Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nintendo DS - The Game War in On

The Nintendo DS is a latest and most popular gaming technology of today game zone. It is a dual-screen handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. The console features a clamshell design, similar to the Game Boy Advance SP, with two LCD screens inside—with the bottom one being a touch screen. The Nintendo DS also features a built-in microphone and supports wireless IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi) standards, allowing players to interact with each other within short range (10–30 m, depending on conditions) or online with the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service, which launched later in the console's lifespan.

Nintendo DS was released in 2004 in Canada, the United States, and Japan. The system's code name was Nitro. The console's name officially refers to "Developers' System", in reference to developers of new game designs the system was meant to inspire, and "Dual Screen", the system's most obvious and distinct feature.

Specifications of Nintendo DS

* Weight: 300 grams (9.7 oz).
* Physical dimensions: 148.7 mm x 84.7 mm x 28.9 mm (5.85 in x 3.33 in x 1.13 in).
* Screens: Two separate 3-inch TFT LCD, resolution of 256 x 192 pixels, dimensions of 62 mm x 46 mm and 77 mm diagonal, and a dot pitch of 0.24 mm.
* CPUs: Two ARM processors, an ARM946E-S main CPU and ARM7 co-processor at clock speeds of 67 MHz and 33 MHz respectively. The ARM946E-S CPU processes gameplay mechanisms and video rendering while the ARM7TDMI processes sound output, Wi-Fi support.
* RAM: 4 MB of Mobile RAM.
* Voltage: 1.65 volts required.
* Storage: 256 kB of Serial Flash Memory.

* Wireless: 802.11b

* Wi-Fi: Built-in 802.11 Wireless Network Connection (802.11b compatible with WEP encryption support only).

Features of Nintendo DS
Below are the some features of Nintendo DS -
* The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection
It is a free online game service run by Nintendo. Players with a compatible Nintendo DS game can connect to the service via a Wi-Fi network using a Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector or a wireless router.

* Download Play
With Download Play it is possible for users to play multiplayer games with other Nintendo DS systems using only one game card. Players must have their systems within wireless range (up to approximately 60 feet) of each other and the guest system to download the necessary data from the host system.

* PictoChat
PictoChat allows users to communicate with other Nintendo DS users within local wireless range. Users can enter text , handwrite messages or draw pictures. There are four chatrooms (A, B, C, D) in which people can go to chat. Up to sixteen people can connect in any one room.

* Compatibility
The Nintendo DS is backwards compatible with Game Boy Advance (GBA) cartridges. The smaller Nintendo DS game cards fit into Slot 1 on the top of the system, while Game Boy Advance games fit into Slot 2 on the bottom of the system.

Nintendo DS - The Most Popular Game Zone

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How Touch Screen Technology could Revolutionise Retail

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

From simple written letters to the revolution of the internet, retailers have strived to find new and appealing methods of interacting and communicating with their customer base as well as improve efficiencies for both customer & business. And with the dawn of a new touch screen era at hand, could we see more of our online buying experiences be brought to the retail stores of the future?

As the years go by, the retail buying process continues to be fine tuned and we learn more about what stimulates customers to go from an uninformed prospect to the exchange of money at the till in store. All parts of this process could dramatically change over the years to come thanks to touch screen technology. Let us enter the shop of the future.

Picture walking along a local high street and a product in the shop window catches your attention. Rather than simply looking at the item through the glass, some advertising related to the product in question pops up in the window and transmits the advert to your I-Phone or other web enabled phone via bluetooth.

Alternatively, the shop window will have touch screen technology, so the shopper can find out more about the product, even place an order by logging in – very appealing for shops that can offer 24/7 shopping even when their store is closed.

Entering the store to browse further, the traditional paper catalogues that are scattered around the store are replaced by fully interactive sleek glass touch screen tables and counters that allow you to browse the full product range and pull out all of the products details, zooming into images and even running videos. Clicking, dragging, and swiping your finger all the way to the perfect product to purchase in no time at all or building a list of products to compare. And if you are stuck for time, transfer the details of the product to your phone to continue your shopping later.

Having this interaction with the customer in store also improves the efficiencies of the business to suggest through the touch screens either alternative products (upsell) or complimentary products (cross sell), offering the customer a better purchasing experience and the business a healthy increase in customer spend.

If you choose to purchase in store, you confirm your purchase at the touch screen counter, while a sales advisor stands ready, waiting to pounce in the event of a problem, much like at the supermarket self service points.

To pay for the item, a sales assistant, who only required minimal training on the easy to use touch screen checkout, accepts your method of payment and passes the product over in no time at all. Exiting the store, the same glass window that had originally invited customers to enter with advertisements is now sending over to the shoppers phone a new promotion of money off vouchers straight to the phone, enticing you to come again. And to obtain real time feedback of their buying experience, a survey is sent to the users touch screen phone with a personalised incentive based upon the buyers shopping pattern.

The concept of touch screen technology integrated into shop fittings would be a fantastic evolutionary step for retail, however the next big compatibility hurdle to cross is also the most obvious – the customer. In order for the evolutionary step to occur, the customer needs to not only be able to use the technology but also comfortable with using it.

