Turbo-Boost Your Vuze:‭ ‬Ports,‭ ‬Settings and Testing Methods

Vuze Tips

You already know that Vuze is regarded as one of the most powerful bittorrent software options out there but that should not stop you trying to squeeze even more improvements out it.

Here are some tips on how to turbo-boost your Vuze experience.

Inside knowledge

The people with the true inside knowledge on how to get the most out of‭ ‬Vuze are the developers of bittorrent programs,‭ ‬who are often happy to share their tricks and tips,‭ ‬so that more users can experience and benefit from increased download speeds.

The basics

There are three basic principles that can be followed so that you can optimize a bittorrent client like Vuze for greater speed.

Ports

Make sure you choose proper port if you want to avoid ISP blocking and potential conflicts with other programs.

Forwarding

Make sure that you get to forward that port and guide it through any software firewall and router in order to allow incoming connections successfully.

Internal settings

Ensure that you adjust your internal settings to reflect the upload capacity of your internet connection to allow enough room for outgoing communications as well as improving your ability to distribute upload as efficiently as possible.

Beware‭ ‬cheap‭ ‬imitations

An important lesson to take on board from the many trusted developers who provide valuable feedback through forums and other channels is that you will often come across programs that claim to be able to optimize your speed in Vuze but more often than not,‭ ‬they are merely a vehicle for loading you up with adware or spyware.

Most of the developers of bittorrent programs will tell you that some basic steps that you can follow yourself will be almost certainly more effective and considerably less risky from a security point of view.

Advanced tools

Go to your menu in Vuze and follow tools,‭ ‬options and mode followed by setting the user proficiency to advanced.

Once you have done this you can start by choosing a proper port,‭ ‬which will help to avoid spoiling a network connection that is already cleared ad allow you to double-check if your communications are blocked or have already been cleared.

Port test

You can make use of the built-in port test within Vuze‭ ‬but before you start the test,‭ ‬make sure you disable and‭ ‬blocklist as you will find that Vuze server may well be on some blocklists.

Choose the NAT/Firewall test from the menu and the test results will show the TCP and UDP,‭ ‬which should normally be the same but does not‭ ‬necessarily have to be.‭ ‬Hopefully you should get an OK success message but if you don’t,‭ ‬follow the Error steps offered.

Internal settings

One of the key functions to perform when it comes to adjusting internal settings is to cap the upload capacity in Vuze at‭ ‬80%‭ ‬maximum of your overall capacity.‭ ‬You should always remember that there is a price to pay for wanting higher upload speeds and that price is normally slower download speeds.

Take a speed test to check the‭ ‬speed of your internet connection and using the results,‭ ‬you can determine‭ ‬what adjustments should be made to get just the right balance between upload and download speeds.

These are just some of the ways to give your Vuze experience a turbo-boost and help you to enjoy more of what this powerful bittorrent client can offer.‭ ‬And‭ ‬remember to respect IP and only upload and download files that do not infringe on copyright.‭

Author info: Lucas Weston is an experienced data manager who is obsessed with efficiency and security.‭ ‬He enjoys blogging about ways to improve data sharing online and keeping that data secure.

Safe Business Practices: Smart and Affordable Ways to Test Your Network Security

Network Security

Security threats occur often. Major breaches gain press, alerting and worrying owners of small to midsize business outfits. Some owners are not tech savvy, hosting no tech teams in-house; to such owners, the digital space affords better resources and communications with clients and employees. However, the ongoing security protection and nightmare of immediate threats creates need for security measures and information.

Port Scan

ShieldsUp helps owners scan a bevy of ‘open ports.’ An open port does not equal an immediate sign of danger. The company computer system may be sending email blasts or running other systems. However, hackers use ‘backdoor’ methods of system access; once in a system, hackers ‘hide’ presence or change codes, becoming sole executives.

Scanning services help keep owners and IT workers aware of system operations and the arrival of potential threats.

Network Users

Some services help executives probe networks, revealing what machines and personalities use afforded resources. Rogue machines and personalities are not a problem for extremely small outfits, but once a corporation begins growing, it becomes difficult for system execs to track who are posing potential threats and using resources.

Frequent network scans are economical and wise operations used by small to large-sized business owners and IT teams.

