Archive for June, 2010
For anything to work well, care must be taken to make firm, workable plans to execute it and the same goes for website designs. With a well thought out website design, you will be able to create a site that generates multiple streams of revenue for you. In fact, may websites turn into online wasteland because they are not well planned and do not get a single visitor. Gradually, the webmaster will not be motivated to update it anymore and it turns into wasted cyberspace.
The crucial point of planning your site is optimizing it for revenue if you want to gain any income from the site. Divide your site into major blocks, ordered by themes, and start building new pages and subsections in those blocks. For example, you might have a “food” section, an “accomodation” section and an “entertainment” section for a tourism site. You can then write and publish relevant articles in the respective sections to attract a stream of traffic that comes looking for further information.
When you have a broader, better-defined scope of themes for your website, you can sell space on your pages to people interested in advertising on your page. You can also earn from programs like Google’s Adsense and Yahoo! Search Marketing if people surf to those themed pages and click on the ads. For this very reason, the advertisement blocks on your pages need to be relevant to the content, so a themed page fits that criteria perfectly.
As Internet becomes more widespread, advertising on the Internet will bear more results than on magazines or offline media. Hence, start tapping in on this lucrative stream of profit right away!
With video game technology advancing so fast and so far from where it started, one can’t help but to entertain the idea of where it’s going to go from here. After all, that is part of a larger creative process and we’d like to think that our writings contribute even in some small way. One of the earliest video games that we can remember is Commodore’s “Pong.” But never did we think the industry would have reached the point where it is today. One thing is for sure however, and that’s the gaming is pushing full force ahead.
Today we did a little fantasizing to see where our imagination and desires would take us. The following offers some suggestions of what could be done short of a little thing called, “impossible.”
We’re a little intrigued with the “Sun Game Glasses” idea. Wearing a pair of dark sunglasses and using the technology implemented by Nintendo’s “Wii” system, we could literally watch a game take place right before our eyes and then interact with it using a device that’s about the size of a pen. Since this isn’t exactly a new idea, we’re curious to watch what develops from University of South Australia’s ‘ARQuake’ project1 – a springboard for this kind of gaming to develop in the near future for sure.
Another cool idea we’d like to see erupt within the gaming industry is the ability to talk to the characters inside a game. Some games allow players to textually speak to game characters already, but we’d like to see this pushed a little further. We’d like to be able to orally interact with characters: ask questions, joke around, warn and speak to them as if we were speaking to another human being. And we’d like to hear these characters talk back! It’s the ultimate artificial intelligence opportunity and although it would probably be years before this technology would be available on a wide scale, we’re sure it would be a hit.
Will we ever get to the point where we can play inside a simulated environment the way the characters in Star Trek: The Next Generation could play? Virtual reality is getting close, but the reality of the simulation is gone the moment we put on the silly-looking goggles and gloves. In order for simulation of this sort to work, there has to be as little a barrier between gamers and the game as possible. We don’t what to just think we’re inside a game, we want to feel that we’re inside a game and to be honest, we don’t want to have to go somewhere outside our home to do so.
The television or computer screen will suffice for now, but in the future, we’re going to want to be surrounded with the elements that make gaming the wonder that it is today. We’re going to want to transform our dens or bedrooms into a virtual alien ship or simulated jungle. In short, we want a new world.
One possible obstacle to bringing this fantasy into our living rooms is public acceptance. Would the public be ready for such a high level of entertainment? And could the public handle it? Immediately following Nintendo’s Wii release, customers were ready to complain that they wanted their old controller back! So as with any new development, there will surely be unintended consequences and although we’re gung-ho for these types of advances, we also share concerns about the impact it would have on an audience that isn’t “virtually ready.”
As a result, we can certainly envision a few laws introduced that restricted the use of our fantasy gaming. We already have some laws that attempt the same now and in our opinion, that’s a good thing. The last thing we want to encounter in gaming is physical harm – especially when we’re trying to enjoy virtual entertainment!
The following article is meant for parents of a teen who might be obsessed with video and/or computer games. While in some of our other articles we may sound as though we encourage obsession, we share a concern over teens who tend to shun other interests in life in favor for gaming activities to the point where they withdraw from society. We would never encourage this kind of behavior, and that’s why we’ve taken time to describe some of the signs of game obsession and offer some advice on how to deal with it.
Recognizing the signs of teen game obsession isn’t as easy as one thinks. It always starts off as first, an interest, and it then starts to grow into an addition. The problem with identifying the beginning stages of game obsession begins with the teen. By the time our children are 15 and up, they’ve learned some rather impressive debating skills. So when we question their motivations for repetitive game play, they may rebut our concerns with logic and even make it a point to question our own flaws as parents.
