You Can Play Doom on the MacBook Pro Touch Bar

You Can Play Doom on the MacBook Pro Touch Bar
HIGHLIGHTS
An iOS engineer has made Doom run on the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar
Of course this is the original Doom, not the 2016 version
It runs at the Touch Bar’s 2170×60 resolution
The 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar has elicited a range of responses both lauding and criticising the new addition. Regardless of your stand on the topic, you can play Doom on the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar.

No, not 2016’s stellar reboot of the seminal franchise — that would be too much to ask for. Rather the original Doom is playable on the 2170×60 resolution of the Touch Bar.

(Also see: MacBook Pro 2016 With Touch Bar Gets Lowest Possible Repairability Score)

And while we have our reservations on what “playable” means in this case, that hasn’t stopped Adam Bell, an iOS Engineer at Facebook from making it happen.

“Doom runs on pretty much everything… but can it run on the new MacBook Pro Touch Bar?” Bell tweeted, linking to a YouTube video of the game running.
(Also see: Touché Lets You Add the Touch Bar to Any Mac for Free)
While Doom’s latest instalment was met with critical acclaim, one of the original game’s creators John Romero made a return to the first-person shooter genre. This started with him designing his first level for it in over 20 years. And then announcing Blackroom — an FPS that has him working with fellow id Software co-founder and artist Adrian Carmack. The game was on Kickstarter and then pulled until a playable demo has been made available.

Although this specific hack, while amusing, may not be entirely useful, other developers have found ways to add a virtual Touch Bar to existing Macs for free.

Tags: Doom, MacBook Pro, MacBook Pro 2016, MacBook Pro Touch Bar, Touch Bar

[“source-ndtv”]

Can Anything Prevent Another Internet Shutdown in the U.S.?

Can Anything Prevent Another Internet Shutdown in the U.S.?

An internet shutdown in the Northeastern U.S. happened roughly a week ago, and the experts are looking for ways to prevent this attack from ever happening again.

Websites like Twitter and Spotify were inaccessible for thousands of people following the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Dyn, a major domain name system (DNS) host. DNS, the technical network that converts web address names into numbers, is essentially the “yellow pages” of online addresses.

The perpetrators likely “hijacked the devices [equipped with internet] by installing the malware and then conscripted them into a ‘botnet,’ which is essentially an army of electronic devices unwittingly controlled by an unauthorized individual or entity,” Jeff Baron, a web pioneer who owned an accredited domain name registrar business, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: Internet Crashes Will Be Hard To Stop After Obama’s Internet Giveaway)

The DDoS attack reportedly infected hundreds of thousands of devices around the globe and than directed those electronics to flood servers with artificial traffic. The compromised devices include anything connected to the internet, which nowadays can be mobile phones, televisions, home security systems, vehicles, refrigerators, and even toasters.

How Can We Prevent Another Internet Shutdown?

But there are ways to combat such attacks.

“One self-help mechanism would be for a ‘good’ hacker to write a virus that finds insecure devices and simply disables them. This would remove insecure devices from the pool of computers that could be used as bots,” Eli Dourado, technology policy director at the Mercatus Center, told TheDCNF. “It would be inconvenient to consumers whose devices suddenly stopped working, but that inconvenience may be necessary to prevent more serious attacks in the future.”

There are also security network services available, like Cloudfare and Akamai, but they can be expensive, said Ryan Hagemann, technology and civil liberties policy analyst at the Niskanen Center. “As with any decision, a company or individual will need to assess whether the benefits of employing such a service outweigh the costs.”

This technology is labeled under the “Internet of Things,” or IoT, which is a system of interrelated computing devices, digital machines, or objects that can transfer data over a network without requiring human help.

“IoT development is only in its infancy, but embedded intelligence and connectivity could have a wide range of benefits, including reduced cost, better product reliability, enhanced personal safety and better use of resources,” William Rinehart, director of technology and innovation policy at American Action Forum, wrote in an email.

Adam Thierer, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center, wrote a book called Permissionless Innovation, which outlines the number of benefits IoT technology will have, from wearable technologies to recreational and commercial drones.

IoT application is estimated to rake in $11.1 trillion per year by 2025, according to a report conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute.

The comprehensive study demonstrates how IoT will help various industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, retail, urban development and infrastructure, among many others.

“For example, in health care, a dashboard that simply shows a physician a patient’s heart rhythm could be convenient, but a system that can put together a variety of personalized data and determine that the patient’s condition is deteriorating before that danger shows up in an electrocardiogram could be a life saver,” the McKinsey report explains.

But the assessment acknowledges that these benefits will not be automatic and that maintaining or balancing privacy concerns will be important.

“There’s no silver bullet that will provide an easy remedy to this problem,” Hagemann argues. “As such, it is incumbent on users to educate themselves in online security best practices and for industry to take more proactive steps to optimize the security of their devices.”

Thierer agrees, adding, “If policymakers want to foster the growth of the IoT…they will need to resist the temptation to base policy on worst-case thinking about these technologies.”

