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Help Apple by Reporting the Problems with Maps

With the much publicised problems with Apple Maps still floating around the news it’s often fun to joke about it and even complain on social media when things go wrong. The thing that many don’t realise though is there are ways that people can actually help Apple with the problems by highlighting where the problems are, and where the application has gone wrong.

They may or may not take notice of these reports, the fact is they may be getting too many from annoyed customers, but some may just help them. This is why it’s useful to know just how to report to them where a problem is, or a location that has been missed (even your business that you want to be noticed on the map). The fact is the functionality is there to report errors or areas of note so why not use it?

Reporting the Problem with iOS 6 Maps

The chances are that if you found the problem in Maps that you want to report then you already have it open, but if not launch Maps from the Home screen. Tap the “Page curl” on the bottom right of the screen and then tap the text to “Report a Problem”. Fill in the details about what the problem is by choosing what type of problem you want to report, clicking next then selecting what is giving you the problem. Add any comments you think are needed then tap send. This will then be sent to Apple so that the problem can be fixed in the data base.

To add a location to the map itself launch the map again, and press the page curl. Report a problem as before and then select that a location is missing and tap location. Click next then drag the purple pin to the location that you want to identify then tap send. Add comments to describe the location if you are asked. Apple will then receive this suggestion and if it meets criteria they will add it to their mapping. Apple’s Map software connects to Yelp to get its business data so you may find that if you add your information there it may add that to the maps automatically, this is dependent on the Apple Map software working correctly of course.

If you question why it’s important to provide information about problems with the Maps software when Apple already knows there is a problem then you just have to think, if the maps are wrong how can Apple catch every error? The way it actually does this is through the help of its users. The only way any developer can provide bug fixes is through the help of the users themselves, and for Apple that is you (if you use Maps of course).

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Intel lowers the price of Solid-State Drive and introduces a new Intel X25-M 120GB model

SSD or Solid State Drives are very popular now-a-days and it’s sales has been gradually following the upward trend inspite of it being on the costlier side. SSD can make significant difference to your computing experience by making it faster than ever, with everything ranging from the booting time to opening files or running applications to become noticeably faster. With all these benefit that SSD has over any traditional hard disk drive, it is one of the must-have item for your PC or laptop. To add more convenience to all the esteemed consumers, Intel Corporation has announced a new model of its award winning Intel Solid-State Drive and has also lowered the price of all other range of SSDs that it offers as part of the holiday bonanza.

“Every Christmas, consumers are looking for the latest tech gadget; this year, with prices dropping, the solid-state drive is becoming more mainstream and can make the single greatest improvement to PC performance,” said Troy Winslow, director of product marketing for the Intel NAND Solutions Group. “With an SSD, tech shoppers can give the gift of a technology makeover that will help speed up, or breathe new life, into a current PC by just swapping out the hard drive for an SSD.”

The new model of the Intel SSD is that of a Intel® X25-M 120GB Solid-State Drive which is priced at $249. Some other variants of the Intel X25-M Mainstream SATA Solid-State Drive (SSD) are that of a 40GB, 80GB, and 160GB model which would cost nearly $99, $199 and $415 respectively.

The Solid State Drives are a revolutionary way for data storage and day-by-day many laptop and computer manufactures are adopting it in their new and upcoming models. With the drop in price that Intel Corporation has announced, all the enthusiastic buyers can make the best out of this holiday special and would also allow more people to adopt this technology for gaining a substantial performance boost in their laptops or desktop PC. The new model i.e. the Intel® X25-M 120GB Solid-State Drive model that was announced is also an added advantage thereby creating more mid-range choice for users to choose from.

Are you using Intel Solid State Drives in your laptop or desktop? Do share your views and comments with us.

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Handling the Relationship Between Websites Blogs and PR Companies

When you decide to create a blog, or even a website that handles news and reviews there is going to come a time when you are not only reporting what you read on other peoples websites but you want to get details from the source instead. Whether this is an entertainment site, technology site or a site based on any subject you will want to provide information quicker and without opinion of others.

