Latest Updates

Gadgets:

How Modern Technology Is Improving Traditional Home Security

Your home is your castle. While you want security and safety, you also don’t want to turn your castle into a fortress.

Home security systems are a great way to protect your house against fires, break-ins and even more mundane matters such as lights and faucets being needlessly left on.

With cable companies increasingly getting into the home security business, homeowners have more security systems options than ever before.

But home security is a lot different today from what it was even 10 years ago. Technology has created some amazing advances in home security, and it’s important to familiarize yourself with these before you make any purchases.

Typically, all security companies offer motion alarms for your doors and windows. Those are monitored by the company, which then contacts the proper authorities in the area when those alarms get triggered.

Most companies also offer a wide variety of additional features; how much security you want is entirely up to your budget and wishes. Consider the following options.

Cloud storage

You’ve probably heard about cloud storage in other capacities. It’s a method of storing data off-site. When it comes to home security, cloud storage is useful for recording images from security cameras.

Even if something at your home goes wrong — a wire gets cut or unplugged — video is still captured and stored, usually at the security company’s facility.

Your connection to your security firm is a very important aspect of home security, since the company is going to be calling the police when it becomes necessary. So you want to ensure you always have a reliable connection.

Additionally, you want a company that operates 24 hours a day. You also want representatives who are trained in security, first and foremost. This is certainly a topic you want to bring up when you’re considering buying a security system from your cable company.

Remote access

Until recently, there has been a serious problem with home security systems: When you weren’t home, you had no control over them! Today, however, remote security access is a major new industry feature which fixes that problem.

With remote security, you control your system through your phone, tablet, or laptop. And you can do more than just turn the alarm on and off. The possibilities include real-life views of your house through your security cameras, the ability to operate your lights and water, the capability of locking and unlocking doors, and much more.

While you still want a quality security company running everything, these remote access options give homeowners a whole new level of control.

Done well, home security can be unobtrusive and easy to use. So if you have a family, you might want to look into your security options; it can bring peace of mind to your entire household.

Social:

Best Shopify Themes for Fashion and Clothing

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 1.31.27 PM

When it comes to artistic and aesthetic businesses, it’s important to have a website that reflects the thoughtful craft you’re offering to your customers. Designing your fashion or clothing site can seem like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. For Shopify users, it’s easy to choose from one of the many great themes, both free and paid. Fashion and clothing sites benefit from highly visual and image-friendly templates, and with these great Shopify themes, it’s easy to have your fashionable site up and running in no time.

There’s more to clothes than simply appearance. Fit and durability are becoming increasingly more important. If you want to cater to those that want a lifelong product, and those that buy based on sight alone, check out these four fashionable Shopify themes for the best of both worlds.

Clothes – Clearflex

Setting up shop for clothing requires a lot of images. You want to provide pictures of the items themselves, as well as the items on models, paired with other clothes and accessories, and in various sizes. Clearflex to the rescue. With the option of four different styles, and complete customization, this Shopify theme is the perfect way to sell your products with a story. The four different styles are versatile yet different, and each is best for different products. We like the Boutique style theme for online fashion magazines, and trendy clothes.

Bags & Accessories – React

Yep, this one’s free, but that doesn’t mean it’s not awesome. React comes with a wooden paneling backdrop, and we like it for everything from bamboo sunglasses to fashion belts and scarves. With full social media integration, as well as MailChimp incorporation and secure checkout, it’s an easy site to use for any style or product. Take advantage of the clean look, and easy setup, especially if you’re just graduating from etsy to your own Shopify site.

Jewelry – Atlantic

One of Shopify’s most popular themes of all time, Atlantic is a perfect blend of easy user interface and ultimate customization. The four styles are great for a variety of fashion products, but it’s a top choice for jewelry of many different styles. You can keep the coloring of Chic to pair perfectly with boho-California style. Chic is great for long and chunky necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, while Minimal is cleaner and simpler, excellent for classic Audrey Hepburn-style studded earrings, necklaces, elegant gloves, and other accessories.

Shoes – Radiance

For shoes, we like Radiance primarily due to the layout. Radiance is another free theme with lots of room for customization. It’s incredibly easy to set up, and allows room to list specs and descriptions of every style of shoe you could possibly want to list. You can include the important stuff – size, width, heel height, etc. – and just about any other sizing or color information you deem useful.

Around The Web

last update: July 26, 2014

Lifestyle:

3 Ways to Use New Technology Toward Your Fitness Goals

New technologies and applications can be incredibly useful in getting you closer to your fitness goals, but they’re only helpful if you take advantage of hem. One of the reasons more people don’t utilize these tools is that they’ve had a bad experience with one that isnt effective.

There are lots of fitness-focused technologies and apps out there, so which ones are legit? And how should you use them? These are great questions. Here are three answers.

1. Diet

Diet is the most powerful potential contributor for positive results with your fitness plan. The best analogy here is to compare your body to any other machine that requires fuel.

If you filled your car’s gas tank with sewage and garbage chemicals, would you expect the vehicle to run well? Of course not. In much the same way, you can’t expect solid results from your fitness plan unless you’re closely monitoring your diet as well.

