SUGAR has moved to Wiltshire

After spending more than 10 years happily living and working in a fantastic corner of Hampshire, the SUGAR team have relocated to Mere in Wiltshire.

Mere, Wiltshire

Why the move? Largely the reasons for the move were personal, one of them being that our daughter recently finished sixth form, so it was a good time to make a change as a family.  There were two business related points for us choosing Mere as a location:

Decent Broadband

One business related point for us was to ensure our new office location had decent broadband.  Happily we can now see our local green BT box just up the road, so the speeds are more than adequate for our needs.  In Upham the lack of broadband speed was seriously starting to have an effect on the projects we could carry out.  In most cases web related files are fairly small, but the more video we started to do, the bigger the problem became.  Trying to move large files around just took hours.  Not an ideal situation.

Easy Commute

Mere is ideally located along the A303, which means getting back to Hampshire is fairly easy.  There is the small task of negotiating the pinch points around Stonehenge, but that can be done by being careful with timing.

We are enjoying getting to know the people of Mere and exploring the area around us.  Since Jenni and I are keen cyclists we’ve already found routes taking in the villages of West Knoyle, East Knoyle, Newtown and Semley. The village shop in Semley has quickly become one of our favourite coffee stops, I can heartily recommend the delicious chelsea buns on sale.

While we are forever grateful to the friends we have made in Hampshire, we are looking forward to making new connections around Wiltshire in the years to come.

The Sausage Tree Charity

The Sausage Tree Charity works to provide funding for three schools in the Luangwa Valley region in Zambia.  This unspoilt corner of Zambia is dominated by the South Luangwa National Park, a haven for african wildlife.  The park does provide employment, but most families in this area live in poverty and struggle to provide even the most basic education to children in the area.

Established in 2000 by husband and wife team,  Lu and Will Chignell, the charity was born out of their desire to help local children achieve an education despite the lack of government funding and the struggle for local families to meet even their most basic needs of food, clothes and medicines.

Hiding unstyled div that shows on page load

In the spirit of sharing web development tips and techniques:

Have you come across a situation where you have a javascript carousel or accordian that is fairly content heavy? When the page loads the list items or the div content flash onto the screen until the page loads and then the whole page “pops” into place.  Very annoying effect when you’re on a slower connection.

In celebration of Ada Lovelace Day 2010

Today is the opportunity to celebrate women in tech, as inspired by Ada Lovelace the person to programme the first computer algorithm for Babbage’s analytical engine.

This year I’d like to celebrate my partner Jenni.  Besides working on her jewellery business Twinkleberry, she has steadily ramped up her involvement with SUGAR until today she is pretty much working with me full-time in delivering our web services to a growing group of clients.  In this process she has had to learn to use quite a few new applications and generally increase her knowledge of the web and search engines.  All I can say is that I am one very lucky guy to have her working with me and I cannot think of any other woman in my life who I’d like to celebrate more today.  Thank you Jenni.

Do follow the ongoing adventures in comic form of Lovelace and Babbage published at 2D Goggles. Thanks to Sydney for reminding me to celebrate women in tech.

New website for Paragons Personnel

We’ve just heard the good news that we have been given the opportunity to redesign the Paragons Personnel website.  Paragons, based in Romsey, have been offering recruitment services to Hampshire since 1985.  We’re looking forward to working with Lyn Ebdon, Iain McCreath and the rest of the team to improve and enhance their web presence.

Welcome onboard!

WordPress for Hampshire Primary School

uphamscreen01Upham Primary School is our local village school which our daughter Tessa attends. We recently offered to develop a website for the school and naturally turned to WordPress for our content management system. The staff at the school are not very computer literate, so we thought it would be interesting to see how they would cope with the WordPress UI.

The site makes extensive use of custom category pages to run the “From the Classroom” and “School News” sections. We were particularly excited about the “From the Classroom” section since it presented an opportunity for the students in the school to contribute to the site and use it as a showcase for their work.

Feedback from staff and parents on the design and functionality of the site has been very positive so far. We have dropped in to the school a number of times to check on progress and we’ve been very pleased with how the school has just been able to get on with posting content and updates. It is a testament to the excellent work done on the WordPress project that the first experience a group of primary teachers have had with a CMS has been so positive.

A special word of thanks to Rob Schlüter and his excellent “Archives by Category” plugin for WordPress. Our jQuery gallery is delivered via Christophe Beyls’s Slimbox 2.