Since no parent ever really wants to admit a flaw, we can sometimes cave in and convince ourselves that maybe 4 hours in front of a video game isn’t that bad. After all, we spend that much time at the computer, on the phone, or transmitting data back and forth between our Palms, Blackberries, and Cingular cell phones.
Be careful not to fall prey to the logical teen. Video games can be addictive and if the time spent playing them is not carefully monitored, they’ll consume everything that a teen used to care about.
The moment you notice your teen’s grades falling, homework missing, or social life starting to drop off, nip that game time in the bud. If you wait too late to restrict game time, you may experience pre-adult temper tantrums that you aren’t prepared to handle correctly (cursing, breaking things, stealing, running away from home, etc.). At this point, the child is obsessed and will do anything to get his or her hands on a game controller.
Another sign of obsession is a behavioral change. A child obsessed with gaming will lose patience with things and with others, be quick to anger, and react to situations without fully thinking of the consequences. If you’ve paid any attention to video and/or computer games, you’ll notice that they require this kind of behavior to win or to advance to a higher level.
It’s unfortunate, but a teen obsessed with this kind of violent gaming is literally being trained to react in the manner described above. That’s why it’s pertinent that as an adult, you restrict access to this kind of entertainment and replace it with activities that slow thinking (such as art, music, theater, etc.) and expose your child to other non-violent pleasures (swimming, dance, skating, etc.).
There are a lot of debates circulating around about the impact that video games have on today’s youth and some of it might warrant paying closer attention to. As a mother or father of a teen, you will do well with your teen’s desire to “get his game on” by keeping a close eye out for undesirable changes.
Yesterday, we spent about three hours trying to convince a client of ours that brand new computers just don’t come equipped with the all things that most computers need in a PC. We tried to convince him that a fully functional computer is one that is personalized with specially selected hardware and software accessories – and that the computer purchased at the store doesn’t come with these things. Unfortunately, all of our convincing was to our avail. Our client insisted that he should never need more than what came with his boxed product and that we were just trying “bilk” more money out of him.
As computer consultants, it’s our job and mission to make sure our clients are 100% satisfied when they walk out our offices. But our job is unnecessarily made harder when people don’t take the time to learn about computer accessories and familiarize themselves with the limitations of store-bought computers. Hopefully by the time you finish reading this article, you’ll understand the lesson that we were trying to teach our client: “What comes out of the box is really just a starter kit.”
The typical computer package comes with a CPU unit, keyboard, mouse, and speaker set. That may be just fine for some, but most people require more than that especially in today’s “connected” society. Today’s users require full multimedia capabilities, a wide range of graphics tools, and accommodations for the various portables we now enjoy. These extras aren’t included with “what comes out of the box,” and the only way to get them is to accessorize.
To illustrate the importance of accessorizing, we like to use the “plain dough” analogy. Let’s say that a brand new computer is a batch of plain dough – waiting to be flavored and baked into something useful. If we want to use this dough to make a delicious batch of chocolate chip cookies, we would need to “accessorize” this dough with chocolate chips and a little brown sugar. If we want to use this dough into in a warm loaf of sesame seed bread on the other hand, we’d need to “accessorize” the dough with yeast and sesame seeds.
Like “plain dough,” the brand new computer isn’t very useful by itself. It needs accessorizing.
Depending on what’s needed, accessorizing doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, you can get away with paying a minimal amount for extra software and hardware if these accessories are for children. It’s when these accessories are work requirements or when they’re needed to produce works of quality for any other reason that they can become rather expensive. And this expense applies to microphones, digital cameras, PDAs, scanners, video cams, and more.
Regardless of cost, it’s important to understand that accessories can become “necessities,” and that the best time to get them is the moment you buy a new computer. Waiting too long to accessorize can cause more problems than necessary because while you wait, manufacturers continuously develop new technologies – technologies that your computer won’t be able to accommodate in the future. Once you’re ready to accessorize, the new products on the market are too advanced for your computer and they just won’t work. This is a typical problem experienced by those who want to use hardware designed for Windows Vista on a Windows XP or Windows 2000 machine.
It isn’t fair, but buying a computer is just plain easier for some than it is for others. Those who’ve purchased and used a computer in the past already have an idea of what they need in a new computer. But those who are new to the computer world could get lost in the myriad of choices available.
The short answer to “What should I buy?” is “The best.” Of course that answer is extremely subjective because “the best” to one person is certainly different to another. Our definition of “the best” is the fastest and the biggest, but even that leaves the computer newbie confused. Here’s a quick rundown of what the computer novice should do and why. 1. Buy a computer that includes basic peripherals. Every computer can be broken down into four major components: CPU unit, monitor, keyboard, and mouse. For the novice, it’s best to buy a computer that has all of these components included so that when it’s taken home, assembling the computer is a simple matter of plugging things in where they belong. Save the individual purchases of these components for those who have more experience.
