Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Brand like an Egyptian!

(Photo: Getty images)
Voting is under way in Egypt, in the first elections since President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February. There is a long list of parties, each with its own logo, such as a food blender, a traffic light and a vacuum cleaner.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Michael Wolff

Love Michael Wolff's pithy website

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Get your cords on for 11.11.11

The date which most closely resembles Corduroy, EVER,111111
is upon us!

Friday, 4 November 2011

SEO: waste of time?

"Modern SEO is all about crafting content so compelling that other people want to promote it by linking to it or sharing it. "

Some interesting thoughts on LinkedIn (link above) about the merits of SEO. So glad to see a return to proper writing...

John Fountain
• Agree with you 100 per cent Richard. The whole SEO debate about keywords is pretty much dead in the water thanks to Google and the way it now searches. Here's something I cut and pasted - '85% of the total factors that determine how a web page is ranked in a search engine is based on things that happen off the page itself.' By that they mean the amount of links to the site, bookmarking and tweets that mention the site.

Modern SEO is all about crafting content so compelling that other people want to promote it by linking to it or sharing it.

This kind of content is best provided by a professional copywriter. So what is the role of the SEO specialist today becasue I'm not sure.

Richard Owsley • I read an article recently where the writer had interviewed twenty top Google SEO people about keyword density. To a man they were agreed that keyword density has no effect whatsoever on today's algorithms. The searches are far, far more sophisticated than that and stuffing your pages full of keywords, apart from making the copy sound moronic and the design look cluttered, is akin to flat earth theory.

I have had many instances in the past two years of clients showing me the advice they got from their SEO 'specialists' which in my eyes was either worthless, or which I could have given myself in two minutes. There are a lot of snake oil salesmen around.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


An understanding of typographic etiquette separates the master designers from the novices. A well-trained designer can tell within moments of viewing a design whether its creator knows how to work with typography. Typographic details aren’t just inside jokes among designers. They have been built up from thousands of years of written language, and applying them holds in place long-established principles that enable typography to communicate with efficiency and beauty.

Handling these typographic details on the Web brings new challenges and restrictions that need to be considered. Below are a few rules of thumb that will have you using typography more lucidly than ever before.

...see full article on link in heading

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Business cards

Like some of these ...

Friday, 8 July 2011

The meaning of colour in different countries

With thanks to Xerox: http://www.office.xerox.com/small-business/tips/color-guide/enus.html

International Color Guide

Colors mean different things in different cultures. Black, for example, signifies death and is worn during times of mourning in Western countries; black in Egypt, however, represents rebirth.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Three little words to avoid

I liked this, from Kay White. (Hope she won't mind me re-printing: all publicity for her).

It’s easy to overlook the small things in life and here are three small words which can make a HUGE difference in your results as a freelancer, writes Kay White, founder of mentoring and training company Way Forward Solutions. I’m talking about the results you get from your relationships, the connections you make and the results that affect whether your clients – and your team – take feedback and suggestions from you; instructions even. Interested?

1. But

I call ‘but’ a banana skin, it’s literally a word that trips people up and affects the way people take on feedback. But is, in effect, The Great Eraser. What you say after the ‘but’ is what people remember and what you say before it is what is, effectively, erased by the word ‘but. “That report was great but it was a bit too long” or “The way we operate is really very easy but it takes some getting used to.”

I recommend you flip it – that’s the easiest way to step over it and avoid it tripping you up. “That reports was a bit too long but it was great” or “The way we operate takes some getting used to but it’s really very easy” – you can immediately notice the difference. If you start with the normal negative bit first, then put “and” in place of “but”. The “and” becomes a bridge and you avoid The Great Eraser.

2. Why?

Now the question Why is a tricky one. Using “why” to start your question immediately puts people on the defensive. It sends them to justify themselves. It does this because when we’ve been asked “why did you XYZ?” the first word that comes up for us is “because”.

Why implies judgement of some form and when negotiating or wanting to engage people we want to keep them open, not close them down by getting them to justify themselves or their choices. Start your “Why” questions with “What” or “How” or “When” instead – more open and more information-gathering rather than justification-seeking. Simple!

