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News

Samsung are About to Do It Again with the Note 4

To say Samsung is ambitious would be an understatement. When it comes to gadgets, the Korean tech giant is always pushing the envelope. When people first heard of ‘phablets’, nobody was so sure about the concept. People figured, there were already smart phones and tablets in the market, why would anyone need anything in between? Samsung however changed all that with their Samsung Galaxy Note series. The series has enjoyed quite a success but again, it is Samsung.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

The Samsung Galaxy Note series is now at the Note 3. That was the device that they released in September of 2013. The device was received just as well as expected and now that that is over, people are already looking forward to the next thing. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is already appearing in all the top tech and gadget blogs. It has been around only a few months but the anticipation has already started building up.

The thing about Samsung is that they are always looking to do something better. The next device is always better than the previous one. People have gotten used to this and that is why they expect to see some great things in the next Galaxy Note. There have been all kinds of speculations that have been going around on what Samsung will do to improve the Note 4. Word is that it is working on some nifty technologies that will revolutionize the gadget world.

What to look forward to in the Note 4;

The Processor

One of the things that can be talked about with some level of certainty is the processor. It looks like the Galaxy Note 4 will come with a 64 bit processor. One of the CEOs of Samsung was quoted talking to Korea Times, saying that they are trying to match the processor that comes in the iPhone 5S. There has also been confirmation that Samsung is working on the 64 bit processor. Seeing as the Note 4 will be the next device, along with the S5, it is very feasible that the devices will have the 64 bit processor.

Official word is that the company is right on schedule with the technology. The designs of the processor are said to be from ARM. Samsung has however pointed out that they may be using their own processor in their next devices. They figure that they will perfect the ARM chips and then include their own optimizations. Even if the Note 4 can not wait for Samsung’s own processor chips, the 64 bit is definitely a good option.

The Camera

Another technology that Samsung is said to be working on is a more sensitive camera. This camera is said to come with ‘anti shake’. This would make it possible for shots to be taken without all the blurs that arise from shaking. It has not been confirmed yet how far along this technology actually is.  A lot of people have their fingers crossed for this particular feature. Optical Image stabilizer is also something else that will be included in the camera. Samsung already has one device out with this feature.

The Casing

The casing of the Galaxy Note 4 may also see some changes. Samsung is always getting mixed feedback from consumers over the plastic body. Most people want to see a phablet that comes with a metallic body. ET News has given reports on how Samsung is looking at the possibility of getting aluminum casings for their next flagship devices! People were sort of hoping to see something different in the Galaxy Note 3 but that did not happen.  What they did instead is give the back casing a faux leather look. Enthusiasts are still hoping that something will be done. Aluminum or magnesium back casings would definitely improve the demand for the Samsung phablet.

The Charging

Like stated earlier, Samsung is all about new things. Magnetic resonance wireless technology is also something else the tech company is rumored to be working on. This will be a better version of the wireless technology that is currently available. With this particular technology, the device wouldn’t have to be necessarily on the source. As long as it is within a certain distance, it would be able to charge. This is something that a lot of people will appreciate. Business people and students will especially enjoy this feature and that is probably why Samsung is working on it.

The OS (Operating System)

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is expected to run the Android KitKat OSphablet series. The latest version of the elly Bean version of Android. The OS has already been updated to KitKat even though this bit has not been officially released yet. The Galaxy Note 4 is expected to be among the first devices that will have the latest version of Android.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 looks like one phablet that will give other gadgets a run for their money. This is definitely one device that people are eagerly anticipating. One thing everybody can count on is that Samsung will rise to the occasion, like they always do.

Source: https://thegalaxynote4.com

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Cloud Computing Technologies and Resources Featured Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

How to Convert Files from your Favorite Cloud Storage Folders Easily

Cloud storage services like Google Drive and Dropbox are incredibly popular these days, with so many people using them in order to always have access to the documents they need. Today we are going to show you another tool that you can integrate with such cloud storage services in order to convert files that you are saving into a variety of file types.

If you have been converting files online, then you have probably already run into Cometdocs at one point. It is a document management service that offers cloud storage just like many other ones, but it also allows users to convert files between various document types.

There are actually two ways in which you can integrate the Cometdocs service into your favorite cloud storage space – through the browser or through the new Cometdocs desktop app.

Convert via browser 

If you are already a Cometdocs user, simply log in to your account. If you are not a user yet, sign up free of charge and receive storage space and use of the service’s very popular file conversion technology.

