The tech world moves fast and entrepreneurs have every reason to pay attention.
Some of the big tech stories of the month may have little to do with your particular industry or business, but others will likely point toward big changes to come that you want to be aware of.
Our series on top tech trends to watch can help you stay on top of what’s happening in the tech world month to month. Here’s what you should know about what’s happening in tech in March.
New Products and Projects Announced at MWC
A new month means a new tech conference (or sometimes several) and March is no different. Tech companies and enthusiasts have already converged on Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress to survey new releases and products that are expected to make their mark on the world of mobile technology.As you’d expect, many makers of smartphones were there, some of them showing off new smartphone models that consumers can expect to see hitting the market in the coming months. But the mobile industry is growing to include so much more than smartphones. VR headsets and drones were a big part of the show, and discussions around faster internet options, better video streaming, and autonomous cars abounded. Mobile technology has become a huge part of how we all live and do business today. Every business owner should be keeping a close eye on what’s coming in the mobile industry in order to be prepared for how people shop and browse in years to come. Stories and articles from the Mobile World Congress provide a glimpse at what that will be.
Speaking of tradeshows...HostGator is attending Engage (#EngagePDX) on March 9th in Portland and Social Media Marketing World (#SMMW17) from March 22-24th in San Diego. If you'll be there, come say hi and meet Snappy and the team in person!
Snapchat Launches IPO
The beginning of March brings one of the most anticipated and discussed IPOs of the year. The social media app Snapchat certainly doesn’t appeal to everyone, but the people using it (mostly a young demographic) use it enough for the app to have seen steady growth in ad revenue since its launch. If you're on there, follow us @HostGator!It’s often hard to predict which social media platforms will take off, and more importantly, which will have real staying power. Investors can now weigh in on whether they think the app’s current popularity is a temporary fluke or if they expect it to have the longevity its most popular competitors like Facebook and Twitter have shown.
The Tech Community Gathers at SXSW
SXSW is a conference devoted to ideas and creativity, and the conference’s tech industry sessions this year promise to include plenty of both. There are sessions covering topics familiar to anyone who’s been attending or following other tech conferences this year, like self-driving cars, robots, and AI. One of the biggest themes to emerge in this year’s tech sessions is the idea of applying tech to the world’s economic and political problems. Presenters will tackle the role can tech play in addressing issues like poverty, LGBTQ equality, health policy, and immigration. The tech community has always been inclined to think big, and this year’s SXSW tech sessions point to a larger intention to think beyond product ideas and IPOs and apply the industry’s brainpower to issues that touch people around the world. This year’s conference promises to leave attendees with plenty to think about and is likely to drive some of the ideas that shape our world in the months and years to come.
Apple Smart Glasses Set to Debut Soon
While they haven’t provided a hard release date yet, there’s speculation that the smart glasses Apple is working to develop could be released as early as this month.Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has been vocal in interviews about the company’s commitment to augmented reality. While Google Glass never really took off, if a player as big as Apple is still confident that AR will be the wave of the future (or at least a wave of the future), then there’s at least a strong possibility for the tech to improve and become a part of our lifestyle in the way smartphones did.
Uber Responds to Accusations of Sexism
While much of this month’s tech news is about looking forward, some tech stories point to aspects of the industry where progress has stalled or even seems to be moving backward. One of the biggest stories in tech that took social media by storm late last month was about the public accusations made by a former Uber employee about rampant sexism at the company. News outlets like the New York Times have spoken to others at the company that confirm the woman’s description of a sexist work culture and, in some cases, provided their own anecdotes of similar treatment. The company is taking steps to respond to the accusations, including hiring the well-known attorney Eric Holder to perform an investigation into the issue. While Uber does damage control, other tech companies are starting to find themselves in the crossfire for similar issues. Tesla’s currently being sued by an engineer who says she’s experienced sexism in various forms while working at the company. Whether or not these tech companies (and others who may well face similar accusations in the days to come) will respond in ways their employees and customers deem adequate remains to be seen.
SpaceX Ramps Up Plans to Send People Around the Moon
The possibilities of space tourism continue to look more and more ambitious as Elon Musk tests the limits of what his company can handle. This past week, he announced his intentions to send tourists around the moon by the end of next year – a feat professional astronauts haven’t managed in over 40 years. While limited budgets around the world place limitations on the space exploration that used to fall to government organizations, space tourism may be just the thing to keep people exploring the stars and beyond.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Release
Samsung just announced that their new model of the Samsung Galaxy phone will become available to consumers on March 29. After last year’s model was famously recalled due to phones catching fire, people are curious to see what the new Samsung Galaxy model will bring. Details on the features and functions of the phone so far are scant, so consumers and tech insiders alike will have to wait and see what makes the new model different (other than presumably being more fireproof than its predecessor). But you don’t have long to wait - by this time next month the phone will be in the hands of its first customers.March will likely bring some surprises we didn’t foresee, but we expect these stories to be some of the most important for the month. We’ll continue to keep an eye out for interesting and important tech news to bring you next month.Which event are you most excited for in March? Are you attending any tech conferences? Let us know in the comments!
