Latest Updates

Lifestyle:

4 Dining Furniture Items for the Digital You

If you’re a techie, all your furniture should reflect that, including your dining sets — even if you have a house rule of no smartphones or tablets at the dinner table.

After all, it just seems out of place if you have a high-tech house, maybe with some automated features, and a dining table that looks like it belongs in a French kitchen. But how can you blend the two worlds?

It’s actually much simpler than you think. Check out these four incredible dining pieces for homeowners who are more tech-minded.

1. Hampton Contemporary Dining Set

Don’t let the name fool you: the Hamptons might be known for traditional styles, but this particular dining set is all contemporary.

Featuring black tempered glass and easily seating six, it’s just what you need to bring sleek lines into your dining room. Chrome legs and simplicity make it pop in all the right ways.

2. Lyn Contemporary Dining Chair

Your chairs are the accessories of a dining table, so feel free to liven them up with innovative designs and colors that will brighten any dining area. The Lyn series is akin to a lightning bolt, yet still comfortable.

With chrome at the base and a variety of bright colors to choose from, this design can complement any table or literally stand alone as an accent piece.

3. Heriz Designer Round Dining Table

If space is an issue or you just prefer a more intimate approach, try the Heriz model. White and high-gloss, it perfectly blends retro with futuristic.

It’s also a great space saver, so you have plenty of room for your other gadgets. It seats four, with round, tempered glass and — just like the perfect little black dress — it impresses the eye without standing out too much. There’s also a touch of 60s funk involved, so it’s ideal for a little throwback design.

4. Yelena Modern Glass Dining Table

Here’s something that doesn’t make much sense: If you throw a lot of dinner parties or have a larger family, why are all the dishes kept in the kitchen where you have to trot them back and forth?

Enter the Yelena, which offers storage space right below the surface. The 3D glass cube design is also a knockout, and you can opt to keep some eye catching collectibles in this space, too.

These are just four options to choose from at Furniture to Your Door. No matter what your style, there’s something to suit every technophile.

Lifestyle:

7 of the Most Affordable Tech Cars in South Africa

For those who need an efficient vehicle in South Africa, there are many options to choose from. Some of the various inexpensive options can be found on native soil; many other great quality cars hail from places like India and South America.

Below are seven of the best and most affordable cars for the techie in South Africa.

1. Renault Sandero

This very affordable car is energy-efficient and reliable. It was first manufactured in South America but it’s now available in many other countries, including upscale neighborhoods of South Africa.

The interior is spacious and perfect for families and individuals. The Renault features very low fuel consumption, using either petrol or diesel fuel, which makes it the perfect vehicle for any adventure. Many luxury features are available, such as low noise and vibration amenities. There are also options to reduce some of the luxury items to make the care more affordable.

2. Hyundai Jazz

The Hyundai Jazz is quite reasonably priced at this time — for one very important reason. This vehicle line is being discontinued in countries such as India and South America.

In South Africa there’s speculation that this car will drastically drop in price during closeouts. The Hyundai Jazz is much like other modern hatchbacks in that it has push-button start capabilities and Bluetooth accessories in the interior. This model is almost a steal!

3. Hyundai i10

Another popular hatchback style that replaced former Hyundai models is the Hyundai i10. This car is unique for its ergonomic design in the front and passenger seats. The interior is intended to suit taller drivers and companions.

As with other Hyundai models, the i10 has experienced a facelift by total transformation of the front grill and bumper. This adds a new flavor to a very popular and inexpensive car.

4. Nissan Micra

The Nissan Micra is truly a flashy hatchback. But besides that, this car has many extra features that will amaze any tech lover. For one, the Micra has a push-button start, it is Bluetooth hands-free, and it also has a CVT, so you can enjoy incredible acceleration speeds. If you’re looking for a truly innovative vehicle, this one’s for you.

5. VW Polo Vivo

The native South African Polo Vivo is one of the best selections with regard to affordability, as well. This small hatchback has the capabilities of a full-sized car and the interior room will fool you.

The Polo Vivo has a long list of safety features that includes air bags on every side, front, and back, air control, and plenty of boot space. What more could be needed in an efficient, quality car such as this one?

6. Kia Picanto

This small car has the ability to win you over simply because of its strengths and affordability. The Kia is fully loaded with six air bags, remote-control locking, and electronic stability control.

The Picanto is also very aesthetically pleasing, with body-colored bumpers and mirror handles. If you’re looking for an affordable beauty, then this is the one you want.

7. Ford Fiesta

This beautiful car is very sleek and cool. The Ford Fiesta comes equipped with a powerful transmission and uses both diesel and petrol gas. Extra amenities include best-in-class air conditioning, steering column audio, and Bluetooth capabilities.

