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Bring Your Vision to Life

Thursday, 22 November 2012

You’ve got down the bones of the business. Now what? Go back and color it in – literally. Build your brand with cool fonts, add pictures, design a logo. Get creative and have fun! This is where the character of your business really comes alive. And by now, it is ready to spring to life because you have defined its character along the way.

Do research. See what the competition is doing. See what you are up against and how they do their websites. See what you like and what you don’t like – and put ideas together for your own website. Maybe you have an image in your mind that you just need to find, or maybe browsing the web will inspire just the right image if you didn’t have one already.

What colors appeal to you? What shapes? What is your style and what is the style that best suits your business? You will know when it feels right. And even if you find various elements that you would like to include on your website, but just aren’t sure how they should all fit together, that is okay. Put them on the back burner to simmer. You will be able to find help to finalize your ideas and to produce a dynamite site.

Think about how you want the site to function. What moves? What flows? What pops out – or up? Where can you click? What should be on each page? Are there links? Can people leave comments? You do not have to have the answer to every question, because there are professionals to take care of the details, but the clearer the vision that you bring to the table, the better others will be able to assist you with your vision and getting up on your website.   

Share Your History

Monday, 19 November 2012

What’s your story? Everybody has a story and every business has a story. Knowing where your business came from is essential in understanding what you are about. Most likely, many events lead to where you are now. Many paths crossed, and many turns were taken before your company began or arrived to be what it is.

People want to know. They want to know if you began in your aunt’s basement as a one-person show or if you had to walk five miles in the snow to take the class that led to the revelation from which your idea was born.

Reflection of your business’s history will help to further define your business identity. For your clients, it will not only spark interest, but will connect them to you and your company on a whole other level. With a corporate history, you become real – just like them, and they can relate to that. Your business becomes a live growing and evolving entity – with character.

Sharing your story creates a bond. Just by reading, your clients will feel like they know you and have gone through the growth and pains right alongside your company as they make correlations to their own lives and their personal endeavors. Your business history opens the door to the trust and loyalty you want to develop with your clients because when the door is open, you’re not hiding.

You may title this section on your website “Corporate History” or “Our Story” or something more jazzy like “The (insert business name) Revolution.” Trust your creative intuition.

Share Your Vision

Friday, 16 November 2012

 Your purpose will shed light on your vision for the future of your company. You do not have to have all of the answers as to how you will build your business to reach what you envision – you simply need to express that vision.

You may be surprised at the people who will come forth to work with you to create something bigger and better than you ever imagined. Let your passion shine. It will attract others and inspire them to be involved with what you are proposing whether that is as partners or as clients. You will receive feedback from people as you form that future vision and this will allow you to fine-tune it to resonate with what your clients need and want.

You don’t need to be afraid of competition copying your ideas by sharing a future vision. When you are authentic to your purpose and your vision, nobody else can repeat it in the same way. That is what makes you and your business unique and is what will give you the cutting edge.

An idea is born, like a ray of sunshine that suddenly bursts through the clouds and you know you’ve got a money maker – if only you act on it. They say that when an idea is born to one person, the same idea is born to many people around the planet. To profit, you’ve got to grab it and make it yours right away – and there are a million things to think of and details to take care of to make that happen. In fact, there is so much that it can be overwhelming and difficult to know where to start, so we have compiled a list to help define your idea – to harness it and pull it into reality as your business and your website.

1). Clarify Your Vision

Brainstorm and write down all the ideas that come to you.

2). Define Your Business

Describe what your business does and narrow that down to one strong, solid statement.

3). Define Your Purpose

Explain why what you have to offer is important and express your desire to make a positive difference to others through what your business does.

4). Define Your Roles

Highlight your expertise by clearly stating what the key contenders do then consolidate the descriptions into powerful titles.

5). Distinguish Yourself

Show that the people behind the titles are real and are more than the roles the play in the company. This is what you stand for, and why your company does what it does.

6). Detail Your Products Show your products, but also talk about them so that the customer understands what they are and how they work.

7). Portray Your Services

Provide enough of an idea to create a comfort level with your clients, even when services may vary according to clients’ wishes and/or the situation.

8). Bring Your Vision to Life

Add color. Make things move. See how your website will look and function.

9). Share Your History

This is the story of how your company came to be, which is your story also. A one page corporate history speaks volumes about the essence of a company and its evolution.

