Understanding the Difference Between Branding, Marketing and Advertising

Courtesy of pixgood.com
By Hector Cisneros

I often hear marketing professionals bantering the terms “branding,” “marketing” and “advertising.” The same is true of the terms “campaign,” “strategic,” and “tactical.” In many cases, seasoned professional use the first three terms interchangeably as if they all mean the exact same thing. In fact, these six terms are often misused, confused ― or worse, they’re associated with unscrupulous means of conning people out of their money. In this article, we’ll explore the meaning and use of these six often misused terms. We’ll see if and when they overlap, and I’ll provide concrete examples to create a clear distinction between the six terms wherever possible. So get ready to eliminate the myths and misunderstanding these terms often carry.

The Ever-Shrinking Personal Computer - How Small Can They Go?

Courtesy of www.siliconrepublic.com
By Hector Cisneros 

Being a sci-fi buff, I think about technology a lot. I  imagine how it will effect our lives, what will it mean for business, commerce, education, travel -- and yes watching your favorite sci-fi video episode.

Well, recently my eye caught a headline that read, “HP Launches Stream Mini and Pavilion Mini Affordable Compact PCs." These computers fit in the palm of your hand. I immediately sent a picture of the computer to my business partner, Carl Weiss, telling him that soon we will be able to make anything a smart device. Carl wrote me back saying he has a piece of Tupperware bigger than this new PC.

Keep in mind, we don’t sell any kind of hardware, but we love technology. And this brings up my most important question. Just how small can functional computers go in the next five years? Peppermint box size? Matchbox size? In this article, I explore the ever-shrinking personal computer, how they will be used and where they will take us. So strap yourself in and turn on, “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” so that you can find the limits (if any) to the ever-shrinking personal computer.

I have been involved with personal computers since their very beginning. I purchased my very first Apple II in 1979. I had already owned several special purpose computers before (chess computer, etc.) and was stoked at what the future would bring.

In the Beginning 

At first, personal computers actually got bigger. As functionality was added (like floppy drives, hard Compaq computer. By the end of the 1980s, the size trend began to splinter with high-powered computers getting somewhat larger and regular small business and personal systems shrinking in size by a marginal amount. The '90s saw this trend continue with the overall size reduction really starting to accelerate with the widespread acceptance of laptop and notebook computers.
Courtesy of www.mondaynote.com
drives, more memory, faster processor and so on) the PC's physical size went up. Portable devices came into being around 1983, with the Osborne One and soon to follow,

The early 2000s saw the domination of laptop over desktops and the emergence of tablets, smartphones and even "phablets" (a hybrid between a smartphone and a tablet). Recently, we've e seen the emergence of Chromebooks and Apple and Android tablets of varying size. Until recently, there were only a few mini size PCs that could actually run full blown Microsoft Windows. Most had a footprint of 10 inches by 6 inches or so, and had very specific limits on processing power, memory and storage.  With HP’s launch of its new minis, we see the emergence of full-powered, small footprint computers by top tier vendors.

HP was Not the First

Courtesy of www.engadget.com
Believe it or not, our high tech world had already spawned dozens, if not hundreds, of miniature and micro computing devices that are smaller than the HP Stream. Early smartphones (PDAs) have been around since the early 1990. Today, many smartphones have more computing power than the computers used in the Apollo moon mission space capsules. Today, smartphones run the gamut from ultra-portable, super-thin, do-everything devices to large format phablets that act as tablet/smartphone substitutes. Speaking of tablets, these devices have made huge inroads towards replacing laptop computer systems.

Another area of small smart devices can be found in the medical industry. For example, blood glucose meters have been shrinking in size for years. Ingestible video cameras with tracking devices have been around for quite some time. There is a whole horde of medical devices that use smartphones as "the smarts" in the system, where the smartphone is used to record and store measured biological functions from a micro transmitter device inside the body. Today, health tracking wearables are all the rage.

Courtesy of www.treehugger.com
When you think of smart devices, you can include everything from watches to clothing, drones, smallCPUs, memory, storage and other computing devices have always been the norm.  But how many are actually full-blown computers that include everything you'd expect in a desktop or laptop system that you’d buy today?
robots, even smart prosthetics come to mind. Let’s face it, miniaturization of transistors,

HP’s New Minis

Courtesy of www.pcmag.com
HP was not the first to produce small foot print personal computers. They have been around for several years. A quick Internet search reveals small footprint PCs from companies including ASUS, MSI, Acer, Lenovo, Zotac and many more. Some of these are even smaller that the newly announced HP Mini. The smallest of these are still full-featured and with dimensions as small as 4 inches by 6 inches by 1 inch, and can run Windows 7 or 8. Most of these small footprint computers have been used in specialty/vertical markets, which is why most consumers haven’t seen them yet. It usually takes a company like Apple or HP to push a new technology to the consumer market forefront.

