Featured articles..

Pebble 2 - Time 2 + All-New Pebble Core



Two affordable, heart rate-enabled smartwatches and a hackable, 3G ultra-wearable for phone-free running with GPS and music.

Why choose between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch when you can have both in one?
Our new Pebble® smartwatches keep you connected and in control during your busy day. They serve up notifications*, show your schedule, and even let you perform simple tasks with the click of a button.


With built-in activity tracking, optical heart rate monitoring*, and our updated suite of Health tools, Pebble is the only thing your wrist will ever need.
Pebble 2 and Time 2 come standard with multi-day battery life*, water resistance down to 30 meters, and e-paper displays that make them readable indoors and out. Like all our products, Pebble 2 and Time 2 work with both iOS and Android smartphones.

Both watches start at unbeatable prices. The sporty Pebble 2 starts at $99 and the flagship, stainless steel Time 2 starts at $169.



Source: Kickstarter


5 Things You Want In Your Data Center



Not all data centers are created equal but without some experience in the field, it's hard to determine which one of your options is the better pick. However, picking and inefficent data center could mean having to pay for major energy bills or potentially even the horrible consequences of stolen data or machinery. We'll show you the top 5 things to look for before you make your decision.


1. Scalable Features 

Tech doesn't stay the same, and most likely neither does your company. While you likely won't be growing at the rate of technology, you still need to have a data center that can grow based on your needs and the needs of the computer world. When upgrades need to be done, the infrastructure needs to be able to support performance changes and on-demand services. Essentially, you need to find a data center that will continue to stay secure, fast and reliable under all circumstances, and much of that comes from having a flexible network and equipment.

2. Clearly Documented Protocol 

Data centers are affected by tiny factors that are sometimes overlooked. Even small changes to the atmosphere can mean big changes to performance. When this happens, energy costs go up and they're passed onto you. Not only that, but it can threaten the safety of your company if a security standard is skipped. Intense documentation and vigilance is necessary for a data center, so look for centers who make it a priority to keep their policies up to date and ensure they're being followed on a regular basis. All of the information needs to be easily accessible, and employees should receive updated training for best practices. If the data center you're looking at has been certified by The Uptime Institute, then that's a good sign that they're staying in line with the newest operational standards.

3. Security 

We get used to thinking of the computer as a cloud, but there's more to it than that. Look for perimeter protection, secured cabinets or caged environments. keycard entry, biometric tests and constant monitoring with video surveillance. There should also be proficient archiving of all of the security footage overlooking the expensive equipment. The more these data centers catch the eyes of the wrong people, the more you need to find a place that will step up to the plate to protect your data in the physical and virtual world.


4. Capacity Strategies 

Wasted space means wasted money, and virtualization technology is the best way to reach optimal density. You want the most power and storage with the least impact on the environment and energy bills. Ask the data center about how they arrange their servers, and how they're trying to reduce their rack space and power suck. Find out how they divide their blocks, and what they've learned about configuration over time.

5. Constant Cooling 

As you might imagine, all the energy it takes to power that data can mean lots of heat. A hot/cold aisle is when server racks have the cold air intakes and hot air exhausts facing in opposite directions. It's generally one of the best ways known to reduce energy, and allows data centers to keep the equipment densely packed.


 In addition to her work with RackSolutions Katrina has a video series featured on Youtube called ”Ask Katrina" that aids in answering your IT needs


Featured images:
License: Image author owned


Popular App Snapchat Sued For Product Liability



The makers of Snapchat are currently embroiled in a legal controversy stemming from a high speed automobile accident that occurred while the application was in use. According to a lawsuit filed against the program's creators, they may be held liable for a collision that occurred in Atlanta, Georgia. The case will look into whether Snapchat's speed filter is to blame for a 107-mph crash that took place on the city's highway. Let's take a closer look at the incident to determine if the program can really be faulted in instances of reckless driving such as this one.


The Circumstances Surrounding the Crash 

Wentworth Maynard is the plaintiff who filed a case against Snapchat in court after his gray Mitsubishi was struck by a driver who was distracted by the popular app. The motorist who hit him, 18-year-old Christal McGee, was operating her father's Mercedes C230 at speeds that exceeded 110-mph when she allegedly merged lanes and collided with Maynard's car. McGee's apparent motivation for racing down the road was to capture her rapid acceleration via the program's speed filter. Despite pleas from her own passengers to slow down, she insisted on traveling at double the speed limit for the sole purpose of showing it off on Snapchat. Her unwitting left-lane merger subsequently sent Maynard's car careening into the embankment.