10). Share Your Vision

Leave people with hope and inspire them with your ideas for the future. These are your company goals – what you would like to accomplish for your clients and the world.

By the time you’ve come this far in forming ideas for your business and your website, you will have a much clearer vision of what you want and how you want it to look. You will be able to communicate your vision more clearly, and your website will be a reflection of that. Now is the time to seek the help you need in getting the site up and running, because your website is your business. Make it beautiful – and let it shine.

Getting it Right

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

I am beginning an exciting new company, and I know I have got to get up a website. I need to advertise online to get clientele, but as the business is not running yet, it is not yet generating income to pay for a fancy – or expensive website.

My first experience with websites was with a website I wanted to have to showcase a single screenplay. I had read in The Screenwriter’s Bible that some screenwriter’s do this, and I wanted to try anything and everything. Again, I had no money to do this with because I would only have money if the screenplay sold. It was that old catch 22.

I had no idea where to begin. I know how to use a computer and surf the net and send emails, and I even knew how I wanted my website to look and function, but I had no idea how to actually do it myself. I needed help. The first place I called told me it was going to cost six thousand dollars to design the site, with substantial payments forever after to maintain it.

“I’m a writer!” I exclaimed, wondering if the person on the other end had heard anything I’d said about my situation or what I wanted or what the purpose of the website was for. “This is not a business. It is just to showcase one screenplay!”

I did not even care about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for that site as it was to be an “invite only” site and require a password to read the screenplay – so I did not understand how maintenance was really necessary. And furthermore, I am a writer, so I do not need somebody else to write anything or to make maintenance changes. I would do my own changes. But no, I was informed I couldn’t do that.

I hung up.

Next, I found a woman who was recommended to me privately and who works out of her home. She was very nice and got up my website up for considerably less money. I designed every detail of every page, and it is what I wanted… except that it lacks the professional, polished look that professional websites have. And it was incredibly time consuming. So, unless you have a couple of weeks to do nothing else but design every aspect of your website on your own, I wouldn’t recommend it. That’s not to say she doesn’t offer additional services for clients who want more help with their websites – I just didn’t want her to do anything more because I thought I could do it all on my own. I thought I was really smart.

Smart though, I have realized, is not just getting help when you need it, but getting the right help. Smart is focusing on what you do best and letting other people do what they do best. Smart is not trying to do everything on your own. Smart people call places like Padika Solutions to do their websites for them – and their business cards, and postcards, and Facebook pages… It really is so much easier to just pick up the phone and explain what you want than to navigate endless web design sites, all holed up by yourself. Smart would have been getting it right the first time and calling Padika, where they’ll work with you from the beginning to make your site right for you, within a budget that is right for you too.

Mini Madness in the Galaxy

Friday, 09 November 2012

Talk about mini. Mini tablets, mini phones… mini capability? That was not a requisite to the list. But, on October 11, 2012, with the release of the Samsung’s Galaxy S3 mini cellular phone, when they introduced a new mini size, they also introduced a new mini caliber. The new phone is not what we know the flagship Galaxy S3 to be.

Released around the world in May and June of 2012, the Galaxy S3 was the new best thing – at least until Apple came out with the iPhone 5 in September. Apple has figured out that people love having devices we can hold in our hands, and they have proven that yet again with the success of the iPhone 5, which is even smaller than the Galaxy S3.

Here are the dimensions:

 

 

Galaxy S3

iPhone 5

Height

5.38 in.

4.87 in.

Width

2.78 in.

2.31 in.

Depth.

34 in.

     .30 in.

Weight

4.69 oz.

3.95 oz.

 So what is Samsung to do? Come out with a newer, smaller phone – and quick. Or at least, that would seem to be the answer, only nobody was expecting that would mean we would have to compromise quality. And nobody wants to compromise anything. The result? A disappointing product.

Obviously, Samsung didn’t come up with a new phone in the two weeks between the release of the iPhone 5 and the release of their Galaxy S3 mini, but it seems a mad scram of an operation to get on the mini-madness bandwagon and produce a mini version of their flagship phone – fast. And yes, quality was compromised because of it.

The Galaxy S3 mini is smaller than the regular S3. In fact, it is the same 4 inches in size as the iPhone 5. All the other measurements line up too, but that is as far as similarities go. Compared to both the Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 5, the Galaxy S3 mini has a slower CPU, it lacks 4G LTE, it has a dual core chip instead of a quad core, the camera has only 5 pixels instead of 8, and the screen has significantly lower pixels per inch, resulting in poor resolution. Really, it’s shocking. We don’t expect any less of anything except size when we say we want mini.

