Altabel Group's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Internet

Social Media is a tool on the Internet. It is not a business. Like any tool, it can be used to enhance and promote an enterprise if you have a niche, a target market, a business plan and ambition. Let’s have a look at the preferences of LinkedIn community.

«I wanted to be flippant and say “all of them” but that’s not true and it wouldn’t be helpful. Pick the right tool (social media platform) for the job (communicating with people who might want to know) and you’ll have a better chance of reaching them. At this moment, my primary toolkit includes LinkedIn, Quora, Twitter, my blogs, my mailing list, Facebook.»
Erica Friedman,
Social Media Optimizer

«I pass the following experience on to others in the belief they may benefit from a similar approach:
In order to manage high volume of inquiries in federal government contracting, I set up a Google blog as an extension of my volunteer work that blossomed into a web site ($10 a year to buy and convert it from a blog to a domain in my name) containing the basics of entering and succeeding in the venue as well my books and articles on the subject for download via Box Net (also a free application). The idea was to refer clients to article links at the site to avoid repeating myself over and over to new business clients and still keep myself available for specific inquiries and problems. I linked everything together on “Linked In” and began answering questions at the “Answers” feature there as well as registering at many of the free applications for networking web sites on the Internet to see how that could benefit my work. Twitter, BlogCatalog, Facebook, Widgetbox, Friendfeed, Ning and similar free applications served my site well.
The Adsense Feature added cash flow. Roughly 30% of my clients began coming via Linked In or Linked In related networking.
The result has been heavy traffic, good efficiency in supporting in excess of 4000 counseling cases over the last 5 years and virtually no expense to me as a volunteer working for a non-profit organization.»
Kenneth Larson,
MicroMentor Volunteer and Founder “Smalltofeds”

«I normally use Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Sometimes I also use Pinterest and Google+.
You shouldn’t just share your content on these social media, but also others content. If you want to build relationships and generate leads with social media, you need share others content more than you share your own content. Other social media you could use to share content are Stumble Upon and Tumblr. These two social media are getting really popular. »
Mitt Ray,
CEO Social Marketing Writing

«It depends on your audience and the goals of the services/products that you intend to support.
I used Facebook as kind of a catch-all account because it has the most laid back aspects and it is where most people are. I use LinkedIn for the professional side and make sure that I have a business page. The personal page has done much more for me than my business page.
I have a blog to keep my name up front. And finally Twitter to support it all. Basically, anything I tweet posts on LinkedIn and Facebook.»
Tom Brown,
Social Media Specialist

«I use a networked approach to share content. Each network has a different readership and I cater the phrasing of the posting and the type of content to what that group wants to hear. For example, sharing a quick link and a catchy title on Twitter reaches a wide array of businesses and if it gets re-shared I can reach a lot of people I don’t know yet. On Linkedin I tend to share only business information that would be of use to my clients or potential clients and I phrase it in a business friendly way. On Google+ there is an advantage in creating circles for very narrow niches and posting information specifically targeted to the people. On this network it’s even more important to share unique information, not re-sharing what everybody has already seen. On Facebook I share more fun stuff because it gets shared more and so it keeps my Edgerank up on my Facebook page. Most of my followers are in the same industry as I am (Social Media consulting) so it’s easy to add information there that is fun, yet relevant and we all share each other’s links.»
Janet Fouts,
Social Media Coach

All in all primarily you shouldn’t think about which tools to use, but where your audience is. If they are on a mailing list, or a forum, you’d better go there. If they are on Twitter, or LinkedIn, you must be there. The point is to be where the people who might care about a topic are, just as the point of picking a tool in the hardware store is not which hammer is the best, but what task you need to do.

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

According to Statcounter numbers and charts, Google Chrome should be the number 1 browser in the world as soon as this year. Let’s see what LI members think about this prediction.

«No. Good old IE has plenty of mileage left yet, and because it is a “known platform” will continue to be a standard in much of the business world for at least a few years yet.»
Bernard Gore,
Project & Change expert

«According to statistics available, it is unlikely that IE will be knocked off the top spot in 2012, even though Chrome has seen a meteoric rise in usage in 2011.
In Jan 2011, IE accounted for 46% of all Internet browsing, by Dec this had dropped to 38.65%.
Meanwhile, Chrome rose from 15.68% in Jan to 27.27% by Dec, trouncing Firefox into third place with its market share changing from 30.68% in Jan to 25.27% in Dec.
Other browsers, including Safari and Opera remain minnows in comparison. Mobile browsers (which are not included in the figures above) doubled from 4.3% in January to 8.03% in December.
However, it should be acknowledged that these statistics are far from an accurate representation of the true market share of the various browsers, as the statistics are usually taken from a small range of web site visitors and often visitors’ browsers cannot be sniffed by the methods in use. Remember that there are a huge number of corporate users of IE around the world that will continue to use IE for the foreseeable future.»
Glenn Reffin,
Experienced Graphic and Web Design Professional

