Gaming Keyboards – Why Are They Confusing?

Firstly, what we need to look at is what do the words “gaming keyboard” actually mean. Well I will tell you that it is exactly what you think it is. It is a keyboard for gaming. Now with most people it stops there because they think that just because it is a gaming keyboard it can only be used for gaming and nothing else. They don’t realise that a gaming keyboard can be used for much more than just gaming. So this article is aimed at giving some advice in regards to choosing the right gaming keyboard for you. I remember my first programmable gaming keyboard (the Logitech G15) and how I struggled with it. The only reason why I wanted it, was because it was the best on the market at the time and I felt for that reason I needed to own one. I had absolutely no idea what to do with it or what I was going to use it for. I did however, almost add another feature to it’s already impressive list of pre-installed features by illustrating just how effective the keyboard can be in a game of cricket or anything involving a bat. It really irritated me because I did not need it for all the functions and because they were there, I felt I had to use them all. I did use them all in the end, but that was only because I advanced my game play and in doing so required more functions out of the keyboard.

So let’s take a look at some of the aspects that we will have to deal with when looking at gaming keyboards.

  • The features installed on a gaming keyboard and what they actually do
  • The terminology used in gaming keyboards
  • What are the best types of gaming keyboards
  • How do we know which is the right type of gaming keyboard for us

Now many people are already gamers, serious or not and know exactly what the features are and what they can do. But there are as many people out there that don’t know what the features are supposed to do and whether the features are in fact what they actually need. So I have put together a list of the features that you will find on gaming keyboards and below I will explain each one of them more clearly.

Here is a list of the features that you will find installed on gaming keyboards. I would like to add, that not every gaming keyboard has all of the features mentioned below installed on them at the same time.

  1. LCD Display screen
  2. Programmable G-keys (for macros and macros on the fly)
  3. Back Lighting
  4. Anti-Ghosting
  5. In game mode switch
  6. Media controls
  7. Detachable Key Pad
  8. High Speed USB Ports
  9. Automatic Profile Switching
  10. Cruise Control

Now as we can see there are many features that you will find installed on a gaming keyboard, but the important thing now is to know what they can do and when to use them. Let’s take a closer look at the features and see how they can be used for gaming but also for outside of gaming.

The LCD Display screen is a screen at the top of the keyboard (typically in the middle) which displays a host of information to you during game play. An example of the information displayed is; vital game statistics, system statistics, VOIP communication data and you can even see what server your friends are playing certain games on, such as World of Warcraft. You can also watch photo slide shows on the screen as well as YouTube videos (this feature is only on the Logitech G19). So there we can see how good the LCD screen is. Outside of gaming you can still see system statistics displayed, but only on the Logitech G19 can you watch videos and photo slide shows.

Programmable G-Keys (or game keys) are keys that can be programmed to execute certain commands. You can program multiple keys to be executed with a single keypress. So in other words, if you have a command which you would like to execute but it has more than one keystroke required then you would program a G-key to perform all those keypresses for you. Now this is vital in game playing, especially in strategy and role-playing games. But programmable keys can also be used in everyday computing. I own the Logitech G19 Gaming Keyboard and I use the programmable key feature to program my passwords and small snippets of text which is normally login information. This is a great feature for those that work with databases or anything where numerous logins are required. It is also good for designers and editors where numerous keypresses are sometimes required.

Back Lighting is a really cool feature. This is standard on all gaming keyboards irrespective of all the other features mentioned above. Basically what this feature does is illuminate the keys from underneath. There are typically three levels of brightness for the back lighting, however all though back lighting is standard on gaming keyboards not all of them have the same colours or as many colours as others do. The Logitech G19 and G510 are gaming keyboards with a host of different colours, whereas others have only three or just one. This is not only good for gaming especially if games are played in low lighted or even dark areas, but also a great asset to changing the style of your workstation. There are people out there that just want a new look for their workstation and backlit keyboards do the trick.

Anti-Ghosting is a feature whereby missed keypresses are in fact actually recorded and not voided. This happens with multiple keypresses albeit not frequently but without anti-ghosting the keypresses won’t be recognized.

In game mode switch is a feature which disables the Windows/Context key during gameplay, so you don’t accidentally get kicked out of your game. Which I am sure has happened to all of us at some point.

Media controls, this feature is great as you can control volume, playback and mute from the keyboard itself. This feature works for headsets that are connected to the keyboard and also for the sound emitting from the computer itself. So there is no need to find the controls on the screen if you want to quickly turn down the volume.

Detachable Key Pad. This is also a really neat feature as you can move the keypad to either the left or the right side, depending which hand you are more comfortable using for operating. Again, this feature is another feature you can use outside of gaming.

High Speed USB Ports are a great advantage as you can Plug and Play with comfort. Also through this feature you can transfer data between devices, such as MP3 Players and Flash Drives and you can do all this while charging your devices that are battery-powered. Another great feature that can be used outside of gaming.

Automatic Profile Switching is a feature that allows you to automatically or manually change the profile you are in or want to be in. With the automatic function, the keyboard detects the application you are running and automatically applies the profile that you previously set for that application. Really cool feature especially if you like to play in different modes (Microsoft Sidewinder X6 had this feature).

