“Back in the day” is a familiar phrase for those reminiscing about times past. We reflect on how things used to be, and how times have changed. For solicitors, especially local solicitors, the phrase couldn’t be any more apt today if you wanted it to be.
In these times, a local solicitor was found under the local directory books (Yellow Pages, Thompson Local etc.), or through adverts in the local newspaper. If you could afford it, then an ad shell at a bus stop or on the side of the wall were other ways that big budget spenders could grow knowledge of their law firm, locally.
Advance to today, and the opportunities for reaching both local, regional and nationwide clients are endless. For the client themselves, it’s never been easier to find the right solicitor for you, one who may not necessarily be local, but fits the bill for what you’re looking for.
It’s not about locality, it’s about the law subject of advice you need
No longer is there a need to pick your law firm based on their locality to your home. Thanks to digital media, social media and of course, the internet, you can find the perfect solicitor nationwide. Because now it’s based on their level of expertise in a specific law area, not location.
For example, even when based in Altrincham, but might find that a Bury based solicitor focusing on an injury at work claim is a better fit for your claim, due to your need for their specific expertise in that area.
Communication is key, too. Due to Skype, mobile phones, emailing etc. a local law firm like Aston Knight has the ability to operate nationwide, all from the comfort of an office based in Bury. They can do so with a small and dynamic team who are accessible through these communication channels, and because of these communication channels, clients feel at ease regardless of where there are based.
Understanding your claim and what you need
The most important thing when seeking legal advice is understanding your claim and finding solicitors that suit your claim. It’s no good looking for a family law expert solicitor if your claim is regarding an injury at work. It sounds silly, but you’d be surprised how often people don’t research correctly to find the right solicitor for their claim.
A piece of advice; don’t search locally, think nationwide. Don’t be restricted by where you are from but be open to where the experts are from. Search based on the type of legal advice and expertise you need. Ensure that you use all the tools available to you from Google through to Find A Solicitor, and make your decision based on the gut feeling and experience of the law firm in your chosen field. Finding the right solicitor is one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make, so make sure you do your due-diligence beforehand.
Our recent article - 21 Ways To Develop Cancer has caused quite a stir with a number of sceptics and people with first hand experience with electro magnetic radiation (EMR). A number of comments suggested we talk about how to avoid EMR where possible. Certain people are more sensitive to EMR than others, in a similar sort of way to how pollen effects only certain people. The effects of EMR can be as simple as headaches to life threatening cancer. It is impossible to cut out EMR from our daily lives however we can minimise our exposure to it, with the help from Safe Living Technologies and the guest writer of the previous article - Martin Weatherall I have compiled this list of advice to minimise exposure.
- Avoid living near a mobile phone masts or radio/TV transmitters.
- Avoid using cordless phones, especially DECT phones as these transmit radiation even when not in use.
- Avoid using wireless baby monitors or wireless security systems, where possible hard wire them in.
- Where possible do not use wireless routers - use CAT5 cable.
- Where possible use your mobile phone on hands free but without a Bluetooth headset. Aviod using a mobile phone in your car without an external antenna as the radio waves will be reflected back at you from the metal chassis. If your phone has poor signal in the car an external antenna should improve your call quality too.
- Only use a mobile phone or cordless phone for emergency calls only, use a corded phone for all regular conversations. Avoid using a mobile phone if pregnant and do not allow a child under 16 to use a mobile phone at all.
- Try not to keep your mobile phone in the same pocket all the time, if possible keep it away from the body in a bag or on a desk. Otherwise rotate it around the body.
- Avoid using the Microwave, it doesn't do anything good for your food anyway and will flood adjacent rooms with radiation.
- Minimise the number of electronic devices around your bed, this can include lights, alarm clocks, telephones, extension cords and electric blankets. Battery operated devices such as an alarm clock are good replacements.
- Make sure you don't sleep near your fuse box or distribution box.
- Avoid living near or under high voltage power lines. The same goes for electric sub-stations and transformers.
- Avoid all unnecessary exposure to x-rays and CT scans.
- Drive cars that have low electro magnetic fields.
- Make sure electronic devices are grounded (this is not such a problem in the UK as we have three pronged plugs unlike the rest of Europe and America).
- Avoid using a dimmer switch in the house as these emit high magnetic fields and cause dirty electricity.
This article from Safe Living Technologies provides a lot more detail about how to cut down your exposure to EMR.
I've been developing web sites using Drupal for over 18 months now, for me the flexibility and modules available for Drupal make it the best and quickest way to develop a website. Here are some of my top tips:
1. If you want to edit the layout of the site maintenance page you can find the CSS file in misc/maintenance.css.
2. After I have installed Drupal I first enable clean URLs then enable the path module. This means I can build basic SEO in from the start. If building a blog or articles based site I like to use the path auto module to automatically specify the URL.
3. When designing a site I like to build it in Dreamweaver first, then I copy the PHP template tags in from another template (often bluemarine). In the past I would customise the garland theme however there was a lot of extra CSS that I would often remove.
4. To create a template for an individual node type create a file in your template directory called node-nodetype.tpl.php where nodetype is the node type. (ie node-story.tpl.php for a story node).
