Government Hampering Innovation

Posted on: April 21st, 2015

blueberries

The following CNN Business article (http://cnnmon.ie/1HoTYyS), covers how French lawmakers want Google to give up their intellectual property of how their search algorithm work for the sake of “fair competition”. The French government is demonstrating how a government can hamper innovation by not understanding how business works.

To put this in layman terms, imagine if you are a blueberry farmer. You develop a technique that allowed you grow bigger blueberries with less water. You gained the market share with your technique. Fellow blueberry farmers complain that your technique is not fair because they do not understand your technique. So the other blueberry farmers lobby the government to reveal your technique. So you as a blueberry farmer have to ask yourself, why spend time and energy developing new techniques only to be forced to give it away?




IT Security

Posted on: May 29th, 2014

Lock

Over the years, I have consulted with various companies on the subject of IT security and the rule of thumb that I tell my clients is not be a “soft target”.  Hackers typically hunt for soft targets because they do want to expand the time and energy exploiting one target when they can get two more with less effort.  Your job as a citizen of the internet is not to be on this soft targets.  There is no such thing as 100% secure system but in the next series of the of blog postings, I will show you how you can limit your risk by utilizing common tools and practices to protect yourself.




What is a Search Engine?

Posted on: April 1st, 2014

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The top three search engine  are Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft’s Bing.  Each company develops a search engine that crawls the web and indexes the results into a database. The majority of the search engine industry offers their search results for free but to be able to do so, they offer a web based advertisement market that auctions catered search results or offer space within the results that advertisers pay for.  Auction prices are set by the popularity of the search keyword and how many users utilize their search engine.  The search engines charge the advertisers by the pay per click (PPC).   This process is called paying for search results.

Paying for search results is great for companies that want to generate immediate web traffic or generate sales for a product or service being offered.  Currently, Google is the industry leader for both search engine and online advertisement followed by Yahoo! and then Microsoft’s Bing.  Yahoo! and Microsoft have had a deal in place since 2009 that Microsoft will provide search results and online advertisement for Yahoo! utilizing Microsoft’s Bing search engine.   This is great for advertisers because it allows them achieve results on two search engines for the price of one.




WordPress SEO

Posted on: March 31st, 2014

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of managing the development and redevelopment of a website so that it will naturally achieve top search engine results organically.  We developed our website using WordPress as the backend and discussed how website content is king.  Now lets start tying it all together and do so by utilizing the WordPress plugin WordPress SEO, which allows us to structure the backend of our website content so it is search engine friendly.  Search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing look for three basic Meta tags:

  • Title –The title of your article
  • Keywords – If you had to summarize your article in one word or two, this should be your keywords
  • Description – Quick summary of article

seo

 

Meta tags are not visible on the webpage but are only visible on the search results from the search engine.  Take the example above.  Users search by keywords, users look at the title of the search results to see if the results are relevant to the keywords, and look at the description to get a quick summary of the link.  Website rankings occur either organically or being paid for.  In my next blog posting, I will go in detail on both methods of ranking.






WordPress Plugins

Posted on: March 21st, 2014

To add functionality to your WordPress installation, WordPress allows for “Plugins” to be installed.  The three commonly used plugins, which I add to all my WordPress Installations are:

 

  • Askimet – This WordPress plugin allows me to protect my blog from spam.  With the popularity of WordPress, there are countless unethical marketers trying to spam people blogs for a slight chance that the person will approve their comment so it can create a link back to their site.  Askimet will automatically block this type of comments by moving it to spam. A major time savor for any blogger who has to approve the comments.
  • Jetpack by WordPress.com – Jetpack is your Swiss army knife of WordPress plugins because it does the following:
    • Adds social media functionality to your WordPress installation
    • Shorten URLs for reposting
    • Checks spelling and grammar of your posting prior to submitting
    • Ties your comment system into WordPress.com.
  • WordPress SEO – SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization which is the practice of developing your website so it can naturally achieve search engine rankings organically.  SEO is a topic for a different blog posting that I will cover in my next posting.

To install a WordPress Plugin, follow the instructions below:

 

1) Login into your WordPress installation and click on the “Plugin”

plugin

 

2) Click on “Add New”

plugin_addnew

 

3) Search for the WordPress plugin that you want.  I am using Jetpack for WordPress.com for this example.

install_plugin

4) Click “Install Now” for the WordPress Plugin that you want.

plugin_search

 

5) Click “Ok” to continue to install.  Once you have it installed, you will see the following screen.

