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Cloud Alternatives: Going Beyond The Obvious Applications

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Are you in the clouds trying to keep up with all the new and improved cloud-based technologies? Whether you’re relying on a third-party managed-services company for some or all of your company technology, cloud computing’s future growth is inevitable. Companies worldwide are planning cloud-based migrations, or they’ve already migrated their IT functions to the cloud, since many of the issues holding them back are being resolved. The “old cloud” concerns are the next-generation “new cloud” innovations.

Tried and True Cloud Functions

Cloud technology over recent years has allowed businesses to upgrade their IT processes, components and services and gain new efficiencies in the process. Certain Internet services, such as Web-based email, are good examples of what the cloud can do, in that you can send and receive messages anytime, from any location, and you rely on a service provider to do so. To gain the same kinds of benefits, companies around the world have migrated to hosted service providers for the management and support of some or certain IT activities:

· Application hosting

· Cloud data backup and storage

· Customer relationship management (CRM)

· Database services

· Document collaboration and sharing

· Office software applications

· Servers

If your company is not yet using cloud computing for these aspects of the business, it’s time to get up to speed. Much like upgrading to new computers and software, if companies don’t get on board with technology as it advances, the next generation of advances will leave you behind.

Cloud Alternatives: Going Beyond The Obvious Applications

The New Cloud

With new cloud concepts being implemented and other cloud trends well on their way into the marketplace, companies will not want to miss an opportunity to gain a competitive edge. In this online mobile and social atmosphere where users have high expectations for their online experiences, and ecommerce companies are flooding the Internet, it will pay to be prepared. Some cloud trends for 2014 are already coming to fruition:

· You may have the ability to access personal data and information in non-mobile electronic devices such as smart TVs and Internet-equipped automobiles — not just cell phones and tablets.

· Cloud analytics will become more readily available, enhancing research and industry opportunities for broader efficiencies of every kind, including the use of cloud-based applications for data gathering and response.

· New cloud trends will allow companies to reach their clients in unprecedented ways, from online performances to media-based training and education sources.

· Speed and security improvements are changing how companies who use online data to identify and engage their customers.

Cloud computing is being embraced by more companies, but the issues of security and stability are still ongoing concerns for those who are already implementing cloud-based strategies. Now more than ever, the concerns are getting a lot of attention and with the right plans in place cloud databases and storage are likely to be safer than on-premise solutions. Online Cloud Storage computing is being embraced by more companies, but the issues of security and stability are still ongoing concerns for those who are already implementing cloud-based strategies.

Cloud Transformation

With the Internet, cloud technology and mobile and social architecture driving changes in ecommerce and business models across the world, exciting global opportunities exist for both cloud providers and enterprises leveraging cloud computing. The cloud transformation is changing the IT industry and businesses in many different industries are taking advantage of the efficiencies that it offers.

Debunking Cloud Concerns

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Cloud computing models offer businesses a cost-effective way to outsource IT applications and infrastructure services to a third-party service provider. It allows them to use applications and store data hosted on servers and databases that are owned, managed and supported by the service provider. A company simply pays for the cost of using the on-demand service and leaves the management, upgrades, maintenance and support tasks to the cloud vendor.

Over the past few years, a growing number of large, medium and small companies have moved to the cloud to reduce the complexity and costs of their on-site IT infrastructure. Technology consulting firm Gartner Inc. expects that a majority of firms will have their IT applications delivered as a cloud service over the next few years. According to the International Data Corporation, spending on cloud computing in 2014 will be over $100 billion.

Popular Misconceptions

Despite the tangible benefits of the cloud, several misconceptions have persisted in the industry over the viability of cloud computing. One of the biggest concerns involves data security and data availability. Cloud vendors typically use a shared infrastructure to host and deliver their services. Applications and data from multiple companies are often hosted on the same server, prompting some to raise questions about data leakage, improper access, data theft and loss of confidentiality. Many also worry about catastrophic service disruptions as the result of cloud hardware and network failures.

Debunking Cloud Concerns

Another popular misconception involves data residency. Many organizations in regulated industries such as financial services and healthcare have strict requirements about how their data is handled and where it’s stored. Large cloud vendors typically have highly distributed architectures and many of them use servers located around the world to host customer applications and data. As a result, companies that have data residency requirements have been reluctant to use cloud services for fear of transgressing regulations.

Perhaps the biggest misconception involves a loss of control. Many believe that outsourcing to the cloud results in an automatic loss of control over IT functions. Since enterprise data is hosted on servers owned and managed by a third party, companies often fear they have less control, or even no control over their critical data assets.

