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I recently read an article which can be found here on testing and understand your websites speed and whilst the article gives a fantastic insight it’s highly specific. With that in mind I thought I’d approach the subject with more of a rough guide. An overview of sorts.

Reduce Server Response Time

A website can be very slow to access because the hosting server used is slow. The problem can be anywhere from the DNS server to the actual server hosting the site. This could be the factor that slows down your website the most.

Unfortunately, there are no easy solution to this problem. If you are using a shared or reseller hosting service, the best course of action is to find a more reliable hosting service to use. No one likes moving to a new hosting service, I know, but it may be necessary to improve your site’s server response time.

Those using VPS or a dedicated server, on the other hand, could get away with optimizing how the server is set up. You can also try using a third-party DNS service to get a better response time from your server. Caching and using CDN to distribute static files will work as well.

Minify HTML, CSS and JavaScript Files

Every line that constructs your page must be loaded for the page to appear and function properly. We use HTML, CSS and JavaScript to present our content to the audience. The bigger your page is, the longer it will take for the page to load properly.

You can actually improve your website’s site speed by optimizing the way CSS and JavaScript are delivered. Minifying the supporting scripts, for example, can help reduce page load time by a huge margin. The same can be said for minifying HTML codes.
So how can HTML, CSS and JavaScript codes be minified? You can use automated tools to help you. Web development apps such as Adobe Dreamweaver have built-in minify tools to help automate the process. Different CMS platforms have their own plugins and add-ons; For example, you can use W3 Cache to minify your WordPress resources.

Focus on Above-the-Fold Content

Sometimes, getting your website to the speed that viewers expect is a matter of structuring how the content of the site are delivered. Google suggests prioritizing above-the-fold content; these are content that appear on the screen before users scroll through the page.

You can do this by limiting the size of data that needs to be transferred in order for the above-the-fold section of the page to be loaded. This is why the latest web design trends tend to shift towards simpler header design, fewer images and better content delivery.
You can also play with how content are loaded. Changing the order of the codes that construct your page can help prioritize which sections of the page need to be loaded first. In return, you can focus on text-based content and other design elements first before loading images and heavier elements.

Enable Compression

Modern browsers are so much more advanced than they were a few years ago. Browsers now support compressing content on the fly, which means site owners can take advantage of compression technologies such as Gzip to speed up the loading process of their pages.
Most of the time, compression can be enabled by altering the server configuration. However, there are also plugins and add-ons that can work with CMS platforms to compress content and files automatically, without having to dwell into server settings. Depending on the type of web hosting service you use, find a suitable method to enable compression and get that extra boost in speed.

Optimize Images for Faster Loading

We can’t help but use images – and now videos – to make our content more appealing to viewers. Unfortunately, images are substantially larger than text-based content, so you need to take extra steps to optimize them. A great guide on this in general can be found here.

I knew a travel blogger who used fill-resolution images on his blog. WordPress resized the images automatically, but not all themes are designed to automatically load thumbnails and not the original images; the one he used can’t. The result was obvious. Although he had great photos and amazing stories to go along with them, his blog never really took off simply because of the long wait time.

Resize your images and compress them for web purposes. You can also remove metadata and other unnecessary information – such as color profile – to reduce the size of your site’s images even further. For elements or effects that can be achieved using CSS, try to replace them to increase site speed even further.

Citrix NBN- final

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is currently rolling out fibre-optic, fixed wireless and satellite infrastructure all across Australia. The NBN project aims to replace the pre-existing broadband infrastructure with a faster and more reliable broadband service. Once completed, expect to see download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (that’s four times quicker than the fastest ADSL2+ broadband currently available) the NBN is a serious game changer for the Australian markets. Find out more facts and forecasts about this project with the help of GoToMeeting Australia

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Online brokerages have brought a lot of changes to the stock market. First and foremost they brought democracy to trading. Several decades ago, anybody who wanted to invest money in stocks needed to hire a regular brokerage firm. These firms offered only expensive packages that included market advice, and many other expensive services.

Today anybody can become a trader and enjoy this lucrative and dynamic lifestyle. In this article we have reviewed some of the best trading apps that can help trading beginners to place smarter investments and build profitable portfolios.

Stocktwits

Real-time in which Twitter works can be very useful for traders. That’s why most of them use Twitter to communicate with their colleagues and to find real-time market news. The Stocktwits app is similar to Twitter, but it is made solely for traders, which means it doesn’t come with fancy emojis and annoying celebrity tweets. On the other hand Stocktwits offers all information one trader needs for creating a successful market strategy. The app is very popular among big players and you will find plenty of helpful advice posted by some of the most successful traders from around the world.