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected]

Republished by permission. Original here.

Green Keyboard Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Ways Your Small Business Can Capitalize on the Internet of Things

IoT car

Note: The following is coverage of the Solid conference, with a specific focus on micro-manufacturing trends that are arising from IOT, trends on which small businesses can capitalize.

What if I told you that your next business venture may involve manufacturing a car? Or that your next startup will include the programming of microbes?

Those ideas, according to the O’Reilly Solid conference, are not only within reach, but are progressing rapidly into reality today.

I attended the conference to view presentations for new combinations of manufacturing, biology, and programming. These concepts, rooted in Internet of Things (IoT) tech, stirs grand imaginations of devices making people’s lives easier.   The ideas can also stir how your next business idea can be best positioned for a significant industry shift rather than a mere customer trend.

When most people hear or read IoT, they rightly think of consumer devices such as the Nest thermostat.  But through keynotes and shared stories, the speakers introduced the audience to how straightforward many ideas are.

At first glance, the keynote topics seem too far advanced for small business owners.

But when thinking of business opportunities, one should examine how this technology filters down to everyday uses or how they create access to new industries.  That means a focus on how things are produced with small teams or with tools that allow for scale while leveraging limited resources – concerns that worry any entrepreneur.

Joi Ito Safecast Geiger Counter Open Source

One example came from Joi Ito, director of MIT Media Labs. He described how the cost of innovation for biology-related technology is dropping substantially, creating a faster timetable for implementing innovation than that established by Moore’s Law for processors.

His example included the dramatic cost drop of gene sequencers, from a $2.5 billion estimated in 2003 to a $1,000 handheld sequencer.  Imagine what this means. Such a drop in cost lowers the barrier of entry for new businesses involved in high tech.

Ito also noted advances that have cut development costs. His example is  Sorona, an engineered microbe that convert sugars to polyester at 30 percent higher efficiency than fossil fuels.

Economic results like these have shifted costs to a minimal level that engineers and designer can try to build devices and eventually businesses.  Ito also notes how kids in Shenzhen, a Chinese province nicknamed the “Silicon Valley of China”, make cells phone “the same way people typically build websites and apps.”

There are other IoT opportunities besides biological.  A tech company Divergent Microfactories debuted the first 3D printed sports car built on a subsystem that offer micro-manufacturing possibilities.  Another, Digital Lumiens, had sensor-equipped lights that cut on and off by activity in a given room.

Danielle Applestone, of The Other Machine Company, shared her thoughts on influences and similar advances in manufacturing. She’s also the person behind The Other Mill.

There can also be partnering opportunity with protocols.  Douglas Woods, president of the MTConnect Institute, presented MTConnect, an open-source, XML- and HTTP-based communications standard. The protocol lets manufacturing equipment and devices coordinate production instructions seamlessly, improving management ability to monitor and extract data related to the device communication.  The institute offers partnerships for those developing devices that incorporate the MTConnect protocol.

Your business should pay attention to IoT conferences as the volume of conferences increase.  The expos are great exposure for learning about technical challenges are being experienced and what has been attempted to date. They are also great locations to network with the speakers.  I usually learn a ton of ideas from speakers when there is an chance to speak to them directly.  And I love showing gratitude  – sometimes the keynote material was so terrific, that I would just say thank you to the presenters afterwards, because I recognize the tremendous effort that had to go into the keynote material.

Finally, many IoT conferences will take place in a number of locations.  The O’Reilly Solid conference was in San Francisco this past summer (next year is planned for spring), but many marketing and tech conferences in other locations are transitioning to IoT themes.  So places such as Atlanta, Chicago, and New York are sure to have opportunities for small businesses nearby.

So what are you waiting for?  To get started on following IoT ideas online, do a search on common subject hashtags such as #IoT and follow the associated tweets. I keep a column dedicated in Hootsuite for such hashtags, but you can also create groups in Twitter as another means to follow tech trends.

Images: (top) Kevin Czinger, Founder and CEO of Divergent Microfactories, with the 3D car Blade; (middle) Joi Ito, director of MIT Media Labs/By Pierre DeBois

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

What is Calm Design and How Can You Use it in Your Marketing?

What is Calm Technology Design and How Can You Use it in Your Marketing?

Cisco estimates there will be 11.6 billion mobile-connected devices by 2020 — a number that exceeds the world’s projected population. The mobile Internet of Things (IoT) is spreading consumer attention thin, making it more difficult than ever to break through the noise and reach target audiences. With this many connected devices on the horizon, content marketers must find a way to use mobile to their advantage. There’s an emerging concept within IoT that may hold the answer to regaining some consumers’ attention: calm design technology.

What Is Calm Design Technology?

Calm design technology is a new idea that strives to blend technology seamlessly with everyday life. While modern smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and connected devices aim to respond to users’ needs, calm design takes responsive design a step further. Calm design is the next generation of connected devices. Its purpose is to connect consumers with their devices and others in a way that lets them live their lives freely — without interruptions, pop-ups, or “smart” technology that makes life more difficult.

