All Posts by Carol Collins

SEO Is Necessary For Your Software Development Business

If you are a business owner who focuses on selling software online, you probably have heard that people recommend SEO as part of your online marketing strategy. Since you want to make sure your company is up-to-date with the latest trends in business development, you might start looking into it.

So what is SEO and how does it help your software development business?

You can start of by knowing the basics. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. By definition, “SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines.”

There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web. Sometimes, SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand.

A large majority of web traffic is driven by the major search engine platforms: Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Although social media and other types of traffic can generate visits to your website, search engines are the primary method of navigation for most internet users. This is true whether your site provides content, services, products, information, or just about anything else.

Generally, the reason why you need SEO is that while search engines are technically smart, they still need help to increase the efficiency of their processes. The developers of these major search engines are always working to improve their technology to crawl through the web more deeply and return better results to users. However, there is a limit to how search engines can operate.

That being said, the right SEO strategy can net you thousands of visitors and increased attention, while wrong moves can keep your site buried deep in the search results where visibility is minimal to non-existent.

Now, if you are selling your software, or any other products online, you need to make sure that your site’s content is placed where searchers can more readily find it. With an effective SEO program to complement your site, you can attract more visitors online, which can turn into prospective clients for your products and services.

As online marketing becomes more competitive, you need to step up and join the mix. Without a doubt, companies that have effectively implemented their SEO strategies have a sure advantage in attracting more visitors and prospective customers. If you’re still not convinced, here are four reasons why you need SEO for your software development company.

Because SEO is an investment, not a cost

By tying in SEO to web analytics data, you’d soon realize how much you can get out of investing in SEO – or how much you’re not getting when you’re not pursuing optimization strategies. 

Putting your site or the visibility of your product into the top three spots on the front page of Google (where most clicks go), for example, can provide a massive return on your modest investment into SEO. This is also the reason why SEO has been likened to investing in real estate – the returns can be incredibly profitable when you get it right.

Because SEO is a legitimate marketing tool that is necessary nowadays

SEO is the way to go when it comes to pulling in prospects. Social media, branding and other marketing strategies come in fluidly into your marketing strategies as they can complement SEO, and the combination can reinforce each element to spur faster growth for your business.

When handling SEO as a marketing tool, the challenge isn’t about picking which activity is better than the other. It is about how to intelligently integrate SEO into your marketing mix to reap rich rewards. This is where factors like technical audit comes into play.

The resources that SEO can bring are limitless. Then again, this is also why marketing with the influence of SEO is no longer a battle between marketers. Instead of their marketing specialists trying to do everything to promote a brand or company, businesses should take this opportunity to collaborate and partner up with SEO agencies, at least with their for online marketing efforts.

Why? Well, it is mainly because you can use each other’s data to get the best results for your respective agenda and goals.

Here’s another way to look at it: instead of always “giving customers what they want”, it’s time to face the fact that, often, clients do not know how to select from the diverse options at their disposal.

As professionals, marketers and SEO consultants must not be dismissive or misleading about other specialties. Instead, products and service providers should help all clients build the right foundation, and then guide them to the perfect match. Whether they go for you or not, clients should have the best option, and  connecting your business with other industry players can be mutually beneficial as a larger client database is tapped through wider online market.

By adopting such an advisory/consultative role and offering professional advice (through SEO techniques, of course) like reaching out a helping hand to offer business development advice, and showing rock-solid proof to back up your offerings, prices and advice, you can go a long way in building trust.

At that point, clients would be more willing to follow you, even when you suggest an approach that points in another direction from what they initially believed to be the right.

Because SEO is a perfect match for the software development industry

A search engine optimized website is a crucial tool for software companies because it offers a convenient platform where customers can easily purchase and download software. Think about it: people can only get to know your brand if they search for a particular app online by typing certain keywords that fit your specific product or brand. If you offer these specific products, , your website may then appear atop the search results pages.

Without SEO, it’s unlikely that these potential customers get to see your website. There are thousands of software companies out there, and all of them are going to have a website. You have to compete with companies of all sizes in the search pages. Without SEO, you stand very little chance of beating your competition in terms of Google ranking for broad terms. 

Because SEO generates leads

In a deeper business perspective, SEO is a great way to generate new leads for your software business. When more and more people visit your website, you can get more inquiries through phone or email. You can also get a constant stream of new customers without spending that much on advertising. Even successful software companies need SEO because markets change all the time.

Effective SEO strategies identify the proper keywords that potential customers use so that your website is geared towards those keywords. Instead of finding customers, SEO helps customers find you. If you sell email marketing software, your website should target “email marketing” rather than the more generic “software” or “program” keywords.

If you offer many types of software, you need to include all the pertinent keywords to cover all the categories of your software lineup. These are just some of the factors that are taken into consideration when doing keyword research. It’s a long and complicated process, but you don’t have to do it on your own because you can always hire an SEO professional to do the job.

Best Software to Use For Debt Management

Financial management has become more important today more than ever. It’s getting harder to save up funds, and investments can be more volatile than they once were. Moreover, there are so many different businesses competing for your money, and that money has become harder to earn, yet much easier to spend.

The possibility of taking on debt has risen, and too much debt can lead to bankruptcy. You can bet that without supervision of your cash flow, or a proper plan to pay what you owe, you are going to have a hard time providing for your own needs. At the same time, debt can hinder you from living the lifestyle that you want.

Luckily, technology has brought along modern financial tools that can assist you in making sure that your cash flow is well managed. What once was a doable but highly laborious task is now much easier and all possible under one system.

Thanks to the development of applications and software, you can now be in better control of how you handle your debt, and improve your financial management skills overall. Discover the three best applications that can help you be your own professional financial manager.

Take off Financial Heat with Mint App

One of the best financial and debt management systems is Mint. An application purposely made to be easy to set up and much easier to use, this program packs a lot of punch in terms of tracking how you’re actually spending your money.

From the get-go, this software can give you more vivid insight on how your money comes in and goes out. It has a pleasantly simple interface that includes your basic system dashboard, which provides the summary of your finances, and activity panes where project tools can be located.

The completely automated system also checks your credit score so that you have a big picture perspective of your spending habits.

Once you set up an account with Mint, the app pulls out a few months’ worth of data to analyze and present trends about your finances. What’s even more exciting about this program is that the company behind it has also added features to help you manage your financial obligations. For example, with a system upgrade conveniently called Mint Bills, the system finds deadline trends on your bills that you usually pay each month. It would then remind you about a certain bill before its due date.

Another thing it does is schedules your bill payments for you, so you don’t have to worry about any delayed payments. By just inputting your credit card information in the app, you can have Mint pay your bill directly on your behalf. At a small service fee (i.e. 2.49 percent of your bill), you can be assured that your bills are paid automatically, saving time and effort with every automated transaction.

Loaded with a crisp user interface and an expansive set of tools, you wouldn’t expect that it comes all for free. It’s an ad-supported service, but unlike all ad-supported apps out there right now, the ads are curiously beneficial for almost all users.

Furthermore, aside from its power tools, Mint also utilizes targeted advertising which shows you some of the banks and accounts you can get better rates from. It can also tell you how much you can save from your first year to the next.

Be Debt-Proof with LearnVest App

While Mint is the frontrunner in the mobile financial management applications industry, LearnVest comes at a close second. Formerly a personal finance education site for women, it has now expanded its interest in producing its own financial programs. Thus, the LearnVest app was born.

Like the best personal finance apps on the market, LearnVest connects to your financial accounts to create a better representation of your spending. The easy setup guides you through important details such as your personal information and what credit cards you want to connect with.

After the setup process, a simple dashboard greets you with a summary of your spending habits pulled from your credit card information. The good thing about having perspective on how much you spent the previous fews months is that it tells you what you need to change or what to keep in terms of your finances.

Beyond making it easy for users to set up their budgets and track their expenses, one thing that stands out with this app is the financial advices it provides. Under the dashboard, you can see articles relevant to your financial situation.

In terms of repaying debt, LearnVest has a specific tool tailored to make it convenient for you. Once you enter your credit card information, the app pulls your balance and interest rate. After that, you can opt to input the minimum payment due each month. You can also see the respective timeframe needed to complete each of your payments based on the amount you still owe. 

