#WhyImVotingUkip FAIL

Have you seen the UK Independence Party disaster on Twitter? They created a hashtag to promote UKIP but it didn’t work out… check out some of these tweets, hilarious!

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I’m worried that Muslims will force me to practice Shakira Law, and my breasts are small and humble

#WhyImVotingUkip cause I’m sick of foreigners coming over here, improving our exam results and being our doctors. What selfish ******s.

#WhyImVotingUkip because Michael Jackson made better music when he was white

#WhyImVotingUkip I’m sick of my Israeli mother nagging me to clean my room. Enough is enough, she’s got to go

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I’m worried black people will start breeding with gay people and we’ll create a master race of amazing dancers

#WhyImVotingUKIP Because Im sick of immigrants coming over here and seasoning our bland food.

#WhyImVotingUkip Less Asians means lower grade boundaries

#WhyImVotingUkip Because Mr Sheen left smears on my windows and it says on the bottle that he’s polish.

#WhyImVotingUkip Because a brown baby smiled at me and I didn’t know what to do.

#WhyImVotingUkip cos i’m sick of them coming over here, contributing taxes, doing jobs we don’t want, having skills we don’t have

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I’m sick of foreign food in the supermarket. Why can’t they just stock English food like pasta, curry & rice?

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I thought it was a party who promoted napping in the afternoon

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I’m hoping they’ll repatriate my dad to India via Dubai & I need a new digital camera

#WhyImVotingUkip because, having invaded three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, Britain shouldn’t tolerate the presence of any foreigns.

#WhyImVotingUkip Because I’m sick of them coming over here contributing to the economy and enriching our culture.

#WhyImVotingUkip David Cameron didn’t wish me happy birthday

#WhyImVotingUkip because British jobs should be for British people. Just like African diamonds should be for colonialist European families.

#WhyImVotingUkip maternity leave is just pandering to women,in bongo bongo land they have a baby in the morning and then work in the fields

Not had enough? See more here 


The Retail E-Commerce Challenge

I’ve written before about the challenge of bringing a bricks and mortar sales operation online. Well it seems those in the know in the e-tail sector are all too aware of the relative poor level of sales being generated online for some of the well known high street retailers.

Speaking recently to an e-tail Director, it became apparant at some of the internal issues faced by traditional retailers, including a huge misunderstanding of online trading. It is not enough to use a successful store model online. Why would you try and cash in on those £4.99 value transactions online which work so well in your stores to drive footfall and sales, when the online delivery charge is £5? Am I prepared to pay £5 for convenience? Perhaps, but the online commercial model, whilst sharing the same business foundation as the high street stores, requires a differing layer of development.

In today’s world of high-speed internet, choice and convenience, it can hurt your business considerably by not playing the online game seriously. Consider it a new branch of your business as opposed to a new sales channel… one that needs to be thought out for its business proposition, product placement, differentiation and marketability amongst other things.

The good to come out of the challenges faced by a recession and reduction in footfall for retailers is to find cheaper routes to market and market penetration, leading retailers to give online commerce the commitment and investment required to leverage lower cost sales and marketing to those already online. This leads me onto the issue of customer insight, far too big a discussion area for this post, but one which must be at the centre of the online drive.

On a final note, the travel sector is in many opinions years ahead of most other sectors. Perhaps retailers in particular have lay in wait too long with the comfort of their traditional sales channels negating any need to change. Now’s the time to review your business model.

Realistic Affiliate Marketing Expectations

Affiliate marketing is a hugely competitive arena. Even if you find your niche, it will only be a matter of time before a super affiliate or merchant challenges your space.

You need to be realistic in your vision of what you can leverage; if you’re working alone alongside your 9-5 role, it is very unlikely you’ll be joining the elite any time soon unless you hit a goldmine or perhaps suffer from insomnia with more hours in your day than most people.

Super affiliates become a network of specialists in their own rights, leveraging highly skilled talent to help further their profits.

I’ve seen a number of affiliates struggle from setting unrealistic expectations. Take my example. I aimed to become profitable after 6-9 months and achieve my first monthly income target within 12 months, using a structured approach to building my online presence. I’m well on track and with continual traffic and revenue growth at a steady pace, giving as much back as we put in.

