Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Next iPhone might read your fingerprints

Next iPhone might read your fingerprints

By Brandon Griggs

As we store more and more of our personal lives on smartphones, mobile security is becoming increasingly crucial. A password offers some protection, but it may not deter a serious hacker.
For users of Apple devices, more help might be on the way.

According to several reports, the next version of Apple's mobile operating system suggests future iPhones will have biometric scanners that read fingerprints. A user could register his or her prints with the device, then place a thumb on the home button to unlock the phone.

Fingerprint verification could also add an extra layer of security when making mobile payments, for example.

A biometric sensor has been a rumored feature on the next iPhone for months. But the rumors got a boost when a beta version of iOS 7 was released Monday night to Apple developers. At least one developer found a file called "BiometricKitUI" containing numerous references to "fingerprint," according to reports by 9to5Mac,Extreme Tech and other blogs.

"You can then unlock your phone by putting your thumb on the home button. No longer will friends and family be able to pick up and peruse your phone -- no longer will you have to key in your passcode every time you want to do something," wrote Sebastian Anthony for Extreme Tech.

Of course, many blogs trade in feverish rumors about Apple products that later prove unfounded, and there's no proof that such a feature will show up on the next iPhone, expected to be launched this fall.
Observers expect the as-yet-unnamed phone (iPhone 5S?) to have a faster processor, better battery life and an improved camera, possibly with a slow-motion video function.

Apple also has been experimenting with larger screens for the iPhone and iPad.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Should Facebook offer a paid, ad-free version?

Should Facebook offer a paid, ad-free version?

By Heather Kelly

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has been using Facebook quite a bit lately, and he has some friendly advice for the company, from one social network to another.

Stone thinks Facebook should offer an ad-free subscription version for $10 a month.

A premium version of Facebook could appeal to people who don't want to wade through the barrage of ads for a juice-cleanse delivery service or Edward Snowden fan fiction (these are the actual ads I currently see on my Facebook account).

"In general, the ads on Facebook don't seem particularly useful or engaging. However, ads on the service are universally tolerated because that's what makes Facebook free, and free is nice," Stone said in a post on Medium.

The company could also throw in some special features for these Premium customers to sweeten the pot, according to Stone, though he doesn't suggest anything specific.

He does a bit of math to show how lucrative a paid tier could be. If just 10% of the service's 1 billion active users dropped $10 each month, the company would make $1 billion a month.

For the first quarter of 2013, Facebook reported making just $2.85 per user from ads in the U.S. and Canada. That number is lower globally.

Advertising makes up 85% of Facebook's revenue. The rest comes from payments and other fees, which include social games and virtual goods, and amounts to about 65 cents per user for the quarter.
The subscription model is common among tech companies offering content, such as music or TV shows on Pandora, Hulu and Netflix. But it hasn't taken off with many social networks. LinkedIn offers premium accounts that have beefed-up search, mail and other features starting at $20 a month.

As an April Fool's joke this year, Twitter announced a premium service that, for the low cost of $5 a month, would include all letters in tweets, including vowels. The lowly free service would be rebranded Twitter and include only consonants.

Stone isn't joking with his new suggestion, though. In his post, he also said that Facebook was too complicated.

"The truth is, if I can't figure an application out in a minute, I usually move on to something else. Too many settings and options frustrate and confuse me. I like making simple stuff because I enjoy simple stuff," he said.

He recently hired a few ex-Facebookers for his new startup, and they guided him through optimizing all the settings for the least overwhelming experience. He's now using Facebook regularly too keep in touch with family, but like any regular Facebook user, he still has gripes about how it works.
This isn't the first time someone has suggested a paid, premium version of Facebook. But because he's Biz Stone and Twitter is a hugely successful social network, people are paying attention -- unlike when your distant cousins or people you knew in high school complain in Facebook's news feed.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sunday, July 21, 2013

World Striking Challenge Website is Now Near Completion

The Official World Striking Challenge website is now near completion. 

After last night's action packed inaugural fighting event at the Magic City Casino, the website will soon launch and serve as the hub for all things WSC and Striking Arts. The site will sit on 2 domains:

www.WSCFight.com  and www.WorldStrikingChallenge.com 

The founder and CEO of WSC, Wayne Bermudez says "the WSC website is being created to be friendly for the users as well as very visually appealing".

Look out for the release of the site in the coming few weeks!