The Galaxy S3’s only saving grace may be that Samsung claims it is not meant to compete with the iPhone 5. And it certainly won’t compete with the Nexus 10. The Galaxy S3 mini is what it is – a mid-tier phone. It is not trying to be anything else. Okay – so maybe it was, but at least that’s the line now. It is meant to be for prepaid carriers and other companies offering older versions of the iPhone with which it may be more competitive. The Galaxy S3 mini may know its place, yet in a market saturated with so much mediocrity, it has had to wedge its way in, so good thing it is mini.

In short, as CNET says, “If you’re looking for a smaller Galaxy S3, but with all the features, this is not the phone for you.” And, if you’re looking ahead to the Nexus 10, don’t bother to compare the Galaxy S3 mini because it doesn’t even match up to the earlier Nexus 4. I’d give this Galaxy S3 mini phone mini consideration – unless you’re getting an awesome plan and the company wants to toss it in for free. In that case, grab it – it’ll fit in your hand.

The Naked Nexus

Thursday, 08 November 2012

It looks like trouble already for the new iPad with Retina that Apple just released Friday, October 26th, 2012. Google’s new Nexus 10 tablet, by Samsung, is scheduled to be released one week today, on Tuesday, November 13th, 2012. So again, the war is on between Apple and Samsung. But so far, it seems the only thing the iPad with Retina has hands down over the Nexus 10 is a jump on the market with its earlier release.

If you go to the Google website, you’ll see first thing that the Nexus 10 claims the prize of being “the world’s highest resolution display.” That fact is, in fact, its best-selling point, and is pretty impressive. Compared to the resolution of the new iPad, it puts it “to shame,” as Salvador Rodriguez of the L.A. Times says. With 2,560 by 1,600 pixels, the 10.055 inch tablet screen has 300 pixels per inch (PPI).

Apple is claiming the new iPad with Retina has “the best display ever on a mobile device.” The 9.7 inch screen has a resolution of 2048 by 1536 pixels and 264 PPI. So unfortunately for Apple, when the Nexus 10 is released, that will become “had the best display ever on a mobile device,” and Samsung will proudly be able to claim its prize. Who’s cooler now?

Another big selling point of the Nexus is the lower selling price than the iPad. The 16 gb iPad with Retina sells in Canada at Apple for $499, compared to $409 for the Nexus 10 with the same gigabytes, while the 32 gb iPad is $599 and the same Nexus 10 will be only $509. The break in price sure is nice, but when JR Raphael from Computer World comments that while “it doesn’t feel cheap… it definitely gives off a less premium vibe,” I’m not entirely confident that break in price will guarantee equal quality.

And, according to ZDNet, it “needs a lot of charging.” I’m going… sounding like that hard hitting dynamic resolution campaign might not be backed up by anything past a screen that looks good.

Still, the Nexus is slightly lighter than the iPad. But there are more apps for the iPad’s iOS 6 operating system than for the Android Jelly Bean that Nexus uses. The Nexus is slightly thinner – but will you really notice a hair or two? The iPad’s battery lasts longer – and that’s definitely a plus – yet rumor has it the camera is better on the Nexus… and it’s really looking like a toss-up.

When all else is equal – or such a toss-up, how the device looks might just take on more importance. The numbers of pixels may be higher on the Nexus 10, yet is the result really noticeable? I am beginning to wonder if all this resolution hype might not be more akin to the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes. Nobody wants to actually admit they can’t see a difference. For example, when I went in the Apple Store in the Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket, Ontario, and a salesman held up both the iPad mini and the iPad with Retina display to show me just how fantastic the resolution is with retina, I could not see the difference.

“Look at the greens, right there,” he said, pointing to an icon in the top left corners of both devices. Oh, yeah, yeah… sure, I thought, leaning in closer and straining to see any difference. “Don’t you see the difference?” “Really? No. It looks the same to me,” I said, not impressed. The iPads are impressive, as are all of the tablets. I just was not impressed by any significant difference – or any difference at all in the resolution between the two devices. The biggest difference was the price – for something I couldn’t see. The display is excellent on their devices without retina. Why would I pay more for retina?

