Using Digital Technologies to Safeguard your Home

As we’re all aware, the world of technology has rapidly evolved since the turn of the millennium, owing mostly to the advent of fast internet speeds and smartphones. Our lives are much more connected and once near-impossible tasks can be performed with a few flicks of our thumbs.

 

In many different elements of our lives, we’ve seen huge breakthroughs that have positively affected the lives of many. In our social lives, it is now possible to stay in touch with distant friends and family members at practically no cost. We can discover almost every necessary piece of information with a simple Google search. We can purchase goods & services in a matter of minutes. The list is endless.

 

But what has the coming of the digital age done for our safety? What innovations have occurred to make our homes more safe and secure?

 

The internet of things for one, has enabled us to control many home appliances with our smartphones. Such luxuries as being able to heat your home when driving home from work have been made possible. More advanced implementations of IoT are surely on the way – refrigerators that automatically order groceries when supplies are low could make the lives of many easier.

 

In terms of home security, companies are making intelligent and advanced alarm systems that are much more effective than traditional, ringing alarms. If you’re living in the capital, you can avail of the many effective alarms that Dublin has to offer. Homeowners can now control their home security features on the move using a smartphone app, like that of PhoneWatch. Arming the alarm, checking on the status of your home or monitoring the temperature of your home are just some of the useful features accessible through the technology.

 

In contrast to the days of multiple false alarms and neighbours ignoring a ringing alarm due to their propensity to activate without reason, alarms these days are much more efficient. The best kind of alarms are only activated when there is strong suggestion that a threat is occurring. Modern alarms will be kitted out with motion sensors and heat sensors which will alert the device to unusual activity in the home. When this takes place, high-definition cameras will snap multiple split-second images that are then sent to a trained surveillance team who can then analyse the threat and contact the relevant parties. All this happens instantaneously and thanks to these technologies, homeowners can now have much greater peace of mind when it comes to home security.

Power Flushing The Oldest Two-Pipe System In The Country

When it comes to cutting edge solutions to improving heating systems, Powerflush UK have the edge over the competition. As the only company in the UK who have the necessary specialist equipment to enable them to take on large scale commercial jobs of up to 300 radiators at a single time, they are leading the way in the power flushing industry.

Power flushing is often thought of as a solution for modern central heating systems, however Powerflush UK have proved that this is not always the case. The company is one of the UK’s leading experts in power flushing systems, and thanks to their impressive modern equipment, they are able to tackle power flushing jobs of all sizes, including those on a very large scale. Recently they successfully completed an especially exciting job which was truly one of a kind.

The Trent Building at Nottingham University boasts the oldest two-pipe heating system in the UK, having been installed in this elegant building in 1928. At the time of its installation, this was the most innovative, cutting edge solution to heating, and it has remained in place until the present day. Recently, this ancient system was struggling to function correctly, failing to produce the heat necessary for a university building. Having tried to rectify the problem without success, the building management despaired of finding a solution and were beginning to consider replacing the entire system.

Luckily, Powerflush UK were able to step into the breach with their high quality equipment to perform an effective power flush throughout the building’s central heating system. Despite the enormity of the job, Powerflush UK were able to completely remove over three quarters of a century of sludge and debris, making the system as good as new once more. The management team were delighted with the results and the historic heating system has been preserved for many years to come.

A power flush is the term given to an effective cleaning process which is able to remove any debris and deposits from a central heating system. Over time, sludge, rust and other contaminants are able to build up, and as a result, the efficiency of a heating system declines. The telltale signs that a central heating system may require treatment include loud noises from the boiler, discolouration in the water when the radiators are bled, cold patches on radiators and excessive time taken for the system to heat up. When all other remedies have failed to resolve the problem, a power flush is the obvious solution.

Power flushing allows the water to circulate effectively around the system once more by removing all contaminants. By connecting a high flow/low pressure pumping unit to the system and by adding powerful cleansing chemicals including a sludge crust remover, corrosion inhibitor and a descaler, the limescale and other debris is broken down and removed from the system leaving it free to function effectively once more. Not only can a power flush lower the cost of energy bills, but it also ensures that the system produces optimal heat.