The cruise control feature is also a really handy feature to have as it allows you to continue an action without having to hold down all the different keys required to perform the action. You can even use the cruise control function for up to four keypresses (installed on the Microsoft Sidewinder X6)

So as we can see all the features that are installed on a gaming keyboard can also be used for everyday computing, although the obvious design factor was initially for gamers in the first place. Another thing we must look at is the structural design of the keyboard. First thing we will notice is that some of the keyboards are slightly bulkier than a standard keyboard. Now this is to be expected as the keyboard itself houses more keys, requires more space for electrical components and other hardware utilities that are required for game play. But what is also great about the design of gaming keyboards, is that they are designed for ergonomic purposes. This is because gamers spend a lot of time in front of their keyboards and they are more prone to wrist, arm and hand discomfort than users of a standard keyboard. So the idea behind ergonomically designed gaming keyboards is to install some features that will reduce the risk of wrist discomfort overall. These features include; detachable and adjustable wrist wrest, keyboards with zero slope designs, different keyboard feet lengths for effective raising or lowering of keyboards for comfort and also keys that can accommodate softer keypresses.

Now I am not sure how familiar you are with the terminology that is used in the gaming keyboard field, but below is a list words that you will come across with regards to gaming keyboards.

WSAD – This is the four keys that you use to control movement which is typically your W, S, A & D keys.

ANTI-GHOSTING – Typically in a standard keyboard (or dome switch keyboard), the design is in such a way that the keyboard uses columns and rows of wires. Through this design the results that occur can be inaccurate when lots of keys are pressed at once. When this happens the dropped keys become “ghosts”. With keyboards that have anti-ghosting capabilities, they use a small dab of carbon at each switch site to prevent the contact of the keys from shorting the rows or columns of wires. In doing so, this allows the keyboard to decode each key press separately.

MACROS – A macro is a collection of operations and property values that can be applied to an existing visualization or visualizations. So in other words macros are not linked to the objects or visualizations to which they are applied but when they are used, the operations or property settings will be applied to the objects currently selected. This means that property settings can be applied to multiple visualization types, unlike property settings in styles.

OPTICAL – Optical is basically a device used for producing or controlling light. So if you took an optical mouse for example, it would be a mouse that produces light and in doing so uses the light to register it’s movement on your computer.

ULTRA POLLING – Ultra-polling in gaming mice increases the amount of times the firmware on a mouse reports it’s tracking data to the computer to 1ms (1000hz). In doing so, it reduces the interval between each transmission of movement calculations and therefore giving the cursor on the screen a smoother and more precise feel with increased responsiveness.

HYPER RESPONSE – On a hyper response button, there are two stages that go into the development of the button. This is basically to ensure that it can always be actuated no matter where it is pressed and also how quickly is it pressed. So therefore if you don’t completely press down on a button or don’t press hard enough, the button will still actuate and you will not lose response time.

ON-THE-FLY – This is basically just when you doing something in a hurry or to create something quickly when needed.

G-KEYS – These are basically game keys. The keys that you can program with macros.

ERGONOMICS – This is basically a study to see how things interact with the human body. So if you were to take a pen for example; holding it for long periods of time and writing with it could eventually cause discomfort to the hand and wrist. By making the design of the pen more ergonomically, it would allow for long periods of use without causing discomfort. This study is applied to everything that interacts or can interact with the human body

Now the only answer I can give you about which gaming keyboard is the best is simple. It depends entirely on what you want to use the keyboard for. The industry is lead to believe the Logitech G19 Programmable Gaming Keyboard is the best on the market and to a certain degree it is. It has all the features that other keyboards have but more advanced and it is designed with serious gamers in mind, therefore lending itself to being classed as the best gaming keyboard ever. But in my opinion a gaming keyboard, or anything for that matter is only as good as what you need it for. If you don’t need it for a lot of things then don’t buy one that can do everything.

With regards to what gaming keyboard is best for you, well again that depends on what you want out of it. If you are a novice gamer with little experience with programmable keyboards, then it is probably better to take a gaming keyboard with either no programmable keys or a keyboard with a limited number of programmable keys. However in saying that, many of the gaming keyboards have really good instruction manuals and CDs. But again, if you only need a few keys that can be programmed then don’t buy a gaming keyboard with massive amounts of programmable options. So it all boils down to what you need it for. If you take the time to think clearly about what will you want to get from a gaming keyboard and read all the reviews on the different types of gaming keyboards, then your decision won’t be wrong.

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Secrets to an Amazing Role-Playing Game

Role-playing games are a very specialist type of game that really need a far greater attention to detail than other less immersive genres. As the computerized version of the genre took off there were a lot of money hungry companies who decided to storm into the genre without really trying to understand what the vital elements of a role-playing game are. In some cases, these companies have actually had the audacity to buy out smaller companies who did know the genre and they destroyed long-held legacies of great traditional games.

Considering that this may have an impact on the future of computerized role-playing games I have felt it to be of importance to educate these gaming giants in an effort to help them understand the only thing that matters to them. In order to sell role-playing games you need an audience willing to buy the product and if a company consistently puts out dodgy shooters in the guise of apparent role-playing games they’ll only destroy their reputation and go bankrupt. I know that the word bankrupt is a word that these money hungry companies recognises and so I emphasise one point, try to sell dodgy shooters to role-playing fans and you will go bankrupt!