But… if the Nexus 10 says it has the best ever display in the world and we can’t see it, does it really matter when it costs less instead of more? I can hardly understand how it can give off anything less than a premium vibe when it is able to boast the world’s highest resolution display – unless that beautiful display is… invisible? After all, the Emperor had on no clothes at all. I guess we’ll have to see it to believe it. I have yet to hear of the new Naked Nexus.     

A Sweet, Sorry Scandal

Tuesday, 06 November 2012

How sweet it is when companies get free publicity because of court scandals. You can be a bad Apple and still come out smiling with a rotten tooth, which is just what Apple seems to be doing. Apparently, Apple had accused Samsung of copying designs – specifically, the iPad and the iPhone.

You know – the teacher’s pet, Jenny, who sits erect and bolts a hand up in the air to tattle-tale, saying Johnny copied when he hardly blinked. Perhaps there were similarities in the students’ projects – after all, they were working on the same assignment – but when compared, the teacher could see that Johnny hadn’t copied. His wasn’t as good. It was definitely his own work.

Well, that is just what the judge declared. Samsung did not copy Apple because their designs weren’t as good. But now Apple is in trouble for tattling and trying to get Samsung in trouble when Samsung is innocent. Bad Apple! Sounds like playground drama to me, except in the corporate world, it happens in a court room. The finger is pointed (that would be the finger of the judge at Apple), and Apple is ordered to apologize. It’s the condescending, righteous teacher determined to set things right. But the enforcement of a moral code only makes Apple smile, as if they weren’t already smiling when they received a ruling that included an official declaration that their devices are cooler.

The first apology elaborated into a capitalization on the “cooler” ruling – only to be caught again – because, obviously, it wasn’t intended to serve as an advertising platform. Their apology wasn’t going to fly – which only produced more scandal. What? More publicity? When you have to go to the principal’s office but get to miss class and pop candy in your mouth while you’re at it, you just try not to appear too overjoyed.

“Now Jenny,” the teacher says, “say you’re sorry.” Meanwhile, Jenny’s smirking because she’s crossing her fingers behind her back, yet it’s an honest effort to appear sincere – really.

And so Apple tried it again. “We’re sorry. We’re really, really sorry…“ I could just hear it as they configured how they would get around the judge’s ruling this time and use it to their advantage. So sorry… just keep scrolling all the way down the page on our website, past all that illustrious, gorgeous advertising we’ve worked so hard on, until you get to the link at the bottom. Smiling, smiling – not too big now. By the way, you might need a magnifying glass when you find it – if you get that far, because we really are hoping you’ll get distracted and click on one of our products and make it to the check-out rather than that silly apology we were ordered to post.

And what is poor Samsung supposed to do? Say thank you? We accept your apology. We know we’re not as cool.

As TechDirt stated: “If Apple had just complied normally, this story would already be over.” But why comply for it to be over quickly when it is far too easy – and fun – to capitalize? Surely the judge should have had the foresight to see this coming. It makes you wonder if he was actually trying to punish Apple at all. Weren’t they the ones who instigated the drama – only to come out the winner? But aren’t teacher’s pets famous for giving the teachers apples – or Apples? Makes you wonder. It seems it’s a sweet, sorry scandal for somebody.

But Samsung is not too dumb. If Apple can capitalize on publicity this way, so can they. And, at this point, Samsung has a number of countersuits against Apple… and so on and on it goes. It has been going on for nearly two years. But what is a couple of years when you’re battling for world dominance? Apparently nobody cares if the king of the castle is the dirty rascal. Apple and Samsung keep on fighting. We keep on buying. Everybody’s dirty – but we still wish recess would last longer so we could keep playing on our beloved electronics.

Built For a Man?

Tuesday, 06 November 2012

Rogers Communications Inc., Canada’s leading provider of wireless communications devices and services, offers the three newest, hottest superphones: the new iPhone 5 by Apple, the new Galaxy S III by Samsung, and the LG Optimus G 2600 by Life’s Good that is available for pre-order and scheduled to arrive on the retail market in November 2012.

According to Rogers, “The LG Optimus G 2600 sets a new standard for what defines a superphone.” If that is true, can the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S III be outdone already? With scarcely a month on the market, the iPhone 5 came out in September, 2012. The Galaxy S III (GS3) came out in May, 2012, giving it less than six months on the market. Can technology have evolved that quickly as to make the Optimus G a dynamic improvement?

