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Archive for the ‘Blogs’

Big banks consider using Bitcoin blockchain technology

October 07, 2015 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Blogs, Customer Service, Google, internet, Search Clinic, Uncategorized

The basic technology underpinning the Bitcoin virtual currency could be used by some of the world’s biggest banks.

The basic technology underpinning the Bitcoin virtual currency could be used by some of the world's biggest banks.

Nine banks, including Barclays and Goldman Sachs, may adopt the blockchain system that logs who spends which virtual coins in an ever-expanding computer equivalent of a ledger.

The banks want to use the blockchain method because it is hard to fool – making fraud more difficult.

It could also speed up trading systems and make deals more transparent.

The project to test blockchain-like technology is being led by financial technology firm R3 which has signed nine banks up to the initiative.

The other seven are JP Morgan, State Street, UBS, Royal Bank of Scotland, Credit Suisse, BBVA and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Technical meetings with the banks had prompted discussion of how it could be used within banks’ trading arms.

For Bitcoin, the blockchain acts as a globally-distributed ledger that logs transactions. Everyone involved with the virtual currency contributes to the way the blockchain verifies each deal. The sheer number of people involved makes it very hard for one bitcoin user to get fraudulent deals verified and approved.

Despite this, Bitcoin has been hit by a series of scandals and thefts although most of these came about because hackers exploited weaknesses on exchanges where coins are traded or in digital wallets where they are held.

The banks were most interested in the technical architecture underpinning the blockchain that could be adapted for their own ends. The first place the blockchain was likely to find a role was as a log of who bought which stocks or shares, he said.

By adopting the technology banks could cut the cost of reporting transactions and working out who bought what and when, he added.

No timetable has been given for when technical trials of the blockchain-like technology might begin.

First 3D printed pill approved by US authorities

August 14, 2015 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Blogs, Computers, Google, internet, Search Clinic, Tablets, Uncategorized

In a world first, the US Food and Drug Administration has given the go-ahead for a 3D-printed pill to be produced.

First 3D printed pill approved by US authorities

3D printed pills could pave way for bespoke medicines for individual patients. The FDA has previously approved medical devices – including prosthetics – that have been 3D printed.

The new drug, dubbed Spritam, was developed by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals to control seizures brought on by epilepsy. The company said that it planned to develop other medications using its 3D platform.

Printing the drugs allows layers of medication to be packaged more tightly in precise dosages.

A separate technology developed by the firm, known as ZipDose, makes high dose medications easier to swallow.

Printing the drug meant it could package up to 1,000 milligrams into individual tablets.

The 3D-printed pill dissolves in the same manner as other oral medicines.

Being able to 3D print a tablet offers the potential to create bespoke drugs based on the specific needs of patients, rather than having a one product fits all approach, according to experts.

“For the last 50 years we have manufactured tablets in factories and shipped them to hospitals and for the first time this process means we can produce tablets much closer to the patient,” said Dr Mohamed Albed Alhnan, a lecturer in pharmaceutics at the University of Central Lancashire.

It would mean that medical institutions could adjust the dose for individual patients with just a simple tweak to the software before printing. Previously, such personalised medicine would have been extremely expensive to produce, said Dr Alhnan.

3D printing works by creating an object layer by layer. In the case of medicines, printers are adapted to produce pharmaceutical compounds rather than polymers which are more usually used.

Such methods are already proving very useful in healthcare with doctors using the system to create customised implants for patients with injuries or other conditions.

And dentists, for example, use 3D printers to create replica jaws and teeth as well as other dental implants.

Spritam will launch in the first quarter of 2016, according to Aprecia.

Wikipedia joins SOPA blackout protest at US anti piracy censorship

January 18, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Blogs, Computers, Customer Service, Ecommerce, Google, internet, Personal Security, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Wikipedia has taken its English language site offline as part of protests against proposed anti piracy censorship laws in the US.Wikipedia joins SOPA blackout protest at US anti piracy censorshipAnyone attempting to access the site just sees a black screen and a political statement: “Imagine a world without free knowledge.”

Wikipedia, which attracts millions of hits every day, is opposed to the US Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) being debated by Congress.

The legislation would allow the Justice Department and content owners to seek court orders requiring search engines to block results associated with piracy.

The site’s founder, Jimmy Wales, told the BBC: “Proponents of Sopa have characterised the opposition as being people who want to enable piracy or defend piracy”.

“But that’s not really the point. The point is the bill is so over broad and so badly written that it’s going to impact all kinds of things that, you know, don’t have anything to do with stopping piracy.”

The message replacing the normal Wikipedia front page on the internet says: “For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopaedia in human history. Right now, the US Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.”