Vendor Investments

Although such concerns may have been valid a few years ago, they certainly are not true these days. Cloud vendors are acutely aware of how such issues can affect adoption decisions. Most cloud providers offer secure access control, user authentication, intrusion detection and encryption tools for protecting information in hosted cloud databases. Many have highly redundant architectures for handling server and network failures. Though vendors may use a shared infrastructure to host data, most have technologies and procedures in place to ensure proper data segregation and access control. Many vendors also offer contractual guarantees and service level agreements to ensure that data residency requirements are met. Plus, a plethora of hosting options is available for companies concerned about a loss of control.

Planning for the Cloud

As a small business owner, you should certainly be aware of all these issues, but you shouldn’t let them deter you from taking advantage of the cloud. The best way to move to the cloud is to do it in small steps. Cloud vendors allow you to outsource as little or as much of your IT operations as you want. Many companies start by migrating common applications such as e-mail and office productivity to the cloud.

Most large cloud vendors also offer a choice between a hosted and a fully managed model. With a hosted model, the vendor will let you use its infrastructure to run your applications, but you’re ultimately responsible for managing the application. With a cloud-managed IT service, the vendor assumes full responsibility for hosting and managing your IT applications and services. If security is a primary concern, vendors offer a dedicated hosting model under which your applications and data will be hosted on a server reserved exclusively for your use.

The key to a successful cloud deployment lies in knowing what questions to ask. Before you embark on a journey to the cloud, ask why you are doing it. Is it for the cost savings, for the flexibility or the reduction in complexity? Make sure you have a realistic idea of the return on investment. If you already have a large IT infrastructure in place, your real ROI may lie in the reduced complexity and not necessarily in reduced costs. Make sure you understand the operational and technical issues you’ll need to overcome for cloud computing to work in your environment. Most importantly, vet your vendor thoroughly. Before you hand over your corporate jewels to a cloud vendor, make sure the company has the technical and professional resources to handle your data in a safe and responsible manner.

Cloud computing is here to stay. The benefits are real and tangible for companies that take the time to understand cloud computing and how to take advantage of its innovations.

CMS Options: How To Choose The Right One For Your Business

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Selecting the right content management system (CMS) for your business requires a little introspection. You’ll need to consider how your business will be using this CMS, how visitors to your website will interact with your content and what you future growth plans include. Take a close look at your business to find the answers to these questions. Once you know what you need, you can begin looking for the right CMS to meet those needs. Here’s a guide to help you find the right CMS to match your business needs.

Content Management System

A content management system is the software that helps you organize and present information on the web. This can be a blog, ecommerce site, traditional website or something else. A good CMS helps you create a cohesive front-end to present your content to the world.

WordPress

The most popular CMS on the web, WordPress is used by more than 19 percent of all websites. Using plugins and themes, it’s possible to modify WordPress to do almost anything you can imagine. It can be a regular website or blog, but it can also become a social network, video blog, photography portfolio, ecommerce site, classified ad site, blog network and much more.

Drupal

Another community-supported open-source project, Drupal offers a very robust CMS. These sites are commonly operated by organizations and groups that want a front-end to share with the world and a back-end that will help with group organization. It’s great for complex sites with lots of users.

CMS Options: How To Choose The Right One For Your Business

Magento

One of the best ecommerce content management systems is Magento. It’s very easy to set up a site, add products and start selling online. While other systems can do ecommerce, they don’t do it as well as Magento.

Business needs

Begin by looking at your own business needs. Start with your current needs and think about how the company will grow in the next few years. Do you need a blog? Social network? Ecommerce solution? After carefully considering your current and future needs, you can take a look at the features of any CMS under consideration to see if it meets your requirements. Keep in mind that WordPress, Drupal, and Magento are only three of the more popular CMS options available. There are lots of other CMSs to choose from when finding the right one for your business needs. Determine how you’ll host the site. Running your own server and maintaining a CMS can take a lot of time and effort that could be spent elsewhere. You might benefit from a hosted Magento, WordPress or Drupal solution, allowing you to focus on your content and user experience rather than the underlying technology.

CMS Checklist

Here’s a list of common features people look for when selecting a CMS. Tick off the features you want and count how many times WordPress, Drupal or Magento shows up on your list. The one that shows up the most is probably the right choice for your needs.

· Photography portfolio – WordPress

· Video blog – WordPress

· Classified ads – Other

· Social network – Other

· Customer Relationship Management (CRM) integration – Drupal & Magento

Some common features of WordPress, Drupal, and Magento include:

· Blogging

· Easy to edit (WYSIWYG)

· Asset management

· Search engine optimization (SEO)

· Customization

· Budget-friendly open-source option

· Open-source community support

· Premium hosting and support options

· Multilingual design and support

· Roles and permissions

· Support for multiple websites

The right content management system for your business is the one matches your business needs. Three of the most popular options are WordPress, Drupal and Magento. However, these are only a small fraction of the options available to you. The process of finding the right CMS begins with careful consideration of your own business needs and ends with a comparison of the features included with a wide range of solutions.

