Archive for the ‘New Technologies’ Category

Empty office space litters skylines, freeways and office parks. Once-busy
hives of cubicles have become empty steel and concrete caverns. Their
previous occupants met with a variety of fates: Some were victims of a deep
recession; others were washed away by tsunamis of cheap labor in foreign
lands; still others were unleashed by virtual technologies. Only the last
group of former office dwellers have freed themselves willingly. They did so
by exchanging their physical presence for a virtual existence.

“My partner and I have run the business from a lakeside dock in Canada and a
hotel in Barcelona, for around US$200 per month for all the necessary
tools,” Stephanie Pakrul, cofounder of TopNotchThemes, told the E-Commerce Times.

Virtual Gets Real

“Our virtual assistant wakes up on the East Coast, checks the mail, checks
for voicemail, answers support emails, and I get a report of anything
pressing by the time I’m awake in Pacific time,” explained Pakrul.

The TopNotchThemes team uses the following tools to make their virtual
existence concrete:

* Earth Class Mail for digital mail
* RingCentral for phone/virtual PBX
* Quickbooks Online for
portable bookkeeping
* Bank of America’s (NYSE: BAC) online
banking and bill pay to send direct deposit, wire, or checks to anyone
* RescueTime for tracking tasks and
project work
* Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Docs for online
document creation and storage

“There are some huge benefits to Earth Class Mail in particular, in that you
can get an actual street address, not just a P.O. box,” said Pakrul. “Plus,
with your mail scanned quickly online, you don’t need to re-ship everything,
and often can just have the paper copies shredded and keep the scans, which
keeps down the cost and paper.”

A Place to Be or Not to Be

If, however, your business is the type that needs the occasional meeting
room and all snail mail as original hard copies, then opt to be a virtual
tenant in any number of actual offices.

“We have a virtual tenant who is actually in China,” Jeremy Wolf, owner of
Wolf Commercial
,
told the E-Commerce Times. “We box his mail and ship it to him once a week.”

Many of Wolf’s virtual tenants, however, are attracted to the common areas
— namely, boardrooms and fancy lobbies with highly skilled receptionists.
Still others like the faux caller ID.

“You can either plug one of our phones into your computer or install some
simple softphone software. Either way, the receptionist can transfer calls
to you anywhere without the caller knowing you’re outside the premises,” he
added.

“You can also call anyone and the caller ID will show your ‘office’ number,
not the number where you actually are,” he said.

The result: A small business can appear much larger, and workers never have
to set foot in an actual office again. On the downside, it’s much easier to
set up a scam operation these days!

The costs for a virtual tenant is “roughly 25 percent or less than a regular
tenant,” said Wolf. The lowest rent Wolf offers regular tenants is $1,000 a
month. By comparison, virtual tenants pay $250 a month, on average.

These days, there are an unbelievable amount of video formats because of all the various operating systems, mobile phones, Internet formats (like DivX and Flash), etc. etc. etc. To decide what video players are best for the Windows platform, then, we need to find players that support as many formats as possible, including streaming videos, and that are fast, simple, and reliable.

1. VLC Media Player – First designed by a group of French programmers and academics who called their group VideoLAN, it took this player quite a few years to get the respect it deserved. VLC Media Player is far and away one of the top (open-source) video players you can find on any operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux). It supports practically any codec automatically, and is very light and fast. Honestly, its a bit surprising that it hasn’t been relased as the default video player on more Linux distros for that matter.

2. KMPlayer – This rising star is a nerd’s dream, as it easily allows users to capture audio, video, and screenshots in a variety of ways. Additionally, KMPlayer supports tons of container formats like VCD, DVD, AVI, MKV, Ogg Theora, OGM, 3GP, MPEG-1/2/4, WMV, RealMedia, and QuickTime, just to name a few. In their words, “the player provides both internal and external filters with a fully controlled environment.” Sounds pretty sweet.

3. Miro Player – The interesting thing about Miro is that it not only plays tons of video formats, but it can also download videos from websites like YouTube or Yahoo, or even via BitTorrent. It is fully featured with all kinds of constantly updated tidbits. The only drawback perhaps is that its a bit overkill for people who just want a simple, reliable video player.