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be just chocolates and rose petals on the bed. Although many have criticized the holiday as being another excuse to go out and spend wads of cash, it can also be an excellent opportunity to provide your significant other with something both useful and close to the heart.
If you know your SO to be digitally savvy, then surprising them with the right gadget can be far more meaningful than flowers from the grocery store. We’ve hand selected gifts for a variety of budgets that should be able to satisfy anyone with an affinity for cool stuff. Most importantly, they’ll show how creative and thoughtful you are!
Valentine's Tech Gifts Under $50
For those of you with a budget in mind, do not panic! These three gifts under $50 will seem like you splurged, yet they’re incredibly practical.
For those of you with an iPhone, there may have been a time (or two, or three) when you were delighted to find your phone using Apple's Find iPhone feature. If your partner has a reputation for losing other important items, namely their keys, wallet, or dog, then that little fantasy you’ve always had about built in GPS has finally come true.Tile comes in a variety of sizes and quantities, providing a discrete homing device that won’t become detached easily. The Tile app works both ways as well. For instance, if you have your keys but can’t find your phone then you can press the Tile to sound off where your phone was put.We love this gift because saving yourself from moments of stress when you're running late can really have a positive impact on your life.Available on Amazon.
2. 365 Day Custom Tearaway Calendar - Social Print Studio ($40)
Does your Valentine love Instagram? How about photography? Maybe just photos of the two of you, every day of the year?Social Print Studio has developed a web page that easily imports your social media photos and turns then into a tear calendar for the entire year. Several companies have already offered Instagram booklets and keepsakes, but considering most avid social media users have over 365 post-worthy photos, it’s a glorious idea to be able to reflect on all your best moments over the course of a year. What’s more, Social Print Studio uses a thicker paper weight, so if you'd like a more permanent keepsake than a tearaway calendar, you can tear and place the photos on your wall in a mosaic of memories. Available on SocialPrintStudio.com.
3. Google Chromecast ($35)
Technologically speaking, we’ve gone from large bulky devices down to compact smart phones, and now we've found ourselves desiring the capability to watch streaming content on bigger screens again.
Google saw an easy opportunity to bridge the gap between devices large and small. With the Google Chromecast you can stream any content from your smaller devices right to your TV using Bluetooth and an adorable device the size of a fifty cent piece. Available in coral, lemonade, and black.
Available on the Google Store.
Valentine's Tech Gifts Under $100
$100 is stepping into a price range with wide open possibilities, but for the sake of thoughtfulness, we honed in on a couple items we think have a particular relevance to couples and the time of year.
1. Fitbit Fitness Trackers ($79.99)
If there’s one thing tech enthusiasts find sexy, it’s well organized data. Pair that with body sculpting fitness motivation and you have a Valentine’s Day gift beneficial to both partners.Sleek in design and function, Fitbit has a dominant stake in the fitness tracking industry. Some of its popular features include measuring steps, duration and quality of sleep, heart rate, and calories burned. Plus, it pairs with your smart phone to display caller ID, texts, and reminders, so you don’t have to pull your phone out in the middle of exercising.This gift is perfect for the active, or seeking-to-be active, couple. Having just started a new year it can be very easy to lose the fitness motivation by February 14th. Don't be a cliché - keep up with your New Year's resolution for a healthy 2017! Available on Fitbit.
It's not uncommon for your cell phone to die with regular use over the course of a business day, and what says I love you more than “I want to be able to call you no matter what!”?Portable charging devices have been on the market for some time, yet their popularity has been underwhelming at best. Having just gone through the most brutal January of my life in Lake Tahoe, with an unusual abundance of power outages, I can personally testify to the usefulness of this device.Spare your SO the hassle of being without mobile connectivity and give them some backup power.Available on Amazon.
Valentine's Tech Gifts Over $100
Sometimes it’s fun to buy a gift not just for your partner, but for the "us," if you catch my drift. These gifts are perfect for unique couple experiences, and those who like to travel light.
