed with non-technical content editors in mind.

    People with average knowledge of word processing can create the content easily. No HTML skills required.

  • Configurable access restrictions.
    Users are assigned roles and permissions that prevent them from touching content in which they are not authorized to change.
  • Consistency of design is preserved.
    Because content is stored separate from design, the content from all authors is presented with the same, consistent design.
  • Navigation is automatically generated.

    Menus are typically generated automatically based on the database content and links will not point to nonexistent pages.

  • Content is stored in a database.
    Central storage means that content can be reused in many places on the website and formatted for multiple devices (web browser, mobile phone/WAP, PDA, printer).
  • Dynamic content.
    Extensions like forums, polls, shopping carts, search engines, news management are typically drop-in modules. A good CMS also allows for truly user defined extensions.
  • Daily updates.

    You do not need to involve web designers or programmers for every little modification - you are in control of your website.

  • Cooperation.
    Encourages faster updates, enforces accountability for content editors via log files and promotes cooperation between authors.
  • Content scheduling.
    Content publication can often be time-controlled; hidden for previews; or require a user login with password.
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