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For 2021 - online Python 3 training - see ((here)).

Our plans were to retire in summer 2020 and see the world, but Coronavirus has lead us into a lot of lockdown programming in Python 3 and PHP 7.
We can now offer tailored online training - small groups, real tutors - works really well for groups of 4 to 14 delegates. Anywhere in the world; course language English.

Please ask about private 'maintenance' training for Python 2, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, etc.
Effective web campaign?

"but how effective have you been ..." asks a post on the "Save the Train" website for which I'm the webmaster. The site is dedicated to the Swindon to Westbury, Salisbury and Southampton train service that's under threat, in spite of dramatic traffic growth and much more potential.

Frankly, the question stung. And I felt a repost of "and where have YOU been, what have YOU done" coming on to my newcomer poster. But a minute or two to calm, and the question's one that we should be asking ourselves ... and it could be for all I know that my newbie poster has only just moved to the line's catchment area from somewhere far away.

When the "Save the Train" website was set up, the Swindon to Southampton service withdrawal was a line item on page 32 of an SRA report. The consultation period had already passed with none of us train users even knowing it was going on, and just 7 submissions had been made in its favour. A "did you know this is happening?" letter in the paper alerted us.

The objectives of the site were to get the case for the current service, or a forward-looking modification of it, very seriously considered based on substantive evidence, rather than having it just swept quietly under the carpet but some Whitehall Mandarin. At that stage, I did not know the economic case and I wasn't going to commit to recommending any particular decision.

What has been achieved, then?

Derek Twigg (Minister at DfT) is still trying to sweep it under the carpet. His 20th June letter to me refers back to a snapshot survey taken around Easter 2005 on which the original decision was based, and he makes no reference what so ever to any later reviews. And he makes it look very personal - " I was sorry to hear that the re-timed services will be less convenient to him. I hope, though, he will understand that it is not always possible to satisfy all passengers with the train services they would like". He chooses to ignore traffic figures of 109,000 journeys per year, and pictures of packed trains to be cancelled from December that give lie to his argument.

BUT ... Derek Twigg and his DfT official, and their chosen service operators (the First group) HAVE had to listen to the case. The BBC's radio 4 interviewed Mr Twigg and asked him about the service (and he chose to talk about investment on the West Coast main line to 'answer' the questions). All 4 MPs with stations on the threatened section spoke in Westminster against plans and again, Mr Twigg had to listen and chose to talk about other issues instead in his reply. And I understand that they're very much aware of the continuing pressure, and disgusted at their decisions, through West and North Wiltshire.

As I write, it very much looks like the official policy remains "sweep it under the carpet", as it has been for the past year. My own view has changed over the year, though. As I've learnt so much about running trains, hire costs, timetabling, planning, capital cost, and politics, and more politics, I've moved from "don't know" about the future of the service to a conclusion that the current service of 5 trains a day is the MINIMUM acceptable in any reasoned argument, and that 8 trains a day is the optimum ... and that optimum is in a harsh economic environment. Take a "throw money in" attitude, and an hourly service is justified.

I'm pleased that we've made the case to this level. I'm delighted with all the support it's pulled in. Sure, I'm disappointed that I've not yet been able to post any sort of positive decisions based on hard facts.

Some wonderful side effects (and these also was back into the mainstream). The visit by the shadow transport secretary for transport augers very well for a change of policy, and services such as that through Melksham getting appropriate consideration under a Tory government, for example.

I choose my battles carefully, and this is one that I've chosen to be a part of with care - yet realising that chances of success were slim. Getting the government to change its mind was never going to be easy.