The example Amber Case used at InBound 2015 when speaking about calm technology is electricity. Electricity is invisible, working on its own without interrupting our daily lives. We only notice electricity when it stops working. Calm design aims to reach this level of invisibility — not literally, but figuratively. Instead of your Apple TV turning on and asking if you want to download an update, it should simply play movies.

Principles of Calm Design IoT

Technology shouldn’t take up most of our time and attention. It should only require some attention when absolutely necessary. Here are a few principles of calm technology from Calmtech.com:

  1. Technology should require the smallest amount of attention possible. It should communicate without having to “speak,” creating awareness using different senses to keep consumers in their current environment or task without interrupting.
  2. Technology should amplify the best of humanity and machines. Tech design should be for humans first. Machines shouldn’t act like humans or vice versa — good design should amplify the best parts of both.
  3. Technology should solve a problem, and that’s it. The minimum amount of technology possible to resolve an issue should be the only tech we see. Calm tech is slimmer, doing what it needs to do and nothing more.

Calm tech design doesn’t require focused attention to use. It lets users multitask and do other things while the tech quietly does its job. It utilizes the periphery.

Calm Design and Marketing

When virtually everything in a consumer’s life is connected, distracting notifications and daily interruptions escalate out of control. Customers are nearing a breaking point with marketers, blocking advertisements and leaving websites that have pop-up ads. Instead of contributing to the noise, marketers need to find a way to advertise their brands without interrupting the consumer’s day. Calm design is the answer.

Trying to grab attention with irrelevant ads will only push consumers away and eventually make your brand extinct. Calm design is a new platform — one that enables interaction with customers without interrupting their days. Marketers can join the trend toward calm by understanding how to transform advertisements into meaningful conversations with consumers, adding something of value without taking them away from their current tasks.

How Can Marketers Use Calm Technology Design?

Combining content with calm design is going to lead the movement. Marketers need to change how they communicate with consumers to optimize outreach in the modern world. Instead of relying on the interrupting nature of advertising, content marketers should evolve into what Haydn Sweterlitsch, chief creative officer at HackerAgency, calls the Atmospheric Approach. The Atmospheric Approach doesn’t create content that adds to the noise. Rather, it enables marketers to quietly integrate ads into a customer’s peripheral awareness.

Marketing should theoretically “disappear” while engaging customers, getting a message across without interfering. Real life examples of this are the Roomba, a stoplight, a light-up occupied sign on a bathroom door, and captics technologies. Captics use the sense of touch to communicate, vibrating when users are slouching and telling them to sit up straight without making a sound. Content marketers must gear their efforts toward the same concept.

As IoT, robotics, smart homes, artificial intelligence and mobile devices create a hyper-connected world, consumer attention will become more and more scarce. Marketers need to find creative ways to attract consumer attention without distracting them. Paying strict attention to consumer demands will be more important than ever, so think about what consumers may be doing while viewing your content.

Creating compelling, simple and useful brand messages is the wave of the future. It’s possible to attract attention without interfering through engagement and empowerment. Utilize other senses, not just sound. Integrate touch and sight. Instead of spending money on pop-up advertisements, spread your message quietly. Blatant appeals are a thing of the past, and marketers who cling to them will become extinct. Take control of your future and join the trend toward calm design technology.

Smart Tech Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-ndtv”]

9 Offers That Can Help You Boost Sales This Tax Season

040615 tax time

Tax season isn’t just about getting your return in time and all the commotion that goes with it; it’s also a great opportunity to boost sales. Tax-time promotions, offers and tie-ins can add some fun to this busy time of year and hopefully make you some money too!

Here are some ideas that you might want to use for your small business.

Use the Number “1040”

No one enjoys filling in Form 1040, but as a small business, the number has infinite promotional possibilities.

For example, if you own a restaurant or bar you could offer two dishes, meals, or drinks for $10.40. Retailers could mark down items to $10.40. Or online stores could offer a special promotion that starts at 10:40 or can only be redeemed with coupon code “1040.”

There are probably 1,040 other things small businesses could do along the same line.

Offer a Unique Product in Honor of Tax Day!

Whether it’s the “Tax Man Martini” or the “Uncle Sam Sandwich,” think of ways to offer unique, one-off items that have a tax day tie-in and charge $10.40 or $15 for it (as a nod to April 15).

Come Up With a “Taxing” Catchphrase

Last year, California Tortilla came up with the tagline “Queso Makes Life Less Taxing” and offered free chips and queso with any purchase on April 15.

Get the word out a few days ahead of time on social media and to your email subscribers. Line up some memes, images, and product photos to accompany the catchphrase and let customers know what’s being offered.

Offer a Tax-Free Service

Offer a tax-free dining or shopping experience for one-day only on April 15.

Position Your Offer as a Refund

We’re all hoping for a tax refund, so why not offer your customers one. Instead of the traditional “BOGO” offer, give them a refund when they buy two items in a certain range.

