Monday, 22 March 2010

Getting your teeth stuck into Finance - It doesn’t have to be a pain in the neck!

For over a dozen years, Charlie Blake (she’s a lady!) has been responsible for the financial management of Idealogy and for Selling Ideas before that. Initially she joined as a Financial Assistant but quickly became the mainstay of everything money-side in the business, working to develop internal systems, proper project finance records, at the same time building solid, long-term relationships with clients and suppliers alike.

And, as with jobs of this nature, she’s had to take the rough with the smooth – finance is never a straight path – using the good times to create systems and methods in preparation for the much heralded (and now very real) downturn. But she has committed wholesale to the challenge while also finding the time to raise two lovely girls of her own, Hannah and Gracie, and there have been times, we’re sure, when she may have thought that she’d bitten off more than she could possibly chew. Her response? Up the qualifications, skills and experience and lets see what we can continue to improve or cost control!

Charlie loves the ‘continuity’ of the business and, by that, she means that many of her colleagues have been in the business as long, if not longer, than she has. So she knows the people side of the organisation intimately, she has many friends within, and loves that there are no subjects that are taboos. Except when it comes to her other passions – horror or vampire movies and The National Trust. Both of those tend to get people, except the weirdoes, rushing for the exit doors.

No matter – she soldiers on, knocking over hurdles that continually get placed in the way of SME’s. She’s now worked on 3 internal reorganisations and is still smiling, because she marks it down to experience. Add to all this her long-term commitment to improve her CIMA qualifications, her role as a School Governor, a full-time Mum, and her new iPhone, and life is, at best, a difficult act to balance.

Good to know she’s sinking her teeth in with such relish!

Posted by Idealogy

Friday, 19 March 2010

Social Networking vs. Browsing… And the winner is!

Facebook finally outstripped Google for visitors last week. Its been coming for a long time and they’ve finally done it! Facebook is now the most visited site in the US beating Google into second place.

Those of us in the industry who watch this sort of stuff, had predicted this moment for some time, but even so, its crazy to think that more people visit Facebook, a social network site, than use Google’s search engine. Really? So what we’re saying is that, actually, we  catch up with each other, play games, watch videos, check messages, browse photos and personal profiles and generally hang out with our friends, family, colleagues and old school friends more than we search for stuff online!

Well, I suppose when you say it like that, it makes perfect sense… Congratulations Facebook

Read more here.

Posted by Simon Johnson

Thursday, 18 March 2010

“They think it’s all over…………”

Well it may never be! here’s a football story that proves the point.

The antagonism between certain factions at Idealogy, a decade long enmity between certain Leeds Utd and Saints followers reached a crescendo on Saturday 13th March. A small group from both camps, together with over 30,000 other souls, attended the fixture at St. Mary’s Stadium, and if you don’t want to know the result, then look away now…
The Saints 1 The Whites 0

Which, for the majority was a great result, celebrated rudely as you would expect. But, in reality, it only squared up proceedings for this season at one win a-piece. So, as Simon Johnson, our Digital Director and most fanatical Leeds supporter would maintain, bragging rites were only short lived. However, before we get ahead of ourselves, Simon still holds the upper hand with his side set to gain automatic promotion to the lucrative Championship, whilst Saints only have a Wembley visit for the Johnson’s Paint Trophy (before you ask, it’s not his!), and another season languishing in League One. The good news for Saints fans is that we’re now Swiss owned and rich enough to make Soloman blush (which we’re not 100% sure that he ever did!).

So, on we all go again! Nothing is concluded and it’s going to be at least another term before hostilities can be resumed, shirts exchanged and name-calling can become really unpleasant. Let’s look ahead to a World Cup, another 9 months of arm’s length bickering and, hopefully, two meetings in the 2011-12 season.

Like they say, “It’s not over until the…”

Posted by Simon Dover

Friday, 5 March 2010

IE6 is dead. Upwards and onwards with IE7, FF+ and beyond!

As part of our internal processes we are continually looking at new technology and trying to highlight ways of moving things forward. One of the things we're asked more often than anything else, is about supporting browsers and which ones we support.  Currently, we support Internet Explorer (IE) 7 & 8, Firefox 3+ & Safari  3+, which seems to cover most of the bases. We also offer options to support Google Chrome, Opera etc. but, as yet, this is not in an official capacity.

Last year, 2009, saw a major event for us - we dropped support for IE6, arguably the largest browser platform ever, and we often get asked why we took that decision? Well, to explain, IE6 offers poor CSS rendering (layout to non-techies), so jobs potentially could take much longer to complete, especially when you combined the hacks that were needed just to get things working. And of course, these are costs that are hard to pass onto clients - especially when there were the alternatives of multiple browsers available, all offering free upgrades, faster speeds and better tools. So, we felt that the time was right for people to upgrade to achieve a better online experience. If you want to check the viewing figures that substantiate our decision, see here.

At the end of last year – 2009 – IE6 was showing 10% and dropping, and we felt that it was something we couldn’t support.  But it’s not just us!  YouTube is dropping IE6 support in early 2010 as are Gmail, followed by Google, so it won't be long before the other big companies fall into line. Supporting IE6 is not commercially viable for us, without the ability to pass on costs, and, on the flip side, it’s not viable for our clients either. 

So, from Jan 1st 2010 we have dropped support for IE6 and we’ve pushed forward with using the better browsers and technology that are out there. As of today, it seems as if everyone at Idealogy, designers and developers, have found this a much more satisfactory position, and it seems like our clients do also - the benefits are strong and 95% of them have now moved on from IE6 or are planning to do so in early 2010.

Posted by Simon Johnson