Certified Internet Webmaster?

World Wide Web

I’m just wondering if there are any people out there in Internet Land who have experience of the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) course and qualification, and whether it is worthwhile doing it?

I’m thinking about doing some formal training in web design to prepare me for “April And Everything After” (apologies to Counting Crows).

Also, do you have any experience of Skillstrain / Scheidegger Training, who offer the course? Good or bad.

The course as I’ve been presented it is packed with a lot of good stuff (HTML, CSS2, Server Technologies, Perl/CGI, Javascript) but seems to misses out a lot of what I’d see as essential modern tools: XHTML, PHP, MySQL. Sure I’d like the certification, but I’m not entirely convinced that I couldn’t sit the exams on my own, having taught myself. I mean, my XHTML and CSS2 are pretty good already. I’ve dabbled with PHP and MySQL for about a year, and I have IIS5.1 installed on this PC and Apache 1.x installed on another.

And at the end of the day will a potention employer look more favourably on someone with a CIW qualification? Hmm … decisions, decision. All comments welcomed.

Who eats whom?

Christmas baubles

My brother Eddie pointed this out to me on the telephone this evening. “Have you seen the latest Selkirk Weekend Advertiser?” he asked me. Mum sends us a copy of the local paper every week to keep us up to date with the goings on in Selkirk (a small, but not insignificant, town in the central Scottish Borders, on the A7 between Edinburgh and Carlisle). “It’s the tips on what to do with your pets at Christmas,” he went on. “It’s above some adverts for vets in the middle of the paper.”

Sure enough, there it was on page 8, an article entitled “The twelve dangers of Christmas for your pets”. Which should be subtitled “How to fill four columns of copy in twelve easy bullet-points”. I won’t share with you all twelve points, but the first made us both laugh. It reads:

Christmas decorations — such as baubles and tinsel are new and exciting objects for pets, be aware that they may try to eat them.

Now, does that mean that the pets may try to eat the baubles and tinsel, or that the Christmas decorations may try to eat your pets?

Do visit the Selkirk Today website, however. Not only is it an example of the Internet Yesterday, you will be able to vote on this week’s poll question:

Will you do the bulk of your Christmas shopping in the Borders?

For which there are three possible answers:

  • Yes
  • No
  • I’m a Scrooge

I so want to redesign their website for them now.

Santa is far too scary for children …?!

Photograph of Santa Claus
The real™ Santa Claus, as spotted at stock.xchng.

The world is going mad! It’s official.

There is an article in today’s The Scotsman newspaper entitled “Santa is far too scary for children, says government”.

The highlight of any Christmas party for generations of children has been the moment when the lights dim, voices hush and the sound of sleigh bells signals the imminent arrival of Santa Claus.

But that magic moment has come under threat from government advisers who have told teachers that children should be protected from the “terrifying” appearance of Santa at school Christmas parties.

Pantomimes are also regarded as psychological “scene of crime” sites, with teachers told to seat nervous pupils near an exit.

“Where on earth do they get the evidence for this kind of nonsense?!” thought I. And then I remembered this post on my very own blog: Scared of Santa, which points to the Scared of Santa Gallery, from which this is an example:

But what about this advice in a box-out entitled “Green Christmas”:

Children should give “experiences” instead of Christmas presents and stop sending cards to cut waste, according to government advice.

I’m not even sure that I fully understand what it means to give “experiences”, how is a child supposed to comprehend it?! Do they mean like wedgies, dead-legs or ‘Chinese burns’? Maybe bullying? Or an invitation to see Santa.

I tell you, the world is going mad.

Cleanliness is next to…

Two buckets of water - one clean, one dirty
Before and after: two buckets of water, one clean and one dirty.

Our carpets at Cellardyke are now clean again, with many thanks to Eden Cleaning Specialists.

I left for Cellardyke at around 07:45 this morning and drove east, into the rising sun. What a beautiful, clear morning as I drove across the Forth Bridge and across Fife. I was praying most of the way over that the chap from Eden would be ten minutes late, as I was convinced that I’d never get there in time. But as soon as the lorry in front of me pulled over at Upper Largo (near to where the real Robinson Crusoe, Alexander Selkirk, came from) to allow me to overtake I drove like a man possessed — but within the speed limit! — and arrived at the house at 09:02, exactly ten minutes before Mark from Eden Cleaning Specialists.

When I telephoned to book them I was told that the stairs, hallway, two bedrooms and living room would take around three and a half to four hours to clean, at a cost of £165. Our petite house, however, took just over 90 minutes and cost only £61.69. An utter bargain!

But look at the colour of the water (photo above) in the white bucket on the right! That’s the water that came out of the machine. The yellow bucket on the left contains clean water.

Gareth: Is that the dirt from our carpets?

Mark from Eden Cleaning Specialists: I’d like to say that it’s mostly the silt from the bottom of my machine, but I cleaned it out first thing this morning. So, yeah, sorry…

Gareth: That’s fine! I’d much rather it was in your bucket than on our carpets!

When I left the house this afternoon the carpets were still a little damp, but they’ll dry. They are wonderfully clean now, Eden did an amazing job with them. We just need to work out how to patch the burn marks now.

It feels good that we’re getting back on track with the house. It felt like our house again today, I was quite reluctant to leave.