iMend.com your Smartphone

If you are unfortunate to either break your smartphone or for it to develop a fault, it can be a tricky business find a reliable repair service. 

I was recently approached to take a look at iMend.com and was impressed to find an easy to navigate website and very transparent repair service. The icing on the cake is that you can either send your smartphone in for repair or they can come to you. 

Check out the video below for more details.

Please note: This is a sponsored video.

Be a doer with Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL

I strongly believe that you should act upon your dreams and wishes today, rather than putting it of until tomorrow. Throughout my many years on YouTube, I have personally received many questions asking for advice. After giving such advice, many have responded that will take action on my advice next week, or next month. Why wait? We only have a limited time on this planet and should take advantage of every opportunity that comes our way and live for the day. 

Microsoft are encouraging just this with their "Be a Doer" campaign … "Doers are the ones who get things done. The ones who act upon their dreams. Doers need a smartphone to help them achieve more. A smartphone with the ability to get things done on the go." 

In the video below we get to see the Microsoft Lumia 640 and 640 XL in action with signature Microsoft services like Office, OneNote, Outlook and Cortana - the tools to help you be a doer. Check it out for yourself and get involved.

Why YouTube is not working for Content Creators

I had that "told you so" moment many many months ago, yet nobody seemed to listen. Now, even big content creators are feeling the pinch.

To give you some context to what I am about to share with you, I have been a content creator on YouTube for almost nine years. Around 2-3 years ago, myself and many fellow content creators saw a shift in the way their channels were promoted. YouTube changed their game and did not communicate this effectively to the thousands of channels that were partners. For want of a better explanation, partners earn revenue from the adverts placed on their videos. Even top performing channels were hit by these changes and only those on their rise to fame seemed to be protected. 

Being what I would term as a "professional content creator" part of my daily, or at least weekly tasks is to keep an eye on my viewing figures. This includes seeing where views are coming from. When this decline in views started to happen, I noticed a shift in how little my channel was being "promoted" by the powers that be. In previous years, I would find myself featured in the "Top Ten Channels" in my particular genre. This was one of the features and promotional activities that had disappeared. Alongside this, YouTube was investing in top channels, injecting cash into their business activities to increase their production value. 

So I had analysed my own channel and moved on to checking how others were doing. I saw the same trend again and again. Reaching out to some content creators, they confirmed the same thing was happening to their views and indeed revenue. It seems the right thing to refrain from naming any of these channels here, as I would not like them to have to deal with any fallout. 

A couple of years ago, I really felt I had to talk to my viewers about the importance of pivoting. How they should change paths, look for new platforms and revenue models. Because I care so much and was aware that many of my viewers were also YouTubers, I wanted to warn them to always be on top of their games. Many of them took absolutely no notice or even argued the fact that I was the only one experiencing a drop in views. It was important for me to take action, so soon after I came across Patreon and launched my own campaign, giving loyal viewers the chance to support what I was doing and trying to achieve.

Patreon is a website/service that allows content creators to gain support from their viewers, readers or listeners. Think of it as a subscription model, whereby the creator offers various perks in exchange for a small monthly contribution. Many viewers rebuffed this model, as they were (and still are) so used to getting their content for free. Only loyal supporters realised that their favourite creators needed support to continue what they are doing.

"I had that 'told you so' moment many many months ago, yet nobody seemed to listen. Now, even big content creators are feeling the pinch." 
Just today, I watched a video from one of my fellow video creators. I was so happy to read the title of the video, but also had another "told you so" moment. Toward the latter part of the video below, Linus starts to talk about the recent changes YouTube have made to their Terms of Service and the need to look at other revenue models. Citing the likes of another revenue generating platform such as Vessel.

Video Credit: LinusTechTips

As a whole, this is a very positive video from Linus, but shows that even channels with over one million subscribers cannot sit on their laurels. They have bills to pay and revenue to generate, to enable them to do what they are passionate about … sharing great content. YouTube either need to sit up and listen. They need to publish clear and concise guidelines. It is also time that they re-evaluated their own business model and offer professional creators on their platform a better deal and more opportunities for stable revenue streams. 

