Latest Blogs

Cryptocurrency vocabulary – your quick guide

shutterstock cryptocurrency bitcoin markets 738x410 - Cryptocurrency vocabulary – your quick guide

Ever been reading about Bitcoin, blockchain or cryptocurrency and hit a word you don’t fully understand?

If the answer’s yes – you’re definitely not alone, cryptocurrency is a big and exceptionally technical area – and sometimes there’s just no getting around those bits of jargon.

We’ve pulled some of the best out of 100+ cryptocurrency articles and blog posts, then done our best to offer some insight into what they mean – always in plain English!

Address

A wallet address is the location to which you send your currency payment – a little like an email or physical address.

Altcoin

This is a collective term for currency types that are not Bitcoin.

ASIC Mining

This is a non-typical type of mining that is often frowned upon by the cryptocurrency community. ASIC stands for Application Specific Integrated Circuit and is a chip that’s dedicated to running just one process – in this case, the process needed solve blockchain problems and ‘mine’ new coins.

Bit

This is a small fraction of a Bitcoin – 1,000,000 bits equals one Bitcoin – and since the huge value of one coin, it’s useful to talk in bits for smaller transactions.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency created in 2009 and generally seen as the benchmark against which other cryptocurrencies and technologies are compared.

Block

A block is a record in the blockchain that contains the detail of a number of transactions.

Blockchain

This is the underpinning technological concept that Bitcoin and many altcoins is based on. It is a distributed ledger system that records all previous transactions and creates algorithms that need to be solved to confirm future transactions. It is shared across all node computers worldwide to ensure security and a consensus approach to verifying every transaction.

Block height

Depending when a transaction occurred depends on its block height – i.e. the number of blocks that proceeded it in the blockchain. 

Broker

A broker is a company who facilitates the trading of cryptocurrencies – a place where you can buy or sell. This review of CEX.IO will give you an idea of what they do in a little more depth.

BTC

BTC is the abbreviated term for Bitcoin – and can normally be seen in currency exchanges alongside more recognised terms like GBP and USD.

Confirmation

When node computers solve the algorithm that authenticates a pending transaction as legitimate it becomes ‘confirmed’. Confirmed transactions are distributed throughout the blockchain and are therefore included in a block.

Cryptography

This is a mathematical term for coding a message or instruction to keep it secure. Bitcoin, the blockchain and financial organisations in general tend to use cryptographic security to prevent mishandling and fraud.

Distributed ledger

This is a ledger or record of monetary transactions that is not held centrally – instead, shared across many node computers around the world. Creating many copies of the ledger creates the need for a ‘consensus’ between all copies of the ledger – thus ensuring that transactions, when complete, correspond with the currency and its rules overall.

Double spend

Users occasionally try to send their Bitcoin code to two wallets at the same time – hence, double spending. The consensus nature of the blockchain prevents one of the transactions from being confirmed.

Fork

When a currency requires changes to its underlying rules – usually relating to how a consensus is found – it is subject to what is known as a ‘fork’. When a fork occurs, the currency may split into two different currencies and their trade value impacted.

Hashrate

The hashrate is the speed at which ‘mining’ problems are solved by node computers – thus impacting how quickly transactions are verified.

Mining

For blockchain based cryptocurrencies to grow high powered computers are required to solve the mathematical problems that stand in the way. When these are solved, the blockchain grows and the node computer (or computers) is rewarded – usually with Bitcoin or the appropriate currency.

Node

A node is a mining computer that is connected to the currency network. It will be working to validate transaction and holds a copy of the blockchain which it will amend and redistribute upon the successful solving of validation algorithms. 

P2P

This is a shortened version of the term ‘peer to peer’ – i.e. a transaction directly between two users without the need for a ‘middleman’ service like a bank or shop. P2P networks started with file sharing services like Napster – and have developed into the more sophisticated systems of today – with blockchain tech at the height of the concept.

Proof of Work

This is the concept the powers the growth of the blockchain. A Proof of Work is a piece of algorithm data that is exceptionally difficult to create but when passed to other nodes on the network can be easily verified. It takes a huge amount of computing power (and therefore money) to create Proof of Work – meaning it is becoming an increasingly concerning topic in the Bitcoin world – especially given the community’s leaning toward non-elite distributed power.

This attitude has pushed the currency toward exploring alternative methods – such as Proof of Stake.

Proof of Stake

An alternative to Proof of Work, this method of validating transactions requires less computational work and relies instead on the prover to show ownership of a certain amount of currency or stake in the chain.

Private key

This is the number that’s generated through cryptographic means to represent the amount of Bitcoin or other currency that’s being transmitted. With this key, another person or system can authorise the currency as their own and place it in their wallet.

Smart contact

Smart contracts are seen as alternative to Bitcoin’s way of operating – and underpin currencies like Ethereum. Rather than codes that signify ownership of an amount of currency, a contract is created that requires input from both parties. It’s sometimes termed a ‘if this, then that’ way of working – for example, if this [amount of money is transferred], then that [product is sent in return]. Only when the first part of the contract is met and confirmed by the blockchain that the second action takes place.

Wallet

A wallet is a device, service or piece of software in which currency private keys are held.

