Internet options and dissect which speed may best meet your own online needs

Over the last two decades, the Internet has pervaded our everyday lifestyles in a way that makes the cyber world less of a luxury and more of a necessity for access to opportunity and information. With that in mind, not everyone requires the same connection speed for their Internet service, as we all tend to use it with a different purpose in mind. To make the search for the ideal Internet connection a little bit simpler, let’s look at some common Internet options and dissect which speed may best meet your own online needs.

Dial-Up

By far the most inexpensive of Internet options, dial-up – otherwise known as analog (56k) – is famous for — beyond its trademark connection sound — boasting the slowest Internet connection speed on the market. Using an ISP-provided public telephone network to connect, the quality of the access is relatively poor compared to its competitors and reaches a meager speed height of about 56 Kbps, much too slow for quality streaming or downloading. Still, dial-up is the economical option for a family living on a low budget, or for anyone who desires basic access to Web pages, but not necessarily the flashy substance of video and audio.

DSL

The spark that set off the Internet in the last decade, DSL connections have given access to millions more people since its introduction, as it touts speeds as high as 9 Mbps. The connection uses a two-wire copper phone line that avoids clogging your phone landline in the way dial-up is known to do. DSL is broken down into three subcategories:

  • ADSL. The ubiquitous asymmetrical digital subscriber line connection peaks at a speed of 9 Mbps when receiving data, making it faster than its SDSL counterpart in addition to being the most chosen amongst customers. If living in a metropolitan area, users may also choose the supped-up version of ADSL often referred to as ADSL +2, which involves the installation of a special filter that amplifies download speeds.
  • SDSL. The symmetrical digital subscriber line supports speeds up to 3 Mbps, differing from ADSL significantly by having the same speeds for uploads as it does downloads. Further varying from its DSL sibling, it uses telephone lines already in existence in addition to a specific modem for the Internet type. If you desire a more consistent connection – especially if you upload files frequently – SDSL may be your best option in what is considered the xDSL family.
  • VDSL. Very High DSL stands out from the pack as the DSL type catered toward short-distance connections, often more ideal for small businesses.

Cable

Cable connections – unsurprisingly – operate using TV channels offered through your cable provider. Data is communicated through specific channels for what is considered “upstream” data, and through other channels for “downstream” data – that is, downloading versus uploading. Speeds offered by cable providers are generally faster than DSL lines, at its minimum reaching speeds of 512 Kbps, and a maximum of 20 Mbps – more than twice as fast as DSL. Cable connections are ideal for those who already have cable television, as they’re more likely to reach some form of combination deal with their cable provider, thus getting a quality Internet connection for a fairly reasonable package price. Beyond that, it also streamlines your cable and Internet services into one provider, rather than two.

T-1

This connection type is most prevalent amongst the business world, existing as a leased line that connects at a speed of 1.544 Mbps through the use of 24 distinct 64 Kbps channels. For businesses with a bigger need, T-1 lines can be “bonded” to create higher speeds, going as far as to increase the number of channels from 24 to 672 through a “T-3” connection and improve the connection speed to an impressive 45 Mbps.

Get the Best from the Digital Age

For most of us these days, using a computer has become a daily occurrence, so much so that many of us can’t imagine life without it. Completing work projects, checking correspondence, interacting socially and shopping online have all become part of our everyday existence, but not everyone has become part of the Digital Age. There is one significant group in our society which has been left behind by events, and it’s perhaps time to include them.

A significant number of the older members of our communities have little or no experience of computers, and will not be aware of the many benefits that regular internet usage can bring. In an era when we are encouraging young children to find their way around the web and to become increasingly au fait with everything computers can achieve, it seems a shame that we are neglecting those at the other end of the age scale.

Those who were born in the 1980s and beyond have grown up in an era of technological innovation, and are therefore better equipped to understand the many gadgets and gizmos that have appeared on the shelves of our stores ever since. Although there are plenty of older people who know their way around a digital camera or a mobile phone, there are still too many who struggle to understand just what a computer, and the internet, can do.

