Does Wikipedia Need A Facelift?

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Virtually everyone loves Wikipedia for what it has to offer. It is a gigantic resource that can be used by students, academics, and even doctors to help provide valuable information on perhaps the widest range of topics ever compiled. It is filled with millions of articles, images, and pieces of information in over 280 different languages. It’s also home to around 75,000 dedicated editors who are all a part of a wide ranging community that tries to keep Wikipedia as reliable and helpful as possible. With all these plaudits and accolades, you might think that Wikipedia is free from criticism. Of course, one of the major criticisms against Wikipedia is its design.

Since it was created in 2001, Wikipedia has largely stuck with the familiar white and black color scheme and utilitarian formatting. If you have ever used Wikipedia for anything, then you are probably familiar with the design. There’s nothing really flashy about it, and it’s certainly not winning any graphic design contests, but the design is functional. Over the years, it’s received minor facelifts, but nothing that has been particularly noteworthy.

Wikipedia has also received a number of different proposals for redesign over the years. As one of the most popular websites on the internet, Wikipedia has stayed surprisingly true to its design form. For anyone looking for no-nonsense information, Wikipedia is ideal. But, for creative types, the website can be almost unreadable. Blocks of text aren’t spaced out well, there is too much white space, and the typography in general is out of date. But, again, this is a website with some of the highest traffic rates on the web. Another top-ten website, Yahoo, has seen innumerable changes since it was first unveiled in the 90’s. In fact, the original Yahoo website is almost unrecognizable by comparison.

So, what’s the deal with Wikipedia? For starters, many people at Wikipedia sort of work off the philosophy of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” For the most part, this rings true. Although Wikipedia can, at times, be difficult to read, it still gets the job done quite well (especially considering it’s got over 30 million pages to deal with). Another reason that Wikipedia has yet to update or streamline its look is because most redesign proposals don’t take into account the complex infrastructure of the Wikipedia community and Wikipedia editing in general. Most redesigns focus purely on the aesthetic aspects of the site on not the functional ones.

There is even an official discussion page on Wikipedia titled “Unsolicited redesigns.” This is a place to lay out the rules for redesigns and talk about why they may or may not be feasible. One of the newest redesign proposals comes from a Swedish design studio called “1910.” The design looks very similar to the current Wikipedia, but it utilizes white space more, separates blocks of text, enlarges images, and effectively makes the website more readable as a whole.

Wikipedia screenshot

Of course, if we’re just talking about aesthetics, most redesign proposals look nicer than the current Wikipedia design. For the most part, however, redesign proposals are largely put on the back burner. It does not look like Wikipedia is going to make a large-scale redesign any time soon, so you might as well get used to the utilitarian functionality of the site.

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  •  License: Creative Commons image source 
  •  License: Image author owned 

Charloette Russell is a graphic designer with an expertise in website layout. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and still resides in Ann Arbor. Some of her most notable clients include General Motors, Kellogs, and Toyota. Through her education and experience, she has changed the way people see web pages of various companies.

The challenges of enterprise file storage

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File storage is a burgeoning problem and the one that isn’t going away anytime soon. Did you know that less than half of all corporate data is stored on file servers? The figure is 46 percent, with the remainder being stored on desktops, smartphones and tablets, collaboration systems, in email systems, and on consumer cloud storage services.

For many enterprises this is a ticking time bomb. Such fragmented storage holds a very high risk and threatens a potential failing in legislative compliance, legal hold and e-discovery with severe financial penalties.

Other business risks include poor decision making. If the necessary data is not available within the necessary time frame then there are chances that any decisions that are made without it will be the wrong decisions.

Although email is growing exponentially, most of the stored corporate data is in the form of files such as Word documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, design data and other user generated content. Taking file storage and email storage together, while the majority of files tend to be stored on file servers that are managed by IT departments, many are stored on devices that are not controlled by IT, for instance laptop computers, tablets, smartphones, and consumer cloud services such as Google Docs either with or without the approval of IT.

While many organizations are adopting cloud based email archiving as a solution to their burgeoning email problems, fewer are turning to cloud based file archiving. Although email archiving is a natural place to enter the cloud, it is only one step in the right direction. In many ways it is illogical to have multiple archiving systems such as cloud based email archiving and IT managed file archiving. A much better approach is to adopt a single system that is able to manage email, files and every other form of electronic corporate data.