But the greatest progressive stride for the retailer is that the experience that many smarter retailers are able to offer online can start to be offered offline. And for most of us who have been interested in Marketing for too many years to count, the utopia ideal of being able to deal with your customer at consistently every touch point might be conceivable. But it is just science fiction … for now.

Adam Singleton writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Will Twitter Kill Literature?

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

There was a time when the world was rich with literature. Words flowed from the minds of writers and could make a huge impact on the reader. Now except few authors we find that not many are getting new books sold in quantity. What will the upsurge in usage of Twitter do to the already dismal scene?

Remember when blogging was popular? There were many who used to blog with lengthy posts and had readers who read these blogs. Some still survive, but many have turned to twitter. Technology is taking a toll over writing. The number of words that one may write is now limited. No body has time to calmly read a lengthy post and enjoy the play of words. Everybody is in rush. That is one reason of the great success of twitter. It would not have done so well a decade ago when we were still interested in slow work. Now we are all in hurry. Mails are getting shorter, exchanges are taking the route of mobile phones and everybody wants to reach somewhere as quickly as possible. Twitter helps all of us doing that.

Can you think of a great author for example Bernard Shaw or Shakespeare writing on twitter? Imagine the compositions that would have resulted! To write and to enjoy reading one needs plenty of time. I remember looking at drafts of a book by PG Wodehouse. The author went back and corrected himself many times. A computer connected to Internet that demands quick response will not help us in such writings. it is Twittering bow. People are telling how they are enjoying a cup of coffee or how they loved a movie and so on. Number of words that are limited will obviously threaten one who is thinking of sharing something lengthy that he/she wrote. Will Twitter Kill Literature?

The author likes to write text messages and advises for internet and social networking content like twitter backgrounds and myspace comments. He also writes quizzes on subjects like relationship, personality, etc.

Related Sites :
Mizuno, Calvin Klein, Nike, Moschino, Adidas, Puma, Converse, Dickies, Skecher, DKNY, Emerica, Kayland, Miss Sixty, Umi Kids, Tommy, Wee Box, Onex, Olukai, FlyFlot, Fratelli, Gravati, Daniel Green, Jumping Jack, Yellow Box, Nine West, Tatami, Coclico, , Via Spiga, Naturalizer, Ecco Golf

Twitter these sites::
Naked Pinay Views, Friendly Remarks , Money Talks , Marc Nand's Blog , Nodding Nanding's Journal, Amusing Disclosure , Cyber Tweaks , PC Operatis , Bytamin I , Cool Gizmodgets , Online Shopster
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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Searching Simultaneously with Google and Yahoo

Which is the better Yahoo or Google? A man says he loves to search on Google only, Women's votes go to Yahoo. What about you? You love both! Me too If you search both Google and Yahoo simultaneously you will surely come up with some innovative results that you never had before. The online results will be something more than you expected.

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Google offers more technical
results but Yahoo has more business-oriented results to display. Google may have a better search technology and more creative tools but Yahoo has also improved its search engine by creating a new Search Assist Tool. Both of them have different strategies and algorithms in displaying search results but the results displayed by both Yahoo and Google, more or less ,come in similar fashion. It could be that the top URL displayed by Google is the third or second position holder in the Yahoo search results, but in 90% of the cases , they display same results for the similar search query.

If you want
more information, it’s important that you search for them in both Google and Yahoo. A perfect blend of Yahoo and Google results is needed for the accuracy of your search. SearchBoth.com is presenting a new feature to have results displayed by both Google and Yahoo on a single screen.

To resolve the problem of net savvies called "internet search fatigue" SearchBoth.com has come up with a new search tool which offers Google and Yahoo search results in a single screen. User will be able to see and compare results displayed by any of the two search engines of their choice.

If you like neither Google nor Yahoo SearchBoth.com has some other options for you. If you prefer to use Windows Live Search or AltaVista that’s also not a complication. To mix your search SearchBoth.com presents search and comparison between Google, Yahoo, MSN, Alta Vista, DogPile, Ask any other search engine. One can also add SearchBoth search bar to your website for the quickest results and comparison.

Expand your search by searching simultaneously with Google and Yahoo and get more productive results.

Source: Free Articles Author: rhdjapan@yahoo.com

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Friday, August 15, 2008

GPS Insight: Putting Your Business on the Right Track

"Don’t rely on guesswork and erratic feeds. Don’t let the roads drive your business anywhere. Fast track your success with accurate and untainted data to guide your decisions and manage your business to success."

Those clichés sound easier said than done especially so with service and trucking companies (long haul trucking, delivery vehicles, sales forces, HVAC, roofing, plumbing, construction, etc). The fact now is that the solution to this certainty of attaining success in operations and earnings is technologically “right under the sky”. You may now start reviewing your strengths/weaknesses and consider the benefits of delivering cost-effective and sound management decisions based on accurate and reliable data-gathering implement such as GPS (Global Positioning System). The data-gathering capability of GPS provides scores of achieving efficiency, waste identification, and cost-reduction. Let’s zero in on GPS and its importance to your vehicle-based venture:

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a radio-navigation system that uses a constellation of between 24 and 32 Medium Earth Orbit satellites that transmit precise microwave signals to GPS receivers and thus provides reliable positioning, navigation, and timing services to civilian users continuously. The availability and accuracy of the Global Positioning System (GPS) offers increased efficiencies and safety for vehicles using highways, streets, and mass transit systems. Many of the problems associated with the routing and dispatch of commercial vehicles is significantly reduced or eliminated with the help of GPS. For anyone with a GPS receiver, the system will provide accurate location, speed, direction and time in all weather, day and night, anywhere in the world.
With a GPS tracking device, you can use the Global Positioning System to determine the precise location of a vehicle, person, or other asset to which it is attached and to record the position of the asset at regular intervals. The recorded location data can be stored within the tracking unit, or it may be transmitted to a central location data base, or internet-connected computer, using a cellular (GPRS), radio, or satellite modem embedded in the unit. This allows the asset's location to be displayed against a map backdrop either in real-time or when analyzing the track later, using customized software.

