Tech Week

Google to Start Regulating “Intrusive Interstitials” Come January

Tech Week August 31, 2016 at 9:38 am

Tech giant googleWebsites can start kissing their pop-up ads goodbye, as Google has just announced that it will begin cracking down on these “intrusive interstitials” come January 10, 2017.

Closed Windows

The announcement aims to reinforce the tech giant’s commitment to providing mobile users the best possible browsing and search experience, something that is simply impossible with the off-putting, badgering nature of some online advertisements.

Professionals from Bungemoe describe the “intrusive interstitials” Google is targeting as those advertisements that cover the main content at any time during the user’s browsing of a particular page. They note, however, that Google has outlined a few exceptions, such as interstitials that appear to be in response to the website’s legal obligation (cookie usage, age verification), login dialogs, and non-intrusive, easy-to-dismiss banners.

Open Doors

The use of “intrusive interstitials” has always been the most notorious advertising tactic on the internet, so much so that its creator had to apologize for what he had done. Pop-up ads have ruined countless hours of browsing, debilitated countless sites, and tricked countless users out of their money. One might wonder why Google has taken so long before making a move, and the answer lies in one of the core principles that made the search company so invaluable to begin with: internet freedom.

Google has always championed its capacity to allow every single one of its users to mold web-based experiences to their own accord. Unfortunately, pop-up ads came as what some users (marketers) wanted. Despite all the purported enemies of online freedom, the people who enjoyed it were the ones that ultimately made the strongest case for regulations.

Google will always tout its commitment to making the internet a place for every single user to make as their own, but this does not mean the company cannot throw its weight around and introduce regulations that will benefit more users in the long run.

Spring Cleaning 101: Ever-Organised Electronics

Tech Week March 30, 2016 at 10:32 am

Keeping Your Electronics OrganisedWith every new smartphone, gaming device and charging systems, your electronics collection could easily grow into a tangle of cords and a pile of unsorted gadgets. This is why it’s necessary to take the time and sort out which ones are still useful and make sure that those are kept safe and secure for easy access.

Here are some ways to do a little spring cleaning around the home to keep your gadgets up to date, organization-wise.

Cable ties: The handy invention to tie-up loose ends

Whether it’s an old charger and USB connectors that can still be used for a new smartphone of the same brand or everyday appliances, cords can become a tangled hassle when left unsorted. The easiest way to deal with them is to make use of cable ties.

Also known as zip ties, these are actually an easy solution to bundle together cable and wires to keep them from tangling. Cable ties are usually made of plastic, which makes them sturdy enough to hold cords together, Skygeek reported. Additionally, cable ties can be adjusted depending on how many or how thick the cords are that need to be bundled together.

Store with an electronics bin

Now that you have your cords in order, you can also make sure that your electronics are not just lying around in the house or even your bag. It helps to have an electronics bin that you can easily store in a bigger cabinet or drawer, says Engineering Supplies.

Usually, an electronics bin has different storage slots to easily store similar items. For instance, you can put together USB connectors in one slot while putting all of the phone chargers into another. With the use of cable ties for cords, this makes them even easier to find and use around the home.

This also works in the office and lets you avoid having a cluttered desk full of cords and gadgets everywhere.

Sort and separate according to use

Other electronics may not necessarily fit into an electronics bin. The best way to unclutter most of the gadgets and electronics in the home is to have an organisational system that would allow you to categorise which device, gadget, hardware, and even software is needed for which purpose, according to Houzz.

For instance, those with gaming devices, office gadgets, and entertainment systems and accessories should learn to separate each segment into a different filing area. All of the accessories related to gaming — including game discs, headsets, controllers, and the like — should have their own tier in the cabinet that’s separate from other gadgets. Better yet, if you have space in the home, it would be better to store it in a different place so that if your electronics library grows in the long run, it would be easy to adjust to the allotted space instead of being forced to take out your old hardware.

Take these three steps to heart the next time you plan to get your gear and gadgets in order. This way, you can say goodbye to days of tripping on messy cords or fumbling your way into finding the (yet again) missing remote control.

Improving Your IT Department

Tech Week April 23, 2015 at 12:23 am

IT DepartmentBeing a CIO means handling all the technological affairs of a business. It also means having to directly manage the IT department. Regardless of the industry, the IT department has various stereotypes. More often than not, other departments view IT people as aloof and uncooperative. And it’s your job to change that.

While you may scoff at these stereotypes, they can actually do damage to the department’s image, which in turn will surely affect its function and effectiveness. This article will help you improve the image of the department one step at a time.