The first step is the most important one

Needless to say, switching on a computer and accessing the worldwide web is a simple operation for most of us, and if some of the less enlightened members of our senior communities could be encouraged to try it, they will undoubtedly be pleasantly surprised by this simplicity. The most difficult hurdle in this is likely to be the first one of all: how best to guide and support the uninitiated through that vital initial step.

A worthy campaign by the BBC in recent times to get older people involved in internet life produced some interesting results, with many initially reluctant participants discovering many of the benefits of web usage. If the momentum from this outreach programme could be harnessed further, we may find a growing number of men and women becoming more and more keen to put the computer through its paces.

Initial understanding of what can be achieved is a major obstacle, but it appears that many potential silver surfers are interested in processes that can allow them to contact friends and family instantly on the other side of the world. Those in the older age bracket are from a generation in which many of their relatives emigrated to countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, so they are eager to discover the immediacy of an email.

Another process that piqued their interest was online shopping. A great many seniors find it difficult to cope with regular trips to the major supermarkets or to their local grocery stores, so the opportunity to have a weekly delivery of their provisions brought to their front door appealed greatly. Through such applications, the shroud of mystery that surrounds the internet can hopefully start to clear in the coming months and years.

 

Compromise Your Privacy

Any hidden web page object that is used to track visitors without being clearly visible is known as a web bug. They are invisible in order to covertly track a web visitor. If the object was visible, it would get in the way of the page, make visitors suspicious and probably be blocked. Scripts, iframes, images and other objects are used to create web bugs. The images and objects used generally don’t have any borders and are transparent though sometimes they merely blend into the background. The elements of web bugs are downsized to such a degree that the human eye simply cannot see them.

 

In addition, their tiny size means that their transfer rates will be all but unnoticeable. Visitors are tracked using cookies, IP addresses, header information and much more. Although web bugs may only track the visitor’s current page, there are bugs capable of going through the whole browsing history of an individual. You should not confuse web bugs with the software kind which describes an error, these bugs are deliberately created in order to track visitors.

 

Why Are Web Bugs Used?

As you might suspect, the whole point of creating web bugs is to improve the level of information garnered from online users for marketing purposes. Proponents of web bugs will say that they are there for a person’s convenience. However, they rightly cause privacy concerns because they aren’t easy to detect which means people can’t opt out. The only real plus point in relation to web bugs is the fact that they can collect useful consumer information and aid in online advertising.

 

Web Bug Invasion

Unfortunately, web bugs are blatantly misused by those who champion them. The biggest concern is the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a specific limit on the number of different web bugs allowed on any one site. It is also the case where the information is illegally sold. Spam marketers use web bugs to find out if their spam mail is being received. If it is, they know that their emails are bypassing spam filters. Hidden objects are often linked with phishing sites, malware, viruses and other issues that affect your security.

 

It is also important to note that web bugs are hardly ever mentioned in the privacy policies of websites and are effectively a loophole. The next time you read through a privacy policy, look out for the statement which says that data will not be shared with a third party. When it comes to web bugs, the site isn’t sharing your data because your browser is what sends out the data unintentionally.

Website Bounce Rate is Too High

Most web masters know what bounce rate is and how it can negatively affect a website. Obviously the higher your bounce rate the worse your website is performing. Google analytics provides great insight to bounce rate and will give you the exact percentage of users leaving, the time they spend on your page and what pages they leave from. If your bounce rate is any higher than 50% your website is underperforming. The ideal range for most well performing websites is somewhere between the 30 to 40% range.  In this article we are going to go over some common causes of high bounce rates.

Your Site Isn’t Mobile

Approximately 20% of all web searches are performed on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. If your website doesn’t have a responsive design or a mobile version, many users will have difficulty navigating your site. Users will have to scroll, zoom in and zoom out considerably just to find the information they are seeking. As you can imagine, some users will get frustrated and go to the next site that is more user friendly. Some great ways to mobilize your website would be using a responsive Word Press theme or a mobile website provider such as Duda Mobile.

Your Layout Sucks

If your website looks like it was created in 1995, you better believe your bounce rate will be higher. Most internet users have a certain level of expectation of credible websites. I mean it is 2012 after all. Common problems include terrible aesthetics, broken functions, dead links, poor content either grammatically or overly thin and difficult navigation to name a few.  If you are uncertain about the function of your website you can use Google Webmaster Tools to look for any problems.

