All ‘Technology’ Posts

26 jun

Up and Coming IOS Game Apps

RobertCordrayIf you are looking for some time to kill with some wickedly fun games, look no further than the iTunes App Store. Here is a glance into the top 10 games in the app store and what makes them so much fun.

Smash Hit

Smash Hit offers beautiful graphics and addicting gameplay where the idea behind the game is to break through glass objects with a ball. Equally as enjoyable as the music is the music, which synchs along with each level that you are at in the game. On top of it all, Smash Hit is free, making it worth your time.

Go Dance

Go dance is a creative use of interactive media. One part dancing game and one part exercise app, it is completely fun. This app uses the songs that you have in your playlist and allows you to take photos of yourself while dancing along. You can also directly buy songs from the app, for the days that you need something new to groove to. Go Dance is surely one of the top up and coming iOS game apps you should check out.

Block Legend

Block Legend proves that there is plenty of room for nostalgic graphics, even with today’s Retina iPhone displays. This game is a puzzle role playing game, and it’s great for players of all ages. There are tons of characters and monsters that you’ll come across, all with their own blocky graphics.

Frontline Commando 2

From one end of the graphics scale with Block Legend to the other with Frontline Commando 2, this game is absolutely beautiful and maximizes the iPhone capabilities. This shooting game allows you to build a tactical squad of troops as you go on varying levels to taking down terrorists and other radical criminals.

The Walking Dead: The Game – Season 2

The Walking Dead: The Game Season 1 earned plenty of critical acclaim and awards that the developers decided to come back with a second version. In this game you’ll solve puzzles and meet other stranded people, all while trying to avoid being eaten and turned into a brain-thirsty zombie.

Tanglers Blitz

If you love puzzle gams and all of the old apps on your phone are getting boring, check out Tanglers Blitz. This is a strategic game that requires you line up different aliens in order to clear rounds. Once they are matched up, new rows will be added and the challenge gets harder. You’ll download Tanglers Blitz because it looks great, but you’ll keep playing because it’s highly addictive.

Block Fortress: War

Playing off the blocky character graphics that have taken the iTunes Store by storm, Block Fortress: War is another installment into the genre. In this game you’ll take control of a variety of heroes os you go on campaign battles to take down your enemies. However, don’t get too caught up in your offensive efforts and forget about your own base, which will be under attack. You can even play with and against your friends online, making the game more entertaining.

Mines Of Mars

Mines of Mars is a 2D game where you will fight your way through a variety of different landscapes on Mars. Not only will you continually be surprised by the characters you come across, but you’ll do so while seeing beautiful graphics and listening to a wonderful soundtrack. This game was tagged as one of the most exciting games of the year for 2014 by Pocket Gamer, and it’s lived up to the hype.

8 Dice Skate

Some of the games in the app store aren’t just about what you can do on the screen, but how they make games more fun in the real world. 8 Dice skate allows you to pick up your skateboard and compete in a variety of tricks with your best friends, all while keeping score with the in-game counter. Once you knock off your buddies, you can brag about it on social media for the whole world to see.

Heads Up

if you haven’t played Heads Up yet, you’re missing out on a wildly good time with your friends. Like 8 Dice Skate, Heads Up isn’t as much about what’s on the screen, as it is the fun that will ensue with those you’re with. Heads Up offers a variety of different categories and cards, which you’ll press against your head as your friends give you clues that you’ll have to guess. There is also the opportunity to make your own cards, in case you want to add your own inside jokes to a deck.

Check out these games for non-stop fun from your iPhone and iOS device.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on June 26th, 2014 in Technology, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

19 jun

What Exactly Made Flappy Bird Such a Successful Game?

RobertCordrayFlappy Bird remains to be one of the most popular apps in the world. It catapulted to stardom several months ago when it was reaching an average of $50,000 per day in ad revenue for the creator. With a simple plot of the game on trying to keep the bird flapping its wings to make it through the small opening, the challenging game reached millions upon millions of downloads. So what did Flappy Bird do right that hundreds of thousands of apps didn’t do?

What did Flappy Bird do right?