Value Communication Lines

Encourage your staff to maintain open communication lines with the users. They have to show that their assistance is accessible. When other departments learn of this, they will not feel awkward or afraid to seek the help of the department. Often, users don’t want to ask for the IT department’s assistance because of intimidation. Open communication lines will also help you express the department’s expectations and educate users.

Streamlining is the Key

To maintain open communication lines, you need to streamline the department’s processes. Remove the barriers that may be keeping users from approaching the group. Develop a simple and transparent set of protocols on approving requests and responding to notifications and reports.

Work with the Right People

Sometimes, the problem is with the people in the department. Don’t just hire staff with skills. Make sure that the people the department takes in exhibit some people smarts. They need to be approachable, open, and honest. You will also need to choose a reliable external partner. In fact, TailWind Voice and Data stressed, “he more centralized your voice and data network management becomes, the more important it is to have a reliable partner for maintaining quality service across the entire enterprise.”

These are only some of the things you need to keep in mind if you want to improve the IT Department’s systems and more importantly, its image. Set a good example so that the staff will be inspired to do well and good.

PPC: Is Your Small Business Ready for it?

Tech Week March 2, 2015 at 7:26 am

pay per clickPay per click (PPC) advertising is a remarkable way to get visitors when you need them. All you have to do is buy listings on Google search results and you’ll see your site displayed along with the natural and non-paid results. When used poorly, however, it might cost a fortune without netting any good results.

Denver PPC specialists say that while Google AdWords is beneficial, you won’t know if it’s the right strategy if you have no idea how it’ll work for your business. Here are some questions you should ask before setting up an account:

Is Your Website Prepared?

Google AdWords can help bring users to your site, but you can’t expect it to do the conversion. Make sure that your website is ready to welcome visitors before setting up an AdWords account. This doesn’t only encourage them to browse, but it also saves your site from higher bounce rates. You’ve already grabbed the attention of your target market; all you need to do now is to keep them interested, so they’ll buy what you offer.

Do You Know the Category of Your Business?

It’s important to understand what category your products and services fall under, as you can use these as the basis to find the most suitable keyword lists and ads. This helps target a specific demographic, so you won’t end up displaying your ads to those who aren’t interested in them.

Use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to create a list of keywords by category. If you think it’s not enough, you can use the suggestions to expand the keyword lists you’re bidding on. AdWords has strict advertising procedures, so you also have to know what are acceptable in Google’s Advertising Policies.

PPC is an effective online strategy when used to its full potential. If you think your small business will benefit from it, you have to start preparing before setting up a Google AdWords account.

3 Responsive Web Design Rules to Know About

Tech Week October 29, 2014 at 7:46 am

responsive web designResponsive web design is a concept that those new to web design often do not know much about. For starters, it is a given that users today no longer view websites exclusively on desktops anymore; other platforms like tablets and smartphones have become more common and are poised to take over. If your site works only for one device, users on other platforms may feel ostracized—this can mean bad news for business.

Designers and developers approached the challenge in different ways over the years, but Web Express says that there are some rules you need to observe to step up website responsiveness. Here are some rules you need to know about:

Work with Real Content

Working with just content templates is like feeling your way around in a dark room. While you get a vague idea of what the site looks like, it is still best to get some light so that you can see the clear picture and make the appropriate adjustments after. Know what type of content you will be using for each specific page. For example, if it is going to be text-heavy, choose typography that makes reading easier for users.

There is No “Universal” Template

Designers often have ready-made templates when presenting designs to their clients. This is universal practice that gives you a better sense of what the web professionals can do. This does not mean, however, that they are confined to these particular layouts. There really is no universal template when it comes to responsive web design.

Do Not Stop with Mobile

Most people want their site to be responsive for easier access on mobile that they forget about the desktop experience. Do not make this mistake; pay attention to how your site performs on every platform. This gives everyone a pleasant experience regardless of the platform they are using.

Responsive web design is changing the way designers create sites for their clients and improves online marketing results. Keep your site updated by knowing about the basics of web design and getting help from experts.

3 Facebook Advertising Ideas You’re Probably Ignoring

Tech Week September 2, 2014 at 5:50 am

While others thrive in advertising using the social media giant, many are still struggling. With more than 1.23 billion active monthly users, it’s supposed to be easy to engage your audience and promote your brand – but it’s not.

facebook adIf this sounds like you and your current social media marketing campaign, then you may be missing out on a couple of vital links on how marketing on Facebook works. With that, here are a few oft-ignored reasons your Facebook campaign is not getting its fair share of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’.

