Featured articles..

Advanced Interviewing: How To Screen Candidates Like A Pro

Today’s job environment has created heavy competition for coveted jobs in today’s economy. As an HR professional you are looking beyond resumes and college degrees for those intangible qualities that bring tremendous value to your organization and that adds favorably to your culture. According to the National Association of College and Employers Job Outlook 2016, employers plan to hire 11 percent more college graduates of the Class of 2016 over the previous year’s graduates in the coming year.

What separates you as an employer against those you may be competing against in competing for the best and the brightest is how you screen and interview candidates. Beyond planning ahead and mapping out probing interview questions, what are some of the best practices that are being recommended by other HR professionals that go beyond the basics and distinguish you from the pack. Here are some tips to consider for your interviewing process in order to recruit, screen and hire the best candidates for your company.

Screening for the Right Candidate 

Screening for the best job candidates involves an understanding of the mentality behind effective interviewing techniques. An effective interview involves winnowing and sifting through applications and resumes to find those individuals you most desire to have come work for you. Much of the interviewing process itself involves looking for round pegs that fit in a round hole. Trying to make something that is different from what you are looking for fit within your organization’s structure and culture is not only a bad fit, it may result in the addition of a disruptive element. Looking for those qualities that compliment your organization allows you to get to those candidates who will add true value to your company.

Techniques for Advanced Interviewing 

One identified, you must make use of the limited time available to interview a candidate. An effective interview means employing certain techniques that allow you to make judgements about a prospective employee. Before a person sits down and begins speaking with you, you should make assessments about their appearance, presence and state of mind. In other words, is the person appropriately dressed for the interview? Does the individual slump when they walk or do they exude an air of confidence and competence? Do they appear upset, angry, passive or eager to get started? These non-verbal cues are important to assess and should be noted as part of your overall evaluation and recommendation.

Tools to Employ Beyond the Basics 

It is easy to be impressed by a job candidate who enters your organization with an Ivy League or other elite school credential. As easy as it is to rely on top grades from a top degree granting institution like Harvard as an indicator of success, it may be better to go beyond the resume to truly determine the ability of the candidate and learn their whole story. Set degrees and resumes aside and focus on probing the personality and character of the candidate to determine their fit with your organization’s culture. Asking effective questions that allow you to open up a candidate allows you to discover who you are interviewing and removes the bias of only choosing those individuals who possess superior credentials but may clash with your company’s culture.

Author bio:
Andrew Armstrong is a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and digital strategies consultant based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His recently published works include contributions to Renewable Energy World, BPlans.com, HR.com, and Tech.co. A graduate of U.C. Berkeley in 2003 through the Interdisciplinary Studies Field program, Andrew writes and consults for numerous clients in a variety of technology-oriented industries. Follow him on Twitter @kickstartsearch.

Image credit: License: Royalty Free or iStock
Link: http://www.123rf.com/photo_38288596_businesswoman-interviewing-male-candidate-for-job-in-office.html
Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How Tech Is Expanding Small Businesses' Reach

Small businesses in today's world have a lot of advantages that they may not have enjoyed even five or ten years ago. This isn't to say that it's easy to operate or grow a small business by any means. However, in such ventures a major part of the battle tends to be expanding brand awareness and reaching as many customers as possible in the most efficient possible manner. Large or established companies used to have distinct advantages in these areas due to their resources and advertising capabilities. But now the playing field has evened out, at least marginally, thanks to modern technology's capability to expand a small business's reach through various means.

Web Design

Web design is certainly nothing new for small businesses. In fact it's been widely accepted for some time now that a small business without a strong web platform is essentially selling itself short. What's changed in recent years is that numerous platforms have arisen that can help business owners with designing their own websites without having to hiring designers or learning how to code. Superb Website Builders took an in-depth look at Wix and Squarespace, which are arguably the two leading platforms in this area. While each has its particular perks, the end summary is that both are incredibly useful to people without web design experience. Thanks to platforms like these, pretty much any business can fulfill the need for a strong website.

App Development

App development is basically the new web design, in that most businesses are beginning to understand that the need for an app is every bit as urgent as the need for a website. It's not quite as easy as building a site through one of the platforms listed regarding web design, and many business owners will wind up needing to pay a designer to build an app. Nevertheless, the benefit of such a tool for expanding a business's reach is difficult to overstate. An app effectively functions as a direct link between you and your customers. With an app, you can do the following: send updates, promotional schedules, and discount coupons related to your business; receive customer feedback; and depending on the nature of the business, you may even be able to conduct sales remotely.

Changing Payments

We're rapidly changing the ways in which we pay for things. Cash is being used less and less in favor of credit and debit cards. Yet, even these cards are being gradually replaced by digital payment methods that allow users to scan card information from a mobile device without actually having the card. What this means for a lot of small business owners is that it's now easier than ever before to get out and about among customers (at events, trade shows or festivals, on college campuses, or wherever else) and make sales. Worldpay discusses the benefits of a number of payment methods, including portable card machines, digital card readers and the like. And they note that each of these tools can allow you to expand your sales beyond the physical boundaries of a business.

Cloud Deployment

We've previously discussed the importance of cloud deployments for business intelligence in small business environments, and this is certainly part of the conversation about how tech can expand the reach of such a business. Simply put, a reliable cloud structure can significantly increase a company's productivity and thus allow for more ambitious goals and, in a very broad sense, more activity.

