6 collection 64 creative bit Moreover, the yearly increases are themselves in­creasing. http://www.openphotographyforums.com/f_view.php?q=8

You and Certifications: a Roller-Coaster Relationship?

Posted By: on June 5, 2014
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You’ve decided to pursue a certification to improve your career portfolio. Congratulations! Did you know that going after some of the toughest and most desirable certifications can be likened to nailing a successful romantic relationship?

If you view the effort through that lens, it’s simpler to understand the ups and downs and prepare for them before the road gets bumpy.

One of the most challenging is Microsoft certifications, but they’re also the most in demand. It can be difficult to achieve just about any tech-based certification, however.

Take a deep breath, and play it as if you were angling to go to the prom with the most popular kid in school. You can do it, but it won’t necessarily be easy. Here’s how to attack it.

1. Set your intention

Just like in yoga class, identify the end result you want. This gets you motivated, but you’ll also think about the best approach to make it happen.

Maybe you need certification by a certain date, are aware that you’re prone to procrastination, or there’s a financial hurdle. This gets you on the path to tackling the issues one at a time.

2. Beware the honeymoon stage

You’ll likely hit your stride early on, and believe this isn’t so tough after all. This is when you can get blindsided, because most things are easier in the beginning, including study habits and retaining information.

There’s a curve, and you’re at the bottom of the hill. Don’t assume it’s in the bag yet.

3. The first fight

There will likely come a time when you’re ready to throw in the towel. Suddenly what was so appealing has become too nightmarish to face.

This, too, shall pass if you persevere and focus on how to tackle the challenge. Maybe your partner is being unreasonable, but you need to step up to the plate. Right now, you need that person more than he or she needs you.

4. Staying committed

You’re committed through the best of times and worst of times. The good news is that, unlike a marriage, the process isn’t for life. You just need to stick it out a little while longer to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Prom night, anyone?

5. The big day

Unfortunately, many people give up when it comes down to the wire due to the stress alone. This can be especially true for Type-A personalities who are struggling to stay afloat. Walking away can be easier than just one more day of stress.

Don’t give up, and on the darkest days slip on those rose-colored glasses. Remind yourself why you’re doing this and that it’s worth it.

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Why a Landline May Be the Ultimate Romantic Gesture

Posted By: on June 3, 2014
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landline

Flowers, perfume, and jewelry? If you really want to show your paramour how much you adore her or him, try getting the person a landline. It could be the ultimate, even if your beloved is an iPhone snob or avid Android fan.

It might seem out of date and needlessly worrisome, but the reality is that in an emergency, only a landline will do. There’s no better way to show people you care than by prioritizing their safety.

Of course, mixing in a dinner or massage with wouldn’t hurt. But by combining whimsically romantic with the practically useful, you’ve got all your bases covered.

Still not convinced? Here’s the ultimate list of why landlines are the perfect gift for people in a relationship and why everyone needs one.

1. Natural disaster connections

During major disasters such as Katrina and Sandy, there was so much smartphone traffic that many people couldn’t get through to their loved ones. Some discovered they could still send texts, but the lag time was huge; others were stuck not knowing if their family members and friends were safe.

Landlines don’t have that same problem, partly because fewer homeowners have them anymore.

2. Tracing calls

This isn’t meant to be a creepy, stalker thing, but if your loved one ever needs to call 911 but can’t speak, the operator can quickly trace the call and send for help. That isn’t the case with a smartphone.

Nobody likes to think about such situations, but it’s always better to be prepared for the worst than not at all.

3. No battery trouble

In some emergency situations, it’s not that the lines are locked up, but a charger can’t be found. Meanwhile, running all those apps has sucked the battery life from your smartphone.

Landlines don’t have this problem, either. To play it safe, have a landline on both the upper level of a home and the lowest so you’re ready for anything.

4. Lower bills

Unless you’ve put together a very creative “framily” plan, you’re likely paying extra for unlimited calls. Landlines are incredibly affordable, and you can nix some of those minutes on your smartphone plan.

Even better, if you combine cable, Wi-Fi, or other services with your landline, you can get it for next to nothing.

Going old-school clearly has some upsides, especially if you’re of the mindset that you’d prefer to be prepared for disaster. Just make sure you have your speech prepared, otherwise you might get a blank look when your significant other opens the gift.

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TopCultured Legends

The Health Benefits of Volunteering

Posted By: on May 9, 2014

According to the blog, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, several studies in recent years have shown that people who volunteer their time are more likely to volunteer their money, as opposed to those who do not Read On »

Death Ray Strikes Again

Posted By: on October 16, 2011

The dreaded death ray has taken four more victims!

