Sunday, 8 March 2015

To Facebook or not to Facebook, that is the question...

Technoleg Taliesin is involved in all areas of the on-line world. Mainly we develop websites, but it's impossible these days to create an online presence without considering social media.

Often people will glibly tell our customers that they MUST be on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and LinkedIn and so on...the list is endless. (And what about MySpace? Remember them?) But, as with any aspect of marketing a business or organisation, you have to sit down and think carefully about what marketing channels are appropriate for you and your message - and your customers.

So, we work with our customers to decide what is right for them. If they organise a lot of activities or events, then a Twitter account makes a lot of sense. For others a Facebook presence could be very helpful. For professionals then perhaps LinkedIn might be useful. Perhaps a blog? or an e-mail newsletter? We help our customers decide what is right for them, and then help them set things up. Horses for courses, as they say.

But the one thing that we must always remember is that all of these activities, no matter how much potential they have, will only be effective if they are done properly. Managing a Facebook account takes a lot of time and effort. Creating interesting posts, responding to comments, sharing etc. all take time. No problem for a large organisation with a marketing department, but perhaps more of an issue for a small business with one or two over-worked staff. And consider what an out-of-date Facebook or Twitter account, with no posts for months, says about the owner. In reality it may be they're too busy to keep up with things - or they could have gone bust!

And to be honest, is Facebook appropriate for every sort of business, even if their customers tend to be regular Facebook users? Is Dai the Death, the Llanbethma undertaker, really likely to get many friends on Facebook? Will everyone be following him on Twitter in case he announces a special Buy-one-get-one-free offer, for seven days only!

And that really explains why a search for Technoleg Taliesin on Facebook or Twitter comes up blank. We think it's probably not very appropriate or practical for a small web development company, and is certainly not worth the effort of setting up and maintaining a page. We have other ways of keeping in touch with our customers, and we prefer to do it on a one-to-one basis.

Saturday, 7 March 2015


It's easy for professionals in any field to get to the stage where they're so comfortable with the technology that they work with that they start to forget that 'normal' people may not be so relaxed about things.

I've been working with computers for many decades, and I hope that I manage to remember that what is second nature to me is a bit more complicated for other people to understand and, more importantly, that other people may be frightened that they're going to break something. And that's a very real problem. Windows, in all its various flavours, can be a nightmare to use. Different programs do similar things differently. What should be a simple process can turn into a nightmare. Click on a few wrong pop-ups and your bank account can mysteriously end up empty.

Perhaps this is why Apple products are so popular - they may cost a fortune but generally they work the way the user expects, because all the software is effectively made by the same company. The same thing with Android phones - people just use them. Okay, they may not understand exactly what they're doing, and how risky it might be, but they don't worry about it.

Windows is different. People worry. At a recent talk that I gave on Internet safety this was a common comment - people were actually frightened of doing something wrong - or even doing something right!

I thought this was something that I was aware of and appreciated, but didn't thing I was likely to suffer from myself. WRONG!

My main laptop is now nearly five years old. It works well, but the main disk partition is getting close to full - regularly! The problem was that when the system was new I decided that I really didn't need a primary disk partition of 512GB, so I split it up into several bits, and gave the main C:/ drive a 'mere' 120GB (I can remember putting a new hard drive into a computer some years ago that was 512 MEGA bytes - and cost £250). The rest I used for an extra data drive, and then installed Linux to have a play. Now I needed to extend the C: drive, but Linux was in the way. I decided to delete Linux and add the space to C:. Straightforward process once I'd acquired some souped up partition manager software (the standard Windows 7 stuff is a bit limited). Basically just delete the old Linux partition, reset the boot manager to Windows instead of Grub, and away we go.

I was TERRIFIED! Playing around with partitions and boot managers in the wrong way is one way to trash a computer, and this is a very important computer. Yes I've got backups, yes I've got other computers I can work on in an emergency, but if anything went wrong it would waste an awful lot of time. I knew what I was doing (sort of - I'm a software developer not a computer engineer), but when it came to rebooting to see if the machine would come back to life I was sweating.

Of course I didn't need to worry, it all worked perfectly, but it was a useful reminder of how some people feel every time they approach a keyboard.

Our job is to make things as simple, friendly and foolproof as we can, and to train people properly so they don't panic whenever they use our software.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Wales goes digital - at last!

Wales has finally been allowed to take its place in the digital world: the .cymru and .wales domains went live for general use yesterday, March 1st. It's been a long wait.

Trademark holders have been able to register them for some months, and we started hosting our first .cymru and .wales domains late last year when the domains and went live for Welsh publishing company Y Lolfa. For the moment they're just pointing to the main website.

Whilst this is obviously a Jolly Good Thing, I'm a bit irritated with the top level domains chosen: ideally we would have been like other countries and had a single 2 or 3 letter code. What was wrong with having .cym? And why have both .cymru and .wales? .cymru would have been fine by itself, but now everyone will need to buy both, just to make sure no-one else buys the other one.

In some cases this will work well - for bi-lingual websites we can direct the .cymru domain to the Welsh home page, and .wales to the English one. Businesses and organisations can have different domains for .cymru and .wales: and We've done precisely that for a project that will be launched later this month: Voices from the Factory Floor, for Womens Archive Wales. We'll be using and

So, it's a very good morning in Wales as we become a fully paid up member of the world of the interwebs.

And of course we'll be offering .cymru and .wales domains to all our customers from now on.