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eBay Announces New Web Design

By on Oct 16, 2012 in Internet |

The internet has become a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes over the past two decades. And while it may be dominated by massive corporations and expensive websites, budding entrepreneurs have figured out how to create tidy businesses using the auction site eBay. Users can search eBay for literally anything they may be looking for, and sellers can post items, accept payment and orchestrate shipping all through one easy-to-use portal. eBay has used that simple accessibility to create quite the industry, but it is clear after a recent announcement that the company does not expect to rest on its laurels. Following close on the heels of September’s launch of an updated eBay logo, the internet auctioneer is raising its game with a completely redesigned web platform and an app that will trim the downtime to allow for same day shipping. The new website seems to be another move away from auctions, with eBay increasingly interested in the instant purchase market. Users can expect to see the redesign in action within the next couple weeks, but head to http://www.ebay.com/new to check out some screenshots pulled from the new site, as well as a full description of what they have in mind. Overall, the new look is cleaner, easier to navigate, and fully modernized. In fact, fans of Pinterest will note a lot of similarities, and a familiar feel that will make eBay even more popular than it was previously. The new design will be much more visually appealing, with a column-based layout of items and the ability to post images in al sorts of sizes. On top of a more elegant design, eBay also hopes to provide users with more attention, and the option to further personalize their search, shopping and selling. eBay’s President, Mr. Devin Wenig mentioned this specifically in the press release announcing the redesign. Wenig feels that recommendations based on past searches just don’t cut it for their consumers any more. The new goal is to offer personal insights and a curated selection of purchasing options that the consumer controls and further narrows. On top of the improved search, navigation and visual flair, eBay is also launching a mobile app called eBay Now. That is coming out to market immediately, at least for iOS users, through the iTunes store. Android users can expect their own version shortly. But eBay Now is much more than just a mobile version of the website. It also gives customers the chance to choose same-day delivery for the first time in the history of eBay. While not available on every single item one would find on the site, it is an option for thousands of items for sale. The eBay Now online option is launching only in San Francisco, California, but eBay spokespeople expect many other markets to come into play in the near future. Despite whatever website builder reviews eventually say about the eBay relaunch, this new delivery option puts the website in direct competition with Amazon and Wal-Mart, two behemoths that were previously completely out of eBay’s league. Of course, it was the auction element that used to distinguish this site from all others. But now it seems that eBay wants to become a go-to destination for bargain shoppers of all kinds. And given eBay’s massive user base, that distinction could create a ripple effect felt far and wide across the...

Amazon Launches Vine.com for the Environmental Crowd

By on Oct 10, 2012 in Internet |

While there are several large shopping sites that regularly vie for online supremacy, Amazon seems to be the one that more shoppers trust over all others. They somehow managed to copyright ‘one-click purchasing’, basically insuring that their site will be the easiest for shoppers to navigate from here on into the future of the internet. They’ve been regularly using that streamlined shopping experience to be a catch-all superstore, the place anyone can come to find basically anything they want. So whether you’re shopping for toothpaste or a new car, you can rest assured that Amazon.com is the place to find it, cheaper and quicker than anywhere else. Although Amazon has never been accused of being particularly eco-conscious, after a recent corporate announcement it seems they are looking to embrace the sustainable crowd as well. The hope is that their new web portal Vine.com can eventually be what Amazon.com is for those who support green initiatives with their wallets. Vine.com is just the latest offering to develop out of a two-year-old partnership between Amazon and Quidsi, a smaller but well-balanced internet sales company. Those who follow such things are probably already familiar with some of Quidsi’s other sites, such as Wag.com and Diapers.com. Even if you’ve never heard of them you’ll probably quickly gather that Quidsi’s strategy is to be as specific as possible. While Amazon.com is the superstore, Quidsi is the online equivalent of the local shop. Vine.com will focus completely on green product offerings that go through a strict quality control process before being allowed to sell on the site. Both environmental activists and small business owners met this announcement with minimal enthusiasm, to say the least. Mom and pop shops around the country that have been decimated by the recession regularly point to Amazon.com as one of the reasons they cannot stay in business. After all, how can you compete with the scale of that internet behemoth, their guaranteed shipping and transactional ease? And eco conscious consumers have often loudly chastised Amazon for some severely unsustainable business practices. Amazon’s warehouses take an inordinate amount of energy to run, especially since that quick shipping turnaround is only possible with armies of robots handling the packing as soon as the transaction is approved. Add on top of that the massive packaging even shipping a small book requires, and it is no surprise that many environmentalists are meeting this new announcement with wariness. Amazon and Vine.com are meeting that potential criticism head on. Josh Dorfman, who manages Vine.com on behalf of Quidsi, acknowledges that a true greenification of their business practices will be a work in progress. While they cannot make all shipping immediately sustainable, they do promise to hold the products they stock to a high standard. Rather than simply accept the manufacturer’s ‘green’ or ‘natural’ product claims, any vendor that wants to list on Vine.com will have to submit a full list of product ingredients. Vine.com will also look at eight separate categories that each make something environmentally friendly, and if a product doesn’t meet at least one of those standards it will not be sold. This may not be enough for the most strict eco warriors, but Vine.com is launching with a couple of heavyweights from the environmental advocacy space. Seventh Generation is sponsoring the website, and that company is considered an industry leader in environmental products. Hopefully that is at least a small sign that Vine.com will provide more value than simply padding Amazon’s already overstuffed...