You will see a button that says “Import files from” in your Cometdocs menu. Select the dropdown menu and select Dropbox or Google Drive to sync these services with your Cometdocs account.

Cometdocs online cloud storage file conversion

Once the sync is complete, simple click on any files you want to convert from your cloud storage and then click on “Choose” to send them over to your Cometdocs account.

Comet Docs online 2 choose file from dropbox

 

These files will be sent to your Cometdocs clipboard from where you will be able to convert them, store them, host or transfer them to others. To convert the file, simply drag it over to the “Convert” tab.

Cometdocs online conversion format

Cometdocs online conversion done

Convert via desktop app

Converting files using the Cometdocs desktop app is even easier and probably more convenient. For starters, you don’t have to open your browser to do it. This saves you time and it’s also great when trying to convert large files, which can slow down your browser or even crash it when you are trying to do other things in the browser while uploading the file.

To use the desktop app, simply download and install it. While the browser integration only works with Google Drive and Dropbox, the desktop app can be used with SkyDrive, Box or any other cloud storage service you prefer.

Simply open the folder of your favorite cloud storage service and find the file you are looking to convert. Right-click on the file and choose the conversion option from the menu. Cometdocs supports a large variety of conversion options, including PDF to MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Text and more. You can also create PDFs from a variety of file types and even convert XML files.

Cometdocs Desktop conversion format

Once you have chosen your conversion option, you are done. The file is converted by Cometdocs and then automatically downloaded into the same folder, giving you a converted version of your file that is already synced to your cloud storage folder automatically.

cometdocs desktop converted file

The app is very resource efficient and lightweight. You won’t even notice it’s working because the app is not performing the conversion, it simply sends the file to Cometdocs’ servers.

Cometdocs desktop 2 conversion status

If you want the quickest, easiest and most convenient way to convert files from your favorite cloud storage service, integrating Cometdocs with your preferred cloud storage provider is a fantastic option to try out.

Do you enjoy this tutorial? Please share your views..

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Business

8 Practical Initiatives for Minimizing Small Business Startup Costs

Most new businesses fail within their first two years, and the main reason is due to insufficient capital. Even if your product has a strong customer demand, you can still wind up having to close your business if you don’t have access to enough money to keep you solvent.

It is often difficult to know exactly how much money a startup will need, so to be on the safe side, there are a few steps you can take to minimize your initial costs and increase your startup’s revenue.

8 Practical Initiatives for Minimizing Small Business Startup Costs

Image credit: Photospin

Start your business at home

This is a huge money savings move, especially in a sluggish economy. By working out of your home, you can save on the expense of renting an office. Of course, once you start hiring employees, running your business out of your home may become impractical; however, until you’re at that point, it may make sense to work from home. In some cases, part of your rent or mortgage may be written off as a business expense.

Start your business part-time

You know the old saying, “Don’t quit your day job”. Oftentimes the pressure of trying to run a business is extremely taxing and failure is too great of a risk. By keeping your job and starting your part-time business, you will be able to maintain a steady income stream which can give your startup a better chance of succeeding.

Rent a storage facility

This is a particularly good way to save on the costs of storing raw materials, inventory or equipment. For those running a business out of their home, this will save a lot of space at home and allow you to develop a more efficient working environment. For those working a retail business out of their home, storage is often a road block to success.

Rent instead of buying

Depending upon the nature of your new business, it may make more financial sense to rent instead of buying. Paying cash for equipment means increasing your start-up costs, purchasing it on credit means you’re saddling your new business with debt. It is better to rent your office equipment as often as you can, so you are paying as you go.

Outsource payroll services

There are many good companies that allow a business, large or small, to have their payroll done online. Data is uploaded, and everything is done for the business owner. Payroll taxes are computed as well as other deductions. The money is transferred directly to the employee’s bank account.

Accept credit cards

Studies have shown that when a business offers credit cards as a payment option that customers tend to spend more money. Therefore, make sure you sign up for a merchant account so you can accept credit cards securely. Although you will have to pay fees for each transaction, you will generally process more transactions when you accept credit cards and the average transaction will be higher.

Use VoIP for your phone service

This can be a great money saver for a small business with several employees that are on the phone regularly. All phone numbers and phone calls are routed through an Internet connection to a phone service provider. They take care of all phone maintenance and your system can be expanded easily as your company grows. Employees will have the same speed and quality of any local phone service, but as a business owner you will be paying less for the phone service.

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News

Is your Internet Security Vulnerable? Here’s tips to rectify it

The internet has changed our lives in numerous positive ways, but it has left us with dark effects, as well. Internet Security and Privacy has been lost, leaving us at high risk of getting affected by shady people, companies, governments and security agencies.

