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Archives for: 2010


Permalink 04:49:58 pm, Categories: Website design  

Ebay Store Integration

If you are selling on ebay and you also have your own online store. You can save a lot of time by syncing the products together.

EBAY API ( ) provides a programming interface so that web developer can sync your 2-store.

Save valuable time and resource by using the Advansys eBay integration module where your ecommerce solution automatically updates eBay via the eBay API (application programming interface) with your chosen products without any manual intervention. Have the ability to instantly list all of your products from your ecommerce website on eBay as a ‘Buy it Now’ product. The eBay integration module allows you to add and remove multiple products giving you full control whilst saving you time and money. It’s the perfect way to easily find valuable new customers.

The beauty of this integral solution is that all processes that you would normally complete on eBay are seamlessly controlled and executed via one single interface. This single interface controls many aspects of eBay, for example, stock and order processing, shipping, order fulfilment and payments.

The integration work will automate the following elements of eBay, second chance offers, submit products to be listed, best offers, counter offers, reclamation of fees for any products unsold, retrieve current listings of ebay categories, retrieve high bid information, leave feedback about other users and display ebay listings on other websites.

We also offer eBay store designs where our designers will customise your eBay page so that it matches the branding on your ecommerce website and keeping your whole company look professional.
why trade on eBay?

Launched in the UK in October 1999 has over 15 million customers and more than 10 million products are sold at any one time via the internet: an ideal virtual shop front for any business who wishes to trade online. From a worldwide perspective has over 212 million customers who buy and sell in more than 50,000 categories: a target market you don’t want to miss out on.

Integrating your ecommerce solution into eBay via their API is a valuable sales tool and gives you another valuable route to market to promote and sell your products online via the internet.
why do you need both an ecommerce site and an eBay store?

There are many reasons why someone would want an ecommerce website that is integrated with an eBay store. If an ebay store becomes really popular with many visitors and transactions, they may want to expand the business and appeal to other markets. The advantage and disadvantage of having just an ebay store site is that you are only really targeting ebay users with ebay or PayPal accounts. An ebay store also doesn’t allow the freedom of adding functionality in the future in the same way that an ecommerce solution can do.

By integrating both the stores into one solution, it gives you and your customer’s one place to find all of your products and services. A professional ecommerce solution can show users that you are a legitimate business and have invested in a website with a distinct brand identity. It also brings the features, functionality and target audience of both ebay and a professional ecommerce website.

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Permalink 09:55:54 am, Categories: General IT articles  

Autotrader Integration is an online marketplace for both new and used cars. The website has hundreds of thousands of vehicles listed and is highly popular for buyers, sellers and general car enthusiasts.

Our Auto Trader integration links your new or existing website to Auto Trader, meaning cars can be listed on automatically without any manual intervention – saving an enormous amount of staff time. You can easily specify which vehicle your want to list on Auto Trader, and which one on your website only.

We have experience working with Auto Trader and would welcome any questions on the bespoke integration.

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Permalink 12:31:43 am, Categories: Website design  

Open link in a new window or tab

Using old basic javascript it is very simple to open a link or new page on a new window.


Below is a list of the attributes you can use:

1. width=300
Use this to define the width of the new window.

2. height=200
Use this to define the height of the new window.

3. resizable=yes or no
Use this to control whether or not you want the user to be able to resize the window.

4. scrollbars=yes or no
This lets you decide whether or not to have scrollbars on the window.

5. toolbar=yes or no
Whether or not the new window should have the browser navigation bar at the top (The back, foward, stop buttons..etc.).

6. location=yes or no
Whether or not you wish to show the location box with the current url (The place to type http://address).

7. directories=yes or no
Whether or not the window should show the extra buttons. (what’s cool, personal buttons, etc…).

8. status=yes or no
Whether or not to show the window status bar at the bottom of the window.

9. menubar=yes or no
Whether or not to show the menus at the top of the window (File, Edit, etc…).

10. copyhistory=yes or no
Whether or not to copy the old browser window’s history list to the new window.

You can use Jquery to force all links in the page will open the target page in a new window:


<script type="text/javacript">
  var $j = jQuery.noConflict();
$j(document).ready(function() {
//external attribute
.attr({ target: "_blank" });
} );

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Permalink 01:34:36 am, Categories: General IT articles  


Today I have problem with the ADSL in office and I have to connect the HTC Hero provided by T-mobile to browse the Internet and SSH onto our servers for urgent maintenance.