The When and Why Of Cloud Database Migration

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Your business is filled with server racks hosting everything from your email to your website, so you may be looking into cloud strategies to cut down on costs and improve your servers’ performance. A cloud database migration allows you to shift all or part of your servers off-site into a distributed hardware configuration that prevents you from being held hostage to a single point of hardware failure. The practical, day-to-day administration of a cloud database doesn’t differ greatly from an on-site setup, so your network administrators won’t be dealing with extensive retraining or a large learning curve.

Why Migrate to the Cloud?

When you use public cloud providers for your databases, you receive direct and indirect cost savings. The direct cost savings come from only paying for the database resources you need, when you need it. It also cuts down on the amount of software licenses you need to purchase, as the cloud database provider has bulk pricing on this. The indirect costs come from outsourcing the responsibility of maintenance, a majority of monitoring and troubleshooting, so you don’t have to put network resources to these tasks. The scalability of the cloud database servers is especially good if you have varying needs throughout the year or if you’re a business in the middle of a rapid expansion.

The When and Why Of Cloud Database Migration

Risks of Migration

One of the primary risks of cloud database migration is losing data during the migration process. This risk is mitigated by locking down the database or taking it down entirely during the process, so new data is not written to the server while the migration process occurs. It’s also essential to deduplicate as much of the database as possible so you aren’t copying over redundant records. The smaller the database, the easier it is to get it transferred over. In addition, clearing out the log files and caches of the databases also helps to reduce the size. Before making the cloud databases live to the public or your business at large, test it out for problems.

Application Checking

When you transfer your databases, you need to make sure that all of your applications work in the cloud environment. If you’ve been running on older hardware, the applications may not work well or at all in the cloud environment. It’s possible that you may need to use a combination of older servers with cloud-based servers in order to avoid switching over applications along with databases or look into Software as a Service (SaaS) to fill in the gaps.

The types of databases that really benefit from a transfer to the cloud are those that are hardware intensive. Instead of purchasing servers every time you have a new influx of traffic or users, you can scale up the amount of cloud resources you’re using. This also helps to avoid downtime due to the configuration, giving you a high availability option that keeps things going strong for you.

What’s The Difference Between VPS and The Cloud?

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Private clouds, virtual private servers and other forms of hosting have become very important in the business world today. Those who are not in the know may think virtual private servers and private clouds are the same thing. While they are similar services, there are differences and the terms are not interchangeable. Understanding what each of these products actually is and the differences between them can help a company decide what would be the best hosting solution for them.

What's The Difference Between VPS and The Cloud?

Private Clouds

Private clouds are a scalable and secure type of server ideal for larger firms. Unlike a VPS, there is some set-up and maintenance required — since the server is generally located in a firm’s data center or other private location. As such, a private cloud is within a company’s personal firewall which makes it extremely secure. Choosing a private cloud is a big decision. However, since it does have future scalability options, it can serve a firm well for the long term.

There are cloud hosts that provide private cloud hosting. In that case, the company using the servers doesn’t physically maintain anything, the host does. The client’s servers are kept separate from other clients’ servers, often requiring different security credentials to access physically. This type of private cloud hosting is nearly as secure as in-house private cloud hosting, but it requires no direct investment in server hardware.

Virtual Private Servers

This type of server offers much flexibility in terms of hosting at a lower price point than a private cloud. One physical server is divided among several users. This gives virtual private server hosting the benefits of a private server, but does cuts down on maintenance, tech-support and up-front costs. While security is a concern, there is no overlap of data from one firm to another — even if the data is stored on the same server. The Green House Data website notes that a VPS operates very similar to a virtual server environment at a price that is much less expensive than other private options.

The Differences

An interesting article by Club Cloud Computing names four distinct differences between private clouds and virtual private servers. These differences include:

· Setup:

In general, clouds use many servers to divide storage and computing tasks. A VPS is one physical server that’s split among several virtual servers, but all of one client’s information is kept together — giving the user more flexibility with how the space is used.

· Location:

A VPS is hosted off-site at a third party provider. A private cloud is situated either in a data center that you own or in a host’s data enter; either way, the physical machines are separate from other companies’.

· Scalability:

Both solutions are scalable; however, there is a bit more effort involved with scaling a VPS. In this respect a private cloud may be easier, but as infrequently as upgrades may occur it shouldn’t be a major factor.

· Cost:

An in-house private cloud does have a higher upfront cost as a firm shoulders the cost of installation, set-up and maintenance. A VPS generally has a monthly or yearly fee. If cost is the main issue, VPS normally wins every time.

As you can see, there are distinct, if small, differences between a private cloud and a virtual private server. Both types of servers are useful and can help with the growth of a firm. A company should evaluate its needs to determine which of these will work best for both current needs and those that may occur in the future.

