Friday, August 26, 2011

Cloud Computing in Plain English

We are big fans of Common Craft videos as they have a great ability of simplifying a technical subject matter.

The above image links to a “for evaluation only Common Craft video” to explain about the basics of cloud computing, how it works and how businesses and individuals can use the Cloud to spend less time worrying about technology and focus on what matters (their growing business).

The video teaches you:
  • The difference between on-site computing and cloud computing

  • The financial benefits of cloud computing

  • What makes cloud computing secure and efficient

  • How cloud computing impacts consumers

To learn more about Cloud Computing please do make sure you read this month’s Guest Blog from C4L on Cloud Computing; 'C4L Talk Cloud Computing'.

In extension to the above, to understand more about how C4Ls cloud computing solutions can help your business contact their sales team on 08000 470 481 or visit their website

Author: Alice Cheetham

Friday, August 26, 2011

Introduction to HTML5

HTML5 is the next iteration of the technology used to structure and present content on the World Wide Web, short for HyperText Markup Language. Although most of the elements are already defined by W3C and implementable, it is not due for W3C Recommendation until 2022.

A major advantage of developing in HTML5 is as a replacement for Flash in graphically rich websites. Currently, if you visit a site with moving or slanted graphics - it will most likely be developed in Flash. The reason for this is that HTML 4.1 and below has very little graphical functionality in comparison to Flash. A good example of this is the German HTC website: viewed August 2011). In classic HTML, this site would be impossible to create due to the slanted angle of all the images. HTC have decided to produce this site in Flash, although exactly the same effects can be produced in HTML5.

Over the coming years we believe more and more web development agencies will choose to produce sites in HTML5 where they would otherwise have used Flash.

In summary the main advantages of using this over flash are:

a) Expense

Flash technology is owned by Adobe. As a developer, if I want to develop a Flash website then I would need to purchase the development environment from Adobe. In actual fact the majority of development agencies will already have purchased the environment needed for Flash development. So this argument really only applies to bedroom developers and students, who will either not have the funds for the flash IDE, or not justify the purchase as these people wouldn’t see the any return.

Although the above may seem of little importance to the website business owner, from a developer’s perspective it is crucial to allow new developers easy access to such tools. Otherwise there will only be a minority of developers able to create feature rich sites, and thereby depreciating the quality of the internet in general.

b) Availability

As most techies are aware, iPhones do not support flash. This is because Apple likes to maintain a strong hold over their hardware and the software that runs on it.

As Flash is a development platform, Apple will not allow it to run on their mobile devices, so any websites that use elements of flash will not render properly. Replicating any flash elements in HTML 5 allows much greater accessibility to a site using a smart phone.
It might also be worth considering the effect mobile HTML5 could have on AppStores in terms of mobile site versus applications. Using HTML5 could potentially allow a user to develop an accessible website for a smartphone without losing any functionality, due to its wide range of tools.

If a developer could run a flash application on an iPhone they could open up a means for uploading other homemade applications onto the phone, thereby diverting traffic away from the Apple Appstore (which turned over 1.7 billion dollars last year).

Another comparison to make is HTML5 “web application” and the standard desktop application. Due to other capabilities introduced in HTML5 it has become easier to create rich functionality in HTML5 web application which previously would have only been available to Desktop application developers. Such things as Web SQL Database Storage (which allows SQL style databases to be embedded into web applications) and Web Workers (provide a means to perform processor-intense tasks) open the door for larger web applications with greater functionality, without the need for installation.

Further thoughts on HTML5 from our technical team include the following;
  • As time moves on, HTML5 will take over the internet as the generally accepted standard for webpage markup.

  • Unlike the last release of XHTML from w3c, HTML5 does not try to impose rules on developers but rather increases our toolset.

  • HTML5 will also allow for much cleaner and consistent coding using the new elements and attributes.

There’s already a load of great examples of what HTML 5 can do, for example this collection of experiments on, or this fantastic take on a twitter feed by 9elements. Currently HTML5 isn’t supported by older browsers, so the above links may only work using newer versions of IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

The Rocktime Web Development Team is always working on innovations and bespoke coding to improve our client websites, microsites and online presence. Please give our Sales Team a call on +44 (0) 1202 678 777 to see how Rocktime can help you decide where using HTML5 can be of benefit within your marketing strategy.

Author: Dan Griffiths

Thursday, August 25, 2011

IFrames and Facebook

This month the blog is related to topics that the Rocktime Technical Team discuss. In this blog Craig talks iFrames and Facebook. Think of it as a 'Window within a browser'.

Facebook, as of February 2011, officially allowed the use of iFrames; allowing users to build fully customised facebook pages for their custom page tabs.

An iFrame is a section within a web page that can display another web page. This will allow for externally hosted web applications such as shops, forums, booking forms and more to be included on a Facebook Page.

iFrames allow for more flexibility in pages compared to the FBML (Facebook mark up language) which is now being depreciated; old pages using the FBML will still function however all new pages will have to be created using an iFrame.

FBML was developed to enable users to build Facebook apps that integrated into a user's Facebook. Currently, Facebook app uses iFrames to integrate website content into your Facebook page. It can do whatever a normal webpage can do.

The key advantages of using iFrames include:
  • Traffic driven directly through Facebook
  • The use of Analytics software
  • The use of CSS and your own code, allowing for full brand integration and increased functionality
  • embed video
To find out more about iFrames and how you can integrate your webpages into Facebook, please talk to our Sales team. Also you may like to note that the majority of our Content Management System modules have the ability to be fed into Facebook via a Facebook Application. The Facebook Application will render as an iFrame, which will stream content directly from your website.

