What’s New

Tesla’s Autopilot system has come under scrutiny

Tesla’s Autopilot system has come under scrutiny lately by a senior engineer at Volvo. He calls the system “an unsupervised wannabe” and it makes you think it’s doing more than it actually is. You can read the full article here. While not surprisingly the system is being criticized by a competitor, most people still find the Tesla’s Autopilot quite impressive. You can see a video of it in action below.

The new WiFi system you can’t live without

Let’s face it, WiFi technology hasn’t improved much in recent years compared to other technologies. Slow speeds, dead zones, and having to constantly reset the router are problems everyone is familiar with. Recently a company called eero has come out with a new home WiFi system that aims to solve these problems. You simply plug in one device to your modem and place other eeros throughout your home that only need power from a standard outlet. The eeros communicate with each other to provide total WiFi coverage with no extra wiring. Additionally you can manage all of your WiFi settings right from your smartphone. For complete details on eero, check out their website.
https://eero.com/

LA to San Francisco in 30 minutes!?

This is very cool. Elon Musk’s idea of a pneumatic tube transportation system back in 2013 is being brought to life by a company called Hyperloop Transportation. They have filed a permit for construction and it could be operational as early as 2018.

Full article here

Your may run into a robot on your next grocery store trip

Meet Tally, a robot created by a Silicon Valley tech company called Simbe Robotics. Tally’s job consists of doing full store inventory audits on the shelves, and apparently can do the job in a fraction of the time. Don’t worry though, Tally has sensors in place to ensure that it won’t run into you while shopping! Read the full article below.

Tally!

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Is Apple entering the automotive industry?

Recently there has been many rumors of Apple building a car. Apple has not confirmed or denied this rumor, but there is certainly evidence that suggests this is true, such as Apple CEO Tim Cook meeting with other automakers, hiring battery experts, and autonomous driving experts. Rumors are that Apple is looking to deliver the car by 2019 and it will be fully electric and self driving. You can read the full article here:
Breaking Down the Rumors: Is Apple Really Building a Car?

Magento vs Shopify

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After you decide to create an eCommerce store the first big decision you’ll have to make is what platform to use. There are plenty of options, but two of the most popular today are Magento and Shopify. Both eCommerce platforms offer plenty of advantages and disadvantages and we’ll point out the fundamental differences below.

  • Shopify is a commercial product that you have to pay a monthly fee for, while Magento (community) is a free open-source software solution that you can download.
  • Shopify is a hosted eCommerce solution while with Magento you have to find your own host and configure everything before you can launch your store

These fundamental differences provide key advantages and disadvantages for each platform depending on your level of technical expertise, budget, and size of the store you’re setting up. We’ll break it down into a few categories below.

Store Setup:

Shopify is a hosted solution and requires very little technical knowledge to set up a store quickly and easily. Shopify support can easily assist you with any minor problems, but it’s a pretty self explanatory process. Magento requires a medium level of technical knowledge to setup on a server and get it running properly. Winner: Shopify

Payment Gateways:

Shopify supports over 70 payments gateways while Magento Community out of the box supports far fewer. However there are many 3rd party extensions to add payment gateways to Magento. Winner: Shopify

Themes:

Shopify offers some beautiful themes but they often come at a hefty price. Magento has far more themes available with some as low as $1. Winner: Magento

Extensions/Add-ons:

Both Magento and Shopify have extensions or apps that can be installed to improve the functionality or gain access to special features for your store. However Magento has a huge advantage here in the number of extensions available with more than 50 times as many to choose from. Winner: Magento

Customization:

Magento and Shopify are both highly customizable to suit your needs. However as Shopify is a hosted solution, you will never have complete control over your website and therefore cannot customize it to the point that you could customize a Magento store. Winner: Magento

Speed:

Magento is often referred to as a “resource hog” and this can definitely be true in some cases. If Magento isn’t configured right on the back-end or on the server you could see long load times, however Magento has improved in speed with every new version released. Magento 2 promises to be faster than ever. Since Shopify is hosted for you Shopify takes care of everything here. Winner: Usually Shopify

Security:

As with speed, this will depend completely on how you set up your Magento store and the server you decided to place it on. Shopify will take care of all of this for you. Winner: Usually Shopify

Costs:

Since Shopify is a commercial product you will be paying a monthly fee for using their product, up to $179/month. When you start adding apps and other add-ons most of these also all charge a monthly fee, so this can add up quickly. Magento Community is completely free to use and most of the extensions offered are either free or just charge a one time fee. Winner: Magento

Conclusion:

Both of these platforms have been highly successful for many people. If you have some technical knowledge or can hire someone that does, Magento will offer you a much more customizable eCommerce solution. Shopify is very intuitive and you can literally set up a store in minutes with no technical knowledge at all, but be prepared to pay the monthly fees.

Magento 2 Release

The much anticipated release of Magento 2 will likely occur within a few months in the 4th quarter of this year. Magento has promised a vast improvement in speed and scalability as well as updated technology pack. The installation and upgrade process will also be simplified. For a complete rundown of the upcoming release, check out this article by Amasty.

Magento 2 Release Facts and Rumors

Your name and picture may now be used in Google ads

Google has updated their terms and conditions which will now allow them to use your name and photo from your Google Plus page in advertisements to “friends, family, and others”.

Fortunately Google has learned from Facebook’s mishandling of a similar situation and is allowing users to opt out, but if you take no action then your information may be used. You can opt out of Google showing your name and picture in advertisements by following the link below and deselecting the check box at the bottom.

Google Shared Endorsements

Top 5 SEO and Online Marketing Trends for the New Year

Google is constantly updating their search algorithm to provide a better experience for their users and as a result, the world of SEO and internet marketing is constantly changing. Here are the top 5 trends in SEO and Internet Marketing for 2014.

1. Google is tweaking it’s algorithm to devalue generic link building and focus on valuable content that websites provide for the user. This will level the playing field with smaller low budget websites as the way to rank higher on Google now is to simply provide a better, more interactive website.

2. Optimizing your website for tablets and mobile phones. Smartphone use has exploded over the past few years and Google has definitely taken notice. Google will reward a website that delivers an optimal experience for whatever device the consumer is using. However Google does not recommend having a separate mobile website with a different URL, and instead suggests that responsive web design is the way to go.

3. Making sure your website is included on local business searches. According to Google “20% of searches on Google are related to location.” This also ties in to increased tablet and smartphone use as these devices often use GPS with their searches.

4. Move toward HTML5 and away from Flash. The support for HTML5 is constantly growing, and according to data from StatCounter quoted in a Google study, says that in May 2013, the number of users who have HTML 5 compatible environments overtook users with FLASH compatible environments.

5. If your website uses images at all, get on Pinterest. From 2011 to 2013 Pinterest gained 50 million users and it’s reported that 21 million are “active” users.