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Cloud: The Forward-Thinking Backup

Just three years ago, "the cloud" was a buzzword few used and even fewer understood. But don't use its recent immaturity as more reason to ignore it. Although only a third of respondents to an Information Week survey claimed they used it in 2011, nearly half use the cloud today, and another 13 percent plan on it by next year.

What does this all mean? I'll tell you what it means. It means the rate of cloud adoption is doubling. Perhaps it's time to give the soon-to-be only form of data storage and backup a once over – whether you're well informed or not.

What's a Cloud?

Cloud computing is the newest form of digital storage, meant to reflect the lifestyle of the typical web-based individual by unifying the information of his/her multiple devices at one common rally point, often managed directly by the user, through the Internet.

The concept eliminates things like wire connections to share and transfer information, so that data is accessible from any device tethered to the cloud once it's created. Common examples include a song or a photo, downloaded or taken from one device and inherently available on another.

Also known as the new era of "virtualization," the practice effectively reinvents file security, which affords firms like Mozy online backup services in an industry even professionals struggle to master. Depending on the user, clouds can be public, private or hybrid…

    • Public – Cloud provided/managed by external service provider
    • Private – Cloud devoid of external assistance, managed by user in-house
    • Hybrid – Some cloud data managed personally, other items managed by provider

Why Cloud?

Anyone who understands basic store inventory knows companies factor in risk when designing their quotas. In other words, whatever they have, they expect to sell x percent, and they reluctantly expect to lose y percent – via theft, breakage, aliens, and so forth. The higher their inventory, the higher the latter percent. The same goes for data in a computer, which is why users are asked to intermittently "back up" their data to accommodate similar losses.

NPD Group holds that the average U.S. home now contains over five Internet-connected devices, or half a billion total nationally, according to ZDNet. Convert that to terabytes, and even computers stop counting. The point is more devices bring more data, and more data demands a more efficient method of backup, especially when trafficking through a still rising number of personal products.

How to Ride the Cloud

For those who "get it" so far, don't get comfortable. In spite (or perhaps because) of the cloud's inclusiveness, many users polled by Information Week employ the facilities of more than one cloud – 79 percent, and six or more, to be exact. Though probably due to the demands of a diverse workload, that is nonetheless excessive, and one more reason to know if a cloud service is helpful or impractical.

Mozy was able to stifle this problem with a portfolio of services that back up computers and mobile devices to a cloud whose structure reflects the specific needs of the user or organization. Their flagships:

MozyHome – Perfect for the non-commercial security of personal files, from music to tax records.

MozyPro – For businesses whose data consists in a shared server or group of systems, including 24/7 phone support.

MozyEnterprise – MozyPro on steroids? Maybe. Made for larger companies requiring more personal security settings and a number of sub-configurations.

About the Author

Allen Chamberswrites about how the world of business and mobile intersect.

Open Daylight Project: A Striking Collaboration

The OpenDaylight project that was launched a couple of weeks ago has been throwing up a lot of questions from the SDN consortium and many others. A joint initiative from the Linux Foundation, the project has been endorsed by majors like IBM and Cisco Systems. People are wondering what the end customers stand to gain from this project and what value they will gain. However, it all depends on how you view the concept, though several people believe that Cisco’s involvement is to hinder start-ups rather than help them.

In case the fears of the people are not unfounded, and the result is that they do get blocked because of the OpenDaylight project, though the founding companies never wanted that to be their real intent, there could be a real problem. The main worry of the start-ups is the distribution for other than OpenDaylight base controllers and applications. The OpenDaylight project just put a stone in the works of distribution channels for controllers.

Of course, one cannot deny the fact that the OpenDaylight project will be a fitting answer to the sway VMware has over others. It is more like a preparation for a final showdown between VMware ecosystems and the others who will be backed by the OpenDaylight project and the founders Linux Foundation and the endorsement from IBM and Cisco Systems.

Today, after the launch, several other founders like Dell, Citrix, Brocade, Arista Networks, Microsoft and many more joining hands with Linux Corporation and willing to spend great sums of money to make the project a success. When the final picture emerges, there could be many more players like Nuage, Fujitsu, PLUMgrid, who will be offering virtual network interfaces and OpenStack integration to support the cause.

The code, which is to be made available sooner than expected, is to be governed by a Board that will have a specially constituted Technical Steering Committee and several Project heads. This is like most of the other open source projects one has seen earlier, with the primary founders and contributors being reserved seats on the board, and others empowered with a vote each. With so many decision making heavyweights constituting the board, the networking industry cannot simply wish this project away, or ignore it as a least likely threat.

