Tuesday 28 July 2009

The 'mega footer' has landed

Well, it's been in the pipeline for a while but we have finally moved the 'mega footer' over to the live website.

I'm assuming that many of you are thinking "What's a mega footer?"

Well, the area at the bottom of the page which normally holds information about disclaimers and when the page was updated is called the footer. What we and a fair few other people have done is expand this to include deep links and secondary navigation. We've also moved our social bookmarking links into the mega footer to tidy up the site and reduce the length of the page.

As an additional bonus, it has allowed us to include links to other University services such as the Library, BREO, Careers, etc, something we have been meaning to include for a while!

We'll be monitoring the usage of the mega footer over the coming months to tweak the links that it contains to ensure it's working as well as it can.

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Second Life is dead! Long live... well, anything really!

Ah, Second Life, the ultimate virtual world where you can have a unique personality, fly through the sky and gracefully land on an island designed by an artistic genius where everything is paradise. This was also briefly touted as the new step in the virtual classroom...

Well, that was the idea sold by the press and Linden Labs, the owners of Second Life. Unfortunately, the reality is that there are not that many active users in Second Life and the majority that are in there aren't interested in anything educational!

I originally created a University of Bedfordshire island within Second Life to allow a virtual walk through of some of our campus buildings and also to display a gallery of our pieces from our media graduates. Although the initial traffic was reasonably good with around 600 visitors a month this has now declined to under 200 sometimes even under 100... So, with a slight wheeze and a cough it's time to retire the Second Life island and not renew the contract for next year.

Another 'next best thing' is resigned to the archives! It's only a matter of time to see if the decline in Second Life's usage and appeal will eventually mean the closure of the Second Life world as a whole!

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Microsoft Office is heading online!

In another move to try and take some of the shine off Google, Microsoft has announced today that they will be releasing a stripped down, web based version of Office with the release of Office 2010.

This is an interesting move by Microsoft who have just recently launched their new search site 'Bing' which is already driving around 4% of searches to our site and is showing a promising start.

In direct competition with Google Docs it will offer lightweight versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. The applications will be free to use and are to be offered to Windows Live consumers, currently around 400 million people.

No idea on an official launch date as of yet but it will be at some point next year.

Read the full story here: Microsoft Office takes to the web

Monday 13 July 2009

Advertising on Twitter?

Twitters revenue model has been notoriously ropey... mainly due to the fact that it hadn't run any advertising or shown any way of making money!

That appears to be changing, an article on ReadWriteWeb has highlighted the little known, or noticed, Twitter advert. Could this be the beginnings of a shift at Twitter towards a sustainable business model?

Read the full story here: Ads spotted on Twitter.com

Tuesday 7 July 2009

Blyk mobile network

We've been watching with interest the development of the Blyk mobile network for some time now. For people not familiar with Blyk they are a virtual mobile network provider aimed at 16 to 24 year olds who offer free credit in exchange for accepting advertising.

The idea of it sounds great and although they only claim to have 200,000 subscribers the targeting to those people can be very precise. However, reading through NMA this morning I came across an article about Blyk no longer running as an independent network and instead partnering with Orange, who it already rents it's network space from.

As the network has failed to attract sufficient revenue from advertising it could mean that the only viable way to continue to operate is as a partnership model only. It remains to be seen if Blyk is able to retain it's name following the deal though!

Read the full article here: Blyk in talks with Orange over first partnership deal

Wednesday 1 July 2009

Twitter tool tips

If you're already using Twitter then you'll realise that it can be a little restrictive on features! Check out this posting from TwiTip on '10 Twitter Tools that Help You Work Smarter', it offer some interesting functionality as well as tool to help with integration of Twitter onto your site or blog.

Read the full top 10 at 10 Twitter Tools that Help You Work Smarter