WIFI free and mobile free accommodation?

Written by Peter Vejrum Terp on . Posted in Peters Blog

The trend seems to be that everyone want WIFI on their holiday accommodation (hotel, camping etc.). BUT! Is it necessary – shouldn’t we be doing the opposite?

We tend to choose places with WIFI because we need the Internet to check email and Facebook (I know you would say the opposite, but you do check the email and Facebook). We also want the WIFI for checking for news, spotting nice restaurants, finding some activities to do nearby and similar. This is not only done on Laptop, but also iPad and phone. Naturally the hotels tries to fill out the demand for WIFI, which they need to do to attract customers. But all this is very stress full, and the last thing I want of my vacation is actually stress!

I think something different is needed. I am a online person and I have those bad habits to check email and Facebook too often. What I really need when I’m on vacation is a place without WIFI and without the any kind of access to the Internet.

What I want is:

  • A WIFI free hotel
  • A hotel, where I can’t use my mobile
  • Good information about where I can find restaurants, activities and a like. Data might be online, but then it has to be in a computer in the reception.
I know I could just leave my phone. iPad and computer at home, my will power is to weak to do that 🙂
What is your opinion about this issue?

Why speed optimization matters

Written by Peter Vejrum Terp on . Posted in Peters Blog

An old saying says that “Time is money”, that is also the case on webpages. Walmart showed recently that this claim also fits on Web pages. The company had set out to test their website’s response time impact on their business. The result was surprising 0.1 seconds better response time resulted in up to 1% increase in turnover.If the response time is slower than 2 seconds, the conversion rate drops.

This test was made on a large Web page in the US, but it also fit other countries. Many pages doesn’t consider the page load speed as an large issue, example in Denmark where I live, it’s not something that many talk about. BUT! that doesn’t mean that it’s not an issue, that’s just the danes who hasn’t considered Speed as an issue yet. In US speed is big and large companies like Amazon and Google uses a lot of time on optimizing speed.

Why so much focus on speed?
Does it matter, can’t I just optimize my page for Google and create a good looking design. NO! Is the short answer, SEO and design is important, speed is equally important.

If you do the right thing from the beginning, many benefits will show up:

  • Your servers will need less capacity, and thereby save money for servers, and it will be cheaper to expand your server park.
  • The bandwidth your servers uses to connect to the world, will be less used, there by you probably will pay less for for the connection.
  • It will be easier to scale the servers for traffic peaks
  • When your page loads faster, people will be more likely to use your page instead of the slower competitor.
  • Google is actually looking on page speed when they rank the websites, therefore also a SEO benefit.
  • If your users uses a mobile device, you can’t be sure that they always has a good broadband connection, they will have a better user experience because the page loads a lot faster.

Why should i consider speed now?
If you example live in Denmark, the tendens is that many pages become slower. This is not the case in all countries, but it might be a case in your country. If this is the case then you might get some benefits by being a first mover. If your competitors website loads in 12sec, and your own homepage loads in 2 secs after optimising it, then I’m pretty sure that the customer will choose your website the next time. If your living in a country where speed is already known as a big issue, you really needs to start  fixing the website speed, otherwise the competitors will take your customers.

What to do about it?
What you need to do is make a plan, and set some goals for the website speed. Here is an example on things you should do:

  • Run a speed test on your own website and top 5 competitors website. This could be done with tools like  http://gtmetrix.com/
  • Set up a spreadsheet which contains information  for your website and competitors. This should contain “Time taken for loading website”, “Amount of requests”, “Page size in kilobytes”.
  • Take a look on the spread sheet, how good are your website compared to the competitors? If you have a bad page speed, take a look on the best competitors and look on the page size and the amount of requests. Do they do it better than you? If so, that might be a good place to start looking for optimization.
  • Set at goal on how fast the page should load, how many requests used, size of website.
  • Fix problems, like too many requests, too large images and so on.
  • After fixing those problems, you might also need to look at the database queries. There will probably be a lot to fix here, there usually is.
  • When database and the other stuff is fixed, then take a look at the server side coding. Is everything optimized.
  • Is there anything you can remove from the homepage, which doesn’t give you anything?
  • Last a very important thing is, you need to measure and track what you do. Make a stat which shows conversion, revenue and so on before fixing the issues, and make the same each time you make some improvements on the live environment.

I hope this post will inspire you to speed up your website.

How will Social Media change the world?

Written by Peter Vejrum Terp on . Posted in Peters Blog

Social Medias is everywhere, I use it everyday and many people do the same. Facebook has around 900 millioner users and still growing, Twitter and other social medias also has an increasing number of users. Is it just a social media bubble we are facing like the Internet bubble in 2000?

