Laptop News

As the year closes I’ve been looking back at the articles that I have written in 2014 and I think there are some that are worth mentioning again. So in this final piece for 2014 I’m going to briefly cover some of the previous content found in other articles.

In this way I hope to remind myself where I’m up to in certain article serials that will continue in 2015 and to make others aware of some of the things they may have missed. I won’t cover every article or even every section as these can be easily found on this website but I will highlight some continuing serials and some individual articles.


2014 was a massive year for domain names as well over a hundred new top level domain extensions were made available to the public. Throughout the year I produced several updates with my last one in November also being the current position “Latest news on general availability of new domain extensions“.

Leading up to all the excitement in February and over the year, I produced a series of articles to help explain what a domain name is, what you need to run a website and how to pick the right name for you (“What’s in a domain name“, “How to cook up your own website” and “How to pick a website domain name“). There was also a one-off article in June on the release of the .UK top level domain “Only one week to go until .UK becomes available to use online“.


ScammingFor as long as I can remember there have always been telephone scams and over the last 10 years an ever increasing number of computer based scams and malware distribution techniques using email. I figured that no matter what clever software you have to combat malware it can only be as good as the scams that have been previously detected.

I decided that the only way to combat the scammers is through education. I want to make everyone aware of a few safe principles to keep you safe online and so I wrote a few articles and started publishing copies of the scam emails that I have been receiving; “Stop the scammers: email rules to live by” and “How to avoid becoming a remote social engineering victim“.

I also produced a “special report on email scams in 2014” that categorised the scam into generic types or by the company it was fraudulently representing. As a lot of the scams were just repeating, there was a “Final update on email scams in 2014” produced late in August where I closed off the special report. Since then there has not really been anything new appearing. If things change in 2015 then I’ll start it up again.

For now, don’t trust any email attachment or link even if they appear to be from companies that you deal with. Unless you are fully expecting an email (i.e. you subscribed to it or requested say a password reset) then treat them all as fraudulent and you’ll remain safe.


Web MarketingI didn’t do as much as I intended on the marketing side, only managing one article on each of email marketing, social media, search engine optimisation and website traffic. Each article was full of useful information and so all four are worth a mention.

Avoiding the spam filters for legitimate email campaigns” gives tips to help your email campaign get through to it’s intended recipients rather than getting trapped in a spam filter. “What’s the fuss about Google Plus” covers social media and the fact that Google Plus brings the best of everything all in one place. “Why your website needs search engine friendly optimisation (SEFO)” talks about what SEO is and why search engines are penalising those that try to falsify they search ranking using dubious practices.

I have more than I want to write about on digital marketing so expect more articles to follow in 2015.


HTML5HTML5 has been around for a couple of years now and all the major website browsers now support it. HTML5 introduced a lot of new features which means more complicated things that required separate add-ins or loading large scripting libraries can now be accommodated right out of the box (so to speak). Some of these features are still being added to web browsers and on the back of the HTML5 work the cascading style sheet specification (CSS3) had to be updated to support the enhancements.

It is not at all obvious how you as a website developer can take advantage of the new features so I started writing a series of articles about HTML5. This kicks off with a quick overview and followed up with audio and video; “A brief guide to the enhancements and new features of HTML5” and “Getting started with HTML5 video“.

There will be more in-depth topics such as drawing on the page canvas, data storage and location aware applications in the near future.

Microsoft Excel

Excel To WebI wrote a few tutorial type articles about Microsoft Excel but that was not my intention when I stared writing an article, “Preparing to move your Excel modeller into a web application” which is now available. The idea was to follow it up with an article showing how to take a workbook and put it online as a website interacting with the workbook behind the scenes.

However, when I started writing that article early in 2014, I found myself explaining the functionality of Excel so it never got finished and I decided that I needed to make sure that my readership either understood Excel or had the information to hand to be able to work with it at a certain level. So I started on a series to cover then basics of working with the Excel functionality that I would use in a future article as an example of putting an Excel modeller on the web. However, I wanted to publish the Excel To Web article so the other tutorials will wait until next year.

I’ve quite enjoyed writing these two Microsoft Excel tutorials; “Using cell reference names and named ranges in Microsoft Excel” and “Finding a value in a range using Microsoft Excel functions” and I will continue with more advanced topics in 2015 as well as the follow-up articles about adding an Excel-based modeller with a web front end.


Pat Howe 2014


There have been other tutorial type articles for applications that I’ve added to my website and there will be plenty more to follow next year. Basically, how these come about is being asked to explain how to do something in one of these applications. Afterwards, if I think that might come in useful for others and I’ve got the time, I write it as a tutorial article and so the next time that they (or others) ask I can just point to my website.

There are a few other articles that have not been covered above but I believe are worth a mention as they have helped me out or been referred to by others more than once; “Dealing with hard drive failure, data recovery and disposal“, “Simple steps for replacing your Windows 8.1 system disk with a bigger drive” and “Introducing phases to an application development project“. That last one is the first in a series and part two is mostly written now so will be coming up early in the New Year.

I hope that the successes of 2014 continue for you and that you are looking forward to 2015 with the same enthusiasm that I am.

Featured articles and serials throughout 2014

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