Eric Beaudoin

Eric Beaudoin

Monday, 02 April 2018 11:50

Online Research Tools

Online Methods to Investigate the Who, Where, and When of a Person. Another great list by Internet search expert Henk Van Ess.

Searching the Deep Web, by Giannina Segnini. Beginning with advanced tips on sophisticated Google searches, this presentation at GIJC17 by the director of Columbia University Journalism School’s Data Journalism Program moves into using Google as a bridge to the Deep Web using a drug trafficking example. Discusses tracking the container, the ship, and customs. Plus, Facebook research and more.

Tools, Useful Links & Resources, by Raymond Joseph, a journalist and trainer with South Africa’s Southern Tip Media. Six packed pages of information on Twitter, social media, verification, domain and IP information, worldwide phonebooks, and more. In a related GICJ17 presentation, Joseph described “How to be Digital Detective.” 

IntelTechniques is prepared by Michael Bazzell, a former US government computer crime investigator and now an author and trainer. See the conveniently organized resources in left column under “Tools.” (A Jan. 2, 2018, blog post discusses newly added material.)

Investigate with Document Cloud, by Doug Haddix, Executive Director, Investigative Reporters and Editors. A guide to using 1.6 million public documents shared by journalists, analyzing and highlighting your own documents, collaborating with others, managing document workflows and sharing your work online.

Malachy Browne’s Toolkit. More than 80 links to open source investigative tools by one of the best open-source sleuths in the business. When this New York Times senior story producer flashed this slide at the end of his packed GIJC17 session, nearly everyone requested access.

Social Media Sleuthing, by Michael Salzwedel. “Not Hacking, Not Illegal,” begins this presentation from GIJC17 by a founding partner and trainer at Social Weaver.

Finding Former Employees, by James Mintz. “10 Tips on Investigative Reporting’s Most Powerful Move: Contacting Formers,” according to veteran private investigator Mintz, founder and president of The Mintz Group.

Investigative Research Links from Margot Williams. The former research editor at The Intercept offers an array of suggestions, from “Effective Google Searching” to a list of “Research Guru” sites.

Bellingcat’s Digital Forensics Tools, a wide variety of resources here: for maps, geo-based searches, images, social media, transport, data visualization, experts and more.

List of Tools for Social Media Research, a tipsheet from piqd.de’s Frederik Fischer at GIJC15.

SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox from the Society of Professional Journalists in the US, curated by Mike Reilley. Includes an extensive list of, well, tools.

How to find an academic research paper, by David Trilling, a staff writer for Journalist’s Resource, based at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

Using deep web search engines for academic and scholarly research, an article by Chris Stobing in VPN & Privacy, a publication of Comparitech.com, a UK company that aims to help consumers make more savvy decisions when they subscribe to tech services such as VPNs.

Step by step guide to safely accessing the darknet and deep web, an article by Paul Bischoff in VPN & Privacy, a publication of Comparitech.com, a UK company that aims to help consumers make more savvy decisions when they subscribe to tech services such as VPNs.

Research Beyond Google: 56 Authoritative, Invisible, and Comprehensive Resources, a resource from Open Education Database, a US firm that provides a comprehensive online education directory for both free and for-credit learning options.

The Engine Room,  a US-based international NGO, created an Introduction to Web Resources, that includes a section on making copies of information to protect it from being lost or changed.

Awesome Public Datasets, a very large community-built compilation organized by topic.

Online Research Tools and Investigative Techniques by the BBC’s ace online sleuth Paul Myers has long been a starting point for online research by GIJN readers. His website, Research Clinic, is rich in research links and “study materials.”

Source: This article was published gijn.org

Small business market research is a tough game.

If you Google “how to do market research,” you’ll come across a long list of tactics that are hard to use on a small business budget. Market research surveys and questionnaires, focus groups, competitive intelligence, SWOT analysis, and structured interviews. The list goes on.

If you dig further into market research techniques, you could quickly find yourself reading about the difference between qualitative and quantitative research, or even statistical sampling methods.

All of those market research techniques have their place. But when you’re wondering how to do market research for small business, you aren’t thinking about complicated statistical models or big budgets.

Market research firms sometimes run massive surveys and international focus groups. You might not have a way to reach 100,000 people with a survey, or the resources to set up multiple focus groups.

But there are still small business market research tools that work. Conducting market research for a new business or a small business can require some creativity.

But with the right tactics you can do affordable or even free market research that gets you the insights you need for your business.

How can market research benefit a small business owner?

At this point you may be wondering: why do you need market research? Small businesses already have a lot of day-to-day operations to deal with.

It’s hard to make time to do market research for small business—especially if you also need to learn how to do market research in the first place.

But if you don’t periodically check in with your audience, you could be leaving business and revenue on the table without ever knowing.

There are many benefits of market research for small business, but a short list would include:

  • Helping you create more compelling marketing materials
  • Identifying more targeted niches interested in your company
  • Suggesting ideas for new products or services based on pain points
  • Minimizing the risk of bad positioning that costs you leads without you knowing
  • Giving you early updates on industry trends before they become widespread

Simply put, effective market research helps you get inside your customers’ heads.

When you need to conduct market research on a tight budget, it can be tricky to find the techniques and market research tools that give the best value for the time and cost investment.

This article covers how to do market research for small business, using eight of our favorite affordable market research techniques.

1. Quora: How to use Quora for market research

Quora is a social media platform based on questions and answers. On Quora, users can submit questions on any topic they like, as well as answer questions related to their expertise.

Getting started with Quora is easy: the platform guides you through the process and immediately prompts you to select your areas of interest.

Getting started with Quora

Setting up your Quora profile will let you get notified when questions are tagged with the topics you select. That makes it simple way to see what burning questions your audience is asking.

And because Quora orders its answers based on voting, you can also see which solutions they think are the most valuable.

For that reason, Quora market research can be a great method of collecting information on customer pain points. In market research for small business, free public questions from your audience is hard to beat.

If it fits into your marketing plan, you can also consider putting some effort into answering Quora questions. Repurposing your blog posts as part of a Quora marketing strategy can increase their reach and visibility.

2. Reddit: How to use Reddit for market research

Reddit bills itself as “the front page of the internet,” and for good reason—Alexa ranks Reddit as the eighth most trafficked website in the world and the fifth most trafficked in the United States.

Reddit contains a wide variety of communities, linked content, original content, and memes. But among cat videos and adorable gifs, there are some surprisingly insightful conversations—discussions that are a gold mine for small business market research.

Reddit is organized into “subreddits,” which are communities focused on specific topics. Finding subreddits based on your industry is a good way to mine for pain points—and discover your audience’s candid thoughts.

Anonymity means that redditors are often willing to share things they wouldn’t normally talk about in person. Reading discussion threads or even asking questions yourself can help you get insights from specific niches.

For example, if you run a fitness business and need to know how to do market research, you’ll find that are quite a few opportunities to conduct customer research on reddit. Subreddits like /r/fitness, /r/loseit, /r/gainit, /r/bodybuilding, /r/running, and /r/bodyweightfitness serve different communities, and people often share their successes and struggles.