Help Your Customers Relax After Tax Season

Preparing taxes is complicated and stressful. Could your business offer something that can help customers wind down and relax after tax season? B and Bs and hotels could offer a “Tax-Free, Stress-Free Weekend Special.” Spa owners could offer a “Tax Day De-Stress Package.”

Offer an in-room credit (aka refund) or a special service for soothing “taxed” nerves.

Set Up a Pop-up Shop

Get out there among your taxpaying customers and hand out free samples of your products or services. Throw in a free shoulder massage, just for fun.

Run an Early Bird Campaign for Early Filers

Run a promo or special the morning of tax day and position it as a special promotion for those who already have their refunds.

Offer Tax Tips for Next Year

If you’re in the financial services industry, now is the time to start marketing your services. Offer customers a free consultation or product trial and tout how you can help them do a better job of filing next year.

The opportunities are endless. For more inspiration, check out this roundup of Tax Day Freebies, Promotions, Deals and Specials from Forbes, which features a selection of the best promos offered by businesses last year.

Tax Calendar Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

3 Things You Can Recycle But Probably Don’t

If you haven’t noticed, just about anything can be recycled these days. Think about what items land in your trash can (and then the landfill, of course) and whether you can find an eco-friendlier home for them. Chances are you can — as long as you know where to turn.

recycle phones

Here are three commonly tossed items and how to give them a new life:

Foam Peanuts

Foam peanuts and other plastic-based packaging and shipping materials often get tossed, because they’re not generally recycled curbside.  If you can’t reuse them yourself, many pack-and-ship stores accept and reuse used packaging materials.

Not sure if there are any such stores in your area? The Plastic Loose Fill Council has a “Peanut Hotline” (800- 828-2214) that you can call to find foam peanut drop-off sites in your area. (You can also use its online search form.) You may be able to find a home for other types of plastics using the search form on PlasticMarkets.org.

Office Supplies

Used paper clips, folders and other common office supplies often get tossed in the trash with little thought. But many of these items can be used multiple times, if someone takes the initiative to save them.

If you have employees, set up a spot where employees can leave extra used supplies and encourage other employees to check that spot first before picking up new ones. Once you do need to throw out worn or unusable supplies, most of them can be recycled.

Personal Gadgets

Manufacturers of popular smartphones will often take back your old gadgets for free and make sure they’re responsibly recycled. (Apple, for instance, will recycle used iPhones and other Apple products .)

But other companies, such as Gazelle and NextWorth, will even give you money for old smartphones, digital cameras and other devices and pay you for them. Have a mass quantities of old gadgets to toss (30 or more)? Project Kopeg will recycle them all and cut you a check. (Keep in mind that some nonprofits will also take old gadgets and give them away for a good cause. You might then be eligible for a tax deduction.)

If you have a miscellaneous array of things to get rid of and can’t find a good home, check out Freecycle.org. This site helps match you up with people in your community looking for something you no longer want. (Also don’t forget about Craigslist.)

Of course, before you give away or recycle any old technological device, make sure to thoroughly clean the hard drive. You don’t want your personal or sensitive business information getting into the wrong hands.

Recycle Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Did You Know You Can Blog On Facebook?

blog on facebook 3

Did you know that Facebook offers another option for sharing with your friends and fans?

It is a longer form communication much more like LinkedIn’s professional publishing platform.  And it may be worth a look if your brand has a bit more to share than a recent photo or a link to your latest blog post.

The Facebook Notes app was created and launched in 2006 and allows longer form content much like a blog post. The notes app hasn’t gotten much love or attention from Facebook. But it has more advantages than disadvantages today as content marketing becomes more important for small business success, especially on social media.

Here’s a quick overview of the Facebook Notes features from Smash U Media:

Facebook Notes is a possible alternative for people that might not have their own dedicated blog or website. If you want to write longer form posts on a social site and engage much more directly with your social media following, this is one approach.

Using the Notes feature on Facebook can be another way to build reach, serve and educate customers and add variety to your content approach on Facebook.

How to Find and Set Up Facebook Notes

To set up a Note on Facebook, go to your Facebook home page — not your profile with your timeline — and find the Notes App on the left side of the page under the apps section. Or type “notes”  into your search bar at the top of your page:

blog on facebook

Simply click on the icon and it will bring up the application, a simple word document format that allows you to enter text much like you would in a blog or other online publishing platform.

Customization Features of the Notes App

Notes allows for some simple customization like bolding, Italics, underlining, numbering, bullet points and quotes. It also allows you to add photos and tags.  However, it doesn’t allow embedding of video or gifs.

The Facebook Note app also features several privacy settings which allow you to target those in your community you wish to reach with your message. Settings include “public,” “friends,” “friends of friends,” “me only” or “custom,” a setting allowing you to specifically identify the friends on Facebook you wish to target the note to.

Privacy

Suggested Categories for Post Content

Whether you have a business page or professional page, you can use the Notes feature for:

  • How-to’s on a specific service or process.
  • Reviews of products or books.
  • Events, promotions and sales incentives.
  • Personal stories and experiences as they relate to your business relationships.
  •  Niche ideas and advice that you want to share with your community.
  •  Small business content that you can share, link and add your take on for your community.

