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What is Cloud Computing?

The Real Cloud.

What is Cloud Computing?

Well, as our friends over in Amazon.com describe it, “Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of computing power, database storage, applications, and other IT resources through a cloud service platform via the internet with a pay-as-you-go pricing” which basically means a collection of computing services such as applications, databases, and more delivered via the glorious internet. The best way to explain it is by giving few examples.

Dropbox is an actual application that is installed on a “server”, which is just a really powerful computer in a remote location, delivered via the internet either to your phone or computer. That is cloud computing. Same goes for Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Facebook, Office 365, and Google docs. Hopefully, you recognize or have used one of this cloud computing services before.  There are many variants of cloud computing, such as the ones mentioned above categorized as Software as a Service (SaaS). Other variants include Platform as a Service (PaaS),  Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), as well as, the ones shown below.

cloud-computing1
Types of Cloud Computing. Image By Amazon.

How does cloud computing work?

Imagine that you install an application such as Microsoft Word or create a backup file on your PC. Done? Ok, so now imagine that someone takes your computer to the North Pole, makes multiple copies of it (just in case one breaks) and allows you to access everything on your computer via the internet… Got it? Well, that is cloud computing in a nutshell and this same analogy applies to enterprise level computing.

Remot PC Access.
Remote access to your PC

Delivery Methods for Cloud Computing

But Ricardo, you just said that it was delivered via the internet, what do you mean by “delivery methods”? Well, that is a great question! Let me explain.

The internet is a connection of many computers linked together to share resources. But who owns the internet? Well, it depends.

If it is owned by a person or business it is a Private Cloud.

Private Cloud. Image By IBM.
Private Cloud. Image By IBM.

If it does not have an owner then is a Public Cloud.

Public Cloud. Image By IBM.
Public Cloud. Image By IBM.

If it is a combination of both (parts of it are private and parts of it are public ) then it is a Hybrid Cloud.

Hybrid Cloud. Image By IBM.
Hybrid Cloud.
Image By IBM.

For more information about how cloud computing works, click HERE for a detail explanation provided by our friends at IBM.

Finally here is a great video to help you put all this knowledge together.

Cheers.

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Passwords, Passwords, Passwords!

Digital Lock

Ahh… The world of passwords, the one and only place where we can feel secure one second and lost the next.  Passwords run our online world from social media and email to banking and other services. The problem is that in many situations that digital world can affect our real world. Imagine finding out that your bank account has been wiped out by a cyber criminal who was able to obtain your username and password, while you are at a remote location on vacation. Well, that digital world is now very real and probably even painful. So, what can we do to mitigate or at least minimize the possible damages? Well, we proactively become our own online security experts, and the first step is to become password ninjas! Here are few, not so secret, secrets to you get started.

Ninja Secret 1

Let thy password be strong. For this, use some of the tips found in the Department of Homeland Security about protecting your personal information with secure passwords:

  • Stay away from dictionary words in any language
  • Use a combination of lowercase, uppercase, number, and special characters
  • Make passwords long, at leat eight characters
  • Don’t use personal information on passwords
  • Change passwords often
  • Don’t re-use passwords on any site
  • Make sure login pages are secure by using pages that have “https:” instead of “http:” and look for the padlock icon in the browser bar

Ninja Secret 2

Let thy password be safe. According to the Department of Homeland Security, you should write down your passwords and store them in a secure, undisclosed location far from any computer or mobile device.

Ninja Secret 3

Let thy password be smart. Use a SECURE password manager (PM) service. Why? Well according to Rochester Institute of Technology passwords managers can:

  • Generate really strong passwords for you
  • Store ALL your passwords for online and offline places such as USB drives etc.
  • Encrypt all your passwords
  • Fill out passwords for you
  • Change passwords for you

 

ninja-smiley

Master Ninja Tips

These are the tips I live by!

  • Make sure that your PM’s password is extra secure and easy to remember without writing it down
  • Change your PM’s password at least quarterly
  • ALWAYS use dual factor authentication (2FA) as an extra security layer

By adhering to these ninja tips you will become a strong, invisible and smart password ninja in no time! Let the training begin.

Cheers.

 

Content Optimization

Content Optimization

 

When it comes to marketing your website, content is King! That is, of course assuming that your content has been optimized for the web and search engines. Why?… Well, let’s find out.

The Content Marketing Institute asks a very powerful question: “what good is compelling content if it can’t be found?“. What this means is that with millions of websites attempting to get users attention your content is a drop of water in the sea. But don’t let that discourage you because with content optimization your drop of water can shine.

So what is content optimization?

The same institute mentioned previously puts it this way “Through content optimization, you are providing essential data that search engines will use to determine what your content and by extension your business is all about.” Search engines will later use this information to display results to users based on keywords used during the search, and that is your opportunity to get your drop of water to shine.

OK so what can I optimize?

