Editorial

By January 21, 2015 Read More →

Security: stop your business from being hacked

It is a well known fact that hackers are becoming increasingly intelligent when it comes to hacking into businesses IT systems. In fact experts are now warning that over 50% of UK businesses could be hacked in just one hour – a pretty worrying thought!

After the vicious attack on Sony in 2014 which took the entire world by storm, it has become evident that hackers really do know what they are doing – and the results are potentially dangerous. This scam also highlighted the fact that very few of us are protected against these criminal offences and much more needs to be done in order to combat these criminals.

It is well known that attacks on both small and medium sized (SME’s) companies are extremely common due to the less sophisticated security software they have in place. Hackers are also aware of this hence why these are the businesses that are often targeted – security is a huge problem for all firms, but it is the SME’s that are truly under threat.

 

Protecting your business

Here are some of the highly recommended tips to securing your business:

 

Education

One of the most important things any business can do in their plight to remaining secure is to educate their staff on their role in security. Your employees really are the frontline of defence when it comes to the security of your business, whilst this isn’t the only way, if staff are vigilant it means hackers will have a much harder time.

 

Endpoint Security

Many companies are also introducing Endpoint Security into their business in order to remain as safe and secure as possible. Endpoint Security is an information security method for protecting a corporate network through the focus of endpoints. Software, authentication and authorisation are each monitored carefully to ensure maximum security. This software will include antivirus, anti spyware and firewall protection.

 

Encryption

It is also recommended by experts that all business data is encrypted to ensure safety if any data is stolen. This works to ensure that if the data is stolen, the thief cannot read the data – only you can. This is one of the best security techniques out there.

 

Mobile

Now, it is no surprise that mobile is becoming huge – we are constantly on our phones, emailing or talking. So, it is important to set up mobile network security due to more and more members of staff working away from the office at home. Therefore it is vital to ensure that any wireless mobile connectivity is as secure as possible.

With these tips in mind, you will be able to protect your business for years to come from the infamous hackers.

By January 15, 2015 Read More →

David Cameron wants to see your browsing history

SWITZERLAND-WEF-DAVOS-CAMERONIn a disgusting announcement regarding privacy destruction David Cameron has decided that encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp and Snapchat could be banned unless they provide the government with backdoor access to user data. Cameron has said that carrying out surveillance on these services is essential for tackling terror attacks like the recent Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris.

“Are we going to allow a means of communications which it simply isn’t possible to read?” said Cameron. “My answer to that question is: ‘No, we must not’.” “The attacks in Paris demonstrated the scale of the threat that we face and the need to have robust powers through our intelligence and security agencies in order to keep our people safe.”

Cameron is now championing plans to resurrect the ‘Snoopers Charter’, this allows authorities more powers concerning the monitoring of online communications requiring internet service providers, mobile phone networks and telecommunications companies to maintain records of every user’s internet browsing, social media activity, phone calls, text messages, and now, instant messages. Currently, Internet Service Providers can keep data where it has been processed for normal business purposes such as billing or marketing for 12 months, regulated by the Data Protection Act 1998.

The new proposals would require telecommunications companies to keep data that that would not ordinarily be retained for business purposes, for up to 12 months – during which time official agencies would be able to access the data. As things currently stand, the draft document does not specify which types of data firms would be obliged to keep.

The idea is that if passed in its current form, the bill would stop extremists from being able to communicate with each other without being monitored by intelligence agencies at a cost of £1.8bn over ten years. This allows extremists plenty of time to invest in some form of Virtual Private Network to avoid the Internet Service Provider from recording such communications, leaving only the law abiding open for surveillance. The UK Government would certainly not use this access to allow councils to snoop further, HMRC to monitor online transactions and authorities to search your internet browsing history for a spanking video.

 

Posted in: Editorial, News
By January 15, 2015 Read More →

Buying Suitable Storage Devices – A Guide

storage(1)The use of computing devices has increased exponentially. There are a lot of things nowadays that require the use of computers. With this increasing demand in computer use, there has also been an increase in the demand for storage. There are a lot of ways to store data from a computer. There is hardware that has been designed especially for storing information. A computing device has internal storage as part of its structure. Sometimes, its internal storage is not enough. This is why people buy external storage devices. These devices are also useful for backing up data. With an external storage device, one would not have to worry even if they lost the information on the primary storage.