It is free to use LearnVest if you want to create a budget and track your expenses through its database. However, if you want to learn about more in-depth topics in financial management, the app offers a way to connect with a financial planner, at an extra cost. For example, if you are interested with Individual Voluntary Arrangement or IVA, these financial planners would lead you to understand the basics of IVA, so you know how IVAs work, and can learn about related service-providers like those handling Creditfix – IVA.

At the end of the day, the app allows you to learn more options from credible sources, ultimately helping you straighten out your finances.

The unburry.me App Says it All

Aside from mobile apps, there are also financial management software systems that are about to create big waves in the financial software development industry. A good example is unburry.me. It is a simple online tool at first glance, but don’t let its modest and straightforward interface fool you. It is actually a very intuitive and useful program to help you pay your debt on time.

The program has an upfront comparison of which debt reduction approach is best for you to consider. First of all, you enter the amount of your debt in the program. It then calculates the amount you still have to pay. After that, two approaches – the Snowball method and the Avalanche method – will pop up, giving you options to decide which is better for your financial goals. 

 

The Snowball method involves making a list of all the balances you owe to various institutions like credit cards, student loans, car loans, etc., and then tackling your smallest balance first. On the other hand, the Avalanche requires a bit more from the user. It’s basically the opposite of snowballing, except you’re not paying off your largest balance, but rather your most expensive balance, or the balances with the highest interest rate.

While these can be both utilized in paying your debt, unburry.me determines what is most beneficial to you. Aside from that, you can adjust your monthly payments within the program, and it can draw up a chart that describes the remaining principal balance and the interest you need to pay. This is an important aspect of debt reduction because you can have a better understanding of how you can adjust payments and the effect that could have on the timelines for your payment plans.

Everything You Need to Know About Roblox

Computer games have received a vibrant make-over with the advent of more advanced programming technology. From the emergence of low resolution titles such as Minecraft to the revolution of highly graphic series like Halo, video games development has indeed stepped up its game.

You live in an era where you can witness a great transition in the world of gaming. Just as the 2D Super Mario became a super dynamic racer in the world of Mario Kart, greater changes are always on the way. Gaming platforms, too, are a part of this constant revamp. Think about how much time you spent playing a Gameboy, and now what is available on the most modern versions PlayStation and Xbox. These are worlds that you just cannot get enough of.

Today, however, we’re going to discuss one iconic development: Roblox.

While high resolution games with captivating graphics dominate the market today, many gamers still find themselves addicted to Roblox. Here, we’ll dive into everything about Roblox, from the game itself to the platforms on which you can play it, and soon you will know the reason behind its endurance in the gaming scene.

Roblox, the Best Game You Never Played

Roblox is not your typical high resolution, detail oriented game. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of that. Then again, why do 15 million users regularly use the platform and play the game?

A project created in 2004 by David Baszucki and Erik Cassel, Roblox is a free-to-play online video game reminiscent of the video game classic Minecraft. While it is quite similar in gameplay, where players use blocks of different sizes and build structures, it stands out in a different way. 

Originally, it was designed for children ages to 7 and above. Baszcuki and Cassel achieved their goal of providing a children’s game that is thrilling and educational, winning various awards for their creativity. However, the game also gained waves of followers from adult gamers as well.

It has evolved into a social gaming platform where each player can sign in on their own account, and contribute with his or her own game. Yes, you can develop your own game and put it up online. Although its primitive textures and regular polygons may provide the definitive 1990s feels, there are actually a lot of surprising and features in this game. 

For example, the popular Welcome to the Town Robloxia, is a 3D role playing game where users have to find a job, buy a house, and essentially live a brand-new life.

If you are feeling a little more adventurous for work, get out of the town and find yourself playing Work at a Pizza Place, where you can contribute to the growth of a pizza parlor. You can opt to play a variety of jobs, be it a pizza boxer, a cook, a cashier, or a delivery person, all with one goal – to make your pizza parlor the best place in town.

These types of games in Roblox are just the tip of the iceberg, as many creative users all over the world are also developing Roblox spin-offs of other popular games.

Take Counter Strike: Global Offensive as an example. It is a widely popular game available in Steam Network, and Robloxians, as fans refer to themselves, brought about a rebirth of the renowned game in the Counter Blox: Roblox Offensive. Developers of the game have made sure that the gaming experience keeps the same fun and excitement of the original, providing a functional first person shooter game that keeps people on the edge of their seats.

Robux and the Roundabouts

As Roblox gained popularity, more people decided to give developing their own game a shot. After all, the platform has to survive financially in order to support its hosting costs and further expansion.

This is where the brilliance of Roblox developers showed up.

They provided a currency that people were able to use to buy their favorite Roblox games, and called the currency Robux.

While the game is free, you do have the option to pay real money for in-game currency. Much like Steam Wallet in the Steam Network, it allows for in-game purchases. Even way early on in the game’s history, Robux existed as the sole currency for Roblox. Established in May of 2007, Robux have allowed Roblox developers to catalog their Roblox-created items for users to purchase. 

For those interested in the game, it may be helpful to know that there are a variety of ways to gain Robux. You can purchase a premium account with Roblox and receive regular Robux allowances. 

If you happen to be a part of the Builder’s Club, there is a better chance for you to earn Robux in their community. Many of the features in Roblox, including building and playing games, are available for free, but there are extra perks that come along with a Builders Club membership. There is also a variety of affordable options.

Some of the added features in Builders Club include more places to build, a daily Robux stipend, and access to the club’s trading and sales features where you can earn even more Robux. You might even find yourself participating in the club’s DevEx program.

You can also opt to buy Robux on the official page of Roblox. The starter kits for Robux, which include 400, 800 and 2,000 Robux costs $4.95, $9.95, and $24.95 respectively. If you have a bigger budget, then you can access Roblox super value kits which are 4,500, 10,000 and 22,500 Robux. The super value kits costs $49.95, $99.95, and $199.95 respectively.

You might observe that Robux do not come cheap. However, you can always get free Robux by accessing game generators that are available online. Just be sure to find the best and most secured ones.

What the Future Holds

At the end of every year, the entire Roblox team will have an opportunity to explore visionary ideas and present experimental technology in front of the entire company. This is a tradition they affectionately refer to as “Hack Week.” Over the course of five days, Roblox employees shift gears to work tirelessly on a variety of pet projects ranging from mind-boggling engineering achievements to creative process improvement projects.

Roblox have also moved forward with making their creation studio more flexible for developers of any platform. They can now use studio tools — move, scale, and rotate, for example — into a 3D space. Roblox leaders also added a Toolbox User Interface on the bottom of the screen so you can easily insert new objects, like constraints and attachments.

The idea is to show how someone could build any model using these tools without any scripting knowledge whatsoever. Rather than moving the full studio experience on mobile, the engineers wanted to create a scaled down version that would allow developers to create models of anything they could possibly imagine. In the future, you might see a mobile version of Roblox studio where you can create your own game.

In terms of gaming experience, Roblox has also evolved in providing new high-resolution lighting technology. The goal of this research is to revamp Roblox’s ragged, polygonal textures to a more high-definition, high-resolution platform, which can compare with today’s games. In the future, you might be a witness to completely renewed textures in all of Roblox’s game. 

Top 5 Video Editing Software for Starting Video Editors

You probably already have a favorite video editing software in mind when asked which ones work best. Generally, there is a good number of good video editing software out there. Some are better than others in terms of user interface, ease of use, and specific functions that you may need.

To help you out, here are the top five video editing software you might want to check out for your next big project:

Cyberlink PowerDirector

Cyberlink PowerDirector is all about workflow. Its intuitive workflow features and powerful tools are extremely good and really useful for most video editors who give it a try. CyberLink PowerDirector is designed as a miniature post-production studio that handles all phases of filmmaking. Its excellent design and user interface promises satisfaction to any casual or professional video editor.

This software is incredibly easy to use, and each step flows logically. Upon launching the program, you can choose Easy Editor, Express Project, Slideshow Creator, Theme Designer, or Full Feature Editor. The interface is highly adjustable, enabling you to resize the clip bin and timeline frames, and even float the preview window. The drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to move elements around the timeline.

CyberLink PowerDirector also mixes an abundance of features into an enticing interface that novice videographers seek. Other features such as Action Camera Center, Motion Tracking and High-Frame-Rate Video Editing are masterfully made.