There are several practical issues that will be faced by the large number of vendors, who will have to somehow fall in place within one broad framework. There are bound to be several twists and turns before a final picture emerges. While vendors of hardware would like to have a firm control over hardware, VMware seems to be intent on controlling networks and virtual machines. Cloud vendors are interested in having SDN move into their cloud, instead to that of any competitor’s. Cisco is perhaps keen on hybrid cloud as their sole interest is to sell their hardware to the cloud vendors, and using Cisco hardware may offer the added incentive of being able to mix private and public cloud. However, all this can happen only over a period of time, and experts believe the actual effects can be felt not less than a year from today.

Author’s Bio: Tina Reeves currently works at Cable Companies, a site that enables everyone to learn about how to save on broadband and internet cable.

How Does A Coaxial Cable Work

New advancements in technology are slowly wiping out what we once deemed as “amazing” in the tech field. Bluetooth, for instance, left many in amazement a few years back, but currently, Wi-Fi seems to be taking over in almost all aspects of wireless communication. While technology is indeed changing everything, scientists seem to have had a hard time shaking off coaxial/coax cables.

You’ve probably seen them before on cable TV, or on satellites. However, not many people really understand what goes on in a coax cable and even what’s inside the sheath.

Inside The Coax Cable

The outer plastic sheath that you see on a coax cable covers three components inside it including:
- Copper core
- Dielectric insulator
- Copper shield

Typically, the copper core is responsible for conducting actual electrical signals across the cable. On the other hand, the copper shield and the dielectric insulator reduce magnetic interference in the cable.

Signal Transmission in a Coax Cable

Signals are actually transmitted simultaneously on both the copper core and the copper shield. This is done so that both of these conductors generate their individual electromagnetic fields. These two electromagnetic fields eventually cancel out each other.

Once that happens, the cables can now be placed next to other sensitive electrical devices or even metallic objects, and there won’t be any worries about the cables acting like magnets and interfering with the signal in the copper core.

Besides that, the fact that these electromagnetic fields cancel out each other means that external magnetic fields will also be prevented to some extent.

Specifications For Design of A Coaxial Cable

Even if you have the four basic elements that make up a regular coax cable, it would be difficult to control other factors like attenuation, frequency, and the power handling capability of the cable.

The construction of coax cables goes beyond the four components that it is made of. Factors such as the physical size of the cable, the outside diameter of the inner copper conductor, and the dielectric constant play an important role in the functioning of the coax cable.

Choice of impedance is also crucial when it comes to design since it directly influences the attenuation. Bell Laboratories conducted experiments in 1929 and found out that the best coaxial cable impedances suited for high-voltage applications were 30Ω, 60Ω, and 77Ω.

Coaxial cables with air as the dielectric resulted in an impedance of averagely 77Ω. However, when more effective dielectrics such as solid polyethylene or polyethylene foam are used, the impedance drops to 52-64Ω.

Today’s coax cables can operate at frequencies of up to 2.4GHz, and that makes it worthwhile for use in Radio and TV industries. They were once used for implementing computer networks, especially in the bus topology, but twisted pair cables have replaced them.

All in all, coax cables earn their popularity based on the fact that they are good at transmitting signals at a considerably high frequency with minimal interference.

About the Author 

Michael Alvarez has been working in the electronics and technology field for over 20 years. He enjoys sharing his experence with coaxial cable with others; while continuing to grow his knowledge.

Ecommerce Website User Expectations

Ecommerce Website User Expectations

Wikipedia defines user expectations as the consistency that users expect from products. In terms of ecommerce website design, user expectations are very important because users are known to form expectations based on their experience with similar kinds of websites. In this regard it would make the most sense to design an ecommerce website that was consistent with the prevailing norms that were indicated by research into user behavior. In other words, if your users are used to doing something one way, you should base the experience of your site to mimic that which they are already familiar to give them a sense of comfort and familiarization.

There are many expectations that users may have that can be examined. One of the most prevailing expectations of any website is load speed. In fact, people will visit a website less often if it is slower than a close competitor by more than 250 milliseconds. Fast load times should therefore be the goal of every website. But what are the user expectations of ecommerce websites specifically?