The Aftermath of the Wreck 

Maynard suffered a host of traumatic brain injuries, which have ultimately prevented him from returning to work. He was actually performing the duties of an Uber driver at the time of the crash. After enduring five weeks in intensive care, he may have to rely on wheelchairs and walkers for the rest of his life. Meanwhile, McGee was also injured in the crash, and she even used Snapchat while in the ambulance. In the picture, her face was covered in blood alongside a caption that read, "Lucky to be alive." Fortunately, no one was killed in the accident. McGee is also listed as a defendant in the upcoming trial.


The Merits of the Snapchat Lawsuit 

While the events that took place are undeniably tragic, it's hard to imagine that Snapchat will actually be held accountable for the accident. For starters, their Terms of Service explicitly contains several non-liability clauses that would seem to exempt the company from prosecution in these exact types of matters. Even if the user agreement does not pertain to this specific incident, a strong argument could be made against McGee as the singularly responsible party. As a fully capable adult, no one else should be faulted for her poor decision-making skills. Because the app never blatantly encourages law-breaking activities, it would be unthinkable for Snapchat to lose this case when the driver is clearly culpable. If they are found guilty, then the ruling will amount to a slippery-slope that endangers app developers everywhere.


Final Note 

In the end, this is a case that everyone in the tech community should watch closely. The ruling could have far-reaching implications that impact every app developer in the world. If Snapchat loses, the widespread ramifications could be crippling for the way most digital businesses function. Keep an eye out for more updates on this case!

Author bio:
Mark Sadaka from Sadaka Associates, the leading Hazardous Chemical Attorney, has a national practice and works with clients from New York to Alaska.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Travel Websites Do More Business Via Mobile Than Desktop - Google Report




Huge Increase In Travellers Using Mobiles For Their Holidays Google reports a 50% increase in visitors using mobiles to plan and book their holidays. Some travel sites are slow to catch on to this growth in mobile usage. 

Travellers are increasingly turning to their mobiles to help them plan and book their holidays. Whether looking for a short break, single trip, summer holiday or honeymoon, there has been a significant upturn in users who are choosing to browse for flights, accommodation and destination research using their mobiles.


Travel Sites Performing Well On Mobile 

In the United States, it is now estimated that 70% of all online travel bookings will be made on a mobile device by 2019. Popular travel sites such as Tripadvisor are now seeing over half of their annual traffic coming from mobile searches. In 2015, the tourist review site received more than 55% of its total US traffic from mobile devices. Similarly Expedia received around 50% of its total traffic from mobile searches and Southwest.com totalled around 51% from mobile site visits.


User Engagement 

One of the things holding other travel sites back from performing as well with visitors is a lack of user engagement. Travel companies need to focus on how best to encourage users into converting their site visit into a lead or sale. This might be anything from browsing for a particular destination, to entering travel dates or even booking a flight or hotel.

Some travel sites haven’t spent much time in the creation of an engaging platform for mobile. Instead, they simply deliver a replica of their own desktop site and have it resized to fit a mobile or tablet screen. Unfortunately, a lack of testing means that users have problems with scrolling, reading minute text or clicking into boxes that weren’t designed with a touch-screen in mind. On the other hand, travel companies that have invested in their own branded app are able to compete more effectively against other travel sites by keeping visitors within their own platform.
Those that choose not to invest in such innovations could find that frustrated users click out of their token effort of a mobile site onto a competitor platform that is equipped with better navigation features.


Destinations On Google 

As you might expect, it has not escaped the notice of Google that travellers are enjoying surfing from their mobile devices. In fact in 2015, Google.com noted a 50% surge in travel-related questions that were typed into mobile phone browsers.

In response to this recent increase in mobile activity, the search engine giant has launched its own travel brochure style of service called Destinations On Google. Users who wish to look at travel-related information for the city of Barcelona for instance, should use their mobile to type ‘Barcelona Destination’ into Google. This will launch ‘Destinations On Google’ which provides a comprehensive overview of the location. Clicking on ‘Plan a trip’ will then deliver details on popular flight routes complete with price information and of course options for accommodation. For those who aren’t sure yet of their exact vacation spot, it is possible to search for a particular style of holiday such as ‘New Zealand Hiking’ or ‘Colorado Skiing’ followed by the word ‘destination’.

If you’ve been inspired to start planning your next holiday, there’s no need to visit your local high street travel agent these days. Wherever you are, simply take out your mobile phone and start planning your next dream trip.

Author bio:
Laura Reeve is the Marketing Executive at Avanti Travel Insurance, who specialise 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 rise of the gaming industry



The growth of online gaming has been remarkable in numerous years, to the extent that it is now part of everyday life for many people. There have been different reasons for this phenomenon, with three major ones listed below.


