Microsoft Launching Surface Windows 8 Pro

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Blogging News, Latest News, test

Microsoft is adding to the Surface family.

The company announced Jan. 22 its newest model — Surface Windows 8 Pro — will be available for purchase Feb. 9 in the U.S. and Canada.

Starting at $899 for the 64GB model, Surface Pro runs on an Intel Core i5 processor and can run Windows 8 applications, as well as current Windows 7 desktop applications. It will also come in a 128GB model.

Another new feature is the Surface Pen.

“Surface Pen is included and makes for an amazing experience for writers, graphic designers or even engineers, and with Palm Block technology writing and drawing is fun for everyone on Surface Windows 8 Pro,” said Microsoft Surface general manager Panos Panay in a blog post.

“Surface Windows 8 Pro is an exciting new addition to the Surface family, bringing a powerful, work-ready device that is just as at home in the boardroom as it is the family room. Whether you’re a road warrior, a student or someone who just wants a flexible and powerful Intel PC, the Surface Windows 8 Pro will deliver. It’s the perfect complement to the Surface Windows RT and delivers hours and hours of entertainment with plenty of power and productivity to get your work done as well.”

The Surface Windows 8 Pro can be purchased through all Microsoft retail stores, and at Staples and Best Buy in the U.S. as well as from a number of locations in Canada.

Customers will also soon be able to buy Surface Windows RT in 13 additional markets globally — more than double the number of markets in which Surface is currently available.

“The response to Surface has been exciting to see,” Panay said. “We’re thrilled to continue growing the Surface family with the availability of Surface Windows 8 Pro on Feb. 9 and by increasing the number of places customers can experience Surface firsthand.”

Additional Surface accessories will also soon be available:

• Surface Windows RT will be available in a new 64GB standalone version for an estimated retail price of $599 to allow customers the option of selecting a cover of their choice.

• Three new Touch Cover Limited Editions in red, magenta and cyan will be sold at an estimated retail price of $129.99.

• Customers will have the option of purchasing a Wedge Touch Mouse, Surface Edition, for an estimated retail price of $69.95 in all markets in which Surface is currently sold with additional markets to follow in the coming weeks.


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Microsoft Launching Surface Windows 8 Pro

Technology News Briefs — Jan. 23, 2013

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Blogging News, Latest News, test

AT&T to Purchase Alltel U.S. for $780M

AT&T will be shelling out $780 million to acquire Atlantic Tele-Network’s Alltel U.S. retail wireless operations.

The purchase, which will include the licenses, retail stores and network assets, along with about 585,000 subscribers, is a bid by AT&T to increase its range in rural areas.

Alltel’s network encompasses roughly 4.6 million people, mostly in rural areas across six states: Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina.

AT&T said network upgrades will improve mobile Internet service for both Alltel and AT&T customers. Alltel runs on CDMA, so customers will need to be upgraded to GSM once the acquisition is complete.

The deal is subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2013.

Mozilla Announces Developer Preview Phones

Mozilla announced its developer preview phones Jan. 22 — devices that will allow developers to test its new Firefox OS.

The phones, which are being developed by Geeksphone in partnership with Telefonica and Geeksphone, are a bid by the company to “make the mobile web more accessible to more people,” says Mozilla director of websites and developer engagement Stormy Peters in a blog post.

“Developer preview phones will help make the mobile web more accessible to more people. Developers are critical to the web and to Mozilla’s mission to make the web accessible to everyone,” Peters writes. “Now we are working on bringing the power of the web to mobile, through Firefox OS, along with all the power of open standards and an open community.”

The developer phones, dubbed Keon and Peak, will run software created with HTML5. Peters says HTML5 apps can do “phone things — they can make the phone vibrate, make a phone call or send a text message.”

The Keon specs include: CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 1Ghz, UMTS 2100/1900/900 (3G HSPA), GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (2G EDGE), screen 3.5-inch HVGA multitouch, 3 MP camera, 4GB ROM, 512 MB RAM MicroSD, Wifi N, light and proximity sensor, G-Sensor, GPS, MicroUSB, 1580 mAh battery, over the air updates, unlocked, add your own SIM card.

The Peak specs include: CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.2Ghz x2,  UMTS 2100/1900/900 (3G HSPA), GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (2G EDGE), screen 4.3-inch qHD IPS Multitouch, Camera 8 MP (back) + 2 MP (front), 4 GB (ROM) and 512 (RAM), MicroSD, Wi-fi N, light and prox. sensor, G-sensor, GPS, MicroUSB, flash (camera), battery 1800 mAh.

300 More Blockbusters to Close

The ever-growing popularity of on-demand Internet streaming media companies like Netflix and online video sites such as YouTube means more nails are hammered into the coffins of brick-and-mortar video stores.

Dish Network announced this week it will close 300 more Blockbuster stores putting about 3,000 employees out of work.

Underperforming stores and those nearing the end of a lease will be on the chopping block. With the recent cut, only 500 U.S. Blockbuster stores will remain in business — 26 of them near Dish Network’s Colorado headquarters.

