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KEYWORDS: TIPS, TRICKS AND PITFALLS OF SEO twenty two

GAMER: 5 GAMES. 5 MONTHS

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ACCESS: LG G FLEX SMARTPHONE twenty six

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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLOUD AND VPS? thirty six

USING INFOGRAPHICS ON YOUR BLOG


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Headlines Editor Derek Vaughan Client Relations Editor Deborah Stewart

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Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine Š February 2014, Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine, Published and Copyrighted 2014 by PINGZINE, LLC, P.O. Box 516, Denham Springs, LA 70726. All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce part or all of this issue must be secured in writing from the publisher. Complementary subscriptions are at the discretion of the publisher and may be cancelled or modified at any time. Unsolicited submissions are welcome. We assume no liability for lost or damage of submissions. We assume no liability for the content of this issue and all points and ideas are strictly that of the writers involved and not that of the publisher, publishing company, printing company or editors.

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RACKMOUNTS ETC thirty seven

THE HOSTING NEWS thirty nine

WEB-HOST-DIRECTORY.COM forty

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SPAM

ANGRY BIRDS USED FOR NSA AND BRITISH GOVERNMENT SPYING Could the NSA be tracking you through mobile game apps now?Leaked documents from former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, indicate that the NSA has been tapping into “leaky” apps through an initiative referred to as “the mobile surge.” By hacking into smartphone apps, the agency can collect information such as age, sex, location, and even martial status, reports Fox News. The NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, have used Google Maps on numerous occasions to locate a users location, continues the documents. Additionally, newer apps such as the popular game Angry Birds have also been

used to extract information from Android and iPhone devices. “Rovio doesn’t have any previous knowledge of this matter, and have not been aware of such activity in 3rd party advertising networks,” stated Rovio’s VP of Marketing and Communications, maker of Angry Birds. ”Nor do we have any involvement with the organizations you mentioned [NSA and GCHQ].” “The mobile surge” was reportedly responsible for helping stop a bomb threat by Al Qaeda against Germany in 2007, along with arrests of Mexican cartel members suspected of murdering a U.S. Consulate employee in Mexico.

GOOGLE PAVES THE WAY WITH SOLAR THERMAL ENERGY PLANT

MASTER CHIEF ACTOR REVEALS A 2015 HALO 5 RELEASE

LEAKED PHOTOS OF THE SAMSUNG S5 REVEAL BIGGER DIMENSIONS

Google is leading the way as the competition to become the leader in clean energy continues. On Thursday, the company’s newest project officially kicked into operation, a solar thermal energy plant located near the CaliforniaNevada line in Ivanpah, CNBC reports. The plant uses 347,000 mirrors that produce 392 megawatts of electricity, nearly 30 percent of all solar thermal energy in the U.S. More than 140,000 homes near the plant are said to be powered by the project. More than $1 billion has been spent on wind and solar investments in order to make the company more energy efficient. Currently, 34 percent of Google’s operation are powered by solar energy, with the hopes of eventually becoming 100 percent renewable powered.

For those hopeful fans who were anxiously awaiting a Halo 5 release this year, it looks as if your going to have to keep waiting as it has been confirmed that game will not launch this year.The voice of Master Chief, Steve Downes, confirmed that Halo’s next installment will not be released until 2015, reports Polygon. “I think you may be ahead of yourself on Halo 5,” stated Downes in an interview. “I wouldn’t expect anything until 2015.” Although this not the news we were hoping for, he did give fans something to look forward to by revealing that there will in fact be a Halo 2 anniversary edition released later this year. “We can confirm your next Halo journey will begin in 2014, but beyond that we don’t have any details to share at this time,” stated a Microsoft spokesperson. This news coincides with the many rumors swirling around the Internet about a Halo 2release for the Xbox One this November.

The Internet continues to buzz with rumors surrounding the Samsung Galaxy S5, especially with the Mobile World Congress quickly approaching. A recent image of the smartphone has been leaked, giving users a glimpse of Samsung’s flagship device. According to IBT, the image shows the S5 to be very similar to the S4 and S3, revealing dimensions of  5.57-inch x 2.85-inch x 0.32-inch or 141.7 mm x 72.5 mm x 8.2 mm, just slightly bigger than its predecessors. Additionally, the picture shows the rear camera to stick out more than previous models. “For the S5, we will go back to the basics. Mostly, it’s about the display and the feel of the cover,” stated Samsung VP Lee Young Hee. Other rumors surround Samsung’s newest device is that it will feature 16 MP sensor camera with double-wide flash, fingerprint sensor, and eye-scanning technology. There has not been an official release date announced, but many believe the Galaxy S5 will be released in April 2014.

