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My first podcast: the inspiration and how I turn an idea into reality (at low cost)

“Welcome to episode one of the Social Hiking podcast”…. so began my first ever podcast, recorded with my friend Nina (@smirnieoutdoors) in her house in Shropshire. The podcast itself, now it has been published, has gone down really well (the feedback has been beyond my wildest dreams), but it is hard to believe that, as we sat there in Nina’s sitting room with our show notes and podcast sponsor, it was only two weeks before that I scribbled in my notebook: “podcast? guest co hosts? Nina?”. This post is the story of what inspired me to decide to record a podcast and how it went from an idea to reality (at minimal cost). Hopefully it will interest, aid and inspire.

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Google Authorship Oddness

Quite a while ago, Google launched a feature called authorship, which allows people who publish content online to link that content with their Google+ profile. The most obvious effect of this is that your Google+ profile picture and link appear in Google search engine ranks. I see this as having a real benefit for content creators so I decided to give users of Social Hiking the ability to claim authorship of their maps. Imagine my surprise to discover that Google was inferring authorship of pages where it was not explicitly defined.

Do you know what your ‘seo expert’ is doing? It could be damaging your brand!

If you are a blogger, you will have almost certainly come across seo/link spam – this takes the form of irrelevant comments left on a blog post solely for the purpose of getting a link back to their site (ideally in the comment itself, but also as the link associated with the name of the poster). The ‘wisdom’ is that these links help boost the originators site in search rankings (with a bonus that someone might actually click on it).

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Blogging about different but related interests and philsorrell.com

Several years ago I started an outdoor blog (mycountryside.org.uk) where I posted about the countryside, walks, trips and kit. This was followed a couple of years later by a web related blog (daylightgambler.com) about web development, social media and freelancing. At around the same time I built Social Hiking, a site that lets you share your outdoor adventures, and I began to get interested in how people share, now and in the future, their experiences outdoors on the web – this has lead me to build relationships with some great outdoor bloggers and people who create and share content. This collision between my outdoor and web worlds has caused a few problems!

The first problem is where do I post things? For example a review of a social network for sharing location specific photos: outdoor blog or web blog? A tutorial on setting up a blog to share outdoor experiences: outdoor blog or web blog? A post on the talk I did at innovex on the web, mobile apps and the outdoors: outdoor blog or web blog? You get the idea!

The other problem is updating: I was finding it harder and harder to keep up to date multiple blogs, I was losing the conversation as I jumped between blogs, and I was avoiding writing posts I wanted to write because they did not really fit with either blog.

The solution: philsorrell.com

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The cookie law – a resource for website owners

On 25 May 2012, the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 come into force. The amended regulations include the European Directive concerned with the protection of privacy on the web, especially something called ‘cookies’ (which is why it is nicknamed the ‘cookie law’). If you own or manage a website, it is almost certain that you will need to do something to ensure your site is compliant. With a maximum penalty of £500,000, it is definitely worth at least reading up on the issue so you can make an informed decision on what action to take.

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The darkside of Android fragmentation – updates!

In general terms, fragmentation of Android is a good thing. You can visit your local phone shop and choose your perfect phone from a huge range of shapes, colours and prices – all running a powerful operating system with a huge number of apps available. Manufacturers can produce phones and devices with specialised hardware, like the outdoor proof Defy + (mine recently survived a washing machine cycle), and specialised software, like the Amazon Kindle Fire, but still utilising the advantages of a common operating system and app ecosystem. Even manufacturers producing their own skins is, in principle, potentially a good thing.

However in reality there is a darkside to fragmentation. Just before Christmas my Motorola Xoom was updated to Android 3.2, released in July. To be fair the update was available elsewhere earlier, but my wifi only Xoom, with minimal obvious manufacturer customisations, was updated 6 months after a release. Why did it take so long?
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An average week as a freelancer

This week I have got back into the habit of tracking my time for the vast majority of my working day. I find having a timer ticking on my screen helps improve my focus, increases the amount of time billed to clients, and helps me improve the accuracy of my quotes. I thought it might be interesting to share how a freelancer spends their time during an average week.

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