Personally, I have been a role-playing gamer for about thirty years and I fell in love with only two systems that I probably can’t name because of article writing guidelines. What I can say is that very few game producing companies have come even close to the pen and paper versions of the best role-playing games on the market, you know, the ones that people actually enjoy playing. I will say that I rejoiced when role-playing games became computerized as it meant I could do my role-playing without the need to hunt for people with similar tastes and even though some games have risen to become great role-playing games, they are sadly few and far between. On that note, of the styles of role-playing games that include pen and paper, computerized games and online games, there is only one type that can meet the fully immersive needs of a role-player and I’ll reveal why later.

Okay, what are the elements of a great role-playing game then? I’ll give you one at a time but the very most important piece of advice to keep in mind during this whole discussion is immersion. To be a truly great role-playing game, it has to grab the players attention and not deliver diversions that allow the player to slip back into the reality of the real world. The player must be kept in the fictional world if they are to feel that they have experienced a great role-playing game.

One of the most vital elements of immersion is a storyline; a really believable and yet gripping storyline. A role player doesn’t want to load up the newest game and find to their dismay that storyline consists of the flimsy idea that they have to kill heaps of things to get enough experience to kill the apparent bad guy. Who wants to play a game where the bad guy is designated the bad guy without good reason? Have you played a game where you are part of one group of people and you’ve been chosen to defeat the other group of people but there’s no actual evidence that shows why the other group is bad? The worst of these are the recent thug games where one criminal organisation wants to defeat another criminal organisation and you’re the hitman. Who is really that stupid to fall for such a terrible storyline? It’s certainly not for intelligent role-players.

A good storyline can’t be a shallow excuse for a war and it has to be something you’d want to be a part of. The storyline also has to be included in the gameplay itself and delivered in a way that doesn’t interrupt the reality of the gameplay either. There’s nothing worse than a big cut-scene that drops into the middle of the game and makes you sit idle for more than a minute or two. For role-play gamers, the immersion of the game comes from being the character, not from watching the cut-scenes as if you were watching television. What’s next… advertisements?

Another part of a great game play experience is being aware that you have been a part of the fictional world since you were born. This is conveyed by knowing where things are in the world and knowing who the current leaders are, along with knowing current events. This can be done cleverly by feeding snippets of information in a natural manner during conversations with non-player characters. Some extremely vital information can be revealed in otherwise meaningless banter, just like in the world you’re immersed in right now.

One thing that will jolt a role player out of a game is a sudden unwanted conversation with a hastily introduced character who explains where the next local town is and that you have to be careful because there’s a war on or some such thing. This is only done in games where the maps are updated as you discover places of interest. Making a major city that lies not ten miles from your current position something that you have to discover is ridiculous at best and only suits scenarios where you’ve been teleported into a new reality or you’ve lost your memory although the latter should be used sparingly as there are already too many games out there that rely on the character having amnesia. Discovery can be implemented in far more subtle ways by having secret areas within already well-known places and it is this that gives a role-player a sense of discovery.

Another immersion problem is the introduction of a love interest in a game without any participation on your part. You’re playing away, minding your own business and then all of a sudden, one of the infatuated characters that you never knew existed, has an impact on gameplay because of a supposed vital role they play in the group you’re a part of. They should, at the least, allow a bit of flirting in the conversation paths before a love interest is thrust into the mix. For me, someone suddenly having that kind of interest is an immersion breaker because there was nothing at all that prompted a relationship. If there is a love interest possibility in the game, then it needs to be introduced in a believable way and shouldn’t be out of the characters control.

There was one game in which this happened and the involvement of two love interests was the excuse for one of the non-player characters to do worse at being a support while the other became a great support. Sure, the idea was novel but it was also very childish because it assumed that these two love interests were so enamoured with the player that neither could do without him. It was worse than watching Baywatch or Desperate Housewives.

I’m only going to add one more element to the mix because I just wouldn’t reach a conclusion if I allowed myself to point out every requirement of the best role-playing games. As I stated before, the important factor is immersion. A real deal breaker for me is the inability to develop the type of character I want. I’ve encountered this more often than not in games where you have no choice over the skills that you character can develop. Of course, this is the worst scenario and there are many games that allow limited development but there are only a handful of games that allow a real sense of development.

A truly great role-playing game has to allow players to develop in any direction and compensate for this flexibility by incorporating multiple paths through the game. There’s no point in creating a computerized role-playing game if the character does the same thing in every single play through of the game. The most annoying of these issues is a game where you can have a spell wielding character but they develop the exact same spells at exactly the same point in every run of the game. It’s a little more forgivable for warrior types but even in this case there are many games which allow for dozens of different fighting styles.

Now, if I were to continue with this discussion I’d add other topics like the renaming of attributes with no good cause, allowing for more than one quest to be given at a time, real world purchase requirements during the game and other ridiculous practices.

I did promise to show which game type was the best for role-playing games though so, here it is. Non-online computerized games are the only games that allow for full immersion and I’ll explain why.