The Dish Network acquired Blockbuster out of bankruptcy for $320 million in 2011. At the time of purchase, Blockbuster had 1,700 retail sites and a streaming service.

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Technology News Briefs — Jan. 23, 2013

Most Common Frustrations People Have With Website Designers — and How to Overcome Them

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Google News, Latest News, SEO News, test

Getting your website designed can be a frustrating experience, not only for you, but for your designer as well. Having been at both ends of the process, as a designer and a client, I get that the process is not always easy. Here are some problems you may have experienced and solutions on how to overcome them.

1. Your website designer’s inability to convert your ideas into the perfect website.

This would have to be one of the biggest frustrations experienced by business owners getting online for the first time. It is important to understand that having a website designed is not like getting a brochure created. There are many variations that website designers have to take into consideration, such as ensuring the website:

  • Displays correctly on as many different browsers as possible, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc (including older versions of those browsers).
  • Looks good not only on desktop computers with large monitors, but also on laptops, notebooks and Smartphones.
  • Functions properly on all devices. For example, flash animations do not work on iPads and iPhones.
  • Navigation structure is properly set up.
  • The website is not only visitor-friendly, but also search engine-friendly.

The key to overcoming this frustration is to provide your designer with examples of websites that you like and more specifically what components you really want included on your site, for example a specific type of background, special effects, graphic & image layout, number of columns, navigation type, etc. It is also helpful to show websites you do not like and clarify why.

Simply saying to your designer “I want a website that is blue and that has a lot of flair and pizazz” is probably not going to get you exactly what you want. Design is very subjective and what your designer perceives as having flair is most likely different from your idea.

2. Time it takes to get the website designed

Website design process can take time. Designers have hundreds of fonts and millions of colors to choose from. There are many possible layout combinations, graphic components etc.

In most cases, the initial process to get draft layouts completed takes several days. Then, depending on the amount of changes required to those layouts, it can take extra time.

Once the layout is finalized, the designer needs to code the site (do all the behind-the-scenes technical stuff) in order for the website to function properly. This can take a few days or even weeks, particularly if your website requires advanced functionality such as database management, shopping cart installation etc.
In most cases, what slows down the process is the client’s request to make “minor” changes. Sometimes what appears as a “minor” change, is in fact more complex, as it can impact the look and/or function of the whole website.

To ensure your website is up and running as quickly as possible, talk to your designer and work out a schedule of what is going to happen and when. Agree on dates when:

  • You will provide a brief to your designer about the functionality and layout your require.
  • The developer will supply the initial layouts.
  • How long changes will take to the layouts.
  • When you will provide text / images to be included on your site.
  • How long coding and testing will take.

It is also important to advise the designer if you are going to be away on holidays during the website development time or if you have any specific deadlines, such as launch of a new product etc.

Have a schedule in writing and adjust it if need be. Just like building a house, things occasionally crop up and delays happen, so be somewhat flexible and keep the communication open.

3. Time it takes to get changes made after the website is completed

Once your website has been live for a while and you have received feedback or things have changed in your business or industry, you may find you need changes. Unless they are major changes, generally your developer should be able to complete them within three to five business days. However, much will depend on his or her workload at the time.

If the changes are minor and you are not fussed when they are done, then it’s no problem, but if you do need specific updates completed, it may be worthwhile to contact your developer ahead of time and alert them to expect those changes on a particular day. Let them know when you need them finalized, so he/she can work them into his or her schedule.

The other alternative is to get a content management system, which will allow you to update the website yourself. It may initially cost you more to have it set up and you will need to learn how to use it but, in the long run, it may save you time, money and frustration.

4. Having to pay more than what is initially quoted

Most website designers will provide you with a service agreement that outlines exactly what you will get for your money, so make sure you read it before you sign it and ask your developer to clarify anything you do not understand. If you decide half way through the project that you want to have extra functionality added or the design changed completely, expect to pay extra. As I mentioned earlier, what may seem like a minor update may, in fact, have impact on the whole website.

5. Additional expectations

Your website designer cannot read your mind and if you want something included as part of the design or functionality, it is important that you tell your developer upfront. Once your website is completed, saying “but I thought I could update the website myself” is not going to help you. Sure the designer can add extra features, but you will have to pay more.

6. Not coming up on top of search engines

A common request I get from first-time entrepreneurs is to have their website come up on the first page of search engine results as soon as their site is launched.

The only way to do this is to run pay per click marketing campaigns, such as Google Adwords, but there is almost no way that your website can rank highly in organic search results a week after it goes live.

Your website designer can include certain elements such as titles, headings, page names with your keywords in them, but those will only help slightly with how well you rank in search engines.

Please understand that search engines such as Google ask more than 200 questions of each page before they deliver it to someone doing a search. Questions such as:

  • Does the search term appear in the title of the page.
  • Is it in the heading and content of the website.
  • Does it appear in the image alt tags.
  • How many relevant websites link to this page

And many more.

The search engine optimization process takes time — first you need to find the best keywords — keywords that are searched often, but don’t have a lot of competition, and then you need to work them into your website and also build links from other websites to yours. I recommend you leave this to a specialist search engine optimization company. Most web developers will be able to recommend someone reputable.