24Option

This app is developed by experts from one of the biggest binary options brokerages. It enables users to read all news and articles that are shown on 24option.com and to run their binary options portfolios in real time. The app can work on Android and iTunes and it comes with: up to 89% in returns, 100% execution rate, customer support that works 24/7, free trading alerts, early closure and many other useful features. Other than binary option trading, this app can also be used for tracking and trading top stocks, indices and a long list of world currencies.

Bloomberg Business app

The number one financial news portal created an app that allows users to access all content from the Bloomberg Business website and to closely track favorite stocks, binary options, Forex, indices, futures and many other types of assets. The app comes with trading alerts that warn users about breaking news and big market changes. It also comes with easily understandable tables and graphs that come with a long range of different parameters that will satisfy even the most demanding Wall Street sharks.

AnalystRT

AnalystRT is a great app for people who rely on Wall Street analyst opinions. Not all traders like to use analyst opinions in their stock research. Some of them completely ignore all kinds of advice and focus on numbers only. AnalystRT can work on iTunes and Android and it is one of the least expensive paid trading apps, with the price of only $2.99. It comes with analyst ratings of several hundred most popular stocks and a watch list feature that allows users to shift their focus onto stocks they are interested in.

Stock Guru

This app is made exclusively for stock traders who use iPhone. It contains ratings for more than 7,000 different stocks and it also provides real-time market analysis with a long list of parameters placed inside easy-understandable tables. Some of the parameters that Stock Guru uses for stock analysis are: momentum, risk and proprietary guru rating that represents the sum of all parameters and tells traders the strength of the chosen stock. This app works only on iOS and it is a little bit more expensive than other trading apps described in this article. It can be bought for $19.99.

Trading is much easier now, when we can review our stock ratings at any time and do a close tracking of the assets we want to buy. Since traders are generally open to new technologies, we can expect mobile trading apps to become even more intelligent, make better predictions and enable us to rate even more stock parameters in the future.

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The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 2 with a curved display (image source: Flickr Creative Commons)

Smartphones and tablets are dominating the tech discussion of late: we’re so busy marvelling at all the ways our phones will be shatterproof or how neatly our tablets will fold up into our pockets that it’s easy to overlook the additional ground-breaking uses of flexible technology outside of the consumer electronics industry. The automobile, medical and fashion industries are all set to benefit from the flexible revolution, and here’s how.

Drivers: flexible displays in the auto industry

Flexible displays could render blind spots a thing of the past. FlexEnable, a technology provider developing flexible organic electronics, partnered with Flex, a company specialising in ‘sketch-to-scale’ solutions, to showcase the first conformed LCD in an integrated auto application. Together, they designed a flexible display that incorporates into the A-pillar working with a camera attached to the wing pillar. This breakthrough virtually eliminates blind spots by increasing the driver’s visibility of the side and rear of the car. This will increase road safety, and proves just how useful these flexible displays are in a wide range of applications.

Doctors: flexible technology in the medical field

The buzz around flexible technology in the medical field has to do with the future of X-ray technology. According to a recent article on FlexEnable’s blog, adopting plastic-based X-ray image sensors will make X-ray detectors lighter, conformable and more cost effective. They also say: ‘A plastic based X-ray sensor can potentially also be conformed to objects, thereby allowing a new range of applications that weren’t imaginable using a rigid X-ray detector.’

But flexible electronics are poised to change more than X-rays: they could help you in preventing chronic pain. According to an article in the MIT Technology Review, a tiny, flexible, wirelessly-activated LED device ‘could be implanted in mice and used to manipulate neural circuits known to be involved in creating the perception of pain by using an emerging technology called optogenetics. The technique entails adjusting the DNA of neurons so they can be made to fire, or can be blocked from firing, by shining light on them. The researchers also showed that the implants could be left in for long periods of time without significantly damaging the tissue or impairing motor function.’ Imagine controlling your pain with the flick of a switch: chronic pain could become little more than a temporary nuisance.

Designers: flexible innovations in fashion 

Flexible displays are slowly seeping into the fashion industry, as big names like Ralph Lauren and Opening Ceremony are bringing designer labels to the wearable market. New York-based ShiftWear is poised to reinvent the trainer game: they are currently working on a prototype of a shoe with flexible e-paper displays built into the sides, allowing you to change the graphic and illustration featured on them. Their Indiegogo campaign raised almost $100,000; hopefully in the next few years we can rock these customisable kicks (read more about the project here).

