The Best Smartphones For Gaming

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With news of the iPhone 6 and the Android One set to hit the shelves any day now, it seems we have a bigger choice than ever when it comes to picking a smartphone. The main use of the humble cell phone has shifted considerably in recent years however – today, our favourite gadgets are more synonymous with gaming than they are making calls, and this has not eluded the attentions or modern games developers.

Modern online gaming sites like Uptown Aces are putting increasingly high demands on today’s mobile devices in terms of graphics, mobile internet speeds and battery life. Thankfully, the market is responding with even more hi-tech gadgets. Here’s a round up of the best mobiles on the market out there.

iPhone 5S

Until the hotly anticipated iPhone 6 comes along, the iPhone 5S is possibly the best gaming smartphone on the market at the moment. The reason for its effectiveness as a gaming device boils down to an app ecosystem, which is the leading system in the mobile games market. The iPhone 5S wins hands down for choice of games and speed of delivery of apps, often giving gamers the first opportunity to download the newest offering in the mobile games world.

HTC One

A direct rival to the iPhone and a runner up in the mobile gaming stakes, the Android-powered HTC One is a perfect games platform for a multitude of reasons. For one, it is made from aluminium, which is highly effective in dissipating heat, so a long drawn out gaming session isn’t like to make your phone overheat. Combined with a 5-inch display and crisp sounding stereo speakers, the HTC One provides an immersive gaming experience. It may be advised however to invest in a pair of headphones!

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

In a close third place, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes under the umbrella of ‘phablet’, a smartphone with a large screen that’s not quite tablet size but still provides outstanding visuals for gamers. The game ecosystem is very varied, but performance is the key for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Equipped with a hugely powerful Snapdragon 800 chip with 3GB, the phone allows you to multi-task efficiently, while games look fantastic with Adreno 330 graphics. There’s also a 32GB internal storage system, so if you do want to spend hours gaming, you can rest assured your efforts will not go to waste.

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BYOD Security – 5 Ways To Be Safe

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With massive data breaches constantly in the news, it seems that data security is becoming a greater concern for companies every day. Compounded on top of these daily security issues is the threat that bringing your own devices to the office creates. Employers must figure out how best to allow employees to improve efficiency by using their technology while also making sure that valuable data is safe and secure. Without having access to these devices, this task becomes significantly more difficult. Check out the graphic below for five was to preserve security in a BYOD world.

Three Advantages Of Using BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) In Your Place Of Work

Dusted office

Let’s face it, the business world is pretty cut throat and downright ruthless world at times, with only the fittest surviving. It is unbelievably competitive, but if you’re willing to do everything that you can in order to ensure that your business is nothing but a success, it can be incredibly lucrative and rewarding as well, giving you the potential to live very comfortably and make a significant amount of money. In order for any business to succeed however, the owners must ensure that they not only get with the times, but actually get ahead of times, by implementing systems and techniques before their competition gets the chance to. Technology plays a vital role in many businesses, and without it, 90% of them simply would not make it. Any serious business owner needs to embrace modern technology and utilise it in their businesses, and that’s where BYOD comes in so handy.

What is BYOD?

BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device, and what it basically means is that businesses can implement a special business policy which allows employees to personal devices such as tablets and smart phones, in order to be able to access business data such as spreadsheets, emails, databases etc, all from their own devices, rather than company owned ones. They can also access business date outside of business hours, or outside of the business, if they’re at home or out on the road perhaps. The main thing to remember about BYOD is that the device is the employee’s and not the businesses. There are of course, certain things to consider when implementing this type of policy, but so far things are looking very promising indeed. So, what are the advantages?

It is highly secure for the business

One of the main benefits of BYOD is the fact that it is incredibly secure for businesses as vital date is safeguarded against certain security threats and issues such as malware.

It can improve company morale

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Another great benefit associated with BYOD is the fact that it has been found to help boost company and employee morale, which in turn helps to make your business more efficient and more effective. As employees can all access the same data and the same info from their own devices, they don’t feel as if they’re being left out of the loop and having important facts hidden from them. Not only that, but as the company is allowing them to use their own devices, they are showing their employees that they trust them and have faith in them not to be browsing Twitter or Facebook on their personal smart devices when they should be working. Image reference is from Dell.

It saves the business money

Perhaps the most obvious, and some would consider the most important benefit of BYOD, is the fact that it can save the business a significant amount of money. As employees will be using their own personal devices, which they pay for and financially responsible for, the company will not need to purchase anywhere near as many technological devices as they would have without this particular piece of software. Users are essentially walking around with their own personal business computers, saving the business money due to the fact that not every single employee will need to have their own personal computer device, which needs to be purchased by the business.

