Blogging Platforms Compared – Which Wins Out?

It seems that every man and his dog has a blog (they used to be called weblogs). Whether you’re using it as your online journal to document your personal thoughts or you’re blogging about a specific industry or even producing content solely to make money it helps to know what your choices are in terms of the platform.

In this article we’re going to do a quick run through of some of the more common blogging platforms on the market. All of them are free (which is a good thing) and all of them are capable of powering anything from a basic blog to something with thousands of pages and thousands of daily visitors. So which one is best? Let’s take a look.

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 Hosted Solutions (e.g. Blogger)

 Most first time users tend to gravitate towards the free hosted solutions such as blogger.com. On the surface they probably look like they’ll do the job and you won’t have to mess around installing and configuring applications. That’s a huge plus if you’re not particularly tech-savvy but it also comes with its limitations. The biggest one being you’re pretty much stuck where you are, you can’t move your blog elsewhere and you’ll have trouble getting your own domain name for it when it grows etc so there are quite a few drawbacks. If however you just want a small blog to document your personal thoughts each day then it’s probably more than enough for you.

 Wordpress

 By far WordPress is the most popular solution out there. It has everything you could possibly want in a content management system and is trusted by millions of people throughout the world. If there is one drawback I’d say it’s the sheer size of the application itself and because it’s so popular it’s also prone to exploits and hack attempts. Frequent patches do enough to combat this but if you’re going to run WordPress you really need to know what you’re doing in terms of security.

 Drupal

 They call this the developers blogging platform because it comes with a lot of highly customisable features. With Drupal you’re not limited as you are with WordPress, you can define and configure every aspect of your installation and get your blog looking and performing exactly how you want it to. Whilst there are not as many add ons in terms of themes and plugins as there are with WordPress and Joomla it is quite well supported so you’ll find more than enough options out there for customisation.

 Ghost

 Ghost is a platform that is becoming increasing popular, especially with those who have fallen out of love with WordPress due to its bulk and potential for exploits. Whilst it’s not as simple as WordPress in terms of installation and configuration, there are lots of tutorials available that assist with this and once you’re up and running it’s extremely lightweight and secure.

 Joomla

 Whilst it’s not strictly a blogging platform lots of people are using Joomla to power their blog. Personally I think it’s better to use a proper blogging solution rather than a standard website CMS but it is possible and it is feature rich. If you’re just literally writing blog posts it’s probably not worth bothering with. However if you want to bolt things onto it then it’s probably worth taking a look at.

Conclusion

 Blogging for the most part is all about the content. They say content is king and where blogs are concerned, it couldn’t be more true. But, the platform is important also. As to which one is truly better, I guess it’s a matter of preference. Some will prefer the features of one particular application and some will be so set in their ways having used a particular solution for the past 10 years they’ll see no real reason to change.

I can understand why people stick to what they know but I do think it also pays to try new things out from time to time. Who knows you might end up finding a solution you prefer. Lots of people are saying having tried the likes of Ghost they’re considering switching permanently etc.

Lenovo Miix 520 Leaked, a New 2-in-1 Tipped to Take on Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Lenovo Miix 520 Leaked, a New 2-in-1 Tipped to Take on Microsoft Surface Pro 4After Microsoft launched its new Surface lineup at its October 27 event, Lenovo can be seen upping the game with its own 2-in-1 offerings. The Chinese tech company launched an improved Miix 510 in August and now it seems Lenovo is bringing a new 2-in-1 to its Miix range. Some details about the new Miix 520 have leaked online along with some unofficial renders that reveal its design.

The Chinese tech company entered the 2-in-1 device arena with its Surface clone last year. At IFA this year, Lenovolaunched Miix 510 that included 12.2-inch full-HD display, and models with up to 8GB of RAM and a up to 1TB SSD. Now, as per a new report by WinFuture, a new Lenovo Surface-like 2-in-1 is in the making and its details are out. Unlike the Miix 510, Lenovo Miix 520 is said to be powered by the new Intel Kaby Lake processor, coupled with 16GB of RAM. It may sport a 12.3-inch display that will offer a resolution of 1920×1200 pixels with Gorilla Glass for scratch protection.