1. Portable Mobile Projector - RIF6 Cube Mobile Projector ($275)
Nothing says James Bond more than pulling out a mini projector in times when you want to cozy up to your movie buddy. Two inches square and powered by 50 lumens, this projector is capable of screening full 1080p with 90 minutes of battery life.The RIF6 comes with HDMI and MHL connection cables, a USB charger, Remote control, flexible mini tripod, and a comfortable 1-year warranty. Potential uses include movies in the backpacking tent, screening parties in your hostel abroad, or impressive client displays for your business life.Available on Amazon.
2. Portable Photo Printer - HP Sprocket ($129.99)
Nowadays we’re taking more photos than ever before thanks to smart phone cameras, but how often do we print our photos? A portable photo printer makes it easy. Snap a photo on your smart phone, and then print it out immediately for your loved one to put on the fridge.The photos print at 2” x 3” on sticky back paper via Bluetooth. What’s nice is you don’t have to make the extra investment buying a new-age Polaroid. All you need is a smartphone!Available on Amazon.
Bonus Gift: A Brand New Website!
Sure, the gadgets above are neat, but if you want to really impress your valentine, consider getting them a gift that's all digital. How about powerful web hosting that includes a free website builder, one-click script installs, and 24/7 support? We may be biased, but we love the idea!
It’s a new year and we’re excited to see what’s to come with new tech innovations and stories in the next twelve months. To start the year off, we already have an inkling of some of the stories you’ll be hearing about in January.
Here are some of the tech news subjects to keep on your radar this month.
1. The Bitcoin Roller Coaster
You’ve probably been seeing a lot of references to Bitcoin lately, but what you hear can change day to day. The cryptocurrency has been making headlines for big spikes and drops in value over the past few weeks.
In early December all the talk was about how the currency was worth far more than most experts anticipated. As we neared the end of the year, the news shifted to drops in the price. In the New Year, it’s on the rise again (although that may have changed by the time this story goes up).
If this trend continues, we’ll likely be hearing a lot about Bitcoin well into January and possibly for the entire year to come.
2. CES Conference
The Consumer Electronics Show, one of the most important conferences in the tech world, is happening January 9-12 in Las Vegas.
Put on by the Consumer Technology Association, the conference is famous for being the place where many of the biggest tech businesses in the world announce their most exciting new products and updates to the larger public.
Expect to see a steady stream of stories from tech journalists covering innovations in areas like AR, the smart home, and more. And check back here next month if you’re worried about catching it all – some of the news is likely to make our February roundup.
3. Disney and Fox Move Toward Merger
Two media behemoths are about to join forces, as long as the government doesn’t stop the merger as an antitrust violation.
The merger is largely being reported as part of Disney’s larger plan to shift their business model toward the popularity of streaming entertainment. They’ve already announced plans to release their own streaming platforms, and access to all of Fox’s content properties will go a long way to making them more competitive in a space dominated by brands like Netflix and Hulu that got there first.
4. YouTube Makes a Deal with Music Companies
After a long negotiation process, YouTube has signed deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Entertainment to provide payment to artists whose music is shared through the platform.
The deal will help support YouTube’s move to get more sign ups for the relatively new subscription version of the platform.
5. Tech Shakes Up How We Get Groceries
Buying groceries is one of the most common chores that almost everyone has to do, but what the task looks like is changing as tech companies continue to disrupt the market.
Amazon buying Whole Foods last year already suggested a big shift to grocery delivery replacing trips to the store. Getting into the same game, Target bought Shipt, a grocery delivery company, just last month.
Another big change taking shape is the move toward unmanned stores.
Amazon opened one last year, but one of their biggest competitors in China has plans to open hundreds of people-less convenience stores in the near future. These stores skip the checkout process, letting you simply choose what you like and leave, while tech that recognizes who you are and what products you’ve chosen takes care of the payment process for you.
6. Apple Draws Derision in Battery Controversy
Every year, Apple releases updated iPhones and many customers eagerly switch over to the new model. Those who patiently opt to stick with the phone they have eventually find it working more slowly or failing to stay charged as long until they too choose to upgrade to a new model. Turns out, the slower functioning of older phones is by design.
Apple upset lots of its customers last month by admitting that new iOS updates intentionally slow down older phones.
They claim it’s because the batteries get worn out, so the slower functioning saves the phones from shutting down as quickly, but many customers suspect it’s a ploy to get people to shell out for new phones. Some customers have gone as far as suing, and Apple has responded to the outrage with apologies and an offer to sell new batteries for old phones at a lower rate than previously.
