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From Records to Engagement: How Cloud Computing Benefits Your Business

Cloud ComputingAfrica is currently undergoing a technological renaissance. It is now home to millions of users who are embracing mobile technology, a trend that could change the landscape in the business sector. A recent research reveals a massive surge of tech hubs in Africa, with South Africa topping the list of countries with the most number of hubs. Businesses now have better access to technologies like cloud computing, which would help them improve their process model.

Changing the landscape

Cloud computing is one of the greatest game changers in recent decades. Many Internet service providers explain that business enterprises initially switched to the cloud model to reduce operational costs; but as the cloud proved to be a very effective platform, businesses realised the other potential applications of the technology. For example, cloud computing makes it easier to harvest and organise relevant data from social networks and mobile apps.

Making the switch

Other than the financial flexibility offered by the cloud, businesses also realised that a cloud-based network allows them to switch from systems-of-record (supply chain data, human resources, finance) with systems-of-engagement.

How exactly does this switch benefit organisations? Let’s take for example companies that manufacture smart televisions. Switching to a personalised cloud-based solution, which factors consumer engagement, they are able to interact directly with consumers. They analyse the data from these interactions and use them to deliver enhanced customer experience.

Cloud computing’s pay-per-go model is slowly making the one-size-fits-all model irrelevant. Enterprises want a custom solution that simply fits their need – nothing more and nothing less. After all, there’s no point in purchase features you don’t need. This is extremely helpful, especially to local start-ups in Africa who have so much promise, but have little capital to spend.

Cloud computing is reshaping the way companies interact with consumers. Businesses can now make process adjustments on-the-fly, enhance customer experience more quickly, and save on costs. With cloud computing, businesses have nowhere else to go but up.

November 18, 2014 at 1:00 amInfo Tech

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay: Should You Be Worried?

Early childhood caries, also known as baby bottle tooth decay, happen when a child’s teeth are exposed for a long time to liquids that contain sugar. These include milk, fruit juice, and other sweetened drinks. The sugary substances of these liquids stay on the teeth and gums, allowing bacteria to cause plaque. Parents should prevent this from taking place, as it could affect the growth of their child’s teeth.

How can You Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Don’t let your child fall asleep with a bottle containing sugary liquids in their mouth. Feed them under supervision, so you can remove the bottle when they’re finished. Clean their gums at least once a day to help support the growth of healthy teeth. Use a washcloth and wrap it around your finger, then massage their gums’ gingival tissues gently. It’s advisable to do this when they’re asleep or in a calm, resting state.

avoid baby bottle tooth decayBook an appointment and visit the dentist once your child’s first tooth erupts. They can check if you missed a spot and recommend ideal ways to keep bacteria away. They can also give you advice on what kind of toothbrush and amount of toothpaste to use.

Should You be Worried About Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Baby bottle tooth decay is harmful to children, especially during sleep. Their saliva flow decreases, so the sugary liquids stay on their teeth for long hours. Imagine how long bacteria will linger in your child’s mouth if you forgot to clean their teeth.

In the worst cases, severely decaying teeth cause pain and infection that can lead to extraction. If your child loses their teeth at a young age, they might develop speech problems, poor eating habits, and unsightly teeth when they grow older.

Don’t let anything harm your child. Promote good oral health, so they’ll grow with a strong and healthy set of teeth. Consult a pediatric dentist and read information online for further help.

November 14, 2014 at 3:34 amHealth & Lifestyle

Let’s Drink to That: The Benefits of Drinking Water

drinking waterDrinking plenty of clean water provides a number of benefits. If you ever had the experience of not getting enough water, you realise how important it is to be hydrated at all times. Without enough water, you’ll feel sluggish and dizzy. But when properly hydrated, we increase our energy levels and get rid of any discomfort such as headaches and weakness.

If we would just drink more water regularly, we can avoid many common health problems. Clean and Clear Water recommends getting properly hydrated to take advantage of water’s health benefits. These benefits include the following.

Flushes toxins out of the body

Water helps get rid of toxins and waste from our bodies, which happens whenever we urinate and perspire. So by staying hydrated, you are successfully flushing out harmful elements from your body.

Transports nutrients

Water is essential in facilitating healthy circulation. It acts as a means of transport for the nutrients that our bodies need to function properly.

Regulates body temperature and pH balance

The amount of water in our body regulates our temperature. It absorbs heat generated by our metabolism and eliminates excess heat through perspiration. Water also helps regulate the pH balance and contributes to many physiological processes.

