After my initial blogs about Widgetbox and creating a facebook app (Pitch to the Dragons). I thought I’d investigate what sort of fun widget I could create using flash and Widgetbox.

I love fonejacker – It’s one quality program with some excellent characters. It’s also a tv show that lends itself to a little application that lets you here from all the best characters on the show. So I set about creating a flash app that lets the user select a character and then play a series of sound clips from the show.

Once complete I set this up as a facebook widget through using Widgetbox. Once again the process was very easy and within minutes (although the flash app took me several hours!) the widget was up and running.

So… five stars again for Widgetbox.

If you have facebook you can add the fonejacker tv-soundbox to your profile.

It contains all the best characters such as Terry Tibbs, Brian Betonde, The mouse, George Agdgdgwngo, Mr Doovde and the Chinese lad who likes to pirate dvds! I only added this to facebook and promoted it in a few fonejacker groups a couple of days ago and it has already surpassed the dragons app I did weeks ago.

If you haven’t got facebook, you can take a look and play around with it here.

I’ve also included some code on the page incase you would like to embed it in your own website.

After the success of my fonejacker TV Soundbox on Facebook, I decided to try out the same with
two of my favourite characters.

Alan Partridge is a legend… pure and simple. Also, running through his tv shows – The Day Today, Knowing me Knowing you and I’m Alan Partridge, Steve Coogan has blessed our screens with a character that delivers some of the best comedy quotes ever!
Perfect for an Alan Partridge TV Soundbox…

The next character is Gene Hunt from the shows Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes. Both show’s have proved to be the best thing to come out of the BBC drama vault in years and Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt doesn’t only deliver a cracking performance in each episode, he also delivers a plethora of quality quotes.
So again… Gene Hunt lends himself perfectly to a TV Soundbox application.

As I have used Widgetbox to make these applications, you can install them on any social networking profile or add them too your own website.

Check them out here…

Gene Hunt
http://www.neilsmithdesigns.co.uk/genehunt.html
Alan Partridge
http://www.neilsmithdesigns.co.uk/alanpartridge.html

Fonejacker
http://www.neilsmithdesigns.co.uk/fonejacker.html

For such a long time I used the web in pretty much the same way each day. I would log on to my sites, normally in the same order, carry out my everyday tasks, usually in the same way, then close the browser, usually with the same red cross in the top right hand corner. Ok, so the red cross bit of it’s not going to change, but the way in which I now browse the web has… and that’s thanks to StumbleUpon.

I’ve been a web developer for several years now and have often looked at ways in which I can keep up-to-date with the latest new websites out there. Not easy, due to the fact a new website wouldn’t fit into my pattern of web usage! The only new websites I used to come across were factual ones when searching for information or code and they were hardly the most inspiring.

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MyHealthAndBeauty.co.uk

MyHealthAndBeauty.co.uk

I have just made my latest website live – My Health and Beauty – which helps consumers find health and beauty products at the best possible prices. 

Although it’s early days (Literally only made live last week) I’m happy to say I’m seeing quite an impressive number of visits to the site.

It’s quite a while since I built a website for myself, so it was nice to have no restrictions on styles or guide lines to adhere to.  As a developer/designer, to have a free reign when designing and developing websites makes you realise why you loved the profession in the first place.

The site is in its early stages and I intend to pile in more and more product feeds as well as informative articles on health and beauty to add extra value to the site.

The developments so far include a main feed from amazon, a community forum built using phpBB, a dynamic google xml sitemap and the integration of google analytics.  Aside from that I’ve gone through the usual SEO practices of ensuring page titles are well populated, meta tags defined and h1 tags contain keywords.
There’s so much more to do though… in fact, think I better get back to it.  But I’ll keep you updated on how it goes.

webpage_badgeMy first venture into the world of affiliate marketing was with myhealthandbeauty.co.uk which has done relatively well since its launch last year.  I learned a lot designing, building and maintaining that site and so thought I would apply those lessons to a new project.

There are literally hundreds of voucher code, discount and “bargain” websites out there, but one thing that struck me with all of them was the busy, throw-every-deal-we-can-find nature of them.

It took time and effort to trawl through the offers and in this fast paced life we all lead, I doubt many people have that time.
This is why I have come up with the concept of www.1dailydeal.co.uk
It literally is 1 webpage containing 1 deal for 1 day.  Then “tomorrows another deal”  If the user isn’t interested in the deal then its only 5 seconds out of their life.  If they are interested – then happy days!
I’m going to spread the word about the site using social networking as well as offline marketing.  I’ve also developed the site to be a different experience if the user is browsing on an iphone.  Turning the same webpage into a custom app.
So – check it out… you never know – there might be a deal just waiting for you.  It’ll take all of 5 seconds*
*not applicable if you’re browsing on a 386pc and 15k modem.

I’ve been quite pleased with my purchase of an iPad, but when you spend your hard earned monies you want to be more than quite pleased. The reason I purchased an iPad was because I thought it was a revolutionary device, one that would bring a new dimension to surfing the web, enjoying multimedia and playing simple games.

But most of all I was looking forward to some apps from some highly skilled developers that would take advantage of the amazing apple UI that made the iPhone the best device of our time so far and the quality HD screen that displays bright vivid images beautifully.

