Featured articles..

Reasons To Use Video Conferencing

The first consideration when it comes to attending meetings and conferences is travel costs, travel costs are only ever rising in this day and age. Travelling, even if it's only a short distance, can be a pain. In a world that is becoming more and more busy, finding not only the time but the willingness to have to travel around the country for an extended period of time can be very daunting.

Conferences are not always enjoyable. With the evolution of technology and solutions like Skype for business, people are now able to communicate through virtual means from literally anywhere. Below are some more beneficial reasons to use video conferencing.


Video conferencing is a very reliable way of holding conferences. It ensures that everyone is able to make it to your meetings no matter what the weather condition is. If they can't travel to the area, they can communicate through video. If they are on vacation and something important comes up, there is no need to cancel the vacation because video conferencing can be done from the beach or hotel. Video conferencing means that there is no reason someone can't show up to discuss important matters about the company. It increases productivity ensuring that the company continues moving forward.

No Downtime

The increase in productivity, mentioned above, is one major reason for video conferencing. It means that if someone gets an idea for the next major or anything involving the company, they can tell everyone about it from their computer, tablet, or smartphone. It means that they can continue pushing out ideas and pushing the company to make more money and become more successful. Video conferencing is in a sense a secret weapon that the competition may not have. It allows for a company to become more successful without attending multiple conferences in different locations.

Lower Costs

A third reason is because with video conferencing, people are able to save money. They can save money on fuel and travel in general. If the conference is on the other side of the country, a plane ticket for a two or three day trip can be a expensive and almost a waste. It means that firms can save hundreds, if not thousands a year because there are no travel costs.

Ease of Use

A fourth reason is how convenient video conferencing is, it allows for people to remain in contact no matter where they are. It means that if some reason an emergency conference is require, there is no stress of having to book plane tickets to somewhere. All it requires is a mass email to those involved, a set date and the time for the conference to start. This kind of fast deployment leads the company to a successful future that benefits everyone.

Video conferencing is a technology of the future. It allows for companies to grow and become more successful with proper contact amongst all employees. Video conferencing is reliable, convenient, saves money, and increases productivity. The benefits and reasons to start utilizing video conferencing in important company communication matters are nearly endless.

Author bio:
This post was supplied by Mark Stubbles, guest blogger and video conferencing fan.

Monday, November 30, 2015

What We Learned From Microsoft's Future Decoded Event

Microsoft’s ‘Future Decoded’ Event was a hugely anticipated date in the diary for more than 10,000 business and technical visitors who attended the conferences at the ICC suite of the ExCel centre in London. The event was held over two days – Tuesday 10th November was the Business Day for Enterprise, Partner and SMB audiences, whilst Wednesday 11th November was the Technical Day for Developers and IT Professionals, although many attendees chose to visit the conference on both days.

The main aim of the conference as a whole was to discuss and introduce ideas for technology’s role in the future of business, as well as presenting innovative developments from the Microsoft camp.
Microsoft’s mission is to…”Empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.”

Highlights From The Business Day

Presentations, roundtables and demonstrations aimed to answer one key question on the first day of this Microsoft conference, which was ‘how has the harnessing of digital technologies transformed business productivity?’

Following the success of his talk last year, Satya Nadella who is the CEO of Microsoft, discussed pioneering technologies such as machine learning and intelligence cloud services, which are thought to be going to revolutionise the way we carry out business.

“Start small, think big. Develop a proof of concept to test ideas, be prepared to fail but learn from the experience” was the theme for the small to medium sized businesses in the audience.
Other impressive names on the keynote speakers list included:

Martha Lane Fox – founder of Lastminute.com and karaoke chain Lucky Voice
Richard Reed – co-founder of Innocent Drinks
Mike Stone – Chief Digital and Information Officer for the Ministry of Defence
Craig Keeger – Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic Airways Many Microsoft partners attended the 

Business Day of the event, including Objective IT who have been a partner since 1992 and are also a Microsoft Gold Integration Partner. Other partners such as JustGiving and Trainline held talks which focussed on the success of their own move to the ‘cloud’.

Highlights From The Technical Day

Those who are attended the technical day were truly inspired by the latest developments from the Microsoft Surface platforms and the Microsoft Research Cambridge team.

Executive Vice-President of the Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group, Scott Guthrie began the day by talking about fresh cloud topics such as the Internet of Things, Data and Analytics. He also continued the topic from Satya Nadella’s discussion from Tuesday on machine learning.

There were several breakout sessions in the afternoon on subjects such as Windows 10 apps and an interesting speech on Javascript language, which was entitled ‘Innovation vs Impatience’. However, the highlight for those visiting the conference on Wednesday was undoubtedly the closing keynote speech which was given by renowned UK physicist Brian Cox and Microsoft Senior Researcher Krysta Svore (pictured). They explained the complexities in the technology behind the super-speedy ‘quantum computer’ which completely confused what we thought we already understood about binary, in that bits can simultaneously be both 0 and 1.