Photo Tuning Techniques For Professional Looking Portraits

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A portrait is essentially any representation of a facial expression or a simple face either in the field of photography, sculpture or painting. Portraits are made to display the mood and personality of the model or the person. In order to give the portrait more interactive feel, the subject looks directly at the painter or the photographer.

Photo Tuning Techniques For Professional Looking Portraits

Portrait Photography

The portrait photography is rapidly gaining popularity in the case of commercial industry. This is no surprise as people love having their portrait in the house or keeping a portrait that will remind them of a special event like a graduation or wedding. In the beginning the portraits were made by seating the subject against a plain background. Nowadays the photographic techniques allow various backgrounds outside the classical studio.

The Beginning Of Retouching Techniques

As the portrait photography began to emerge, together with it the portrait retouching industry has developed as a useful tool. Because photography can be considered art, it needs special attention to detail so that the personality and character of the subject are conveyed with extreme depth. Retouching is not as easy as it seems because this complex process needs to preserve all the details in the portrait and enhance them as well. With the help of computer technology, the specialists have created a number of tools totally useful. The Portrait+ program is an example of all the advantages that retouching can bring to an average looking photo.

Advantages Of Retouching

In the beginning of this process, you have to identify what elements you want to retain and to eliminate. This will show you the right way to actually bring the best out of the portrait. In this process the natural features of the person are enhanced and accentuated in order to give the best out of it. It seems to be clear that a waiter’s portrait will be different in approach from a baby’s one. During retouching distractions or blemishes are eliminated so that the skin will not have any scars or wrinkles.

The features like eye color or skin complexion are highlighted. The role of light is crucial in this case. The subject gets its own individuality by allowing even some flaws where art asks for it. Nevertheless the main goal is to give the portrait life and to make it look as realistic as possible.

It is important to make sure that you have all the tools that you need. Of course the initial photo needs to be of good quality and have enough elements of distinction. Together with this the retouching is merely the process of enhancing the portrait. The photographer needs to be careful to get a good picture out of the camera. Some realization flaws are totally hard to conceal even with the most advanced retouching. It is not that difficult to have professional looking photos and it is everyone’s duty to actually turn the average photography into art. This requires a lot of care and patience while paying attention to all the details of the photo.

Emma More writes for several websites and companies including Arcsoft. She writes on topics that relates to gadgets, social, and technology.

Different Types Of AV Cables

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AV cables are often referred to as audio and video cables and they are commonly used for a series of regular electronics items. However, finding yourself shopping for such cables might seem a little daunting. It is true that you may ask the salesman for advice and also some recommendations, but your education is more important. Therefore, learning about these cables before buying one can ensure that you make a smart decision. There are three major types to look for and each of them has specific features and uses.

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Composite Or RCA Cables

Composite cables are the most popular ones on the market. They are used to connect pretty much any electronic you can think of, such as television sets, VCR systems, DVD players or even consoles. They can be connected to TV sets for a better overall experience. Just like most other types, this model comes with some pins at both ends. They are colored for users to avoid making mistakes. Even some electronics have colored plugs for the same reason. Yellow is for video, while white and red represent the audio connections. In the end, RCA cables are very common and provide a decent quality, but they are far from the peak of this technology.

HDMI Cables

HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface and represents one of the most modern types of cables. The primary purpose of such standards is to ensure a perfect signal, without any worries or concerns. This is also the reason why HDMI cables are very qualitative. They can be used to connect almost any appliance you can think of, including satellite systems, receivers, Blu-ray systems, consoles or computers. Camcorders can also be connected with the same futuristic cable. All in all, the quality is easy to notice in the colors. They are sharp and very clear, while small details become extremely attractive. Brightness is also more obvious, not to mention about the quick refresh rates.

Coaxial Cables

Last, but not least, coaxial cables are by far the most common solutions for audio units. Although the model is used for AV connections, its primary purpose is to ensure a clean audio link, mostly because of the capability to ensure a healthy transmission of radio signals. Coaxial cables are also very resistant, while the build consists of multiple layers. Aside from the external cover and the core, the cable comes with a qualitative insulation, but also a protective shield. The layers may seem a little exaggerated, but they are excellent to ensure a good protection against the electromagnetic waves coming with the signal. Therefore, there are no major interferences.

In conclusion, AV cables do ask for a little homework before going out shopping. The more you know about them, the easier it is to find the right unit. Getting the right documentation from a seller is also appropriate if you know exactly what you need the respective cables for. However, there is just no better way to make a good decision than by researching such possibilities on your own.

Author Bio 

Michael Alvarez, has been working in the electronics and technology field for over 20 years. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise with others; while continuing to grow his knowledge.

Why You Should Develop With Joomla

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Why You Should Develop With JoomlaJoomla! is an award-winning content management system (CMS) with more than 35 million downloads, thousands of extensions and designs built on an open source platform. With advantages like that, it’s easy to see why the software is so popular.