Keeps the skin healthy

Drinking water allows the skin to remain properly hydrated. As you hydrate your skin, it increases its elasticity. This leads to a younger-looking and more radiant skin. Hydrating the skin also keeps it from retaining fluid and looking puffy.

There are many more reasons why you should drink water regularly. Severe dehydration, for one,can lead to many health problems. These include loss of energy, fatigue, depression, and high blood pressure.

Your health benefits from drinking the right amount of water. As they say, the human body can live on without food for up to a month, but only one week without water. That is how important water is for survival.

November 11, 2014 at 8:45 amHealth & Lifestyle

5 Ways Your Business Bleeds Money And How To Stop Them

waste moneyThere are more than 200,000 small businesses in Western Australia. While each of them might have different success stories, they all share a common trait – they want to profit big.

It is important for companies to efficiently manage their finances. A good way to do that is to identify a good investment from a bad one: is office renovation a sound move? Is it necessary to upgrade existing office equipment? These are just some of the financial considerations that every business owner has to make.

You may not know it, but your business could be spending money where it’s not supposed to. A regular audit of your finances will help you identify possible corners to cut. For starters, here are some areas that require your attention.

Inefficient Financial Tracking. It is easy to lose track of your finances. Regular audits are necessary if you want to stay in business for the foreseeable future. It might be a good idea to hire Perth Accountants to oversee your company’s cash flow.

Wasteful Spending. Buying in bulk does not always mean savings. Office supplies, like papers and markers may be considered as slow-moving items. Buying them in bulk because they are cheap does not necessarily mean you were able to save; sometimes they just tie up your financial capital.

Insurance Coverage. Businesses, just like individuals, also benefit from insurance comparisons. When it comes to insurance, there’s always a cheaper but better alternative as long as you know where to look. A broker might prove useful when looking for cost-effective insurance.

Unproductive Staff. Companies hire people because they have something to contribute to the company’s progress. Unproductive employees cost the company money without giving anything in return. If tough conversations can’t sway these employees to be productive, it is time to let them go.

Wasteful Printing. Hard copies of documents are slowly becoming obsolete, as businesses continue their migration to the cloud. If your business continues to print pay slips and invoices, you can make significant savings by going digital.

Good financial housekeeping is one of the pillars of a successful business. Good investments will help you achieve your business goals, while bad investments can run you out of business. Identifying leaks early on will prevent your boat from sinking.

November 9, 2014 at 12:00 amFinance

5 Web Design Mistakes You Need To Ditch Before 2015

web designCompanies all over the world need to update their sites regularly to reflect the latest trends in web design. It is a habit borne out of necessity as businesses need great web designs to be compelling enough to drive conversion rates upwards. As 2014 comes nears its close, it is again time to look at prevailing trends in web design and to forecast what will work in the coming year.

Birmingham web designers digitalcherry.co.uk warns industry professionals to scrap these 5 web design mistakes:

1. Bad Accessibility – Always keep in mind that great browsing experience makes web visitors more likely to land you conversions. In order to avoid turning pages into a cluttered mess, you can make use of sliders. It is a great way to showcase content, photos, and videos.

2. Boring Fonts – Don’t bore your viewers with commonplace fonts. Use of unique, creative fonts instead. This is an intangible that great designers need to make use of. Your website should reflect your company’s personality to have a distinctive edge.

3. Meaningless Graphics – It again boils down to visual pollution. Simplicity works. They make web browsing much more pleasant an experience. In order to avoid being stale, you can make use of other tricks, such as parallax scrolling, to add pizzazz to your site. It adds great personality to pages, so long as you do not overdo it.

4. Gradients and shadows – Flat designs are the new trend that is dominating websites. This trend should continue well into 2015. For this reason, do away with gradients, reflections, drop shadows, and bevelled edges.

5. Navigation bars – Most users find navigation bars cluttering to web pages. They simply take up too much space. When you need them, make use of slide-out menus instead. Simplicity is more attractive to users; slide-out menus make it possible to have better all-around site navigation.

Web design is all about embracing change and letting them take your site to a whole new level. Keep this in mind and do yourself a favour; do away with these web outdated web designs before the year ends.

October 24, 2014 at 2:50 amInfo Tech

Is Your Child Snoring? Knowing the Hidden Dangers and What To Do About It

“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.” ― Anthony Burgess

Some parents find it a delight to watch their children eat ice cream, play with fluffy toys or draw shapes on a paper. That is not the case, however, when it comes to snoring. It’s no secret that some kids snore on occasion. Most parents find that cute or funny, but habitual snoring may lead to diseases and dental problems.