There are a lot of places where one can buy quality storage devices. If you are looking for one, then check out VoucherBin. This is one of the options you have for buying storage devices. There are several choices when it comes to storage devices. Here is a look at some of them.

Discs – These are the most common ways of storing information. A disc can be CD-ROMs, Blu-Ray, DVD, CD-R, DVD+R to name a few. Discs are a type of optical storage which uses lasers to write and read the data on them. People use discs for storing all kinds of information from files to music to videos. Movies can also be burnt on to a disc from a computer.

Hard drive – this is another method that people use to store information. A hard drive is a type of magnetic storage. The best thing about hard drives is that the memory capacity can be expanded to a lot more. They are very effective for someone who needs to store a lot of information. They come in different sizes so a user can get what suit them.

Flash memory – this includes flash drives, memory sticks, memory cards or SD cards. This type of storage device is also very popular. It is convenient because it is portable. A memory stick can be carried around pretty much anywhere. It is light in weight and small in size. Memory cards are used in phones. A smart phone can do a lot of things that a computer can. Smart phones also come with expendable memory. This means that external memory can be added to increase storage capacity. Information can also be transferred from a computer to a memory card.

All these are options that one has when looking for storage devices. Ryman is one of the stores you can look at when in need of storage devices. There are a lot of options for computer users. If you are not sure what kind of storage device you want, then you can ask for help. Find out what works where. Compatibility is a key factor to consider when buying memory storage devices. It is also important to consider the performance of the device. In some cases, storage devices with more capacity may present some problems. It helps to know which type of storage device would be most suitable for your use. You should also consider the amount of information that you need to store. When you have decided which storage device you want, go for VoucherBin for options.

By January 13, 2015 Read More →

Scientists Use Poker to Improve Robot’s Decision Making

A couple of scientists working in their laboratory.Whether they’re serving us drinks on a cruise ship or parking our cars for us, robots are learning new tasks at what feels like an extraordinarily rapid pace. Driving that point home is a new study out of the University of Alberta in Canada that demonstrates the incredible decision-making capabilities of one particular robot.

According to NPR, researchers at the university developed a program that can beat any human opponent at a variant of Texas Hold’em poker. It’s known as Heads-up Limit Texas Hold’em, a version of the game that only features two players and capped betting. Despite being more limited than other variants, the research team still found there are “10 trillion different decision points in the game.” And one of those can apparently be used to win no matter what the other players is doing, which is interesting considering the act of bluffing is crucial to any version of poker.

But lead researcher Michael Bowling said that no matter how good the human player is, the computer will win. It took him and his team many years and the power of some 5,000 computers to figure it all out, with one researcher claiming it took nearly “a thousand years of computation” to reach these results.

Despite this program’s obviously strong skill set when it comes to this poker variant, Bowling said that online players won’t have to worry about it dominating virtual poker rooms. For one, it’s playing a variant that isn’t terribly popular among poker players at large. That being said, Bowling noted that there are indeed bots out there that players should look out for—just not his. For Bowling, it all comes down to improving the robot’s ability to make decisions when facing uncertainty, not clearing out the bank accounts of rival players.

Of course, if they did want to make the robot’s decision-making processing even that much more incredible, the scientists could look to a slew of other poker games to test it out on. According to online platform betfair poker, there are a number of variants out there including one close to what the robot was taught to play. That’s the multi-player Texas Hold’em, perhaps the most popular version of the card game thanks to its boom in the late 1990s and early 2000s. That all being written, these more complicated games could prove exceedingly difficult and likely impossible in terms of programming. Can you imagine the number of variables at play here? Again, this is especially true when noting the very “human” factor of bluffing, a major component to play any form of poker.

For those interested in reading more about this poker-playing robot study, head to the Cepheus Poker Project. With this type of decision-making programming in place, it’ll certainly be interesting to see where other, similar studies can make advancements—and how they can be applied to real-life situations.