Every day, newer and newer threats surface on the Internet and end up affecting countless. While our ancestors only had to worry about few identifiable threats, we have ahead of us a whole new bunch of threats like Phishing, Spoofing, DDoS Attacks, Identity Thefts, Malicious Viruses, Spying, etc.

Such threats about one’s internet security are now mixed with the dark evils of social networking, online banking and malware. As it was not enough, the U.S government has made the final big strike by launching the PRISM program. Internet security, as it seems, will soon be a part of the history books.

Or is it already?Internet security vulnerabilities

What if your Internet Security is compromised?

The internet helps us stay connected to the modern world. We use the Internet for banking transactions, shopping, emailing, social networking, and so much more. We rely so heavily on the internet today that sometimes we overlook the security concerns associated with it. It’s essential to improve internet security on a day to day basis to keep our data safe.

In circumstances where your internet security has been compromised, attackers can contaminate your device with malicious software or malware, in many unusual ways. They can take advantage of unsafe user practices and flaws in your computer programs. They also can trap unsafe connections by utilizing social engineering.

Once your device is infected, attackers can use the malware to access your device without your permission to execute unwanted actions. They can steal your personal data, transform computer configurations, cause your device to perform unreliably and install more malware in your device to leverage attacks or spread malware to others.

5 Viable Tips to Increase your Internet Security

Here are 5 easy yet effective guidelines that everyone should take care of while using the internet:

1. Connect to a Safe and Secure Network

Once you plug in your device to the internet, it’s also linked to millions of other device that could in return, build a path for attackers. Information flows from the internet to your home device by first coming into your modem, then to your router and finally your computer. Naturally, it’s necessary to secure your router as it is the first point of contact that receives data from the internet. Be 100% sure to check and secure it before you connect to the internet.  If you don’t use a router, contact your ISP to learn how you can best secure your network.

2. Encrypt your Connection with Proxy or VPN

Your Internet connection is simple and transmits data in plain text that any hacker can easily steal. Always encrypt your Internet connection to avoid any external intrusion.

To encrypt the connection you have two choices either use a proxy or a VPN. To best respond to internet security threats, VPN remains the best option. VPN construct a secure encrypted virtual tunnel between your device and the internet. This way, all your information travels safely and securely.

Is your Internet security vulnerable? This is how to rectify it

A VPN works in 3 steps:

  First, it swaps your IP address with one from of its own servers in a different country, making you anonymous and untraceable.
  Second, it constructs a virtual tunnel using sophisticated protocols between your devices and the internet; making your connection remains secure at all the times.
 * Finally, it encrypts every bit of your information to save it from outside intrusion and stealing.

Apart from this, a VPN is a magical key that can unlock all location-restricted content on the internet like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and much more.

There are a lot of VPN providers in the market and finding the best ones can be a cumbersome and time-consuming exercise.

3. Right Selection of Browser

There are many choices available for internet browsers in the market. Selecting the right browser with most secure features is wisdom. There are some easy steps to follow that can help to configure a browser for improved security and privacy. Go to your Web browser’s “preference settings” and set the preference to “not to accept ‘cookies’ from all the sites you have not visited”, or “third-party sites cookies”. That way you will only accept cookies from your visited and trusted sites.

Apple’s Safari has the ability to block third-party cookies by default. For Mozilla Firefox, you’ll need to opt for the same settings. In Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Google’s Chrome you will require fixing to block third party cookies.

4. Install and Update trusted Antivirus Software

Always use alleged and recognized antivirus software and don’t fall for fake security solutions. Moreover, always make sure that you are updating your antivirus software on a timely basis especially your operating system, security software and browser. The reason for this is that timely updates fix newly discovered loopholes in browsers and prevent malicious elements from exploiting vulnerabilities that can affect your security,  privacy and anonymity.

5. Use Secure E-mail Services

Most common ways of communication are sending and receiving emails and also contains some of the most personal information of an internet user. It’s also one of the most common threatening channels by which one can lose his/her personal information. Yahoo has clearly mentioned that in its new version of email, every word of your emails will be scanned by yahoo to stop scamming and target ads.

There are many secure E-mail services that keep privacy of user’s data. It is always secure to use anonymous email services if you don’t expect an email in return especially when sending an email to a non-trusted person.