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales: ”These bills are very badly written”

Even Google.com joined the protest, blacking out its logo and linking to an online petition urging Congress to not censor the web.

Sopa’s supporters in the House of Representatives say the legislation is designed to stop revenue flowing to “rogue websites”. A similar bill, Pipa, is making its way through the US Senate.

A sign of how bad this legislation may be is that even the arch hacker Murdoch- whose media organisation has been likened to the mafia for it’s “industrial illegal activities” aka phone and email hacking- supports these bills.

On Saturday the White House issued a statement that appeared to side with critics of the legislation.

It said: “While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet.”

Despite the hint of a presidential veto, Wikipedia said that the English site’s administrators had decided to stage its first ever public protest because the bills “would be devastating to the free and open web”.

It added: “We don’t think Sopa is going away, and Pipa is still quite active. Moreover, Sopa and Pipa are just indicators of a much broader problem. All around the world, we’re seeing the development of legislation intended to fight online piracy, and regulate the internet in other ways, that hurt online freedoms.”

IBM- PCs going the way of the typewriter and dodo

August 17, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Blogs, Customer Service, Ecommerce, internet, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Last week was the 30th anniversary of IBM’s development of the PC- and according to one of the IBM designers who worked on the first model it’s end is neigh.IBM- PCs going the way of the typewriter and dodoThe days of the personal computer are numbered, a leading IBM designer has claimed. Dr Mark Dean, who worked on the original IBM PC, the 5150, wrote in a blog post commemorating its 30th anniversary:

I, personally, have moved beyond the PC as well. My primary computer now is a tablet. When I helped design the PC, I didn’t think I’d live long enough to witness its decline. But, while PCs will continue to be much-used devices, they’re no longer at the leading edge of computing. They’re going the way of the vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT and incandescent light bulbs.

It’s amazing to me to think that August 12 marks the 30th anniversary of the IBM Personal Computer.

Dr Dean argued that PCs had created the environment for a new generation of devices, ranging across different form factors and uses.

This led, he claimed, to an environement in which technology allowed new ideas to flourish, without individual items being a barrier to creativity.

He wrote that “PCs are being replaced at the center of computing not by another type of device—though there’s plenty of excitement about smart phones and tablets—but by new ideas about the role that computing can play in progress. These days, it’s becoming clear that innovation flourishes best not on devices but in the social spaces between them, where people and ideas meet and interact.

It is there that computing can have the most powerful impact on economy, society and people’s lives.”

“While PCs will continue to be much-used devices, they’re no longer at the leading edge of computing,” he said.

IBM launched the 5150 on 12 August 1981, and it quickly established the look and feel of PCs in general. Dr Dean owns a third of the patents for it, and claimed he did not expect to outlive the idea. Now, however, he says that even his own main device is a tablet computer.

Social media activity can help your seo rankings

January 17, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: bing, Blogs, Facebook, Google, internet, Online Marketing, search engines, Social Media, Twitter, Uncategorized

Google and Bing have recently confirmed that social media reactions are a ranking factor with both search engines.
Social media activity can help your seo rankingsIt may be stating the bloomin’ obvious, but search engines- in the business of delivering quality search results, would not ignore these signals.

Are Twitter and Facebook just other sites that are/may be treated specially by search engines, the idea of a social graph as a current reality being a trendy spin on something has existed in some form for a while, or are they a completely new type of influence on organic results?

Before Twitter and Facebook, for a number of years the vast majority of social online discussion was carried out on various bulletin boards and forums. Google can identify discussion results of this type, and it seems plausible that links from such pages could be treated differently to the rest of the web.

The same could be true of links in blog comments. If Akismet can identify which comments are spam, would it not be conceivably possible for Google to do so too?

After learning of their reasonable surfer patent, granted earlier this year, we know that spiders can identify different areas of content on a page and process them by different standards.

Historically, we don’t know how Google has treated links from sites like Digg, Reddit and Del.icio.us, many of which were around before Twitter and Facebook.

They could be handled the same as any other website, but as social bookmarking became more and more significant in shaping the content people view and consider to be notable, does it not stand to reason that someone at Google would have considered factoring the role of these sites into ranking algorithms?

Social discussion online in itself is obviously not new. Usenet used to be a particularly social platform, distinguished from walled off forums by being decentralised and entirely public.

The same metrics used to grade the value of Tweets and Tweeters could be used in any other public arena of social discussion where links or their equivalent are shared.

There’s no reason search engines couldn’t already have been using methods like these to determine quality of article submissions and submitters on, say, Digg for a long time already, but unless a specific announcement was made the SEO community would be in the dark.

No SEO person outside of the search engines knows all the intimate details of Google’s ranking algorithms, either currently or historically.