By December 2, 2014 Read More →

Sports Tech: Using data to shape your team’s tactics

Your team’s star centre-forward pops his Achilles tendon in training – season over. The starting QB dislocates his shoulder a week before the SuperBowl, missing the biggest game of the season. The scrum-half pulls up with a torn hamstring ten minutes into rugby union’s Heineken Cup final; his team struggle without him.

Injuries can disrupt a match or change the entire course of a season, and certainly spoil that pre-game sporting wager you might have placed with betting website like Vernons – hot favourites can instantly find themselves at a disadvantage when their leading goal scorer or most prolific wicket taker pulls out the day before the fixture.

Bad luck, eh? Well… maybe not. New intelligence and the increasing use of data means that clubs are no longer prepared to play a game of chance with their highly prized and valued assets. Their players, in other words.

Using data to shape a team’s strategy is not brand new. The book Moneyball, published in 2003, covered the project embraced by the Major League Baseball outfit Oakland Athletics. The A’s general manager, Billy Beane, had the second lowest payroll in baseball and needed to build a team capable of competing with more illustrious opponents. He has turned Oakland into regular contenders by statistics and data to identify previously unheralded players to bring to the club. Recently, in an interview with the Guardian, he discussed whether he could translate that approach to football.

Germany, winners of the 2014 World Cup, used data to feed player intelligence and tactics in the build up to the tournament. The German Football Association developed an application called Match Insights – in partnership with a software company called SAP – which, according to The Telegraph, ‘analyses vast amounts of data about members of the German team and their opponents, based on their on-field performance.’

Player performance is analysed using eight cameras surrounding the pitch, and data is used to measure a range of key performance indicators. One example of how this  data was translated practically can be demonstrated by the Germany national team improving their passing speed; reducing average possession time from 3.4 seconds in 2010 down to 1.1 second earlier this year.

Technology can also be used to forecast injuries, which can have a serious impact on the performance of a team. This article discloses that: ‘Major League Baseball teams spent $665m last year on salaries for both injured players and their replacements, NBA teams lost $358m last season; $44m alone by the injury-ridden Los Angeles Lakers. And in the NFL, where the average salary is about $2m, starters missed a record 1,600 games in 2013.’

So, that’s huge! Anything teams can do to mitigate these losses can be of major benefit. As such, the industry of performance analytics is a fast-growing one and data can anticipate that an athlete is likely to be injured before it actually happens.

There is more detail about such analytics here. The NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles have invested a reported $1m on technology (a fraction of the cost of the average salary bill). Players wear monitors that measure agility and acceleration, allowing coaches to identify when performance begins to decline; heart rate monitors that create post-workout recovery reports to indicate when athletes are physically ready to handle more training; a system that captures data on fatigue, stress and aerobic capacity and more.

Last season, the Eagles were the second least-injured team in the NFL, with 14 players who started every regular season game. They had a 10-6 record and won the NFC East division. That compares favourably with a 4-12 record the season before.

Posted in: Editorial
By November 20, 2014 Read More →

The Nokia N1: A yawn or celebration?

nokia-n1-tabletRight now, we are dealing with a tablet influx. Many manufactures are rallying to get their tablets out in time for Christmas and with the Nexus 9, iPad Mini and Air refreshes alongside every company from Acer, Archos and Binatone to own other brands Tesco and Argos hoping to make some fast cash. This year is all about the upgrade as everyone who wants a tablet probably already has one and it’s going to take quite a push to get some to release their beloved companion.

I sit here with my Nexus 10. A device that has is simply a media player on my daily commute. Aside from a little gaming in the evening I rely on Chromebook for work and phone for communications. The Nexus 10 is merely a good screen for entertainment. With Lollipop on it’s way to the device I have no need to be looking elsewhere. Of course as an enthusiast I was curious about the Nexus 9 and having played with one for a day I really would only consider getting one if Lollipop does not speed up the now aging Nexus 10. 

So what will  a Nokia N1 bring to the tablet? Well, it’s not quite a Nokia device, we are seeing something designed by the geniuses at Nokia but built by Foxconn. There is the complicated Microsoft / Nokia relationship that probably confuses most and can really only be summed up by a re-badging exercise. It might say Nokia but this is a Foxconn product.

I guess the easiest way to view this device is the bastard child of so many. Built by the iPad people, designed by the Microsoft people and running the Google stuff. Could this be Expendables the Tablet? All the greats in one device?