Could we have done more? Yes, if those of us who are involved didn't have other lives and could have been giving all our waking hours to the campaign. Yes, if we were good at putting ourselves forward - approaching officials as they walk up to their offices, raising awkward questions at council meetings, making "cold" phone calls. But everyone has their own skill and their own comfort level. And I do have to ask my original questioner "and how effective have YOU been, mate".
(written 2006-07-12, updated 2010-10-13)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
G902 - Well House Consultants - Web site techniques, utility and visibility
  [23] Skills and responsibilities - (2004-08-22)
  [32] Web design platoon - (2004-08-29)
  [98] No more 'Error 404' pages. Something better. - (2004-10-24)
  [109] URLs - a service and not a hurdle - (2004-11-04)
  [117] A case of case - (2004-11-14)
  [142] Colour for access - (2004-12-06)
  [165] Implementing an effective site search engine - (2005-01-01)
  [173] Data Mining - (2005-01-09)
  [179] The hunt for unique words - (2005-01-16)
  [182] Your personal Google ranking - (2005-01-19)
  [197] Allow for peak traffic on your web site - (2005-02-01)
  [202] Searching for numbers - (2005-02-04)
  [222] Who are all these visitors? - (2005-02-20)
  [259] Responding to spam - (2005-03-27)
  [261] Putting a form online - (2005-03-29)
  [268] Information request forms, cleaning up spam - (2005-04-05)
  [274] Our most popular resources - (2005-04-10)
  [276] An apology to Mr Boneparte - (2005-04-11)
  [278] Cover all the options - (2005-04-13)
  [284] The Iconish language - (2005-04-19)
  [288] Colour blindness for web developers - (2005-04-22)
  [311] Growth pains - (2005-05-14)
  [314] What language is this written in? - (2005-05-17)
  [320] Ordnance Survey - using a 'Get a map' - (2005-05-22)
  [322] More maps - (2005-05-23)
  [347] Frightening and from-friend viruses and spams - (2005-06-14)
  [348] Graveyard pages - (2005-06-15)
  [369] CMS - the minefield of Choices - (2005-07-05)
  [376] What brings people to my web site? - (2005-07-13)
  [414] Form Madness - (2005-08-14)
  [492] New Navigation Aid - Launch of My Wellho - (2005-11-11)
  [510] Dynamic Web presence - next generation web site - (2005-11-29)
  [528] Getting favicon to work - avoiding common pitfalls - (2005-12-14)
  [533] Bigger Box Campaign - (2005-12-18)
  [649] Denial of Service ''attack'' - (2006-03-17)
  [658] Keeping the visitors happy and browsing - (2006-03-26)
  [681] Mirroring a dynamic site - (2006-04-12)
  [718] Protecting images from theft - (2006-05-12)
  [732] Where is a web site visitor browsing from - (2006-05-24)
  [757] Horse and Python training - (2006-06-12)
  [767] Finding the language preference of a web site visitor - (2006-06-18)
  [893] Visibility - (2006-10-14)
  [916] Driving customers away - (2006-11-07)
  [976] Santa at the station - (2006-12-09)
  [994] Training on Cascading Style Sheets - (2006-12-17)
  [1015] Search engine placement - long term strategy and success - (2006-12-30)
  [1029] Our search engine placement is dropping. - (2007-01-11)
  [1055] Above the fold - (2007-01-28)
  [1104] Drawing dynamic graphs in PHP - (2007-03-09)
  [1177] Sorting out for a site map - (2007-05-05)
  [1184] Finding resources - some pointers - (2007-05-13)
  [1186] Two new pages / sites - (2007-05-14)
  [1198] From Web to Web 2 - (2007-05-21)
  [1207] Simple but effective use of mod_rewrite (Apache httpd) - (2007-05-27)
  [1212] What brought YOU to our web site? - (2007-06-01)
  [1237] What proportion of our web traffic is robots? - (2007-06-19)
  [1297] Stuffing content into a web page - easy maintainance - (2007-08-09)
  [1437] Above the fold with First Great Western - (2007-11-19)
  [1494] A time to update pictures - (2008-01-03)
  [1505] Script to present commonly used images - PHP - (2008-01-13)
  [1506] Ongoing Image Copyright Issues, PHP and MySQL solutions - (2008-01-14)
  [1513] Perl, PHP or Python? No - Perl AND PHP AND Python! - (2008-01-20)
  [1534] Where in the world / country is my visitor from? - (2008-02-07)
  [1541] Colour, Composition or Content - (2008-02-16)
  [1554] Online hotel reservations - Melksham, Wiltshire (near Bath) - (2008-02-24)
  [1610] PHP course dot co, dot uk - (2008-04-13)
  [1630] To provide external links, or not? - (2008-05-04)
  [1634] Kiss and Book - (2008-05-07)
  [1653] How do Google Ads work? - (2008-05-25)
  [1711] Rapid growth leads to server move - (2008-07-17)
  [1747] Who is watching you? - (2008-08-10)
  [1756] Ever had One of THOSE mornings? - (2008-08-16)
  [1793] Which country does a search engine think you are located in? - (2008-09-11)