Using Drones for Photography

sweden bans camera drones - Using Drones for Photography

In the past, taking complex and alluring photographs would often mean a heavy investment, with no clue of how your pictures looked before they were developed. The innovation of the digital camera meant that many we quick to adopt photography as a pastime, and with so many social networks, taking pictures has become a way of live for many people.

Taking amazing photographs is no longer limited to professionals, and thanks to the technology available, people can now take professional photographs with a few simple clicks.

As photographers are keen to stand out, it’s not uncommon for them to instil other forms of technology to help them capture some truly mesmerising pictures.

Taking photographs with a drone is a great hobby, and is even something you could introduce into your professional life. However, to ensure we fully enjoy the experience, we need to ensure that we follow the relevant guidelines, and ensuring we’re adhering to the regulations put in place.

What Drone is Best for Me?

There selection of drones available is vast, and much like your like your photography equipment, the cost will often be based on your requirements and preferences. For example, if you’re looking for a drone that has a camera already included, then how much you pay will dictate how good the camera is. Similarly, if you already have camera equipment, then you only need a UAV, but you will need to ensure that it’s able to contend with the weight of the camera.

If you’re new to taking aerial photographs, then it ma be worth investing in a cheaper model initially, so you can get used to how they work and how it fits in with your current methods. Some may ask what are the best camera drones for beginners, but there is no drone that suits every purpose.  TO determine which UAV is best suited to your needs, you should consider some factors.

What Kind of Control?

It’s not only drones themselves that are evolving, but also the way they are controlled. While there are many models that offer the conventional control system, there are others that can be controlled via a smartphone or tablet. There are even options that allow you to use both methods in unison.

Where Will I Be Taking Pictures?

While drones are brilliant for taking unique pictures, we do need to make sure we’re aware of our surroundings. A drone hovering too close to someone’s property could raise problems, regardless of the intent. You also need to ensure that the drone is not likely to hit anything or anyone, especially if you’re in a area where there are a lot of small children or animals.

How Big?

The reason why there are so many options available in relation to UAVs is because of the unique designs available. Some drones could be mistaken for a UFO, while others can simply be folded away and put in your pocket.

If you’re going to be travelling to different locations, that how portable the drone is could be on of the major factors.

How Do I Ensure I Take the Perfect Shot?

Those new to the world of drones will expect a period of trial and error when learning the ropes, and this is only natural. However, as we become more experienced, we will want to know how to make the best of our drone, and capture shots easily. How this is achieved can vary on your goals, but there are some tips you can followed to ensure your better prepared should that perfect moment come along.

Become One with Your Drone

It may sound like a line from a sci-fi movie, but the more comfortable you are with your drone, then the more daring you will be. For example, in the early days, you will probably feel threatened by obstacles in your flight path, but becoming more familiar with the controls, and the drone reacts, will mean that you’re willing to take chances, which means more opportunities to take a picture that’s bound to impress.

See Your Pictures in “Real Time”

If you’re flying a camera in to the sky on a wing and a prayer, then it’s likely you’re going to struggle when it comes to taking photographs that make an impression. The use of smartphones or tablets with drones has already been touched upon, but is an ideal solution for those looking to perfect their picture-taking technique.

Connecting the drone to your smartphone allows you to see what the camera sees, making it easier to set up your shots.

Be Aware of Your Legal Boundaries

Depending on where you live, there will be different restrictions in place in relation to flying your drone, regardless of why it’s being flown. In the UK, current legislation dictates that the UAV should remain in sight, and not go above 500 metres. Those looking to exceed the 500 metres need to seek permission from Civil Aviation Authority.

Users based in the US will have to conform with the Federal Aviation Administration regulations. This includes registering any drone that weighs between 0.55 and 55 pounds. Registration costs $5.00 and is good for three years.

As well as registering the UAV, you will also need to ensure that common sense is applied at all times. For example, you need to ensure that your drone isn’t flying near any airports. You also need to ensure that there is no potential for people to get hurt. As well as being painful when hit by a drone, the tiny blades can cause damages, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Taking photographs with a drone is a great hobby, and is even something you could introduce into your professional life. However, to ensure we fully enjoy the experience, we need to ensure that we follow the relevant guidelines, and ensuring we’re adhering to the regulations put in place.

How to Keep Bitcoins Safe – Our Top Tips For 2018

safe.original - How to Keep Bitcoins Safe - Our Top Tips For 2018

When it comes to our online security, there’s a variety of things we need to take into consideration. For example, online banking can require two separate passwords, as well as some other personal details to allow you entry into your account. Similarly, if you’re looking to access your email from another location, you may receive a notification stating the fact.

Remembering a password can be a hassle in some situations, but for the most part, they’re something we couldn’t do without. It’s what keeps our financial affairs and personal details safe.

We’ve been able to adapt to how the Internet works as the changes have been instilled in a subtle manner, allowing us to learn the ropes and become accustomed to new features. However, if we’re looking to spread our wings in the online domain, there will come a time where we must learn some new strategies to ensure that our information, and more importantly, our money is kept safe.