Unlike table-top games, you aren’t interrupted by the requirement to physically reach out and move pieces which takes you out of the role of the piece itself. Compared to pen and paper games, you aren’t required to look up tables or enter long boring discussions on how rules should be interpreted. Massively multiplayer online role-playing games don’t meet the requirements either and I know some of you will be surprised but when was the last time you were playing a computerized role-playing game and one of the other players had to leave because they had to go to work and they informed you it was a different time in their part of the world.

Computerized role-playing games are the only role-playing game type where the characters stay in the game, you don’t have to suddenly work out if something is allowable by the rules and the user interface stays consistent so that the immersion is most efficient.

In conclusion, the best role-playing games are stand-alone home computer based and don’t involve interaction with other real world people who will throw a spanner in the immersion works. The storyline must be solid and delivered in a natural manner, a deliverable assumption that your character already knows the fictional world, no instant love interests out of nowhere and the ability to develop your character in any direction seamlessly along with plot paths that allow for these developments.

I only hope that the gaming companies pay attention to this and realise that they are making role-playing games for role-players and if they’re not in the market for role-players, then they should call their games by a different genre

 

 

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California Blogger Darren Chaker 

`California Blogger Darren Chaker was put in jail. But his conviction was reversed federal court on First Amendment grounds.“Ms. Leesa Fazal, an investigator with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, was “forced out” of her previous post with the Las Vegas Police Department.”  See Cato Institute article. Supporters included The Cato InstituteACLU of San DiegoElectronic Frontier FoundationFirst Amendment Coalition, and Brechner First Amendment Project at University of Florida.

Darren Chaker was on probation for a white collar crime. The record shows his bankruptcy attorney fraudulently filed a bankruptcy petition without Darren Chaker’s knowledge. The report states in part, “In my opinion Chaker’s attorney did not exercise a reasonable standard of care in filing a Second Bankruptcy Case without Chaker’s consent and signature. Indeed, in my opinion such conduct is fraudulent.”  See expert report, page 7.  Despite the conduct of his bankruptcy attorney, Darren Chaker was found guilty of only a single charge at trial. That conviction is being challenged. After serving a few months in minimum security, Darren Chaker started probation.

The Ninth Circuit, Case. No. 15-50138/No. 15-50193, found, see opinion “Chaker’s blog post, which claimed that former police investigator Leesa Fazal “was forced out of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department,” does not qualify as harassment.” The court continued to state in relevant part, “Thegovernmentalsofailedtoprovethat Chaker’s blogpostsatisfiedtheelementsofdefamation,includingfalsityand actualmalice. SeeN.Y.TimesCo.v.Sullivan,376U.S.254279–80(1964).”

 

The blog about Leesa Fazal was protected speech also in the sense it publicized on a matter of public importance. Specifically, Leesa Fazal had appeared to have been detained by police after being found having brought her gun into a San Diego court room. This videotaped by Darren Chaker, where Leesa Fazal was taken to a back room after being told not to leave. See https://vimeo.com/229474151The issue was that Leesa Fazal was not a peace officer in the State of California and appeared to may have broken the law.  Thus, under Obsidian Fin. Grp. v. Cox, — F.3d –, 2014 WL 185376 (9th Cir. Jan. 17, 2014) where Darren Chaker was entitled to journalistic protection due to publishing material about a matter of public concern.

 

First Amendment law professor Eugene Volkah provided assistance to the attorneys for Darren Chaker. Such speech cannot be restricted simply because it is upsetting or arouses contempt”). Even though the Internet is the newest medium for anonymous, uncomfortable expression touching on political or religious matters, online speech is equally protected under the First Amendment as there is “no basis for qualifying the level of First Amendment scrutiny that should be applied” to online speech. Reno v. Am. Civil Liberties Union, 521 U.S. 844, 870 (1997).

 

The Supreme Court has directly considered factual circumstances where a petitioner was arrested for disorderly conduct after “verbally and negatively” protesting a police officer’s treatment of him, and concluded that “[s]urely, one is not to be punished for nonprovocatively voicing his objection to what he obviously felt was a highly questionable detention by a police officer.” Norwell v. City of Cincinnati, 414 U.S. 14, 16 (1973); Colten v. Kentucky, 407 U.S. 104, 111 (1972) (“Individuals may not be convicted under the [disorderly conduct] statute merely for expressing unpopular or annoying ideas.”)

 

 

6 Reasons Why Shopping Online Is Awesome and Why You Should Do It Now

eCommerce and Online Shopping has now gone a long way; it has changed the way consumers and entrepreneurs do business today. It hasn’t wiped out the idea of shopping in a physical store, but it gave the consumers an alternative means to shop and a bigger market that offers bigger savings. Also, gone are the days when huge risks are at stake when you shop online. Today, online shopping has become one of the most secured transactions done on the internet. That’s why for the most part, there’s a huge advantage that consumers could leverage from by shopping online. In case you haven’t fully embraced the idea of this modern day shopping practice, here’s a list of reason why you should do so now.