The report also claims that the battery in the new Miix 520 will be rated to provide up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge. There will also be a fingerprint scanner present in the device. It is also touted to bear the Dolby Advanced Audio certification. For storage, the Lenovo Miix 520 is reported to have up to 1TB of storage that can also be expanded via an external microSD card.

For cameras, it will have an 8-megapixel and 2-megapixel camera duo setup at the back while there will be a 5-megapixel front-facing shooter. The secondary camera at the back is supposed to work for augmented reality applications. The Lenovo Miix 520 will have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and LTE connectivity options. It is also said to have two USB Type-C ports and one USB 3.0. Lenovo Miix 520 is also reported to integrate Windows Hello on its platform.

The report also includes some unofficial renders of Lenovo Miix 520 that have surfaced online. The renders show that it looks quite similar to its predecessor Miix 510 in terms of design. It may also be accompanied by an optional keyboard with Watch Band hinge and a stylus for handwriting inputs, as per the report.

These details and unofficial renders are quite preliminary, therefore, we recommend users to take this news with a grain of salt. Price and availability details are not known to us at this point of time.

Eve V Crowdfunded Windows 10 Tablet Reportedly Has Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s Attention

Eve V Crowdfunded Windows 10 Tablet Reportedly Has Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's AttentionEven though Microsoft’s Surface tablets are considered to be one of the best in their class, there is a new hybrid tablet that has peaked the curiosity of Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella. Eve V, a Windows 10-powered tablet, was developed with the inputs provided by user community created by the company itself and has reportedly got the attention of Nadella.

The Eve V tablet has a starting price of $1,399 (Rs. 96,000) and as per the company, the funding from IndieGoGo campaign will be used to cover manufacturing costs and handling of pre-orders, as reported by Business Insider. However, the tablet is said to already be a finished product and fully functional, thanks earlier funding provided by Intel.

At the time of writing this article, Eve V’s listing on IndieGoGo has already garnered $936,352 (Rs. 6.4 crores), or 1,248 percent of its initial goal of $75,000 (Rs. 52 lakhs). The tablet has already been back-ordered to April 2017 but can still be pre-ordered from IndieGoGo. Eve CEO Konstantinos Karatsevidis told Business Insider that Satya Nadella got interested in the product after reading about the project and will get his unit when the device starts shipping in February.

The most unique thing about Eve V is that everything from the keyboard to its cover material has been decided after receiving inputs from Eve.Community, the user community website created by Karatsevidis. The website allows users to simply register and start giving their suggestions for the device.

After receiving inputs from the community, the developers decided to ditch a rather slim design in order to incorporate a larger battery, which was preferred more by contributors. In a comparison with the Surface Pro 4, the Eve V is seen to have more modern processors, more ports (including USB Type-C), a slightly higher resolution display, better battery life, a quad-speaker setup, and a smaller price tag despite the similar configuration.

Even though Microsoft has constantly pushed all the devices that run on Windows 10 platform, it will be interesting to see if Eve V’s challenge to the Redmond-based company’s critically acclaimed lineup of hybrid devices creates a cause of concern for Microsoft.

Kerala has become a truly ‘digital state’: President Pranab Mukherjee

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President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday lauded Kerala’s achievements in promoting information technology and declared the state to be the first “digital state” of India. ”With broadband connectivity in every Gram Panchayat, Kerala has emerged as a truly digital state,” Mukherjee said at a function at the Cyber Park near.

The president noted Kerala’s progress in becoming digitally enabled, right from the launching of a pilot Akshaya e-literacy project in Malappuram district in 2002 to now when the state revenue department alone is issuing about 30,000 digital certificates to the citizens daily. The Akshaya project, which has since expanded all across the state, was the first district-wide e-literacy project in India. There are currently about 2500 Akshaya centres across the length and breadth of the state, which also provide Internet access and e-service delivery to the people.

Mukherjee also praised the efforts of the IT@school project aimed at providing basic computer knowledge to every high school student. The state established its first State Data Center in 2005 to deliver governmental services through e-governance and set up the second centre in 2011, he said.