Treasure Hunting: Gold In The Sewers

Posted By: on October 24, 2012

Nobody likes toilets. They’re certainly useful, we would be lost without them, and they’ve provided a generation’s worth of humor and comedic gags. But there’s a taboo about them that we can’t shake. We can Read On »

6 Reasons That SEO Can Fail

Posted By: on June 1, 2014
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Search engine optimization (SEO) is a powerful tool, and just like any power, it can make or destroy you. When wielded correctly, it has the power to boost your search engine rankings, drive more relevant traffic to your site and make a startup succeed. However, in the wrong hands (or newbie hands), it can self destruct. How can you err on the side of success?

Here are the top reasons SEO fails.

1. Not hiring a professional

Not everyone has it in the budget to have a professional SEO firm manage their online presence. However, if you adopt a “learn as you go” approach and nobody on the team has experience, you’re going to take a lot of falls. SEO only allows for so many rookie mistakes.

2. Not keeping up with best practices

The best practices for SEO evolves constantly. What were good practices two years ago may not be relevant today. This also sets you up for unwittingly partaking in black hat tricks.

3. Using black hat tricks

Whether it’s keyword stuffing or invisible text, and whether you know it’s wrong or not, it doesn’t matter. Black hat trickery is almost always caught and penalized accordingly. Once Google has caught you, it takes a lot to get back into good graces.

4. Forgetting about quality

You’re following all the rules such as responsive design and using meta tags for organic keywords, so why aren’t your rankings improving? Quality counts for a lot, and that includes both text content and design layout. If people are turned off by your online presence, that will be reflected in the small amount of time they spend on the page and that in turn gets reported to search engines.

5. There’s no LSEO

Local SEO is trending right now as the importance of catering to geographically local markets becomes more important. If you have a local market and you’re not including LSEO in your campaign, you’re missing out. Don’t underestimate the power of local pride or what it can do for your reputation.

6. Your keywords are outdated

You can use Google AdWords’ Keyword Tool tomorrow and have a different top list of keyword variants than today. Not updating your SEO strategy including keywords can kill your campaign.

Are you guilty of any of these tactics? If so, it’s time to rethink your strategy and get back into the game. It’s not too late to “win at SEO,” but the competition is getting fiercer.

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Greg

Keeping an Open Web

Posted By: on May 6, 2014
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There are those who want to change how the internet works. They want to make it less accessible to all. Don’t let that happen. Firefox is leading the charge as the only major browser working to protect user privacy. Join them by expressing what kind of web you want at http://mzl.la/1hHyqBq

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Streamline, Assess, Repeat: Reducing Waste and Increasing Integration in 2014

Posted By: on March 11, 2014
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A growing need for any company is the ability to reduce waste. This comes in many forms and functions. The easiest way to reduce waste and streamline the way a company does business is to integrate similar functions and provide access to similar services using a common interface. As technology increases in stability and accessibility, so does the ability to streamline functions and eliminate costly waste.

Cloud Based Technologies

Since a great amount of technology functions virtually, utilizing the cloud is a great way to not only minimize cost but increase efficiency. High speed internet technologies allow for quick and easy access to data and storage. The users will see no difference in their ability to access work, send emails, or store files. Web-based applications like Microsoft Office365 allow users to access the latest version of the entire Office Suite from anywhere, including their workstation. This comes at a cost that is drastically less per user than purchasing licenses for each desktop and having in-house technical support personnel to install.

Project management is another area of the businesses should be looking to clean up. As companies move away from traditional, centralized offices and into the cloud, completing projects in a timely manner can be an organizational nightmare. However, thanks to a whole host of new tools (for example, those developed by Daptiv) it is possible to centralize everything in one virtual place, which allows employees and managers to interface in a more timely and efficient manner.

Virtual Servers

While having a cloud based and off-site technology infrastructure can be beneficial and economical, there is sometimes the need for dedicated on-site servers. The problem with having dedicated servers is that they are, as the name implies, dedicated. Each server provides for a specific function that has a dedicated purpose. This is often a wasteful use of server space where the primary function only needs a limited amount. Using virtual server technology such as VMware, portions of dedicated servers can be assigned to act as independent servers for other functions. This streamlines operations, consolidates resources, and saves money in hardware costs.

Outsourcing Technical Services

Many people may hear outsourcing and instantly equate this to a company that sends jobs to another country because it is more cost effective. Outsourcing, though is not restricted to just overseas. Realistically, technical management is a hands-on job and often requires having a trained person on staff. There are many local companies that offer technical services to clients for a cost that is often nominal as compared to hiring a full staff. These companies often offer 24/7 service that cover all a business’ needs.

Offer Flexibility

One of the greatest leaps in office technology is the ability to be mobile. No longer are employees chained to their desks for 8 hours of the day while punching a clock in and out. There are secure way to access the business network infrastructure using virtual connections. This allows workers to be flexible in what hours they work as well as allows them to connect and accomplish work at times when they may not normally be in the office. This creates a positive work environment which keeps workers happy. Offering access flexibility promotes productivity and allows for the reduction of payroll leakage that occurs from employees having to miss work.

