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Benefits Of Net Neutrality, Why You Should Care About It

Net neutrality has been an ongoing topic of debate since the earliest days of the internet, but it’s become an even more hotly debated issue in recent years. But what exactly is neutrality, and why should you care about whether or not the internet remains a neutral place or not?

What is It?
First, a net neutrality definition. Neutrality is the idea that each and every user on the internet has equal rights to access and use services from any website on the internet. Your internet service provider, which provides and controls your device’s access to the internet, cannot block or impede the services, applications or websites you use on the web.

It also prevents broadband internet providers from playing favorites—that is, creating “fast lanes” that force content-providing companies like Hulu or Netflix from having to pay additional fees to allow their customers to access their content at full speed. Companies that pay these fees to internet service providers would have preferential treatment and full broadband speeds while companies who don’t pay the fees would have their customers’ internet speeds limited, making streaming content much slower as a penalty.

What Would Happen if Net Neutrality Disappeared?

If neutrality were to disappear completely, the internet would be the wild west—companies like Comcast could decide to block websites like Netflix altogether unless Netflix paid licensing fees to Comcast. What this means, in a nutshell, is that your internet service provider would be able to block or hinder you (through slower speeds) from accessing any website on the internet, even lawful websites, simply because those sites have not paid up.

This “pay to play” system is a toxic one, and would irreparably damage the freedom of information that the internet currently provides.

Why Should you Care About Net Neutrality?

Here are a few reasons why you should care about net neutrality:

  • It doesn’t matter whether you use a tablet, a cell phone, a laptop or computer to access the internet—if you use the web, web neutrality will impact you, and in a big way.
  • If broadband providers have their way, they will be able to demand a “toll” from websites that you access every day. Let’s use Netflix as an example. If YouTube is forced to pay a toll to Verizon, Comcast, and other broadband providers, YouTube will then have to raise its subscription rates and increase advertisements, and the additional cost will be passed onto you.
  • These broadband companies will get monthly fees from you, and in addition, they will then charge fees to websites on the other end. Basically, they’re double-dipping, and the one who loses is ultimately you, the internet user.
  • I’ve mentioned large companies like Netflix and Hulu and YouTube, but what about smaller websites? If your favorite blog or website is forced to pay fees to Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and other ISPs, you will begin to see these sites disappear for lack of funds. They will be, essentially, priced out of the market. Keeping these sites around is one of the major benefits of net neutrality.
  • Freedom of speech may come under fire. What if I had a blog and said: “I hate AT&T and Comcast, they are terrible companies.” There would be nothing to stop those companies from blacklisting my blog and preventing their customers from accessing it, and I would have no recourse. The internet becomes North Korea, essentially, where freedom no longer exists and is replaced with a group of corporate dictatorships.
  • Without net neutrality, prepare yourself for a world in which Google searches bring up a list of websites that you may or may not be able to access, depending on your broadband provider. Click on the top search result and you’ll see “this website blocked by Comcast” because they haven’t paid Comcast’s fee. Doesn’t seem appealing, does it?

The reason web neutrality is under fire in the first place? It isn’t so much about censorship as it is about money. For years, customers had to pay for channels they did not want, allowing television stations to provide garbage to its customers.

Now, with people “cutting the cord” and abandoning cable television in droves, these companies are hemorrhaging subscribers—the old business model is broken, and they’re looking to pick up the slack through the elimination of neutrality.

There are pros and cons of net neutrality, but if you use the internet on any device, you should take a great interest in net neutrality.

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Top 5 Free Image Hosting Sites for Your Business

If you are a business owner who does some or all of your business online, chances are you will need an image hosting service at one time or another. In order to better help you upload, manage, or share your photos, we’ve compiled a list of the top five free image hosting sites for your business.

For your convenience, we’ve broken down the individual perks of each site in order to help decide which service will work best for your individualized business needs.

1. Dropbox

Dropbox in one of the most popular choices for online image management. You can access the traditional site or manage your images through their app, Carousel. Dropbox offers cloud storage, which means your images are stored on the host’s servers and are available online, freeing up major hard drive space for you or your business. If you do need offline access to your shared photos, don’t fret. Dropbox offers an option to select offline viewing on individualized photos.

Another convenient component of Dropbox is the way photos are stored and organized. You can sort through your images by date or by the person whom you shared the image with. Dropbox also helps to speed up the sharing process by offering the option to share multiple images at once.

The service is free up for up to 2 GB of photo storage; depending on the quality and size of the photo, you could probably upload around 500 photos for free. Should you desire more space, you can upgrade your membership for a small monthly fee. There are various account options, such as a business account for an individual and a business account for teams of 5 or more users. You have the option to try own of the paid programs for free for 30 days.

2. Google Photos

Google Photos is one of our favorite free sharing options. For google account holders, this choice is no brainer because you are able to link it to your Google account, making it extra easy to share images from your Gmail account if necessary. Better yet, it offers automatic uploads from all of your devices.

If you are looking to get organized, Google Photos offers the ability to search by people, places, and things. You can also go ahead and search by whatever you might remember about the photo, and chances are it will turn up. If you opt for Google, you can also consider yourself having gained a free editing service. Google Photos offers the option to crop, add a filter, or even adjust the basic qualities of your photos.

