Robert Miller

Robert Miller

Apple's iPhone has long been one of the best business phones on the market, with one major shortcoming: Its pint-size display has always been a bit too small to get real work done. Apple addressed that issue with the iPhone 6, a scaled-up iPhone that finally offers enough screen space for real productivity. Apple did more than give its new smartphone a larger display; the iPhone 6 has been totally redesigned, with a superthin profile and smooth curves in place of the boxy edges on older models. Plus, the iPhone 6 ships with iOS 8, a revamped version of Apple's mobile operating system that adds a slew of new productivity-boosting features for business users.

But Apple still has some catching up to do in a few areas. The iPhone 6 has shorter battery life than other flagship smartphones, and iOS 8, which slick and easy to use, still has some annoying limitations. So should business users upgrade to Apple's new flagship phone, or opt for an Android device instead?


These days, smartphone makers are rushing to crank out phones with huge, pocket-stretching screens. But I personally prefer smartphones with slightly smaller dimensions, so the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is a breath of fresh air. The display is big, but not too big, striking the perfect balance between productivity and one-handed usability. It might take some time for longtime iPhone users to get accustomed to the bigger screen, but most users will find that it makes basic tasks, like managing your email inbox and browsing the Web, much more comfortable. The 4.7-inch display is certainly a lot more manageable than the 5.5-inch screen on Apple's other new smartphone, the iPhone 6 Plus .


The iPhone 6's screen isn't as pixel-dense as some of its Android rivals, but in practice, it won't matter much. The 1334 x 750-pixel panel is still technically a Retina display, which means that the human eye can't easily distinguish the individual pixels at a normal viewing distance. Competing phones, including Samsung's Galaxy S5 and HTC's One M8 , do offer higher-resolution screens. Regardless, the iPhone 6 sports a bright, colorful display that's more than sharp enough to satisfy most business users.However, in some ways, the big screen can make the device harder to use. I noticed that it's harder to reach the back button, which is still located in the top-left corner of the screen in most apps. I initially found myself tilting the phone awkwardly in my palm to reach the top corner of the screen with my thumb. Fortunately, most apps let you swipe in from the left side of the screen to go back to the previous page, which all but eliminates the issue. If you don't already use this handy gesture, you'd better get used to it.


It's been years since Apple has made any significant changes to the design of the iPhone, which has sported squared-off edges and flat metal sides since the launch of the iPhone 4 in 2010. Apple has finally given the iPhone a total design overhaul, with smooth, rounded edges and striking accent lines on the phone's back. Overall, the premium glass-and-metal design is as appealing as ever. Like other iPhone models, the iPhone 6 is a smartphone that business users can take seriously.

The iPhone 6 is wider and taller than its predecessors, but it's also the slimmest iPhone yet. At just 0.27 inches thick, it has an even thinner profile than the Galaxy S5 (0.31 inches) and the HTC One M8 (0.37 inches), though those devices both sport bigger screens and bigger batteries.


The iPhone 6 is powered by Apple's new A8 processor, the same chip that's in the iPhone 6 Plus. It's an extremely powerful processor, which translates into zippy performance and snappy multitasking. Apps load almost instantly, and exiting apps to return to the home screen is just as fast. Business users can rest assured that the iPhone 6 Plus can easily keep up with just about anything you throw at it.iOS 8

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus both ship with iOS 8, which is packed with handy new features. For starters, there's the revamped notification drawer, which now includes two separate panels: Today and Notifications. The Notifications panel is basic, delivering a list of your latest alerts, including new texts and email messages. But the Today view, which introduces widgets to iOS for the first time, is one of the best additions to iOS 8. Widgets are like miniature apps that update in real time, and can display all sorts of information without the need to open up individual applications. By default, the Today view includes the latest weather forecast and a list of calendar appointments. Adding widgets is easy; just download them from the App Store and then tap the Edit button at the bottom of the Today panel.

There's also a handy new way to act on incoming messages. When a new text or email arrives, it will pop up in a small window at the top of the screen. Just swipe down to reveal the keyboard, and then type and hit send to fire off a quick reply — no need to launch the dedicated Email or Messages app. It's a small time-saving tool that busy business users will appreciate.


