Rate My ISP exceeds 100 reviews

The broadband ratings site I built a while ago, www.ratemyisp.ie exceeded 100 reviews today.

Here’s the roundup:

Position ISP Reviews Rating out of 5
Top of the League Smart Telecom 7 4/5 stars
Second place Magnet 5 3.5 stars
Bronze medal BT 11 3.5 stars

Chorus NTL was top of the table for a while but slipped into 5th place. But with a hefty 14 reviews it deserves an honorable mention.

Eircom weighs in with the most reviews (19) but is 3rd from the bottom out of 12 ISPs.

Last horse in the race goes to 3 Broadband. They get 11 reviews and an overall rating of 1 star.

Someone from a particular ISP did try to leave 10 reviews in a row all with top ratings, which all got deleted. I since found out that it’s illegal for a company employee to pose as a member of the public like this. Naughty naughty.

Random whacky photos

Behold; random whacky photo number one:
Muscle man

And also for you delectation, random whacky photo number two:
Car in a tree

But wait, it get’s better, they’re both from the same photo. No! A bronze god and a car in a tree, in the one picture!? Yessirreebob.

You like? More on The picture is unrelated

A very short story

“He lifted her bloodied head – eyes gouged out, bedroom door ajar, then looked inside, prised the knife from her hand and repeated the act.”

I thought I’d have a go at a twitter sized (140 characters) short story during the week. Though I did get one WTF?! reply on Twitter, thankfully the Dublin homicide team didn’t smash the door down; recently a friend of a friend of…. twittered about smothering her daughter, very obviously joking and in context. Soon enough the LA cops were banging the door down. Yikes.

Another face of the earth

I bought a foot spa a couple of years ago. See I’ve garnered this odd affliction, where standing still for any amount of time kills my feet and leaves me utterly exhausted and fatigued for hours. Walking isn’t a problem. Standing kills me. Have been to two different doctors to no avail whatsoever.

One suggested a foot spa. Or maybe I thought it would be a good idea myself. Either way, it is now cast aside, like a bathroom version of a George Foreman grill, stuck in that useless little nook beside our shower. Any time I am seated on the throne, it looks at me with that big fake smile, begging employment. I don’t pay heed to such folly charms and go about my way without paying it any attention. I’m absolutely positive that as soon as I leave the smile fades and those hollow eyes fill with veruca salt tears.

I must send it on to Faces of the Earth, where it may at least find some friends.

New site: Rate my isp

I’m definitely like a bus when it comes to blogging, have been quiet for a while and then 3 posts today. All my free time in the last week or so have been spent on building a new site: www.ratemyisp.ie. Our broadband isn’t great at all, so instead of asking the most frequently asked question on the Internet (in Ireland at least) I built a site. Was very surprised to find it didn’t exist yet. I’m quite often pipped to the post on a lot of ideas I have.

It’s still kind of in beta mode. I might completely change the homepage. And I might add a mobile broadband section. Any feedback appreciated. But I’d love if you could take a minute or two to add to the ratings and also spread the word.

Upgrade yer auld Browser!

(If you have no interest in reading lot’s of web design stuff, you could just jump straight to the why upgrade? bit.)

I’ve noticed a growing campaign among web folk to stop supporting Internet Explore 6 lately:

And that’s just from the handful of web design blogs that I regularly read. If you do a search, you can see there are many more.

Like every other web designer / developer, it would make my life much easier to stop supporting ie6. For the benefit of non web site makers: We have to put in all kinds of hacks and cheats to make web sites behave in Internet explorer 6. I don’t think it’s a realistic or constructive approach to stop supporting it. This goes for my own site and a lot of other sites I work on or manage.

The biggest mistake you can make when you own a web site, or for a company getting a web site built for them – is thinking that anyone else cares as much about your site as you do. People don’t want to invest a seconds more time on your site than they need to. A good few years ago, obviously completely ignorant of this fact, you would see a lot of disclaimers such as: “This site is best viewed on Internet Explore 6, screen size: 800 x 600, Flash version: 6, sitting 1 foot away from your computer, wearing a beige cravat and sipping a tall latte.”

