Archive for May 2013
There is no disputing that HTML5 with CSS3 are revolutionary technologies that have brought the entire process of web design kicking and screaming out of the stone age. With the help of CSS3 media queries and HTML5 APIs such as geo-location, server sent events and local storage it is, at long last, possible to create web sites and web applications that provide visitors with a rich, interactive and seamless experience. Exciting though all of this might be the sheer scale and breadth of these new technologies presents a significant learning curve to be negotiated before you can create your first HTML5 webapp. Added to this is the need to comply with users’ expectations that the app will be responsive – i.e. work well on smartphones, tablets as well as large desktop screens. Well, a solution may well be at hand in the form of jReply Designer- an Integrated Development Environment, IDE, for creating responsive HTML5 web applications that protects you from all the nitty gritty details.
How it works
Perhaps the first thing to appreciate is that jReply is a service in the cloud. It allows you to manage every aspect of your web application – down to providing search engine validation meta tags and Google Analytics code – from any location, just so long as you have access to the Internet and to Chrome (Chrome is the only browser supported by the IDE which is still in beta).
Once you have logged in you are presented with a screen that seems refreshingly similar to the Visual Studio family of products. A toolbar at the top of the screen provides access to all of the web pages in your web application along with options for configuring the page currently on view in a resizable central pane. Status and information messages are presented in a status bar at the bottom of the screen. The status bar also contains buttons that allow you to view and manipulate popup page elements at design time and the ability to preview your web application as it might appear on various devices. This feature makes it incredibly easy to test the responsive behavior of your application – the way the application will look + behave on phones, tablets and desktops.
Adding new controls to a web page is easy – simply identify the correct control in the “Page Elements” sub-pane on the left hand side of the screen. Once a control has been added it can be configured by hovering on it and using the pop-up configuration editor that appears when it is clicked. A minor gripe – it is not possible to drag controls around to a new location as one expects to be able to do in a traditional IDE. Instead, you have to keep clicking on arrow keys that move the control with a screen refresh after each click owing to the fact that the newly configured preview has to be fetched from the server. At the time of writing this process was not too disruptive but may well become so as the jReply servers start seeing more traffic.
Styling & Layout
jReply uses jQuery Mobile in the background so it should come as no surprise that your first port of call when it comes to styling an application is designing a suitable jQuery Mobile Theme. Theming is nice but it can only take you so far and this is where jReply really starts to show its mettle. For starters it offers a very simple point & click CSS3 rules editor that makes it easy to define most commonly used CSS3 attributes. What is more, media queries are silently defined in the background which makes the process of creating responsive CSS rules dead easy. Once a rule has been defined applying it to a page element is merely a click away.
Responsive web design is all about making good use of available screen real estate in the best and most aesthetic way possible – irrespective of the nature of the screen. jReply provides a mind boggling arsenal of grid and other layout controls to help with the task.
Scripting & External Data
There can be little doubt that jReply is a powerful and well designed IDE. The fact that it lives in the cloud may leave some feeling nervous on the grounds of speed & ease-of-use or fears of relinquishing control. The former concern is in my experience by and large unfounded, at least at the moment. The IDE may be in the cloud but it is very responsive and accessing data in the cloud has not proven to be as disruptive as I had feared. Data security is another matter – the creators would do well to clarify what measures they take to ensure the security of application data and what happens to all the hard work should their servers undergo a fatal crash. On the whole though, jReply offers a handy way to rapidly prototype a responsive HTML5 application.
New gadgets are constantly being invented (or re-invented depending on how you look at it) with otherworldly technologies to make life easier and more manageable. While some devices may be handy in the office, the popular gadgets today are those that increase mobility giving you the flexibility to work anywhere with limitless resources.
Moving data is obviously not a new technology but devices and gadgets used for these purposes keep appearing to meet the demands of a constantly-evolving marketplace. While there is endless appetite for new nerdy devices, certainly the focus is on sleek and smart gadgets that stand out of the jam-packed techie market. One such device that promises to capture documents; images, photos, prints, diagrams, maps etc. anywhere and transform them into electronic form for later manipulation, is the highly-desirable new mobile pen scanner from Hammacher Schlemmer.
