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Jan
25

Wireless Payments are Coming!

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Pay with Your iPhoneA flurry of recent reports and articles seem to be confirming the obvious: that in the very near future an enormous amount of payment processing will occur wirelessly at the point of purchase using your mobile phone or other network connected device (for example an iPad). The breakthrough technology that is enabling this transition is near field communications (NFC). Below are the facts pointing to this wireless payment revolution and what you can expect to see.

Near Field Communication (NFC) is being built into new device designs. So exactly what is NFC and what will it mean for the average person? As defined by Wikipedia, ”Near field communication or NFC, is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology which enables the exchange of data between devices over about a 10 centimeters (3.9 in) distance.” So NFC let’s devices communicate wirelessly when they are within a very short distance. For example, imagine the distance from you to a card reader at the super market or other retailer when you are checking out with your purchases. In order for consumers to use a wireless payment technology – it first needs to
be built into their devices they are carrying around. According to The Washington Post, the next generation iPhone – dubbed the iPhone 5 – may have an NFC antenna built into the touch screen. Thus permitting wireless payments. Additionally, the same source is citing the addition of NFC into the next generation of iPads. Now wrap your mind around these numbers. According to Information Week, both the iPhone and Google’s Android platforms which may include the NFC payment capabilities are hugely popular. In the U.S. alone, Apple has sold 16.24 million iPhones in its most recent fiscal quarter, and Google reports that it is activating 300,000 new Android handsets per day. If these devices and platforms support the NFC standard for payments, the infrastructure will develop very quickly.

Adoption of the NFC technology by retailers will follow consumer demand. Having the capability to pay for goods and services wirelessly is only half of the equation. Of course the vendors who are selling you the products need to have the capability to charge you wirelessly as well. The installed base of legacy credit card processing terminals in use is enormous. Additionally, various reports suggest that new terminals are being created at the rate of 1.5 million per year. In order for retailers to adopt a different technology and to purchase the equipment necessary to process NFC payments there needs to be sufficient consumer demand. Therefore, the wireless payment revolution is currently falling victim to a ”chicken and egg” issue. Again according to Information Week, ”Apple has also created a prototype retail NFC scanner, which could be used by small business (think Main Street) to accept mobile payments. Apple may even subsidize the mobile payment device in order to help boost adoption by retailers.” Therefore, the key to adoption may be that the NFC proponents simply pay for the equipment to process payments and provide it to retailers at little or no cost. This will certainly act to ”prime the pump”. According to technology adoption expert Stuart Melling with website hosting company 34SP.com, the tipping point may arrive more quickly than first imagined: ”Often times the first few adopters of a new technology are seen as novelties. However, despite the novelty if a new technology is superior and the early adopters provide a demonstration of that fact – the other secondary adopters fall like dominoes.”

For further information you can read the full Information Week article here.

Categories : In the News
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The Dallas Cowboys are having a hard season. Not only has the team begun with a dismal record of 1 win versus 7 losses, they have had to dismiss their head coach Wade Phillips which will no doubt disrupt any sense of continuity the team had.

To add insult to injury, the team organization apparently ‘forgot’ to renew the Cowboys domain name for the team’s official site: www.dallascowboys.com. According to the publicly available whois records, the domain name was originally registered on November 3, 1995 to the registrant, ‘Dallas Cowboys Football Club, Ltd’. According to the Dallas Morning News, the specific email address administrative contact was for Jerry Jones Jr., son of owner Jerry Jones and executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer for the team.

You can see the holding page that was up until Tuesday November 9, 2010 below:

Cowboys Expired Domain Screenshot

After the calamity, the domain was showing as being registered through November 2, 2020. Maybe they should set up a reminder on the team calendar or something…

Here is some advice from companies that understand renewing domains.
UK domain name registrar and dedicated server provider 34SP.com has tens of thousands of domains under management after a decade of domain registrations. The technical staff with the firm offered up an important piece of advice for securing your domain: make sure your email contacts for the accounts are up to date. Domains are tied to email addresses of the registrants, and notifications of expiration and renewal are sent through these email addesses as well. If your email connected with the domain registration isn’t reachable – then you will have problems renewing.

Lou Honick is CEO at HostMerchantServices and has helped thousands of domain registrants. Mr. Honick states, ”Your domain name is the most important piece of online property you own. Business owners should not take chances and not rely on remembering to renew yearly. Even if your registrar offers auto-renewal, there are many things that can go wrong, like credit card expiration, or a new credit card number from a lost or stolen card. You can and should renew your domain for the maximum time possible. It is a small investment for peace of mind and the prevention of embarrassing mishaps.”

Categories : In the News
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Apr
28

Website Hosting and Volcanoes

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere you probably heard about that volcano in
Iceland that has wreaked havoc with air travel across Europe since mid-April when it erupted. It happens to be called the Eyjafjallajokull volcano (please don’t ask me to pronounce that though). If you haven’t seen photos of the eruption, you should definitely check out these photos of the volcano. It seems that the ash can enter the intakes of jet engines and cause them to fail. In checking up with a few hosting companies across the pond I heard from them that the volcano actually had a significant effect on website hosting in Europe as well. Here are the reasons why.

Reason Number 1: People aren’t buying web hosting when they are stuck in an airport in another country or city for a week.

Although you might not think that the number of travelers impacted by the complete shutdown of airline travel across the whole of northern Europe would be include a large subset of hosting buyers, the numbers argue otherwise. According to published reports, a total of more than 100,000 flights were canceled outright and the affected airlines are on track to lose more than $2 billion. So that’s 100,00 flights with a few hundred passengers each – you do the math. Therefore, none of those people were buying web hosting during that period, which generally lowered hosting sales for the time of the flight cancellations.