Overall, it’s quite a well-balanced suite that isn’t a headache for casual users, or too simple for experts. PowerDirector is easy to use without sacrificing the precision and functionality of its tools. However, the big downfall of PowerDirector is that the software isn’t accessible to Apple’s interface.

Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Of course, there wouldn’t be a list of top video editing software without Adobe Premiere Pro. Adobe is always improvin. Throughout the years, Adobe is adding a lot of features that can help video editors, while still developing its programming so that memory usage can still be optimized. Adobe Premiere Pro CC still remains to be a one size fits all type of video editing program, mixing almost all the tools that you need in one big editing software.

Adobe Premiere is notable for its cool perks. It has clean interface, flexible trimming tools, tons of organization helps, custom markers, ultimate power in video editing, unlimited multi-cam angles, excellent stabilization, and much more. A full, professional-level digital video editing program, Premiere Pro CS6 gets more speed, a simplified UI, and new trimming and color tools.

There are still many additional tools that can be found with Adobe Premiere Pro that are not available with other video editing software. An example would be the Morph Cut. The Morph Cut transition is designed for those times when you’ve shot a talking head but only have one usable camera angle, and not much B-roll for cutaways. So when it’s necessary to reduce the interview length, you either end up with a jump cut or have to use a cross dissolve that is almost as bad.

Another significant adjustment that can be easily done with Adobe Premiere Pro is color management. Adobe acquired IRIDAS’s excellent SpeedGrade four years ago, and it has been part of the Creative Cloud offering since CS6. However, for most basic projects, SpeedGrade is overkill, especially for a quick bit of grading. As such, Adobe has brought technologies from SpeedGrade and Lightroom into Premiere Pro. This is provided via a new Lumetricolour workspace.

Adobe Premiere Pro still packs up a lot of tools – including all the necessary tools that you need for linear and nonlinear editing, as well as additional tools like coloring and special effects tools – while maintaining the ease of usability.

In relation to Adobe Premiere Pro: Adobe Premiere Elements

It’s hard to talk about Adobe Premiere Pro and not talk about Adobe Premiere Elements because this is another video editing software that can mesh well with Adobe Premiere Pro (much like Adobe After Effects).

Premiere Elements differs from other video software because, although it is not a suite, it’s designed to work with companion photo editor Photoshop Elements and an organizer that assembles all media elements in one place for accessing, viewing, and searching.

Launching the video editor lets you import, and then drop clips into a timeline. You can create a quick, template-based movie with Video Story or Instant Movie, or choose from the Guided or Expert tabs that offer a variety of custom features. At the end of the day, Premiere Elements makes newcomers to video editing feel at home.

Sony Vegas Pro

Sony Vegas Pro is quite the gateway to advanced video editing, as it offers almost everything you need, but for a lower price with smaller computer memory usage.

Think about it this way: Sony Vegas Pro dominates the space between basic video-editing software like Windows Movie Maker and professional applications like Adobe Premiere. Sony wins this niche by offering professional tools and functions at a fraction of the competitors’ prices. Plus, the latest version of Vegas Pro 14 adds a good deal of improvements to an already great video editor.

With Vegas Pro, you can edit SD, HD, 2K, and 4K footage in either 2D or stereoscopic 3D. You can sync material from multiple cameras using the multicam feature to add a little perspective to your movies. The celebrated masking abilities of Vegas Pro’s previous version have also been upgraded in Vegas Pro 14, enabling you to refine your editing.

Additionally, it can import and export projects from other video editors, such as Resolve, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, and After Effects. Vegas Pro can also read many file types, whether you get it from raw footage or collected through any video downloader out there.

Incredibly functional but a little too straightforward, Sony Vegas Pro 14 is designed for no-nonsense editors who want to get the job done right – without all those additional shenanigans.  Newcomers can expect an easier learning curve. Sony has found a nice balance between function and price, coming in well ahead of main competitors in value.

Corel VideoStudio Pro

Corel is still in on the competition of multimedia editing software, and their Corel VideoStudio Pro is definitely not a pushover. The software offers a wide selection of fun video-creation tools. With this tool, they sit well enough with the competition of multi-camera editing. VideoStudio’s new multi-camera editing feature lets you load clips shot at the same time from different angles and sync them on an independent time line that also supports picture-in-picture.

If you want a clear and simple interface, you can and should choose this video editing software. VideoStudio is among the most user-friendly video tools available. The drag-and-drop interface and basic edits in the timeline make the app intuitive. You can trim clips within a visual layout and even trim and split clips based on the scrubber position. Also, its easy-to-use motion tracking feature lets you add text, effects, and objects that follow a moving element. Corel VideoStudio also offers support for 4K Ultra HD and 3D media.

As for their multi-cam editor, it has six cameras instead of four. The Ultimate version of VideoStudio also offers some special effects packages that are not available in the basic version, and additional import support for the MXF (XAVC) format.

Despite its many sophisticated features, Corel VideoStudio X9 is dead-simple to use and surely an enjoyable experience. Features like multi-cam editing and motion tracking are great for people who want to advance and refine their projects. VideoStudio works with Windows 7 or higher, but it doesn’t work with Mac.

Changing the Game: How PS4 Came to Be

In the gaming industry, the Sony PlayStation is one of the benchmarks for any kind of console there is today. Almost everybody had a PlayStation in their homes at one point, enjoying that unrivaled gaming action only the PlayStation can offer.

Some might think that playing games are for kids, but a large part of the PlayStation gamer demographic is made up of adults.

Sony’s primary gaming console has a level of allure that even people not of a typical gamer age can still appreciate. Now that the company has released its 4th offering of the popular console, the PlayStation 4 has amped Sony’s reputation once more.

While the PS4 is skyrocketing in terms of demands from its release late in 2013, it comes as no surprise because the console does not disappoint. They carry game titles that just leave enthusiasts in awe. One can enjoy the adrenaline of Electronic Arts’ first-person shooter classic Battlefield 1 in flawless fashion. When players feel a little more artsy and adventurous, the single-player player 2D game Night In the Woods can surely satisfy.

All in all, the PS4 is without a doubt one of the best gaming devices in the market today. Then again, important questions now arise – How did Sony do it in the first place? What are the things the company changed or added to the previous model in order to bring out this masterful product?

Dive in on the console’s history, its new technologies, what’s next for this gaming line. Let’s talk about changing the game one system at a the time, and how the PlayStation 4 came to be.

Good Old Days

Before the better days of the PlayStation 4, there existed three others that came before it. PlayStation or PS1 was the first console by Sony to enter the gaming market. It was the most successful console of its time and the first to use the disc-based medium to deliver games. Back then, graphics had evolved tremendously since the earlier years of gaming. PS1 went ahead of its time as it introduced 3D Games that offered a unique playable environment to the gaming community. Often times, the PS1 was regarded as high class and perfect for hardcore gamers because of how it redefined gaming in practically every aspect.

In 2000, Sony released the new generation of PlayStation, the PS2, a full year before Nintendo’s GameCube and Microsoft’s Xbox, the other “sixth generation” consoles, reached the market. The PS2 success was immediate: 980,000 units were sold in one day in Japan. One of the main drivers of the PS2 success, and again related to indirect network effects, was its “backwards” compatibility. This new console was compatible with the original PlayStation titles, giving PlayStation users a huge library of titles. They could use their old games from the PS with the PS2 without any additional investment. This gave this new console a great advantage over its competitors by reducing users switching costs from PS to PS2 over a GameCube or Xbox.

PlayStation 3 or PS3 was Sony’s response to the seventh-generation of gaming consoles. It faced numerous hiccups following its initial launch. Users felt console was too expensive and the architecture to program its games and system offered too much of a challenge for developers. These problems overshadowed PS3 and gave its competitor a reason to enjoy better looking multi-platform titles. Later on in its lifecycle, PS3 did pick up and took the world over with Sony’s first-party studios coming out with magnificent games.

Games and More

While the reinvention of consoles brought about a wave of new graphics-heavy games, companies in the gaming console industry recognized that the more games their consoles can cater to, the larger their market could be. It was the primary target for PlayStation after PS1’s remarkable start.