Through these and other innovations and ideas, the very nature of operating a small business is beginning to change. This is no doubt part of the reason that this decade has brought on such widespread enthusiasm for entrepreneurial pursuits in America.

The Best In Car Cameras In 2016

With the troubling rise of ‘crash for cash’ incidents, dash cams are rapidly gaining in popularity. But which one should you choose?

In recent years there has been a troubling rise in the number of ‘crash for cash’ incidents that have occurred on British roads. These are incidents in which unscrupulous individuals deliberately cause accidents in order to make insurance claims. Drivers are particularly vulnerable in such incidents, as the onus is on them to prove their innocence and they often lack the evidence to do this. The increase in such incidences has led to a surge in the popularity of in-car cameras, otherwise known as dash cams.

What are dash cams?

Dash cams are video cameras which are affixed to the dashboard of a car. Most models operate by recording on a loop system. They usually come with a sensor that monitors G force in order to detect any sudden changes, which would indicate an impact or crash. The cameras are then prevented from recording over this bit of footage.

Why should I get a dash cam?

The main reason for getting a dash cam is that it can offer you peace of mind. If you are ever unfortunate enough to be involved in a ‘crash for cash’ incident, you will be able to prove conclusively that the accident was not your fault. This will obviously prevent any potential expense and protect your no-claims bonus. A dash cam can also save you money on your insurance, however: some insurance companies now offer significant discounts on their premiums if you have a dash cam fitted.

Which dash cam should I buy?

There are several great products on the market at the moment, here are a few of the best at you can install.

Transcend DrivePro 200 – This camera is extremely affordable, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in features. Its wide angle lens means that a wide range of action can be captured from the road in front of your car. The camera features an LCD colour screen, so you can easily watch back any video that has been recorded. The camera is also small enough to be discreet, meaning that it won’t be obvious that you are recording.

Garmin Dash Cam 20 – Garmin are one of the most recognised brands in the sat nav market. The company have now moved into dash cams, and this is their offering. This camera is dependable and very easy to operate, with instinctive and simple menus. It features a wide angle lens and 1080p HD video. This model also features a built-in microphone, allowing you to record audio from the inside of your car. In the event of an accident this audio can also serve as useful evidence.

RAC 04 Dash Cam – This offering from the RAC is an entry-level camera. Affordable and easy to operate, it nevertheless offers 1080p HD video recording. It also offers in-car audio recording and an LCD colour screen.

Mio MiVue R30 Mirror Cam – This camera offers the ultimate discretion. It is designed to replace your car’s existing rear-view mirror with one that incorporates a camera that is very difficult to spot. With a G force sensor and wide angle lens, this camera will record in extreme high definition. Other types of mirror cam are available, should discretion be a concern.
The key to making use of a dash cam is to ensure that you fully learn how it works, and the best way to do this is to install one and have a play. Learn how to upload and save footage to your computer, how to send videos and how to ensure that vital footage is not deleted.
Dash cams won’t necessarily make you safer on the roads, but they can be very helpful at recording accidents and showing who is to blame.

Author bio:
Simon Faulkner is the director of Eyewitness Cameras, who provide car, bike and helmet cameras that can be used to help resolve road accident disputes.

Img License: Image author owned

Home Theater Systems Under $500

Trying to find a great home theater system but on a budget? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Often times, I prefer to enjoy a great movie in the comfort of my own home rather than going to a cinema where you’re squished onto a tiny seat next to noisy people who are loudly chewing their popcorn. Let’s not forget about the head in front of you obstructing your view.

Wouldn’t it be great to be at home in your own living room and enjoy cinema quality sound? I know what you’re thinking: “It’s too expensive!” Well, I’ve got you covered! Here’s a list of home theater systems that won’t cost you an arm and a leg to purchase!

1. Pioneer SP-PK22BS

Designed by Pioneer’s chief expert engineer himself, Andrew Jones created this model for the sole purpose of having high quality speakers at a consumer’s average price range. The system itself boasts of two SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speakers plus a SP-C22 center speaker with an SW-8MK2 subwoofer. All are designed to work in sync. Impress your friends and family with an affordable designer home system.

Retail price: $499.99

2. Energy Take Classic 5.1

Rated a perfect 5 stars by the CNET.com Editors, this sound system is a 6-piece system complete with satellite speakers, central channel and subwoofers. Its best feature is it’s beautiful high gloss black finish, which makes for a stylish addition to your home theater. It even features a wall-mounting slot so it can easily be incorporated in any home theater room. Its reviewers are astounded by it’s sound and have mentioned that its sound quality is bigger than it looks for such a compact system. Overall, the Energy Take Classic 5.1 continues to be the great choice for quality home theater system for those on a budget can enjoy.