Here’s an example of how people are using notes:

blog on facebook 2

Advantages of Using Facebook Notes

There are actually several advantages especially today to incorporating Facebook Notes into your content marketing mix.

First, Facebook Notes allows you to blog directly on the most popular social media platform in the world where a huge audience and community for your message already exists. Blogging on Facebook is a win-win all around. It allows you to directly address existing fans and followers and to easily build that community over time.

Second, Google loves social media and especially Facebook. So longer form content published on the Facebook platform is sure to be indexed quickly and turn up prominently in searches. Just make sure to add SEO and hashtags and to tag your friends in your posts on Notes.

Third, regular Notes posting can drive traffic to your website or Facebook page just like a blog post does. The more consistently you are posting the more prominently you will show up in the search results. Imagine if you could publish one note a week in addition to your regular blog posts on your website. That would add 52 additional pages that you are getting out there with real quality content for both Google and Facebook search to pick up on.

Fourth, the Notes feature allows you to go beyond the 420 character limit of a regular status update. So you can add more insights, ideas and information. Your fans and friends can comment on, “like” or share your Notes or your Notes RSS feed with others. You can also re-purpose a previous blog post using the Notes app.  Just be sure to re-format and rewrite it so that you can publish it as a new piece of content.

Disadvantages of Using Facebook Notes

There are a few disadvantages to keep in mind when using Facebook’s Notes app. The main ones have more to do with linking, spam and images more than credibility, acceptability and value.

First, your Notes will lack permalinks. So while Facebook content is popular with search engines, this one fact may make your entries not as SEO friendly as most traditional blog posts. In the case of Private Notes, Facebook may provide each user with a custom link to your note in order to maintain “privacy settings on a per-viewer basis.” But remember, no one will be able to see these links but those you designate.

Second, the Notes app does not offer a custom domain feature yet. One could redirect a domain towards a Facebook Notes page but by doing so might make a Notes journal look less professional in the process.

Third, spam is always an issue on social media and blogs. However, Facebook seems to have perfected a way to isolate spammers while keeping legitimate comments viewable, allowing users to focus on creating content instead of dealing with loud mouths seeking attention for personal or “business” reasons.

Fourth, the way Facebook Notes handles HTML image tags could give an attacker the ability to launch distributed denial of service attacks against external targets — like your website — using the power of the massive network to amplify the attack. Read more about how this kind of attack could be launched to minimize your chances of being a victim.

Most people would not ditch their blogs for Facebook Notes. But used together with other online marketing tools the app could give your brand definite advantages. Use it as a way to get started and get used to the blogging process before launching a blog of your own. Or enhance what you are already doing on your own website with occasional Facebook Notes updates. You can also use the app for specific campaigns, products, services or to reach a very specific audience.

There is buzz about Facebook Notes being a major focus of the next redesign for Facebook and there may be good reason to believe this.  Facebook needs to keep finding ways to serve it’s small business community and Facebook Notes certainly might be one such approach.

The Facebook Notes app gives you the opportunity to be in the blogging and content creation game now in a turn key environment and system at almost no cost to you, except the time invested to create and promote your posts.

Facebook Photo via Shutterstock

More in: Content Marketing, Facebook

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

5 Ways Small Businesses can Benefit from Blogging

5 Benefits of Blogging for Small Businesses

Startups prefer online promotion over offline promotion because the former is cost-effective and yet often has shown definite results. Because blogging is the default window leading to online promotion, more and more brands are getting into it these days.

For a small business on a shoestring budget, investing time and resources in blogging is a better option tha other marketing alternatives. Blogging can aid in getting a high ranking on search engines and in gaining social media visibility?

But anything beyond that?

The Benefits of Blogging for Small Businesses

Let’s find out:

Establishes Thought Leadership

Blogging is instrumental in establishing thought leadership. Small firms need it more than their big counterparts. That’s because big companies can spend money and skip intermediate phases in the sales funnel. But small businesses have to pass through them.

Contrary to what many believe, thought leadership is not simply an accompanying factor in the sales cycle. It impacts a customer’s purchasing decisions when he’s on the payment page. The ORM overdose has made average customers suspicious about the claims made by brands about their products. But customers are less suspicious about industry thought leaders.

Another benefit of thought leadership is it attracts efficient employees, who might otherwise work in big companies. Some of those employees feel the corporate houses are soulless places to work. Big companies don’t allow employees to perform fully up to their potential. Small brands, especially the ones that are thought leaders, grant them this privilege. What’s funny about thought leadership is it doesn’t go hand in hand with paid efforts. Customers always take promotion with a pinch of salt.

Organic efforts, especially blogging, establishes thought leadership.

Content Planning

Blogging makes content planning easy for brands. In fact, the two are not separate. Brands that excel in blogging are those that plan their content in a meticulous way.

How exactly is content planning beneficial for startups?