One of the biggest additions to iOS might be a feature that's not even completely rolled out yet. Called Handoff, the feature lets you connect your iPhone to your iPad or Mac computer. When you're writing an email or editing a document on your iPhone, for example, you can transition seamlessly to another Apple device by tapping the Handoff button on the one you're currently using. It's available on Apple devices that are signed into the same iCloud account, and works well when you want to switch between your iPhone and iPad. But we won't get to see how well it works between mobile and desktop devices until the launch of OS X Yosemite, the new version of Apple's desktop operating system, sometime this fall. When that update becomes available, you'll also be able to answer phone calls right on your Mac computer.Keyboards

Apple's mobile operating system still has some annoying limitations. For example, while iOS 8 finally adds the ability to install third-party keyboards with extra functionality, Apple has imposed some strict limitations on keyboard developers. Text dictation is disabled when you're using a third-party keyboard, and some secure text fields within apps only accept input from the stock keyboard. Meanwhile, the stock keyboard is still frustratingly basic. Features such as swipe-based typing, which is practically standard on third-party keyboards, is still missing. And there's still no easy access to numbers and symbols; many third-party keyboards let you long-press on letter keys to input those characters.


Touch ID

Other smartphone makers are starting to incorporate fingerprint scanners into their smartphones, but Apple still does it best. Like the iPhone 5s before it, the iPhone 6 has Apple's Touch ID fingerprint scanner embedded right into the home button. When you want to turn on your phone, just press the home button, and then keep your finger pressed against it to unlock the device. The feature lets you keep your work phone on lockdown, without fussing with cumbersome password screens. Touch ID is extremely easy and satisfying to use, unlike the fingerprint scanner on Samsung's Galaxy S5, which often fails to read your print. It also makes buying new apps from the App Store extremely fast and easy; once your credit card information is saved, buying a new app is as simple as holding your fingerprint over the Touch ID scanner.

Plus, iOS 8 adds a couple of killer new Touch ID features, including the ability to protect individual apps using the fingerprint scanner. If you use the Mint finance app to track your spending, for example, you can protect your data using Touch ID. It currently also works with note-taking app Evernote and stock-trading app ETrade, and many others. Developers must manually implement the feature into each app, but it's a great perk for business users who want an extra layer of protection for sensitive business data.

Touch ID also works with Apple Pay , a new mobile payment system that lets customers pay with their iPhone in place of cash or a credit card, by taking advantage of the new near-field communication (NFC) chip in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The fingerprint scanner ensures that thieves can't pay for items with a stolen iPhone. It's too early to say if Apple Pay will catch on, but it's something that small business users should keep on their radar.

Battery Life

Apple's last flagship smartphone, the iPhone 5s, had notoriously poor battery life. The iPhone 6's battery life is a marked improvement, lasting about 7 hours and 27 minutes in a battery test that involves continuous Web browsing over 4G LTE, which is about 1 hour and 45 minutes longer than the iPhone 5s' battery life. However, it still lags behind competing devices, lasting roughly 1 hour less than the smartphone average. In comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S5 lasted 8 hours and 25 minutes , while the HTC One M8 clocked in at an impressive 10 hours.


The iPhone 6 is a dream come true for Apple devotees who find smaller iPhones a little cramped. It offers fast performance, a sleek design and a big, sharp display, while retaining a manageable form factor that's easy to use with one hand. Plus, iOS still offers arguably the best overall selection of business and productivity apps on any mobile platform.

But there are still a few things holding the iPhone 6 back. Although it boasts better battery life than its predecessor, some business users may still be frustrated by its below-average longevity. Other flagship smartphones have sharper displays and hardware features that the iPhone 6 lacks, such as a microSD card slot to expand the device's storage. And while iOS 8 is slick, it's not as customizable as Android. If those limitations don't bother you, the iPhone 6 is one of the best business phones money can buy.

