Category Archives: Tachnology

Getting Good Info on Housing Rental Saved Me from a Lot of Costly Mistakes

When I got my first rental property I was just 18. My grandfather had me help him the summer I turned 18 on a house he bought. It was a cottage home next to a lake. There were plenty of summer activities on the lake, and the fishing season lasted year round. There was the fall salmon run and the winter ice fishing. He said the place would rent year round. We fixed it up nice, and he gave it to me. I knew nothing about renting, and neither did he. Now I get info from a housing rental website that has tons of articles and information on all kinds of topics landlords are interested in. Back then I was on my own.

My grandfather wanted to help set me up with an income opportunity, but he admitted that I was going to be on my own to learn how to do it right.

Great Tech For Your Business

unduhan-45In Minneapolis, more than 5 percent of people bike to work. The bike culture has spawned a winter bike expo, a bike-related art poster fair and supports a community of artisan bicycle makers, independent bike retailers and accessory makers.

Shops like A Train Cycles, Appleman and Peacock Groove (no relation to me) turn out a variety of bicycles, including some designed for riding in the Minnesota snow. Brake Bread will even deliver fresh-baked bread by bicycle right to your door.

Today’s consumers crave unique and personalized products and services, and businesses like these are part of a massive new opportunity for small businesses to take on the big guys.

The bulging beer cooler at your neighborhood market is another perfect example. Craft breweries quadrupled their share of the U.S. beer market from about 5 percent in 2008 to now more than 20 percent, according to the Craft Brewers Association.

Niche grocers also are grabbing share. Fueled by hyper-localization and specialization — think local honey and small batch hot sauce — natural/gourmet stores are projected to grow 6.8 percent annually over the next four years. That’s more than double the growth expected for discount stores, according to a recent Nielsen report.

The North American Handmade Bike Show has grown to 180 exhibitors and thousands of attendees from its beginnings in 2005, when 23 exhibitors showed off their wares for 700 biking enthusiasts.

No matter what the business, today’s consumers want something unique. That means the huge scale of big chains and corporations has turned from an advantage to an Achilles heel that small businesses can take advantage of. It might seem daunting, but the opportunity is real.

According to a new study from QuickBooks, this rising demand for niche products and services is one of the key trends small businesses can leverage to drive success and tap new markets.

Access to world-class business infrastructure, valuable data, a talented pool of on-demand employees and cost-effective online advertising are also leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs who take advantage of them, according to the QuickBooks Future of Small Business report.

What I love is that these technology-driven shifts complement what has always been the essence of small business success — passion, community (now either physical or digital via social networks) and the personal touch. Technology has just set them on fire.

Custom wheels: The rise of the artisan bike shop.

Today’s consumers are not just looking for a product or a service. They are looking for experiences and personalized service, and they expect to be given the opportunity to shape the products and services they use. All of those things are right up the power alley of small businesses. That’s part of what has driven the rise of the artisan bike maker.

Public WiFi That You Need To Know

unduhan-46Is public Wi-Fi safe? The short answer: Hell, no. But if you must use the free wireless at your hotel or the satellite office (i.e., Starbucks), here are some precautions you should take.

Keep it impersonal. Never online-bank via public wi-fi. Obvious, right? But you shouldn’t even check email — that can give hackersaccess to a trove of personal info. This applies even to secure websites, those with https (hypertext transfer protocol secure) in the URL. “Public hotspots are susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks” — where the hacker intercepts communications — “which will strip out the ‘secure’ part of https,” warns David Lee, a product manager for mobile at security software company Norton.

Beware fake networks. Check the network name with the staff of wherever you’re working. “You might see ‘Free-Starbucks-wifi,’ but this could easily be a fake,” says Jérôme Segura, a lead malware intelligence analyst at internet security software maker Malwarebytes. You’d be able to get online like everything was normal, except all your traffic would be visible to prying eyes.

Turn off sharing. Your device’s sharing function is designed to be used in a collaborative work environment, making it easy to let other computers on the same network access your files — something you definitely do not want on public wi-fi. When you disable sharing, it makes your phone or laptop invisible to others, and thus a less likely target.

Get your own network. Install virtual personal network (VPN) software, which establishes an encrypted tunnel for your internet traffic. But VPNs aren’t invulnerable, so you should stick to using https websites (which, sigh, still won’t guarantee safety). Also, look for a VPN that offers an anti-malware scanner and a mobile app.