Tips for Creating a Mobile Version of Your Website

By on Sep 23, 2012 in Internet |

If your company has a website, you’ve probably considered the fact that it might need a mobile version very soon. If this is the case, then you were correct. Any and every site should have a complementary mobile version, and if this something you can afford then you’re going to be able to bring your company or website to that many more consumers. More and more Internet browsing is done on smartphones, and this is especially true as their capabilities and processor capacities continue to increase. Smartphones are essentially computers that can make phone calls these days, which is great news for the business owner, both large and small. You’ve now got yet another platform via which you can connect with your customers, both current and potential, and it’s the most closely you’ve been able to connect since the dawn of social media. Most of us are literally attached to our cell phones at the hip, so it’s not hard to see why giving your business an attractive mobile site is more important than ever. Perhaps the number one rule is not to leave anything out. When you design a mobile version of your site, you’re essentially creating a new, more stripped-down version that will attempt to preserve all of the original elements, but with a newer and simplified navigation system and user interface. Design is key, and we’ll talk about that in just a moment, but the most important thing to remember as you’re designing your site’s mobile version is that you don’t leave anything out. Your site’s mobile version should have all the capabilities of your normal site, so visitors aren’t frustrated that they can’t do something they could do before. Your mobile site’s design is also of the utmost importance, so you’ve got to make sure you’re very careful and thorough in your development of it. Look to your competitors or other sites who have great mobile versions for inspiration. Keep in mind some of the most popular aesthetics on the web as you create your design, and using guidelines laid down by some of the stalwarts of design (both Google and Apple are some of the first to come to mind) then you’ll be able to create a clean, modern-looking mobile site that’s as much a joy to navigate as it is to look at. Finally, you want to give your site’s mobile visitors a little something extra. If you can find a way to include some sort of feature or content that takes special advantage of its unique mobile platform, then you’ll really be able to create a mobile web experience that your visitors appreciate. You don’t really need to worry about cell phone screen protectors or other accessories as you’re creating your design; these things don’t much interfere with the look of a mobile site. All you need to do is make sure you’re remembering to give your website’s visitors a clean and easily navigable experience that will have them wanting to come back and visit over and over...

Great Cloud Services for the College Crowd

By on Sep 23, 2012 in Internet |

Computers have certainly changed a great deal in our culture. But once the internet built up a head of steam, it became clear that the way we used to approach nearly every endeavor was going to change forever, either right now or on into the future. Most people find they can now do the entirety of their banking without ever stepping into a physical bank branch. People invest online, they buy property online, and some people even find their future spouse through the power of the internet. Cloud computing is still in its relative infancy, but the changes it is creating are already plentiful. Thanks to cloud computing, no one is tethered to a physical device or hard drive anymore. Instead, we can share data instantly across the world, to and from any device that is connected to the internet. Clearly the implications for business are huge, but what about in the educational sphere? It’s obvious that paper and pencils could soon become antiquated relics, relegated to museums and the desks of stubborn old journalists. And while some may mourn the passing of a simpler age, the implications of cloud services for a student’s college education are huge. Here are just some of the ways the incredible functionality of cloud computing will assist the college crowd in the coming years. Although “the dog ate my homework” has long been a tired cliché, there are times when that is actually the truth. Rain soaks a notebook, coffee destroys a term paper, bags are lost or stolen. These things happen, and in the past they could’ve been devastating for a college student. Cloud storage now fully removes those concerns. If you store everything on the cloud, you don’t have to worry if your computer is fried in a freak lightning storm. In addition, moving documents around is quick and easy. Students used to have to carry a drive with them as backup, or when they needed to print something from the library or computer center. Thanks to cloud storage, you can access those documents on any device, anywhere in the world. No more printing issues, lost work or technological malfunctions to leave you with incomplete grades. Note-taking can be a stressful part of the college experience. Many students find they can’t write as fast as the lecturer speaks, and when they go back to review notes they find significant gaps. And while furiously note-taking chances are you’re not fully listening to what’s being said, leading to lower retention and a more difficult time when studying for exams. Now students can find cloud services designed for note-taking that both simplify the process and add some incredible perks. Check out the wide range of apps designed for this purpose, and you’ll soon notice that typing is almost always faster and easier than writing by hand. You can back the notes up to the cloud, and some of the programs can even record audio and translate it visually later on. That means less time spent taking notes, and more time listening to the lecture. Since the vast majority of college students now carry a smartphone, access to work is easier than ever. Many professors are now putting study guides and notes up on a website, and with cloud computing you can download them onto your phone and access them from your home computer whenever you like. Pull up your notes on the smartphone, make changes, and those changes will appear in the document on your laptop. It saves time and energy, two things a college student doesn’t always have in full supply. Extended or team projects are also much easier thanks to cloud computing. If you are working on a project with several other students, you can create documents and calendars that are shared with everyone, and update instantly on each person’s device. If you’re pursuing an online MBA in finance, all of your study groups and classes will occur on the computer, which means total reliance on cloud computing and shared data. It’s a lot to learn, but the processes are usually simple, and the final result is a streamlined workflow that saves time, money and...