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Developments Made in Mobile Security

Firefox Mobile

New developments in mobile technology have taken the global workforce by storm, with smartphones now considered an integral asset for employees working in a variety of different industries. From corporate CEOs to delivery drivers, the handheld devices have added valuable elements of flexibility and remote communication to the daily grind.

Yet with the innovations come a range of new security risks. This has meant businesses have had to drastically up the “anti” when it comes to mobile security. To give you a better understanding of recent developments, we’ve put together a list of the most common mobile-borne threats and how they are being tackled.

Application threats

Apps have skyrocketed in popularity in the past few years, offering mobile users entertainment, information and practicality. Yet while most apps are harmless, ‘malicious apps’ present a serious security threat for mobile devices. From installing malware and spyware, to gathering private data and information, apps are used to attack end users through their mobile devices. App scanners have since been developed to combat these sorts of attacks, while specially developed anti-virus and anti-malware for mobiles is also a popular form of protection. While it is relatively easy to install such tools, this article from SC Magazine revealed that UK businesses are still falling behind when it comes to keeping devices secure.

Text message threats

As well as being a quick and instant form of communication, text messages are also used by malicious hackers as a primary way to gain personal information. Phishing scams from banks and other sources are a common tactic which can lead to the exposing of passwords, account numbers and other personal data. Call and text blockers are the easiest way to quash SMS threats while the Information Commissioner’s Office also welcomes complaints regarding spam messages.

Email security threats

Thanks to the development of cloud technology, mobile users are able to gain access to email accounts using a range of handheld devices. While this is incredibly convenient, it has also led to an increase in the number of email security threats. The answer is the installation of an effective email security system. Email security by Mimecast is the UK’s leading risk mitigation solution, using cutting edge cloud technology to protect users against a complete range of email-borne threats including spam, malware, phishing, DHA, DDoS, data leakage and socially engineered attacks.

Network threats

With Wi-Fi connectivity now standard on all smartphones, network threats have emerged as a primary concern for mobile users. Network exploits actively seek out weaknesses in mobile operating systems to covertly install malware while ‘Wi-Fi sniffing’ furtively intercepts transmitted data in order to gather sensitive user information. Proactive threat detection tools such as firewalls and encrypted browsing are the best way to avoid public network threats.

Lost and stolen devices

Regardless of how stringent your in-house mobile security system is, there is always the risk of devices being lost or stolen. When information falls into the wrong hands, the results can be disastrous. At the most basic level, passwords are simple yet effective. However despite the ease of execution, recent research from NQ Mobile revealed that only 52% of users protect devices with a password or an alternative authentication method. Remote location GPS tracking technology allows users to pinpoint the location of lost or stolen devices while automatic lost notices appeal to honest finders. For those using devices to store confidential information, functions such as remote wipe and remote lock ensure data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

While mobile devices offer increased convenience and productivity, it is critical for businesses to stay on top of smartphone security strategies. Thankfully, as hackers become more sophisticated, so too do the companies committed to protecting end users against malicious attacks.

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How Technology Can Help Your Business To Make More Profit

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Technology is advancing at an astonishing rate. Only two decades ago, it was very rare for someone to have a personal computer in their home. These days, nearly everyone has multiple machines for all the family. Today, we’re going to spend some time taking a look at some of the ways in which technology can be used to increase profits within your business. No matter what your company does, keeping updated with the most recent releases could mean that productivity and efficiency improves. With all that in mind, you should put your feet up and take a few moments to read through all the information below. Hopefully, you’ll then be in a better position to make the most money possible.

Communications

In the past, people had to spend a lot of their time on the telephone speaking with customers and clients. They also had to get up from their desk and walk around the office to converse with co-workers. Thanks to video messaging services like Skype and instant messaging software, that is no longer the case. It is now possible to pass on information in seconds and keep your staff at their workstations at all times. That means complicated tasks have now become much easier to complete.

Advertising

Whether you engage in online advertising or you pay for physical promotional products, technology has made your life simpler. Many moons ago, the only viable means of advertising were newspapers, TV and radio. Unfortunately, they were all too expensive for the average small business owner. On top of that, using those techniques meant it was very tricky to target your efforts. Online marketing tools like Google Adwords are a godsend. Also, it’s now much easier to find good printing specialists. If you want to know more, you should view Konica Minolta’s range of commercial printers.

