PCs vs. Gaming Consoles, the great debate

PCs vs. Gaming Consoles: The Great Debate

Video Games

Video Games

Digital games from the basic of Tetris, Super Mario, ping-pong and other flash-based games to massively multiplayer online role-playing games can be played for free or after paying some membership fees on both specialized consoles and on your good old PC. Since gaming consoles have developed web capabilities between August and December of 2002, the debate on which option is better has gained steam.

Given the enormous popularity of gaming consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox, some industry analysts have suggested that PC gaming has seen its day and that consoles will be dominating force in future. But PC gamers have seen such claims biting dust since the days of Nintendo. This article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of gaming consoles.

Console Advantages

Cost Advantage: Good PCs cost much more than the consoles. The Xbox currently sells for around $200, often with a couple of games in the bundle, while it’s easy to spend that much or more on a quality PC video card alone.

No Fuss: With consoles, just plug it in and start playing. No operating systems, drivers to deal with and to top it all, there is no more heartburn of finding a game incompatible with your system after buying it with much anticipation.

Multiplayer gaming made easy: Just connect your console to the Internet through a DSL or Cable Internet connection and get into a multiplayer game.

Play where you want to: Play it on the couch, your bedroom, even bathroom with a gaming console. No more sitting on the dedicated table.

Easily get games: since consoles don’t have copying ability, the console games are more readily rented and returned to the retailer than PC games which are easy to copy.

Easy learning: Console games tend to have a relatively low learning curve. You might need fast thumbs, but you certainly won’t need to spend hours in a tutorial trying to learn how to operate basic game functions.

Console Disadvantages

Difficult upgrading: If some of the components inside the box become dated, the whole console needs to be replaced to keep playing newer games. No remedies for that. This way you need to invest quite a hefty amount with each turn in technology. No such problems with PCs.

Lack of versatility: Computers can do the whole lot of things besides supporting online games. On the other hand, consoles perform only one task really well. Some console manufacturers may try to make them a little more flexible, but it’s unlikely they will ever support near the selection of applications that is available for PCs.

Lack of inter-connectivity: It is the biggest grouse against gaming consoles. There is a clear lack of inter-connectivity between the different console brands because of commercial compulsions.

When it comes to the online play of flash-based games or multiplayer strategy games for free, players can pit against each other only on a specific network of people playing on same types of consoles. There is no way for console gamers to jump into a fray on one of the countless servers available. The PS2 has made some progress in this area, forging the way for cross-platform gaming between PS2 and PC users, but only one or two titles support this now.

Of course, there are many things to consider before deciding on a gaming platform. Foremost among these is deciding which games you want to play, how much money you want to spend, and whether or not you need a PC for other purposes. Go for a good computer if you want to do multitasking, but for a die-hard gamer nothing less than the latest console would do, would it?

Paying For Your Web Traffic Is A Smart Move

Paying For Your Web Traffic Is A Smart Move

Digital Marketing

How is paying for web traffic smart?

There are so many success stories you will hear about businesses making it good on the internet. The troubling thing is, there are maybe a tenfold or even a hundredfold of stories contradictory to theirs. Many have unsuccessfully launched a business enterprise that is internet based but only a handful shall succeed.

Is this through luck? That is even more remote. It takes good business sense and a lot of help and team effort. Most importantly, it is the eagerness to succeed and the determination to learn and the willingness to invest in a lot of hard work and some money.

The Very Basic

Like Neo, traffic is “The One”. Without traffic, all your effort would just go to waste. Every business needs customers, without them, you wouldn’t have anyone to sell your products to. In the internet world traffic is the walk-in customer. The more traffic you have the more people would be able to sell your products to.

But like any business that’s in every corner building or in the mall, not everyone that goes in will buy, but the greater of the number that does come in to browse your merchandise, the greater number of people who will buy your products. It is a simple and known fact.

But, how do you get traffic, traffic large enough that could make a small percentage of eventual buyers enough to make a good profit? Many big companies generate traffic of tens of thousands a day and a measly ten to fifteen percent actually buy, but that small percentage is enough to provide them with good business.

Many of these success stories get their traffic from paying others. Yes, that’s right; you have to spend money to make money. Advertising is the key. The more people who know that your site exists; the more people would, of course, go to your site, that’s common sense.

