• Packages from only £19 per year
  • Celebrating 11th year selling web hosting
  • Enterprise package now with unlimited storage and bandwidth
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A Shropshire web host has relaunched this week with three new packages in its low cost PHP/MYSQL hosting range. The Entry Cloud package comes with 500mb storage and 1gb of monthly bandwidth for only £19 per year. The £29/year Business Cloud package comes with 5gb of storage and 10gb of monthly bandwidth whilst the Enterprise Cloud package comes with unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth for only £39/year.

Any of the packages are ideal for many of the popular web apps such as Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla and phpBB. With Switchweb’s easy to use control panel any of the above can be installed just with one-click through the web browser or smartphone. 

All hosting accounts come with unlimited email accounts, auto-responders, forwarders and mailing lists as well as essential junk mail filters and webmail access.

Switchweb have invested heavily in their cloud technology with 24x7 network and hardware monitoring and servers are custom built by industry-leading experts using high quality Dell and Intel hardware.

Formed in 2003, Switchweb Web Hosting have eleven proven years in delivering reliable, fast, feature rich hosting that is essential to businesses and organisations. 

We invite you to visit the new Switchweb web site http://switchweb.co.uk/ and check out our packages and features. If you have any questions our friendly support are always on hand to assist.

Iraq Business News is Web Company's Latest Venture

The Web Orchard a Shropshire based web-development company has announced today a joint venture with the purchase of an international news website.

The Iraq Business News website originally launched in February 2010 has grown to become the leading news service for all who are interested in the business development in Iraq. Offering a unique and in-depth perspective, the website aims to highlight Iraq and the modern economy which is being brought into place.

Iraq Business News and its sister site Libya Business News give site visitors a wide variety of informative news coverage – receiving approximately 300,000 page visits per month, demonstrating the demand and interest in their respective countries for new economic opportunities in the commercial sector.

Speaking of the recent acquisition in part of the company, Pete White of The Web Orchard said “We have been managing the website for a number of years and knew what a fantastic opportunity it was to become part of the current team. We can really bring our expertise to the site starting with a content delivery network that serves the site to viewers from their most geographically local server. This will speed up access and better serve the ever growing readership. It is always positive when we are able to make our expertise known internationally – and we are looking forward to seeing the Iraq Business News website evolve in the future.”

The Web Orchard brings Iraq Business News into their increasingly diverse portfolio of sites which also includes the Love Shrewsbury website. 

Visit www.iraq-businessnews.com or www.libya-businessnews.com to see the websites for yourself.

For further information on other projects which The Web Orchard have been working on recently, take a look at http://www.theweborchard.com/

The web development arm of Shrewsbury based IT firm Information Solutions Limited has donated a new website to the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings. The site showcases latest news and media from the Friends as well as its background and history.

Built using the Drupal 7 content management system the Friends have the ability to manage all the content and media on the site through the web browser. The new site stands them on a much stronger foundation for the future and will help in their fund raising and project promotion efforts.

There have been a number of sets backs in the buildings construction work since Christmas however the Friends are still pushing forward and are hopeful that with English Heritage taking charge that the work will commence soon.

Managing Director of Information Solutions Limited, Nathan Bensley-Edwards commented “We’re keen to support local groups and the Flaxmill Maltings project has an especially strong cultural significance to the town. We have close ties with the area with our office only being a short walk away and a number of employees living close to the development.”

Formed in August 2010, the Friends aim to promote the conservation, preservation and restoration of the buildings known as the Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings

Information Solutions paired with their web consultancy, The Web Orchard, offer world class technology solutions from their offices in Shrewsbury, UK. In 2012 & 2013 the company was awarded a ‘Mayor of Shrewsbury’ award for their outstanding contribution to the community.

The website of the Friends can be viewed at www.flaxmill-maltings.co.uk

For more about The Web Orchard either email [email protected] or call 01743 343411.

Shropgeek is proud to present our biggest Rebellion event to date!

Join us for our (almost) Christmas party on the 21st November!

We've invited some of the digital industries leading talent to come along, share skills and present earth-shattering ideas. So why not join us for some food and drink and maybe even a cocktail or two - it will be (almost) Christmas after all.

Held at The Alb, Shrewsbury - 6.30pm til late - First talk starts at 7pm-ish.
Tickets are only £10 and are limited so don't miss out!