Ease of access

While you might have stored all your most-important documents in filing cabinets ten years ago, you can now upload everything to the cloud. That means they’re accessible from anywhere in the world so long as you have an internet connection. The days of going into the office to check on things at the weekend are over. Now you can do everything from the comfort of your own home or on the move. That can also help you when attending business meetings with new clients. If you forget to take any important information along, you can simply get it on your laptop.

Better employees

Up until people started creating job websites online, the only way of finding employees was placing ads in newspapers or your local jobcentre. That meant your choice was severely limited. These days, you can find the best employees possible in any location by placing an advertisement on sites like Indeed.

Now you’ve read about some of the main ways in which technology can help your business to make more profit, we hope you’ll be more inclined to keep abreast advancements.

Good luck with everything. We look forward to seeing you back here soon for some more interesting articles that could make a world of difference to your business.

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Laptop vs. Tablet: 2014′s Technology Quandary

Acer Iconia W510

In 2014, both laptops and tablets are so streamlined, efficient and durable that either is a credible choice for the consumer on the go. But on assessment of hardware, features, and functionality, it would seem that the day to day use of these two types of portable technology is deeply divergent. The benefits of each will depend on the needs of the end user. Before assessing the market, then, it’s time to have an introspective moment and figure out what will work best for you.

Affordability

While in recent years laptops have come down in price, tablets tend to be more affordable in general, with credible, cheap as (micro) chips versions costing around $140, like the more basic model of  the Kindle Fire HD. However, the lighter, economical netbook has also flourished in recent years, as have dependable and functional Dell laptops. As a bonus, the functionality of these laptops defies the price tag.

Productivity

More conventional laptop users might balk at the prospect of using a tablet to attack a spreadsheet or piece together a presentation, but some tablets are up to the task. Apple’s iPad Air has its own version of Microsoft Word, and if the thought of sharing your touchscreen with a pixelated keyboard doesn’t appeal, there’s always the option of hooking it up to a Bluetooth keyboard. There are also hybrid styles to consider; Microsoft’s Surface, for example, fits into a laptop-like shell, and can be detached with the same portability as a tablet. Sales reps, in particular, will profit from the instantaneous nature of the tablet for slick presentation and near-instantaneous startup. 

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Entertainment

On the go, nothing can beat whipping out a neat little tablet, powering on immediately, and sinking into another world. Everything is swiftly accessed with a gesture, and for those who enjoy app-style, tactile gaming, there’s a new hot game release every week on the iTunes App Store. However, while serious, sedentary PC or laptop gamers won’t be able to deny the appeal of its lucid screen and portability, a tablet may lack the power needed for more involved titles.

Verdict

If you’re looking for a powerful processor, with slick input and navigation at a rate of knots, a more traditional laptop might be a better option for your lifestyle. If, however, you are looking for a highly portable tool which can be slung in a bag, you prefer a hands-on approach to interaction and a battery which can endure a 12 hour day, you’ll prefer a tablet. With the increasing availability of cloud-based technology, keyboard cases and software improvement, any margin in functionality that may have existed between tablets and laptops is swiftly blurring. To find your ideal match, appraise your lifestyle and the right choice will follow.

Image by P4BLoX, used under Creative Commons license.

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The History of the Interactive Kiosk

Check-In Kiosks

Interactive kiosks are a relatively new development in the tech world, but they’ve actually been around for a bit longer than you might have realised.

Nowadays they’re just about ubiquitous, appearing more or less everywhere you might care to look. You see them on the streets, in the form of touchscreen cash machines outside the local branch of your bank, and in the shops, in the guise of self-service checkout counters at the supermarket or information terminals in shopping centres.

We use them in just about all walks of life, for a wide variety of sometimes starkly different purposes. But how did they become so popular? How did interactive kiosks get to the place they are today? Let’s look through their history a bit.

1977 – The First Kiosk

The very first self-service kiosk was created by Murray Lappe. Lappe was a pre-med student at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Designed in 1977 (making interactive kiosks almost 40 years old now), the Plato Hotline (called so because it operated on a PLATO computer system) was housed in the student union building of the University. During its first six weeks of operation, more than 30,000 people – not just students, but also teachers and visitors – queued up to use it.

Why was it so popular? Well, what one has to keep in mind is the lack of computers in any commercial sense back in ’77. Many people had never seen a computer at this time, let alone been able to actually use one. The first commonly-available GUI would not come into play until 1983, with the launch of the Apple LISA.

The Plato Hotline was used via a plasma touch screen (developed just over a decade earlier by Donald Blitzer, another U of Illinois student). It allowed users to browse directories, view maps of the campus, check out bus timetables and more, eight years before the first Windows was released. Impressive stuff.

