A sense of ones own [brand] mortality

I am currently in the throes of rebranding my company which has led me to read around the subject of corporate branding and web identity. Lat night I was re-reading Designing Online Identities: Successful Graphic Strategies for Brands on the Web by Clay Andres, which seeks to identify and examine the elements of web branding by analysing what Clay terms “great sites that promote the site brand in attractive, memorable and innovative ways”.

It makes some interesting points about the need to develop online identities that users can identify with and relate to, in order to engender trust and recognition. In particular, the second half of the book explores the use of branding elements to create different types of site and examines the use of branding in defining elements of web architecture.

I was keen to hit the web and examine some of the examples given, partly to see how the sites functioned and partly to see how the brands had further evolved and developed since publication. The book was admittedly written in 2002, but on trying to visit sites used as examples, including the authors own site and two further web design companies, I found that they were no longer open for business.

My task is to ensure that the same fate doesn’t befall the websites that make up Generation X in another couple of years.

Unzip .zip or .tar.bz2 files on the server

When setting up new installations of Joomla! on my web server I have a choice of using my hosting control panel or uploading via FTP. However, my hosting company has recently updated to Joomla! 1.5 as standard and the site I am currently developing requires a component (NeoRecruit) which is currently only compatible with Joomla 1.0.xx .

In this situation I would customarily unzip the Joomla! files locally and then upload via FTP. However, the upload process using FTP is quite time-consuming. I was fairly sure it was possible to FTP the zipped files to my server, and then unzip them in situ. I simply hadn’t got around to investing the time to find out how. A little digging around on the net revealed the following procedure:

Upload a zip file using ftp. Once uploaded, you can unzip the file by following these steps :
1. Create a file called unzip.php as follows and upload to the same folder as the archive.
2. Copy/paste the following content into unzip.php :
<? exec(“unzip myfile.zip”); ?>
3. Replace myfile.zip with the name of your file
4. Open yourdomain.com/path_to/unzip.php in a browser
The .zip file will be extracted into the same folder as the archive.

Joomla! offer files in a variety of formats including .zip, but the smallest was in a .tar.bz2 file format. I could have used SSH to decompress the file on the server, but I preferred to use a version of the php solution outlined above. I replaced “unzip myfile.zip” with “tar xvjf filename.tar.bz2″and the files were untarred to the current directory.
Apparently the syntax of the code is:
tar – Tape ARchiver
And the options:
x – extract
v – verbose output (lists all files as they are extracted)
j – deal with bzipped file (replace j with z if its a .zip file)
f – read from a file, rather than a tape device

The entire set up took a matter of minutes.

Hello world!

I’ve really been meaning to start blogging for some time now. I was one of those children who would dutifully start keeping a new diary each year, only to abandon it during the first days of January. I’ve had a similar relationship with New Years Resolutions ever since. My birthday is on New Years Eve, and hence New Year already carries a lot of age and goal related baggage.

This blog started life with an article I read on Monday called 10 Steps For Starting a Social Marketing Campaign.

The first step was a call to action –  “Schedule a bit of time each day to do some new things. Don’t just say you are going to do them. Write the time into your day and follow through”. This fits in very well with my new Seven Year Plan, of which more later, and hence this blog was born. 

Now I just need to watch out for Step 10 –  “Don’t freak out…you have other things to do and this needs to fit into, not dominate, your current business and marketing”.

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