The hype says yes. And at first glance, the Optimus G certainly seems competitive. It offers impressive lists of features that aggressively rival its Rogers’ competitors. But what, really, is the difference? Is one better than the other, or is choosing between the iPhone 5, the GS3, and now the Optimus G more like choosing which vehicle is better – a BMW, a Mercedes, or a Lexus?

Perhaps it comes down to personal preference. Perhaps our choice will be influenced by the plan that comes with the phone. Or perhaps the friendliness of the customer service personnel advertising one over the other will nudge us towards our decision.

Here are a few differences I found in my search to clarify the matter:

1). Size

On Gadget Review, the Optimus G is compared to a Siberian tiger, while the GS3 is a bobcat. “The Optimus G both looks and feels like a brick in the hand, but in a manly, “yeah, this is my phone” sort of way. So take that as a plus or a minus.

2). Appearance

The Galaxy and the iPhone are sleeker, lighter, and more streamlined for ultimate sophistication than is the LG Optimus G 2600. However, if you like a larger screen, the Optimus may be for you.

3). Price

The Galaxy is available for less than the Optimus G and less than the iPhone.

4). Camera

The Galaxy s3 wins over the LG Optimus G 2600. But whether it beats the iPhone is still debatable.

5). Carriers

Watch out with this one. If you plan on staying in Canada forever, the Optimus G may be for you. However, if you plan for mobility in your life as well as with your phone, you might not want to choose the Optimus G, as the carriers that support it are limited. For example, in the States, it is only available with Sprint and AT&T, while the Galaxy is supported by all carriers.

6). Battery Life

The Samsung wins. The Samsung offers up to 12 hours of talk time as opposed to the iPhone 5 that only offers 8 hours. And while both the Samsung and the Galaxy have similar battery lives, the Galaxy’s default is not set for eco-mode.

7). Display

The display of the LG wins over the Galaxy. It has fantastic resolution that you can even see in sunlight. The brightness of the Galaxy just doesn’t make the grade, although it does have comparable resolution. And the LG and the iPhone 5 tie – except that the iPhone is brighter, so wins overall.

8). Speed

Finally, the new LG Optimus G 2600 wins one! It is the fastest cat out there.

But is that enough to pre-order the LG Optimus G 2600?

There is another drawing factor for the Optimus G, and that is the capability to turn into your media player. It has dual play, which is digital multi-tasking. It is able to wirelessly streams high definition video to your TV while still being able to function as your phone and do anything you like on it – surf the web, text, email…

One cool function I noticed the Galaxy s3 has is that it responds intuitively to hand gestures with Motion UI. So just watch what you’re doing with your hands!

For me, it’s a toss-up between the Samsung Galaxy s3 and the iPhone 5. The LG Optimus G 2600 is off the list. What will it be for you? Will you be placing a pre-order for the Optimus G? Telus and Bell are rumored to be introducing the Optimus G, but Rogers is the only one of the three giants advertising pre-ordering for it. Hmm… wonder why? If you’ve already bought a Galaxy or an iPhone 5, I don’t think you’ll have buyers’ remorse when the Optimus G is released… although it’s looking pretty good. Eenie meanie minie mo…

Drinks on Padika

Thursday, 01 November 2012

More than sixty prominent business owners gathered at the prestigious Terra restaurant to join in "Drinks on Padika," an exclusive "invitation only" event being held monthly by Padika Marketing Solutions. While business networking for new connections was the main purpose of the night, many were happy to chat with old colleagues and to re-establish lost connections.
Hors' d'oeuvres were served by formally uniformed wait-staff while guests enjoyed live guitar music. Thanks to our event planner, Shaghayegh Mobed, the October version of "Drinks on Padika" ran very smoothly.
"Drinks on Padika" will be repeated in the coming months with the same mix and mingle atmosphere. This creates an informal, yet still highly professional atmosphere for Toronto business owners and entrepreneurs that contributes to enriching networks and finding new business opportunities. The event is fully sponsored by Padika, and there is no cost to attend. If you are an entrepreneur and believe you belong to this class of business networking, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be added to the waiting list for coming events. The following are photos of the night, all taken by Payam Ghaffari from Eventgraphers.

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The New Marvelous - iPad Mini

Thursday, 01 November 2012

Aww… how cute! It’s mini – but there’s nothing mickey-mouse about it. The new iPad mini, released October 23, 2012, by Apple, is the culminating evolution of previous iPads, making it already the fourth generation in the iPad series that began in 2010.

