Posts tagged good
SEO for Self-Storage Operators: The Good, the Bad and the Google
Every other week, a post appears on major news sites eulogizing search engine optimization (SEO). “SEO Is Dead!” the headline reads—a bold statement, but one that's not entirely without truth. SEO is changing rapidly. What makes for good SEO now will …
Punchey's Springboard – a Revolution in SEO
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Earlier this week, Google unveiled the Chromebit—a Chrome OS computer the size of a candy bar that plugs into a TV’s HDMI port. This device, manufactured by Asus, is the latest in a line of “computers on a stick,” a type of gadget we’re likely to see a lot more of.
The Chromebit joins a handful of several similar devices that have slowly been gaining momentum over the past few years. Most of these run Android, although Intel recently announced a Windows-on-a-stick device as well. Together, it’s not inconceivable these little gadgets could jumpstart a sticky computer revolution—one in which desktop computing all but disappears into a tiny gadget you can plug into any screen you want.
Sure, they may seem like novelties now. But some students and office workers could be packing computer sticks before too long. You might even end up with one in your living room.
Here’s your guide for navigating what just might be a big stick shift.
It’s A Stick-Up
Google envisions the Chromebit as an inexpensive way for businesses or schools to replace aging desktops without having to buy entirely new computers. (Asus hasn’t released a price yet, although Google says the Chromebit will be “less than $100.”) Instead of buying a new desktop or laptops that need to be secured, you could just plug Chromebits into existing monitors and carry on—assuming, of course, you don’t need local apps beyond what’s available for Chrome OS.
That, of course, is where Intel’s Compute Stick could come in, as a full Windows 8 computer for $150. You could even imagine an office or classroom equipped with a monitor and a wireless keyboard at every chair. All a user would have to do is plug in their stick computer of choice, connect to the local Wi-Fi, and they’re ready to work.
Schools have already started embracing portable computing. In 2014, I taught at a school that provided a free iPad with every student’s tuition. The iPads provided access to the students’ textbooks, and Microsoft had recently released Office for iPad, meaning they could write essays using the Word app. (Of course, the iPad’s inherent limitations as a productivity machine meant that they were usually running Candy Crush Saga rather than Evernote.)
Take it a step further and it’s also easy to see how stick computers might also serve as home entertainment centers. A stick plugged into your living room TV could easily stream TV and movies and run at least some games, although possibly not the most demanding ones. With the Chromebit, it’s also possible to outsource heavy lifting to a more powerful computer, since you can arrange to control it via the Chrome Remote Desktop app.
People will undoubtedly figure out other ways to get on the stick as the devices spread. The real question is which stick computer makes the most sense for any particular scenario.
Chromebit vs. Android
The Chromebit will reportedly sport a Rockchip 3288 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal flash storage with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0/LE connectivity, not to mention a micro USB port for power and a full USB port for any other peripherals you want to attach.
But at first glance, it’s hard to figure out why a Chrome OS stick should be any more appealing than one of the dozens of Android OS sticks currently on the market—many of which have similar specs but lower price tags. After all, there are far more Android apps than Chrome OS apps available.
But with the advent of the ARC Welder beta from Google, developers have more tools than ever to start porting Android apps to Chrome with ease. Apps likely won’t be an issue for long.
Chrome OS’s real advantage over Android is single-screen multitasking. Introduced to Chrome OS in 2012, the ability to have more than one program running on the screen at a time basically sets “real” computers apart from mobile devices.
An iPad restricts users to one app on-screen making it more about fun than productivity. And except for a few specific handsets like the LG G3 and a few Samsung Galaxy phones and phablets, there really aren’t any Android devices that handle multiple apps on screen at the same time. (And those that do, generally don’t do it all that gracefully.)
Windows Sticks, Too
Before we even first saw the Chromebit, Intel announced its plans to release the Compute Stick, a $150 dongle that runs Windows 8 and packs an Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage.
(If you’re into penguins, Intel will also release a version that runs Linux; it comes with half the RAM and a quarter of the storage for $90.)
Like the Chromebit, the Compute Stick comes with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, along with a micro USB power port and a full USB port for plugging in other peripherals. Perhaps most important, it’ll give users access to the full array of Windows software and apps, and can easily handle multiple windows.
Some lesser-known companies have released Windows sticks, though they may not be worth your time. A company called Mouse Computer has a Windows 8 stick of its own set to debut in Japan in late April; the m-Stick comes with a microSD card slot and an internal fan for $175. There’s also the $120 Windows 8 Wintel Mini PC from a company called Vensmile, and a dubious looking dual-Android/Windows stick from MeeGoPad that apparently comes with an unlicensed version of Windows 8 with Chinese system messages.