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Sunday, 09 October 2016 02:15

Deep Web Research Tools

This list offers some tips and tools to help you get the most out of your Internet searches.

Semantic Search Tools and Databases

Semantic search tools depend on replicating the way the human brain thinks and categorizes information to ensure more relevant searches. Give some of these semantic tools and databases a try.

  • Zotero. Firefox users will like this add-on that helps you organize your research material by collecting, managing, and citing any references from Internet research.
  • Freebase. This community-powered database includes information on millions of topics.
  • Powerset. Enter a topic, phrase, or question to find information from Wikipedia with this semantic application.
  • Kartoo. Enter any keyword to receive a visual map of the topics that pertain to your keyword. Hover your mouse over each to get a thumbnail of the website.
  • DBpedia. Another Wikipedia resource, ask complex questions with this semantic program to get results from within Wikipedia.
  • Quintura. Entering your search term will create a cloud of related terms as well as a list of links. Hover over one of the words or phrases in the cloud to get an entirely different list of links.
  • [true knowledge]. Help with current beta testing at this search engine or try their Quiz Bot that finds answers to your questions.
  • Stumpedia. This search engine relies on its users to index, organize, and review information coming from the Internet.
  • Evri. This search engine provides you with highly relevant results from articles, papers, blogs, images, audio, and video on the Internet.
  • Gnod. When you search for books, music, movies and people on this search engine, it remembers your interests and focuses the search results in that direction.
  • Boxxet. Search for what interests you and you will get results from the "best of" news, blogs, videos, photos, and more. Type in your keyword and in addition to the latest news on the topic, you will also receive search results, online collections, and more.

Meta-Search Engines

Meta-search engines use the resources of many different search engines to gather the most results possible. Many of these will also eliminate duplicates and classify results to enhance your search experience.

  • SurfWax. This search engine works very well for reaching deep into the web for information.
  • Academic Index. Created by the former chair of Texas Association of School Librarians, this meta-search engine only pulls from databases and resources that are approved by librarians and educators.
  • Infomine has been built by a pool of libraries in the United States.
  • Clusty. Clusty searches through top search engines, then clusters the results so that information that may have been hidden deep in the search results is now readily available.
  • Dogpile. Dogpile searches rely on several top search engines for the results then removes duplicates and strives to present only relevant results.
  • Turbo 10. This meta-search engine is specifically designed to search the deep web for information.
  • Multiple Search. Save yourself the work by using this search engine that looks among major search engines, social networks, flickr, Wikipedia, and many more sites.
  • Mamma. Click on the Power Search option to customize your search experience with this meta-search engine.
  • World Curry Guide. This meta-search tool with a strong European influence has been around since 1997 and is still growing strong.
  • Give this meta-search engine a try. It accesses a large number of databases and claims to have more access to information than Google.
  • Icerocket. Search blogs as well as the general Internet, MySpace, the news, and more to receive results by posting date.
  • iZito. Get results from a variety of major search engines that come to you clustered in groups. You can also receive only US website results or receive results with a more international perspective.
  • Ujiko. This unusual meta-search tool allows for you to customize your searches by eliminating results or tagging some as favorites.
  • IncyWincy is an Invisible Web search engine and it behaves as a meta-search engine by tapping into other search engines and filtering the results. It searches the web, directory, forms, and images. With a free registration, you can track search results with alerts.

General Search Engines and Databases

These databases and search engines for databases will provide information from places on the Internet most typical search engines cannot.