Unless the contract you sign with your website designer specifically includes search engine optimization, don’t expect your site to rank high when you first launch.

Getting a new website designed can be exciting and fun, but it is critical that you are clear with your expectations and communicate them to your web developer before you start. Do your homework prior to hiring someone — look at his or her previous work, check out testimonials and perhaps even contact his or her previous clients. Also, understand your website designer has most likely been doing such work for a while and has some knowledge about what works on the Internet and what doesn’t. So listen to his or her advice, be flexible with your ideas and you will save yourself a lot of time and frustration.

Ivana Katz can get your business online within seven days. If you’re looking for a professional and affordable website designer, visit and download a free website plan or connect with Ivana on Facebook.

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Most Common Frustrations People Have With Website Designers — and How to Overcome Them

Google – One Way or the Other, We’re Gonna Get YOU

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Blogging News, Google News, Latest News, SEO News, Social Media News, test

I talk a lot of smack about Google, but I need to come clean with you guys about something. I simply adore the Google Chrome browser for general web surfing. It’s lightweight, highly intuitive, and a downright pleasure to use. However, I never sign into my Google account on Chrome. Google always gripes me out, chastising me by taunting, “You’re missing out!” as soon as I hit the homepage.

At first, I thought this was nothing more than a minor annoyance, but then I learned that Google recently placed a job ad with a description specifically aimed at driving up user sign-in rates. Brian Ussery discovered the listing and reported his findings on his personal blog. The most interesting part of the story, however, is Brian’s uuber-provocative write-up dissecting Big G’s motives.

Looking at the Listing

Brian was smart enough to grab the following screenshot before the Google listing disappeared into the Internet abyss:

It’s a little small, so here’s a close-up of the portion Brian highlighted above:

“The mission of the search growth marketing team is to make that information universally accessible by enabling and educating users around the world to search on Google, search more often, and search while signed-in. Research and analysis has shown that putting Google search access points at the fingertips of users is an effective way of achieving these goals. And the more users that are signed in to Google, the better we can tailor their search results and create a unified experience across all of the Google products that they use.”

Long story short, Google’s so hungry to get you signed in that the company’s willing to pay someone good money to figure out how to convince you. And do you blame ‘em? If you’re signed in, then Google gets the juicy insider info needed to provide super-personalized search results for you, and (as Brian points out) better target ads. Google+, he notes, is a major component of the search giant’s sign-in plan. However, much to the company’s chagrin, the social network has nowhere near the viral likability of rivals such as Facebook and Twitter. G+ is growing, yes, but most of the people who use the service do so for the business benefits alone.

Google’s Catch-22

As Brian pointed out in his post, Google has a serious setback hindering its growth: rival social networks block G from accessing their astronomical database of user-generated content. This lockout is detrimental to Big G’s bottom line. The majority of the blocked content contains valuable personal info that Google would love to use in order to serve relevant ads.

Hence, Google+ jumped to the top of G’s list of priorities. Although the company has a much greater audience reach than Facebook, Facebook has exponentially more personal data on each member. Google+ is a way for Big G to counteract this problem by harvesting more personal data from searchers than it could uncover otherwise.

But Google’s still waiting for that goldmine. James Whittaker, a former development director for Google, wrote about the company’s new direction in a blog post manifesto defending his decision to leave. James grew frustrated with G’s shift from innovator to relentless competitor, and he noted this about the company’s push to make G+ a success:

“A user exodus from Facebook never materialized. I couldn’t even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice, “social isn’t a product,” she told me after I gave her a demo, “social is people and the people are on Facebook.” Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn’t invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation. The fact that no one came to Google’s party became the elephant in the room.”

Obviously, Google needed to do something bold to make G+ catch on. The answer? Tie all Google’s offerings together under the umbrella of a verified Google account and focus on forcing sign-ins.

Google: Multiple Services, One Goal

Last January, ZDNet reported that Google was testing the idea of automatically creating a Gmail account and a Google+ profile for people who set up new Google accounts. The author updated the post in November, stating that Google began a full-scale (and very hush-hush) rollout of the new automatic signup feature. This is the statement G’s PR people issued when questioned about the quiet new change:

If you’ve signed up for a Google account any time during the last year or so, you have a Gmail account and a Google+ profile – whether or not you decide to use it. But Google’s not stopping there. According to Google Support, if you want to use Google Play on any of your mobile devices, you’ll need a Google account for that as well. Plus, you’ll need a Google Wallet account tied to your Google account if you want to buy apps or any other paid content.

See what they did there? Google is slowly filling in every possible escape hatch for users who want to avoid signing in. That’s their answer to their whole “lack of personal user data” conundrum. G’s given up on trying to entice you to use its services – the search titan has opted to pursue the easy route instead: leveraging its reach and Internet domination to penetrate every aspect of your online life and quite literally force your hand.

Nell Terry is a tech news junkie, fledgling Internet marketer and staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She thrives on social media, web design, and uncovering the truth about all the newest marketing fads that pop up all over the ‘net. Find out more about Nell by visiting her online portfolio at Content by Nell.

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Google – One Way or the Other, We’re Gonna Get YOU