As with all Microsoft hosted events, there was an opportunity to do some serious networking throughout the day and of course all IT professionals who attended the conferences found themselves attempting to decode what the future of technology means for their own business requirements.

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 

Facebook releases SDK for tvOS

The new Apple TV brings the App Store to the big screen, and today we're introducing the Facebook SDK for tvOS beta to help you build immersive social experiences on that platform.

With the Facebook SDK for tvOS, you can integrate the following features into your app:

Facebook Login: A fast and easy way for people to log into your app and for you to provide rich, personalized experiences. To log into an app with their Facebook account, people can simply enter a confirmation code displayed on the TV into their smartphone or computer, rather than entering their username and password with the remote.
Share to Facebook: A simple way for people to share links, photos, videos and other content from your app with their Facebook friends.
Facebook Analytics for Apps: Helps you build a better experience by understanding your audience and how people engage with your app.

To start building with the new SDK, please refer to the development guide for more details.

How Has IT Support Changed In The Last 20 Years?

1995 v 2015

Like every aspect of technology, IT support has changed at an immeasurable scale over the past 20 years, reflecting the overwhelming surge in demand for IT products and the rapid growth in popularity - and dependency - of computers, laptops, and, more recently, iPads and tablets.

Most people still did not own a PC 20 years ago

20 years ago, IT support was mainly related to specific tasks, and would rarely involve a home PC, simply due the fact that the many people did not have PCs at this time. Indeed, even by 1997, only 34.6 percent of US households owned a computer, although the majority (65.6 percent) of college graduates owned one by this period. Nevertheless, computer ownership rose sharply during the 1990s, and in 1997 the number of households owning one was already more than double that of just seven years earlier.

IT support was location-specific

Most IT support workers would resolve computer problems at workplaces or educational establishments, hence their job was more likely to be centred on an ordinary 9-5 schedule. The level of IT support available to someone was also dictated by their location; technicians actually had to visit a person in order to rectify the computer problem. Today, it is possible to resolve many computer-related issues via virtual IT support, thanks to the rapid development of cloud technology.

No way to Google your way out of your problems

Back in 1995, the internet was very much in its primitive stages, still peculiar to the vast majority of people, and not advanced enough for wide-scale execution of e-commerce platforms and company websites. Thus, finding information about how to resolve a computer error was a much more tedious and time-consuming task, even if there was a very simple solution to the problem.

If you had lost your user manual and Microsoft installation disc, you would have no option but to contact your nearest IT worker to fix the issue, whether you were looking for IT support services in Essex or West Yorkshire. If you lived in a remote area of the country, it might have taken several hours, perhaps even a day or two, for someone to reach you to resolve a problem that – nowadays – could normally be fixed in just a matter of seconds or minutes.

Users were less knowledgeable 
Clearly, most people were much less 'IT-literate' in 1995, and far less confident at performing basic IT tasks that many people in 2015 could almost do with their eyes closed. Of course, as the demand for technological devices exploded during the dot.com boom in the late 1990s, the demand for IT support reached unparalleled proportions. Despite the subsequent dot.com bust in 2000, in the following years, the development of the cloud exposed millions of us to hundreds of new apps, thus generating a renewed demand for IT training.

The standard of IT support have improved

As more IT support companies became established throughout the 2000s, the competition to win customers' business intensified. Many IT professionals would agree that this has resulted in higher customer expectations and, consequently, significant improvement in customer service. You can now access outstanding IT support Essex from a dedicated, experienced team of IT engineers, who can resolve many types of common and complex computer issues remotely via encrypted IT support software.

Author bio:
Steve Wallington is the owner of Spiderweb Systems, an IT support company that provides support packages and IT services to companies in and around Essex.

Featured images: License: Image author owned

Payroll Everything Small Businesses Need To Know

Payroll is an important part of any business but it can be a daunting prospect for the uninitiated. Choosing the right system, ensuring compliance and making best use of technology are key to success.

Payroll is an important part of any business, large or small – after all, if your staff are not paid correctly and on time, they are unlikely to remain your staff for very long. However, with the wealth of regulations surrounding the process, setting up an effective payroll system can be a daunting prospect, particularly for small business owners who may not have experience or expertise in this area.

So, as a small business, what do you need to know when it comes to setting up and administering an effective payroll system?

Back to basics

To start off, let’s take things back to basics. If you have paid employees, you need to set up a payroll. In larger organisations, the payroll is usually managed by the accounts department, but in smaller companies, this responsibility often falls to the business owner.