Use your phone. You can use your smartphone as a hotspot for your laptop (it’s called tethering), which offers a secure connection. It does have a couple of downsides, though: First, you’re at the mercy of your carrier’s performance and data rates. Second, the websites you’re looking at know who you are and what device you’re using, whereas a VPN will make you completely anonymous.

Apple in Smartphones

China’s Huawei Technologies wants to be the world’s second-largest maker of smartphones in two years, Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei’s consumer business group, told Reuters on Thursday.

Having made its name as a builder of telecommunications networks, Huawei has been active in the consumer devices market for only a few years and is now the third-biggest smartphone maker after Apple Inc. and the world leader in the $400 billion market, Samsung Electronics.

“When we announced four years ago that we wanted to sell phones, people told us we were crazy. When we said we wanted to sell 100 million phones, they told us we were crazy,” Yu said at a launch event in Munich.

Huawei on Thursday launched a new premium phone, which will sell for about $777 apiece. A version developed with Porsche Design will cost about $1,550.

The phone has a new artificial intelligence feature: It can learn about its user’s habits and automatically put the most frequently used apps in easy reach.

Huawei was the world’s third-largest smartphone maker in the third quarter with 33.6 million shipped devices, giving it a 9 percent market share, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

Apple was still well ahead with 45.5 million devices, or a 12 percent market share. Samsung was the world leader with 75.3 million shipped devices and a market share of 20.1 percent.

“We are going to take them (Apple) step-by-step, innovation-by-innovation,” Yu said, adding that he expected to improve Huawei’s position along with technology shifts.

“There will be more opportunities. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality,” he said. “It is like driving a car. At every curve or turn, there is an opportunity to overtake the competition.”

With the new phone, dubbed Mate 9, Yu expects to make a break in European markets such as Germany, France and Great Britain. “In Finland, we are already number one,” he said.

With Apple struggling to come up with surprise designs and Samsung reeling from having to scrap its flagship phone, Yu said Huawei was at a tipping point.

Laid Out the Playbook

Apple is the most valuable company in the world, and it makes a lot of profit, but its long-term future depends on it coming up with a new product, a new “one more thing.”

The Apple Watch, which has been selling poorly for Apple, isn’t going to do it.

Apple needs a new platform. And Apple CEO Tim Cook knows it. That’s why he’s been dropping hint after hint that Apple’s next major technology initiative is augmented reality — basically, integrating software into the real world.

“It is a visual technology that interprets the world for you,” Research Vice President at Gartner Brian Blau told Business Insider. “If you think about augmented reality in that sense, it could be the next big grand computing platform. That has been the long-term promise.”

AR is a close cousin of virtual reality. For now, augmented reality means you can hold up your phone and, for example, identify landmarks, discover a hidden Pokemon or magically translate signs using your device’s camera.

The end game of augmented reality is a pair of computer glasses or perhaps a contact lens that can superimpose computer graphics into the real world seamlessly.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has talked about augmented reality essentially every time he’s been called on to make public remarks recently.

“This is something you know it’s coming,” Piper Jaffray managing director Gene Munster told Business Insider. “The only other times they’ve talked like this is before the iPhone came out, they started to indicate they could do something in the phone market. Before the Apple Watch came out they talked about wearables and the wrist being a better option.”

“It’s pretty rare that Apple has been this clear that something is coming,” Munster said.

If you parse Cook’s most recent comments on AR, given at an event in Utah in October, he seems to lay out Apple’s strategy for attacking this market, according to analysts and people in the AR industry.

‘Three meals a day’

Cook said about AR:

“It will be enabled in the operating systems first, because it’s a precursor for that to happen for there to be mass adoption of it. I’d look for that to happen in the not-too-distant future. In terms of it becoming a mass adoption [phenomenon], so that, say, everyone in here would have an AR experience, the reality to do that, it has to be something that everyone in here views to be an ‘acceptable thing.’

I do think that a significant portion of the population of developed countries, and eventually all countries, will have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day, it will become that much a part of you, a lot of us live on our smartphones, the iPhone, I hope, is very important for everyone, so AR will become really big.

Shaping the Future of Ecommerce

Few industries are as competitive as ecommerce. Not only are online retailers competing with other online stores and brick-and-mortar locations, but also the overall noise that is the Internet. We live in a world where consumer attention span is getting shorter and shorter:40 percent of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load, and the average shopping cart is abandoned more than 68 percent of the time. I’m hard pressed to find an ecommerce site that is not constantly scrambling to engage more and drive more sales.