Helping you deal with Hard Water problems

Water is one of the basic utilities that we need to survive and live comfortably. We need water for drinking, cooking, washing, bathing and even for industrial purposes. Our sources of water are both natural and man-made. Natural sources include rainfall, lakes, rivers and oceans while manmade sources are dams, wells and canals. A common classification of water is describing it as either soft or hard water.

The difference between hard water and soft water is that hard water contains a higher concentration of minerals collected mostly from the ground and rocks. When the rain water runs through soft rocks such as limestone, it absorbs lime from them. Other minerals that make the water ‘hard’ are magnesium and calcium. Water from the rain is the soft water type but when we channel it through the ground and into our water ways such as pipes, it goes along picking minerals.

One major problem with hard water is best seen in washing. This is because soap does not lather up well therefore making washing hard. This makes one end up using more soap and synthetic detergents. Further, washing in hard water leaves behind some scum on the surface of clothes making the clothes look unclean. In addition, bathing using hard water is undesired because it leaves ‘cud’ on our skin that does not rinse off. This residue clogs the body pores. With clogged pores one is susceptible to skin conditions such as rashes and even acne.

To deal with the problem of hard water, in washing, cleaning and bathing, one should ensure they use softened water. A simple way of softening your water is by purchasing what is called a water softener. This softener simply does that, to exchange the magnesium and calcium ions in the water with sodium ions or potassium ions, depending on whether the softener uses sodium or potassium. I myself use a Fleck water softener system at my new apartment, and I’m pretty happy with it so far.

Further, you may treat the water with vinegar or lemon juice by simply diluting the water with the vinegar or the lemon juice before use in cleaning and washing. If the clothes and kitchen ware is already stained by the hard water, soaking a piece of cloth in vinegar and rubbing the kitchen ware with it has been shown to remove such stains by dissolving the mineral deposits.
Another way of softening hard water is by boiling. The minerals in water solidify when heated in temperatures above 50 degrees. Wait for the water to cool down. When you notice some white particles settled at the bottom, siphon the water leaving the particles behind.

Another problem with hard water is that it damages kitchen appliances such as coffee machines, dish washers and boilers. This happens because hard water brings about lime scale development. When hard water is heated in temperatures above 55 degrees, the minerals solidify as the water evaporates thus forming lime scale. This lime scale clogs taps and other home appliances such as dishwasher, washing machine and coffee machine therefore damaging them. Further, lime scale coats the heating elements of such appliances making them less energy efficient.

To deal with this problem, one should ensure that these appliances such as the coffee machine have an inbuilt water filtration system. The softeners in a coffee machine for instance block water contaminants and therefore prevent minerals from clogging the machine.

However, hard water is not essentially bad. The mineral components in it have quite a number of health benefits. Magnesium for instance is an essential mineral that plays a part in reducing blood pressure by modulating vascular tone. Further, magnesium ions are heart friendly as they aid in keeping the heart rhythm steady. Calcium ions too have health benefits as they help in development of strong teeth and bones in children.

Registering a domain, what does x mean?

You may have heard a lot of terminology surrounding the domain names market, and you may not be sure exactly what it means, so we’re going to go over a few of the most common terms you’re likely to hear.

Appraisal: Appraisal in the domain world is the same as in other industries – it is the process of valuing a domain – deciding how much it is worth.

Domain Name: This is the actual domain name itself – the web address you type into your browser, for example yoursite.com

DNS / Domain Name servers: Also refered to as DNS servers, these are special servers which tell your internet browser where to go to find the website which is hosted on a domain name.

Web Host: This is a server, much like your computer at home which is housed in a special building and is designed to store websites in order to let people on the internet look at them

IP Address: This is like a street address, for servers (See web host above) that the DNS server (also above) tells your web browser to look at to see the website you’re looking for.

DNS Propagation: This is a process which involves all of the main Domain Name Servers across the world talking to each other to make sure they all have the same list of IP addresses for every website.

Registrant: This is the person who has registered the domain name, and is classed as the owner of the domain name for the amount of time which they have paid for. This can be anything from 1 year, to 10s of years if they renew every time their registration period is coming to an end

Domain Registration: This is the process of buying a domain name to use for your website. Once you’ve paid for a domain it will be considered registered.

