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DEC
12

Optimize Images to Reduce Page Weight: File Formats, Tools and RWD

optimize-images

This article was originally seen on Dareboost's blog.

"Reduce the page weight": here is one of the most usual tips in Dareboost reports. According to HTTP Archive trends, images represent 53% of the average pages weight, whether viewed on desktop or mobile devices. When you want to reduce the weight of your web pages, optimizing images should be at the top of your priorities.

For each image its format

It is not always easy to find the most suitable image format. Take our logo, for example. We could save it in PNG, JPEG, WebP or SVG.
The weight of the images would be very different. An empirical test allows us to visualize it:

In this case, the most suitable format seems to be SVG, followed closely by PNG. It is indeed an image whose colors are plain, non-animated, representing geometric shapes. All these factors tend to favor these two formats.

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DEC
12

4 reasons why you should get PHP 7

4 reasons why you should get PHP 7

Details Created: 06 December 2017

With the prospect of Joomla 4 next year we would like to raise awareness on the must of upgrading to PHP 7.
Joomla 4 will require PHP 7 to run, as stated in this announcement. Most hosts already offer PHP 7 in their packages and it should be fairly easy to change your PHP version. (Hint: before you do, make sure you backup) If not, contact your host today.

Let us give you 4 reasons why you shouldn’t wait on upgrading PHP.

PHP 7 is better

Easy to say of course, but PHP 7 actually has a performance improvement that makes your website run twice as fast (compared to PHP 5) and it has a 50% better memory consumption. Of course PHP 7 is also more secure and allows you to do more as a developer.

Joomla 4 will be awesome

Joomla 4 will have huge improvements for both users and developers. A cleaned up code, a renewed framework, great new features and much more. Bootstrap 4 will be implemented in the core, there will be 2 new templates (frontend and backend), the new media manager will be loved by many.
As Joomla 4 is still in development and predicted for second half of 2018, the list of awesome features will still extend and be announced prior to the launch.

Renewed Framework

The renewed Framework (version 2.0) that comes with Joomla 4 has some major improvements. The database API will natively support prepared statements, which is a major security enhancement. Storing encrypted data will now be possible with a more modular Keychain component. Command line tools can be build better and safer thanks to the new Console component.
For a full list of features, visit the roadmap.

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DEC
12

JomSocial Blog - What's New with JomSocial?

JomSocial On Joomla 4. What to expect?After Project Icarus which quickly turned into organised chaos, and Joomla X, we finally got the Joomla 4 Alpha 1 version for testing.We already wrote in Joomlart blog post what can you expect from the Joomla 4 and if you haven’t read it by now, we strongly encourage you to do so. In this entry, we will focus on JomSocial’s goals and planned changes to make the transition to Joomla 4 as smooth as possible. First ImpressionNeedless to say, it was expected. Current JomSocial version (4.5) is not installing on Joomla 4.So we immediately dedicated developers to work exclusively on Joomla 4 compatibility.First AdjustmentsThe immediate priority was successfull installation on Joomla 4 and after few tweaks, JomSocial was installing, but that was just a first step on a long road ahead.Navigation Must ChangeIt is more than obvious how JomSocial’s backend navigation doesn’t really fit into new Atum backend template of Joomla 4. So it must change, and the plan is to have it integrated into Joomla 4 sidebar navigation.Core Changes & Compatibility LayersJomSocial’s core base have been built for Joomla 1.5 and upgraded to Joomla 2.5 and Joomla 3 along the road. However, Joomla 4 will inevitably remove all deprecated code which means support for outdated dependencies will be removed effectively rendering most current extensions unusable on Joomla 4. Therefore, JomSocial Core need to change as well to support new Joomla 4 standards. For website builders, this practically means that JomSocial compatible with Joomla 4 won’t be compatible with Joomla 3.8 and lower.Luckily, Joomla 3.9 will be released simultaneously with Joomla 4 and it will bring the compatibility layer that will allow extensions made for Joomla 4 to work on Joomla 3.9. So if you don’t want to upgrade to Joomla 4, but want to use latest version of JomSocial, then you will have to upgrade to Joomla 3.9.Addons & Third-Party IntegrationsOne of the under-the-hood changes of Joomla 4 will be unification of all plugins making them run through a single dispatcher instead of five. This change is affecting JomSocial API and we are working on solution that will work across entire platform without interfering with third-party integrations.ThemesJoomla 4 comes with Bootsrap 4, but it doesn’t really affect JomSocial’s theme framework built in-house for specific purpose of using it within one single component. All themes that we currently have will make JomSocial fit into your Joomla 4 template the same way as they used to in Joomla 3. UpgradeThe upgrade will not depend solely on JomSocial’s ability to be upgraded with a single click. While that goes without saying, as a website builder, you will need to ensure your Joomla is properly upgraded to version 4, and all extensions that you might be using and integrating with JomSocial also have a version compatible with Joomla 4. Whats Next?After JomSocial is fully compatible with Joomla 4, we will start contacting the integration developers urging them to upgrade as well. After Joomla 4 hits the beta and RC (release candidate) status, we will start publishing beta’s of JomSocial compatible versions for users to try on their sites and see what needs to be fixed, improved or changed. Know more about Joomla 4:
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DEC
12