Conclusion

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said:

“Just as nuclear was the strategic warfare of the industrial era, cyber warfare has become the strategic war of the information era,”

By Implementing the aforementioned simple steps, you can significantly improve your Internet security. The more you implement, the more secure your internet life will be. It is also a fact that after implementing all such practices your internet security is still vulnerable to many cyber threats, albeit the probability of getting attacked is reduced hugely. The best way to remain protected is by continuously investigating and implementing new ways to improve your internet security.

Categories
Business Featured Marketing

A Day In the Life of a Small Biz Marketer

The life of a true small business marketer (i.e. minimal budget, small or one-person team) can be exciting, frustrating and rewarding all at once. Success requires an intense amount of creativity and the ability to produce meaningful results with minimal resources.

The good news is that content’s increasingly important role in the marketing landscape has enabled companies with limited means to more effectively throw their hat into the ring. You don’t need an MBA or a multi-million dollar budget to effectively execute a content marketing campaign – you just need to do your homework and be willing to put the time in. A solid content program needs to be part of your company’s DNA.

In theory, this all sounds great. But many of you are probably wondering what exactly this entails on a day-to-day basis. Read on for a breakdown of a typical day in the life of a small business content marketerAn Excited Small Biz Marketer

8:00am

One of the keys to good content marketing is knowing what’s on the minds of your audience. This is why, everyday, before checking or responding to emails, the first thing you should do is check Twitter and read blogs and other relevant news sites. Not only will this help educate yourself on what your audience is reading, but it will also inform your content creation efforts. It’s also a great way to identify relevant insights to share across your social channels.

10:00am

While this varies for everyone, many of you have likely found that your writing skills peak in the morning hours, which is why you should tackle blog posts or other writing projects during this time.  Though everyone has an opinion on the frequency of posts, I recommend aiming for at least 2-3x per week.

12:00pm

Creating content is really just half the equation – having a distribution plan in place is essential in order to maximize your creation efforts. Mid-day is a good time to create, monitor or update your paid media amplification campaigns. This might include Sponsored Updates on LinkedIn, Promoted Posts on Facebook, Promoted Tweets on Twitter and Outbrain Amplify and more.

Got content of your own? Get it read today!

3:00pm

If you’re like me, you start to feel a mid-afternoon slump an hour or so after lunch. This is the perfect time to check back in on Twitter and the blogosphere to see what other news and topics of interest have popped up.

6:00pm

As a marketer, it’s easy to get stuck behind a computer and neglect the offline component of our jobs, but the importance of getting out, networking and making real-world connections can’t be overstated. I recommend attending at least two events per week – meet-ups, conferences and other gatherings are a great way to source ideas for content, meet influencers and find potential content and syndication partners.A Small Biz Marketer

For those of you who are new to marketing, hopefully this helps to give you a sense of a typical day. Although, it’s important to keep in mind that when you’re working for a start-up or a small business there really is no such thing as an “typical” day. You’ll probably be called on to wear many hats, but I find that having a schedule can help you prioritize and make sense of all the tasks you’ll inevitably find on your plate.

Get your content read today!

 

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Business Featured

10 Powerful Steps to Beat Procrastination without taking Psychology course

How frustrating is it when we have a mountain of work to do, and we have planned to be productive? It’s so disappointing when we look back at the end of a long day and realised we’ve actually done nothing. Below are a few ideas to beat procrastination and work towards a productive day.

How to Beat Procrastination in 123… steps.

1. Take breaksTake breaks

When you aim to work hours on end, it never really works. Ideally, split your time between 30-40 minute intervals and have breaks of about 15 minutes in between. During this time get up and stretch your legs, have a walk around and clear your head. Go make a cup of tea and return back to your work feeling refreshed. These timed breaks will push you to work harder if there’s something to look forward to.

2. Listen to the right music Listen to music to avoid procrastination at work

We have playlists for the gym, the car and when we’re preparing for a big night out, but do we have a set playlist for when we work? Depending on the type of work, the music should follow accordingly. Find something that clears your mind and allows you to focus on what you are doing. I am a firm believer that the right kind of music can help you work more.

3. Plan

Some people work well under pressure, but not everyone can handle the heat. You don’t really want the quality of your work to suffer just because you didn’t plan out your time and schedule. Allocate the hours you have for the job, and plan how you are going to tackle each and every part of the work. The more detailed the plan, the more likely you are to remain busy. It’s Also important to leave room for error and amendments.

4. Follow a to-do list

Having a to do list helps prevents procrastinationThe most satisfying thing is checking off your to-do list. Writing a daily list will allow you to focus on what needs to be done, and it will push you to try finish them all by the end of the day. Even if you have a few extra breaks, as long as your plan for the day is executed then you have succeeded.

