Martyn Walker is a software development consultant with a broad knowledge of software development with open source and commercial development tools. "I sit on the fence enjoying the benefits both disciplines have to offer". Martyn is at home writing code for Linux, Windows, VMS or RPG, his only stipulation is that it presents a challenge. No surprise then he enjoys developing exchanges which measure seats and services in millions.

Outdated Pick & Pan Prospecting Another Costly Mistake for British Gas?

My opinion countsI wouldn’t mind if I wasn’t a customer with no choice but to get RIPPED off by these folks. Imagine my surprise when I get an email from someone giving me a lesson in SEO :P

Dropped in file thirteen.



I work for the digital marketing agency iProspect on behalf of British Gas. 

As part of our ongoing SEO campaign – we looking to edit or remove some of the backlinks pointing to the domain name.


We have identified the following link to British Gas on your site (


We would like to work with you and request that one of the below actions are taken regarding this link.

This is to ensure that our client avoids violating the Google Webmaster Guidelines in any form due to a historic decision they or a previous agency has made.


•             Please remove the link from your website


Please note that we are not trying to imply that your website is of fault for violating any guidelines, but that we have advised British Gas should remove any historic links that they acquired which could be interpreted as paid or intended to manipulate PageRank.

Please let me know if you are able to action this request or if you require any further information.

Apologies if you have received multiple emails, this is due to their being multiple links on your website (please review each one).


Kind regards



British Gas iProspect » 
Dir:  »




London Office: 5th Floor, 10 Triton Street, London, NW1 3BF

Ventrino Traffic Exchange Community

Small changes are taking place at Ventrino.  Our website, which was once built using an HTML editor, now uses Joomla.  Yesterday I updated the Wordpress blog to use the same template as the main Joomla website thus providing some consistency in the look and feel of the website.

I also added the Community link which allows the Ventrino community to share information, photos, videos, create groups and friend one another in a similar fashion to Facebook.  Twitter can be integrated and in time Google Plus too.

The website is built with open source and free to use code as well as commercial Joomla components.  These include:

  • Joomla 1.7 – The Content Management System
  • Wordpress – The Blog
  • Artisteer – The template creation tool (not just Wordpress and Joomla)
  • JomSocial – provides most of the community code
  • RSJoomla! – Form creation tool, Firewall, SEO
Mixed in with JomSocial and Joomla are several chunks of code developed by myself and Adam to add new features.  For example Adam has created a module that enables the Community to distribute video uploads to the major streaming sites such as Youtube and Daily motion.

A new business model for the Internet

I’m not sure how many times I have heard those words. As someone involved in Internet startups on two sides of the investment fence they send a chill down my spine. Usually voiced by someone who thinks they have found the next eBay or Amazon killer application. Do you see many sites threatening their dominance? Its like suggesting Bing is the new way to Google.

Occasionally some old fashioned hogwash is regurgitated and described as “the new new Internet business model” or words similar to that. A couple of weeks ago newspapers announced they were going to start charging for access to read articles on their website. It makes you wonder who makes these decisions, surely no one who actually surfs the net could possibly think their material will be worth squat if it cannot be shared by Internet users such as bloggers and twitter publishers. Who will ever know they wrote anything behind their paywall?

They tried this before too. One of the papers announcing this new move is one of the papers that failed in 1999! What short memories they have or are they not mentioning because of the bad karma it would bring? Who knows. The only thing we know for sure is this won’t work. Why? Well if they hide their text behind a paywall Google won’t index it. If Google don’t index it then no one will know they wrote it. If they allow just Google through like the idiots at Expert Exchange then all you need to do is click the Google Cached link beside the link and you have the full story for free. End of.

If they could provide a compelling reason for people to pay up and read, en masse, they may have found a new business model, but honestly, the only reason I read papers online is I don’t like ink on my fingers.

Do not send your ducks to eagle school

An open letter from Jake to Albert.

Dear Albert,

I decided not to respond to your sarcasm and threats for these reasons:

  1. It is not one of ours.  Check the top of the invoice, it has a different company name
  2. Calling me a cupid stunt does not incentivise me (Edited for family readers)
  3. I am sorry “file permissions are incorrect” does not make any sense to you.  There is no need to let me know if you find a better way to say it
  4. I do not like you.

I was going to leave 4 out as its getting personal, but it is in direct response to your question why I do not respond to your messages instantly.  Perhaps if you were Kimberly Stewart asking me on a date you’d have better luck.

[flashvideo file=/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/do-not-waste-my-time-HQ.mp4 width=450 height=285 /]

If you are truly tired of living in Jerk City, If you don’t want every day to be a walk down Asshole Avenue, then learn to be civilized, learn to be reasonable.  Or don’t as there is no point sending ducks to eagle school.


Elevated Traffic – The Promo Video

Beth, Owner of Elevated Traffic receives the last free promo video. It has been great fun doing these and I want to thank everyone for their kind comments, and those not so kind as they too have been a great help!