If this is the case for you, there are certain steps you will need to take before paying your employees for the first time. Firstly you will need to register with HMRC as an employer and register for PAYE online. You will also need to choose a payroll software or system, tell HMRC about your employees, start collecting records, pay tax and National Insurance to HMRC, and report your employees’ pay and deductions to HMRC before your first payday.

The tax month runs from the 6th of one month to the 5th of the next. As an employer operating PAYE, you are required to complete certain tasks during the month. These include recording your employees’ pay, calculating any deductions such as tax or student loan repayments, calculating your own National Insurance contribution as an employer, producing payslips, and reporting to HMRC.

When it comes to administering your payroll, compliance is key.
Payroll is complicated and companies are subject to lots of regulations around tax deduction, pension schemes, and payments to HMRC, to name just a few. Businesses are also expected to collect and keep records of how much they pay employees, any taxable benefits and expenses, employee leave and sickness, any reports or payments to HMRC, tax code notices, and any Payroll Giving Scheme documentation.

Understanding these regulations and keeping abreast of any changes is hugely important, as any incidences of non-compliance can lead to costly penalties for your business - for example, failing to keep full and accurate payroll records could result in a £3,000 penalty for your company.
Choose the right system

In order to avoid costly mistakes, it’s important to choose the right payroll system for your organisation.

Typically you will need to decide whether you want to manage the payroll yourself using specialist software, or whether you would prefer to outsource it to an accountant or professional payroll provider.

Many small businesses shy away from outsourcing this function due to the (often misplaced) belief that it is more cost-effective to keep it in-house, or due to a nervousness about sharing personal data with an external company.

However, placing your payroll in the hands of a professional can be advantageous, particularly if you don’t have sufficient resources or expertise within your business. By using external services, your payroll will be in the hands of a professional accountant who is an expert on payroll legislation, leaving you less open to non-compliances - and any costs incurred as a result.

Having said that, different businesses have different needs, and you need to choose the system that best fits your organisation. Carrying out research can help you to better understand your options - try speaking with business owners of similar organisations to find out which method has worked for them.

Leverage technology

When it comes to managing your payroll, technology is your friend - and it is becoming increasingly important as HMRC requirements and working practices continue to evolve.
There is a general business trend towards more flexible working practices. Freelancing, part-time work, contracting and job sharing are all on the rise - and people are switching both jobs and careers are a lot more often than they used to.

This can all impact on your payroll. Luckily, there is a choice of payroll software out there to help you manage these situations. Choosing the right payroll software from the very start - one that is flexible enough to adapt to your changing business needs - will help eliminate unnecessary problems in the future. However, if you are expecting your business to grow, start speaking to professional accountants who will be able to manage your payroll for you.

Getting your payroll right is hugely important for your business. Putting an effective payroll system in place can help you to meet your legal responsibilities as an employer and avoid HMRC penalties, as well as helping to streamline your processes, saving you both time and money.

Author bio:
Linda Carr is the Founder of Linda Carr Accountants, a Chartered Certified Firm of accountants based in Peterborough, which was established in 2009. Linda recognises the need for SME’s to be able to access a reliable accountant for an affordable price.

Image credit: Featured images: License: Image author owned
Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Developing Confidence For Networking At Conferences

No matter what conference or event you are at, if you are looking to make the most of it, you will want to network. Whether you are looking for partners, suppliers, financial backers or any other form of arrangement that will help you to achieve business success, being able to network is very important.

Some people may say that they are shy or that they lack confidence in meeting new people and networking with them. It is understandable that some people take to networking more effectively than others but equally, everyone should be able to network. If you have managed to obtain a role and you hold it down, there is nothing that you don’t do every day that you cannot utilise when it comes to networking.
If you need some tips for being able to network effectively, here are some things to think about:


It sounds simple, and it is something that many people will overlook, but having a smile on your face can go a long way when you are looking to network. If you walk around with a serious look on your face, you will subconsciously tell people to avoid you, which will limit the number of people who may approach you. Also, if you walk up to someone and attempt to introduce yourself while looking serious or scowling, they will be less receptive to you. If you are looking to network effectively, smile and you will be off to a flying start.

Ask a question/questions
If you are looking to engage people, ask them a question. This gives you a chance to show that you have an interest or some knowledge of the field you are in, and it shows that you are interested in other people’s opinions. It also indicates that you have an interest in the answer that the other person will provide, which shows that you have respect for them. If you are looking to initiate a conversation, asking a question is always an excellent starting point.


You may feel as though you want to talk about what you have to offer and how you can help other people but as with most conversations, you will find that listening is the most important element. If you can let other people speak and take in what they have to say and respond in an effective manner, you will find that it becomes a whole lot easier to engage and interact with people.

Have business cards handy 

Again, this may sound like a simple thing when it comes to networking but it is something that many people overlook. Being able to hand over a business card gives you a chance to be remembered at a later date, and it also provide the opportunity to catch up. When it comes to networking, and no matter how much the importance of digital connections develops, you will find that a traditional business card is a great way to connect with professionals.