Full details about the evening can be found on our website: shropgeek-rebellion.co.uk

The Talks:

Harry Roberts

Ten top tips for tidier type.

In this talk we’ll take a look at a number of things that even the most design-challenged people (like myself) can do to enhance and improve the quality and appearance of their typography online. As well as some practical tips, we’ll also learn a little about the quirks and reasons behind many typographic rules and nuances.

Steve Leighton

Swimming in a sea of shit, standing out in a crowded market place.

In this talk I will take a look at three leading brands, and how they stand out in a crowded market place, and are able to charge much more than their competitors for a similar product and still make them happy. But be able to do this on a large scale and be in the mainstream.

Ben Everard

Web Performance Improvements In Less Than One Hour

With performance on the internet ever important, Ben gives an introduction to performance improvements you can make in just one hour, along with pointers on where to look to next to understand and implement good performance techniques on your client's websites.

Tickets

Tickets cost £10 and can be purchased at: shropgeek-rebellion.co.uk

Ticket prices cover the costs incurred when running an event of this nature. All of our speakers are generously donating their time to make this event a success. However, we do pay for their travel and accommodation.  Any money left over after costs have been covered will be donated to a bar tab on the night. There is no VAT Applied to the ticket price.

Back in January the team at Shrewsbury based Information Solutions Limited started thinking about how to grow their web company, The Web Orchard. With over seven years of experience in building websites the company knew they were doing something right, but wanted a new way to spotlight their services and philosophy.

The use of short videos on websites has exploded in recent years, and have become a powerful way to engage with visitors. The Web Orchard wanted a video that could not only be used their own website, but as part of advertising on other sites; such as LoveShrewsbury.com.

After a chance meeting in the Shrewsbury Coffee House between Information Solutions Director Pete White and Aaron Child from Painted Life Productions, a meeting was setup to brainstorm ideas.

The Web Orchard were keen to keep their green, organic brand that had worked well for them on the website and in print. A number of concepts flourished, until the idea of a camera panning around a tree, with vines interacting with a laptop was formed as a way to bridge the gap between technical and organic.

The concept was developed further by introducing stop motion, a technique involving taking thousands of single frame shots, and combining together to form a realistic animation; the same method used in the production of films such as Wallace and Gromit.

With the storyboard for the video taking shape, Aaron and his team hand-built the set; including a custom turntable, and a tree trunk formed from real tree bark. They started the task of filming the tree and the vines, the 60 second video took over twelve hours to film. Each frame needed carefully setting and checking against the previous to ensure continuity.

Once filming was complete, it was over to the CGI animator to insert the background and setup the tracking required to overlay text and The Web Orchard logo on to the laptop screen. A custom soundtrack was produced, and final edits were made to allow the video to be used as both an advert, and as a website introduction.

Aaron from Painted Life Productions commented, "The success to this production was down to the intricate planning and precise implementation. The unique challenge introduced some interesting problems to overcome, however I felt the end result surpassed expectations."

The video can now been seen on the sidebar of the Love Shrewsbury website and the front page of The Web Orchard’s website. There are also plans to use the video as part of a range of promotional activities over the coming months.

Pete from The Web Orchard added, "We're thrilled with the video Aaron has created, we feel it really sets the scene for the philosophy of our web company."

To find out more about Painted Life Productions please email [email protected] or call 07753 417473.

To find out how The Web Orchard can develop your online presence please call 01743 343411 or visit www.theweborchard.com
 

A website developed by Shropshire based The Web Orchard has won second place in the May website of the month awards. The award given out by internet giant Heart Internet celebrates the best new websites.

The award went to the website for Shropshire business Pied Pipers Childrens Clothes for its new ecommerce website.

Robert Mathers from Heart Internet commented: ‘Pied Piper Children’s Clothing is a fantastic site that really deserved its success in our May Website of the Month competition. The site has a consistent look and feel across its design, imagery and messaging that clearly shows the caring and fun nature of the brand. The options to shop by both brand and category and the layout of the site’s product pages also help to make the customer journey much easier.’

Pied Piper are based in Milk Street in Shrewsbury and sell a range of Childrens Clothes from brands including Joules, Sarah Louise, Mayoral, Hatley, Lego, Petit Bateau, Bobux, Franck & Fischer and Happy Horse.

The Web Orchard specialise in Drupal and Wordpress based Content Management Systems, find out more on their website or call 01743 343411 to see how they can help your online presence.