For Photos of last night's event and info on WSC, visit the Facebook Page here. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Web Design Mistakes Small Businesses Make

As a small business, your website is a vital piece of your marketing and branding efforts. Visitors are coming to your website for a specific reason, and you want to ensure that you answer their questions and use your website to sell your product or service.
If you get your website designed wrong, you can easily lose thousands of dollars initially, and ultimately lose even more money in potential revenue that you could be making from a well designed, properly functioning website.
Grow your bottom line by avoiding many of these common mistakes among business owners:
1. Putting urgency over understanding your target market.
Instead of focusing on getting your website done as soon as possible, you must first research your target audience in your specific market. Then, design your website around your research.
For instance, if your target market is older, perhaps the font size should be larger. Or if your product is geared towards a younger demographic, then you need to think about catering your site to be smartphone compatible.
You’re going to have to determine where should your users go once they get to your site? That question is easily answered if you know your market.
2. Design is too busy or flashy.
My company, WB Media, is a web design and development company, and we know that in order to be successful on the Internet you need to focus on marketing your website — not a flashy design. Your design should not just be focused on bringing users there, but also getting them to the right place once they reach your homepage.
Plus, flashy websites don’t look good on mobile phones or tablets, and a large majority of Internet users now visit websites from these wireless devices.
Remember: when a visitor comes to your website, they probably already know what they want out of it. If within three seconds they can’t figure out what to do next, you might need to go back to the drawing board.
3. No clear call to action.
What do you want users to do once they’ve found your website? Do you want them to buy your product, contact you, or subscribe to your business e-newsletter? You need to tell visitors what the next step is and when (ideally, now!). Your content should answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” and then the call to action tells them what to do next.
4. Paying too little or too much.
You don’t know how many times people come to my company after they’ve hired a cheap designer, let them make business decisions that are poor, and ended up with a horrible product. At the same time, companies get distracted by expensive agencies that work with big brands, and don’t realize these agencies might not be able to help a small business that’s ROI focused. Simply put: don’t blow your budget on your website, but do your research to ensure you’re receiving a quality product.
5. Stale, out-of-date content.
Customers expect your website to contain the latest information about your products, services, and company. When it doesn’t have this, they may assume you’re not in business any longer, or simply aren’t innovative and ahead of the competition. Your content must address the needs of your customers (or potential customers) and be updated as things change. If you have a blog, updating it at least once a week — if not more — can help you drive visitors to your website and keep search engines happy.
Additionally, avoid putting links to your Facebook or Twitter pages if you only have a small following. People may think your business is too small and end up not hiring you.
6. Trying to target everyone.
This goes back to knowing your target market; your website will be a mess if you try to accommodate every kind of visitor you might end up getting. It’s best to figure out your most frequent users and focus on creating the best possible experience for them. If you try to please the masses you’ll likely end up not pleasing anyone.
7. Taking the DIY route.
Your website is often your customers’ first experience with your brand. If you don’t have design experience, do you really think you can do it justice? Remember first impressions are everything. Don’t allow your customer to make assumptions about your business because of a poorly designed website.
What do you think? What web design mistakes really drive you crazy?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

In the media world, its always the celebrities of sports, music, and films that are interviewed. This time, I wanted to focus on the web development industry and one of the leading designers that is leading the way.

His name is Sean Wills and is giving insight into his work and the world of web.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm Sean Wills, a designer/ developer working for WB Media.

Why be a web developer and what led you down this career path?

The internet doesn't turn off, you don't clock out. You have a 24/7 opportunity to create, help and invent. I can't really pin point what first grabbed me about web development, but it just felt right, something I could really get stuck into. Web work is always evolving and I kinda like the fact that you can't know everything about it, so it puts you on the level playing field with a lot of people.

What was the first website you made and how was that experience?

It was for a guy who had just started his own business, he paid me $30. I can't say I learnt too much from it (it was very basic HTML with inline style tags!) and a little bit of Flash I copied from another site, but I guess it got me in front of a real person who judged my work.

If you can tell us, what are the projects you are currently working on?

Most of my time is, happily, spent building WB's next generation of software; a JavaScript web application talking to a REST API. It's gonna be ace. I'm also really into SalesForce right now, so I'm building a small web app that's going to make it effortless to gain critique for your designs. Also a large project which is going to make learning JavaScript a whole lot easier.

What are the best projects you've worked on? Tell us about them.

My most successful project is Ignite Social Hope dot com- a very geeky, niche site, but a whole load of good happens here!

Could you tell us what's in your personal "toolbox"? Software, apps, hardware, books?

Software: Sublime Text 2, Chrome and Photoshop. Books: every JavaScript book I can lay my hands on, I just like to absorb it all! There's so much knowledge out there to pick up.

Tell us about your best experience as a developer.

Getting my current job - it allowed me to specialize in JavaScript and there's not too many companies willing to think ahead enough to switch their product over to something as new as a JavaScript only web application, allows me to constantly try new things and play with new tools and technologies.

Aside from those things, working for the owner Whilly Bermudez has been great! He simply gets it. He's tough but fair and honest. Great guy.

Tell us about your worst experience as a developer.

I guess, working with some clients, it's the bits outside of coding/developing/ designing that sometimes get in the way - emails, invoices, etc...

In your opinion, what is the difference between a good web designer and a great web designer?

The amount of work you put in outside of the work you are told to do, either at your job or by a client. It's the effort that you put in off of your own passion and desire that really sets great web designers apart.

What advice would you give young web guys?

Build products, sites, plugins, etc as soon as you can to compliment your learning. Take the theory that you're learning and apply it as soon as possible! It'll highlight what areas you need to improve on immediately...

Want to know more about Sean?