A major advantage to using a CMS is the ease-of-use. There’s almost no technical skill required to build Web sites and powerful online applications. The software is incredibly user-friendly and mobile ready, and since it’s open source, makes a great solution for almost any business, from the largest corporate enterprise to the smallest personal web page.

Joomla can be used for almost any type of web site: corporate Web sites or portals, corporate intranets and extranets, online magazines, newspapers, and publications, e-commerce and online reservation systems, government applications, small business web sites, non-profit and organizational web sites, community-based portals, school and church web sites or personal or family homepages.

As Rackspace’s Joshua Hatfield says, “You can customize Joomla into anything that you need it to be. There are thousands of templates, components, plugins and modules that help you make your site unique. Whatever you need to do, you have the ability to do it.”

Who uses Joomla in the real world? Joomla is behind businesses of every size, shape and kind, from MTV Networks to IKEA, eBay, General Electric and Citibank to McDonald’s restaurants to Outdoor Photographer magazine.

Joomla is designed to be easy to install and configure, even for novice users. Many Web hosting and cloud services providers offer a single-click Joomla installation option, which can help get your site up and running in no time.

“Whether you run a Windows or Linux environment, you are able to deploy Joomla. Within a matter of minutes you can get your Joomla site up and running, ready to serve up your content to your users,” Hatfield said.

And since Joomla is so easy to use, it can significantly shorten the sales and delivery cycle for Web designers or developers whose clients need a site fast.

Joomla also offers a wide variety of specialized functionality, most of which are free under the GPL License. You can check out the list of available extensions here, in the Joomla Extensions Directory.

Since Joomla is based on PHP and MySQL, you can use it to build almost any kind of applications, from inventory control systems, data reporting tools, application bridges, e-commerce systems, reservations systems, powerful communication tools and more. And since the framework is open, anyone can use, share, and support the software. To find out more information on leveraging the Joomla framework, visit the Joomla Developer Network.

Joomla also has a proven history. It branched off from the Mambo project in 2007 and has been steadily growing and attracting its own devoted following ever since. “In that time it has evolved into a very advanced and stable CMS that is used in schools, corporate intranets and small businesses, among others,” Hatfield said. “If you need a website, Joomla will be there for you.

And if you’re worried about support, consider this: Joomla has a dedicated, passionate community of users and developers who are constantly working to improve the software, offer support, and add new and improved functionality. Should the free support not meet your business’s needs, there are paid support services available from third-party consultants, developers, and designers.

Joomla is the most popular open source CMS currently available as evidenced by a vibrant and growing community of friendly users and talented developers. Joomla’s roots go back years and, with over 200,000 community users and contributors, the future looks bright.

Sharon Florentine is a freelance writer who covers everything from holistic veterinary care to data center technology and occasionally blogs for cloud provider Rackspace Hosting.

Java Zero Day Exploits – Steps to Deal it with Zeal

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You might have read about the commotion going on about the Java Zero Day exploits that has been creating a huge panic among computer geeks. Though this may be a new for the world Oracle has known about the Java problem from the month of April, they were planning to reveal the truth to the world by October when the Java updates will be reduced as scheduled. The computerworld has estimated that this exploits have been added to the hacker’s blackhole kit. As we all know that the problem is considered as very serious by the computer world experts. They are constantly recommending the users to disable Java from their browsers. It is clear now that we need to protect our software from this dangerous issue.

Most of the antivirus software that we use today will be identifying only those specific viruses that has been added to the “blacklist” viruses. Since the issue will be rectified with the new latest updates, it has been found that the new updates will make your software safe. The security community is continuously denouncing the Oracle for the zero day vulnerability happening in Java. Experts are advising the people to disable Java as soon as possible. But the question arises what would be our plight if we disable Java for those important functionalities that we were depending so much for our everyday virtual activities. This situation reminds me of an extraordinary evoking ideas that was written about latest backlash by Antone Gonsalves.

In his visionary note he has written, “Java is used in 3 billion devices worldwide, says its steward, Oracle. The platform’s ubiquity makes it a favorite hacker target along with the fact that the platform often goes unpatched in people’s computers. Security company Rapid7 estimates that 65% of the installations today are unpatched. Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle said, “Many people don’t even know Java is installed on their computers and browsers, and that’s a huge problem. Oracle contributes to the problem by not working more closely with the security industry in building better defenses in Java.

Java Zero Day ExploitsThe company shares very little information with security experts between patches. “ You need to disable Java from your web browsers only if it is not terminating your accessibility to your specific business applications. In case the Java application is inevitable for your functioning then you can try to install a separate browser that is compatible with Java for conducting your business operations effectively. Rob Rachwald who is the director of security strategy at the Imperva said, “IT departments should really consider if users need to access Java for business critical applications, otherwise, they should get rid of it,”

The users can also try to configure your firewall by blocking the Java plug-in installed in your browser while accessing the internet. But this can be exempted if the destined site is put on a whitelist safety zone. If you have any new optional ideas aside from those Antone has suggested regarding the safety of your software that is effective even without the deadly Java script, then please share it with us to help millions across the world!