 

jetpack_activate

6) Final step is to login into WordPress.com to finish activating the Jetpack plugin.  Click on the “Connect to WordPress.com” and then enter your WordPress.com information

wordpressbutton

 




PSIGEN Document Capture Capability

Posted on: March 19th, 2014

PSI-Capture

One of the most interesting companies at the 2014 SharePoint conference held in Las Vegas, Nevada last week was PSIGEN Software Inc.  The company offers a document capture capability for any small business or large corporation.  So you may ask, what does document capture capability mean?  If you have a form that you have clients or employees fill out on a daily basis, document capture capability means that you can now electronically store the document while reading the information from the form so it can automatically be entered into a database.  Regardless if it is a medical form, customer satisfaction survey, or new hire document, now you can eliminate the need to physically store these documents or have an employee manually enter the information into a database.

Microsoft’s Legal and Corporate Affairs (LCA) department saw the value of having document capture capability as part of their business process. LCA typically generates 3,000 files in a month and had 35,000 files in storage.  With PSIGEN’s Capture Enterprise Workstation and a Cannon high volume document scanner, LCA is now able to capture their employees’ records and store it into SharePoint.  This reduced LCA’s need for physical storage and eased administration because staff now utilizes SharePoint’s search capability to find employees’ records.

So imagine what a CPA or medical office can do with PSIGEN’s document capture capability if it was integrated into their business process? If you want to find out more, go to ww.PSigen.com

 

 




Status Update

Posted on: March 15th, 2014

One of the issues when you go off for a week to Las Vegas for a Microsoft SharePoint conference is the mountain of work that awaits you when you get back.  After a couple of grueling days to get back on schedule, I am revisiting my series: “Can You SEO Yourself.”  As a recap of my recent blogs, I walked you through:

  1. The process of how to pick your domain name
  2. Setup a WordPress Website
  3. Modify your WordPress website with a custom theme
  4. Setup the website structure
  5. How to drive visitors to your website with content 

In my next series of posts, I will start tying in additional WordPress functionality and how to expand your web traffic using social media.  If you have any questions about how to do certain things that I have covered, please leave a comment below and I will reply to you.  As always, you can help Austin IT Consulting by following us at:

Facebook.com/Austin.IT.Consulting

Twitter.com/AustinIT

Google.com Plus Austin IT Consulting

 




Death of Microsoft InfoPath

Posted on: March 5th, 2014

deathofinfopath1

The Microsoft session Update on InfoPath and SharePoint Forms had a large turnout of people to the point they even set in the aisles just to catch a glimpse of it. I wonder if the large turnout had to do with yesterday’s flash mob of SharePoint geeks in monk robes parading around the expo floor singing the death of InfoPath. Well, they were right for the most part as Microsoft announced that InfoPath 2013 will be the last desktop version of the software but the product will still be supported until year 2023.  Without a full replacement for InfoPath, Microsoft is now asking the community for feedback in the direction they should go in.

deathofinfopath2

The demo continued showing some possible replacements for InfoPath.  The first live demo was using SharePoint Excel Online Survey to populate SharePoint 2013 lists which everyone in attendance bombarded on how fast African or European Swallow can travel.

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The second possible replacement was SharePoint Forms that populate SharePoint Lists.  The presenter was able to dynamically create the SharePoint Form inside the browser without having to use a SharePoint Designer or Visual Studio.

 

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The third demo was using Word with an XML Schema attached to capture user inputs.  The Microsoft Word Development team said that they were committed in supporting the SharePoint Community but Microsoft was not sure that this is the direction should go in.

Lastly, SharePoint 2013 is now incorporating MS Access into the design mix.  The demo was short for this because the product is still in development.  Finally, they showed a technical roadmap for the Information Worker to work without the need for developers.  In my opinion, users want things already built for them and not to be put in the position of developer so good luck with that!

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The Good Prizm – HTML5 Document Viewer

Posted on: March 4th, 2014

 Accusoft Logo

I am taking a break from my current web series, “Can You SEO Yourself,” because I’m attending the Microsoft SharePoint 2014 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. I’m here to discover new IT solutions for businesses. One of the requests for me was to discover a solution that would display office documents regardless of the format through a web browser.  I come across a local company based in Tampa, Florida that provides this capability not only to small businesses but also large enterprise solutions like Yahoo!’s mail.  Accusoft, corp. provides an HTML5 document viewer that renders documents regardless of format (.pdf, .cad, .doc, .mpp, and etc) without the need for a third party viewer.

HTML5 Document Viewer

Why it is beneficial for me?  If you are an engineer out in the field and you need to review the CAD drawing but the engineering software is not loaded on your laptop, you can still view the document from your web browser.  More importantly, you can view the document from your tablet and/or smart phone.  If you are reviewing a PDF document, you can highlight and make annotations while preserving the original document.  The application of this product is endless.

Accusoft offers two solutions.  One is a cloud-based solution that caters SMB with 25 users or less called Prizm Cloud Connect and an enterprise solution called Prizm Content Connect. The additional benefit with Prizm Content Connect is that it works regardless of the platform.  For instance, if your enterprise’s backend is Linux or Microsoft, it works. To sign up for a free 30-day trail, go to http://www.accusoft.com/prizmcontentconnect.htm.