About the size of a chunky ballpoint, this scanner will laser scan any document – a menu in a restaurant, street map, job Ads in a newspaper – pretty much anything you might encounter in your daily routine. It has an in-built 5-megapixel sensor with a high-precision auto-focus lens which can scan any document to produce a crystal clear 2048 x 1536 pixel image. On the surface, the device looks just like an ordinary pen (you can even write with it!!) but when you set it to scan mode, it could easily be mistaken for a gadget from a spy movie.
The functions of the pen scanner are fairly simple – pressing the shutter button halfway will cause the pen to project visible red border on a target document which enables it to focus automatically before scanning begins. It has built-in flash memory of up to 1GB it can hold up to 1,000 jpeg format images so storage capacity shouldn’t be a concern. Worried it will run out of power the minute you leave the house? Worry not, it can capture up to 300 images on a single one hour charge. In addition, it also has the capability to capture voice WAV format memos via the integrated microphone. And of course, the device comes with a USB plug that can be used to transfer scanned documents onto any PC or Mac.
How many products these days perform a relatively mundane, but necessary, function whilst allowing you to look like James Bond at the same time? Surely a ‘must have’ for all geeks this season.
About the Author: Michaela Jones is the Marketing Manager at www.netignition.com. She is a tech enthusiast and regular blogger on the subject of new products and gadgets.
Selecting the right CDN (Content Delivery Network) for the job is not an easy decision to make. To make the right choice it is important to understand the governing principles of Content Delivery and use them to make an informative decision. What is CDN? At its core, CDN is a network of data centers that help accelerate your websites performance. Each POP (point of placement) across this network will hold a redundant cache for your site and provide it from the nearest location to each of your visitors. As a result, the website will load faster and your bandwidth usage will go down, simply because all cached objects are now delivered from the closest edge CDN server. This performance enhancing effect is the basic benefit of all CDN platforms and its efficiency will vary, depending on network spread and caching capabilities. Next-gen CDNs Modern CDN’s are no longer built just for speed. Security service providers identified the opportunity offered by CDN’s strategic position, as mediators of all client-to-server traffic, and now use it to provide real-time filtering solutions. Such next-gen solutions can help secure your website and web application, blocking hackers, spammers and other malicious visitors while still accelerating the incoming traffic to the site. Costs There are several free CDN’s to choose from. Typically, these will provide free acceleration and charge for premium security features. To help make things easier I’ve covered here some of the best options – Incapsula, Coral and Cloudflare CDN.
Incapsula is business oriented CDN, known for its strong security capabilities and easy setup process. Security is Incapsula’s strong suit, and its free plan will offer all of the basic CDN acceleration benefits, coupled with protection from automated attacks, which should be enough for bloggers and small business owners. For additional security Incapsula paid plans will also provide enterprise-grade security in form of Web Application Firewall. Bang for buck, this is probably the best web application security you can hope to purchase and it will only set you back $59 – PCI compliancy included. Main benefits:
- Global Network of Servers (13 POPs)
- PCI compliant WAF
- Backdoor shell Protection
- DDoS Protection
- Media File Optimization
- CSS and JS Optimization
- SSL Support
- Dynamic Content Caching
- User Friendly Control Panel
Coral is an Open Source CDN project, built around the idea of peer-to-peer resource sharing. To setup Coral you’ll need to make a one-time purchase of a $50 cable modem, which will be connected to its Global Network of servers. Coral’s core advantages are in its affordable pricing model and network of 300 low-power POPs. It’s not really suited for business users, but if you are looking for a wide spread CDN and don’t expect it to handle lots of traffic at once, Coral may be the right choice for you. Although it showed a lot of promise, recently the project reached a development stalemate. Main benefits:
- Wide Spread Network (300 POPs)
- Free Peer-to-Peer model
- SSL Support
- Open Source
- No recurring fees
Almost synonymous with the concept of ‘Free CDN’, Cloudflare is the platform of choice for many personal websites and some business oriented web stores and news sites. Cloudflare is a great choice if you are looking to accelerate your website. For security, Cloudflare’s paid plans will offer access to Open Source firewall (mod_security) and allow you to set custom rules. Cloudflare is especially popular amongst hosting providers and many will offer integrated setup option inside their cPanel. Main benefits:
- Global Network of Servers (13 POPs)
- Open Source WAF (with custom rules)
- DDoS Protection
- Media File Optimization
- CSS and JS Optimization
- SSL Support
- Railgun Caching Technology
- User Friendly Control Panel
More than ever, passwords are a part of our lives, the key to our digital identity. It is no exception to Windows 8 users. Microsoft has claimed that Windows 8 is the most secure operation system ever since. Actually, we can easily find in this new system a lot of security improvements including the password protection in Windows 8.