Software Updates

Logistically, some businesses rely on major to minor software implementations. Hackers are smart, formulating long-term plans, in some cases keeping track of when software upgrades occur, preying on those using previous versions. Software manufacturers place greater emphasis toward popular and recent versions; hackers have to ‘figure it out’ software, warranting incipient upgrades.

Sadly and often, software breaches are facilitated by in-house executives’ laziness or lack of awareness in updating business software.

Wireless Access Points

Today’s business office is nontraditional, sans cubicles, formal wear and desktop computers. Employees using Wi-Fi connections create holes in main networks, allowing access to others (who may or may not be in the building).

A number of applications help owners detect Wi-Fi connections in the area, alerting them of alien users.

Penetration Tests

Building inspectors consistently check an entity’s integrity and ability to withstand future weather, wear, etc. Penetration tests do the same for digital infrastructures, alerting IT teams of potential areas of concern. Penetration test software may be purchased from a number of vendors including Rapid7.

Like a seasonal dental exam or health screening, penetration tests unveil potential threats and afford greater peace of mind.

Freelance Hackers

Some agencies and freelance ‘hackers’ address a company’s system for a fee, attempting to penetrate systems as faux rogues. Like many roles in life, those with experience make the best teachers (Some offer CEH V8 and other ‘white-hat hacker’ courses.) Therefore, those with experience “toying” with different systems are beneficial to legitimate business owners of all sizes.

Use extra caution approaching individuals and agencies. Ask for references and proof of social credibility.

Hacking and cyber threats increase as more businesses depend on digital resources and systems. Awareness and constant vigilance is a business owner’s best defense against potential threats. Seek applications, personalities, and agencies to help guard valuable business assets.

Author Bio: Jamie Smith loves computers and information technology. She values tech training and often blogs about social media and other important questions and concerns businesses can have when using computers.

Entrepreneur Madness: 3 Reasons to Create Your Own YouTube Channel

Youtube for small business

What if there was a way to put your brand in front of more than 800 million consumers, speak directly to them, explain to them exactly why your product or service is the best on the market, and be able to do all of this for free? Creating a YouTube channel allows you to do all of the aforementioned things and more, and a personal channel is an essential media tool for every entrepreneur. YouTube has evolved into a powerful marketing platform that can reach audiences of every possible demographic, and every large company has begun employing their services to help promote their brand. There are many good reasons to create your own YouTube channel, and this article looks at three of the most important.

 Reach More of Your Target Audience

Promotional printed materials simply cannot compare to the awesome power of the internet, and the most effective form of advertising takes place either online or on television. Whatever your business type, chances are a large portion of your customer base are online users, and many people will even choose to buy a product or service based on research they have performed on the internet. If you do not have the time or necessary skills required to make a professional looking video, it may be worthwhile hiring a production company that can create one for you. It is also a good idea to perform some extensive research on online marketing strategies. Badly executed YouTube videos have a habit of going viral, and the last thing you want is for your company to become a laughingstock.

Provide a Service to Your Customers That Relates To Your Brand

Many companies create video tutorials for YouTube that refer back to their brand, and by following their example you will expose your brand to millions of users without paying a penny. If your company sells kitchenware, why not create a series of cooking tutorials that demonstrate your product being used? Users can even download your video to their handheld devices using a service such as youtubedownload.altervista.org and refer back to it whenever necessary.

Receive Honest Feedback on Your Brand

If you have ever looked at the comment section under a YouTube video you will already know it’s a place reserved for brutal honesty. Consumers that take part in market research usually give polite answers to the questions asked and will give a sugar-coated feedback on your product. YouTube is the place where consumers really let rip, and you will soon get an accurate picture of what people really think about your brand.

Above all, the videos you create for your channel must be engaging and tell a story that will keep viewers watching until the very end. You may even be lucky enough to produce a video that goes viral and reaches millions of users. Some of the most successful viral marketing campaigns were disguised as amateur videos that had been uploaded by regular users but were actually the clever creation of professional advertising companies. YouTube opens up a whole new world of marketing opportunities for your brand, and it only takes a few moments to upload a video and begin attracting new customers.

Remember to respect IP:  http://www.stopfakes.gov/consumer-tools/ip-resources-educators-and-youth/

Author Bio: Dexter Bell is a small business marketing whiz. He focuses his writing on how to integrate technology into marketing strategies.