Choosing the Right Features for Your Laptop

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If you’re sputtering along with a decade-old laptop that looks more like a Stone Age calculator, you’re bound to get to daydreaming about buying an updated model. And for good reason: Laptops have come a long way even in the last few years. But if you’re clinging to an outdated model, this progress makes it all the more likely that you need to move on and invest in some better equipment.

Once you decide to take the leap, you’ll be thrilled with the options currently out on the market. Laptop prices have dropped considerably in recent years, making cutting-edge technology more accessible to the average consumer. There are a range of laptop types and features that make it easy to customize a model to get exactly what you want. If you’re not even sure what options are out there, here’s a quick-and-simple breakdown.

Type

Portable computers come in a variety of forms nowadays. In addition to larger, traditional laptops, many computer manufacturers have introduced Netbooks — smaller, lighter, more minimalist forms of computing. These laptops come at a lower cost but lack the high-functioning features that many computer users may desire.

Although they aren’t “laptops” in the strict definition, tablet computers are another type of lightweight, portable computer that are becoming more popular among consumers. However, these devices lack some of the functionality of regular laptops, so many consumers choose to use them as a supplement to their other computers.

You’ll also want to consider the exterior and style of your laptop. While choices like color may be strictly a matter of personal preference, some consumers prefer exteriors made from metal alloys over plastic or other materials because of the increased durability.

Hybrid drive

One of the big new innovations being seen on the laptop market is the introduction of hybrid drives. These drives employ a dual technology that improves upon hard drives of the past, delivering more storage and greater uptime and data recall speeds. It’s a must for any laptop user.

Video quality

HD video is readily available on the Internet via streaming, so most laptops made today are equipped with the necessary video capabilities. You will probably want a computer with an HDMI connection that can link up to other televisions or screens, as well as a computer screen with a high-definition LCD display.

Memory card reader

This feature doesn’t add much to the cost of a laptop, but it will make life much easier for you. With a built-in memory card reader, you can easily remove memory cards from digital cameras and other devices and plug them into your computer, making the transfer of photos and other files faster and easier.

Backlit keyboard

Ever work in dark or dim areas? LED backlighting on your keyboard improves the efficiently of the laptop while easing the strain on your eyes.

Audio features

Sound can vary greatly from one computer to the next. Make sure your laptop has premium audio capabilities before you make the purchase. But regardless of the system’s specs, it’s worth your time to test out the audio yourself.

Touch pad

Toting around a mouse is a hassle. If your laptop has a built-in touchpad, you can enjoy all the functioning of a mouse without having to carry around an extra accessory. Plus, most touch pads nowadays are equipped with multi-touch functioning, which expands their capabilities beyond what a mouse can provide.

Webcam

Video chats and conferencing are becoming a staple form of communication in the digital age. Most laptops have built-in webcams, but the higher the quality, the better the picture you’ll enjoy.

In the end, you may have to choose some features over others in order to get the laptop you want at a price you can afford. Take time to review the various features and establish a list of priorities based on your lifestyle and how you use your computer. And then, with your preferences chosen, you can begin the hunt for a brand-new laptop.

 

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How to Keep Your Website Secured

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It goes without saying that website security testing is an important undertaking that can only be assumed at the owner’s peril. Your site’s security is just as important as its functionality and general appearance. This is especially true if your website stores your personal data, credit card details and your customers’ mailing lists. Being a victim of website vandalism can deface your website and instill long term security breach which can be frustrating and damaging. Thankfully, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure that your website is secured.

Keep your scripts updated

Even though open source applications are great for building blogs, it is equally important to keep them updated frequently. This is because using older versions of such applications increase the vulnerability of your site to hackers. To stay out of the woods, use the latest applications of any versions that you use on your website.

Delete installations that you do not use

If you installed an application in the hope that your online store would use it at some point but haven’t made good use of it, then it is healthy that you delete it. Why? This is because you probably do not visit your unused blog very often, meaning that you are less likely to know whether it has been hacked or not.

Use firewalls to shield your network

This is arguably the best step you can take to caution yourself from website hackers. Firewall prevents packets of bad information from raiding your servers, thereby keeping your website safe. If you do not know how to configure firewall, a hosting company may step in to provide that additional security measure against hackers.

Use strong passwords

As a general rule, webmasters are highly discouraged from using generic passwords like dictionary names, personal data or names as their passwords. This only increases the vulnerability of your website to hackers since such passwords are easy to guess. On the same breath, do not use adjacent words like qwerty or consecutive digits.