This sporty vehicle is quite competitive with similar vehicles and has the ability to charm the buyer. If you buy it used, the Ford Fiesta is very affordable.

These seven cars are simply among the best in quality. Not only are they some of the best, they are quite affordable as well. For natives of South Africa, these tech cars are the way to go.

Around The Web

last update: July 25, 2014

Gadgets:

How to Make Use of Old or Unwanted or Tech Gadgets

Got a lot of old gadgets sitting around your house gathering dust? If you have children, there’s no doubt that you have a few old gaming consoles they’re no longer using, along with some fancy toys that have been sitting in boxes for years.

You might have an old computer or two, not to mention that CRT TV that you packed away once you got your brand-new flatscreen. There always seem to be old gadgets sitting around, and it can be difficult to know what to do with them.

The eBay solution

Probably the best place to take your old and used gadgets is eBay — the massive online garage sale where pretty much everything gets bought and sold. If your gadgets are in serviceable condition, you should be able to sell them fairly easily.

You may have to mark the prices way down on your old stuff, but you never know how much people will be willing to pay for those vintage Nintendo games, that old console that only plays 2D games, or that CRT TV that you started to turn into a fish tank (finishing the tank would increase the value of the sale).

Selling on eBay is fairly easy, and you can open an eBay seller account within a few minutes. However, if you live in the U.S., there’s a section of eBay called MyGadgets that allows you specifically to sell old and unwanted gadgets. The whole service is designed to make your life easier, and you may find that selling off those gadgets will be so much simpler with this nifty tool to help you.

Going Craigslist

Craigslist certainly gives eBay a run for its money, though it’s more personalized and region-centered than eBay. Craigslist allows you to post classified ads anywhere in the country, but most people stick within their city. You can post an ad about all your gadgets, and offer them to anyone who might be interested. A few email responses and a cash exchange later, you’ve sold off your old gadgets and earned a pretty penny.

The beauty of Craigslist is that you can be pretty much anywhere in the country and still find people interested in what you have. Maybe a parent will want that old computer you’re selling, because he or she can’t afford to buy a brand new one for the child.

Perhaps a gamer is interested in that old console, because he loves playing the old games. No matter what type of gadgets you have, you should definitely consider selling them on Craigslist, the #1 classified ads website in the country.

Donating

Dell has partnered up with Goodwill to provide people with a place to donate their goods: the Reconnect program. It makes it possible for people to get rid of those old computers, gaming consoles, tablets, and other devices in a way that will actually benefit others.

These donated computers may go to local schools or libraries, or they may be given to charitable establishments in need of electronics.

Bartering

Bartering for goods has been around for thousands of years — even before minted coins were invented. People used the barter system to exchange goods they had for goods they wanted, and it worked just great for them. It’s a simple system, but it does the job.

MatchTrade has designed a web-based bartering service that allows people to exchange items with other folks online, offering them a chance to give away something unwanted and receive something they value in return. It’s a beautiful system, and you may find it’s worth checking out if you want to give away those old gadgets.

Science:

3 Reasons to Invest in Third-Party Logistics

When a business is starting up and beginning to thrive, the owners may have to come to terms with the fact that the company might need a logistics outsourcing post.

A third-party logistics company can provide solutions for assembly, packaging, warehousing, and distribution that may not be possible for the startup to handle anymore. The original firm may have launched small and grown faster than anticipated; in order to keep the same quality that customers expect, outsourcing certain functions of the company may be what is necessary to grow.

Consider the following three reasons to outsource to third party.

1. Greater resources

A third-party logistics provider may have the resources that the original company may not have at its disposal. The outside firm can improve the supply chain to make sure the original company’s needs are met in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

The supply chain can be restructured with technology to provide better service to customers so they know where goods are located and when they’ll arrive.

2. Flexible response

The benefit of scaling to inventory can save you money by flexing with busy and down times. The third party can scale labor, space, and transportation depending on the needs of the inventory and depend. Seasonal ups and downs can be easier for your business since the third-party logistics team is dealing with the flow of the bulk of the workload.

Outsourcing will save you money you won’t have to invest in warehouse space, technology, and staff for the logistics process; all that comes with outsourcing. The third party can save you from mistakes, as well, since they have expertise and provide your business with lower risk and higher return.

3. Outside expertise

Outsourcing can give your company expertise that it may not have, and you don’t have to hire more employees to fill that gap.