The PlayStation 2 proved to be one of the greatest systems of all time. When it comes to games, it was better than both its predecessor and its successor in almost every single way. The console ran the popular Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in the most gangster way possible. In the same way, the artful Sony game Shadow of the Colossus received its best compliments because of its introduction on PS2.

Another game that sparked great interest from the gaming community is Kingdom Hearts. Kingdom Hearts is a series of action role-playing games developed and published by Square Enix under the direction of Tetsuya Nomura in collaboration with Disney. With the unique developer team-up, the game proved to be a pinnacle of the PS2 era, selling 20 million copies worldwide.

Fast forward to 2006, the PS3 made its debut to follow the footsteps of the PS2 rampage. It offered an array of breathtaking games, but with integrated entertainment system. It boasted incredible high definition Blu-ray Disc movies, favorite catch-up TV shows, and chart-topping music which was relatively new to consoles at the time. It ran the renowned game The Last of Us, which stands tall as the definitive PlayStation game. It encompassed everything that makes this medium special by marrying intense stealth combat with a heart-wrenching story, featuring unforgettable characters struggling to survive a harsh world.

The artistic beauty and human emotion of the game Journey also highlighted PS3’s reputation. Journey provided players with a short, but unforgettable adventure. The beautiful world, unforgettable score, and genius use of anonymous multiplayer made it not only one of the best games of 2012, but one of the most memorable experiences of this past generation.

Technology of the New

PlayStation 4 is the culmination of Sony’s entire popular gaming console collection. As a goal to reinvent gaming on a whole new level, the company started creating a platform that is as high-powered as possible, giving users the ability to run games as smoothly as they can. Moving away from the more complex cell microarchitecture of its predecessor, the console features an AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) built upon the x86-64 architecture which can theoretically peak at 1.84 teraflops. It has integrated Quadcore SteamRoller CPU which can peak at 3GHz, with an 8GB RAM and 1GB Video RAM.

The company has then introduced the PSN codes. PSN codes are like virtual currency that can be used instead of credit cards or physical money to purchase Playstation Games. What’s amazing is that often, websites offer free PSN codes for visitors. With PSN codes, one can buy various expansions or other downloadable content. This has allowed more flexibility in enjoying the PlayStation experience around the world.

Generally, the company was able to recognize that the reputation of the PS is not only dependent on its structure. They had to play around with the trend. As such, the company increased emphasis on social interaction and integration with other devices and services. It eventually included the ability to play games off-console on PlayStation Vita and supported Sony Xperia mobile devices (“Remote Play”), the ability to stream gameplay online or with friends, allowing them to control gameplay remotely (“Share Play”).

In addition to PS4’s integrations, the company itself innovated as it added the My PlayStation feature to its site, giving users the access to profiles, trophies, friends, and more. The PlayStation Network allowed people to use their funds to buy games, purchase Sony products, and manage their overall PS experience.

Is Deleted Content on Your Smartphone Gone for Good?

phonecourt

Mobile phone innovation is as intense as it’s ever been, and there are no signs of it slowing down. Their continued evolution has transformed them into mini-computers that have completely changed user habits – be it for work, shopping, entertainment or other aspects of our lives. The ever-increasing use of these smartphones means they’ll handle nearly as much data as our normal desktop and laptop computers do. And it’s in that – data – where the real value lies for the consumer.

Importance of Smartphone Data

Sure, the actual handset itself with up-to-date camera functionalities and internal processors make it an expensive piece of kit. But when it comes to damaging or losing a phone, most users will tell you it’s the content stored within the device which causes the most concern. Be it for emotional, convenience or privacy reasons, they dread the idea of losing that data.

So with that in consideration, have you ever wondered how data is treated when it’s deleted? With no visible recycling bin, is it even possible to retrieve messages, photos, calendar entries and call history? Or does deleted content get permanently deleted? Well, to serve your curiosity – especially if you’re thinking of recovering content – read on to see just how smartphones handle the data they store.

How is data saved?

Smartphones store information using flash memory – a storage medium that allows data to be retained without the need for a power supply. It’s a non-volatile method of storing data that can be electronically erased and reprogrammed. This makes flash memory ideal for digital cameras, portable storage devices and smartphones.

Depending on the make and manufacturer, a smartphone will store data in different ways. iPhones, for example, are known to provide only built-in internal memories for their handsets. Android phones are more flexible and, in addition to the internal memory of the device, will give users the option of expandable memory through micro SD cards. Both, however, offer the convenience of cloud storage – the ability to save and back up data to an online source.

How is data deleted?

Although there are many ways to break a smartphone, here are the three most commont:

  • Physical damage – be it an accidental drop or some water damage, the memory chip within the handset can stop functioning properly if the circuit board has failed or various components have worn out.
  • System errors – corrupt / incorrect file formats or malicious apps can break links in file structures, making some data inaccessible or not displaying correctly. Although these broken files may not appear to be recorded or recognised by your phone’s system, they do still exist in the memory.
  • Manual deletion – when you choose to delete a file, the operating system simply marks that location as being available for something else to save in its place. The actual file itself is not permanently wiped. Instead, the path to the file is removed and the data (all of the ones and zeros that make up the file) is shredded into an unreadable format.

Is Smartphone Data Recoverable?

Normally on a computer or any other storage device, the ghost of the deleted file will remain there until the computer has no option but to overwrite it. So if you already have 500mb of spare space, your computer will opt to save new files in those previously unused locations. The space where your deleted file is sitting remains reasonably safe, and it’s for this reason that recently deleted files are easier to recover than old ones.

How data recovery software works

Smartphone recovery works much in the same way. Their NAND flash memory disks are designed so that re-writes are minimized. And as mentioned above, NAND simply treats deleted data as a spare spot for future data to be put in its place. This swift method of deletion takes up less resources and allows users to recover files they otherwise thought were entirely deleted.

A specialist data recovery software attempts to rediscover the path to the previously saved file, and then re-constructs the fragments of the broken data into a readable format once again. These programs have enhanced in recent years and are able to recover files of almost any type and size – messages, photos, videos, contacts, etc.

So despite what you may have thought previously, smartphone data is very much recoverable and not always deleted for good. There are many solutions on the market in helping you retrieve lost content, and none of them require you to seek the help of a professional. Trial any available free software to see what’s possible.

As NY Tech Booms, Millennials Turn to Coding for a Career Change

Bored with your cushy job in corporate America? You’re not alone. Over the past eight years more and more people are growing tired of their jobs working at large corporations, Wall Street banks, and consulting firms and are moving into more creative and technical careers. These careers like graphic design, content creation, web development and software development have become some of the most popular post 2008 recession careers in New York. Economists have attributed New York’s impressive rebound, 14% increase in wage growth, after the 2008 financial collapse to the job growth in these more diverse technical and creative careers. Those same economists feel that New York has a stronger economy because of the diversity of its occupations.

While the United States has recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, the tech industry has been building a job machine that many believe can help solve the high unemployment issue facing the youth of today. This job machine is called the coding boot camp industry and the emergence of the coding boot camp has resulted in 1000’s of ex-accountants, bankers, architects, doctors, and even students fresh out of school, becoming qualified, and highly desired, developers.

(Via Course Report)

According to a 2016 study by CourseReport, almost 18,000 students will graduate from coding boot camps in 2016; that’s up from just over 10,000 in 2015. What’s more impressive than how many students these boot camps graduate is what these students have done post graduation. Success is not guaranteed from just attending a camp. However, top schools like Flatiron, Bloc.io, and Dev Bootcamp boast a nearly perfect placement rate after just 120 days. Nationally, reputable schools place 89% of their graduates within 120 days of graduation.

We should note that these graduates don’t come out of boot camp in the poor house. Graduates increase their salary by an average of 40% post camp. Not too bad for a 12-week course.

Why Coding School?

So why on earth have coding boot camps become so popular you ask? It’s simple supply and demand. Corporations and startups alike find themselves searching for more and more web development talent as their operations continue to shift into the digital landscape. Demand for web developers across the United States will grow by an average of 27% by 2024.

Along with the high demand for talent comes some of the most attractive compensation packages available for entry level positions today. Six figure salaries, the ability to work from home or work completely remote, and accelerated career paths are just some of the perks that companies are offering graduates to entice them to bring their talents to their businesses.