Let’s try and get your service or trucking business on the right track. A full utilization of Global Positioning System can now be reached with GPS Insight Vehicle Tracking System. GPS Insight is hardware and web-software vehicle-tracking product which pooled together GPS, wireless networks (AT&T/T-Mobile), internet access and Google Earth to create detailed reports on vehicle locations, driver activities and driving habits that were earlier difficult to track. GPS Insight brings together a number of modern advances in 3D and satellite mapping with real-time updates in a Web-based configuration to concisely create descriptions of trip times, stop times, as well as their averages and variances, which sustain operational scrutiny. Hence with GPS Insight, exact locations, times, and activity can be explored. Other types of reports put numbers on who is speeding, how long vehicles are used during the day, vs. payroll hours, when vehicles are used outside of regular business hours, whether or not the prearranged route is taken, how many miles/hours are used-up driving in each state, etc.

Keeping your business on the right perspective is a thorny challenge, but with GPS Insight you can stay calm and focused. You’d find out that you didn't just buy a cutting-edge product; you've also positioned your company into a beneficial partnership with GPS Insight. Working with the vehicles and working in the field to make business happen, requires the best equipment and tools, and only the finest and the most precise tool is the right one. Accuracy and timing are essential to every economic activity everywhere. That’s what GPS Insight provides for synchronization and operational efficiency. Furthermore, expansions on complimentary data warehousing and data mining service are underway to facilitate clients’ filtering of relevant data. The GPS Insight solution can process roughly a million road miles worth of data in just about a minute to extract comprehensive information. GPS Insight diminished uncertainty on many quantities efficiently; it qualifies as a very practical measurement tool and thus, renders this vehicle-tracking mechanism absolutely necessary.

For online convenience, GPS Insight website comes friendly with its offer of its software/product which are equally friendly and easy to use. GPS Insight support wiki for customers provides support information, helpful tips, and general information about the GPS Insight product. The outstanding customer service you get when you call with questions or concerns makes the entire package satisfactorily friendlier. The units you purchase will reach you up-and-running in less than a day or as early as tomorrow! They ship same day when paying by credit card, and have sufficient inventory. Other GPS providers will take up to 60 days to perform a credit check, program your units, set up your account, and so on. GPS Insight efficient process gives customers the rapid response they often require to unravel problems with their convoy using GPS tracking.

On the whole, GPS Insight cost $1.50 - $2.00 per day per vehicle, and your company earns from fuel savings, routing efficiencies, and streamlined vehicle maintenance, elimination of possible accidents, no more labor paid when people aren't really working, and more. Alas! For orders of $2,000 or more, (4 units, typically), GPS Insight offers lease at competitive rates with the paperwork completed within 3-4 days. You can still lease their product and be up and running within the week!
This hardware is a cut above the rest! GPS Insight is the only company which integrates engine diagnostics (engine light status/fault codes, real speeds, real odometer readings, real idling/RPM & actual fuel consumption/MPG) with its baseline product, no hidden fees, no commitment to a long contract, and the best mapping available. The Blog for GPS vehicle tracking provides detailed illustrations, feedback, reports and other relevant specifics to keep you on track and well-informed.

For your advantage, GPS Insight provides a 30-day money back guarantee, and offers free trials for qualified companies. They do not bind you with long contracts, either. Live demonstrations can be happily given in their offices, at your location, or via WebEx presentations.

And now, the promising news! GPS Insight product evolves fast - taking input and advice from customers and adding capabilities, functions, and completely new areas on the website on a regular basis. All of these requirements and enhancements, combined with the best in modern technology and 3D mapping, are what makes GPS Insight keep pace and stand out among the others. Get hold this product and catch a first-hand taste of distinctive quality in both product and support.

Related Sites :
Mizuno, Calvin Klein, Nike, Moschino, Adidas, Puma, Converse, Dickies, Skecher, DKNY, Emerica, Kayland, Miss Sixty, Umi Kids, Tommy, Wee Box, Onex, Olukai, FlyFlot, Fratelli, Gravati, Daniel Green, Jumping Jack, Yellow Box, Nine West, Tatami, Coclico, , Via Spiga, Naturalizer, Ecco Golf

Track these sites::
Naked Pinay Views, Friendly Remarks , Money Talks , Marc Nand's Blog , Nodding Nanding's Journal, Amusing Disclosure , Cyber Tweaks , PC Operatis , Bytamin I , Cool Gizmodgets , Online Shopster

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Live TV at Blogtv.com

This is the newest website where you can have the best live tv and have the perfect entertainment in the internet. You can also have the live show and live broadcast in their website and I am referring about Blogtv.com and you will be entertained more that you will ever know. Find out more about their services and other details by visiting their website at www.blogtv.com now.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Ask For More at Sinrex

This is the idea that men should have to increase their sexual performance and give the satisfaction that their partner should have. You can get the best male enlargement pills at Sinrex and you will be guaranteed with satisfaction and great pleasure for the both of you.