The problem with password protection
As always, password protection can be useful to protect others from peeping at your system without your permissions. However, the development of advanced password hacking technologies is also remarkable, including phishing, keylogging, guessing and cracking. As a result, if you really care about the system security, you have to create a powerful password for your system. You need to make it complicated and long. The problem is that, since we have so many accounts and passwords to remember, how can we remember clearly these passwords all the time? And once users forget the password, they may have to deal with the problem of Windows 8 recovery password. Luckily, in Windows 8, it seems that the situation can be improved because of some new features in this system.
Windows 8 password features
In Windows 8, just like in previous systems, users can set up multiple user accounts and then make password for each account. This kind of password, so-called “text password”, is often combined of uppercase/lowercase letters, base digits and special symbols. We have to admit that it is not only familiar to Windows users as well as password hackers. Except for the text password, there are three more authentication methods in Windows 8, picture password, PIN code and Microsoft account.
Picture password: Windows 8 users are allowed to select a picture randomly and then design a sequence of gestures on the image. When the user needs to log in via the picture password, he only needs to draw exactly the same gestures on the image.
Microsoft account: A Microsoft account (Windows Live ID) is the email address and password you use to sign in to any Microsoft related account including Outlook.com, Hotmail, Xbox, MSN, etc. You can use the Microsoft account to log in your Windows 8 and, at the same time, take advantage of all the services connected to this account in Windows 8.
PIN code: Similar to the PIN we use for bank account, a PIN code in Windows 8 is made up of four digits. It is useful if your normal login password is too complicated to type on the virtual keyboard in a tablet.
Other features to help better password protect Windows 8
Sync Passwords: Windows 8 allows users to sync account data via Windows Live to trusted PCs, making unique and complex passwords a more practical option. You then needn’t to reenter all your passwords when you use multiple computers. It is then possible that you just need to remember the login password.
Store Accounts: Windows 8 allows users to save the login name and password for websites, similar to most web browsers. Not only IE, but other web browsers and software can take advantage of it, therefore, to remember the login password can be a much easier thing.
By the way, Windows 8 also allows users to create password reset disk, which will be helpful for resetting Windows password when you happen to forget it. And also, it’s pretty easy for users to find some password reset programs.
At Mac repair UK know only too well Many users have made the switch from a PC to the Mac. The main reasons are that Macs are more creative and reliable. Currently, PCs are still the most widely used platform worldwide. However, there are reasons why the Mac outweighs the PC. Here are the top reasons why you should buy a Mac instead of a PC:
Consistency – The operating system of the Mac is more consistent than Windows. Whenever Microsoft upgrades their system, it randomly moves information around. The OS X is more logical and its minimalist and well-designed user interface is much easier to handle. Apple upgrades are also less buggy than its Windows counterpart. The bottom line is that the OS X is more user-friendly.
Predictability – Though the Mac is not perfect, the Mac still has less problems than the PC. The Mac suffers fewer crashes, deals more efficiently with slow memory, and does not suffer from illogical slowdowns. This is probably due to the fact that Apple is the only company in the industry that codes its own software.
More Secure – Currently there are more viruses, adware and malware targeted towards PCs. A Mac user with no security software is still safer than a PC user who has a running anti-virus program. Also unlike PC users, Mac users are not bombarded by demoware and adware that PC manufacturers add onto the start menu, system tray and desktop. Macs are relatively free of all these headaches.
Design Details – A PC that has the same RAM, CPU speed and hard-drive specs of a Mac will cost less. But what you are paying for when you buy a Mac are those elegant design details. For instance, the Macs AC adaptor has hooks that allow you to wrap the cord around it for easy packing. The power cord is also connected using a magnet which would not damage your computer when it is accidentally yanked from your Mac. The Mac also has a large track pad that allows you to navigate through the OS X interface much more easily.