Your Keywords Aren’t Relevant

I want to first note that if Google indexes your website for keywords you’re not targeting that isn’t completely your fault. However, in most cases if you are targeting keywords in your header, tags, and descriptions that don’t fit the content that can increase your bounce rates. The user may be looking for “Computer Repair” and find out your content is actually about repairing a specific Macintosh model from 1995. Problems often arise with relevancy when your content is either too specific or too vague for the keywords you are targeting.

Rumours have taken a surprising turn

It’s iPhone season again, just in case you hadn’t noticed. We’ve been bombarded by hundreds of supposed leaks, photos, videos, rumours and educated guesses. All of these have been promising additions, changes, new features and the like, but it seems in recent days like the rumours have been going in the opposite direction.

Let’s take a sample. First, after months of speculation, it seems that Apple has finally chosen not to include NFC in their new iPhone 5. There was a wide assumption that they would do so, seeing as Passbook e-wallet functionality has been baked into the new iOS 6 software. It’s a feature that the iPhone’s main rivals include as standard. The choice not to include it seems like a regressive step. The technology is certainly ready even if the customers aren’t. It isn’t even prohibitively expensive, so they can’t claim it’s to do with keeping costs down. Heck, even the BlackBerry Curves now have NFC contactless payments built in.

On the world’s most anticipated (and probably most expensive) smartphone it seems like an unusual move to create the software and then fail to implement the hardware. That means it will be another year before we see iPhone 5 NFC technology, putting them two years behind BlackBerry and Samsung in the contactless payment wars. If this kind of technology takes off, and it really could do with the push from EE, Vodafone and O2, then Apple will be at a major disadvantage in the feature stakes.

It’s possible that Apple are just being cautious. Uptake and usage is not high (from both merchants and consumers) so to add it as standard might not make sense. There could be NFC models in certain countries where uptake has proven to be higher. We’ve only seen one phone broken down in Asia, so we don’t know if this is the EU or American version. Another reason they may not have implemented it is over security concerns raised at the Black Hat conference over summer. Charlie Harris demonstrated a method for NFC linking a phone’s browser to an infected web page without the user’s consent. This can be done even if the phone is in someone’s pocket and locked. Scary stuff.

Another feature that is not only not going to be added, but will actually be removed, is the Audience noise-cancelling processor chip. The firm said that Apple instead has decided to return to in house audio, a move which might quite likely seek to give the tyrannical company even more control over its products and cut costs.

There’s even talk that the iPhone 5 might not arrive with EU compatible 4G support in October. This is perfectly possible, seeing as their major markets (the UK and Germany) don’t currently have sufficient 4G coverage to make it worthwhile. Were people’s expectations too high, or are Apple losing their shine? We can’t be sure until we know for definite what will be launched on the 15th September. In the meantime, here’s a video that supposedly demonstrates the iPhone 5 booting up. Most people think it’s fake but I like to think it isn’t.

Getting Started with Online Marketing

As a small business owner, you know that time is money. You simply do not have the time to devote to online marketing efforts that may or may not generate visitors to your website and convert them to customers. You have a finite amount of time to devote to online marketing efforts. Moreover, you need to see a return on the time investment when you allocate your valuable time resources to online marketing.

Most small business owners agree that internet marketing would benefit their business. However, with limited time available to learn the techniques of online marketing and even less time available to monitor successes that do not immediately translate into ROI, small business owners need a lean, mean initiation strategy to quickly and efficiently implement online marketing.

Six tips to help small business owners get started with internet marketing include:

Land that User!

The most important page of your small business website is the landing page, also known as the homepage. Your homepage must engage the user and compel them to investigate other pages within your site. Your landing page should not include all of the information about your business that you can stuff into one page. Instead, your homepage should give users a taste and leave them wanting more. You can accomplish this task in several ways. You might provide a teaser paragraph from three or four articles with the “Read More” link at the bottom of each paragraph. You have probably seen this technique in action. Once the reader is engaged by the first paragraph, they will click the link to read the rest of the article.