I notice one of our clients’ website got some Javascript injected, right in the html header:


My heart sinks and I thought that account is hacked. It turns out that T-Mobile (and Vodafone UK) thinks it is appropriate to insert their own Javascript into each page which I visit, which pipes all images through a proxy to degrade their quality. This will save bandwidth but the images look horrible on a 27″ PC screen. On a HTC hero tiny screen I am sure I will not notice a thing. But there you ago, a false alarm…

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Permalink 04:32:49 pm, Categories: Shropshire talk  

Cookery School Gift Vouchers

One of our customers, Brompton Cookery School, is selling gift vouchers for cookery courses. If you run out of ideas of what gifts you would like to give to your love ones this Christmas, please consider the gift voucher offered by Brompton Cookery School.

Click to view more information about: Gift Voucher from Brompton Cookery School

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Permalink 03:03:27 pm, Categories: Shropshire talk  

BT Fibre Internet in Shrewsbury Campaign - BT Infinity

Do you want to have super fast Optical Fibre Internet in Shrewsbury? Please vote for BT Infinity Internet at

I have done it already and want to vote yes again million times :-)

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Permalink 03:14:29 pm, Categories: General IT articles  

Delegate Mailbox Access in Active Directory

When an executive or senior manager wants her administrative assistant to screen her email and handle routine items, she can use Outlook to delegate access to her inbox and calendar. Or a user might go on vacation and want some other user to monitor his messages.

To make yourself a delegate of a user’s mailbox, open the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in, and then follow these steps:

  • Right-click the organization domain name, point to View, and then click Advanced Features.
  • Click the Users container (or the organizational unit where the user is located).
  • Right-click the user account, and then select Properties.
  • Click the Exchange Advanced tab.
  • Click the Mailbox Rights button.
  • In the Permission window, click the Add button to add yourself to the list of those whose are allowed to access this mailbox.
  • In the next Permission window, click to select the Allow check box under Full Mailbox Access, and then click Apply to implement the changes.

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Permalink 11:58:54 pm, Categories: General IT articles  

New Website Launch - Gess Howarth

With a beautiful voice that possesses a truly pure yet expressive quality, Gess is a classical singer that will bring great entertainment to events like weddings & Corporate functions. This website is a neat site will full CMS function. Gess can upload mp3 track to the repertoire page as well.

Gess Howarth
Gess Howarth - A Classical Singer at Shrewsbury, Shropshire

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Permalink 10:37:04 am, Categories: Website design, General IT articles  

Jquery cycle plugin with caption and image preload

JQuery Cycle is a wonderful plugin to add slideshow to your website easily. It supports slide effects (fading, cross, sliding etc..) and call back functions.

We would like to put the slideshow on one part of the page and the caption on another location. The end result should look likes the slideshow on the home page of

Pages: 1 2


Permalink 11:30:29 am, Categories: General IT articles  

What process/program is accessing your hard drive madly?

If you are not using your computer or even not “intensively” using it, the hard disk drive LED still flash all time or just stay solid-on. Sometimes you can even hear that the hard drive is grinding. It can still happen even if you have closed all running programs. If you’re using laptop, it’s even worse because the fan will start spinning like mad.

This hidden process/program is slowing down your computer and sometime makes it un-usable.

To find out what hidden process/program is using your hard drive, you can google for some free tool and run it on your computer. You need to be careful what kind of tools you can run on your PC. Install a trust-worthy Antivirus software such as ESet before you install anything.

However, if you are using Windows, you can use the task manager. Start your task manager, click ‘View’ and then ‘Columns’, tick the ‘I/O Read’ and ‘I/O Write’ ticboxes. Click ‘OK’. And then on the task manager, click on ‘Processes’ tab, click on the ‘I/O reads’ heading so that you can see which process/program is using the most of such resources. You can right click on the process and kill it if it is not part of the core processes.

Task Manager
Task Manager IO options

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Permalink 12:43:55 am, Categories: Website design  

New Acupuncture Clinic Website Launched

New website for Shropshire’s leading acupuncturist Dr. Daian Zou is now launched. Dr. Daian Zou is an esteemed acupuncturist running a clinic at St. John’s Hill in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

The website features animation slide show on home page; Wordpress content management system with testimonials, articles, and news.