Reddit can also be helpful for tracking down a very narrow segment of a larger population. A subreddit like /r/griptraining is the very definition of niche—but if you run a rock climbing or powerlifting gym it could have valuable insights from your target audience.
Reddit market research

Navigating Reddit can be a little tricky for new users. But once you figure it out, it’s a powerful tool to do market research for small business.

3. Book reviews: How to use Amazon book reviews for market research

This market research technique is a little bit unusual—but it’s all the more powerful because of how few people think of it.

When you need to conduct market research on a tight budget, you need to get creative. Book reviews offer a wealth of information, sometimes incredibly detailed and specific, that few people are taking advantage of.

Amazon book review

Amazon reviews are public, and you probably have some idea of the most important or popular books in your field. Even if you don’t, Amazon charts are also freely available—it’s easy to find out what people are reading.

Once you’ve tracked down some popular books, take a look at the reviews. Amazon lets you easily sort reviews by how positive they are and how helpful they are, so you can dive in at whatever point you like.

Positive reviews will be helpful because they can help you understand what people are benefiting from.

Negative or lukewarm reviews can be even more helpful because there’s a chance they call out needs or burning pains that the book didn’t answer—which may represent unmet needs your business can take advantage of.

4. Surveys: How to use a survey for market research

When most people think of using a survey to do market research for small business, they think of a massive effort that goes out to thousands and thousands of customers.

No, you probably don’t have thousands and thousands of customers that will respond to a survey. And there are some types of survey research that really do require those kinds of numbers.

But there are others that don’t. And those are the kind you can focus on as you learn how to do market research for your small business.

Setting up surveys that get sent to customers after a sale can help you get a sense of how satisfied they are and what needs led them to make a purchase.

Similarly, you can set up surveys that go out to people that didn’t make a purchase. What prevented them from buying? What might have caused them to make a different decision?

Even if you only ask those two survey questions, the answers can help you make adjustments for the next time around.

As a bonus, this type of small business market research is easy to automate.

Setting up automation that trigger based on purchase or lack of purchase is easy to do with marketing automation software. Set up survey questions once, then focus on other parts of your small business while the results come in.

5. Facebook groups: How to use Facebook for market research

Using Facebook for market research
Facebook has risen up as one of the major community building platforms for business. Type your industry into Facebook search and you’re bound to find a variety of related groups.

Some Facebook groups will be run by other business owners, others are simply people interested in the same topics. Regardless, reading through the conversations and questions asked in Facebook groups can be a valuable source of market research.

When you’re using Facebook for market research, you have a few options.

Simply reading through existing conversations is a great way to get started. Even though names on Facebook aren’t private, people are often more willing to share their goals or frustrations within a relatively private group.

Once you’ve observed for a while and understand a group’s tone and social norms, you can start to participate. Becoming a member of a group and engaging in discussions can be a great way to ask questions and go beyond surface level insights.

You wouldn’t do this on another business’s page, and you have to be careful about spamming in general, but Facebook groups can also help you get participants for a market research survey.

As you get more comfortable with how to do market research on Facebook, sharing a link to a survey can help you gather quantitative market research data.

As a free platform with over two billion monthly active users, Facebook can be a powerful way to do market research for small business.

6. Competitors: How to use competitor analysis for market research

Chances are you’re not the only business in your niche. How are the most popular websites in your industry trying to appeal to your audience?

How can you tell which content is the most popular or successful? Use a tool like Buzzsumo to find the most shared content on a particular topic.

Buzzsumo market research

A tool like SEMrush can tell you which content ranks the highest in search engines. Both are good ways to identify potentially high-value topics.

Beyond content, look at the other marketing materials your competitors put out. What kind of messaging are they using on their website? How are they creating cross-sell and upsell opportunities? What does their team look like—who’s actually doing their marketing?

As you grow your business, this kind of information becomes more useful. There’s no guarantee that your competitors are doing everything the best way—but seeing how they are managing their business can spark ideas to improve your own.

To do this kind of research, collect all of the info your competitors make publicly available. Comb through their website and about page, download flyers and brochures, and check out the events they attend.

Make absolutely sure you get on their email list, so you can see what kind of messages they like to send.

It’s worth taking competitor research with a grain of salt. Again, there’s no guarantee that competitors have done the level of customer research you’re looking for. Still, looking at competitor messaging is a useful way to infer the features and benefits that matter to your audience.

Competitor research isn’t a substitute for contacting your audience directly, but it can be a good starting point to figure out what kind of content is popular in your niche.

7. Behavior and analytics: How to use data for market research

It’s one thing to know what customers say they want. In any industry, professionals know that customers don’t always know how to solve their problems. Sometimes there’s a better question to ask for market research.

What do they actually do?

Tracking behavior on your website or engagement with your emails and messages is a great way to see which of your marketing efforts are most popular—and can help you adjust your marketing in the future.

Google Analytics is one powerful tool that can show you exactly how people engage with your website.
Google Analytics behavior tracking

What are content topics the most popular? Make more content on those topics. Which pages have the best conversion rates? Direct more traffic to those pages. Your content marketing is also a source of information about your audience.

Combining website tracking with marketing automation can take things to the next level.

Marketing automation software can track email opens, link clicks, behavior on websites, replies/forwarding—and use those insights to automatically follow up with customers on what they care about most.

Of all the affordable small business market research techniques on this list, data is the most actionable. Analytics let you go from insight to action almost instantly—and sometimes automatically.

8. Ask your audience: How to use interviews for market research

Even though people don’t always say quite what they mean, there’s no substitute for direct, one-on-one conversations with your audience.

A market research interview allows a free conversation that leads to deeper insights than a survey or written answers. If you can get people to open up, you’ll be rewarded by detailed information about their pain points, struggles, and successes.

The style of the interview is less important than getting interviews done. You can do phone interviews, in-person interviews, even email interviews—and still get actionable insights.

The lessons you learn from talking to even 10 customers can change your business strategy, marketing, or client service. The ability to speak to customers using their own language is like a marketing superpower. Customer interviews are the way to do it.

Entire businesses can be built on what your customers tell you. When you listen to your audience, you get to the heart of what they care about—and no amount of online market research or survey data can tell you that as precisely as they can.

Conclusion: Use market research to get inside your customers’ heads

If your business grows, you’ll eventually want to consider the focus group, survey, statistical analysis, and market trends approach to market research.

Those methods can reveal insights that are hard to find using more affordable market research techniques.

If you need to understand market saturation or build a picture of how your pricing compares to the competition, you’ll eventually need to use some of the more traditional forms of market research.

But there’s value to doing market research before you have the budget for standard methods. Getting in touch with your customers’ needs can give you a huge edge as a small business.

Not a lot of people do market research for a small business like this. Most prefer to wait until they can hire someone to do it for them (or just ignore it entirely).

Because of that, these types of affordable market research techniques are a huge competitive advantage—one that lets you get inside the heads of your customers and offer them exactly what they want to buy.