The Standard Seven: Critical Requirements of Embedded Systems Design

Embedded Systems

Embedded systems are contained in just about every electrical item in existence, and unless they break down most people are unaware of their presence. Embedded computer systems differ from general systems in that they are designed to perform a single task and are only ever intended for one specific purpose. They can be utilised for the most basic of tasks such as a 4-bit processor in a digital watch, or they can be used for the advancement of mankind as a component in a complex system such as the Mars Rover. When designing an embedded system there are seven requirements which must be considered by the user, and this article examines each one in detail.

Processing Power

Most embedded systems are built with 4-, 8-, and 16-bit processors, and you will have to decide which one is most suitable for the task you wish to perform. The standard way to compare processing power is by millions of instructions per second (MIPS), and a higher rating indicates a more powerful processor.

Memory

The amount of memory required to run your software will also have an effect on which processor you choose. A 16-bit processor can support a maximum of 65KB of RAM, whereas an 8-bit processor can address only 256 bytes.

Number of Units

How many units you require for your system will depend on the task you wish to accomplish. Your network may consist of a just one single board computer or hundreds of different components. You will also need to take into account the amount of space you have available, your budget and amount of RAM needed to run your software.

Power Consumption

Power consumption is extremely important when it comes to portable devices, and the standard measurement system for power consumption is milliwatts per MIPS (mW/MIPS). Devices that require less power are usually smaller, simpler and generate less heat.

Development Cost

This applies mainly to the manufacturer but also affects the consumer as a high development cost will result in a more expensive end product. The cost of developing hardware and software can be extremely high, but it is usually a one-time cost and is known as a ‘nonrecurring design engineering’ (NRE) charge.

Lifetime

How long does the system have to last before it has to be replaced? If you plan on upgrading your system regularly, then longevity may not be a factor in your decision, but if you only plan on purchasing your hardware once you will need to find a system that will stand the test of time.

Reliability

How reliable your system needs to be will depend on the duty it has to perform. Embedded systems in anti-lock brakes must work 100% of the time, but a system for an electrical gadget used for entertainment purposes may not have to be so reliable.

Designing an embedded system can be a complicated process, but as long as you satisfy all the predicted requirements in the planning stages your finished system will function without any issues whatsoever. Once set up, embedded systems will perform their task without the need for much prompting, so it is worthwhile investing a good deal of time in choosing the right components for the job.

Author Bio: Lewis Brooks is a business systems technology consultant. He enjoys blogging about business applications and trends.

Grants And Scholarships To Consider To Fund Your Tech Degree

Tech scholarships

If you have aptitude and interest in computer science or a related field, do not let a lack of finances deter you from following your dream. A number of scholarships are available to you to make it easier to pursue your academic goals. Here are some of the best grants and scholarships available for those who seek a degree and career in technology.

Federal Grants

Almost all federal grants and scholarships are based on financial need. To apply, the first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Afterwards, the U.S. Department of Education lets you know what aid you are eligible for. Federal Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate or graduate students working on degrees. The maximum award is $5,645 per year, and the amount you receive is based on your need, the cost of the university you attend and whether you are a full- or part-time student. A Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, or FSEOG, is an additional amount of between $100 and $4,000 a year for students with exceptional financial need. If your parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iran or Afghanistan, you may be eligible for an Iran and Afghanistan Service Grant for an amount up to the maximum Federal Pell Grant.

Microsoft Scholarships

Microsoft offers four types of technical scholarships: general scholarships, women’s scholarships, minority scholarships and scholarships for those with disabilities. Candidates are selected based on their eligibility, the quality of their application, their interest in the software industry, leadership potential and financial need. To apply, you must be currently attending a university in North America and send in an application package including a resume, transcript, answers to essay questions, confirmation page from the online application for a Microsoft summer internship and a letter of recommendation.

Google Lime Scholarship Program

To be eligible for a Google Lime Scholarship, you must be a student currently attending, or planning to attend, a university to earn a degree in computer science, computer engineering or a similar technical field. You must demonstrate strong academic performance, show leadership potential and be committed to computer science and technology. In addition, you must have a long-term visible or invisible disability. This program awards up to $10,000 for those studying in the US and $5,000 for those studying in Canada.