Of course no one bothered changing a single thing to look at those sites. If something doesn’t work they hit the back button, and click a different link. So long sunshine. It’s up to you, not the user, to make your site work for everyone. There’s been a mass shift towards building sites that are accessible to all. Actually it’s a basic standard for any professional these days. Well here’s the thing; you can code to the best standards, and use the most semantic of markup but if you dismiss a widely used browser (regardless of how badly it renders your code), you do not make accessible web sites. I think that factor might be easy to forget. Of course the big difference is that if we’re just talking about web design related sites, most of your readers are going to have the latest browsers – so the question on whether to support or not should be a statistical choice. Like Cloudsteph recently pondered. And this blog there are more IE6 readers than anyone else. Same goes for a lot of much bigger sites I work on.

I think a much more practical campaign is to let the uninitiated know just why they should upgrade their browsers. So I’ll practice what I preach with three main points.

1. It’s easy

Upgrading to a new version of your browser or installing a new browser is very easy. They’re clever people you know, they think of everything. As part of the upgrade/install they will give you the option to import all your settings and your favourites/bookmarks. So you don’t lose anything and it’s as simple as ABC.

2. There is no learning curve

A lot of people hate upgrades and the drastic changes they can sometimes bring. But there are no major user interface difference with browsers. You’ve got your address bar, your back and forward buttons. Then you’ve got favourites or bookmarks. You’d barely noticed the switch. Maybe your home button is in a different place but there’s really nothing new to learn at all.

3. Why upgrade then?

There are many reasons why you would upgrade. You get a lot of added functionality. Websites will look and function as they should. Page load will most likely be smoother/faster. Probably most important is security. Using old browsers is not very secure. Especially in the ‘always on’ broadband era. You’re making your computer very vulnerable to all kinds of malware/viruses.

So if you’re using Internet Explorer Version 6, you should upgrade to version 7 or install Firefox. To see what browser version you have (and this is the same throughout most software) go to your Help menu and select “About Internet Explorer”. You can see which Browser version you have then. You have two options no: (1)upgrade or (2)Download and install. To upgrade Internet Explorer, go to Tools > Windows Update. This will bring you to a Microsoft Update site, which will tell you what updates you need to bring your computer up-to-date, including the latest Browser updates. Or you could just download Internet Explorer 7 and install it: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/downloads/ie/getitnow.mspx. And you’ll also notice that ie8 is on the way!

I’d recommend that you get Firefox. It is faster, more secure, more independent from Windows, and has a lot more functionality. It’s very easy to customise or install plug-ins. For example one plug-in I find very useful is sxipper which remembers all my logins/passwords for various sites. And I recently installed a script that blocks all applications on Facebook, so I no longer receive requests from anyone asking me to poke a zombie in the eye with a virtual pet. Also if you’re a bit unsure about all this but want to give it a go, you can install Firefox without effecting Internet Explorer at all, so you can go back if you need to or use both of them.

So, don’t upgrade for me, upgrade for you!

Global E-Commerce fail

Rant, rave, fume, spit. I am so sick of web sites who say they deliver to Ireland, then don’t let you proceed without a valid UK postcode. This is 2008. Sort it out! Don’t make me fill out a big bloody form if it is not possible for me to proceed!

While I’m feeling ranty, I’m also sick of the number of things you just can’t seem to buy in this country. I seem to spend so much time looking for things that you can buy in any other country. If you have a valid postal code!

Screw you uk.insight.com you’re first on the list. Yes I just might make a list.

Please roll over

So I was looking for a physio in Swords when I came upon www.swordsphysio.ie. I didn’t expect to get such immediate instruction. I rolled over – but I didn’t feel any better. So I rolled the other way. No good. I better make an appointment.

Roll over