Good wishes for 2017

Season's greetings

Try 500 things for free on the internet.

Whether you are a web developer, computer scientist, avid reader or interested in growth and change for the New Year. See a great collection of links and resources to help you find a quiet time over the holiday season.

With thanks to Alex de Asis for a great basket of interesting web links.

Merry Christmas.



Venturefest East Midlands 2015

Our Partnership Team will be exhibiting at Venturefest East Midlands on Tuesday 14th April, 2015.

venturefestLogoThe SmithMartin stand will be in the Social Business Hub, where our Partnership will be supporting our client Roger Moors of SEEM, delivering a series of workshops on the emerging Social Business sector.

Both Tim and Sue will be available to discuss with you how our community driven approach to the web, and our long history of providing original content ( images and text), coupled to our secure web hosting service, can add real value to your Social Business project.

Whether you are planning to start a new project, would like help in developing and managing an existing one – the SmithMartin Partnership can offer experience and insight into the change and growth you are trying to achieve.

See us in the Social Business Hub at The East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham. Make your business ‘social’ but don’t forget to update your web presence too!

You can still book your free ticket to Venturefest East MIdlands here…


Seasonal greetings
from all of us here…

Season's greetings

Wishing all our web clients in the education, charity, books, literacy and community business sectors a very happy festive holiday.

The Thirdsectorweb team are looking forward to your web development, content creation and web communication projects in 2015.

Thank you all for using our services in 2014. We appreciate your engagement with us and your custom.

Everyone at Thirdsectorweb/SmithMartin LLP

The hard road
to building the web…

Every web designer and publisher has clients who believe that ‘…we email it in and it appears on our web site‘. If you have someone in your department, setting or business who believes this we think it is a compliment to your design and build skills, as well as the back office processes that deal with new content, images, films and functionality.

Mix Online have produced a great poster which explains all the functions and processes, no matter how lightly touched upon even in small design houses, which must be undertaken to create the simplest functioning web page.

Mix Online believe that…

Designing, building and launching websites is real hard work — but our profession is seriously misunderstood. To help explain the process, we drew you a picture. A really big picture…

…and this is what they have done. You can view the design and build web process they have created on this web page. You can use the links on the page to dive deeply into the image and explore the functions of design and creation that go into building your web site. (View deep zoom).

Our own development process at can be found in narrative form,  on this web page. Our systems are designed to support remote clients with all the services needed to launch simple, magazine style web sites, to more complex blog driven, gallery supported, e-commerce and information gathering web pages.

Our simpler, less sequentially staged process none the less includes all the elements found in the Mix Online illustration – in small design houses fewer people wear more hats.

It’s still hard work though, whatever the content, time frame or functionality desired.

Happy New Year for 2013 from all at

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Kindle and a philosophy

Amazon have just relaunched The Kindle, as well as moving shortly to release the Kindle Fire in the UK for the first time.

Below is a film of Jeff Bezos delivering the Amazon story in Santa Monica, California. It’s a long film, but the first 15 or 16 minutes are the killer parts.

They tell you how Amazon research feeds services into their infrastructure, how Amazon price their products to be used for absorbing new content in the future. ‘The Kindle Fire is a service…

The delivery of the presentation is perhaps a little slow, but perhaps the audience were live blogging and tweeting directly from the auditorium. (Know your audience?).

The revealing facts about how readers are encouraged to read more, by using new technology, are astounding. No source for the research is offered, but there is no missing the passion Bezos has for the product and the warmth he feels for his customers.

The launch of Kindle Paperwhite display, and its ‘front lit’ technology, is also a game changer for small tablets. The Kindle family is faster, clearer and with better font rendition on screen. The prices are another paradigm shift for the industry too.

‘Add more than the customer pays for…’ a great way to add value to the technical supply chain.

You can buy a member of the Kindle family from our children’s book sister web site here at, or from our Thirdsectorweb online shop here. (Everything made, picked, packed and delivered by Amazon).

Visit the Thirdsectorweb home page here.

