Browsing Category: "Technology"

Why It’s So Damn Hard to Put Internet in the Subway

June 24th, 2021 | Posted in Technology, Uncategorized

Over the last few decades the internet has moved from dial-up to high-speed, cables to wireless, and now it’s moving into the sky and underground. Today most major cities with subway systems—Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, London, and many more—are adding Wi-Fi to underground stations.

It’s easy to pass over the technical difficulty of this modern-day miracle but thanks to temperature fluctuations and exposure to water, getting the internet under all those layers of concrete is even harder than you’d think. It’s a far cry from setting up an AirPort router in the living room.

To learn more, we turned to New York City. Its subway system is huge and runs 24/7, with no downtime for maintenance much less Wi-Fi installation. As such, the rollout of its underground internet is still very much a work in progress. The hope is that all 279 underground stations will be connected.

Transit Wireless is overseeing the Wi-Fi rollout in NYC, and according to its director of engineering Nathan Cornish, there are a few major differences between above- and below-ground service. “We treat [underground environments] like a bit of a coffin,” Cornish says. There’s no existing coverage or infrastructure to speak of down there, so Transit Wireless has to build everything from scratch. Each station needs antennas, access points, backup power, and a remote unit that distributes cellular service throughout the platforms. To hook all that up to the actual internet, Transit Wireless also installs fiber optic cables connect each individual station to a central hub referred to as the “base station hotel” where the internet is piped in from the outside. New York’s subway system is so large that there will eventually be five of these throughout the city.

“We have guys working down there while there are live trains going through the system and people on the platform.”

The hardest part of that installation? Finding a good time to do it. Transit Wireless employees don’t have the luxury of just shutting down subway stations for installation, Cornish explains. “We have guys working down there while there are live trains going through the system and people on the platform.”

And while getting the internet underground is hard enough, making Wi-Fi work on a subway platform in particular is even harder. Despite being enclosed and technically indoors, the subway is actually considered an “outdoor environment.” According to Cornish, subway temperatures can fluctuate from below freezing to over 100 degrees. That’s a huge difference from putting an electronic system into an office building, which may never change more than ten degrees year-round, depending on who’s got control of the thermostat.

Subway temperatures can fluctuate from below freezing to over 100 degrees

The other problem is water. And not just puddles or errant drips from street-level. “The entire stations are pressure hosed,” Cornish says, not that you would necessarily think that when you go down there. But electrical components don’t get special treatment in the subway station; they need to be able to handle the hose. Add to that a persistent sprinkling of brake dust—particles of metal sprayed into the air all day as trains pull into the station—and you can see why you’d need some seriously rugged equipment.

NYC’s Wi-Fi project is coming along, but other cities already have it beat. In 2007, Hong Kong and Buenos Aires became the first cities to install Wi-Fi in their subway systems. Today, Hong Kong’s subway is fully connected, while Buenos Aires has only 13 of 84 stations connected, despite early plans to the contrary. Complications are unfortunate but inevitable. There are plenty of places for rollout to get hung up. Every subway station in unique in terms of depth and layout. Unfortunately that requires creating an individual design for each, and in New York, Cornish notes, that means each and every station has to be approved separately. “There’s a significant amount of engineering and project management behind each station’s design and approval.” It’s a long and arduous process that has to be completed long before the actual wiring begins.

While being disconnected underground may cut into your Facebook time, subterranean internet has its upsides as well. A 2014 Gallup poll showed that the average American with a full time job worked between 44-49 hours a week. The workday bleeds into the rest of our lives thanks in large part to round-the-clock email, texts, and other forms of communication. It’s a well-covered issue. From Monday through Friday, your average 50-minute daily commute might be your only true respite. Sure, internet will certainly make it easier to stomach getting stuck at the station, but it’ll hurt when you get that email from work just as you’re descending the steps. So try to enjoy the freedom of zero bars while you still have the chance. It won’t last long.

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How To Make Your Business Computer Network Super-Fast!

May 14th, 2021 | Posted in Technology

If you run a business, chances are you’ll have a few computers in your office connected to a LAN or Local Area Network. The LAN, in turn, is connected to the Internet, so that you and your colleagues can surf the Web.

You might have a server attached to your network, responsible for sharing files amongst all the network users. That sounds like a good computer setup, right? The only downside to many computer networks these days is the speed. Or, should I say, the lack of speed!