Retail price: $311

3. Vizio S4251W-B4

If the first two products weren’t what you were looking for and a sound bar is what your home theater needs then this one is for you. The Vizio 42” Sound bar is an award winning home theater system. It has garnered awards from Techlicious as the Best Sound Bar Under $300 as well as Sound & Vision’s Top Pick Of The Year. It promises a full surround sound with a three-channel sound bar, wireless subwoofer and satellite speakers. It has Dolby Digital surround sound, which is the standard for most cinemas as well as DTS Digital Surround audio resolution. For convenience, it is Wireless and Bluetooth enabled. Retail price: $207

There you have it- 3 quality home theater systems that won’t break the bank! Soon, you’ll be able to watch all your favorite movies in your own home with the best quality sound! What’s more, purchasing a home theater system, will make for great bonding time with the family so make sure to invest in gadget insurance in case of breakdowns and malfunctions. Watch out for common home theater problems like “no sound from speakers” or “no signal.” Have your gadget insurance ready when this happens! So go ahead, get yourself a home theater system and make memories with your family while enjoying your all time favorite movies.

Author’s Bio: 
Joel Ekstein is an eCommerce retail expert with over 12 years experience in the industry. He has had experience in buyer and inventory forecasting, marketing, and expanding customer base in new markets. Instead of the notion that offering 100% customer satisfaction hurts 20% of profit, Joel has proved that 100% customer satisfaction increases customer engagement and customer base which leads to 25% profit increase. http://protect-o.com/| twitter.com/Protect_O

Build your Own Home Automation System Choosing the Right Technologies

Surely most of us living in the modern society have dreamed about having the best home that can offer us the most comfort. How can we truly acquire this kind of home? Well one of the best ideas might be to set smart home complete with home automation systems. With today’s technology, all those that you might have ever dreamed of about a home can become a reality with the right set-up.

First of all, building an automation system for your home requires you to plan ahead which parts of your home and what specific features you want your home to have. By doing so, you can now plan for how you would govern the management of your appliances and home gadgets. Of course you also want to maximize your automated control for your automation system and by that, you must also choose the right medium which you feel most comfortable with. Older models made use of Arduino and Raspberry Pi but modern technology has a lot more to offer. Many home automation system companies may offer a variety of products made especially for your luxury and all can easily be controlled via an application easily installed to your smartphone.

 Many features of the home can be easily regulated through your phone, but may still require some set-up of some system for signal control. If you however go for the older method via Arduino or Raspberry pi, then you may go through a little extra effort of programming and designing your own board and set-up. If you lack the knowledge of doing so, then you can easily Google the basics for your own knowledge. I would recommend going for the one which may require the movement of your fingertips alone on your phone or tablet.

Choosing the right technologies for your smart home will also require you to know and choose the gadgets and physical machinery for your appliances. Today, you can order different smart products that have their own feature made for your comfort. Such products might include TVs, kitchenware, and automated mechanical systems via electric pulleys or better yet low energy consumption actuators. You can find more about mechanical systems on 12vactuators.com website. Many of such products are already available for order through the internet. 


As I have mentioned, you are to pick the objects in your home that are to be automated and regulated. This includes variety of electric appliances from your TV as mentioned above, your computer, your cookware, your lighting, and even your temperature. Building your smart home, you may want to include every feature that today’s technology can offer in order to live your life in a home that you have personally designed and made comfortable.


Installing mechanical motion systems will most likely be involved in your home automation system. The best bet would be to use electric actuators which easily be chosen from the net or your local electrical appliance store. Actuators have low power consumption but efficient mechanical outputs and are very effective for smooth motion. With actuators, you can maximize the space of your home by installing retractable and motion-ready appliances so that you can move them to where you like them to be but with much less effort.

With that knowledge, what are you waiting for? Go now and start planning for your smart home. Comfort is a key to living a beautiful life. 

IK Multimedia unveils iRig BlueTurn

iRig BlueTurn is a compact Bluetooth page turner with backlit buttons that provides an effortless hands-free way to turn pages and scroll through set lists, scores, lyric sheets, slides, presentations and other documents on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and Android

IK Multimedia, the leader in mobile music creation and technology products, is pleased to announce iRig® BlueTurn, the first backlit compact Bluetooth page turning solution for iPhone, iPad, Mac and Android. Portable and streamlined, it's a small foot controller with two highly visible backlit soft-touch buttons that musicians, performers and more can easily pair with their favourite device for use with a wide range of document viewing apps and software like IK's iKlip Stage app.

Designed for use on stage and on the road, iRig BlueTurn runs on two AAA batteries and features a rugged, durable enclosure. It's an ideal companion for musicians who perform from a score, guitar and bass players who practise with tablature, speakers who use notes, presenters who use slides and more.

Portable page turning

With iRig BlueTurn, it's easy to take control from the floor. Once it's paired to a device or computer, its buttons send standard HID messages over Bluetooth LE technology. iRig BlueTurn works with IK's owniKlip® Stage setlist management app and it's also compatible with many popular page turning and document viewing apps and software.

iRig BlueTurn's buttons can be used in three different modes: They can send Page Up/Page Down, Arrow Up/Arrow Down or Arrow Left/Arrow Right commands depending on whether scrolling or page turning is required. These different modes can be set directly from the hardware when powering up.

Light it up

iRig BlueTurn is made for performers. Its backlit buttons are incredibly handy considering that most performance situations take place in venues with a low amount of ambient light. These buttons have an unobtrusive glow that makes them well suited for use during digital slideshows, while performing music or giving a lecture.