Technology is finally helping with those efforts in a big way. Artificial intelligence (AI), which has demonstrated its value in industries like marketing, healthcare and finance, is now making a splash in online commerce.

Antoine Blondeau, CEO of the world’s most funded AI company,Sentient Technologies, once said, “Five years from now, we’ll see AI take a bigger role in making decisions, creating pre-emptive solutions, and delivering insights. Society will become much more efficient as a result. Think logistics, ecommerce, healthcare, finance — in all these domains and others we will start to see massive gains from AI. We’ll be able to leverage AI systems to help get things to where they need to go faster and cheaper, we’ll be able to enable people to see and buy things they weren’t even aware existed or even knew they wanted.”

Here are three ways AI will impact ecommerce in the coming years:

Visual search.

Shoppers, say goodbye to impulse control. Software platforms that drive ecommerce websites are creating visual search capabilities which allow consumers to upload an image and find similar/complementary products. The visual search capabilities, particularly via mobile, “reads” the item for clues — color, shape, size, fabric and brand. This helps consumers to find exactly what they are looking for right away.

“In the age of Snapchat, Instagram, and the rapidly reducing attention spans of the digital age, AI-driven platforms will be essential to ecommerce success,” says Akash Bhatia, cofounder and CEO of Infinite Analytics, a deep machine learning and predictive analytics platform for retail.

A consumer doesn’t even have to be shopping to see something they would like to purchase — a new pair of Nike’s at the gym or a friend’s new dress — to easily find similar items on your ecommerce store.

Offline to online worlds merge.

These visual search capabilities can now create ties from online to offline like never before. As retailers redefine the way consumers engage with their brand, retail of the future will have more information about shoppers to improve their customer service, ultimately to create the opportunity to sell more items. The offline to online experience requires minimal steps to shop and purchase, providing a sense of autonomy to the consumer.

Best Deals on 4K Vizio TV

Entrepreneur has affiliate partnership with TechBargains so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

It’s Veterans Day and many retailers are using this as an excuse to release some of the deals they want to test on Black Friday. The team at TechBargains has found that many of the deals you see on Veterans Day can actually be just as good as you will find on Black Friday, especially on electronics. The only difference is you won’t have to suffer through Black Friday lines and you’ll be able to enjoy your Thanksgiving by buying now.

The Vizio M-Series is a well-reviewed TV from one of America’s favorite TV brands. Vizios pack a lot of value at a highly competitive price and the Vizio M-Series is one of their higher end models. It has a full-array LED backlight with local dimming for great picture quality, sharp 4K display resolution and even supports the new HDR format which you can immediately make use of on your PS4 or Xbox Ones. To top it all off they include a 6-inch Android remote that can be used to surf the web or stream. With the $250 Dell gift card you are paying about $550 which is a steal for a high-quality 4K TV.

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Dell Inspiron 17 5000 Intel Core i7-6500u Dual-Core 17.3″ 1080p Laptop $609 (Orig $931)
Use Code: SAVE270. If you need a larger laptop that has power, a good size display for productivity, and a powerful current generation i7 processor from Intel than the Inspiron 17 5000 is a great choice. The 1080p display will display sharp text and graphics. For those with small businesses or Windows power users this laptop includes Windows 7 Pro (with a license for Windows 10) for advanced features. At a price of $609 it’s an incredible value.

49″ LG 49LH5700 1080p LED Smart HDTV + $150 Dell Gift Card for $399.99 (Orig. $499.99)
If you wanted an inexpensive TV for Black Friday then look no further. LG is a well known brand and is generally overshadowed by their flashier cousin Samsung. LG is known for making quality electronics with a lot of features for very competitive price. At $400 you are unlikely to find a name-brand TV in the 50-inch size range for less. The included $150 gift card effectively discounts you under $300 which is a steal.

The Benefit of Private Cloud

Every headline-grabbing hack is a stark reminder that your data isn’t always safe in other companies’ hands — or clouds. One solution: Create, and manage, your own cloud using the ZeroStack Z-Block.

Step 1: Plug it in. The ZeroStack system is a box (yes, like on Silicon Valley) that can quickly plug into a company’s network, transforming the system into a web-accessible cloud computer. “Customers can deploy a cloud in less than an hour, instead of days or weeks,” says Ajay Gulati, cofounder and CEO of ZeroStack. The price starts at $5,000 per month.