“It is heartening to note that Kerala has now over 600 e-governance applications covering almost all departments, delivering e-services to its citizens. They are also being made available on the mobile platform now. All districts of the state have been covered under the e-District project,” said Mukherjee.

The president said the growth of Internet and smartphone penetration had rapidly transformed Kerala into a knowledge-powered economy. He said the state has a mobile tele-density of 95 percent and an internet access covering over 60 percent of the population. The president also inaugurated the first IT Park in the Malabar region which is spread over of 0.5 million square feet and will provide a base to 5,000 professionals, besides creating indirect employment for over 20,000 people in the region.

“This IT Park has the distinction of being the first in its class to be developed in the country by a labour cooperative society, the Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society (ULCCS),” he noted.

The society, formed in 1925 by social reformer Guru Vagbhadananda, has helped in improving the living standards of the economically-weaker sections by providing them job opportunities, Mukherjee said.

Google is reportedly working on a standalone VR headset – no PC, console or laptop required

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Last week, it was reported that Google would be releasing a device sometime later this year as a successor to its Cardboard virtual reality system; one that would supposedly feature a host of improvements over the cheap VR viewer, and be more like Samsung’s Gear VR headset.

Now, a report from the Wall Street Journal claims that in addition to working on this smartphone-powered headset, Google is also developing a VR first: a stand-alone device that requires no smartphone, computer or games console to power it.

The device will reportedly feature a display, outward-facing cameras (possibly depth-sensing ones like those used on Project Tango), and high-powered processors using chips from startup Movidius Inc, a company specializing in embedded machine vision.

Movidius acknowledged that it has a “business relationship” with Google, and said in a statement that it works with many companies on virtual reality and augmented reality devices, but it didn’t go into details.

Should the reports prove to be true, the headset would be another product from Google’s recently formed Virtual Reality division, which is headed by the company’s VP for product management, Clay Bavor.

With the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive requiring fairly beefy PCs to get the most out of them, and cheaper, smartphone-powered devices unable to match the quality of these headsets, Google’s potential stand-alone device could offer a good middle-ground between these two types of VR experiences.

The headset is reportedly in the early stages of development, so we may not see it until next year, but it’s yet another indication that tech companies view virtual reality as the future of the industry.

Lasers may be able to propel spacecraft to Mars at a significant fraction of the speed of light

NASA late last year outlined a three-phase plan to send astronauts to Mars. The ambitious undertaking, much of which involves ongoing space research and developing methods to harvest resources from Mars to sustain human life, is on schedule to unfold over the next several years.

Those challenges aside, perhaps the most pressing question then becomes how to transport astronauts to the red planet in the most efficient – and of course, safe – manner. Although Mars is one of our closest neighbors, it would still take a modern spacecraft several months to get there using traditional thrust-based propulsion methods.

Philip Lubin, a US Santa Barbara physics professor and NASA employee, believes the key to timely space travel lies in an alternative propulsion technology known as photonic propulsion.

In its simplest explanation, Lubin proposes a spacecraft with a reflective sail that could be pushed through space at an incredibly high speed (a significant fraction of the speed of light) by firing a laser directly at the sail. If successful, Lubin believes the method could send a 100 kilogram robotic craft to Mars in just three days. A larger craft occupied by humans could make the trip in about a month.

As Wired notes, photonic propulsion could allow us to explore other solar systems in search of potentially habitable planets. Maintaining communication with a robotic craft that far away, however, would still be a problem given modern technology.

Lubin says there’s no known reason why we could not do this although there are several hurdles that must be overcome beforehand. For example, how would we slow down a spacecraft as it approaches its destination?

Leap Motion finds a purpose in virtual reality

When Leap Motion first unveiled its gesture-based controller in May 2012, many were skeptical of its capabilities and questioned its need in the marketplace. Similarities were drawn to early smartwatches in that they didn’t really serve a purpose or fill a need.

By the time its motion controller was shipping a year later, it was clear that Leap Motion would ultimately become a virtual reality accessory rather than a standalone PC accessory. The company admitted as much in August 2014 and today, it unveiled a virtual reality-minded hardware and software solution called Orion.