Road ready

iRig BlueTurn is ready to go. It sports a small footprint and an enclosure that's tough enough to stand up to the rigours of the road. It easily fits into any small bag or backpack, which makes it a great travel companion for the performer on the go. A mobile design, it's powered by 2 AAA batteries, which last a long time thanks to its ultra-low energy consumption rate.

Pricing and availability

iRig BlueTurn will be available in February 2016 from music and electronics retailers worldwide, and from the IK online store, for only $/€69.99 (excluding taxes).

For more information about iRig BlueTurn, please visit www.irigblueturn.com

Business Intelligence Trends For 2016

The world of Business Intelligence is continuously evolving and 2016 is likely to be the year that we’ll see some major changes in the industry.
Here are some of the trends that are expected over the next twelve months.

Self-Service Business Intelligence 
Business Intelligence is no longer something that only analysts and IT departments utilise in their business processes. Instead, everybody from managers to end users will be able to get access to the data that they require through various different APIs or tools on their desktops or other devices.
It is estimated that self-service data preparation is growing 2.5 times faster in 2016 than the traditional IT-controlled tools. This is going to cause a switch in IT culture, where businesses move away from the typical centralised style of IT operations. IT support will need to adapt to educate end users in the Business Intelligence software that the company provides.

Data Security Solutions 

There has been a worryingly thin layer of security surrounding many Business Intelligence software suites launched to date. Companies that were passionate about using BI on a mass scale were choosing to deploy distributed desktop BI tools across their organisations. This left IT departments in a tailspin as they had to manually add layers of security and controls to prevent the data from being compromised. It is expected that 2016 will see BI being developed with additional in-built security layers to overcome this problem.

Cloud BI Deployments 

With the cloud becoming so popular for many organisations, it stands to reason that we’ll see a significant rise in Cloud Business Intelligence deployments. It is estimated that the growth of cloud-based BI in 2016 will be 4.5 times more than traditional on-premises solutions for BI. Companies that already utilise cloud services for their existing operations will probably be more likely to make the first moves.

Small To Medium Sized Businesses 

The way in which small to medium-sized businesses handle their day to day operations can be completely overhauled with the introduction of Business Intelligence. From sales and marketing teams to the administrative tasks handled by accounts departments, Business Intelligence in 2016 may see a massive reduction in spreadsheet usage as companies invest in their own bespoke BI reporting and analytics systems.

Mobile Analytics 

Business Intelligence software will be deployed to mobile technology on a mass scale. Users have got used to a ‘get data now’ culture and this extends to BI use. BI software needs to offer immediate live reporting across all platforms, not just on desktop programs. Efficient BI systems allow for syncing with mobile devices which will improve the experience for any end user who is out of the office at a business meeting, on their commute or working from home.

The integration of Business Intelligence is dominating many corporate IT discussions at the moment. It is imperative that businesses and their employees move with the changing technology in order to remain competitive. The world of IT is a fast-paced one, so ‘adapt to survive’ would be a good strategy for corporate professionals in 2016.

Author bio:
Karen Harding is the marketing manager at Objective IT, one of the South East’s leading web and software development companies.

Featured images:
License: Image author owned 

Technology Used To Track Criminals

Technology has made staying hidden more difficult for fugitives over the years. While background checks and international crime databases are two powerful tools used to catch criminals, newer technologies have revolutionized efforts to put fugitives behind bars. Here is a look at some of the top technological tools used for tracking criminals today.


The Internet is a vast collection of sites where footprints of criminals can be found by law enforcement. Just like other people, many criminals use social networking sites to keep in touch with friends, family and others. Police can use these sites in a variety of ways. For example, police can plan investigations based on information and pictures posted by criminals and their associates. Information on employment, residence and travel can also be found with online tools. By creating fake social media profiles, police can also befriend criminals to gain access to inside information that can lead to a successful arrest.


Smartphones constantly transmit their location to cell phone towers. While the average person cannot track other people by their phones, police can do so with special tools. The fact that courts have upheld the legality of this tactic has made cell phone location a common option for tracking the movements of criminals. At more than 200 U.S. police departments, police routinely employ cell phone tracking to catch criminals, including cell phone thieves, drug dealers and others. Special tools that mimic cell phone towers can also be used to access cell phones and listen in on criminals through their phone microphones.

Vehicle GPS Units 

Many modern vehicles contain GPS units by default, including those equipped with OnStar. For most people, GPS is a handy tool for navigation and a powerful safety measure in case of accidents. For law enforcement agencies, GPS units enable tracking of fugitives for faster apprehension. Furthermore, the use of these systems improves public safety be reducing the need for high-speed chases on roads and highways. Instead, police can wait for criminals to stop before going in for an arrest. Of course, the use of vehicle GPS units for tracking is sometimes impractical during sudden pursuits. In such situations, other tracking devices may be deployed.

Tracking Devices 

Police are increasingly using special devices to track criminals during vehicle pursuits. In the past, placing a tracking device on a criminal's vehicle required waiting until the vehicle stopped. Now, some police agencies have sticky propelled GPS units that officers can shoot from the front of their vehicles onto the vehicles of criminals they are actively pursuing. Once the GPS unit has adhered to the suspect's vehicle, police can start tracking the vehicle from their headquarters. Police can then speed toward the criminal's location as soon as the tracked vehicle stops.