The iPad mini is a tablet computer, capable of everything the iPad 4, or, more properly titled, the iPad with Retina is capable of (that was released on the same day), and seemingly not much different from the iPad 2. So then, with all this evolution, what has changed, other than, of course, it is smaller? And is that even a benefit? You can hold it in your hand, yes, but wouldn’t the larger screen of the iPad 4 provide easier viewing? Such mini differences and so many devices to choose from. Do we really need another one to dizzy us further? It is great to have a choice of incredible technology, but it gets to a point where when there is something new, we want it to be new. Translation – show us something different.

It is mind boggling trying to keep up with it, let alone really understand what the differences are. And maybe that is what the big companies want to do – confuse us. Too many consumers are simply consuming to consume because something is new, without really understanding how or why the product they think they want or need is any different or better than a competing product. They get so wound up with it all that they end up in knots and just buy. End of story – until something else comes out claiming to be bigger (or in this case, smaller) and better (or in this case, the same)… or almost.

And I was really beginning to think it was the same until, when I was scrolling down Apple’s website, I got to the part about the iPad mini having advanced Wi-Fi that is up to twice as fast as previous generation iPads. That is fantastic news, because I am not exactly the most patient person and I have no patience with electronics that seem made for nothing but trials in patience. (That said, when I went in the Upper Canada Mall Apple Store, it was explained to me that both the iPad mini and the iPad with Retina are fourth generation iPads and are twice as fast as previous generations – but that the iPad with Retina is even twice as fast as the iPad mini because of the A6X chip).

It may only be Halloween, but if you’re like me, you’re already looking for Christmas ideas – and my kids are too big to want Power Rangers or Barbies anymore. They want electronics, the works. Doesn’t Santa deliver iPad minis? iPad minis wouldn’t be too big to ask for, would they? All their friends have them – at least that’s what they tell me. (And they start at $329, in case you were wondering). The iPad mini itself comes in either metallic or black, but the magnetic Smart Cover that folds in three to become a stand comes in six polyurethane colors including: dark gray, light gray, carnation pink, apple green, powder blue, and red.

With a ten hour battery life, I think it will even outplay my kids… if I get them connected. It might just be my new toy. If Santa can fit iPad minis in his bag for kids, he can fit them in his bag for adults. It’s not like I need another toaster. Just promise me nobody is going to put me on U-tube. After all, the iPad mini boasts a nifty little video recorder. But hey, my daughter wants to be an actress.

And the camera is more than just a camera when you can do all of your viewing, editing, and sharing with the convenient Multi-Touch system. My friends on Facebook would love to see new pictures.

And both of my kids could do video-calling with their friends in California who they haven’t seen since we moved to Toronto.

And I could even watch a movie of my choice instead of yet another episode of Shake it Up – that’s if my son doesn’t snag it first and claim it as his own, because there is free engraving…

And, and, and the possibilities really do seem endless when you can hold it in your hand. The new iPad mini might just hold my hand everywhere I go. Never mind what the competition is – I know what I want. Besides, Siri is going to be my new best friend. Siri, the intelligent assistant, will understand me when I talk and will have answers to all my questions. Siri will wake me in the morning, will never let me get lost, will know where the best Persian restaurants can be found, will tell me when I need a jacket, and will play my favorite songs. Siri will even take dictation while I drive. Need I say more? The iPad mini is marvelous. Best Buy, here I come…

Windows 8 Launches – Viruses?

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

It may be flu season, but I didn’t expect that to affect my computer. Of course, the colds and coughs going around haven’t made my computer start sneezing, but recently it did become infected with a virus. The software I needed to download from HP for my printer wouldn’t download, so I took my laptop in to the tech doctor at Staples. He took a look at it and said it looked like it had a virus, pointing to the word “Trojan.” I believe what it said was “Trojan remover.” I glanced at it, not too concerned as I was sure that was the special system for virus removal that I had paid the company in Las Vegas to install the last time my computer got a virus. But I couldn’t help remembering that invisible hand moving my cursor around – some faceless stranger reaching into the most private areas – and feeling violated. The tech doctor showed me what to do to download the program, and I went home and tried again. This time, the website kept redirecting to “crabwalkin’ Heavy” and the next thing I knew, hundreds of windows popped up one after the other, all over my computer screen. So I shut it down and took it in to the doctor again. .

