Authors and Technology

I thought I’d take a moment out today and write a little about the opportunities that modern technology has opened up for writers. I have spent most of my working life involved in technology in some way or other. From an early age I have been interested in just what technology can do to help us manage things more efficiently. Unfortunately that’s mostly been a misnomer. Sure, technology gadgets have been fun. Sure technology gadgets have been clever. But overall, they’ve not done a lot to alter the time it takes most of us to do things (unless you’re involved in something that is really technical and complex). For the majority of the world, technology has just simplified things and given us even more ways of getting things wrong.

I know that sounds a little harsh, but think back to what you used to do and compare it to what you do now. Can you name 10 things that now take half the time they used to and have genuinely saved you time? I’m struggling. Sure, there are lots of devices I use, but they just make things more convenient. I don’t seem to have more hours left at the end of the day. Besides which, TV and DVDs have conspired to take away any extra hours I may somehow create.

Anyway, back to writing. Just what has technology done for writers? It has stopped us using paper to write, you reply. Maybe. I still use paper to jot down ideas from time to time. Sure, I don’t actually use paper to write with nowadays, but is that any better? I’m certainly not the best typist in the world. Oh yes, no more typewriters. They’ve gone by the way too. I remember typewriters. I had one when I was younger. They were pretty good. Annoying sometimes, but they got the job done. And then along came PCs. Simple ones at first, dedicated word processors, but better and more complex ones later. And here’s my rub. It’s that complexity. Paper is an easy medium. The latest Windows 7 PC with everything on it can be a pain to write simple articles on sometimes. I even had mine lock up this morning and I eventually had to re-boot it. Thankfully I didn’t lose anything but the inconvenience and the lost 20 minutes were still apparent.

At the weekend I had to buy myself a new keyboard as my previous desk setup was giving me a little of a back strain due to the placement of my keyboard and mouse. Nowadays it’s also all about ergonomics. Where was that phrase 20 years ago? But my new keyboard is a little smaller than my old one and I am still struggling to get the maximum speed from it. I have had to change my typing habits again. Oh for some efficiency! I have also contemplated using my iPad for writing. But that’s a little awkward too. It seems there is no ideal set up for me at present. Everything is a compromise.

Art is not supposed to be easy. Throughout the ages artists have struggled, be it with tools, inspiration, studios, sponsors. You name it. So is it really any different now? I don’t think it really is. It’s just that some of the challenges are a little different. The consumer has certainly benefited though. They can easily purchase a book or a paper in a variety of different formats. They can surf the internet and discover new pictures or artworks. Heck, consumers can even download things in the comfort of their own homes. But writers? There may be some new tools available but there’s no instant technology fix available to them. Their job is still about sweat and tears while trying to get to grips with the technological tools of the day.

Posted in Gadget | Tagged | Comments Off on Authors and Technology

Digital Signage Has Transportation Industry ‘Flying High’

Many of us have grown tired of the hackneyed phrase “taking your business to the next level”. But in the transportation industry, that phrase still has some relevance.

With digital signage, businesses that move people have found a new way to, well, move people. By combining valuable information and third-party advertising, electronic signs are transforming the way the transportation industry communicates with its passengers, while simultaneously offering an easy way to generate extra revenue.

Reaching People When No One’s Home

It’s a fact that people are spending more time out of their homes than ever before. From their morning commute to dining out for lunch and stopping for gas or groceries on the way home, most people are out and about from morning to night.

This “out of home” tendency has caused traditional advertising (television, newspapers and radio) to lose its effectiveness and market share. Technology has also had a role in diminishing traditional advertising. With PVR and Tivo, who actually watches TV ads? With wireless networks providing instant mobile access to the Internet, who reads newspapers anymore? With the explosion in MP3 players and easy-to-download music and podcasts, who needs radio?

Because audiences are tuning out ads more and more in traditional media (and now have the ability to skip through ads entirely), businesses have increasingly turned to out-of-home (OOH) advertising to try and get their message heard. A detailed study by PQ Media, a U.S. media research firm, shows the strength of OOH advertising. Since 2002, traditional advertising has barely kept pace with GDP growth, while in the same period OOH advertising has outpaced the increase in GDP, even reaching double-digit growth in 2005 and 2006.

According to PQ Media, OOH advertising consists of two main segments. Static or traditional media include billboards and posters. “Alternative” media include several sub-segments, with Video Ad Networks and Screens (VANS) being the largest category. VANS include the arrays of LCD monitors narrowcasting news clips, sports clips and entertainment interspersed with infomercials that we encounter daily in airport terminals, retail outlets, fast food chains and even on commuter trains and the gas pumps.

With spending increases like the 27% seen in 2006, it is the alternative OOH segment that is fueling the growth in overall OOH advertising. And it is alternative OOH that people are seeing more and more on their morning train, on the pump at their local gas station, in the airport and even in the cab they take to the airport.

Capturing an Audience on the Move

Travelers are a captive audience. Even at the gas pumps, you’re not going anywhere until you’ve finished pumping your gas. With digital narrowcasting, the businesses that transport people can speak directly to this audience using a versatile medium that can inform, entertain and sell.

Unlike posters and billboards, the LCD and plasma screens used in digital signage networks lend themselves well to segmentation. Consider a typical design: one segment displays a news feed; a ticker scrolls the latest headlines, sports scores or stock information; another area displays advertisements.

Now apply this design to the transportation industry and you’ll see why digital signage is really taking off.

– A commuter train can supply a news feed to its passengers and generate much-needed revenue from third-party advertisers.