Technology continues to improve safety and increase convenience in daily life. With its increasing applications in law enforcement, technology also benefits the public by helping to keep criminals off the streets. As technology continues to grow, police will doubtlessly have even more tools at their disposal for locating and catching fugitives.

Author bio:
Kyle Carter is an avid blogger and professional bail bondsman with C&K OKC Bail Bonds in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Kyle is passionate about sharing information online through his blogs, on youtube, and provides local bail bonds services in OKC to the local community.
Thursday, January 21, 2016

Robots To Man Passenger Cruise Liners

Thousands of cruise passengers to be greeted by robots named “Pepper”

From the spring of 2016, passengers of Costa Cruises will be greeted by a group of robots known as 'Pepper', which will provide them with useful information about their trip, which could include everything from dining options to information on how to get about on board. The robots are expected to make their debut on AIDAprima and Costa Diadema ships, and Costa plans to roll-out the entire fleet by the end of this summer.

These are not just any old robots, however; they are intelligent robots, with the capacity to recognise human emotions. Pepper can respond to requests incredibly accurately, perhaps even more consistently and efficiently than a real human could. The robots are just under four feet in height and have a cutting-edge 3-D camera, which can easily detect humans and their movements.

Trained just like real employees 

Costa Cruises has stated that these robots still have to undergo intensive internship programmes, just like human employees, to prove that they are fit for purpose and can engage with staff and customers at the required standard. However, one of the main advantages of robots is that, assuming they have been designed correctly, there is no room for 'human' error. Robots can provide much more consistent, factually correct information in a way that many staff probably can't, although it's possible that robots may still struggle with more obscure, complex requests.

Cost cutting?

From a financial perspective, it certainly makes sense that businesses like this are making the transition to robots. No salary to pay, no sick pay, no annual leave - a robot can serve people all day, every day. Despite the high initial cost of manufacturing the robots, they could be a substantially more cost-effective long-term alternative to hiring a human employee.

However, there is another potential reason why Costa Cruises is embracing this technology: robots won't have to worry about spending so much time away from home. Employees working on cruise ships often have to spend considerable time away from family and friends, which can certainly takes its toll emotionally.

What will passengers think?

Will passengers interpret the move to robots as a step forward for customer service? Or will they regard it as a polarisation of customer service – a move simply designed to cut costs and give the customer less value for their money?

Do people still prefer the human touch?

A study, in the context of supermarket shopping, revealed that people still generally prefer to be served by other people as opposed to machines. For example, data from the Australian-based marketing consultant Barry Urquhart found that five out of six people would rather be served by humans than 'administer their own automated checkout'. Even in 2016, many people still have problems with self-service checkouts, whether it's scanning a product, waiting for a member of staff to approve a restricted item (i.e. alcohol), or dealing with frozen screens.

Language limitations

These robots will only understand English, German and Italian, which could obviously be a problem for people who have no or limited command of these languages.

Author bio:
Laura Reeve is the Marketing Executive for Avanti Travel Insurance, which specialises in travel insurance for those with pre-existing medical conditions, and are one of very few that have no upper age limit on their policies.

Featured images:
License: Image author owned 

The Importance Of SEO For Your Local Area

There are literally millions of websites on the Internet, and every website is battling for attention on the World Wide Web. As these websites fight for visibility, the websites face many factors that can affect the visibility of a small business website on the Internet.

Search Engine Optimization 

Even though there are numerous factors that can influence how much visibility a small business can get from a business website, one of the most important factors is search engine optimization, which is commonly referred to as SEO.

In general terms, SEO is the process of optimizing web pages to improve the search engine rankings for the web pages in the natural search engine listings. The rankings are based on specific keywords or keyword phrases. SEO has been a primary method that many small businesses have used to improve search engine rankings for the past two decades.

Search Engines 

There have been many changes concerning search engines during that time period. Many of the search engines that were popular a few decades ago are no longer around or have become insignificant.

In addition, the algorithm technology currently utilized by search engines is much more advanced and sophisticated than the technology used in previous decades. These changes ultimately forced small businesses to alter how they use search engine optimization so that they could maximize the full potential of their SEO efforts.

Why Use SEO 

The use of SEO has changed the success level of many small businesses because great SEO results can help small businesses reach the top of the search engine rankings for very popular keywords and keyword phrases. These high search engine rankings can literally send thousands of website visitors to small business websites on a daily basis

While many people think that search engine optimization is mainly a variety of tricks to gain search engine rankings, in actuality search engine optimization is at the core of a profession that contributes to the daily success of many small businesses. The techniques that are used with SEO have changed over the years. Some techniques that use to be very important are now just slightly important concerning SEO.

Local Search is Important 

Many small businesses do a good job with the utilization of SEO. However, there is one mistake that a lot of small businesses continue to make concerning SEO, which is not focusing on local search. Millions of people go to search engines on a daily basis to search for information concerning a wide variety of subjects.

Out of this large number of people who use search engines, many are looking for search results that will lead them to small businesses in their own local community. Therefore, small businesses should not only conduct SEO for general keywords and keyword phrases, the businesses should include keywords and keyword phrases that will improve their rankings in local search results.