However the problems involved in achieving this should not be underestimated; file archiving can be more challenging than email archiving. A lot of the email resides on email servers, but files can reside on file servers, desktop computers, laptops and all other devices mentioned above. Although the ‘bring your own device’ policies adopted by many trendy organisations have their benefits, they have significant downsides too, and particularly in terms of the number of alternative locations for corporate data that should be archived.

According to an Osterman report sponsored by Mimecast, 37% of enterprise electronic data is in the form of email, 46% is stored on file servers; 12% on user desktop computers; 12% on collaboration systems; 10% on user laptops; 4% on tablets and smartphones; 2% on home computers; and 4% on a variety of other devices for instance on USB memory sticks.

Thus it is becoming increasingly clear that finding a complete archiving solution must be given high priority by enterprise boards which are otherwise risking stringent penalties imposed for failure to comply with regulatory requirements as well as facing potentially serious data security problems. Email archiving is a good start, but without file archiving it is less than half of the battle.

Avoiding Free Wifi Scams While Traveling

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Most people spend a lot of time on the Internet while they are traveling. They often want to log into Facebook or handle online business transactions while they are waiting at the airport or staying at their hotel. Unfortunately, a number of scammers have recently started using mobile hotspots to entrap unsuspecting travelers. You will need to understand how these scams work and take the necessary measures to protect yourself.

How Do Wi-Fi Hotspot Scams Work?

You may be tempted to login to a free wifi hotspot rather than going to Starbucks or paying a fee to have a secure connection somewhere else. Many scam artists know that many people don’t know where they can get Internet access and will usually choose the first thing that shows up in their network administration panel. They will often create free wifi hotspots to phish data from unsuspecting travelers.

Josh Larsen is a technology expert with a well-known security firm in California. Larsen said that free hotspots are an easy way for hackers to gain access to people’s computers. They can set one up in less than a couple of minutes and most people never see anything malicious about them.

The hackers who set these up use very sophisticated technology to capture all of the data that people enter. It is almost as effective as installing keylogging software directly on the person’s machine. Hackers are even able to disguise the hotspot as a legitimate web portal. Some of them have even made the wifi look like the one used at a local coffee shop or hotel. Most businesses are aware of these scams and try to shut down any hotspots that use their name. However, you will need to be on your guard either way.

Tips to Protect Yourself

The reason that people get scammed is because they transmit data openly on an unsecured network. You can drastically reduce your chances of being exploited if you take the right steps.

First of all, you should only login through a secure connection. The mobile hotspots that scammers setup for phishing purposes are almost invariably http connections. You will be much safer if you login to a network that uses a https connection instead.

You should also try to authenticate any network before logging into it. You will be a lot safer if you are trying to login to the wifi at a hotel or coffee shop. You can ask the employees what the name of the network is that you are trying to login to. Look very carefully at the network name before logging in, because clever scam artists will try use a similar name to dupe people into thinking they are logging into a legitimate network.

You will also need to make sure that your computer or smartphone device is setup to be as secure as possible. You will need to make sure that your malware protection software is as up-to-date as possible. You should also make sure that any automatic wifi connections are disabled.

Online criminals try to take advantage of careless travelers who don’t take the measures to protect themselves. You will be much safer if you understand the risks and mitigate them as much as possible.

About the author: Kalen is a travel and technology writer. He stayed at Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls Fallsview when he was attending a seminar on IT security tips last summer.

How Do You Know Which Broadband Package Is Right For You?

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Choosing between broadband packages can be a simple and straightforward task. A little research and an assessment of your broadband requirements is all that is necessary. By observing one or all of the following, you can easily determine which package is best for you.

Needs & Desires

Before looking at the multitude of broadband choices, consider what you need and what you desire. This is best ascertained by examining your current or potential broadband setup uses for:

• Business
• Personal
• Individual
• Family

The relevance of these conditions determines the kind of broadband packages you should consider.

Small home businesses and families, or multi-person networks, require a bandwidth sufficient to meet the demands of numerous devices. Every computer, phone, tablet or other connected device utilises parts of the bandwidth. To maintain the integrity of download/upload and browsing speeds, a bandwidth which can accommodate a larger group is preferable.

Beyond this, differing broadband packages may be suitable for groups of specific sizes, whether 2-3 people, or more. This should be the guiding principal when deciding which package to adopt.

