Monday, 6 October 2014

For small businesses Christmas isn't coming yet

As the weather turns cold and every place that sells food begs you to come in and book for Christmas, small businesses must keep on striving for old and new customers to make sure that Christmas won't be cancelled!

We've lurched from hot dry summer to cold wet autumn in the space of a few days (at least, we have in good old Surrey), but we cannot yet turn our thoughts to the festive season.

There may only be 79 shopping days until Christmas (which equals the actual number of days until Christmas in modern times!), but more importantly there are 57-and-a-half working days until Christmas!

So, TV adverts, pubs, restaurants, garden centres, shopping centres and shops - give it a rest. Start your campaign for Christmas on 1 December and respect the rest of us. Do you think people don't realise Christmas will be on 25 December this year? Let them plan for it without being bombarded.

Not all businesses have their peak season in the weeks leading up to Christmas. For many of us it's a period of working hard to seal deals and grafting to earn a crust.

Being told it's Christmas in October is tedious.

Friday, 7 March 2014

If only work would arrive on a regular, even-spaced basis!

One of the frustrating things about working for yourself - and in most instances being the only employee - is that there are not more of you!

In the past couple of weeks, things have suddenly got really busy, and I could have done with three or even for of me at times.

No complaints about being busy - that's what we strive for - and at the moment there is no realistic chance of employing someone else on a permanent basis.

It's such a pity that work doesn't come in on a regular, even-spaced basis. But nothing was ever that simple.

So - very sadly - some work has been turned away, and the rest I will just have to squeeze in.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Businesses suffer in the floods

Business is not much of a game when you have to deal with emergencies like this year's floods are causing.

Thankfully, I have not had to deal with anything to do with the floods but obviously many businesses will be affected. Currently, therefore, they are no doubt having to deal with flooding and its effects rather than with their real business that actually earns them some money.

So it's a double-whammy of reduced income and increased expenditure to deal with the floods.

On the BBC, David Woodcock, in Berkshire, texted:"I run an office in Theale right by the canal. We got a knock on the door from a local police officer at 15:00 yesterday saying they were evacuating the business park as rapidly rising flood waters may mean we would be stranded overnight. I thought this was excellent work from the local authorities. With around 400 people working on the business park this was a great call. Not great for business but our company are lucky as we are all able to work from home but others aren't as fortunate."

A reaction that most would describe as "typically British", I think.

I hope his business, and all others survive this ordeal - and , of course, all the people concerned too.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Make PHP conference more affordable

I'm quite interested in this PHP UK conference 2014 at The Brewery in London in February.

But it would cost me £377 to attend. I can't afford that.

I'm not quite sure, therefore, what audience they will attract.

I'm an independent PHP programmer for my own company. PHP is a free internet programming resource, and that is why many website programmers use it. Therefore, £377 to attend a PHP conference seems a bit much.

I wish them luck (it's the ninth so they must be doing all right), but I won't be there.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

As a programmer, understand your data

I started computer programming many years ago, and have used among others, Algol, Cobol, Basic, machine language (more than one type), and more recently, PHP for website programming.

Logic counts in programming, of course, and syntax is crucial, but I think understanding your data is the most important thing.

If you understand how your data looks, then (as long as you're a competent programmer) you can probably program almost anything. If you have the good fortune to be able to define your own data then you can make life easier for yourself. The relational database that goes with PHP is MySQL and I have found it as flexible as I need for programming in PHP.

The fact that PHP and MySQL are both open source and therefore free is a great boost for website programmers like myself.

Of course, I still find challenges (after 30+ years) in programming and I still find it rewarding to get successful results from my programming efforts.

Long may that continue.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Be community spirited - fix your PHP bugs

I was browsing "PHP news" on Google and came across this blog - Dragon Be's PHP blog - which exhorted its readers to do something for the community: "update documentation, fix bugs on your favourite project or attend a PHP user group or conference."

Not the usual sort of thing you might be asked to do for the community (I can't see this being on the list of community service projects), but for the PHP community it is a fair request.

Most of the websites I write and maintain are now written in PHP, making the websites dynamic and in most cases giving the website client the opportunity to make their own updates to the website as and when required.

But I will make it an objective in 2014 to update documentation and fix bugs. I also have a project of my own running on my own laptop (a sports simulation which may lead to others...), but it has its own bugs. I know my way around them, but I need to make it bug-free to make it marketable. A 2014 challenge.

As for attending a PHP user group or conference - that's a good idea. Let's Google that...