Archive for January 2012

More problems with “the cloud”

January 25th, 2012 — 1:21pm

The other day the FBI took down for copyright violations, etc. (meaning piracy).  Here’s a link to the story if you missed it:,2817,2399105,00.asp

But here’s another part of the story – millions of “legitimate” users lost access to any files they had stored there.  This type of “file storage” site is part of “the cloud” we’ve been hearing so much about.  It’s about moving your files and applications to network based storage, so you can retrieve them from anywhere.  When megaupload was closed, all access to the site was immediately terminated.  So if you had any files there, too bad.

This highlights one of the dangers of storing files and/or applications in “the cloud” – namely that your files are held by some company, somewhere.  They are subject to legal action, hackers, financial troubles, and internal negligence.  In short, you just can’t be sure who’s holding and protecting your files.

Also, keep in mind what the “Terms of Service” of the service say.  Do they own the files you upload?  What can they do with them?  It used to be that “content was king” – but these days “data is king” – websites like google are all too eager to give you free services, free email, etc.  What they get in return is your data – which they can scan, data-mine, etc. for value.

Anyway, be wary of the cloud!

Comment » | buzzwords, mobile

I got an Amazon Fire!

January 13th, 2012 — 4:01pm

Yep, I finally broke down and bought the relatively new Amazon Fire tablet.  People are increasingly browsing the web using mobile devices, so it was time to get one myself.

A few observations – despite what some people claim, typing is rather slow.  I find the keys a little small for my fingers, so I have to be careful.  If you are a touch typer, you’ll be slow.

It’s hard to click links or form elements on a website – I know you can zoom in, but in a normal view it can be extremely challenging to press in the right spot for the link.  I find myself longing for a stylus for better precision.

Otherwise, I like it.  Amazon has it synchronizing pretty well with their site, so you can get your content easily to the tablet.  I’m not into the apps yet, but for reading and light browsing, it’s a nice piece of hardware.

Comment » | mobile

Payment Gateway cost calculator

January 5th, 2012 — 3:43pm

I’ve added a new page on the site:

which attempts to make it easier to figure out which payment provider to sign up with.  You need a provider to accept credit cards, and a gateway for online payments.  (Most offer both merchant and gateway accounts if you need them).

The fees charged vary, so I’m attempting to provide you a clear idea what you’ll be losing…err, paying each month from your sales.  It’s not 100% accurate, but should point you in the right direction.

I intend to add more providers to this list and update it as time allows – there  are a lot to choose from, but I will stick to the bigger ones that I trust.  I work with a lot of e-commerce sites, using various payment gateways, so I’ve heard the good, bad, and ugly about the process.

Hope this helps you in getting your e-commerce costs down!

Comment » | E-commerce, Web Tools

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