While there are many ways that can get you advertising for free, this does not generate the same high volume as those methods that are getting paid. These paid advertisements include advertising schemes through Google and Yahoo.

The Value of Searches

The search and will be the easiest and fastest medium in finding what a person needs on the internet. Search engines have been very popular because they provide a vital service to many people. They are free and easy to use. With this popularity, they get many visitors and clicks that they are the most common sites that people go to. It is easy to understand why so many companies would pay to advertise with these search engines.

Search engines provide information to the millions of users that they have each day. They provide links to many sites that a user may be looking for. If your sites link to pop up in the high ranks of the search results page, you get a great chance that they will go to your site. While search engine optimization is a cheaper and low-cost way to get your site a high rank, paying for advertisements will ensure that you will be in the top ranks.

When you pay for your advertisements, it is like paying for your traffic. This may sound like not such a good idea, but the payoffs would tell a different story. When you pay for your traffic, you are guaranteed of a consistent traffic flow to your site. You will never go on an empty sales day.

Paying for your Traffic

Usually, you will be charged with the number of hits a link gets when your ads are clicked, this is called pay-per-click. For some search engines, you will be charged with the number of times your ad shows up when a certain keyword or keyword phrase is searched. It is imperative that you have good keyword content in your ad. There are many tools that aid you in using the right keyword for the right moment.

All the money you spend in paying for your traffic will not be for nothing. You will get an impressive boost in traffic which will also result in a great boost in your sales figures. Paying for your traffic would be a really good idea and you will get all the benefits it has to offer.

Best Operating Systems

Best Operating Systems


Mac vs. Windows vs. Linux

There are much controversy and speculation as to which operating system on the market is really the best operating system to use.  There are some people who say that one is better than the other, and there’s no doubt that everyone is going to have an operating system that they prefer.  Still others never really think about their operating system, so they have no opinion on which one is best.  They just use their computers and go on their merry ways.

So which is the best operating system?

Some people prefer Mac OS X.  This operating system was the first to integrate graphical user interface to make it easy to use.  GUI lets the user just point and click to open programs, use the programs, and navigate their system.  Mac OS X is usually used on Apple Macintosh computers and is often preferred by Mac users exclusively.

Linux operating system

The new Linux operating system is taking the computer industry by storm.  More and more companies are embracing Linux as a viable alternative to other operating systems.  It was also developed with an easy-to-use GUI but it features more security and more options for the everyday user.  Linux is freeware and was designed to be used by both large mainframe servers as well as personal computers alike.

No discussion about the best operating system would be complete without mentioning Windows.  Most personal computers in the world are loaded with the Windows operating system, and it is certainly the most recognizable.  Many people feel that unequivocally, Windows is the best operating system to use.  But why?

Windows Operating System

To begin with, Windows is easy to use.  It also has a graphical user interface with flashy graphics and points and clicks technology.  Because most computers operate on Windows, it is easy for users to navigate a computer other than their own.  That means a college student, for example, can use their laptop in their dorm room and go to the library to use the computers there without having to know how to use the operating system.

However, Windows is not without its problems.  This operating system has been well-known for having bugs causing it to crash for no reason.  However, Microsoft has addressed these problems quickly and provided patches that would prove to fix the problems with the system.  Their new product, Windows Vista, has been criticized as being too large to be run on most computers although it has been hailed as new technology like no other.

So which operating system is the best operating system?  The choices are diverse, but ultimately, it’s all up to the user to decide.

Where to Find Graphic Design Jobs

Where to Find Graphic Design Jobs

UX Design

Good graphic design jobs abound

Whether you are just out of school or simply feeling ready for something new, good graphic design jobs abound. We are living in a visual society; most of us spend hours on the internet perusing site after site.  Every one of these sites has visuals, and those visuals were designed by someone.  That someone could be you.  And even if you don’t want to explore graphic design jobs centered around the web, there are so many other areas, packaging, print design, advertising, marketing and within all of these areas there are graphic design jobs that you may be able to fill.

Where do I start?

Start looking on the internet. Enter “graphic design jobs” into your favorite search engine and start exploring. You’ll find many different types of sites – almost all involve job searches by type of job and location.  If you want to apply for any of these jobs you will need your resume and portfolio. So be ready.  Some will be standard job search sites and others will be professional organizations. Spend some time just looking through the sites and saving sites that you will want to return to. I recommend making a “graphic design jobs search” folder in the “favorites” or “bookmarks” section of your browser. Use this when you save the links you want to return to.