«Yes. Although I prefer Firefox, I do believe that Chrome will make it to the top by mid-2012. IE is terrible and makes web design tougher because it does not conform to new and updated HTML or CSS.»
Nina Churchill,
Owner of Fresh View Concepts

«While Chrome is an outstanding browser, it will not be #1 in 2012 due to the simple fact that the vast majority of Internet users, contrary to conventional wisdom, are not particularly savvy with regards to the Internet and technology. Most users are people who don’t care about browser wars. They simply want to be able to check their Facebook accounts and e-mail and Twitter and… Well, you get the point. Until Chrome gets must-have features that even your mother or grandmother are asking about, Chrome will remain #2 at best.»
Christian Zimmerman,
Desktop Engineer Team Lead at Nelnet, Inc.

«Not sure what it will look like in 2012. I will say I haven’t used IE in over a year or more. Chrome get’s on my nerves sometimes; but I have tried them all and found Chrome to be the lightest without sacrificing great options. »
Tony Rappa,
Nugget Training Advisor

Google Chrome only launched at the end of 2008, but with close integration and added features for people using Google’s ubiquitous suite of web tools such as Gmail, Google Docs and the like, the exciting benefits that will surely come as a result of Google+, and Google throwing oodles of cash at promoting the product, Microsoft and Mozilla must be seriously concerned. Agree?

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

SplashData have released their annual list of the worst possible Internet passwords and the usual suspects are all there, with ‘password’ and ‘123456’ on top.

The rise in websites requiring users to have both letters and numbers in their passwords has had a significant effect on the list as you can see below.

The list, which was compiled using millions of stolen passwords that were then posted online by hackers, is in order of how common they are:

1. password
2. 123456
3.12345678
4. qwerty
5. abc123
6. monkey
7. 1234567
8. letmein
9. trustno1
10. dragon
11. baseball
12. 111111
13. iloveyou
14. master
15. sunshine
16. ashley
17. bailey
18. passw0rd
19. shadow
20. 123123
21. 654321
22. superman
23. qazwsx
24. michael
25. football

‘ReplaceMe’, ‘ChangeMe’ and ‘Hello’ are all noticeable absentees in my opinion. But before you try, they aren’t actually my passwords for anything.

I strongly recommend that if your current password appears on this list you change it now. Something like, ‘ICantBelieveIWasSuchAFool2′ (never forget to add a number) may be more effective :)

Kind Regards,
Lina Deveikyte
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

The value of a lean start-up approach is that you are not heavily investing upfront in unnecessary/unneeded expenses. Your budget/funds should be allocated toward developing a prototype/product to test against a small/large group and see whether or not your target audience love it or hate it. This will give you a more accurate idea of its potential value, cost to improve the product/market, and maybe a couple of example customers.

The Lean Startup has evolved into a movement that is having a significant impact on how companies are built, funded and scaled. As with any new idea, with popularity comes misinterpretation:

Tale 1: Lean means cheap. Lean startups try to spend as little money as possible
The reality is the Lean Startup method is not about cost, it is about speed. Lean startups waste less money, because they use a disciplined approach to testing new products and ideas. Lean, when used in the context of lean startup, refers to a process of building companies and products based on lean manufacturing principles, but applied to innovation. That process involves rapid hypothesis testing, learning about customers, and a disciplined approach to product development.

Tale 2: The Lean Startup methodology is only for Web 2.0, Internet and consumer software companies
Actually, the Lean Startup methodology applies to all companies that face uncertainty about what customers will want. This is true regardless of industry or even scale of company: many established companies depend on their ability to create disruptive innovation. Those general managers are entrepreneurs, too. And they can benefit from increased speed and discipline.

Tale 3: Lean Startups are bootstrapped startups
There’s nothing wrong with raising venture capital. Many lean startups are ambitious and are able to deploy large amounts of capital. What differentiates them is their disciplined approach to determining when to spend money: after the fundamental elements of the business model have been empirically validated. Because lean startups focus on validating their riskiest assumptions first, they sometimes charge money for their product from day one – but not always.