Check it out at

St. John's Hill Clinic for Acupuncture and herbs
St. John’s Hill Clinic

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Permalink 04:22:05 pm, Categories: General IT articles  

.htaccess to exclude password protected sub folder

In Wordpress installation, the default .htaccess is


RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

Basically it says if there is a file name or folder name of such, the rewrite rule will ignore it.
However, if you have a sub folder, for example, called subfolder, with another .htaccess within it to password protected that folder, the rewritecond will simply just not work.

Some people say you can put


RewriteEngine Off

in the .htaccess file within the subfolder. However, the .htaccess file of subfolder will not processed until the one of root folder is processed. That means it will never work.

Some suggests using IP address to protect the folder rather than password. This can only work to an extent if customer got a static IP on their ADSL router.

We found another way definitely work by using sub-domain name. If you setup your server to point the sub-domain directly to that folder, that folder will become root under the sub domain and the .htaccess will not be processed.

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Permalink 12:40:46 am, Categories: Shropshire talk - Charity Event

Henry Brydon and Jamie King begin an epic bike adventure from London to Sydney on 3rd May 2010, cycling 25,000km through 25 countries. In doing this, they hope to raise a significant sum of money for Brain Tumour Research (Henry) and the MS Society (Jamie).

Spark Computing developed and maintained the website (a mini text/picture/video blog is included) to help this charity event. Please support them by donating to the charity via this link


Thank you!

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Permalink 12:10:33 am, Categories: Website design, General IT articles  

Free Wordpress Premium themes

For many people who know what they do, they can have a self-made website by using Wordpress and the widely available themes on the Internet.

Many hosting companies provide Wordpress from web hosting control panel. If you are not sure please email for help. Once you have Wordpress installed in your hosting space, you can login to the admin and install themes. You can install the themes in 2 ways:

1. In the admin, click the “Appearance” menu item, click on the “Install Themes” tab, you can search a theme available at by keywords. In the search results, click ‘Install’ link to install the theme

2. In the admin, click the “Appearance” menu item, under the “Install Themes” tab, click “upload", then upload the theme file you downloaded from the Internet. The theme file is a zip file containing various files.

After the theme is installed, you need to activate the theme and you are ready to go.

So popular place to get free wordpress themes:

Happy blogging!

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Permalink 12:45:15 pm, Categories: General IT articles  

Web Design Shropshire

There are many web design agencies in Shropshire. Most of them are small and thus can reactive fast to customer demands. Spark Computing work with several other design agencies in Shropshire so that together we can provide complete online solutions to small and large business.

Spark Computing is a strong technical business and we provide “technical backup” to creative businesses. On behalf of our customers, we can deal directly with end customers to support their IT equipments, software, network. We also provide programming experteese services so that web design companies can out-source part of their task locally to us. This will allow the web design companies to completely control the quality of the design work, the end product and mostly importantly, quick customer service. We provide free support for all our programming work.

If you are working in the creative business on the web, please drop us and email and give us a ring.

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Permalink 11:23:00 am, Categories: Website design, General IT articles  

Free Web Design and Development Books

Here is a list of free e-books on web design and development. You can either browse them online or download them.

1. Web Style Guide

Web Design Style Guide Book Cover

“A style guide for the interface with real long-run value, showing us deep principles of design rather than simply fashion and technology.”

2.Software Engineering for Internet Applications

Free pdf book about web application development. Topics covered: Basics, Planning, Software Structure, User Registration and Management, Content Management, Software Modularity, Discussion, Adding Mobile Users To Your Community, Voice (VoiceXML), Scaling Gracefully, Search, Planning Redux, Distributed Computing with HTTP, XML, SOAP, and WSDL, Metadata, User Activity Analysis and Writeup.

3. How to Design a Web Site: A Beginners Guide

It’s very important to learn the principal of Web Design before one should dig into the syntax and technique of html and css. One always need to get the big picture right first.