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FLAPPY BIRD DEVELOPER REMOVES GAME FROM ONLINE APP STORES

AT&T ASSURES IT WILL NOT ALTER SERVICES BASED ON RECENT NET NEUTRALITY RULING

APPLE ASKS FEDERAL JUDGE TO BAN SAMSUNG SMARTPHONES AND TABLETS

One of the most popular free gaming apps, Flappy Bird, has officially been removed from the App Store and Google Play.Flappy Bird, created by Vietnamese developer Nguyen Ha Dong, lets players navigate a 2D bird through an obstacle of metal pipes. It seems as if the sudden success of the game took a toll on Dong because on February 8th   he released a message to fans stating that he would take the game down. “I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore,” wrote Dong on his Twitter page. Additionally, he stated that his decision had nothing to do with legal issues and that he would not sell the app. According to FoxNews, the game was downloaded more than 50 million times just on the App Store and was reportedly making $50,000 a day on advertising revenue. Flappy Bird was removed on February 9th, but users who had previously downloaded the game are still able to play.

The FCC’s ruling on Net Neutrality has left many individuals concerned about Internet service and potential rising costs, but AT&T has assured customers that it intends on keeping the Internet open.During the company’s fourth-quarter conference call, CEO Randall Stephenson answered a question by an equities analyst by stating the company has no plans on changing their services to “capitalize on a federal appeals court’s recent decision,” reports CNet. “The industry has come a long way since then,” stated Stephenson. “And in the last couple of years, the industry has worked and agreed to a framework for Net neutrality. So the court order really changed nothing.” Additionally, he discussed the company’s new sponsored data plans. “Services like sponsored data will evolve overtime the same way that long distance grew and was scaled up. But I don’t see the court ruling changing how we or anyone else operates.”

In the latest in the Apple Vs. Samsung patent case, Apple has asked a federal judge to ban the sales of more than 20 Samsung smartphones and tablets, states a report from Yahoo! News. In a filling issued, Apple attorney wrote that Samsung had “irreparably harmed Apple” due to the sale of infringing products. “Samsung’s claim that it has discontinued selling the particular models found to infringe or design around Apple’s patents in no way diminishes Apple’s need for injunctive relief,” wrote Apple in the filing. “Because Samsung frequently brings new products to market, an injunction is important to providing Apple the relief it needs to combat any future infringement by Samsung through products not more than colorably different from those already found to infringe.” Additionally, Apple stated that money is not an adequate punishment for Samsung’s infringement, which is why they are seeking to ban devices such as the Nexus S 4G, Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy Tab, and Tab 10.1 tablets, among many others.

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SELL

WEB HOSTING

NOT JUST YOUR BRAND This is not an article. It is a mission to take the hosting industry far away from a world that is generic and boring, to a world of innovation. It is a world of edgy products, edgier marketing and stronger communication, where you will be more passionate about what you do. Join me on this BY SHARON KOIFMAN mission from Brand selling to Product selling.

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ell now, that was a bit intense, maybe even a bit nerdy, but hopefully it got your attention. I’m hoping that taking the path in this article might actually change the way you do business forever. So let’s get started: In the world of sales and marketing, one piece of advice which will always be present is the focus on the client and nothing but the client. When I read sales books, there is a consistent theme to avoid using “I” in any conversation. Focus strictly on what the client wants, ask him a lot of questions and hopefully, based on the answers, make a good proposal. When it comes to marketing, a similar connotation is used. Always put yourself in your clients’ shoes and build the marketing strategy around them. It’s tough criticizing this philosophy considering that multi-million dollar corporations were built on this approach, but I must say, and I do use a capital “I,” that it sure makes for a dull business world. The funny thing is that a dull business world in the web hosting industry would actually be considered a compliment. If I say so myself, for such a high-tech industry, built using top of the line servers, firewalls, load balancers and fiber optics carriers, we still somehow manage to achieve an atrociously plain status. Most companies in the shared hosting industry host their stuff on Linux or Windows with some disk space, bandwidth and a control panel, without even knowing what half the applications on the panel do. Of course let’s not forget the so called great customer service that brings it all together. Can anyone spell borrrring? For the few that attempt to get more innovative, they plug in some VPS technology or integrate compatibility with platforms such as Cold Fusion and Ajax. Yaaaaawwwwnnn. And for all of you who host your stuff on FreeBSD, Ubuntu or any Mac technologies, don’t tap yourself on the back, you’re not that exciting either. Okay, now that I’m done insulting almost everyone that is reading this article, let’s talk some constructive business. (Note to the publisher - this would probably be one of those articles where including my home address would not be the best move, at least not until the end of this article where I will hopefully have compensated for my criticism.) When it comes to hosting and other industries with competitors that provide similar solutions, the word “I” is a key component to drastically increase your growth. Focusing on yourself and your needs creates passion, and passion creates good products and it also helps create better sales. This is not to suggest that focusing on the client is not important, but in my opinion, it should only come second or at least synchronize with what you are passionate about. So why, you may ask, is my opinion so different than some of the leading marketers and sales consultants? The answer is simple, most of them tend to sell brands and not products!!! In the hosting industry, companies tend to sell their brand, which includes reputation and word of mouth, but I simply do not see too many people that actually sell hosting. Oh boy, I think I just insulted a few other readers. Wait guys! Please don’t turn the page just yet. I know it might sound a bit confusing, considering that all of us are in the hosting business, but let me explain why too many providers are still not selling their product.