Limit your server access

As a webmaster, you should be very selective on who should have access to your servers. Even then, it is still a wise idea to limit the level of information that they can access. Most importantly, use unique passwords to all users and delete any inactive user within the shortest time possible.

Keep a backup of your website

Another bold step to keeping your website out of bounds for hackers is to back it up. If a hacker manages to destroy your website, you will still have a backup in a different and secure computer to keep your online business running as you plot on your next action plan.

Protect your computer from malware

Website hackers have upped their game, which calls for stringent security measures from webmasters. In an attempt to gain access to your website, a determined hacker may use special virus and sneak it to your computer to record your password. In order to stay safe and get a piece of mind, it is highly advisable to run a spyware program to ensure that your computer and website in general is not affected. This should be done at least once a week.

Website security testing is essential for websites with high traffic, whether they are personal or business. Small and large companies pay hefty sums for security services, but even without a budget you can keep your website security up to date.

Why the Apple iPad should be your first choice.

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Many people feel indecisive when choosing the right gadget for them, out of so many options available. There are so many types of devices one can use, aimed at such different user profiles! Well, I am sure you have heard about Apple iPad; but why should it be your priority? Why should you choose this one out of all the other gadgets in the market? This article will try to answer those questions.

Today, Apple iPad has become the top most tablet in the market. Well, Apple usually remains on the top and is proud to maintain this position. Even more so than any other manufacturer, Apple makes a point of launching products that are tightly enhanced down to the last detail. Well, with this being said; no wonder why Apple’s iPad stays in the lead being the best of all other devices made by other companies.

Why the Apple iPad should be your first choice.

Let’s see what is so great about Apple iPad that it is driving people crazy and increasing its users day by day.

First of all, not only iPad lets you avail all that an iPhone offers but a lot more than this. Apple iPad is very durable and light; however, the large screen it has is sensitive but great for movie lovers and readers. People who love watching videos on YouTube and live streaming other stuff can enjoy Apple iPad the most due to its big screen.

Also, Apple iPad carries a few security features as well like a pass code. This will not let anyone else use the iPad or its applications and also it can be found easily through this if lost or stolen. Apple iPad also has its own way of keeping a difference from other devices that look like it; an attractive backlight. Depending on the light conditions at all times, this backlight will adjust automatically. Due to this the users do not have to worry about adjusting their position or squinting at the screen at any time.

The Apple iPad is extremely user friendly and people of all ages are making full and fun use of it. Children can be entertained and learn a lot from various applications and games this device has. The big screen of iPad lets you easily zoom in if you want so reading stuff can become a lot easier especially for people who have weak eyesight. Apple iPad is the most expensive gadget out of all this type of tablet category. However, it is more than worth investing in this Apple product as this is more than just a single thing at a time.

This guest post was brought to you by the Computer Too Slow website, where you can find all kinds of computer related advice and optimization software; come see us anytime you need to make your computer work faster!

Joe Danger: Special Edition Review

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Great news for the Xbox 360 folks as you will now be able to get your hands on Joe Danger. Blend the physics of Trials and the level design of Excitebike and mingle it with cartoon presentation and what comes out to be is a satisfying fun game called Joe Danger. Joe Danger is probably the best motorcycle game I have come across and Xbox 360 users should download it right away.

Joe Danger: Special Edition Review

The story of the game is pretty simple and yet great. The story revolves around the main character Joe who once was a great stunt motorcyclist but his long lasting careers end with a devastating injury. He now decides to get back into the stunt business but he has forgotten how to pull off tricks and it is now your duty to help remember and perform those amazing stunts. Performing stunts isn’t that much of a difficult job due to easy and responsive controls.

One thing that really stands out in Joe Danger is the amount of freedom you have. Each stage is comprised of several objectives but it is up to you how to them and which one to accomplish first. You can either go for collecting the letters which ultimately spells “Danger” or you can aim for finishing the race under the given time. Completing these objectives earn you star which can then be used to unlock additional levels. Even if you get stuck on a level, you can always jump to other level and do something else.

The game isn’t about race tracks only.  You can find hidden areas and items as you explore the Joe Danger’s world. Trials was a good game but I have to say later levels really got on my nerve whereas I found Joe Danger much more encouraging. It does provide you with difficult objectives but you will never find them to be too hard to complete.

So, there you go! In case you’re looking for a cool game to help you relax from your daily troubles, Joe Danger is a great option, and since it’s available via X-box live you can get it right away if you want. Have fun playing, just make sure it doesn’t disturb your productivity, ok?

This guest post was brought to you by the Computer Too Slow website, a leading source for computer maintenance advice. We also like playing video-games once in a while, and we’re always on top of the latest technological news. come see us, anytime!

Improving Workplace Efficiency through Technology

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An efficient workplace is characterized by productive employees. One of the best ways to make employees more productive, and in the process, ensure that the workplace is as efficient as it can be is by making technology a vital part of the corporate framework, and encouraging greater employee productivity through it.