User Expectation Study for Ecommerce Websites

Below we will examine where users expect certain elements of an ecommerce website to be located based on a study done by students at Wichita State University. These aspects include where users expect the following elements:

    • Back to homepage links

    • Advertisement banners

    • Internal Links

    • External Links

    • Shopping Cart

    • Help Link

In the below illustrations, we can see how users interpreted where they believed certain elements of an ecommerce website should be located. The participants were presented with a depiction of a browser window that contained a 7x6 grid of squares. Participants were asked to move tiles that represented each of the corresponding elements (mentioned above) where they expected them to be located on a typical ecommerce web page.

The darker the shade of blue, the greater percentage a particular square was selected.

Figure 1 - Back to Homepage Links



Figure 1 Above - Back to Homepage Link

Figure 2 Above - Advertising Banners


Figure 3 Above - Internal Links

Figure 4 Above - External Links

Figure 5 Above - Shopping Cart


Figure 6 Above - Help Link

Ecommerce User Expectation Findings

As witnessed from the above illustrations that examined user expectations regarding the placement of common ecommerce web elements we see that there are relatively common expectations as to where these elements should be placed. The consistency in which participants selected the various locations for the six above-mentioned elements underscores the importance of ecommerce website design for user expectations. User expectations are an aspect of internet marketing that also is related to conversion rate optimization. Taking the guesswork out of navigating websites results in more time spent on websites, a decreased bounce-rate, and can ultimately result in more conversions (sales).

Study Review

Based on the above illustrations, we can infer that ecommerce website users expect the following:

  • Back to homepage links be located in the top left

  • Advertisement banners be located at the top of the page

  • Internal links be located on the left sidebar

  • External links be located at the right and left sides of the page

  • Shopping carts be located at the top right of the page

  • Help links be located at the top right of the page

In addition to the above expectations we can also see that the user expectations are similar for users in the four geographic regions that were used in the study – North America, Europe, India and Commonwealth. Perhaps the most indicative aspect of the study is that the participants also revealed that their expectations for the locations of the ecommerce elements were the same as where they would prefer the objects to be located. It is not surprising to see a correlation between expectation and preference as designated in this study.

About the Author

Daniel E. Lofaso is a SEO Consultant and search engine marketer for Digital Elevator. He frequently covers topics on SEO, internet marketing and conversion rate optimization.

Cloud Services

Cloud services are now very famous among individuals and businesses. This has made it easy for users to access their files from anywhere in the world. A user with limited income may not buy a hard drive or any other laptop accessories but can get free storage online to keep data safe. With many options for the users, it is difficult to choose the best among many.

Cloud Computing ServicesAmazon Cloud Drive

Amazon is the leading cloud service in the world. It has the most users as compared to other cloud services. It gives users 5GB free storage, which allows users to upload and download any file. After the launch of cloud service by Amazon, they added a music streaming tab to allow users to listen to their favourite music. But later it was separated from cloud services. Users can now upload as well as listen to music on all their devices. The Amazon cloud drive is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Android devices. Amazon offers web based and as well as in desktop applications. The desktop application is compatible with all the operating systems but users can only upload files through this. For premium storage, 50 cents per gigabyte is charged and users can buy up to 1000 GB of space. Amazon services are cheap but not cheaper than others and desktop application compatibility and usage is another issue for the users.

  • Box

The box is not actually a storage service and is more suitable for business as it provides workflow solutions. If a business wants to share files, they simply grant access to a few users allowing them to view or download the files. Business productivity programs can be uploaded and integrated with the box where it becomes available to the users. Users can also edit the files if allowed. Box features business related applications and online workspaces. Box gives 5 GB of free storage and it is compatible with Windows, Android and Mac operating systems. To use this service, users must use the box sync application. For premium storage users need to pay $9.99 for 25 GB space per month but for businesses it offers 1000 GB for only $15 per month. For businesses, Box is a most suitable solid service.

  • Drop Box

Drop box was the most popular cloud service when introduced. And it was the first to have a large number of users. Cloud services were not used much before this. Drop box can run without a browser and it's compatible with almost all the operating systems including Linux. Due to its compatibility with all the devices, users have no difficulty in managing their files from anywhere. But the drawback is the limited space as it gives only 2 GB free storage. For the premium services it charges $99.90 per year for 100 GB. This is expensive as compared to other services.

In today's world, users don’t need to buy a cheap notebook or accessories like external or internal hard drives or flash drives. Rather they can use cloud services for the storage.

Author bio:

The author works for cheap notebook, laptop bags and laptop accessories store and writes about alternatives for data storage.

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