What Makes Bitcoin Different

There’s been a lot of press in relation to how information is stored by certain institutions and banks, and there have even been incidents where private information has been leaked for all to see. While the Internet is safe for the most part, such stories can cause some to look elsewhere when it comes to ensuring their money is kept safe.

Much of the appeal of Bitcoin is that information is kept private. And while purchase information can be viewed, there’s no way of telling who made the purchase.

In most instance, those purchasing Bitcoin will do so via an exchange, and access to this currency requires the use of a private and public key. These two keys are then combined to create a mathematical equation to show that any funds sent were sent by you.

Ensuring our Bitcoin remains safe is a relatively straightforward process, but we still need to ensure that we’re following the correct procedures, or we could be putting our cryptocurrency at risk.

Fortunately, there are several ways to ensure that we remain safe when purchasing Bitcoin, and none of them are too complex. We would also suggest that you research where to buy Bitcoin before you make any initial investments. 

Keep Your Bitcoins in a Wallet

Depending on the method you use to purchase Bitcoin, there will be some instances where they are sitting in your exchange account. While many exchanges are here for the long-term, there’s no reason not to ensure we’re cautious with our money. As such, you should look to ensure that as soon as you purchase your Bitcoin, the funds are transferred to your online wallet immediately.

Never Share Your Private Key

Your online wallet will consist of the two keys you need to send and receive Bitcoin. The public key, as the name suggests, is the information that is publicised. However, your private key is unique to your, and shouldn’t be shared with anyone.

While you may feel you can trust certain people, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Store Any Copies in a Safe Place

There will be instances when you may want to print out your wallet, and this is completely understandable. However, we must ensure that we’re cautious when it comes to storing the information. While it may be tempting to store your wallet in a desk drawer or cupboard. You have to remember that if anyone has access to this information, they have access to your Bitcoin. You should choose storage that only you have access to, such as a safe,

Avoid Using Public Computers

While public computers are fine for everyday browsing, they shouldn’t be used for you Bitcoin activity. As well as there being others that use the computer, you also run the risk of keeping yourself logged in an exchange. While your private key would be needed to access your wallet, there’s still no reason to run the risk if it can be avoided.

Consider a Hardware Wallet

If you feel that storing your currency virtually is going to be problematic, then you may want to safeguard your Bitcoin on a physical device. There are many hardware wallets available such as the Ledger Nano S, that act in a similar way to a USB device, but they have been designed to deal exclusively with Bitcoin.

Of course, holding your Bitcoin on a physical device comes with its own set of worries, so you need to ensure that you have a safe storage place. While there are security features in place, we still need to be proactive in safeguarding our currency.

Backup Your Wallet

While there are many steps you can take to ensure that your information is kept safe, we should look to back up our wallet whenever possible. If something was to go wrong on the computer you’re using, it could mean you lose access to everything. A more worrying scenario would be if your device was stolen. Having a backup means that we can at least access our coins, on the assumption that the wallet on the device is encrypted.

Use a Strong Password for Your Wallet

This may seem obvious, but using a strong password is something that needs to be used in any kind of scenario where out information is involved. While it may be tempting to use a password that’s easy to remember, this often means that others are able to work out what your password is.

There are even programs online that can create auto-generated passwords to ensure that guessing your password is impossible.

For the most part, the Bitcoin community is a safe one, but we still need to ensure we’re taking precautions are reducing risk where possible.

Top 7 Digital Marketing Strategies in 2018

Blog7 - Top 7 Digital Marketing Strategies in 2018

Marketing has really evolved over the years. With the advent of technology, house-to-house marketing has been replaced. Before, it was very time-consuming to distribute flyers around the neighborhood. Today, everything has been digitalized. The internet makes it possible for businesses to reach their audience instantly, everywhere around the globe. Here are the top 7 digital marketing strategies that will surely dominate 2018:

Social media marketing

Social media marketing topped our list. Why? It is the most widespread marketing strategy that costs you lesser than your marketing budget for this year. Based on statistics, there are almost three billion social media users worldwide. Facebook ranked first with over two billion users, followed by Instagram and Twitter. Social networking platforms have designed advertising tools to customize the way you want to promote your business. Also, being viral is possible in social media. In just one post or tweet, your business can be known worldwide.

seo - Top 7 Digital Marketing Strategies in 2018

Search engine optimization

Search engine marketing remains to be one of strongest digital marketing strategies. With the power of content, you can reach online users. Through search engine optimization, you can establish your online presence by ranking first in Google search. SEO trends change every year. It is crucial for you to keep up with these changes.

Website marketing

When we talk about internet marketing, starting a website is one of the must-do things for a company. Building a website is like building a business on the digital platforms. However, you might be surprised, over 2 million small and mid-sized enterprises still do not have websites. According to Clutch.co, 92% of small businesses are expected to have their own corporate websites by the end of 2018.

Email marketing

Email marketing is probably the earliest form of internet marketing strategy. In 2018, emails are gaining popularity again. Based on Communicator Email Benchmark Report (2016), 74 trillion emails are sent annually and it keeps on growing every year. In fact, Statista found out that 86% of online consumers prefer to receive newsletters from the company they follow.

ppc - Top 7 Digital Marketing Strategies in 2018

Pay-per-click marketing

Pay-per-click marketing has been around for a few years. The most popular platform for this strategy is Google AdWords. Basically, a business pays Google for every click on the ads created. According to WordStream (2016), 65% of searchers click Google ads. Most social media platforms are also running pay-per-click campaigns.

