Archive for category Techie Talk
All web developers know that setting up the HTML and CSS for a new website can be time-consuming. Particularly when your requirements still include frigid browsers like IE6 and 7.
A recent project has forced me to be a bit more “smarter” in my styling needs, so I thought I would share my tips with you.
Imagine you’re sitting in the pub trying to remember a film title and you just can’t, for the life of you, summon up more than the fact that it begins with an ‘N’ (or maybe a ‘D’) and it definitely has something to do with cars… and then your friend says “Casablanca” and you say “YES! That’s it!” Sound familiar? Yeah, me too. Despite being totally unsure of any details a moment before, you know beyond any doubt that you have it, the instant somebody suggests the correct answer. It’s the difference between recall and recognition that divides frustrated vagueness from confident certainty. But can it be useful?
The answer is yes. There is a way to store information so that a computer can recognise the same information if it sees it again without actually knowing the information – which means that what you stored is totally secure. It’s called one-way encryption and it’s very simple. You put in some information (a file, a name, a password etc) and the system creates a ‘hash’. You always get the same hash for the same input but there’s no way to input a hash and figure out the original input. For the 32-character format we use, there are 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 different possible hashes so it’s very unlikely (1 in 3 x 1038) that two different inputs will give you the same one. So if you give me your password when you sign up, let’s say waterberry, I would generate a hash4fa29303bf3155789ae1e8969bb029ae. Read the rest of this entry »
Well, where do I start…
I have always been into gadgets – got to have the latest phone, always on eBay looking for a good bargain, etc.
I had various iPods in the past and then got myself an Archos AV700 Portable Media Player a few years ago. It is brilliant – 100GB hard drive so I can take all my movies and music wherever I go; but even if it’s the best buy I’ve ever made, it’s getting a bit old now (battery is not lasting as it should). So I started looking around for a replacement and found that the Archos 5 Internet Tablet was released; so I could again carry all my movies and music with me but also have access to the internet as well – brilliant! So I started doing my research looking at what size I can get for what cost etc, to find exactly what I was looking for, and I was days away from buying the right one.
Last year, Powwownow replaced their 10 existing Cisco Media Gateways with an SS7 Media Gateway, a one box solution from Squire Technologies. The change has reduced operating costs and lowered power consumption by 66%.
Looking to increase revenue and service levels, Squire Technologies BT approved SS7 Media Gateway provided a scalable single box solution that delivered carrier grade SS7 to VoIP interconnect.
“Simple engagement with no contracts and no billing is Powwownow’s ethic, providing millions of affordable and easy to use conference calls worldwide. Service levels such as these require maximum resilience and our existing fleet of Cisco AS5400s were extremely power hungry and challenging to manage – the SS7 Media Gateway supplied by Squire Technologies has provided us a seamless single box solution ” – Paul Lees, Joint CEO.
We think we’ve done pretty well at Powwownow over the last few years. But that doesn’t mean we’ve not had our challenges.
And one ongoing challenge we’ve experienced is finding a way to avoid our communications (which are essential to how we provide our service) being intercepted by email client junk filters.
As Andrew explains in an article in today’s Telegraph, the success of Powwownow relies heavily on our customers receiving the information they need to be able to hold a conference call. Without that information, there can be no Powwownow. And the number of calls to the help desk asking for information to be re-sent suggest that it’s not a seldom occurrence.
Powwownow is available in so many countries that we offer comprehensive lists of dial-in numbers in PDF form. There are a great many combinations of services and languages and we are adding new access numbers all the time so these PDFs are generated automatically by computer. I was updating these last week and, as part of that, it came to my attention that the rounded corners weren’t working. We had been using four little images in the background with the corners drawn on by hand. Sadly, when customers printed the PDF, background images often weren’t shown. That wasn’t a big problem, as long as you don’t mind the marketing department sawing off your head with a rusty spoon.
They say you shouldn’t take your work home but, if you’re lucky, sometimes your curiosity is piqued by something that you just have to investigate on your own time. No, I’m not talking about cyber stalking the office babes on their Facebook pages, quiet down at the back. This week, I’ve been putting the finishing touches to our new conference call scheduler application and, while implementing a Google maps tool for calculating time zone differences, I started thinking about their zoom levels. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to print off directions and found that the route was too small to be clear, then zoomed in and found the route didn’t quite fit all on one screen. It seems like a big leap at those times, yet when you’re looking at the whole world, or zoom all the way in to one street, the contrast between stages isn’t nearly so obvious. So what is the change in scale each time you click the plus or minus?