Having said that, the new HP Stream sets a new standard for low price and features while at the same
time, being one of the smallest new PCs for sure. It includes a powerful Intel Celeron CPU, 2 gigs of RAM memory, 32 gig SATA solid state drive, Intel graphics, support for two displays, four USB 3.0 ports, wireless integrated Bluetooth 4.0, wireless LAN, wired Ethernet port, HDMI out, headphone out, built-in power supply and comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse. Plus, it comes with Windows 8.1 and a stack of software apps. The dimensions are approximately 5.7 inches square and 2 inches thick. Price tag – around $179.

If you need a little more power, upgrade to the HP Pavilion mini, which comes with a faster processor, twice the RAM (4 gigs), 3-in-1 card reader, 500 gig hard drive (up to a 1 terabyte in its top model), and more software.  Both come with antivirus software and cloud services. Price tag – starting at around $319.

Apple’s Mini Mac is Tasty, Too

courtesy of  http://theawesomer.com/
Now, before you think this is an HP commercial, understand HP was not the first to offer a small footprint PC. There have been many white label small footprint systems running Android and Chrome platforms. Also, Apple beat HP to the punch. Its Mac Mini. has been around for some time. The latest version was launched on October 16th 2014. The Mac Mini is a more expensive (starting at around $499) but its a full-powered, full-featured Mac and comes with Apple’s latest IOS. Its footprint is around 7.7 inches square by an inch and half or so. Most Mac users will love this mini Mac because it's essentially a “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” version of a Mac system.

How Small Can These Devices Get?

The actual limit is the size of the connected port you need. You need physical space for video,
Courtesy of www.ecochunk.com
audio, network etc., ports. However the more we move to higher speed wireless devices, the less you need physical connected ports. One day, we will easily have match box-sized PCs. Some futurists have even predicted nano-sized computing devices. I don’t know about nano- sized devices, but they would be cool because you could attach them to most anything, which is where this article started.

Here’s the Rub

So what's the point of all these small footprint systems? These new, small footprint, full-featured
Courtesy of www.pngloop.com
personal computer systems will allow us to upgrade the smarts of many of our personal devices we currently have at home or in our offices. Want a smart TV? Just plug in a small footprint PC. Want to have your own steaming music or video server? Just plug in a small footprint PC and add software for your specific needs. Need to clear up desk space? These little devices are a pint-sized godsend for saving space and removing clutter.  I don’t know about other people, but I really like the idea of connecting one of these devices to my large flat panel TV to use in my home entertainment system. For the office, the idea that I can have two full screens on my desk with “virtually no desktop PC” is very appealing.

So the next time you go shopping for a new desktop PC, think small -- Tupperware small and/or “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" small -- and save all your desktop space for important things like pictures of your family, your lunch, or other necessities of life.

In this article, I explored the ever-shrinking personal computer and how small, fully functional personal computers are shrinking in size. I explored how they'll change the home and office environment from how we know them today to a new frontier that is more productive and entertaining as well.  Apple and HP are spearheading these new small full features system at very attractive prices.

You can find more articles about computers and technology by entering “those phrases in the search box, at the top of this blog. I also recommend reading the Tablet Wars - Choosing Your Battles is What it Takes to Win the War”, and “When Will Computers Out Think You?” just to name a few.  Thanks for sharing your valuable time with us.

That's my opinion, I look forward to hearing yours.

If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we'll email it to you. Your information is always kept private and is never sold.

Hector Cisneros is COO and director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web To Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

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How to Avoid Being Caught in an SEO Phishing Net

By Hector Cisneros
Courtesy of marchmediachicago.com

Have you ever received a solicitation claiming to be able to help you fix your SEO issues?  They will use acronyms like SEO, SERP, ALT Tags, or catch phrases like “Content Marketing”, “White Hat”, analyze, keywords; or they talk about fixing your Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon or other Google algorithm issues. How do you know if this solicitation is legit?