Jon Rettinger, President & Editorial Director of Technobuffalo adds … "This is a very scary time for content creators.  Once reliable streams of revenue are being systematically closed and replaced with a system that is taking chunks out of profits.  TechnoBuffalo is currently partnered with Discovery Communications and is grandfathered into their old Tos, so fortunately, we are not affected.   However big paradigm shifts like this are a primary reason I started the website, as an extra insulatory layer from the changes in the video space.   The best advice I can give is to hedge your bet.  Don’t rely on one single source of revenue.  Diversification, much like in the market is always to your advantage."

Now is the time for change! If you are a viewer, maybe consider supporting your favourite content creators. If you are a content creator, do not get lazy, get creative and research different ways to generate revenue. It would be a shame if we all rely on this "free model" only to find that the only free videos out there are nothing more than a toddler biting a babies finger.

Please do share this article on your social networks. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and leave your comments below.

New Apple MacBook & Apple Watch Opinion

With the recent announcement of the new Apple MacBook alongside updated details of the Apple Watch, I wanted to share my thoughts on these new devices from Apple. I am also very happy to share some thoughts from Will Jones of John Lewis below.

Will Jones, Buyer for Tablets and Computing, at John Lewis, says:
"Apple's latest MacBook provides all the functionality you would imagine but housed in a thinner and lighter body with a higher-resolution display.  A redesigned keyboard, screen and battery enable the impossibly thin and light design, and being available in 3 colour variants means there will be fresh appeal for existing mac users too. The embracing of a USB-C port summarises the balance between design and function, this single socket will power and connect the MacBook. The introduction of a more portable model reflects a wider trend for fast-working, powerful gadgets that are easily transportable yet really pack a punch. Sales of Apple products have risen steadily over the past few years as consumers choose iOS compatible products, aligning with the popularity of the iPhone, and the MacBook category is one which has seen considerable growth with a +22% rise over the past month compared to the same period in 2014."

Bitcoin in the online gambling industry: advantages and issues

When the Internet became global and accessible to everyone some 20+ years ago, it opened the way for the online gambling industry. Years have passed since, and it is clear now that the virtual gaming area in its present form is capable of modifying other industries as well. In many counties, online gambling is the object of intense legal regulation, but the companies seem to be successfully overcoming the state-imposed obstacles to continue with their businesses. Several years ago, the new Bitcoin-based payment solutions based on block-chain technology came into being, and that was the moment when millions of online gamblers all around the world felt their lives were becoming much easier. The Bitcoin system turned out to be not only a great opportunity to make instant P2P-transactions and cut down on operational costs for both players and Bitcoin casino operators, but also brought online gambling to countries and jurisdictions where traditional real-money gambling portals are officially prohibited.

As mentioned above, Bitcoin is known for its apparent advantages over electronic payments and wire transfers in ‘regular’ currencies. The cost of every single transaction for a Bitcoinpayment sender is as minimal as it can possibly be, and that is one of the main reasons virtual casino and betting website owners all over the world are considering the option to switch to Bitcoin and thus solve certain issues they have with real-money payments once and for all. While low commissions may be just one of the benefits enjoyed by the users of the cryptocurrency, they can become one of the likely causes for BTC to start establishing itself in other areas as well, apart from Bitcoin gambling.

Some three years ago, the estimated amount of gross winnings in the virtual gambling entertainment market marked about €22 billion globally. As estimated in late 2014, the industry is expected to grow approximately 9% annually, and these aren’t just some empty words. Specialized software developers and providers of Bitcoin payment solutions and services claim to be getting a steady surge of requests (literally, hundreds of them) from gambling website operators asking to have their businesses converted into Bitcoin-based systems.

BitCasino.io, one of the world’s most popular and innovative Bitcoin casinos, has achieved powerful success in less than two years, and, as their manager Tauri Tiitsaar points out, if you’re a part of the company  involved in the Bitcoin gambling industry  “you need to make sure you are ahead of the pack, that your users are happy and you are making the innovations, not following them. The main challenge with Bitcoin is our continual effort to globally educate as many people as possible to the new digital currency revolution. Our goal, mission and responsibility, as one of the biggest brands in the Bitcoin world, is to help increase the global adoption of Bitcoin”.

What BitCasino.io manager may be hinting at is the possible fear of using the cryptocurrency still common with hundreds of millions of potential users all around the world. However, there also may be other challenges that Bitcoin needs to struggle against, including regulation perplexities in many countries, as well as the prohibition to use bank payments for betting purposes in the United States. Time will tell whether BTC and its lobbyists are strong enough to deal with these issues.

Guest Post - David Barton