A Bad Week For The Cloud.


The world is abuzz with talk of the next big thing in computing, the cloud. Well this week my experiences have told me one thing, the cloud sucks, it is the biggest pile of BS since the bailout of the banks.

First, Google Mail (gmail for the US) failed. Leaving customers both on hosted and the standard accounts, then my favourite hosting provider of nearly 5 years fails on me, there (gs) or GridService. The cloud based shared hosting system, which I decided to put some of my clients on to allow rapid scaling or as it has turned out rapid failing.


The storage cluster of which my server is a part has failed, in a whale like fashion – Spewing its entrails all over the server. Thankfully my managerie of dedicated servers are still up and running, but I hadn’t transferred the remainder of the sites out of the (gs). Meaning the biggest of all my sites is no down for the count, and has been down for over 24hrs.

I love (mt) mediatemple, and there support staff are not doubt taking flak from every corner. But, I would really appreciate it if I could edit my DNS entries so I can get something up to explain to customers what the hell is going on, and no we haven’t gone bankrupt.

I would like to add, that I still would recommend mediatemple to anyone, but just not the (gs). If you want cloud Amazon EC2 or mediatemple (cs) when its out is what you want.

MediaTemple Cluster2 Status

TechCruch GFail

What is Yahoo!s’ Business?

The dust is still settling from Jerry Yang’s announcement that he is to step down as Yahoos’ CEO. I wonder if Yahoo! has any idea what it wants to be. Search, Advertising or Neither.

There is still talk of Microsoft buying Yahoo! Search, which is fair enough take the least toxic bit of Yahoo! But what are you then left with. Yahoo! Mail, Delicious & Flickr they are the only remaining big properties that Yahoo have on the books.

Delicious & Flickr have yet to be monetized and the user base on both platforms would kill the person responsible for upsetting the status quo. That leaves Yahoo! Mail, which has some ads but the willingness of Yahoo! to go with the Google advertising deal means they are likely making no money on that either.

So how is Yahoo making money?

Sure its got deals with BT in the UK providing the homepage and mail service to all BT Broadband customers, and it has some News properties which are well trafficed. User growth is going to be negligible anybody who would want to sign up for a Yahoo! Account probably have, its a problem many big companies face and sure there have been attempts to get the workforce re-invigorated but so far nothing new and astounding has made it through the door, and what has been something a bit different had to be bought in.

I have said many times before that Yahoo! doesn’t have a clear sense of what it wants to be; Search, Advertising, Content or Video, it just doesn’t sit nicely anywhere and it can’t be the agregator for all because Google has sewn that one up however, thats not to say Yahoo! couldn’t compete – they could if they become a strong leader in the tech sector again.

If I where Yahoo! I would invest heavily in cloud computing services, rather than following try and jump ahead. Just like Apple did in 1997.

ITV: Your Problems Michael Grade

“Google and YouTube are parasites. It’s all about content; the rest is just railway lines.”

You utter clot, YouTube living off the great content that ITV are making – CelebAir another brilliant way to spend ITVs budget. I am sorry but you have complete lost touch with reality and ITV deserves to loose its place on the FTSE100, business man exploits whatever tool available to them when in a corner, ITV resorts to cheap shots.
Continue reading “ITV: Your Problems Michael Grade”

Viacom = Big Evil, Judge = Insane

Fair enough Viacom is going after money from its interlectual property or however they want to justify it but in the long run they have damaged themselves beyond repair. 

Firstly, they image wasn’t all that great, and they completely miss the point of the internet. For example, by allowing clips to be uploaded of ‘their’ material they generate more hype and buzz and most importantly more viewers, yet again late to the party reaction. Insert foot into mouth and take the people to court.

Secondly, they have forced Google’s hand, by releasing the data on what IPs and therefore people have viewed on Youtube to Viacom, this is illegal at least in the UK, under the data protection act. It sets a very scary president one that brings us very close to the Orwelian 1984 set up. I wish somebody takes this up and fights back, the days when the big companies could dictate what happens in the world should be over, seemingly not.

Launching into the World of E Commerce

Gone are the days where you can launch a e-commerce site and be successful just because you are there and there is nobody else. Its a cut throat market and its all about how people see you. Here are my top tips for getting noticed and getting your plan right from the beginning and what to realise before you hit the road.

Tip #1 : Get your design and look right.
This seems a pretty obvious one but you would be surprised the number of sites that have poor design, whilst there are exceptions to the rule some sites are really poorly designed yet still manage a decent turnover (this is usually due to the companies adwords spend being an obscene number)

When a person first hits your site they immediately judge the quality and security, people now seem less bothered about SSL (because anybody can get one) and more bothered with a good design that looks as if the company cares and most importantly isn’t there to scam you. Also attributed to good design is it makes the users want to look through your site and most importantly buy and return to the site.