The diet-related technology we recommend is 100% mobile. Why? Because you need to make this as easy as possible and not add an extra step of having to get to a laptop, desktop, or tablet computer.

Here are five of the best applications for fitness-related dieting and food consumption. Make sure to check other “top five” lists frequently, in case you might find an app that works even better for you!

2. Goal-focused

Lift is a great new app that makes your journey a socially supported one. Whatever your fitness goal may be, on this app you can find a training plan and a group of people who are trying to accomplish the same thing you are.

3. YouTube

YouTube is a great resource to learn new types of exercises, and see exactly how to do them properly. The power of a visual tutorial is helpful and faster than written resources.

Downsides of application-based fitness

Of course, no technology or application can provide quite the level or quality of direction of a qualified fitness coach, but it’s a good start toward the accountability of coached exercise. It’s fairly easy to do the right exercises in the wrong way, and at this point in technological history, it’s not possible for an application to tell if you’re doing the exercises the right way (or resting correctly).

It’s also difficult for an application to replace the positive reinforcement and excitement that human coaching can provide, which can be the extra boost we all need to achieve long-term fitness goals and the creation of excellent habits!

Social:

4 Smart Marketing Strategies When Your Business Has Reached a Plateau

So your business has hit a plateau. This never means that it’s over for you or that the business is done all it can. The fact is, you have simply reached the pinnacle of all you know about marketing. To some, this might sound depressing. To others, this is simply another challenge to improve business strategy.

The great thing about a plateau is that it lets you see into the distance and glimpse where you want to be. There are four smart strategies that will help you climb higher. Use them to gain, achieve and also to hold your own. Your small business, with help, can grow in leaps and bounds in the years, maybe even months to come.

1. Continue to branch out

When you seem to have hit a bump in the road with your old marketing strategies, think on this. You need to branch out even further. If you old leads seem to have grown cold, then it is obvious that you should be finding new leads. Some entrepreneurs fail to keep networking when things are looking good. Then, all of a sudden, you have hit your highest level and you have no where else to go. You cannot keep tapping into the same resource or the resource will go dry. If you have failed in this area, then it is time to invest in new networking and leads.

2. Local marketing

If you main businesses page targets a national audience, then you may be missing out on a smaller, more lucrative market. By building a microsite that focuses on your local area or hometown, you just might get the attention of some people who you have overshot. Many locals in your area do not even know about your business if you do not promote outside the Internet. With these local-based pages, you can target more closely to what this crowd is interested in. Blend it with your products and services and you just might bring more traffic to your site.

3. Improving business relations

If you have hit a plateau, then you might want to consider how well you know your target market. This does not pertain to the overall classification of the market; this pertains to your personal relationship with your customers and prospective customers. How long do you carry on conversations with customers via social media? How often do you ask your customer about themselves? Improving your personal relationship with those who keep your business alive is the only way to continue to help the company grow.

4. Revamping the business website

How often do you update? If you have to stop and think about that question for more than a minute, then you are not properly updating your site. You business Web site should stay so active that you are posting everyday. Even if it is only a short blurb, it is still keeping the site at the top of the search engines, which is how you keep your site in the public eye. Changing the design of the site every now and then also will bring fresh interest to your page. Think of ideas for the header and footer of your website and use these areas to be creative.

If your business has hit a plateau, don’t let it get you down. Whenever you have reached this place in your business, this is just an opportunity for growth. No one could learn if they didn’t have that sort of stimulus to push them and to keep them excited about entrepreneurship.

Social:

3 Ways to Get Your Online Business Off the Ground

You’ve certainly heard the success stories of people getting rich practically overnight because of a good idea that gained footing online. While those stories can be exaggerated, it’s still possible to use technology to start a small business and make good money from it.

Here are three steps you can take to start making money with an online business.

1. Solidify your concept: A lot of people have great ideas, but then for one reason or another nothing comes from it. If you want to make money you have to be organized, driven, and knowledgeable about whatever Internet niche market you choose.

Because you’re trying to build a business online you might not have the benefit of talking to someone face to face. That’s why it helps to know your business inside and out and to be able to explain it as succinctly as possible. On the Internet you have to grab people’s attention quickly, but you have a lot of tools at your disposal to do that.

2. Boost your online presence: A strong online presence can help bring in customers, create a buzz around your startup, and even help you find funding to grow your business. A strong online presence doesn’t happen quickly, though.

First of all, your business needs to be easy to find online. This means having a professional, unique website and keeping up with it. Then, you can build your online following through social media. The key to drawing attention to your online business is filling a need, producing quality content on a regular basis, and trying new types of media and platforms.

3. Ask for help: Owning a business is hard work but you don’t have to do it alone. Hire temporary staffing for things such as bookkeeping, shipping and packaging, or taking care of taxes when you get to a point where you can pay someone permanently. You’re certainly going to have questions every step of the way, so don’t hesitate to find someone with a similar business and reach out to them. People will surprise you if you let them.

