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Month: May 2018

Five Ethical Considerations When Marketing Online

If you would like to build an ethical business, your principles should be implemented in your marketing practices, as well as your structure and sales funnels. It doesn’t matter if you are selling jewelry or information products, you have to play fair; not only to maintain your business reputation, but also to keep your existing customers. Marketing ethics is something that is often neglected by managers and experts, still it has a great impact on companies, performance and profitability. Below you will find five ethical considerations to check before creating your marketing strategy.

1. Marketing to Vulnerable Groups

If you are selling subscriptions to games and music downloads, it is important that you protect people who have disabilities, who are disadvantaged, or have limited decision-making skills. You will need to make sure that you are not allowing gambling addicts to get their hands on software that can make them lose money. Likewise, having an effective age verification process on your website can protect children and their families.

2. Easy Cancellations

When you are selling physical or information products on subscription, it is important that you communicate clearly how the customer can cancel their account and get a refund. The age when many supplement distributors got away with automatic billing just because the cancellation was hard is over. Now people will check the terms and conditions and want reassurances that they can change their mind about their purchases. Communicate your terms and conditions clearly on your website, in an easy-to-understand language.

3. Backed Up Claims

Highlighting the positive aspects and benefits of your product is not against the law, and is needed to develop effective marketing campaigns. Use real testimonials to build credibility, instead of using unsupported claims just to make a few extra sales. When there is evidence that your product or service works, create an infographic demonstration or a PowerPoint presentation, and list the sources.

4. Affiliates: Do Your Research

Even if you are not selling your own products or services, you should take ethics seriously. You can find a reliable WordPress landing page builder that will create a marketing message about the product, but don’t just copy what the merchant has to say about their offer. Check the research, talk to real customers, and search for reviews on rating sites and social media. Be aware of the recent social media mayhem, too, and critically analyze where the information is coming from.

5. Privacy and Marketing Preferences

Finally, it is important that you respect your visitors enough to ask for permission to market to them. It is always better if you can send out weekly offers and not contact your clients through the phone than getting complaints about your marketing campaigns. Always use double opt in when asking people to sign up, and keep on updating your database, keeping personal information secure.

No matter what you are selling online, you should implement your ethical principles in your web marketing campaign to maintain your reputation and standards, keep your customers happy, and avoid complaints.

Staying Safe Online

One of the most underrated dangers out there in the world, is the internet. There are so many things and people that are lurking in the shadows, and what makes them different, is that they are able to hide behind a screen, and so they fear a lot less because their identity is usually hidden and they remain anonymous. The best thing that you can do is to learn as much as you possibly can about the internet, because essentially the more you know, the less you have to be afraid of, so looking at sites like Devs Journal can really help you to broaden your knowledge.

Here are some of the best tips for ensuring you stay safe.

Report suspicious emails

More often than not, you will receive emails that usually automatically get placed into your spam folder, and when this happens, you most likely never open it anyway. But sometimes, your email doesn’t identify them as being spam, and this is where you may find yourself tricked. People can draft an email that sounds convincing, whether it be on a religious subject, or an illness, or charity, or all three – they tend to write things that pull on your heartstrings so that you feel bad for the stranger. As soon as you begin to engage with them – that’s where it starts. They will say whatever they need to in order to allure you in and make you believe you can help and make things better. It then only takes a few bits of information to drain out your bank account. So if you get an email from an unknown source – delete it.

Never overshare

Social media is what most people are on nowadays, and it is used to share information, pictures, and videos with their friends, family, and random followers. The problem here, is that so many people tend to overshare the information that they put out, which means bad people can quite easily use that info to steal your identity. They know your birthday, your hometown, where you currently live, and what job you have. Not only can this lead to a ton of financial issues, but you can also put your life in danger too. For example, when uploading a photo to social media, you may decide to tag where you are. If someone has taken a particular liking to you, you may be being stalked without even knowing.

Cover your webcam

A lot of people think this sounds extreme, but if you have a webcam built into your laptop or computer – when not in use, cover it with a bit of tape. This is because there are hackers out there who are able to hack into your system and watch you through your webcam. This is not only disturbing, but it can be very harmful to you as they may use images that they threaten you with unless you give them something they want, like money. Not only that, but as soon as someone has hacked into your device, they can control whatever files and documents that are on it. Be it bank statements, addresses, logins and passwords.