Not just fitness bands and smartphones

From cars to X-ray detectors to shoes, flexible displays are able to revolutionise existing technologies across many different industries.

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After looking over the viral videos of the last couple weeks it would appear that the new holiday tradition around the world is people young and old taking horrible spills off their new hoverboard gifts. While at first glance these images are kind of funny, the more you think about it these devices seem dangerous almost as the norm. It kind of makes you wonder why the product became so popular this holiday season – especially with the latest reports of the boards seemingly catching fire, or spontaneously combusting, while sitting alone in the corner of the room.

It may seem like a gift to purchase when family reunion planning to give to your deadbeat uncle, but to borrow a line from Jerry Seinfeld, “What’s really the deal with these hoverboards?”

How do Hoverboards Work?

First of all, the hoverboards technically ‘hover’ in namesake only. They are grounded by two wheels on each end that essentially give the same type of control as a unicycle. The motor of the boards is found in the wheels which also detects tilt and speed. The motors communicate with the body of the board which contains a gyroscope that works based of the 0° setting, or flat.

Users operate the board by switching out of the 0° position by leaning forward and backwards. If you lean ahead far, the motor reacts by spinning faster and somewhat ‘catching up’ to your leaning body. Since the hoverboards are still an advancing technology, the devices still have limitations – especially when Uncle Carl creates a video for the front page of your family reunion website.

What’s the Appeal of the Devices?

The ‘hoverboards’ have been referred to as ‘electric scooters’, ‘mini segways’, and ‘hands free bikes’ which is why they are popular – they are fun to ride. Combine that with celebrities flooding Instagram with images of themselves on the objects and the timing of an increased production run (meme-facturing) to coincide with popularity and the Christmas holiday and it seems like tiny bowtie shaped boards are everywhere.

Are They Really Dangerous?

Any item that you aren’t comfortable operating could be deemed dangerous whether that be a skateboard, a bike, or a car – so yes, the hoverboards can be considered a risky ride. Operators must demonstrate incredible balance as well as good hand-eye (or foot-eye) coordination to effectively control the device. There are no handles or poles to assist in operation as the hoverboard is essentially controlled via the rider’s center of gravity. Extreme caution should be considered before purchasing for your family and protective gear should be worn by all who ride.

Then there’s the fact that they blow up out of the blue to consider as well.

Michael Peggs is the founder of content marketing agency and SEO agencyMarccx Media, where they specialize in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.

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We all get bored and need something to fill the time now and then. Here are the very best games to play if this situation sounds like one you find yourself in.

Football Manager

The Football Manager franchise is one that is known for eating into your life. You tell yourself that you’ll log on and play the game for half an hour. And then five hours later you look up at the clock and realise that you wasted half the day. That’s the kind of game it is. Once you get engrossed in the game, it’s very hard to log off and do something more productive. So, if you need to waste a bit of time, there is no better sports game than this one.

Angry Birds

You must have played Angry Birds by now, right? It’s impossible to ignore this game. And there is a good reason why the game is so popular. It’s a game that’s fun and challenging. It’s the kind of game that can appeal to people of all ages and interests. That is the best thing you can say about this game. There are not many computer games that are so great that kids love them as much as pensioners, but that’s what Angry Birds manages to do. If you haven’t done so already, you really need to play it.

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Path of Exile

In terms of online role-playing games, there are not many that are better Path of Exile when it comes to killing time. You can access it whenever and wherever you want and play it for as long as you want. The challenges and quests in the game will keep you entertained for as long as possible. It’s free to play, so you can give it a try without having to hand over any money. The latest version of the game is the best. And you can buy Path of Exile: Ascendancy items here.

Fruit Ninja

Fruit Ninja is a game that understands that if you want to keep gamers coming back, make the game addictive. You’ll be slicing pineapples and watermelons for hours on end if you’re not careful. It’s a game that will easily help you waste some time. You can download it onto your phone or tablet for no money at all; that’s the best thing about it. You simply have to slice as many pieces of fruit with a ninja’s sword as you can until the clock runs down. Beating your own score becomes really addictive.

Iron Brigade

If all you want is a great third person shooter, combined with the simple pleasures of a tower defence game, Iron Brigade is for you. You have to fight aliens, expand your territory and keep your base safe. It’s not a particularly complicated game. But when you’re just looking to waste some time and have some simple fun, you don’t need the game to be complicated. You simply need something that keeps you coming back for more. One thing is for sure; Iron Brigade will eat up the minutes.