Go on and start visiting their website at www.sinrex.com and buy the perfect male enhancement products like the penis stretcher and other more.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Should you Limit Your Kids Time Playing Video Games?

Whether to limit the time that a child plays video games is a question that almost every parent has battled over at least once and often many times. However, just because one parent has a specific opinion about it does not mean that another parent holds the same opinion. In other words, whether a parent should limit his or her childs time playing video games is a largely subjective, opinion question. There are, though, some signs that a parent should look for when trying to make a determination as to whether the time that his or her kid is spending on video games is too much.

If a kid who is playing video games is paying so much attention to them that his or her schoolwork is suffering, a parent might want to limit the video game time that child has. In addition, if relationships are suffering because of video games, this might also be another reason to limit the amount of time spent playing them. Video games are supposed to be for fun and enjoyment only. Unfortunately, they can actually become addictive. When someone is addicted to video games, the rest of that persons life suffers. He or she will generally not do well at all with school or work, and the relationships that have been built with others will be ignored, at least to some extent.

The person may also lose sleep, not eat well, and exhibit other behaviors consistent with focusing too much on video games and not enough on reality. This is, of course, very detrimental, especially for a child who is just developing habits. Because this is such a serious issue and can lead to many problems in the future, any parent who is concerned about how much time his or her kid is spending playing video games or any parent who sees a change in his or her child because of video game playing should limit the time each day that the child is allowed to play the video game.

How Do I Get My Business On The Internet?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions by small business owners. They are feeling the pressure from their customers and competitors, yet for many business people it is a daunting task, as they don't understand the whole process.

In fact, many people are even asking the question whether they should have a website. Whether you are a consultant, florist, designer, builder, architect or a doctor, consider the many advantages a website provides:

1. Make money - Set up an on-line store or get paid for advertising from other companies

2. Save money on advertising - Instead of paying for large ads, simply advertise your website

3. Be flexible in your message - Change the content as your business changes. No need to re-print expensive brochures.

4. Exposure to new customers - You will reach more local clients as well as interstate and global markets

5. Having more professional image - Keep up with the times and your competitors

6. Save time - Don’t spend hours on the phone, direct customers to your website

7. Keep your business open 24/7 - Provide customers information when THEY need it. If you don’t, someone else will.

So what does it really take to get your website set up?

Step 1 - Register your domain name OR not.

The big question is whether you need to register a domain name or not. The simple answer is NO, but a better answer is YES it is a good idea.

What is a domain name?

The purpose of a domain name is similar to that of a street address or telephone number. The domain name directs customers to you on the Internet. The domain by itself is not your email or web address. The domain does form the base from which these addresses are derived.

For example: Company Name: QikPhone Domain Name: qikphone.com.au Web Address: www.qikphone.com.au Email Address: sales@qikphone.com

Do I need to register a domain name to have a website?

NO, you don't need to have your own domain name. Your website can be created and hosted without it. Your website address will look something like this: www.web4business.com.au/JBCleaning OR www.ozemail.com.au/~JBCleaning

The only advantage of not registering a domain name is that you will save yourself a few dollars.

The disadvantages of NOT having your domain name include:

1. If you decide to change your Webhosting company or if that company goes out of business, you will lose your website address. Your website can be transferred to a new company, but your address will change. And that means re-printing stationery and re-doing all your advertising, notifying all your customers etc.

2. Website addresses that contain information other than your company name are long and hard to remember and do not appear as professional. Compare these two and see which one you are more likely to remember: www.ozemail.com.au/~JBCleaning OR www.JBCleaning.com.au

So it is a good idea to register a domain name, even if it is just to protect yourself for the future. Say for example, your business name is JB Cleaning and you decide not to register your domain name for now. Along comes Joe Bloggs who opens his own cleaning business and registers JBCleaning.com.au domain name. After a year you decide you want to have your own domain name, but since Joe Bloggs already owns it, you won't be able to register it. Not to mention your customers who know your business as JB Cleaning may visit his website, thinking it's your web address and instead hire Joe Bloggs Cleaning.

Step 2 - Plan your website.

Planning your website is a two part process:

(a) Decide on the website design (colour schemes, buttons, special effects etc). This is your website designer's job. However, you may have a preference for a certain colour or look. To help you choose a design, you may wish to check out other people's websites or work with your web designer's pre-set templates.

(b) The content. There are many items you may wish to include on your website. The most common ones include:

1 Product/Service Details
2. Contact Information
3. Pricing
4. Testimonials
5. Frequently Asked Questions
6. Response Form, such as "Join Mailing List"
7. On-line Magazine or Newsletter
8. Resources & Articles
9. Guarantee
10. Survey
11. Events Calender
12. Search My Website Form
13. Refund Policy
14. Privacy Policy
15. About Us Information
16. Site Map
17. Copyright information
18. Useful Links
19. Media Information
20. On-line store
21. News
22. Directions to Your Bricks & Mortar Premises

Step 3 - Choose a Web Hosting Company.