Mobile marketing

Before, users open their desktops to search for anything. But with the popularity of smartphones, mobile searches have outnumbered computer searches since 2016. In fact, even businesses use smartphones to search. According to Google (2015), almost half of company researchers search through mobile devices. This calls for businesses to optimize everything on their website to make it compatible with mobile devices.

Local marketing

There is still a huge number of people who search for local businesses. In fact, 50% of the people who perform local searches visit the store a day after the search, according to Search Engine Land. Thus, it is important for businesses to update local directories and optimize their content for local searches.

Which of these internet marketing strategies is your favorite?

Top Tips for managing your Business Finances in the New Year

bigstock Business Team At Work 177017692 - Top Tips for managing your Business Finances in the New Year

Every New Year, millions of us are inspired to use the fresh start as a spring-board to make positive changes to our lives – whether personal or professional. When it comes to your business, getting your finances organised and under control can be the perfect resolution.

It’s easy to fall prey to mistakes and oversights if you haven’t managed money in a professional capacity before, which many small business owners haven’t. Whether your finances are already firmly under control, or you think you could improve in this area, these tips could give you some financial organisation inspiration.

1 – Have a Realistic and Flexible Budget

It might seem like a chore, but setting a budget for your business is essential to staying on track with what you spend. Having a plan in place can help prevent over-spending, and allows you to identify your spending priorities. Allowing some flexibility in your budget is also a good idea, as essential costs can change over time, and might be more, or less, than you predicted.

2 – Pay yourself a Salary

Treating your business as your own personal fund might be tempting, but in the long run it is far better to pay yourself a set salary, which falls within your budget. Including your own pay as a set cost, rather than having it vary from month to month, makes planning expenditure far easier. Equally, though, be careful not to underpay yourself. You might want to live on a reduced budget to maximise business spending, but this is likely to be unsustainable. Running a business is hard work, and should pay yourself well to reflect this. Finding the balance is key!

3 – Digitise Records

Not only does it make keeping track of income and expenditure far easier in the long-term, but keeping digital records also protects you from the stress of lost or destroyed paper documents. Using a cloud-based service will allow you to access your records from anywhere, and protect them. This kind of software can be a really worthwhile investment.

4 – Keep Debts under Control

Many businesses will require credit from time to time – whether to cover start-up costs, or a later expansion. Clearly, it is vital to approach debt with caution. Knowing exactly how your repayment schedule will pan out, and accounting for this in your budget, is a good place to start. If you feel that your business is being overwhelmed by debt, it is worth seeking professional help.

5 – Separate Business and Personal Finance

Having separate accounts for personal and business spending is essential. In the early days of a business, it might seem simpler to keep everything together, but, over time, untangling business from personal expenses can be a challenging affair. Separate accounts allow you to see business expenses and income far more clearly.

6 – Account for tougher Times

When constructing a budget for your business, don’t plan to spend every available penny. The income of your business can and will fluctuate, so taking this into account is vital to your financial success. It can be tempting to reinvest heavily in your business to force it to grow quickly, but this kind of spending is unlikely to be sustainable. It is better to set aside funds to cover emergency costs in a market place which can be volatile.

7 – Establish a Savings Plan

As mentioned in the last tip, setting funds aside for financial emergencies is essential. Ideally, this should be enough to cover the running costs of your business for a few months. It can be useful to keep this fund separated from savings earmarked for business expansion. Whether hiring more staff, taking on a larger work-space, or increasing production, growing your business is likely to be costly. Saving for this growth is essential if you want your business to expand, and contributions to your savings account should ideally be factored into your budget.

8 – Set Targets

Targets are the single best way to measure progress, so whether your a global supplier of plastic strapping or a new start-up setting financial targets for your business is essential. Setting targets for your business also gives you a chance to consider your priorities, by ensuring you take some time to think about which areas you most want to make progress in.

9 – Consider hiring a Professional

If balancing the books really isn’t your forte, and your budget can manage it, you could consider hiring a professional bookkeeper to help you organise your finances. A professional will be able to ensure you pay the correct amount of tax, and keep your books organised, so could definitely save you a considerable amount of trouble.

10 – Review your Prices

Due to factors such as inflation and changing production costs, regularly reviewing your pricing structure is essential. When production prices rise, some companies choose to ‘absorb’ these costs rather than passing them onto the consumer, but this strategy might prove unfeasible for smaller businesses. When in doubt about what an appropriate price for your goods or services might be, research is vital. You might consider carrying out a customer survey, or examining the pricing structures of similar businesses. When pricing, it is important to remember that the price itself is less important than perceived value for money, so maintaining a reputation for quality is key.

6 Effective Strategies to Expand Your Business in 2018

Blog6 - 6 Effective Strategies to Expand Your Business in 2018

Starting a business is really challenging. You need to do a lot of research about products and services, consumers, location, etc. If you have survived the startup phase, congratulations! However, there is another challenge that you need to face…and that is to grow your business.