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Online project management platforms are proving to be a growing force for efficient business practices with SMEs adopting contemporary cloud-based, paper-free methods for their daily office collaborative tasks and project management.

Excellent for improving teamwork and assisting project leaders, here are 5 of the most popular features of online project management platforms:

  1. Online Workspace

The online workspace is the central go-to for all team members during a project. Customisable and highly user-friendly, a well-designed workspace allows for much more fluid, efficient collaboration than when teams are forced to communicate with email. Instead of long chains of exchanges that may or may not contain key information, and may or may not be viewable by relevant team members, an online workspace is highly inclusive and accessible. Discussions are threaded and visible to everybody, with all key interactions and exchanges taking place in this cloud-based location that is, essentially, a virtual office.

  1. File sharing

Arguably the most vital facility that an online platform for collaboration offers is for efficient, cost-effective file sharing and storage. Therefore, expect version-controlled documents and the storage of files in a central location within the online workspace. Doing away with paper methods of project management is hugely economical, benefitting efficiency and working conditions.

  1. Task Management

Among the suite of tools available to project managers are shared calendars, online whiteboards, and the facility to set deadlines and milestones, and designate tasks.

  1. Task time tracking

This feature allows for estimated timings per task, which can then be amended to record the actual time spent. This is a great tool for post-project review and analysis or for invoicing purposes.

  1. Project progression tracking

A number of tools are also provided with which to monitor a task’s audit trail, including Gantt charts and other visualised and illustrated representations of project progress.

In addition to these key features, though, is the fact that with cloud-based solutions to project management and collaboration, service providers are constantly seeking ways to further enhance their offering. Online platforms for collaboration and project management should be intuitive to use, requiring next to no investment in order to be effectively integrated into an organisation and its existing practices.

GPS Technology Cheap

Low cost GPS Tracking devices for managing fleet vehicles

GPS trackers have to be one of the most important innovations of the last few decades. Originally invented as a military navigation device, the GPS system of satellites was made completely free for civilian devices back in the 80s. While the sheer cost of developing equipment back then made GPS inaccessible for the average consumer, over the last few years we’ve seen commercial applications for GPS soar across the board. Practically everything can contain a GPS tracker now, with the devices having a whole lot of potential uses.

One of the most useful applications of GPS technology is fleet management. The technology was designed from the start to make navigation easier. By tracking the locations of every vehicle in a fleet, managers can get a full picture of how their company is performing. Having an accurate picture of vehicle movement over time is essential for management, letting fleet owners cut down on wasted time and identify areas for improvement within their company.

Despite the clear importance of GPS tracking for fleet management companies, the technology required can be particularly expensive. Basic units frequently come with high price tags, and the cost of installation can raise prices even more – quickly becoming debilitating for fleet managers.

Some GPS trackers have started to take a new approach, saving customers money on installation by developing devices to plug directly into the machinery of a vehicle. Every vehicle made in the EU since 2004 has included an on board diagnostics port to enable quick analysis of vehicle performance and the like. A few trackers are now designed to plug straight into this port, entirely removing installation costs. A couple of these devices take it even further, stripping out featured deemed unnecessary to completely cut down on costs.

One of the best budget options for fleet management that I’ve seen is the CanTrack GPS Tracking Device. Each unit comes at £99, while annual subscriptions cost £67 a year as a base, or £79/year for some more advanced options. This cost of about £5.60- 6.60 a month ends up significantly cheaper than anything else I’ve seen, while still including a fair few different features.

The basic CanTrack package includes fairly simple GPS tracking tools. Visual displays, real time traffic updates, high quality maps and a fair few tools for analysis give fleet managers an impressive basic package at a low cost. Upgrading to the advanced option lets the CanTrack tracker really start to stand out from other products.

The main addition to this extra package is a suite of tools to evaluate driver performance. The tracker breaks down each individual’s performance into 5 different categories and evaluates for each. These all end up covering different areas which can cost a business money, giving managers a detailed look at areas for improvement and the like.

One nice touch is the use of simple to read performance metrics. Each driver’s scores are numerically evaluated and graphed, with good drivers getting green scores, areas for improvement marked in orange and critical issues showing up in red. I imagine that larger fleets would benefit from this somewhat, with the whole thing built to be understood at a glance.

While there’s definitely more advanced trackers around, I’ve got to say that the CanTrack device is a great selection for anyone looking to cut costs, packing a surprisingly impressive set of features into a budget device.