What’s a company to do in the face of all this cyber-babble?  How can anyone distinguish legitimate solicitations from honest companies versus unscrupulous ones that are just phishing to get their hooks in you?  This article is devoted to helping anyone learn some of the telltale signs that an email or cold call is legit, or if it’s looking to take you by hook, line and sinker.  We’ll actually dissect a phishing email to provide a real world example.  First, let's start by understanding the true nature of the World Wide Web.

To the Moon, Alice!

A NASA astronaut jokingly advertises a recover...
A NASA astronaut jokingly advertises a recovered
defective satellite for sale during a space walk
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Carl Weiss

If you’re my age, you can remember the excitement of the space race. The race to have your countries have its team be the first step foot on the moon. TV coverage was huge and constant. We also had all that drama when we first circled the moon and the spacecraft was in trouble. Today we have a new race!

Nearly everyone on the planet has heard of the XPrize, which has spawned hi-tech
Courtesy of Wikipedia
competitions with multi-million dollar prizes for everything from fuel efficient vehicles to sub-orbital spacecraft. However, in what must be the XPrize that is by far the most "Out There," the race is on as three-dozen teams are vying to become the first private enterprises to land a rover on the moon. The winner takes home $30 million. In fact, the Google Lunar XPrize competition has recently heated up with one competitor, Team Astrobotic collecting a three quarters of a million dollar "Milestone Prize" for overcoming key technical risks in the areas of imaging and mobility. XPrize may announce more Milestone winners in the coming weeks, if other teams can prove their rovers are on track to land on the moon by December 31, 2016.

As a Trekie Would Say, "To Go Where No XPrize Has Gone Before"

English: SpaceShipOne test pilot Mike Melvill ...
English: SpaceShipOne test pilot Mike Melvill after the launch in pursuit of the Ansari X Prize on September 29, 2004. Photo taken by RenegadeAven during Civil Air Patrol duties. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
To understand the sheer audacity of the current prize, you need to understand those that came before it.  The XPrize Foundation was founded in 1995 by entrepreneur Peter Diamandis who offered a $10 million prize to the first privately financed team that could construct and fly a three place vehicle 100 kilometers into the stratosphere.  The contest, which later morphed into the Ansari XPrize eventually involved 26 teams whose combined expenditures topped $100 million.  Won by Burt Rutan and his Mojave Aerospace Ventures team who flew SpaceShipOne into space and back, the XPrize did not end there.

In fact, the inspiration for the XPrize did not get its start in the space age, but the Roaring 20s when French Hotelier Raymond Orteig offered a $25,000 prize for the first person to fly nonstop between New York City and Paris.  That’s right, this is the very prize that inspired Charles Lindbergh to work with the Ryan Aircraft Company to construct the Spirit of St. Louis.  While Lucky Lindy won this prize in 1927, what most people forget is that he was not the first, nor the only person, to attempt the feat. 

The same year that the Orteig Prize was announced, the Daily Mail offered a 10,000 pound prize for any airplane or airship that crossed the Atlantic Ocean in either direction between the British Isles and the US or Canada.  Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten-Brown of the RAF accomplished this feat in a WWI Vickers-Vimy bomber, making the prizewinning flight from Newfoundland to in a little more than 16 hours.
Courtesy of www.blog.speculist.com

They weren’t alone.  According to thestraightdope.com, “Major George Herbert Scott of the RAF and the crew of the British dirigible R.34 in July 1919 flew from East Fortune, Scotland, to Mineola, Long Island, New York, a distance of almost 3,000 miles, in about four and a half days. Also on board were a stowaway (William Ballantyne), a stowaway cat (Whoopsie or Wopsie) and two homing pigeons. The R.34 made the return flight to Pulham, England, a few days later, marking the first round trip transatlantic flight.”

While 10,000 Pounds Sterling or $25,000 American sounds like a paltry amount today, as well as a flight from Europe to the US or vice versa, when taken into context both the prizes offered and the lofty goals put forth were staggering for their time.  It also goes to show that cash prizes are an incredible way to galvanize the creative spirit and spur competition.

