container in the middle with explanation around

What is a Container?

These days, all kinds of technology exists. In fact, there’s so much that it can be hard to tell what’s legitimate and necessary from what isn’t. However, containers definitely fall into the useful category.

What is a container? You can think of it as a way to virtualize your operating system. Using a container, you can run different processes and programs. A good container will have everything you need in order to do so and offers many other benefits as well.

Abstraction

With an application container, your application can be separated from its environment. This simple fact offers many benefits. The main one is that you can work on upgrading dependencies, clearing up problems, and improving your application without letting other application specifics, like which version of software you’re using, get in the way.

Efficiency

Containerization also makes sense for many purposes because of how efficient it is. Without a separate operating system involved, containers don’t take up much room or tax a system much at all. In fact, they’re usually small enough in size that you can run several of them on one server at the same time.

Versatility

As if the above containers benefits weren’t enough, you’ll also find that containers are incredibly versatile. They can run anywhere and across different systems. Run them on Linux, Windows, or anything in between. Or, choose to run them on a public cloud. The choice is yours, which provides you with a lot of freedom and enables you to work in a way that works for you.

Learn More Today

As you can see, containers are a smart solution in many situations. But, if you’ve never used one before, you may be a bit confused about how they work or how to make the best use of them. Don’t worry, though. Look to the Right is here to help you understand containers and optimize their use in a way that benefits your business. To learn more, we invite you to contact us.

 

JPEG HAS RUN ITS COURSE

Why JPEG Has Run Its Course

Codecs are compression technologies that are used with all kinds of digital media. However, when it comes to images, one codec, the JPEG, has been considered the “leader” for quite some time. And, to be honest, in many ways, that time is (or should be) over.

While this familiar codec has certainly served its purpose well for a great many years, it’s starting to show its age. It lacks alpha transparency support, still clings to an 8-bit limit, and is easily surpassed by newer codecs, such as:

  • JPEG 2000
  • JPEG Excel
  • WebP
  • WebP2
  • HEIC
  • AVIF

If you’re still not sold on moving on from JPEG, just consider these compelling reasons to do so.

Consider Compression

Why replace JPEG, you may be wondering? After all, hasn’t it worked well for you all this time?

Well, first consider the fact that JPEG was made specifically for lossy compression of photographic images. And, while it can still get the job done in that department, newer codecs, such as JPEG XL and others, do the job better. JPEG XL, in particular, is great in terms of delivering higher fidelity.

Similarly, JPEG 2000 is an excellent choice for lossy or lossless compression of photographic images, while HEIC and AVIF lead the way in terms of lossy compression.

Ultimately, if a different codec can outperform your current one, why wouldn’t you make the switch? No matter how “tried and true” JPEG may be, it’s just as “tired” as it is “tried!”

The Fast and The Frustrating

Despite everything that has been said thus far, the JPEG still does well in terms of speed, at least to some degree and on some devices. This codec can be decoded very quickly. And, honestly, decoding speed matters more than anything if you want to get an image to its audience quickly.

However, with that said, JPEG does lack in terms of single image decoding and may not work as quickly on multicore processors, which came along after JPEG was invented and which are becoming increasingly more common. For this reason, when it comes to a speedy codec, newer options, including JPEG 2000, JPEG XL, and HEIC are often better choices.

Why Limit Yourself?

If you like to push the boundaries and hate limits, then there’s absolutely no reason to still be using JPEG. This basic codec is restricted to only 8-bit color precision. And, while that might work okay for SDR images or sRGB images, it is not suitable for HDR images or wide-gamut images.

Do be aware, however, that JPEG is not the only codec that fails to deliver in this area. WebP, despite being newer, can be just as bad.

If you want to avoid limits as much as possible (and no codec is truly limitless), then HEICs and AVIFs are probably your best bet, though you will have to be careful not to go over the maximum per-tile dimension.

Fabulous Features

Finally, let’s talk features.

When it comes to larger, more complex images, progressive decoding is a desirable feature, and it’s available on JPEG 2000 and JPEG Excel.

Newer codecs are also more likely to be adept at supporting alpha transparency, depth maps, and more.

In fact, when you make the switch to JPEG Excel, in particular, you’ll enjoy the following features:

  • Layer names
  • Spot-color channels
  • Selection masks

Learn More

When it comes to the codec known as JPEG, outdated is the perfect word to describe it. That much is clear.

However, knowing which codec to use and when can be confusing. If you need help optimizing your images, understanding the newer codecs, and presenting the best digital media possible, don’t hesitate to contact Look to the Right.