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Permalink 11:55:23 pm, Categories: Website design, General IT articles  

Image Gallery for your website

PHP & Image Gallery

Image galleries with admin areas are growing demand for many small websites. With digital cameras everywhere, people need places to put their pictures for everyone to see. One of the most practical ways is an online image gallery written in PHP. PHP lets the admin upload images and assign captions to each image with some description. PHP retrieves images and neatly displays the images with their file size, date added and captions. The photo galleries can be used to showcase your products, case studies, and customer testimonials.

Users may also be able to rate the images, or give their comments regarding it.

Some examples of image galleries we have done are:

If you need help for a bespoken gallery for your website please feel free to contact us.

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Permalink 02:49:23 pm, Categories: General IT articles  

List files and extra file(s) from tar or tar.tgz

On a Linux Web Server:

To extra some files rather than everything

tar -xvzf website_archive.tgz home/username/thefolder

If the archive is huge it will still take time to extract the folder/file. But it is better than untar everything.

To list the content of a gz tar ball

tar -ztvf website_archive.tgz

To list content of the bzip tar ball

tar -jtvf website_archive.tar.bz2

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Permalink 12:56:46 pm, Categories: Website design, General IT articles  

Fast Full Text Search

We have a large database with tens of thousands records. Each record has various text fields that should be searchable. All the records are stored in MySQL.

Initially we use the LIKE “%keyword%", however, a command word such as ‘flower’ search takes 40s and the server load is extremely high. This is not acceptable on a public website.

Secondly, we re-write the codes to use MySQL’s full text search feature. The result is still disappointing as the same search still takes half a minutes.

We discover a new search utility provided by Zend called Zend Lucene Search. We heard about Lucene before as people in are using this technology to power their search.

Here is a quick guide on how to get Zend Lucene running for your website:

1. Get & install Zend framework
The minimal version of Zend Framework will do the work well.

Unzip the file and put it under /usr/local/lib/zend

Update your php.ini to add the zend framework in your include directories.

2. Build the index.
In our case, we use DataObject within the Pear library to get records from database and then use Zend Lucend to make index.


// Create index
##we want the numeric to be searchable as well
   new Zend_Search_Lucene_Analysis_Analyzer_Common_TextNum_CaseInsensitive());
$index Zend_Search_Lucene::create($zend_indexPath);
$photo DB_DataObject::factory('Photo');
while($photo->fetch() )
    $doc = new Zend_Search_Lucene_Document();
 // Add document to the index
// Optimize index.

3. Update the index
You can run the above codes in the cron job daily to keep your index uptodate.
You can also make finer control by removing the records from the index and then add it back if the record is changed.
In our case, there is no such frequent change in database so we just re-make the index daily.

4. Make query
The Lucene query language is easy and simple.


##we want the numeric to be searchable as well
   new Zend_Search_Lucene_Analysis_Analyzer_Common_TextNum_CaseInsensitive());
$index Zend_Search_Lucene::create($zend_indexPath);
$results $index->find("+flower");  
echo $index->count()." records found.\n\n";  
$count 0;  
foreach ($results as $result)  
  echo "<a href='$result->url'>$result->name </a><br/>";

The beauty is: there is no need to use the processing power of MYSQL at all when user makes a query. In fact, the same search is cut from 30s to just 1s. The improvement is amazing.

In fact, we can use this technology to build our own search engine for a large website. Lucene can be used to index html, Excel, PDF, Word documents as well as to index database records.

There is also plugin for you to highlight search results.

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Permalink 01:37:27 pm, Categories: General IT articles  

Install ImageMagick on cPanel

On a cpanel web hosting server, to install ImageMagick you need to run if you got it running or not

# /scripts/checkimagemagick

If you installed Imagemagick via the rpm package

you can find if it is on your system or not by :

rpm -qa |grep image

If all the answers are no, you can simply install it by running

# /scripts/installimagemagick

To hook PHP to ImageMagick, you need to also install it via WHM

Log into WHM >> Software >> Module Installers >> PHP Pecl and install imagick to get the whole thing binding into PHP

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Permalink 11:39:52 am, Categories: General IT articles  

Monitor if the remote host alive or not using PHP

The simplest way to find out if the remote host is alive or not is to use the ping utility. Pear provides such a convenient tool.