Apple Applications are a Cut Above the Rest – Apple applications are extremely user-friendly, fun and innovative. These programs range from the iLife creative suite to the robust and powerful Final Cut Pro. These programs will only run on Mac’s OS X.Macs are PCs – With the Parallels Desktop and Bootcamp, you can run Windows and its applications on the Mac. So if you need to run a program that is only exclusive to Windows then you can do so on your Mac. These reasons show that that the Mac is a better purchase than the PC.
Author: Mac Repairs Leeds Blog Team
Customer Relationship Management, or CRM for short, is the implementation of software and processes that are designed to assist companies with managing customer purchasing behaviors and trends in order to improve sales targeting and marketing strategies, among other things.
It is easy to confuse Customer Relationship Management with Customer service. Customer service deals specifically with the interaction of a company’s employees with clients, customers or the public in general. You know how important customer service is if you’ve ever had bad service, especially if that service was so bad that you never patronized the company ever again. But that is not CRM. CRM is the process of using sales statistics and analysis to improve the way that your company interfaces with your customers in order to improve business.
For instance, a grocery store that offers a savings card will store your shopping patterns in their computer whenever you shop. The benefit to you the customer is that you get more coupons that are more sharply targeted to the products that you tend to buy. The benefit to the company employing CRM techniques and or software is that you will more likely use those coupons at their store, thus increasing the company’s sales through improved targeted marketing strategies.
There are numerous companies that offer Customer Relationship Management training software. You can opt to purchase software that you integrate into your sales and marketing systems yourself, or you can hire a company that manages monthly business reporting to help better customize your CRM capabilities to match your company’s goals.
Different companies will use customer information in different ways. Think about how much more convenient it is when you call about a problem with your bill and the person on the other end of the phone is able to pull up your account information in detail. They are better able to assist you with your issue, leading to a better relationship with you the customer and allowing the employee to successfully assist their customers. Call centers have been using this capability for years to populate their phone lists to target their cold calls.
Technology is making CRM much easier to implement by utilizing mobile capabilities to get up to the minute information on your mobile devices, ensuring better, more interactive customer relationships. For businesses large and small, Customer Relationship Management is helping to enhance customer interaction.
While both of these mobile phones are excellent and either would make a good choice, each one has unique features that would likely appeal to a variety of users. Personal preferences for these features will likely be the deciding factor when one chooses between these two excellent mobile phone models. Don’t forget your Samsung Galaxy S4 cases from Ace Case as the dimensions are different from the Galaxy S3.
Both phones have large AMOLED display screens with HD capabilities. The Note has a 5.5-inch screen while the S4 has a 5-inch screen. For many users bigger is better and those who like to use the mobile home for games apps or to view videos might find the Note’s larger screen to be a big plus.
The Note operates a bit more like a tablet than the S4 does and it is great for those who want some of the capabilities of a tablet but do not want to have to carry around a device that will not fit in the pocket. The S4 continues to be more like one of the top smartphones and while the two do have several shared features the feel of a tablet can be quite appealing.
Both are touchscreen devices but the Note comes with a stylus called the S-pen that is awesome for writing or drawing and is fun to use for manipulating photos, adding captions or even doodling. The Note also has an e-reader feature for those who lie to have their reading materials at their fingertips. The S-Pen also has the ability to hover and still work, a feature Samsung has added to its phones that users really seem to like.
Typing in text onscreen can be a bit easier to do with one hand, especially for a smaller person or a person with smaller hands with the S4. The screen is just large enough on the Note for one-handed typing to be uncomfortable for many users. If one handed convenience is important to you that S4 is definitely a better choice.
If you can get an S4 with the 1.9 GHz processor you will have one fast smartphone. This model outperforms most smartphones, including the tablet-like Note when it comes to processing speed. The S4 will rival the very top of the line smartphones for fast processing and sheer power. While the Note is no slouch, it is simply not going to stand up to the S4 when it comes to this trait.
The Note is all about productivity and multitasking, even allowing two apps to run at once on the same screen in different little windows. It is great for those who lie widgets that keep them informed at a glance. The S4 is all about creativity, video-making, picture taking, and fun apps that run quickly and efficiently.