If you are a member of a professional organization this is a great place to go first.  As a student, you can join reasonably. Often there are o associate memberships that are also economical.   Being a member of a professional organization also looks good and adds credibility to your resume.

Preparing for your graphic design jobs search.

You know where you want to go.  Now you need to get ready.  Is your resume ready?  You can find sites on the internet that show you how to write resumes and give you guidelines for assessing the one you currently have.  If you think you need more experience to include in your resume, volunteer to do some jobs for non-profit organizations.  Make sure you do an excellent job and ask them if they will be a reference you can include on your resume.

You will also need a portfolio in your search for graphic design jobs.  There are several kinds of portfolios – paper, web and DVD/CD portfolios.  Again, you can learn a lot about refining your portfolio by searching the internet for information about designing a portfolio.  Many of the job search sites, especially professional organizations allow you to upload your portfolio to their site, along with your resume.  With others, you can post your resume, but not the portfolio.

It may be worth the time and money to have your own website so that you can put a link to your portfolio in your resume.  If your search for graphic design jobs includes web design, then make sure that your website is a reflection of the work that you can do in this area.  Take time with it.  Keep refining and changing it.  Ask people to view it and give you comments, especially past instructors or mentors.  In fact, it’s a good idea to have your present or past instructors or mentors review all your job search materials, resume, portfolio, DVD/CD, and website.

Now, you are ready to find graphic design jobs that fit your skills and talent.

Photoshop Tips And Tricks To Get Creative

Photoshop Tips And Tricks To Get Creative

UX Design

Photoshop software

Cutting and painting can only go so far. If that’s all you wanted to do with your photos, you shouldn’t have bothered purchasing Adobe Photoshop. This software is very powerful, and it would be such a waste if you don’t allow your knowledge and skills to grow with it. If it’s your first time to use any Photoshop software, you might as well start with the best.

The Pixelate Function

Look for the Filter section in the tool menu situated on top of your screen. There are various options under the Filter category, and you can start playing with images with the pixelate function. The pixelate function allows you to modify images and turn them into different artistic styles. Remember when your art appreciation class required you to do a mosaic all by yourself and with your own two hands? It was hard work, wasn’t it? Now imagine being able to do that with any photo or image saved on your computer with just one click! And yes, you can do that just by clicking on pixelating and mosaic next.

Other artistic styles included under pixelate are crystallize, fragment, facet, color halftone, pointillism, and mezzotint.

How to Get Rid of Blemishes

Are you afraid of having your photos taken in close range because you don’t want to make your blemishes – acne, scars, and so forth – too visible? If that’s your only problem, Photoshop can certainly eliminate such worries. There are various ways to accomplish that, but the easiest and basic strategy – which is where you should start as well – you could use is the blur function.

The blur function is still in the Filter category. Select the area that you wish to fade away into oblivion and then start clicking the blur function. Keep clicking blur or pressing Ctrl F until the area’s properly invisible. If the area’s too big, blurring the area would be definitely noticeable. But if they’re as small as dots on your face, rest assured that you could, later on, enjoy a blemish-free face from here on forward in all your images.

The Importance of Layers

You hear about how important layering is in various aspects. Layering is important when applying fragrance to your skin or when you’re wearing clothes for fashion, winter, and sports. But layering is important in enhancing images as well, and you could learn how and why through Photoshop.

Now, in the previous version of Photoshop, using the Layer opacity affects all the layers you have in your image. Changing or modifying the effects of Layer opacity is slightly complicated, however…until the arrival of the Fill opacity of Photoshop, that is. With the Fill opacity, only the layer you specified will be affected when you make certain changes.

Why the Magic Wand is Magical Indeed

Let’s say that you have a photo of — Barney the purple dinosaur in a garden background. Now, you want to get only the outline of Barney and nothing else. In the old days, you’d have to painstakingly cut it part by part. But in Photoshop, all you have to do is click the outline of Barney with the magic wand and voila! Mission accomplished. If it can’t be done with one click, you could just add everything to a selection until you complete Barney’s image.