5. Have something to look forward to

Have something to look forward to

Whether it’s a nice meal for dinner, or a movie night, having something to look forward to at the end of a long hard day will push yourself to work harder in order to deserve that treat at the end of the day. You will only enjoy it more if you’ve worked hard for it.

6. Eat well, sleep well

Eat well enough food Some basic well-being info, but catching some decent sleep and eating right will really help you focus a lot more. Feeling tired will just make you want to sleep, and if you’re working, all you’re going to be thinking about is sleeping. Some healthy homey food and sleep will get your mojo back in no time.

7. Have someone watch over you

If you find yourself wasting more hours in the day than you’d like, ask someone to watch over you. We are less likely to procrastinate if we’re under that kind of pressure.

8. Don’t check your email

One of the worst things you can do when you have a deadline is to check your work email. You are more likely to spend more time reading and answering that work email than actually working on the job you have. Bring out your to-do-list and check off a task before attempting to open any emails.

9. Exercise

A good workout is said improve concentration levels and increase your mental sharpness. It’s an all-in-all brilliant way to help you build your focus back and is also said to reduce stress, anxiety and help you sleep better.

10. Will Power

Will Power Beats Procrastination Hands down

Time to suck it up. Procrastination is not even an option because the clock is ticking and work needs to get done asap! Just shake yourself, and get crackin’. Sometimes a good telling off from someone will put you right where you need to be.

Tried these tips? Please tell us if it helps you beat procrastination or not.

Content contributed by the creative team at The Pink Group.

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Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Internet Access

Combating Cyber Crimes: Basic Computer Security Tips for Business

Cyber criminals cost businesses up to £21 billion annually in the UK. This is hardly surprising, given that 20 per cent of all recorded crime in the UK involves targeting businesses: cyber crime is extremely profitable to criminals.

While some businesses take care of their physical security relatively well, the lack of awareness when it comes to business computer security is astonishing. Even the smallest loophole can lead to catastrophic losses. You must ensure that your Head of IT is fully keyed up on all the risks and safeguards.

The internet and its risks

Running your own in-house email infrastructure is a full-time job on its own. Superfast fibre optic broadband is a blessing, but it brings with it a whole new range of threats to your business. Malware and other harmful cyber threats are plentiful in supply, so you need to make sure that your IT department is fully equipped to defend your business.

If your company is considering migrating its email system to a cloud-based service, internet threats will no longer be your concern: the cloud service will monitor your cyber defences. On the other hand, if you’re continuing with your internal server, it’s of the utmost importance that your IT department stays on top of software updates, particularly with antivirus software.

Encrypt your hard drives

Encrypted Cloud Storage Security

Whatever business you’re in, it’s vital that all of your hard drives are encrypted properly. Passwords aren’t enough to obstruct hackers any more. The best way of preventing a hacker from accessing your files from a remote location is to commission a full-disk encryption to make sure that all of your files, even deleted ones, are protected from hackers.

This task is best left to the experts. While there is free encryption software out there for you to use, implementing the encryption incorrectly will create loopholes for hackers to jump through and steal your data.

Smart passwords

25 worst password for 2011

It’s not enough to create a long, complicated password anymore – hackers are extremely sophisticated and will probably be able to figure out most passwords. To be sure that your data is hacker-proof, you need to have long, complex passwords that mix letters with numbers and other symbols.

Of course, it’s very difficult to remember a whole list of these kinds of ‘super-passwords’. Instead of asking your staff to memorise impossibly long passwords, invest in a password manager program to generate complex, hacker-proof passwords that the program will remember for you.

Making sure your business has sound data protection sometimes is more important than making sure your business premises are well guarded against vandalism or burglaries. Cyber crime can take your entire business down: it’s vital to make sure that you’re secured against it.

How do you intend to protect your email address data from hackers this year? Are there tips you would like to share with us? 

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Web Banner Design (Ads Concepts) Web Development & Design Ideas Web Hosting

Top 5 Web Design Tools for your next Web Designing Projects

No doubt, website designing may be more cumbersome, time consuming and difficult. Fortunately, there are a number of software tools that could make the task much easier. Professional web designer writes in programming codes, but sometimes, they employ the services of the web design software.

Software tools makes web design looks easier, saves time and yield better results.

Nowadays, it doesn’t really matter if you an expert or not before you can construct something online you can call your own website. A lot of WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) web design program can guide you to completely build your own website from scratch without attending an InfoTech college, even though with the availability of the WYSIWYG guides, it is very wise idea for you to have basic skills on programming.