Tip #2 : Payment Options.
This is heavily dependent on your particular circumstances but you should have as many payment options as you feel confident with being able to manage.


Pay-Pal – Should be your first port of call when setting up – it gives immediate credibility and web users feel safe using it.
Credit/Debit Card – Most important aspect to this is make it simple, there are a number of services such as Protx that provide a system that palms off you to another site to process credit cards. This method of processing cards is poor, because it doesn’t allow you to have control over all the process and also does not maintain you image. The ideal system is being able to process the cards without taking the user away from your site, which usually means posting a request to the credit card processing company and they then send an appropriate reply. There can be issues with the as you may be required to be audited by your merchant bank to ensure security.

Tip #3 : Pick your niche & Exploit it.
This is were a lot of web start-ups fail and fail hard. There is no longer any market to be a one stop shop for everything, unless you have some serious capital it is unlikely that you can compete with the Amazons’ and ebuyers’ of this world. Stay small and specialise, there is a niche for everybody, and if your good enough at support and developing your corner of the net you will be successful. I know this isn’t a particularly valid point of view for the bank manager, but the most successful companies generally follow the ‘Build it and they will come’ monica.

Another benefit of exploit a specific niche is that you will quickly gain creditability and notoriety within that field, this leads ultimately to more business.

Tip #4 : Google works for You, not You work for Google.Google Logo
Adwords is a very interesting proposition for anybody online, the ability to target practically everyone on the net. The most important thing to remember is, You shouldn’t spend loads of money with Google, you want it in your bank account.
Start small, run one campaign and target it to a small geographical area then when you are comfortable expand it. You shouldn’t follow the tradition ‘you get what you pay’ for system with adwords, if you pay more it does not guarantee that you will be the at the top of list, it guarantees your bank balance stays low and makes Google some money.

And Finally:
Don’t stay still, the web changes daily. Make it your business each day to find out what way the wind is blowing, and adapt accordingly.

Oops! What about Flickr

I have gone from thinking Microsoft buying Yahoo! might be a good idea to thinking its a truly terrible idea.One simple thing Flickr they will make a complete hash of Flickr, if they don’t sell it first.

Also alot of the features I like in Yahoo! mail which they aren’t gonna keep because it doesn’t use a Microsoft Product i.e ASP or whatever the backwards language is called.

Boo Microsoft! Leave Yahoo! be.

Good God – Redmond makes offer for Yahoo!

Yahoo Logo2008 has just got a whole lot worse if the deal comes off.

Microsoft has offered $44.6billion to buy Yahoo! At least if Microsoft does by Yahoo!, Live! search becomes half decent and there are some real brains in the web division, it could also go the other way and Yahoo! becomes what Live! is now. 

Even with the combined forces of Microsoft & Yahoo there will still be a long way to go before, they can topple the impressive lead Google has over them both. Only time will tell. 

Safari 3 Check, Leopard Check

Apple Mac OS X - LeopardI always pick the best days to go to the Cinema after exams. I got in and the World of Apple has turned to jelly (at least mine anyway). Leopard = Yes! There is anything really revolutionary, but it doesn’t need a fancy new pair of Interface trousers, Finder looks fantastic, stacks (I have already being using folders to do this) Generally Leopard looks like a solid update, and as I said a long time ago, Leopard need not be singing and dancing upgrade. Just fix the quirks and add some useful features, also make sure the install takes less than 3-hours unlike the last 3 times I have set up Vista.

As for safari, I have switched back. First impressions, its polished and fast. Google Reader now no longer has the weird beach ball effect when loading the next lot of stories, its also a lot faster than Firefox loading, Visual Rich Editor in WordPress works (although it has its quirks). It also has the Element Inspector from WebKit which is incredibly useful to me making sure websites work. It also just seems to feel better, nothing much has changed but it seems to run more smoothly even load web pages faster?

In the process of making this post I have corrected 4 errors, on the website. Due to Safari 3 not liking certain elements. 

New Google Reader

Google Reader ScreenshotA logged onto Google Reader to check on my subscribed feeds and got welcomed by we have updated page. All I have to say about the new UI is wow. I really like it while it might take me a bit to get used to it, it now does what I wanted it to do in the first place, make my own little e-newspaper.

I missed Yahoo!

Google.com and Yahoo.com LogosI am doing some work/research into SEO for myself and also northernmusiconline.co.uk and I have almost exclusively being looking at Google. It was only until last night when a yahoo’ed myself that a realized, ‘god i forgot these’

I think its weird that I didn’t think of it sooner, but seen as I use google almost exclusively its slightly understandable, but by that logic also if you advertise with Yahoos equivalent of AdWords are you going to get less results than using AdWords. This is once again Googles biggest asset slapping me around the face, the Brand.