Again, it requires another set of research and determination to grow your business successfully. Here are our six effective strategies to expand your business in 2018:

Let others franchise your business

Franchising has been a thing in business for roughly two decades already. It is a very good opportunity for you to expand your business. The advantage of being a franchisor is that you do not have to undergo the startup phase of the business. You just provide the resources to the franchisee. As a matter of fact, there are over 44,000 franchised outlets in the United Kingdom, as per 2015 statistics.

Branch out to another location

If you do not want others to duplicate your business, then you can do it yourself. This time, you have to branch out to another location. This is great especially you master the art of running your business. But, keep in mind that it’s like starting another business in a sense that you have to put up a capital again, buy equipment and products, hire people, set up the location, etc.

jj2 - 6 Effective Strategies to Expand Your Business in 2018

Offer other products and services

If you still do not have a capital to start another branch of your business, then you can simply expand your business by diversifying your products and services. According to small business consultant Frances McGuckin, offering other services provides you more streams of income. You can sell complementary products, offer classes and lessons, etc.

Be available for other markets

When you started your business, you have your desired target market. Now, it’s time to explore other markets and be available for them. It is a very effective strategy to expand your business, by targeting other markets. If you sell products and services dedicated to adults, then start calling the interests of children or the elderly.

jj1 - 6 Effective Strategies to Expand Your Business in 2018

Partner with other businesses

A partnership is very effective in growing your business. It involves the exchange of products and services. In this way, you can be able to increase your revenue or cut your costs. First, look for a business that can be compatible with you. If you are a computer repair enterprise, then partner with companies that depend its operations fully on computers, say BPO companies. Through this, you can exclusively provide them your services.

Expand through the internet

In this modern world, technology is very important. It has redefined how people do business. In fact, it can really help you grow your business. How? Build your presence online just like how you build your business. Establishing your business on the digital platform involves internet marketing strategies like SEO, social media and email marketing, among others. Through the internet, you can expand your reach across the globe. They can order your products online. You can also provide lessons or classes online. The internet really allows you to do a lot of things.

The Most Common Laptop Issues And How You Can Fix Them

Laptop and Computer repairs - The Most Common Laptop Issues And How You Can Fix Them

Things have certainly changed a lot since the laptops invention, haven’t they? Today it seems like everyone is packing a smartphone or tablet but while these new devices have certainly affected the laptops popularity I don’t think it’s right to say they have replaced it.

A laptop or netbook is a very different device to a smartphone or tablet and can do a lot of things they can’t. So, I think it’s fair to say the laptops and netbooks will be around for a long time, yet they are very versatile machines after all.

But just like computers laptops can fall victim to a number of issues and faults and knowing what do to fix these issues isn’t always easy. To be honest it rarely ever is easy, but we can help! Below we’ve outlined some of the more common technical problems that can affect laptops.

So, before you head down to a repair shop or call in a technician such as PC Doc who offer computer repairs in Edinburgh why not try fixing the problem yourself? You’d be surprised just how easy it can be sometimes, so let’s take a look at how you can go about fixing the common technical issues all laptop owners should know about.

It’s Not Charging

Laptops are certainly versatile and portable, but those advantages do come with their own set of problems and one of the most annoying is charging. All laptops regardless of brand will require charging and as a laptop owner, you should prepare yourself to face a charging problem sooner or later.

So, what should you do if your laptop won’t charge? Well, the first thing you should do is inspect the battery. The battery can usually be removed on most models of laptop and it may simply need cleaning a little as dirt can sometimes block the connection.

If that doesn’t fix the issue inspect the charger the jack is usually very fragile on a laptop charger, so it may have come loose. If the jack is loose, you may be able to manipulate it back into place and use it temporarily while you wait for a new one.

Either way, it is usually a good idea to have a replacement charger on hand just in case.

No Space To Save!

One common drawback of a laptop or netbook is that their space is limited when compared to a regular computer. This is an unfortunate truth your average laptop is not going to offer the same amount of memory as your average computer, although nowadays many modern laptops still offer plenty of space.

So, that’s why being faced with a message informing you that you have no space left can be a frustrating one for laptop owners. Thankfully it’s an easy problem to fix all you need to do is delete some stuff to make more room, but remember deleting any documents or files won’t be enough.

This will usually just send them to your recycle bin you will need to empty the recycle bin to get rid of them for good. If you can’t afford to delete anything right now, then you may able to increase your laptop’s memory or use a cloud-based server to save documents in the meantime.

I Can’t Connect To The Internet

Laptops and netbooks are so valuable because they allow us to work and surf the web on the go, that’s why finding out you can’t connect to the internet can be incredibly frustrating. Now I’ am sure you already know that there could be a number of reasons for this but there is one particular common issue for laptop owners.

If you’re trying to connect to the internet and simply seeing a red X or message that says you can’t connect right now, then the issue is probably to do with your wireless internet button. All models of a laptop will usually have a wireless internet button, however, the problem with this is that said button is not always easy to identify.

If you check your manual you might be able to find it, but you can usually bypass this simply by going to your laptops control panel and then clicking network settings. From there you’ll want to find the Wi-Fi adapter and then turn it back on. Pressing the F2 key will also sometimes turn your wireless internet back on, but this won’t work on all models of laptop.