 Source: This article was published activecampaign.com By Benyamin Elias

Thursday, 08 March 2018 12:42

Search the Invisible Web: 18 Free Resources

Unlike pages on the visible Web (that is, the Web that you can access from search engines and directories), information in the Invisible Web is just not visible to the software spiders and crawlers that create search engine indexes. Since this information makes up the vast majority of available content on the Web, we are potentially missing out on some pretty amazing resources.However, that's where Invisible Web search engines, tools, and directories come in. There are many Invisible Web search tools that you can use to dive into this wealth of information, as you'll see from the following list. We'll take a look at twenty different search engines, directories, and databases you can use to uncover amazing content. Your content...

The Internet Archive
The Internet Archive database offers access to movies, text materials, and audio.

The Internet Archive is an amazing database offering access to movies, live music, audio, and printed materials; plus, you can look at older, saved versions of nearly every site ever created on the Internet - over 55 billion at the time of this writing.

USA.gov
USA.gov is the US Government's collection of databases that contain all manner of information.

USA.gov is an absolutely mammoth search engine/portal that gives the searcher direct access to a wide variety of information and databases from the United States government, state governments, and local governments. This includes access to the Library of Congress, an A-Z government agency index, the Smithsonian, and much, much more.

The WWW Virtual Library
The-WWW-Virtual-Library.png

 The WWW Virtual Library gives you instant access to hundreds of different categories and databases on a wide variety of subjects, anything from Agriculture to Anthropology. More about this amazing resource: "The WWW Virtual Library (VL) is the oldest catalogue of the Web, started by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of HTMLand of the Web itself, in 1991 at CERN in Geneva. Unlike commercial catalogues, it is run by a loose confederation of volunteers, who compile pages of key links for particular areas in which they are expert; even though it isn't the biggest index of the Web, the VL pages are widely recognised as being amongst the highest-quality guides to particular sections of the Web."

Science.gov
 
Science.gov--USA.gov-for-Science---Government-Science-Portal.png

Science.gov  searches over 60 databases and over 2200 selected websites from 15 federal agencies, offering 200 million pages of authoritative U.S. government science information including research and development results. More about this astonishingly useful resource: "Science.gov is a gateway to government science information and research results. Currently in its fifth generation, Science.govprovides a search of over 60 scientific databases and 200 million pages of science information with just one query, and is a gateway to over 2200 scientific Websites.

Science.gov is an interagency initiative of 19 U.S. government science organizations within 15 Federal Agencies. These agencies form the voluntary Science.govAlliance which governs Science.gov."

Wolfram Alpha
 
Wolfram-Alpha--Computational-Knowledge-Engine.png
Wolfram Alpha is a computational search engine, which means it stores a vast amount of pure data available to you via not only search, but also a question and answer format. More about Wolfram Alpha: "We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries."
 

Alexa

Alexa---Actionable-Analytics-for-the-Web.png

 Alexa, and Amazon.com company, gives you specific analytical information about Web properties. More about this intriguing resource: "Alexa's traffic estimates are based on data from our global traffic panel, which is a sample of millions of Internet users using one of over 25,000 different browser extensions. In addition, we gather much of our traffic data from direct sources in the form of sites that have chosen to install the Alexa script on their site and certify their metrics."

Website owners especially can benefit from the data that Alexa offers; for example, here's a list of the top 500 sites on the Web

Directory of Open Access Journals
 
Directory-of-Open-Access-Journals.png

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) indexes and provides access to quality open access, peer-reviewed journals. More about this online directory: "The Directory of Open Access Journals is a service that indexes high quality, peer-reviewed Open Access research journals, periodicals and their articles' metadata. The Directory aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use an appropriate quality control system (see the section below) and is not limited to particular languages or subject areas. The Directory aims to increase the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific and scholarly journals—regardless of size and country of origin—thereby promoting their visibility, usage and impact."

FindLaw
 
Find legal information on the FindLaw website.

FindLaw is a gigantic repository of free legal information on the Internet, and offers one of the largest online lawyer directories available online. You can use FindLaw to locate an attorney, learn more about U.S. law and legal topics, and participate in the very active FindLaw community forums. 

The Online Books Page
 
The-Online-Books-Page--Search.png

The Online Books Page, a service offered by the University of Pennsylvania, gives readers access to over two million books freely accessible (and readable) on the Internet. Users will also gain access to significant directories and archives of online texts, as well as special exhibits of particularly interesting classes of online books. 

The Louvre
Selected-Works---Louvre-Museum---Paris.png

The Louvre online simply begs to be discovered and cherished by art lovers all over the world. View thematic collections of art, get more information about the background of selected works, view art aligned with historical events, and much, much more. 

The Library of Congress
 
Library-of-Congress-Home---Library-of-Congress.png

 One of the most vivid and interactive sites on this list of Invisible Web resources, the Library of Congress offers an incredibly rich and varied array of content. Collection highlights include Congressional records, digital preservation resources, the Veterans History project, and the World Digital Library. More about this national treasure: "The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections."

Census.gov
 
International-Programs---People-and-Households---U.S.-Census-Bureau.png

If you're looking for data, then Census.gov is one of the first places you'll want to visit. More about this considerable resource: "The U.S. Census Bureau conducts demographic, economic, and geographic studies of other countries and strengthens statistical development around the world through technical assistance, training, and software products. For over 60 years, the Census Bureau has performed international analytical work and assisted in the collection, processing, analysis, dissemination, and use of statistics with counterpart governments in over 100 countries."

Copyright.gov
U.S.-Copyright-Office---Search-Copyright-Records.png
 
Copyright.gov  is another U.S. government resource you can put in your Invisible Web search toolbox (for even more essential U.S. government sites, check out The Top Twenty U.S. Government Websites). Here, you can view works registered and documents recorded by the U.S. Copyright Office since January 1, 1978, as well as search records of registered books, music, art, and periodicals, and other works, including copyright ownership documents.
Catalog of U.S. Government Publications
 
Entire-CGP-Catalog---Basic-Search--Full-Catalog.png

The  Catalog of U.S. Government Publications gives users instant access to electronic and print publications from the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the U.S. government, with more than 500,000 records generated since July 1976. 

Bankrate
Mortgage-Rates-Credit-Cards-Refinance-Home-CD-Rates-by-Bankrate.com.png

Bankrate, an online financial resource that's been around since 1996, offers a huge library of financial information; anything from current interest rates to articles on CUSIP and much, much more. 

FreeLunch

Free-Economic-Data---Economic--Financial--and-Demographic-Data.png

 FreeLunch gives users the ability to quickly and easily find free economic, demographic, and financial data: "provides comprehensive and extensive historical and forecast data at the national and subnational/regional levels representing over 93% of global GDP. We cover more than 180 countries, over 150 global metro areas, all U.S. states, metro areas and counties. Our databases contain more than 200 million economic, financial, demographic and consumer credit time series, with 10 million added every year."

PubMed
 
Home---PubMed---NCBI.png

 PubMed, part of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, is the perfect resource for anyone who's looking up medical or medical-related information. It offers more than 24 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. 

FAA Data and Research
The FAA website is a great place to find aviation research.

 The FAA Data and Research pages offer information on how their research is done, the resulting data and statistics, and information on funding and grant data. Anything from Aviation Safety to Unruly Passengers (seriously) can be found here. 

Source: This article was published lifewire.com By Jerri Collins

In researching high-growth professional services firms we found firms that did systematic business research on their target client group grew faster and were more profitable.