Domain Registrar: A domain registrar is a company who sells domain names to the general public for a period of time.

Domain Renewal: When a domain name is due to expire (that is, get to the end of the term which it was registered for) it will be offered to the current owner for them to pay for additional years of registration, if they do not take up the offer the domain will expire. Registering Expired domains is then possible, as the previous owner is no longer in control of the domain.

Subdomain: A subdomain is basically an addition to a domain name which allows you to point part of the domain at a different website, or host your own seperate website on a subdomain. For example, yourdomain.com is the domain name, something.yourdomain.com is a subdomain.

TLD: A TLD, or Top Level Domain is the last part of a domain name (after the name itself, behind the last dot) for example com, net, org.

WHOIS: This is a lookup (or the database itself which is looked up) of a database which holds all of the information about domain names, you can do a whois on a particular domain name and find out information such as when it was registered, when it expires, and who registered the domain name (where available)

You Are Paying for it, Make Sure You Get It All!

If you are a business that is looking to grow and you are considering increasing your online presence using a company that offers you everything, make sure you know what ‘everything’ really can be. Do not let yourself sign up with a company only to find out there is another one out there that offers more services you did not even know were options. Below are a few tips and ideas of what a good online boosting company will look like and how you can find the very best.

1)Make sure they offer search engine optimizing.

You want your web presence to look good, but you also want to make sure it is being seen by as many eyes as possible. A company that knows how to get you ranked highly and seen first on search engines will really get your business seen and start to grow that client or customer database you are looking for.

2)Pay Per Click Management

There are companies out there that only do pay per click work. They will charge you for just this one service. This will leave you searching for another company to do the rest of the web work and most times if you ask a company that offers more services if they can help you with pay per click they have the know how to do it and can easily help you out! All you have to do is find a multi-service company and ask!

3)Social Media Management Services

Did you know that you do not have to worry about the upkeep of your social media business pages? Companies that cover it all have amazingly skilled people that will keep your Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Instagram, or other online platforms up to date and looking great! You have enough to worry about just running a business why should you have to worry about the up keep of online stuff too when there are people to do that for you!

4)A company who knows how to get you on the list.

The yellow pages are something of the past. Well, the actual paper yellow pages. Now they are online, and there are more than just the yellow pages. A smart company knows how to get you on those list. Even at the top of those list. So that when people open up the list of business like yours in their area you are eye catching and draw in their business. Get someone who can get you on the list.

5)Website Creators are highly sought after.

You might have started a website for your business, but if you are looking to step up your game on the world wide web hiring someone to create your website is a very smart thing to do. They can take your current web address and transform it into something truly amazing. Depending on the services you choose from this company they could even continue to keep it current and catching so that it produces the highest level of business for you at all times.

6)Design Services are a must have.

A lot of companies out there want to take what you already have and just boost its appearance on line getting it seen by more people. A solid company like Dominate with SEO has an actual design team that will take what you have and transform it into what you want to have. With a listening ear and a designing heart they can take the things you express about your business and give it the online face lift you want. Hiring a company that does all the things previously listed AND that has a design team is really what you are looking for to bring your ‘A’ game to the internet.

7)Last but not least is digital marketing consulting.

You do not want to pay someone to just make you look good online. You need that hard earned money of yours to work even harder for you. With companies like Dominate with SEO not only will you be getting all these great things but you will have a sounding board for your digital marketing questions. If you even need help deciding if a certain thing is a good choice for your business presence online just ask, that’ is what you are paying for!

When choosing a company to help up your game online make sure you consider all these things. Ask questions and make sure you are happy with the services you are getting, and that you are getting all the services you want and deserve to get. You do not want to be left wishing you would have gone a different direction with your online business content when you could of had it all. Find a solid company like Dominate with SEO. Better yet, contact Dominate with SEO and get your online presence to its highest potential!

When Is It Time To Hire Professional SEO Services?

When Is It Time To Hire Professional SEO Services?

Nowadays, because of the free information that is available online, many business owners have in-house departments handle search engine optimization tasks. This is definitely something that can be considered because of the fact that savings are possible. However, after some time, it is vital that you focus on hiring professional SEO services. Deciding when to make the investment is something difficult but it is a necessity.