Easy Access, Effortless Purchase

The most fundamental reason why many people choose to shop online is because of its convenience. You could easily make a purchase straight from your desk with your smartphone or computer. What’s even better is that you can shop anytime in the day even during night time beyond mall operating hours. Basically, it could save you the time and the effort spent walking into different retail stores just to look for that pair of shoes that your favorite celebrity just wore.

For products that couldn’t be found in local retailers, you could go ahead and expand your search from different stores based on different geography. Shopping online won’t limit your shopping experience according to your location, so the possibilities of finding a good buy are virtually limitless. If you have the money to shop, there’s really no reason for you to not get your hands on that clothes or those pair of shoes that you’ve been eyeing for. Only a bad internet connection can stop you from doing a shopping spree.

Best Deals in Town

One of the reasons why online shopping offers a better deal a lot of times than retailers is because many of these online shops are actually direct manufacturers or suppliers. With online shopping, the chance of dealing directly with these manufacturers is high. Many online stores will you offer you a better deal compared to retailers in your local market, it will also give you access to a wider selection of exclusive products which can be rarely found in offline. Also, for people who love to shop by bulk, manufacturers and suppliers usually offer money saving deals to consumers: the bigger the quantity of your purchase, the cheaper the prices will go. This is ideal for entrepreneurs who source their products directly from manufacturers. Not only is online shopping beneficial for your day to day shopping needs, it can also be a good source of income. Many brick and mortar businesses actually leverage from online shopping.

More Variety

The number of shops you could find and the number of products that you could choose from is massive online. If you’re trendy and you love to shop for the latest style of clothes, online shopping will open the doors to a wide array of fashion-forward closets because you can shop from retailers based in different parts of the world. Apart from that, stocks are more abundant compared to a physical store. Also, ordering before a product is launched has already become common nowadays, giving the consumers the ability to get their hands on the latest gadget or trending clothes once it hits the market.

Easy Price Comparison and Product Analysis

Amazon, eBay, and all other big e-commerce sites make it easy for users to find a product offered by different shops. These online shopping platforms also allow consumers to compare products, prices, and stores, to provide them the ability to come up with better judgment when it comes to choosing different deals offered in their platform. Also, these sites are a platform for consumers to share their experience with a seller or store and a product to forewarn consumers of possible issues or praise and recommend a product and a store. With that, choosing between different stores and products and knowing which to avoid will be a lot easier for consumers.

Discounts are Everywhere!

One of the best things about online shopping is that discounts, vouchers, and coupons can easily be found on the internet and be availed! Many stores offer email notification and newsletters for seasonal and random discounts, while other websites simply offer coupons. Discounts are store initiated and they are usually offered by retailers directly from their shop.

On the other hand, voucher and coupons is a different story. These coupons are mostly featured in mainstream media platforms like magazines and newspaper, but today their availability online has been increasing especially with the rise of aggregate websites that gather coupons from different stores and retailers. This online marketplace for discount vouchers and coupons are called coupon stores. Coupon stores are the best place to find daily deals and promo codes for different products online. These coupons can help you save a good amount of money through discounts and promotions.

There are many popular coupon stores online where you could find daily discounts, promo and coupon. Most coupon stores online feature thousands of active coupons and deals daily. On the average, consumers get to save more or less $25 dollars per order with coupons when they shop at popular stores and retailers online such as JC Penney, Boden, Hotwire, Amazon, and etc with coupons.

Discreet Way to Shop

Last but not the least, the privacy that you get for shopping online is unparalleled. Purchases that you make on the internet are delivered straight to your doorsteps. This is the reason why many sex-related products are highly sold online, due to the fact that consumers prefer to purchase these away from the prying eye of the shoppers in public. The privacy that you get from online shopping is not just limited to those products though, it applies to every transaction that you do.

With so much to gain and nothing to lose, there’s basically no reason why you shouldn’t give online shopping a try. After all, there’s really nothing much to it, all it takes is just a few clicks.

 

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How to Make the Most of Your Outfits’ Shopping Trips?

Whenever I head to the malls, I look at my overflowing wardrobe to remind myself, though usually fruitlessly, that I must exercise restraint. I do the same, when I browse my favorite websites online. The online stores offer irresistible deals, so this personal resolve weakens there considerably. And, when it’s about sales and discounts – whether online or in the real shops – even the constant reminders fail to work.

I am sure that’s the case with most people, these days. After all, who would say no to the wonders of a nice shopping trip! However, what is important is that this ‘happy’ and ‘adrenaline-pumped, relaxed, de-stressed’ feeling remains (and escalates), even after credit/ debit card swipes.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case – always. Once the colorful stuffed bags are in hands, the ‘happy’ feeling fades, getting replaced by guilt or remorse – for many. There have been instances, when I have instantly regretted a purchase. I have seen women cursing themselves for buying something ‘useless’, as they were influenced by a fellow shopper or coaxed by a pushy shop assistant.

Some just cannot say no! Others decide to cancel, or worse, refuse Cash On Delivery orders. Cancellations and refund requests are a routine affair in the online shopping domain, and most ecommerce portals reel under the pressure created by incessant ‘returns’. Many of us just cannot seem to get the most out of our shopping escapades. And, a wrong shopping decision is not just about wasting the money – it’s also a great burden on our time strapped lives.