I will start by throwing an example by you - see if you can relate: Let’s take companies such as FastServers, RackSpace and Softlayer. All three have their 2 biggest selling points as being high level customer service and stability. They claim to have amazing customer service and incredibly stable networks. Considering that every hosting company promises great customer service and stability, no one really knows if any of these claims are true unless you know them or have tried them. It is even more amusing to know that way too many clients don’t even have a specific standard as to what we consider to be good customer service. Now before I get these 3 behemoths to also include me on their blacklist, I must tell you that I picked them because I feel pretty safe in their capacity to provide what they promise with hopefully not losing any of my credibility. Yet at the end of the day I have not used any of these companies. The reason why I know these companies do what they say is their great reputation - I was simply told by many credible sources that they are the right companies. If I choose to buy a product from them, the only reason why I would bother looking at their site or talking to the salesperson is because I’m trying to negotiate a better price. This is exactly what I’m referring to about selling your brand. I would purchase the product based upon what I heard and not because of the attraction of the product. Well I’m definitely not here to teach these 3 big boys how to run their businesses; they clearly know what they are doing and do it very well. Yet maybe my advice can be useful even for them to build their business a nudge faster. The ones who can truly benefit are the smaller companies that don’t have the massive advertising budget and didn’t start their business early enough to grasp a solid market share in the industry. So don’t get me wrong - I do feel that brand, word of mouth and phenomenal salesmanship are crucial for the success of your business. Yet I’m here to suggest a new out-of-the-box approach that may drastically increase your growth as an addition to your already healthy operation and brand recognition (at least I hope that’s the case). Selling a product, or as I described it, really selling hosting, is about getting your client to buy your product because he/she is interested or even excited about the product and not focused on who is offering it. Allow me to offer a challenge to the readers. When you are done reading this article, imagine yourself to be a complete stranger within your own company. Pretend you simply cannot recognize your site and your employees. Then go visit your site as if it is for the first time, (yes I know it’s kind of tough visiting your website if you don’t recognize it, but I think you’ll manage). Now here comes the big question - ask yourself, “am I motivated to buy this hosting package? If I compare this to another site, is there anything that attaches me to my own product or even excites me?” If the answer is “no” or even simply “I don’t know” there are clearly some improvement that need to be made. Just a quick side note here, if the only thing that excites you about the product is the price, I would still put it in the “needs improvement” category. Yes, I completely understand that many companies do well with the budget solution just like many companies do very well in simply selling their brand. Yet the key to this challenge is to get you to become more innovative, not to focus on more of the same. Also if I know my industry well enough, budget hosting is a very Pi n g Z i n e . c o m

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tough business in which to keep profitable, and a slight change in mentality could impact your profit margins drastically. In so many words, selling a product, unlike brands, is about innovation. It is the notion that when a person visits your company, he or she is truly motivated by the product that you have to offer and not the reputation of the company that sells it. While I have described how boring our industry is, I have not yet mentioned its potential to be one of the most exciting. Simply put, not too many industries have the capacity to innovate and improve their product as quickly as we can. Whether you are in a high-tech business such as software or low-tech industry such as a coffee shop, most businesses require a heavy investment of budget and time in order to take a product to the next level. The research and development within a hosting company consists of research and some testing. The main challenge in improving or differentiating your company is to find the right supplier that can provide you with the right solution. After that it’s a matter of days or even hours until it is implemented. That flexibility gives you the capacity to take not just one but several products, combine them together and even create a fully upgraded “Super Package”. I would like to skip back to the challenge that I mentioned earlier. If you don’t mind, I would ask you to get your friends involved this time. Invite 3 techies and 3 non-techies and see what they say about your product. Again, this should all be done with them imagining that they don’t know your site or brand. So get them on board and ask the same question, quickly finding out if your site or operation influences them to buy without knowing your brand. If both the first and second challenge did not go too well and you feel that your product is still exciting and unique, let me pose a third challenge. Grab a timer and let your friend go through your entire website or talk to your salesperson and see if they can actually find out if they “get” the uniqueness of the product like you. If it takes more than a few minutes, you simply have not brought your message to the forefront. If they don’t seem to be able to find it and you’re forced to explain, you clearly have a communication issue on your hands. If they don’t understand after you explain, all I have to say is “Oh Boy”. The truth is many companies take the time to create a unique product with a lot of differentiators but fail to communicate it properly to their clients. If you decide to focus on an innovative product you need to let people know about it. That does mean putting it on your home page and equipping your sales staff with the right “elevator speech.” I find it amazing that people don’t spell out their qualities. Every time I visit a website, the first thing I see listed is packages, disk space, bandwidth and price. Browsing the home page a bit more you may notice some other generic content including uptime, a great customer service promise, maybe even a small blurb of where the business is located (quite frankly I really don’t care where you are located as long as you are somewhere normal). If it really does matter to someone they can go and search for it in the about us section. These days, a mention of uptime, customer service network and couple of the other staples of the industry are probably necessary to assure people that you have the basics. Saying that, you can keep the basics in small font and simply focus on more of the innovative stuff. If you want to turn a complete stranger into a client, spell out in big letters the values you bring to 0

