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What’s crazier than Crazy Domains having a major outage?

Posted in Industry Trends

I’ve just spent the last half an hour reading some of the amusing comments from customers of Crazy Domains (or soon to be ex customers).

Ask yourself a question – does your business rely on a website with maximum uptime?

  • If you pay between $2 and $4 per month for web hosting, you probably should expect serious regular downtime.
  • If you will lose thousands of dollars of business when your website or email goes down, think about finding a provider who offers a commercial grade hosting package with a fair price attached.
  • Take uptime guarantees with a grain of salt. Do some online research and see what other companies/customers are saying about their experiences.

I feel for Crazy Domains. It’s a tough situation and they are going to be under fire for this for a long time. All it’s highlighted to me is that there is a big lack of education in the hosting and web space and that needs to change.

Update: Netregistry voiced a similar opinion

Agile Development – Myth or Magic?

Posted in Agile Development, Industry Trends, Speaking Engagements

On the 21st July, I am presenting as part of a one day seminar at the Sheraton Hotel in Perth. The event is organised by Savile House and sponsored by Thoughtworks.

Global Companies are increasingly employing Agile development techniques to gain an advantage. It seems so obvious – increase the collaboration between different experts on the project and you will deliver results quicker and at a lower cost. But is it really that easy?

Hear from our first class panel of experts who will share the high’s and low’s of their experience in adopting Agile.

I’m looking forward to sharing the stage with the presenters (download the full brochure – Agile Development – Myth or Magic?):

Nigel Dalton – Lonely Planet
David Joyce – Thoughtworks
Mike Allen – Agile Alliance
John Townsend – NOPSA
Adam Fitzgerald – The Frontier Group
Dr Ashley Aitken – Curtin University
Angela Ferguson – Thoughtworks

Perth Agile Meetup Group begins to take shape

Posted in Agile Development, Industry Trends, Inside TFG, Lifestyle

At The Frontier Group, we have been hosting the Perth Ruby on Rails Meetup since August 2009. This meetup has brought together many individuals and businesses from the Perth Ruby on Rails community each month and has had great success in helping distribute knowledge through interesting presentations, as well as connecting developers to project work. It’s also a great social event if you’re even remotely interested in hearing about Ruby or Ruby on Rails.

After a few discussions with the Brisbane Agile Academy, we’ve decided to start a second meetup group. Our organisation has a strong focus on Agile methodologies and we’re really interested in sharing and developing this knowledge with the local community. You don’t even have to be a developer for this one! Agile techniques appeal to a range of professionals, companies and roles. If you’re interested we’re looking to run our first session in a few months time, once we’ve generated some noise.

Dwayne Read from Strategic Systems is the co-organiser for this group, an Agile coach with over 15 years applied Agile development experience (20 years software development experience). He will also facilitate our first meetup with the following interactive session:

Come to the inaugural Perth Agile Meetup to participate in an Agile ‘Release Planning’ session and two ‘Sprints’. You are the Customer/Product Owner (or one of anyway) and the project objective is to ‘discuss the agile techniques of interest’. We will run a JAD session to list the techniques/features, prioritise and then discuss/exemplify two Sprints worth (albeit timeboxed to 1 hr in total – now there’s a tight delivery schedule!).

Show your interest by signing up (for free) at the official Meetup page, and when the first date is announced, you’ll be notified and can RSVP. Head there now!

Of course you can always follow us on Twitter to find out any updates.

Want to learn more about Agile? Check out the Agile Academy website.

iPad: Overhyped Flop or a case of Great Design Thinking?

Posted in Industry Trends, Lifestyle

Lately I have been left feeling slightly bemused, possibly even despondent. What about you may ask? The reaction this week to the iPad for one.

The instant it was announced, the concept of jumping on the nearest spaceship and leaving this planet behind was not far from my mind. I mean, who doesn’t love a good argument on the Internet right? But the sheer magnitude of negativity and lack of foresight was astounding. I guess there was a lot of disappointed people who expected the iPad to be something that it was never intended to be, but are we really living in an “all about me” society? More importantly, is that where we want to be?

I would never expect everyone to like such a device and nearly everyone I talk to that doesn’t use an Apple product, hates Apple products. I used to be one of those people too. I grew up with MS-DOS, Windows 2, 3, 95, 98, 2000, XP, then shifted to Linux for the next few years. Maybe a solid Apple product came along at the right time for me, just as all the other competitors were struggling. They’ve since moved on and regained their following again, but I’ll most likely continue down the path which has seen me the most productive in business and life.

But back to my original point. I spent 10 minutes thinking about potential uses for the iPad that I hadn’t seen mentioned anywhere, and it wasn’t hard to come up with some amazing out of the box solutions. I contemplated writing a post, to join the other millions of bloggers out there but I held back for a while. Eventually Venessa Miemis wrote exactly what I was thinking, but she’s done the hard work citing resources and everything!

If you have a spare ten minutes it’s definitely worth a read, regardless of how you feel about the device. It may turn out to be a game-changer or it may disappear into insignificance 12 months after it launches. But if like me, people want to read some objectivity on a topic, then this is for you.

iPad: Overhyped Flop or a case of Great Design Thinking?

The Sortfolio Experiment

Posted in Industry Trends, Inside TFG

What is Sortfolio?

Sortfolio (the website formerly known as Haystack), is a website where web design firms (and freelancers) can provide the necessary information about their business to a potential client. Instant information such as location, price and style of work are easily found. Sortfolio makes it easy for a potential client to browse multiple web designers all at once and make an informed choice.

Whether this concept will prove to be effective long term is still an unknown. Certainly for companies in Australia it seems to be less effective at the moment. I would imagine that potential customers in Australia probably aren’t using this sort of website or directory, like our American counterparts would be.

We’ve had our free listing on there since the site launched in October and have had no enquiries in that time. Potentially the 11 hits to our website from Haystack last year were all internal.

The paid plan experiment

Sortfolio offers a paid plan for $99 per month. You have access to 6 thumbnails instead of 1, and a larger listing card. Given that there can be a large number of people competing for ad space, this can prove to be effective from a theoretical point of view. You can see the immediate benefit on the Perth-Australia page.

This benefit is less apparent when the search is refined, however there still is an advantage to being a large listing card.

Recently 37 Signals announced another benefit for paid listings. They purchased a slot on The Deck Network for Sortfolio. That gives somewhere between 2,500,000 and 3,000,000 ad impressions in a 30 day period. They used to run a static ad in that spot, but now are splitting the ad display 25% static and 75% dynamic. The dynamic ads feature the Sortfolio Pro customers. About 140 companies have Pro listings and the ad is a combination of a crop of the thumbnail as well as linking to the Sortfolio listing.

This means we will also get roughly 15,000 highlighted ad impressions across The Deck Network. This means exposure to sites such as Daring Fireball, A List Apart, 43 Folders, Kottke.org, The Morning News, Ze Frank, Twitteriffic (in app), Tweetie (in app) & Design Observer.

It will be interesting to see over the next 2 months whether this proves to be effective for an Australian company, as well as it seems to be for our US counterparts. You can check out our full listing on Sortfolio and if you are an Australian company (or freelancer) who has had success with Sortfolio, please leave a comment.

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