– A small screen in a cab is an ideal location for advertising. A pilot project in New York City in 2007 showed that the signs can even be GPS-controlled to display ads corresponding to the part of the city the cab is driving in.

– An airport can post notices and give directions to passengers, carry a news feed, and advertise stores and restaurants in the airport.

– A gas station pump can run ads at particular times of the day that highlight specific products the station sells- the newest blend of coffee in the morning, a new energy drink in the afternoon – or promote the car wash on sunny days or a sale on wiper fluid when it snows.

By reaching an audience that traditional ads can no longer touch, businesses in the transportation sector are poised to take mobile digital signage to new heights. As the marketing industry expands the public spaces – including planes, trains and automobiles – that digital signage penetrates, and the digital advertising software that runs the signage becomes ever increasingly able to pinpoint and target audience segments by demographics that are both time and location specific, the potential for digital signage to drive additional revenue streams has even the most seasoned travelers amongst transportation executives flying high.

Posted in Digital Marketing | Tagged | Comments Off on Digital Signage Has Transportation Industry ‘Flying High’

Computer Optimization Tips – How to Optimize Your Computer in 5 Easy Steps and Recapture Your Speed

Our personal computers are similar to the cars we drive; they need tune ups and maintenance care as a preventative measure in order for them to run efficiently without serious breakdowns. Over time your PC can accumulate unnecessary files and programs or software that you may no longer use or they may be internet downloads stored in a folder. All these things contribute to your PC’s sluggish performance and slow running. There are a number of things you can do to improve and optimize the capabilities of your PC.

The following are some helpful tips to improve your computer’s performance

  • Check your computer for virus, spyware and adware. These programs are often hidden and may pose malicious intent or annoying interruptions. Get rid of these programs by running a scan or deleting them, as they do slow down your PC.
  • Defragment your hard drive. Your hard drive doesn’t always save your files in the one place. It may store parts of files anywhere there is free space. Defragmenting your hared drive organizes those files and brings them altogether. This makes your PC run smoothly and a lot quicker.
  • Free up Space. Remove any unused files or programs you aren’t using. Delete temporary files at least once a week. When you view website pages and other programs on your computer, over time they will slow down your computers performance. Your PC setup or startup program may need some tweaking. Close or delete any unnecessary programs that are not required when you turn on your computer.
  • Automatic Software updates. Many programs like Microsoft works continually release updates for windows and other products. This includes updates for Microsoft Office and other regularly used software. By installing these updates they will improve your computer’s speed and performance.
  • Other products like adapters and USB’s can also optimize the performance of your PC or Laptop. These products help maximize your computers optimal capabilities when you add external compatible devices, which makes for a smooth transfer of information as well as your work conducted efficiently.

It may also be helpful to access detailed information about the performance of the hardware on your PC from going into your control panel and searching for performance information and tools. This should give you the required information on things like processor speed and the amount of RAM memory installed and the size of the hard disk.

Having your computer running efficiently, especially for work is important in order to look professional otherwise it may interrupt or stop you from completing your work, causing delays and possible loss of business.

Remember your computer or Laptop needs a tune up too every once in a while in order to be working at peak performance, for a quicker and more efficient computer. General maintenance is important for all computers as well as having compatible accessories that can enhance your computer’s capabilities as well as your professionalism in what you achieve with your computer.

Posted in Computer | Tagged | Comments Off on Computer Optimization Tips – How to Optimize Your Computer in 5 Easy Steps and Recapture Your Speed

Choose The Right Provider

Today, cloud hosting has become predominant in the field of web hosting. Web masters have been desperately waiting for a cost effective method specially for dedicated hosting. Windows, the cloud has helped them in this regard to a great extent. The most outstanding aspect is that the server of cloud hosting is not limited to a single server unlike the regular server and as a result zero down is now a reality. You can add additional processors and memory instantaneous and then quickly reboot, you can clone a cloud server and save it to another form of storage or data center for redundancy. All this can be done with a right click of the mouse and a few menu options. Moreover, it assures reliable online presence. Hosting of better quality at with much more flexibility and easier management is the fundamental advantage of cloud hosting. Now there are many software companies that offer cost-effective private servers. The customers are assured of all advantages of a dedicated hosting with greater flexibility and a more total cost of ownership. Hence, now it is imperative for all users who want to enjoy the benefits of dedicated hosting with greater flexibility, better cost of ownership and more redundancy to switch over to windows, the cloud.

One should have the dedicated servers so as to ensure total control over the hosting. It can be either a Microsoft dedicated server or a Linux dedicated server. The choice depends on the specific requirements of the user. However, reliable dedicated servers are quite necessary to achieve a stable online presence. It can boost the performance also. In spite of paying heavy price, one can’t expect the best service from all providers of dedicated hosting. Hence making the correct choice of web hosting company is very significant. The best provider can offer a comprehensive solution for custom-configured dedicated hosting. They will meet all requirements of the customer such as firewalls, switches, all other hard wares in addition to the Linux dedicated server or Microsoft dedicated server.

The best dedicated server solutions will include dedicated servers that are tailored to meet the specific needs of the customer. The highly skilled technical staff of the service provider will be able to detect and repair the faults in advance so that the operation will be unaffected. Without a huge investment and heavy staff, the user can enjoy abundant processing power, bandwidth and storage thanks to cloud computing. This will enable him for proper utilization of his resources to improve his business and customer-base in the proper way. The best dedicated server plans ensure security, power and flexibility that are vital for success.

Posted in Cloud | Tagged | Comments Off on Choose The Right Provider