What is a Web hosting Company?

A webhost is a company that provides server space for your website. You can think of a web host as a commercial building. The web host provides space for your website just as a commercial building provides space for your shop or office. You can build your own building and you can host your own website, but because of the cost and expertise required it is easier to rent the space.

Which Company Should I Choose?

Webhosting companies are not created equal so you need to take a number of things into account when selecting one. A proven track record, experience and reliability form the foundation of any successful business partnership.

Some of the issues you should consider when choosing a webhosting company include:

1. Support - Does it provide comprehensive Technical Support - 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

2. Reliability - Does it have multiple large-scale links to the internet to provide a fail-safe path to your customers from anywhere in the world?

3. Security - Does it have a robust security system that minimises risk of web site intrusion?

4. State-of-the-art - Does the company utilises leading edge technology and is supported by a large-scale uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system.

5. Scalability - Does the product range and services offered allow your business to grow without impediment by making it easy to upgrade and add components to existing product levels.

Step 4 - Getting people to your site.

The marketing of your website is important if you want to draw visitors to your site. If you don't promote your website no-one will ever see it. There are a number of different ways of advertising your website. The best strategy is one, which integrates your existing promotion methods with your website.

1. Office Stationery - Including your web address and email address on your stationery is probably the easiest way to draw attention to your site. It's cost effective and gets your Internet presence out there in the market place.

2. Business Cards - When printing business cards you should include the individual's email address and main address of your website.

3. Radio Advertising - Radio Advertising should include your web address. Don't include the http://, try "Visit us on the internet at w-w-w-dot-qikphone-dot-com-dot-au". If your budget is limited, you may wish to consider community radios.

4. Email and Mail-Outs - Let your current customers know the details of your website. You can either send them an email or a letter/postcard. Keep your website's content up-to-date and they will keep coming back!

5. Print Media - Print advertising should include a generic email address for the company and include your website address. Normally positioned at the bottom right or bottom centre of your advertisement.

6. Search Engines & Directories - People looking for your website who don't know the URL are most likely to use an on-line search engine to look for your organisation or the kind of products and services you offer. There are over 300 major search engines and directories, but you should concentrate on the larger, more commonly used ones. These include: Google, Yahoo, Altavista, Anzwers, Inktomi, Infoseek, Lycos, Excite, HotBot, MSN, Dogpile, AllTheWeb etc.

7. Links from other websites - A good way to attract visitors to your site is through the use of hyperlinks placed on other sites. If you know of another site which has a list of links and you think your website would be a good addition, let the website owner know. You might also offer to provide a link from your site back to the other site. This will encourage the webmaster to include your site. You should also seek out partners for trading links including vendors, suppliers and providers of complimentary products.

8. Link Exchange - Another way to getting a link is through a system called Link Exchange, a free public service designed to help websites advertise each other. With Link Exchange, you agree to display advertising banners for other Link Exchange members and they agree to display banners for you. The System is automatic, you simply add a piece of HTML code to your web page and Link Exchange will display an advertisement for another website. The disadvantage with Link Exchange is that you don't get any control as to where your banner ad appears or the type of banner ads that will appear on your website. It is not possible to guarantee that a competitor of yours may have their banner ad displayed on your site.

9. Paid Banner Advertising/Affiliate Marketing Programs - Various sites give you the opportunity to purchase banner advertising on their site. Some sites will charge you a flat monthly fee while other sites will charge you based on the number of people who see your ad.

For more information about marketing your website read "30 ways to promote your website on a shoestring budget"

Step 5 - Monitor your site's statistics

Your website's statistics should show who visits your website, where in the world they come from, how they are finding your site and what pages are being viewed. Knowing your customers is the first step in effective marketing. Most webhosting companies will provide access to this information free of charge.

Step 6 - Maintaining your website

It is important to update your website regularly to keep your customers interested. One of the great advantages of having a website is that you can change its content virtually overnight at minimal cost (unlike re-printing brochures and flyers).

This is just a brief overview of the process involved in getting your website up and running. In future articles we will cover each step in more detail.

For more information about getting your business on the internet you may also wish to check out:

Arundo Donax - How to turn a bog plant into a serenade

I began playing the clarinet when I was 11 years old, back in 1984, after many months of pestering my parents. Although I wasn't particularly good when I started, I loved the look and feel of the instrument and I persevered, and I finally ended up as a music student at Leeds University with the clarinet as my first instrument. I didn't find the notes that hard when I was a kid; I could produce a tune without too many tears, but my tunes just didn't sound very nice until I'd got to about grade 6. A lot of young players experience the same problem, and the problem is really twofold- 1) producing a beautiful sound takes lots of practice, and 2) producing a really beautiful sound depends on your reed.

What a Reed is All About

If you don't play a reed instrument you may well be wondering what I'm talking about, so I'll explain a little bit here. (For the already initiated, feel free to skip this bit!)