Further, those that did more frequent business research (at least quarterly), grew the fastest and were most profitable. Additional research also confirms that the fastest growing firms do more research on their target clients.

Think about that for a minute: Faster growth and more profit. Sounds pretty appealing.

The first question is usually around what kind of research to do and how it might help grow your firm. I’ve reflected on the kinds of questions we’ve asked when doing research for our professional services clients and how the process has impacted their strategy and financial results.

There are a number of types of research that your firm can use, including:

  • Brand research
  • Persona research
  • Market research
  • Lost prospect analysis
  • Client satisfaction research
  • Benchmarking research
  • Employee surveys

So those are the types of research, but what are the big questions that you need answers for? We looked across the research we have done on behalf of our clients to isolate the most insightful and impactful areas of inquiry.

The result is this list of the top 10 research questions that can drive firm growth and profitability:

1. Why do your best clients choose your firm?

Notice we are focusing on the best clients, not necessarily the average client. Understanding what they find appealing about your firm can help you find others just like them and turn them into your next new client.

2. What are those same clients trying to avoid?

This is the flip side of the first question and offers a valuable perspective. As a practical matter, avoiding being ruled out during the early rounds of a prospect’s selection process is pretty darned important. This is also important in helping shape your business practices and strategy.

In our research on professional services buyers and sellers, we’ve found that the top circumstances that buyers want to avoid in a service provider are broken promises and a firm that’s indistinguishable from everyone else.

Notice that this chart also shows what sellers (professional services providers) believe buyers want to avoid. Notice that many sellers misjudge their potential client’s priorities. Closing this perception gap is one of the ways that research can help a firm grow faster. If you understand how your prospects think you can do a much better job of turning them into clients.

3. Who are your real competitors?

Most firms aren’t very good at identifying their true competitors. When we ask a firm to list their competitors and ask their clients to do the same, there is often only about a 25% overlap in their lists.

Why? Sometimes, it’s because you know too much about your industry and rule out competitors too easily. At other times, it’s because you are viewing a client’s problems through your filter and overlook completely different categories of solutions that they are considering.

For example, a company facing declining sales could easily consider sales training, new product development, or a new marketing campaign. If you consult on new product development the other possible solutions are all competitors. In any case, ignorance of true competitors seldom helps you compete.

4. How do potential clients see their greatest challenges?

The answer to this question helps you understand what is on prospective clients’ minds and how they are likely to describe and talk about those issues. The key here is that you may offer services that can be of great benefit to organizations, but they never consider you because they are thinking about their challenges through a different lens.

They may want cost reduction when you are offering process improvement (which, in fact, reduces cost). Someone needs to connect the dots or you will miss the opportunity. This is similar to the dilemma of understanding the full range of competitors described above.

5. What is the real benefit your firm provides?

Sure, you know your services and what they are intended to do for clients. But what do they actually do? Often, firms are surprised to learn the true benefit of their service. What might’ve attracted a client to your firm initially might not be what they end up valuing most when working with you. For example, you might have won the sale based on your good reputation, but after working with you, your client might value your specialized skills and expertise most.

When you understand what true value and benefit of your services, you’re in a position to enhance it or even develop new services with other true benefits.

6. What are emerging trends and challenges?

Where is the market headed? Will it grow or contract? What services might be needed in the future? This is fairly common research fodder in large market-driven industries, but it’s surprisingly rare among professional services firms.

Understanding emerging trends can help you conserve and better target limited marketing dollars. I’ve seen many firms add entire service lines, including new hires and big marketing budgets, based on little more than hunches and anecdotal observations. These decisions should be driven by research and data. Research reduces your risk associated with this type of decision.

7. How strong is your brand?

What is your firm known for? How strong is your reputation? How visible are you in the marketplace? Answers to each of these questions can vary from market to market. Knowing where you stand cannot only guide your overall strategy, it can also have a profound impact on your marketing budget. An understanding of your brand’s strengths and weaknesses can help you understand why you are getting traction in one segment and not another.

8. What is the best way to market to your prime target clients?

Wouldn’t it be nice to know where your target clients go to get recommendations and referrals? Wouldn’t it be great if you knew how they want to be marketed to? These are all questions that can be answered through systematic business research. The answers will greatly reduce the level of spending needed to reach your best clients. This is perhaps one of the key reasons that firms that do regular research are more profitable.

9. How should you price your services?

This is often a huge stumbling block for professional services firms. In my experience, most firms overestimate the role price plays in buying decisions. Perhaps it is because firms are told that the reason they don’t win an engagement is because of price. It is the easiest reason for a buyer to share when providing feedback. 

However, if a firm hires an impartial third party to dig deeper into why it loses competitive bids, it often learns that what appears to be price may really be perceived level of expertise, lack of attention to detail or an impression of non-responsiveness. We’ve seen firms lose business because of typos in their proposal — while attributing the loss to their fees.

10. How do your current clients really feel about you?

How likely are clients to refer you to others? What would they change about your firm? How long are they likely to remain a client? These are the kinds of questions that can help you fine-tune your procedures and get a more accurate feel for what the future holds. In some cases, we’ve seen clients reveal previously hidden strengths. In others, they have uncovered important vulnerabilities that need attention.

The tricky part here is that clients are rarely eager to tell you the truth directly. They may want to avoid an uncomfortable situation or are worried that they will make matters worse by sharing their true feelings.

Understanding the key questions discussed above can have a positive impact on your firm’s growth and profitability. That is the real power of well-designed and professionally executed business research.

Source: This article was published accountingweb.com By Lee Frederiksen

The new search engine version operates using "Korolyov" algorithm identifying exact needs of a user with the aid of the neural network, Yandex said

MOSCOW, August 22. /TASS/. Russian internet company Yandex launched an upgraded search platform version based on comparison of a query intent and a web page, the company said on Tuesday.

The new search engine version operates using "Korolyov" algorithm identifying exact needs of a user with the aid of the neural network, Yandex said. The neural network analyzes an Internet page in its entirety and not merely the headline. Yandex at the same time determines the page essence in advance at the indexing stage, the company said.

The other specific feature of the "Korolyov" algorithm is that it addresses the intent of other queries made by users to land on the page, Yandex said.

"Yandex’s position as the largest search engine in Russia creates a positive feedback loop for our deep neural network algorithm, which leads to superior search results for our users," the company said in its blog.

Yandex is the largest search platform in Russia. Its share of the Russian search market (including searches on mobile devices) totaled 54.3% on average in the second quarter of this year, according to Yandex.Radar analytical service data.

Source: This article was published tass.com

or the first time ever, the World Health Organization has drawn up a list of the highest priority needs for new antibiotics — marching orders, it hopes, for the pharmaceutical industry.

The list, which was released Monday, enumerates 12 bacterial threats, grouping them into three categories: critical, high, and medium.

“Antibiotic resistance is growing and we are running out of treatment options. If we leave it to market forces alone, the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time,” said Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health systems and innovation.

“The pipeline is practically dry.”