Content, Content, Content
Fresh, relevant and valuable content is essential to engage users. Few small businesses are entirely unique with regards to the products or services they provide. Therefore, you need to offer value in the way of content to your users. Content is not only important for engaging users, content is also a major factor utilized by the major search engines to rank your site in search engine results pages, or “SERPs.” Regularly post content that is of value to those that may visit your site, such as applicable blog posts, articles, and interesting information. If you do not have time to generate new content, several content resellers and freelance authors are available to lend a hand.

Get Social

Social media is a great way to increase the visibility of your business. However, just creating a profile page for your business on Facebook and expecting users to flock to your site won’t work. Create a Facebook “Fan” (business) page instead of a generic user profile page for your business. When you create a business page, you will have features that are not available to profile pages.

Once you create your business page, it is important to engage users. Post fresh, relevant and entertaining content, such as videos, articles and specials for Facebook Fans. Engage users by promptly answering questions, posting surveys and requesting for feedback from your users.

Digital cameras have remained purely for photography

Digital cameras have so far stayed out of the smartphone sphere. While smartphones have cameras and social sharing features, digital cameras have remained purely for photography. Until now.

A New Era of Cameras

Samsung has recently released news of their Galaxy camera, which is basically a digital camera in the front, and a smart phone from the back.

The 16.3 megapixel Galaxy is powered by Andriod 4.1 Jelly Bean, and has 3G, 4G, and dual-band WiFi connectivity abilities. This allows users access to a whole range of abilities that were previously closed to digital camera users. Andriod allows users to immediately edit their photos in Photoshop Touch, or whatever photo editing apps they choose from the Play Store, on the 4.77 inch HD touch display, which has 308 pixels per inch.

After editing, users can immediately upload their photos to their favorite social media platform, making the shooting, editing, sharing process very streamline and efficient. Even if you are not able to connect to 3G, 4G, or WiFi, there is 8GB of internal storage, and a Dropbox app, which can sync to your cloud account when you regain 3G, 4G, or WiFi connection.
Outside of what were previously thought of as smart phone abilities, the camera also has voice control, auto cloud backup, slow motion video, and a 1.4GHz Quad-Core processor.

The Galaxy and the Future of Cameras

The Galaxy makes it pretty clear that Samsung is serious about changing digital photography. They’ve connected our constant need for social media with our more serious interests in photography, while not crossing over into the smartphone realm. This camera was designed with social media in mind.

When Samsung released news of the Galaxy on Aug. 29, 2012 in Berlin, the President of IT &Mobile Communications Division at Samsung, JK Shin, said this, “The Galaxy Camera opens a new visual communication era and shifts a paradigm in communication. With the growth of social networks and the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, people today communicate faster than words. As we increasingly articulate our experiences through pictures and videos the Galaxy Camera has been created to lead the way in this new era of visual communication.”

Since its creation in the earliest days

Since its creation in the earliest days of the Internet Era, the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) has struggled to find a place as anything more than a tool for the presentation or formatting of text and images. HTML 5 has provided both the base functionality and ease of extensibility that promises to elevate the once-lowly markup language to a useful application development tool.

HTML 5 is best thought of as a web standard which combines the simplicity of HTML, the presentation flexibility of the Cascading Style Sheet 3 specification, and JavaScript’s ability to access and manipulate real-time data on both the server and application levels. Although each of these has its own relative strengths and weaknesses, they are at their most synergistic when used concurrently within the HTML 5 framework.

A complete study of HTML 5 is far beyond the scope of this short article. For a more thorough review of the topic, the interested reader is encouraged to visit the World Wide Web Consortium’s HTML 5 Specification site. Instead, we will turn our attention to three areas where HTML 5 is already proving its utility.

HTML 5 for Web Site Development

Thanks to the inherent versatility of HTML 5, the need for extensive skills in Cascading Style Sheets for content presentation or in JavaScript, or some other CGI language, for form processing or database design and access is quickly slipping into the past. HTML 5 provides new, more versatile support for traditional form controls such as buttons, boxes, and text areas, as well as the ability to automatically update web content when newer content becomes available. This is, of course, in addition to the already-existing ability to “customize” content presentation to the individual’s preferences.