You Treat it as a Search Engine

As someone who has been in the industry long enough would know, Google Adwords helps tremendously for marketers who want to make online advertising produce great business results. You probably even experimented with ad groups, keywords, and landing page optimisation.

Applying your knowledge on AdWords and using it for your Facebook advertising campaign, however, won’t produce the same results. As Bambrick Media puts it, every business is different and sometimes won’t suit certain social media platforms. Remember that while you’re trying to advertise on the social network as a search engine, your target audience is using it as the social media platform that it is.

Users are there to Browse

Users on Facebook are there for navigational and informational intent; that is, they’re there to browse and just read through their feeds. When they Google something, they’re likely looking doing so mostly for informational intent; that is, to get more details about a certain topic.

Remember that Facebook users are mostly browsing for content that’s entertaining, interesting, and engaging. If you’re trying too hard to sell to users who are there to browse or be entertained and engaged, they’re not likely to buy.

Data is available, Ready for Analysing

Many organisations put out ads on Facebook, but very few actually analyse results. Remember that in any campaign, it’s important to understand what you’re doing, how you’re doing, and what you can improve.

Take advantage of advertising management platforms, such as Facebook’s new cross-device tracking tool. Find out which areas need improvement and which still need working on. Without this knowledge, you may just be blindly posting ads and wasting valuable resources.

While advertising mistakes do happen even on Facebook, these are just as easy to fix. Knowing what you’re doing wrong can help steer your social media ads — and subsequently, your business — in the right direction.

The Fuss about the ‘Right to be Forgotten’

Tech Week July 28, 2014 at 6:14 am

internetIt all began with one lawsuit against Google that requests the removal of one link. The case went on for quite some time, escalating up to the European Court of Justice. The high court issued a verdict in May 2014, and along with this ruling came a slew of arguments and discussions concerning one aspect of the decision: the right to be forgotten.

The right to be forgotten compels search engines like Google (which, by the way, has been taking the brunt of the decision) to remove links about a certain person or interest on the Web upon their request. Of course, the removal is still subject to scrutiny, but as long as the matter does not concern public interest, the search engine has to comply.

Datacenterjournal.com notes that since the verdict in May, the issue has been a hot topic in tech and IT sites. So far, the matter’s popularity is due to the many issues surrounding it.

A Form of Censorship?

For one, some critics think that the ECJ’s verdict can spark Internet-wide censorship of many different things. When there is a complaint about a certain story online, it should be escalated to Google – not the publisher of the story. The website and the page where the story was put up will remain, but the search engine will stop indexing the content and prevent it from appearing in search results. For critics, this is a form of censorship and a breach of the rights to free speech and free expression.

Vagueness of the Concept

What some people also criticize about the ruling is the concept’s inherent vagueness. By definition, the right to be forgotten covers any event in the past that no longer occurs today – ergo, anybody reserves the right to delete any form of past information concerning themselves. On paper, the whole idea sounds great; but critics lambast this notion for its vagueness and its scope. So far, only matters that are of public interest cannot be removed from Google’s indexed pages.

Implementation Problems

The implementation of the “right to be forgotten” is not making things easier. News stories point out how Google struggles to deal with hundreds of thousands of requests to remove links online.

Apart from the myriad of requests Google receives on a daily basis, the search giant has to scrutinize every request to determine whether or not they deserve to be forgotten by the cyberspace. Two months after the issuance of the directive, implementation remains a problem to those involved – Google, especially.

The right to be forgotten has been talked about for quite a long time, but that’s for good reason. With its possible effect on the Internet as we know it, the issue does deserve its space in the blogosphere and mainstream media.

Only time will tell whether the critics or the supporters are on the right fence concerning this matter, but current discussions will surely pave the way for a better cyberspace for all.

Color It Creative: How to Use Color Temperature to Enhance Your Video

Tech Week March 28, 2014 at 3:23 am

color paletteColor temperature plays an important role in creating quality video clips. If you want to add depth and dimension to your project, you have to understand the dynamics of this photography aspect. When used in the proper way, the right color temperature can bring out the best details of your video clip, especially during that critical post-production stage.

The Kelvin Scale

The key to understanding color temperature is knowing with which scale it is measured. As light is invariably tied with how color manifests in every frame, you have to take into account the different light sources you have. When you are out in daylight, you have about 5,550 K. Tungsten-lit spaces, on the other hand, have a color temperature reading of about 3,200 K.