What Is Private Cloud Architecture?

By on Jun 12, 2012 in Internet |

Private cloud architecture refers to the structural balance that a company can try to achieve once they have established the criteria for moving to a cloud based IT solution. There are many diverse structural paradigms that have been used for private cloud architecture. Each of these illustrate the many tiers on which this architecture will operate and how these tiers can be combined and developed to ensure an optimum IT infrastructure. What Is The Benefit Of Having Private Cloud Architecture? The development of a solid private cloud architecture (PCA) offers organizational benefits that enhance businesses performances in many ways. The key element in this process is discipline. The main benefit of a system like this is that it enforces a rigour in processes and practices. The advantages that this kind of system uniquely offers are clear guidance in terms of implementation flow and the discipline and standardization, which it requires. There are a number of studies available on the various elements of PCA and within these it has been well documented that the key features of PCA include improved control, simplified infrastructure architecture, advanced utilization, and optimized management practices. What Are The Key Characteristics? One of the key elements that are required as an integral part of PCA is a standardized infrastructure. This may on occasions be referred to as reference architecture. There are some valid arguments that a standardized infrastructure is a prerequisite of any solid IT solution, but in truth the main processes of provision, monitoring, storage, backup and recovery can successfully be managed across a variety of disparate platforms. With a PCA it is imperative that all of these systems are supported by a standardized infrastructure or access will not operate uniformly. How Important Is Storage? For the majority of organizations considering a private cloud architecture, storage consolidation will play a key role in considering how the architecture is to be structured. As a consequence of acquisitions, autonomy or circumstance, many organizations often have a greater variety in storage systems in place than can be technologically or economically validated. The initiation of a private cloud storage system is an excellent opportunity to pare back superfluous systems from the storage core or to at least establish systems to prevent digression storage. What Implications Does PCA Have For Software? As it has developed one of the most significant aspects of cloud computing is the impact it has on software. Initial benefits in terms of storage were clear, but the enhancements it has offered in terms of software applications is still a developing feature of cloud technology and although some applications can be operated entirely from cloud based platforms for others the service is not a feature that has been properly deployed. As a component within a PCA the relevance of software is very significant only in some cases and this is dependent on the applications. The choice of application here is the key and will decide the place in the paradigm that it...

Talk of a New Internet Continues

By on Apr 27, 2012 in Internet |

In the past few years, there has been talk about creating a new internet. The reason behind this is the demand for an internet with more quality and security. The internet is full of low quality websites, spam, viruses, Trojans and hackers. This is creating a buzz that a new internet needs to be created in order to offer those who shy away from the messy internet of today a more stable and secure portal for finding information. However, as there are many who would like to see a safe high quality internet, there are those who fear what it will bring. Reasons behind the New Internet:It is well known that the internet comes with certain risks. When the internet was first created, its true intention was to share files between universities and offices from a distance. What started out as a network, evolved into the most widely used source of information, education, and entertainment. With this evolution, there has always been a problem securing the internet. The process of security has been placed on a user level rather than as a whole for the internet itself. As with most technology, security has always followed the technology rather than moving parallel to it. Another issue that is sparking the close look at creating a new internet is the quality of content. As the internet evolved, programmers, web designers and anyone with the interest has been able to create websites and get stake their claim on their little corner of the internet. This created the ability to put useless and false information. If you are looking for information on a topic that interests you, you have to weed through the spammy sites full of incorrect information, irrelevant content and advertisements to find what you want. A new internet would eliminate this issue. Skepticism about the Future Internet:There are many users that oppose the idea of a new internet. As freedom of speech is a right, there is fear of the new internet silencing the voice of the people. With a new internet, censorship would not only be possible but will be needed in order to avoid reliving the mistakes of the past. For instance, if someone wanted to create their own site, it may not meet the standards of the “new internet” and could easily be taken down. File sharing and information would also be monitored even closer to meet the criteria of the “new internet” as they monitor for copyright infringement. This will create even less privacy for internet users than now. Groups who are passionate about information being free and available for all are concerned with the idea of constant monitoring. There is even talk of the President of the United States having the ability to shut down the new internet. As the internet is simply a network of computers connected to domain servers, the ability to just turn it off is a real possibility. Imagine turning to the internet to check your bank account and receiving a message that it has been disabled. There is no doubt that the internet is full of risks, misinformation, and harmful websites for children. With the increasing technology, smarter users, and the ability to stake claim to your own part of the internet, there is the ability to continue growing the internet with any information you want to post. As many believe we are in need of a “new internet” there will always be those who enjoy it as it is. John Deschamp is a network administrator and content contributor for highspeedinternet.net, a site he recommends to those wanting to learn about satellite internet. This article was written by a guest author. Would you like to write for...