Be yourself 

Depending on your personality type, this may be a worrying tip but in reality, most people will find that they are far more likely to connect with others when they are true to themselves. This is because you will feel more relaxed and you will be far more likely to converse in a natural manner. Many people feel as though they need to put on a persona to achieve success in the business world but there is a great deal to be said for developing confidence in yourself and then just being yourself when you meet others.

Be enthusiastic 

If you are at a major event or conference, there is a good chance that you will meet a lot of people and that the people that meet you will meet a lot of people as well. This means that you need to stand out and a great way of doing this is if you can tap into a passion or enthusiasm for what you do.
If you love what you do, and you can ensure that this comes across to others, you will find that people are engaged by you and that they will enjoy your conversation. This increases the likelihood of them remembering you at a later date.

No matter what mood or mind-set you have at a conference, there is a great deal to be said for feeling fresh and relaxed when you attend. This means that the right style of accommodation in Cannes can help you to network in an effective manner. When you feel relaxed and happy, you will be more confident in speaking to others, so if you heading to MIPIM ’16, make sure that you find the best standard of accommodation in Cannes.

Author bio:
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn't sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.

Why You Need A Backup And Disaster Recovery Plan For Your Business

Backup your computers. You've heard it dozens of times. In fact, you've heard it so often that you probably don’t even think about doing it anymore. After all, you’ve never had anything go wrong with your system. Disasters and cyber attacks are something that happen to other companies – not yours. That’s a risky way of thinking about your business’ technology.

Ask yourself, “can my business continue to function without its critical data, documents, and applications?” If the answer is no – and it most likely is – you need a disaster recovery plan. At some point, your business’ data will be at risk whether it be due to human error, a virus, or even a natural disaster. Not having a disaster recovery plan in place could mean losing it all.

If you’re still not convinced, here’s a list of four reasons why you need a backup and disaster recovery plan for your business:

Mother Nature is Unpredictable

Nearly every part of the world is susceptible to a natural disaster, whether it be hurricanes, tornadoes, massive snowstorms, or earthquakes, and we’ve all seen what can happen when Mother Nature strikes. Businesses that don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place often find that it’s nearly impossible to resume normal business operations after a disaster hits. On top of that, 70% of SMBs go out of business within a year of data loss from a natural disaster. Having a disaster recovery plan in place will ensure that you know what to do should a natural disaster hit.

Humans Make Mistakes

Have you ever had your computer crash before you could save an important document? What about accidentally saving over a Word document?
No one is perfect, and unfortunately, even employees with the best intentions can accidentally delete data. Human errors are some of the hardest mistakes to prevent and correct, but ensuring that your data is regularly backed up can help you quickly restore it back to its error-free state.

Machines and Hardware Eventually Fail

Although huge strides have been made in the resilience of our technology, it’s still not perfect. Even the best piece of hardware will have issues at some point. Systems crash, data gets erased, and viruses attack. Since it can be expensive to eliminate any single point of failure in your IT infrastructure, the best option is to create a disaster recovery plan and backup your data regularly. This will help eliminate interruptions in the event of IT infrastructure failure.

Disaster Recovery Means Less Downtime

Chances are, your business can’t afford downtime. Downtime and lost data can ruin your business’ reputation and cause you to lose customers and revenue. The longer your business is down, the more it will cost you. With IT downtime costs estimated at $26.5 billion in lost revenue, chances are, you can’t afford to be down for very long. A disaster recovery plan will help you reduce the amount of time your business is down after a disaster. The faster you’re back up and running, the less likely your business will suffer.

No business is immune to IT disasters, but there are things you can do to prevent them and recovery quickly. Too many businesses fail due to lack of preparation, but you don’t have to be one of them. Having a documented set of procedures in a disaster recovery plan will help you reduce downtime, save money, and save your business in the event of a disaster.

The author, Robert A. Martin, is the President of Great Lakes Computer. Bob has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Akron. He joined the company in 1995 and has held multiple positions including Large Account Sales, Sales Manager, VP of Operations, and now serves as President. 

Although he oversees all operations, Bob’s primary focus is in the areas of sales development, strategic direction, government sales and large account management. Bob is the author of the "Great Lakes Tips on Tech" Blog.

Image credit:Featured images: 
License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-99581807/stock-photo-notepad-with-disaster-plan 
Sunday, November 22, 2015

IK Multimedia announced ultra-compact iRig Keys MINI

The newest addition to IK's popular range of universal portable MIDI keyboard controllers features 25 velocity sensitive mini-keys, an ultra-compact size, universal plug-and-play compatibility for all platforms and over $/€360 worth of mobile music creation apps and software

IK Multimedia has announced that iRig® Keys MINI, the newest addition to the immensely popular iRig KEYS universal MIDI controller range, is now shipping. iRig Keys MINI offers universal connectivity to a full-featured playing experience in an ultra-compact enclosure with 25 velocity sensitive mini-keys and full MIDI edit features, plus over $/€360 worth of included apps and software. Now players, producers, sound designers and audio engineers can plug in and create anytime and anywhere with compact convenience on their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android, Mac or PC.