Proper content planning can save cost and increase ROI. Brands, both big and small, unnecessarily shell out money due to wrong content planning. Big brands may not keep track of every dime they spend, but small businesses do. Cost-cutting and ROI increase are the focal points.

The following are essential for content planning:

  • Consumer demographics,
  • Problems consumers face, and
  • How branded products offer up solutions.

Of the factors above, some help brands to understand customer idea feedback. The next step of content planning is drafting the content in accordance with such feedback. Audience reactions can clue marketers in on the acceptability of the posts they publish. Once they garner audience appreciation, they can move on with the accompanying writing style.

Strategizing each step is content planning. Content planning helps to measure content marketing ROI, which is difficult otherwise. In the absence of industry-approved publishing metrics, proxies like virality and engagement factors are used. But via content planning, we can figure out more rigorous ROI measurement factors.

Monetizing the Blog

Very few give it a serious thought. They should because the majority of startup companies are bootstrapped. Blog monetization can be an alternative way for them to make money. It’s not rocket-science. There are ample resources on how to create a money-making blog from scratch.

Some hold monetizing a blog reduces the odds of establishing thought leadership. That’s not true. Making the site cluttered with ads is not a good idea, but paid promotion via in-text links (to a limited extent, of course) and giving favorable reviews to sponsors are great ways to monetize a site without putting banner ads on it.

Other than financial benefits, blog monetization can help startups expand their network. As they explore the financial opportunities, they can partner with other bloggers and with industry influencers. They may hop onto the money-making bandwagon if given a chance.

How-to Guide

Startups don’t hate DIY as much as big brands do. That’s because big enterprises can take care of all product related needs of customers — from packaging to promotion. Startups, on the other hand, offer specific services targeted at specific requirements.

Customers who go for DIY may need supporting tools and additional services. They expect these at lower cost, which rules big brands out of the equation. Only small businesses can understand and meet their requirements. Here’s an example:

Let’s say a small business operates in the chimney flue manufacturing industry. On the blog page of its site, it can offer guidelines on how to install a new chimney flue. A homeowner can do the installation himself, but he needs to buy the flue from a store. This is how small businesses can endorse DIY and yet publish how-to guides on their sites.

Tutorials and how-to type posts can quickly draw reader’s attention. How-to-led DIY can make someone successful in his endeavor or result in failure. The first outcome adds authenticity to the procedure detailed by the blogger (the small business). The second outcome prompts readers to get back to the blogger with questions, leading to a long trail of interactions. Hence, how-to posts lead to a win-win situation.

Getting Noticed

Startups aim to secure funding from venture capitalists. VC firms invest in businesses which they deem worthy of investing. How do they decide whether to invest in a startup or not?

They calculate the possible ROI based on speculations.

For a small business, it’s tough to convince investors that funding it will bring them good ROI. Approaching the investors, and for that matter reaching them, is the first hurdle. Persuading them to invest is the next. And do bear in mind that as a startup, you have to jump all these hurdles without sounding pushy and without bragging about yourself.

Blogging is an excellent way to get noticed by big players. There’s no dearth of platforms if drawing the attention of the big players is on your mind. Admins of third-party B2B blogs will be delighted to publish your posts, provided these posts are useful and offer new information. Then there are publishing platforms like Pulse. LinkedIn is where most of the VC guys are. And they hover over Pulse articles for new insights.

From your blog, people running VC firms will come to know about your achievements, methodology and innovations. You can even present case studies to bolster your claims. From case studies, investors can get a glimpse of your firm’s internal workflow and business process. If they are impressed by these, they may invest. Choose relevant topics, do a lot of research and offer solutions. In short, give VC firms all the reasons to notice you in the crowd.

Summing Up

In the era of content marketing, blogging is bound to help a business climb up the ladder of success. However, the efforts put into it must be precision-guided. The five tips shared here can make sure of that.

Blogger Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Supreme Court: You Bought It, You Own It, You Can Resell It

First Sale Doctrine Resale Rights1

This past week the United States Supreme Court decided a case that reinforced the right to re-sell something that you had lawfully bought.

Now — you might be wondering what’s so earth shattering about that.  After all, hasn’t that always been true?  You own an iPad and want to get a new tablet instead?  Just sell the old iPad or donate it or recycle it — because it’s yours and you can do what you want with it.  Bought a book and no longer need it? You sell that, too. Right?

Here in the States we have something called the “first sale doctrine.” It simply means that once a tangible copyrighted work (or something with copyright in it) is sold lawfully the first time, the original copyright owner no longer has rights over the physical item. After that, the buyer can do whatever he or she wants with it — sell it again, donate it, whatever.  That’s why you can legally hold a yard sale or sell computers on eBay. The resale right applies only to the physical item sold, not copies.

Most of us take resale rights for granted.

But that right to resell copyrighted items had been challenged in court.  The Supreme Court’s decision this week reaffirmed that owners have resale rights, as Daniel Fisher writes in Forbes:

The U.S. Supreme Court today settled a long-simmering debate over the Copyright Act by holding that publishers can’t prevent the resale of books they produce overseas in U.S. markets.