HTML 5 and Web Applications

The ability of HTML 5 to precisely define content, layout, and server/client data exchanges makes this technology ideal for the development of “cloud” applications or applications that require local data sharing and collaboration. Although many such applications will demand more than JavaScript and style sheets are currently capable of delivering, HTML 5 will be useful in both prototyping and deployment of web-based software applications.

Yet another exciting feature of HTML 5, which is discussed in the following section, is that it allows both web site content and web applications to be quickly “repackaged” for use on mobile devices.

How to choose a domain name

The internet has changed the way we do business and a website is an essential part of any company. Whatever your business is, the internet is the easiest way to let the world know about your services. From multinational firms to small one man bands, if you don’t have a website, then you are losing out and somebody else is taking your potential clients. When you start a website, the first thing that you will need to decide upon is what you wish the address of your site to be. Websites all have an address and these are known as domain names. Choosing domain names is quite important as this is generally how people will find you and sometimes judge your worth before they even look at your site.

A good idea is to try and make your domain name close or the same as the name of your company or the service you supply. For example if your company is called Hats With Tunes and you sell hats with built in radios you might want to choose a domain name such as hatswithtunes.com or radiohats.com. This way people browsing the internet can see straight away what your company provides and are more likely to visit your site.

The second part of domain names is known as the domain and are grouped into three types. Top level domains or TLD’s are the .com, .net, info and .org addresses and these are the most popular. However, as the internet has grown and the amount of websites has increased there have been more domain names made available and there are now second and third level domains. Other top level domains are to direct a viewer towards a specific country as in co.uk or .dk. if your business is specific to a certain country, then these domains are worth considering.

Many of the more obvious domain names are already in use and sometimes it is worth trying to be a little different when you are trying to come up with yours. If hatswithtunes.com has already been taken then perhaps look at the initials and try hwt.com. By doing this you can also make your domain name easier to remember than if your company has a long and confusing name. Also look at changing the level of the domain as just because .com has been used .net may still be available. Another factor to consider is the price of the domain name as these can differ quite considerably.

Cloud Computing for the Home

Cloud computing not only transforms home computing, but the way we work and live. If that sounds overblown, consider how working from home and consuming entertainment have changed over the last few years. And the rise of the ‘Internet of Things’, which will co-ordinate internet connected devices, can make your home life more relaxing and enjoyable.

There are already lots of advantages to embracing cloud computing in your home, whether it’s for work, pleasure or managing your household.

Cloud Storage for the home:
One of the big early selling points of cloud computing has been the availability of cheap, plentiful storage space for photos, videos, work documents and anything else you can think of. Cloud storage providers include UK-based Memstore, along with U.S companies such as Dropbox, Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft.

It’s important to check out the various options and not just sign up to the most familiar brand names, as costs can vary depending on the storage needed. And in the UK it’s also well worth considering a UK-based provider like Memset, as they’ll be fully-compliant with UK specific laws and regulations, which isn’t the case for businesses based elsewhere.

Backing up anything valuable to you, whether its photos of your family, household documents like your insurance forms, or work documents, is essential. Many people rely on external hard drives for manual backups, which is a good idea. But these backups are often left sat next to computers, so in the event of a robbery, you lose both the originals and backups.

For peace of mind, backing up once to an external hard drive and once to a cloud service means that you have security whatever happens. And it’s low cost – Memstore is a great example as you only pay for the space you use and when you download beyond large amounts. For instance, you can store up to 100GB and download 20GB per month for just £3.95 per month.

If you check the disk space you’ve used on your computer and laptop now, you’ll probably find it’s a lot less to backup than you might think.

Cloud Streaming for the home:
Whether you enjoy music, movies or even videogames, we’re all becoming used to cloud storage and streaming.

If you just want instant access, you can choose from a variety of services such as Spotify to get access to a huge range of music, or Lovefilm and Netflix to stream movies to your tablet or TV – apps for games consoles mean you don’t need to move the computer or trail wires through your house.