It had a virus and it would take three to four days to remove the virus. They would try to recover the files, but nothing was guaranteed. I was about ready to buy a new computer right then and there just at the thought of having to go without my computer for days, and I couldn’t even think about losing any of my files.

When they called to tell me it was ready and that the files were fine, I was relieved. The fellow who helped me was even nice enough to put an icon on my desktop with the link to download the software I needed. But at home, I noticed a couple of the files on the desktop had not been recovered properly as the first letters on the titles had been changed to symbols. I couldn’t bring myself to open them yet, so I clicked on the icon to download the software from HP. A pop-up said “corrupt and unreadable.” I wasn’t sure why – the virus had just been removed – so I clicked it off. It was taking forever to find the page – but it seemed everything was taking forever. I thought it was the new internet service we’d switched to… but then it said “redirecting”… and bam! I was at the same “crabwalkin’ Heavy” website and I knew it was bad. I got off the website and started saving all my files then shut down the computer and took it in – again.

At this point, I was starting to feel like my laptop was akin to an old car – always needing repair or some kind of updating just to keep it functioning. Yet it is not as if it is that old. It is from 2009 – only three years old. Still, I had already had to buy an external CD player as the original internal device stopped working. The scan function on my new printer wouldn’t work because the computer was too old to be compatible, and now, if I were to get an upgrade to Windows 8, the most important feature of touch-friendliness wouldn’t work because the computer is not a touch screen. Nevertheless, it would have to be cleaned up of the virus so that my files could be restored properly – it wasn’t an option for them not to be.

I could still use the computer at least temporarily, I queried the technician. He gave me a wary look. Well, for a couple of weeks? A week? A few days? “What kind of security do you have?” he asked. Bell. He told me Bell and Primus are terrible and that it is better to not have any security. I asked about McAfee, which I had had before when my computer got the first virus. He said McAffee was bad, but not as bad as Bell or Primus. Excellent. And, according to him, my files weren’t safe, period, without decent security, and that meant purchasing Norton. What to do!

This is the third time my computer has had a virus. On one of my visits to Staples, the technician explained to me that when a virus infects your computer, it may seemingly be removed effectively, but that the company that is supposedly removing it is able to program it to reactivate on a certain date. Interesting, because I had thought it a rare coincidence that my computer got a virus on the very day that Windows 8 came out.

“Have there been a lot of people in here with viruses in the past week or so?” I asked.

“The past three weeks.”

Fabulous. Of course, for those of us who have to get new computers, we’re going to want computers with Windows 8, aren’t we? They assured me that is has nothing to do with Microsoft. But these days, we live in a worldwide web. Everybody and everything is connected, in one way or another. Staples is ready too, with a sale that just began yet ends today on installation packages for new computers – just in case you need one.

All of the data can be transferred to the new computer, but what about the virus? Can it not be transferred as well, even if it is removed, because of the time activation feature used in the installation of viruses? The technician told me “no” – yet with a hesitant wishy-washy twist of his features. He was clearly uncomfortable with the question. “It should be fine… (more muttering). That really shouldn’t happen.”

Really? People used to say we would never have computers with the capabilities we have now, with operating systems like Windows 8 and touch screen technology. Anything is possible – including purchasing a new computer with Norton Anti-virus protection, having files transferred safely, and enjoying clean, cutting-edge technology.

*Please note that Trojan is malware and is not a virus, as was explained to me by Staples technicians in diagnosing my laptop. You may see the blog “Riding a Trojan Horse” for more information on the subject of this common error. 

What is LTE?

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Remember the days when it was often difficult to place long distance calls with your cell phone? The further away you were from the person you were calling, the more difficult it seemed not just to get through, but to have any service or connection at all. If you did get through, the connection was often weak, causing static, and a call that kept breaking up or was lost altogether. Maybe it was hard to hear or it seemed there was a delay from you speaking to you being heard. Well, those days are gone.

Thanks to the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), Long Term Evolution (LTE) was born. Founded in Angara, Turkey, and first publically available in December, 2009, LTE is “the first truly global mobile phone standard.” It has taken the world from 3G to 4G technology, marketed by the 3GPP as LTE, or 4G LTE. But what is LTE?

The name says it all: Long Term Evolution. LTE is a living, evolving standard for wireless communication involving high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals.