Knowing what to set and how to set targets comes with knowledge of the industry which many affiliates may not have, but start small and over achieve. It will help massively with your motivation and give you further confidence to build on from each success.

What is worse than striving for success without seeing any payback? We have more ambitious targets next year, followed by global domination! Ok, maybe not just yet, but by starting small, your failures are also less magnified, from selecting the right host for your website to creating and marketing it the right way.

Finally, having consulted on a number of affiliate ventures, through the brilliant affiliates4u forum, I know how daunting and tough it can seem, but with a wide network of support available through forums and down to earth super affiliates there really is no reason to give up!

What challenges have you faced and how have you kept your motivation levels up?

Google Android G1 Phone: Increased Battery Life

Here are a few unscientific proven steps you can take to maximise your Google Android G1 smart phone battery life. It may well work for other Android mobile/cell phones  but until I upgrade (or get a free one through the post) I won’t know!

Firstly, like many smart phone owners I began by downloading loads of cool Apps and doing lots of unproductive stuff like using 3G to watch funny YouTube videos, connecting via the Wireless card just because I could and checking emails and of course Tweeting from the Android G1. (My previous phone being a Sony Ericsson Cybershot – great for calls and photos).

After completely draining the battery on the first day (initial charge was around 12 hours) I soon realised that this wasn’t too practical; yes I liked the fact that my underground tube journeys or longer train journeys would not be as boring anymore yet I still needed to be able to make calls with it too!

Step 1 – 3G is Wrecking my Mojo

After some research I found that the most battery draining feature was actually the 3G Internet browsing option. Apparantly it requires more power than Bluetooth and the Wireless Network card. It is far more superior in speed to the 2G network but this comes at a price.

Whilst 3G enables faster internet browsing, really, what difference does this make to background applications? If you’re on a data plan then 3G will of course download quicker but it will still download the same amount of information as 2G so unless your network operator is charging by the hour, you won’t gain too much.

Besides, I’m on a UK network on which I pay a small monthly amount for unlimited (loosely speaking) Internet usage via 2G and 3G.

Now what I do is to default my connection to 2G, and switch to 3G only when I really need it (like when using Google Maps or checking in on work emails).

Step 2 – Radio Silence

If you’re not actively using Bluetooth, disable it. Same goes for GPS and the Wireless internet card. I use Bluetooth in my car so its switched on when I enter and switched off when I leave. I use GPS for maps, simple switch on and off. Finally I use the Wireless card at home and I only switch this on when I need it.

Great, already increased battery efficiency by around 40% I reckon! (don’t quote me, I made that up).

Step 3 – Exposing the Undercover Sync

Another battery drain is background sync. What is it? It will sync your email, calender and contacts amongst other things via the internet. Unless you’re constantly updating things and *need* your G1 synchronised (I currently don’t) then switch this to manually update. This includes things like weather Apps, Twitter and partially pointless Apps like moonphase (did I say pointless? I did download it afterall… I mean sometimes useful).

By reducing the number of background sync items  you save your battery life 2-fold; firstly by reducing your internet usage but also in reducing your CPU usage by not having these items burning your CPU whilst on standby.

Step 4 – The Terminator

What a cool intro to step 4. Actually it is nothing more than closing applications that you were running. Since many of the G1 Apps do not have a simple ‘close’ action to close the program down, it will sit as a task on your Android consuming small amounts of memory and CPU (which wastes your battery). By installing a simple app like the fantastic Task Manager App (free trial version, worth paying for) or the freely available, yet basic TasKiller App you can ensure your G1 is running optimially by closing down apps.