A large percentage of small businesses are either local or regional businesses. The businesses are not national and international in status. This is why it is very important that small businesses include local search in their SEO efforts. Without local search as a component of their search engine optimization efforts, many small businesses are losing a lot of potential customers who are searching for their type of business services or products.

If you’re interested in SEO copywriting, try out some professionals at 360 Online Marketing is an internet marketing firm in Boulder, CO specializing in PPC advertising, SEO and web design.

IK Multimedia Announces iLoud Micro Monitor

IK Multimedia debuts iLoud Micro Monitor - the smallest studio reference monitoring system in the world

iLoud Micro Monitor lets musicians, producers, engineers and more hear the truth in their music via two portable active studio reference monitors that deliver an ultra-accurate linear frequency response that's ideal for mixing and mastering while on the go

January 20, 2016 - IK Multimedia is pleased to present iLoud® Micro Monitor, the smallest active studio reference monitoring system in the world. The latest addition to IK's iLoud range of portable monitoring solutions, iLoud Micro Monitor is a serious and reliable sonic tool that provides high-quality sound in a small enclosure at a price that everyone can afford.

It comes with two bi-amplified speakers that deliver an expansive stereo image, an ultra-accurate true linear frequency response, superior bass and plenty of power in a truly portable package.

With iLoud Micro Monitor, musicians and producers now have a way to critically listen to their music no matter whether they're mixing in a small makeshift recording space, mastering in a hotel room, producing in a larger studio or just listening at home.

Powerful and portable

iLoud Micro Monitor delivers stunningly clear and accurate audio. It's able to do this thanks to its impressive technical specifications and smart design: Its two speakers are powered by four ultra-efficient class D power amplifiers that push out a combined 50 W RMS of power. Each speaker sports a ¾" silk dome tweeter, a 3" paper cone performance woofer and a large flaring front-firing bass reflex port. Its sound is characterized by pleasing high frequencies, an exceptionally "open" midrange and a solid, controlled low end.

Sonically transparent in any space

iLoud Micro Monitor provides a flat and linear speaker response in any listening environment. It's able to do this thanks to its on-board 56-bit digital signal processor (DSP). This DSP handles the frequency and phase response of the monitor and also manages the dynamic range so that the drivers are always controlled. It also acts as a digital crossover allowing for invisibly smooth transitions between the drivers themselves. This DSP can be adjusted to suit different listening environments thanks to three EQ switches: One for treble, one for bass and a "DESKTOP" toggle that lets users optimize iLoud Micro Monitor for use in either a free field or desktop setup. iLoud Micro Monitor can also be physically positioned at two angles of inclination.

iLoud Micro Monitor's flexibility allows it to deliver stunningly accurate and detailed sound for mixing in any space - from cramped bedrooms to large studios - without the compromises in sonic quality normally associated with small monitors. Simply put, iLoud Micro Monitor's sound is so good that it's nearly inconceivable for a speaker system of this size and at this price point.

Sound that travels

Beyond its technical specifications, iLoud Micro Monitor is also incredibly portable. Its two speakers are small enough to fit in a gig bag or backpack - which makes it an essential travelling companion for anyone who needs to critically listen while on the go: musicians, producers, engineers, videographers and more.

iLoud Micro Monitor can also be used with a variety of audio input options. It accepts both RCA and 1/8" wired connections and can also be paired for Bluetooth streaming with all Bluetooth audio streaming-enabled devices. With its portability and comprehensive input options, iLoud Micro Monitor is able to provide ultra-linear sound anytime and everywhere.

Pricing and availability

iLoud Micro Monitor will be available early Q2 2016 from music and electronics retailers worldwide, and from the IK online store, for only $/€299.99 (excluding taxes).

For more information, please visit www.iloudmm.com

How To Build A Profitable New E-Commerce Business

Ecommerce is still a rapidly evolving industry and although the web space may appear saturated already, there are still many opportunities for new businesses to launch and steal some of the market. However, setting up a successful ecommerce business is far more complex that picking a catchy domain name and hiring a web developer – all the real work happens behind the scenes.
Once you've chosen a suitable domain name and integrated a shopping cart solution, it is time to start thinking about how the retail business will be managed. Here we share a few ideas that you may not have considered.

Managing Data and Processing Orders

Many e-commerce businesses now make use of hybrid cloud solutions, which enable them to store customer details and process payments through a secure cloud network, which will be linked to a public cloud.

Cloud storage is flexible because it allows for more collaboration between teams, especially those with employees scattered across the country (or even the world!). It's also a good idea to offer mobile payment solutions and a contactless payment options. If your customers can easily pay for your products and services via their mobiles, they won’t have to delay an intended payment to a later time (i.e. when they have access to a PC or laptop), or forget about their intended purchase altogether.
For online businesses that have limited office space, using cloud computing means they don't have to spend money on physical servers or bulky IT equipment. When you need to move to a new venue, you won't have to worry about transporting all these heavy items and the risk of damaging the equipment and losing essential business data. Another huge advantage of cloud systems is that they are usually more secure. If you are running a large database of customer information, it is imperative that it is secure from hacking and other malicious attempts to steal data.

Marketing Your Website

One of the biggest hurdles today for new businesses is gaining a strong presence in Google search. A new ecommerce business needs to work a lot harder today compared to 10 years ago. This means yean need to invest time and money in experienced marketing professionals, such as copywriters and content marketers, who can get more visitors to your website.