Inside the Nokia N1 comes with a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 processor clocked at 2.3GHz and 2GB of RAM. There is a PowerVR G6430 GPU. The N1 offers 32GB onboard storage, but there is no microSD card slot to expand it further. The camera is an 8 megapixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel front camera.

Decently speced and nicely priced the Nokia N1 will likely be a hit this Christmas. Enough to tempt folks away from the Hudl II with the Nokia name and oddly the Nexus 9 as it’s main competitor and higher price that should see it as a threat. Personally, it’s not enough to get me on-board. Those who want the ultimate tablet are best spending a little extra and getting the iPad Mini 3 or Nexus 9, or sticking the a yearly purchase and picking up the Hudl II.

 

 

 

Posted in: Editorial, Tablets
By November 13, 2014 Read More →

Online security: stay safe

symantec_padlockIt is important to know how to stay safe when you are using the internet. You should never give out any personal information about yourself to anyone online that you do not personally know; no matter who you think you’re talking to.

There are thousands of sites on the internet that allow you to communicate with just about anyone, anywhere in the world and get an instant reply. There are also hundreds of forums available for you to ask questions and get advice within the hour. However, it is important that you keep in mind that anyone can pretend to be someone they are not on the internet. Here are a few top online security tips to keep in mind when browsing the web safely.

Chat room safety

Chat rooms have become increasingly popular with their ability to allow you to talk to just about anyone about anything you like. However, it is vital that you remember not to give out any personal information to strangers, including your full name, address or phone number.

Websites asking for personal details

If you are doing a bit of online shopping, you may have to give out some personal information, such as your credit card details. Of course this is perfectly normal in order for you to make a purchase. However, you should always ensure it is a reputable business and a trusted website.

You can check whether it is a trusted website by the look of the URL: if it is ‘https’, has a green URL box or a locked padlock symbol it means that the website has an SSL certificate – this is a safe website. If however, it has none of the safety signs highlighted, you should rethink about inputting your card details.

Online threats

Protecting yourself and your computer from online threats is really important and therefore the simple answer to this is to ensure you are always using up to date firewall software. By ensuring you update your anti-virus software you are protecting your computer and yourself from viruses and hackers. There is a reason why companies update their software – you must update it also.

By being vigilant when you are online, you can ensure you are safe and protected from any threats.

Posted in: Editorial
By November 5, 2014 Read More →

Cruise ships take a Quantum leap forward

QuantumJust last week Royal Caribbean International took delivery of their newest cruise ship, Quantum of the Seas, from Meyer Werft Yard.

Now you may well be wondering why we’re talking about a cruise ship, and to be honest, when Royal Caribbean invited us aboard a few weeks ago, I too wondered

But Quantum of the Seas is all about technology and is the most technologically advanced cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean say it’s the world’s first Smart Ship, with “boatloads of bandwidth” which allow the cruise line to offer unprecedented connectivity – 500 times more than any other cruise ship; easy-to-use systems that expand guest choices and simplify schedules, plus, RFID technology that speeds up the boarding process and allows guest to track their luggage every step of the way.

Tracy and I were able to spend two nights on Quantum, to experience all of this technology for ourselves. This equated to two days of liberally using words like ‘Awesome’, ‘Amazing’, ‘Incredible’ and ‘Brilliant’.

So let’s starts with a few facts and figures…

  • Registry: Nassau, Bahamas
  • Built at Meyer Werft, Papenburg, Germany
  • 168,666 GRT
  • 1,141 feet (348 meters) long
  • 136 feet (41 meters) wide
  • 28 feet (8.5 meters) draft
  • 22 knots cruising speed
  • 16 guest decks
  • 18 total decks
  • 16 guest elevators
  • 4 bow thrusters with 4,694 horse power each  
  • 4,180 guests (double occupancy)
  • 4,905 guests total
  • 2,090 of Royal Caribbean’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever
    • 375 Virtual Balcony staterooms — interior staterooms offering expansive real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations through virtual balconies
    • Up to 16 Family-Connected staterooms — perfect for multi-generational families or groups of friends, these staterooms provide separate bedrooms and bathrooms for all 
    • 12 new Studio staterooms with balconies and 16 Studio Interior staterooms, both for single travelers  

  

The use of technology starts before you even step aboard

About 10 days before we were due to set sail, Royal Caribbean sent me my “reservation number” and asked if we would complete the online check in. This process is very similar to online check in for an airline where they go through and take all your relevant information including passport and visa details. Although, as we were going on a cruise-to-nowhere, a visa was not required.