What is Docker?!

Many people, especially those who run their own servers, apps, or websites, have heard of Docker, though they might not be quite sure how it works. Whether you have or have not heard of Docker, however, it’s an important tool that you should familiarize yourself with.

So, what is Docker? Via this open source platform, you can develop or run your applications in what is known as a “container,” an isolated but shared environment that packages code and dependencies for a faster running application

Use Fewer Resources

The above Docker definition is pretty simple, but you may not be clear on why you should use Docker, apart from its speed. Well, one of the big reasons is that it enables you to keep your applications that are operating on the same host from causing problems with one another.

While other options have been developed to try and accomplish this goal in the past, few programs work as efficiently. Docker, which doesn’t use as many resources as other choices, such as virtual machines, is less taxing on your system.

Run Multiple Containers at Once

Using and understanding Docker is simple in other ways as well. In fact, one thing that most users quickly discover and love about Docker is that it allows them to run several containers at the same time, all thanks to their lightweight design. Thus, you can get more done at once compared to other tools.

Run Your App Anywhere

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of using Docker is how portable and versatile it makes your applications. You can use them anywhere because Docker makes them convenient to pack and ship. This also makes for easier to do updates as needed.

Learn More Today

Hopefully, this Docker overview has helped you to better understand this option and its benefits. However, this information is somewhat complex, so don’t panic if you feel overwhelmed or simply need help navigating Docker and other modern software options.

Look to the Right is always happy to provide the help and support business owners need to successfully run and market their businesses online. No matter how tech-savvy you may be, we are here to support you. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you use Docker and other tools available to you.

Why You Have to Accept Bitcoin

If you own a business, then you know that people are always trying to pay in different ways. Whether it’s checks, credit cards, PayPal, or other online payment processors, more and more businesses are saying “yes” to more and more ways of paying. After all, the more convenient it is for consumers to purchase your products or services, the more likely they are to do so.

A newer kind of payment request is popping up more and more frequently, however. Maybe you’ve even experienced it yourself. And, if you haven’t, don’t be surprised if you do soon. Bitcoin is becoming a popular way to pay for anything and everything, and your business should step up to the plate. Why? Accepting this cryptocurrency comes with a lot of benefits!

Go International

There are many reasons to accept Bitcoin. But, one of the most major is that it allows you to accept international payments. All too frequently, businesses lose out on sales simply because the purchaser is located overseas or has credit cards that were issued overseas.

Businesses are often concerned about the safety of accepting these cards, not to mention the high cross-border transaction costs that typically accompany them. However, when you take the card out of the equation and allow clients to use Bitcoin instead, you can accept payments from anywhere and everywhere with no merchant fee. Plus, there’s no risk to you since Bitcoin doesn’t allow chargebacks. Best of all, you don’t even need a merchant account.

Sell Large-Ticket Items Without Fear

Speaking of that no-chargebacks-allowed rule, it can really come in handy when you deal in large-ticket items. Sometimes, a major sale can spell success for a business. And, there’s nothing worse than having that success stripped away due to a client chargeback, especially if you’ve already incurred costs.

Accepting Bitcoin doesn’t carry this type of risk. Once a transaction has settled, it’s done! Settlement is final and usually within one hour. You never have to fear a chargeback or its implications.

Avoid Delivery Hassles

Accepting Bitcoin also offers a relative degree of anonymity which many of your clients are sure to appreciate. Not having to provide a specific name and address or one that matches a certain card can also prove helpful for more complex shipping situations.

A buyer can simply have an item, even a large-ticket item, sent to their preferred address. And, since there are no worries about chargebacks, you can ship it at their request. This takes the worry and responsibility off of your shoulders and also makes things easier on the buyer.

They don’t have to worry about proving their identity, easily sending an item to someone else, picking an item up at a location other than their verifiable home address, or anything else. Thus, even the trickiest shipping situations can be handled with ease on both sides.

Never Lose A Sale

Finally, when you choose to accept Bitcoin, you also choose to open your business up to anyone and everyone, which could mean more sales and more profit for you.

Many people, especially in today’s day and age, like to stay “off the grid” for a variety of reasons. And, when you take Bitcoin, you open your business up to those people.

Whether it’s the financially independent, the person who can’t qualify for the traditional banking set-up, or the expat who doesn’t have easy access to banking, you never have to turn anyone away when Bitcoin is accepted. Not only does this mean more sales for you, but it gives you a chance to help out those who have fewer options for purchasing the items they need or want.