Research shows that 8 to 12 per cent of children snore in Australia. Some parents are not aware that snoring can happen to anyone – old or young. This serious condition can significantly affect your child’s cardiovascular health, cognitive development and growth.

sleepingRead on to know the effects of snoring in kids and what you can do about it.

Open Bite

Your kids will snore, of course, when they have a cold or blocked nose. Snoring, however, can be a serious problem when they are constantly having jaw pain or headaches due to teeth grinding. It can be due to a small jaw or a small airway. It’s best to seek help immediately to determine if your child needs dental assistance. Full braces attached to teeth, for instance, is a treatment to give a normal bite for children. Dental expert Sparkle Dental Joondalup explains that braces do not just correct an existing problem, but also help prevent a more serious one in the future.

Poor School Performance

Loud and nightly snoring can affect a child’s behaviour and learning. Your child may find it difficult to focus in the classroom or finish homework at home. Kids who constantly snore struggle to breathe at night and have restless sleep, which is why they feel tired and exhausted when they wake up in the morning. One of the best ways to stop snoring is lifestyle change. A dentist or doctor may recommend changing sleeping position or losing weight.

Frequent Bedwetting

Sleep apnoea in kids causes an increase in nighttime urine production, which may result in chronic bedwetting. A study explains that a child’s kidney keeps making urine during sleep due to the so-called antidiuretic hormone. It’s better to inform your child’s doctor immediately if you are worried about bedwetting and its effects.

For many parents, snoring can be a part of daily life. This is the reason it’s easy to overlook a loved one’s habit, even if it’s already a problem. Keep in mind that if left untreated, snoring can lead to more serious health problems. Let your child see a dentist or a paediatrician to seek treatment.

October 22, 2014 at 1:33 amHealth & Lifestyle

Pixie is Sexy: What to Keep in Mind Before Cutting Your Tresse Really Short

cutting hairA woman who wants to have her hair cut is about to change her life, they say. But, what if she’s going to cut it really short?

Many girls have long shunned the idea of sporting pixie hairstyles until the likes of Anne Hathaway, Emma Watson and Jennifer Lawrence start to pull off this look. Getting that kind of hair style offers many benefits, though. Foremost, it takes much weight off of your shoulder (literally speaking), and it will make hair care easier; you won’t have to worry about taming your tresses during the hot summers. There are some things, however, that you need to consider before telling your hairstylist to go in an Edward Scissorhands mode.

Your Face’s Shape

Trusted salons, such as CirclesofSubiaco.com.au, explain that hairstyles can enhance certain facial features. Realising this, it will pay off to know which facial shapes pixie cuts work the best. Stylists say that faces with sharp edges, such as those that take the shape of a diamond or a square, can benefit from a short bob. It will also allow you to cover the sharp edges with the help of proper styling and texturing. Those with oval faces can highlight their cheekbones through this cut.

Styling It

Pixie cuts may be easy to maintain, but styling them can be a test. This haircut requires more time when it comes to sculpting and styling. Otherwise, your hair will fall flat and appear uninteresting. It has to appear textured and quite thick to give it some volume. It may make you use styling products you’ve never used before, such as wax or gel.

The Art of Make-Up

As mentioned, haircuts can emphasise certain facial features. This fact is more apparent with a pixie haircut. Knowing that your face will constantly become the centre of attraction, you should’ve already invested in skills that will allow you to conceal acne or make the most appealing parts of your face more prominent.

Sporting a pixie cut is one good way to rehab locks that have been damaged because of ironing and wrong hair products. But, you need to contemplate over your decision to have your hair cut this way—remember, you’re about to change your life.

October 21, 2014 at 8:12 amHealth & Lifestyle

Expat in the East: Adapting to the Hong Kong Culture

Despite Hong Kong’s cosmopolitan environment, expats may still have a hard time making the transition. While some aspects of communication are easy since the majority of the populace speaks English, the culture still acts as a barrier for the expats.

Every day, expats encounter things that are new to them, some of which may even astound them. But, if you set your mind right and broaden your understanding, you will soon find yourself falling in love with the country. Below are some things you should keep in mind to make your transition a lot more fun and easier.

Hong KongLearning More About the Language

Just because many can speak English doesn’t mean that it’s okay not to learn the local language. You’re in their territory, and it’s basically your job to adjust, not theirs. Learning the local language is particularly useful if you’re visiting the night market or places frequented by typical Hong Kongers. Find a school where you can learn basic Mandarin or Cantonese.