Three bacteria were listed as critical:

  • Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria that are resistant to important antibiotics called carbapenems. These are highly drug resistant bacteria that can cause a range of infections for hospitalized patients, including pneumonia, wound, or blood infections.
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which are resistant to carbapenems. These bacteria can cause skin rashes and ear infectious in healthy people but also severe blood infections and pneumonia when contracted by sick people in the hospital.
  • Enterobacteriaceae that are resistant to both carbepenems and another class of antibiotics, cephalosporins. This family of bacteria live in the human gut and includes bugs such as E. coli and Salmonella.

Notably missing from the list is the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. That was not included, Kieny said, because the need for new antibiotics to treat it has already been designated the highest priority.

Episode 10: A giant Petri dish chock-full of superbugs shows evolution as it happens

Although mounting concerns about the worsening problem of antibiotic resistance have reinvigorated research efforts, producing new antibiotics is an expensive and challenging task.

The international team of experts who drew up the new list urged researchers and pharmaceutical companies to focus their efforts on a type of bacteria known as Gram negatives. (The terminology relates to how the bacteria respond to a stain — developed by Hans Christian Gram — used to make them easier to see under a microscope.)

Dr. Nicola Magrini, a scientist with the WHO’s department of innovation, access and use of essential medicines, said pharmaceutical companies have recently spent more efforts trying to find antibiotics for Gram positive bacteria, perhaps because they are easier and less costly to develop.

Gram negative bacteria typically live in the human gut, which means when they cause illness it can be serious bloodstream infections or urinary tract infections. Gram positive bacteria are generally found outside the body, on the skin or in the nostrils.

Kieny said the 12 bacteria featured on the priority list were chosen based on the level of drug resistance that already exists for each, the numbers of deaths they cause, the frequency with which people become infected with them outside of hospitals, and the burden these infections place on health care systems.

Paradoxically, though, she and colleagues from the WHO could not provide an estimate of the annual number of deaths attributable to antibiotic-resistant infections. The international disease code system does not currently include a code for antibiotic-resistant infections; it is being amended to include one.

The critical pathogens are ones that cause severe infections and high mortality in hospital patients, Kieny said. While they are not as common as other drug-resistant infections, they are costly in terms of health care resources needed to treat infected patients and in lives lost.

Six others were listed as high priority for new antibiotics. That grouping represents bacteria that cause a large number of infections in otherwise healthy people. Included there is the bacteria that causes gonorrhea, for which there are almost no remaining effective treatments.

Source: This article was published statnews.com

Brains been the subject of speculation, prodding, poking, and just plain head-scratching approximately ever since they started to function. The Ancient Egyptians saw no spiritual significance for the brain, so it never got its own special jar for burial. However, as time marched on, and medical advancements and discoveries were made, humanity realized we've barely scratched the surface of the brain's potential. And as our tech advances further, brains are going to get even weirder.

Our memory will rely entirely on the Internet to function

Shutterstock

The days of teasing your parents for calling you every sibling's name but your own due to memory difficulty are over, because it turns out we're all heading down the road of forgetfulness.

Due to our increasing reliance on the Internet—particularly sites with easily accessible information like Google—our brain's natural problem-solving and memory functions are being stunted.

Back when you had to go to a physical location or read an actual book to get the answer to questions like "do dolphins dream of having legs?," your brain retained the information for long periods of time. After a certain period, the brain does what amounts to a defragmentation and memory dump—the science heads at Oxford University call this "cognitive offloading." Before the increasing reliance on the Internet, the periods between these memory dumps was pretty wide and vast, so information was retained for much longer, stored in the brain for later use (let's have a round of applause for all our spewers of useless trivia). However, because the Internet has everything you want to know at your fingertips, you are training your brain to use information and then expediently dump it after use. The gap between memory dumps is shrinking, and our brains are defragging more and more.

What our brains are doing is the equivalent of using an external hard drive to store all of your information, the external in this case being the entire Internet. When the rise of the machines inevitably happens and our brains are completely given over to our robot overlords, will you opt for mechanical or solid state?

VR will make us more depressed, anxious, and less empathetic

Getty Images

After years of speculation and anxious prodding, the overlords of science have finally released the first, usable VR systems, such as the Oculus Rift. However, while there's much rejoicing to be had, the introduction of the ability to spend one's time in virtual worlds is not without its drawbacks.

In a nutshell, time spent in VR worlds makes us less physically aware, slower to react to our actual surroundings, and likely to cause severe social anxiety over time. The systems' official instructions warn users to take regular breaks, showing that even they realize that this is bigger break from reality than previous entertainments like TV and movies.

The problem may be seen as an extension of "electronic screen syndrome," which is the damage to the brain's empathy and impulse control centers due to separating yourself from the world and retreating to your devices. Psychologists warn that the old scare of "Internet addiction" is now creating an entire generation who self-medicates their addiction with more Internet usage, which is like curing your hangover by consuming more alcohol—fun, but not necessarily effective.

Our brains are shrinking

Getty Images

Our brains are shrinking. Apparently, this isn't cause for true alarm but merely a product of evolution. But remember that old science fact that a bigger brain meant the organism was smarter? Well, if that's true—which, it kind of is—then we certainly seem to be in bad shape.

As our bodies shrink according to the world around us, our brains do too, because the brain controls the nervous system and therefore adjusts according to the size and demands of the nervous system. Back when mankind was constantly fighting to survive in a hostile natural world, apparently we were bigger, stronger, faster, and therefore needed a larger nervous system.

That's kind of frightening to think about but unsurprising. As humanity becomes more domesticated and less reliant on surviving nature (and literally just surviving each other), the faculties of the brain evolved for evading predators, hunting and gathering, and problem solving in the wild places of the world are becoming more obsolete.

Neural implants may physically plug us into the Internet

Getty Images

Do you hear that sound? That's the sound of the Ghost in the Shell fandom losing their collective marbles over the possibility of being able to neurally interface with the Internet and electronics.

That's right: we are hovering on the precipice of the entire reason The Matrix was made. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wants to innovate the technology that will facilitate brain-to-computer interfacing directly. Of course, the information on his plans for the device, known only as Neurolink, is sparse, but from what we can see, there are already patents and trademarks in the works. The device, still in the conception stages, would be implanted via an invasive procedure, and Musk has frequently alluded to "neural lace," a fictional device first mentioned by author Iain Banks that's woven throughout the brain.

For those of you who played Mass Effect, this is the synthesis ending, the unique union between human and machine. We don't know about you guys, but the Neuralink device sounds like it can prevent the Terminator future we've been hurtling toward with people experimenting with creating artificial intelligence.

We may become telepaths

Shutterstock

According to His Majesty of the Book of Face, Mark Zuckerberg, the future of communication lies not within microchips and cyberbrains but in telepathy. This is all theoretical, of course, but not so far off that it's impossible.

To understand how telepathy might work, we must understand how the brain communicates with the rest of the body. The entire nervous system is made of tiny cells called neurons that communicate using tiny little pricks of electricity. Everything from motor functions to breathing is controlled by this complex and intricate network, which is why spinal and cranial injuries are among the most severe. The communication is constant, so the human body generates electricity at a microscopic level 24 hours a day to perform all functions.