Tale 4: Lean Startups are very small companies
This focus on size also obscures another truth: that many entrepreneurs live inside of much larger organizations. The proper definition of a startup is: a human institution creating a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty. In other words, any organization striving to create disruptive innovation is a startup, whether they know it or not. Established companies have as much to gain from lean startup techniques as the mythical “two guys in a garage”.

Tale 5: Lean Startups replace vision with data or customer feedback
Lean startups are driven by a compelling vision, and they are rigorous about testing each element of this vision against reality. They use customer development, split-testing, and in-depth analytics as vehicles for learning about how to make their vision successful. Along the way, they pivot away from the elements of the vision that are delusional and double down on the elements that show promise.
The old model of entrepreneurship was dominated by an over-emphasis on the magical powers of startup founders. Usually, the stories we hear about successful startups describe a brilliant visionary, fighting valiantly against the odds to create a new reality. As employees gradually fall under his or her spell, they execute his or her master plan, which leads, in the end, to world domination.
Anyone who has spent time around real startup successes knows this story is usually wildly untrue. Founders benefit from historical revisionism and survivor’s bias: we rarely hear the stories of the thousands of visionaries who failed utterly.
The Lean Startup moves our industry past this mythological entrepreneurship story and towards a methodology that is more scientifically grounded and accessible.
People who are truly committed to a vision of changing the world in a significant way can’t afford the luxury of staying in that cozy, comfortable place of building in stealth mode without outside feedback. If you really believe your vision needs to become a reality, you owe it to yourself to test that vision with every tool available.

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Today Internet abounds with infinite number of collections which tell about applications for iPhone. In general they tell about the same – the popular, free and even useless widgets. Considering the app industry is less than a decade old, it’s become one of the fastest growing markets in the country. We’ve all heard the stories of developers coming up with an ingenious idea for an app, then going on to rake in mounds of cash after it becomes popular in the Apple App Store.

How many times has a friend showed you his or her favorite new iPhone app, and you lamented: Why didn’t I think of that? With total application downloads from Apple’s iTunes app store topping three billion, and monthly sales of upwards of $200 million, the marketplace for apps is booming. If you’re a designer or programmer, how can you afford not to be creating apps? Well, it’s not quite that simple.

Greg Trefry, a veteran game designer, says “There are so many apps out there, it’s an extremely crowded market so that the barrier to entry is so low and the barrier to success is so high. But you’re not necessarily aiming to have the biggest game out there, so there’s still room to make a business out of it if you’re trying to capture a certain audience.”

Therefore, here are several tips for those who choose to start their own business and succeed.

Getting Approved
In a market where everyone wants in on the action, as an app creator, you have two big hurdles. The first is creating an app worthy of a favorable review upon submission to the Apple iTunes App Store. The second is promoting your app so that it breaks through the pack and sells well. Though there’s a lot of negative hype concerning the first hurdle, developers generally say that getting their app approved isn’t the struggle it’s made out to be. Apple’s standards for apps do restrict some racy and pornographic content, and the company excludes apps that, in its view, do not enhance the iPhone experience or that duplicate existing iPhone features. When it comes to fresh, inventive content, however, most apps are readily approved.

Promoting Your App
After an app has been approved and is listed for sale in the iTunes App Store, your next goal is to get customers to download it. To some extent, this process becomes a chicken-and-egg scenario. Vaulting into a top-selling category is the best way to encourage sales – but you first must have sales to rank highly within a category. Fortunately, the process of gaining exposure isn’t completely out of your hands. Apple features new apps daily. What does it take to win over Apple’s support? Good design is important.

Looking good is a matter of solid design. Enlist a designer to help create the interface a user will experience, as well as the logos and screen shots that will appear on the Apple iTunes App Store. This collateral is the first thing a potential buyer will see, so maximizing its impact is crucial.

Besides design, being polished includes being technically solid. If you are developing the app yourself, you may want to consider bringing on a programmer who is well-versed in Objective-C to help you; though apps can be built using other programming languages, this version of C++ is the standard. You should also be sure to give your app the full battery of beta-testing it needs before you make your submission. An inexpensive way to test it is to distribute it among friends and solicit feedback. Just remember: Without smooth functionality, your app will be dead in the water.

Leveraging Your Existing Business
If you already have a business, creating an app – or multiple apps – to enhance your clients’ experience can be a tremendous opportunity. Often, a small business is already filling a niche – and can also do so when their client is on the move. Take the case of Yelp, the online review site. Its iPhone app not only provides its standard customer-reviews, but can also tap into GPS to allow a user to find nearby businesses.

