Can the Cull and Save our Badgers!

Badger Cull 2017

This year, a further 33,500 badgers are to be killed in the UK despite assessments from an Independent Expert Panel (IEP) that the culls are “ineffective and inhumane”. The British Government has spent a total of £50 million pounds of public money on the culls to date, and they are set to continue throughout Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Somerset, Devon & Cornwall.

The following infographic has been taken from the Badger Trust website:

 

Are you appalled by this? If so, you can call Claire Perry MP on 01380 729358, or Wiltshire Council on 0300 456 0100, and tell them that you disagree.

You can also show your support for the campaign on social media, using the hashtag #canthecull and find out more about the cull at www.badger.org.uk

The oldest exercise is today’s modern medicine

Walking is the best medicine

There’s been lots of worrying stuff in the news this week about more and more of us doing less and less exercise. Well, one of the things you can easily do to get up and away from the glare of that computer screen is to step outside and go for a walk.

Apart from making you feel better and get fitter, a brisk 30 minute daily walk can help you to avoid heart disease, diabetes and depression.

Our lovely NHS have put together a guide on how to happily stick one foot in front of the other, so take a look, do your laces up nice and tight… and go for it! Enjoy! : )

Plantlife’s Road Verge Campaign – Summer 2017 Update

Plantlife's Road Verge Campaign 2016

Since 2012, Plantlife have been campaigning for local councils to adopt their guidelines for better management of road verges to help protect and preserve the wild flowers and wildlife that flourish alongside thousands of miles of roads all over the UK.

This summer, they renewed their campaign efforts with further promotion online and through various media outlets. They have since made a significant breakthrough with the highways agencies who control motorways and trunk roads in England and Wales. As Plantlife state in their recent newsletter:

“After 2 years of negotiation and persuasion, they have confirmed their backing for new and improved wildlife-friendly guidelines. So our Plantlife experts will start working with them to establish guidelines to incorporate into their management arrangements next year.

This is tremendous progress and it could not have been achieved without your backing. But there is still lots to do.

We’re contacting the Chief Executives of local councils, who manage most of our road network, to get their support for wildlife-friendly verges.

Some councils are totally behind our campaign; many others are making the right noises, but say there are too many obstacles to doing things differently. 

The new national guidelines will help them to get past these obstacles and do their bit for wildlife.”

This year, their petition has received an additional 5,000 signatures, bringing the grand total above 23,500!

To support the campaign, please sign the petition on Plantlife’s website. You can also donate to the campaign via their online shop.

Chester Heritage Pokémon GO Festival

Chester Heritage Pokemon GO Festival

Hot off the heels of our holiday in Tenerife, the blister-inducing exploration and pokémon hunting didn’t stop there. Last weekend, we travelled up north to the beautiful city of Chester for the Big Heritage Pokémon GO festival…

As well as a great opportunity to meet lots of friendly like-minded players and catch hundreds of pokémon, the festival organisers (a charity called Big Heritage) created a map of the city and a quiz trail card to encourage the attendees to learn about the fascinating history of Chester and all its incredible landmarks surrounded by the magnificent city walls.

It was great to see so many families and kids exploring the city and getting suitably excited about the real-world challenges set out for the weekend. Yes, that’s right, despite what some may assume, we didn’t spend the whole weekend glued to pokémon on our phones!

Chester Heritage Pokemon GO Festival

The festival coincided with the one year anniversary celebration of the release of Pokémon GO and on the Sunday, two brand new legendary pokémon (Lugia and Articuno) appeared for the very first time. We’re pleased to report that, after many failed attempts, we eventually managed to capture both of them before making the long journey back to Swindon on Sunday evening.

To find out more about the fantastic work that the Big Heritage charity do in Chester, please visit their website and follow them on Facebook.

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Trekking through Tenerife

Tenerife

Hola! Julian (senior developer at Lumous) here, and as a refreshing change to most of my geeky/techie posts that typically fill our blog, I’ve just returned from a fantastic 2 week holiday in Tenerife and thought it would be fitting to pay tribute to it with a few holiday snaps.

If you follow our Instagram account, you will already know about our trip to the stunning Loro Parque, our medieval banquet, classic car dining, various visitors from the animal kingdom, our extensive Pokemon hunting and our tour of pokestops around the Adeje area of Tenerife.

Now that I’m back and suitably refreshed, I’ve got a bulging inbox to attend to, so I better not spend any more time writing this blog post! Until next time… adios amigos!

Lumous on Instagram

Summer wanderings

Summer Wanderings

After working on Plantlife’s Great British Wildflower Hunt, various projects for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, and getting ready for an exciting upcoming project for Butterfly Conservation, we’ve been inspired to get out a-staggering-and-wandering in the British Countryside ourselves.