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the table. Unless you have so many exciting things that make you special, don’t clog up your home page and the important pages of your site with things that don’t really make a difference in converting and energizing your visitor. When it comes to salespeople and other company representatives, this challenge can be even bigger. All too often I approach hosting companies and ask them why I should go with them and continuously get the same spiel. We have great customer service, great uptime. Yes I know that, I repeated these benefits several times within this article, but it’s simply all people say these days, so enough already. If everyone provides great customer service and uptime, how in the right mind do I pick which company to go with? I will simply go with the best brand combined with price. Also seriously speaking, getting into a price battle for whom can provide the cheapest package, is not a fun place to be. For crying out loud, if great customer service is your true niche, at least use terms like fanatical or unbelievable support. Make the client believe it enough to pick up the phone so you can prove that you have this amazing support. At the end of the day if your salesperson does not have an exciting, clear and concise message that describes the reason why the potential client must absolutely go with your company, you completely miss the potential of all your effort in creating an innovative product in the first place. So by now you are probably asking yourself “what is an exciting product”. I would be more than happy to throw you a few examples, but the moment it lands on this page, it will simply not be as innovative because several thousand readers (at least I can dream) will be exposed to the same product. It is up to you, to research on the internet, visit conferences and read magazines such as Ping!Zine to really get the perfect niche for you. So let me provide you with three examples: High Availability Solution - What can be better than creating a 99.9% or 100% uptime environment? It is even better if you can actually explain to your client how you built this 100% uptime network; that could create credibility even if your company has no brand recognition. Full web design for $30 - Maximize the site builder technology to its full potential and suddenly you are providing affordable web design instead of providing web hosting with site builder which ends up being an unnoticed extra feature. Extreme security - Definitely one of the biggest weaknesses in the industry. Make your shared hosting truly secure, promote it and clients will come. I hope these three examples help, but again I would encourage you to find so much more and create your own “Super Packages”. So bring the “I,” your passion and creativity, on board. It’s not just a question of growing your business, it is also a reality that makes running a company so much more fun to operate. When you start to innovate, your business goes through a dynamic process that is felt throughout your company. Suddenly your sales people are motivated, your techs feel more challenged and your partners or owners feel like they are running a more complete operation.

Whether you run a lareg fast-growing company or a slow but stable operation, you should focus on selling products, because it simply does your company good.


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TASK

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TIPS, TRICKS AND PITFALLS OF SEO