  [1797] I have been working hard but I do not expect you noticed - (2008-09-14)
  [1833] Web Bloopers - good form design - avoiding pitfalls - (2008-10-11)
  [1856] A few of my favourite things - (2008-10-26)
  [1888] Find the link - (2008-11-16)
  [1955] How to avoid duplicating web page maintainance - (2008-12-20)
  [1961] Making our things easier to find - (2008-12-26)
  [1970] Plagarism - who is copying my pages? - (2009-01-02)
  [1982] Cooking bodies and URLs - (2009-01-08)
  [2056] Web Site Loading - experiences and some solutions shared - (2009-02-26)
  [2065] Static mirroring through HTTrack, wget and others - (2009-03-03)
  [2225] How important is a front page ranking on a search engine? - (2009-06-09)
  [2332] Formation, des langages Open Source - (2009-08-09)
  [2333] Formaci[83][c2]ón, de los lenguajes de c[83][c2]ódigo abierto - (2009-08-09)
  [2334] Formazione, Open Source computer lingue - (2009-08-09)
  [2335] Ausbildung, die Open-Source-Sprachen - (2009-08-09)
  [2336] Forma[83][c2]ç[83][c2]ão, Open Source computador l[83][c2]ínguas - (2009-08-09)
  [2337] Opleiding, Open Source computertalen - (2009-08-09)
  [2338] Uddannelse, Open Source computer sprog - (2009-08-09)
  [2339] Oppl[83][c2]æring, Open Source datamaskinen spr[83][c2]åk - (2009-08-09)
  [2340] ldning, Open Source dator spr[83][c2]åk - (2009-08-09)
  [2341] Koulutus, Open Source tietokone kielill[83][c2]ä - (2009-08-09)
  [2389] Writing with our customers words - (2009-09-01)
  [2410] Removal of technical resources from this site - (2009-09-19)
  [2519] Status Page / breaks of service in early December - (2009-11-30)
  [2532] Analysing Google arrivals by country of origin - (2009-12-10)
  [2552] Web site traffic - real users, or just noise? - (2009-12-26)
  [2569] How to run a successful online poll / petition / survey / consultation - (2010-01-10)
  [2668] Is it worth it? - (2010-03-09)
  [2981] How to set up short and meaningfull alternative URLs - (2010-10-02)
  [3022] Retaining web site visitors - reducing the one page wonders - (2010-10-31)
  [3087] Making the most of critical emails - reading behind the scene - (2010-12-16)
  [3149] Looking back at www.wellho.net - (2011-01-28)
  [3197] Finding and diverting image requests from rogue domains - (2011-03-08)
  [3367] Google +1 - what is it? - (2011-07-22)
  [3426] Automed web site testing scripted in Ruby using watir-webdriver - (2011-09-09)
  [3491] Who is knocking at your web site door? Are you well set up to deal with allcomers? - (2011-10-21)
  [3532] Sharing the user experience - designing a form with the customer in mind - (2011-11-29)
  [3554] Learning more about our web site - and learning how to learn about yours - (2011-12-17)
  [3563] How big is a web page these days? Does the size of your pages matter? - (2011-12-26)
  [3589] Promoting a single one of your domains on the search engines - (2012-01-22)
  [3623] Some TestWise examples - helping use Ruby code to check your web site operation - (2012-02-24)
  [3734] QR codes with marketing logos embedded - (2012-05-16)
  [3744] Short Web Addresses for Melksham - (2012-05-30)
  [3745] Legal change - You need to obtain user consent if you use cookies on your website - (2012-06-01)
  [3776] Some traps it's so easy to fall into in designing your web site - (2012-06-23)
  [3896] An email marathon - (2012-10-15)
  [3974] TV show appearance - how does it effect your web site? - (2013-01-13)
  [4001] Helping search engines with appropriate 400 error codes - (2013-02-11)
  [4076] Web site - fully back! - (2013-04-29)
  [4115] More or less back - what happened to our server the other day - (2013-06-14)
  [4136] How do I post automatically from a PHP script to my Twitter account? - (2013-07-10)
  [4239] Facebook marketing - early experiences - (2014-01-19)
  [4376] Well House Consultants, Well House Manor, First Great Western Coffee shop, TransWilts / 2014 web site reports - (2015-01-01)
  [4401] Selecting RECENT and POPULAR news and trends for your web site users - (2015-01-19)
  [4474] Effect on external factors on traffic to our web sites - an update - (2015-04-26)
  [4492] Almost so wrong, but perhaps it's right for some? - (2015-05-11)


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The case for exceptions
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Simple polymorphism example - C++
Some other Articles
The Courts, Holt
Not shouting
undefined reference to typeinfo - C++ error message
Simple polymorphism example - C++
Effective web campaign?
The case for exceptions
References and Pointers in C++
Writing up new C / C++ notes.
Busy day in Melksham
Remember a site's non-technical issues too
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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