12 Alternatives to WordPress (And Why You Might Want to Use One)

Looking for some alternatives to WordPress? While we might be big fans of the world’s most popular content management system, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other perfectly viable tools for you to use to build a website or blog.

In this post, I’ll dig into 12 of those WordPress alternatives, divided into three separate categories:

Self-hosted content management systemsHosted website buildersBasic blogging platforms

Generally, you’ll find more complicated alternatives in the content management systems category and more simple solutions in the hosted website builders and blogging platforms sections.

Let’s dive in!

6 Content Management System Alternatives to WordPress

These six alternatives to WordPress are all standalone content management systems. That means, like self-hosted WordPress, you’ll need to install them on your own hosting to use them for your site.

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DEC
12

How can I tell if my social media strategy is generating results?

It’s common to wonder whether your social media strategy is really generating the results you had in mind.

According to Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends Report, 61% of social media marketers consider measuring their social ROI to be their top challenge.

What makes a social media strategy successful?

Every goal can be measured by different KPIs, but they all have the same starting point. By setting up your goals from the first stage of your social strategy, you are able to measure your performance step-by-step without losing your focus from irrelevant metrics. This helps you track your objectives and analyze your progress toward achieving them.

Your goals should be smart: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. One goal can be to increase Facebook engagement by 25% in the next 3 months, or to double your brand mentions within the next six months.

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DEC
12

10 Webdesign trends of 2018

2017 is on the way out, and now we are looking forward to a very bright year for web design and Joomla! Design styles over the past few years have been shifting toward the more minimal model, and the web is looking very standardized at the moment, but some new and familiar trends will make a significant impact in 2018.

 

1. Background Cinemagraphs

Background videos have been all the rage this past year, but there is a new style in town. Cinemagraphs are still photographs in which a minor and repeated movement occurs, forming a video clip. They are published as an animated GIF or in other video formats and can give the illusion that the viewer is watching an animation. Cinemagraphs are created by taking a series of photographs or a video recording, and, using image editing software, compositing the photos or the video frames into a seamless loop of sequential frames.

EXAMPLE: https://codepen.io/jayjoomler/pen/yPxOVo


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DEC
12

Instagram now allows you to follow hashtags like regular accounts

This feature was previously being tested quietly, but now it is being rolled out to the general user base. You can follow a hashtag the same way you follow a friend: Search for a topic you like or click on a hashtag in an Instagram post. A new page will open with the option to follow the hashtag. You'll see both top posts and recent stories from the hashtag in your feed, and you can unfollow anytime, the same way you would any user.

According to The Verge, Matthew Ogle led the charge for this feature; he was behind the Discover Weekly playlist at Spotify, which relies on both machine learning and a human hand to curate a personalized playlist for each listener every week. Ogle wants to bring the same touch to Instagram's hashtags.