This is when you move onto dealing with PR companies that handle the “press” interactions between companies and the news outlets looking for the latest released information. Whether you have the journalistic credentials or are doing the task as a hobby, the world of “media” is changing, the term “new media” is used a lot for this new way method of news making and it’s having quite an impact on how people find out about their favourite topics. I will add a disclaimer of sorts here just to say, these thoughts are my own and may differ from the thoughts of others.

How to Work with PR

Depending on the size of your website/blog you often find that you’ve already talked to people who are in the PR industry and been offered the latest news. PR companies actively look for outlets now that have a big enough audience and offer to add these people to their mailing lists. These lists are basically a way to send out mass press releases to all the media outlets that have requested news on set topics.

Added to these lists are often other lists that handle so called “review opportunities” which is very much the next stage in the relationship with a PR company, or can be a different company altogether. Companies have a set amount of products that they can allow reviewers to view, use, and test so that reviews can be created based on these findings. It’s up to the PR company representative to work with the blogger/journalist to get publicity and reviews for the product. Of course they would love to have all positive reviews, but even bad reviews is exposure. It’s a balancing act, and one that at times can be questioned (as is very evident in game journalism right now).

Some will read this and already know about how the PR company “thing” works, but there are others who want to create websites/blogs or are just starting and are lost on the matter, the best way to find out is to observe social media, learn how other sites do it and of course find the actual PR companies and see who their clients are. There are also other factors too but the most important thing is arguably good content and a high number of unique users, this is why using statistics for your site is very important. If you want to have credibility when trying to impress somebody into letting you review their products? You have to show that you have a big enough readership to actually have an impact and get the product noticed.

There is another side too, and this is more complicated and that is the balance of a review. As mentioned PR companies do want to get good reviews and will work to get them. The question of course is as a reviewer if you feel you are being pushed to write a review that disagrees with your own opinions then this is the time to re-think what you are writing. This of course touches on the subject of the “incentives” to write good reviews. To be respected you have to write your own opinion and make a good argument, you have to show the weakness of the product and praise the positives, it’s all about a balance and you just have to find yours.

The fact is when you decide that you want to write reviews and write news items on something that interests you, it’s a fun thing to do. If you have a dream of having a huge site that has thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of readers then you are going to have a huge task on your hands. This will take lots of writing, probably getting more writers to join in on the work on your site and a lot of communication with PR companies that will be ready to provide you with information. PR companies are invaluable sources for information and although there is a negative view sometimes on the level of influence they are believed to have, it is down to the journalist/blogger/writer to keep their objectivity and be true to themselves. PR companies provide you with the information you need to write the pieces for your website/blog not to shape your opinion. The key is to keep your own balanced view, be as professional as you can and do your best. The chances are you just may make that break through you were hoping for and more importantly stay true to yourself and your readers.

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Implications of Data Caps on Mobile Broadband Plans

AT&T has for a very long time allowed iPhone and other smartphone users to purchase an unlimited data plan, which means that there is a set cost no matter how much data one uses in a month. However, recently AT&T has decided to ditch this plan, in favor of a capped alternative. Users of the iPhone and other smartphones have a choice to opt for a 200mb data plan for $15 per month, or a 2gb data plan for $25 dollars per month. Using more data has overage charges. It is very likely that Verizon will follow suit and force consumers to limited plans. So what are the implications of this shift?

The most obvious implication is that this signals the end of the data buffet. People are soon going to have to monitor their data usage, which perhaps implies that the “always connected” culture that had been developing is going to vanish soon. Even push email takes a small amount of data, so people may choose to wait to read and respond to their emails, or do so over a wifi hotspot. The second, and perhaps large, implication is that this is highly likely to transition from mobile broadband to a wired and wifi policy soon. Already vendors are experimenting with limiting home internet access, and this is a major shift. People had been discussing ditching television plans in favor of watching TV shows online. With limited data that is impossible. This could also greatly decrease piracy: who is going to download a 20gb video game illegally when his or her data cap only allows 5gb a month?