Third-party workers are aware of industry best practices and will keep updated on developments in technology that help your business, along with software used for reporting, inventory management, and monitoring the outsourcing process. A back-up system is available so that the outsourced employees know where and when inventory is shipped so that it gets to its destination on time.

By outsourcing, companies can focus on the core goals of the business without having to worry about incompetence or accidentally overlooking a task. Good third-party logistics companies will allow business owners to be confident on all angles of their business.

Social:

5 Critical Mistakes SEO Leaders Must Avoid

Any type of leadership has a series of positive objectives to pursue, and negative consequences to avoid. Unfortunately, a positive objective in one field might be a negative consequence in another, so it can be hard to find leadership advice for the specific industry of search engine optimization (SEO).

The positive outcomes sought by SEO leaders are fairly obvious: rank as highly as possible on the search engines that consumers use, and do it in a way that is deemed successful to your company (or your client, if you’re an agency SEO leader).

The negative outcomes are many, from simple inefficiencies to the worst of all: getting de-listed and banned by a search engine. Most of the negative outcomes, however, can be narrowed down to five general areas where critical mistakes can be committed. Below are the five primary SEO mistakes.

1. Poor problem framing and goal selection

Perhaps the worst mistake to make is to do a great job, but hit the wrong target. It’s important to understand more than the SEO goal.

How does this company make money? How does it drive the various stages of marketing success (awareness, consideration, trial, loyalty)? Who is the target customer? What are they searching for online?

Understanding these questions and their answers will help you avoid the mistake of aiming for the wrong goal.

2. Buying links

Don’t buy inbound links. If anything, you should pay people to create the solid content that readers are looking for. And a lot of it. Search engines will penalize almost everything beyond that.

3. Doing anything in a fast, or linear, or non-human fashion

How would sites normally climb rankings organically, with no professional help? It won’t be linear, and it likely won’t be fast. Search engines know that.

4. Not being social

We’re not talking about happy hours at the end of the work day; we’re talking about social media. It’s becoming widely known that search engine algorithms are utilizing social data to help prove a website is legitimate.

Make sure to utilize content marketing efforts and link generation across the major social media outlets that your product’s target consumers would likely frequent.

5. Losing all your momentum and above-the-board work due to a poor transfer of knowledge

During a transition of responsibilities from one SEO manager to the next, it’s critical to have a clear process of knowledge transfer, to ensure that all the objectives and the best practices are transferred in a way that makes operations safe and relatively seamless.

  • Follow TechVert

Social:

4 Reasons Online Foreign Exchange Trading Is Good for You

Trading on the foreign currency market is becoming more popular among home investors. While investing in foreign markets can seem intimidating at first, with a good teacher and some practice, you can find yourself earning a nice supplemental income in your spare time.

Forex trading offers lots of great benefits whether you treat it like a hobby or a profession. Here are four reasons why online foreign exchange trading is good for you.

1. Forex is flexible

The foreign exchange market runs 24 hours a day from Sunday through Friday. Since it’s open much longer than other financial markets, this means it’s easier for you to find time to trade.

You can trade before or after work, or whenever you have some free time during the day. Plus, since the market is closed on weekends, you can use that time to catch up on your research. The flexibility of Forex trading is appealing to many people looking for a way to supplement their income.

2. Forex is educational

If you’re not interested in world events, Forex trading is probably not for you. But if you love keeping up with the news of the world, this can be a great way to turn that interest into real money.

Because the foreign exchange market is based on currency exchange rates, you need to be aware of how the currency of various countries is influenced by world events. For instance, Syria is currently having a large effect on world markets.

Keeping up with the news involves some work, but you’ll become more informed about the world around you. And as your world knowledge grows, so can your portfolio.

3. Forex can be low risk

Even if you don’t make a fortune in foreign exchange trading, you can still make a decent side income … and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get started. Many experts recommend an initial investment of $100.

Picture that $100 as a practice fee: it’s great if you see a return on that investment, but if you don’t, at least you’ve learned about Forex trading and can use that knowledge for the future. Especially if you don’t plan on making trading your primary source of income, Forex trading can be a relatively low-cost way to earn money in your spare time.

The trick is to be a smart, disciplined trader.

4. Forex can broaden your horizons

World events. Foreign Currencies. Finance. Investing.

Foreign currency trading depends on a lot of knowledge across a wide range of subjects. Fortunately, you can develop those skills over time as you trade; just start out trading small so you don’t run much risk.

And there’s plenty of help available. Reputable Forex websites provide a wealth of information, no matter what your experience level may be. You’ll find that, as your portfolio grows, so does your knowledge of the world.