Is Complete Privacy Really Such An Obvious Answer For The Facebook Scandal?

It’s been a hard year for Facebook. The social media giant has come under continual barrages for sharing information with third parties, and even monitoring unknowing users. Founder Mark Zuckerberg went to trial over the Cambridge Analytica scandal and  is currently on a European ‘apology’ tour, which is fast getting out of hand. Head to articles like this one on to see just how wrong things are going for him. It’d be fair to say the guy is NOT having a good year.

It should come as no surprise that many are turning away from social media. Of course, there have always been concerns over security here. But, this social media mayhem has revealed that breaches and broken trust are much worse than we could have imagined. The Cambridge Analytica scandal has shown that even our political standings have been compromised. And, that’s far from the only accusation Facebook has had to deal with. In fact, the attention brought by this case has only revealed more and more worrying behavior from our favorite social platform.

Even those who have decided to keep accounts active are crying for change. Reasonably, we want private access to our information, even if we do keep using social media. After all, why should the two be exclusive? Have we not the right to connect with the world and retain our privacy?

Seemingly not in 2018, though the high profile of the case can only help work towards that goal. But, to say this is a clear-cut issue would be to simplify things. While no one can deny the WAY information has been shared is wrong, complete privacy may not be all it’s cracked up to be. After all, have we not all cried out in the past for harmful posts and such to be monitored and removed?

Occasionally, a shocking post comes to the fore, with most claiming it should have never been allowed. And, while the ways in which police can use Facebook are currently muddy, many claim statuses which contain racial slurs or violent threats should be brought to justice. In fact, police have come under fire for failing to act on seemingly threatening online posts.

So, where do we draw the line with shared information? If, for instance, Facebook gives users complete privacy, police would be unable to take action without facing accusations of false arrest. You can find out more from about what that would mean. In short, though, it’d make convictions harder to come by, as arrests social media wouldn’t stand up in court.

It seems, then, that we have to compromise somewhere. And, Facebook undeniably does, too. Perhaps we need to consider the nature of information shared. For instance, personal details passed on to companies are an obvious dud point. But, perhaps worrying posts which reveal criminal activity should be left in the public domain. One thing’s sure; matters of privacy online need to change if we’re ever to gain our faith back in this Facebook age.

Using IFTTT to connect Reddit to Discord

I spent far too long this morning trying to get posts from a particular subreddit to show up in a particular channel on a Discord server I belong to. There was a lot of bad and wrong information out there on how to do this, and finding the correct way took me down many incorrect pathways.

The goal here is to set up the workflow like this:

Reddit post in /r/yoursubreddit > IFTTT applet > Discord webhook > posted to your Discord channel

Essentially, the Discord webhook is a very simple Discord bot that is fed content by IFTTT when someone posts to the subreddit of interest. The webhook takes that content and feeds it to the channel you desire.

For the record, this is the way to do it.


  • A sufficient user role to edit the channel settings on Discord of the channel you want to post your Reddit content to.
  • Webhooks capability enabled for your Discord user role *and* for the channel you want to use. See here for more info on how to enable Webhooks.
  • An If This Then That (IFTTT) account.
  • Optional: an image/icon for the webhook. This will show up for the account that will be posting the Reddit post to your Discord channel. I used this one.

The Setup

Let me preface this by saying that these instructions were created using the desktop version of Discord and a desktop web browser. It may be a little more tricky on mobile, and what you see may be a little different, but perhaps not.

Create a webhook for your Discord Channel.

1. Go to the Discord channel you want to use and click the gear icon to Edit Channel:




2. Click Webhooks in the left-side menu, then click the blue Create Webhook button on the right.

3. Give your webhook bot a name such as “Reddit post bot” and select the channel you are having it post to.

4. This is where you can optionally upload an icon for this bot. This will show up as the user icon when this bot posts to Discord.

5. Copy the Webhook URL, or keep it handy, so that you can paste it elsewhere in a few steps.

6. Click Save.

Create an IFTTT recipe

8. Open your IFTTT account, go to My Applets, then click New Applet.

9. Click the blue “+this” to add the first action.

10. Use “Search services” to search for Reddit, and choose the “Any new post in subreddit” trigger

11. For the “Subreddit” field, enter the subreddit you want to use without the “/r/” in front of it. For example:

12. Click Create Trigger.

13. Now you should see something like the following:



Click the “+that” link.