A clarinet is fundamentally a tube which is approximately 2 feet long; in fact it's the same length as a flute or an oboe. The flute has a small hole which you blow across. This makes the air inside the tube start vibrating, (like if you blow across the top of a bottle and hear a note). The oboe and the clarinet, however, use reeds. These are small bits of cane, (or sometimes plastic), which are attached to the top of the instrument. The cane goes in your mouth and you make it vibrate with your lips and jaw; this sets the column of air vibrating, and hey presto a note sounds. (It's very hard to describe how you actually do this because it all happens inside your closed mouth!) You can't play the clarinet (or the oboe or bassoon) unless you have a reed attached to the top, and these essential bits of kit have, unfortunately, quite a short life span. How long a reed lasts depends on lots of things, like how often you play, what brand you're using, and even what the weather's like. (It's a natural material so it's affected by the humidity of the atmosphere).

The Reed you really Need

So now you know you need a reed, off you pop down to your local music shop, or find one online. The first question they'll ask you is what kind of reed do you need? Narrowing it down to just "a clarinet reed" won't get you very far. You have to specify the strength of your reed. And choose a brand. And choose one of a range of reeds within that brand. And how many do you need to buy?

So how can a little bit of cane be so diverse and complicated? How can you possibly choose?! Let's take a look at the first dilemma: Strength.

Reeds are categorised by their thickness, and given a grading from 1 to 5, including half grades. Basically speaking, the thicker the reed, the more difficult it is to produce a note, but the nicer the note will sound. So, if you are a beginner, (and therefore in possession of relatively weak jaw muscles compared to a veteran), you should choose a low number, known as a "soft" reed. Around 1.5 would be good, but go for a 1 if the 1.5 is too difficult to blow on. As you get better, you'll gradually be able to progress to thicker reeds (known as "hard"). To get a decent sound, you need to be playing on a minimum 3.5, and most professionals will be playing on 4.5 to 5s. Personally, I play on a 3.5. OK, let's move on to brand and product:

In the UK there are mainly 2 companies battling it out in the clarinet reed field, and they are Vandoren and Rico. I'll try to make a comparison between them, since your basic purchasing decision will be between these two brands. Here's what Vandoren say about their standard B flat clarinet reeds:

"The most widely played reeds in the professional world."

And here's what Rico claim about their most similar product:

"The world's most popular reed." One thing you may be able to deduce from this is that Vandoren reeds are better and also more expensive. They produce a better tone for professionals, who are more picky about these things than amateurs. However, there are many more amateurs piping away in their bedrooms on a Sunday afternoon than there are professionals, and they tend to choose Rico, so they can't be all bad.

Here's how the prices compare from 2 reputable online firms, for a box of 10, (the normal number you get in a box).

>From www.myatt.co.uk Rico Reeds cost £8.50 and Vandoren cost £11.00

>From www.dawkes.co.uk Rico cost £6.25 and Vandoren cost £10.25

Rico are well ahead in the tasty price league, so why is it that all these professionals are choosing Vandoren? It really boils down to the sound that comes out when you blow, which to the professional is the only major issue. For us mere mortals though, there are another couple of points to consider- how many of these 10 newly purchased reeds actually work properly, and how long will one last before I have to change it? I've played on both these brands of reeds over the 20 and a bit years I've been playing this instrument, and I believe that Rico are more consistent in the strength grades they put in the box, and they last for the same length of time as Vandoren's, but whereas a box of Vandoren sometimes produces a really stunning beautiful reed, a box of Rico never does.

When you buy a box of reeds, it is quite normal to find that some of them just won't work. This is rather annoying, (especially if you're paying more than a pound a piece), but it's a fact of life. The cane is rigorously tested by both companies, and left to mature for a considerable time, but nothing can stop the cane from becoming slightly modified once it's been packaged up in its box. My personal average from Vandoren is 50% usable reeds per box, while Rico usually gives me 7 or 8 that are playable. So, in effect, they work out even cheaper than you'd bargained for. I think that Rico's testing technology is perhaps superior to Vandoren's, to produce these results. They are more effective at eliminating inferior cane earlier in the process, before it actually gets in the box. In my mind there is no doubt that Vandoren Reeds sound better, but the large difference in price is not justified by the small difference in sound. Going back to my earlier point about the quality of!

my early attempts at the clarinet, I should point out that playing on the correct strength of reed, (and one that isn't too old), will ensure an acceptable sound from anyone. So how to find the correct strength? Read on!

How Strong is your Jaw?

Rico Reeds come in strengths 1-5 (not all brands do). If you're a complete beginner, buy a 1, a 1.5 and a 2. (You can buy reeds singly, both online and in shops. Some shops let you try the reed out before you buy it just in case it's a duffer (see above), but not all of them.) Try the 2 first. If you produce a sound quite easily and without pain, congratulations! You've found the right strength. If you find it takes lots of breath to get a note and you can hear air escaping from the side of your mouth as you blow, the reed is too hard. Try the 1.5, and repeat the process. Remember that with clarinet reeds, the only way is up! When you have been playing on your 1.5 for some time, try the 2 from time to time. Don't play for too long, as your jaw will tire easily and you may bite into your bottom lip. If this happens, your mouth will be too sore to play until it's healed, and you'll have to start with a softer reed again. Gradually increase your playing time, until you can play on the 2 with no problems. Then move on to the 2.5, and repeat the process.