Practice, practice, practice is all you need to do to master Photoshop. Good luck!

Graphic Design Firms Can Make a Difference

Graphic Design Firms Can Make a Difference

UX Design

The need for change in the world

More and more our attention is turning to helping those in more need than ourselves.  A number of millionaires have been in the news with their funding of good works around the globe.  The Gates has set up a foundation to help with AIDS in Africa.  Warren Buffet donated billions to the Gates Foundation.  Oprah has started a Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa and now she’s doing a reality TV show creating a competition of multiplying people’s efforts to make a difference. These are just a few examples.

How can you make a difference in the world?

Do you have a desire to contribute, but not the budget that would make that possible? There’s plenty of ways you can make a change in what you see around you. Donating your time and skills is one of those ways.

Graphic design firms all over the country are seeing that their skills are an important donation.  Non-profit organizations are very much in need of graphic design. Firms like yours are signing on to provide all the skills that non-profits use to get their message out — logos, print advertisements, posters, invitations for fundraisers, multi-media presentations, newsletters, photography and other needs.  Do you have skills you are willing to donate?

How do you decide who, what, where and how?

First, answer this question.  What’s important to you, what would you like to see change?  Is literacy important to you?  How about finding homes for the homeless?  Or, making sure people have enough to eat?  Providing job training for homeless people or ex-addicts trying to get back on their feet might be another cause you feel strongly about.  (You do need to feel strongly about it, or you’re not going to like the hours you’re putting in without pay.)  For every idea mentioned above, there’s probably at least one and more than likely several non-profits in your community providing these services.  And, most of them are operating on limited budgets.  Their flows of Federal and State monies have been cut dramatically in the last few years and more and more they need to depend on private donations.

Decide what you are willing to do and how much time you have.  Be sure to be realistic.  This is one area where you don’t want to back yourself into a corner.

Think you don’t have enough time?

Put together a consortium of graphic design firms to make the contribution.  Each one of you can take a different piece of the graphics pie that needs to be produced.    With multiple skills from several graphic design firms, you’ll be able to make a substantial contribution to a non-profit of your choice.  And, you’ll likely multiply the value of our contribution.  Especially if that contribution involves the design of invitations for a fund-raiser, or a multi-media presentation designed to raise funds for the organization.

See, you and other graphic design firms like yourself can make a huge difference in the world.  So, what are you waiting for?  Who’s going to receive your volunteer services?

The Right Content for Your Email Marketing

The Right Content for Your Email Marketing

Digital Marketing

Email marketing campaign

Email marketing may include sending email advertisements to a large distribution list, publishing and distributing an e-newsletter and sending informative emails with a soft sell approach to encourage recipients to make a buy or visit your website. Whether you opt to use one or all of these email marketing techniques, you will be faced with one specific dilemma and that is writing the content which will appear in these emails. This is critical because these emails may be the first impression potential customers are receiving for your products and services. Superior content will give the potential customers a good first impression which may make them more likely to buy your products or services. This article will discuss some proven techniques for ensuring the content you use in your email marketing campaign will reap the maximum benefits.

Critical elements

The importance of hiring a professional writer to assist you in your email marketing campaign cannot be stressed enough. It is one of the most critical elements to the success of your campaign. You may be a decent writer or you may have a staff member who you think can do a good job creating the content of your email marketing but unless you or your staff member is a professional writer by trade, the quality of the work will likely not be of the same quality as a professional can produce. This can be very damaging especially if your competitors are hiring writers to create their content. Your emails will likely not be viewed as favorably as the emails written by professionals.

The content

The content you decide to include in your email marketing efforts is largely a matter of personal preference but there are some methods which have traditionally been more successful than others. The type of content which may be effective often includes informative articles, short useful tips, links to relevant websites, advertising for complementary products and even some subtle forms of advertising which are meant to persuade the recipients of the email to either make a buy or visit your website.

Full-length insightful articles

Full-length insightful articles which are likely to be of interest to the members of your email distribution list are an excellent idea for your email marketing campaign. These articles are a good idea because they will likely contain information which the recipients of your email will appreciate. Additionally, these articles give you the opportunity to include information about your products or services in the copy of the email. This can be a subtle form of advertising when it encourages the recipients to buy a product or service or visit the website without actually asking the recipient to do so.

