Archive | June, 2010

How do I trademark a company logo?

Registered Trade Mark indiciaProtecting your corporate identity is becoming more necessary than ever. In an increasingly competitive and, arguably, immoral capitalist system, companies are becoming only too willing to try and steal some of your business by cloning your “look and feel”. Even worse – and this happened to yours truly – a new company that looks like it has a good name might have the rug pulled from under it’s feet by the big boys registering your name as a trademark before you get the chance to establish yourselves!

The difference between TM and ®

We’ve all seen the little TM and ® marks adorning logos for years, but what do they mean?

TM, meaning Trade Mark is simply the owners assertion that their product, service or company are unique. There is no real legal validity to this, other than that the brand may have been notoriously well known for many years. Whether or not the user shows the logo with the TM is largely immaterial – the claim to ownership of a brand name or logo will always be stronger, the longer you have used it unchallenged, whether it has been legally registered or not.

®, meaning Registered Trade Mark means that the items in question has been registered with the Patent office (or IPO Intellectual Property Office in the UK). It has legal clout right from the word go. Read More…

Free microlight pilot flight log – flight planning plog

Microlight Flight LogI spent a little time designing a flight log sheet for my NPPL microlight flights. Although there are commercially available flight log pads, I find them to be a little over the top for the kind of microlight flying many people do. This version has a reduced amount of information, and is perhaps more suited to the restricted space available to microlight pilots. If anyone is unsure what some of my marking mean, it goes like this:

  • PILOT/POB : Pilot name, and number of Persons On Board
  • A/C : Aircraft callsign and type
  • DATE : Obvious!
  • ROUTE : Total route
  • TOT DIST : Total Distance Flown (including return trip if part of the log)
  • TOT BLOCK : Total block time – from initial engine start to engine stop
  • FUEL : Total Fuel Carried (must cater for Total Block time plus at least 30 minutes more)
  • RWY, TAXI, QFE/QNH : Standard movement and pressure information at departure airfield
  • W/V/T 2000′ & 4000′ : Wind Direction. Velocity, and Temperature at 2000 and 5000 feet (from Met Office Form 214)
  • ALT : Cruise Altitude
  • MSA : Minimum Safe Altitude
  • TAS : Total Air Speed
  • TRK : Track Required True
  • G/S : Ground Speed
  • DIST : Leg Distance
  • Start Fixes : Prominent visual references – Gross error checks.
  • o/head : Overhead departure time
  • HDG ºM : Heading Magnetic (including any variation and deviation)
  • TIME + : Estimated time for leg
  • ETA : Estimated Time of Arrival
  • ATA : Actual Time of Arrival

Read More…

Cubecart Error – Warning: htmlentities() expects parameter 2

Just a quick note for those people who upgraded to Cubecart 4.3.9, and started to experience horrible page titles containing things like:

Warning:  htmlentities() expects parameter 2 to be long, string given in /home/user/public_html/admin/sources/products/index.inc.php on line 949 etc…

There is a bug fix published by Cubecart but it isn’t terribly helpful. The problem is indeed on line 949 of /admin/sources/products/index.inc.php which should read (once corrected) as follows:

<td align="left"><input name="prod_metatitle" type="text" size="35" class="textbox" value="<?php if(isset($results[0]['prod_metatitle'])) echo htmlentities($results[0]['prod_metatitle'],ENT_QUOTES,'UTF-8'); ?>" /></td>

Read More…

Search engine friendly URLs using apache mod_rewrite

As promised, here is a brief technical overview of how to get those nice search friendly URLs using Apache mod_rewrite and .htaccess files. I have already discussed why human readable URLs are a good idea, but it really should be obvious to anyone who has a basic understanding of the way Google views page URLs when calculating page rank.

What are we trying to achieve?

We are going to take the example of a fictitious website that has a database driven catalogue. We will assume for a moment, that the page that handles the navigation of the catalogue is /catalog.php and that it accepts a category and a page number parameter. So, for example, a typical URL might be:

/catalog.php?cat=34&page=2

This would show page 2 of the results for products in the category with id=34. This is a pretty common situation. Read More…

Can a Facebook Page help my SEO and rank?

“Facebook is for kids”, or “That thing my teenage son spends half of his life in front of?” are just two of the common responses I receive when I tell customers that getting on Facebook has become an essential aspect of any online marketing strategy.

Got Facebook?Unlike Myspace which allowed pages to become too unstructured and messy, Facebook held onto their page structures with a little more firmness and the strategy may have contributed to their success.

Why Facebook Pages can improve your page ranking

Facebook is now one of the most vigorously indexed websites in the world, and as Facebook Pages are publicly viewable, they are prime real estate for any online marketing campaign. All of the links on your Facebook Page will be seen by Google and others, so links from this system back to your website are also a great way to boost your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) results.

Facebook spreads information very effectively, both by direct searches within the Facebook website itself, and virally from user to user. If somebody choose to “Like” your page, then all of their online Friends instantly see that information, and can decide to check out your facebook page for themselves – and if they “Like” it too, then their own circle of Friends see that information – and so forth. It’s easy to understand the term Viral Marketing when you start to understand how Facebook works. Read More…

Why search engine friendly URLs are important

URLs to avoid - part 1One aspect of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) which is still lacking on many websites, especially ecommerce sites, is whether or not your URLs are search engine friendly.

Search engines like to read real words in association with your content. If you have a database driven website, and you have URLs like this:

http://www.yoursite.com/index.php?id=654&cat=21&etc…

Then you are missing a trick. Google might index your cryptographically named pages, but you can squeeze an extra SEO boost by using search engine friendly URLs. Search engine friendly URLs are the ones you see every day on the internet that you can actually read. For example:

http://www.yoursite.com/dogfood/pedigreechum

This makes like much easier for search engines, and even for people to guess the URL if they don’t know it already. If you are looking for dog food, then /index.php?cat=21 doesn’t really trip off the tongue as easily as /dogfood does it? Read More…