Scientists have developed ways to map this process using fMRI and EEG machines, but due to the intricate complexity of the brain itself and the nervous system, these maps are currently incomplete. However, once we have enough to work with, we can begin to read and understand how the system truly works on a higher level and possibly duplicate it.

Now how do we start sending our Facebook statuses via telepathy? Well, according to the lords of neuroscience in Berkley, there are invasive and non-invasive procedures still in development. The invasive procedure cheerfully consists of opening the human skull and brain and implanting a device that would act as a transmitter and receiver of messages. The non-invasive and obviously more preferred method would be a procedure called "transcranial magnetic stimulation," or TMS for the clumsy-tongued lot of us non-science types. Last fall, scientists in India were able to use this method on lab rats, making them think short and succinct greetings like "hello" and "good bye" and send them to scientists in France. Of course, having not been anywhere near perfected, the process was dial-up levels of slow, and the words had to be encoded in binary messages and then translated in pieces.

So, the jury is still out on whether we'll be able to tell the world about our experience eating a great donut within our lifetime.

Brains are being grown in labs

Getty Images

Ever wish you could just replace your brain and be as smart as you wanted to be? Ever thought about just customizing your entire body from top to bottom? Well, apparently you can grow your own brain now.

Deep within the molecular biology labs of MRC Cambridge, a batch of human brains is growing. We know you pictured some horrible, amorphous beast due to escape and go on a rampage. You'll be pleased to know that none of this is mad science, although it aligns itself firmly within the realm of the weird.

The process is tentative, and the goal is to turn human skin into functioning brain cells. The brains are not grown inside a skull, although they are to follow the same developmental process as if they were growing within a person inside of a womb. They are fed nutrient-rich fluids every few days, and because these baby brains have virtually no immune system, everything that comes into remote contact with them must be thoroughly sterilized. Makes living in a bubble seem unsanitary.

The procedure has run into a bit of a success, with neurons firing on all synapses in the same way a regular, home-grown human brain would. The cerebral organoids, as they are called (because what's the harm in making the science behind this project sound weirder, really) are made of the same white and gray matter as regular brains. For those who aren't hip to neuroscience terminology: gray matter is made entirely of the neurons of the brain, and white matter is the fatty tissue of the neuron tails. Your brain is a giant mass of synaptic networking, how cool is that?

Making these brains is easier than one would think. Just don't expect to be able to find the equipment for the procedure in your local Toys "R" Us.

Source: This article was published grunge.com By Aisha 

If you are in the market for a new smartphone you will have to make the choice between systems powered by Apple or Android.

While Apple's iPhones have long been in ascendance, plenty of challenger brands have sought to displace the heavyweight of the smartphone market.

There has probably never been a better time to look at buying an Android phone. There are only a handful of choices when buying an Apple phone, but devices running on Google's Android operating system offer far more choice and variety and some of the best phones of recent years come from the likes of Samsung, Google and HTC.

Relentless announcements of new smartphones can be overwhelming, so there are key things to consider when looking to upgrade.

Should I buy an Android phone or an iPhone?

Although there are plenty of great reasons to buy an iPhone, and you can read The Telegraph’s review of iPhone 7 to see why, Apple's phones are not for everyone.

Android is used by more phones and tablets, giving you greater choice when picking your phone and models such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 are market leaders in the technology they offer.

And Android phones do not have to cost a fortune and many cheaper handsets offer better value than current iPhones. There are plenty of great contracts you can get on older handsets, as last year’s models have often fallen in price and still function perfectly well.

So if you want a bit more choice or a cheaper option, as well as the ability to share data easily across other Android phones and tablets, this operating system might be the right one for you. 

What should I look for in an Android phone?

Key technical specs you should be looking for in your smartphone include basic choices such as screen size and battery life to performance indicators such as processing power and storage.

Other factors you might want to consider are the power of the camera, if you want to use your smartphone to replace your digital camera, and you might want to look into the feel of the phone’s operating system, as several Android phone manufacturers add their own designs to the system - some with positive innovations, others less so.

  • Screen size: Current sizes range from just under 5 inches to close to 6 inches for screen size, which can be quite large to hold in the hand. The largest handsets may feel a little oversized, but will provide a better experience if you want to enjoy video or apps like Instagram or Snapchat.
  • Battery life: A device will offer at least all day battery life on mixed use and any phone with significantly more than 24 hours is considered very good. Many manufacturers will judge battery on "talk time", but the phones will actually last days if left on standby.
  • Storage and memory: Lower spec smartphones will have around 2GB of RAM, the memory space which makes the phone run more quickly, although better models will have closer to 4GB. Cheaper Android phones will probably only have around 32GB of hard drive space for files and photos, although nearly all come with a slot for adding a micro SD card to boost storage space.
  • Camera: Most smartphones will take great pictures and high-end models compete to offer the best cameras. Megapixels (MP) are not everything, and some top models have even cut down, but they can create shots with greater close-up details. Other features include dual cameras for extra depth and built-in apps to create different types of photo.
  • Operating system: Some older models will come with Google's Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), but can easily be upgraded to the latest Android 7.0 (Nougat), which comes with features such as split screen use and an improved "Doze" mode to save battery. While most phones come with the latest system, you may have to wait a while to update an older device.

What should I look for in my phone contract?

While you can simply break down phones in terms of handset price, many providers in the UK offer great deals to pick up new phones for far less.

Many smartphones are available for free if you agree to a two year contract. From there, you will be charged for the number of texts, minutes and the amount of data you use.

Phones that are a year or two old may only set you back £20 a month over a two year period for basic levels of minutes and data. The latest flagship handsets, however, will probably cost more than £40 a month, and may also include an upfront cost for the phone as well.

How much should I pay for an Android phone?

If you are considering buying a handset outright then you can probably expect to pay several hundred pounds.

The cheapest decent Android phones will cost in the region of £150 for some of the latest phone brands. These will feature phones using Android 7 and some are still very high quality, just with less power and storage.

Mid-range phones will cost between £250 to close to £500. There is quite a leap in smartphone prices and only a few phones like the OnePlus series that try to bridge that mid-tier gap.

High-end phones will have the latest cameras, huge storage, powerful specs and innovations such as Samsung's Edge screen to try and make you part with £500 or more. It can be hard to recommend phones at this price, and most more basic phones will easily fulfill all simple functions, so they will need to blow you away with what's on offer.

Under £250?

Moto G5

Moto G5
CREDIT: MOTOROLA

Screen size: 5 inches

Weight: 144.5g

Battery life: 19 hours talk time

Motorola's series of Android smartphones are some of the best value buys  out there. While this model is only a limited upgrade on the previous iteration, it includes 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. It’s front and rear mounted cameras are reasonable, with a 13 megapixel rear facing camera.

It has a sleek, aluminium body and runs on Android 7.0, keeping its menu and systems simple and in line with the original design. It actually has a slightly less powerful processor than its previous iteration, the Moto G4, but it is hard to notice. Other features include a fingerprint scanner, although the phone is not compatible with payment systems such as Android Pay.

