Christmas Shutdown & Giving

Camberley Christmas

Camberley Christmas

Is it really December already!

Just a quick post to say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you over the holidays.

We’ll be taking some time off over Christmas, however we’ll continue to be monitoring our customer’s servers 24/7 as usual :-)

Our office will be closed on the following days and response to emails maybe slower:
Mon 24th Dec 2012 – Office Closed
Tues 25th Dec 2012 – Public Holiday
Wed 26th Dec 2012 – Public Holiday
Thur 27th Dec 2012 – Office Closed
Fri 28th Dec 2012 – Office Closed
Mon 31st Dec 2012 – Office Closed
Tue 1st Jan 2013 – Public Holiday

We considered sending Christmas cards or presents this year for our customers but we’re really not sure you want another bit of paper cluttering up your desk or some chocolates to add to your snack shelf.

This year we have made a donation to two charities instead; they are:

Crisis – A national charity for single homeless people. It’s not nice being homeless at any time of year but winter has got to be the worst time.  Now imagine being homeless, in winter and alone.  Crisis does amazing work to both help people in this situation and help stop people from getting into this situation and we are very happy to help them.

Creative Commons – A non-profit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.  We are sure you have all heard of Creative Commons.  Many people use it on a daily basis but few really think about the work that goes on behind the scenes to make CC work. Knowledge is a powerful thing and any tool that allows people to share knowledge while retaining protection in this mad legal world that we live gets our vote.

We hope you all have a great winter and see you in the new year.

We Are Hiring

Yes, Dogsbody Technology is hiring its first member of staff!

If you are a 16-19 year old with good grades in and around the Camberley area that would like to work for a small Linux specialist company then please do get in touch.

Full details are on our jobs page.

 

 

 

 

 

We Are Growing

It’s an exciting time at Dogsbody Technology. After a couple of years of working from home we’ve decided to move into an office.  And a very nice office it is too.

Our new address is:
Dogsbody Technology Ltd.
377 – 399 London Road,
Camberley,
Surrey
GU15 3HL

We’ve moved into Basepoint Camberley which offers serviced offices and unlike many office providers is owned by the profit making arm of a leading UK grant charity. It’s nice to know that the rent we now pay is ultimately going to a good cause.

You may also have heard us talk about more people in the office. We have moved in with fellow tech company Orcare Ltd. a web development agency that builds sites using the Umbraco CMS. It’s a great partnership and one that has already pushed opportunities in both directions.

So if you are in the area and fancy a chat then do feel free to give us a call and pop in. Let us know in advance and we’ll even make sure the (beer) fridge is stocked with your favourite drink.

Feature image – by c_ambler licensed under CC BY 2.0

There is Jelly in the Cloud

 

Dogsbody Technology is a home run businesses.  We don’t have offices to tie us down and can work anywhere we wish.  While this is great for getting work done it does get a little lonely sometimes.

For the last year we have attended Berkshire Jelly, a co-working meetup in Crowthorne where people that work at home can meet up and work in a communal environment.

Unfortunately the current organisers (Hazel McLellan and Lyn French of findgoodcustomerservice.com) who originally sourced the location and set this event up have had to move onto other things so we are very proud for Dogsbody Technology to take over this brilliant event.

We are re-naming it Crowthorne Jelly but it’s the same event you all love and of course it’s FREE!

 

What is Jelly?

Jelly is a casual monthly co-working event, where home-workers, freelancers,small business owners and office based people who every now and then want a change can get together with their laptops once a month to meet new people, work, chat, share ideas and ….be inspired together in a social environment.

Jelly is a mixture of work, chat, helping others with business issues, passing on tips and maybe even collaborating on a new project.

Jelly is NOT networking – the aim is not to meet new clients, pitch your business or try to sell to anyone -there are plenty of excellent networking events in the south east to do that.

Jelly was started in the USA and is now increasingly popular in the UK with over 30 active co-working Jelly events already and more starting every month.