The Flashlight team will be promoting our integration of our Competition Module with Facebook, so if you have this module, then they may be in touch soon to enquire about an update.

Author: Craig Sherlock

Friday, August 12, 2011

C4L Talk Cloud Computing

Introduction to this month's guest Blogger: Laura Bentham from C4L (Bournemouth Offices).
C4L offer secure, 24/7, high speed connectivity to 26 data centres across the UK and Europe.

Rocktime and C4L have a very close working relationship; developed through years of partnering on colocation projects together, helping clients to choose the best Internet Infrastructure and connectivity solutions.

C4L Talk Cloud Computing

Like renting a room when you need it, rather than buying the hotel.

When Rocktime kindly asked if we’d like to do a guest blog for their August takeover, we jumped at the chance. What’s always been strikingly apparent about Rocktime is their passion when talking about their current interests, and indeed industry themes.

Because of this, we chose to talk today about one of our passions: virtualisation, and why technology consumers should learn to love the cloud.

Not only has ‘cloud computing’ become a fashionable phrase among IT professionals, but the cloud computing market is also estimated to contribute £25 billion to the British economy by 2015.

Despite this, so many people remain unaware of what ‘the cloud’ is, and even more so, what it actually does.

In short, anytime you are using IT, which is not on your own physical computing device, you are using the cloud. If you upload data as a backup to a storage location, via the Internet, you've just used the cloud. Equally, if your work station is simply a screen, a mouse and a keyboard, you may well be connecting to the cloud for your personal computing. There are hundreds of different ways of using cloud technology, and in fact, most people will have already used the cloud without even realising.

So why do we need the cloud, and how can it benefit businesses?

As technology advances and physical servers become more and more powerful, in terms of their capacity and reliability, there is less often the need for a dedicated physical server. Using a virtualised, or cloud based alternative, clients are able to run their IT infrastructure at a much cheaper cost, yet still take advantage of all the same benefits provided by a classic server model.

You see, to us, the beauty of the cloud is in its convenient application. One of the key benefits to organisations is that virtualisation technology allows servers to be dynamically scaled up -or down, to suit requirements, providing a much more flexible environment than ever experienced before.

What’s more is that the security within a virtualised environment is second to none. Using hypervisor technology, virtualised servers are created as entirely self-contained environments, inaccessible to outside parties. Virtualisation also removes the need for organisations to operate physical servers from their office, meaning they eliminate the risk of damage or destruction, that can so easily be caused by those inevitable office accidents.

If you’d like any more information on C4L’s cloud computing solutions please contact our sales team on 08000 470 481 or visit our website

Author: Laura Bentham, C4L

Thursday, August 11, 2011

New Twitter Activity Stream

Tech Crunch has just reported "Twitter Comes Alive With Real Time Activity Streams".

They highlight, with the above image, the birth of the new tab, called 'activity', which will sit alongside an @ username tab.

As we are huge fans of what we class as "networks of interaction", we really love this development and are looking forward to the UK roll out.

Find out more about the Real Time Activity Steams over at the Tech Crunch post.

Author: Sarah Griffiths

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Introduction to Favicons

This month we have a technical focus on the blog. Members of 'The Rocktime Tech Team' will be sharing their knowledge on some of the latest tech developments. Kicking off proceedings the first blog of the month comes from Foz, as he introduces us all to Favicons.
A favicon, also known as a website icon, a shortcut icon, a url icon, or bookmark icon, is a small icon that can be used in several places. A favicon will usually appear as a small icon in your favourites, bookmarks or in the address bars of most browsers.

Ideally, a favicon should tie in nicely with your companies branding. However logos and company names don’t necessarily lend themselves to working well within the limitations of a favicon, namely small and square. The image above demonstrates how it is often obvious which elements of a company’s branding can work i.e the Twitter and New Forest Hotels' favicon. However, sometimes a little creativity is needed; as in the case of both the Google and Rocktime favicon.

Your favicon will be created as part of a new website build, or can be requested should you note you don’t have one, although ideally, we encourage you to give some thought to favicons at the logo design stage.

We design favicons at a size of 32x32 pixels in the standard .ico format, which you can read more about here.

A favicon is something so small, yet so significant and there are lots of branding and bookmarking benefits from having a favicon. If you want a favicon to be added to your Google blog or website, or whether you need a logo for a web App or webclip for an iPhone, to form part of your 'online graphical elements' then please contact our Rocktime Sales Team.

Author: Foz

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Geek Video of the Month

This month we’ve got a tech focus and our Geek Video this time takes a peak into the world of 3D displays.

It seems that 2011 is turning into the year of 3D; we’ve had 3D televisions, an influx of 3D films and even 3D hand held consoles, and that’s just the start of it all. Before feeling the need to splash out on any new 3D devices that are inevitably going to crop up in time, why not take a look at Global Wave's fantastically simple solution.

Their ‘Pic3D Sheet’ demoed at the 3D and Virtual Reality Expo in Tokyo last month, uses a lenticular lens system (which also means you don’t need 3D glasses), then using the company's app to output a video in a side-by-side format, it simulates a 3D image. The sheet is simply placed over your device’s screen, with sizes ranging from an iPhone or iPod touch sheet, up to a 23” desktop monitor.

Of course, it’s hard to see how successful it is without seeing it with your own eyes, but with prices ranging from about £17.00 for a small 3DPic sheet, it’s still a lot cheaper then splashing out on a new phone or tablet. See what you think about by watching the above video.

Author: Alice Cheetham