RateSupermarket Scholarship

To qualify for the RateSupermarket scholarships, you must be a resident of Canada currently enrolled at a Canadian college or university. There are no other eligibility requirements, and the scholarship recipients are chosen at random. Apply online at the RateSupermarket website; if you are awarded the scholarship, you must show proof of your student status.

AFCEA Scholarships

The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, or AFCEA, awards scholarships of $5,000 to undergraduates or $3,000 to graduate students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering or math. To be eligible, you must be currently enrolled in a historically black college or university in the US. Special consideration is given to those enlisted in the military or military veterans.

These are examples of some of the many scholarships and grants available for those interested in technical careers. If you have the talent for and are passionate about technology, you can find financial help in your pursuit of higher education.

What to Expect in the New iPad Mini

New iPad Mini with Retina Display

Before the first iPad mini was launched, rumors about Apple’s decision to create a product that was only slightly differentiated from the already mainstream iPad was questioned, even mocked by some reviewers. Was there really a need for a product between an iPhone and an iPad? An intermediate step between the two products was exactly what the iPad mini turned out to be, but it was a hit. It was a product for people who wanted a bigger screen than a standard phone but not as big as what a full-sized iPad offered. The iPad mini offered more than just a bigger screen. It was better and faster than the iPod Touch, too. With specs similar to the iPad, the mini outperformed the Touch on all benchmarks.

Even when it was only half as heavy as the standard iPad, the mini offered two-thirds the screen size. This was achieved with a much narrower bezel framing the mini when compared to the iPad. The screen did leave a lot to be desired – the in-demand Retina display was missing. Though not needed by everyone, the Retina display had become the standard for most Apple products. With a lower screen resolution (1024×768) and no Retina display, everything looked less sharp than on the iPad 4.

The new iPad mini with Retina display

The original iPad mini was considered by many reviewers to be a great idea that was botched in the execution. For the first time, Apple was in a major product category where it didn’t offer a better experience than the competition. It was the perfect little tablet that didn’t have the interface it deserved. The new iPad mini is the corrective – whatever the original nearly missed, the new one corrects in a credible way.

To those who disliked the blurry, low-resolution screen on the original iPad mini, the new model with the Retina display offers the full high-resolution treatment. Individual leaves on trees and individual hairs on a people’s heads are clear to see. Fast-action video that used to blur on the original mini’s screen are now crisp. All this is possible not just because of the Retina display but also the computing power behind it.

The processing power is mostly adequate

The new iPad mini comes with Apple’s new A7 chip. It’s able to produce the high-resolution detail that the screen demands. While it’s good with movies, high-resolution games and involved multitasking give it occasional trouble. The size of the mini, though, makes it perfect for gaming – your thumbs aren’t very far apart, the way they are on a full-sized iPad. With the high-resolution display, the added computing power and a comfortable size, the new iPad mini feels more like a dedicated gaming device than a tablet.

The new iPad mini against the competition

For its improvements, Apple charges £40 more than it does for the original iPad mini. The new mini also costs nearly twice as much as Google’s Nexus 7. Many might find the price too high. You could consider selling your old Apple stuff on a service like Music Magpie to be able to afford it, though. The new iPad mini is worth the price.

It isn’t fair to compare an iPad with an Android tablet, though. While Android’s app selection on the Play Store for phones is just as good as what Apple has, it has practically nothing for tablets. All you do get are bigger versions of phone apps. If you wish to truly use a tablet for what it’s capable of, the new iPad mini is the top contender.

Author bio: Mason Williamson enjoys technology innovations. He often writes about new devices and software on tech blogs.

E-Commerce Shipping Solution: What Should I Charge Customers?

 Shipping Solution for e-commerce

For every business that relies on shipping services, there’s a budget-friendly strategy to optimize how those services affect profits. While low-cost shipping options provide a direct reduction in business expenses, offering consumer incentives, such as free shipping and expedited shipping, can increase sales volume, improving a business’s bottom line.

The right strategy for one venture may not be right for another, though. This article will introduce you to a few common shipping options that might be the perfect fit for your small business.

If you operate an e-commerce company, finding the ideal shipping solution isn’t just a way to increase profits; it’s a necessity to keep up with competitors. If your inventory and convenience are the same as another business’s, your shipping options can be the factor that determines where consumers spend their money.