Ultra-portable performance

iRig Keys MINI is the smallest keyboard controller in the iRig Keys range. It provides 25 velocity sensitive mini-keys and essential features like a volume/data knob and Octave Up/Down buttons, plus MIDI edit functions. Its footprint makes it one of the most compact and portable keyboards on the market — it fits in any laptop or gig bag or backpack with plenty of room to spare. Its size, combined with its light weight and functionality, provides for an unbeatable combination of mobile convenience and playability.

Complete compatibility

iRig Keys MINI offers universal compatibility with all popular mobile and desktop platforms. It comes with Lightning, Micro-USB to OTG and USB cables. This means that it can be immediately used with Lightning-compatible iOS devices, Android devices and Mac/PC right out of the box. In addition, an optional 30-pin cable can also be purchased for use with 30-pin iOS devices. And no matter what device is used, iRig Keys MINI delivers a seamless plug-and-play experience thanks to built-in Core MIDI compatibility for iOS and USB class compliance.

Over $/€360 worth of Killer apps and software included

Creativity starts immediately with iRig Keys MINI thanks to its extensive suite of included apps for iOS and Android, plus software for Mac/PC. These apps are powerful IK Multimedia fan favorites and they all come with extra material for registered iRig Keys MINI users.

iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users can download a complimentary version of iGrand Piano for iPhone and iPad, a concert-quality multi-velocity piano app that comes with 2 world-class piano sounds. 15 additional studio-grade instruments can be purchased from within the app. iOS users will also get the complimentary version of SampleTank for iPhone and iPad, a complete mobile sound and groove workstation with 23 included sounds that cover acoustic, electric, electronic and beyond, plus additional instrument collections are available via in-app purchase.

Android users can download: iGrand Piano, a complimentary Android version of the aforementioned piano app that includes the same world-class sounds as its iOS counterpart. And like that app, it comes with 2 stock pianos. And, Android users will also receive a complimentary version of iLectric Piano, a studio-quality electric piano app with a library of multi-velocity stereo instruments sampled from some of the most iconic electric pianos ever made. Users get 2 pianos to start, and iLectric Piano is expandable with 15 additional studio-grade instruments via in-app purchase.

And, finally, computer users will receive SampleTank 3 SE, a special edition of the ultimate sound and groove workstation for Mac & PC with a 6.5 GB library of sounds that cover every instrument category from acoustic to ethnic, electronic to orchestral and beyond. Registration of iRig Keys MINI adds to this base library with a huge bundle of extra sounds in the form of The Grid add-on collection. Plus, users can choose 5 additional SampleTank instrument collections at no cost from its electronic-focused Elektronika and Beats series, and they receive 25 Custom Shop gear credits that can be used toward the purchase of additional SampleTank Instrument Collections.

iRig Keys MINI is also fully compatible with Apple's GarageBand and Logic Pro X, and compatible with a wide variety of third party apps and software, like Samsung Soundcamp, Cubasis, MultiTrack DAW and more.

Keys to creativity

iRig Keys MINI is a part of the iRig Keys range of universal MIDI controllers. This range also includesiRig Keys, an ultra-slim and extremely portable MIDI keyboard controller with 37 mini-keys and iRig Keys PRO, a portable keyboard that gives players the luxury of 37 full-sized keys in a controller that can be easily carried in a gig bag or backpack. With compact size and advanced features, the iRig Keys line offers keyboard players a portable playing experience like no other.

Pricing and availability

iRig Keys MINI is available now from music and electronics retailers worldwide, and from the IK online store, for $/€79.99 (excluding taxes).

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Hackers Create Tool To Decrypt Your Passwords

Hackers are actively decrypting passwords to access your online bank account
Worryingly, hackers are now finding ways to decrypt passwords and usernames stored on the KeePass password manager, which has long been touted as one of the most effective platforms for computer users to keep their personal information safe.

Use a 'combination' password to reduce the risks

Avoid choosing a password that is a common word, such as a name or a colour, and refrain from anything that is too obvious, such as your place of birth or favourite team. Instead, consider a password that has at least eight characters comprising a combination of letters and numbers, and, if possible, one or more punctuation symbols, such as a hyphen or underscore. If you would prefer to store your passwords, a good tip would be to write them down and keep them stored in a lockable drawer. Of course, the most risk-free approach is just to keep them in your head.