The app poses some interesting challenges that you would never guess was going to be played by millions. The main question now by many app programmers and businessmen in general is what they did differently. First of all, the UX of the game is so different. The user experience is oftentimes the main reason on what makes people want to keep playing. Is the game fun? Does it have a concept the majority of people like?

The game is so intriguing because it has a simple concept anyone can grasp; to get that bird in between the two “Mario Bros.” transportation areas. The game requires for users to tap the screen for when they want Flappy to jump up, and the key is to time the landing so the jumping is done at the right time to go through.

The game is also difficult in nature with its simple concept, and when a game can be played without instructions or knowledge beforehand, you know the game is interesting. It’s a fast paced game where a single try lasts for a mere 10 seconds for the majority of gamers. Flappy Bird was such an enticing game that it caused people to make their friends play against them; a strong component as to what made the game have countless people play it. The game created a bit of competitiveness in users because of its difficulty, and this form of word of mouth marketing is what catapulted the game into stardom.

The biggest misconception with the game was that it made $50,000 and had millions of downloads in just days or weeks. This couldn’t be anything further from the truth considering the game was released back in May of 2013, and it took months and months for it to gain the success it did now. It wasn’t an overnight process, but more of a 6-7 month process before it grew and made money,

What did they do differently from other games?

The game is simple and fast to play with no rules, but its difficult concept makes you want to master it. The game is somewhat famous the same way Candy Crush gained notoriety, but Flappy Bird became popular because of its easy platform with little to no instructions.

Another thing that is so different from other apps is its simple interface. The design of the game makes it look like the original Mario Bros. game, and because it only required just one click to control the game, the simplicity made it such a great idea. The nostalgia it created for most adults made it even more interesting.

Flappy Bird was a success because of being in the right place at the right time. The advertising it once got made a big difference. On Twitter, a company called Chocolate Lab Apps shared the fun game, and it caused a huge ruckus and got the app the attention it needed. Had the app not been shared by that app company or shared by others, it could have been buried in the middle of thousands of other unknown apps.

It is very true that a huge amount of luck came into its success and about being in the right place at the right time. However, it was the creator, Dong Nguyen’s, simple idea that made people interested. If it wasn’t such a noble and simple game idea, it probably wouldn’t have gotten the attention it got.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on June 19th, 2014 in Technology | No comments

12 jun

Flying to Work May Be Closer Than You Think

RobertCordrayTechnology is making leaps and bounds, and, every day, new innovations are being introduced designed to make life more convenient. While your car is dependable in getting you where you need to be, new advancements could make your commute quicker than you ever imagined. Engineers are taking steps to achieve the goal of introducing flying cars into the market.

Taking a Look Back

When it comes to the concept of a flying car, there is an interesting history. Many are surprised to hear that the concept of a car that could take flight has stemmed back as far as 1917. At this time, Glenn Curtiss attempted to create an aluminum vehicle with wings that spanned 40 feet. While his Autoplane never actually flew, it did make a few hops.

More recent attempts have had more success. In the late 1960’s, Robert Fulton introduced the Aerocar, a model that was intended to drive, fly, and drive again with no interruptions. The contraption worked, and it achieved an impressive 120 mph in flight as well as received approval from the FAA.

Current Updates on Flying Cars

While success has been achieved, we don’t see cars flying around today. However, this could very well change in just a few short years. A company called Terrafugia has been making advancements in the creation of a new model of car called the Transition. The introduction of the vehicle to the market has been full of disappointment, however. More than once, Terrafugia has announced the upcoming release of the vehicle without fulfillment.

In 2008, they announced it would be ready to hit the market the following year. Next, in 2009, they had their first successful flight. However, they are still not being made available for the public to purchase. The company anticipates the release of the Transition sometime within the next two years.

High Cost to Fly

While the benefits of having the ability to fly or drive your vehicle are vast, the price tag for the Transition is a hefty one. Potential owners will have to come up with an astounding $279,000 dollars to complete the purchase, yet many consumers are already prepared to foot the bill. Currently, Terrafugia has over 100 deposits to secure a Transition when they become available in the near future. The investment can prove to be one worth making for those who travel long distances often, and the convenience of having the ability to travel at such quick speeds can certainly come in handy when you wake up late for work!