The Anatomy of Great Broadband

As with any product, a broadband package’s features and benefits should conform to a particular standard in order to be most useful. Certain qualities are key and should be prized over others. Look for:
• Broadband ranges of 30Mb-100Mb (via fibre optic cable)
• Speeds 3 to 9 times faster than the UK average
• Packages that do/don’t include a phone line
• Free internet security
• Unlimited downloads
• Download times between roughly 30 secs and 6 mins for an album, TV show, or movie respectively
• The choice of either wireless broadband or mobile broadband (broadband dongles are ideal when travelling throughout the UK, whether for business or personal reasons)

These perks amount to a higher quality and more advantageous broadband package at no extra cost. In addition, the ability to build your own bundle is crucial. If you do not fancy what is offered, create your ideal package. Phone deals offering unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines should be a given.

Premium Service

After you have assessed your needs and begun your search for the ideal broadband package, give preference to those providers who offer unlimited assistance. Find your nearest store and pay a visit. Some companies will even come to you, dispatching experts who can quickly appraise your situation, needs, and constraints. Speaking with an expert by phone is also a proactive solution.

Broadband packages are an investment. Your initial output should be justifiable with a promise of cumulative long term value. Look for:
• Free or low cost options for the first 6 months of service
• Competitive, high speed packages of 30Mb or more at £10-50 a month
• Free installation on more expensive packages
• A range of channels at even the lowest tier of service

Clarity of information is also of the utmost importance. Set aside time to investigate websites of any providers and consider the following:
• Do they explain every aspect of the process in plain, accessible language, starting with what happens as soon as you place your order?
• Can you see beforehand what each step of the installation process consists of?
• Are the nuances of the services you have ordered outlined clearly?
• Is there a basic explanation of billing?

Your ability to obtain these answers should factor into your ultimate decision.

Simple Luxury

By adhering to these points and steps, choosing the perfect broadband package can be a stressfree, easy decision. As easy as just clicking here.

Written by
Nathan Morgan has worked in the IT industry for over 20 years. In recent year his focus has been on IT Security which has gained importance as the Internet has grown an avid follower of the latest gadgets

More Lawmakers Feel Censoring Social Media Doesn’t Work

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The law often has a difficult time keeping up with the pace of technology. One of the biggest challenges that lawmakers around the world have faced is trying to regulate and monitor social media. They have come up with a number of new regulations to promote censorship but most of those measures have failed. More lawmakers appear to be feeling that censoring social media is probably not a feasible approach.

Attempts to Censor Social Media

Lawmakers have proposed a number of different approaches to censor social media sites. Here are some of the laws that were created to censor social media over the last few years.

SOPA

The Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) was introduced by the United States House of Representatives in 2011 to prevent copyright infringement. The new law would have prevented marketers from doing business with any website that violated copyright laws and would have ordered Internet Service Providers to block all access to sites that violated copyright laws.

The law was proposed to help protect the financial stability of the entertainment industry. Many people understood the concerns that the law created, but said that the bill created a number of other concerns that they needed to voice. Many libraries and other institutions were worried that the law would expose them to prosecution. A number of social media communities and online information portals blocked themselves out a couple of months later to protest the new legislation.

Lawmakers came to realize that the new measure probably wouldn’t work as they originally wrote it. They haven’t abandoned the legislation, but seem to feel that complete censorship wasn’t the best approach.

Saudi Arabia Efforts to Censor Social Media

The Saudi Arabia Telecommunications Authority has proposed a new bill that would allow them to censor social media. However, Prince bin Talal has recently protested the new legislation. He said that blocking social media is a “losing war” and the government will need to find a new approach.

The prince and many other supporters have protested these proposals. They said that social media is a powerful tool for citizens to make their voices heard and the government would be unwise to implement such measures. A number of rights groups have backed bin Talal and the potential law is losing support among other lawmakers as well.

Censorship in China

Government officials in China have been working diligently to censor social media. Many experts have accused government officials of trying to use censorship as a propaganda tool. However, recent articles have found that it has been largely ineffective. Kelly McParland of the National Postrecently published this article stating that many citizens are openly using social media to mock government officials. McParland has said that many people have felt that the government’s efforts are backfiring on them.

Governments Reevaluating How they Manage Social Media

Governments are trying to understand how to regulate social media. They are still trying to find out the best way to do so. They will continue to look for new ways to do so in the future, but are starting to realize that censorship may not be an approach that can work.

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About the author:Kalen is an Internet marketer who writes tips about social media aggregation and other topics for My Life. He feels that connecting social networks together can help people use their social media more effectively.

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