Integrating these technologies promote not only the streamlining of the workplace but also reduce waste. Overhead costs and waste in payroll are reduced. This also relieves managers, executives, and business owners of the stress involved with the management of such technologies.

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10 Online Stores to Shop for Geeky Gifts

Posted By: on November 4, 2013
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If you’re searching for the perfect present for that special geek in your life, look no further. There are many geeky gift shops online that have a great selection of quirky items.

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3 Reasons You Should Become an Expert in Microsoft Windows

Posted By: on September 18, 2013
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Technology is changing the world so fast that it’s very hard to keep up with the latest upgrades. The most recent changes, features, and apps are overwhelming many of us like nobody’s business. But it’s really all about the business, in the larger scope of things.

Not only is it important to know how to use a computer these days, it almost just as vital to learn every aspect of the Microsoft Windows operating systems to have a real advantage. Better yet, it’s essential for many reasons that you get yourself further educated to be an expert in this field. This will give you a huge advantage over other individuals or companies.

You can sum it up in three major reasons why becoming a Microsoft Windows Expert is the only true way to have an edge over the rest in today’s high-tech job market.

1. Job security

One very simple reason to be an expert at Microsoft Windows technology is to have the upper hand over almost any competitor. If your business’s computer systems are outdated, then you may be missing important information that other companies are grabbing for themselves.

Without the proper information in a timely manner, your company may lose market share. If you’re an individual who lacks experience in Microsoft Windows technology, you may find yourself out of a job or missing out on promotions. Just keep in mind how important expert knowledge really is.

2. Keeping up with upgrades

Whether it’s your business that’s out of date, or you are lacking in the adequate experience needed to keep up with modern technology, it’s comes to pretty much the same thing, either way. Nothing ever stays the same in the modern world of technology.

If you have the ability to navigate the Windows system smoothly, you have the opportunity to learn quicker and keep up with the latest upgrades. Windows is upgrading constantly, so it’s essential to be in step with whatever’s coming next. If possible, be there when the changes are happening!

3. Opening up opportunities

With expert knowledge in Microsoft Windows Technology, you have the ability to teach others. Your edge in modern computer systems is a very valuable commodity and will be sought by many. Always learning more about technology is a rare trait and must not be undervalued.

With your knowledge of Windows, more and more opportunities will appear for advancement in this field. Microsoft Windows Technology is not only a widely used system, it’s also the most popular. Becoming an expert in this system is an essential part of being a well-rounded and successful individual.

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How to Use Data Scrubbing to Clean Up Your Business

Posted By: on June 24, 2013
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As a business grows, data accumulates at a swift pace. Soon databases and servers are overflowing with old client records, inaccurate contact information, convoluted file paths, and unnecessary materials. It happens to most of us: companies get preoccupied with each moment’s task and neglect to clean up their data.

As businesses move away from paper and into digital records, systems can quickly accumulate duplicate records, clutter, and aged information. Keeping business data clean can significantly increase productivity and cut labor costs. Companies should embrace strategies that maintain their databases as they move forward.

The more time passes, the more useful data scrubbing can be. This process can reduce the clutter, improve productivity, lead to better customer service, and reduce costs. Perhaps it’s long past time for you to enact these four methods of data scrubbing to boost your business.

1. Remove duplicate records

This is the age-old headache. When there are two or more copies of a file, employees must sift through records to find the most up-to-date entry and avoid overlapping with other staff work. Duplicates can lead to confusion and slower processes. As companies transfer data and move to new systems, multiple copies of a record collect and even appear. Data scrubbing can reduce these logjams and tidy up a system.

2. Out with the old, in with the new

When businesses upgrade to new hardware and software, legacy systems usually bring over lots of old data. Newer employees may be hesitant to clean out the junk if they are unsure how a specific file functions. Data scrubbing can help reduce extraneous files and clean up the mess.

Companies will often move to a new system to cut out redundant tasks and improve workflow. It is hard to see these benefits if legacy records and unnecessary information weigh down the new system.

3. Build better customer relationships

It can be incredibly awkward to call a client because you need to ask about a product refresh, if they have already informed employees they are closing down. Old client profiles, contact information, and records can lead to embarrassing or challenging conversations. Keep records up to date by clearing up your records. Companies should reach out to clients if their data files have not been edited recently.

4. Less is more

Searching a database manually for unnecessary information can be tedious and time consuming. Data scrubbing can help a company sort through the noise quickly and find the most useful information to keep. Cleaning up data can save countless hours of employees compiling reports, contacting customers, and searching databases for important sales information.