Beneficial Uses

A car with the ability to fly can offer a number of beneficial uses beyond personal transportation. For example, with the influx of people choosing to do their shopping online, more are willing to pay additional shipping fees for a more expedient delivery process. A company looking to upgrade current shipping systems could certainly benefit from such a vehicle, and the investment would quickly pay off. Other benefits of the availability of this option of transportation include:

  • Less ground traffic
  • Drivers’ ability to save money on fuel by having the ability to get directly to their destination
  • The ability for ndividuals and businesses alike to save money on travel expenses for holidays and business trips

We Will See Flying Cars

While companies such as Terrafugia have long discussed the possibility of a car that will fly being available on the open market, many have lost faith. With so many false indications, some have come to the belief that this concept is just a fun myth to entertain. However, the technology is there, and successful flights have already been made. Within the next two years, we can expect to see those willing to fork over the cash flying in their cars overhead.

 For further reading, visit this URL about Flying Cars.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on June 12th, 2014 in New Directions, Technology | No comments

09 may

Well-known Companies and Their Warehouses

RobertCordrayLarge box retail chains with large stock and receivables depend on effective movement of goods into and out of the warehouse. Accurate, reliable, and fast cubing, weighing, and scanning systems must be effectively integrated to move products quickly.

Warehouse needs and considerations of large companies are fairly predictable, and industry experts watch the trends to predict changes in the warehousing industry. Value-added warehousing includes storage and system transportation management capabilities. Traffic and shipment needs and schedules fluctuate on a daily basis, so logistics planning and shipment management are crucial components of product movement.

Logistics matter. In a conventional warehouse, high volume transportation of heavy products over long distances can increase product damage. The use of the right flexible Storage/Retrieval Machine (S/RM) can reduce costs of transporting stock through large horizontal and vertical distances in any warehouse. Safe handling of pallets requires the right automated system for tracking and controlling inventory to increase accuracy and eliminate product damage.

The right automation system in any warehouse will also reduce overall costs including labor costs because they lower workforce requirements and increase safety. A typical conventional manually operated fork-truck, for example, handles an average of 15 pallets per hour. Automated cranes can handle an average of 85 pallets per hour, which means they do the work of 15 fork trucks. The right design and installation of automated storage solutions for manufacturers and distributors can triple their storage capacity.

The right automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) should be considered and designed as early in the planning process as possible for any high-density warehouse. Large and fast-distribution companies should assess a number of profit-driving factors when deciding how to automate their warehouse, including:

• Labeling applications- larger warehouse capacity for full automatic or quasi-automatic print and apply label system.

• Barcode systems- fixed or multiple applications should provide flexibility for the right barcode scanning system.

• Shipping systems- large automated warehouse requirements for end of line systems to scan, convey, weigh, label and communicate with host and shipping software.

• Receiving systems for automatic slotting, inventory control and inventory verification.

Most of the big box retailers have an automated system for warehouse and inventory control. Walmart, for example, has 42 regional U.S. distribution centers. Each Walmart distribution center is over 1 million square feet, with more than 12 miles of conveyor belts moving 5.5 billion cases of merchandise. Several Walmart distribution centers operate twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week.

Target has 37 distribution centers in the United States, and uses automation as well as manual retrieval of warehoused merchandise. Target employs more than 16,000 staff in its distribution centers and delivers products to over 1,700 Target stores.

Many corporations outsource their warehousing systems. Outsourced warehousing has created a separate industry of third-party logistics providers. (3PL). These providers are gauged according to their warehousing space and services, which are increasing nationwide. From 2010 to 2011, the top 20 3PL warehouse operators increased their square footage 5.6%, from 514 million square feet to 543 million square feet. 3PL vacancy rates are declining and the amount of space under management is on the rise, however, the industry is not building new warehouse space.

The top 3PL warehouses in North America currently include DHL Exel Supply, with a total storage space of 95 million square feet. Genco ATC, closely following DHL Exel Supply has a total of 37 million square feet of warehouse space. In the No. 3 position is Jacobson Companies. Jacobson’s total square footage is 35 million square feet.