Still, Windows is Windows, and the complication of managing software and configurations—the natural consequence of a more complex operating system—could be more trouble than its worth if distributing stick computers to a large number of users at a school or office.
The Sticking Point
Ultimately, your choice of what stick computer will come down to what kind of work needs to get done and what programs will suit that work best. The good news is that there will probably be even more options before too long, since we’re only at the beginning of the stick computer movement—if it does turn out to be a movement, that is.
It’s still entirely possible that these HDMI dongles will fail to catch on, and we’ll toss stick computers away in the same dustbin as the world’s discarded netbooks. When electronics become cheap and ubiquitous, it becomes that much harder for them to retain any lasting value—and that much harder for them to stick around.
Lead and Chrome OS images courtesy of Google; iPad image courtesy of Apple; Android Mini PC image courtesy of Timingpower, Compute Stick image courtesy of Intel; m-Stick image courtesy of Mouse Computer
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How does the emergence of ad-blocking browser plugins and applications affect search marketers?
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Why a Good User Experience Is the Most Overlooked SEO Strategy
SEO almost invariably revolves around content. To talk about SEO is to talk about social media, keywords, backlinks and so on. That's all well and good. But in my opinion SEO has another side: the user experience. Think about it this way: Your content …
There to stay: everything you need to know about SEO
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On March 9, Gigaom abruptly laid off its entire staff, including me. It’s heartbreaking to lose a job like that, but support networks have a way of making you feel certain new opportunities are on the way.
What’s not certain is the past. During my two years at Gigaom, I wrote close to 1,000 articles. My senior colleagues have five times more in their archives. We have no idea if or when Gigaom.com will be taken down. It’s as if years of our lives could disappear in an instant.
There are support networks for this kind of situation as well. The Internet Archive, for example, has been grabbing Gigaom’s web pages as fast as it can, according to archivist and software curator Jason Scott. I had the chance to sit in on Scott’s SXSW panel and felt the worry lift from my shoulders just the slightest bit.
Remembering The Internet—All Of It
Most of us know the Internet Archive from the Wayback Machine, which allows you to drop in and browse a website at any point in its history. Here’s Gigaom founder Om Malik bragging about Business 2.0 beating Wired in a game of softball in 2004:
Internet Archive doesn’t just do web pages. It preserves software, books, movies and anything else that could someday disappear or change form. As of January, you can play classic games like Oregon Trail in-browser. You can easily spend hours basking in the nostalgia.
A lot of these games are incredibly rare. There’s ET the Extra-Terrestrial, a game that sold so poorly that Atari buried most of the copies in a landfill until they were recovered last year. And then there is Munchkin, which was banned after Atari sued its creator Philips over its likeness to Pac-Man.
The games’ addition created a huge splash in the media. It was the first time most people had access for decades, unless they still had a copy and the hardware to run it, or the knowledge to find a ROM through a service like BitTorrent.
History Should Be Boring, In A Good Way
“What I really want is for it to be boring as hell,” Scott said, meaning that historical materials should be so at our fingertips that it no longer feels novel to access them. (While on stage, he casually began browsing the web in browser pioneer Netscape.)
That means emulating the experience of playing a game or visiting a webpage (the pixel should feel and react the same), but also providing documentation so future generations know why the heck a game that kind of does look a lot like Pac-Man is so important. It’s just a big online museum that preserves some of humanities’ greatest works the same way the Louvre takes care of the Mona Lisa.
Scott acknowledged Internet Archive’s coverage areas can be spotty. Part of that is the legal gray area that can come with posting commercial works. Internet Archive usually complies with takedown requests if a product is still being sold. A possible solution is posting works behind a paywall, so their creator can still get their due. But once it becomes public domain, it is already preserved in its original form.
Scott urged audience members to preserve as much of their personal work history as possible. That means putting brainstorming napkins, every version of a software program and colleague’s business cards in a shoebox and taking it back out 10, 20, 40 years in the future. We can’t rely on one web site or company to take care of its own preservation.
“The vast majority of human photos are up on Facebook and nowhere else, and that’s a dangerous thing,” Scott said. “I of course believe grab everything.”
After that, he said, entropy and time can choose which digital works we choose to remember.
This past week has made me optimistic that the world will choose to remember Gigaom. But even if it doesn’t, I feel safer knowing that when I’m 80 I can hop into the Wayback Machine and relive a few of those 1,000 articles.
Lead photo by DRs Kulturarvsprojekt; screenshots courtesy of the Internet Archive
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On Monday, all eyes are going to be on the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, where Apple is set to reveal more about its long-awaited Apple Watch. We’re expecting the Cupertino company to tell us everything we need to know about its smartwatch, including how much each model will cost and when, exactly, it will ship.