Which of these models is the best for you will depend largely upon what it is you need your phone to do besides make calls, which both of these smartphones do quite well. Which phone seems best to you? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Toshiba has expansion plans for its U.S. tablet offerings later this year as it explores more screen sizes and price points.
The company will introduce new Windows 8 and Android tablets at multiple price ranges in the United States, said Carl Pinto, vice president of marketing at Toshiba America Information Systems, during a Thursday press event in New York City.
The new tablets will represent a renewed effort by Toshiba to expand in the U.S. tablet market after a long silence.
One of the new tablets will be shown at the Google I/O show, Pinto said. The Google developer event will be held between May 15 through March 17 in San Francisco.
Pinto did not share specific details about the tablets and when they would be released. But he said that the company is willing to compete at prices as low as $199 and got to higher price points for better-equipped tablets.
A number of considerations will be taken into pricing the tablets, including the operating system and screen size, Pinto said. Toshiba will be entering a highly competitive market with companies like Amazon, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Samsung, and many others offering low-cost Android tablets.
Right now Toshiba offers one tablet, the Excite 10 (shown above), which is priced at $350 and runs Google’s Android 4.1 OS.
Recent Toshiba tablet problems
Toshiba offers multiple tablets in different countries, and on Thursday announced a newWT310 tablet with Windows 8 and an Intel Core i5 processor in the U.K. But the company has had a rough history with tablets in the U.S. and some other European countries.
The company cancelled plans to release a Windows RT tablet and also a 13.3-inch Excite Android tablet. The company also pulled its Folio 100 tablet and cancelled two Thrive tablet models, including a buggy 10-inch model.
The company recently announced a new laptop called Kirabook, which has a groundbreaking design and a display that can show images at a resolution of 2560 by 1440 pixels.
When Windows 8 made nary a whimper during the holidays, commentators blamed both the OS’s controversial Metro interface and also Microsoft’s OEM partners, few of which had brought to market touch-oriented hardware suited to Win8′s changes. Devices such as the Surface Pro have since reached interested customers, but attractive Windows 8 options are still limited, and the OS’s overall adoption has remained stagnant.
With Friday’s announcement of two new laptop-tablet hybrids, Acer hopes to shake things up. The devices could address some of the late-2012 OEM criticisms, but with potentially superior alternatives on the horizon, and with Win8′s UI complaints still a factor, it’s not clear if now is an ideal time for Microsoft’s device partners to strike.
The Aspire R7, the less conventional of the new offerings, is a 15.6-inch laptop that converts into a plus-size tablet via what Acer calls an “Ezel” hinge. When in laptop mode, the hinge vaguely resembles the monitor support on the back of an iMac. That said, the Aspire R7 is much more adjustable than Apple’s all-in-one desktop, allowing the user to reposition the screen as needed. This feature could appeal to those frustrated by the Surface Pro’s kickstand, whose fixed design can result in awkward viewing angles. In tablet mode, meanwhile, the R7′s touchscreen, which boasts full-HD resolution, slides down over the keyboard. The R7 is a relatively hefty device, weighing 5.2 pounds and measuring 1.12 inches thick. The extra bulk helps accommodate three USB ports and an HDMI port, and the internals are run by either an i5 or i7 Intel processer. The hybrid will hit the market in mid-May at a price of $999.
[ What do you think about Windows 8 hardware? IsMicrosoft Surface Pro Right For You? ]
Acer also unveiled the Aspire P3. Available immediately, the $799 device boasts an 11-inch touchscreen with 1366 x 768-pixel resolution, up to 4 GB of RAM, 60 or 120 GB of SSD storage, and either an i3 or i5 Intel processor. Acer calls the device a convertible Ultrabook, but given that the P3 is a tablet that snaps into a keyboard case, it shares more DNA with the Surface Pro than with most of its Ultrabook brethren. Indeed, its specs and features closely match those of Microsoft’s much-hyped Win8 tablet, including an optional stylus.
Though most PC makers have taken a hit as tablets eat into sales of traditional PCs, Acer has absorbed more damage than most; according to IDC, the company’s Q1 shipments were down more than 30%, year-over-year. Given these struggles, Acer’s decision to swing for the fences with new form factors is a bold move that could inject life into the company’s sales.