Well, here we bring you some tips that will help you make the most out of the time, effort and money spent on every shopping trip you take – in the real or the virtual world.

1. Think of Your Vital Expenses – for the month

This is one thing that I have always seen working for my husband, who always mentally cruises through the current expenses list, before he clicks on the ‘Buy’ button. Start with the expenditures that are waiting payment or processing.

Okay, it may sound like a depressing thing to do at the beginning of a, probably, uplifting shopping cruise, but it does make a lot of sense. You will be reminded of the priorities, so you will end up shopping only for the priority stuff.

2. Don’t Go Shopping (even online) – when in a hurry (or just before a meeting)

The feeling of ‘running around’ makes us stressed and anxious. We may not realize, but any frenetic, frenzied run-through is bound to leave you on your nerves.

Purchases made in such a frame of mind are quite unlikely to fit in the ‘great’ category. Also, we tend not to be our resourceful best, in such a state of mind. Plus, hurrying doesn’t let us look for options. Buying whatever we encounter first, irrespective of quality – especially when it’s something essential (at the moment) – is quite likely in a maniac rush.

That is precisely why planning ahead works well. If you have to make some purchases for some event, occasion, wedding or anything – even a gift – do so in advance, as you are unlikely to get something you ‘really admire’ in a hurried shopping trip. For the same reason, I now even avoid buying groceries and veggies in my lunch hour ‘free-time’. Doesn’t really work well, I realized!

3. Don’t Go Shopping – when angry or hungry (or thirsty)!

Cranky is bad, when shopping. If you are hungry, again you will be in a hurry to wind up the shopping, so you can eat (and drink). So, all we talked about in point 2 – applies here too.

Most women decide to go shopping to beat stress or a bad mood, alright. But, ask these ladies, if they love their purchases made on those ‘seriously-need-a-mood-lift’ trips. The majority of answers will put you off doing this in future. Instead, go for a run, or to a park to play with kids, or simply take a stroll with your favorite music in your ears – to uplift sodden spirits. Shopping is best done, when you are in a balanced state of mind!

4. Make a List

As old-fashioned and clichéd as it sounds, preparing lists really helps in prioritizing and cutting out unnecessary buys.

Contrary to the popular belief, making lists ahead of a shopping trip is not restrictive. Instead, it leans a direction and flow to your trip down the mall or street. And, at the end of it all, who is asking you to ‘not’ buy anything apart from what the list lists. Just start with the most important stuff, or something that you actually need, and then go to the peripheries and extras.

It will also reduce your effort too. I recently needed a new Anarkali, which I forgot, as I entered the mall. I shopped for 2 pairs of shoes, which I don’t regret at all. But, on my way back, I realized I ‘really’ needed the dress for my dance class. Since I was already out, I did not go back to level 4 in the mall – to my favorite store. I bought one from a shop near my home, and I rarely wear that suit now. Get the point?

5. Keep a Time-Limit

Okay, I know it sounds quite contra-indicative to points 2 and 3, but ironically it still makes sense. So, you shouldn’t be hurrying while shopping, but you must also know that you don’t have all the time in the world. Your trip or virtual crawling need not be bound by strict time deadlines, making it impossible for you to ‘breathe’. But, you still must set a stipulated time, when you would need to finish you stroll through the mall.

This will help you prioritize and avoid endless comparisons. It will also save time and efforts, as you will not dilly dally! Still not convinced? Try first and tell us later!

6. Visit your Favorite Stores First

Again it’s about prioritizing. When you start your shopping stroll, you are freshest, perkiest and most sorted. Most of us know, what we want and what we need. So, things are clearer. And thus, it makes sense to head to stores that are your favorites, or where you know the fitting, quality, prices etc. are most suitable for you.

So, instead of mindlessly drifting to the spots nearest to parking area or entrance (like my husband does), or getting enamored by biggest discounts and most vibrant hoardings – first head to your trusted labels. Devote the best part of your shopping trip to the places that are sure to fit your personal bill! Everything can come later.

7. Pay by Cash – whenever, wherever you can…

You know how it works. When we count notes to make payments, we better register – how much we have paid. Plastic money doesn’t let it seep in our mind – unless we see those humongous bills.

8. Don’t Go with a ‘Friend’ – who is too haute, too self-immersed, too cranky, too critical, too rich, too careless – basically ‘too’ anything.

We don’t need such influences, when we are trying to make the most of a coveted shopping trip. That’s the reason, shopping online, when at work, surrounded by colleagues with hundreds of divergent opinions doesn’t work well.

Ask for opinions, suggestions, feedback – but not from someone, you know, would always disagree, or has extremely different likes that your own preferences.

9. Dress up well, wear well-fitting lingerie and good shoes

You will, invariably, end up trying your clothes, so you must know how they will actually look on you, when you are ready to ‘go out’. So, don’t make the mistake of going shopping in flip-flops and shabby undergarments, especially with a shopping agenda to buy something special.

Dressing up well also invites good attention from shop assistants, besides giving you confidence to say ‘NO’ when you want to. Look great, feel sprightly and shop right!

 

https://www.smearena.com.ng/

 

shop and sell on the sme arena market place. the mall is now in your palms!

