February 19, 2019
by Tim Prater

Mark this day with a White Stone

Cover / poster of "King and Country", "Longer than it takes to say Goodbye" and "CLD"

We were pleased to bring live a new website for Oxford Music Theatre recently at https://oxfordmusictheatre.co.uk

Based on WordPress and offering a number of free downloads and previews, the site offers a range of scores for choral editions of songs from shows by Jane Bramwell and Michael Brand.

January 31, 2019
by Tim Prater

SCA: Crazy Name, Potentially Significant Impact

Debit and Credit Cards

Strong Customer Authentication is coming. This is going to change the way a large number of credit and debit card transaction happen – especially online – during this year.

We’ll be working with all of our clients that take payments on ensuring their systems are compliant – which should be led by the payment processor in each case, and will, hopefully, require minimal changes on the part of the client, but we’ll watch and learn…

In the case of our clients using GoCardless (the DD based payment / donation processor) it is unlikely they will see any changes (as they are not card based payments). However, they’ve written a blog post explaining more about how they expect SCA changes to effect their – and other – payments in future.

January 9, 2019
by Tim Prater

A New Image for 2019

For almost 20 years, Lib Dem Image have been the official supplier of Liberal Democrat merchandise, campaign materials, clothing, gifts & books.

In 2005, we developed Lib Dem Image’s first online shop – previously they had sold only via phone and mail order and from stalls at Party conferences.

Although the shop was developed for a “tight” budget even then, it grew to become their main sales platform quite rapidly. However, although it has been clear for many years that the site needed some investment, LDI and the Party had not been in the position to invest in a significant refresh. So, until now, the 2005 site, with a few tweaks and a very limited investment in development had continued to trade and work securely and effectively, but looking, with the best will in the world… dated.

Wind forward to 2018, and Lib Dem Image and the Party agree a new long term agreement to extend LDI’s contract as official supplier. This gave all sides the confidence to look at and invest in updating their web site. Having worked with them for 13 years and with great experience of their service and needs, we were delighted they spoke to us about that redevelopment!

And launching at the start of 2019, we’re proud to introduce the new Lib Dem Image website. Based on WooCommerce and WordPress, the site is now fully mobile and tablet friendly, hosted on our own UK based secure WordPress hosting. Payments are being taken through Stripe, which offered good value to LDI and a full API and seamless integration into WooCommerce which we enjoyed!

Continue reading…

January 7, 2019
by Tim Prater

Liberal Democrat Fundraising: It’s A Draw

In September 2017, the then management of the Liberal Democrat Christmas Draw told us they were hanging up their tombola wheel, and that they were going to stop the draw after over 20 years.

That made us sad: the Lib Dem Christmas Draw was a nationally organised ticket based raffle run by a team of volunteers since 1995. In that time, it raised well over half a million pounds for local parties and central Lib Dem funds – and over 800 prizes were won by Party member and supporters, their families and friends.

However, in recent years there had been a fall in the number of Local Parties participating. Much of this was due to the amount of work involved for Local Parties (let alone the draw organisers) in ordering, distributing, collecting and sending back the tickets, stubs and money. Add to that the general fall in use of cheques (so fewer and fewer people actually found buying the tickets themselves convenient) and the draw looked to be on the way out.

But it remained a great idea, and a really strong fundraiser for the Party. So after discussion, we were delighted to be commissioned to develop and launch the new online Liberal Democrat Christmas Draw.

Continue reading…

January 3, 2019
by Tim Prater

Planning For The End Of The World

Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov. Painted in 1887. Viktor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov [Public domain]

An email arrives from our local (Folkestone and Hythe) District Council:

Dear local business

The district council has been asked by the Government to provide intelligence from our business community on the impact of a potential “No deal” Brexit.

The questions that Government is requesting information on are set out below. I would therefore welcome your responses to these and also to hear back from any business that have no concerns and are not undertaking any measures.

Any information provided could be relayed anonymously or your business mentioned specifically.

  1. How do you think the UK leaving the EU is going to impact your business/organisation? Will this be a positive or negative impact?
  2. What are your top five priorities regarding your business right now?
  3. Do you have any concerns regarding the UK leaving the EU in relation to your business operations? If so, what are these?
  4. Are you undertaking any activities to prepare your business for Brexit? If so, what are these? If not, please explain why?
  5. What are the upcoming issues/challenges your business is facing (i.e. looking to the short, medium and long term)?
  6. What are the barriers/ blockers to progress faced by your business/organisation right now?
  7. Where would you look for business advice regarding the UK leaving the EU?
  8. Through what avenues/ in what formats would you find advice regarding Brexit most useful? (e.g. tools, questionnaires, articles, videos, telephone hotline, face-to-face help etc.)