Lifestyle:

Moonshine and Cupcakes: the Perfect Summer Treat

There are moments on summer days — as the ceiling fan is blowing hot air around, you’ve got the screen door open, and you’re sweating in your porch chair with a pitcher of quick-melting ice water — when all of a sudden you get a craving for the Southern that can’t be cured with just a class of lemonade.

When it’s too hot to fry chicken, consider something a bit different to soothe your Southern appetite: moonshine and cupcakes. It probably sounds odd. Perhaps you are wondering where one acquires moonshine now that Prohibition is long over.

You may be concerned that supporting moonshine distillers means you’ll be arrested for skirting some liquor sales tax. But fret not: this is not a dangerous operation, but merely a new way to rethink an old summertime treat.

Moonshine and sweet tea cupcakes

Nothing is more innocent than a cupcake. Give these little delights a rebellious flair by adding moonshine to the batter … for a fruity, booze-y tinge and a little kick on those hot summer afternoons when there is nothing to do but relax and pray for rain to cool things off.

Start with ingredients for a typical vanilla cupcake batter, then include about one cup of milk and 10-12 bags of tea. The more tea bags you include, the stronger the tea flavor in your cupcakes.

Heat the milk in the microwave or over the stove until warm, but not boiling, and then allow the tea bags to steep in the milk for about five minutes; again, longer steeping time makes for a stronger flavor. Typically, black tea is used for cupcake recipes, but you can use any strong flavor — sweet and spicy Good Earth tea might be an interesting alternative for the holidays.

Mix in the rest of your cupcake ingredients (see recipes here), and then comes the kicker: replace some of your liquids with moonshine — any fruit flavor of your choice will do.

You can also chop up the fruit at the bottom of the bottle, or soak some fresh fruit in moonshine overnight, and then add them to the batter or the frosting. If you want to keep the kick, add the moonshine to the batter (the alcohol will bake off in the oven), then place one of these soaked fruits on the top of the cupcake after it has been frosted.

Make your own moonshine

If you really want to make these cupcakes fresh, consider making your own moonshine at home — it does add a bit of that rebellious feel — and you can make the proof as strong as you like. A number of moonshine recipes can be found online, or in distillery books, and you can make it at home the same way beer can be brewed, or wine fermented … in the basement or the garage.

Lifestyle:

Understanding Variations in Auto Insurance

 

When it comes time to shop for a new auto insurance policy, buyers often find a huge variety of rates. This can be due to many factors, and while sometimes the cheapest auto insurance is also the best, other times it’s better to go for a more expensive rate and get the highest quality insurance.

How do you know? What’s behind the numbers? Here are a few things to watch for.

Surplus Lines Carriers

Insurers who “officially” offer policies inside most states have to file financial information with the state insurance commissioner. They are held to certain standards. They have to abide by specific state laws that govern their obligations to customers. State regulators largely control auto insurance rates; however, they have to follow the state’s financial guidelines.

Other companies are allowed to offer insurance inside the state on a “surplus lines” basis. In most cases, that means they provide insurance that is not adequately furnished by the regulated insurers, but there’s plenty of grey area. A surplus lines policy is often cheaper, but that may often be because it is less subject to regulation and of poorer quality.

On the other hand, some companies offer surplus lines policies for many years. They meet their obligations. They avoid regulation in order to keep their rates low. Discount insurance sellers often provide quality surplus lines policies that cost a lot less and have fewer fees.

Deductible Dodge Ball

When you buy an insurance policy, you’re essentially paying somebody else to take some of the risk for you. The greatest risk to your car is little stuff, like scratched paint or a chipped windshield. It isn’t big stuff, like getting totaled or striking a pedestrian. Insurance companies will offer really low rates while pushing high deductibles on their policyholders. You’re still covered against the big stuff, but you have to pay out of pocket for the little stuff.

Insurers have really smart people working the numbers for them. Statistically, you’re going to pay more money for nickel-and-dime repairs than you will forking out the extra cash for a policy with a lower deductible.

Apples and Bananas

Insurance is a financial tool, so the cost of a policy is always based on how much money is at risk. Generally, lowering the cost of a policy means lowering the amount of money at risk, which some insurers try to do with some pretty intricate cloak-and-dagger methods. That can include things like requiring you to use approved shops (even when they don’t do good work) or applying conditions to the policy that get them out of paying for certain damages.

The declarations page of a policy generally includes all the pertinent information. Get the declarations page for all the policies you’re shopping and make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples.

Some insurance discounters do a good job of making sure the policies available through them are of high quality. Others, however, aren’t nearly so scrupulous. Be sure to check the credibility of the source you’re shopping, especially if you’re using an anonymous online brokerage.

More on TechVert