Archive for December, 2015

New York City is Replacing Payphones with WiFi Hubs

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

public WiFi New York

In an effort to keep up with the demand for fast public WiFi, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and LinkNYC have teamed up to replace 7,500 pay  phones with WiFi hubs. The plan will create a first-of-its-kind communications network across the five boroughs with new structures called Links — providing super fast WiFi to millions of New Yorkers and visitors.

And that could include famously mobile small business owners who may be in town for a business meeting or event and need quick free Internet or recharging for a device.

The new hubs will be equipped with free services like high-speed WiFi, phone calls, a tablet for web browsing and a device charger for anyone living in or visiting New York City to use. Features are free to the public. They also come at no cost to taxpayers.

Instead, the system will use 55-inch advertising displays to serve that will not only pay for the service, but is also projected to generate $500 million in revenue over the next 12 years.

The launch of LinkNYC will soon begin with a beta phase, giving New Yorkers an early opportunity to try out features and provide feedback so developers can improve the overall experience. Additional apps and services will be rolled out over the next few months and over the next decade.

In an official release, Mayor De Blasio called expanded broadband access “essential for everything we need to do to be a fair and just city,” adding that the system would be “the fastest and largest municipal WiFi network in the world,”

LinkNYC offers gigabit WiFi speed which in perspective is up to 100 times faster than the average public connection you get from your favorite cafe and the LTE phone carrier on your phone. This allows you access to the signal with any WiFi enabled device: smart phone, tablet, laptop and even your smart watch up to 150 feet from each LinkNYC.

So it’s hoped the new service will provide free phone service, Internet browsing, easy access to 911 and 311 calls and free cell charging.

Of course, it’s no news that public WiFi networks are not secured. In fact, a study by online security experts Risk Based Security recently put those risks into perspective.

In the report, the firm estimates 822 million records were exposed globally in 2013 alone. These records run the gambit including credit card numbers, birth dates, medical information, phone numbers, social security numbers, addresses, user names, emails, names and passwords.

What  security measures will LinkNYC put in place to protect the security of users logging on to a WiFi network encompassing one of the busiest metropolitan areas  in  the world?

While small business owners on the go may adore the convenience of being able to log on from anywhere in the city or when on the road, the question remains.

Will you be compromising sensitive business information or even personal data on your devices simply by signing in?

 

Payphone Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “New York City is Replacing Payphones with WiFi Hubs” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Fading oil rebound drains energy stocks

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

European equities drift lower

Things to Consider Before Choosing a Suitable WiFi Router for Business

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

suitable wifi router

A suitable WiFi router is a very crucial commodity for every business. Be it a business network for the staff or a guest network, scores of aspects need to be considered before settling for a router. With the workforce going mobile, the requirement for a WiFi router is even more important.

Just as any other device, a WiFi router plays a major role in keeping your business WiFi up and running. With the huge variety of WiFi routers available, choosing the right one for your business could be quite tricky.

Before buying a WiFi router, it is vital to have a complete understanding of the features available and the ones that correspond to your business.

Understanding the Network Type

The network type of a router varies according to the speed with which it can transfer data. The most common ones available in the market are mentioned below:

  • 1b
  • 1g
  • 1n
  • 11ac

The letters at the end signify the wireless communication standards. ‘b’ is the first generation network type, followed by ‘g’, ‘n’ and ‘ac’. The ‘ac’ network type is the fastest. The ‘n’ network type is quite popular among businesses. However, to achieve higher speeds and backward compatibility with slow networks, the ‘ac’ network type works best.

Single Band or Dual Band

A frequency band or simply, a band is a particular range of frequencies on the Radio Frequency (RF) spectrum. Only two frequencies correspond to the wireless communication, these being 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Single band router can pick up only 2.4 GHz. On the contrary, a dual band router can operate on both the frequencies.

The primary disadvantage of a single band router is that it is quite prone to interference since it has only a couple of non-overlapping transmission channels. Additionally, this frequency band is employed by numerous wireless equipment, which take up space on this band. Therefore, the signal becomes quite congested. The 5GHz band, on the other hand, has a large number of non-overlapping channels and is less crowded.

With a dual band router, you would get a higher speed and an improved performance. On the flipside, the broadcast range for 5GHz frequency is quite less.