The decision in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons is a victory for Supap Kirtsaeng, a student who was fined $600,000 for importing Wiley textbooks from his native Thailand, where they were cheaper, and selling them in the U.S. It’s also a victory for libraries and retailers like eBay, who argued the “first sale” doctrine — giving owners of published books and recordings the right to sell them to whomever they want — should apply to imported works as well as U.S. publications.

The lawsuit related specifically to U.S. copyrighted items manufactured outside the United States, but re-sold or disposed of inside the U.S.

The Owners’ Rights Initiative hailed the decision as a victory for individuals, organizations and businesses.  The Initiative is an advocacy group founded to protect owner’s rights to buy and sell authentic goods.

Their motto is: “You bought it. You own it. You have a right to resell it.” (Image above)

The Owner’s Rights Initiative says you should be permitted to resell something you’ve legitimately purchased, no matter where it was manufactured.  While the court’s decision puts to rest one attack on resale rights, the group believes  there could be other legal attacks in the future.  Said Lauren Perez of the American Free Trade Association, in a video on the Owner’s Rights site:

If you buy it you own it. If you paid for it, it’s yours. You shouldn’t have to go ask permission of anybody to resell it.  You shouldn’t have to worry about being sued for copyright infringement because the original copyright owner or manufacturer doesn’t like you being the person reselling it… doesn’t want you to realize a profit from your original investment.

The Owner’s Rights Initiative is backed by groups  like eBay, Etsy, Overstock, the American Library Association, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, and even the popular used/out-of-print bookseller Powell’s Books.

Below is the Supreme Court’s decision (only the 4-page summary, also known as a syllabus):

Image credit: Owner’s Rights Initiative

This article was updated to clarify that resale rights do not apply to copies illegally made of a copyrighted item.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

20 Cheap Drones You Can Afford Today

The Best Cheap Drones - 20 Cheap Drones You Can Afford Today

The growth of the drone market is lowering the price point, and making these aircrafts more accessible to the average person. Whether you are buying one as a toy, a hobby or for a business application, you have many options. And of course these options greatly depend on how much you are willing to pay.

As for the future of drone flight, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and FAA just finalized the rules for small unmanned aircraft systems in June of this year, which will create new opportunities for businesses and governments. Industry estimates cited by the FAA believe this new ruling has the potential to generate more than $82 billion in the US, while creating more than 100,000 new jobs over the next decade.

So, here are 20 best cheap drones — all under $150 — any one of which could be a great way for you or your business to learn as much as possible before you upgrade to the more expensive choices. From the whimsical to the utilitarian, you can buy one just for the fun of it, or to help you get ready to get your share of that $82 billion market.

List of the Best Cheap Drones

Syma X5C

The Best Cheap Drones - Syma X5C

For a drone that costs $40.94 the X5C has all the tools you need to fly, capture video and photos so you can become more proficient. The X5C has a 4CH HD video camera and micro SD card with a flight time of about seven minutes.

Hubsan X4 H107C With HD Camera

The Best Cheap Drones - Hubsan X4 H107C With HD Camera

This small drone comes with a 2MP HD camera $42.49 with a hovering time of nine minutes. The X4 H107C is made by one of the biggest brands in the industry so it has quality even though it is less than $50.

Aerix AERIUS

The Best Cheap Drones - Aerix AERIUS

This is the world’s smallest quadcopter coming in at 3cm x 3cm x 2cm or about 1″ all around with an ultra-Compact 2.4 gHz controller and up to seven minutes of flight time. The company has a US Patent pending on this drone, and it has managed to put many of the specs in big drones, including 6-axis gyro-stabilization, 360 degree rotational yaw and more for $45.

Black Talon – Micro FPV Beginner Racing Drone

The Best Cheap Drones - Black Talon - Micro FPV Beginner Racing Drone

There are some expensive and fast racing drones out there, but if you are just starting the Black Talon has a top speed of 15 MPH with up to seven minutes of flight time for $139. You also have the option of getting the extended flight package so you can fly for up to 25 minutes.

UDI U818A HD

The Best Cheap Drones - UDI U818A HD

If you want a drone with no frills that will give you the necessary skills to learn control, this is it. The U818A is a great pick for aspiring pilots who want to control the flight themselves and take video on a limited budget. The frame protects the rotors and the 4GB micro SD card lets you capture a good amount of video or pictures. The flight time for this $71.98 drone is around nine minutes.

Heli-Max 1SQ V-Cam

The Best Cheap Drones - Heli-Max 1SQ V-Cam

The 1SQ is yet another drone with decent camera and controls for capturing images. It takes 1MP still pictures and records video at 1280×720 30fps on the 2GB micro SD it comes with. Some of the functions include, Auto-FLIP for front-to-back, back-to-front or side-to-side somersaults. The $129.99 gets you up to 10 minutes of flight time.