2. Decide what you’ll use the computer for. If you want to use your computer for cruising the web, sending email, or performing simple word-processing or spreadsheet tasks, a computer with the basic components that we just described should suffice. If you want to use a computer to help with a career in multimedia however, you’re going to need to accessorize your system with a scanner, printer, digital camera, tablet, or digicam for example. If you want a computer to help with a career in music, you will need a quality microphone and set of speakers.
3. Create a budget and stick to it. How much can you afford to spend on a new computer? Although the prices of computers are decreasing, they can still create a hefty expense especially if you need additional peripherals described above. In addition, you’ll need to figure in costs for maintenance, servicing, and insuring.
4. Start comparison shopping and look for the “fastest and biggest.” By “fastest and biggest,” we mean the computer with the fastest processor, the fastest modem, the biggest memory, and the biggest hard drive capacity. Even if you think that you’ll never need the amount of speed or space available on the market today, it’s important to have in the event that you truly do need that much in the future. Having such a large reserve will cut down on costs when the time comes to upgrade for more than what you may settle for in a computer that offers less.
5. Stick with the better-known brands. Venturing off the beaten path with lessor-known brands is again, an adventure for those who have more experience with computers. Although those better-known brands may be a tad bit more expensive, the computer novice will appreciate the comfort in purchasing a computer from a business that has a long record of building quality products, and that has the funds available for fulfilling returns, trades, servicing, and warranties.
6. Select a store. Having an idea of what you want in a computer and what kind of computer that you want, your only task left is to select the place in which you want to buy it. There are a number of places available including computer store outlets, online stores, auction sites, used computer stores, or your friendly neighborhood yard sale. For the computer novice, we recommend buying a computer from a physical store. In a physical store, you have the opportunity to see the computer of interest in person and ask questions. New computer buyers also have access to store warranties, returns, trades, and services.
These suggestions should give the computer newbie a great start in selecting a quality computer for the first time and they apply to either Windows computers or Apple Macintosh computers. After making these decisions and finally selecting one that fits your needs, you can then venture into the fascinating world of software – a world that is just as grand as the world of hardware!
If you haven’t heard of smartphones, we’d like to learn where you’ve been hiding all this time. Smartphones have been all over the news and chances are, you do know what they are – only you know them under a different name. Smartphones are mobile phones with computer like capabilities.
What’s that? Aha! Yes, you’ve not only heard of them, you’ve probably seen them as well. Packed with Internet access, email capabilities, address books, and a whole lot more, cell phones have come a long way since their first debut. But be careful not to confuse these newest toys with sandbox devices.
Sandbox devices are tools that come pre-loaded with things like calendars, calculators, and a notepad. What differentiates them from smartphones is that users can add (download and install) additional programs to smartphones and they seemingly become mini portable computers for the people who use them. That – and the ability to edit the content that sits on them – is what makes these phones “smart.”
Some of the more popular brand names include the Blackberry, PalmSource, Nokia, and Windows CE. Yet the craze is extending to even some off-brand company names. Today, it’s hard to find a cell phone that doesn’t offer some sort of “smart” technology because it’s in such a high demand. The convenience of having information at our immediate access is phenomenal – so much so that thousands of programmers have jumped on the opportunity to build unique applications specific to these small machines.
As a result, you can find tons of games, databases, GPA systems, weather reporting programs, and even small encyclopedias on these things – each accessible not at the click of a mouse – but at a few presses of a free thumb. Of course a mini keyboard is available for the text-messaging fan or for the poor fellow who can’t seem to get away from the office. In the latter case, don’t be surprised if you find the entire Microsoft Office suite displayed within a screen no bigger than a matchbook.
Is this a phase? That’s highly doubtful. The market for these devices extends from the highly technical and professional all the way to the pre-teen socialite. The product crosses all demographics and thanks to decreasing costs – it sees no economic boundaries as well. The Wikipedia encyclopedia claims that “Out of 1 billion camera phones to be shipped in 2008, Smartphones, the higher end of the market with full email support, will represent about 10% of the market or about 100 million units.”
But what is it that makes smartphones so appealing? As mentioned, smartphones give us the ability to not only carry our data around with us where ever we go, it also gives us the ability to edit that data any place – any time. In today’s “reality” based generation, we’re always looking for the opportunity to capture and relive a moment. And we want to share that moment with others. At best, smart phones give us the opportunity to express ourselves impromptu with entertaining results.
Attempting to do the same with a bulky desktop computer or laptop is to cumbersome. Even some of the smallest peripherals (digicams, digital cameras, etc.) don’t give us the same opportunities that smart phones do. Being able to carry around a device for communication, creation, recording, and editing simply compliments the need for today’s generation to do more and then do it, faster!