So… with camera in hand and the warmth of the day still smouldering well into the evening, Steve decided to get his extremely frayed walking sandals on and go off stomping around Roundway Hill and Oliver’s Castle Hillfort near Devizes. In the space of an hour or so he’d found an amazing hazel and beech wood, a scarlet tiger moth and a field full of poppies (for anyone reading this with an interest in history or, indeed, just a liking for blokes dressed in curly wigs, floppy hats, frilly shirts and funny shaped helmets, the poppy field looks towards the trees at Oliver’s Castle, and it’s across this field that the Royalist Cavalry rode to defeat the Parliamentarian Army who’d been holding siege to Devizes during the English Civil War. Yep, it’s true!). We’ve also slipped in a pic of some lovely dandelion ‘clocks’ taken a few weeks earlier simply because, like rabbits, we really like dandelions. Well, why not, we thought : )

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Plantlife’s Great British Wildflower Hunt

Plantlife's Great British Wildflower Hunt

Last week, we launched one of our favourite projects to date, The Great British Wildflower Hunt from Plantlife – an interactive guide aimed at families and young people to help them learn more about the fantastic wildflowers you can find around your own town and the nearby countryside.

In just eight weeks from start to finish, we spared sleep, fuelled ourselves with gallons of tea, and lovingly designed and built the website using the ever increasingly powerful and popular WordPress CMS. Features include:

  • Automatic HTML5 location detection and integration with Google Maps
  • Colour filters on species charts to narrow down identification of spotted wildflowers
  • Calculation of score based on rarity of species found and ability to share the score achieved with friends on Facebook and Twitter
  • Plot and display of submitted results on Google Maps including details of score achieved and species found at that location

The new website launched on the 8th June 2017 and received plenty of interest from national press, including Springwatch, BBC Breakfast news, BBC Radio 4, the Daily Mail newspaper and Countryfile!

The Great British Wildflower Hunt on the BBC

 

If you haven’t already, why not get outside and give it a go? Take the whole family and enjoy the sunshine! Visit The Great British Wildflower Hunt to find out more or take a look at the beautiful wildflowers that have already been shared on Instagram, since we launched the site.

Getting started with Instagram – A beginner’s guide

Beginner's guide to Instagram

Although it’s possibly not the most ideal social media channel for all businesses, if you produce or sell something that photographs well, create interesting imagery or you frequently attend events that would be of interest to your followers, then it could turn out to be a good fit for your business…

As a major part of what we do here at Lumous is graphic/visual/web design, we decided to setup our own Instagram profile last week. Unlike most other social media channels, you can’t share links or articles with your followers on Instagram, so it requires a slightly different approach and encourages you to be more creative with your status updates.

Here’s our top tips for those that are completely new to Instagram and looking to get started:

Use the mobile app

Install the app on your phone/tablet and use your Facebook account to login – this allows you to automatically follow all of your Facebook friends and those from your phone’s contacts that are already using Instagram.

Already have a Facebook page?

If your business already has a Facebook page, there’s also an option to link your Instagram account to the page – this will import essential information about your business that you’ve already given to Facebook; a nice little time saver! As a minimum, make sure you include a short bio so people know what your business is about and also add your phone number, e-mail and website address so they are able to get in touch.

Link to your Twitter account

You can also link your Instagram profile to your Twitter account too so that whenever you post a new image, you have the option to automatically post the same content to your Twitter and/or Facebook account – another useful time saver.

Use hashtags

Try to include relevant hashtags whenever you post an update. Think of them as keywords that people might use when searching for images or topics that your post relates to. For example, if we were to post a screenshot of a new clothing website we’ve just launched we might include the hashtag #webdesign to help promote our company, but also we could include the hashtag #fashion to help promote our client’s business.

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New Improved Web Hosting Platform for Lumous Clients

New Improved Web Hosting for Lumous Clients

Over the last three months, we have steadily rolled out new improved web hosting for all our clients at no additional cost to ensure that all of our websites benefit from the improved performance and reliability of 20i’s new, state-of-the-art cloud hosting platform.

Previously, our web hosting was provided by Heart Internet, but last year, their original co-founders, Jonathan and Tim Brealey, moved on to form a new web hosting company, 20i.com

The new offering from 20i.com boasts a number of improvements over the standard hosting available through Heart Internet, including:

  • Top of the range servers with solid-state drives (SSD) for blazing fast speeds and exceptional reliability.
  • Autoscaling cloud hosting platform that dynamically scales resources on demand to ensure websites stay online and fast, even during the busiest times.
  • Load balanced, fully redundant and secure UK data centre with 24x7x365 onsite technicians, biometric security, CCTV & firewalls, with redundant power supplies, UPS & generators.
  • Exceptionally responsive support staff and a live chat system so we can get instant support and resolve issues for our clients even faster than before.
  • Integrated support for free SSL certificates (provided by Let’s Encrypt) so we don’t need to charge our clients an additional annual fee for secure HTTPS hosting.
  • IPv6 enabled web hosting with HTTP/2 support to be enabled later this year.

We hope our clients enjoy the benefits of this new improved web hosting platform. We’ve already noticed a marked improvement in performance and we’re extremely impressed with the support we’ve received so far. Please get in touch if you have any questions about these changes – we’d love to hear from you!

The girl rescuing donkeys from a lifetime of suffering

The girl rescuing donkeys from a life of suffering

With the news currently so grim with day on day reports of global suffering, injustice and hatred, you’d be quite justified in turning off completely and taking the decision to live in blissful ignorance…

However, if you dig a little deeper, there’s always a story somewhere about lovely and amazing people doing lovely and amazing things, and if that involves helping other people or animals, then so much the better. We think you’ll like this one very much indeed.

If you have stories about kindness, inspirational acts or anything else that shows us humans doing amazing things to benefit others, let us know and we’ll post it up : )