Step 2: Control your data. Your cloud can be accessed from any web browser. Because ZeroStack uses your company’s own server, you can keep a watchful eye on your data instead of trusting your valuable information to somebody else’s server farm. And while this doesn’t make you hackerproof (it’s not magic), you won’t be suffering collateral damage when some bigtime hack hits a tech giant.

Step 3: Say, “Bye, IT guy.” Keeping a fully private cloud afloat typically requires specially trained IT teams. Not this one. “Our management software monitors the cloud for problems and fixes them automatically,” Gulati says. And should you need help, service and support from ZeroStack are included.

Predictions for the Trump

It’s a new world: Donald Trump’s world. As 2017 hits, we’re going to see the U.S. government’s attitude towards a range of technologies change, whether it be about a lighter touch on regulation or a harsher look at companies that import heavily from China.

I hate making stock predictions. I’m going to try to stick to what I think you should expect and do, as U.S. tech consumers, to prepare for 2017. For each prediction, I’m also trying to provide an action you should take to put yourself in the best position for the future.

1. Sprint and T-Mobile will merge.

Sprint’s stock jumped after the election on the assumption that Sprint and T-Mobile, which want to merge, will do so. The merger has been blocked so far by Obama’s team, and it has been widely expected that a Republican FCC will let it go through. There could be an announcement as soon as January.

While Trump has come out against the Time Warner/AT&T merger, he said he’s offended by media consolidation, not broadband consolidation; a pure wireless merger may not spark his ire.

The outcome will be the end of the current wireless price wars. As we’ve seen in Canada, countries with three major players, and no requirement to share networks with third parties, tend not to have aggressive pricing. We should expect to see wireless costs in the U.S. normalize at the AT&T/Verizon levels, bringing home more profits to investors in the combined Sprint/T-Mobile.

What you should do: Lock in a really good rate plan soon, because prices may go up. Study low-cost virtual carriers like Ting, Republic Wireless and Walmart Family Mobile, which may still offer deals.

2. Verizon 5G will be the next big broadband competitor.

This prediction wraps together a few elements. Republicans have been hostile to municipal broadband, and a key Trump adviser has indicated that he’s against “set-asides” in upcoming spectrum auctions, which would prevent Verizon from snapping up most of the available airwaves. All that said, the sleepy cable monopolies, with their constant rising prices, are still ripe for disruption. Verizon’s home 5G launch in 2017 will be boosted by big wins in upcoming spectrum auctions, giving you one more strong choice for home broadband going forward, and fulfilling the promise that Fios never did.

What you should do: Look for 5G home broadband promotions as soon as the service launches in your area. Switch back and forth between 5G and cable annually to keep the best promotional rate.

3. Apple’s prices will go up. Huawei and LeEco may be dead in the water.

Trump has expressed great displeasure at Apple manufacturing in China, but the company can’t move its giant operations, so it’ll just absorb any new tariffs into its pricing structure. Think of it as an extra $50 hit on Apple products. Meanwhile, Chinese firms that don’t already have a strong operation here — think Huawei and LeEco — will find few routes in. Motorola, now part of Lenovo, may also suffer. Americans looking for lower-cost phones will be able to turn to LG, made in US ally South Korea, and Blu, a U.S. company that manufactures in China but sells its products so inexpensively that a slight price hike won’t matter so much.

Commercial Markets Beckon

The fledgling drone industry is in the throes of change as weak consumer demand and falling prices drive startups to shift their focus to specialized business applications.

3D Robotics — an early drone startup that raised more than $125 million from investors — has seen its consumer business all but crash. This week, it unveiled a new commercial strategy, announcing a camera-equipped drone with imaging software designed for construction companies.

GoPro Inc. this week announced a recall of about 2,500 drones for a refund after just a couple of weeks on the market — some units had sudden power outages — and didn’t say when it would offer a replacement product. Europe’s Zano, which made mini-drones for consumers, shut down last year.

While many drone-makers overestimated demand from hobbyists, they now see big opportunities selling to businesses under newly relaxed U.S. regulations. Beyond flying robots, investors and entrepreneurs see especially strong prospects in software and services that can make aerial imaging useful for industries including insurance, construction, agriculture and entertainment.

Companies including Amazon.com Inc. and Zipline, a drone startup, are also aggressively developing drones for delivery.

Most startups vying to sell consumer drones, often used for racing or photography, have been stung by China-based DJI. The company has dominated by slashing prices. DJI discounted its popular Phantom 3 drone, for instance, to about $300 from nearly $1,000 at the beginning of the year.