Have you ever noticed that, when someone gets a large file, everyone’s network connections slow down? Especially if that transfer is taking place from a storage device attached to your network!

The good news is that you can turbocharge your organization’s network and computer systems. Want to know how? Keep reading to find out!

Workstation upgrade

Even if your network is super-fast, it won’t have much effect on a ten-year-old PC. It never ceases to amaze me how many businesses operate computers that got considered obsolete years ago.

Before you do anything with your network, you need to make sure your workstations are performing at their best.

Here are a few key upgrades you should perform in case they aren’t fast enough for today’s needs:

  • RAM – I recommend running at least 8GB of RAM if you’re using the latest version of Microsoft Windows or Apple OS X;
  • Processor – where possible, upgrade your CPU to the fastest one available for your budget. If you’re running an Intel Core i3 dual-core, consider an upgrade to a Core i5 quad-core;
  • Storage Drive – most systems won’t need a huge amount of storage space, especially if they keep their files on a server or in the cloud. With that in mind, upgrade each drive to a solid-state drive (SSD);
  • Network Port– computers usually have a built-in gigabit Ethernet port at the back of them. If your systems don’t, you can buy PCI cards that you slot into the motherboard that offer this functionality.

Server upgrades

If your workplace has a server attached to the network, you can apply the same upgrades to it as you would your workstations.

You might also be running a database on your server that your staff use on a daily basis. If your users are finding it slow to access or run queries on, you should consider migrating to an in-memory database.

Check out the FAQs over at Altibase.com to find out more about how they work. But, in a nutshell, they use your server’s RAM for data storage instead of a hard drive. Don’t worry; you can backup the data stored in RAM in case your server suffers from a power loss.

Network upgrades

The final thing you can do to speed up your network is to upgrade its technology! As mentioned earlier, gigabit Ethernet ensures faster data transmissions. You’ll need to change your routers and switches for models that support gigabit Ethernet.

Last, but not least, upgrade your Internet connection to a fiber-based one. Your network users will thank you for it!

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Git: Presentation of a Practical Versioning Program

April 23rd, 2021 | Posted in Technology, Uncategorized

Today on the blog of Web design, a presentation of Git and some resources to get you started

Git, as its name does not indicate, is a version control software. You may be familiar with svn, bazaar, …, and well it fulfills the same functions (only better ^^).

If you do not know, let me explain the concept with three situations.

Go back to a modification

Have you ever lost a file by mistake, or want to go back, just before the last changes made? This is possible with Git.

Git will allow you, once installed in a folder, save all changes made ​​to files in the form of commit. You choose the files you want to include the changes, you put a little comment message, and you save the commit. You can then return to the state of the file before the commit, then reapply. A kind of ctrl-z / ctrl-y in short.

Do tests without duplicating his record

Have you ever wanted to try something that might break your project, while hoping to do in the main folder, without having to copy and paste the full dossier? Git can do that too.

Git allows you to create branches in your file. To test your functionality, create a branch. If the test is successful, you can apply some or all commit performed in the test plugs into your main branch. Otherwise, it removes the branch and talk about it more.

Collaborate

Have you ever worked on a two FTP, on the same file, and crushed changes your colleague without purpose? This can not happen with Git.

Git allows you to synchronize the status of your project between several computers and servers. So you can work on your local and push your changes to the server once they are tested and they work. If someone pushed   its own modifications, it will “merger”, ie blend the two branches of the project. Most of the time the operation is transparent.

(Note that svn & co can also help in these situations, but they are less well (trollolo))

Start with Git

So, want to try? The first thing to do is install it. If you   are on a * nix, I think I can say without worry that your package manager known as the git. If you summers on windows, you will find a version for you here: http://code.google.com/p/msysgit/ .

For the rest, I give you some resources to get you started.

Resources

Git Immersion

A very good tutorial to learn git.

 

Github

Github is a magical place, a sort of social network encoder. Here you can create your git repositories for open source projects, and participate in existing projects.

 

Le.git

Legit is a small program that aliases some rather hairy git commands into something easier to remember for an average human being.

 

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4 Reasons To Let The Experts Build Your Website

March 23rd, 2021 | Posted in Technology, Uncategorized

A strong company website can quickly become one of your organisation’s greatest marketing tools. It can provide a professional shop window to an audience of millions. It also provides a 24/7 port of contact.