On the supply side, Coding schools have become increasingly popular with aspiring developers because of the inexpensive total cost of attendance, quality of teachings, fast pace, and the vast network these schools provide for graduates.

Unlike self-study, coding boot camps give students a support system, structured environment, and a network to lean on when they are searching for their dream jobs.

Along with these positives comes a few negatives. If you have your heart set on becoming a developer, these courses can be a great investment, but also a costly one. Most boot camps require a full-time commitment. That means no more day job while you pay off the tuition of as much as $25,000 to attend camp.

So… Where do I apply?

If you hope to continue working (or having a life in general) while you learn development, coding boot camp might not be the perfect option. However, if you are bold enough to take the plunge, you’ll have some homework to do to ensure you’re attending the right boot camp for you. To start your search, begin by asking these questions:

  1. Which Language Do I Want to Learn?

There are different coding schools for various types of development. Want to learn iOS? Check out Turntotech. More interested in Ruby? App Academy is probably going to be a better choice for you. Be sure to think thoroughly through your goals and what type of developer you’d like to be before deciding on a school.

  1. What are My Professional Goals?

Students join coding boot camps for a variety of reasons. Some are looking for jobs in development while others are hoping to launch their own startups. Schools like Starter School tend to be more for the perspective founder, while schools like Dev Bootcamp, are more intended for those looking to grab a job post graduation. Your career objectives should also be a consideration when deciding what coding boot camp to attend.

  1. How much can I afford to spend on tuition

This one is a biggie because many of these boot camps are far from cheap. Bootcamps can range from $0 (with stipulations) to more than $25,000. Be mindful of your price range and ensure you choose the best school within your price range.

  1. Where Should I Attend a Coding Boot Camp?

There are tons of great camps right here in New York! However, there are more and more camps popping up across the United States.

  1. What is My Own Coding Background?

To gain admission to many top schools, you must prove that you have some degree of a coding background. It’s becoming increasingly important, to be honest with yourself, and admissions, about your coding experience.

If you don’t have experience with development at all, you can quickly gain a baseline understanding of HTML, CSS, Ruby, and other programming languages with online platforms like Tree Leaf.

**Now where’s my 6-figure job?**

So you’ve attended boot camp, and now you’re a rockstar developer. So what’s next?

The job hunt begins before you graduate as schools prep you for interviews, and many have career fairs for every cohort. The boot camps will set you up well for interviews and will get you in front of companies, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to put in some hustle.

According to Jake Hadden, co-founder of Digital Crafts, students should:

“Perfect your GitHub Profile – Revisit all your repos to ensure you’ve implemented best practices in your code. Commenting, indenting, and including a Readme File are three easy ways to set yourself apart (refer to Shawn’s post from HR on more specifics regarding your GitHub activity). In my opinion, GitHub is most helpful in helping a student secure an interview. That said, make sure you can walk an employer through each repo/project just in case!

Build your Portfolio (as early as possible!) – Students should challenge themselves to build a portfolio showcasing their skills, personalities, and writing ability as soon as they can while in class. Don’t wait until the last week of class or after graduation to build your portfolio! Take advantage of the network you have in class as well as your teacher to perfect your portfolio. Your portfolio should include at least 3 to 5 projects you’ve contributed to as well as 1 to 2 projects you’ve built on your own as your final project in school or as a freelance project you’ve been hired to complete.

Master the Interview – At DigitalCrafts, we include a few activities within our curriculum to help our students prepare for the interview process, and I would encourage any student to include these items in their preparation process.

Deciding to go to coding boot camp isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. It’s a huge commitment of both your finances and your time, so be sure to consider all options carefully. If you do choose to join a camp, check out the list of NY-based camps below.

Fullstack Academy

The Flatiron School

Startup Institute

App Academy

Dev Bootcamp

General Assembly

Anyone Can Learn to Code

Brainstation

Byte Academy

Grace Hopper Academy

Make School

The New York Code + Design Academy

Turn to Tech

The History, Importance and Benefits of Help Desk Solutions

In today’s extremely fast-paced business environment, even seemingly straightforward tasks like maintaining customer relations needs to be optimized for speed. In some companies, its customer support center may consist of just one or two people who answer the phones and handle all incoming problems. Of course, call volumes and customer expectations often exceed what the staff is able to deal with – ergo, the advent of automation of customer support through help desk software.

lady-on-chat-service

Technically speaking, a help desk software is a resource designed for consumers to contact a company when they are having problems with the product or services provided by that company. Help desks institute a multi-tiered troubleshooting approach by having personnel with extensive technical knowledge available. In layman’s terms, help desk software is a system that automates the management of customer support.

In the typical scenario of the past, a customer sends a support inquiry via email, never knowing what to expect or if they will receive any acknowledgment response at all. Perhaps, they try to get help by phone, only to end up being put on hold and shuffled through different agents. This wastes the time of both the company and the customer.

In some cases, when this process is disrupted, customers are left frustrated while the image of the business suffers a crucial blow. Problems like these are why help desk software was invented.

History of Help Desk Software

Before the era of telephone or computers, businesses mostly relied on face-to-face interaction to resolve customer issues. This meant that the customer had to visit a company’s store or office with the product to get their problem solved. With the invention of the telephone in 1876, and the telephone switchboard in the 1890s, customers began to have the option of calling the company about their problem.

The advent of the telephone increased customer support productivity, but it still had a long way to go. In the 20th century, companies started making use of equipment like dictation machines, typewriters, and dumb terminals with access to a mainframe computer to address customer issues.

phone-lines

Companies then started to set up call centers and train designated staff to receive and handle customer inquiries in an organized and efficient manner. When the technology of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) came, it was a huge boost to the nature of telephone customer service – which helped customers to perform basic transactions and receive assistance without even talking to an agent.

Still, this required companies to dedicate many employees and much more infrastructure to execute their customer service efficiently.

The 1990s saw the advent of the internet, email, and live chat. This development enabled US companies to outsource their help desk to low labor-cost countries like India and the Philippines.

woman-at-computer

The improvements in technology and infrastructure and the presence of an educated workforce in these countries who could articulately speak with international customers over the phone were the main reasons for the boom in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry which started in the late 1990s.

The next thing that happened when BPOs blossomed simultaneously with both communications technologies and software development was the grand entrance of help desk software. In the 2000s, companies started to use help desk software widely. Help desk software providers also started to pop up – like the early Manageengine.com, www.VisionHelpdesk.com, http://www.Jitbit.com/helpdesk. As the years went by, advancements and other offered features began to grow.

This decade also witnessed the growing popularity of social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. The meteoric rise of social media platforms in 2008 onwards resulted in a new level of engagement and interaction between companies and customers.

Customers are now using tools such as Facebook and Twitter to provide feedback on products and services, with customer support staff quickly responding to their inquiries or questions. Recently, companies have also started using remote desktop software to access customers’ computers to find out details about the issue before suggesting a correct resolution.

Why Help Desk Software is Important for Companies

Companies always compete with each other – and when their product or service features are deadlocked with their competitors, customers tend to favor the company that has the better customer support system.

In the current competitive era, earning customer satisfaction is the primary goal of any business enterprise and organization. It is a well-known fact that happy and satisfied customers can help business organizations unlock greater revenue opportunities, and make them stand far above their competitors. Quality customer satisfaction can also help in strengthening the brand image, which further influences customer loyalty.

man-working

Having a quality help desk software helps companies deal with customer support in the most efficient manner. Help desk software automates much of the customer support system.

As a start, the software pulls customer support emails from an email ID and lists them in a single place. This is part of the process is called Ticket Management, where a customer can file a “ticket” that will be received and read by a tech professional – or even just a program that’s carefully designed to manage tickets. It allows a help desk executive to answer calls from customers and log them easily.

The next step is now for a help desk coordinator to ensure that questions from customers are redirected to employees who’re capable of answering them satisfactorily. The automation program that the help desk software developer coded can iron out various company issues. It enables the coordinator to get notifications when a support executive hasn’t responded to a ticket, or when a ticket has been left unresolved for a significant (and professionally unacceptable) length of time

Finally, information about the ticket and the customer can now be read by managers, tech support, customer support, or other personnel. The thing is, all tickets are already sorted, organized, or even fixed even before they reach this end of the Customer Support system. As such, companies can deal with customer support concerns faster, more efficiently, and more effectively.