Even so, Acer’s new computers — and, indeed, all current Win8 models – face challenges. The R7 and P3 might boast modern designs, but they still run the same version of Windows 8 that has polarized users since its launch last fall. They also rely on Intel’s aging Ivy Bridge Core technology, which is powerful, but limits both battery life and how thin and light a device can be.
Microsoft is currently readying Windows 8.1, an update that was previously codenamed Windows Blue and which is expected to address many of the OS’s most maligned UI quirks. Acer’s new products will be eligible to upgrade, but, given Windows 8′s stalled sales, it’s not clear if on-the-fence buyers will be persuaded until Win8.1′s features, or some other new enticements, have been confirmed.
Intel, meanwhile, will soon release new Core and Atom chips. The former set of processors, codenamed Haswell, is expected to endow current Ultrabooks, which generally get only four to six hours of battery life, with the tablet-like ability to run all day without a charge. The latter processor family, codenamed Bay Trail, will likely end up in both smartphones and also ultrathin, competitively priced 8-inch tablets. The lucrative mini-tablet market is growing fast, and Microsoft presumably hopes to make a splash by bringing a full OS experience to a market segment currently dominated by iOS and Android.
In short, Acer’s new models are relatively attractive at present, and they could be attractive options for buyers who need to make an immediate purchase. They could also be outdated in only a few months, however. Given the R7 and P3′s respective prices, it might be worthwhile to wait.
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Windows 8 continues to take baby steps in the market. A big part of the problem, according to statistics, is its older siblings, Windows 7 and Windows XP.
It’s a trend that continued in April. Use of Windows 8 for desktops reached 3.8 percent last month, up from 3.2 percent in March, according to the latest data from Net Applications. It’s already acknowledged that Windows 8 adoption is lower than that of Windows Vista, based on adoption rates four months out from each OSes’ launch. Not even analyst and consulting firm Gartner Inc. expected such a market response in its early assessment of Windows 8. Microsoft launched Windows 8 about six months ago in October.
Microsoft is mostly facing competition from itself in the desktop OS market. Windows 7 led the desktop OS market in April with 44.7 percent use. Meanwhile, Windows XP held second place at 38.3 percent desktop OS use, per Net Applications’ data.
Microsoft can’t seem to shake users off Windows XP, which is a near 12-year-old OS that will lose security patch support in less than a year from now. The April Windows XP use rate of 38.3 percent is down by less than one percentage point from Net Applications’ March 39 percent estimate.
Some industry observers see such numbers as indicating a stall in Windows XP’s downward decline. A perusal of OS use trends compiled by StatCounter does suggest that there was a period between January and March where the Windows XP decline had flattened out a bit. However, StatCounter showed Windows XP resuming its plummeting trajectory in April with 21.6 percent use, which is a much lower estimate than Net Applications’ 38.3 percent estimate.
StatCounter has a different approach to measuring OS use compared with Net Applications, and its numbers vary accordingly. StatCounter reported Windows 7 use leading at 54 percent in April compared with Net Applications’ 44.7 percent use. Windows 8 use in April was at 4.7 percent per StatCounter, representing a higher figure than Net Application’s 3.8 percent estimate for Windows 8.
Either way it gets measured, the slow adoption of Windows 8 is being interpreted as a “failure” for Microsoft. Analysts such as IDC have suggested that the current down-trending economy is not to blame for the poor showing of Windows 8. Early on, there were shortages of touch-screens for Windows 8 devices hitting the market, which may have dampened sales somewhat, according to the research and consulting firm.
Microsoft has responded to the dampened uptake of Windows 8 with oblique plans for an OS update called “Windows Blue” or “Windows 8.1,” but the details have been inadequately described. It is cutting the price of Windows 8 to its original equipment manufacturers partners. It’s also promised to respond with the introduction of smaller form factors running Windows 8, possibly tapping the new Intel Haswell and Bay Trail chipsets that are expected to arrive in the second half of this year. Lower priced Windows 8 devices, such as $200 notebooks driven by Bay Trail chips, have been promised by Intel.
Such Windows 8 devices running the new Intel chips could make a first appearance next month at Microsoft’s Build developer conference, scheduled for June 26. That’s where Microsoft plans to talk more about Windows Blue.