Why We Enjoy Shopping

“If money can’t buy happiness, why does it sometimes feel so good to buy stuff?” asks Kristin Bianco in his personal finance column at Fox News Network. Well, there is an answer for Kristin’s question if you search for it at the right place. That place is consumer psychology. Professor Kit Yarrow, professor of psychology and marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, writing in Psychology Today names the good feeling that Kristin experience when buying stuff “retail therapy”. She says a recent study has found that more than half of Americans admit to engaging in “retail therapy.”

So, when your customers feel down, they go shopping to feel better…

Finding the joy of shopping

According to the emotional view of consumer decision-making, each of us is likely to associate deep feelings or emotions, such as joy, fear, love, hope, sexuality, fantasy and even a little ‘magic’, with certain purchases. Also, scientists have found that shopping does make some people feel good. It’s been reported that when a person shops, the brain releases the chemical dopamine. Dopamine is linked to feelings of satisfaction and pleasure and is released when you face new, exciting experiences. So, what do your customers pay for when they want to have “retail therapy”?

Recent survey results indicate that engagement in retail therapy is often driven by factors such as boredom and seasonal changes. As many as 66% of adults and 75% of teens indicate that shopping is a great cure for boredom, while 45% of adults revealed that the seasonal changes are the biggest motivator to go shopping.

If your customers really want to feel happy, they will go on a ‘shopping spree’. WiseGeek describes a shopping spree as “a playful” and “devil may care” attitude in a single shopping trip where lots of money is spent. A shopping spree is the action you take to start your ‘retail therapy’. But what do your customers say about the joy of shopping?

Customer insights about the joy of shopping

Here are some commentary and comments from customer’s experiences about the joy of shopping.

“I think the clothes I buy will make me happier. The storage bins, the throw pillows, perhaps a bottle of nail polish. And while it’s true for a day, it doesn’t bring me real, lasting happiness. It gives me a bit of a happy high: “I love this new dressssss! How cute and stylish am I!?” but then the excitement wears off and I want to buy something else… ” writes Ashley in her blog “Our Little Apartment”. The comment of Ashley supports the findings of the survey done by Ebates.

Customers, sometimes, are feeling guilty after a shopping spree. Here are some of the comments on Ashley’s blog:

Ashile says: “It is so true that in the moment we think buying some new it will make us happier. But truly, it is only momentary happiness”.

Marta says “We all have wasted money and resources and time on unneeded shopping. You know how I do now? I ask myself “do I REALLY need it?” “Would I come back tomorrow again to buy it?” “Is it likely that I’ll never find such a wonderful cloth again in the world? Ever?” then, I usually realize that I’m not going to buy anything, and I feel sort of liberated.”

Customers are feeling both positive and negative emotions at the same time before, during and after shopping. But what will the customer feels when she visits your shop?

Creating the right environment for joyful shopping

Previous studies have shown that consumers are influenced by their shopping environments which in turn influence consumers’ emotional states and purchases. The negative emotions consumers experience before the shopping process are soon forgotten when consumers immerse themselves in the shopping process and start visiting stores and examining the merchandise.

It is unlikely that a random purchase at any venue will have therapeutically value for people feeling down. Their shopping experience needs to reward them. Emotional customers seeking ‘retail therapy’ should visit your shop to reward themselves. There are some obvious things a retailer needs to do to create lasting shopping experiences for their customers.

  • Keep a wide range and a variety of products;
  • Keep products that are in ‘season’;
  • Make sure that there are always some items on promotion;
  • Try to create an atmosphere in your shop that will make the customers feel happy;
  • Provide the customers with excellent, friendly service and make the transactions hassle free;
  • Allow your customers to see, touch, rub, wear, taste and smell the products;
  • Keep your shop clean and tidy at all times;
  • Make sure that your shop is well well-lit and that there are enough cashiers at the pay points;
  • Play music that put customers in a good mood and give them stylish shopping bags when they check out

Lastly, “What are customers doing when they are feeling bored? They surf the internet and do some online shopping…Concluding

It seems difficult to draw a line between ‘the joy of shopping’ and ‘compulsive buying’. Compulsive buying is described as a ‘addictive disorder’ whilst the joy of shopping is keeping our shops open. The question that we as retailers need to ask is what to do if we recognize some of our customers as compulsive buyers? Do we have a moral duty to warn them about it? Or to suggest help?

Most of us will buy something to feel better when life is treating us badly. A piece of chocolate cake and cappuccino at the local coffee shop may just be the right therapy. Or, if you feel really down, a shopping spree at the upmarket shopping mall may do the trick. Maybe you’ll be feeling better after shopping – however, that may be only for a short time. The challenges of life will probably stay the same and besides, you’ll have less money. This article touch on consumer behavior and specifically buying behavior. Are retailers obliged to suggest help for their customers that shows signs of being a compulsive buyer? Or is it just good for your business?

 

https://www.smearena.com.ng/

 

shop and sell on the sme arena market place. the mall is now in your palms!

Choosing the Right Online Shopping Cart

Are you a website owner or a web designer/developer? If either applies, I would venture to say that eventually you’ll need an online shopping cart for one of your websites. In fact, almost all new websites today need some sort of ecommerce built-in, for the purpose of selling goods and services in the online marketplace.

