20 January 2008

Manchester Beer Festivals

Yesterday, I went into Manchester. There were several beer festivals, namely, the CAMRA’s National Winter Ales Festival and the one at the Smithfield. Red Rat was available, as well as beers from Bank Top. It is worth mentioning that Smithfield festival was admission free.

My experiences at the Winter Ales festival were rather mixed. There were a few people worth talking, but there were too many students at the event. They were sprawled all over the floor in the hall downstairs. One young Cockney chap even attempted to steal my glass.

Students paid less for admission than I did myself. Price discrimination is frankly unjustified. In fact, considering the price of the beers, even an admission fee was unjustified. The stewards were particularly unhelpful too.

To hark back, most beers appeared overpriced, particularly the foreign ales, despite that there were no fruit beers on draught. I find £3.20 per pint to be rather excessive. It is a shame that CAMRA do not endorse a fair pricing policy. However, Otley brewery had their O8 available; needless to say that it is an 8% percent beer. O8 and good conversation made the Winter Ales festival a worthwhile visit.

17 January 2008

User Specific Accounts

In April, we will add user-specific accounts but retain the ability for anonymous users to comment on public houses. With the new user accounts, users shall be able to personalise their accounts, i.e., re-skin or re-theme pages. We are especially conscious that different users prefer a different feel to a website. We recognise that preferences are important to our users. Users will be able to change the feel of this website for themselves while browsing.

11 January 2008

Interview with CAMRA Spokesman

The first article of 2008 is an exclusive interview with John Clarke from CAMRA Stockport and South Manchester branch. He addresses what CAMRA means by support for public houses as well as other topics.

4 January 2008

Pub Tags

Soon we will add the ability to tag a pub house, with tags, such as: rock, student, real ale, etc.

Affiliate Programme

In March 2008, we launch our Affiliate Programme - We will include more details on this topic within the month.

Proximity Search

With geo-coordinates for each postcode stored in our database, it was easy to add a "nearby" proximity search feature. This feature is available from each public house page. Here is a simple example: Howard Arms.

Geograph.org.uk API

We have applied for the Geograph.org.uk API. It would allow our developers to embed photos direct into MyPubGuide. A filter can be applied to only show pictures that are relevent to each pub or show the area.

Area Statistics for Public Houses

It is always beneficial to be safe when entering an area about which you know little. I have not ventured across an online pub guide website which considers whether a public house is in a good or bad area. This information is available, if one knows from where to obtain it. Over the next week or two, this information will be included per public house page on approximately 90% of the pubs registered with MyPubGuide. MousePrice.com could provide house prices in the postcoded area. However, we deem this to be excessive.

Weatherbonk.com

Having examined the Google API, MultiMap, and the forthcoming OpenSpaces, I noticed that they provide the means to directly display a map for each public house. However, googlemapsmania were instrumental to inform users that of mashups. Mashups available through organisations, such as, weatherbonk offer maps with more features. We opted for these. Now, a map-weather mashup is available on each pub page.

List of Distilleries

Happy New Year - It has been noticed that many pub guides online do not include as much as a list of distilleries or producers of liquors. It is out intention here to include such searchable website links and the like within MyPubGuide. Please feel free to check this site again at the end of the month for the inclusion of this feature.