Finding Your Home

Real estate services providers, such as Spacious.Hk, say that finding the perfect home won’t be difficult, as there are a number of apartment and condominium complexes, especially in the business district. What expats should prepare for are the size and price of the living space. The sizes are usually small due to population density, while prices can be high due to the scarcity of residential lands.

Savouring the Food

If you want to know more about the country’s rich history and culture, go on a gastronomic adventure. Testing the waters means eating out at quick service restaurants or frequenting the diners within your apartment complex. But, if you want to take your adventure to another level, visit night markets or some hole-in-the wall restaurants, as these places serve authentic HK cuisine. Among the food you should indulge in are rickshaw noodles, egg waffles and snake soup.

Adapting to Hong Kong’s culture is not an easy feat. There are still other barriers you need to overcome to appreciate the unique beauty of the country. If you’re in shock, don’t force it. Give it time, and you will eventually find solace.

October 13, 2014 at 4:53 amStraight Market

Online Shopping: Developing an Effective E-commerce Site

e-commerce siteE-commerce is one of the fastest growing ventures in the retail industry. Thanks to the Internet, more people are shopping even without being physically there. Entrepreneurs see this as a good opportunity, so they make their products available online for people around the world.

Developing an e-commerce site is different from running a typical business site, though. It needs to be straightforward for consumers to find what they’re looking for immediately. If you have no idea where to start, reading this guide might help:

Make It Direct

E-commerce sites need to be straight to the point. Potential customers should find what they’re looking for immediately upon visiting. Above the fold of your home and landing pages, there should be a display of the most appropriate products without making the area overcrowded. Online marketing experts like skyrushmarketing.com and web designers recommend observing how successful brands like Amazon and eBay designed their site, for instance.

Make It User-Friendly

Not everybody has access to high-speed Internet connection. Make sure that everything you put into your site loads in less than three seconds. About 40% of users reported that they would leave any site that takes too long to load. The site should have the right design to keep it running smoothly whether on desktop or mobile.

Make It Responsive

According to an infographic shared by Media Bistro, an increasing number of US Internet users are buying products through mobile devices. These include those who use their smartphones (52.3 million) and tablets (71.1 million). AmeriCommerce says mobile use might account for at least 26% of the total e-commerce retail sales in the US by 2017.

By using responsive design, your e-commerce site becomes accessible to anybody regardless of the device. People can buy products at their fingertips, making it easier for consumers on the go.

Take your business to the next level. If you’re selling a wide selection of products online, why go for a standard site if you can develop something specifically for e-commerce.

October 10, 2014 at 7:10 amStraight Market

5 Dangerous Misconceptions about Backlinking

seo backlinkingAmong the many things that you need to rank in search engines, few are as important and prominent as backlinks. And just as you would expect, there are countless wrong ways to do it. Webmasters that engage in poor or unethical link building practices eventually find their websites suddenly plummeting in search rankings.

The ramifications of bad backlinking are now so immense that there is now an entire industry devoted to fixing it. Bad backlink removal companies like linkcleaners.com make their living by purging spammy, irrelevant links from the client’s link profile, helping them avoid or recover from penalties.

How can you prevent penalties in the first place, or at the very least, avoid them in the future? Even if you don’t do the SEO for your website, you should still educate yourself on the basics. Start with these common backlink misconceptions.

1. Quantity is everything – Is the number of backlinks important? Yes, but it’s far from the only factor. As mentioned before, any backlinks from low quality or irrelevant sources do more harm than good. Even worse, some have even started exploiting this in the form of creating negative SEO for their competitors. If you suddenly receive many unnatural backlinks, beware.

2. Link profile ratios don’t matter – Even if each individual backlink looks solid and perfectly natural, looking at them as a whole might tell an entirely different story. If too many of them are coming from a single source, such as forum profiles, this is a major red flag.

3. PageRank is everything – As far as metrics go, PageRank comes up very often in link building discussions. While it helps in determining the quality of a website, too many people treat it as the sole defining factor.

4. You can buy them – If anyone ever attempts to sell you backlinks, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction (or just delete the email, as the case may be). These are almost always of terrible quality, even those that claim to provide high PageRank backlinks. At best, you will simply waste money, but it is far more likely that your rankings will take a huge hit.

5. Anchor text is irrelevant – While Google claims to be reducing its reliance on anchor text in determining rank, it is still something worth considering. Some experiments show that relevant, but varying anchor text performs better than the opposite. If nothing else, good anchor text also looks more natural, enticing more clicks from people who see it.

The summary? Use backlinks in the spirit of their original purpose, and it is hard to go wrong. Staywithin the guidelines and your website will receive the benefits it deserves.

September 22, 2014 at 11:51 pmStraight Market