If you stick with a softer reed once your jaw muscles have become stronger, your sound will deteriorate. Playing on a soft reed produces a buzzy kind of tone and can sound flat. Higher notes on the instrument are more difficult to reach with a softer reed, which is another reason why you need to climb that reed ladder! Sometimes reeds are a little bit too hard or a little bit too soft, without being impossible to play on. You don't have to chuck them away in cases like this, you can "doctor" them slightly to make them more playable: if the reed is too soft, trim a VERY narrow (hair's breadth) strip from the tip of the reed with a sharp knife. Or push another reed between it and the mouthpiece of the instrument, pushing it away from the rectangular hole in the mouthpiece slightly. If the reed is too hard, you can sand it a little. Use a piece of 220-grain sandpaper. Rub just a little, then test the reed- a tiny rub can produce a large difference (which is why they don't always get it right in the factory- it's a precision art!)

Breaking in Reeds

All new reeds need to be "broken in". They won't produce a consistent sound until they've been used a few times. Rico reeds are faster to break in than Vandoren. You need to wet the reed (in your mouth or with water- I prefer my mouth, but Rico advise water, as some people have very acidic saliva apparently, eeww), then play on it for just a few minutes each day, until the sound becomes consistent. It's good to have a few reeds "breaking" as you never know when you'll need a new one.

Replacing Reeds

It's easy to tell when your reed needs replacing- after serving you well for a week or 3 (depends how much you play), one day it'll just sound rubbish, completely different to the last time you used it. Every time it goes in your mouth the reed is getting attacked by various germs and other organisms, and your saliva begins the process of breaking down organic matter ready for your tummy, so it's no wonder that they don't last forever! Another obvious sign that you need a new reed is when you accidentally slice it in half while attaching it to the instrument, a tragically common event. (It's held onto your plastic mouthpiece by metal band called a ligature. This has quite sharp sides and if you're not careful it'll cut right through in one go. Don't worry though, I've never heard of anyone cutting their finger on one!)

Arundo Donax

This is the technical name for the reed plant which Rico and Vandoren use to make their reeds. It grows in India and the Mediterranean, and can get as high as 6 metres tall. If you live in the right climate you can grow it in your garden, but I wouldn't suggest trying to grow and make reeds yourself from scratch, although some fanatics do.....

Other Types of Reed

For the standard clarinet, you will be buying B♭ clarinet reeds. It's unlikely that you would buy the wrong reed size, as this is what 99% of people play on, but just for the record, there are also E♭ and bass clarinet reeds. E♭ reeds are for a smaller instrument, and bass clarinet reeds for a beast of an instrument, so neither will fit. The A clarinet takes the B♭ reed, as it is only very fractionally bigger than the B♭ instrument. (Orchestral players need two instruments, an "A" and a "B♭"; see for more on transposing instruments).

Final Verdict

The Rico clarinet reed is a great choice for the amateur player. They are reasonably priced, reasonably consistent within the box, and produce a nice sound. They are easy to get hold of and excellent value for money, especially if you frequently slice them in half! If you want to get serious on the instrument, you should probably move on to more expensive reeds from Vandoren.

Web-Programming: An Alternative To Unproductive Advertising

As of this writing the television writers in Hollywood are on strike. The significance of this strike will be felt far beyond the current television season and impact what and where people will get their entertainment in the future. People are now not only embracing the Web for their information needs but are also increasingly turning to it for their entertainment needs as well.

The Web will soon be 'the place' that fills the programming vacuum that network broadcasters have been unwilling and/or unable to fulfill. People were prepared to tolerate constant reruns, dreadful programming, and incessant repetitive ads as long as there was no alternative, but that is no loner the case. Viewers now have an option to bad television and it's the Web, but why should you care and more importantly how can you take advantage of the opportunity it creates?

Why Should You Care?

Information and entertainment have melded in recent years creating what has been dubbed 'infotainment.' It can be argued that the evening news has become more entertainment than hard news and let's not even get into venues like the History Channel where fact and fiction seem to be presented in equal and indistinguishable doses. So what does all this have to do with you and how you deliver your marketing message?

The time is coming, if it is not here already, that companies will not be able to get away with merely uploading online brochures and catalogues, or even extensive screeds singing the praises of every feature and benefit associated with their offering. People demand more, they insist your website be interesting, informative, and entertaining; and it is this aspect of entertainment that potentially makes your marketing presentation memorable.

What Is Web-Programming?

Web-programming takes the creative Web-video campaign concept and pushes it one step further up the evolutionary marketing scale by integrating the message into a programming environment.

This concept is not an entirely new idea, in fact one of the most noted television commercial campaigns of 1991 was the Taster's Choice soap opera-like series of spots that wove the marketing message into a courtship relationship between two apartment neighbors. In an environment where information and entertainment blur, it seems like an ideal solution to capturing an audience's attention and interest, and creating a viral buzz that few products or services can generate by presenting a bulleted list of features.

Build Brand Relationships

James E. Aisner, in his article 'More Than A Name: The Role of Brands in People's Lives' (HBS Working Knowledge For Business Leaders) references the research of Harvard Business School Professor, Susan M. Fournier, "Fournier has created a typology of fifteen different types of relationships between consumers and their brands." These brand relationships include the secret affair, the best friend, kinship, the fling, courtship, the marriage-of-convenience, casual friendship, childhood friendship, mother and child, and master-slave.