The Perks and Benefits of Help Desk Software

A help desk management solution functions as a one-stop solution for all customer support, queries, requests, complaints and assistance needs. It empowers a customer support team to handle all customer complaints and requests from one place without any hassle.

happy-man

Help desk software also helps to create more efficient monitoring & tracking. Companies can efficiently monitor and track the current status of any complaint or service request raised by a customer using an advanced help desk management solution. As such, it allows companies to have a constant watchful eye on the complete problem resolution cycle, starting from the time of its registration to the final resolution.

Improved customer relationships come with the effective use of help desk software; by providing top-quality customer support and assistance, (due to improved efficiency and quickness) your business can earn quality customer satisfaction without any complications. It also further allows companies to maintain healthy and profitable relationships with new and existing customers.

Any advanced help desk management solution also simplifies various complex and time-consuming day-to-day processes. This allows for better problem resolution and timing as it enables customer support teams to save crucial time and effort spent on handling customer complaints and requests. Minimizing total time spent on resolving a problem is always a result of a simplified system – one that can be provided by help desk software.

Finally, an advanced help desk management solution allows businesses to improve the quality of assistance and support provided to the customers. With various tools and features, companies can assure their customers will be able to get complete and accurate assistance with all their problems and questions in mind.

How Help Desk Software Directly Helps Companies

Help Desk Software has ushered in an era where companies have a chance to be more efficient and effective with their customer support systems. It is exactly as its name implies: software that acts as a virtual help desk.

Help Desk Software: The Basics

Technically, a Help Desk, in the context of Information Technology (IT), is a department inside an organization that is responsible for answering the technical questions of its users. Most major companies have set up help desk software to respond to questions from their customers.

help-desk-agents-working

The company’s response to their clients’ concerns is usually transferred using email, telephone, website, or online chat. This is done through a “ticketing” system – customers submit a ticket, whether it’s a simple inquiry or an actual satisfaction report, and the software ”decides” where the ticket should be submitted to. Then, the appropriate team members try to solve the problem, and eventually respond to the ticket with their recommended solutions.

Additionally, there are internal Help Desks aimed at offering the same form of help, but only for the employees within the organization.

office

Furthermore, a  helpdesk ticketing system has the ability to assist customers with technical problems, such as installing and using computer systems, troubleshooting network connections, installing entertainment systems and resetting passwords.

For example, Help Desks at financial institutions may assist customers with online banking and trading, while those at cable companies may troubleshoot audio and video problems. A small business usually has a single centralized help desk, while a large company may have several interconnected.

Then again, if you own a company or a business enterprise, why would you bother to implement a Help Desk solution? Why not just hire additional employees for tech-support or set up a deal with a call center agency?

There are many different reasons, making help desk software’s far and above the best solution for scaling your customer support.

Customer Satisfaction

The main advantage of help desk software – and its primary goal as a part of a customer support system – is to improve customer satisfaction. Companies provide products or services to customers, by either offering the lowest price or the best product or service. However, when the competition between companies comes to a point of near deadlock, customers begin to seek other invaluable features or bonuses to aid them in their decision of what service or product to choose. Customer support is definitely an invaluable feature that customers pay attention to; and if your company’s customer support service is good, customers will surely favor your company over others.

lady-working

Furthermore, customers know exactly where to go for information because the contact information is clearly visible on product brochures and company websites. Some companies outsource their help desk services to offshore companies. However, studies suggest that this strategy may not work if customers begin to experience poor service, such as long wait times and poorly trained staff. Since Help Desk solutions are generally automated and process customer questions much faster, they have the upper hand.

Customizability

Help desk software is always flexible. Different types of companies have their own needs, and different types of customers always have their own unique requirements. A customer for a telecommunication company may prefer a fully-digitized customer support area while a customer for a food box delivery subscription might just want to be talking to a human at some point. When it comes to ensuring both customer satisfaction and a company’s ease of use, help desk software can easily adjust.

Help Desk Software is also extremely customizable on the micro-level. For example, ticketing systems can be modified in such a manner that it requires a lot of details. A company can choose to have its help desk software include custom fields such as department, building location, floor number, and customer preference – virtually anything is possible! This creates more ways to serve customers or easier ways for employees to narrow down ticket solutions.

Quality Improvement

Help desks can contribute to the improvement of the quality of a company’s products or services. When customers call a help desk, specialists typically fill out problem reports describing the call. Companies can use software to tabulate and track these reports from initiation to resolution. Since these reports can be tracked and recorded, the information you can get from trends and data can obviously help immensely in your company’s quality improvement procedures.

man-at-computer

Developers and project managers can review these problem reports and begin to implement improvements to their product or service. If several customers call with the same problem, the help desk might alert quality control and possibly senior management so that the company can fix the problem quickly.

Improved Process Efficiency

A help desk is typically a one-stop-shop for the whole of a company’s customer support system. Most help desk systems include a holistic platform that provides a single place for users – be it the customer or the tech professional – to create tickets, view the status of open issues, and close out tickets once they’re resolved. A portal can also be used to relay important information to users, such as announcements or press releases. All this can aid a lot in making processes much faster and more productive.

A central help desk department also means customer support calls or tickets come to the same people. This enables staff members to build on their skills and become experts in several technical areas, which in turn leads to faster problem resolution in the future.

Since Help Desks are often part of corporate information technology departments, they have a direct effect on the enhancement of process efficiency. For example, if a customer needs help using a particular software function, the help desk specialist could ask his software designer colleague for clarification. As a result, the customer’s concerns are addressed promptly, the specialist adds to his knowledge base and the software designer finds out how customers are using their product. Help desk employees can share technical information, which enables them to learn from one another and resolve problems faster.

Convenience

Customers have different preferences as it relates to how they interact with customer support representatives – some customers would prefer email while younger generations may be more inclined to use social media.

Using a help desk software solution that can accommodate these preferences demonstrates to your customers that you truly care about them and want to make the support process as easy and painless as possible. This helps foster good customer relationships, which in turn can boost company growth.

chat-agent

Satisfactory response from consumers can lead to better customer interaction, which ultimately leads to the increased satisfaction of customers. Customers tend to invest more in organization that values customer satisfaction. In turn, this can greatly and dramatically improve the rate of income for your business.

Time Saver

Help desk software which has a simplified and quick implementation equates to your IT team spending less time and effort in making the tool work or answering a complaint. IT professionals, in turn, waste less time on unnecessary manual processes, freeing up valuable time for more important work.

Your help desk acts as your primary tool for customer requests. Keeping this system up and running and ready to respond rapidly to customer issues is critical to establish confidence in your IT department’s capabilities. As such, maximizing the contribution of the IT department can help make a successful business.

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One final note: downtime or bugs within the customer support system can also hurt productivity rates and ultimately reduce system effectiveness. Thus, it is vital to ensure you use only a high-quality help desk solution since they have reduced downtime, a huge factor in quality management when client-related engagements are on the line.

Help Desk Software 101: What it is And How it Can Help Your Business

Since its inception, help desk software has made huge strides in improving customer support for both companies and their consumers. Now, with the addition of recent advancements, help desks have become far better and more efficient to use.

Help desk software is a resource designed for the users of virtually any product to contact companies when they are having problems with their service. Typically, help desks aim to institute a multi-tiered troubleshooting approach – this can be mainly done by having personnel with extensive technical knowledge available to answer consumer questions.

tech-support

Generally, helpdesk software consists of at least three main parts: Ticket Management,  an Automation Suite, and Reporting & Optimization. In order to actually consider software a quality Help Desk software, it should be masterful in all these aspects. Together, these three functions essentially form the crux of a helpdesk operation.

Implementation of this multi-tiered support varies widely within companies. In one company, it may be one person with a wealth of knowledge carrying a cell phone. It may also be several people who perform some of the support in house and several people from another company that are contracted for additional support. In still another company, it may be a multitude of people within their own company performing all levels of support. The approach might be different, but the idea is always pretty much the same.