During the process you are also asked to take or provide a headshot which is then used as part of the boarding process. If you were going on a cruise which stopped at other ports the photo is used to identify you when you leave and board the ship as they scan you in and out with your WOWband or smart card. If you are not happy providing your own photo they can also take one at the port as part of the check in process. The last part of the online check in was to set up your onboard charging account. Once you have this set up it means that once onboard just a quick scan of your band and you can pay for anything!

The other big part of the pre-planning Royal Caribbean have introduced comes from their change from a traditional main dining room to their new ‘dynamic dining’ system. Once I was checked in I could then go and make restaurant reservations for our 2 nights along with entertainment reservations for the shows. The system will also handle the shore excursions and spa appointments in the future. What’s really nice is once you have something booked it tells you if you are going to have a clash and you can view everything in the really well laid out planner. Once onboard all these reservations will then transfer to your Royal iQ app and will also save guests from standing in lines and trudging from place to place on the first day of the cruise. As Royal Caribbean say, ‘you get the first day of your vacation back’.

Royal Caribbean guests can go from “sidewalk to ship” in 10 minutes with no check-in counter, no forms to fill out and no lines to stand in. The average check in time on the day we boarded was just 7 minutes!

 

RFID Technology

WOWBand

WOWBand

RFID technology is becoming more commonplace and Royal Caribbean are certainly using this to its advantage in a number of key ways.

During the boarding process, RFID tags are placed upon your luggage. This allows guests to track their luggage in real time on their smartphones and monitor their bags’ progress through key points en route to the stateroom.  On departure, the process is reversed.   

Quantum of the Seas also has new RFID ‘WOWband’ wristbands, which can be used as your room key or can be used to pay for onboard purchases, make reservations, find your photos in the onboard photo shop etc.

Simplicity and efficiency are also at the heart of two new apps that put guests in charge of their cruise choices: Cruise Planner, which allows guests to research and book dining reservations, shore excursions, spa appointments and more before their vacation begins; and Royal iQ, available as a downloadable app and provided at freestanding iQ stations around the ship.  Royal iQ allows guests to manage details during the cruise, includes a convenient calendar that provides at-a-glance views of their program, and keep in touch with one another and home via phone and text capabilities.

 

WiFi onboard

Connectivity on cruise ships has always been hit or miss and bandwidth is a big issue. This is set to change with Quantum of the Seas though, as Royal Caribbean International teamed up with O3b Networks, a global satellite provider, who developed a new technology. This new satellite network delivers “fiber-optic bandwidth.” Quantum of the Seas features O3b fiber-like Internet service which will provide more than 500 times the bandwidth that you’d experience from a regular on-board connection.

The O3b fiber-like Internet service was first piloted on Oasis of the Seas in December 2013 and has also been since introduced on Allure of the Seas. The new system fitted to Quantum of the Seas will provide O3b coverage as the ship approaches the east coast of the United States.

Royal Caribbean International is now testing a variety of pricing. While the prices are highly subject to change, the current pricing offers guests $29.95 per hour, $99.95 per day, and $189.95 for unlimited usage on a 7-night cruise for one device.

You may read elsewhere in the press that there was ‘no Wifi coverage’ on Quantum during the inaugural sailing but that’s just sensationalism. There was indeed WiFi on board but there isn’t O3b satellite coverage in Europe as yet. This will be ready in time for the launch of the next Quantum Class ship, Anthem of the Seas, when she commences service from Southampton in April of 2015.   A fact that was made clear to members of the press both before and during the inaugural sailing.

 

 

Ripcord

Ripcord by iFly is just awesome! This offers guest the chance to experience skydiving in a wind tunnel and is the first of such to be installed on sea-going vessel.