So, thinking along the lines of “what do we already do, and how can it be used on the go?” is a great place to start. Look for an area that will be a natural extension, or a macro view of what you do.

Think Big or Think Tiny
Some of the most successful apps are the most complex: Location-aware, social-networking-capable apps such as Whrrl, FourSquare or Glympse. And some of the most successful apps are very simple, one-off jokes. It may be that the best app for you is limited in scope.

Simple apps, the kind people whip out at parties to emulate chugging a beer (iBeer) or wielding a light saber (Lightsaber Unleashed), require far less up-front time designing and programming. And if you haven’t invested a lot of time into developing a simple app, you can afford to make it inexpensive. In a best-case scenario, with minimal marketing such apps can go socially viral. Then again, if it doesn’t sell, no biggie: just try again.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, complex, multi-faceted apps that are born most often out of an existing business or business model, and can require a team of designers working for weeks or months. This model is best for existing websites and businesses that can add value through creating an app. With these, you’re going for polish, perfection, and possibly a higher price-point. What’s more, complex apps need to be sticky to be effective. That’s where marketing comes in.

In the middle ground stand a host of simple-concept games with great graphical interfaces. If you look at the App Store’s top 10 sellers for paid apps at any given time, most of them are games (as example Poker App). Games that either educate or temporarily amuse, especially ones that anyone from age 4 to an adult can understand and appreciate, are almost always in demand.

Flaunt What You’ve Got
Once your shiny new app is available in the App Store marketplace, visibility is vital to profitability. Getting into the App Store’s top 100 – much less top 10 – list is of course the best way to see sales soar. If that’s just not happening for you, start small. Build an audience from the ground-up.

Trefry says “It’s not necessarily the day that comes out that it needs to have blockbuster sales. Think about what audience you’re going after, and how that person interacts with their device.”

So that wish you good luck and patience to achieve your goal! :)

Thank you for your attention and as always you are welcome with your comments!

Best regards,
Elvira Golyak
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

For 15+ years the Internet has been revolutionizing modern life in many different ways: communication between people, information search, consumption. Along the way, it has “completely upended entire industries, killing off or reducing existing power brokers, removing middle men, and ushering in new leaders”.
But it’s far from finished in reshaping industries – lots of transformation is waiting to happen in the years ahead. There are entire industries that have been only lightly touched so far but are destined to be caught in the eye of the storm eventually. Here are the upcoming ones:

1. Movies
The movie industry has been under intense pressure over the past decade as large-screen television sets have come down in price and high definition movies have made the home experience feel more and more like a small movie theater. The most important reason why movie theaters still have such a strong business and still exist is that the most anticipated films still show up in the theaters months before they come to pay-per-view, disc, and premium channels. So, it’s all about controlling content distribution. And that’s likely to change soon. But for instance, Hollywood is already experimenting with the idea of selling movies directly to consumers at home (streamed over the Internet) at the same time the movies arrive in theaters. Movie studios will charge a higher fee (possibly $30) for such experience but many families already pay $50 or more to go to the movies all together and some would rather save time and watch it in the comfort of their own homes. Not likely that theaters will go away but they will decrease in number and turn into much more of a premium experience.

2. Healthcare
It’s an industry that thrives on the latest scientific research and cutting edge equipment to improve people’s health, but can’t adequately transfer patient information between healthcare providers and remains snowed under an avalanche of inefficient paperwork that drives up costs and wastes time. Recently in many countries the government is trying to push for an electronic medical record (EMR) that the patient (not the healthcare provider) controls, in the U.S. by 2014 for example. Although the idea seems so brilliant the details are still working themselves out and there are some legitimate concerns about it. When it happens, it will not only shift the investment in healthcare dollars away from old processes and products and into a lot more IT systems, but it also has the potential to give patients more ownership of their own healthcare experience, which could have unforeseen consequences for pricing, provider choice, and provider accountability.