  • DeepDyve. One of the newest search engines specifically targeted at exploring the deep web, this one is available after you sign up for a free membership.
  • OAIster. Search for digital items with this tool that provides 12 million resources from over 800 repositories.
  • direct search. Search through all the direct search databases or select a specific one with this tool.
  • CloserLook Search. Search for information on health, drugs and medicine, city guides, company profiles, and Canadian airfares with this customized search engine that specializes in the deep web.
  • Northern Light Search. Find information with the quick search or browse through other search tools here.
  • Yahoo! Search Subscriptions. Use this tool to combine a search on Yahoo! with searches in journals where you have subscriptions such as Wall Street Journal and New England Journal of Medicine.
  • Librarians’ Internet Index (LII) is a publicly-funded website and weekly newsletter serving California, the nation, and the world.
  • The Scout Archives. This database is the culmination of nine years’ worth of compiling the best of the Internet.
  • Daylife. Find news with this site that offers some of the best global news stories along with photos, articles, quotes, and more.
  • Silobreaker. This tool shows how news and people in the news impacts the global culture with current news stories, corresponding maps, graphs of trends, networks of related people or topics, fact sheets, and more.
  • spock. Find anyone on the web who might not normally show up on the surface web through blogs, pictures, social networks, and websites here.
  • The WWW Virtual Library. One of the oldest databases of information available on the web, this site allows you to search by keyword or category.
  • pipl. Specifically designed for searching the deep web for people, this search engine claims to be the most powerful for finding someone.
  • Complete Planet is a free and well designed directory resource makes it easy to access the mass of dynamic databases that are cloaked from a general purpose search.
  • Infoplease is an information portal with a host of features. Using the site, you can tap into a good number of encyclopedias, almanacs, an atlas, and biographies. Infoplease also has a few nice offshoots like for kids and Biosearch, a search engine just for biographies.

Academic Search Engines and Databases

The world of academia has many databases not accessible by Google and Yahoo!, so give these databases and search engines a try if you need scholarly information.

  • Google Scholar. Find information among academic journals with this tool.
  • WorldCat. Use this tool to find items in libraries including books, CDs, DVDs, and articles.
  • getCITED. This database of academic journal articles and book chapters also includes a discussion forum.
  • Microsoft Libra. If you are searching for computer science academic research, then Libra will help you find what you need.
  • BASE – Bielefeld Academic Search Engine. This multi-disciplinary search engine focuses on academic research and is available in German, Polish, and Spanish as well as English.
  • yovisto. This search engine is an academic video search tool that provides lectures and more.
  • AJOL – African Journals Online. Search academic research published in AJOL with this search engine.
  • HighWire Press. From Stanford, use this tool to access thousands of peer-reviewed journals and full-text articles.
  • MetaPress. This tool claims to be the "world’s largest scholarly content host" and provides results from journals, books, reference material, and more.
  • OpenJ-Gate. Access over 4500 open journals with this tool that allows you to restrict your search to peer-reviewed journals or professional and industry journals.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals. This journal search tool provides access to over 3700 top "quality controlled" journals.
  • Intute. The resources here are all hand-selected and specifically for education and research purposes.
  • Virtual Learning Resource Center. This tool provides links to thousands of academic research sites to help students at any level find the best information for their Internet research projects.
  • Gateway to 21st Century Skills. This resource for educators is sponsored by the US Department of Education and provides information from a variety of places on the Internet.
  • MagBot. This search engine provides journal and magazine articles on topics relevant to students and their teachers.
  •" style="color: rgb(0, 82, 163); text-decoration: none;">Michigan eLibrary. Find full-text articles as well as specialized databases available for searching.

Scientific Search Engines and Databases

The scientific community keeps many databases that can provide a huge amount of information but may not show up in searches through an ordinary search engine. Check these out to see if you can find what you need to know.

  • This search engine offers specific categories including agriculture and food, biology and nature, Earth and ocean sciences, health and medicine, and more.
  • Search for science information with this connection to international science databases and portals.
  • CiteSeer.IST. This search engine and digital library will help you find information within scientific literature.
  • Scirus has a pure scientific focus. It is a far reaching research engine that can scour journals, scientists’ homepages, courseware, pre-print server material, patents and institutional intranets.
  • Scopus. Find academic information among science, technology, medicine, and social science categories.
  • GoPubMed. Search for biomedical texts with this search engine that accesses PubMed articles.
  • the Gene Ontology. Search the Gene Ontology database for genes, proteins, or Gene Ontology terms.
  • PubFocus. This search engine searches Medline and PubMed for information on articles, authors, and publishing trends.
  • Scitation. Find over one million scientific papers from journals, conferences, magazines, and other sources with this tool.

