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Grange-Over-Sands IT Consultancy PDF Print

Hi there! Welcome to my website, and I hope you find something here of interest. I have worked in the IT industry for 31 years, primarily on a freelance basis. My clients are many and varied, but principally blue chip national and multi-national companies. These include UBS Swiss Bank, BBC, National Westminster Bank, Sainsburys, AXA Insurance, Marks and Spencer, BAA, Department of Health and ICL 

I am now in Grange-Over-Sands and looking to help out the good folks of Grange (and environs) with their computer problems. As you can imagine, there is little I haven't encountered in my 31 years of experience, and as a consequence I am well positioned to offer assistece in all areas. The following list gives you some idea of how I can help you but is by no means exhaustive. 

  • Spreadsheets: Balance your cheque book; add credit cards and store cards; run the books of your club or society; create what-if analysis, budgets and forecasts;
  • Databases: Maintain a product catalogue or society membership list; link to standard letters and standard emails;
  • Website development: Develop static "brochure-ware" websites or more sophisticated dynamic websites with back-end databases;
  • Custom PC and server builds; Media Centre PC builds;
  • Data Cleansing: Already got a web site but annoyed with the quality of user responses? Too many responses from "Micky Mouse" or "Captain Pugwash"?
  • PC Troubleshooting and advice on upgrade/replacement.
  • Home networks. Create a centralised, dedicated machine to store your media and files, and use the same machine as a 'proxy' server to prohibit members of your family from accessing adult or other undesirable content on the Internet
Whether you are an individual, sole trader, small company or large multi-national I will be able to help you. Just drop me a line with your requirements and I'll call you back for a chat.
Last Updated on Sunday, 26 April 2009 10:23
This Website Could Be Yours! PDF Print

This website should give you a good idea of what can be achieved with little effort. The entire site was created in 1 day using a CMS (Content Management System) called Joomla! with no prior experience of this package! If you have an old, low specification computer doing nothing, and you have an on-all-day broadband  connection, then this could be built for zero cost apart from a little tution from myself. If you don't want to have a dedicated computer on all day running your own website, then have it remotely hosted for a very modest fee. Hosting solutions by 3rd party companies are available from as little as £15 a year!

The entire website is actually running on my laptop - a bottom of the range £399 machine. This does mean if I am out-and-about and away from the Internet you may not be able to connect to this site. Please try again later if this happens.

Last Updated on Saturday, 25 April 2009 21:18
Calsync Sports Fixtures and Calendaring Website PDF Print

As an avid sports fan, I was frustrated at the lack of sports calendaring websites on the Internet. If, say England, had an important game coming up in a week's time, I wanted to be able to automatically put that fixture in my electronic diary thus preventing a double booking. It would be great to politely decline that dinner party because I had already checked my diary and discovered Liverpool were playing in the cup that evening. And so was born Calsync, my very own sports calendaring and fixtures and TV listings website.


Development of the website took 9 months of 12 hour days / 7 day weeks. It was truly a labour of love, but the result is something I am proud of. Copyright restrictions prevented me from providing the Premier League and Football League fixtures, but I can still show when their games are televised. Other sporting calendars available include non-league (great if you are a committed Barrow AFC fan like myself!), tennis, cricket, rugby, and motorsport. In fact, there are over 15000 sporting events in my database, and it is updated daily.


Like this website, Calsync is currently hosted on this laptop. I hope to move it back to its spiritual home as soon as possible and be able to offer 24/7 operation again.


Last Updated on Saturday, 25 April 2009 21:18
Drupal - a serious competitor to Joomla PDF Print E-mail
The CMS market is crowded - and bewildering to the newcomer. A worthy competitor to the open source CMS Joomla is Drupal - also open source. Both have their fans, both have their technical  advantages, and both have shortcomings. To get a professional website up and running in a jiffy for personal blogs or ecommerce, then Joomla should ft the bill. But for organisations looking for greater control and sophistication then Drupal may be a better bet. Drupal has one startling advantage over Joomla - the concept of access rights. With Drupal it is possible to assign registered users particular 'roles' and include or exclude areas on a Drupal website dependent upon a user's role. This could be very handy for instance on a company website where intranet project pages could be set up for individual projects. Perhaps all employees could have read access, whilst only project team members could author new content or edit existing content. Anyway, I have now developed my first 'add-on' to Drupal - my dcaldav calendaring module, and I can offer Drupal consultancy for those wishing to explore the possiblility of deploying this exciting CMS.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 July 2009 12:36
DVD / Video Catalogue PDF Print

Maybe its a bloke thing. Guys seem to be born collectors and cataloguers, and I do not buck that particular stereotype. At its height, I had a collection of over 2000 DVDs (although the majority were off-air recordings I hasten to add). My collection has been thinned out to a marginally more manageable 1400 or so.

To manage this quantity of disks I use a cataloguing product called catvids  which runs on Windows XP or Vista. However, I wanted to be able to publish my collection to aid swapping amongst other collectors - and that meant converting catvids to a web enabled solution. As a useful side-effect, this would mean I could also check my own collection using a web browser from any Internet connected PC.

My solution, using a dummy 600 sample movie database, is here and uses the same technology as my Calsync sports website. For the inquisitive or technically minded, it uses the PHP programming language with a MySQL database running on SuSe 11.1 Linux.

Last Updated on Sunday, 02 August 2009 11:12

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