3. Book publishing
Amazon has completely changed the way most people buy books, and it’s done it in two ways. First, it made it fast and easy to buy books online, and at a huge discount and with a much larger selection of obscure titles. Because of Amazon, book-buying was one of the first things people become comfortable purchasing over the Internet. Second, Amazon’s Kindle has popularized e-books, which takes the process of delivering paper goods completely out of the equation.
While this has been a revolution for consumers, the Internet has done very little to revolutionize the publishing process for books. It is still ruled by publishing houses, who serve as the gatekeepers and filters for what gets published and decide which titles deserve the most promotion (and potential sales). However, just as it did for news publishing, the Internet is about to completely democratize the publishing process for books. The combination of e-readers, electronic audiobooks, and print-on-demand have lowered the barriers to entry and made it so that authors no longer need publishing houses. They can take their work straight to the masses, at least straight to their niche audiences. So, in the new Internet world, there are going to be a lot more books published (as e-books), there will be room for more people to make a living as niche authors, and the traditional publishers will morph into promotional agents for the really big titles.

So, what else do you predict to see as next Internet transformers? Are you waiting for your refrigirator to start do grossery shopping for you? :)

Post your picks and ideas in the discussion below.

Thank you,
Helen Boyarchuk
Altabel Group – professional software development

Within the past couple weeks; we have had two major Web browser releases. Microsoft unleashed Internet Explorer 9, and Mozilla officially launched Firefox 4. Each browser had millions of downloads on its inaugural launch day. Bellow you may find some quotes from people who have already tried both of browsers and shared their opinions.

«I’ve installed both IE 9 on a Vista SP2 VM and Firefox 4 on my Mac Book Pro running 10.6.7, I have to say that I like both a lot; both are very clean browsers in terms of the user interface and both feel very quick in their operation. Firefox 4 is a major re-design in the product; I feel that IE 9 is a very nice re-working of IE 8. I will use both over the coming week more and I’ll see how both really compare.»
Neil Hobbs

«I haven’t even bothered with IE 9. Stopped using MSIE years ago and haven’t looked back. I really like the new FF4 interface. The customizability, and usability and most importantly, the amount of real estate they’ve cleared up make it a better browser. I like the available personas (doesn’t affect performance, but is a nice touch) and I can’t wait for more new themes.»
Mike Greene

«I just recently upgraded to Firefox 4 and I love the new interface, which surpasses even previous versions of its own browser. I am one of the seemingly growing numbers of folks who detest ALL versions of IE and frankly Microsoft should have a great deal more development on IE8 before it was released. I haven’t tested IE9 yet, but if what was true about IE8 is also true about IE9 I think I’ll be one of those who waits a long while before getting any newer version than 7.0 that I now use, and I only use that when some sites tell me they don’t work the way they should on some browsers. Otherwise, I use either Firefox or sometimes Safari, which is Apple’s browser.»
Matthew Booker

«Frankly, I wouldn’t ever consider IE in any version. I have no faith in what M$ tells me about it. I’m using Firefox 3.6.16, the last before FF 4. I downloaded FF 4 this morning and it behaved badly with respect to my add-ins, so I was forced to uninstall it and fall back. So much for early adoption.»
Brian C.

«I have not used IE since about version 6 back when it was *new*. However having tried IE9, I was pleasantly surprised at the progress Microsoft have made. I would recommend trying it out before passing judgment.»
Darren Cresswell

«For me the answer is Chrome – although I now have Firefox 4 also loaded, and apart from a few plug-in missing it seems to be pretty complete. Chrome just feels cleaner, simpler, and I am finding more and more sites now experimenting with HTML5 for video and better UI. What is crucial is the number of old corporate (and a few personal) PCs still running IE6 – they have to move forward. So many web sites have to cater for its quirks and even Microsoft has stopped supporting it for key systems like SharePoint 2010. If you look at browser version numbers, interesting that Chrome are already on version 10 – expect to see more and more developments in this area as the functionality wars really start to heat up.»
Brian Merritt

«IE 9 is one step beyond: clean and essential design, great usability, top performance. It lacks compatibility since can’t be installed on XP. The netbook I bought last year was equipped with XP home edition, to install Seven I needed to buy the OS license, double the RAM and performing a tricky installation (since no optical unit on this PC). Normal people won’t do this, neither will change their PC every year, that’s way FF4 that runs on every platform will be their best choice.»
Roberto Pellegrinelli

In my opinion, Firefox 4 wins over its Microsoft arch-enemy. But that does not mean Internet Explorer 9 is bad. Far from it. Firefox 4 and Internet Explorer 9 are going to be great browsers once released. If you’re a Firefox user, no need to abandon your favorite product. It’s still the good old stuff that made the difference and broke the monopoly. If you’re an Internet Explorer user, now you truly have a good browser, which you can use and be proud of.

Have you tried them both and decided on a winner or are you still thinking about which one is the best?

BR,
Kristina
Altabel Group


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