There are a lot of web design tools available but we will be looking at few of them and how they fit into individual skills. In my article today, I’ll be listing very few that I have come across over the course of my web development journey till date that you can bank on for effective results. 

List below are great website design tools for experts and newbies to take advantage of:

Great Website Design Tools for everyone

 Adobe Dreamweaver

Adobe Dreamweaver Creative CloudDreamweaver is a great web design tool from Adobe; it is the best choice for the expert and averagely professional website designers. It goes beyond an ordinary HTML editor; it fully integrates coding tools and visual design. Besides those great features, it supports a wide array of scripting languages such as; PHP, CSS and ASP.

Dreamweaver gives you full control during the design process; it offers the best customization properties and includes features such as roll over images, collapsible panels, fluid grid layouts, drop down menus and simple apps for mobile devices.

Courtesy of the advanced WYSIWYG capabilities, designing a simple website with the Adobe software is pretty easy; it will help you out with the HTML code, so you need not to worry to become a coding whiz to design a website.

Adobe made the Dreamweaver to be a hybrid editing tool, so if you are already grounded in coding, you can work using the dual panel taking advantage of the WYSIWYG and hand-coding alongside. Coding experts can exclusively work on the code and later switch to see the final product. Dreamweaver allows incorporation of a number of plug-in which even make web design easier.

Microsoft Expressions Web

The Microsoft web design product is also great, it features and hybrid editing like the Dreamweaver in a dual-panel setting for the simultaneous hand coding and WYSIWYG system. Expressions Web is packed with built in templates making web design much easier.

This tool is barely good enough for beginners, as it lacks drawing or drag and drop positioning tools. You need the basics of Web development before you can make use of Microsoft Expression Web.

One reason why developers recommend Expression web is because of its SEO features which makes it easy for search engine bots to crawl your site and improve your search engine rankings.

Coda 2

Coda 2The first launch of Coda was in 2007, and updated later in 2012. It is web design software exclusively for Mac. Coda is a “One window web design” meaning you can’t switch between apps or programs during the design process. The core web design tools is placed on a facility called the “super sidebar”.

For real, Coda cannot compare to Dreamweaver in terms of features, but it does offer a top-notch HTML and CSS coding environment which includes; debugging, code hinting, and validation. It has a special CSS authoring tool which allows web designers to control their style sheets from inside a visual interface.

Amaya

When you are looking for a first class open source free web authoring tools, Amaya offers its best WYSIWYG program on Windows, Mac and Linux. The software was first launched in 1996 and updated last around January 2012. Beginners without any coding experience could easily play around with this tool and it also supports HTML, CSS and XML.

Bluefish

Bluefish web design appJust like Amaya, Bluefish is also a free, open source text editor; it extends its own compatibility from Windows, Mac and Linux to Solaris and Mac OS X.

Bluefish is the mother of versatility and flexibility in the web design industry, webmaster can develop in HTML, XHTML, CSS, XML, PHP, C, C++, Java, JavaScript, Vala, D, Ada, Google Go, Python, Shell, Ruby, SQL, and JSP among others. Unfortunately, you need to know how to code because it does not offer WYSIWYG.

I can boldly say Bluefish is one of the best web design software out there and usually used to generate dynamic web design. It is a great utility for mobile web design, a trend which continues to increase on daily basis.

Google Web Designer

Google Web Designer Application

The latest entrant into my list of web design tools you can use for your next or upcoming web development projects is the newly introduced Google Web Designer. The tool lets you create astonishing and nicely looking website with click of your mouse. You have all you need at your disposal for a clean and perfect output.

I love this tool, it looks promising with its layout and interface. Although, I’m yet to crack the code of using it to the best of my abilities, but I still think I can master that in few days if I’m really interested in using it for my next WYSIWYG (including HTML, CSS, XML based projects). However, if you’re not interested in building your website from scratch, but want something less stressful, then consider HTML Templates by MotoCMS, the guys there offer some wide range of awesome templates for your needs.

What are other helpful tools you’ve come across online that you’d love us to check out? Please share the name and if possible, the direct download link so we could check them out for our readers’ benefits.

Happy new month!!!

Categories
Cloud Computing Technologies and Resources Designs & Invention Discovery Education Featured Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

eLearning & Distance Education: Still a Place at the Table?

eLearning has developed a poor reputation as a viable part of a sales enablement strategy. But is it time to turn our back on a training tool once so full of promise? Let’s take a look at what eLearning can offer, where it has fallen short, and how it can still be a tool for the future.