[flashvideo file=/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/elevated-HQ.mp4 /]

You can also save the files to your disk by right-click save-as: elevated-HQ

See How to add a video to your site for instructions on how this can be added to your website.

How to add a video to your website

There are hundreds of ways to add video to a Wordpress blog, Flash Video is a good place to start.  If all you want is to embed a Youtube then Smart Youtube from Vladimir Prelovac reduces the complex to the ridiculously simple. If you can find the V on your keyboard then you will master it in a nano second.

But what about a website?  Raw HTML?  Where do you go for that?

I guess I should create a video but until I do here are a few pointers that have worked well for me.  The process from 30,000ft up is:-

  1. Locate the place in your HTML you wish to add your video
  2. Paste in the video code
  3. Save the file

If you are an HTML webmaster guru this will be elementary stuff.  All you have to do is decide which flavour of video player you are going to offer your visitors.  I tested a few and like flowplayer although their demo videos were broken when I tested them!

How to install flowplayer on your website

  1. Download from the free version
  2. Create a folder off the root of your website and call it flowplayer
  3. Upload these files to the new flowplayer directory you just created
    • flowplayer-3.1.5\flowplayer\example\flowplayer-3.1.4.min.js
    • flowplayer-3.1.5\flowplayer\flowplayer.controls-3.1.5.swf
    • flowplayer-3.1.5\flowplayer\flowplayer-3.1.5.swf

The version of flowplayer you download maybe different but the principle is likely to stay the same.

That’s all there is to the installation so let’s see how we can use it in our web page.  Much of this depends on how you prefer to edit your pages, if you do not know how to edit HTML then search Google for HTML tutorials, there are many companies offering top quality training with free books and videos to get you started.  There are plenty of free editors available too, so if you are starting from scratch google for free html editor too.

Ready to integrate video in your web page

Now you have installed your flowplayer all you need to do is add a few lines of code.  First add the Javascript file in the header.

<script type="text/javascript" src="flowplayer/flowplayer-3.1.4.min.js"></script>

Which should look a bit like this when you’re done:-

Locate the position in the HTML where you would like your video and use an Anchor tag and another line of Javascript.

<a href=""  
<script type="text/javascript">
flowplayer("player", "flowplayer/flowplayer-3.1.5.swf");

Alter the size of the video to suit your page design and make sure you keep the ratio between the height and width the same so that it doesn’t distort the output.

Download an example
Click here to download everything you need to get started. This uses flowplayer 3.1.5 so don’t forget to check their website for updates and new features at

The Data Center with Killer Support

I have used Data Center’s ever since the concept of dedicated servers has existed.  A good data center is the key to a successful shared hosting service, ultimately your reputation depends on their ability to respond to problems when they occur.

I have always wanted more from a data center than just good equipment and good service.  Why could they not proactively respond to service alerts?  It would make sense as the kind of support personnel you need are right there in their office 24/7.

Some data center’s offer better service for an additional fee but this is no real improvement when you consider that you still have to manage the service.  Sure you get immediate phone access, sure they provide “personal” attention but you still need to spend time working with them to get the problem fixed.

Proactive Support

Proactive support is the business of monitoring the services provided by your server and resolving situations either before or as soon as possible without the need for customer intervention.

For example, if the load on a server begins to threaten a service a member of support is notified and then takes the necessary action to solve it.  As a dedicated server customers this is all I need in a neat package.

And there is only one company that offers this kind of support:  Liquidweb

If anyone knows any others then please tell me their story.

An example of Liquidweb’s proactive support received this morning:


This is a Liquid Web Monitoring Notification only, and requires no response
from you. Sonar Server Health Statistics and Monitoring Services are fully
explained here: If you would like
more information, please reply requesting it. If you would prefer to stop
receiving these notifications, please reply with “Disable”.

For information about this and other services on your server, visit the Liquid
Web Knowledge base:

Our monitoring service detected that named was unresponsive on your server. We
were able to log in to your server and get the service responsive again.

The following actions were taken to prevent this from happening again:

named unresponsive due to servers load, found much of the load to be from
mysql and mysql was set to the default, blank, configuration. Added the
following configuration based upon the servers memory.

max_connections = 250
key_buffer = 128M
max_allowed_packet = 1M
table_cache = 256
sort_buffer_size = 2M
read_buffer_size = 2M
read_rnd_buffer_size = 2M
myisam_sort_buffer_size = 64M
query_cache_size= 32M
max_heap_table_size = 48M
tmp_table_size = 48M
thread_cache_size = 8
wait_timeout = 30
interactive_timeout = 300

max_allowed_packet = 16M


key_buffer = 96M
sort_buffer_size = 64M
read_buffer = 2M
write_buffer = 2M

key_buffer = 96M
sort_buffer_size = 64M
read_buffer = 2M
write_buffer = 2M

John VanBuskirk
Monitoring Team
Systems Administrator

Dangerous Comments from Twitter Support

Today a forum member posted comments from twitter support after they refused his API application:


We apologize for the inconvenience, but we do not allow personal branding of Applications with Traffic Exchange URLs. I should also inform you that all of our external links from tweets are tagged “nofollow,” as such, tweeting from that source will not improve your search index ranking. If you are using that webpage as a landing page while you build a separate application, I recommend changing your APP URL to one that describes your application or organization appropriately, if your application is legitimate we will reconsider your suspension.