Increase in technology

Technology has played a major part in the rise in the number of users who now regularly take part in online gaming. Clearly, the explosion in internet usage has been a major reason for this – since the turn of the millennium, broadband and wireless internet connectivity use has skyrocketed.

Also, studies have shown that other areas of technology have also played a part. The affordability of developing products such as phone applications and making games of different genres has led to almost half of all adolescents spending two hours or more a day gaming.

This upsurge in popularity has meant that gaming companies are always looking to push the limits of available technology, and areas such as virtual reality are expected to become even more commonly used.


Greater variety for customers

As well as game programmers, consumers have also relished the opportunities that increased technology has afforded. Companies have used this thirst – and a bigger workforce with the requisite skills – to be able to make a larger range of games for customers.


One such company is Betway, which has created numerous games due to popular demand. They host an online casino that has numerous gaming favourites. This includes roulette, slot machines, blackjack and poker – all of which allow the playing of casino classics from the comfort of home. Their games can be found at casino.betway.com.


Betway has also created applications for both iphone and Android systems meaning that their online games are now available to an even bigger market, at a time when consumers like to be able to play whilst on the move.


Changes in regulation

Regulation and law changes have meant that the government is to make fast broadband a legal right in the UK. This shows how far technology has come in such a short space of time, where internet is now seen as much a right as water and electricity.

Specifically to online casinos and other betting activities, the 2005 Gambling Act has been another major part of the growth in online gaming. The act allowed for greater advertising on television and the radio whilst also stopping the number of strict regulations that were previously in place.

In 2015 the UK gaming industry was worth an estimated £4.2bn in consumer spend, and with the above mentioned technologies, increases in better value products and customer demand, that number is only likely to grow.



Building Your Brand Surviving In A Digital World



There is no doubt that online or digital promotion is the method that so many small business owners and entrepreneurs use to help bolster their marketing efforts. However, it is very important for businesses that have a local cliental to use offline or traditional promotional methods as well.
One of the easiest and best ways to help boost your business brand is by using offline promotional merchandise. Traditional print based advertising and offline brand awareness should still have a part in your marketing mix, even in a digital age.


Why Promotional Merchandise still works 

Promotional merchandise still works because you are capturing an audience before they decide to make a decision. Other forms of marketing are usually focused on the later stages of a purchase decision i.e if someone is searching for a product on Google they are in the process of making a decision. A major advantage of a printed product is you are not paying each time you are listed somewhere or each time somebody sees your brand so you know 100% what your investment is and promotional merchandise is known to have a long life span. Promotional merchandise can be much more valuable than other forms of traditional media. The equivalent cost per impression of a promotional pens and mugs compared to Radio and Newspaper advertising is as little as £0.001 per impression. The key to promotional merchandise is that it gets your brand out to a large audience, improves brand recognition and brand recall.


Brand Recognition Brand Recognition 

– Brand recognition relates to a customer’s ability to associate your brand with a particular product through brand alone. Having a strong brand makes selling your products and much easier long term. Built on both reputation and awareness a strong brand will be associated with a product example, Coke (Cola), ASOS (online shopping) Compare the Market(Insurance).

The model of Compare the Market and ASOS are especially interesting as they continue to focus on their brand rather than the service they offer. Compare the Market spend millions each year via Googles paid advertising network Google Adwords estimated to be up to £4million. This is mainly to protect the brand and avoid others from using the brand for their own gain.

The insurance market is extremely competitive and can be as much as £20 per click to advertise online through Google Adwords. This points to one of the reasons why Compare the Market focus on a brand campaign. Compare the Market had a genius idea to build off the back of a play on words with their brand name, creating the phrase Compare the Meerkat. From the Compare the Meerkat brand came characters associated with the brand and television adverts. Compare the Market created their own promotional products in the form of the popular TV characters associated with the brand. Each form of insurance allows you to get a different promotional toy, which encourages repeat custom, which is key in a competitive market.


Targeting and Making the most of your brand 

One of the reasons online marketing is more popular these days is the level of trackability however it is possible to track the success of offline marketing by using a phone number specifically for your products. The key is to use your promotional merchandise wisely, whether it is choosing the correct merchandise to attract delegates to your stand at a conference or giving out luxury promotional merchandise to the right people to make you memorable in what can be a competitive environment.


Choosing Modern Promotional Products

 Statistics suggest promotional USB sticks are one of the most popular promotional products around. The reason they are popular is a company can put any data they want onto a device. An example using a promotional USB stick is the launch of a new property development. A branded USB stick can include a promotional video, CGIs of the property and exclusive information.