Avoid unsecured Wi-Fi networks 

Unless it's an emergency and you have to access the internet, don't use unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Even though it may be tempting to link your device to a free Wi-Fi network, you could be exposing your personal data to a cyber criminal sitting just metres away connected to the same network. The biggest mistake you can make is entering confidential information, such as credit card details or bank log-in information, through these networks. Indeed, many free Wi-Fi providers will advise their customers to avoid entering confidential information in this way.

Never open any suspicious-looking e-mails or texts

Think of opening up an e-mail as opening up your front door at night. Unless you're expecting someone, or you can verify who the person is, don't open it. Phishing e-mails often contain attachments that are infected with viruses, and many also request personal information, such as bank account details or card numbers, in an attempt to steal your money.

Look out for obvious – and not-so-obvious - errors

Often, e-mails will have unusual titles, which could range from a 'cleaning bill invoice' from a cleaner you've never met, to a special 'tax demand' from HMRC, even though you're expecting a rebate. Another useful clue to determining whether something is fraudulent is to consider the quality of the grammar. Most of the time, the title will have some kind of grammatical error or will be phrased in an unusual way.

Look at the details

For example, 'cleaning invoice nu. 282' should read 'No. 282', and 'HMRC tax Demand' should not have lower case for the word 'tax'. A substantial proportion of these cyber criminals do not speak native English, and many use translation apps. Would your bank ever describe you as a 'cherished customer'? Would you receive a 'final notice' demand for payment without having received any previous reminders?

Keep your mobile safe

StaySafeOnline, a website pioneered by the US's Cyber Security Alliance, recommends that everyone should have a different password for different mobile accounts, and this personal information should not be stored anywhere on a computer. Users should also change their password several times each year, and authenticate their account with multi-factor or two-factor authentication technology, which require additional identification in the form of a security code or voice recognition.

Author bio:
Alex Viall is the Director of Mustard IT Support Services, a London-based company that offers professional IT support to businesses across London and the Home Counties.

Image credit:License: Image author owned

Facebook launches new tools for nonprofits

With more than 150 million people around the world connected to a cause, Facebook is a global community of volunteers, donors and activists coming together to make the world a better place.
People raise money for disaster relief, they search for missing children, and they bring attention to the issues they care about. We’ve seen from our community that when people take action, lives are changed. We know we can do more to enable these connections.
Today we’re testing fundraisers – a new tool – and improving our Donate button, to allow people to donate to charities without leaving Facebook. We hope these features help nonprofits reach new supporters, engage their community and get the valuable funding they need to continue their good work.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

eora 3D - 3D Scanner For Your Smartphone (Video)

eora 3D is the world’s first high-precision 3D scanner that is entirely powered by a modern smartphone. It lets you capture everyday physical objects and surfaces and turns them into high-quality 3D models, all on your phone, making it extremely affordable.

eora 3D scans an array of physical objects and surfaces to sub-100 microns, with scans captured in full-color and rendered as 3D models on-screen. During the company's Kickstarter campaign the device is selling for a base price of $229 (and even eventual retail value is estimated at a modest $330.) How did they do it? Green lasers and your smartphone.

Most 3D scanners use red lasers, but green lasers deliver a much higher level of accuracy because digital camera CMOS sensors, plus human eyes, are twice as sensitive to the green spectrum as they are to the red. Unfortunately, scanning with Luke's lightsaber is a lot more expensive than using Vader's. But eora 3D figured out that if they recruited a smartphone's optics they could reduce their scanner's part count and free up funds for sending the green into their 3D battles. With costs concentrated on the part of the scanner that controls precision and accuracy, eora 3D believes they have produced an affordable model whose quality rivals those selling for thousands of dollars more.

During use eora 3D attaches to your iOS or Android smartphone via Bluetooth, links up with a free app, and walks you through a simple, relatively quick scanning process. In addition to producing sub-100 microns scans, eora 3D can:

- Scan in a variety of lightning conditions, including the outdoors, again thanks to optical sensitivity to the green spectrum.
- Scan up to a range of 3'. Combined with a typical smartphone camera's fiedl of view, this translates to around 3' x 3' of scannable space per round.
- Stitch together multiple scans in the eora 3D app (or on compatible desktop software) to accommodate larger objects.
- Pair with an optional eora 3D Bluetooth turntable to make scanning smaller objects easier.

Source Kickstarter

Things To Consider Before Deciding To Teach An Online Class

Online learning is undoubtedly an effective alternative to traditional learning in brick and mortar schools. Its growing popularity over the past few years is proof that students find a lot of advantages in enrolling in online classes, such as lower tuition fees and time flexibility. Online classes are not only benefitting the students, but the teachers as well. However, when deciding whether to teach an online class or stay in a traditional face-to-face class, there are a few things you will need to consider:

Handling Bigger Classes 

An undergraduate face-to-face class would generally have a maximum of 75 students. With online classes, this could double to 150 which you will have to manage alone as you will not have a co-instructor or teaching assistant.