1984 – The First Commercial Kiosk Network

Less than ten years later, the shoe store Florsheim Shoe Company installed the world’s first commercial network of kiosks. Known as the Florsheim Express Shop, it was introduced into all the physical stores and allowed customers to order any shoe from the Florsheim catalogue, in any colour and size, without having to rely on whether that particular outlet had the variety in stock or not. Customers paid through the kiosk, and the transaction was communicated to the head office via dial-up lines.

The commercial revolution had begun.

1991 – The First Internet-Connected Commercial Kiosk

Another first, one of the kiosks displayed at the 1991 Comdex (Computer Dealers’ Exhibition) happened to be the first one to be connected up to the internet. Its main use was to locate children who had gone missing – a noble purpose, if ever there was one.

1997 – The First Kiosk Conference

KioskCom – now called Customer Engagement World – was launched in 1997 to great fanfare. A tradeshow at heart, it was designed to provide information, demonstrations, and the latest news for any organisation looking into the deployment of interactive kiosks, such as the ones currently offered by Evoke Interactive and the like.

It currently takes place in New York City, and is usually held towards the beginning of November.

2007 – The First State-Wide Kiosk Initiative

Imperial Multimedia worked with the state of Virginia to install new touchscreen kiosks into more than 30 different State Parks. These interactive kiosks provide a wealth of information to visitors, such as what to do in case of an emergency, the various points of interest in the area, and even maps which can be printed off.

Now – Everything

These days, you can find just about everything in kiosk form. Creating a pizza to order? There’s a kiosk for that. Wanting to rent one of the latest movies? There’s a kiosk for that. Fancy speeding up the queues at the local supermarket? There’s a kiosk for that.

Where they’re going to go next, we can only guess. All we can predict is that we’ll be seeing even more of them for years to come.

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Apple Laptops: Are They Worth it?

MacBook Pros

Many people dismiss the idea of an Apple laptop partially out of intimidation. Since childhood, I was bought up in the realm of Microsoft, nice easy to use personal computers that are generally accepted by everyone. Children would use them to surf the net and even secretaries and other professionals would find these computers essential in their everyday working lives. They are accepted by everyone and why? Because the user interface is so friendly and easy to navigate. They are like a digital AA road map and that simple ‘Start’ button in the left hand corner seemed to make everything so accessible.

The first time I tried to associate myself with an Apple computer was in college when I was studying an irritating side module linked to my Media Production course. However this module was slightly important as I would not achieve my media qualification without passing this add on course. Therefore I did submit a small amount of my attention to it when required, yet not enough to remember anything I had learned after I gladly strolled out the doors for the last time. Anyway, at first glance, this Apple machine caused me great concern as it was something new and I did not appreciate change too much during that adolescent period of my life. As soon as I figured out which symbol on this annoying new interface represented the internet, it was inevitable that I would be constantly distracted by the likes of Youtube and the Mixmag web site. This was indeed the case too, especially with what seemed like broadband internet speeds on these things. Therefore I did not learn too much about Apple or creative computing while I was stuck in line waiting for university to come into my life.

By the time I had grown up a little more, I was willing to accept change and challenge. I was learning to use a piece of unfamiliar editing software called Final Cut and Apple is the platform in which this software operates at its most optimum level. This piece of software was highly sophisticated and even I, someone not too technology savvy, could immediately see that this type of software would have been horrible to use on a normal Microsoft computer. Everything was nice and speedy due to the quad core processor and as I was editing video, I could see the resolution was far superior to anything I’d ever seen on a Microsoft computer.

It wasn’t until I bought my own Macbook, that I really started to appreciate Apple. I discovered one of the cursor features accidentally and to this day, it still impresses me. By placing two fingers on the touch pad simultaneously, it is possible to scroll down the screen without the aid of a mouse or without having to move the cursor to the side of the screen. The Apple operating system gives more ample support to the hardware too and because Apple use aluminium shells, the machines are incredibly tough. This makes it possible for Apple to create slimmer models which are far more fashionable to carry about than regular laptops. The Apple logo on the front of the computer also lights up when the machine is in use which in street terms, makes it look even more swag!

photo by: benjamin-nagel

The Best Offline Marketing Techniques

Sly & Barnes, Devonport

Offline marketing techniques are just as important as online techniques and shouldn’t be neglected. They’re an awesome way to get even more traffic to your site, custom, and brand awareness. But just where are you supposed to start? Let’s take a look at the best offline marketing techniques:

Give Away Free Stuff

Free stuff is one huge surefire way to get people interested in you and who you are. However, you want to give away free stuff that will actually interest your target market, don’t you? Think about who your target market are and the kind of thing they’d enjoy receiving. Would students like free ice cream handed out on their university campus? Of course they would! Brand the napkins with your website URL or store address and you could make a killing.