Until now, I have been largely disappointed with the apps on offer, until now I have been struggling to find an app that delvers something new and noteworthy. Until now! So what app have I stumbled upon that has urged me to go as far as pick up my iPad and blog about it?
Answer: Flipboard.

Flipboard is a new take on the flip style flash interfaces many catalogue sites such as Next are offering. It allows you to add categorised content that is gathered from multiple sources to your contents page. So, you’re interested in technology? Add the TechCrunch feed, love food Add the smitten kitchen feed. The feeds are then presented in a flip style format, but you can also touch the article you want to read more about to see it in large format. This is presented beautifully with a slick zoom fade animation. If you want to see the full article on the web then a simple click on a web link takes you to the page. The clever part here is that it doesn’t just open up safari, it does this in it’s own browser so that when your finished you can go back easily to where you left off.

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I remember working in Wilkinsons in Melton Mowbray and on my break wondering over the road to Blockbuster video for some chocolates. I remember hiring Apollo 13 and Braveheart on VHS in 1995 (maybe 96 – it’s hazy!) from the very same Blockbuster store and quite a bit later (plus many movies later) in 2001 hiring my first Playstation 2 game.

Blockbuster is a fantastic brand – from it’s very simple ticket stub logo to it’s global coverage of its stores and online websites. It may not have been the first company to offer movie rental, but it was certainly the first chain to offer it on such a scale. The Blockbuster concept of a “great night in” which seems to have been lifted shamelessly by Dominoes, altered the way we enjoyed our time infront of the TV at night. Blockbuster cunningly offered up popcorn, chocolate and sweets alongside movie rentals so everything you needed was there in one place.

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 I love TV adverts, I know many people hate them and feel they interrupt a good program – but I love’em!

There’s simply too many quality adverts to include them all in a list, it would go on forever and anyone stumbling across this blog at work would surely get the sack should they watch them all. I don’t want to be responsible for making a load of people jobless – so instead I’ve decided to focus my attention on adverts solely within an area close to my main interest and that’s technology.

To give my collection of videos some sense of order, I’ve cast my mind back to my technological journey through life. Looking at all the adverts for every computer and console I’ve had the pleasure to own.

Now some of these adverts actually contributed to me parting with my hard earned monies. Others I never knew existed. But one thing’s for sure – there are some classics here.

I’m going to attack this in chronological order, starting off with a tech-defining product from that bloke who is famous for also inventing one of the worst products of all time, Mr Clive Sinclair. Yes – it’s the…
ZX spectrum 48k and spectrum+

My next tech purchase was to be the last before I ventured into the console world. One thing I could remember about this advert was the tune – quality!

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/mh0g73JvFbo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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google_money Google can acquire any web service they like, create amazing new widgets/gadgets/API’s in its google labs and launch new fantastic online tools such as GMail, Google Maps and Google Docs until it’s lovely logo turns bluer than a royal navy jacket – but If there is anything that divides opinion amongst web professionals more than anything else, it’s Google making changes to its search.

Since 1998 when Google first hit our screens – search has been the most important Google tool. Not just to us the consumer, but due to Google’s seamless neat integration of AdWords, search is the most important tool to Google as well. AdWords netted over $23 Billion in 2009 for Google and is their number one revenue stream.

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handwrit1A re-brand rarely comes when a company is thriving. If Google, Facebook or Apple re-branded today there would be more than a few raised eyebrows.
A re-brand often occurs when a company needs to revitalise or force a change in direction to once again steal a lead on the competition.

That’s why re-branding comes at more of a cost than just agency fees, consultants and re-tooling for their shiny new look. The real cost is in the customers perception of a re-brand. A brand is more than just a nice looking logo, but it is inevitably the logo that should define the brand.

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I’m currently sitting on the train from Leicester to London on my way to Internet world 2011 at earls court. Fortunately a friend has a mifi connection to enable me to while away the time blogging rather than looking over the shoulder of the bloke next to me on his Samsung q330 laptop (ok I did look over his shoulder to check out the model).

I thought I would fire up a quick post on the anticipation of the show and then follow this up over the weekend to see how the actual experience matched. I missed out last year so I’m expecting things to have changed a tad in the time I’ve been away. After all we do work in the fastest moving industry-type there is, don’t we?

The blurb says there’s “Over 300 solution providers and 12,000 visitors, combining five shows in one event, Internet World is the event for digital marketing and online business!”

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iw_entranceMy last blog was written on an iPad hooked up to my friends mifi on a train whilst  on my way to Internet World 2011 at Earls Court.  The blog described the anticipation of Internet World, the keynotes I looked forward to and the types of agencies I would allow access to my barcoded badge so they could contact me afterwards.

So, did the show live up to my expectation?  Or was it a squid that had only just ventured out of the water?

On entry to the show it struck me that some of the more lavish stands of recent years had been scaled down in an obvious cost cutting excersise.  In fact, I would say the show as a whole had a feeling of being hit by cut backs.  This wasn’t suprising and lets face it, measurement and ROI is bread and butter to these exhibitors so they will be ensuring they spend wisely on their set-up.

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