Monday, February 29, 2016

Out with the old (domain names)

As many a webmaster, web-designer, web-entrepreneur knows: You "collect" domain names over the years.

This happens almost by accident.  You think of a idea, product, or brand - fire up your favourite webregistrar - and *bang* there goes $10 and you've got a new domain.com or .net or whatever.

This is fine.  Except that very often, very very often, nothing comes of it.  It goes onto the "projects backburner" list and never comes off.

Well sometimes.  And it is always "deleted" - very very rarely will a domain progress beyond the backburner to progress.

They just sit there, year after year billing $10 or whatever the renewal fee is - "ah.. one day I'll do this project" you say to yourself - but it never does.

So today is clean out day.


I've had a few domains in my time, and these two I'm getting rid of today have been with me a while, 10 years - 2004 I just checked the WHOIS for "onewaylinkexchange.com" and less for "prodmatrix.com"

I'm blogging about them because they are two special ones for me, as I did actually develop "stub" sites on them: in 2012 for onewaylinkexchange, and 2014 for prodmatrix.

They are 2 sides of my web development life - the former is a horrific HTML table based site (clone from a site that was designed in 2004 - an old even at birth), and the latter was my first foray into MVC.net

Look at all that licence-free artwork on the page.  That probably took a week to grab each image and save out.

onewaylinkexchange.com

I also leant not to use *any* SEO service - at the time "any link was a link", but it soon became apparent that some links "are not good".  I subscribed to some link sharing thing, only to discover that lots of links were pointing to my site, and I could not get rid of them - the linkexchange service was no longer manned, or maintained, but the links still pointed at my site!

Today you can "disavow" links, but it's a load of hassle - nobody got time for that - as they say.



Prodmatrix.com

Prodmatrix.com was borne out of the frustration of buying someone on impulse in hardware store, bring the equipment home, using it one or twice that season - always breaking, and generally requiring a lot of effort.

Then the thing (the first outing the following year's spring) completely breaking.  Out of warranty at this stage.   So I just google'd the product code - up come LOADS of review sites, like Amazon etc, with lots of people, none of which has a good word to say about the strimmer in question.  AGRGGH!

I was kicking myself, because money was tight (still is!), and my daughter's birthday was coming up and the garden a mess.

This is what I wrote:

My name is Karl, and I'm just a usual guy: I'm a programmer, and a husband, and a dad. I work hard every day. I certainly don't have money that I can just throw away. Now I happend to spend a considerable chunk of money, like 2 days earnings, on some garden equipment - that turned out to be completely useless. This made me real mad, since I wasted that money, and still have an overgrown garden, but I also have bits of junk in my yard. But I was even madder when I looked up the items on the Internet, and found that lots of other people thought they were useless too! Why hadn't I checked before spending all that money?

I needed to set in place some "protocol" for purchasing

How to do this? As a programmer, a techy, and someone who generally does things the hard way I was thinking of all sort of elaborate Apps that geolocated you in the hardware store, and other non-sense etc.

Photo Credit

Being a Programmer I was thinking of all sorts of complicated solutions to the this problem. "How to remember when buying something of value, to check it online, before parting with the cash", yes, how indeed? Well it finally came to me while sitting on the toliet! And it costs nothing. Click the video to see how...

However sense prevailed - why not just put a damn sticker on my bank and credit cards - "Hello dufus - what are you doing?" would suffice to remind me, that if this was a big purchase, to check online and make sure that it was not a "lemon" as they say about some cars in the US.

OK, so you've at least been made to think... Are you happy to buy this product now and risk disappointment or leave it, do the proper research it justifies and come back to the store later?

Prodmatrix.com was then a set of tools that would metasearch common websites like Amazon or TripAdvisor to give specific info fast.  The Windows Phone app was particularly good as it will launch 5 or 6 browsers at once, and you could just tab through the loaded pages really quick rather than having to enter search terms for each website you wanted to check.




Here is a link to a full size image

But what about Online purchases?

It is just a likely that you buy a dud online. A quick search (via my meta-search engine) will quickly determine if the product is any good. But how to remember to do that search before actually making the purchase?

Yeah it's real easy to just forget to do any research when buying stuff online - even in places like Amazon where they are often reviews - any reviews for YOUR PRODUCT?

So I figured  - real easy reminder - just add something in your password for e.g. your Paypal account to remind you.  The reminder tag was going to be [:]  square bracket, colon, bracket - which signifies "product" and "matrix" - from your math's classes... remember?

Why did I call this site the "Product Matrix" or ProdMatrix for short? And what is with all the [ brackets and : colons?
The long term aim of the site is to create a community of reviewers and purchasers who help each other to make great purchasing decisions.
I wanted to use a simple logo that could be typed with a keyboard and also have a strong meaning... 

So there is it.. in a nutshell.

I even went as far as getting some images of wallets done with that logo, from a online store where you can upload graphics and they print it on items of clothing etc.

Here is the store screen in all it's glory:

http://tinyurl.com/prodmatrixstore

All's good

No doubt other people will register these domains again - good luck with onewaylinkexchange! and let's see what appears at prodmatrix....

I've got my new Red Planet Travel project, and it has benefited from lots I learn't along the way with these two sites - so it's not with regret that I shut them down...

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Lumia 1020 hi res mode

I was talking with my brother-in-law about the Nokia Lumia 1020, and remarked about the 10mb image size.  I’d zoomed them before, and not really seen any benefit, but this weekend I’d taken some well-lit shots of the kids, and it does actually seem to have some benefit.

 

Here’s the original frame.

 

 

 

I could quite easily zoom in several times and still get a good clean image e.g.

 

 

And taking it too extremes a real close-up face and the ~1mb comparison image.  At these levels I probably woundn’t want to have to present these to anyone, but at least the image data is there.