While there is no exact blueprint that needs to be followed, we should highlight some situations when it is a good idea to move towards professional search engine optimization work.

When Your Budget Allows It

Most business owners think about the budget that is available and will almost always focus on making a costly investment just when the profit allows it. When referring to search engine optimization we refer to a service that does tend to bring in long term benefits. The sooner you work with the professionals, the sooner great results will appear. Because of this, we have to say that whenever your budget allows SEO investments, it is a good idea to hire the professionals.

When Rankings Are Going Down

There are many different reasons why the rankings of a website go down. You might be faced with some bad SEO work that was done in the past or it is possible that your competition is gaining on you and getting better results. No matter the case, if you see that others get better results, it means that it is time to call a professional. Just make sure that you do not hire the first one that you find. Since rankings are going down, the necessity to work with a good professional is automatically a lot higher.

When In-House SEO Knowledge Is Limited

Many try to handle search engine optimization in-house in an attempt to save money but the people that are normally hired by the firm will not be SEO specialists. Contrary to popular belief, search engine optimization is not easy to learn. If your profile is different, you will not have people that actually know much about SEO. When the knowledge of the people that work for you is limited, you should not even think about doing work internally. It is better to go for the professional SEO services even if this means that you have to invest beyond the profit that you make at the moment. In time, costs will be covered as you get more clients from search engines.

When You Sell Products/Services Online

In the event that you use your website in order to make sales, it is a necessity to use search engine optimization and the truth is that it is always better to go for the professional services. Have patience and choose those companies that know as much as possible about everything that has to be done to increase rankings for online stores. Not all firms are specialized in such a service so do be sure that you read reviews. That counts the most at the end of the day as you want to work with people that know everything about optimizing online stores.

Hoverboards seized amidst safety fears

Around 15 thousand hoverboards, or smart scooters have been seized by trading standards in the UK it has been announced.

UK Trading standards have seized more than 15 thousand of these self balancing scooters at many ports and airports across the UK in a bid to stop the flow of dangerous boards entering the country. Trading standards has said that, of 17000 boards which have been inspected, over 15000 of them were dangerous – that’s a whopping 88%.

So what makes these dangerous exactly – well, you might think it’s the chance of falling off and bruising your ego, but whilst that is true, it’s not the reason they are being seized. These smart scooters are seriously popular this year, and with any hot new gadget, many manufacturers across China put them into mass production, as quickly, and cheaply as possible.

Anything done cheaply and in a rush comes with it’s risks, but these have a particularly serious issue – an issue which could see you lose your home or your life – they can, and have been known to, burst into flames – quite literally.

Trading standards has said that some of the issues found were plugs which didn’t have a fuse – effectively meaning the wire itself would act as the fuse when it reached melting point, causing fire. Faulty wiring and chargers were also found in the shipments, adding more reason to be very diligent when purchasing these.

This isn’t the first we’ve heard of these boards being seized, with Ireland’s CCPC (Competition and Consumer Protection Comission) seizing 1400 at Dublin port a little over a week ago, citing “Serious safety concerns” – these were rumoured to be headed for a well known high street retailer, although no official statement was released on this matter.

If you’re in the market for one of these this Christmas, the recommendation is that you ensure that the packaging has the manufacturers name or trademark visible, and that the product itself has a genuine CE mark.

Facebook Founder Has A New Arrival – And A Huge Giveaway

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have welcomed the new addition to their family into the world – their baby daughter, “Max”.

In an open letter written to his new daughter, Mr Zuckerberg, the mastermind behind Facebook has pledged to give away 99% of his Facebook earned fortune to a new initiative based LLC.

Whilst it’s not entirely clear what the new initiative will be doing, Zuckerberg hinted at some possible uses in his letter to Max, saying

“Our initial areas of focus will be personalised learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities”. The letter itself was over 2000 words long and already has over 1.1million likes. You can read the full open letter here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/mark-zuckerberg/a-letter-to-our-daughter/10153375081581634

We believe that Zuckerberg and Chan will be targetting areas which personally interest them, such as Zuckerbergs recent “bring coding to schools” scheme, and the fight against ebola.