The fact is that these data caps on mobile broadband plans have much farther-reaching implications than many initially thought.

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Handling Requests from Guest Content Writers

It’s quite interesting that last week I wrote an article about how guest blogging can help you build backlinks to your website and blog and get your name out there and noticed in the blogging world. It’s a growing side of SEO and one where SEO companies have started to “offer” guest posts based on the topic of your site.

This is of course in some cases a good thing, especially if they provide you with quality articles and interesting copy that will attract people. The problem you have to be aware about is the quality of what they supply you with and what these links are actually doing. So the question is, when do you accept a guest article and when do you decide that this is a bad idea?

Weeding Out the Unwanted “Guests”

Some people may ask at this point, if the content is good why even question it, just post? But the problem is yes, it may be good but what about that link that appears in a strangely placed location and that is obviously a keyword to gain the search robots interest? Oh, and why is there a “rel=dofollow” attribute on the link? This is part of where the problem lies.

I can take one example that I recently had from what would normally seem to be just an average blogger, who said they would LOVE to write for my site, can I take a look at their article and see if I want it? Of course I said yes, I’d love to see their work. This is the first naïve mistake you could say, but I decided to give it a chance. Once the article arrived it was soon found that although the content was good the link was to a fairly average shopping site with no real relevance to the article that had been written or to the site at all. I replied to the writer and said that I liked the article and would be happy to post it, but I would remove the link. The reply I got was to forget about it and to delete the article without using it. This was fairly rude and in my view underhand of the article writer, or as I should actually put it the SEO “content provider” who had hidden the real reason for the article.

The fact is though this is not the case of all SEO companies that want to provide you with content for your site with the caveat of having a backlink to one of their customer’s sites. If they are open about what they are doing, that they are providing this content with a link to another site then fine, you are aware of what you are accepting. This means that you are prepared for what the link will be and your choices. Why is this important? Because of Google of course, you have to protect your website/blog from weak links such as this, it’s not fair to risk your page rankings so that another site can prosper.

So in short, how do you protect your site? When you are contacted by people who want to post a guest article on your site don’t just walk into the situation blindly, if you are interested and they do sound like they understand what your site is then agree to see the article, if links are provided within the article be sure you are happy with the quality of the site you are being linked to and more importantly if you don’t feel happy with any part of the situation then trust your instincts. In the end this is your site be it for personal or business use and you have the right to use it as you see fit.

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Zimbra Migration Techniques

The Zimbra Collaboration Suite is a robust, scalable messaging server, consisting of email, shared group calendars, contact management tools and other application that are well-suited for implementation in a variety of environments, from small to very large enterprises. As examples, the H&R Block Corporation utilizes it to provide service to 100,000 end-users, and the University of Toronto uses it to service its’ tens of thousands of faculty, staff, and students (Gagné, 2007). However, in our present discussion, we are concerned with the migration of Zimbra email accounts to an Exchange Server environment.

I. Email Protocols

1.1 SMTP
To facilitate our understanding of the migration procedure, we must first perform a cursory review of the protocols that email uses. Of these, the Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP) is utilized to reliably send email over its’ default TCP port 25. As it is used strictly for sending email, it typically is used in conjunction with the POP3 or IMAP protocols, which will be used to receive the email. SMTP has the ability to transport email across multiple network types such as the Internet, a LAN or WAN, as well as firewall-isolated TCP/IP Intranet, or hosts utilizing a non-TCP transport-level protocol (Klensin, 2008). For UNIX based systems, we find that sendmail will be the SMTP server of choice, whereas in the Windows environment Microsoft Exchange, which has POP3 support capabilities, would be deployed.