How Offline Promotional Merchandise Builds Up Your Brand The key is to capture all available traffic, online and offline. It is true that a higher percentage of users are going online, however an audience still exists offline and using promotional merchandise it is possible to target this audience.
Daisy Burgess - Marketing and Advertising Blogger for Expo-Promo Exhibition Giveaways

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

How Do Data Center Providers Work With Location Neutral Companies?



For young professionals in the technology field there are two challenges that can adversely affect their job search: the balance of work and life, and their location as it pertains to the companies they are applying to. The former is extremely important; employees who allow themselves ‘down’ or leisure time tend to have higher morale and are generally happier at their work than those who do not. The latter used to be the norm as opposed to the exception. Back before developments in technology permitted it, the former used to be much more important; you either applied for a job in the same city you lived in –or one within close proximity to your city- or you had to endure a long moving process to relocate to the city you would be employed in. With recent technological advents, an employee no longer has to be in the same state as his or her employer, let alone the same city.


Benefits 

Companies that allow their employees to work remotely in this fashion are known as ‘Location Neutral’ companies. Because technology has allowed for easier access to remote systems, company employees can reside anywhere in the country and still access company assets that allow them to do their jobs. One significant benefit of this is that employees are no longer locked into moving to a new area in order to secure a job. This is especially crucial when the company operates out of cities or communities that have higher costs of living. With a location neutral employer, an employee who lives, for example, across the state from their company can log into the company’s servers remotely, access tools and instructions for their jobs, and complete work, all without either having to make a long drive or move to what may be an area with pricier real estate. When employees are able to settle where they choose and still work for their employer, they’re not only much happier and better able to focus on their jobs; they can also focus on their life outside of work. For the employer, not having a geographical limitation allows them to scout talented applicants from anywhere in the country, which broadens their potential talent pool.


Challenges 

Of course, this amazing connectivity comes with a price. In order to allow employees this level of freedom, the employees must be able to rely on connectivity with the employer’s systems. Without reliable connectivity, worker productivity will suffer. So an employer must not only find a data center provider that has the connectivity they need, but also can step back and leave things alone until the rare moments when a problem crops up.


Solution 

One major way a data center provider can provide this level of connectivity is with Blended Bandwidth. Blended bandwidth works by incorporating multiple internet feeds from multiple Tier 1 network providers. This ensures a stable connection that employees can access at any time, day or night. Additionally, a good data center provider will offer remote technical support or troubleshooting when the rare issues pop up. For example, if a company is in Colorado, but its IT center is in Arizona and needs components swapped out, the company can contact their provider, and a technician will be dispatched to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. This provides not only peace of mind for the employer, but prevents wasted time, lost productivity, and additional expenses to repair a simple component.

Katrina specializes in server products with Rack Solutions leading the IT industry for custom racking design.


Featured images: 
License: Image author owned 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Barco ClickShare CS-100 Reviewed In Detail



In this post we are going to look at the features and benefits offered by one of the latest Barco ClickShare products, the CS-100. With ClickShare, users can share presentations from their laptop or mobile device, on to a presentation screen. 

The ClickShare product range is all very easy to use and doesn’t need any training. This ease of use means anybody can join and present at a meeting it doesn't matter whether they are an employee, or a potential customer. 


Solution for Smaller Rooms

The Barco ClickShare CS-100 is a great solution for small meeting and huddle rooms. The size of the CS-100 means that it lends itself perfectly to companies who are looking for an affordable solution, the CS-100 is easy to install and easy to use. With it users can present what is their your laptop or smartphone and wirelessly display it to the presentation screen. CS-100 is the latest and most cost effective solution in the ClickShare range, this product is perfect for businesses with smaller meeting rooms.

With the ClickShare CS-100 you just have to attach the ClickShare button to your laptop or mobile device and then you are able to present from your screen to the main screen. With laptops this is done via the USB portal if you want able to share what is on your phone or tablet you will need to install the app.

As the ClickShare CS-100 model is intended for smaller rooms it has a single HDMI port but this will still let you share your presentations with up to eight other users. 


Interact and The CS-100

As this is the newest, latest edition, the Interact team was keen to get their hands on it. Interact set the CS-100 up in their test lab where they played with it and tried very hard to break it. Interact tried a variety of devices with the usual operating systems, they found the CS-100 coped well with all of them. This product is able to work with devices running various versions of Windows 7,8,8.1 and 10. For mac fans it will run with OSX 10.10 and 10.11. And for you mobile users you’ll need Android 4.1 or later, iOS 7.0 or later.