The goals of LTE were to:

1). Increase capacity

2). Increase speed

3). Redesign and simplify network architecture

4). Reduce cost

5). Ensure competitiveness of the 3G system

Increased speed and capacity of wireless data networks were made possible by using digital signal processing (DSP), and the redesign and simplification of the network architecture were accomplished by utilization of an IP-based system.

The Evolved Packet Core (EPC) is the name given to IP-based network architecture and is designed to replace the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) Core Network. The EPC supports seamless handovers for voice and data to cell towers with older GMS, UMTS, or CDMA2000 technology. Previously, voice and data capacity were supported by High Speed Packet Access (HSPA), but now with each E-UTRAN cell there is four times the support, resulting in lower operating costs.

Evolved from the 3G system and with downlink peak data rates of up to 326 megabits per second (Mbit/s), uplink peak data rates of up to 86.4 Mbit/s, and Quality of Service (QoS) provisions permit transfer latencies of less than 5 ms, 4G LTE certainly ensures competitiveness.

4G LTE is the most advanced network there is. In Canada, the largest 4G LTE network is provided by Bell, with a speed of up to 75 Mbit/s.

3GPP has revolutionized the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) with LTE, and it just keeps growing. Already, LTE Advanced has evolved from LTE, setting an even higher mobile communications standard than ever before.  

Microsoft Surface

Monday, 29 October 2012

Launched yesterday, Friday, October 26th, 2012, the Microsoft Surface is the new hot tablet.

Described by Microsoft as “a work of art,” the new Surface tablet is a sight to behold. It has a kickstand – so gone are the days when you were constantly propping your tablet up against books or on pillows – or worse – had it left flat on the coffee table, only to be used as a coaster. And wait – is that a keyboard? No – it’s the cover – no... it’s both. It’s the magnetic touch cover that converts to a keyboard when you open it, and lays flat, just like the keyboard on your PC. Now how cool is that? To top it off, it comes in five colors: black, white, red, cyan (blue), and magenta, all in made with matte VaporMg casing. And if a more traditional type-style keyboard is for you, that is also an option. Surface is light and slim, and, according to USA Today, is “an impressive piece of engineering.” It can do everything you expect, and more.

So you’ve got to get one, right? That’s great – but it’s not so simple. You will have to decide whether you want your Surface with Windows RT or with Windows 8. But what is the difference?

The biggest difference is that Windows RT is a limited edition of Windows 8. When you get a Surface with Windows 8 Pro, you are getting the full version of the new, super cool Microsoft operating system. The RT edition uses an ARM CPU (Central Processing Unit) while Windows 8 Pro uses an Intel CPU, each unit affecting compatibility.

Keep in mind that the edition of the Microsoft Surface tablet that launched yesterday is the Surface RT, and that you will not be able to run any of your programs from older computers on it. To do that, you will have to wait about 3 months for Surface Pro to come out. Will the new RT version already be out-dated by then? All we can tell you is that right now, the new Microsoft Surface RT has come out strong and is going head to head with iPad.

Editions of Windows 8

Monday, 29 October 2012

Please keep in mind that Windows 8 has various versions, as did Windows 7 also have various versions. Although Windows 7 can be upgraded to Windows 8, with an advertised price of $39.99 for download to your computer, only similar versions are compatible. For example, if you have an IA-32 version of Windows 7, you will need to upgrade to an IA-32 version of Windows 8. Or if you have an x64 version of Windows 7, you will need the x64 version of Windows 8 to be compatible. This shouldn’t be a big deal. Think of it as going from what you are used to – to what you are used to. If anything, it should make the transition comfortable.

The only problem comes in if you are expecting to be able to upgrade a Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise version of Windows 7 to the regular Windows 8, or what is being referred to as Windows 8 (Core). It won’t work. However, you can upgrade all versions of Windows 7, except for the Enterprise, to Windows 8 Pro. Windows 7 Enterprise gets upgraded to Windows 8 Enterprise, along with a few others. And if this is still confusing, Wikipedia has a great chart.

If you have Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, or Home Premium, you are good to go with Windows 8 – period.

Below are the four available versions of Windows 8:

Windows 8 – This is standard Windows for regular people.

Windows 8 Pro – This is a professional version for business users.

Windows 8 Enterprise – This is a variation of Windows 8 Pro.

Windows RT – This is a limited version of Windows 8, designed for tablets.

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