4. WinAmp – One of the first popular media player ever, WinAmp continues to maintain its fan base because of its awesome skinning options, attractive and easy interface, and wide support of many formats. They continue to think up new features that no other company does. Think of it as Windows Media Player plus iTunes, plus a ton of other stuff. WinAmp is also proud of the wide support it has for streaming formats, including Internet radio, Internet television, XM Radio, Singingfish, podcasts, RSS, and more. It also has extend-able support for portable media players, and users can access their media libraries anywhere via internet connections.

5. RulesPlayer – Not very well known, this video player by AfterVista is a codec lover and also a language lover. RulesPlayer supports all kinds of fonts and subtitles, and pretty much any video file you throw at it. You can even watch video files while downloading them! Light and safe, it deserves more recognition. And honestly, probably its own website!

6. GOM Player – Another not so well known player that deserves more respect. One of the claim to fames of GOM Player is that it can playback broken AVI files by skipping corrupted frames. Also, if you ever toss it a video format that it doesn’t support, it simply brings you to the proper codec download page, installs the missing codec, and you are back in business.

7. BSPlayer – Again, this program is awesome but its a bit overkill it seems. BSPlayer can play TV streams, podcasts, DVDs, and more. It automatically detects and manages most codec types, and is overall pretty reliable.

8. ZoomPlayer – Although not as supportive of every codec under the sun, ZoomPlayer is one of the quickest players around, built to use as few system resources as possible. It is light and attractive, and perhaps worth checking out sometime.

When people are looking for information about almost any topic, they turn to
Wikipedia. This encyclopedia project is written collaboratively by
volunteers around the globe. Any visitor or user can edit a Wiki. MediaWiki
is a free Wiki software package. It is written in PHP and originally was for
use on Wikipedia. The scope of Wikis has broadened to offer a variety of
options for webpreneurs.

Today MediaWiki is used by other projects of the Wikimedia Foundation, the
non-profit company that funds and manages them. Many people who work on the
Wikimedia projects also work on the MediaWiki software. The result is the
best possible software for wiki sites so you can build a robust, interactive
website. Users can update content, participate in development and become an
ongoing participant in your website.

A MediaWiki website can handle millions of hits every day. It is very
powerful software with great scalability. The wiki implementation has many
features. MediaWiki uses PHP to process and display the information in its
database.

A major benefit of building a Wiki with MediaWiki is the pages can be easily
edited without any special html or coding knowledge. When a user edits a
page, MediaWiki will write it to the database but doesn’t delete the former
version. Reverts are easy if a page is spammed so your content is always
valuable and fresh. Users don’t need advanced technical savvy to make
changes, revisions or additions to Wiki pages.

Images and multimedia files are easily stored in the MediaWiki file system.
If your Wiki has a lot of users, caching is supported. Pages can be modified
with no programming skills. MediaWiki makes it easy to create updated pages
for your website and allow others to update them as changes and new
information becomes available. The result is the most accurate, updated info
possible.

MediaWiki offers a variety of useful options for users. They are able to
supply and edit the summary when they are editing a particular Wiki page.
This snippet of text is typically one line and summarizes the changes made.
While it is not inserted in the article itself, it is stored with the page
revision. Users can then explain what was done and why. With every version
of the page stored, the most accurate article can be developed very. Each
revision is viewable and accountable.

Building your own Wiki is a streamlined process even if your computer
knowledge is very basic. MediaWiki software offers prompts to make your Wiki
exactly what you want it to be. Include visuals, graphics and meaningful
content to attract targeted traffic to your online offerings. With editing
that shows you exactly what you get, you know what it will look like right
away to make necessary changes immediately. Add links to boost your targeted
traffic even more. Get into the Wiki wave is a breeze with MediaWiki.

About GordonGus
"Whether selling products, services or information I have helped others succeed online by clarifying goals, simplifying technologies, motivating players and executing tasks. My energy and perseverance has helped others reach their goals. Of course, some wanted to shoot me in the process."
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