Custom Search Engines

Custom search engines narrow your focus and eliminate quite a bit of the extra information usually contained in search results. Use these resources to find custom search engines or use the specific custom search engines listed below.

  • This listing includes many of the Google custom search engines created.
  • Find custom search engines here or create your own.
  • CSE Links. Use this site to find Google Coop custom search engines.
  • PGIS PPGIS Custom Search. This search engine is customized for those interested in the "practice and science" of PGIS/PPGIS.
  • Files Tube. Search for files in file sharing and uploading sites with this search engine.
  • Rollyo. "Roll your own search engine" at this site where you determine which sites will be included in your searches.

Collaborative Information and Databases

One of the oldest forms of information dissemination is word-of-mouth, and the Internet is no different. With the popularity of bookmarking and other collaborative sites, obscure blogs and websites can gain plenty of attention. Follow these sites to see what others are reading.

  • As readers find interesting articles or blog posts, they can tag, save, and share them so that others can enjoy the content as well.
  • Digg. As people read blogs or websites, they can "digg" the ones they like, thus creating a network of user-selected sites on the Internet.
  • Technorati. Not only is this site a blog search engine, but it is also a place for members to vote and share, thus increasing the visibility for blogs.
  • StumbleUpon. As you read information on the Internet, you can Stumble it and give it a thumbs up or down. The more you Stumble, the more closely aligned to your taste will the content become.
  • Reddit. Working similarly to StumbleUpon, Reddit asks you to vote on articles, then customizes content based on your preferences.
  • Twine. With Twine you can search for information as well as share with others and get recommendations from Twine.
  • This collaborative site offers shared knowledge from its members through forums, blogs, and shared websites.

Hints and Strategies

Searching the deep web should be done a bit differently, so use these strategies to help you get started on your deep web searching.

  • Don’t rely on old ways of searching. Become aware that approximately 99% of content on the Internet doesn’t show up on typical search engines, so think about other ways of searching.
  • Search for databases. Using any search engine, enter your keyword alongside "database" to find any searchable databases (for example, "running database" or "woodworking database").
  • Get a library card. Many public libraries offer access to research databases for users with an active library card.
  • Stay informed. Reading blogs or other updated guides about Internet searches on a regular basis will ensure you are staying updated with the latest information on Internet searches.
  • Search government databases. There are many government databases available that have plenty of information you may be seeking.
  • Bookmark your databases. Once you find helpful databases, don’t forget to bookmark them so you can always come back to them again.
  • Practice. Just like with other types of research, the more you practice searching the deep web, the better you will become at it.
  • Don’t give up. Researchers agree that most of the information hidden in the deep web is some of the best quality information available.

Helpful Articles and Resources for Deep Searching

Take advice from the experts and read these articles, blogs, and other resources that can help you understand the deep web.

  • Deep Web – Wikipedia. Get the basics about the deep web as well as links to some helpful resources with this article.
  • Deep Web – AI3:::Adaptive Information. This assortment of articles from the co-coiner of the phrase "deep web," Michael Bergman offers a look at the current state of deep web perspectives.
  • The Invisible Web. This article from provides a very simple explanation of the deep web and offers suggestions for tackling it.
  • ResourceShelf. Librarians and researchers come together to share their findings on fun, helpful, and sometimes unusual ways to gather information from the web.
  • Docuticker. This blog offers the latest publications from government agencies, NGOs, think tanks, and other similar organizations. Many of these posts are links to databases and research statistics that may not appear so easily on typical web searches.
  • This site offers tips and tools for IT professionals to find the best deep web resources.
  • Digital Image Resources on the Deep Web. This article includes links to many digital image resources that probably won’t show up on typical search engine results.
  • Timeline of events related to the Deep Web. This timeline puts the entire history of the deep web into perspective as well as offers up some helpful links.
  • The Deep Web. Learn terminology, get tips, and think about the future of the deep web with this article.
  • How to Evaluate Web Resources is a guide by to help students quickly evaluate the credibility of any resource they find on the internet.

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