With this in mind, you can now change the settings of your camera to accommodate the effects of the light source. For instance, daylight is usually dominated by hues of blue; you might want to add tinges of orange or red to flesh out more realistic colors. If you are editing stock video footage, however, you can always just correct the color balance in post-production.

Enhancing the Mood

With the right color temperature, you can dramatically transform a certain clip to convey a stronger emotion or ambience. One case in point is when you want to suggest activity in a particular clip sequence. Raising the color temperature will make the scene look and feel “warm”, intensifying the mood and emotions. Just look at how Spike Lee did it in his 1989 film, Do the Right Thing.

Opening the Floodgates

Perhaps one reward of knowing how color temperature changes your video clip is that you can now experiment with different color balance settings to get the effect that you want. Many video production specialists tweak the color temperatures of quality royalty-free video clips to suit the feel of their projects. They also repurpose old clips to give it a fresh new look by changing the white balance. With these and many other options at hand, color temperature allows you to exercise your creativity and create more compelling video content.

A good handle on color temperature has many merits. If you are keen on improving your craft, it pays to invest time and resources familiarizing yourself with this key element.

Moving in, Moving on: 4 Tips to Make Your Apartment Feel Like Home

Tech Week March 14, 2014 at 4:34 am

man inside an apartmentApartments do tend to feel impermanent. You can’t do everything you want, you have plenty of space issues, and you need to put up with those old light fixtures and kitchen cabinets. Plus, there’s always this feeling that you’re probably going to move anytime soon.

Still, you can dive right in and decorate that apartment you rent in Forbes Village. The sooner you start, the sooner it will feel like home, not a temporary dwelling. Here’s how.

Fewer items, not fewer sentiments

You might think that moving into a new apartment for rent means you’re not allowed to bring items that mean a lot to you. Be it a piece of artwork that a friend made for you or your favorite chair, making these items the focal point of your home can add that personal touch.

Paint the walls

Staring at white walls isn’t inviting; it may even feel impersonal. If the manager or landlord permits, try painting your walls to add that sense of ownership. You can also put up some wallpaper in case your landlord doesn’t allow wall repainting.

Organization goes a long way

Apartments are popular for having limited space, and making it feel like home will depend on how you enjoy living in it. Consider organizing important spots such as the kitchen and the bathroom. Install portable shelves and get creative with storage to take full advantage of your apartment space.

Do all the work

While you can hire someone to do all the renovations for you, you can also put some time into repairs so you’ll feel more connected to your new home. You might be surprised how a simple furniture rearrangement or shelf refinishing can make your apartment feel like new, something more personal.

Live by the idea of making that apartment your own home even if it’s a rental. Although you’re residing within a contract, you’re still living there so take on the responsibility to make it your home and a place for you to enjoy and unwind. Move on, even as you move in.

Metal Spinning Is an Art Form

Tech Week February 26, 2014 at 3:54 am

There’s always some confusion whenever metal spinning is discussed, but most people have a uniform idea of what pottery making looks like, even if they’ve never been to a class. Metal spinning may use different equipment and materials, but the process is relatively the same.

Metal latheSpinning

The process starts with the lathe, which is the machine that rotates the pieces on an axis similar to a rotating table in pottery making. But, the lathe positions its pieces horizontally, because it affords an easier hold while the metal spinner rotates the lathe at high speeds. The position also affords better control over the piece’s final shape and design.

A block is mounted on the lathe’s drive section and a pressure pad clamps a pre-sized metal disc, which serves as the work piece to it. The lathe rotates the block and the work piece at high speeds; lever tools apply pressure onto the piece so that it flows over the block. The block distorts the shape of the piece into the desired form, much like how hands mould clay into pots.

Designs that are more complicated may require multi-piece blocks for the different depression in the final product.

Metal spinning is a technique used to fabricate parts specific to their purpose, parts such as rocket nose cones, urns, musical instruments, and various aeroplane parts are commonly spun to create the best performance from such parts.

Seams

Metal spinning is the preferred method of metal part fabrication because welding creates seams in the product. These seams are where two different metal parts connect and are weak points in the product’s integrity. When designing plane parts, manufacturers would understandably want it to be rid of seams.

Seams also affect the sound of brass winds instruments such as the trombone and trumpet; and no one likes to place the remains of their loved ones in an urn with a scar-like gash running along the side.

But, metal spinning isn’t a flawless art. There are instances where pieces can crack or get distorted beyond the design. Entire pieces are scrapped in such cases, as an attempt at repair could only distort the piece even further.

Metal spinning is a highly technical and artistic process, which is why metal spinning requires the skills of experienced artisans and metal spinners to gain favourable results.