Other Prizes That Were Newsworthy

While the Ansari XPrize was the most newsworthy, it was not the only competition to bear that moniker.  In 2007, Progressive Insurance through its hat into the ring announcing the Automotive XPrize whose goal was to design, build and race vehicles that could achieve 100 MPG that were capable of being mass produced.  On September 16, 2010 three winning teams were announced:
  1. Team Edison2 won the $5 million mainstream competition with its 4-passenger Very Light Car that achieved 102.5 MPG.
  2. Team Li-Ion Motors won the $2.5 million Alternative competition with their Wave-II electric vehicle that achieved 187 MPG.
  3. Team x-Tracer Switzerland won the $2.5 million Alternative Tandem competition with an electric motorcycle that clocked in at 205.3 MPG
Courtesy of www.theautochannel.com

On July 29, 2010, the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE was introduced that offered a $1 million prize that inspired a new generation of innovative solutions that will speed the pace of cleaning up seawater surface oil resulting from spillage from ocean platforms, tankers, and other sources. The team of Elastec/American Marine won the challenge by developing a device that skims oil off of water three times faster than previously existing technology.

A Clear Cut Case of Lunacy

This brings us to the Google Lunar XPrize introduced in September 2007.  The goal of the prize is for teams to launch, land and operate a rover on the lunar surface.  Offering $20 million to the first team that successfully roves more than 500 meters and transmits back high definition video, the competition also offers a $5 million second prize as well as millions in bonuses by being the first to achieve specific goals.
Courtesy of Wired.com

According to Wikipedia, “As of June 2014, 18 GLXP teams remain in the competition, and five of those are thought to be making good progress. However, none of the GLXP teams have announced firm launch dates to attempt the prize. The prize expires at the end of 2016 and launch service providers typically require launch vehicle reservation 24 months prior to the date of the launch.[4] Also in June, one GLXP team is scouting co-competitors to travel with it on a common launch vehicle and lunar transit satellite. Astrobotic announced it would be willing to share a single "ride" to the Moon with up to four competitors. The shared transporter, including a shared Lunar landing, would result in a common start time for a race to achieve the 500 m lunar-surface distance-traveled objective. However, Astrobotic had not yet lined up its own launch arrangements with 18 months left in the competition.[5]

That’s not to say that several teams haven’t made significant progress.  Several teams, including Carnegie Mellon University have already completed rovers. Astrobiotics Griffin Lander is well under way. 
Courtesy of www.astrobotic.com

https://www.astrobotic.com/griffin  Whether any of the teams will be able to snatch the prize before the clocks runs down is anybody’s guess.  But if Lucky Lindy hadn’t risked his life to make the first solo transatlantic crossing by airplane, think of how different the world might be today.

But Wait, There are More XPrizes

If a trip to the Moon isn’t far out enough for you there is yet another XPrize that’s even more
out there.  In 2011 Qualcomm sponsored a Tricorder XPrize with the goal of creating a mobile device that can deliver medical diagnosis, better than or equal to a panel of board certified physicians.  Inspired from the Tricorder device from the series Star Trek, this prize has yet to be won.  I have seen a device at last year’s One Spark that actually measure heart rate, temperature and several other bodily functions, that is actually a little bigger that the “'Star Trek' Tricorder." It works, but it still needs a physician to provide a diagnosis. With $10 million in prizes on the line, all I can say is, “Get cracking, all you Trekkies out there."  No one will need a doctor when you can point, click and read the diagnosis!
Courtesy of http://tricorder.xprize.org/

In this article, I discussed in detail the XPrize race to land, rove and take pictures with  an unmanned rover on the moon. Millions of dollars in prize money are up for grabs as dozens of team via for milestone prizes and the grand prize. And if that’s not far-out enough, I also talk about the Tricorder XPrize, for the first company to develop a working Tricorder a la “Star Trek” fame.
If you would like to read similar articles, check out, "More Star Trek Tech", "A Borg in Every Boardroom - Cyber Augmentation for All"  or “"Birth of the Bionic Man"” or type these phrases in the search box at the top of the blog.

If you like this article, you can find more by typing “Drones or robots” in the search box at the top left of this blog. If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

 Carl Weiss is president of Working the Web to Win, an award-winning digital marketing agency based in Jacksonville, Florida.  You can listen to Carl live every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on BlogTalkRadio.

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Top Five Greatest Garage Gurus

By Carl Weiss
Courtesy of www.access218.com

A number of tech startups from Apple to HP and others got their start in the humble garage. Our own city of Jacksonville Florida, has been the birthplace and host, to one of the worlds first creativity, startup and crowd funding festivals called OneSpark. With all the growth in the tech industries, I can't help but be excited about startups. So in this article I will countdown the top 5 Garage Gurus of all time. We will also look at where the next titans of tech are likely to come from as well as what the garage startup has evolved into now that tech business incubators and cowork space abounds.