Here’s what you can expect when Apple Watch finally gets in the hands—and on the wrists—of consumers.
The Basics, With A Twist
On paper, at least, a lot of what the Apple Watch offers has appeared elsewhere in the nascent smartwatch market. It’s a touchscreen-based wearable, packed with sensors, that has to be tethered to a companion smartphone. You can control it with your voice (via Siri). It will ping you with notifications from popular apps, can vibrate to get your attention and will sense your movements and surroundings and act accordingly—for instance, by turning on when you raise your wrist.
If that was all there was to it, the Apple Watch would undoubtedly be a yawn. That seems unlikely. Even in these basic functions, Apple appears to have gone a step or two beyond what we’ve seen elsewhere.
The smartwatch’s sensors, for instance, will measure not just your steps, heart rate, speed and distance, but also whether you’re standing up or sitting down. (Some reports suggest Apple engineers wanted to go even further in the sensor department; some of those readings could make their way into future versions.)
Independent tools and Apple’s own Health app can plug into the data that the watch is collecting—presumably in a more helpful fashion than Google Fit on Android Wear.
Similarly, many developers are getting excited about the Apple Watch’s expected ability to proffer particular apps or information. Conceptually, this is nothing new; the entire premise underpinning Google Now and a lot of the functionality in Android Wear is that information widgets or apps pop up right when (and where) they’re required.
But the Apple smartwatch could take that in interesting new directions. For instance, the watch might recognize a compatible cashier desk and launch Apple Pay automatically, or ping you with a special offer when you walk into Starbucks. (Whether you appreciate such features is a more individual question.)
After all, it’s not as if Apple doesn’t have a history of combining features we’ve seen before and synthesizing them into something new. Remember, it managed to convince millions of people that tablets really were a good idea after several of its rivals failed rather spectacularly to do so.
Something Completely Different
Of course, there’s a lot that will be different about the Apple Watch right out of the box. For instance, it will supposedly know when you’re looking at it, and will behave differently depending on whether you give it a quick glance or a long look. In the case of Apple’s native Calendar app, for example, a short look shows you an event invitation, while a long look might give you more details and response options.
Wrist-mounted Apple Pay, as noted above, could also be a big deal. Right now, Apple Pay only works with the latest iPhones, the 6 and 6 Plus. But as Apple executive Eddy Cue explained to CNET on Friday, the Apple Watch will allow wrist payments once you unlock it using an iPhone—and it will also work with older iPhones such as the 5, the 5S and the 5C.
The smartwatch’s embedded NFC chip makes that function possible, and it can potentially do much more. With the right software and services, it’s well within the Apple Watch’s capabilities to unlock hotel doors, open up your smart home, pay for your McDonald’s meal and register your attendance at an event, all with a wave of the hand.
The digital crown—the tiny side wheel named after the knob used to set time on traditional watches and to wind even older ones—is new as well. It handles zooming duties instead of the familiar pinch-to-zoom gesture; it will also act as the Home button and a scroll wheel as well.
The watchface, too, promises new ways of interacting. It reportedly not only senses touch but also force (a feature rumored to be heading to Apple’s next iPhone). That would let it register taps and presses are differently, which could be hugely helpful on a small screen.
Besides the higher end prices and the shipping dates, there are still unanswered questions. One of the biggest is also the simplest: What will make a Watch app compelling?
It most likely won’t be straightforward translations of smartphone apps. Instagram, which has featured in Apple’s promotional material, surely works better on a smartphone screen than one that’s 38 or 42 millimeters high. Many other apps so far seem similarly unappealing; there are one or two emulators around if you want to try out some app mock-ups for yourself.
For developers, it’s important that apps are not shrunk-down versions of their counterparts on the iPhone, but designed for lightweight interaction where a single tap or swipe is all that’s required to accept a friend request, decline a call, pause a music track and so on. They need to bring something different to the user.
Battery life also remains a concern. Early reports suggested the Apple Watch might not last longer than a couple of hours under heavy use; the latest anonymously sourced reports suggest that Apple may have pushed that up to almost five hours, although battery-life estimates are notoriously unreliable.
Extending battery life, however, may come at a cost. Some developers told Business Insider that Apple has limited their access to power-hungry sensors, NFC wireless and other features in order to preserve battery life. “Apple is only going to allow developers to do the basic stuff to just get the Apple Watch out there,” Sumit Mehra, CTO of the app studio Y Media Labs, told the website.
