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April 2011


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New EU e-privacy laws likely to create browser cookie monsters!

New EU e-privacy laws likely to create browser cookie monsters!

For those less techie-savvy amongst us browser cookies are not the chocolate chip variety but a small piece of text stored on your computer by your web browser. You probably know them best as those helpful little things that remember your address and phone number when you’re filling in a form. Cookies are hugely helpful for web based businesses it is a well known fact that at each stage of a signup process you lose customers. On average each domain has around 30 cookies.

The new EU privacy laws which come into effect on May 25th mean that web sites will have to obtain explicit consent from users to store this information. This means slapping large warnings about cookies on your site, which could scare away your customer making them think you’re a privacy nightmare. Some critics say that this will harm EU start ups pushing customers towards more US based sites that don’t have these privacy warnings.

The best advice for your business is to work out the best way to get consent to use cookies so you can continue to use them; some browsers are already working on ‘opt-in’ settings to meet the EU requirements. If you need advice on the best course of action we are happy to chat it through with you, just give us a buzz!

Created on Wednesday April 13 2011 09:36 AM


Tags: opt-out internet-explorer cookies eu privacy 25may consent


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1 Big Database gets 1 big bit bigger

As most of us know, local authorities throughout the UK face making decisions that will affect the way they provide services and interact with stakeholders and citizens. Whilst budgets may be changing, legislation and statutory requirements remain.

One of the areas we at Focus have been working closely with local authorities since 2004 is making information available online - from promoting positive activities and events for young people through to information about service providers for families. In fact 1 Big Database, which has been developed on behalf of Bristol City, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire Councils, is now the leading online resource for parents, carers and families throughout the West of England.

1 Big Database is a successful example of three local authorities joining forces to provide a relevant, up to date - and crucially local - directory of family information, supplemented by an events diary that lists hundreds of one off or regular activites taking place in the region. The partnership project has helped the council's save money and resource (such as administration) whilst maintaining control of the directory and keeping data within it in their hands.

March saw us launch a new version of the framework behind 1 Big Database - which included a number of new features and enhancements to existing functionality. The main development is a new dedicated section for managing and publishing Childcare data - and we've already hooked it up for automatic integration with Capita's ECD management software.

And because we understand the pressures that local authorities face with capital expenditure, we're making the directory and it's family of additional modules available under a 'software as a service' model - that is it's paid for on an ongoing basis as it's used. There's no up front development costs, just a regular affordable monthly amount that is paid for as long as the software is used - with no limits on numbers of records in the database or users administering it.

The team at Focus are happy to talk you through it if you've got any questions.
 

Simon Newing
Simon

Created on Monday April 11 2011 03:24 PM


Tags: public-access focus website technology youth


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Royal wedding or digital death?

Royal wedding or digital death?

I know, I know, I know. Not a very original theme for a blog article. Here at Focus Towers it feels like everyone's going unreasonably nuts for the forthcoming nuptials.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to bits about the extra bank holiday, but that's about as far as it goes.

2 billion people across the globe will tune in in some way to watch the ceremony, it's reckoned, making it possibly the biggest media event in history. 

Googling anything to do with weddings that day? Good luck! You're not likely to get anything useful. Top search terms are reckoned to be 'royal wedding stream online' and variations around that theme.

What's really striking though is that this is the first truly digital event of its kind. Charles and Di in '83 may have attracted some attention, but this time, it'll be more a case of trying to escape it! 

Of the 2 billion (!) people estimated to be watching across the globe, an estimated 400 MILLION will stream the content online. 400 million. That's about six times the population of the UK, kids.

The royal family may have managed to turn down B Sky B's request to film the event in 3D (I kid you not), but they can't stop the hoards all trying to get their little bit of the magic digitally. Will the internet fall over? Who knows? Good luck servers across the globe!

I won't be watching online. I won't be watching on TV. I'll be on a beach on the south coast somewhere hopefully. But the thing is, I'll have my iPhone with me for sure. And Twitter. And Facebook. And the Royal Wedding digitally, in the palm of my hand. Looks like I might be getting involved, after all...