Enhanced by Zemanta – neater, smoother…

With the nearly upon us launch of Windows 8, you can now subscribe to the new preview service.

If you have a Hotmail account, you can try out this new web version of Outlook for personal use here.

The screen presentation is simpler, with less busy, uncluttered toplines and a clear, elegant typestyle to display your folders and emails.

Social media integration is inlcuded of course…

with photos of your friends, recent status updates and Tweets that your friend has shared with you, the ability to chat and video call – all powered by an always up-to-date contact list that is connected to your social networks.

We have been using Windows 8 Release preview on our laptops for remote client work recently. On a laptop, with no touch screen, the blocky, colourful layout is easy on the eye, but the key function is the Windows button, which flips you between the front end display and your last used interface. Clicking through to a traditional ‘desktop’ environment is where the real works get done.

On balance, the advantages to Windows 8 are clear – extra boot speeds and the ability to back up mirror copies of your installation, or to refresh the Windows build simply with one click.

These new Microsoft interfaces are easy on the eye, slick to use and very nicely integrated – an advance we think.

Meeting online – never easier…

meetingsWe have just signed up for a permanent meeting room on

This is a great service at first inspection, from a design and technical team that make things work intuitively and easily on the eye.

Up to five people can join you in your hang-out. You can take notes, sms and play video in meeting. Simple and effective.

When signing up, which takes about a minute, you will need to allow access to your computer camera and for Flash to be enabled.

Once up and running all the usual features are available, private meeting, anyone can drop-in sessions etc. and the working area of the screen automatically scales to adjust for new visitors.

Two people sitting at your desk, then switch your image frame from portrait to landscape, get more real estate on your screen to accomodate the wider picture.

If you are looking for an always on meeting solution online, with no software to install and that is free to use…then check out

We tested the service on a simple 2Mb internet connection, with both visual and audio working fine.

Business networking, team meetings and colleague get togethers were never so easy.

Readability has changed

We first looked at Readability on our Thirdsector Tech blog back in March 2009. Then it was a promising and innovative way to make clear web pages and articles by stripping out the excess content.

As web designers we know this can have a mixed blessing – removing all our hard working banner adverts and promotional links.

However, if a web page isn’t communicating, it isn’t working. The new Readablity enhances this functionality across a number of platforms now.

This short film shows you how…

Readability — Read comfortably anytime, anywhere. from Arc90 on Vimeo.


Having a Readability account is helpful too. You can save pages for later or keep an archive, set to display in your personal format at anytime.

Check out Readability. See a simple idea having grown.

Minus – simple storage and sharing

We have just opened a Minus account online in order to access this stylish, fast competitor to Dropbox.

Offering users 10Gb of free storage space, with unlimited uploads and downloads and a maximum file size of 2Gb we really like this new service.

The sign on is simple and there are desktop apps, as well as mobile versions and browser extensions. A full suite of alternative methods to access your files, any files, and to share them with others.

This short film shows you the Minus approach

The access controls from your desktop menu bar work well and you can ‘turn the lights off’ on the file display for stored items to make reading and focus on content easier.

Fast, easy to use and with bags of facilty. If you are looking for a drop and share service online, with the ability to integrate into your existing kit – great if you are on the road, then we really like Minus – the plus storage and sharing solution we think.

The Cloud – how does it work?

The short film below offers insights into how Microsoft provides the technical services and support needed to make your Hotmail account work or your business to deliver work on their Azure Cloud system.

An impressive set of statistics are offered that show how Microsoft have dramatically reduced energy and water consumption at their data centres. Like Google, Microsoft have used standard shipping containers to bolt together strings of processing packs to enhance an installation, quickly bringing their server racks online.

Where is the cloud? In the Dublin data centre for Microsoft if you are in Europe, very securely guarded and with vast teams around the globe to provide your support.

The film is a little dry in terms of presentation, but very clear in how Microsoft maintain security integrity for your data and how they dedicate time, energy and capital in reducing environmental impact.

That’s how the ‘cloud’ works.