I think many in web marketing mistake this information void as evidence that ranking algorithms are simpler than they likely are in reality, and see info like this as announcement of something that’s new.

Whatever the case, it won’t change the fact that producing unique, compelling content and marketing it well is the simplest strategy to attracting online traffic.

Complaints grow against Google’s results ranking

January 13, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Blogs, Dr Search, Online Marketing, Search Clinic, search engines, Uncategorized

Particularly over the past month Search Clinic has noticed that some of Google’s search results are becoming dubious- to say the very least.Complaints grow against Google's results rankingAnd it’s not just us who have noticed a marked deterioration is their results.

A number of of other bloggers have also noticed this downward trend who are critical of Google’s search quality.

Could it be that Google is getting greedy as spam results may force some lazy and desperate online marketing companies to resort to their notorious pay per click AdWords?

It isn’t that tricky to spot these rogue websites. Step forward SeoQuake, McAfee and a number of other free and paid for services which provide a checking facility.

While there doesn’t seem to be a single tipping point for these posts, many people are getting frustrated at spammy search results and the large number of content farms which have started to emerge.

The result, however, is awful. Pages and pages of Google results that are just, for practical purposes, advertisements in the loose guise of articles, original or re-purposed.

While the major problems with Google’s search quality appear to be the rise of content farms and review sites, some posts also mention a number of other black hat SEO tactics like link buying and doorway domains that are still working for some sites.

With the number of posts on this topic, I don’t think it will be long before a Google representative steps in to clear the air. In the mean time, what do you think about Google’s search results? Have you seen a decline in quality in recent months?

Let us know via the blog comments below!

Businesses with blogs get 55% more website visitors

November 30, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Blogs, Customer Service, Dr Search, Facebook, Online Marketing, Search Clinic, Social Media, Twitter, Uncategorized

New research has shown that websites with blogs get considerably more traffic, links and credibility than static business sites that don’t interact with social media- and potential customers.

If you have a blog, you know that it’s good for your business. But just how good– and how much?

To answer to those questions, HubSpot looked at data from 1,531 of their customers- mostly small- and medium-sized businesses. 795 of the businesses in their sample blogged and a roughly equal amount 736 didn’t.

The data was crystal clear- companies that blog have far better marketing results.

Specifically, the average company that blogs has:
* 55% more visitors
* 97% more inbound links
* 434% more indexed pages

Please, just take a look for yourself in the graphs below:
Businesses with blogs get 55% more website visitorsWhy are website visitors important? Because more visitors mean more people to convert to leads and sales.
blogs get 97% more inbound linksWhy are inbound links important? Because they signal authority to search engines, thus increasing your chances of getting found in those search engines.

sites with blogs get 434% more indexed pagesWhy are indexed pages important? The more pages you have on your site, the more chances you have of getting found in search engines.

For more information on HubSpot’s blogs improve your business report please click here now.

Dr Search asks if you have a blog for your business? If not what are you waiting for- your competitors may well have one- how long do you want them to steal your potential customers and sales?

For a free chat why not contact the Search Clinic NOW?

Twitter row over bomb threat joke

November 15, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Blogs, Dr Search, Online Marketing, Social Media, Twitter, Uncategorized

Tweeters have joined forces to support Paul Chambers, the man convicted and fined for a Twitter message threatening to blow up an airport.
Twitter row over bomb threat jokeThe Twitter community is angry that the 27-year-old accountant has failed to overturn his conviction.

A day after his appeal failed, two “hashtags” to highlight his situation remain top topics in the UK.

Free speech advocate Index on Censorship said the UK judiciary was out of step with social networks.

“The verdict demonstrates that the UK’s legal system has little respect for free expression, and has no understanding of how people communicate in the 21st Century,” said the organisation’s news editor Padraig Reidy.

On Twitter, the furore over Paul Chambers’ sentencing shows no sign of ebbing away.

Some 24 hours after his appeal failed, the “hashtag” #twitterjoketrial remains one of the top trending topics on the site.

A so-called “I’m Spartacus” campaign encouraging users to “re-tweet” his words has also become a huge hit.

The hashtag #IAmSpartacus is currently the number one trending topic on Twitter in the UK, with #twitterjoketrial in second place.

The I’m Spartacus campaign is inspired by the famous scene in the 1960s blockbuster, when slaves stood up one by one to claim “I’m Spartacus” in order to save their fellow gladiator from detection.

Paul Chambers was found guilty in May, convicted of sending a menacing electronic communication when he tweeted: “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!”

Chambers is believed to be the first person convicted in the UK for posting an offensive tweet.

After the hearing, actor and Twitter fan Stephen Fry tweeted that he would pay Chambers’ fine.