3. Not

Now this follows the principle of “you can’t think about what you don’t want to think about without thinking about it”. If I tell you “do not think about a pink elephant wearing a tutu” – I know ,and so do you, that the first thing you have to think about it “a pink elephant wearing a tutu” before you can really get what I’m asking you to do. The way to avoid planting negative suggestions, things we don’t want people to do, is to ask ourselves “what do I want them to do instead?”

Kay White is author of the Number 1 Bestseller for Customer Service “The A to Z of Being Understood.”

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Doctor slang

Doctor slang is a dying art

Is doctor slang on the wane?
The inventive language created by doctors the world over to insult their patients - or each other - is in danger of becoming extinct.So says a doctor who has spent four years charting more than 200 colourful examples.

Medicine is a profession already overflowing with acronyms and technical terms, and doctors over the years have invented plenty of their own. However, Dr Adam Fox, who works at St Mary's Hospital in London as a specialist registrar in its child allergy unit, says that far fewer doctors now annotate notes with abbreviations designed to spell out the unsayable truth about their patients.

CTD - Circling the Drain (A patient expected to die soon)
GLM - Good looking Mum
GPO - Good for Parts Only
TEETH - Tried Everything Else, Try Homeopathy
UBI - Unexplained Beer Injury The increasing rate of litigation means that there is a far higher chance that doctors will be asked in court to explain the exact meaning of NFN (Normal for Norfolk), FLK (Funny looking kid) or GROLIES (Guardian Reader Of Low Intelligence in Ethnic Skirt).

Dr Fox recounts the tale of one doctor who had scribbled TTFO - an expletive expression roughly translated as "Told To Go Away" - on a patient's notes. He told BBC News Online: "This guy was asked by the judge what the acronym meant, and luckily for him he had the presence of mind to say: 'To take fluids orally'."

Quaint up North
Regional dialects abound, even in the world of the medical abbreviation.
In the north of England, the TTR (Tea Time Review) of a patient is commonplace, but not in the south.

And the number of terms for patients believed to be somewhat intellectually challenged is enormous. "I can't believe what he just called me..."
From LOBNH (Lights On But Nobody Home), CNS-QNS (Central Nervous System - Quantity Not Sufficient), to the delightful term "pumpkin positive", which refers to the implication that a penlight shone into the patient's mouth would encounter a brain so small that the whole head would light up.

Regular visitors to A&E on a Friday or Saturday night are also classified.
DBI refers to "Dirt Bag Index", and multiplies the number of tattoos with the number of missing teeth to give an estimate of the number of days since the patient last bathed.

A PFO refers to a drunken patient who sustained injury falling over, while a PGT "Got Thumped" instead.
Digging for Worms - varicose vein surgery
Departure lounge - geriatric ward
Handbag positive - confused patient (usually elderly lady) lying on hospital bed clutching handbag
Woolworth's Test - Anaesthetic term (if you can imagine patient shopping in Woolies, it's safe to give a general anaesthetic)
This is an international language - Dr Fox's research reveals that a PIMBA in Brazil can be translated as a "swollen-footed, drunk, run-over beggar".

Doctor insult
And much of the slang is directed at colleagues rather than patients.
Thus rheumatology, considered by hard-pressed juniors one of the less busy specialties, becomes "rheumaholiday", the "Freud Squad" are psychiatrists, and "Gassers" and "Slashers" are anaesthetists and general surgeons respectively.

Dr Fox is keen to point out that neither he, nor the other authors of the paper, published in the journal Ethics and Behavior, actually advocate using any of the terms.

He said: "It's a form of communication, and it needs to be recorded.
"It may not be around forever."
He said: "I do think that doctors are genuinely more respectful of their patients these days."
If that is the case, perhaps the delights of a "Whopper with Cheese", "Handbag positive" or "Coffin dodger" could be lost forever.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Funny recruitment ad?

SEO Executive

An SEO Expert walks into a bar, grill, pub, public house, Irish, bartender, drinks, beer, wine, liquor...

Salary:Up to £25K + benefits Location:Northampton Employer:Cranberry PandaSEO Executive

Friday, 21 January 2011

Email etiquette

Should e-mails open with Dear, Hi, or Hey?