Entries Tagged 'Advertisements' ↓

Advertisement: IP Commerce’s Commerce Toolkit for Applications

IP Commerce provides an “open commerce network” that supports several types of payment transactions: credit card, debit card, stored value cards (gift/loyalty cards), and eCheck/ACH. It took me a while to figure it out, but when they say “open network” they mean a network that any payment service provider can hook into to provide services using a single API. This is pretty cool, since it abstracts out the payment provider APIs and allows you to use multiple payment providers, or switch between them with ease. This is a far cry from building one-off integrations, which most of us have done only to have to re-write them when we switch providers.

In my opinion, this network isn’t for small websites looking to process credit card transactions. If you are a small ecommerce site, connect directly to PayPal or Authorize.NET and be done with it. It’s not terribly complicated and re-writing the 50 lines of integration code is not going to kill you if you have to switch later on (or better yet, buy .netCharge, which abstracts the providers out using code instead of a network).

However, the major value here is for anything larger than a single website processing credit card transactions. If you’re building POS software, or you want to support eChecks, gift cards, and credit and debit cards, then you should take a look at this.

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Advertisement: AlertBoot Full Disk Encryption Software

This is a fantastic idea.

I’ve heard of full disk encryption before – when I worked for a credit card company all of our database servers had full disk encryption and it was very expensive and required a massive deployment effort by our IT staff. But Data Guard Systems’ AlertBoot is a managed service that’s trying to bring this enterprise idea to the masses. At least, those technically savvy masses who care to protect the information they carry on their laptops and PCs.

Targeted at IT departments and marketed at $12.95/month I think this product has a real chance of success – having worked in the financial sector for 3 years this would have been a no-brainer option for securing the laptops we all carted home. We were never supposed to have critical information on our laptops, but I’m sure it happened more often than it should.

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Advertisement: DreamInCode.net Programming and Web Development Forums

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DreamInCode.net is all about developer forums. I had not heard of the site before being asked to write this review and assumed it had recently launched, but it’s over 6 years old and contains a huge amount of technical information.

The site has over 25,000 forum topics and nearly 190,000 replies. The focus is enterprise programming and web development, but they have sections for game development, harware & mods, operating systems, audio & video, networking and games. Hey, all coding and no games makes Billy Joe Coder a dull developer.

And, of course, you can subscribe to everything via RSS – a single forum, new code snippets, unanswered programming topics, etc…

What caught my attention immediately (in fact, the first thing I clicked on from the home page) are their programming reference sheets. Someone at DIC is thinking; offering these guides for free and placing a prominent DIC logo at the top makes them a fabulous viral marketing tool. My only disappointment is the lack of variety: they have VB6, C++, Java and ColdFusion reference sheets at the moment – hopefully they will create some more modern guides in the future.

Finally, the tutorials section is pretty cool. I receive a couple emails a month asking where someone should go to learn about programming and would like to refer people to a site like this (for non-.NET languages, since they don’t have any .NET tutorials).

My complaints? It’s kind of a nit, but the pages load times are bad (at least a few seconds each). The slow page loads make the site seem sluggish, and with as much content as they have it’s hard to navigate around as quickly as I would like. My other complaint is the lack of .NET-related content, but I imagine that www.asp.net has a bit of an advantage with .NET-related web programming forums.

Advertisement: RegOnline Online Event Registration Service

My most recent request from ReviewMe is a service called RegOnline, that provides hosted event registration for a per-registrant fee. Judging by my limited research, it looks like this niche is packed with companies vying to manage your event registrations. Services range from soup to nuts management of registrations, lodging, travel, and vendors, to the more streamlined services like RegOnline, that cater to a few steps in that process: accepting a registrant’s information and money, printing name badges, and tracking lodging. There are some additional features, of course, but these appear to be their bread and butter.

