Edinburgh New Town Cookery School

15 December 2009 - 1:00pm -- Room 108

New Website Launch: www.entcs.co.uk

Edinburgh New Town Cookery School required a brochure site with course schedule system, e-commerce and online booking system.

The school required a content management system to allow updates to the course brochure as necessary.

Room 108 worked with the School’s existing Graphic Designers to produce this website through the use of a Drupal based content management system.

IE8 Coming to a PC Near You

4 May 2009 - 12:00am -- Room 108

Microsoft's latest version of Internet Explorer, IE8, has been released recently and if your PC is set for automatic updates it will be downloaded as part of these. In the coming weeks you will be given the option to install it.

If you use an earlier version of Internet Explorer you should consider accepting this update. The new version of the software contains a new SmartScreen filter and other built-in security features to help protect you against deceptive and malicious websites which can compromise your data, privacy, and identity. Rumour has it that it is also faster than previous versions on IE. (Our advice regardless of your choice of browser is to keep it up to date.)

If you are prompted to install IE8 or actively download it remember to give yourself time for installation and configuration. Don't start the process ten minutes before your next meeting. Installation will take about 15 minutes followed by a required system restart and configuration.

Configuration options allow you to customise your settings. You can go for the default setting but here are a few items that can be configured to enhance your browsing.

  • Default search provider - Microsoft Live is the default search provider but through configuration you can change this to the provider of your choice.
  • Accelerators - Allows for interaction with content. Right click on content to search, find, define or blog
  • smartScreen filter - An extenstion of IE7's phishing filter turn this on to protect against deceptive and malicious websites

If you would like more information about how IE8 will impact your business please get in touch with the room 108 IT team to discuss how we can help.

Visit Microsoft to download IE8 or learn more

Thoughts on Internet Explorer 8 from the Technical Director

27 April 2009 - 12:00am -- Room 108

Because he took the plunge before me I asked Darren, the technical director here at Room 108, about IE 8.

How long have you been using Internet Explorer 8?

I have used Release Candidate 1 since its release at the end of January 2009 and have been using the final release since 19 March 2009.

What is the biggest difference between IE 7 and IE 8?

  • Accelerators which allow access to several features such as search from the right click menu
  • URL highlighting which shows the main URL in black and the rest of the URL in grey. This allows you to see the main site you are on easily and helps prevent phishing attacks.
  • URL predication when typing in the address bar is significantly better, you can delete directly from the drop down list which means you can tidy miss spelt URLs quickly.
  • Built in developer tools, no more downloading a separate application
  • Colour coding of tabs opened from another web page
  • If tab crashes it recovers the tab and will automatically switch to IE 7 compatibility mode if that was the reason.
  • Reload previous session
  • Compatibility button next to address bar, this allows user to switch into IE 7 compatibility mode

Fundamentally the browser is the same and the user experience is not significantly different.

How did you find using IE 8 when you first installed it?

I had some issues with plug-ins not being enabled, which meant I had to download new versions. The main issue is visiting old sites that break in IE 8. This seems to be mainly due to the use of Flash or JavaScript.

What features do you like best in IE 8?

Being able to select a word in a web page and search Google using the right click menu

Are there any features that have been removed from IE 8 that you now miss?

None that I have missed so far.

Have you been facing any issues with websites not rendering correctly under IE 8 that are working correctly in IE 7?

Yes, predominantly sites using Flash but I have also seen some sites which do not work at all. There is a button in the address bar which will reload the page in compatibility mode and web designers can make a small change to an existing page which forces IE 8 to use IE 7 compatibility mode.

Some sites also show JavaScript errors but I have not seen as many of these since installing the final version.

Would you recommend users upgrade to IE 8?

Yes, the URL colouring will help with security and the browser is supposedly faster although I cannot comment on that.

IE 8 also has In Private browsing which enables users to surf without leaving a trace of the websites visited on the computer, although this may break most sites due to it disabling items like cookies and plug-ins.

IE 8 is also more standards compliant then previous versions meaning that more websites will render as the web designer would want.

 

SMS Scam - Drive-by Download

3 March 2009 - 10:08am -- Room 108

Room 108 has received a warning about unsolicited SMS messages being received with text similar to the following:

  • Hi,i post your full Personal and Banking information at WEBSITE You can remove it, i am sorry.
  • I post your full Personal and Banking information at WEBSITE You can remove it, i am sorry.
  • Someone posted Your full Personal and Banking information at WEBSITE website. You must to remove it now.

These SMS messages are known to be part of a ""Drive-by Download"" scam. This type of scam directs you to a website that then automatically downloads malicious software to your computer or handheld electronic device (e.g. phone). This is done without your consent and often without any indication of what is happening to your machine. Once installed this malicious software often collects personal/business details and sends these to a fraudster so that they could undertake identity theft.

If you have received an SMS message of this nature and have visited the web site, it is recommended that you undertake a full check of your computer system or handheld electronic device to determine whether any spyware, computer virus or malicious software has been installed.

If you are worried about the security of your system get in touch and we can discuss this with you."

 

Moving Forward

1 June 2008 - 2:00pm -- Room 108

In the last ten years we have developed our services in order to meet the needs of our clients. Now we are looking forward to our next ten years, and beyond. This year we’ve also extended to Edinburgh with access to a fantastic space for working and meeting in Rose Street. This move helps us provide a better service for our Edinburgh based clients as well as allowing us more time to enjoy this beautiful city.

A New Year and a Happy Birthday

1 January 2008 - 3:00pm -- Room 108

Everyone here at Room 108 would like to wish all our clients and partners a Happy New Year.

2008 will see Room 108 reach its 10th birthday. We’d like to say a huge thank you to all our clients, suppliers and partners for your support, without who, we may not have reached this milestone.

We are looking forward to a productive 2008 and look forward to working with you in the coming year.

FlexiScale

8 October 2007 - 12:00am -- Room 108

Room 108 has been a reseller of XCalibre hosting for a while now and we were interested in the FlexiScale concept but was struggling to figure out how, Room 108 a small but growing Lothian web design company could utilise the platform. Then one of our other hosting suppliers provided an opportunity in the worst possible way.

We were faced with a main customer site that was nearly on its knees, technology wise (the phrase “Upgrading to ASP.NET 2.0 did not cause the problem” will haunt me for a long time) and a test site that was down, when added to the fact that a new version of the site was to go live within days and we needed sign off from the customer meant that I needed a Windows 2003 Server with ASP.NET quickly.

We finally called XCalibre and asked if they were taking orders for FlexiScale, to which the answer was yes but everyone was currently on a plane going down to FoWA to launch the FlexiScale product, my heart sank at this point as the main site was starting to grind to a halt. Thankfully within an hour we had a call back and the setup of our Windows Server was in progress. Within hours we had the test site back up and running and the main site transferred across as a backup, just as the main site went down. (Question: When will we see dynamic DNS updates across the internet, as the time taken for the new IP address to filter through the net was not fun? The good side of this is that we became a bit more proficient with nslookup.)
FlexiScale provided Room 108 with a test site and a backup for the main site which can be used when we need it and all for the cost of a couple of beers, Thank You.

The main site is now back on its original hosting platform now, but as soon as we have sorted out web stats capability that is close to Urchin 5 functionality without the same level of costs associated it will probably move back to the FlexiScale platform.

So back to our original problem of struggling to figure out how to use the FlexiScale platform, I think we now have at least one use case which will greatly improve our testing infrastructure by providing more accurate mirroring of the primary hosting platform, with the added advantage that we only pay for it, when we are using it.

Stay tuned for more details on how Room 108 will be using on-demand utility computing.

The Room 108 Technical Team

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