Is Your New Warehouse Ready?

To consistently satisfy your customers' demands, you have to meet strict deadlines, and having an efficient, perfectly functioning warehouse can help you cut down costs and despatch your items swiftly.

Has your new warehouse been used recently? Are the electrics in good working order? Are there any health and safety hazards that you will need to alleviate before you start? If your warehouse doesn't have the necessary infrastructure to meet your commercial capacity, you won't be able to operate efficiently until it does.

Take, for example, the popular retail company Everything5Pounds, which offers outstanding value for money on an impeccable range of clothing and accessories, all items priced at £5 each. It is based in Basildon, Essex, which offers much very affordable office space, and still has excellent transport links to the M25 and London. It chose a 160,000 square-foot warehouse that had been unused for more than 10 years, only to find out that the majority of the electrical systems were not working. Hence, it took some fast work, with the help of Project Skills team, to get the warehouse ready. The warehouse was functioning after a couple of weeks and continued to operate while the project was completed. 


E-Commerce logistics technology, like automatic payment reminders, reorganising track shipment, data analysis, and e-fulfillment centres are all critical to the success of your new e-Commerce website.

Remember – e-Commerce is still evolving

Data from the E-Commerce Pulse of Custora, the US dashboard for e-commerce data and trends, revealed that, in the first quarter of 2014, online sales rose 13 percent compared with the same period for the previous year. Another study from the UK's Interactive Media in Retail Group found that about a third of all UK online sales take place after 6pm, presumably because this is when most people have the time to shop for products and services online. Although there is evidence to suggest that many customers still prefer to buy items in shops, e-Commerce sales are likely to continue to expand in the next few years. 

Author bio:
Sam Barton is the marketing assistant at Project Skills Solutions, which provides electrical installation, CCTV, network solutions, air con and building maintenance in and around Essex.

Using The Internet For Fugitive Recovery

While the traditional methods of showing pictures to neighbors, interviewing witnesses and visiting last known addresses can still turn up vital clues in the search for fugitives, the internet has started playing an ever-increasing role in the search for criminals. Looking for people online has become easier and more effective through the use of advanced technologies that can help authorities track down people who try to evade authorities. In many cases, you can get in contact with potential leads, and locate many fugitives without tipping the fugitive off.

Social Networking Ties 

One method of locating fugitives to is to find people they are connected to on social networks. If you can befriend these people, you're going to be better able to find out their last known whereabouts. This is a simple technique that often yields good results. In some cases, friends of the fugitive don't know they are wanted, and when they are confronted by law enforcement officials, they may be able to provide crucial information about their current location. In many cases, fugitives will escape and remove all traces of their physical existence, but continue to post Facebook and Twitter statuses. This information can be used to identify and locate these fugitives.

Gaining Background Information 

In the past, authorities would have to go from one contact to another in order to create a sort of network of ties to a fugitive. With modern technology, it's possible to find all possibly known associates of a criminal. Friend lists on sites like Facebook are often used to connect entire crime rings, and criminals don't typically think that authorities are using their social networking sites to uncover information about them. Even seemingly innocuous things like their favorite movies and music can help to paint a profile of the fugitive, which makes it easier to predict the fugitive's next move.

Social Engineering Tricks 

Companies that specialize in locating fugitives have creative ways of bringing in fugitives once they are found. If a fugitive can be located on a social media site, the next step is to friend them. This can be accomplished by posting as one of their peers or using the account of a willing and existing Facebook contact. This can be accomplished subtly by having a friend post a Facebook comment that would be of interest to the fugitive.

For example, a friend might post that they have discovered a great opportunity to earn $1000 over the weekend, and request that their friends send them a private message. Stating that only the first three people who respond will receive the offer. If this doesn't work, the friend can then send a private message stating that only two people responded, and asking if they are interested. At that point, the friend has only to ask the fugitive to meet them at a particular company or meeting place, and authorities can be waiting to catch the fugitive.

The Beginning and End of an Investigation 

The start of any investigation can be launched by typing certain relevant search terms into search engines. Look for names, addresses, telephone numbers and other data. You can search for relatives, interests and other information that you have access to. Using sites like Piple, Social Mention, Facebook and Twitter to find out information on the fugitive. With the right techniques, it's possible to track down and recover fugitives who are attempting to hide from the law and bring them to justice.

Author bio:
Kyle Carter is an avid blogger and professional bail bondsman with C&K OKC Bail Bonds in Oklahoma City. Kyle is passionate about sharing information online through his blogs, on youtube, and provides local bail bonds services in OKC to the local community.

4 Things To Help You Land Your First Job As Product Manager

It can be very challenging to get a job as product manager, as most employers prefer to hire people who possess previous product management experience. Now that’s the tricky part – getting that product management experience when almost everyone won’t hire you unless you have one. But don’t you fret! There are ways to get the experience companies are looking for:

Work on Side Projects

Having a product management experience does not exactly have to mean that you were previously employed as product manager. You can gain experience in this field by getting involved in side projects, such as a case study, volunteering to help a startup business, or conducting research on how to improve an existing product or service. By being involved in good side projects, you will be able to develop the skills needed for a product manager role and be confident to share that you do have experience in this area during your job interview.

