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Should You Use Apple’s iCloud?

According to Apple, its iCloud service has now reached 300 million users, having increased 20% in Q2. For anyone considering using the service over rival services, there are several technical benefits that may be of interest.

1. Backup

iCloud automatically backs up media purchased online. It is useful for backing up different media such as apps, TV shows, music, video, books, photos and others. Users can also use it to store device settings, app organization, home screen organization, ringtones and even messages. This is useful because users who purchase new devices that support iCloud get their devices updated without connecting them to any Mac or PC.

2. Photo Stream

Photo Stream allows users to view and synchronize their most recent photographs (1,000 of them), so long as they have been taken with iCloud compatible devices. Apple has recently improved this functionality by allowing users to create Shared Photo Streams that immediately shared different photos with those you want to see them (family photos, images for work colleagues etc).

3. Lost Mode

iCloud was first shipped with a security feature that allows users to lock their devices and send messages to others when their gadgets are lost. In iOS 6, there is a feature for putting iCloud-supported devices in lost mode. Lost mode locks the device with a pass code and places a lost banner on the screen. Users can provide specific numbers where they can be reached and GPS tracking is also integrated.

4. iTunes Match

iTunes Match allows users to transfer music acquired elsewhere into iTunes for a fee. The added music files are then converted to Apple’s 256-Kbps AAC DRM-free codec before adding them to the iCloud. In case some files cannot be matched, they will be uploaded from the computer and from there they can be streamed and stored on any compatible devices.

5. Documents in the Cloud

iCloud allows users to create presentations and documents on different devices and update them on all supported devices. What is more, there is no need to manage the documents in complex file systems or special folders. The documents are stored in the cloud and hence can be accessed from any device.

iCloud bills itself as the easiest way to manage content, and with the above features, it certainly looks to be living up to its name. The service is also integrated into different apps so that it can easily be accessed from multiple devices. Even average iPad and iPhone users will find this service hugely beneficial.

Examining Adobe Flash’s Survival Instincts

With the continued rejection of Flash support by Apple, the rise of the iPad and other tablet computers, the introduction of the HTML 5 standard and the discontinuation of attempts by Adobe to bring Flash to mobile platforms, we ask: What is the future for this former Internet heavyweight?

When Flash first emerged, it represented a major development in the way people used the Internet. Macromedia’s acquisition of the earliest version of the software (then known as FutureSplash Animator) opened up new possibilities; it brought developers a realistic alternative to Java and a new way to create animated and interactive media. When Flash was paired with the Actionscript programming language it became possible to develop entire websites in Flash.

Adobe Flash always had its detractors. Many frowned over issues with stability and security. Flash has also tended to be overused or used inappropriately by some Web developers; lengthy animated introductions that couldn’t be skipped or confusing interactive menus became a source of significant annoyance. In general, however, Flash was successful, popular and well-supported.

Things began to go downhill for Flash when Apple took the decision to ban Flash from all of its devices. Flash, argued then-CEO Steve Jobs, was proprietary, resource-intensive, created system instability that resulted in crashes and had worrying security implications. While various third-party applications quickly appeared that allowed Apple devices to play Flash content in one form or another, there would be no native support. Instead, the company would be concentrating on HTML 5. Developers took note; many began omitting Flash elements from their websites.

The rise of the Android mobile platform brought little relief. Although Google didn’t ban Flash in the way that Apple had, creating a workable Android version proved extremely difficult. Eventually, the attempt was abandoned.

Instead, Adobe took the decision to concentrate on developing Flash as a desktop application, aiming at those markets most likely to withstand the advance of HTML5. A roadmap released in early 2012 laid out the company’s vision of the future. Flash would narrow down its focus to two main areas: games development and encrypted video.

By improving hardware acceleration and creating a more ‘app-like’ product, Adobe hopes to future proof its one-time flagship against the challenges posed by the HTML5 and platforms such as the iPad. With Windows 8 offering support, it seems that Flash will be going strong for some time to come.

[Important] Secure Your WordPress Password Immediately – Global WordPress Brute Force Attack

It is highly recommended that you ensure your WordPress login password is a secure password comprising of at least 8 characters and includes special characters (@#$%^&*), a variation of upper and lower case letters, and numbers.

Common Password Example:

secretword123

Secure Password Example:

Z4Tn@V^oes

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Why Shortcodes Rock In Self-Hosted WordPress Blogs

WordPress shortcodes have been around for a while but many bloggers still don’t realize how convenient they can be.

What is It?

Shortcodes reference large amounts of programming code in a condensed ‘short’ code. They can be used in the Visual Content Editing box in WordPress and perform a range of needs. You can customize your page’s formatting or insert special content, video or audio, and even social media buttons. The following are some benefits to using shortcodes.

1 – Easier Copy and Paste Functionality

If you only have one blog, copying the same features every time you want to add a specific feature, code or image may not seem like much work. But if you have 20 blogs then copying and pasting the same feature over and over again can get very ‘routine’ to say the least. By adding a shortcode you can place these in the post where you want them every time.

2 – Making Changes is Easier

Making any change across all blogs is easier as all you have to do is make the change to the shortcode and all the posts where it is used will change automatically.

3 – Format Issues Outside the Post

Add shortcode to your header, to the side or bottom of the page. You could include a widget at the bottom of the page instead of the bottom of every post. Essentially, short codes here can resolve formatting or design issues you might have.

4 – Add Interesting Features

Short cut code allows you to add interesting or useful features like Google Maps to your posts or pages.

5 – Reference Issues

One of the potential pitfalls of using shortcodes is remembering where they are, especially when you are adding new posts, and have, over time created many different short codes. The solution is to install Shortcode Reference plugin that gives you a widget on your WordPress screen, allowing you to choose the one you want to place within the post or on the page.

Bottom Line

Shortcodes can help you customize any WordPress blog, giving it more of a custom website look but saving you time as they prevent your needing to hand code every post or page when you want to change formatting, add tables, insert map features, social media button options, timers log-in screens and more. You only need to create the code once and then reference it by creating a shortcode which can be inserted to the page or post you need it to be.