The device has got a good number of ports considering it's size, it has one Ethernet LAN, two USB (one on the front and one at the back) and it also has an audio port with 3.5mm jack. So, overall Interact were very happy with the way the CS-100 worked and the whole team felt pretty excited about showing it to their customers. 

The CS-100 unit does offer scaled down functionality compared to other Barco ClickShare models but Interact say it still provides a comprehensive set of features that their customers love. 


Design

It looks good! Barco shrunk the chassis into a small, router like device that can easily be hidden behind a screens to further enhance the Barco message of “no cables on the tables”!
Interact say the feedback they are receiving from their customers is very positive, clients of the company are saying they love the way it works and that they are happy its ease of use. Clients are telling Interact this new model makes their meetings much easier, smaller companies are finding that they can hold meetings on site because they don't need much space.


This post was written and supplied on behalf of Interact, a Barco Gold Partner. Learn more about Barco ClickShare presentations systems and book a free demonstration here.


Featured images:
License: Image author owned 


Keeping A Balance Between The Designer And The Client




Make sure supply matches demand With all of the excitement that can precede the start of a brand new project, it's very easy for many designers and clients to jump right into a project before properly screening one another. There are few things more awkward than an enthusiastic client's realization that their client's work isn't even in the same ball park as what they were looking looking for in terms of style.

To prevent this unfortunate scenario, it is absolutely essential that the client is able to see a sample of the designer's work, and confirm that it's in-sync with their vision, before even thinking about starting a new job with them.


Establish a schedule 

Designers and clients will only be able to work together well if they're awake to read each other's urgent messages promptly. It seems like an awfully obvious thing to take note of, but it's all too easy for clients and designers to overlook the reality of potential time zone differences and weekend plans.
The designer and the client's lives will both be made many times easier if there's an established window of hours during the day that the designer will be working on the project in.


Confirm compensation 

In addition to the designer making a promise of when they'll be able to provide their services, the client needs to show some credibility when it comes to compensating the client for their work.
Every client-designer relationship has a different model of payment verification, but generally speaking, an escrow service is the securest way to go about it. The client can provide proof of being able to afford the work, without needing to actually commit money that they have no chance of getting back.


Keep everything in writing 

Sometimes, a hectic schedule (or selective memory) can make people recall things that were never actually stated. To save the entire project from getting dismantled over a misunderstanding of the terms, make sure that absolutely every term has been outlined in a written contract. Keeping all of the terms in contractual form will serve as a concrete point of reference that ensures neither the client nor the designer will forget the fine print of the project.


Ensure regular updates 

Even if the designer's skills match what the client is hoping to see in the final stage, it's essential that the designer give frequent updates. Oftentimes, a successful project requires just as much time spent breaking down and tweaking the piece as there is conceptualizing it; this can only happen if both the client and designer are present for the entire process.

If the client and the designer both desire it, regular updates can be implemented into a secure payment model that follows the progression of the project itself. The rough initial phase, the quarter-stage, halfway-point, and penultimate phase should all be presented to the client before any progress is made past them. This level of micromanagement can be demanding, but it's the best way to guarantee a final piece that both parties are proud of.


Connective Web Design is a custom website development & online marketing firm. We excel in custom tailored solutions that help our clients get to that next level with their internet presence.


Manchester United Are Premier League Champions When It Comes To Matches Played Under Floodlights



∙ Manchester United top table with 71 points from last 38 Premier League floodlit games

∙ Newcastle finish bottom after losing 22 matches including 7-3 defeat to Arsenal

∙ Chelsea record most emphatic win in the Footy Under Floodlights league beating Aston Villa eight-nil

Manchester United stand head and shoulders above their rivals when it comes to Premier League matches played under floodlights, research by the UK’s leading online LED lighting retailer, LED Hut revealed today.


From analysis undertaken of the most recent 38 league games played by every Premier League club under floodlit conditions*, Manchester United have been crowned champions in the LED Hut Footy Under Floodlights league.


Shedding light on current Premier League teams’ performances from fixtures played under floodlights, LED Hut, who sponsor Salford FC, has published the standings of all 20 top flight clubs after analysing the league results of all the 2015/16 season Premier League sides.

The full league table published by LED Hut revealing where all 20 Premier League clubs rank, based on their most recent 38 floodlit league fixtures, can be viewed here.


Eclipsing the feats of unlikely Premier League champions Leicester City, Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United top the pile when it comes to league matches played under floodlights with 71 points from 38 games.