The Apple Watch will reportedly also feature a “power reserve” mode that ratchets down or shuts off most functions beyond simply displaying the time. The watch apparently won’t enter power-reserve mode automatically, although it will reportedly prompt its user to activate it as its power supply declines.
The Bottom Line
Given such concerns, it’s not altogether certain that apps are the way forward for Apple Watch at all. Android Wear focuses more on notifications than standalone apps, while Pebble is moving away from the app concept altogether—a telling move from a company with more experience than most in the market.
Any kind of app where speed, portability and brevity are important should shine on Apple Watch, but for everything else you’ll be more likely to stick with your smartphone. The appeal of a wearable is exactly that: it’s designed to be worn, not carried around in a bag or a pocket. The difference between waving your wrist and digging a phone out of a jacket might not seem like a huge one, but it can make a real difference when you’re carting luggage down a hotel hallway or standing in line for a coffee.
It’s tempting to see Apple Watch as a standard bearer for all smartwatches, an example of how useful a device like this can be, as long everything is done right. In a month or two’s time, we’ll have a much better idea about whether it’s succeeded.
Photos courtesy of Apple except where noted
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Motorola just launched a new version of its Moto E mid-tier smartphone on Wednesday, and its predecessor would be proud.
The latest model is almost a dead ringer for the original, except that the previous swappable backplates have transformed into color bands lining the outside of the phone. It also boasts 4G LTE, a larger display and a price of $150, unlocked.
It’s a bump in price over the original, but it’s still the company’s best “cheap” smartphone to date. Let’s take a quick tour.
The “E” Stands For Evolution
The new Moto E continues the design philosophy the company established last year with its first version. It still offers a rounded backing that rests comfortably in the hand and just enough heft to feel substantial. Customers get a choice of bumper bands in 6 colors to adorn the handset, which comes in black or white. (Larger “grip shell” cases are also available.)
Though the old and new devices look similar, the current generation boasts a few other improvements—namely faster connectivity, storage and screen size.
The new model now offers 4G LTE connectivity and a faster Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor, along with a boost in storage (8GB built-in, instead of last year’s 4GB). There’s no big upgrade in resolution, which still sits at 540 x 960 pixels, but that’s not entirely surprising given the price. But at least the display is a bit bigger now, sized at 4.5 inches instead of 4.3 inches.
The cameras also got updates, with a new 5-megapixel rear shooter with autofocus and a VGA front camera. New features include Quick Capture, a gesture-based shutter feature that snaps a photo when you twist your wrist, and Active Display, which wakes the screen when you yank it out of your pocket. It’s all powered by Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Obviously these details pale in comparison to advanced flagship devices, but not everyone needs the biggest, beastliest phone just to call, text or check Facebook. For the money, this well-built phone offers respectable specs. But if $150 is still too rich for your blood, the company offers a 3G variant for $119.
The Big Business Of Budget Phones
As it becomes harder and harder for phone makers to distinguish themselves in advanced smartphones, companies like Samsung, LG, Sony and HTC seem to be pushing harder in the budget market. They’re effectively hedging their bets by spraying the wall with a range of options.
For instance, LG has one of the most intriguing advanced smartphones in its latest LG G Flex 2, but even before announcing it Tuesday, the company first introduced four new mid-tier phones, the Magna, Spirit, Leon and Joy. Likewise, Motorola offers the Moto X, Droid Turbo and several devices at practically every price level.
If stand-out innovation proves too elusive, phone manufacturers can make more use of the expertise they already have. That can be a win for consumers when it means stuffing better specs and features into lower-priced devices. For companies, meanwhile, a wider array of phones can help broaden their reach in developing markets and among people just buying their first smartphones.
It also keeps their mobile business alive, as sexier technologies that use those phones as hubs—to smarten up cars, homes and wrists—push ever closer to the mainstream. That potential hasn’t eluded Motorola, which makes one of the hottest Android Wear devices on the market, the Moto 360.
Motorola hopes to succeed by offering well-made devices that offer a “purer” Android experience and keeping the customizations limited to the handset design. Given the high marks its Moto E line earns, that tactic appears to be working. New parent Lenovo must be thrilled.
The Moto E launches today in more than 50 countries in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia.
Photos by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite
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Online reviews can make or break local businesses these days, so columnist George Aspland shares his process for cultivating (good) reviews.
The post Local Businesses: How To Get Good Online Reviews That Build Business appeared first on Search Engine Land.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Seo Kang Jun looks good from head to toe for 'NIX' + to hold a fan signing on …
Seo Kang Jun modeled the brand's 2015 S/S collection, and looked professional yet casual in his bomber jacket and blazer which is both practical and stylish enough for work and other daily activities. Seo Kang Jun will also be holding a fan signing at …
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