Demand for Timely Online Correspondence 

Expect your online students to be asking questions regarding their assignments or projects, and because their performance will depend on your response, it will be necessary for you to be able to respond to online queries and clarifications in a timely manner. You may want to notify your students how soon you will be able to answer their emails or chat messages so they are aware of the wait time and when they can follow up.

Providing Dynamic Content

With online learning, providing slides and handouts are not enough. All modes of material, such as interactive modules, videos and audio recordings of lectures, and downloadable PDFs will be needed to effectively reach the very diverse student base in your class. Having different forms of resources incorporated into your curriculum will help keep all of your students engaged.

Absence of Personal Connection

Unlike an actual class where you get to know your students on a personal level and vice versa, online classes offer less opportunities to connect. You may ask them to introduce themselves and say something about their background at the beginning of the class, but aside from this, the lack of personal interaction will be limiting your relationship with students to a facilitator-learner level.

Accommodating Strange Questions and Requests

While it is normal for teachers to hear unusual questions or requests from students, online or traditional classes alike, the number of these strange queries may be greater for those enrolled online. You will have to possess a lot of patience and professionalism when dealing with these online, since the lack of personal interaction can lead to misinterpretations. Always respond to correspondence from students in a professional, straightforward manner and always end on a positive note.
If you are strongly considering to venture into online learning, you will have to look at the challenges that you might be facing as well as assess your personal capabilities in meeting the demands and complexities of your online students. While teaching online classes seem to be very enticing, with all the advantages it provides, this mode of teaching may not be for everyone. So, before you take the plunge into the online world, read back and if you answer yes to all of these considerations, good luck and have a great journey ahead!

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 creating online courses such as those offered by CourseMinded.com.

Use Hootsuite To Amplify Company News

One of the most effective ways to drive more traffic to a website is to publish regular news, blog posts and feature articles. However, sometimes this does not have the desired effect and even the best news stories and most informative feature articles fail to reach a wide pool of users. 

Hootsuite has launched a new product that may help businesses reach a much wider audience.

Hootsuite has launched a new mobile app, called Amplify, which enhances the desktop controls to make it easier for employees to share their company’s news. By encouraging their staff to share stories, companies can increase the chances that a story will go viral on social networks.

Social media marketing is already one of the most important channels for some businesses, overtaking organic search. In the past, staff of a company would not be involved in the marketing of business news in any way at all. However, some companies have realised that their employees represent a huge, untapped resource, which if mobilised, can share company news with thousands of other people.

For instance, if a company has 100 employees, all of whom are on Facebook, and each one shares the latest news with all of their friends, this can result in over 10,000 people instantly seeing the article. If friends start sharing the news story, the figure will very quickly rise.
The new product allows managers to see which employees are sharing the most content as well as highlight which content is most popular.

Write Sharable Content

Of course, Hootsuite’s new service does not alter the biggest challenge for businesses - to produce news that is interesting enough to be shared. Generally, company news is dry, formal and, to be honest, not very interesting.

However, taking some tips from journalists, it is possible to write interesting stories with engaging headlines that people will share. One unusual aspect of social media, especially Facebook, is that people tend to “like” and share news without reading the whole story.

A good headline, eye catching image and brief description is often enough to prompt a like or share, and this alone can result in a story going viral. In fact, the headline and image really is more important on social media than the actual content – the same rule applies to traditional news journalism – headlines sell newspapers. What few people realise is that professional web copywriters are behind some of the most popular business news stories on social media.

Remember, this strategy is as much about promoting an online brand as immediately driving new leads to a website.

Highlight the Most Engaging Headlines

To learn what might work best on social media, look at how other companies use Facebook. For example, the BBC used the headline “People who like their coffee black are more likely to be psychopaths, plus more news nuggets” to promote its “10 things we didn't know last week“ page, which itself is used to generate more social sharing. All the stories shared are interesting reads, but the lead about drinkers of black coffee being psychopaths is designed to attract people’s attention and lead them to share the Facebook post.

By mobilising employees, companies can greatly increase their digital brand on social media. People tend to trust stories more if they are shared by friends - and of course, it is much cheaper than paying Facebook for sponsored posts!

Author bio:
Danny Hall is a co-director at Freelance SEO. Danny believes that the cornerstone of a good SEO campaign is building a high quality website with great content that other people naturally wish to link to.

Simple Steps To Building A Fantastic Home Theater

Buying a premade home theater system can be very costly. Worst of all, a premade system could be outdated by next year. This is why it is important to take your time and research what you need, and leave space to upgrade your system in the future. This guide will help you save money by showing you everything you will need in order to create a home theater system that will impress your family and friends, and provide you with an entertainment experience that will rival movie theaters.