The Red Devils excel in matches played under floodlights having won 21 and drawn eight of their last 38 night games played in the Premier League. These include victories this season under floodlights over two of their fiercest rivals; Manchester United beat Liverpool (3-1) at Old Trafford and near neighbours Manchester City (1-0) on their travels.


Despite suffering a 3-2 defeat to West Ham earlier this week in the last ever match to be played at the Boleyn Ground, Manchester United overcame their two nearest challengers Manchester City and Arsenal to finish top of the league by three points.


Securing the fourth and final Champions League Spot from the results of their last 38 league matches played under floodlights are Liverpool who pipped Chelsea and Bournemouth to a top four finish with a superior goal difference after all three teams finished the season on 66 points.


Unfancied Leicester City, who caused the biggest upset in sporting history to be crowned Premier League champions, only finished eighth in the Footy Under Floodlights league. The Foxes lost all their night matches in the 2014/15 season to extinguish their chances of claiming a Champions League spot.


At the other end of the table, Aston Villa’s miserable season is compounded by the knowledge that they finished in the bottom three of the league when only floodlit league matches are accounted for, with just eight wins in 38 games.





They are joined in the relegation places by Newcastle United who have suffered the humiliation of two relegations in the same season. The magpies suffered 22 defeats from their 38 most recent league matches under floodlights including a midweek 7-3 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates to finish bottom of the pile in LED Hut’s Footy Under Floodlights league table.


Aston Villa and Newcastle are joined by draw specialists West Brom who fill the final relegation spot. The Baggies are confined to the bottom three with 16 draws and 14 defeats from their last 38 league games played under floodlights.


Revelling in the special atmosphere of league matches played under floodlight, Chelsea recorded the most emphatic win in the Footy Under Floodlights league; Chelsea thrashed relegated Aston Villa eight nil, inflicting the Villans’ heaviest ever defeat in top flight football.


Commenting on the Footy Under Floodlights league table, Chris Evans from LEDHut.co.uk, said: “Salford FC club owners Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Phil Neville will be wishing all Manchester United league matches could be played after dark looking at how the Footy Under Floodlights league table has turned out.


“The Theatre of Dreams under floodlights is clearly an inspiring stadium for Manchester United’s players but they obviously revel playing night matches away from home too.


“In complete contrast, it’s been a miserable season all round for Newcastle United, with the Magpies relegation from the Premier League compounded by finishing bottom of the table when only floodlit league matches are accounted for too.


“For supporters and players alike, matches played under floodlights generate a very special atmosphere which has been heightened by the increasing prevalence of LED lighting at a growing number of Premier League stadiums.


“LED lighting also provides an enhanced experience for a worldwide TV audience who benefit from vertical illuminance on the players and excellent uniformity of light.


“What’s more, research suggests LED floodlighting lamps installed at a growing number of leading clubs, including Chelsea FC and Southampton, are expected to last in excess of 10 seasons. In contrast, traditional floodlighting lamps need to be replaced every three seasons to maintain the lighting levels required.
“These benefits of LED lighting at football grounds mirror the benefits of LED bulbs over traditional forms of halogen and incandescent lighting used at home; LED bulbs typically have an operational life-cycle of over 50,000 hours of continuous operation which means that they can cut lighting bills by up to 90%.”


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Snapchat's official ghost-shaped ice tray



You can buy an official Snapchat ice tray on Amazon right now for $12.99. “Ice cubes are ephemeral — they disappear at warm temperatures,” the product description reads.

The yellow silicone tray produces eight ghost-shaped cubes and is “great for cooling down Mar-ghoul-rita’s and Boo-jito’s,” according to Snapchat.

- Produces eight ghost-shaped ice cubes
- Ice cubes are ephemeral - they disappear at warm temperatures
- Great for cooling down Mar-ghoul-rita's and Boo-jito's
- Made of flexible silicone material

Source Product Hunt

Five Ways To Reduce Your Electricity Bill



The price of electricity bills can get really high, this can be due to increasing prices but also extra electricity usage. Below are five tips that you can use to lower your electricity bills. Some involve lowering the cost and others involve using less. If you do all of them, then you could find you will save significant amount of money.


Solar Panels

Getting solar panels installed is not possible for everyone. It will depend on whether you own the home, the direction your roof faces and whether there are any planning restrictions on your home. However, whether you choose to invest yourself or use a company that will pay for the panels and installation but keep the Feed in Tariff (FIT) money, it could be a really good money saving decision. How much you save will depend on which way the roof faces, how many panels will fit on and whether the roof gets any shade in the day. Your fitter should be able to do all of the calculations for you before you commit to buying so you will be able to work out whether you think it is worth it.