First, you need to install the right module


pear install Net_ping

Here is the php


// include class
require ("Net/Ping.php");
// create object
$ping Net_Ping::factory();
// ping host and display response
   $response $ping->ping('REMOTE_HOST_IP_or_name');
   if( $response->_transmitted &&  $response->_received ==&& $response->_loss ==100)
       mail("your email address""remote host  is not responding"date("Y-M-D H:i:s"), "From: your_email");
    //server is OK

The above code will send out email to you if the remote host is not responding. However, if the remote host is behind a firewall or if ping packets are blocked by firewall, the ping is not going to work.

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Permalink 12:54:51 pm, Categories: General IT articles  

Paypal Currency Codes


Code  Currency Name  Symbol
AUD  Australian Dollars     
CAD  Canadian Dollars     
CHF  Swiss Franc     
CZK  Czech Koruna     
DKK  Danish Krone     
EUR  Euros  €  
GBP  Pounds Sterling  £  
HKD  Hong Kong Dollar     
HUF  Hungarian Forint     
ILS  Israeli Shekel     
JPY  Japanese Yen  ¥  
MXN  Mexican Peso     
NOK  Norwegian Krone     
NZD  New Zealand Dollar     
PLN  Polish Zloty     
SEK  Swedish Krona     
SGD  Singapore Dollar     
USD  United States Dollars  $

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Permalink 05:41:00 pm, Categories: General IT articles  

HTML Signature for Gmail

Gmail does not support rich text signature. That means you can’t have link, colors, images or any formatting with the Gmail signature.

There are ways to get around it.

1. copy and paste
Make your signature in Word and copy it to gmail’s composer each time you want to send an email.

2. Chrome/Firefox extension.
The extension allows you to save your signature in your browser.
But if you use another PC, you will not be able to have the signature coming up automatically because it is saved to the PC where you installed the extension.


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Permalink 05:18:40 pm, Categories: General IT articles  

Generate RSS feeds for your website

RSS newsfeeds and product feeds provide a variety of opportunities for increasing traffic to your website. Publishing your own feed is a great way to cut through the clutter of email spam and get your message directly to your target market. Interested parties can subscribe your RSS channel using common Email clients like Outlook. There are also many RSS readers available for Iphones or other smart phones.

RSS slowly becomes one of the important online marketing / SEO tasks.

Provided you already have an online product catalogue. Here is simple PHP code to use to generate a RSS feed:


