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Blogs and news from the MDS Solutions team

How our new approach can help your business

How our new approach can help your business
Around 4 years ago, we started up a blog for MDS Solutions and came up with quite a few posts on website design and SEO. We had a few issues with the installation and for one reason or another it fell to the back of the queue in terms of importance. We also had lots of new client projects and our own website and blog had to sit on the back burner for a while and it didn't really get the attention is deserved.
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Google Caffeine the new Google search engine

Google Caffeine the new Google search engine
Google have announced a new infrastructure for their search engine codenamed "Caffeine". They are inviting developers and power users to help test out the new infrastructure which will allow them to "push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness and other dimensions".
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Twitter Search Widget

Twitter Search Widget
Twitter have released a "search widget" that you can customise and place on your website to show all of the latest "tweets" that have been made on a particular subject. What is the Twitter Search Widget? The Twitter Search Widget is essentially a piece of javascript that you can place on your website. The javascript will create a kind of "news ticker" type section that will display all of the latest "tweets" that are made on a particular subject. How do I get the Twitter Search Widget? You'll need to first visit the Twitter Search Widget page where, if you are logged in, you will be presented with a few required details on what you want your search widget to contain: You'll need to enter what it is you are actually searching for (notice that in the example above we've decided to show all entries that match Web Design OR SEO so that we get results from two different terms). You can also customise the Twitter Search Widget so that it displays a title and a caption that suits your intended use. If you want to change the colour and size of the widget, you can also do this by going to the "Appearance" and "Dimensions" tabs on the left hand side, however you won't notice these changes on the above preview page: If you click the "Finish & Grab code" button at the bottom of the page you should also be presented with a textarea containing the javascript that is necessary to put the widget onto your site. Assuming you have done all of this correctly, you should hopefully see something like this:
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The Domain Renewal Process

As we've just gone through the process of expiring and renewing some of our domain names, here's a quick guide to the domain renewal process that we've gone through to both expire and renew our existing domain names. Why do I have to renew my domain name? Simply put, you don't actually own a domain name, you only ever lease or rent it. For a ".co.uk" domain name, the lease is just two years but some other domain names (such as a ".com" or a ".net") can be leased for up to ten years. Personally, I think it's better to use the smaller amount as it means if you no longer want the domain name then you are not paying for it for x number of years after you have actually finished with it. It also gives the opportunity for someone else to use the domain name if they have a new purpose for it. Usually what will happen is that once you start approaching the date that the domain name renewal is due, your domain registrar (we use 123-reg.co.uk) will contact you to notify you that your domain name will be expiring soon and that you should renew it as soon as possible if you want to keep it. I think I received renewal emails with 45, 30, 15 and 7 days to go until that notice was due but this may vary depending on your registrar. What happens when I reach the renewal date? Well, you won't actually lose your domain name, however within 30 days of this expiry date your website will actually stop responding to that particular name so anyone visiting your URL won't actually see your website. Your domain name will then go into a state known as "domain suspension" which will last for another 60 days. During this time, your domain name still won't respond to any requests but you are still recognised as the "owner" so you can still renew it at any time and it won't be released back to the public. How do I renew or expire my domain? This really depends on the domain registrar that you use, however both of these tasks should be relatively simple. For the renewal process, our domain registrar simply allows us to go through the initial payment process and we just enter our details to automatically renew for another two years. If we want to expire the domain we have a couple of options:  
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Google Accounts on Twitter

Google Accounts on Twitter
In a very clever move, Google have published a list of Twitter accounts that they frequently use to keep users updated about their products and services. Why is this move clever? One of the main uses of Twitter for many people is the real time search that it offers. With the recent problems in Iran, Twitter showed just how useful it could be in getting news out to people quickly. Google, I think, have realised the benefit of this and whilst they have been "twittering" for a while they haven't really publicised it that much. Now, with the post that shows all of the Google twitter accounts, they've essentially tapped into the market share that Twitter have been gradually taking away from them (in the past, Google seemed to be pretty much the first and only stop when you wanted to find out something urgently). Not only can people now find information via a traditional web search in Google, they can now use Twitter which will actually return results that Google have posted up to Twitter! I think that's a great marketing strategy as they really get the best of both worlds... What do Google "Twitter" about? There's a wide range of different Twitter accounts that Google use, but some of the main ones that interest us are: twitter.com/Google - our central account twitter.com/Blogger - for Blogger fans twitter.com/GoogleNews - latest headlines via Google News There's even a Twitter account for jobs at Google if you feel like a new challenge!
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Google Maps Driving Directions Gadget

Google Maps Driving Directions Gadget
Google have released a handy little gadget that you can use on your website to allow users to get driving directions to your office (or any other places that you wish to enter) and embed it in your site with just one line of javascript. What does the Google Maps Driving Directions Gadget do? The Google Maps Driving Directions Gadget allows a user to enter their starting point via a small textbox inserted into your page, select a destination point from a list of designated end points and then view both a map and text instructions on how to get from one point to the other. First, you have to go to the gadget setup page and enter a pipe separated list of end points: Then, enter the title of the gadget along with the size and border colour that suits your website. Click the "Get the Code" button and a simple line of javascript will be generated that you can place in a suitable place in your site. e.g an example of what is generated for the above image looks like this:  
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