For those concerned about privacy, a note: The hashtags you follow are visible to anyone on Instagram who checks out your profile. It doesn't look like there's a way to turn this off, though if your profile is set to private, then only your followers will be able to see the hashtags you follow.

Original author: Krishna
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DEC
12

Facebook opens AR platform and “world effects” to all developers

Facebook is trying to close the augmented reality gap with Snapchat with the help of an army of third-party developers. Today, eight months after debuting its Augmented Reality Camera Effects platform and AR Studio tool at F8, Facebook is allowing all developers to start building AR experiences for its Facebook Camera. That includes “World Effects” — Facebook’s copy of Snapchat’s World Lenses — that augment your environment with 3D objects rather than just your selfies.

AR Studio becomes available to all developers today, and World Effects will open up there in the next few days for use on Facebook and Messenger. For example, on Messenger you’ll be able to add a 3D heart floating above someone’s head, add an arrow to point to something in a panorama or add a celebrating robot that plays music to jazz up a drab video.

Facebook’s new World Effects

“We want artists, developers, brands and more creators to be able to build and share amazing AR experiences,” writes Facebook director Ficus Kirkpatrick. “By opening AR Studio to all creators, we’re taking steps towards making AR more a part of everyday life.”

Facebook’s opportunity here is to take advantage of Snapchat’s anti-developer attitude. Snapchat has yet to fully embrace third-party AR content beyond some basic image frame submissions and work with a few fine artists like Jeff Koons. Meanwhile, Facebook has been operating a developer platform for more than a decade, and has fostered a huge community of coders looking to get their content in front of Facebook’s massive 2 billion user audience.

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DEC
12

How to Use Instagram's Newest Featuring: Following Hashtags

There’s a new feature on Instagram that makes it a bit easier to find content centered on a variety of topics.

In an update on Tuesday, the Facebook-owned app now allows users to follow hashtags. If folks are interested in dogs, food, or just about anything else that’s been shared on the site, they can follow a hashtag and see public photos shared by users that have that hashtag attached. Content with the followed hashtags will then be shown in the user’s feed.

The feature, which was earlier reported on by The Verge, is an important one for those who use Instagram—not only as a place to see what friends and family are up to, but also have an interest in topics and want to see content relevant to their interests. It’s also a nice way to identify people to follow.

So if you’re interested in finding a way to follow hashtags and find relevant content, now’s as good a time as any to start. And it’s surprisingly easy.

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DEC
12

Google is launching 3 new experimental apps on both Android and the iPhone

sundarclose
Google CEO Sundar Pichai.Justin Sullivan / Getty Staff
Google is launching a new research project to develop so-called "appsperiments." Appsperiments are new apps that use some of Google's experimental technologies. The company is releasing three new apps today, on both Android and Apple's iOS.


Google is launching three new experimental apps, named Storyboard, Selfissimo!, and Scrubbies, on iOS and Android (we first saw the news via The Verge).

The first will come just to Android, while Scrubbies is an iOS exclusive; Selfissimo!, on the other hand, will be released on both platforms.

The three apps are parts of a first round of products inside the Google's new, so-called "appsperiment" program. More apps will come, but the current lineup focuses on photography.

The apps are all built on experimental technologies — a bit like Motion Still, the iOS app that transforms Apple's Live Photos into universally shareable gifs.

"[The apps] rely on object recognition, person segmentation, stylization algorithms, efficient image encoding and decoding technologies, and perhaps most importantly, fun!" reads Google's blog post.

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DEC
12

10 things you must consider before building a website

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1. What do you want to do?

Too many people do not truly understand what they want when they set up a website – particularly if doing so by themselves. It’s very easy to get it wrong and create an unsearchable blog when you actually want a functioning platform that’s capable of accepting payments or bookings.

One common mistake made right at the start of the process is choosing the wrong WordPress (the most popular website and blogging management system on the web). There exists WordPress.com and WordPress.org (helpfully near identical in name), the former is hosted by Wordpress and acts more like a blog, whereas the latter allows you to host your own website or blog, upload the CMS and add plugins – things that allow you to customise functionality and add features – to your heart’s content.