Video Conferencing and Telecommuting

Video conferencing makes it possible for large companies to have meetings with all of their employees, and those employees who work at branch offices don’t have to travel to the corporate headquarters to attend a meeting. That saves an incredible amount of time and money because the company doesn’t have to pay for employees to travel. Telecommuting is another effective way at encouraging employee productivity because there are no issues with parking, transportation, or possible child or elder-care issues. Telecommuters often have a greater sense of satisfaction about their jobs because of the flexibility that the work schedule affords them.

Computers and File Sharing

Computers and corporate computer networks make it possible for employees and executives to share data across the company’s computer network. Documents can be sent to employees in the same building or at different offices via e-mail, or they can be shared through Google Docs. By using technology to distribute information and important data throughout a company, businesses eliminate the potential wasted time that would result from employees traveling through the halls of the company to bring something to someone else. The flip side of this is the temptation for employees to abuse the privilege of working on and with a computer.

Accounting Software for Businesses

Businesses that use accounting software such as QuickBooks Pro, Intuit and other programs can reconcile their financial records, keep track of expenses, create budgets and use these programs to assist in payroll generation. In addition to the software programs, there are tax programs designed to take businesses through the step by step process of filing taxes.

Online Payroll Systems

An online payroll system eliminates the need to have someone manually calculate the paychecks and deductions for every employee in a company and provides crucial human resource management services, such as tracking tax information and making all necessary deductions. These systems also file taxes and create the appropriate records. Employees are able to access their paystubs on the Internet, making this a relatively paper-free process, which is beneficial to employees and employers alike.

Smartphones

Now that PDAs (Personal Data Assistants) are obsolete, smartphones combine the features of the older PDAs with everything in a cell phone. These devices allow employees to keep track of phone numbers, addresses, appointments and e-mail addresses. A smartphone makes it possible to check or send e-mail, send a text message, and even surf the Internet. Some devices have additional features like spreadsheets that allow them to keep track of business expenses or other important information.

Mobile marketing also give the employee the opportunity to spread company news and releases out into the social media stratosphere.  The more customers can be aware of the changes and innovations within the employee’s company the faster they can respond.  Furthermore, hearing about or sharing information about a company from one of its employees automatically adds credibility to the report.

All of these technologies automate tasks that employees used to have to do manually. In addition, they improve the accuracy of work, lessen the time of sharing information, whether it be within a building, or with employees who work at different branch offices. Automation also increases communication because people enjoy using mobile devices and are more inclined to answer text messages or send them themselves. A happy workplace inspires greater employee productivity.

Web Development Tools

| Web Design | No Comments

 

One of the contributing factors to web development’s rapid growth has been the application of its free to use tools. These tools are; Linux, MySQL, PHP and Apache, together they are commonly referred to as LAMP. The availability of these tools has meant that people all over the world have been able to set up websites, and with it the popularity of web development has soared. The aforementioned tools are discussed in much detail below;

 

Linux

Linus is a multilingual web development tool that is mainly targeted at servers, desktops and embedded devices. This computer operating system is open source based and can be useful in a number of computer hardware like; tablet computers, desktops, mainframe computers, handsets and routers. This rocket-fast operating system has the ability to power the ten quickest supercomputers in the world. The use of this facility in commercial and home computers has been rising and various enterprises and governments are developing their own Linux systems.

 

Apache

This tool was authored by one, Robert McCool and his Apache Software Foundation developers and was initially released in the market in 1995. This web development was pivotal in the initial development of World Wide Web. Just before the turn of the century (1999), it became the first server to top the one hundred million website mark. It was also the first real answer and alternative to the dominance of Netscape Communications Corporations. Today it can stand toe to toe with any of its rivals in terms of performance and functionality. This tool can be used in various operating systems like; GNU, Novell NetWare, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Microsoft Windows and eComStation. It is estimated that Apache serves 63 per cent of all the websites in the world, and when you count the busiest websites it performs even better at 66 per cent.

 

MySQL


MySQL is a subsidiary of Oracle and was officially released in to the market in May of 1995 and is available in English. B y definition this tool is a relational database system and powers a server that provides much user access to numerous databases. Even though this tool -just like the others- is free, you can opt for its paid-for editions, which as you would expect offer better performance and functions. Some of the applications that use this tool are;

 

  • Joomla
  • MyBB
  • WordPress
  • Drupal
  • phpBB

MySQL is a central cog in LAMP application software and is the preferred web development tool in some of the most popular websites like Facebook, Google, Nokia.com, Flickr and YouTube.

 

PHP

This tool made its bow in 1995 and is owned by the PHP group. It is a general-usage server and its intended result is to develop dynamic and impressive web pages. This tool is inbuilt in well over twenty million web sites in the world as well as in over one million web servers. This free software is marketed under the PHP license.