Short product reviews

Short product reviews can also be very useful and helpful when you include them in your email marketing campaign. These reviews can help to attract a great deal of attention especially when the reviews focus on the products you offer and provide favorable reviews for these products. This type of information can either be subjective in nature or can remain objective by simply specifying the features of the products and offering other concrete pieces of information as opposed to opinions of the products.

Advertising is often a quite important part of an email marketing campaign. This advertising may either be direct or indirect in nature. Direct advertising may include banner ads or other graphical advertisements which encourage website visitors to click on the link to reach either your website or a sponsor’s website. Indirect advertising may apply to content in the copy of featured articles which subtly encourage visitors to make a buy or visit your website. The indirect marketing in an email marketing campaign is usually supporting the products or services you offer while direct marketing will likely promote products and services offered by sponsors who paid to receive advertising space on the email. Email recipients are usually well aware these graphics are part of an advertisement and will choose to click on these links when they have an interest in the products or services being offered.

Employment in Video Games

Employment in Video Games

Video Games

5 simple ideas for video game jobs

In another article, we described a great number of educational opportunities that lay hidden in video gaming. This time, we’re going to introduce a few employment opportunities as well.

1. Working as a Video Game Clerk.

Working at video game store or rental place – either permanently or temporarily – has to be a teen gamer’s dream. In a single place, employees have access to the first games and game systems hot off the market and they’re privy to peek inside magazines hot off the press before anyone else. If that wasn’t enough, gaming clerks get a discount on what would otherwise be too expensive (games, game systems, and game accessories) to even think about buying. Sweet!

2. Working as a Game Tester.

Before a game hits the market, it has to go through extensive testing and if you think the programmers behind the game test their own material, think again. The gaming industry is extremely sensitive about what it puts out into the public. In an effort to remain competitive, it must make sure that the games it produces work as intended. This is where testers enter the picture. But it isn’t easy to become a game tester. Becoming a game tester requires a little inside help but once you’re in there, you’ll not only have access to games that no one else knows about, you’ll also have an opportunity to shape the game into an experience that you and your comrades prefer.

3. Working as a Game Designer.

Do you have good artistic skills? Can you whip out a character faster than you can say, “I drew that”? If so, you may be able to get a career designing video games. Today’s video games exude some of the most beautiful graphics ever seen and if you have a good imagination, are able to use some of the most advanced graphics software programs available, and can follow instructions, you could see your own artwork in the next popular video game.

4. Working as a Game Critic.

The gaming industry is always looking for good content and if you have a flair for writing combined with a love for games, you could write for game magazines like Game Informer or you could write content for a highly popular gaming website.

5. Working as a Game Programmer.

Not a career for everyone, a good game programmer is always in demand. As player preferences change and new technology is developed, someone with the right programming skills has to be there to fill the gap between what players want, and what the gaming industry can supply. Becoming a game programmer requires extensive training in several different development languages – so if you don’t have a clue as to what we just said, skip this profession and look into some of the others.

The great news about all of this is that the gaming industry shows no sign of disappearing anytime soon. Even colleges are getting in on the gaming craze as they fill their course books with game programming classes and game design curriculum. There will always be an opportunity for you to blend your love for games with a steady paycheck as long as you remain dedicated to looking for these opportunities, and you make an effort to stay abreast of what’s happening in the gaming world.

Check the employment section of your local paper for more, or visit the nearest college to find out what classes and training are available.

A Successful Ad, Starts with a Plan

A Successful Ad, Starts with a Plan

Digital Marketing

Advertising plan factors

Many factors have to be considered when making an advertising plan. Like the type of message to be delivered, the audience to be targeted, how they should be targeted, budget, etc. all of which depends on the nature of the advertisement.

Regarding the type of message to be delivered, try thinking from the point of the customer. What will impress him and catch his fancy? Note down points what the customer expects from the company and what advantage will he have when dealing with the company. Effort should be made to retain viewer or listener’s or reader’s interest in the advertisement until the end. This procedure is known as message selection.

The content

After creating the outline of the picture, pick lines that will actually attract the customer. The message shouldn’t be long enough to bore the customer. Some advertisers are under the illusion that more the matter written, the better the message delivered. Usually, they fear that they don’t miss out any information. This does nothing but decreases the effectiveness of the ad and customer is left unsatisfied.