How It Basically Works

Help Desk software’s work starts and is hinged on how it is able to pull customer emails from their initial email and organize them in a single place. This is how “Ticket Management” basically works. It allows a help desk executive to answer calls and emails from customers and log them easily as individual “tickets”. It also allows customer support executives to listen and respond to customer feedback on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.

help-desk-dashboard

The Automation Suite, meanwhile, allows a help desk coordinator to ensure that questions from customers are redirected to employees who are capable of answering them satisfactorily. This is the next step that most help desk software follows. It enables the coordinator to get notifications when a support executive hasn’t responded to a ticket, or when a ticket is taking too long to get resolved, among other several possible cases.

Lastly, the Reporting and Optimization section constitutes the most important function of customer service: it pulls and assembles pertinent information about all the critical aspects of the helpdesk. Managers and leaders can then understand service elements such as load on the helpdesk team, turnaround time & resolution rate of each executive, etc. Metrics like these give managers a quick perspective on how things are faring and allows them to make changes for the better.

The Standards Help Desk Software Should Implement

The most strategic method of implementing Help Desk is to follow the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices. A Help Desk must include the following if it wants to be credited for best practices:

  • Single point of contact (SPOC) for IT interruptions
  • Computer or Software consultations
  • Tracking capabilities of all incoming problems
  • Problem escalation procedures
  • Problem resolution

The following are listed as best practices for Help Desk. These are all outlined in the Service Management best practices section of ITIL version 3:

  • Knowledge Management – A Help Desk should have a system that improves operational efficiency by reducing the time spent to rediscover previous incidents or problems.
  • Problem Management – A Help Desk should have a system that gathers information during incident management to help spot problems.  This system identifies the root cause of frequent recurring incidents by capturing information in a knowledge base.
  • Access Management – A Help Desk should act as the keepers of the user accounts along with password resets.  Single ownership by the Help Desk ensures quicker response time for end users with user or password problems.
  • Service Catalog – A Help Desk should have a published service catalog, ideally with pricing information included and with detailed service descriptions.

The Benefits of Implementing Help Desk Software

A Help Desk system is all about ease of use. At its best, a Help Desk software automates an issue resolution workflow, centralizes information, and keeps everyone in-the-know with email alerts.

Instead of having to track down or phone-call someone from tech support to get help, consumers can simply submit a ticket to the helpdesk team through email or a website-based form. The help desk software can then receive, log, and assign issues to the appropriate help desk technicians automatically, making the process more convenient for all parties involved.

support-agent

Not only do help desks streamline communication, they also keep detailed records of all submitted issues, making it easier to track updates and report on what work has been done.

Aside from its main function, there are other ways on how Help Desk software can help a company, even in the littlest of ways:

  •         Efficiency in working: Because employees can easily submit issues and get their tech issues fixed faster, everyone can spend more time being productive because of the time Help Desk software saves. IT professionals also waste less time on unnecessary manual processes, freeing up valuable time for more important work.
  •         Customize to meet needs: At the entry-level tier, a Help Desk ticket should include a title and description of each issue. For more detailed information and better categorization, a company can opt its Help Desk software to include custom fields such as department, building location, floor number, and customer preference – virtually any customization requirement is possible. This creates more ways to serve customers and easier ways for employees to narrow down ticket solutions.
  •         Help Desk, a One-stop Shop: Most help desk systems include a user portal that provides a single place for users to create tickets, view the status of open issues, and close out tickets once they’re resolved. A portal can also be used to relay important information to users (such as planned downtime), which can reduce unnecessary tickets.
  •         More control and more accuracy in due date management: Setting, tracking, and communicating changes to issue due dates are easy with a help desk. This would be extremely useful – and unfathomably more efficient – for both the IT professional addressing the issue and the employee who submitted it. Due dates can be automatically or manually assigned, and help desk technicians can sort tickets based on date projects need to be completed.
  •         Multitasking anywhere, anytime: Help Desk systems allow IT professionals to be able to quickly and more easily categorize and prioritize issues. As a result, IT professionals can schedule and sequence much better as they consider which issues to prioritize. As such, a tech might want to handle multiple similar issues in a single trip from the server room, making better use of their time.
  •         Improving Workflow by Trend Analysis: Because help desks can help track metrics such as average time spent resolving tickets, IT managers can run detailed reports to discover trends. For example, if a certain tech is very good at a specific task, management might want to give all related tickets to them for maximum efficiency.
  • Help Desk assignment Automation: The advanced and top-notch help desk software can analyze tickets and automatically assign issues based on specific criteria. For instance, department leads can send all hardware issues to Employee A (who happens to be the superior hardware expert) and all software issues to Employee B (who specializes in software solutions).

5 Top-rated CMS’s to Power Your Online Hub

When you’re on the internet, do you ever wonder how site administrators maintain their web pages and keep those sites all pretty, responsive and updated with the latest content? Thanks to the rising popularity of content management systems (CMS’s), a lot of the upkeep has been simplified and made much easier.

A CMS is a type of software that enables the site administrators to create and modify digital content using a user-friendly interface to publish online content and data. With a wide array of features, most of the content management systems usually include web-based publishing, format management, history editing, indexing, and automatic data retrieval.

brainstorming

If you are planning to establish your own website that is focused on content, the best way for you to achieve this is to opt for a content management system. To have a unique website developed without a definite budget for maintenance can jeopardize your business operations sooner or later. The good news is that CMSs nowadays are open-sourced, easily managed, and even offered for free.

A report from the W3Techs content system management website reveals that the top three leading CMS of today are responsible for at least 70% of all the CMS usage on websites from across the World Wide Web.

Start-up entrepreneurs, multimedia artists, creative writers, food and video bloggers are among those who have discovered the ease of having and maintaining a wonderful website. It is all about the readily available CMS that is used with practically every website. Plus, these CMS’s do not require you to pull out a big amount of money from your pocket just to have a customizable and reliable content platform of your own.

In the world of e-commerce, e-business owners can face the challenge of looking for a good shopping cart platform that matches your familiarity with programming languages and your business model. If you are trying to have a start-up online store, you most likely have faced this dilemma.

To help you in your quest in building a better website, below are five of the most popular content management systems and how they fare in expanding the virtual network of today.

WordPress

wordpress

Considered one of the most popular among all the content management systems of today, WordPress has become a household name in the cyber universe and to website developers. In fact, most of the websites you see online are powered by WordPress to help content managers and site administrators to publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content – from articles and tutorials, to photos, videos, stories, and much more.

Aside from WordPress being a user-friendly and easy-to-learn platform, it also is highly flexible for beginners and experienced users alike. The public plugin repository has an estimated 40,000+ free plugins available for download, while the public WordPress theme database has over 2,100+ styles to choose from.

It operates using the PHP programming language and supports MySQL and MariaDB database platforms which make it a standard for a website that has both function and aesthetics. Also, this is why the content system management market ranging from start-up businesses to mobile applications have relied on WordPress for their websites.

Furthermore, aside from having a wide array of themes to choose from and design flexibility, WordPress is also secure, reliable and easy to work with. If you want a site for e-commerce, business, portfolio, community, or an organization that can be easily managed, WordPress might be the way to go.

Joomla!

joomla

Joomla! is another hot content management system in the market today. However, it is for those who are more knowledgeable in programming languages and are up for a bit of a challenge. It uses PHP programming language and supports MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSSQL, and SQLite databases.

Although the code base of Joomla! is rather sophisticated and complex compared to that of WordPress, it has also built medium to large scale websites that are live today. On the brighter side, Joomla! offers more scalability and more back-end integration than other current content management systems.

It is the second most used content management system platform after WordPress. Joomla! is in the middle ground in terms of ease of management as it allows non-technology savvy administrators to still manage the site effectively without that much technical assistance.

Users of Joomla! love the platform because of its native front-end content editing, content management flexibility, and a native integration of multiple languages which makes the Joomla!-powered sites more user-friendly to site visitors of different races.

Shopify

shopify

When it comes to e-commerce websites, Shopify is one of the most popular CMS’s. For an online shopping platform, it provides everything with an easy access setup and a handy dashboard area for quickly adding products, customizing the look of your site, and more.

Also, if you plan to move in from another platform, Shopify provides you a hassle-free process to import your products and content from your store powered by a different platform. More advanced web developers can also gain access to the CSS and HTML files so that they can personalize their websites more.

According to a review of Shopify, the platform also offers easy scalability. This allows e-commerce businessmen to list a huge portfolio of products that could offer top end packages and offers. Also, it is also capable of adding apps to the e-commerce store itself like customer reviews, live chat, and many more.