function xmlentities($str)
    $xml array('&#34;','&#38;','&#38;','&#60;','&#62;','&#160;','&#161;','&#162;','&#163;','&#164;','&#165;','&#166;','&#167;','&#168;','&#169;','&#170;','&#171;','&#172;','&#173;','&#174;','&#175;','&#176;','&#177;','&#178;','&#179;','&#180;','&#181;','&#182;','&#183;','&#184;','&#185;','&#186;','&#187;','&#188;','&#189;','&#190;','&#191;','&#192;','&#193;','&#194;','&#195;','&#196;','&#197;','&#198;','&#199;','&#200;','&#201;','&#202;','&#203;','&#204;','&#205;','&#206;','&#207;','&#208;','&#209;','&#210;','&#211;','&#212;','&#213;','&#214;','&#215;','&#216;','&#217;','&#218;','&#219;','&#220;','&#221;','&#222;','&#223;','&#224;','&#225;','&#226;','&#227;','&#228;','&#229;','&#230;','&#231;','&#232;','&#233;','&#234;','&#235;','&#236;','&#237;','&#238;','&#239;','&#240;','&#241;','&#242;','&#243;','&#244;','&#245;','&#246;','&#247;','&#248;','&#249;','&#250;','&#251;','&#252;','&#253;','&#254;','&#255;');
    $html array('&quot;','&amp;','&amp;','&lt;','&gt;','&nbsp;','&iexcl;','&cent;','&pound;','&curren;','&yen;','&brvbar;','&sect;','&uml;','&copy;','&ordf;','&laquo;','&not;','&shy;','&reg;','&macr;','&deg;','&plusmn;','&sup2;','&sup3;','&acute;','&micro;','&para;','&middot;','&cedil;','&sup1;','&ordm;','&raquo;','&frac14;','&frac12;','&frac34;','&iquest;','&Agrave;','&Aacute;','&Acirc;','&Atilde;','&Auml;','&Aring;','&AElig;','&Ccedil;','&Egrave;','&Eacute;','&Ecirc;','&Euml;','&Igrave;','&Iacute;','&Icirc;','&Iuml;','&ETH;','&Ntilde;','&Ograve;','&Oacute;','&Ocirc;','&Otilde;','&Ouml;','&times;','&Oslash;','&Ugrave;','&Uacute;','&Ucirc;','&Uuml;','&Yacute;','&THORN;','&szlig;','&agrave;','&aacute;','&acirc;','&atilde;','&auml;','&aring;','&aelig;','&ccedil;','&egrave;','&eacute;','&ecirc;','&euml;','&igrave;','&iacute;','&icirc;','&iuml;','&eth;','&ntilde;','&ograve;','&oacute;','&ocirc;','&otilde;','&ouml;','&divide;','&oslash;','&ugrave;','&uacute;','&ucirc;','&uuml;','&yacute;','&thorn;','&yuml;');
    $str str_replace($html,$xml,$str);
    //$str = str_ireplace($html,$xml,$str);
    return $str;
 $pro DB_DataObject::factory('Product');
  $xml ='<rss version="2.0" xmlns:dc="" xmlns:admin="" xmlns:rdf="" xmlns:content="">
                <title>Water Coolers from Wenlock Water coolers Ltd</title>
                                <description>Water Coolers supplier - Wenlock Water coolers, Shropshire UK. We sell and rent water coolers to Business, Education and home users all over the UK</description>
    $catName $categoryArray[$pro->category];
    $xml .= "<item>
        <title>"xmlentities(htmlentities(stripSlashes("$pro->name"))) . "</title>\n";
    $xml .= "<link>$product->id</link>";
    $xml .="<category domain='main'>"stripSlashes($categoryname_Name). "</category>";
    $xml .="<description>";
    $xml .= xmlentities(htmlentities(stripSlashes($pro->detail) ));
   $xml .="</description>
       //display product feature an images here
      }//end of for
        $xml .='</table>
 $xml .="]]></content:encoded>
 //end of while
 $xml .="</channel>
 </rss> ";
  header("Content-Type: application/xml; charset=utf-81");
 echo $xml;

To test it, you can type in the URL to the php file in your IE to validate the XML.

You can use a RSS viewer to view the data of your deed:

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Permalink 09:03:47 pm, Categories: General IT articles  

Making a disk image from a SD Card

I have searched a little Windows program to make a Disk Image from a Phone Micro SD card but couldn’t find one. Therefore I have to put the Micro-SD card into a USB card reader and plug it to a Linux Box.

To make a disk image:


dd if=/dev/sdb1 of=image.img

Now if you have a larger SD card and you want to upgrade, swap the card, and run


dd if=image.img of=/dev/sdb1

You need you use the dmesg to find out what’s the device number of your SD Card.

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Permalink 10:27:06 am, Categories: General IT articles  

Baleno UK website Live

The stylish clothing “BALENO” is the perfect companion for today’s professionals.“BALENO” is the brand name for our contemporary, comfortable and functional outdoor sports and leisure wear.It features special protective clothing, built on a foundation of technical craftsmanship and a continuous drive for innovation.

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Permalink 09:27:46 am, Categories: General IT articles  

New website launch-

CInCH stands for Community Involvement in Care and Health a Company Limited by Guarantee and is seeking registration as a charity; it is the LINk for Shropshire.

It’s a CMS website.

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Permalink 05:07:48 pm, Categories: Spark computing news  

Full time web programmer required

The ideal candidate will have experience of OO PHP, MYSQL, HTML, CSS, AJAX/JavaScript and any CMS (Codeigniter/CakePHP ) would be beneficial. You will be hardworking and friendly towards clients with an outgoing personality.
You will be skilled with PHP/Javascript and also be able to demonstrate enough HTML and CSS experience. We began utilising SEO more and more over the past couple of years so any exposure to that would be advantageous. The projects you will be working on are both diverse and interesting, ranging from large scale E-commerce websites to smaller scale software applications.

We have programming projects from design agencies around the country. You will get involved in the full project life cycle from planning and research to testing and deploying your work.

Start Date ASAP
Duration Permanent

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Spark Website Design, Shropshire

Technical articles on IT solutions.

Free information on office and home IT solutions; How to get a website running for your business; self-help e-commerce; and tips on website design.



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