The short answer is almost anything! In this article, we will briefly cover text, images, and videos.

Text

When it come to optimizing text, take advantage of HTML to edit title tags which will be picked up by search engines and displayed in the search results. Here is what title tag looks like.

content-optimization-title-tag
HTML Title Tag

Images

For images, make sure to take the time to optimize the Alt tag as well as Title tags. As with the text optimizations, these tags get picked up by search engines to help display image results, and this could lead to additional traffic to your site. Here is an example of how these HTML tags look like.

Image tags
Image Tags

Videos

Lastly, for videos the critical areas to concentrate on are the title and description of the video, as these are key sections that search engines use to display video results.

Is this all there is?

Well, of course not my friend, this is just the very tip of the iceberg, but if you want to see what is inside the iceberg you can dig deeper by reading more about all content optimization options here. But for now, this should give you a better understanding of this fascinating topic.

Cheers.

 

Eye-Ball Tracking on Websites!

 

Are you a business owner, entrepreneur, or web developer looking to take your website to new heights? If so, keep your eyeballs glued to this post as I explain the basics of eyeball tracking on websites.

Eye Tracking and Its Purpose

According to usailbility.gov, which is the leading resource for user experience (UX) best practices, “eye tracking involves measuring either where the eye is focused or the motion of the eye as an individual views a web page.” The article continues to explain that the purpose of eye tracking is to allow website developers and owners to understand how their customers behave when visiting their websites. The tool provides information about site visitors, specifically:

  • Where they are looking
  • How long are they looking
  • How their focus moves from item to item on the web page
  • What parts of the interface they miss
  • How they are navigating the length of the page
  • How size and placement of the items on your site

Cool! But… How Does it Work?

In a nutshell, participants will look at a website while special eye tracking device focuses on their eye pupil and measures where and how they look at the website. The result will show two items which are heat maps and saccade pathways.

Heat What? Heat maps! These are a graphical representation, which uses a color scale to show how long participants stare at parts of a website. Here is how they look:

Heat Map
Heat Map

Saccade Who? Saccade pathways! These are treasure maps that represent the path or direction that the participants’ eyes follow while visiting the site. They look something like this:

Saccade Pathway
Saccade Pathway

OK Ricardo, that sounds great but why is this important to me?  Well, I thought you’ll never ask… These days, Search Engine Optimization and content is nothing if your users don’t have a great experience once they reach your landing page, which can make a difference between a visitor staying on your site or leaving immediately. This tool allows to use your website’s real estate space strategically in order to keep your visitors engaged and generate the most value out of your online business presence.

Want to learn more?

For more detail information about the capabilities and limitations as well as other details, feel free to check out the full Eye Tracking article from usability.gov here.

Cheers.

Facebook Privacy 101

Social Media Privacy

When it comes to social media, we all see it as this amazing platform that allows us to connect to our friends, family members, and followers easily and freely.  It is such a powerful platform that it even allows us to express our minds and let the world hear what we have to say. However, while all this is true, there is something important we often overlook when using social media, and that is our privacy.

Because this is such an important topic, I will take this time to talk to you about basic, yet powerful privacy settings that you should set up ASAP in your Facebook account.

I have chosen to dedicate this post to Facebook because it is the social media platform with the greatest amount of users and as we all know “EVERYONE” checks its privacy settings as soon as we create our accounts, right? 😉

But even if we did check all of those settings, almost every time Facebook “upgrades” their platform, they also reset privacy and other settings.  In the article Facebook Privacy Settings Not So Private, Brandy Combs show us a perfect example of one of those incidents when she mentions that “Privacy settings have been known to randomly change without the user’s knowledge, therefore, making the privacy settings not so private.” While this article was related to the Facebook messenger application, it is not the first time that we hear of Facebook messing up with user privacy settings.

So lets cut though the chase and look at 3 privacy settings to check within your Facebook account immediately.

1. Who can see my stuff?

In my opinion, this is the most important setting since it will make the difference between showing your post to your friends or to the entire world. So make sure you change that setting in accordance to the audience that you want to reach.

2. Who can contact me?

This is important because it is the setting that will allow or block certain people from contacting you. Again, go over this setting and decide who should be allowed to contact you.

3. Who can look me up?

This setting is important because it is the one that will allow external people to find you on Facebook through your email, phone number, or just by googling you.  So again, just like the previous settings, it all depends on your personal preferences and your target audience.

Now that you know more about these settings, go ahead an click the (lock) icon at the top of your Facebook page to navigate to the section that will allow you to change these settings.

There, you should see a page that looks like the one below.

Privacy Settings and Tools
Privacy Settings and Tools

 

Once you are done with these changes, I would like to encourage you to learn more about privacy settings in all your social media accounts to ensure you are protected at all times. To help you get started, here is the Basic Privacy Settings & Tools information section provided by Facebook directly.

So, get to work and enjoy your private social life! 🙂

Cheers.