I think we are only starting to know social medias, and that we will see a lot more in the future. We haven’t seen the possibilities in Social Crowds and what a crowd can do. My lovely wife for instance has a Facebook page called “Slip Angsten” (A FB group about axiety) and also has a homepage called the same. The homepage and the FB group is all about people helping each other, people talk about there anxiety and share knowledge – in the end it helps everybody. This is only one group and one homepage in Little Denmark.

What would happen if example a large social crowd had the right tools to share knowledge and science about example Cancer. Would it be possible to solve some of the major issues that scientist, doctors and a like is having such a hard time solving? After all there are many many more people who has a reason to share, help and participate in the right social tool than there are scientist and doctors. You might think that Doctors, professors and a like is much vicer – that might be the case. BUT! If you example take a look at Wikipedia, a large amount of people knows a lot together, and many brilliant ideas was developed by people like you and me, who just found a great solution on a problem.

I think the world will change with social media, there will be great tools out there – and those tools will probably make it possible to solve some of the worlds major problems in new ways. Bbest of all – we all help each other doing it 🙂

Whats your opinon on the issue?

The media change of TV and Computers

Written by Peter Vejrum Terp on . Posted in Peters Blog

Last night when me and my lovely wife was talking, we came around the subject TV and computers.

For some years ago the TV was a source to knowledge for both of us. We were both often watching TV which included some kind of knowledge, like Animal Planet, History Channel, Discovery and so on. The computer was mainly used for entertainment like games and similar. The TV had a larger place in my life than today, and the computer was primarily for entertainment or work.

This has actually changed in the last couple of years, today the TV is used for entertainment in our home. We often draw back to the couch to watch some entertainment TV, just to get a little relaxed in the buzzing head.
The computer (and iPhone, and similar) is now used for getting knowledge, working and doing all kind of stuff, but it’s actually rarely used for entertaining games.

Does TV have a future for me? It might still have a place in my home, but it has definitely become a lot less than in the past. There is one funny thing – I find it a lot easier to watch TV just for the entertainment, than using my computer for entertainment. When I use my computer I need to decide what to do on it. When I watch TV I just take a round trip on the channels and stuck on one of the channels.

This is just some thoughts about how the media changes at the moment.

Retrieving “FOR XML AUTO” from MS SQL in CFML

Written by Peter Vejrum Terp on . Posted in Peters Blog

Today I was asked if it was possible to retrieve MS SQL XML in ColdFusion. My answer was of course that it must be possible. I had never done it before, but I couldn’t see why it should be a problem.

Welll!!! That wasn’t exactly as simple as expected. Here is what I tried and what happend and of course how to solve the issue

I had a query which looked something like:
SELECT TOP 100 * FROM mytable FOR XML AUTO;

This sql returns an XML object from MS SQL Server, which should be really easy to access. But I was wrong….

The name of the field with the XML was named “XML_F52E2B61-18A1-11d1-B105-00805F59916B” and if I changed just a minor thing in the sql it would have a new name. Then name of the field was dynamic. That in it self can be a problem, but can be solved by acessing the first column in  a result.

My first thought therefore was to retrieve the first row and the first column of the query in CFML, that was possible (I had to do some tricks but possible). Then the second problem occured – I didn’t get the full XML, only a part of it.

Well that’s solvable I just iterate the full result, cast the column as a string in ColdFusion, and adds each rows string in the end of each other. No problem! Well then the new problem came by, it wasn’t possible to convert the MS SQL XML datatype to a string – I tried a lot of different things, but nothing seemed to work.

A hole new approach was needed! Then a  college came with a brilliant idea – hack the result of the query with a query. We ended up doing the following code
<cfquery datasource=”MYDATASOURCE” name=”qXML”>
SELECT TOP 100 * FROM mytable FOR XML AUTO;
</cfquery>

<cfquery dbtype=”query” name=”xmlString”>
SELECT ‘xml’ AS xmlstring FROM qXML WHERE 0=1
UNION ALL
SELECT * FROM qXML
</cfquery>

<cfoutput query=”xmlString”>
#xmlstring#
</cfoutput>

This isn’t exactly a nice looking code, but it does the job and it’s fast. We simply cheat the sql – a very simple but very ugly solution. I hope this will help some of you CFML programmers out there!

Update
A lot simpler solution could be SELECT (SELECT TOP 100 * FROM mytable FOR XML AUTO) AS myResultField

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