The 3PL industry is also growing in the international sector. Pepsico, for example, owner and manufacturer of a large portfolio of billion-dollar brands including Frito-Lay, Quaker, Pepsi-Cola, Tropicana, and Gatorade, outsources its warehousing, freight management and distribution operations in the Netherlands. Pepsico wanted to reduce customer response time and supply chain costs, and awarded a ten-year contract to Kuehne + Nagel for its Dutch warehousing and distribution activities.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on May 9th, 2014 in Career, Technology | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

18 apr

Shoes Made from What?

RobertCordraySince early man first strapped cowhide to his feet with leather strings 8,000 years ago, the design of shoes has been evolving. As men and women have changed, so, too have the materials of which their shoes are made. Now, you can find shoes made from almost anything: animal parts, computer components, plastic grocery bags, even grass. But, that doesn’t mean you’re going to wear them.

Taxidermy for the Feet

Just as the early shoemakers began with the leather hides of animals, designer, Iris Schieferstein decided to see what kind of shoes she could design using more of the animal’s parts. Using taxidermy methods, she creates shoes made of entire doves and snakes. These shoes are both interesting and a little unsettling. They are not very popular since most people find them impractical or object on the basis of animal cruelty. Her most attention-getting shoes have been ones using horse’s hooves. These strange “Centaur-like” boots are reported to be uncomfortable and can only be worn for a very short time.

Go-Go Gadget Shoes

With today’s obsession with all things electronic and technologically advanced, it is no surprise that shoe designers have entered into the virtual world. Shoes with the capability to hold small portable devices in the shoe’s heel, such as an MP3 player or cell phone, are now on the market. These designs may seem practical, for all intents and purposes, but can also mean taking the chance of losing your device. It could also be damaged during daily wear, getting wet or becoming lodged with dirt.

“Smart shoe” technology can be seen at its most creative with Google’s “Shoogle,” an Adidas athletic shoe that incorporates “smart phone” technology. This shoe is able to track the wearer’s physical activity, voice 250 phrases of encouragement and information and talk to the contact list in the wearer’s cell phone, now that is good user experience. Unfortunately, these shoes were created by Google as an example of their capabilities and not for sale to the general public so the users won’t be able to have the experience.

Eco-Friendly Attempts

As the cry for reduce, reuse, recycle becomes louder by environmentalists everywhere, the quest to create shoes from eco-friendly products continues. Using recycled corrugated cardboard beer cartons, designer and sculptor, Mark O’Brien, creates men’s athletic and dress shoes. Although these shoes are exact replicas of designer shoes, they are intended to be used as art pieces and are impractical for wearing. Other designers are using recycled paper to make shoes, but with little luck in making ones that are durable enough for daily wear.

The “Sod Sandals” created by Yashu Kusa take going green to a new level. These flip flops include a sod insole that grows actual grass. Although you get the comfort of walking on a fresh lawn, if you’re not a plant person, take heed. They require regular plant maintenance.

Probably one of the best ideas in recycled footwear comes from Emily Bergin, who takes plastic grocery bags and creates “plarn,” plastic yarn. She uses the plarn to crochet sandals. But, although an inventive use for grocery bags, these sandals do not provide much support.

Wire shoes are also being tried by inventive footwear designers. Polly Vertity uses galvanized wire to create ladies shoes. The shoes are lightweight, but are reported to be very uncomfortable.

Fabric Seemed Like a Good Idea

With the interest in shoes such as TOMS, using fabric for shoemaking has gotten increasingly popular. The staple fabric for shoemaking has been heavy canvas, which is strong enough to withstand wear. But, there are designers trying their hand at making shoes of felt and fleece fabric. The trouble with these softer, more pliable fabrics is they cannot stand the everyday wear and tear shoes get. Fleece also makes the feet hot and stretches with wear. Primarily used for infant and baby shoes, when it comes to adult footwear, fleece is a flop.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on April 18th, 2014 in General, New Directions, Technology | No comments Read related posts in , , ,

08 apr

Machines Replacing Humans

RobertCordrayStarting in 1962 in the automotive industry and every decade since, machines have taken over the jobs of humans. The manufacturing process has been computerized with robotic machines that can handle repetitive tasks much quicker and more efficiently than humans. Some of the jobs that have been taken over by machinery are:

Factory Jobs

Factory jobs employed about one-third of the workforce in the United States in the 1950s. The factories produced packaged foods, refrigerators, light bulbs and hundreds of other items that were used every day. Computerized machines have boosted production allowing the factories to function around the clock while still reducing production costs. The people who were the most affected were the workers at the end of the line and the sorters. These people worked along the conveyor system and packaged the finished product.