3 Shipping Strategies and Why They Work for Small Businesses

1. Free Shipping

Thanks to increased competition in the e-commerce marketplace, more consumers are expecting free shipping from online vendors. If you just launched a startup but another company offers the same products with free shipping, you might need to do the same in order to compete.

Companies are becoming cleverer when it comes to offsetting shipping cost. One popular option is using cash back rewards offered by credit card companies. This can work in two ways:

  1. Shipping supplies and USPS fees are paid with a credit card, and the cash back serves as an immediate discount.
  2. Cash-back rewards are appropriated for shipping costs.

Another method of compensating for free shipping is requiring a certain amount to be spent to “earn” this perk. According to Shopify.com, this is one of the most effective methods because moving inventory has benefits outside of increased profits, such as better relations with wholesalers.

Free shipping doesn’t need to be a permanent offer. During the holiday season, many online vendors promote limited-time free shipping to drive sales.

Two factors should ultimately determine whether or not your business offers free shipping on a permanent basis: competition and profit margin. Shipping can be expensive, and if it cuts into your profits too much, it might not be an option.

If your competition offers free shipping, you could compensate by offering a different perk, such as fast delivery. If you feel, however, that offering free shipping is necessary, consider ways to offset the cost.

2. Charge the Shipping Cost, No More and No Less

Thanks to programs that offer real-time shipping quotes, it’s entirely possible for customers to pay almost the exact amount for shipping that is charged to the vendor. Customers like these “shipping calculators” because they’re transparent and shipping costs can be updated as items are added to the shopping cart.

However, shipping calculators have some downfalls. For instance, most of them estimate shipping based on package weight. So, if the products you are shipping are light but take up a lot of space, you might end up paying more for shipping than the customer.

This software is recommended for shipping products that can be accurately priced by the calculator. It won’t provide the competitive advantage of free shipping, but there are a number of other competitive shipping strategies, such as offering free returns or low-cost insurance.

3. Offer Flat Rates

Flat rates aren’t intended to be a one-size-fits-all charge for all products. Rates are categorized, usually by package size or weight, and each category has a fixed price.

Flat rates are an even simpler approach than incorporating shipping calculators. However, while shipping calculators can be updated automatically based on the latest USPS rates, flat rates often must be manually updated. If a company fails to keep their shipping rates current, it could end up spending more for shipping than the customer.

Also, it’s not always easy for a vendor to categorize inventory for shipping. Many online stores sell a range of products, each of a different size, shape, weight and fragility. Not only would these ventures need to stay current with shipping cost but also with USPS policies regarding different types of packages.

The right shipping solution might not make your product any more valuable, but it can make your business the best choice for consumers. Find out what your shoppers want and expect, and design your shipping policies to cater to those demands.

About the Author: Jackson Smith operates a 3PL shipping service.

Why Aren’t More Patients Using Mobile Health Apps?

health care medical apps

According to a recent study from Manhattan Research, 95 million U.S. adults use mobile phones to acquire health information or to use health care tools. This number has jumped 27 percent in the last year. Based on these numbers, it’s easy to assume mobile technology has become an essential health care tool.

Research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project tells a different story. Approximately 69 percent of Americans track some kind of health indicator such as diet, weight or exercise. However, of those people, 21 percent use technology and only seven percent use mobile apps. Taken together, these studies seem to indicate Americans may research medical conditions and questions using their mobile phones, but don’t actually take advantage of mobile health apps to track vital information.

Some experts have decided mobile technology is overrated, assuming that low mobile app adoption rates indicate that patients aren’t interested in mobile. However, today’s most visionary health care executives (click here) know mobile health app adoption is just getting started. In hospitals and health groups, mobile apps could become vital tools for managing patient health, delivering positive patient outcomes and saving hospitals money. The key to convincing patients will be the development of mobile health apps that actually change patient behavior.

The Problem With Today’s Mobile Health Apps

Mobile application developers have issued between 17,000 and 40,000 health, fitness and medical apps. However, a recent Ohio State study found an estimated two-thirds of these apps either are not based on sound science or demonstrate little input from a medical professional.