What kind of relationship does your brand have with your audience? Is it a short-term fling that starts with a lot of heat and passion and then quickly cools-off, or is it a long-term marriage that will last a lifetime? Finding, and promoting the most appropriate and beneficial brand relationship is the marketing goal of your Web-programming marketing initiative.

Part of the problem many smaller organizations have in developing successful marketing campaigns is that they think in terms of products and services rather than brands; features and benefits rather than relationships. Almost every product or service on the market can be replaced with a competitive substitute, but brands are much harder to replace; brands create a competitive barrier through the development of relationships based on prototypical psychological and emotional factors, the same kinds of factors that govern your personal relationships.

Generate Trust, Confidence, Loyalty and Passion

In his article, "A Brand New You," (Psychology Today), W. Eric Martin tells us that brands came into vogue in the post Civil War era as a response to an increasing mobile population that began to lose touch with local merchants and shopkeepers. Brands became a substitute for the personal relationships that people had with their suppliers. This seemingly minor historic fact helps us understand the significance of brands in today's Web-centric marketplace.

Today's consumer-client, whether retail or business-to-business is more remote, more isolated from the supplier than ever before. The Web allows us to market our products and services anywhere in the world, but in order to actually make a sale, we must establish a relationship that generates a sufficient level of trust, confidence, loyalty and passion. Sneer if you will at the passion and loyalty most Macintosh users have for their computers, but what other computer company can claim such brand allegiance?

Relationships Are Based On Psychological Needs

At the heart of any relationship is the emotional or psychological need that that relationship fulfills. If you haven't found that connection in what you do then you are at a definite competitive disadvantage; and you are competing on the most fickle and transient of factors: price and features. In business, there will always be someone who is prepared to sell a substitute product or service for less, or with more bells and whistles. So why would you ever want to compete on that basis?

It really doesn't matter what business you're in, there is always some emotional or psychological component to what you do. The iPod is the market leader in its category despite numerous competitors; it holds that position not because it's the cheapest, which it definitely isn't, or the product with the most features, which it probably is, but because it's an iPod - not a tool but a status symbol, a badge of intelligence and taste, a brand relationship akin to being a member of the coolest club in town.

Web-programming Development

In short, Web-programming is a marketing campaign based on a series of episodic Web-videos tied together by plotline and character development; an ongoing initiative that weaves into its storyline the marketing pitch. The integration of the marketing pitch can be done subtly using product placement techniques or overtly making the pitch part of the story arc.

This marketing technique is not for everyone; it is certainly not for the unsophisticated or for the marketer who is afraid to experiment or to take a chance.

If you are looking for an instant direct financial return like a big sale sign in your storefront window then you are not looking for marketing, you're looking for promotions. Marketing is all about building a brand relationship with your audience. The more time and effort you invest in marketing, the more solid your brand relationship will be, and the more appropriate the clients you'll attract and keep.

Web-programming - Where To Begin

There are four minimal requirements needed to create an episodic Web-video marketing campaign: need identification, point-of-view, attitude, and transformation. These are the same elements defined by Syd Field, the well-respected author, producer, screenwriter, and lecturer, in his book, "The Screenwriter's Workbook;" and they are the same elements that all top-notch salesmen use to build client-relationships - ask yourself - have you ever met a top salesman who wasn't a great storyteller?

Need Identification

Like all episodic series yours will need a hero or protagonist; this is the person your audience will identify with and who will act as their surrogate.

Your protagonist must be searching for something that relates to the emotional or psychological need fulfilled by your product or service. Anyone who has ever had to deal with an insurance company certainly understands the Geico caveman's need for respect. His frustration is the perfect foil for the company's marketing message, 'it's so easy a caveman can do it.' We are all cavemen at heart, seeking respect from big business bureaucracies that make us jump through hoops just to place an order.


You must present your material from a particular point-of-view. Is your presentation told from the protagonist's point-of-view or is it told from an objective observer's, perhaps through voice-over. It can even be counter-intuitive and be told from an antagonist's point-of-view.

If your scenario is more procedural based, you can even present it from different points-of-view each delivering alternative perspectives, each highlighting different aspects of the emotional fulfillment.


Attitude is especially important for Web-based presentations, but it is also one of the scariest aspects of marketing for the faint-of-heart. All too often businesses shy away from bold statements, or extreme displays for fear of alienating some segment of the audience, but it's attitude that grabs people's attention, makes the presentation memorable, and qualifies leads and inquiries.


One of the hardest things a commercial-based episodic series has to deal with is story arc. What change takes place over the life of the series and is the campaign concept strong enough to sustain itself? What transformation takes place? Does your protagonist find fulfillment or does he fail to find the emotional or psychological answer he's looking for. If you're not sure what deep-seated need your product or service satisfies, find the conflict.

All stories are based on conflict, frustration, and desire, whether it's the search for 'whiter whites' or better insurance. If your concept is without conflict, you are not illustrating the need for your solution.

You can show successful transformation based on the adoption of your solution or you can show failure whichever works best for what you're marketing and the audience you are trying to attract.


The Web has from its infancy provided business with enormous marketing opportunities. As the Web's capabilities increase over time, these opportunities increase as well. As much as other media tries to adapt to the competitive pressures created by the Web, old methods and attitudes die-hard; the writer's strike being just one example of a group trying to maintain dominance in an environment they cannot control. The opportunities are there to make your marketing mark if you have the courage to act.