It’s Supposed to Be Exciting

Bernard Luskin, an early proponent of eLearning, says “The ‘e’ in e-learning means much more than “electronic” when applied to e-learning — think instead of a big ‘E’ for ‘exciting, energetic, engaging, extended’ learning.” While this may not be an accurate description of your experience with eLearning, here are some advantages to adding an eLearning component to corporate training:

eLearning: Benefits of Distance Learning/Training

With employees spread out across large areas, decentralized training reduces travel costs and time out of the field. eLearning can provide up-to-date training in a flexible timetable at a lower cost than training in person.

1. Changes are Updated Instantly for All Participants

Materials and training programs can be edited, with updates occurring instantly across the system.

2. Modules are Highly Interactive

High-quality eLearning modules provide interactive, memorable learning experiences with multimedia and simulated hands-on workplace training.

3. As-Needed Training for Learners

Training doesn’t have to be limited to a few instructor-led sessions a year. New hires can jump into training immediately. New information, such as handling objections b in response to recent news reports, can be developed and distributed instantly.

4. eLearning Can Be Part of Blended Learning

eLearning can supplement and support instructor-led training, video segments, textbooks, mobile apps, and other forms of instruction and performance support.

5. Less Expensive than Instructor-Led Training

Assembling a group for ILT is costly in many ways: travel expenses, the opportunity cost for the time out of the field, cost to provide the trainer, space, and bowls of candy on the tables.

6. Learning is Self-paced

eLearning modules can be responsive to the needs of the learners, who progress at their own speed. If they need to backtrack and spend more time on an unfamiliar concept, they can take as long as they need. In some cases, learners can move on through material they have already mastered.

7. Consistent message

eLearning provides a consistent message throughout the entire company. There is no risk of unapproved materials or messages. This is especially important in highly-regulated industries.

Learning Management System (LMS) Tracks Progress

An LMS will track an individual’s progress, completion of modules, and test scores. It will also allow you to maintain records of who has completed mandatory training for audits.

The Deadly Sins of eLearning

With all of this “exciting, energetic, and engaging” potential, why has eLearning earned a reputation as the torture chamber of training? The horrible eLearning experiences that make us wince in memory are the result of unimaginative, lazy, and cheap development. Here are the consequences:

Nothing More Than An Electronic Binder

Take the pages in a binder, move them to a screen, add an advance button and voila! Instant eLearning module and a torture device. This is the worst kind of eLearning program, and one of the reasons it has developed a bad reputation.

Ignorance of Multimedia Learning Principles

what makes elearning easyDr. Richard Mayer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been doing research into multimedia learning principles for years. Among his findings? The best learning occurs with a memorable image and narration—not with paragraphs of text on a screen. Mayer’s work is well-respected and widely available, so there’s no excuse for doing things in ways that are proven to be ineffective. Get the words off the screen and into the voice-over and give the learner an image to remember.

Reliance on Basic and Boring Interactions

Most basic interactions fall into one of two categories: click and reveal or drag and drop. But these basic functions can be jazzed up. Even better: create interactions that will actually mimic real-life job functions.

Important Information Embedded in Course

Why leave important information embedded at minute 35 of a 50-minute course without the ability to return to it easily? Menus should enable the learner to easily return to a completed course without having to pass 3 quizzes to get to that one bit of information. Even better, put that information into a .pdf that can be printed out for future reference.

Poorly Planned Development with Unclear Objectives

Information should be delivered in an organized, logical way to the learner can mentally store and retrieve it easily. This is not unique to eLearning; the same principles apply to ITL, binders, and your closet.

Information Download with No Learner Discovery

Adult learning principles are crucial in the design of an eLearning program. Learners who are motivated to discover information have better understanding, retention, and application than passive learners. Design the program with the end user’s needs in mind rather than the trainer’s needs. For example, beginning the program with a description of the learner’s benefits rather than the objectives shifts the focus from the trainer to the learner.

It’s too long!

It’s tempting to add in just a bit more information based on how long our ILT sessions are, but eLearning is a different animal. Keep it under 45 minutes—30 minutes is even better. Anything longer loses effectiveness.

Boring!!!

I think we all get this one. But steps are been taken to further make e-learning as interactive as possible. With massive investment in this industry, the future learning environment could feature interactive media and one on one learning experience with instructors even while on public transport. It is already in practice, just yet to be fully enrolled for the larger part of the audience. 