Quality of Service

With numerous electronic equipment fighting for their shares of the bandwidth, unequal distribution becomes a common problem. The Quality of Service (QoS) features of routers can do away with this problem. The QoS controls the amount of bandwidth each device is allowed to consume by assigning priority to each device. You can assign any of the following three priorities for devices:

  • High
  • Medium
  • Low

QoS also allows you to limit or even block various types of traffic according to your preference. For example, you set the priority to ‘Low’ for the services that are not related to the business and prioritize the ones that are used the most. The quality of the QoS depends on the quality of algorithm in use and the power of the processor available. Some high-quality routers can prioritize the traffic based on assumptions.

QoS is a highly effective and useful feature, but is not available in all routers. If this service appeals to you, you can look for the specific ones while selecting a router for your office.

Security

With WiFi routers, security is paramount. It is primarily based on the encryption of the router. TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) and AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) are the two primary types of encryption. TKIP was introduced to replace the WEP encryption. These are available on the WPA and WPA2 standards. The AES encryption is considered to be more secure than the TKIP and is, therefore, used in various eminent organizations worldwide.

Budget

While buying a Wi-Fi router, your budget plays a key role. A single band WiFi router is less expensive than a dual band one. If you take the additional features into consideration, then the price would automatically increase. However, you need to keep in mind that a cheap router could mean compromising quality.

It is important to take each of these features into consideration before you decide on the router you wish to buy. Apart from the points mentioned above, you would also need to make sure that the router is compatible with all the devices. Your best choice would be the one that complies with all the requirements of your business.

WiFi Graphic via Shutterstock

This article, “Things to Consider Before Choosing a Suitable WiFi Router for Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Russia’s Patriarch Kiril to Visit Sofia Early Next Year

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Russian Patriarch Kiril is due to travel to Bulgaria’s capital Sofia in February of next year, Russian church officials have said.

The Bulgarian National Radio quotes him as saying that an invitation has already been extended to Kiril by his Bulgarian counterpart, Neofit.

Kiril will take part in the celebrations that are to follow a decision of the Russian Holy Synod (the top governing body of the country’s Orthodox Church) is to hold a session and canonize Archbishop Seraphim Sobolev – the patron saint of the Russian church in downtown Sofia, next to the National Military Club building.

Neofit for his part paid a one-week official visit to Russia in May 2014. 

 

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5 Ways Startups Make It to Year Two

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

know your customers

Only 75 percent of new businesses survive past the one-year mark. That means that 1 out of every 4 businesses will close their doors before the end of year one. And while you would think that making it past year one gets you to the summit, the reality is that each subsequent year becomes harder to survive with only 69% making past year two and only 50 percent of businesses making it to the five-year mark. So what’s the difference between the startups that make it and the ones that don’t?

In a recent article from Intuit, I outline five keys that successful businesses can use to help conquer year one. Each of the keys is a step in building a solid foundation to help support your startup through the first year and for years beyond. These include:

  • Get A Solid Support System: Surround yourself with positive friends, family, mentors and colleagues who will support you and provide unbias advice during your building period.
  • Know Your Customers: Even the greatest business idea will fail if there is no market demand for it or if you fail to get it to your target market. Research, test and tweak until you get it right.
  • Know Your Strengths: According to Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup, successful entrepreneurs have common core strengths. Know what your strengths are and then play to them.
  • Plan to Be Unprofitable: The first few years of any startup are very rarely lucrative, so be realistic about that and come to terms with it. That means finding ways to survive without a steady salary.
  • Measure Results: Every single thing that you do as a startup should be measured and analyzed. This is the only way that you’ll be able to gauge accurately what’s working and what’s not and then make needed adjustments.

The life of an entrepreneur and a startup business is filled with unknowns, endless hours and lots of ups and downs. By going into the process with realistic expectations, a solid plan, a lot of determination and these five keys, you’ll have a greater chance of being one of the 75 percent that survive year one.

Republished by permission. Original here.

Calendar Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “5 Ways Startups Make It to Year Two” was first published on Small Business Trends

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One Month Left for Bulgaria’s Parliament to Decide on E-Voting Referendum

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

A deadline of three months which started in November, obligating Parliament to have a say on a proposal that allow citizens to vote online, is to expire in a month.