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3 Ways That Technology Takes Aim at Solving Mental Health Issues

Posted By: on June 19, 2013
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Technology is all around us, and in many ways it has shaped how we think about the world and ourselves. Having technology in our daily lives has helped connect us as a people.

The result? When it comes to mental health issues, more and more people are realizing that help is out there and they they don’t have to hesitate to seek it. Take a look at three significant ways in which technology is assisting the fight against mental health problems.

1. Creating forums to talk about mental illness

Few people are ready to speak openly about their experiences with mental illness. It’s understandable; no one wants to admit that they might have a problem. After centuries of stigmatizing mental illness, any kind of mental health issue is regarded as a sign of weakness. That point of view may be about to change.

The Internet offers people a safer platform for learning about mental health and connecting with others who are talking about these issues. Medical professionals and average people alike are speaking out online about mental health, sharing their stories, and offering tips and support for managing mental illness.

2. Informing everyone equally

The majority of people have access to the Internet, which means they have access to (potentially) accurate information about mental health issues, their causes and symptoms, and the options when seeking treatment. Not only is that information available, but it’s completely confidential.

There should be no shame in wanting to get help — everyone needs a little boost from time to time — but the embarrassment of having mental health problems still exists for many people. Those of us who would have previously kept a mental health problem to ourselves can get information and seek help without having to make a show of it.

3. Help may be just a click away

So people are posting information and sharing their stories online, and that information is now available to anyone. Even better, the info can be accessed at any time, anywhere; and someone looking for information on mental health can get it instantly. With all the websites, articles, forums, videos, podcasts, and smartphone apps centered around mental health, everyone is bound to find what they need if they’re willing to look.

Technology creates a better world For mental health

Not only does the Internet offer mental health resources that would otherwise be unavailable, but it gives people a tool to find the help they deserve. From online mental health counseling to tools that help people find affordable therapy in their area, the Internet teems with support.

But perhaps the greatest help technology can offer is letting people discover they’re not alone in their search for good mental health, and they never have to be alone when seeking help.

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Understanding the Basics of Responsive Web Design

Posted By: on June 16, 2013
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Have you been to a website that’s had a recent makeover? What did you notice about it? Chances are that one thing you noticed is that if you resize the window, the website resizes with it.

Why is that such a big deal? It’s a clear example of what’s called responsive web design. It’s a relatively new aspect of web design, but it is extremely important that your business uses responsive web design if you want to stay competitive in cyberspace.

Here is what you need to know about responsive web design.

1. PCs aren’t as important as they used to be

PCs were once the rulers when it came to online computing. That is simply no longer the case. How are people engaging online, then? With mobile devices.

In 2013, it’s likely that sales of tablets will end up north of 100 million units. Further, according to Nielsen, more than half of all cellphone users will be using smartphones as opposed to simple mobile phones.

Responsive web design takes into account the various platforms and devices that people use to access a website, and produces a fresh, quality output that looks great on any one of those devices.

2. Apps won’t do it

The temptation for some businesses is to create a platform-specific app that’s specific to their business and not worry about responsive web design. At first blush, this might seem like a noble goal. Upon further examination, however, this solution is too expensive and challenging.

Some webmasters report that their websites are accessed on over 2,000 different devices. Is it really plausible to suggest that an app can be created that works for all those devices? No, it isn’t.

However, every one of those devices has a browser. It’s far more cost-efficient and realistic to produce a responsive web design, specific to device screen dimensions, than to create an app for each device.

3. Responsive design communicates and adapts

Responsive web design uses something called a “media query” to determine the resolution of the device that is viewing the site. When the resolution is determined, the web application “serves” the site in such a way that it is presented in a user-friendly and easy-to-read fashion.

The whole process involves several steps. For starters, images are resized to dimensions that fit on the screen. Perhaps a sidebar, which would be visible on a larger window, will not appear on the smaller screen. As noted previously, the page will adapt when the window is resized. This includes when the accelerometer on a mobile device detects a change in orientation and shifts the output accordingly.

The benefits of responsive web design should be obvious: your website will work … everywhere, and on any device. You reach a larger audience. You won’t irritate potential customers with a design that doesn’t work on their favorite device.

4. It’s happening now

Responsive web design will be utilized more and more this year. Certainly, you’ll see a lot more of it as we continue to plunge into the 21st century. People who ignore it do so at their peril.

Whether you like it or not, responsive web design is essential for a competitive website. If you opt to go cheap, and skip out on responsive web design, you’ll probably find your competitors are using it and attracting people who would otherwise have been your customers.

Of course, responsive web design is not at all easy to implement. That’s why it’s important to obtain the services of a reputable web design team. This is one aspect of web design you can’t simply learn from taking a crash course or reading a book. You’ll need trained professionals, familiar with the various platforms and devices, to make this happen for your business.

Read On
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