Building a website isn’t difficult, but creating a successful one is one of the hardest tasks in business. There are many factors to consider. If you get them right, though, it should bring huge rewards for the company.

Here are four main reasons to let the experts design your website.

Cost

The most obvious reason for any business to build the website themselves is cost. It’s only natural to assume that doing it yourself will be cheaper, but it isn’t necessarily the case.

On the face of it, hiring a professional service is more expensive. But by the time you factor in hidden costs, those savings soon become far smaller. Registering domains and email inboxes are small costs individually, but soon add up. When you then take labour costs into account, you’ll be scratching your head as to why you just didn’t call the experts.

Quality

A website is your most valuable online marketing tool, so you want to make the most of it. Let’s be honest, putting out a self-designed shoddy product isn’t going to do you any favours.

Your company website can work like a far more powerful version of a business card. It can also actively generate sales through the use of an online store. However, none of this can be achieved if the design looks poor. First impressions are everything when it comes to websites. Using a professional service will create a far more positive vibe.

Best of all, a company like NBW will also optimise for usage on smartphones and other small devices. Considering over half of all internet time is conducted away from computers, this is a must.

Standing Out

Having a quality website means nothing if people aren’t visiting it. Using the professionals can help you to achieve a stronger foothold in the fierce online market.

There are various tools to integrate your website with social media. Doing this will help your company stand out in the online world while also saving you plenty of time. Moreover, gaining expert tips on how to rank highly on search engines will generate far more traffic. With a professionally designed website, this should all result in increased conversion rates.

Standing out in business is key, especially on the World Wide Web. Despite what you think, your knowledge won’t cut the mustard. Equip yourself with a team of people that have the experience and skills to drive your company forward.

It Leaves You More Time

Marketing is a hugely influential part of the business, but it isn’t what makes your company tick. Every minute spent on promoting the company is time that could’ve been better spent elsewhere. Your main job is producing the products and services that will keep your customers coming back for more. Don’t forget it.

It’s impossible to run every part of the business yourself, and this is one of those times you need help. The expert advice will benefit the marketing strategies, and the running of our company too. No-brainer.

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How Important is Responsive Web Design?

March 17th, 2021 | Posted in Technology, Uncategorized

You’ve probably heard about responsive web design before. If you haven’t, it’s a web design that adapts to the way in which the user is viewing your website. This means it’s suited to mobile and tablet users. Here’s why it’s an important option to consider.

Increase Reach to Mobile Users

The way in which people browse the internet has changed a lot in the last few years. The rise of tablets and smartphones means that people don’t visit websites in the same way that they used to. To reach the maximum amount of people nowadays, website owners need to make sure a responsive design is used.

It’s never been more important to get this right. The amount of people using tablets as the main way in which to browse the internet is rising all the time. So, that means if you don’t use a responsive design, you’ll be alienating a sizable proportion size of your potential readership.

Save Time and Money

Having a different mobile website to your main website gives you two headaches instead of one. It doubles the amount of time and money you have to spend on developing the site to begin with. But it also doubles the amount of time and money you spend on maintaining the website throughout the year.

For any business, saving time and money is always a priority. So, you should use a responsive web design. This cuts out the need for two websites, so you’ll only have one to spend time and money on. Visit http://www.thomas-design.co.uk/ to find out how you can get your website designed responsively.

Boost Conversion Rates

For the user who arrives at your responsively designed website, the process is smooth and easy. Whereas, if they arrive and have to go through lots of redirections before they find the right website, it can be very frustrating. This is a simple reason to make sure you have a responsive web design.

It takes away some of the challenges for people who want to use your website. This can then lead to people spending their money with your business if your website is being used to sell products. Selling more products and having more people look around your website can only be a good thing.

Make SEO Simpler

Making your website easier to find on search engines is not something that’s easy to do. But it’s made even more difficult if you have two separate websites: one for desktops and one for mobiles. By having a responsive web design, you will only have one site to look after, so your attention will be much more focused.

Attaching all your efforts on one site and putting all your content in one place will cause your ranking on search engines to rise. Your strategy and tactics are important when it comes to SEO. That strategy will be much more likely to yield positive results if you can centralise it and set your focus clearly.

As you now know, responsive web design is very important. So, make sure your website is designed responsively.

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