API Support

I find these comments somewhat curious, although I do not know what question was asked by the traffic exchange owner their reply is reminiscent of the Stormpay “autosurf” fiasco a few years ago where all traffic exchanges were demonised by association.

An esoteric group of authorities have now tainted an entire industry, a popular one that has existed for a long time, because they don’t like it or perhaps see it as a threat.  Google, Twitter, Blogger and sadly even the SEC to name a few.

What is so different between twitter and traffic exchanges?  They both encourage people to share ideas and websites, albeit in different ways.  Traffic exchanges have not sprung up overnight to make twitters life difficult (not that they could) and have been serving a growing number of customers since the early 90′s.  It begs the question why twitter believe they are a legitimate application and a traffic exchange is not?

What does “legitimate” mean, does this mean a traffic exchange is illegal or are they referring to what a traffic exchange maybe used for?

A user can add a link to illegal content in a traffic exchange, but they can do the same on twitter so what’s the difference?

There is one obvious difference, for every succesful traffic exchange their is a proud owner making a profit, something the two owners of twitter have yet to achieve.  Each traffic exchange owner has an emotional connetion to their business and consequently does everything in their power to keep it legal.  I bet the ratio of passionate owners to users is a lot healthier than twitters!

Looking forward to the Tablet not sure about an iPad though

Mr Gimpy Releases The iTamponI have never been enthusiastic about Apple.  I’m not sure if its an irrational dislike of them or some professional jealousy, probably a mixture of both.  As a programmer since the late 70′s I watched in frustration as hardware and software companies took proprietary routes which held back progress for us all.

As soon as the IBM PC released it was clear that generic hardware and OS development would drive progress.  So companies like Apple that greedily protected everything they did and kept their prices artificially high under some waspish excuse that they did things in more style could well be the reason for my dislike of them.

Their constant attack on everyone else probably another.  I had always thought they were part of the Apple Music label and is probably why I bought my first (an Apple II), the public battle between them and the Beatles, which I think the Beatles lost, was astonishing news to me.  But they continue to steal names from my memory for which I thought were other things.  At the early launch of the net for example “iPhone” was a name given to an early VOIP application, and again I had mislead myself into believing that their new phone was going to be little more than that with a 3g connection.  How far from the truth, but I am not an iPhone protagonist.  Its the device that sets the standard for other manufacturers.  Even a blind chicken finds corn sometimes.

But its not just product names they have taken, its design too.  In the early 80′s I contracted to a hardware manufacturer based in Aberdeen.  They created a PC which was identical to apple4iMacthe iMac pedestal in every way except it had a plastic arm rather than a fancy chrome one.  It could also be purchased in multiple colors rather than just white.  When Apple released their version 20 years later and claimed it was “a world first” I confess it took me back.  I contacted the founder of the PC manufacturer (a household name in the US and UK in its time)  and asked him if he was aware of Apples claim and would he not be doing something about it?  “Martyn..” he sighed “I’m retired at 67 with just enough to see me through, why should I care?”.

And honestly what does it matter? So Apple succeed again due to apathy and a cult following that live and breath everything they say.

Along comes yesterdays announcement of the iPad.  I had resolved that I was going to overcome my irrational attitude towards Apple and investigate with a view to buy.  I decided rather than go for the iPhone I would save the cash and investigate Apples Tablet PC (I assume they are not going to claim they innovated this idea too).  But that name!  Check out #itampon on twitter and you will see why I have become reluctant again.

I am going to find it hard to be proud of my purchase with a name like that (and I know just how irrational that sounds).

Incredible SSD Prices or Too Good To Be True?

If you want to boost the performance of your PC or Laptop a high performance SSD such as the OCX Vertex Turbo Series SATA II 2.5″ is ideal (Search Yourtube for independent performance test examples and be prepared for a surprise). But they usually cost between £400 and £500.

When everywhere else still asks £400+ it suggests Amazon have made a mistake. Personally I hope not as I ordered two this morning! If you search Amazon you might see their old advert which shows it still at the old price of £436.59, but click this link and its still showing for just £90.21 :–)

UPDATE Jan 27th, 2010

Well it doesn’t look like it took them long to figure out the problem but they have so far not cancelled my order (too damn right). Below is a copy of the original offer (for posterity’s sake). Click for full size.