How can eLearning be an effective part of a sales enablement strategy?

elearning tree

With all of its potential advantages, eLearning still has a place at the table. What does that look like? Here are some ideas:

Make it Part of Blended Solution

Are you starting to hear a buzz about mlearning—moving training to mobile devices like an iPad? It’s a wonderful idea, especially since sales performance support apps are becoming common. But mobile devices have limitations, including smaller screens, less memory, multimedia limitations, and security issues. The best solutions will continue to be a blend of ILT, eLearning, and mobile, where each type can play to its unique strength.

Creates interactive, sticky, imaginative experiences

We’re getting better at creating real-life experiences, and eLearning will follow in Call of Duty’s path. eLearning doesn’t even have to be very good in comparison to gaming to become a whole lot better than it’s been.

Don’t make it simply an electronic binder

Get the text off the screen. This is so important, I’ll say it again. No text on the screen. Yes, I mean you. We can do better than that.

Emphasis on understanding, retention, application

When we focus on the three areas of understanding, retention, and application, and encourage thoughtfulness and creativity, eLearning modules will morph into effective programs that are enjoyable (because that is important to all three areas) and effective.

eLearning is not dead yet. We can revive it by using it with care in the right places and applying best practices to its design.

Do you have additions or questions to raise about the benefits of eLearning in this modern age? I’d love to discuss them with you below. Hit me up!

Categories
Social Media

3 Viable Alternatives to Pinterest Website You Could Start Using Today

Pinterest is a website and image bookmarking website that is also a social media network. It allows people to bookmark pages, elements, pictures, etc, and then post them onto boards. People are then able to create boards with themes, comment on other boards, post, repost and otherwise share what they have placed on their boards. They are also able to search through the boards of other people to find images and pages that interest them.

There are few other websites that are like this, but here are three that are similar. The list is in no particular order, but if you read through their descriptions you will see how they are all similar to Pinterest in some way.

Pinterest is a website and image bookmaking website and social media. In this post today, we’ll share Pinterest Alternatives you could start using right away.

Other Alternatives to Pinterest

1. Gentlemint

This is a site that is similar to Pinterest. It is a social bookmarking and image bookmarking website. The only thing that seems strange about this website is that it is another of those “invite only” websites. Majority of these types of websites have gone on to look very good, but have never really come close to achieving what the bigger social media networks have achieved. So, it is curious as to why they chose this type of system.

Gentlemint

It allows you to post images, share them, re-share the comments of others, and “like” the images that you find. The “like” button looks like a moustache, as it relates to the whole gentleman side of the equation that is implied within the website title.

You have to request an invite if you want to join the community. There are already thousands of users, and apparently there are thousands of pending invitation requests too. The website is not as attractive as the others on this article (or as attractive as Pinterest). Whether this has been done in order to differentiate itself from Pinterest is unclear, or it could be that they are trying to attract more men by making it less “pretty.”

2. The Fancy

This is a website that is similar to Pinterest. It allows you to follow different members of the network and allows you to comment on the images that you find. It allows you to repost things that other people post and it is geared towards being more gender neutral. Through no fault of its own, Pinterest has become dominated by female profiles. It appears that this website has taken design steps to try to avoid that.

The Fancy

You can search using the categories navigation or you can browse the profiles and posts that you see and find. They also have a search function for if you are looking for something specific.

You can earn different badges for doing different things, in the same way that you can with Squidoo. You can generate money with this social media website. If you refer people using their referral channels then they will give you a small payment in reward. There is also a merchant’s store that you can explore if you like. It allows you to buy a whole range of goods that you would normally buy online.

3 – We heart it

This website is taking advantage of the fact that Pinterest has a very large female audience. It has gone a little over the top with the feminine theme. It has made things very pink, which is going to keep a lot of men off of the site, but is also going to dissuade quite a few women too (probably women over the age of 30).  The pink does make it look a little “young and girlie” to the point where it may even attract a lot of gay men.

WeHeartIt works like Pinterest for image collection

This website has not tried to create a dominant social media network, and this is shown by the fact that it has integrated Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr into the system. You are able to share the images that you bookmark on those networks, and people are able to see who the most active users are. You can set up your profile so that every time you pin an image, it shows up on your other social media profiles.

Instead of having boards and pins, you have boards and hearts (pins), and the user is not a pinner; he or she is a “hearter.” It uses the same idea as Pinterest by allowing the users to pin things onto boards, thereby creating boards with themes. Just like the others on this article (and Pinterest), you are able to search through different categories in order to find the posts and “hearts” that interest you. Or, you can run specific searches for topics that interest you.