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BY JOHN SATTER I HAVE BEEN WITNESS to many clients interested in SEO, but their mild interest in this field makes them a ticking time bomb for SEO implementation and website success. If we can further educate individuals on the SEO pitfalls, tips and techniques, we will be creating a more educated market base. My hopes here are to help deliver a general overview of SEO. Picking incorrect keywords – Some people tell me, “How can I pick the wrong keywords if I am aiming for a specific target or product?” This is an oversight a number of individuals, even SEO companies take lightly. Individuals may try to create powerful and creative keywords and think that by doing so they are helping their website or webpage, but in this case the typical user that is searching, might never type their selected keywords, and thus never find their website. For example, let’s say that you have created a website where people can purchase used sports equipment. “Used Sports Equipment” might not be the best keyword phrase you should target, even though it contains what your site is all about. “Sports Equipment” or “Exercise Equipment” would be the better keyword targets to go after. Chasing after the best keywords is certainly a giant factor in determining if your SEO campaign is a success or failure. Having an inventive idea is the one thing, but using that idea to its full potential should be your primary objective. Don’t be afraid to use keyword tools like, Word Tracker (previous 60 days of information), Google Adwords: keyword selector, and MSN Adlabs. Remember when you do this though; some specific searches are seasonal like, electric heaters in winter time, barbeques for the summer, and so on. Remember to always perform a competitive analysis to stay with and above the competition. The lack of an effective Title tag – The Title tag tells a browser what text to display in the browser’s title bar, and they are really crucial when wanting to please the search engines. This is one of the most important components from a search engines perspective because this pretty much tells them what your page is all about. There are a few common mistakes individuals make when it comes to Title tags. One, they are all together missing. Some web pages plainly do not contain Title tags. If this is the case, they are not allowing the search engines to gather critical data to determine what the subject of your page really is about. Two, they have a Title tag, but it is in the incorrect place. This tag should be placed directly beneath the <HEAD> tag and should have constructive keywords within it. There should be around 40 to 60 characters in the middle of the <TITLE> and </TITLE> tags (this should include spaces as well) and you might even duplicate your most important keyword more than once, but not too much to indicate spamming. And Three, they have a Title tag, but it is simply weak. If the Title tag is not created with the right specific keywords, you are basically wasting your time because you will not receive the result you are truly looking for. Tell the Flash to take a hike – If you are one of the many people that have a Flash intro to your website, I recommend that you tell Flash to take a hike. In other words, keep it off of your site. I can’t tell you how many people I have talked to about this and a majority of these individuals have said this does nothing, but irritate them when they arrive to a site with Flash. To me, it is sort of like watching fireworks, its fun and exciting, but after awhile of watching the same thing, it gets old and I want to leave. Don’t get me wrong, Flash animation at times makes sense, but for the most part it’s pointless. There are a lot of Web Designers that create elegant Flash animations within their homepages with the simple hopes of catching an eye or two. This hardly ever contains helpful text for indexing. So to those individuals, who insist on placing Flash within the most critical pages of your website, know that your page is practically insignificant from a search engine standpoint. And if you do not pay attention to what the search engines are looking for, your website will be practically invisible to them. If you are still in love with Flash, and you would like the search engines to acknowledge it, you should definitely offer an html edition. There is a reason why search engines are not in love with Flash sites and that reason is simple, the spiders can not interpret Flash and can’t take the information from your site back to be indexed. Don’t forget that you are dealing with constructed algorithms so you must work with them or you will not be able to help your site grow.

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Search engines are always changing. I like to constantly test the search engines as do my employees. Do not forget about your site! – There are certain individuals that assume once you optimize a website, you don’t have to do anything to it ever again. That’s ok if you are not considering moving up within the search engines or if you just constructed your website to be a profile page or site. But if you are aiming for success and would like to see your website grow within the web and climb in the search engine rankings, you must constantly be optimizing your website. Be sure to watch your competitors and recognize what they are doing to their sites. If they do something that boosts their ranking, take note of what that was and build on it. Do not use an Image for your Heading – A number of individuals assume that an icon or another image looks more presentable than well defined text for their headings and menus. I agree, an image has the potential of making your website appear unique, but remember, from an SEO and a search engines perspective, it is a huge fault for the simple fact that h1, h2, etc tags as well as menu links are imperative SEO items. If you’re not satisfied with how your h1, h2 tags look, maybe you should edit them within a style sheet or think about another option all together. Don’t ignore your URL – Individuals undervalue the importance of a great URL string. Though it is likely to have your page rank well without placing your selected keywords within your URL, if you place your selected keywords within your URL, this will give your page a little extra lift over the competition. Placing your keywords within your URL’s is more imperative when you are optimizing for MSN or Yahoo!, but still a good idea when optimizing for Google as well, so be sure to place a keyword or two within your URL (if you can). Fill your content with keywords – After you have established exactly which keywords you will be using, be sure to adjust the content of your page to relate accordingly to them. You will most likely want to place your keywords where it seems relevant. Your page should have a natural flow to it. Do not stuff your content so full of keywords that it is unreadable and might be considered as keyword stuffing (which is frowned upon by search engines). You should also try creating them in bold characters or even highlighting them to make them stand out to the naked eye. Link a Go go - Links are important and possibly the most important feature of SEO. Stay away from free-for-all links pages, reciprocal links, links from spammy sites and as a general rule of thumb it is best to look at a inbound link strategy that is multi-fold. This means have an inbound link strategy that looks natural, includes many different types of links and again.... LOOKS natural. Search engines are always changing. I like to constantly test the search engines, as do my employees. Google, Yahoo and MSN will never give us an outline on how to rank #1 within their search engines so as a professional search engine marketer we must test the engines, test theories and keep up on our industry daily. The tips listed above are a solid baseline for beginners and a great guideline for people looking for SEO services.

Writer’s Bio: John Satter is the Director of SEO at HybridSEM.com and is a pioneer in approaching SEO and online marketing with our signature Hybrid approach. At HybridSEM we forge old and new school SEO together to maximize our clients ROI. Check out our blog at www.hybridSEM.com/blog 0

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Branded iPad & iPhone apps for your brochures, magazines, catalogs & more Reach millions worldwide via the App Store Create a new marketing & distribution channel


GAMER

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FEBRUARY

MARCH

GAMES.