Comedian Dara O’Briain tweeted that the verdict was “ludicrous” while Peep Show actor David Mitchell said it was “punishment for flippancy”.

Videos uploaded onto YouTube at the rate of 35 hours every minute

November 12, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Blogs, Dr Search, Online Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized, Video Marketing, YouTube

YouTube have announced this week that people are now uploading 35 hours of videos every minute.Videos uploaded onto YouTube at the rate of 35 hours every minuteThis upload rate is also increasing.

Just eight months ago in March YouTube announced that 24 hours of video were being uploaded per hour. YouTube video 35 hours uploaded every minute graphThe YouTube official blog post announcing this record also comes out with some interesting statistics.

As you can see from the above chart, the number of uploads to YouTube have more than doubled in the last two years. How come? Here are some of the factors contributing to the growth:

* The time limit for videos uploaded by users increased by 50% from 10 to 15 minutes.
* The upload file size increased over the last few years by more than 10x to 2GB via our standard uploader.
* Mobile phones have improved dramatically in how quickly and easily they upload videos to YouTube.
* More companies integrating our APIs to support upload from outside of YouTube.com (Activision’s Call of Duty Black Ops. as one very cool example where you can record and share video footage from within the game).

“If we were to measure that in movie terms (assuming the average Hollywood film is around 120 minutes long), 35 hours a minute is the equivalent of over 176,000 full-length Hollywood releases every week.  Another way to think about it is: if three of the major US networks were broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for the last 60 years, they still wouldn’t have broadcast as much content as is uploaded to YouTube every 30 days.”

With 35 hours of video being uploaded each minute, it’s becoming more and more clear that you can watch basically anything on YouTube. Which is why Google owned YouTube has such trouble deleting off Al Qaeda incitement to terrorism videos.

Dr Search reminds you that YouTube is a great, free channel for you and your business to promote your services- with a rapidly growing audience.

Bloggers use social media sites to promote their posts finds Technorati

November 10, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Blogs, Dr Search, Search Clinic, Social Media, Uncategorized

According to Technorati, 78 percent of bloggers use Twitter and the number one reason bloggers use the social networking site is to promote their own blog.
Bloggers use social media sites to promote their posts finds TechnoratiTechnorati’s annual State of the Blogosphere 2010 report shows that social media is becoming increasingly indispensable for bloggers, with 87 percent using Facebook, in addition to the 78 percent on Twitter.

They do so to promote their own blogs, share interesting links, stay informed with news and events, and measure what people are paying attention to online.

Technorati has conducted the study for the past six years to analyse blogging growth and trends.

This year, the study specifically examined brands in the blogosphere, professional blogging activities, how bloggers are making money, the importance of Facebook vs. Google to bloggers, and the impact of new trends, like smartphones, on the blogosphere.

Overall, respondents are spending more time engaging in online activities than they were in 2009, and spending significantly more time reading social media sites.

Specifically, bloggers spend more time on social media sites each week than reading other blogs.  Bloggers spent an average of 9.9 hours on social media sites each week, compared to just 5.5 hours among the American general population.

The findings were released this week by Technorati President and CEO Richard Jalichandra in his annual “State of the Blogosphere” address at the ad:tech conference in New York City.

The study divides bloggers among their reasons for blogging, from the “hobbyist” blogger who writes for pleasure to the “corporate” blogger who writes for their company, with “self-employed” and “part-timer” falling in between.

What’s drawing bloggers into social networking this year seems to be what makes it attractive to us all: time.

As compared with 2009, hobbyist bloggers are updating their blogs less frequently. The number of bloggers updating once or twice per day significantly decreased, while the number updating once every few weeks significantly increased.

Across audiences, bloggers were more likely to share blog posts with their social media followers than with their blog readership, indicating that social networks are seen as a marketing tool by each group.

A deeper dive into the study found some interesting results when it comes to bloggers’ uses of Facebook and Twitter specifically.

Among them:
* 81 percent of bloggers use Facebook to promote their blog, while 64 percent use it to interact with readers.
* 45 percent see Facebook as a more effective driver of traffic to their blog than a year ago, while 34 percent report the same for Twitter.
* 73 percent of hobbyists versus 88 percent of professionals use Twitter, and more than half of all bloggers link Twitter to their blog.
* One third of Twitter users, meanwhile, say they prefer Facebook to post short updates and links.
* 33 percent of all bloggers report tablets and smartphones have impacted their blogging style.

Dr Search points out that using Twitter and Fecebook to promote blogs is a no brainer.

Firstly linking blog posts into Twitter accounts widens the potential readership and secondly the targetted process that is Twitter means that one can reach a specific target audiance easily.