Pros: Best cheap Android phone

Cons: Weaker processor than Moto G4

Price: £159

​Buy now

Lenovo P2

Lenovo P2
CREDIT: LENOVO

Screen size: 5.5 inches

Weight: 177g

Battery life: 78 hours talk time

With the Lenovo P2 you will feel like you never have to charge your phone again. It has arguably the most impressive battery life of any budget smartphone, and Lenovo says the P2 will also gain 10 hours of life with just 15 minutes charging. This older model does use a micro-USB, which will be less supported by other devices as time passes.

The phone uses the slightly older Android 6.0 operating system and has a slightly larger 5.5 inch screen, while internally it features 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. In the UK it is only available with the Three network, while buying just the handset will set you back less than £200.

Pros:Exceptionally long battery life

Cons: Older built-in operating system

Cost: £179

Buy now

Samsung A3

Samsung A3
CREDIT: SAMSUNG

Screen size: 4.7 inches

Weight: 138g

Battery life: 17 hours talk time

Samsung has rebooted its A3 smartphone range for 2017, adding a power boost with a faster processor and upgrading its RAM from 1.5GB to 2GB, with 16GB of storage and the ability to add a 256GB SIM card. For a smaller smartphone it comes with a solid display, as Samsung’s super AMOLED screen offers great colours.

Samsung also improved the front camera on this model to 8MP, while the 13MP rear camera remains the same. The South Korean company has added a fingerprint scanner, bringing this Samsung up to scratch with many competitors, and the phone is said to be waterproof for up to 30 minutes (if you are brave enough to test).

Pros: Screen quality, fingerprint scanner and waterproofing

Cons: Processor and storage matched by cheaper models

Price: £244

Buy now

Under £500

OnePlus 3T

OnePlus T3
CREDIT: ONEPLUS

Screen size: 5.5 inch screen

Weight: 158g

Battery life: 21 hours talk time

Upstart Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus has started making an impact in recent years, with its OnePlus 3 phone and its mini-upgrade the OnePlus 3T viewed as taking the fight to more expensive brands. It features quality 16MP cameras mounted front and back and the latest model comes with the Android 7.1.

The cheapest monthly contract you can get in the UK comes with O2 for £18 per month and the phone is largely unavailable elsewhere, while for a pay as you go SIM the phone inches in at just under £400. The main issue is the lack of a micro SD card slot, although its internal storage comes in at 64GB.

Pros: Power and specs of a far more expensive phone

Cons: Lacks extra storage

Price: £399

Buy now

HTC 10

HTC 10
CREDIT: TELEGRAPH

Screen size: 5.2 inch screen

Weight: 161g

Battery life: 27 hours talk time

While a new HTC 11 is set for release in June, the so-called "first squeezeable phone", the HTC 10 is still a great option for a slightly cheaper handset that maintains the top specs. The phone has a great quad HD display with 2560 x 1440 pixels for a sharp picture and its body design looks unique. The Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM make this a snappy phone to use. It has 32GB of built in storage, with an optional extra 2TB for a micro SD card.

While last year this phone came in just a bit too expensive, you can now pick one up SIM free for around £450. This drop in price makes it a highly viable phone, even as a new model is prepared for release.

Pros: Price drop makes this an exciting offering

Cons: Camera not as impressive as leading rivals

Cost: £450

Buy now

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
CREDIT: SAMSUNG

Screen size: 5.5 inches

Weight: 157g

Battery life: 27 hours talk time

Samsung's 2016 flagship phone, the Galaxy S7 edge is a beautiful phone, powerful with a sharp 2560 x 1440 display. Samsung scaled back its front and rear facing cameras slightly compared to the S6, now with a 5MP rear and 12MP front camera, however this was countered by an improved picture quality in darker environments.

 Water resistant and with exceptional battery life, the standard model comes with 32GB of storage and a slot for a 200GB micro SD card. The models currently available come with the older Android 6.01, but prices have now dropped below £500, meaning this phone is certainly worth a look if you want a really quality piece of kit.

Pros: Now with a better price, improved battery, water resistant

Cons: Almost none, if you don't mind an older model

Price: £396.99

Buy now

BlackBerry KEYone

Blackberry KEYone
CREDIT: BLACKBERRY

Screen size: 4.5 inches

Weight: 180g

Battery life: all day

The demise of the BlackBerry was predicted last year as the company said it would stop making its own phones. But having licensed them instead to Chinese manufacturer TCL you can get that rush of nostalgia for clicking keys again. The new KEYone is a great phone, with solid battery life, the latest Android 7.1 processor and even a surprisingly decent camera.

Drawbacks include a reduced screen size to make up for that keyboard and some apps are a little slow to load. It does however, support all normal Android apps and also still has BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), if you know anyone who still uses the system. For fans it is a great comeback for the design and worth considering if you want something unique with an executive feel.

Pros: Decent battery life, unique QWERTY keyboard

Cons: Small screen, nobody uses BBM

Price: £499

Buy now

Over £500

Samsung Galaxy S8

Image result for Samsung Galaxy S8

Screen size: 5.8 inches

Weight: 152g

Battery life: 20 hours talk time

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is a beautiful device. It has an all round Edge Display, which means the phone screen slides seamlessly to the sides of the phone. It also has a headphone jack, unlike its main rivals from Apple. It is water and dust resistant and features 64GB of internal storage. 

The S8 also has cool features from the standard fingerprint scanner to iris and facial recognition, and has brought in the Bixby virtual assistant, although on launch this did not feature voice control. While it raised the bar on smartphones and is probably the best Android phone you can buy, you will have to be able to part with some serious money to enjoy it.

Pros: Incredible performance, screen quality, beautiful design

Cons: Massive price tag, highly breakable, lack of Bixby voice control

Price: £779

Buy now

Huawei P10

Huawei P10
CREDIT: HUAWEI

Screen size: 5.1 inches

Weight: 145g

Battery life: 24 hours

The latest flagship handset from Chinese manufacturer Huawei, the P10 is a solid high-end smartphone. While misses the mark compared to the Google Pixel or Samsung's Galaxy S8, it still comes with a raft of powerful specs that make for a great Android phone, such as its dual rear camera of 12MP and 20MP that deliver some brilliant snaps.

Although performance is largely excellent, Huawei operates on its own slightly modified version of Android, Emotion UI. This is generally smooth, but it does duplicate some apps and its style is not to everyone's taste. It features a responsive fingerprint scanner, which can also be used to navigate the screen, although this takes some getting used to and can be switch off. On careful use the battery will easily last the day.

Pros: Great camera, battery life, good performance

Cons: Interface is not perfect, prohibitive price

Price: £550

Buy now

Google Pixel

Image result for Google Pixel

Screen size: 5 inches

Weight: 143g

Battery life: 26 hours

Lightning fast and powerful with a market-leading camera, the Google Pixel is a quality flagship phone and is built for Android 7.1. It has excellent battery life, boasting around 7 hours in 16 minutes of charging, with 32 GB of storage and the addition of unlimited photo storage in the cloud. It has 12MP front and 8MP rear mounted cameras, and clever new features such as "moves", shortcuts such as quickly twisting the phone to swap between front and rear cameras.

But none of this comes cheap. At at almost £600 for the cheapest version this is a significant investment, and it lacks some features of other flagship Android phones, such as Samsung's water resistance and no stereo speakers. It is also one of the main smartphones on this list most easily mistaken for an iPhone, if that bothers you.