MONTHS. BY BRANDIE RICHARDSON

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THIEF

TITANFALL

In Square Enix’s upcoming game, Thief, users will play as Garrett, a master thief who attempts to steal from the rich that has overpopulated “The City”. In this first person game, players have the ability to choose their own paths. As Garrett continues on his path, guards and nonplayer characters will try to find and kill him. Focus mode has been added, a feature that game director, Nick Cantin, says “empowers the player and empowers Garrett.” This mode is a tool provided to give the character more advantages throughout the game. Thief is scheduled for a February 25th release for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, and PC.

In Titanfall, players will fight as free-running pilots or inside mechanical walkers called “Titans.” In this online multiplayer game, users will complete team-based mission with up to twelve other human players. The three Titan classes available to play are the Atlas, the Stryder, equipped with light armour and the advantage of speed; and the Ogre, featuring heavy armour but slower movement. Titanfall won over 60 awards at the E3 2013 reveal, including Best Original Game, Best Online Multiplayer, and Best Action Game. Titanfall will hit shelves on March 11th for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Windows PC, with a rumored beta session in February.


APRIL

FIANL FANTASY XIV: A REALM REBORN Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn takes place in Eorzea, five years after the original release. Players will continue their journey as they face the threat of the invasion by the Garlean Empire. A combination of weapon skills and physical and magical attacks are used when fighting enemies. There are five disciples of war classes, three disciples of magic classes, eight disciples of hand, and three disciples of land classes to choose from. A Realm Reborn is the remade version of the 2010 Final Fantasy XIV game, which received many negative complaints, leading Square Enix to completely redo the game. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will launch on April 14th for the PS4, with a beta test beginning on February 22nd.

MAY

MARIO KART 8 Mario Kart 8 marks the eleventh installment in the Mario Kart series. Players can choose from up to 17 different playable characters, including favorites such as Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach. This game introduces anti-gravity tracks, more narrow tracks than previous games that allow players to race on upside down and vertical roads. Like its predecessors, Mario Kart 8 will feature 12 racers in normal races. Mario Kart 8 is set to be released in May 2014, exclusively for the Wii U.

JUNE

THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE The Elder Scrolls Online is the first open-ended multiplayer game in The Elder Scrolls franchise. Set on the continent of Tamriel, during the Interregnum period, Deadric Prince Molag Bal is threatening to bring Tramiel into his realm of Coldharbour. Players have the option of joining any of the three factions looking to take control of the Emperorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s throne, Aldmeri Dominion, Daggerfall Covenant, and Ebonheart Pact. The Elder Scrolls Online is set to be released for Windows and OS X on April 4 with the next-gen consoles versions following in June 2014.

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ACCESS

LG G FLEX SMARTPHONE THE GOOD LG’s latest 6” smartphone, the G Flex, is perfect for those who watch TV on the go or who prefer landscape mode while playing games. Its curved display aligns perfectly with your face while you talk, making it much easier to hear. The G Flex’s two option window display makes it easier for users to simply multitask. The “self-healing” scratch resistant coat protects the phone from small scratches.

KEY FEATURES

THE BAD The display only features a 720p resolution, making the screen not as crisp looking as full HD devices. Like the G2, the back of the phone has the power and volume keys below the camera lens, at an awkward place.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 800

THE VERDICT As the “world’s first curved, flexible smartphone,” the G Flex shows off the potential of curved technology, but isn’t quite there yet. The weak resolution is enough to decide to hold off until the next version of the phone comes out.

Resolution:

Battery: 3500 mAh Lilon, Non-removable Weight: 6.24 oz Processor: 2.26 GHz Quad-Core, Size: 6.32 x 3.21 x 0.33 Operating System: Android v4.2 (Jelly Bean) 1280x720 HD OLED

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LIVESCRIBE 3 SMARTPEN

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THE GOOD The Livescribe 3 is perfect for those looking to easily transfer notes from a notepad to a tablet or smartphone. The smartpen is able to sync up to four different devices and can be used to make audio recordings as well.

KEY FEATURES

THE BAD This is an iOS only product, leaving the smartpen useless on any other device. The size of the pen is bigger than normal pens, making it difficult for some who use the product for a long period of time.

ARM 9

THE VERDICT While this smartpen can be very helpful, it is not recommended for everyone. This device is most likely suited for those who write a great deal and who need the extra time of not having to scan or copy papers.

Latest version of iOS7

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Battery: Rechargeable lithium Processor: Color: Black and Chrome Compatibility: Pricing: $149.99


TASK

Relocate Your Data Center to a Retail Store By ServerLIFT

T

he science of data center relocation may have recently developed a promising new angle conversion of vacant retail outlets to fully-functional IT facilities. Leveraging existing assets to shorten construction processes and get facilities online faster has been a top priority. Enterprises are getting used to the idea of having secondary and even primary data centers in locations more remote from their current operations center. Cooler natural climates, existing telecommunications, connectivity infrastructures and supportive local economic incentives are all contributing factors that will contribute to facility data center relocations. Data center operators have turned to vacant department stores and retail centers as an unconventional option for data center locations. These buildings provide environmental stability with fairly open layouts, but there are certainly other considerations that affect the feasibility of these projects. Sears created Ubiquity Critical Environment to oversee data center relocation decisions with the plan to repurpose some of their retail buildings, according to Forbes. Planning trajectory, which took them from targeting unused department stores and auto centers, shows the process of evaluating unconventional sites at work.