Stamp It

Stamp absolutely everything with your URL and logo. Small rubbers, letters, envelopes…everything! Make sure nothing that leaves your office/shop goes unstamped.

Arrange an Attractive Display

Attractive displays are designed to draw the eye in and create an impact. You can do this using special perspex display stands carefully arranged to appeal to your target market. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling shoes or shellfish, an attractive display works wonders!

Give More Free Stuff Away

Give away even more useful free stuff, and make sure that it’s branded. Is it raining? Have somebody stand outside and hand out branded umbrellas. Is it boiling hot? Have somebody hand out branded handheld fans. Is it snowing? Put a sign in your window telling people to pop in for a free hot chocolate…no strings attached!

Put an Advert in a Local Paper

Yes, it’s boring, but newspaper ads can be very effective. People still read them you know!

Get Sporty

If you’re active, then why not have your information printed on the back of a sports top? You can then wear this as you play football, run, or ride a bike! Even if you aren’t sporty, you could sponsor a local sports team and feature on their kit.

Business Cards

Business cards are still an effective part of an offline marketing strategy so don’t neglect to use them. Have some unique cards designed with metallic print and embossed writing to make an impact, and then give them out to anyone and everyone. You can even visit the local library and leave a few cards in books that are relevant to your industry, or drop a few on cafe tables as you walk by. Leave them for people to find!

Flyer Drops

Flyers are great ways to spread the word too so post them through letterboxes and on car windscreens. Include a cheeky 10% off deal with a unique code to see what percentage of these are successful!

Go to Trade Shows

Go to trade shows and advertise there. Better yet, speak at them and become an expert in your field! Have business cards and free merchandise available for people to take away, so they don’t forget you.

Use the above techniques in harmony with an effective online marketing strategy and your business will benefit, no matter what industry you’re in!

CMMS 101: Everything You Need to Know About CMMS

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If you are dazed and confused by the vast array of software available on the market then look no further. This guide will give you the lowdown on everything that you need to know about CMMS.

What is CMMS?

A CMMS software package maintains a computer database of information about an organisation’s maintenance operations. This means that any information that you currently have stored within a database can be transferred into a CMMS software solution. CMMS can be utilised within any business. The software can produce in depth analysis and reporting, which in turn, make your business more effective and productive.

The Benefits of CMMS

Increased Vision

By utilising CMMS within your organisation, you are effectively deploying existing data sources and displaying their outputs in a simple manner. This means that you can increase your understanding, and knowledge, of your assets within your organisation. Different software systems can help you see different things within your organisation. CMMS software will help you utilise the information regarding KPI reporting as well as helping you gather information on company statistics. You can create reports and analysis for all levels of decision making. It means that everyone within your venture can understand output at all levels.

Repair Costs are Decreased

If you utilise CMMS software correctly, you will be able to manage and maintain structures and assets within your organisation. With vigorous reporting and analysis, you will be able to monitor the repairs costs of certain structures within your organisation. This means that certain assets will be less prone to breakdown as you are carefully monitoring their progress. With fewer breakdowns from your machinery, you will have fewer repair costs. After all, you do not want to waste money on repairing machinery unnecessarily.

Fewer Purchase Costs

Well maintained assets will inevitably have a longer lifespan. This means that your expenditure, overall, will decrease. If you want to invest in a software solution that helps you save money overall, you need to invest in CMMS. Significant savings can be made within your organisation as you are monitoring your assets in a more robust way.

Increased Mobile Workforce Productivity

One of the most important functions of a CMMS system is that it allows mobile data tools to efficiently manage staff. This, in turn, means that if you have a large team that are field based, you can  utilise their time more efficiently to allow job handling, dispatch and sign off processes that can be undertaken remotely. You don’t have to have your employees chained to their desk in order to be more productive. With this level of flexibility, your workforce can become more productive in the workplace. With increased productivity, comes increased profit margins.

Adopting the Latest Technology

By adopting the latest technology, with a CMMS solution, you can have complete flexibility within your workforce. This, in turn, allows you to compete in today’s competitive marketplace. By adopting CMMS software within your business, you will be able to meet and exceed client demands and adapt to the work-based environmental changes that are ever present in the industry. It is a smart solution.

photo by: NAVSEA Corona