Ultimately, there are many good reasons to accept Bitcoin. And, with no risk of chargebacks, what do you have to lose? Open your business up to a whole new and better way of accepting payments, and then sit back and reap the benefits.

Do You Own Your Google My Business Listing?

Many large and small businesses have their information displayed to searchers via Google My Business, which provides basic details about all kinds of businesses.

Sometimes, these profiles are created by the business owner. Other times, Google creates the listings from publicly available information. Possibly other vendors your business has used in the past created them and still maintain actual ownership.

The good news, though, is that whether you created the listing yourself or not, you can request ownership of Google My Business listings. And, when you’re the owner or manager of those listings, you can control the information you share about your business. Although, you won’t have total control over everything. Technically, Google owns the content and can do as it likes with it. But, when you sign on and manage the listing yourself, you at least have some majority say in how it reflects on you.

How To Claim Your Business

Now that you understand a bit more about Google My Business and how it works, it’s time to claim your business listing if you haven’t already done so. This is the only way to have any control over the information contained within the listing.

Fortunately, it’s very easy to claim your business. Sign into your Google account, or create one if needed. Then, go to Google Maps, search for your business, click the name, and then click “claim this business.” You will then have to verify that you are the owner of the business before you can control the listing.

The most common verification method is via regular mail. Google sends a postcard to your business address with a special, unique code on it.  Once you receive the card, enter the verification code in your account, and you’ll be good to go! Some businesses may also be able to gain verification by receiving a code via email or over the phone.

What If Someone Else Is The Owner?!

We have seen many times a client realize that they, the business owner is not the actual Google My Business Listing owner. This situation can open the business up to a ton of potential pain! A previous employee, business partner or vendor may be the actual GMB owner with the ability to intentionally or unintentionally damage your business or reputation at will. This is something you as the business owner can not allow. We must secure the safety & security of your Google My Business Listing. Securing your GMB listing can become a long process if owned by someone else. Contact us for help in most effectively securing your GMB listing now.

Control Your Information

Once you successfully claim your business on Google My Business, you’re ready to start controlling your information. Make sure your operating hours, address, phone number, and other details are correct. Also, add in a self-description that highlights your business and all it has to offer. For best results and to improve the visibility of your listing, it’s best to have an SEO professional help you with this step.

You can also add Google My Business authorized representatives, which are approved individuals who have your permission to add information to your listing. Be careful about who you trust with this ability. Only SEO professionals, business co-owners, managers, or other trusted individuals should be added as authorized representatives since they will be able to add or change some information in the listing. Google allows you to add other users as non-owners which is what we suggest. This reduces risk of GMB Listing theft.

Contact Look to the Right

Using Google My Business correctly is important for all businesses. Having no information or the wrong information on a listing can cost you both customers and views. To ensure all the right information is posted and that it’s managed in a way that benefits you and your business as much as possible, enlist professional help. Here at Look to the Right, we’re experts at making Google My Business work for you, rather than against you. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.

Search bar secure

Brave Browser Company Announces Search Engine Acquisition

Brave has long been known as the browser company with a focus on privacy. And, now, it’s taking privacy one step further with plans to release its own Google search alternative. 

The process has already started rolling along with Brave’s recent acquisition of Tailcat. Tailcat was already being developed as a privacy-focused search engine, but now that Brave has taken the reins, it’s ready to mold and shape the abandoned search engine project into a powerful tool that allows users to search and surf the web with greater privacy than ever before.

A Summer Launch 

The one-of-a-kind search tool is set to launch in the summer of 2021. It will be integrated with the Brave browser, which will no longer have to rely on major, less-than-secure search engines. According to Brave, users will not only enjoy a new and improved search experience, but they’ll also enjoy greater peace of mind since Tailcat will not track or collect IP addresses or other identifying information.  

While many are excited for the launch, it should come as no surprise to those who have followed Brave’s trajectory. The company recently grew its active user base to more than 26 million. Since more and more people are becoming concerned about security and calling for more privacy on the web, the adoption of Brave and its tools just makes sense. Many feel that the company is paving the way of the future and bringing about a whole new kind of online experience.

Look to the Right Take:

LTTR has long since been aware of Brave and its possibilities, first calling attention to its potential in 2016. LTTR’s forward-focused founder and owner, Noah Boswell, states, “It will be exciting to see what Brave comes up with in the search arena and to discover new ways to reach the market it creates. Our hope is that Brave Search users will be compensated in BAT tokens with search advertiser AdSpend.”

While only time will tell what the future holds for Brave and its search engine, the future certainly looks bright. In fact, you might say that the company is poised to open up a “brave,” new world of searching and search advertising!