Following a short briefing video and time with an instructor, guests are provided with a jumpsuit, goggles, helmet and ear protection. Your group is then taken to the wind tunnel where you get to take it in turns to experience what it’s like to freefall skydive.

With a series of hand gestures and physical guidance from an instructor it doesn’t take too long to get the hang of the basic positions but it looks like a lot of training would be needed to get really good at it. Fortunately, you’ll be able to buy packages to give you a certain number of training sessions with an expert.

I’d recommend keeping each session fairly short to begin with though, it takes a lot out of you!

DSC_0233 IMG_5406 DSC_0281

 

North Star

If skydiving seems a little bit too energetic for you then there’s another way to experience some sights aboard Quantum of the Seas with North Star.

North Star is “an engineering marvel that transports guests more than 300 feet above the ocean”. Guests board a large glass capsule at the end of a large boom arm and are then hoisted high in to the air for unique views of both the ocean and the ship itself.

Here you can take some exceptional photographs and I’m sure it will be even more amazing to be able to take photos of some of the cruise destinations and North Star is able to operate both at sea and in port.

 

DSC_0229 DSC_0245

IMG_5415 IMG_5518

 

Sea Plex

So heights may not be your thing but if you’re still looking for some fun then there’s plenty to be had at Sea Plex.

Sea Plex offers the largest indoor active space at sea and is a distinctive and flexible sporting and entertainment venue offering more first at sea experiences, guests can experience a circus school with flying trapeze, or play basketball on a full-size regulation basketball court. By night, the first-ever bumper car and roller skating offerings deliver fun and excitement. Or, guests can dance to music orchestrated from a floating DJ booth which hovers above the activity below.

 IMG_5400 IMG_5401 

 

Bionic Bar

One of the coolest additions to Quantum of the Seas are the robot bartenders at the Bionic Bar.  

These masterpieces of technology can create and pour your favorite mixed drink in just a few seconds right before your eyes. Tablet computers allow patrons to select their desired drink for an extensive list while electronic screens at either side tell you how long you’ll have to wait for your drink and where you are in the queue.

Unfortunately the Bionic Bar was plagued with teething problems during our time on Quantum of the Seas but we were able to see it operational on a number of occasions and it certainly is a talking point. It also ensures that you get your turn to order from the bar fairly and the robots don’t ask for tips!

Quantum of the Seas launch photos

 

Of course, it takes far more than a bionic bartender and skydiving to make a truly smart ship and items mentioned in this post are just a few of the more obvious, customer-facing innovative technologies that you’ll find aboard Quantum of the Seas. Below the surface there’s plenty more to talk about from the on-board waste reclamation to the air-lubrication system…

Tracy and I were lucky enough to see much of what goes on behind the scenes on Quantum of the Seas and spent some time with Captain Patrik Dahlgran, Capt. (Felix) Srecko Ban, Captain Gus Andersson and Richard Pruitt (Vice President of Safety and Environmental Stewardship).  But that’s all for another post!

 

By October 30, 2014 Read More →

Four Lessons on Retail Shopping Apps

It is not unusual to see strangers on the street staring at their mobile phones or tablets or looking busy reading something. When attending concerts, you may have seen several dots of light emanating from handheld devices. Like you, they may have been trying to take pictures or recording the song at that juncture. There is no denying that we are moving fast into the digital age. Mobile phones have not only changed the way people communicate. It has also changed the way individuals live and shop.

Many are still using laptops and desktops at home, but handheld devices are becoming computers on the go. The internet has revolutionized mobile technology and shopping app. According to Tech Crunch, research firm Forrester expects online retail to grow at a 10 percent compound annual rate, with the money involved to reach $279 billion by 2015. A Nielsen study found that at least 48 percent of children between 6-12 years wish for an iPad for the holidays. The Nintendo Wii U comes in second, then the iPad Mini. The focus might all be about fun and games, but they want the flexibility of mobile devices more and more than fixed gaming consoles.

Adults in the US also have this affinity for mobile devices with just over a third of the population owning a tablet, according to Pew Internet. Not only do these tablets and mobile phones provide a means of contacting friends, family members, and colleagues. They have become computers on the go. Tablet devices are becoming a prime choice for shoppers looking for both necessities and luxury items. The key is for business owners like yourself to harness this information. This way, you can start integrating online storefronts into your current setup. Shopify has the technical capability to help ease your company into the digital age.