Zuckerberg won’t be giving away his majority stake in Facebook any time soon, nor will he be giving away his full fortune in 1 go – the first 3 years will see the new initiative be gifted 1 billion dollars worth of shares per year, with the rest of the money being drip fed over the lifetime of Mark and Priscilla.

This isn’t the first time Zuckerberg has invested in projects which are beneficial to the world, with the internet.org initiative bringing together the world’s tech giants in a bid to provide internet to even the remotest parts of the world, along with plans to launch a satellite into space in order to provide internet to much of Africa. The satellite launch is expected to take place some time in 2016, and if it is a success, could see some very interesting projects in the future.

AMD affected by Windows 10 Update

Microsoft are in the process of rolling out the first major update release for Windows 10, and it is having some unexpected effects.

The update began rolling out last week, and we have since had many reports that the update is removing programs from user’s systsmes without any prior warning, and without permission.

Whilst the update itself is supposed to boost performance, improve Xbox compatibility, and enhance Microsoft’s Cortana, it appears to be removing third party hardware management programs – users have been reporting that CPU-Z and Speccy have been removed from their systems without any sort of notification, but more worryingly, AMD’s Catalyst Center has also been removed.

AMD’s Catalyst Center is the main control panel for AMD Radeon graphics cards used in many PC and laptop systems across the globe, and are a popular choice with gamers.

Users in the Windows 10 Subreddit over at Reddit have been taking to their keyboards to express their unhappiness at Microsoft’s latest actions.

Whilst most users seem happy that potentially incompatible programs would be disabled, almost all posters seemed to agree that removing programs without warning was not acceptable.

Microsoft have made it known from day one that Windows 10 updates would not be optional for home users, and that potentially dangerous software would be removed, and with this being the first major update to Windows 10, is this a sign of things to come?

Whilst we don’t have a problem with dangerous programs being removed, we have to question the motives behind it, and what exactly constitutes a dangerous program, because we’re fairly certain that AMD’s Catalyst Control Panel isn’t dangerous.

Whether Microsoft intend to continue down this path, or at least notify users of any potential conflicts with programs prior to removing them is yet to be seen, but with their intention to roll out Windows 10 to all Windows 7 and Windows 8 systems which have updates enabled in the next 12 months, the market share of Windows 10, and the number of affected users will certainly be larger.

Have you been affected by the recent Windows 10 update? What programs were removed for you? Let us know in the comments.

Digital Marketing – Taking The Internet By Storm

One of the most influential and emerging technology related strategies to burst onto the scene, and be in use all major online businesses, is SEO .

So what do we know about SEO?

It stands for Search Engine Optimisation and there are some incredible web applications developed for use in this industry, three of which we’ll cover in this article.

Majestic.com & Moz.com

These platform are built with the sole purpose of emulation. Emulation of what exactly? Google’s famous PR, or Page Rank, scoring system which is the measurement of a website’s authority and trust in the eyes of Google itself.

So up until a few years ago, anyone could check the PR score for any website as Google published the API for the database to be queried, and it really did emphasise how respected Google viewed the site itself.

This metric has since been rescinded from public consumption and is used only internally at Google itself.

Due to this, third party platforms such as Majestic.com, Moz.com & Ahrefs.com have developed their own metrics to measure the authority and trust of a website, trying to emulate as closely as possible Google’s PR framework.

With Moz.com’s Open Site Explorer – you can check many Moz based metrics but primarily there are two that marketers the world over look at. Domain Authority (DA) & Page Authority (PA).

These metrics take valuable information from the Moz.com database and assign a score to a web property based on various factors, including but not limited to, backlinks and social signals.

Majestic.com’s primary Metrics are Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF). Both these metrics compile a score focused on various components in their database such as topical relevance and referring domains.

Inside the world of Digital Marketing and SEO in general, those two platforms are routinely used by experts focused on building relationships with influencers in the niche specific industry they are currently working on as it gives them the flexibility to build a network of high value individuals and influencers for content syndication purposes.

Majestic.com’s Trust Flow and Moz.com’s Domain Authority are the two most used metrics in the SEO industry today and this is unlikely to change.