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Data Center Relocation to a Sears Department Store? Earlier this year, Ubiquity's initial investigation into the practicality of using older facilities to house data centers concluded that old Sears and Kmart buildings would be sufficient, according to Forbes. It's something of an ironic twist, as the reason these department stores are vacant is that more consumers are turning to online shopping - which, requires more data centers. Power and connectivity requirements for a high-performing data center are much higher than they are for a retail outlet, but Forbes noted that several characteristics of these stores could make them logical extensions of the company's

data center footprint. Forbes reported that data centers could end up yielding higher profits than a retail outlet, given the competitiveness of the data center market. There are Sears facilities located in appealing areas with local amenities, which attracts companies that want to have things to do when they're inspecting their on-theground facilities. According to Motley Fool, 71 percent of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Sears store, making them prime locations for wireless towers and state-of-the-art connectivity infrastructures. Sears examined more than 2,500 Sears and Kmart properties for the possibility of conversion. The first data

center relocation project was a 127,000-square-foot Sears store in Chicago.

Are Sears Auto Centers a Better Solution? More recently, Ubiquity partnered with data center services and equipment provider Schneider Electric to look at Sears Auto Centers for their potential conversion into data center relocation properties. The use of auto centers would create a widely distributed network of smaller data centers, according to Data Center Knowledge. They could prove to be beneficial for companies looking for disaster recovery options versus larger facilities that are sparsely concentrated.


TECHIE

LET ME EXPLAIN SOMETHING!

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BY JACK BEDELL

CLOUD OR VPS? In a world where virtual private servers (VPS) and cloud hosting are so similar, which should you opt for to meet the demands of your company? Jack BedellPearce of 4D Hosting discusses the similarities and differences of each, along with benefits and potential pitfalls of using the different services. The first question is what do you want to do? Is it to host a few applications, or do you want to operate a large, high-throughput e-commerce website?  

What features should you look at when considering a VPS solution?

Virtual servers and virtualization technology has been available for years now and since inception, is one of the most popular options for companies to host their IT services on. Scalability In the early nineties the revolution of virtualization meant that for the first time a dedicated server could have a simple piece of software installed to perform at maximum efficiency by using it as multiple, smaller machines rather than one large resource. The benefit for a host is that it can divide the machine into slices of varying size to meet the demands of the client.   VPS therefore, is scalable. Most SMEs will start off requiring very small resources, but as they grow so do their demands. Here the VPS will shine and upgrading virtually can be done in minutes.   However, although VPS resources can be upgraded at any time, this cannot be done ‘on the fly’ and will normally involve a small amount of downtime to perform a reboot of the machine.   Also, a VPS cannot burst in the way a cloud service can, therefore if you have an inconsistent amount of traffic to your website, a cloud solution may be the better option.   Cost Generally companies who use virtualization software and run VPS solutions have invested large amounts of money, but leasing a VPS from a host costs about the same as a monthly mobile phone contract.

With a VPS you can budget for the monthly cost for pre-allocated resources. To get extra savings you can sign up for 1, 2 or 3 year deals, but this often comes with expensive break clauses.   Control and security A hosted VPS will allow you to login to your server and gain administrative or root access, providing control and a good level of security for your application/s. The security of a VPS is greater than a shared or cloud environment. You can store what you like on it; noone else has access to it, meaning it is a truly private resource.   Control is a key benefit of a VPS over cloud hosting as it has more options for customization without huge cost.   You can stop, start or even reinstall your VPS with the click of a button, meaning you can instantly restore the server to its original state, as well as take instant backups that can be restored at any time.   The only downside of all this control is that you may end up needing a dedicated VPS administrator, or at the very least some form of managed support for your system.   Uses VPSs can be used for a variety of computing tasks, usually ones which are non-resource intensive applications, such as accounting programs, intranets and CRM databases, that won’t run in a shared environment as they require administrator access to configure. Other uses of VPSs include hosting of complex or high traffic websites. Cloud hosting On-demand, or elastic hosting, are terms often used to describe cloud hosting. The functionality is very similar to VPS, but the main differences are within the scalability element of the services. The cloud can provide on-demand and near limitless resource without any form of downtime for the client.   Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the most common form of cloud hosting and is made up of multiple virtualized machines that share the same resources.