Pros: Solid battery, good camera, lots of cloud storage

Cons: Expensive, unimpressive design

Price: £599

Buy now

Source: This article was published telegraph.co.uk By Matthew Field

Amazon.com likes to change the rules. First it sold books online. Then it launched an online shopping revolution. When it started the subscription service Amazon Prime, customers received two-day shipments for free. Each innovation caused a paradigm shift in how we shop and entertain ourselves.

Amazon is not without competition. Walmart has definitely taken aim. Click here to learn which site offers cheaper prices, Amazon or Walmart.

More than 65 million people were actively enrolled in Amazon Prime last year, paying $10.99 per month or $99 per year. Many customers use their accounts for free shipping, but they don’t realize that there are other terrific benefits as well. Here are nine Prime perks you may not be using.

Free same-day delivery

It sounds too good to be true: You order an item, and someone hand-delivers it within a few hours. How is this possible? Amazon Prime Now usually works like this. You can order a product by noon and expect to receive it by 9 p.m., sometimes even within an hour. Click here to learn more about same-day delivery.

Share benefits with others

There you were, enjoying the rewards of an Amazon Prime membership, when you moved in with your significant other, who also orders a lot of stuff online. You can share the same Prime membership with two other adults in your household. To do this, go to Account Settings >> Manage Your Content and Devices >> Settings >> Holds and Family Library >> Invite Adult.

    Tip in a tip: Shopping on Amazon the right way is more than clicking items and loading up your cart. Once you learn a few tricks, you’ll find sales and price cuts that you never imagined possible. Click here for five insider secrets to save money on Amazon.com.

    Watch streaming video

    Amazon Studios gained global attention at the 2017 Academy Awards when Casey Affleck won Best Actor for “Manchester by the Sea.” Like Netflix and Hulu, Amazon is producing a wide range of high-quality programs, and critics are giving the retail giant a big thumb’s up.

    Amazon also offers a colossal library of movies and TV series, from HBO flagships like “The Wire” to indie films like “The Lobster.” Keep in mind that not every flick or episode is available for free, but you can easily buy or order a streaming version of almost any movie imaginable. You can also download certain titles to watch offline. Click here for the steps on how to do this.

    Download free music

    Many people enjoy their first year of Prime membership without ever knowing they can download music for free. That’s right: download. You can also stream songs, the same way you stream music on Apple Music, Spotify and Pandora, but you can also choose from more than a million mp3s to keep forever on your phone or computer.

    The Prime Music app is also a handy tool. You can upload your own music library and listen to your songs wherever you go.

    Read free books and magazines

    Amazon started as an online bookstore, so it’s no wonder the megastore would nod to its roots with free volumes on Kindle. Amazon Prime reading offers you a trove of ebooks, comics and magazines that you can download at no charge to pretty much any device.

    The selections rotate regularly, just as they do for Prime Video. So if the book you want to read isn’t there now, it may become available in a few months. Just download the Kindle app and you should be ready to read. Verbophiles can even use the built-in dictionary to look up unfamiliar words.

    Use special cloud storage

    The truth is scary: Many people still don’t back up their hard drives. These folks are always one man-made or natural disaster away from losing all their pictures, music, videos and documents. If you don’t already have a dependable storage service but you do have a Prime membership, you can use Amazon’s handy Cloud Drive, which gives members 5GB of storage for music and videos.

    Even better: You can use Amazon Prints to turn some of those stored photos into beautiful, frame-worthy images. Click here to find out how to print high-quality photos for cheap.

    Order food and domestic goods

    Imagine calling up your supermarket, ordering 45 pounds of groceries, and having them deliver it to your home for an extra $5.99. Sound fantastic? Well, that’s basically what Amazon Pantry does.

    The service is still working out its kinks, so you won’t find the same selection you’d find at your local Super Target. But the idea is catching on, and many customers appreciate its versatility. Prime membership grants you access to a wider array of products. If you like the service, you can also subscribe to Amazon Family for $99, which gets you some extra perks, such as discounts on diapers.

    Get a discount on games

    Diehard gamers love to be the first to nab a new release. Amazon Prime members get a 20 percent discount on video game pre-orders and new releases. This applies to any game that has hit the market within two weeks of ordering. Just keep in mind that it applies only to physical copies of the game, and it doesn’t include console game bundles.

    Get restaurant meals delivered to your door

    Just when you thought DoorDash was a wild innovation, Amazon created its own dining delivery service. Just visit Amazon Restaurants and order a multicourse meal. Granted, you have to live in a city where Amazon Prime Now already exists. But if you do, you’re guaranteed to receive your steaming entrée within an hour!

    What other digital life benefits are you missing out on?

    Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

    Source: This article was published foxnews.com

    A teen in South Carolina has died after drinking three caffeinated beverages over a 2-hour period.

    The 16-year-old boy drank a large diet Mountain Dew, a McDonald's cafe latte and an unnamed energy drink in that time, USA Today reported today (May 16).

    The Richland county coroner, Gary Watts, said the teen's death was caused by a "caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia," according to USA Today. In other words, the caffeine caused a heart problem that could have led to an irregular heartbeat. Watts also said that the teen was healthy and didn't have any medical problems that the caffeine could have exacerbated.

    About 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, or four cups of coffee, is considered safe for healthy adults, according to the Mayo Clinic.

    So how does caffeine cause such heart problems? And how could it lead to death at a young age?

    "Caffeine is a stimulant," said Dr. Lewis Nelson, the chairman of emergency medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, who was not involved in the teen's case.

    In general, stimulants "raise [a person's] heart rate and can cause some people to have" heart problems, Nelson told Live Science. In particular, stimulants can disrupt the heart's regular rhythm, he said.

    Caffeine can also cause a person to have "difficult-to-treat seizures," and these can make the effects on the heart worse, Nelson added.

    Dr. Amy Durso, the deputy chief medical examiner for Richland County, South Carolina, where the teen lived, said it's the amount of caffeine and the time frame over which it's ingested that can put a person at risk, according to The State, a South Carolina newspaper.

    "A cup of a coffee, a can of soda isn't going to cause this thing," Durso told The State.

    Indeed, the director of the South Carolina Coroner's Association, Dennis Fowler, told The State that he's never seen this happen before.

    However, caffeine's effects on the heart have been documented.

    In a 2015 study, published in the journal JAMA, researchers measured the blood pressure and hormone levels of healthy adults before and after they drank 16 ounces of an energy drink. They found that both of these increased after people consumed the drink.

    These changes may put people at risk for heart problems, the researchers wrote in the study.

    In addition, a case report from August 2016 described a 28-year-old man's heart problems that landed him in the emergency room after drinking two energy drinks a day, plus alcohol, for months. The doctors who treated the man reported that his heart rate was fast and that he had an irregular heartbeat.

    Originally published on Live Science. by Sara G. Miller

    Page 1 of 17

    Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

    Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.
    Please wait

    airs logo

    Association of Internet Research Specialists is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

    Newsletter Subscription

    Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.
    Please wait

    Follow Us on Social Media

    Book Your Seat for Webinar GET FREE REGISTRATION FOR MEMBERS ONLY      Register Now