1.2 POP3
POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) is a widely used protocol built in to into email products, such as Outlook Express and Internet browsers to receive email, on its’ default TCP port 110. The POP3server host will listen on Port 110, and when a client host needs to access the POP3 service, it will establish a TCP connection with the server host. When the connection is established, the POP3 server will send a greeting, and the client and POP3 server will exchange commands and responses until the connection closes or aborts (Myers & Rose, 1996). POP3 typically deletes mail on the server as soon as the user has downloaded it, though some POP3 versions allow the server to be configured to store email for a finite period.

1.3 IMAP
The Internet Message Access Protocol, Version 4rev1 (IMAP4rev1) uses TCP port 143 as its default port. As with POP3, IMAP is used to access and manipulate electronic mail messages on a server, however its’ feature-set is more robust. IMAP4rev1 will allow remote message folders to be manipulated as if they were local folders. IMAP4rev1 will also permit an offline client to resynchronize with the server (Crispin, 2003). With IMAP4rev1 the user is able to create, delete, and rename mailboxes, check for new messages, permanently removing messages, as well as store messages on the server.

1.4 PST files. Worthy of consideration when discussing migration from a Zimbra Server to an Exchange Server, are the two types of Outlook Data Files used by Outlook. These two file types are the Outlook Data File (.pst), which is delivered, to and saved on the mail server, and permit us to access our email even when you cannot connect to the mail server. The other file type is the offline Outlook Data File (.ost), which is kept on our computers.

The key distinctions between the two types are that .pst files are used for POP3, IMAP, and web-based mail accounts. When we archive or backup our Outlook folders and items on our computer, we must create and use additional .pst files. In contrast, .ost files are used when you have an Exchange account and want to work offline or work with the default Cached Exchange Mode. The .ost file may also be used with accounts set up with the Outlook Connector for Outlook.com. Finally, the .ost files are always copies of items that are saved on a mail server and do not have to be backed, as with the .pst files (“Introduction to Outlook Data Files”, 2014).

II. Zimbra Collaboration Suite
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The Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) groupware applications are available via a Web interface. Zimbra provides a client-side solution and an integrated messaging server consisting of Postfix, LDAP, Apache and other applications. These applications even may be third-party applications, such as a purchasing system (Gagné, 2007). There are a number of means to migrate from Exchange to Zimbra, and Outlook clients are fully supported, which means that all Outlook e-mail, contacts and calendar functions will work with Zimbra.

There are community supported Open Source Editions and Network Editions of Zimra. As expected, the Network Edition provides commercial support, as well as value-added features, such as clustering, advanced backup and recovery features, an attachment search function and Outlook MAPI and Apple iSync connectors.

2.1 Zimlets. Zimlets can add additional functionality to Zimbra, such as hovering over a time in an email message and having an pop-up alert you of an your appointment time. Other zimlets may launch Skype when you hover over a phone number, and one that works with an Asterisk VoIP system. There are also Yahoo! Maps zimlets, Wikipedia zimlets, Google translator zimlets, and many others.

III. Zimbra Migration Strategies

There are many instances where a Mail administrator will need to migrate users from one email server to another, as was the case with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) that migrated their users from divisional mail servers to a central, institutional ZCS (Stacey, Trefonides, Kendall & Finley, 2009). However, it bears pointing out that by 2014 ANL had migrated their users back to Exchange servers, due to the vendor support offered by Microsoft.

3.1 Exporting Zimbra data account into CSV. As part of the migration process we will need to create users and mailboxes in Exchange. To accomplish this, we may export Zimbra data into CSV to create a list of our email users. To accomplish this, we would invoke the following commands in Zimbra:

su – zimbra

zmprov-l gaa

This will display a list of accounts, and from this, we may make a text file with the command:

su – zimbra

zmprov gaa-l> list-account.txt

However, this will only generate a list of email addresses, and not names or other fields. To export a list of Zimbra accounts to a CSV file, we would open Zimbra Admin; select Account, type the domain name that we want to export into the search box, such as contoso.com (Fahrudin, 2014). We then select the Download button on the Toolbar Zimbra Admin, and save the generated CSV file.

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