Orion is designed specifically for virtual reality (its sensor can even be embedded directly into headsets). Leap Motion co-founder and CEO Michael Buckwald told Engadget that untethered mobile VR solutions are most likely to adopt Orion as hands are the primary input method for such devices.

The new hardware is only half of the equation. On the software side, co-founder and CTO David Holz said they’ve taken what they learned over the past few years and really built something from the ground up. The result of all that hard work is that hand tracking is now massively better, we’re told.

The publication vouched for Orion, noting that a new demo they tried was incredibly fast and smooth. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that Orion can even track fingers it can’t actually see – wizardry made possible by using “hints” of pixels around the knuckles to determine where the hidden fingers are located.

Even with improved tracking, gesture-based controllers like this still lack the ability to provide tactile feedback. When the goal of virtual reality is a sense of total immersion, not having that physical feedback could be a deal breaker for some.

Buckwald said Leap Motion is currently in talks with several OEMs and that we can expect to see its technology show up in select headsets by the end of the year.

Learn Ruby on Rails with this comprehensive bootcamp, now 97% off

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Ruby on Rails is straight-forward, intuitive and a go-to destination for savvy programmers looking to innovate. Ruby packs a lot of power under its modest hood, and those looking to harness that power can learn the ins and outs with this Ruby on Rails Coding Bootcamp bundle.

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Researchers develop a robotic third arm to give drummers a helping hand

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As someone who briefly played drums in a college band, I can appreciate how helpful having a third arm would be when it comes to hammering out complicated solos. It seems that researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology also thought that drummers could use a helping hand, and have developed a robotic limb to help boost their skills.

The project, from the University’s Center for music technology, aims to push the limits of what humans can do with robotics.

The “smart arm” can be strapped to a drummer’s shoulder, and responds to human gestures and the music it hears. When the drummer moves to play the high hat cymbal, for example, the robotic arm maneuvers to play the ride cymbal. If the drummer then switches to the snare, the mechanical arm shifts to the tom, and so on.

“If you augment humans with smart, wearable robotics, they could interact with their environment in a much more sophisticated manner,” Georgia Tech Professor Gil Weinberg said in a statement. “The third arm provides a much richer and more creative experience, allowing the human to play many drums simultaneously with virtuosity and sophistication that are not otherwise possible.”

What makes the arm especially smart is that it can it listen to the music being played in a room and improvise based on the beat and rhythm. It can slow down and speed up the tempo depending on what a musician plays.

The robot limb uses built-in accelerometers to sense distance and proximity, so it won’t put a stick through a drum skin or get in the way of the drummer’s actual arm. To make the robotic arm move naturally, the researchers used motion-capture technology.

The next step for the team is to link the arm with the drummer’s brain activity. The researchers are experimenting with an electroencephalogram (EEG) headband that detects brain patterns. It’s hoped that this will eventually allow the arm to react when a musician simply thinks about changing the tempo.

The ultimate aim is, of course, to expand the technology beyond musical instruments. “Imagine if doctors could use a third arm to bring them tools, supplies or even participate in surgeries. Technicians could use an extra hand to help with repairs and experiments,” said Weinberg. “Music is based on very timely, precise movements. It’s the perfect medium to try this concept of human augmentation and a third arm.”

Ace the MCSA Windows Server 2012 & Cisco Network Associate Ceritifcations

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For an IT pro it’s important to get certified training with systems from the biggest companies in the networking game. You can lift your CV to the next level with this package of MCSA Server 2012 & Cisco Network Associate Certification Training, now available at a low $69.99 — 94% off its regular price. With this package, you get in-demand, certifiable skills training in two foundational IT networking systems.

First, dive into three courses covering all the ins and outs of Windows Server 2012, Microsoft’s flagship server management environment. These classes will give you a deep understanding of overseeing any small or large-scale computer network, including comprehensive training in private cloud, server infrastructure, desktop infrastructure, messaging, communication, and SharePoint features. Once you’ve finished, you’ll be ready to take Microsoft exams that’ll grant you Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification, a benchmark stamp of approval for any networking specialist.

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