What do I like about RegOnline?
I like that their website is simple, and they make it dead easy to learn about their service without a lot of marketing verbiage. Their home page tells me what they do, and includes a link to their pricing. I can’t tell you how much I love seeing their pricing prominently displayed. Several of their competitors don’t have pricing at all on their site, and you have to fill out a form and talk to a sales person to get a quote. Yuck. I should be able to sign up for a free account and find out how much it costs at 3 am on a Sunday morning

What do I dislike about RegOnline?
I found their credit card processing capabilities a little confusing. Their pricing page indicates you either need an existing merchant account, in which case you have to pay a $500 setup fee, or you need to set up a merchant account (they do have a recommended vendor). From my perspective, one of the huge advantages of using an online service is that I wouldn’t have to set up a merchant account. However, when I emailed RegOnline about this, they indicated they do offer a payment processing service for a percentage fee. That service would be a make or break deal for a small-time player like myself, and I think it would benefit them to make its existence more prominent.

One other thing I disliked is that they ask for quite a bit of information to set up an account. When I’m trying three or four similar service, a simple sign-up form can make the decision of whether or not I give it a try.

Wrap-Up
Let’s be honest – if the question is developing a custom system or outsourcing your event registration, you’d better be running a ton of volume not use a service like RegOnline. With the cost of building a similar service easily in the five-figures, you’d need a heck of a lot of attendees to make back the cost of a custom application.

Los Angeles Job Openings for Entrepreneurial Developers

I’ve been talking with a company located near LAX that meets almost all of Rob’s Criteria for Keeping Your Developers Happy.

As you might expect, they are experiencing quite a bit of success and are expanding like crazy. In fact, they’re looking for four .NET developers from entry- to Mid-level. The key is that you need to have a powerful entrepreneurial drive.

They are a consulting firm that helps companies or individuals get their software product online. This space is booming as people scramble towards the software as a service model. They also cater to entrepreneurs and startups.

The development environment rocks: it’s all new technology (ASP.NET 2.0, SQL 2005, AJAX), small teams (2-3 person teams), short projects (3-6 months), virtually no legacy development, and the pay is good and includes full benefits. Although they’re a consulting firm they don’t have travel requirements. Profit sharing is available.

Bottom line: if the idea of cranking out web applications for entrepreneurs sounds like a dream job, you have at least some .NET experience and you have that killer entrepreneurial drive, drop me a line at jobs@thenumagroup.com. Include your resume and a cover letter and “LAX” in the subject.

Advertisement: OnTime 2007 Bug Tracking Software

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OnTime 2007 is a bug tracker, issue tracker, task tracker, and help desk ticket tracker that relies heavily on AJAX. OnTime 2007 is currently in beta, and you can get 3 months of their hosted solution free by signing up here. There’s a video that runs through the AJAX front-end and shows how the new web version responds more like a Windows app. I would like to see a video that steps through the major functionality of the application, as video demos are huge in helping people get a high-level understanding of an application.

One thing I like about OnTime is that their previous version, OnTime 2006, comes with a VS.NET client so you can access it without leaving your IDE (assuming you’re a .NET developer). I’ve seen this attempted before, but it looks like the OnTime guys have pulled it off pretty well. I hope they’re thinking of doing the same for the 2007 version, because this is a major selling point for the .NET shops I work with.

OnTime offers a hosted solution, or you can host it in-house. They also include a feature list & comparison with their competitors (including FogBugz).

OnTime offer the product free for single-users, and are currently offering teams limited beta accounts with 3 months of free hosting service. Pricing starts at $495 for 5 users.

Advertisement: ReviewMe.com Pays Bloggers Per Post

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ReviewMe.com has just opened its doors and I wanted to give it a test drive.

ReviewMe is a service that pays bloggers to post about topics that relate to their audience, and requires that the blogger disclose that the post is an advertisement. As you can see by the title and heading of this post, I will receive payment, from ReviewMe in this case, for this post. In the future I might blog about some software or other technology-related product, but will always prefix the title with the word “Advertisement.”

ReviewMe seems to have done a good job of navigating the fine line between payola (the shady side of paying someone to provide what seems like a genuine endorsement, when it’s really an advertisement – common in the music industry) and allowing bloggers with successful blogs to make decent ad revenue (let’s face it – even with decent traffic you can just about buy a Venti Mocha with AdSense revenue). For comparison, ReviewMe will pay from $20-200 per post depending on a blog’s popularity.

ReviewMe’s selling point to bloggers is that if you have the traffic, the payment is substantial. The selling point to advertisers is that readers ignore or block most ads, but may tune in to posts, even if they are ads. If you’re interested in more info, they’ve put up an information page here.