Overheating

While they do come in a range of sizes laptops are in general very small machines, but they do pack a lot of power which means they can heat up fast. This means the risk of your laptop overheating is higher than you probably think it is, and overheating can cause a lot of issues.

If you find your laptop suddenly shutting down after an hour or so and then not coming back on for a while it will be because it’s overheating. To help alleviate this you should try to not use your laptop for longer periods (although we know this isn’t always practical) you should also ensure your laptop is regularly cleaned.

Open the screen and give it a quick clean with some tissue paper or a wipe and then clean the casing. Dust is one of the most common causes of overheating in a laptop and as such, you should try to keep your laptop free of it.

Touchpad Troubles

If your laptop’s touchpad is being troublesome then you’ll need to examine it closely, to make sure nothing is blocking the edges sometimes water can build-up. If it looks clear and everything seems tidy, then the problem could be the sensitivity.

You should open the control panel and go to the devices and printer’s icon and from there to the mouse settings. From there you’ll be able to adjust the sensitivity of the touchpad and test it out to make it more comfortable for you. If the touchpad is damaged internally then you’ll either have to send your laptop in for repairs or you maybe people able to bypass it by using a mouse.

 

7 of the most inspirational startup websites

web designer vs web builder - 7 of the most inspirational startup websites

Everyone’s got a website.

From international financial organisations – to individuals turning out craft items in their own home, a decent looking site is reasonably easy to come by, so how do you stand out from the crowd?

Well, there’s a balance of design, functionality, usability, content… and much more. The perfect website is like a good recipe – all the elements and flavours have got to be perfect if you want the desired effect.

Take a look at 7 of the most beautifully balanced and presented sites we know of at Think Zap– and perhaps draw some inspiration for your own part of the internet…

Flying Piñata

Upon clicking through to Flying Pinata you’re greeted with, well, a flying piñata.

The company’s product is certainly unique – a traditional Mexican piñata, delivered to your party hanging from an expertly piloted drone.

The clarity of the message is exceptional – even just watching the great animation at the top of the site gives you a full run down of what the company does! Perhaps the most impressive about the site is that it only has 64 words of written content – with the rest of the message communicated with great looking colourful animations.

Now, it’s worth noting that the site is literally just a call-to-action to download the company’s app – but it’s a message that’s delivered beautifully and simply.

Ghost

Where images were once king – there’s an increasing move toward sites being designed instead around beautiful text and typography.

Since Ghost is a platform for creating and managing an online blog or publication, it’s no surprise that this is exactly the design route they’ve opted for – beautiful words in a minimalist setting – and they’ve done it very well.

The reason we’ve listed Ghost as such an inspirational site is because of how attractively and effectively they deliver quite a complex product. Ghost is no lightweight in the publishing world – in fact, it’s an open source platform used by huge tech companies like NASA, Apple and Sky – but, that aside, a read through their site gives you a detailed and very readable understanding of what they do, how they do it – and how you can do it too.

Artsy

Artsy is an example of how a website doesn’t have to be minimal to be considered a design masterpiece.

The homepage truly is a hub for all things happening in the art world. From auctions to shows, street art to the masters – it’s all there – and despite there being hundreds upon hundreds of links and pages to explore, there’s a very neat feel to the site – and a natural flow.

A scrolling banner at the top of the site crams loads of up to date and relevant information in – and the stunning images accompanying the text make it almost hypnotic to watch rolling around.

If you’re looking for inspiration and have a lot of info on your homepage – stopping by and studying Artsy is a great idea. 

Mint

Mint is a service that’s designed to put your finances in one place and make their management significantly easier.

Now, if there are some relatively dry sounding subjects for most people – finances and organisation are likely to be toward the top of the list – which is why Mint’s site does such a great job.

A super quick and clear explanation of the service is followed by a bright, vibrant and arguably even exciting pie-chart image that gives the service a really simple and engaging face. Continue scrolling and some very readable site copy has you understanding some of the finer points of the service in no time.

Although the colour palette is simple – it makes the site feel energetic and alive. If you’re dealing with a topic that lots of people will find somewhat dull – you’ll be able to draw inspiration from Mint on how to liven things up…

Stitch

Retail might look simple from the outset – but when you’re starting to scale and considering how to manage your ecommerce platforms, suppliers, warehousing, accounting, point of sale and much much more, you’re staring down the barrel of some severe headaches.

Stitch pens itself as ‘your operations command centre’ – pulling together everything you need to run your business with maximum efficiency.

Now, there are entire websites that are dedicated to explaining just one of the functions Stitch incorporates – so explaining them all in a neat and concise manner is no mean feat. Stitch does a great job of using annotated illustrations to flesh out complex aspects of the service.

If you’ve got a complex product or service and want to draw customers in with an indication of how your product could make life easier for your users, Stitch could provide some excellent inspiration.

Starry

Starry are providing the internet in an innovative and refreshing way.

That is; with no additions, no bundles, no imposed TV packages – just plain and simple internet – and they’re doing it with an emphasis on speed.