Reason Number 2: Businesses were scrambling to get their people back in their own city.

Compounding the problem of actual travelers
seeking transportation was the issue that businesses now had key people out of the office for overly-extended and unplanned periods. Those left in the office were also often involved in helping arrange accommodations or alternate travel for the stuck passengers. That means that they too weren’t conducting business as usual. This further reduced the web hosting buyers pool during the airline shutdown.

Reason Number 3: Web hosting companies buy servers, routers and switches that are flown in from other cities.

Web hosting companies were also impacted by the disruption in the supply chain for key equipment needed in fast growing hosting environments. For example, Dell has a large manufacturing facility in Ireland. Those servers are generally flown around the UK and into northern Europe as well. It wasn’t just commercial aircraft that were grounded – cargo planes were also halted. UK website hosting company 34SP.com purchases part of its inventory from the Dell factory. The company had recently stocked up on server inventory, but was monitoring the situation in case a need arose for alternative server supplies. While the flight disruptions didn’t last quite long enough to put the true hurt on hosting operations, or to cause prices to go up for available servers – a few more days or weeks of no inventory would have cost hosting firms real money. The Wall Street Journal wrote a piece about these supply chain disruptions for small businesses as well.

In the end, things returned to normal fairly quickly. This is great news for travelers and also the web hosting companies in Europe. Don’t get complacent though – the Eyjafjallajokull volcano could easily spring back to full eruption at any time. Plus, there are many other volcanoes out there that can produce world changing eruptions at any moment. Here’s a photo summary of a few of these actively erupting or recently erupting volcanoes on our planet. You may want to stock up on a few extra servers if you live near any of these volcanoes – just in case.

Categories : Commentary
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Nov
11

Free Web Hosting Perfected?

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Budget hosting or free? This is an age old question. I have seen successful movement upmarket in this dilemma (UK hosting firm 34SP.com discontinued free hosting products and even created a higher resource, higher priced product) and now I am seeing a return to the free hosting model from LimeLabs. Until now the idea of paid versus free hosting was a simple decision between a product that could deliver what most small to medium sized businesses needed (paid) or do without many features or resources (free). The announcement today of a new free hosting product from Lime Labs may change that perception for a number of webmasters.

In the past a free web hosting product meant one of the following scenarios:

You get free web hosting, BUT you have to display ads on your website to defray the costs.

You get free web hosting, BUT the resources allocated are so miniscule that you will invariably run out as soon as you start.

You get free web hosting, BUT you won’t get any technical support whatsoever.

You get free web hosting, BUT you can’t actually load or run the CMS you truly want (probably because its too resource intensive).

The switch on this model is that LimeLabs has launched a new service called LimeDomains. Mark Gorton, Founder of LimeLabs explained how this dovetails into free hosting, ”LimeDomains offers free hosting and free application installation, and we are finding that many people appreciate the great value we are offering.”

So what you might not be aware of just yet is that all LimeDomains accounts come with access to an extensive catalog of open source web applications ranging from popular blogs such as WordPress, to full-featured content management systems such as Drupal and Joomla.   Users can also upload their own files or transfer their existing websites – such as their Geocities pages – to LimeDomains via a built-in file manager, or any popular FTP client.   Most popular web design applications, such as Adobe Dreamweaver, are also supported.

Unlike other free hosting services, there are no strings attached to the free hosting offer on LimeDomains. Users do not have to sign-up for any third party services, or submit themselves to a barrage of solicitations (e-mail, or otherwise), or place mandatory ads on their website. Most importantly, the free accounts are not crippled in any way – and receive the same quality of service, performance and reliability that most other hosting services charge a premium for.

So basically, you get a free web hosting account that seems exactly like a paid account in terms of resources, support and privacy (no third party paid ads on the site).

Although I’ve not tried the service personally, it sounds like a true breakthrough in free web hosting. I suppose the marketplace will be the ultimate determinant of the validity of this (sort of) new hosting model.

To check out the new free hosting account and specifications from LimeDomains please visit:

http://www.limedomains.com/hosting.

Categories : In the News
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UK based Internet services company Netcraft has named its most reliable website hosting companies for the month of May. Netcraft uses a series of monitoring servers from separate points around the Internet to log performance measurements made at fifteen minute intervals for a broad list of web hosting providers. The averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period and then aggregated for the entire month. Detailed information on uptime and reliability for the web hosts are logged and displayed at the Netcraft site.

While the methodology has a number of limitations, the Netcraft results generally do yield factual data on outages and uptime.

For the month of May the following companies were determined to be the most reliable web hosts according to Netcraft.

New York Internet

pair Networks

INetU

Swishmail

Verio

Virtual Internet

Server Intellect

ReliableServers.com

Kattare Internet Services

www.westhost.com

The Netcraft uptime data is collected from specific data center locations: London/DXI Networks, New York/New York Internet, Pennsylvania/INetU-2, Virginia/Rackspace, San Jose/Datapipe, Phoenix/GoDaddy and Italy/Aruba. The companies that maintain a collection point have an advantage over the other companies, as each of them have a collector in their own datacenter. Also companies located in the U.S. have an advantage over companies in the rest of the world as more of the collectors are located there, and companies in the Far East are at a disadvantage as we do not currently have a performance collector in the region.

The most reliable UK hosting provider according to Netcraft is UK website hosting company 34SP.com. The company is also a new-comer to the list having only recently been added.

To view the complete information on the Netcraft data please visit, http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2009/06/02/most_reliable_hosting_company_sites_in_may_2009.html.

The uptime data that is being collected in real-time can be viewed here: http://uptime.netcraft.com/perf/reports/Hosters.

Categories : In the News
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