Auto Plant Workers

The jobs men and woman did along the assembly line in an auto plant have been taken on by robots. The robots can work around the clock and not bet bored or tired. They do the work of four humans, which increases productivity and reduces costs. In Japan, and later in Detroit, 600,000 workers do the job of 2.5 million workers producing 12 million cars per year.


Technology has replaced millions of farmworkers with machines that can sense where the seeds should be planted and when the crops are ready to be harvested. Technology has also affected the food that is grown with genetically engineered plants to make it possible to get larger and larger yields.

Dairy farms also require fewer laborers because of automated milking and cleaning machines. The robots milk the cows, push feed into their pens and clean the barns. The cows are brushed and make comfortable with special lighting. These machines work every day all day and night. One person can oversee the whole operation. This type of automation is not common, but it is available and working in dairies in Holland, Denmark and France. It will eventually put hundreds of dairy workers out of a job.

Telephone Operators

Automated communication systems have replaced humans in many areas including reception, customer service and help desks. It is becoming less and less likely that consumers need to speak to a human to get the service they need, and these jobs are becoming scarce. Cell phones also do the job of taking messages, transferring calls and maintaining databases. Operators and other administrative help is no longer required. Clerical workers who wrote up and typed bills became redundant while data entry operators were employed. When a system upgrades to a digital system, the data entry employees also become redundant.

Tollbooth Collectors

Automated tollbooth collection is much more convenient and better for traffic jams during peak times. No longer do people need to sit in a booth while each car stops to pay their toll. There are now stickers that are put on windshields that are read by an overhead monitor, and the toll is taken from the car owner’s credit card. When the last tool booth collector left the job on the San Francisco, California, Golden Gate Bridge, it made national news. About 30 jobs were terminated on this bridge alone when the city made the switch to all-electronic toll collection. The systems not only collect tolls, they also alert enforcers of cars that are not enrolled or try to avoid the toll.


Computerized, self-checkout cashiers have not yet taken over all retail stores, but in some of the large department stores, about half of the checkout stands are automated. This trend is expected to continue, reducing the number of human cashiers. Computerized checkout not only expedites check stand operations, it also encompasses inventory control, sales analysis, pricing, labor scheduling, promotions, advertising and customer relations. The system is able to do all these things because it scans and stores information that is code marked or tagged on the merchandise.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on April 8th, 2014 in Career, Global/Social Change, Technology | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

25 mar

A Day in the Life of an IT Professional

RobertCordrayHave you ever wondered what it takes to be a successful IT professional? Technical knowledge is important, but it’s only the first of an IT pro’s tools. Each day, experts in information technology face complex business challenges.

To get an idea what it’s like behind the scenes, let’s take a look at a day in the life of an IT professional.

1) Inept Customers

In most enterprises, the information technology team runs a help desk for solving user problems. Little do users realize that many of the technical problems they encounter have the same cause: Them. IT professionals need to quickly diagnose each issue and apply the most efficient solution. Plus, they must provide excellent customer service even in cases where the user’s own lack of knowledge might be the culprit.

2) Information Security

Some users could stand to brush up on their computer skills, but at least they mean well. Sadly, that’s not true of everyone the IT pro runs into! The corporate network can come under attack at virtually any time thanks to hackers or rogue software. These threats unfold rapidly, in real time, as the perpetrator seeks to gain access to the network and spread harm. During an attack, an IT pro might be called upon to use dozens of tools in a matter of minutes to protect sensitive data.

3) Meetings, Meetings, Meetings

When the network isn’t under siege, just how can an IT pro demonstrate his or her value to the boss? Information technology specialists are constantly faced with this challenge. Not everything IT does is a “profit center” for their employer, so each cost has to be justified. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to explain many aspects of IT to non-technical supervisors, project managers or executives. To counter this, an effective IT pro is always strengthening his or her communication skills.