On October 25, an overwhelming majority backed e-voting in a referendum proposed by President Rosen Plevneliev.

However, turnout wasn’t enough to make the vote of a 73% majority binding on Parliament.

Source

Crude rebound fails to lift energy stocks

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

European equities drift lower

Overgas Denies Receiving Warning Letter from Gazprom on Halt of Supplies

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Bulgarian-Russian company Overgas has denied receiving a letter from Russian energy giant Gazprom calling on it to prepared for a halt in supplies from January 1.

A statement on the company’s website [BG] reads that the gas supply contract with Gazprom is in force until 2017, and Overgas abides by all of its commitments, with no overdue payment.

On Wednesday, Bulgarian media outlets reported the Bulgarian-Russian company, in which Gazprom Export is a 50% shareholder, received a letter where it was advised to prepare for a halt, overdue debt being a possible reason.

According to these reports, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov met top energy officials of the country, instructing them to stand ready to supply Overgas if its own deliveries from Gazprom Export come to a halt.

“Overgas Inc. is a supplier of gas for gas distribution companies and industrial customers around the country. The biggest volumes supplied are to Overgas Mrezhi ["Overgas Networks"] whose customers are more than 55 000 households and 3000 industrial consumers. None of our clients faces a risk of a halt in natural gas supplies,”

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Some Pulic Transport Lines, Sofia Metro to Run All Night on January 1

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

A number of buses will remain in service in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia both late on New Year’s eve and in the small hours of January 1 to help people celebrating the New Year move around the city.

Trains will be available every 20 minutes between Mladost 1 and Obelia stations (most of the Red line) and all along the Blue line going from the neighborhood of Lozenets to Obelia.

Trains in the two sections of the Blue line leading to from Mladost 1 to Sofia Business Park and Sofia Airport respectively will run every 40 minutes, the Sofia Urban Mobility Center (the company operating public transport in Sofia) has announced.

Buses will be available along the following lines: 11, 76, 78, 83, 85, 94, 102, 213, 285, 309, 310 and 604.

Trams: 5, 7, 8, 12, 18, 20, 22.

Trolley buses: 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9.

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Are You Accepting Android Pay? Here’s Why You Should

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

accepting android pay

When Google launched Android Pay last September, skeptics were not convinced. But three months down the line, the digital wallet platform is doing better than expected and proving critics wrong.

In a post on the official Android Blog, Google revealed there are over 1 million locations across the United States that are now accepting Android Pay. And the number is growing by the minute.

But Google is not stopping just yet. The search engine giant is now bringing Android Pay to apps — enabling people to use it for in-app purchases.

Incentives for Accepting Google Pay in Store

Google has said that in the next few months, more apps will add Android Pay to help users “speed through mobile checkout.”

To entice more users, Google is offering discounts in select apps as an incentive. For example, users will get $10 off on their Lyft ride and 30 percent off on Vinted, a second hand clothing site.

Other apps supporting this technology at the moment include Handy, Fancy, Instacart and Printicular among others.

Spreading Its Wings

Google is also taking Android Pay across the world. In the first half of 2016, the mobile payment service will be available to users in Australia. The company is working closely with many major financial institutions including ANZ and Westpac to bring Android Pay to Australian MasterCard and Visa card holders.

When it gets launched there, Android Pay will be accepted by merchants such as McDonald’s, 7-Eleven and Telstra.

But Australia is only the beginning, Google  insists. The company will add more countries next year, and reach many more users across the world.

Taking on Apple and Samsung

Android Pay competes directly against Samsung Pay and Apple Pay. Unlike Apple Pay, however, Android Pay does not exist as a standalone app. Instead, it is used by third-party apps to create payment products.

Google has paid special attention to boosting security for Android Pay. To protect user information, virtual account numbers are used. Further, the Android Device Manager lets users lock their device, reset password, or wipe the device clean from anywhere, in case of theft.

Add Android Pay

Millions of businesses — including perhaps even your competitors — are now accepting Android Pay. In view of this, it makes perfect sense to accept Android Pay, if you are not doing so already.

To add Android Pay, you can visit the Android Pay API developer site where you will find all the information you need to get started.

Image: Android/YouTube

This article, “Are You Accepting Android Pay? Here’s Why You Should” was first published on Small Business Trends

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