Their competitors have (perhaps smugly) responded with assurances that they would never slow down customers’ phones. Whether or not this will put a dent in the iPhone’s overall popularity remains to be seen, but it certainly doesn’t make the company look good.
7. Tech IPOs on the Horizon
Experts are predicting that 2018 will be a big year in tech IPOs.
For January, many eyes are on Xiaomi, a Chinese smartphone company, which could become one of the biggest tech IPOs ever if or when it comes to fruition. DocuSign’s another possibility this month, as they alerted the media last year of their plans to go public in “early 2018.”
IPOs are notoriously hard to predict, so we’ll see which companies actually take the plunge in the month and year to come.
8. Amazon and Google Rivalry Gets Petty
While a lot of the news this month is about companies merging, there are still plenty of big players in competition with each other. Last month, two of the biggest tech giants of all, Amazon and Google, got petty in their rivalry when Google chose to deactivate its YouTube app on all of Amazon’s Fire TV devices.
Customers who could easily pull up YouTube on their Amazon Fire TV or with the Fire stick now get directed to a browser where they have to type youtube.com in to access the popular video service. Many see this as retaliation for Amazon’s refusal to sell certain Google products like Chromecast and Google Home on the site (if you type in “Google Home” in Amazon, you get Amazon’s smart home products in the results).
The main losers here are the customers who have to deal with compatibility issues between different products and services. But at least in this case, the workaround is pretty simple.
9. Mixed Reality Goggles on the Way
The company Magic Leap has started to share details of its augmented reality system with the public. While they haven’t announced a release date yet, they’ve shown a demo of the product to tech journalists.
Their system includes goggles and a handheld controller that are linked to a small pocket-sized computer. The three pieces all work together to provide an immersive AR experience where you can interact with video game characters that make eye contact and see a fictional world and characters transposed on the world around you.
If the product hits the market in 2018 as intended, it brings us that much closer to the kind of virtual reality experience people have been imagining in sci-fi stories and movies for decades.
10. Amazon Extends Smart Home Business with Blink Acquisition
As if it wasn’t already obvious that Amazon wants to take over our homes with technology, their acquisition of the smart security startup Blink adds to the type of products and technology they now have access to.
Blink’s smart security devices, including cameras and a smart doorbell, offer connectivity between different security devices and your phone at a more affordable rate than many competitors. They’re a natural fit for Amazon, which is already behind many of the most popular smart home products on the market.
11. Britain Makes High-Speed Internet a Legal Right
While the U.S. has been debating the repeal of net neutrality, the UK made a move in the opposite direction last month, declaring that all the country’s residents deserve access to high-speed internet as a legal right.
Internet providers in the country will be required to provide all homes with at least 10 megabits per second of data speed, the amount the government has determined is required for reasonable use by the average family.
The decision puts internet on par with utilities like water and electricity in how the government handles it, showing just how important internet has become to how people live their day-to-day lives.
January promises to be a big month for tech news, and 2018 is sure to bring us loads of surprises and interesting stories. Check back next month to see what’s going on in the tech world In February.
Introducing the all-new HostGator Marketplace! Snappy and his friends have been hard at work creating the perfect place to find what you need for your website. Whether you’re looking to give your new WordPress site a shiny new look with a professional WordPress theme, set up your email with Google for Work or you just need some extra security to ensure your website is locked down, the HostGator marketplace is the place for you.With the new HostGator Marketplace, you can...
Shop the HostGator Marketplace right inside the control panel!
Keep track of all your websites and purchases in one place!
Purchase using your hosting account to make buying a snap!
In addition to the web hosting, domains, script installs and database tools you’re accustomed to, now you’ll be able to easily access a full suite of products to help you build, grow and even protect your websites. We’ve even included business productivity tools and news and how to articles from the HostGator Blog to help you with your day to day.
Site Builders & CMS:
Build your website easily with our simple drag-and drop editor, or use WordPress, the world's most popular blogging platform.
Themes & Design:
Do you want a beautiful website, but you're not a designer? No problem. Choose from thousands of themes available in Mojo marketplace, or have one of our experts design your site for you. You can also request one-off graphic design projects.
Take your business to the next level with our productivity and growth tools. With Google Apps, you can collaborate seamlessly with your growing team and share documents with clients. goMobi makes your website responsive, so your site still looks good and is easy to use whether someone visits from a desktop computer or mobile phone. Supercharge your social media with Facebook advertising.
Security & Backups:
If you have an online business, it's essential that you secure your website, both for yourself and customers. Protect your site from hackers with SiteLock and save copies with CodeGuard. eCommerce site owners can keep customer data private with a SSL certificate.