4) Orchestrating the Cloud

Nowadays, many global enterprises operate strictly using cloud computing. Adopting a cloud-based network means that all crucial business data should be available to users whenever they need it and no matter where they are or what device they’re on. This is becoming increasingly popular with the growth of dropbox, Salesforce, and other cloud-based companies. The fact that users can access data anywhere introduces a host of thorny issues. For example, how can you be sure that each user’s personal computer or phone is secure enough to be on the network? IT pros must continuously expand access to data while building new infrastructure to ensure policy compliance.

5) Staying Ahead of the Curve

No matter how big or small the business, one thing is for sure: Decision-makers expect and demand the latest technology. Upgrading software, whether it’s something as simple as a word processor or as complex as Windows, can be an enormous task. The entire effort needs to be strategized, justified and executed just right — ensuring that no one loses network access or critical files.

6) Building Skills For the Future

More than any other business professional, those in information technology are in a constant race to keep their skills updated. In many cases, this means continuously studying for new industry credentials. IT pros are faced with a selection of hundreds of certifications that cover various aspects of information technology. Allowing any certification to lapse can endanger future prospects. Plus, new and updated certifications come out on a regular basis.

7) Balancing Today’s Duties and Tomorrow’s Advancement

The most dedicated information technology pros are known for devoting hours upon hours to honing their skills. The constant pace of new breakthroughs puts them at risk of burning out if they try to do too much. While it’s a good idea for IT pros to specialize, they are often called upon to resolve problems outside their set of skills. Finding a unique niche that adds strategic value to an organization is vital to any IT pro’s long-term success.

Information technology is constantly evolving, and IT as a whole is challenging work. When technology fails, IT professionals must quickly resolve issues that cost money with each passing minute. The next time you call up the IT team, remember that the job is tougher than it looks!

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Posted by Robert Cordray on March 25th, 2014 in Technology | No comments Read related posts in , ,

19 mar

Keeping the Industry Moving: Behind the Scenes of E-Commerce

RobertCordrayAs consumers, we view the websites, and often, we don’t know how we managed to get to the website or what it takes to purchase products are purchased through the website. Most of us just do it and never think about what happens behind the scenes. If you’re a new business owner and developer, you need to know what goes on behind the scenes in the world of e-commerce. Here is what you need to know:

1. You Need a Website with a Shopping Cart Plugin

First and foremost, you need a website with a shopping cart plugin. This is how transactions are made. You need to ensure that you can accept PayPal and all major credit cards. The website should be professionally built to attract customers to the website. Once they are on the website, they shouldn’t have any problems executing the transaction or they’ll lose the sale to a competitor.

The plugin should allow the products to be displayed along with the prices to make the process easier to buy. There should be zero impediments at the shopping cart or buyers will become frustrated and abandon the cart. The advertisers or business owners will have to engage in retargeting to regain the customers through specialized advertising.

2. Acquire a Merchant Account

A merchant account is where the cash transactions will take place. Every business should have one or no forms of payment can be accepted. Merchant accounts are easy to obtain. Simply go online and follow the steps to complete a merchant account. It’s easy once the foundation is laid. Without the merchant account, it’s not a transactional website. Acquire a merchant account and get your business going.

3. eCommerce Software

eCommerce software is a critical component of any e-commerce solution. The software will facilitate the processing of the order and cash transaction mechanisms. The software can make the transaction easier and also capture customer information in databases that can later be retrieved. Data from the transactions can also be analyzed.

The software should also monitor your store’s inventory. As soon as the inventory is taken from the automated warehouse, it should be documented on your website with e-commerce.

4. Purchase a Good Internet Service

Purchasing a good Internet server is essential to e-commerce. The server has to be fast and possess security measures to prevent hackers from intercepting credit card information during the transaction. An assigned server is necessary for ample security. Shop around for the best Internet service provider with high levels of security.

5. Website Security

Security is important in any online transaction. Each system should have, at least, a Secure Socket Layer(SSL). The transaction data is less likely to be hacked when this type of technology is employed. Customers will feel safe when you’ve considered website security. With online customers, the single biggest concern about making a purchase is website security. Customers want to know that their data will not be hacked when they swipe on your online store. Website security is important.