So if you’ve ever felt isolated in your home office/ work office and want to meet some other like-minded people in a different work environment, then Jelly is for you – it’s free so give it a try and come along!

 

What does it cost to attend?

It is FREE to attend, all you need do is bring money to buy yourself tea/coffee (there is an honesty box).  You can bring your own packed lunch- at the moment we’re investigating the option of ordering freshly made sandwiches on the day – more to follow, so watch this space.

 

Do I have to stay all day?

No, people turn up at any point from the starting time onwards, introduce themselves to the organiser, plug in their laptop and access the wifi.  There’s no obligation to be there from the start to the finish, so you can fit jelly in around other commitments like the school run. Obviously the more people that stay for longer the more vibrant and interactive the day will be.

 

Do I qualify?

As long as you have a laptop to keep you busy and you’re a business person then you qualify. The more variety of people the better!  Even if you’re still researching a business you’re more than welcome to come along for inspiration.

 

What do people do at Jelly?

Anything you can do quietly and independently, so anything on a laptop. Other Jellyers will appreciate you taking phone calls outside the room if your mobile rings.

Its the ideal time and place to catch up on all those little jobs you keep meaning to do but never get round to. You could do stuff like:

  • Accounts
  • Catch up on some reading/ writing
  • Emails
  • Online housekeeping
  • Blogging
  • Updating social media profiles
  • Commenting on blogs
  • Tweeting

Feature image – “Melon jelly” by kanonn is licensed under CC BY ND 2.0

Facelift for Dogsbody Hosting

It’s been over 7 years since we launched Dogsbody Hosting to the masses.  Things have changed a lot in that time so we’re happy to have now completed a facelift for the site and are re-launching our new site today.

Dogsbody Hosting started out being a hobby that paid for itself and slowly turned into a business.  We are really proud of our roots and how we have had to do very little marketing over the years.  100% of our sales have come via referrals and 98% of the customers we had after year one are still with us to this day.

Our old site was looking rather dated though.  Back in 2003 the biggest browsers were Internet Explorer (IE6, IE5.5 & IE4), Netscape Navigator & Opera.  The modern markup that we have today was a twinkle in the eye of Tim Berners-Lee, and Javascript was used for web apps such as games on websites instead of one of the key tools in website development that it is now.

Our original site was written using the Mambo CMS.  As this CMS forked and grew into the Joomla! project we migrated our site a number of times.  When looking to redevelop our site we looked hard at sticking with Joomla! by utilising the new code and templates available today but as the site was so old (in Internet terms) there was too much of the old Mambo and old Joomla files around that would break things.

It became obvious we had to start from first principals again which meant that we were free to look at the other CMS systems around.  After much testing we settled on WordPress, an excellent CMS that has grown from strength to strength in recent years.  In fact over 70% of the new hosting customer this year are using our space to run a WordPress site.

During the years we amassed quite a collection of FAQ entries and pages for help and support.  While these were full of useful information we didn’t think that they were being used by our customers who can pick up the phone and speak to a person any time they want.  Why would they spend time crawling through a Knowledge Base when they could get an answer that was personal to them and their setup just by calling us.  We have therefore archived our FAQ pages.  They may come back in the future, but only if you need them.

The new website has given us a great opportunity to tidy up and publicise some of the great products we now have.  We have created a number of hosting packages for standard setups as well as launching a Secondary DNS service for companies that run their own servers but need independent redundancy.

We hope you enjoy our site and here’s looking forward to seeing it grow more in the future.

 

Buzzword Bingo

As happens when you are a company registered on social media sites we occasionally get sent invites to advertise on their networks. We’ve always been proud to receive most of our business via referrals and word of mouth but when LinkedIn offers you $100 of free advertising it seems silly to say no. The results turned out to be an interesting window into the words and phrases that are popular at the moment.