Step 5 – Smaller Tweaks

And finally here are a few other things you can do to improve battery life. Again this is based on my experience with the G1 so you may have differing results.

a) Reducing the screen brightness will save battery. I’ve set my back-light to 0% which means I have a slightly dimmed view of my screen but as I’m now used to it, I don’t notice it until the sun is shining on it, when you do need to turn the back-light up (i.e. using Google Maps on the street!).

b) Ensure any Apps you stop using for example when the trial is finished, are not consuming your CPU. I installed a trial of an email client which when expired, still continued to request updates. Delete the App or upgrade it if you use it!

c) Set your screen timeout according to your usage. Mine is set to 30 seconds which is more than enough. If I’m browsing the map for directions I’ll use the handy Toggle Settings desktop widget to quickly set the screen to ‘never timeout’.

d) Ok some sarcastic person would probably write this so here it is; to save maximum battery, don’t use the phone. Heck, turn it off. Not highly practical though hey?

e) Or perhaps buy another phone. My old Nokia lasted 5 days. It made calls. Period. However I don’t want to ‘just’ make calls I want to surf the ‘net, take pictures, write a blog and check twitter updates whilst reading an e-book from my phone.

The Results

There you go. Some if not most of this has probably already been covered off seeing as though the Android G1 is now at least a year old (G2 looks great, though I love the keyboard on the G1). Let me know if any of this works on the G2!

Perhaps they’ve improved battery life on the newer versions of the Android phones but in any case, I’m now getting 3 days usage from my Android G1 which includes perhaps 1 hour talktime a day, 2 hours Web usage and other apps. Not bad me thinks.

Recommended Apps List to Help Save your Battery

  • Task Manager (monitor and close apps)
  • Toggle Settings (quick on/off actions for popular settings)

What are your experiences? Have I missed something off the list? Or perhaps you’re not experiencing the same level of battery karma as me?


WordPress Expired Post Notification

Having been working on a WordPress site for someone I’ve brushed up my PHP skills and enjoyed using a powerful blogging-cum-content management system, which to be honest provides a great deal of flexibility and control yet delivers intuitive ease of use.

So the latest problem was on how we could set a date for certain posts to automatically ‘expire’ in as far as having a notification appear within a tag/categories (archives) listings page or within the blog post itself.

The easy thing was to learn how to use ‘Custom Fields’ to set any data you wanted attached to the post. We were already adding dates, so that for example, if we required the article to expire at the end of June, we could simply enter 30/06/2009, and display this as a message on any page where the post was shown:

$expiry = get_post_meta($post->ID, “expiry”, true); //eg 31/03/2009 = 31st March 2009 (UK date format)

then in the HTML, enter:

<p>This post expires on <? echo $expiry; ?> </p>

So what happens when the post has actually expired? Your message would be a little out of date; ‘.. post expires on’ needs to become ‘.. post has expired’.

This seemed easy enough. Using PHP’s built-in function to convert any date string into a set of numbers which could be easily compared, I set about doing just that. However a few hours later I just could not get it working. The problem? I’m in the UK, and the function I was using, ‘strtotime’, expects the date string in US format!

UK format = dd/mm/yyyy

US format = mm/dd/yyyy

So, here is the final solution I came up, perhaps you’ll find a good use for it too!

1. Get the expiry date from your post Custom Fields (this has to be within ‘the loop’ in WP)
$expiry = get_post_meta($post->ID, “expiry”, true); //eg 31/03/2009 = 31st March 2009

2. To check for a valid date I’m only checking that the string has a forward slash
if(stristr($expiry, “/”) != “” ) {

3. Get today’s date as MM/DD/YYY
$todays_date = date(“m/d/Y”); //eg 05/06/2009 = 6th May 2009 – need this as ‘strtotime’ expects US date format

4. Convert this into a ‘time’ format, which makes comparison of absolute numbers easier (number of seconds since 1970…)
$today = strtotime($todays_date); //eg 123456789000

5. convert our UK date format from our blog post to US format by spliting the contents into an array then putting back together again in US date format
$expdate = explode(“/”,$expiry);
$expiration_date = date(“m/d/Y”,mktime(0,0,0,$expdate[1],$expdate[0],$expdate[2])).”\n”;

6. Convert this into a ‘time’ format, which makes comparison of absolute numbers easier
$expiration_date = strtotime($expiration_date); //eg 1234567890001

7. Now compare the 2 numbers! If your expiry date value is higher than today’s value (i.e. it is further from 1970 than today) then your blog post is still valid!

if ($expiration_date > $today) {
//place your code here for valid posts
} else
//place your code here for expired posts

If there are any better, streamlined ways of doing this please drop your thoughts!