  • Follow TechVert

Lifestyle:

Make Entertaining Easier With These Simple Home Improvements

When making home improvements, don’t forget to look beyond your day-to-day life. Most people enjoy having friends and family over for dinner, parties and other events. If you have children, you’ll also host events that cater to the smaller crowd.

If your home isn’t exactly conducive to entertaining, consider a few minor improvements that will make every dinner party simpler and each gathering more comfortable and enjoyable for you and your guests.

Create more space by adding doors

It’s not always possible for homeowners to knock down walls or add onto their homes, which is why many people choose to mix the interior and exterior of their homes to create a larger space for living and entertaining.

By adding either glass sliders or French doors that can be left open, you can create an indoor/outdoor living space perfect for entertaining. Open the doors and air it out to create a large space where guests can mingle when the weather’s pleasant.

Add a pergola

If your patio or deck doesn’t have a cover, adding one will let you get more use of your outdoor area. If you don’t want to spend the money to add a full roof, add a pergola. These arbors are not only fabulously attractive, but perfect for providing shade and comfort.

You get bonus points when you entertain if you have a green thumb. Climbing flowers such as bougainvillea at the top of your pergola are a fragrant and lovely addition.

Personalize your space

Don’t forget to add touches that are uniquely you. You can personalize your outdoor patio by having your contractor use pavers that create your last initial on the ground. You can create an outdoor kitchen with personalized bar signs.

When you host parties, consider using table tents personalized for the theme of the event and including listings your guests that elaborate your menu options as well as your cocktail menu. It’s not a large change, but it’s one that makes your gatherings feel special.

Conclusion

Entertaining can be a challenge if you don’t have enough room. You can create your own space for entertaining without going over budget and without spending months living in a construction zone.

Mobile:

How Technology Makes Wine Pairing Easier Than Ever

Ending the day with a glass of warm, dry red or crisp, cool white is many people’s idea of a favorite pastime. A glass of wine brings relaxation and great taste, and it offers the perfect complement to any good meal or after-dinner conversation.

But what do you do if you aren’t a wine aficionado? How do you choose the right bottle of wine to serve with dinner; how do you know whether you’re supposed to chill it, serve it warm, or even decant it?

You don’t have to be a wine enthusiast to know these things, thanks to new technology. You can use your smartphone to find the perfect bottle of wine for any occasion.

Choosing the perfect bottle

Now you can choose the perfect bottle of wine to serve with any food. Many different apps are available for free download to your iPad or smartphone which make it possible to determine what you should serve with dinner.

Various apps enable you to choose your main course from a list of foods. Once you’ve done this the app provides recommendation for wines that go with this dish. Wines are chosen to pair with your meal because they work together to enhance flavor and make dining a more pleasurable experience.

Decanting wine

Now that you’ve used your app to tell you which type of wine to serve with dinner, use you can use technology to teach you all about decanting. Wine aficionados have created websites dedicated to directing you how to decant wine.

These websites will tell you whether the bottle you’ve chosen requires decanting, which is the process of opening the wine and pouring it into a decanter to allow it to breathe before it’s served. This not only adds more flavor to the wine, but also mixes up the sediment to create a more even taste.

The Internet and the apps on your phone can help you do just about anything, from tracking how big your unborn baby is today to which wine to serve with each meal. This is just one example of how much technology has developed to change the lives of everyone who uses it.

No longer must you speak with a sommelier or visit a winery to speak with a professional about pairing wines and choosing decanters. This information is available at the touch of a button, thanks to the latest technology.

Social:

3 Ways Technology Lets You Take Learning Into Your Own Hands

 

Do you have a passion for something but you don’t know how to pursue it? Are you curious about a subject, struggling in class and need a little extra help, or need to become proficient in a particular area for your work?

You may not know it, but you have everything you need to get a quality education right at your fingertips. Technology has made it easy to get access to tons of information in many different mediums — and it’s all free for you to obtain.

Below are three examples of great resources for students of all ages.

1. Expand your knowledge with Khan Academy

If you’re looking to master anything, from basic finance to art history to calculus, Khan Academy may have what you need. Their mission is to make education available to everyone, and their library of free videos is constantly growing.

As long as you have the interest and an Internet connection, you can download and view countless hours of information that’s comprehensive and on a par with the kind of education you would get in an actual classroom.

2. Connect with teachers and students from anywhere in the world

Distance learning tools are quickly finding their way into the classroom, and not just in colleges but in high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools.

From using a service like Canvas to check next week’s assignment, to having a Skype call with a classroom on another continent, distance learning tools let people connect and learn from each other in real time, no matter where they are in the world.

3. Learn how to use software with training videos

You’ll find that many companies have tried to combine several different jobs into one position to save money. As a result you could have trouble finding a job that you should be generally qualified for, because you lack experience with a particular type of software.

Any time you’re able to get trained in a new program, you should take the opportunity. But don’t sit around waiting for businesses to give you the chance. Take learning into your own hands with online videos.

You can find training videos in just about any area of technology for any skill level, whether you’re just starting out or trying to expand your current knowledge.

More on TechVert