When creating adverts online it’s always a good idea to run more than one advert at once, you can then run them for a bit and keep modifying the one that’s doing the worse. After a while you end up with some adverts that are pretty well tuned for the people you want to attract. We didn’t bother modifying any ads this time as it was a short ad run but we did create a number of different ads with slightly different wording.

(Quick side note: When running ads it’s always a good idea to link them to your websites analytics. Not just to separate out the traffic to your site but to link that traffic to actual contacts/sales etc. Surely it’s better to get 100 clicks to your site where 10 become customers than get 10000 clicks and 1 customer. Especially when you are paying by the click!)

To keep things easy we set a maximum spend of $10 per day and ran all of the ads below for 10 days…

Advert Clicks Impressions CTR
Cloud ComputingLet us show you how to get the most from powerful Amazon AWS services. 51 162168 0.031%
Electronics & AutomationIntegrate your website with the real world. The ideas are endless. 1 10451 0.010%
VMwareWe can help you adopt a Virtualisation solution that is right for you. 1 10552 0.009%
Amazon AWSLet us show you how to get the most from powerful Cloud Computing services. 3 40700 0.007%
SysAdminLet us worry about the system administration of your server. 0 12724 0.000%
VirtualisationWe can help you adopt a VMware solution that is right for you. 0 10403 0.000%

As you can see, the Cloud Computing and Amazon AWS ads are identical with the words swapped. The same is true for the VMware and Virtualisation adverts.

What does all this mean?

The Impression Count is the number of times that LinkedIn users have been show each advert. LinkedIn decide when to show your advert and while you can pay more money to “bid” to a higher position it is linked to the text in the page that LinkedIn is showing to the user. It is therefore safe to say that LinkedIn treat the title of your ad as more important that the text (Ads with the same overall text had very different impression counts).

CTR stands for Click Through Rate, how many and what percentage of the people that saw the ad actually clicked on it. As you can see the numbers are low but at $2 per click the money goes down fast.

Results

Based on all the above we can make the following statements about the popularity of certain buzzwords:

  • A lot more people are talking about Cloud Computing than Virtualisation. This was quite surprising to us. While Cloud Computing is the buzzword du jour Virtualisation is the pin that runs it and for the swing to be so unbalanced is slightly unnerving.
  • “Cloud Computing” is bigger than “Amazon AWS”. this makes sense, it’s a subset. AWS is just one vendor of cloud computing services.
  • “VMware” is more popular than “Virtualisation”. no, wait, what!? A very interesting find. I don’t think anyone would argue that VMware is one of the biggest players in the Virtualisation market but for it to be bigger is interesting.
  • Advertising on LinkedIn is expensive! $100 for 56 clicks to our website. Lets just say we are glad it was a free trial and we don’t need to heavily advertise :-)

I realise the sample numbers on this were low. We would love to hear if you have any other statistics to back this up or blow us out the water. Feel free to comment below.

All a Twitter

What is it they say about the best laid plans… :-)

It seems that around 20 of our Twitter followers have disappeared! While it seems like you are following us, you may not see our tweets and you do not show up in our list of followers.  If this is you then please just go to our twitter page unfollow and follow us again.

Ironically these are the same followers who all got crunchies for being the first to sign up.  Perhaps Twitter doesn’t like you “buying” followers?  We have tried to raise numerous support tickets with Twitter but they aren’t listening it seems, hence this post.

Thank you again to all our followers, we love you all :-)

In The Beginning

…and with this post I now declare this website open.

It’s going to be an interesting ride as the future of Dogsbody Technology comes into focus and you will be able to read all about it here.

This site can turn into whatever you would like to see. Perhaps a commentary on the latest tech/security news, details of how we are setting up and growing the business or a way of notifying you about issues and outages with services you may be using.  Comment below and we will see what we can do :-)

If you are a Twitter user then please do follow us @dogsbodytech or do subscribe to this sites’s RSS feed.

Your CEO, CTO, OMG and LOL, Dan