Because technology is constantly changing, it is important to choose your television or projector as your first piece of equipment. Projectors are great for smaller areas because they are lightweight and very flexible with installation. While televisions are generally more flexible with expansion ports, giving you more room to upgrade with more inputs and outputs in the future. Both types of displays can range in price but are generally around the same costs overall. Projector technology has come a long way and can provide you with an even clearer picture than the newer television displays; the only drawback is the price of replacing the bulbs.

Having the right sound system is the next important piece of your home theater system. For the best results, you will need to find a quality receiver that has matching connections to your television or projector. The standard used today is HDMI, and it offers a quick way to connect all of your devices together for high quality sound and picture. In this case, you can save a lot of time and money by purchasing a sound system that comes with the speaker system included. Most systems will come with a 5.1 up to 8.1 speaker systems. The size of the room you have available is the main deciding force for speakers you have in your home theater.

Now that you have a display and sound system, you need to pick out your inputs. The standard for today is a Blu-ray player, or a DVD player. Computers also generally have an output for you to connect to the television or projector and your audio system. With so many people posting content online, you might want to consider including the cables in your project so you have this option in the future. Having a gaming system or a dedicated computer in your home theater can help you to free up space while still providing you with all of the options you need.

Lastly, furniture and seating options are the last important step. You will certainly need a place to setup all of your equipment. Finding a multiple tiered entertainment stand is necessary to keep the wires from getting in the way of everything. If you have a projector, you will need to have a flat surface to project your display. If you do not have an open wall due to pictures hanging on the wall, there are blinds you can install in the ceiling to cover or uncover your wall. You also need to have comfortable seating for everyone to enjoy the environment. Installing lighting that you may dim is another great option to have.

Regardless of your budget, you can still build a home theater system with great quality. As technology improves, the prices will continue to get lower, just make sure you leave room to upgrade your system in the future. By investing a little time to choose the right equipment for your theater, you can easily build a system that rivals going to the theaters. Best of all, having this system gives you all of the comforts of being at home, and saves you a lot of money you would normally spend going to a theater.

Clearly spending far too much time watching TV, Carl Gale writes on technology and home improvement for Hasiera

5 Best Fitness Apps In 2015

Are you looking to stay in shape with the help of your smartphone? Then you have a lot of options. Some apps are designed for you. They track your exercise, record your food intake and constantly remind you to take water. Good fitness apps are user-friendly, easy to use and have simple to follow programs. Here are the 2. 5 best fitness apps in 2015 that will keep you fit throughout the year.


app 1

This app allows you to log the time you spend exercising and the exercises you do. You may also use the GPS in your phone to record the distance and time spent while running. The “routes” option makes MapMyFitness one of the best. You simply click my routes’ to see the maps to follow while jogging or walking. The Nearby’ option is suited for popular exercises that are close to you. MapMyFitness has a diet tracking tool where you enter the food or fitness supplement you eat, then picking a serving size and the app will record the running tally of your calories.


It’s a free app that has a better pedometer than MapMyFitness. However, Argus does not have many features like MapMyFitness. Argus stands out for its interface that is fancy. It allows you to tap a particular icon to record your daily weigh-in, amount of your favorite bcaas, a glass of water downed or a nap. Just like MapMyFitness, Argus can use GPS, though it will not provide you with the splits. The app also allows you to a diary of food you take in the form of photos of the meals.



It makes the list of the top 5 best fitness apps in 2015 due to its brilliant performance. It works like your coach in that, you set goals, and the app gives you feedback in real time after a variety of exercises. The app keeps those records. It has a social networking feature just like most fitness apps. However, Endomondo assumes that the user goal is to share. Hence, you have to exclude most of the recorded data and features from sharing one after another. Endomondo could be made a bit more secure by the introduction of a single privacy button that would allow users to remove everything from sharing.



The app is well suited to runners. If you love competitions, then Strava is what you need. What makes it the best for runners is its innovation where you can compare yourself with others on other roads. The app provides sufficient privacy allowing you to set privacy zones around usual starting points so that other competitors cannot detect your residence.

Lose it

app screenshot

This app tallies the calories in your body every day. It also provides you with an exercise log and a food diary. You can set your weight goal with lose it. The app provides you a graph of your progress. The diet tracker covers the whole diet including proteins, carbs and calories. With Lose it, you can know what is in prepacked foods by searching the food brand on the app to get all the nutrition information.

Conclusion With some fitness apps at zero cost, you can acquire your own and keep fit. Acquire one of the Above 5 best fitness apps in 2015 and be the next success story.

Author bio:
Daniel Sepp is a fitness expert and tech geek who writes about popular Android and apple apps. If you want to read more articles written by Daniel, feel free to visit MadBiceps.Com, a popular fitness blog.

Image credits: License: Royalty Free or iStock


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