Develop the PM Mindset

If you happen to be employed and your work schedule does not permit you to take on any additional workload, you can make use of your current situation to prepare you for that product manager position. One way to do this is by getting involved in projects and taking on a lead role in managing different teams towards working on a specific deliverable and completing this by the set deadline. Prospective employers would most likely acknowledge this type of activity and see great potential in you if you are able to successfully complete these projects. If you want to build a career in product management, you will need to learn how to comprehend terms from different teams and translate these into a language that your audience will understand. And by completing such projects successfully, you are able to demonstrate your competence for a PM role.

Be Tech Savvy

You don’t have to be highly technical to become a great product manager. Look at Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Apple’s Steve Jobs, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. They became great product managers not because of an MBA, but because they had practical knowledge of current technologies and connected these with what underserved markets need. The key here is to have the passion to provide better solutions and be open to emerging technologies and how they can be applied to present problems. Fortunately, in this day and age, practically everything can be found online. Make use of the vast resources and product management training available online to gain competencies in this field.

Establish Networks

It pays to establish a good set of friends and mentors in the field, as they will be able to give you great first-hand inputs and advice that will prove to be valuable when you finally land your PM job. Twitter is a convenient means to get to know amazing product managers like Google’s Ken Norton, YouTube’s Hunter Walk, and Xanadu’s Mariya. By just following them on Twitter, you can gain an enormous wealth of knowledge and even exchange views on there, too.

While these tips do not guarantee that you will get that product manager job right away, they do prepare you for the career of your dreams and make you so much competent for the role. So, get started and good luck!

Author bio:
 Michelle Rubio has been writing for SMEs across the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK for the last five years. She is a highly-experienced blogger and SEO copywriter, writing business blogs for various industries such as marketing, law, health and wellness, beauty, and education, particularly on product management training such as those offered by ProductSchool.com.

Featured images:
License: Creative Commons image source

Do We Really Need Boiler Cover?

We all take our boilers for granted during the summer months. They just sit there in the background, quietly operating away until late autumn arrives and suddenly our homes feel somewhat chillier. So we switch the heating on and prepare for our boilers to leap into action. However, depending on the age of the boiler and how well it has been maintained over the years, some just aren’t prepared for the massive increase in workload and thus they conk out.

A boiler is one of the most expensive items in a family home. Replacing it typically runs into the thousands so it stands to reason that households need to have a plan for that inevitable day when the boiler fails and there’s no hot water or radiators.

Boiler Insurance 

Several companies, such as British Gas, nPower, Scottish Power and HomeServe, offer boiler insurance. This type of cover usually gives homeowners access to engineers to repair the boiler in an emergency, as well as an annual boiler service. The cost of boiler cover ranges from around £4.30 per month to £12.50 per month. The companies offering cover at the lower end of the price scale often come with an excess charge of roughly £50, whilst those with a more expensive monthly payment usually have no excess fee.

Boiler insurance gives excellent peace of mind that you’ll have cover in an emergency and the monthly cost seems quite small in comparison to the thousands you’ll have to pay out for a replacement model. However, the problem with boilers is that it’s incredibly hard to estimate when they are finally going to need to be substituted. Therefore if you don’t actually need to replace or even fix your boiler until several years have passed, then actually the monthly payment for boiler insurance can quickly add up to hundreds of pounds wasted.

Read The Terms And Conditions Carefully 

It’s also really important to know what you’re signing up for when you take out boiler insurance, so read the small print carefully. First things first, it is absolutely vital that you declare the make and model of your boiler accurately as you may find that some older boilers will not be covered for boiler repairs. This is because the insurance company realises there’s a reasonable likelihood that it’s going to cost them more than it will cost you. You should also be clear about the callout hours of the insurer’s engineers - ideally you should be able to get hold of someone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

It’s worth checking your existing home insurance policy, as some insurers include emergency callout services as part of their cover, so make sure you don’t needlessly take out additional boiler cover.


An alternative option to dealing with the big companies is to cover your own back by self-insuring your boiler. This means taking some responsibility for looking after your heating system. There is some risk involved, as if your boiler goes wrong then you’ll need to pay an engineer to fix it.
If you choose to self-insure then it is imperative that you have an annual boiler service carried out by a registered gas engineer. This will ensure that your boiler is running efficiently and safely. The cost of such a service is approximately £60 per year.

In reality, so long as you put in the effort to look after your boiler and heating system, then it is more practical and cost-effective to know a reputable and registered gas engineer who can assist you over the long term than to take out boiler cover which you’ll rarely use.

Time for some maths. If you pay £10 a month for 24/7 emergency cover, this amount to £600 over five years. Boiler repairs can often be carried out for less than this and it is rare that a new boiler will experience major problems in the first five years or service. If a boiler needs replacing, it will cost from £1800, and emergency cover never replaces a boiler, it will only attempt a repair, often with a cap of £100 on parts.

In the long run it is better to have a good relationship with a local, qualified heating engineer, who will usually be able to attend to emergency repairs within a day if they are needed.

Author bio:
Stephen Turner is the Director of Aquatek Domestic & Commercial Plumbing & Heating Ltd, and believes that making use of Internet technology is essential for business success, regardless of the industry.
Saturday, January 16, 2016


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