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Some things to consider when buying a hosted cloud solution

Cost Cloud is typically billed for on a ‘pay per use’ basis, like gas or water, and this is why it is sometimes referred to as utility computing.   However, having a limitless resource at your fingertips does come at a price. It may seem cheap to be charged a few pence an hour, but running 24/7 quickly adds up, so cloud can be up to twice as much the price of a VPS service.   Scalability Cloud hosting scalability is based on having resources distributed across multiple servers, allowing continuous availability as well as flexibility for peaks in demand. However, you may have no control over where data is stored, especially where your provider has several storage locations, including units overseas. Do check where data will reside.   Security Cloud security is advancing but there are still concerns over putting sensitive or private data on a public cloud.   Private clouds however, can guarantee a high level of security, but will be more expensive as they require hardware dedicated to that hardware.   Redundancy Cloud servers are made up of multiple, virtualized servers so this means that if one fails, the others will be able to take the load and you should see no disruption to the service. This form of redundancy cannot be found in a VPS where, if a critical failure of the machine were to occur, there would be a small amount of downtime.   Reliability The cloud is accessed through the Internet, so if your host is experiencing downtime then so will you. Often suppliers will have a backup power supply, but ask if yours has invested in diverse connections to the Internet (few do).   Hybrid systems This is another option to consider. The cost savings for cloud hosting in this instance can be very appealing, but in reality, integrating a legacy system with a new cloud solution is often difficult, requiring extensive IT consultancy or specialist help to achieve a functioning hybrid system. In the case of a VPS, you can often easily set it up to integrate more easily with a legacy system, often avoiding headaches associated with mis-matched platforms At the end of the day the choice between VPS and cloud platforms depends on your business needs; it may well be that you opt for a mixture to get the right blend of flexibility, security and cost.   0

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TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES •

When you start out consider Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions for applications such as accounting and CRM. These are often the most flexible and cost effective way of starting a business on a small budget.

VPS is always going to be best for hosting custom applications and retail websites as it will give you most control at a predictable monthly cost.

Data security can be a concern for a small business, and I would advise you to keep all customer information on a VPS, but details about prospects can go on a cloud application. • Do your research. What’s the support like? Check the location of the host’s cloud and VPS environments; ask to visit them. If you can’t find this information easily, then there’s a good chance that they are hiding something.


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TASK By Garen Arnold

Using Infographics On Your Blog Have you ever heard of infographics and how it’s utilized on a website? If you still don’t know what on earth an infographic is, Wikipedia gives it definition as “graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. These graphics present complex information quickly and clearly, such as in signs, maps, journalism, technical writing, and education.”  So in this case, they are presented in blogs to convey a message onto the readers with a picture. Now that you know what an infographic is, the next question lies in what these graphics do to help your blog.  Do they really do something? First of all, infographics convey simple messages and information to people without too many words.  So it basically saves time for both you and the reader.  Writing, formulating, and typing content will eat up your time, and infographics saves you from those hassles.  The readers are also spared time as they only look at the graphics and there it is, all they need to know, on a picture. Another benefit is that it attracts visitors.  Studies show that more people, even those who hate reading, entertain infographics.  They don’t have to read and digest long and incomprehensible stuff.  Since we “consume information visually”, it becomes easier for us to digest images rather than text.  I myself prefer those blog posts having infographics within it, whether it’s long or short, I really don’t care, as long as it

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conveys the idea of the whole blog post. Not only does it get traffic from regular visits, it also drives traffic from social networking sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Easier outline structure format.  Trust me, it is by far really easier to structure a whole blog post with the use of little graphics.  It doesn’t let you go astray, keeping the content and its delivery intact.  It makes the message concrete and easier to comprehend. So now, how can you create good infographics? You must first know what your readers want.  Most likely, people want content that gets us closer to reality or something that tells a story that we all can relate to.  It is easier to understand if an infographic is like that. You must also do research on the data you will use in your infographic.  Even though an infographic is aesthetically and creatively done, if it’s not accurate or if it’s

not useful, it doesn’t matter. So before creating the graphics make sure you do your research, maybe through Google or other search engines. The design must also be an eye candy.  Not overdone, but something that is obvious and is not hurtful to the eyes.  Use the colors right to create a visual pun. What if others try to steal it?  Remember to add a link to your site from the infographic or embed a code onto the graphics.  So you can brand it your own and make it viral.  It’s a great link building tactic.  I actually encourage people to use the code on 65 blog tips and social signals beating spam. It all leads to your site being marketed and it can help in your SEO.  So now, do you think infographics are useful?  If you do so, why not try to create one and share it with the whole Internet?  I have found myblogguest.com a great place to submit infographics.  What other places have you found to submit graphics?


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Ping! Zine Issue 68 – Sell Web Hosting. Not Just Your Brand  

This is not an article. It is a mission to take the hosting industry far away from a world that is generic and boring, to a world of innovat...

Ping! Zine Issue 68 – Sell Web Hosting. Not Just Your Brand  

This is not an article. It is a mission to take the hosting industry far away from a world that is generic and boring, to a world of innovat...

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