In addition, the platform’s backend is just as impressive as it offers a feature-rich interface that helps the administrator to manage the site effectively. All the items in stock can be tracked, and offline and online inventories are well taken care of.

Bigcommerce

bigcommerce

If you want a beautiful and highly intuitive e-commerce website, Bigcommerce is the platform to choose. It allows the developers to create and maintain a gorgeous website that gets results using unique themes and advanced customization framework to help business owners to establish their brand and entice online customers.

Bigcommerce’s intuitive front end editor allows you to customize the appearance of the website without the need to do any coding. However, developers also have the option to experiment with the platform’s theme framework to build a totally personalized online store using HTML, CSS, and other coding languages. However, if you are not that well-versed with coding, BigCommerce offers more than 100 responsive templates to choose from.

The platform has a network of more than 2,000 web designers and developers worldwide who can help businessmen build their dream online store. Their team has undergone rigorous training to be certified experts. Partners like Groove, Indaba and IntuitSolutions have built ecommerce sites for some of the world’s most successful brands.

Volusion

volusion

Volusion is also an effective platform for you to establish an online shopping market. The thing is that that unlike Shopify, it provides you with a clean dashboard with minimal elements.

The problem is that when you want to change the layout and design of the pages, coding is a requirement. This is why when deciding to go for Volusion, you must be comfortable with coding in HTML and CSS in order to personalize the templates according to your preference.

As far as its interface is concerned, they offer 28 free and readily-available themes while there are 88 templates that can be purchased. The designs are clean and organized for the modern entrepreneur.

The front end of Volusion is easy to navigate since all the themes are responsive. Mobile commerce is already included for selling on an app. Also, social media tools and automatic tax rates generate interaction and easy checkouts. On the other hand, its backend now offers a primary dashboard menu that includes tabs to easily access orders, marketing, customer profiles, inventory, design, and reports.

The Modern Language: What You Need To Know About Software

Man has advanced with its technology far enough to a point where it has reinvented himself beyond what was thought as impossible.

The 21st century is a witness to how people live and breathe in a world that is practically run by automated, efficiently multitasking and highly adaptable machines. These computing machines, more aptly termed computers, have evolved together with mankind as to how it “thinks and acts” in solving man’s problems.

As such, computer programmers and engineers need to create the most versatile and most reliable software to match the growing requirements of the society. This gives rise to the question – how does software make a computer the staple machine in every home, school, and office?

An illustration of new technologies.

The Rise of Software

In simple terms, software refers to a computer program or set of data that are stored electronically and is used to perform virtually any task on a computer machine. Its applications range from the development of popular mobile games and basic office encoding purposes, to highly sophisticated cloud security protocol and launching of exploration teams into space.

With the unlimited potential of become anything a programmer chooses it to accomplish, software development has become one of the fastest growing and the biggest industries of the last few decades.

According to Forrester, a technology and market research company, in 2014, as the economy improved, the software industry grew at a rate of 7.1%. This was the fastest growth rate in the world of information technology for that year. This is due to the fact that business models around the world have adapted to fit Information and Communication Technology (ICT) practices in its framework.

A developer, developing.

Evidently, the core of this profession is software development precisely because computers are simply scrap metal and wires without programs running these parts. As such, the concept of software development might seem too daunting for an average person. However, proper knowledge and understanding of the science can bring a different light to anyone who ventures into this vast world of the computer age.

Overview

A variety of approaches have been defined and designed based on the different phases of software development considered. Specific life cycles, better known as “Software Development Process Models”, are closely followed in order to ensure that the software development process can yield a success on the project’s objective.

These software life cycle models define the software development phases to be considered, and the order in which the phases should be carried out. There are six phases in every software development life cycle model:

1) Identification of Requirements/Analysis:  The main focus of this phase is to gather requirements such as who will use the system and how will it be used. It should answer what data need to be inputted in the system and what corresponding output should the system provide. These requirements are then analyzed for their validity and viability in the overall deliverables of the project. All these are compiled into a Requirement Specification document to guide the succeeding phases of the models.

2)  Design/Specification:  The system and software design is then prepared based on the requirements. System design indicates the hardware and system requirements, as well as the outline for the overall system framework. This is also the phase where the engineers and developers create a test strategy including what to test conduct, and how the test should be conducted.

3)  Programming/Coding:  Upon validation, system design documents are divided into modules or unit. After the validation, the actual coding is then implemented. This is the most crucial part for the developer, and it happens to be the lengthiest stage of the software development life cycle.

4)  Testing:  After the code has been developed, the software is subjected to testing to see if the product can actually address the needs identified during the first phase. All forms of functional testing such as unit testing, integration testing, system testing and acceptance testing are done, as well as other non-functional types of testing.

5)  Deployment: Once testing has been successful, the product is sent to the customer for trial use and beta testing. If there are any identified bugs or other necessary changes, the engineering team can apply relevant modifications, and then release the final version software for client use.

Tech icons.

6) Maintenance: Actual problems with the software may surface once it is already being used by the customer. Providing customer support and product service is the last phase.

Whichever model is chosen for a specific project, the main objective is still to resolve the initial concern of a client. Specific models yield specific results. Some of the more common models are:  Waterfall model, Joint application development (JAD), Rapid application development (RAD) model, synchronize-and-stabilize, Spiral model and Prototyping model.

Evolution and Application

This complex industry has been on a constant evolution towards redefining and improving its processes. Thanks to its functionality growth and expansion, software applications has expanded to operating systems, software applications, network management tools, and customized enterprise software systems.

While commercial software is created in response to a demand in the market, enterprise software is a solution to a company’s internal hurdle or as a means of accelerating and improving efficiency of current business processes.

Similarly, as software development evolves to cater more intricate and complex calculations, upgrades to the hardware are also deemed necessary. For instance, just a few years back, messaging has seemed to reach its pinnacle; landline telephones and fax machines are the greatest tool any office could get.

Nowadays, internet has broken the communication barrier with its powerful connectivity. Chat service (FB messaging, Viber and Slack, to name a few) and online fax service (Find out more here: http://www.gmailfaxhelp.com/tutorials/google-fax-number/) have raised the level of connectivity to a higher level. Thus, an office computer and a printer (which is already common set-up in the first place) are more than enough to  get the job done.

In this light, the development of more advanced hardware is inevitable. Hardware that are more capable in processing more complex information is bound to evolve with the growing human needs.

Software Creates Opportunities for Everyone

To the casually curious or the intensely interested, James Burt is an experienced software developer of 16 years without any formal qualifications. In an article by The Guardian, he highlights valuable tips on how to become a professional software developer despite not having the degree.

He says a positive attitude will get you far in your career. He then emphasizes the importance of showing enthusiasm in programming.  “You need to enjoy programming to do it well.” When an aspiring developer is happy what he or she is doing, taking actions on how to improve the craft naturally follows.

Fortunately, self-studying is easier than ever since the internet is abundant with free online tutorials and countless educational YouTube videos on current relevant practices. There are also plenty of free-to-download e-books on programming languages from the very basic to the advanced.

Technological universities like Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have online courses for fee that can be taken by anyone at any convenient time. Burt highly encourages participation in virtual communities where one can be exposed to professionals in the field. Having peers in the industry both online and offline is a huge boost not only in acquiring up-to-date knowledge but also gaining significant experience.

In addition, joining open source projects is an excellent example of increased self-learning and meeting a diverse group of professionals in one project. It is important to always look for opportunities where one can enhance and further hone his or her IT skills. Burt emphasized that aspirants should consider doing freelance work. This is a great way to get traction in the industry. There are many organizations online such as Freelance Adviser, Guerrilla Freelancing and Freelancers Union, who offer invaluable resources in freelancing in general and there are online communities where you can venture into as a beginner.

What you need to know about software.

Whether software development sparks interest as a degree, profession, hobby, or investment, this industry is definitely worth looking into. It is a challenging and worthwhile discipline that also happens to be lucrative. It is an exciting time for programmers since a lot of other industries from all around the globe are constantly searching for talented people, and it is not showing signs of stopping anytime soon.

In fact, the need only increases as the technology becomes more advanced (which is always the plan).

In a society where everything seems to have already been invented, software development shatters that mindset and paves way to the creation of things no one even knew could be possible.

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