Their site is stunning looking too. A hero shot of their great looking hardware – mixed with some quirky illustrations and a colour scheme that gives a relaxed and dreamlike feel. Essentially, the Starry message is delivered with just gradients of two colours other than white and black, giving the site a clean and crisp feel – but not at all cold.

Draw inspiration from Starry if you’re looking to draw customers in by highlighting the simplicity and warmth of your brand.

Winnie

If you’re a parent you’ll know that there’s a host of important features that a restaurant, café or local attraction may or may not provide – such as changing tables, space for buggies, kid’s menus – and much more.

Winnie is a free to use service that helps you know which local businesses cater for your needs – without having to drag children in to have a look around.

Their beautiful illustrations give a really friendly feel to the site – and when you’re in and signed up for a free account, you can find venues quickly and easily with customer reviews to read through. If you’re looking to take the stress out of life – following their light and breezy illustrated lead could be a good plan!

8 Things Your Start-up Must Do To Keep The Talent

best hd happy workplace pictures 570x380 - 8 Things Your Start-up Must Do To Keep The Talent

Keeping important members of staff is healthy not just for the long-term success but well-being of your start-up.  Recruiters and other industry experts agree that by retaining key talent in your business will guarantee content co-workers, product sales, deeply ingrained organisational learning and knowledge and customer/client loyalty.

When it comes to keeping employees, tech businesses have the highest rate of turnovers compared to businesses operating in any other industry.  Many organisations find it hard keeping their top performing employees, though there are many things you can do to increase the likelihood that the gifted group of youngsters will stay working for you longer than they normally would and we will look at 8 of these in the following article.

Clearly Explain The Purpose & Mission

For the current generation of employees, it is important that they truly understand the reasons why an organisation or company does what it does.  It is important to them that their hard work and efforts are valued and how it has a positive impact on the bigger picture.  A great start to achieving this is having a brilliant purpose and mission statement.  However, follow-through and reliability are essential as it shows new talent you’ve hired that you are a ‘mean what you say, do what you say’ type of company.

Meet The Demand For More Flexibility

Modern employees want a more flexible approach to work in an organisation.  Gone are the days of those firm 9 to 5 shifts.  The present generation of workers are looking for flexible working hours, mobility and the chance for remote working options.  Not only are they content, but they are also incredibly productive.  If you give your workforce the flexibility they desire, it is likely you will reap the rewards of having them in your company longer and they will have a more positive impact on your company.

Keep All Work Areas Clean And Tidy

If you want talent to stay at your company, you need to also ensure that the work areas are kept tidy, clean and hygienic.  This includes each individual desk or work station.  Unless it is already there, you should keep computer cleaning service on your list of important ‘must-haves’.  By keeping the work areas and other parts of your business premises clean and tidy, you are instilling a sense of pride in everyone from the higher-ranking members of the board to the newbie talent.  If you show that it matters to you whether the offices computers and other equipment and areas are kept tidy, this will influence how your staff feel and they will be more likely to stick with your company because it is another great way you can show their work and commitment to you is valued.

Encourage and Inspire Creative Thinking

New talent need to be sold that ingenious thinking is involved in the movement of your business.  Some studies have shown that around half the workforce are not successfully engaged within their role, so grant opportunities for your staff to put their thinking caps on to help improve sales, streamline services or whatever else.  Not only will they want to stay working for you, but you will benefit from their enthusiastic responses and who knows, they may even come up with the next ‘big idea’ that takes your start-up to the next level.

Streamline Your Onboard Processes

The application process can have an impact on whether or not employees will stay with an employer.  It is during the application process that you will have a crucial touch point with future workers.  By ensuring that the process is an effortless, swift and smooth one, you will be showing that your company is straightforward and very efficient.  Companies that have convoluted and complicated application and hiring procedures, often do themselves a dis-service from the get-go.  On the other hand, if new talent can see why the procedure exists and why it is carried out in certain way, they are more likely to feel that their career is in good hands with your company.

Reward And Recognition

Acknowledgement and prizes should be an important part of your company’s culture.  Employees who are regularly praised and rewarded for their hard work and achievements for your company are more likely to feel valued and want to stay working for you.  After all, who doesn’t like to be told they did a good job, even if deep down they know they did?  We all love recognition and new talent that is shown appreciation and both public acknowledgement of achievements and incentives and bonuses, will grow in respect and loyalty towards your company.

Offer The Chance For Continued Learning And Development

Ensure that your employees are kept up to date with regard their training and industry knowledge and keep them informed about the various training, educational and certifications open to them.  Encourage them to avail themselves of any additional instruction programmes that become open to them.  Often companies will offer half or full tuition fees in conjunction with time-off to allow their staff to take part in training and education.  It shows your employees that you are committed to their future and don’t want them to stay in the same place or position, if they remain on your workforce. 

Establish a Two Way Communication Channel Between You and Your Employees for Feedback

If there is one reason more workers feel disappointed with their employers than others, it’s communication or the lack there of.  It is vital that your business establishes clear channels for feedback to be delivered and received to and from your employees.  When possible even set-up one on one meetings with individuals.  This ensures that your members of staff will feel happier, even if they are having problems, because they feel listened to and that their opinions matter and are taken on board.  They also will respond well to constructive and beneficial feedback that they recognise is for their own benefit and not just because you want to nit pick at their skills or approach to the job.