What You Need to Know About the Behind the Scenes World of eCommerce

Learn what you need to know about the world of e-commerce behind the scenes. The concept can be difficult to understand, but it’s easier with some tips. Website ecommerce will have you considering website security, type of Internet service, and countless other features to ensure their are not impediments to any customer making a purchase. If you want to know more about the process, consider reading more about it online. You’ll realize the importance of eCommerce when your company becomes more profitable. Search online to find out more about the behind the scenes world of e-commerce.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on March 19th, 2014 in Career, Technology | No comments Read related posts in , , , ,

27 feb

7 Steps for Securing Mobile Devices

RobertCordrayIn the wake of reports regarding security risks posed by Apple’s just released iOS 7 mobile platform for the iPhone and iPad, individuals and enterprises should take time to reevaluate the security risks of all mobile devices they use.

These risks fall into two main categories. The first category, Device Risks, deals with the fact that today’s mobile devices are in fact sophisticated high-powered cloud-connected computers. The second category, App Risks, refers to the installation of third-party mobile apps that could result in personal or corporate networks and data being compromised.

Fortunately, there are a number of actionable steps that can be taken to better protect mobile devices from both types of risks, with the following 7 steps being among the most important.

Step #1: Don’t let basic protection lag

Today’s smartphones and tablets are just as susceptible to the malware that is targeting desktops and laptops. In fact, they are becoming more vulnerable. To keep sensitive information safe, users of internet-enabled mobile devices must make sure that all basic protection tools, such as antivirus programs, personal firewalls, password protections and other built-in security settings are in place and kept current.

Step #2: Beware of wireless connections

Wireless networks, particularly open WiFi hotspots, make mobile devices much more susceptible to security breaches. Just ask the folks at Google how it works. Users should activate wireless connections only when absolutely needed and only for brief periods of time. Organizations whose employees are using open WiFi hotspots should require them to use a VPN server to safely connect to internal resources.

Step #3: Avoid app mishaps

Mobile devices such as smartphones are going everywhere nowadays. And with the proliferation of apps—many of which are free, easy to install and potentially harmful—users need to exercise caution when selecting and installing apps. Designed to exploit data, many apps can disable security functions and collect personal data unbeknownst to the user. Individuals and organizations need to make sure that only apps from reputable sources are installed on mobile devices. Even then it’s important to be clear as to the permissions or access rights that are being granted to each app before installation, as some apps may be given more access to sensitive data than is warranted.

Step #4: Be clear on BYOD

Enterprises that permit BYOD in the workplace need to adopt ways to reduce the data footprints of mobile devices and minimize security risks. Sensitive data should be stored with encryption software and corporate data should only be made available via local servers and with password protection. In addition, enterprises need to have clear “data sensitivity” policies in place so all employees know exactly what is allowed and expected, such as NEVER storing sensitive information on a cellphone.

Step #5: Perform regular backups

Mobile device users need to get in the habit of backing up the data on their devices regularly. This is especially important in the event a device is stolen or is incapacitated due to physical damage. These backups can be done either locally or on cloud-based platforms. In addition, backups should be encrypted and protected by very strong passwords to prevent unauthorized access. Many Internet security experts recommend long random passwords that avoid actual words, years and calendar dates, as these are much more difficult to crack.

Step #6: Utilize locate, lock and wipe software

Although smartphones are getting bigger, it’s still possible to misplace them. And smartphones are always attractive to thieves. In either event, enabling remote locate, lock and wipe software on a smartphone can enhance the chances of finding said phone with the data intact. And if the phone is determined to have been lost or stolen for good, the ability to wipe all the data is a crucial security benefit.

Step #7: Turn off Bluetooth and geotagging

Geotagging is a cool feature, but it can divulge a user’s whereabouts when a particular photo or video was taken. Therefore it may be best to switch it off. The same goes for Bluetooth discovery mode, as leaving it on all the time, even when not trying to pair a device, can result in an unauthorized connection to the phone. Although this security breach would have to be made by someone in close proximity, it could easily be done and not detected.