This is really useful for customising individual nodes especially when using CCK and the views module. For instance I recently built a ticket support system for a company, by integrating a view into the company node you could immediately see the open tickets for that company.
//load the view by name
$view = views_get_view('view ticket');
//output the top three items in the view with the node title as an argument
print views_build_view('embed', $view, array($node->nid), false, 3);
The above code is for inserting a view into a node - more in the views documentation.
5. When first developing a theme I change the administrative theme to Garland or Bluemarine so that I can still access all the administration sections in order to enable menus, blocks, CCK and other configuration options.
6. In Drupal 5 a top border is added to tables. If this messes up your theme edit modules/system/system.css and comment out or remove line 18 ( border-top: 1px solid #ccc; ).
7. The TinyMCE module allows you to turn a text area into a WYSIWYG editor giving you formatting options such as bold, italic, underline, text direction, links and images. The module IMCE adds image upload and resizing support to TinyMCE.
9. If you enable a lot of modules you may get php memory errors, to fix this add:
to the sites/default/settings.php file. You may also have to do this on the pages that have the errors to.
I usually add it after the other ini_set variables in the settings.php file.
10. When developing I like to have the cache disabled, once the site is ready to launch I will set it to normal mode. The same goes for aggregating and compressing CSS files.
11. When having to create user profiles I use the node profile module along with the CCK (content construction kit) module rather than the profile module included with Drupal as default. CCK gives you a lot more flexibility and there are many more customization options. Also by making a profile a node you can theme it easier (see #4).
12. In Drupal 5 you can specify a default front page from the site information page however an easy way to create different front pages for authenticated and non authenticated users it to use the front page module.
Here are some of my top tips for additional OS X functions, most have come from my experience at home and work.
1. Plugging in a TV or Second Monitor
Most Mac models come with an external connector for attaching additional screens (normally a mini DVI connector). From this you need a mini DVI to DVI connector then another cable to plug into your screen, this can be a DVI to VGA cable, DVI to DVI cable or as I have a DVI to HDMI cable. All the cables are very cheap and can normally be picked up from Ebay.
OS X should automatically detect the second screen plugged in and you can open system preferences to adjust the resolution. You may have to play around with the settings, my 26" LG HD TV looks best on 1280 x 720 rather than its native resolution.
I've had my iMac plugged into my TV for the past 6 months and people still think its cool how I can move my mouse from one screen to another.
2. Sharing your Internet over Wireless.
While I was at University our local cable supplier didn't give out free wireless routers so to save buying one I shared the Internet out through my iMac's wireless. In Leopard the Internet can be shared from the Sharing section in System Preferences.
3. Bluetooth Internet Through Your Phone
It usually takes ISP's about two weeks to put ADSL on a phone line. Clearly I couldn't be without Internet for two weeks so I turned to my mobile phones provider (T-Mobile) to hook me up to the net. Now that 3G signal is well established (and I have a 3G phone) I got speeds of around 3mb for
***Unfortunately the remainder of this article has become corrupt and lost :(***
2009 has been a tough year for Bloggers to make money compared to 2008 but there have been opportunities and ad networks have matured to become better accepted by marketers. Gone are the large amounts of money for private ad sales in favor of link exchange agreements and PPC amounts have tumbled.
Here is how some of my sites have fared over the past year for monetization.
Sponsored reviews have fared well in 2009 with advertisers keen to show their products in a natural way to consumers and search engines. They are often criticized for degrading the quality of a blogs content but I've found a sponsored review mixed in between a number of good quality posts to perform well. Strict new rules for Bloggers in the US may mean some good opportunities for non-US blogs in 2010.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
It's been a rough year for Pay Per Click marketing, the amount made per click in 2009 has plummeted on a number of my sites, hopefully 2010 will see the PPC market performing much better.
Google Adsense - Has been a reliable income throughout the year though relies heavily on people clicking high value ads. Adsense performed well on my iPodHistory site before I sold it however has failed to do well on 12stix or ImAFish.
Clicksor - Has replaced Adsense on a couple of sites where they are not suitable for Adsense or have been banned. The amount per click is fairly poor even compared to Adsense.
Monthly ads are where you are paid a set amount per month for an advert though these often base prices on Google Page Rank and Alexa ranking. There are a number of key players:
TNX - Has been a consistent payer throughout the year but relies on paying a small amount for a lot of adverts.
LinkLift - Recently out of beta, LinkLift is one of the newer players but has shown good growth throughout the year.
Linkworth - Advertising revenue has dried up significantly from Linkworth over the past year.
Text-Link-Ads - TLA has paid consistently low amounts all year.
Teliad - Has paid consistently for higher Page Ranked pages.
Private Ad Sales
This time last year there was a lot of money for private ad sales however this has declined significantly. Companies are now turning to link exchange programs rather than paying directly for ads. Even the better paying gambling sites have been cutting back on their advertising budget.
Hopefully we are over the worst in 2009 with the slump in the advertising market. There are plenty of opportunities out there for Blog monetization but Bloggers need to work that extra bit harder to attract the advertisers.