Additionally, the FDA has only recently issued guidance on how it plans to regulate the use of mobile devices in health care. The agency plans to regulate applications that serve as accessories to a regulated medical device and apps that transform a mobile device into a regulated medical device. In other words, if the app uploads imaging studies to help a doctor make a diagnosis or if the app transforms a smartphone into a heart monitor to track cardiac arrhythmia, then the FDA will regulate those apps.

According to an article in American Medical News, most early app adopters were attracted by the novelty of using smartphone apps. Unfortunately, even the most faithful patient loses interest in writing down data if the action doesn’t elicit meaningful behavior change. Researchers have found 26 percent of people who download mobile health apps use them only once.

Persuasive Technology

Psychologist B.J. Fogg of Stanford University’s Persuasive Technology Lab argues mobile health apps will never take off until they merge content with proven behavior-modification techniques. Fogg expresses his behavior change model in the form of an equation:

Behavior change = motivation + ability + triggers for desired changes.

According to Fogg, people who want to make significant behavior changes must have the right mix of motivation and ability. For example, someone with low motivation to make a behavior change coupled with low ability to navigate technology is unlikely to use mobile health apps consistently. Fogg classifies motivations into three major types:

  1. Pleasure/pain. The anticipation of pleasure or the fear of pain motivates “in the moment” behavior.

  2. Hope/fear. This motivation anticipates an outcome either positively or negatively.

  3. Social acceptance/rejection. People want to be accepted into their social circles, and they fear being ostracized.

While app developers can’t change a patient’s motivation, they can help patients to feel a greater sense of ability by making their apps easy to use. Ability requires the patient to have adequate resources of time, money, physical energy, mental energy and a desire for social conformity. They should also have the ability to incorporate a behavior change as part of their routine. Finally, triggers should be noticeable, associated with the desired behavior and initiated at a time of maximum motivation and ability.

Apps Must Prove Themselves

Patients with chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease or arthritis often feel they’ve “tried everything” in the quest to get better. New content isn’t going to motivate them to make positive changes. Before patients adopt mobile health apps in a widespread way, apps will have to start proving they can actually change behaviors.

Finding The Right Team For Your Tech Startup

Business Agreement Startups

In the first few years of building your tech startup, you’ll want to be sure to hire the best team members who will help you build your brand into a solid success. When selecting your team members, remember that they of course need to have the technical background and skill set required for the position, but they need something a little extra too. While there is never a guarantee of how long a team member will stay with your organization, it is most ideal if you can keep your retention level as high as possible because your initial team members will play a major role in establishing your company brand and office culture.

Team Players

Even if you hire a graphic designer who will primarily work solo, your startup is bound to have a fairly small staff, in which all team members may have to participate in other projects too. This could be anything from researching new areas of opportunity to having weekly staff meetings in which honest and constructive feedback needs to be given and received. If you bring on a team member who prefers to work completely undisturbed that person may not have the skill set needed to help grow your business, even if they have the skill set required to perform their job.

Varying Skill Sets

When you first launch your tech startup you will likely be performing some of the technical duties yourself and hiring part-time and full-time team members to fill in the gaps. When choosing team members for your tech startup, ensure that you build a team that has varying skill sets. For example, if you excel in graphic design but are not great at writing the code for websites, you will strengthen your team by hiring someone who excels in writing code, as opposed to another graphic designer. However, it is important that all of your team members know enough about the overall finished products and services you will be delivering so that they can best complete their job duties in a manner that supports your objectives.

Committed Individuals

The tech industry is highly competitive, and your skilled team members will be in high demand. When building a startup you want to ensure that you bring on board team members who are willing to commit to your business in the long term, and who aspire to grow from within. Once you identify team members who believe in your vision and want to be a part of your long-term growth, you need to create a company culture that supports growth and recognizes your team members’ valuable contributions. There are many ways to develop a supportive company culture, including by creating development plans for your team members and individually recognizing them for their success. Many startups host quarterly, semiannual, or annual celebrations where they present crystal awards for recognition to celebrate team members who go above and beyond their assigned job duties.

Launching your new tech startup is an exciting endeavor. To best see your vision of success come to life you need to surround yourself with a solid team of skilled, committed, and invested team members. Finding the right fit may take time, but it is time well spent when building the right team to establish your brand.