As the mobile device explosion continues, security risks associated with smartphones and tablets will continue to pose a threat. Therefore it’s more essential than ever that individual users and organizations stay educated and informed about the risks associated with the devices they are using and more importantly, the ways in which those risks can be mitigated.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on February 27th, 2014 in Technology | No comments

04 feb

5 Tips to Safely Shop on a Mobile Device

RobertCordrayWhen you need to make a purchase, how do you usually go about doing it? Do you open a catalogue? Do you drive to the mall? Or do you, like an increasing number of consumers, whip out the old mobile smart device and take care of business all from the palm of your hand?

Studies show that in 2012, people spent $25 billion on purchases made from phones and tablets, which is an increase of 81 percent from the year before. Unfortunately, many people are making the switch to mobile shopping without taking the time to figure out exactly how it works. Here are five tips to help you get the most out of your journey into m-commerce.

1. Do your research

There are hundreds of thousands (or more) sites online from which you can make purchases. However, not all of them are created equal. Some sites may offer deceptively low-quality products. Others might have terrible service or unfair return policies. And then there are others which might simply be nothing more than online scams designed for no other purpose than to steal your money.

Before you make any purchases, be sure to research the site in question. Look online for reviews from customers who have used the site, and see what kind of experience they may have had. Additionally, check for the name of the website along with the search term “scam.” If you find anything that might indicate that the site doesn’t offer everything it’s supposed to, then you’re better off shopping elsewhere.

2. Avoid using a debit card

Most m-commerce sites allow you to enter a card number for payment. Thus, when getting ready to finalize a purchase, many shoppers choose to pay with a debit card. After all, it’s way easier to keep track of your finances and avoid going into debt if you pay directly from your account.

However, when it comes to online shopping, this can be dangerous. Should the site in question become compromised, criminals could easily do serious (and possibly even irreparable) damage to your finances. This is because debit cards act as a direct link to your account, allowing whomever has them unrestricted access to your bank info. Credit cards, on the other hand, simply act as an extension to your personal credit. This means that although a criminal may make charges to the card itself, they will not be able to actually remove any of your funds from your account.

Additionally, the Fair Credit Billing Act protects credit card users by making them liable only for $50 in the event of credit card fraud. Credit companies also offer additional protection, and may contact you in the event that any suspicious charges are being made.

3. Be protective of your personal information

Many online sites require that you give them a substantial amount of your personal information before you can make a purchase. However, other than your card number and perhaps your billing address, none of that data is necessary to the purchase.

Although many sites will request telephone numbers, email addresses, social media credentials and any number of other personal details, know that once you give this data out, it is no longer secure. Many companies will sell personal data to marketing and advertising agencies, thus resulting in inboxes full of spam and constant telemarketer calls. If a site is demanding more information than you are willing to give, either contact the business directly and see if you can make the purchase without giving out additional details, or leave the site and shop elsewhere.

Be especially sure never to give out your social security number no matter what the circumstances.

4. Be secure

As with in any internet activity, you need to make sure that you’re protected while using your device to shop online. This means, first and foremost, activating your device’s built-in security measures. Locking and password-protecting your device is the best way to keep thieves from being able to access stored account information.

For added protection, there are apps that can be downloaded that will allow a user to remotely erase a device’s entire hard drive in the event that it becomes lost or stolen. Also, only make purchases from secure sites. These are sites that have an “S” after the “HTTP” in the address bar, which indicates added security to keep your information safe. Other safety measures such as a secure web gateway are also recommended.

5. Keep up-to-date on the paperwork

Whenever you make online purchases, you should remember to keep an eye on your statements. Be sure that the amount you’re being charged is the same as the amount you agreed to pay. If it’s not, or if other charges begin to appear, then you should contact your bank immediately. Also, be sure to keep a digital copy of your receipt, in case you end up having a problem with the order; it will be a lot simpler to correct the issue if you have all of your information on hand.

Shopping from a mobile device is a convenient way to avoid the crowds and headaches of going out, but you need to be careful with how you go about doing it. Take these tips to heart, and enjoy the freedom of m-commerce.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on February 4th, 2014 in Technology | No comments Read related posts in , ,