The greatest challenge is to find the perfect ecommerce shopping cart solution for yourself and/or your client. This task can be very overwhelming, considering, if you type ‘shopping cart’ into Google.com, this search alone returns over 14.4 million hits! Most of us don’t have the time to sift through more than a few pages of a search engine to find what we’re looking for.

For the last 3 months, much of my time has been devoted to researching as much shopping cart technology as I could get my hands on. In general, shopping cart software ranges in price from free to over $2000 for a single license and web hosted carts range from $5 to hundreds of dollars per month. The studied carts cover the spectrum of all web programming languages (ASP, ASP.NET, Cold Fusion, Flash, Java, JavaScript & Perl shopping carts) and provide limitless features as a whole. The problem is that locating YOUR perfect cart with YOUR specific features can be a big task.

But no fear, just follow this guaranteed step-by-step guide to locate it:

The Top 10 Steps to Finding the Best Online Shopping Cart

Cost

How much money do you have to spend on an internet shopping cart? The nice advantage is that there are shopping carts with hundreds of features and they don’t cost you a dime. They are generally open source products. The only problem is that these same “free shopping carts” can take hours of installation time and be fairly difficult to configure. For a monthly fee, web hosting shopping carts are made for users with little programming experience and allows them to have an online storefront presence in no time.

Hosting vs. Software

There are two options in selecting your overall shopping cart solution. Either you get shopping cart software, download it, install it on your web server, then configure the shopping cart OR you get an online storefront (aka a hosted shopping cart) where the configuration is very basic and the required setup time is minimal. If you have some programming skills, I recommend buying a script and installing it on your own. The nice thing is that you pay a one-time fee for shopping cart software and the license is good for a lifetime. It’s approximately the same price to have a hosted solution for a year compared to most one time shopping cart license fees.

Supported Gateways

What do I mean by gateways? Gateways give shopping carts the ability to connect and securely process credit card orders in real-time. Not all shopping carts are created equal. Make sure that your client’s merchant account is supported by the cart you select. I have found that almost all carts support the larger online payment processing companies, such as Authorize.net, PayPal and Verisign.

Shipping Options

Will you be shipping physical products? If so, there are shopping carts that have built-in real-time shipping options through DHL, UPS And USPS. Often times, the cart gives the user the ability to view tracking orders and order status all from within your secure shopping cart web interface. Also, there are shopping carts with options to ship digital goods as well (files, programs, pictures, music and others).

Technical Support

What kind of technical support does your shopping cart offer? If you choose to purchase a script, be sure to also subscribe to the shopping cart creator’s newsletter, so that you can stay on top of future updates to the software. Be aware that technical support is generally available on a pay-per-incident basis, as a yearly fee or in the rare case, free. Be sure to know what kind of customer support guarantee the shopping cart comes with.

Security

Please, only buy a shopping cart if it supports SSL (secure socket layer), with 128-bit encryption. As an online storefront, remember that you are responsible for the safe transfer of sensitive information (credit card and bank account information) that is processed through your store. If any of the sensitive information is accessible (stolen) from your website, you could be liable. Be sure that you’re purchasing a secure shopping cart solution. Ask the creator’s of the shopping cart what they do specifically to protect the secure transfer of sensitive information.

Style Compatibility

Can you customize your shopping cart to look like your website? There needs to be a seamless transition between your website and your shopping storefront or your customers might get hesitant in purchasing your products. There should be similar colors and style layout to look professional and believable.

Extra Features

I just wanted to mention some of the other features that I have discovered, which might be a critical point in determining the shopping cart you want.

Affiliate Program – Offer your own customized affiliate program through your shopping cart software. Quickbooks Integration – Many carts allow direct integration with Quickbooks.

Newsletter & Mailing Letter Managers – The ability to stay in touch with your current customers and keep them returning to your online store.

Custom Taxing Options – Create taxable or tax-free products and have the ability to add various global tax options at checkout.

World Languages & Currencies – Shopping cart language translation and support for world currency might be a necessary feature for your cart.

Error Free

You mean shopping carts can have errors? Of course. A private UK-based web testing firm found the following, after studying a large group of UK online shopping carts for a period of one month (24/7):”The majority of UK web sites are guilty of leaving e-consumers stranded at the checkout empty handed, once they have already spent valuable time browsing and selecting goods to purchase. This is due to erratic functionality within shopping carts, at a critical step in the online purchasing process.”

“E-consumers are prevented from making purchases on UK web sites for 9 hours and 30 minutes a month on average, (115 hours a year).” “80 per cent of web sites perform inconsistently with widely varying response times, timeouts and errors – leaving consumers at best wondering what to do next and at worst unable to complete their purchase successfully. This is potentially costing e-retailers millions in lost sales from consumer frustrations.” ([http://www.scivisum.co.uk/report/ecommerce/])

Be sure to see what other users are saying about a shopping cart that you might be interested in purchasing. Any shopping cart errors could cost you thousands of dollars in sales. Get a stable and secure cart.

 

https://www.smearena.com.ng/

 

shop and sell on the sme arena market place. the mall is now in your palms!