What’s more, make collages, slideshows, and share away!

3. TinyPic

TinyPic is a lesser popular image sharing option, but we believe that it has a lot to offer. For one, we love the basic site framework. When you launch their web page you are automatically provided with an upload screen. You have the option to upload both images and videos which will then be stored on the TinyPic server.

You also have the option to join TinyPic for free. This allows you to edit your photos, create albums, and tag your images as desired. The uploader offers the option to upload single or multi photos. You also have the option set your account to a variety of levels of privacy and set a personal profile image.

We recommend this site for someone looking for a no-frills upload experience.

4. Img Safe

Img Safe is another no-frills image uploader that isn’t getting its due spotlight. This option provides users with a variety of convenient options for your business needs. For example, uploads can come in a variety of file formats, including JPG, GIF and PNG images up to 20MB each. Users can upload images from the internet or they may download their own images. The images are then saved on the Img Safe server until you choose to remove them.

Users can register their own account. The process to do so is extremely simple. We recommend this option to someone who is looking to quickly upload images and save time doing it.

5. Img Up

Img Up offers users a free upload and sharing service that allow you to quickly upload images and share them with your personal contacts or use them on a variety of web pages. Img Up is completely free and is currently funded in whole by advertisements. JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP or PSD image files are available to upload. While the site itself is rudimentary, they offer more file options that many more popular image sharing web pages. The maximum file size for an image is 8192 KB per image, so we don’t you’ll have to worry about resizing your photos to comply with Img Up.

We highly recommend you try out this relatively new site. However, be sure to register for a free account. Because the site is free and has limited users at this time, registering will assure that none of your photos will be deleted to free up server space. Furthermore, registration allows you to save images for better organization and create albums. While many business owners believe photo hosting sites are only utilized by photographers and graphic artists, this is not the case.
If your business does not yet utilize an image hosting service, we recommend you give it a try. There are many photo hosting services available for free or a low monthly payment. These picture hosting sites will assist your business in streamlining your images for use amongst employees or to share with clients. While many business owners believe that picture hosting is only for photographers and professional graphic artists, this is not the case. In fact, by localizing your photos you can help your employees to better manage their time and offer clients a convenient service that will make your business more desirable.

Check out one of our top five photo hosting sites for businesses and see for yourself without ever spending a dime!

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What is a pop3 account

In the email world, the pop3 account is kind of the lowest form of email. Unlike it’s fancier brother Exchange, a pop3 account is very limited in what it can do.

When on your PC and you open the windows Mail client, it makes a connection to your mailserver and downloads emails to your PC. The process then ends there.

The problem clients run into, they also want to check email on their phone or tablet. If you are using a pop3 account, then that will be a problem.

If you download your latest messages to you PC. If you do the same on your phone, there will be NO messages. If you send an email on your phone, it wont appear in you sent folder on the PC.

We recommend if you are using a PC as your main business hub. That main PC will be the ONLY place you check email. If something happens to your PC and it dies, then those emails will be gone.

In Exchange Online, you don’t run into any of these issues. We explain the differences between a pop3 account and Exchange online in a later blog post.

If you are a one or two person small business and looking to save a bit of money. Then it is OK to use a pop3 account. However as your business grows and demands on you go outside and need mobility are your part. Exchange online would be your next step up.

If you are interested in using pop3 for your business please contact us and we can get you started. Feel free to drop a comment below to ask any questions.

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What is Exchange Email

When we tell clients we offer Microsoft Office 365 Exchange online services. The first response we usually get is… What is that?

I will explain it like this. If you have ever worked for a large organization that uses Outlook for their email. Most likely, the program running their email is Microsoft Exchange Server. Microsoft Exchange Server has been around since 1996. Pretty much any business used it, that is until players like Rackspace and Google came on board.

The Benefits of Microsoft Exchange are EMail, Calendar, Tasks and Contacts is synced across any device. So whether you check your email on a phone, tablet, PC or web browser. Your email is there where you can view it, when you need it. This is basically the main benefit over using a pop3 account. In this blog post I explain http://www.cm3solutions.com/what-is-a-pop3-account/

We always recommend to our clients or any business to use Exchange over pop3.

If you are interested in using Exchange online for your business please contact us and we can get you started. Feel free to drop a comment below to ask any questions. Let us what you think of Microsoft Office 365 Exchange online or any other online email services.

Add Email Signature To Office 365 Outlook

Office 365 can seem confusing at times. Lots of options you can choose from and configure. Finding what you need, like how to add an email signature, probably can be an issue.

Lets cover one of the main issues our clients run into. How do I set up my signature?

After you login, click the gear icon on the upper right corner
Office 365 Gear Icon

Below that, you want to click on My App Settings -> Mail
My App Settings

Finally, on the left side of the screen you will see a bunch of options. Look for Layouts -> Email Signature
Email Signature

You are all set.

Note: Your signature is separate from the email signature in Outlook on the PC. Seems like they would be both stored online but they are not. They are both stored separately. So, if you email from Office 365, it will use the one you just created. If you email through Outlook, it will use the one in Microsoft Outlook on your PC. Due to this issue, make sure you keep your signatures the same.

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