Change Supplier

It is well worth comparing the prices of different electricity suppliers. Their prices can vary a lot and it can be down to your individual usage as to which one will be the cheapest for you. So do not rely on what your friends or family say will be the cheapest but actually do the comparison yourself. This is easy to do online and you will get immediate figures on how much you would expect to pay from different suppliers. The big names tend to be the dearest but some of the smaller names are run by the big companies and so you will still have that same level of trust you get with a big brand but without the big brand prices. It is well worth doing some research.


Energy Saving Appliances

There are many things these days that you can buy which do not use as much energy. These include white goods and light bulbs. It can make a large difference to the electric bill if you get some of these. Investing in them all at once would be expensive and tend to cost you more money than you save. However, if you replace worn out items with energy saving ones over time, you will not be spending money you would not have spent anyway but you will be paying less electricity while you are using them.


Switch Things Off

It sounds so obvious but many people still do not make sure that they switch everything off. Switching off lights when you have finished in a room, not leaving computers on and not leaving things on standby can make a big difference over the course of a year to your electricity bill. Even if you just save a small amount, it is all money that you can save or spend on other things with very little effort.


Insulate

If you heat your home with electricity then it is really wise to insulate it well. This could mean anything form loft insulation, a sleeve around your water tank, thick curtains, draft excluders on doors to cavity wall insulation. Think about every place where heat is lost and see whether you can improve the situation. Windows are often overlooked as a place where heat is lost, closing curtains over draughty windows and putting rugs over gaps between floor boards can make a difference too. Even if you have a gas boiler there is still going to be some electricity used for your heating plus these changes could lower your gas bill and so still help to save you money. 

Author bio:
This post was written and supplied on behalf of https://www.draperycurtainrods.com/, Curtain Rods and Drapery Hardware in Canada.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

It's Almost Summer: 5 AC Tips For This Year's Heat



The summer season is rapidly approaching, which means most homes throughout the country will be forced to keep their air conditioner running for several months straight. While the warmer weather is a welcome sight for most people, it also means that you will be paying a high utility bill each month this summer. Luckily, there are several great ways that you can cut down on your electric bill without having to live in an unbearably hot home all summer. These are the five best ways to beat the heat this summer without breaking the bank on your monthly utility bills.


Get a Programmable Thermostat 

A programmable thermostat is a great investment because it helps you limit your energy usage at the right times. There is absolutely no reason to spend a lot of money on air conditioning for times when you are not home. A programmable thermostat will raise the temperatures of your home while you are work, and then it will drop back down to your desired temperature when you are scheduled to get home. While you can do this with any thermostat, it is much easier to achieve with a programmable thermostat.


Properly Maintain Your Air Conditioner 

Your air conditioner has to be in good working order if you want to properly cool your home this summer. The best way to make sure that your air conditioner is working to its maximum capability is by removing any debris around the unit and regularly changing the air filters each month. It may also be a good idea to get your air condition unit checked out and serviced before the hot temperatures arrive.


Protect Your Home from Sunlight 

The best way to keep your home cool during the summer is by keeping the sun out of the house. Direct sunlight coming through the windows is going to drastically increase the temperature inside the house. Planting trees or shrubbery in front of your windows outside is a great way to make your look great while also keeping out the hot sun rays. You can also install window films for even more sun protection.


Avoid Cooking Long Meals 

It is impossible to go all summer without cooking in your kitchen, but you should try to keep your cooking times as short as possible. Cooking a big meal for a few hours on the stove and in the oven is just going to add a lot of extra heat in the home, which will force your air conditioner to work even harder to maintain your desired temperature. Using pressure cookers, slow cookers and toaster ovens to make your meals instead of the oven and stove will help you drastically cut down your energy bill this summer. Cooking on a grill on weekends is also a great idea to avoid bringing any extra heat in the home.


Use Fans to Circulate Air 

You should use fans as much as possible during the summer to cut down on your energy bills each month. The fans will not help cool down the house much, but they will help circulate the air throughout the house. Since there are only a select number of air vents in your home, it takes some time for the whole house to cool. Using fans to circulate the air cuts down this cooling time, which allows your AC unit to run a lot less than normal.


Author bio:
Charlie Teschner started MESA Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling in 1982. Charlie has a journeyman and master plumber’s license. He was raised with a strong work ethic and he now applies those values to tasks such as Longmont, CO heating repair.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Atlas Of Emotions - Interactive site for inner peace, by The Dalai Lama



This atlas was inspired by a series of conversations between the Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman about the science of emotions. With the help of Stamen Design and Paul’s daughter, Dr. Eve Ekman, this tool was created to be a visual journey through the world of emotions.