Government has asked for a response to these questions asap, so if you could get back to me by 5pm Monday 7th January that would be helpful. However, we anticipate that there will be a rolling programme for seeking this information, so if you cannot make this deadline, or want to consider matters further before responding, please send your response in due  course.

We will also be discussing this at the  Folkestone & Hythe Business Advisory Board which next meets 8-10am Thursday 28th February at the Burlington Hotel, Earls Avenue, Folkestone, so please let me know if you would like to attend.

The government’s official Brexit “no deal” advice to businesses can be found at the below link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/how-to-prepare-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-with-no-deal

Continue reading…

January 2, 2019
by Tim Prater

Happy New Year

After a great Christmas and New Year break, it’s always nice to be back in the office – Happy New Year!

Although we’ve been monitoring and checking email and voicemails throughout the Christmas period, we’re now back up to full speed.

You can call us on 0345 363 7163 from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, or email info@praterraines.co.uk to get in touch. Alternatively, if you live near our Sandgate HQ then you can drop in there to have a chat – always happy to see you.

Also: is this the time to finally get your company website sorted? We’ve got an offer to help you meet that New Year resolution – we’ll set you up new basic WordPress website for just £250 plus VAT * this January – HALF our usual price!

Continue reading…

HTTPS logo

Its been widely expected for some time, but it has now been confirmed: as of the point of Brexit, unless there is a new agreement, UK companies and residents will no longer be able to register .eu domain names. Alternatively, if you already hold a .eu address at that time, you will not be able to renew them.

As it says at in the EURid press release:

“Yesterday afternoon, EURid, the registry manager of the .eu TLD, received the link to the European Commission’s communication concerning Brexit and the .eu TLD. The communication states that, based on the United Kingdom’s intent to withdraw from the European Union, undertakings and organisations that are established in the United Kingdom but not in the EU and natural persons who reside in the United Kingdom will no longer be eligible to register .eu domain names or, if they are .eu registrants, to renew .eu domain names registered before the withdrawal date.

“This could happen as of 30 March 2019 in the case no withdrawal agreement is reached between the UK and EU, or as of 1 January 2021 in the case that an agreement is reached.

“The full communication highlights the fact that this information is subject to any transitional arrangement that may be contained in a possible withdrawal agreement, which is an ongoing negotiation between the United Kingdom and European Commission.

Read the full communication.

“We will continue to keep you informed as we continue to receive critical information over the coming months. We will also work on measures concerning the implementation of both aforementioned scenarios and update our stakeholders accordingly.”

Prater Raines are domain registrars for .uk domains as an accredited Nominet Channel Partner and can also register and hold international domain names for our clients.

July 18, 2018
by Tim Prater

Why a Managed WordPress Solution Matters

We pride ourselves on our WordPress hosting, which watches for new updates and patches to WordPress for our clients and apply them automatically.

There’s a (really good) reason for doing so. If you don’t, your site is more exposed to exploits and other vulnerabilities putting your data (and that of your users) and site at risk. Hosting WordPress yourself can be a few quid cheaper a month. But you need a robust process in place to ensure you are updating your installation – at least daily.

A case in point: yesterday it was announced that there was a potential cross-site scripting vulnerability in older versions of a WordPress plugin used by a couple of our sites called Geo Mashup (which we use to do some interesting things with Google Maps such as for Sandgate Business) https://wpvulndb.com/vulnerabilities/9105

We received that notification at 9.31am this morning (BST) and our installation was updated by 10am. Clients have done nothing: they needed to do nothing – we just dealt with it.

There is no evidence yet that the vulnerability above was particularly dangerous, or even that it has been exploited anywhere in the world – yet. But keeping your WordPress install up to date – including all plugins – is critical to keeping your site as secure as possible long terms. If you are doing so yourself – well done. If not, could we interest you in our hosting?

We were delighted to be asked by our friends at Tendo Consulting to help with work on the End Our Pain campaign by moving their existing campaign website onto WordPress, generally update and put in place “Email Your MP” functionality we’ve developed to help people lobby their MP directly.

You may have seen a lot of coverage (in the Mail on Sunday, across the BBC and elsewhere) about Alfie Dingley and his need medical need for cannabis to control his epilepsy. That coverage – and Social Media support from a huge range of others including Patrick Stewart – saw THOUSANDS email their MP and thousands more sign the End Our Pain petition.

Continue reading…

Over the August Bank Holiday weekend Sandgate (where Prater Raines is based) holds an annual Sea and Food Festival. There’s free music, a public fireworks display from the beach on the Saturday night and a range of entertainment and food stalls on the Sunday.

Prater Raines are delighted to invite our customers down to visit Sandgate to join us for a few drinks, some food and fireworks on Saturday 25th August.

Nothing fancy: if the weather plays nicely, we’ll be on and around the beach: if not, in and around Sandgate & local pubs!

Continue reading…