The initial setup on some other platforms, such as Wix and Squarespace, can be less problematic but if you’re creating something for serious business, it’s advisable to remove guesswork entirely.

2. What do your customers want to do?

So you’ve decided to set up a business – or at least digitalise an existing business. Do you know who your customers are? What they are looking for? How they will search for it?

Market research needs to be done very early on but it’s also something you should never stop doing. People age, preferences and habits change, what works now won’t work in 10 years... all obvious, yes? You’d be surprised by how many businesses forget about this.

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DEC
11

Google's AR Stickers are here, and photos will never be the same again

Who needs real friends when you have an AR squad?

Image: raymond wong/mashable

Need another reason to switch to Google's Pixel 2 phones? How about an augmented reality squad?

Unveiled with all its fall hardware in October, Google has finally launched its anticipated "AR Stickers" feature that lets all Pixel phones (that includes first-gen models) place virtual characters and objects from the likes of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Stranger Things and then snap creative photos and videos with them.

Google's AR Stickers aren't a new idea — Snapchat and a bunch of other apps have had augmented reality features for a while — but by incorporating them into the Pixel and Pixel 2's main camera app, the company has a chance to make its camera more appealing.

AR Stickers require a Pixel phone running on Android 8.0 Oreo (so you'll have to update if you want them), and they're very much like playing with AR Bitmoji in Snapchat, which are a lot of fun.

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DEC
11

HP laptops found to have hidden keylogger

Image copyright HP Image caption Hundreds of HP laptop models were affected

Hidden software that can record every letter typed on a computer keyboard has been discovered pre-installed on hundreds of HP laptop models.

Security researcher Michael Myng found the keylogging code in software drivers preinstalled on HP laptops to make the keyboard work.

HP said more than 460 models of laptop were affected by the "potential security vulnerability".

It has issued a software patch for its customers to remove the keylogger.

The issue affects laptops in the EliteBook, ProBook, Pavilion and Envy ranges, among others. HP has issued a full list of affected devices, dating back to 2012.

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DEC
11

Net neutrality: 'father of internet' joins tech leaders in condemning repeal plan

More than 20 internet pioneers and leaders including the “father of the internet”, Vint Cerf; the inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee; and the Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak have urged the FCC to cancel its vote to repeal net neutrality, describing the plan as “based on a flawed and factually inaccurate” understanding of how the internet works.

“The FCC’s rushed and technically incorrect proposed order to repeal net neutrality protections without any replacement is an imminent threat to the internet we worked so hard to create. It should be stopped,” said the technology luminaries in an open letter to lawmakers with oversight of the Federal Communications Commission on Monday.

Quick guide

Net neutrality

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What is net neutrality?

Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) treat everyone’s data equally – whether that’s an email from your mother, a bank transfer or a streamed episode of Stranger Things. It means that ISPs, which control the delivery pipes, don’t get to choose which data is sent more quickly, and which sites get blocked or throttled (for example, slowing the delivery of a TV show because it is streamed by a video company that competes with a subsidiary of the ISP) and who has to pay extra. For this reason, some have described net neutrality as the “first amendment of the internet”.

Why is net neutrality under threat?

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DEC
08

The Top Web Design Trends of 2017

In the world of web design, it’s never too early to start looking ahead. However, it’s also important to analyze the past.

As 2017 closes, take a look at the fastest rising design trends of the year to gain important insights into what today’s users expect from a modern website, as well as how previous trends may inform web design in 2018 and beyond.

Here’s an examination of 2017’s top web design crazes – and one trend you can expect to see soon.

Greater Design Freedom in Layout

We began 2017 with a lingering emphasis on minimalist website design. Minimalistic sites were – and still are – popular for sites in virtually any industry. Users came to expect a minimalist approach to design, such as neutral colors and predictable navigation tools.

