Good Web design can mean good business

The Web site for Sophia Brodsky’s day spa in Philadelphia, the Body Klinic, was pretty rudimentary until a college student walked into the spa a little more than two years ago with an irresistible offer.

As she tells it, the student, Nathaniel Stevens, said that for $10 he would take her existing site and redesign it to drive traffic to her salon. If she got more business, they agreed, he would get additional money. Brodsky, a Russian immigrant, whose interests run more to cranberry facials than the Internet, thought why not.

Brodsky now maintains three Web sites and estimates that they have brought in thousands of dollars in business. “Now,” she said, “people are coming to my Web site daily.”

But small business owners like Brodsky who have a Web presence are still a minority. In its first survey of small business Web sites last April, Jupiter Research found that just 36 percent of all businesses with fewer than 100 employees had a Web presence.

Still, the Web as an alternative yellow pages is drawing increased attention. The Kelsey Group, a market research company in Princeton, New Jersey, estimates that sales revenue from Internet Yellow Pages and wireless and other searches will increase to $13 billion in 2010 from $3.4 billion in 2005.

Those small business owners who venture online say the experience is generally worth it, though the learning curve may be steep.

Recognizing this, online advertising companies with names like Yodle, Weblistic, Webvisible and ReachLocal are springing up to help manage the sites.

For More Read:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/13/technology/13iht-sbiz.4.10022147.html?_r=1&scp=13&sq=web%20design&st=Search

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HP Research Could Yield Faster, more Powerful PCs

A new discovery by HP could lead to faster, more powerful computers and other devices in the near future.

Hewlett-Packard’s HP Labs Research Branch has discovered that the memristor, a new electric circuit developed by HP in 2008, has far greater potential than initially thought, the company announced on Thursday.

Previously seen mostly as a new type of storage similar to flash memory, HP found that the memristor can also perform its own logic. Such a discovery can pave the way for chips that can both perform calculations and hold data, potentially eliminating the need for a traditional core CPU.

“Memristive devices could change the standard paradigm of computing by enabling calculations to be performed in the chips where data is stored rather than in a specialized central processing unit,” said R. Stanley Williams, senior fellow and director of HP’s Information and Quantum Systems Lab, in a statement. “Thus, we anticipate the ability to make more compact and power-efficient computing systems well into the future, even after it is no longer possible to make transistors smaller via the traditional Moore’s Law approach.”

First conceived as a theoretical possibility in the early ’70s by Leon Chua, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, the memristor, short for memory resistor, can retain its memory even when power is lost. It’s considered the fourth type of electric circuit joining the resistor, capacitor, and inductor, which are currently used in the design and manufacture of today’s microchips.

Building on Chua’s research, HP announced the first development of a memristor around two years ago. That was then followed by a flexible memristor designed and demonstrated by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology last summer.

HP’s latest research has found that memristors use less energy and are faster than current storage technologies such as flash memory, and they can store twice as much data in the same space.

Memristors are virtually unaffected by radiation, which can create flaws in smaller, traditionally designed chips. And since memristors don’t lose their charge, they can lead to PCs that can easily be turned on and off like a light switch, said HP.

What’s next for the memristor? HP said it’s already created new architectures for chips using memristors and believes that devices using the new circuit could hit the market within the next few years. Researchers at HP Labs have also built a new architecture in which multiple layers of memristors can be stacked on top of each other in one chip.

In another five years, such chips could give handheld devices 10 times the memory capacity they now have and help supercomputers work faster than Moore’s Law ever thought possible. Beyond that, processors built with memristors could eventually replace the silicon used in e-reader displays and even push aside the need for silicon in a larger number of devices on a wider scale.

Source:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-20002029-76.html

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