Ease of Navigation

Online stores can take their queue when sales are not picking up as expected. Marketing the site may have been the easy part. But if sales remain low, you may have an online store that is keeping customers from hitting the buy button. Does it take the customer forever to complete the transaction? Are their way too many next buttons to go through that customers end up abandoning the sale? Try timing how long it takes to complete a transaction. Ask friends to go to the site to do beta testing and ask for their opinion.

Clutter-free Web site

You may have several items to sell, so organizing them in different categories helps. You can even opt for a setup where customers can go to a page to answer some quick questions. This will help narrow down the item choices to what they want to take a look at and then buy as soon as it fits their requirements. Understanding that it takes a savvy developer to help you get that website right, you also need to know how the final look should come out. Some retail businesses point to costs as the main reason for not getting this one right. One must prepare to take on the extra cost for now to reap more profits later.

Smarter Shopping Cart

Although online shoppers may appear to be buying items in an instant, they do prepare for them. This means they go to websites to check out the items and compare it to a competitor site. This will include shopping based on the pictures posted, prices and shipping options. Taking all these factors together, they then make the decision to buy online. The problem is that they may close a website by accident without saving their shopping cart. This will mean going through the entire process again and worst case, they just end up at the last online store they were looking at. But if you have an app that allows customers to add items toa wish list, they will likely find their way back to your store again.

Payment Options

The customer has finally decided to buy the item, except there’s one drawback – the payment method. It could be that the customer gets redirected to another site to encode their credit or debit card information. This raises security questions for some customers and might make them abandon the sale. It could also be that you only accept card payments, but they may only have a checking account available. Again, this could appear as another dead end to the customer.

With the booming industry in online retail selling, many companies have found ways to post their online stores. What some of these businesses missed out on is the customer experience that could spell the difference according to Tech Crunch. Do some research on which developers to go to for your online store to get a piece of the market share. It may entail some cost, but you can get a quick turnaround for your buck if you do this right. Cutting corners may work if the risks are not as high. Get this right, so your efforts will be worth it.

Posted in: Editorial
By October 28, 2014 Read More →

Getting the most out of the Microsoft Surface

8583948813_4bbbb18bac_qRecent innovations in technology and the internet have seen us increasingly consuming more media on the move. The Microsoft Surface is kicking up a storm as the new laptop-meets-tablet hybrid on the tech and entertainment market. Boasting the key perks of each device; with the light weight of a tablet and the processor of a laptop, can the Microsoft Surface really do it all?

 

Key Features

Featuring a 12 inch screen, a fourth generation Intel Core processor and up to nine hours of battery life, the Microsoft Surface certainly packs a punch in the world of technology. Home to three ports and an optional keyboard, it takes the lead where earlier tablets have failed.

Keep it private

Unlike standard tablets, the Microsoft Surface allows for greater security with the regular 4 PIN passcode strengthened by a personalised picture password, meaning you don’t need to worry about sensitive information or even your kids picking up the device and having a go.

Personal touches

Once you’ve downloaded your preferred apps, you can then re arrange and even re name these on your home screen for quick and easy accessibility. You can also link your tablet up to multiple email accounts, social media feeds, networking and business messengers, allowing you to access both your work and personal emails on the go from one device.

Enhancing accessories & tips

Setting up your new Surface with Microsoft security software means that if your tablet is lost or stolen, your data will be encrypted and away from prying eyes. If you’re using the tablet for anything other than writing quick emails then consider purchasing a detachable keyboard as it will make your time much more productive.

As with all modern, powerful technology, battery life is the bane of your tablets performance capabilities. Never get caught short again by purchasing an external battery pack, these light and compact chargers will come to the rescue at your time of need!

To conclude

Although the Surface comes with a higher price tag than your standard tablet, it’s easy to see why. Microsoft has strived to create a tablet-laptop hybrid which shows off the ‘Windows experience’, allowing the user to access everything they need from one portable device.

If you’re looking at purchasing the Surface do some research, as the newer model may better suit your requirements.

 

Image by Jason Howle, used under the Creative Commons license

 

 

Posted in: Editorial, Tablets
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