Yet as 2017 continued, there was a noticeable push for a less-rigid design format. A free, controlled-chaos layout with unique locations of elements and a marked dissonance of dependency between them became the modus operandi for many popular sites.

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DEC
08

The Anatomy of a Successful Website Pop-up

Websites used to be filled with lots of noise – pages full of flashy, ugly color schemes, too much text jammed into small spaces, and pop-ups that jumped out of the browser and annoyed the heck out of visitors.

But designers didn’t know any better back then or, rather, they were simply working with the only design trends and best practices they were aware of.

Times have changed much since then.

Web developers and designers aren’t limited by technology or technique anymore, which means there are no more excuses for bad design. This pertains to each element found on a WordPress website, from the home page header image to contact forms, as well as typography to pop-ups. Everything matters now when designing for the user experience.

Today, I want to focus on what makes for good pop-up design–something I consider to be a critical piece in the conversion process. Specifically, I’d like to examine the anatomy of a successful WordPress pop-up and how this exciting design element can drive your conversion rate through the roof.

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DEC
08

Net Neutrality supporters protest outside Verizon in NYC

CNET también está disponible en español.

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DEC
08

WordPress Malware Infects Victims Through Pirated Premium Themes

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WordPress users have reason to be wary as a malware campaign has now been seen to infect new victims.

The campaign in question was unleashed by unknown person(s) earlier this year (The first known infection happened in July.) However, it’s only now that the malware is using pirated (nulled) premium themes as a means to infect victims. The malware is called wp-vcd.

In this new phase of the attack, the malware comes preinstalled within pirated premium themes that are available for download from websites other than WordPress. Such websites are notorious for providing as downloads pirated themes, scripts and plugins for CMS platforms like WordPress. (CMS or Content Management System refers to a computer application with which you could create and edit digital content. It could support more than one user in case of organizations or group efforts- or it could be used by individual users)

In the case of wp-vcd, the malware adds to the site’s backend a secret user as an administrator. This admin’s username would be “100010010.”  This is the backdoor account that attackers use to infect websites. Once the websites are infected in this manner, at later dates, the attackers could initiate scripted attacks.

According to Denis Sinegubku, a security researcher at Sucuri, a web security firm, since late November, the wp-vcd malware has been used by attackers so that they could insert spam on the infected websites. Among these spam messages were also ones that led the users to those websites that offered the pirated themes for download in the first place. In this manner, the creators of the wp-vcd malware were able to expand the number of sites infected with their malware.

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DEC
08

7 Steps To Sell Your Boss On Social Media Marketing

Posted on Nov 30, 2017 | Views : 545

With words like “tweet,” “blog” and “unfriend” entering our standard lexicon, there's no question that social networking has a significant place in our culture. It's no surprise that many companies have been using social media to connect and communicate with their customers online, in fact this has been going on for years now.

But the benefits of social networking aren't always immediately apparent to some. And that is especially true for businesses who are interested in having a lot of control over their brand name and brand image. Convincing some that every business has something to gain from social media marketing can be difficult. It can be hard to see how social media marketing can result in a positive return on investment (ROI).

When it comes to convincing your boss or colleagues to invest in social media, it helps to have a plan. Here the seven steps you can take when it comes to selling social media marketing to your boss or company.

1. Explain

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DEC
08

The best tech of 2017

Of all the tech products that came out this year, no single product was more talked about than the iPhone X.

Rumors about Apple’s new phone started well before 2017 even began. The pressure was on for Apple to deliver a redesigned iPhone that would revolutionize the smartphone once again.

What would an iPhone with a screen that stretched corner-to-corner look like? How would it work without a home button? Would Face ID really be a better replacement for Touch ID? Is $1,000 too expensive for a smartphone?

Everyone seemed to have questions and concerns. But Apple put all those fears to bed when it unveiled the iPhone X in all of its glass and stainless steel glory at the tranquil Steve Jobs Theater located at its new Apple Park campus.

As often is the case, Apple under-promised and over-delivered. All of the reports about the iPhone X’s ugly notch, huge dual camera lens bump, and death of the home button were largely misguided. 

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