ABOUT THIS ATLAS

This Atlas was created to increase understanding of how emotions influence our lives, giving us choice, (at least some of the time) about which emotion we are experiencing, and how our emotions influence what we say and do. While emotions are central to our lives – providing the joy, alerting us to threats, a force for change, a warning against what is toxic, and calling to others for help – we don’t choose what to feel or when to feel it. The Atlas of Emotions was created to give us more awareness of our emotions, and sometimes even some choice about what we are feeling, through better understanding of how emotions work.



IK Multimedia releases VocaLive 3 for iPhone and iPad



VocaLive 3 offers a full palette of vocal effects, plus a DAW-like recorder with simultaneous multi-track recording, a 4-track audio looper, 20 microphone emulations in Mic Room and more.


May 12, 2016 - IK Multimedia, the leader in mobile music making software, apps and accessories, is proud to announce VocaLive 3, a major update to the professional, full-featured vocal effects and production suite for iPhone and iPad. VocaLive 3 gives vocalists the effects and tools they need to create and perform stunning vocals for live settings and for recordings on-the-go, at any time, anywhere.


VocaLive 3 is a complete Vocal effects processing and recording suite that lets vocalists create stunning vocal tracks on their iPhone or iPad. It features 5 vocal effects - Pitch Fix, Choir, Morph, De-esser, and Doubler, plus 7 utility studio effects - Reverb, Delay, Parametric EQ, Compressor, Chorus, Phazer and Envelope Filter. Users can add up to 4 effects in the processor chain and use their iPhone or iPad to perform live or record with its integrated recorder/DAW. VocaLive is designed for use with IK's extensive iRig line of digital and analog microphones, and audio interfaces, including: iRig Mic Studio, iRig Mic HD, iRig PRO and iRig Pro DUO.

New available features in VocaLive 3 include: IK's Mic Room microphone modelling technology*, an integrated 4-track looper*, and the ability to record up to 8 audio tracks simultaneously*, plus one additional effects slot in the iPhone version.


Mic Room - a microphone choice for every voice

VocaLive 3 has a new available "Mic Room" - microphone modelling feature that lets users choose from 20 different studio microphone emulations and add the sound and coloration of some of the recording world's most coveted microphones. Musicians, broadcasters and engineers simply select which input microphone they're using, and then choose the microphone model they want it to sound like in VocaLive 3. Vocal tracks previously recorded in the recorder may also be "re-miked" to achieve a more perfected or specific sound. Mic Room features the definitive collection of vintage and modern dynamic, condenser, ribbon and specialty microphones.


Loop in creativity

VocaLive 3 also features a new available 4-track looper. The looper is extremely intuitive to use and may be activated and controlled via any iOS compatible MIDI controller, like IK's iRig BlueBoard Bluetooth wireless pedalboard, iRig Pads, or any standard MIDI controller connected via iRig MIDI 2. Users simply activate the first loop channel and perform, then hit stop when finished to set the loop length. Additional vocal loops can be recorded and activated for the ultimate in creative vocal exploration and development of melody, harmony and lyrical concepts. Each "loop" channel features its own volume control for mixing, and loops can be exported for use in the DAW/Recorder or shared.


Simultaneous multi-track recording

Now users can enjoy up to 8 channels of simultaneous multi-track recording with the available built-in DAW-like mixer in VocaLive 3. The Recorder/Studio section provides users with an integrated comprehensive multi-track recording studio with all the features found in the most popular desktop setups. Users have access to 8 tracks with Pan, level mute, solo, effects arm and record enable, dual sends per channel into a master effects section, DAW-style editing and waveform display. VocaLive allows musicians to create complete works of art without having to leave the app and disrupt the creative flow.


Reign with the chain

VocaLive 3 provides an array of utility and FX processing tools in the form of virtual stompboxes that can be set up in a chain of up to 4 slots in both the iPhone and iPad versions. Once the effects chain is defined, users can control effects with a MIDI controller like the iRig BlueBoard, and save their virtual setups and configurations as presets for easy recall on the fly.


Pricing and availability

VocaLive 3 for iPhone and iPad are now available from the App Store for just $19.99. Previous users of the full version of VocaLive may update to version 3 at no cost.

*The Mic Pack ($9.99), Looper ($9.99), All FX pack ($19.99) and Recorder/Studio ($19.99) are available as in-app purchases.

Limited featured, free versions of VocaLive are also available from the App Store.

Source: IK Multimedia


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