Both of these applications have free accounts, intermediate accounts and professional accounts for all their user’s needs and when in that game – are absolutely crucial.

swegway_white_dublin-1110x400

The Big Thing This Christmas

Balance Board, Smart Scooter, Hover Board, Smart Wheel, Swegway, whatever you want to call them, the Swegway Smart Scooter is this year’s must-have Christmas Present.

Surprisingly, many of the large chain stores have chosen not to stock these, whether this is going to be the case come December, we can’t be sure, but we’ve managed to get hold of one, and we can certainly see what the hype is all about.

Riding the hoverboard (We tested Swegway Ireland’s carbon black smart wheel) was fairly easy, although it takes a few minutes to get used to the feeling from the self balancing mechanism, we were sure we were going to fall off initially, but that seemed to be due to lack of confidence. Once we got used to riding around our office, we soon figured out little tricks to keep speed around corners, and squeeze through small spaces.

Now, the reason we feel these are such a big deal and are going to be hard to get hold of, is because of the age range they suit – we’re fully grown adults and can happily scoot around on these great little gadgets, but we wanted to know if adults are the only market, so I took one home with me at the end of the day and let my siblings have ago.

My younger sister (13) loved it, and we all know how fussy teenagers can be, she spent a good half hour playing around on it, even the neighbours had a go, they run a paving firm so there was a good four or five lads testing it out before the inevitable happened – no, she didn’t fall off, the battery went flat! I hadn’t charged it since our earlier office escapade, so we popped it on charge for a few hours and then I gave my younger brother a go – he’s 9, and it’s a judgement call on your behalf whether or not you would buy one for your child at this age – I would say it depends on how sensible they are, you can build up a little bit of speed (around 15km/h) so falling off was a worry, however he got on just fine.

So this Christmas I can certainly imagine these being under a lot of Christmas trees, whether they’ll be for the adults in the family or the children, that’s up to you, but hours and hours of fun can be had by all ages, young or old, boy or girl, one size fits all.

These smart scooters come in a range of colours, the Swegway guys in Dublin which provided ours sell them in Black, Red, Blue, White, Green and Gold – so there’s something to suit everyone.

We’d recommend getting yours as soon as possible so you aren’t disappointed, as we can imagine stock will go fast!

Oxford Dictionary’s Word Of The Year Is A… Well, It’s NOT A Word!

Over the past few years we’ve seen many of the latest words make it as the “word of the year”, with “Selfie” making it in 2013, and last year we had “Vape” – Not a problem, they were with the times, and we can see how they became the word of the year, but this year we have the good old crying with laughter emoji (remember when we called them emoticons?!) which we’re sure gets plenty of use, but lets be honest.. It’s just not a WORD!

We can sort of see where they are coming from – 2015 has been a big year in the world of emojis, with racially diverse emojis being added to many popular platforms and apps, iOS to name one.

Give it a try – a long press on the thumbs up in Whatsapp will give you a selection of skin tones to choose from, and it’s not only the thumbs up emoji – give some of the others a try too.

So what exactly is the word of the year?

Oxford dictionary have stated that their word of the year “is a word or expression that we can see has attracted a great deal of interest during the year to date. Every year, candidates for Word of the Year are debated and one is eventually chosen that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year and to have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance.”

So what other words have been used a lot in 2015 that could have taken the Word Of The Year spot? The actual Oxford Dictionary shortlist included;

  • Refugee – with the current syrian crisis and the increasing number of refugee news, we feel this would be a good contender
  • On Fleek – Lets ignore the fact that this is in fact 2 words (the winner isn’t a word, after all) – this one is a pet hate of ours, I’d shortlist this for a “Worst word of the year” list!
  • Ad Blocker – again this is multiple words, and is certainly something which has increased in popularity over the past few years
  • Dark Web – Again, something that is much discussed, but not necessarily something Oxford Dictionary would want to draw attention to.

Other contenders included “lumbersexual”, “brexist” and “sharing economy”

So there we have it folks, 2015’s Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year is not a word at all, it is the crying with laughter face emoji! What do you think next years WOTY will be? Let us know in the comments!