What will web design look like in 2018 – and beyond?

Web design and development process e1511380009365 - What will web design look like in 2018 – and beyond?

Want to know why web design is so hard to get right?

It’s because it’s not one skill.

According to the web design team at Think Zap, one of Scotland’s leading web design agencies, it benefits to be fully laden with knowledge than spans from marketing and consumer psychology – all the way to innovative tech and cutting-edge programming.

But even then, the digital world doesn’t stop spinning. All of the areas it pays to understand develop on an almost weekly basis – what was in vogue yesterday is old hat today – as you’ll know from looking at and trying to use a site that’s not seen any updates in a couple of years.

It can be tricky knowing what’s hot today – let alone tomorrow, so we’ve talked to some innovative and forward-thinking web designers about what we’re going to see in 2018 and beyond. See if you and your brand are falling into line with what’s going to be the norm over the coming months and years…

  1. Chatbots and conversational UI

There’s an argument for conversational UI completely ruling the web design world going forward in time – but for 2018 at least, we’re going to see these technologies taking a more firm foothold in the sites we use.

The reason conversational UI has so much potential is because it appeals to a user’s sense of experiencing something that’s bespoke; that the site is responding to their specific wants and needs – rather than just throwing up the same experience that everyone gets.

Exceptional experiences also mean people come back and use your site again and again – and effective chatbots are resulting in much greater customer retention and revisit numbers almost universally.

Now, it’s arguable who benefits the most from this user specific experience online – the buyer or the vendor – but given there are benefits for both, it’s safe to say that chatbots and conversational UI is a firm win-win.

  1. Authentic photos

That picture of the smiling team that greets your traffic when they hit ‘contact us’ isn’t fooling anyone you know. The problem is, there’s a limited amount of stock photographs that tick the relevant boxes for a brand – and since there are millions of websites all putting out content on any one topic, there’s likely to be some repetition.

That repetition is a good way of saying ‘we’re a bit lazy’ to your traffic – a bit like you and all your friends turning up to the fancy dress party in the same lacklustre outfit. Lazy isn’t the type of brand image anyone’s hoping to portray – and even less so if you’re going to be representing someone else’s brand!

There’s a place for good stock photography – but as the hero image on your site it’s going to be a no-no in 2018. Instead, high quality authentic images are going to win the day.

Car manufacturer Hyundai recently ditched the small images of their range that featured on their homepage and replaced them with super high-quality, incredibly well shot images of their most prestigious cars. The result? A 62% increase in customers requesting test drives.

Exceptional images lead to exceptional conversions.

  1. Well-designed minimalism

Minimalism and negative space aren’t new ideas – but a break from the very-well-trodden path of black on expansive white backgrounds is long overdue.

Minimalism doesn’t have to be boring – in fact, it can be exceptionally colourful and beautifully designed while still being focused on the elements that matter. Take duotone images as an example – they’re a simple look (if not a little complex to create well) but are an excellent feature and unquestionably eye-catching.

What’s even better about a minimal approach is that it works exceptional well across all devices – and since the majority of web traffic is now mobile; minimal, well designed and light is a massive thumbs up.

  1. Stand out fonts

You may know a little about Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) initiative – essentially an open-source, stripped back version of HTML that truly optimises for mobile. AMP is a topic suitable for a discussion on its own – but it’s definitely having an impact on the designs that we see, especially around the use of fonts and typefaces.

When you’re stripping a page back to its essentials, text takes centre stage – and making sure it’s dressed for the occasion is important.

Although AMP allows for the quick cached loading of images, the emphasis is still on the page being light and quickly accessible – and from a user point of view, it’s the text that’s delivering the most important content 99% of the time.

Expect 2018 to see design that’s built around great looking text – and in some cases, text being used to create the impact that’s traditionally delivered by hero images, buttons and clickable pictures.

  1. SVGs to deliver immersive content

SVG files are vector images – able to scale up and down in a way that just isn’t practical with JPGs, PNGs and other pixel based formats. This is great – as it means page load time isn’t impacted – the first big tick in their favour.

Secondly – SVGs are going to be used to deliver the kind of image based experiences that we dreamed of as kids – 360 views, 3D images, cinemographs and more – exactly the kind of immersion that companies at the forefront of internet experience are keen to deliver.

  1. Greater IoT connectivity

The ‘Internet of Things’ has seen great steps forward in 2017 – and will continue to evolve throughout 2018 – with companies doing more and more with their sites to enable connectivity.

The sheer numbers of IoT devices make integration something of a natural next step – leading industry figures expect 30+ billion networked sensor enabled objects by 2020 – that’s around 4 for every person on the planet!

Although they’re not commonly used now, we can expect APIs that will allow developers to integrate communication with IoT devices from sites becoming increasingly popular over the next few years.

What does the overall picture look like?

Somewhat predictably, mobile is king in 2018 and beyond – but instead of the ‘optimised for mobile’ approach that we’ve seen up until now, expect ‘mobile first’ designs to be the norm – with styles, formats and interactions based on that principle.