UDI RC U27 FREE LOOP

The Best Cheap Drones - UDI RC U27 FREE LOOP

At only $26 this drone has a 3.7V 450 mAh battery that gives you hovering time of a little more than five and a half minutes. There other micro (50MM) and small (100MM) drones in this price range and cheaper, so if you are a beginner, the FREE LOOP and others in its class are the ideal way to get your feet wet.

SeresRoad JJRC H8C

The Best Cheap Drones - SeresRoad JJRC H8C

The H8C gives you four speed settings that increase in 25 percent increments. The transmitter also offers an LCD monitor with outputs for signal conditions and battery power, which gives you up to 8 minutes of flight time. The $49.75 price tag includes a 2MB HD camera and a 2GB memory card. This drone is large compared to the other ones, coming at 7.87 x 7.87 x 1.97 inch.

WLtoys V686G

The Best Cheap Drones - WLtoys V686G

At $87.90, the V686G gives you a 5.8G real time image transmission first-person view (FPV) 2MP camera with vibration absorber and eight minutes of flight time. The one key return feature ensures your drone gets back to you, and the missile launcher, water cannon, hook & basket and bubble blower adds more fun to your flying experience.

Holy Stone F181

The Best Cheap Drones - Holy Stone F181

The F181 captures 1280 X 720 images and video at 30 fps with the HD camera. The flight time is around eight minutes, and a key 360 degree 4-way flip lets you do so to the left, right, forward and backward with continuous roll for $99.98.

JXD 510G

The Best Cheap Drones - JXD 510G

The 510G has 5.8GHz FPV with high altitude hold mode, Wi-Fi camera, 2MP camera with 720p and optional phone control. The 3.7V 800mAh delivers eight minutes of flight time. The $89.99 price tag varies greatly, so shop around until you get the best price.

JJRC H26D

The Best Cheap Drones - JJRC H26D

The $109 price tag for this drones delivers some great features, including a 3.0MP Wide angle camera, 2-Axis adjustable gimbal and one button return. The flight time is only seven minutes, but the solid construction makes it a great value.

Star Wars Millennium Falcon

The Best Cheap Drones - Star Wars Millennium Falcon

If you are a Star Wars fan, this is definitely a great way to have some fun with a drone. The flight time for the Falcon is five minutes, but it does have some special sound effects to add to the realism. The price varies greatly depending where you get it, the $80.36 is one of the lowest prices.

Longtian Syma X8G

The Best Cheap Drones - Longtian Syma X8G

The camera on this phone is listed at 8MP, which presents great opportunities for capturing high quality images. The 7.4V 2000MAH also delivers one the longest flight times for this price range, with up to 12 minutes. At $147.50 it definitely packs some great features.

Cheerson CX-35

The Best Cheap Drones - Cheerson CX-35

The CX-35 is made by a popular brand, and at $145.99 the quality build and the 2MP wide angle HD camera with independent video transmission system will ensure you get your pictures and video as promised. The 1300mah battery provides up to seven minutes of flight time, and the one-key return along with a low-voltage warning will bring your drone safely back to you.

Potensic F183W

The Best Cheap Drones - Potensic F183W

You can fly the F183 with your smart mobile device when you don’t have the remote using Wi-Fi.  A flight time of seven minutes, 2MP HD FPV camera, two control modes and a 3D flipping button are some of the features of this $107.99 drone. 

DBPOWER U818A

The Best Cheap Drones - DBPOWER U818A

If you want a live video feed in HD from your smart mobile device, the U818A has an FPV Wi-Fi feature to make it possible. The Gravity Induction mode lets you control the drone based on the angle of your phone. And for $139.99, it also has anti-crash safeguards while you are flying for up to 9 minutes with the 3.7V 700mAh battery.

Fayee FY560

The Best Cheap Drones - Fayee FY560

The 5.8G FPV monitor will let you view your images and video over long distances from the HD 2.0MP camera. The 360 degree accurate localization feature will let you see where your drone is at all times. The flight time for this $140.31 air craft is around eight minutes.

MJX X101

The Best Cheap Drones - MJX X101

The X101 lets you choose three different type of cameras depending on your needs. It has 3D flips tumbling skills, 6-axis gyro stabilization system and a search light are some of the features. With a flight time of 10 minutes, the $149.99 price tag may well be worth it.

Helizone

The Best Cheap Drones - Helizone

The Anti-Shock System of the Helizone captures high quality shots by stabilizing the camera with the shock absorbers. The Transmitter Control Mode and Throttle Limit Mode give you different flight modes and limits the throttle if you are a beginner. The drone is priced at $139.99

ELENKER 509G

The Best Cheap Drones - ELENKER 509G

The 509G is a 5.8G FPV with an X design that includes a 2.0MP camera, 6-axis gyro and a flight time of six minutes. For $135.99 you get a one-button return and fixed altitude function for better control.

* * *The features on drones in this price range are pretty much the same. And since the industry is growing, there are many manufacturers, so you have numerous options.While these prices may change, they were accurate at the time of  reporting and should give you  a good idea of where to get started.
San Francisco Drone Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]