Email & Online Marketing:
Grow your blog subscriber list or notify customers of new promotions with email marketing from Constant Contact. Our SEO services will help you get found online.
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Professional Website Services:
Looking for an out-of-this-world web designer? Need help boosting your local search results? Transferring from another host? Whatever it is, our team is here to help with all your website needs.
We hope you enjoy the new HostGator Marketplace and find it convenient and useful. Have feedback, requests or suggestions? Let us know in the comments or contact our support team.
National IT Professionals Day, falling on September 20th this year, is the third Tuesday in September. As its name suggests, it is a day to celebrate information technology professionals and all they do for us. According to ITProDay.org, 70 percent of people polled said work productivity would be lost without IT and that technology is the most important thing at work. Meanwhile, 88 percent of people polled do ask for technical help or support from IT professionals. These staggering numbers indicate the important role that IT professionals play in our lives today. Here we will examine the history of IT Pros Day, as well as look at the important things IT Pros do for us, and we will explore some suggestions for what to do to celebrate national IT Pros Day.
History of IT Professionals Day
National IT Pros Day is a very new holiday. In March of 2015, fellow Texas-based tech company named Solarwinds submitted the holiday to the registrar of the National Day Calendar, and it was approved. The rest, as they say, is history! Now, we will celebrate IT Pros Day on September 20th of this year, and September 19th of next year.
What IT Professionals Do for Us
According to Webopedia.com, "IT (information technology) is the broad subject concerned with all aspects of managing and processing information, especially within a large organization or company." As you can see, this is a wide definition, and IT clearly relates to a breadth of topics. Further, NationalDayCalendar.com tells us that "the IT (information technology) professional is the unsung hero of modern business, but often under appreciated by it. Whether it be desktops, laptops, mobile devices, applications, servers, networks, databases or cyber security, IT professionals keep business humming." Let's take a closer look at each of these specialties.
Desktops. IT professionals specialize in keeping our desktop hardware and memory devices intact and operating properly. This includes computer repair and cleaning of malware from the desktop. IT professionals are also available as consultants regarding what hardware and software should be used on our desktops.
Laptops. For laptops, IT professionals do everything they do for desktops, and then some. Because they are portable, laptops often end up with a lot of extraneous files and information, added at various times on the move. IT professionals can clean laptops of those unwanted elements.
Mobile Devices. IT professionals also keep our mobile devices clean and free of unwanted elements. They help to keep our mobile devices communicating among one another. In addition, since mobile devices often get handled roughly, IT professionals are on hand to fix mobile devices when they break.
Applications. IT professionals can be application developers for desktops, laptops, and mobile devices alike. These IT professionals function as software engineers who understand basic coding languages and are available to repair malfunctioning apps as well. IT professionals can also work as vendor managers for companies to keep track of how many applications are sold from each specific line of applications.
Networks. Those IT professionals fluent in web language and the language of servers are also often fluent in the language of networks. These professionals keep networks up and running, whether they are satellite networks, LTE networks, or wireless networks. As with servers, IT professionals make certain that networks don't become overloaded.
Databases. IT professionals also keep databases up and running, making sure they, too, do not become overloaded. These professionals also deal with search terms and making databases easily searchable by title, name, location, number etc... In addition, they organize databases and make pie charts, bar charts, and/or graphs with the available data.
Cyber Security. Those IT professionals who are web developers are often experts in cyber security. They are familiar with coding and with keeping information on the web secure by building cyber walls and by constantly outsmarting hackers. They pay as much attention to keeping important information in as they do to keeping hackers out.
How to Celebrate IT Professionals Day
NationalDayCalendar.com suggests several ideas for celebrating National IT Professionals Day. Following are these ideas plus a couple of others.
Thank an IT professional. If you work with them, which many people do, tell them how much they are valued and thank them for their efforts and for all they do.
Share #ITProDay on social media. This will raise awareness and inform and remind others to thank IT professionals with whom they come into contact every day.
If you are a business owner, honor your IT professionals with a celebration. Have a cake or some doughnuts on hand.
Invent a drink called the ITPro.
Program all computers in the office to say, "Happy IT Professionals Day!"
As you can see, IT Professionals Day possesses a well-earned place in our national list of holidays. It is a great day to honor our IT professionals and to thank them for all they do for our desktops, laptops, mobile devices, and more. So keep IT Professionals Day on your calendar, and plan your celebration accordingly. You will be glad you did!
How do you plan on celebrating #ITProDay this year? Let us know on social media or in the comments below!