14. This time, under “Search services,” search for “webhooks.” Select the result and click “Make a web request.”

15. Now you can paste the Webhook URL you created in Step 5 above into the URL field here.

16. For “Method” choose POST and for Application Type choose “application/json”

17. Here’s the crucial part. Under “Body” copy and paste this entire line of json code exactly as-is EXCEPT, change YOUR BOT’S NAME to the name you want to give this bot (such as “Reddit Feed Bot” or “Fred”):

{ "username":"YOUR BOT'S NAME", "content":"I have received a new post!", "embeds":[{ "title" : "{{PostURL}}", "author": { "name": "'{{Title}}' by {{Author}}" }, "description" : "{{PostedAt}}", "url" : "{{PostURL}}" }] }

Optionally, you can change the “I have received a new post!” text to anything you want to show up any time there is a new post to Discord from this bot. Leave all the rest of the code as-is.

18. Click Save.

That’s it! Any new posts in the subreddit you chose should now show up in the Discord channel you chose. Keep in mind that it isn’t instant. It usually take about 15 to 30 minutes for new posts to show up for me, for whatever reason. If anyone knows how to speed that up, please feel free to post the solution in the comments section below.


Ghostery’s GDPR Privacy Fail

I guess, somewhere along the way, I had registered an account with Ghostery when I was using their privacy plugin.

Today, I got a GDPR update notification from them, along with a ton of other users. The thing is, they failed to use the BCC field when they sent the email, so everyone’s names and email addresses were exposed to everyone else.

I suppose they better practice their GDPR habits a bit harder.


The Balancing Act Of Computational Data

Over the last few decades, since the advent of personal computing in the home, the devices most commonly used in the modern world have slipped into somewhat of a rut in recent times. The workloads these machines deal with rarely change, and this has given engineers the power to tailor them to specific jobs. Your computer, smartphone, and other digital tools are great for opening emails and browsing the web. When it comes to tasks with greater complexity or needs which are more specific, though, even the most powerful of workstations will quickly begin to falter.

There is a widespread misconception when it comes to the way that computers operate. Raising clock speeds, pushing higher voltages, and adding new parts isn’t a sure way to improve performance, even if it will improve benchmarking results. Instead, to give a machine a fighting chance with the most demanding workloads, engineers have to start with the data being processed on their route to building a system which can deal with it.

A great real-world example of this sort of problem can be found when you look into the recent history of cryptocurrency mining. Originally, a lot of miners started in this field using regular off-the-shelf parts, all of which can be found in normal computers. These machines were never built for such demanding and complex workloads, though, forcing those using them to look towards hardware acceleration in the form of graphics cards.

Unlike a normal CPU which is designed to handle a very diverse range of tasks, a GPU excels when it comes to bulk computation, having been designed to handle quickly refreshing data to be displayed on a monitor. This approach was so popular for a time that is has caused a worldwide shortage of components like this. Still, though, they aren’t quite good enough at mining to compete with the strongest of machines. ASICs, or application-specific integrated circuits, are machines which have been developed for a single task. Loads of examples have hit the scene in the world of mining, but this approach only works when there is high demand.

What about workloads which don’t have a huge customer base? Medical research, low-latency packet processing, and high-frequency trading are all examples of fields which can’t rely on convention computers or servers to get the job done. Instead, the users themselves have to find ways to power their work. Of course, though, most organizations don’t have the resources to start the process of research and development for tools like this.

Instead, this is where options like FPGA boards come in handy. They come in loads of shapes and sizes, but will share two common attributes; modularity and freedom. Unlike a conventional machine, FPGA boards consist of an array of logic blocks, all of which can be individually programmed to perform their own tasks. As possibly their biggest selling point, though, they are never restricted to one job. Their range of applications is vast, giving engineers the power to solve problems and adapt their resources with small changes to the code, rather than having to invest in systems which cost a small fortune for each job.

With modern computers being great at handling a diverse range of jobs, it can be very easy to assume that there isn’t a need for some systems to be a little more specific. In reality, though, striking the balance between processing power and the data you have to work with is a much bigger challenge when it is brought to a commercial scale. Some computers are a jack of all trades, while others excel in a single field.