For example, the heading of the advertisement shouldn’t be just “We Sell Clothes”, which is too precise. The liking of the people should be studied and the headline should be designed such that the customer feels that his needs are met. It should also take into consideration seasonal changes like If the season at that time is summer and there are lots of beaches around that area, the heading of the ad should be something like “Summer Clothes for Sale” or “Get the heat off – Buy Swimwear”. The body of the advertisement should talk about the necessities to switch to summer clothes like cotton clothing. It should discuss the health point of view too, like cotton cannot be used as swimwear as it will cause contamination, therefore the swimwear is made of synthetic material. Also, include lines about swimwear for overweight people.

Ad building

Ads are either traffic builder or relationship builders or reputation builder. Suppose the budget involved is less, the target should be a relationship builder. Because once the customers are established, they will start trusting the company and won’t switch to other companies. According to a research, it takes ten percent fewer resources to retain existing customers than attracting new customer. If the focus is on brand recognition, the advertisement should be traffic building.

The next point is whether the advertiser wants quick results or long-lasting results. If the quick result is desired, then a time limit should be levied. Like in case of seasonal sales, the customer hurries to get the advantage before the offer is over. So quick results are expected in this case. But the disadvantage with an advertisement with a time limit is that the customer is bound to forget about the product or the company within a short period and it doesn’t create a deep impact on the minds of the customer.

The competition

Competing against rival company’s advertising also contributes to a successful advertising plan. The power of the message should be compared to that of the competitors’. It doesn’t mean that the advertiser should use the same plan like his competitor, it would look like imitation and effectiveness will be decreased. But the advertisement should be planned smartly via a different and effective path, to out-do the competitor’s advertisement.

The description of the product is also very vital like suppose an advertisement is made for a restaurant, it will get customers immediately if it is attractive. But if the advertisement is for a computer, it won’t yield immediate results, as it’s not every day that someone buys a computer. This is called analysis of the purchase cycle.

If targeting for a higher impact, the newsletter is the best bet. But if the newsletters are sent to the real potential customers, then this approach should be adopted for message delivery. It should only be opted to be after thorough analysis, no matter what the budget is. Another important point is to always hire a professional advertiser or an ad writer because not hiring one will sometimes be more expensive and results in more losses.

4 Benefits Of A Professional Web Design

4 Benefits Of A Professional Web Design

UX Design

Professional web design

A professional web design is essential to internet success. This is especially true for businesses. While there are many software programs, tutorials, and do-it-yourself websites available across the internet, nothing can compare to a professional web design, for so many reasons. Here, we are going to show you the top four benefits of a professional web design and why no business should take a chance on anything but professionalism.

Benefit #1 – First Impressions DO Count

Surely, you remember your mother telling you, the first impression is all you get in life. This still holds true in life and on the internet. Your website is your access to a world of customers and your customer’s access to you. It is a proven fact that you have no more than six seconds, that is right six (6) seconds, to grab a potential customer’s attention. If your website is not professionally designed in an appealing nature with easy navigation, fresh content, and believability, you will have lost them almost instantly.

Benefit #2 – More Sales = Greater Profit

It is yet another proven fact that the right design will increase your sales. If you are new to website design and fail to include the fundamental aspects of your website, there is a great chance that your sales and profit will suffer as a result. With professional web design, the designers, project managers, and any person that works with the company knows just what it takes to create a profitable website, which will increase sales, and ultimately your profit.

Benefit #3 – Product Highlights

No matter if you offer 1 product or 5,000 products, a professional web designer will know just what it takes to highlight the right products. They have a good idea of your targeted audience, what they are looking for, and how to properly highlight products for increased sales. The same applies to services as well. It is necessary to show the best of what you have to offer in order to convert visitors into paying customers.

Benefit #4 – Unique

Perhaps one of the best things about a professional web design is the fact that your website will be yours and only yours. There will not be another website on the internet that looks like yours. When you use templates found on the internet or WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors, there is a good chance that hundreds of other webmasters, just like you, have the same template. Potential customers want to see something new, fresh, and unique. They definitely do not want to see the same website over and over again.

There you have it the top four benefits of a professional web design. There are so many more benefits, but the above four are the top reasons why you should be choosing a professional design company.