More Company Information:

CanTrack Global Limited
https://cantrack.com
Telephone: +44 (0) 1908 330 385
Managing Director: Peter Thompson

Link:
CanTrack GPS Tracking Device: https://cantrack.com/gps-tracking/

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It isn’t just a stereotype. MacBook users really do tend toward the overly enthusiastic – at the prices we pay for the things, we have to be. We tend to be reluctant to admit when our shiny companions start acting a bit funny, and the thought of purchasing a new one can prompt dangerous plans: is it worth going a few weeks without food or letting the heating bill slide? But if you aren’t stuck on the spinning-ball-of-death, you probably don’t need to resort to such desperate measures. From simple organisation to an easy laptop memory upgrade, most MacBooks can be given new life with a couple fixes that you can do at home.

  1. Tidy your desk! If you’ve found your Mac slow to start up or power down, the problem could simply be that you’ve allowed it to get messy. Having a lot of files and folders littering the screen makes extra work. And, no, it isn’t a myth. This is a known issue for OS X. So do the thing you know you should: Create a few folders that reside on the desktop and start filing things away. If you must, you could just create a single folder—you could even call it A Folder Full of Stuff—and pack it to the rafters with everything. You’ll feel better, and so will your MacBook.
  2. Reset the system management controller, or SMC. The SMC is responsible for a lot of seemingly small functions that can have a big and annoying impact on your Mac. Resetting it sounds like a big deal, but it isn’t really. If your laptop has a removable battery, you’ll do the following: shut down, remove the power adapter, remove the battery, hold the power button for five seconds and then release, reconnect the adapter, and power back up. If you have a fixed battery: shut down the computer, connect and plug in the power adapter, hold down Shift-Ctrl-Option and the power button at the same time, release them all simultaneously, and power back up.
  3. Upgrade your laptop memory. If you have a MacBook produced before mid-2012, you can still upgrade the RAM yourself, and additional RAM is often just the thing if your MacBook seems stuck in the mud. Support pages on Apple’s Web site directly address which models can be modified and walk you through the upgrade process.

One or more of these could have your machine back to its sleek old self in no time. Any excuse to stay away from the Genius Bar, right?

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Jewelry innovation has changed over the centuries; from hand cut diamonds in the 15th century to laser precision symmetry in the past decades, every generation of jewelry experts witnesses a mini-revolution in the way precious pieces are designed and created.

The latest new to market idea is linked with 3-D printing and those developing the new method predict it will change the way the industry works in the very near future. Called sintering, it’s being heralded as a ‘shape-changer’ by trade experts.

What is sintering?

Laser sintering isn’t a new phenomenon to some industries. Looking like a piece of office equipment and having a sound reminiscent of a photocopier, it’s a technology which has only just entered the edges of the jewelry production industry.

Sintering is basically a way to produce any piece of jewelry from a computer design using powdered precious metals which are laser-fused together as they are laid down by a robot arm. Placed in complex three dimensional shapes at speed, it is hoped it will eventually be available to small jewelry stores and designers who can take hand drawn ideas from customers and produce exact results in solid gold or silver. There’s also the opportunity to create lightweight pieces where currently the solid version is heavy to wear as sintering can produce hollow shapes which look weighty but use much less metal.

Development still required

Whilst sintering is an exciting direction for jewelry technology, there’s a way to go before you can take a drawing of a ring you like into a store and watch it appear before your eyes. Pieces will still need finishing; polishing and the addition of gemstones for example and it’s currently a very expensive way to produce a ring or pendant. As expected, the ‘toner’ in the printer isn’t the traditional kind seen in office inkjets; instead it is filled with gold powder which has a price tag of around $25,000 per kilo.

Traditional skills will still be used

When it comes to engagement rings, Houston jewelry specialists have seen the addition of skill-enhancing tools and machinery over the years but know that bench work and hand crafted creation will still be an integral part of making one-off pieces of heirloom jewelry. Computer aided technology is seen as an addition to the hands-on work carried out each day and there’s no suggestion that 3-D laser printed gold jewelry will ever overtake the expertise learned as an apprentice.

Lasers in the jewelry workshop are not new, although sintering is certainly a futuristic leap forward. The Japanese introduced the Hearts and Arrows cut for diamonds in the 1980s which uses laser cutters to create a unique kaleidoscope look. When viewed from above, the precision machinery creates eight symmetrical and precisely laid out hearts but when the gemstone is turned over, the hearts are replaced by eight arrows. Now a popular diamond cut with those wanting contemporary ideas for their jewelry, technology created Hearts and Arrows diamonds sit comfortably alongside more traditionally produced items and it is predicted that pieces produced in the future with sintering will look and feel as classically sympathetic.