Bluestacks, the app player that allows you to run Android apps on your PC has now been launched for Mac. With a huge library of apps available it allows users and developers to experience these apps on their desktops or laptops.

The big appeal of Bluestacks is for playing games, many of which don't have native ports on the desktop. I installed Angry Birds and the game worked well with no lag.

Some apps don't work so well such as those that require specific hardware like GPS receivers but in general with its intuitive interface, Bluestacks is a clever piece of software.

Download Bluestacks now.

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It's not very often that Shropshire gets a web conference and last nights ShropGeek Theory of (R)Evolution certainly didn't disappoint. The four speakers gave fascinating insights into their past and current projects and it was interesting to see the success and failure.

Jake Smith from JP74 spoke about app and systems development for creative awards organisation D&AD. Specifically he talked about the challenges they had to overcome to develop a system to allow judges to be able to use second generation iPod Touches for casting votes on entries at Olympia in London.

Neil Kinnish and Mike Kus gave a fascinating account into their start-up WorkFu and the highs and lows of the development process, attracting investors and eventually calling day on the project.

To end the evening Paul Annett, Creative Lead for the UK Government Digital Service (GDS), spoke about the challenges behind the new Gov.uk website and how integrating the many different services the government offers into one place. His focus on usability was especially interesting and how through feedback in testing the site has evolved into what it is today.

A big thanks to Kirsty Burgoine for organising the evening and I look forward to next years event!

Windows 8

By Pete | @kingpetey | 03 Aug 2012

With all the negativity around Windows 8 I've not been in a rush to try it. Being a Mac user I already have a great OS and last week's upgrade to Mountain Lion again reaffirmed my allegiance to the Apple ecosystem.

Apple got a lot right with iOS, the security, the simplicity and the app ecosystem. We've seen a lot of these features ported back into OS X in Lion and Mountain Lion. Microsoft is going for a more radical approach of designing an almost brand new interface called Metro and making it the heart of Windows 8.

A lot of the criticism of Windows 8 revolves around Metro and how it's central to the OS, yet does so much differently from previous versions of Windows. We've seen hints of Metro in Windows Phone and in the Xbox interface which I've never liked - it's small annoyances like giving a four way input controller the option to go 6 ways.

Installation was very similar to Windows 7 and took around 20mins through Parallels.

Once rebooted you enter a few details and you're presented with the Metro desktop.

  

On the bottom left there is a link to the desktop, this takes you to a desktop that is very similar to Windows 7 but without a start menu. You can get back into Metro at any time via the windows key (cmd in Parallels).

Metro integrates with Facebook, Live Messenger, SkyDrive, Xbox Live and a number of other services. Feeds for News (below), Weather, Maps, Travel and Finance are automatically included by default.

      

Any additional programs you install that would normally appear in the Start Menu are added to the Metro Interface instead. All settings that were previously in control panel are integrated with Metro.

    

    

Metro is quick to use but takes a bit of adjusting to get use to, I like how you can easily get to it at any time through the Windows key. By rearranging icons within Metro you can quickly customise it to your work flow. As more developers integrate with Metro I imagine it will get stronger and stronger.

I will admit that I'm a fan of Metro, it's a refreshing change for Windows and coming from OS X it's good to see the simplicity that Windows often lacked shining through. 

With Windows 7 and XP It was hard to argue the benefits, in the past ten years we've seen so many great new features in OS X, from time machine, dashboard, mission control, expose and spot light yet you couldn't really say the same for Windows. With Windows 8 Microsoft had to try something different and whilst some parts work well with other parts don't.

Back in 2001 when Apple released OS X there was uproar, OS X did things differently, in a lot of cases it did things worse than OS 9 and did a lot less. Many of the Apple faithful resisted the move for years, yet today could anyone argue that those hard decisions were not for the best?

Microsoft is at the same cross roads now, it knows it has to do something different to stay relevant and keep up with the competition, it has to make hard decisions that it knows will upset some of its core audience.

Yet hopefully what will come from it is a much smarter, simpler OS, it will take time and I imagine at least another Windows release but the changes Microsoft are making now will set them up for the next decade, to compete with the likes of Apple and Google.

We've already seen parts of the puzzle come into place with the launch of Outlook.com, Skydrive and Metro. It's a massive gamble and one that I hope works out for Microsoft.

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