This is especially important for e-commerce sites, which tend to be information-heavy and require customers to type in credit-card details. Deciding which users on which platforms should see which user experience becomes tricky, and can be resolved only by testing. For owners of blogs and standard business websites, however, there’s a simpler solution – go responsive.I run a blog separately from my online retailer; by keeping it on an independent domain, its links to the e-commerce site boost its search-engine ranking. This separation also makes it possible to choose the right tool for the job, which in this case is WordPress.Until now, my approach to website design has been to design for the desktop and then apply a separate, more restricted theme for mobiles, but I no longer think this is the best way.My blog receives much the same proportion of mobile traffic as my e-commerce site; mobile will almost certainly account for the most hits by early 2014. This means I must design with both in mind. In fact, there’s an argument for favouring mobile, given that this trend is likely to continue.The shift of traffic from traditional computers to mobile devices is so seismic that you’d have to deliberately look the other way to miss itThe shift of traffic from traditional computers to mobile devices is so seismic that you’d have to deliberately look the other way to miss it
Therefore I’m inclined to start by applying a prebuilt responsive design and then modifying it, rather than starting with a clean slate. The built-in WordPress theme is ever-more mobile-friendly, but the aptly named Responsive theme from CyberChimps is top of the tree in my experience.Responsive themes usually work by dynamically rearranging screen elements to fit the width of the device on which they’re being viewed, which means shrinking two- or three-column designs by tiling the columns one above the other on narrow screens. Obviously, this places certain restrictions on the design, but it’s a worthwhile sacrifice if you want to appeal to the mobile audience.I took the plunge and re-themed my blog using the Pro version of Responsive, since it makes better sense for the projects and recipes it contains to be viewed on tablets than laptops.As a result, some pages now require two taps rather than a single click, but the overall experience is better. Total traffic has remained at the expected level, the number of pages the average mobile user views during a visit has increased, and the number viewed by desktop users has remained stable. So far, so good, but I’ll keep a close eye on the effect of this transition to mobile over the coming months.
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I’ve often heard it said that the key to business success is the ability to spot trends, but frankly the shift of traffic from traditional computers to mobile devices is so seismic that you’d have to deliberately look the other way to miss it. And we know how dangerous that can be...Carphone Warehouse will rebrand 60 of its European stores to Samsung-only outlets, the companies have said.Samsung set up three standalone stores in Spain last year, run by Carphone Warehouse, and that will now be extended.The Samsung stores will roll out over the next three months across seven countries, including the UK.The stores will still be operated by Carphone Warehouse, and alongside smartphones will also feature other Samsung products, such as tablets, laptops and wearables.The 60 stores represent a small slice of Carphone Warehouse's 2,000 locations across Europe, but they give Samsung a significant retail boost - especially against Apple's 98 stores in Europe.The companies claimed the partnership would "create a powerful new retail concept to showcase, for our customers, a wide range of products, content and services as well as injecting both investment and new jobs into the retail sector".
Have you ever wondered what the Thunderbolt Bridge device that’s listed among your network adapters actually is? It appeared with Mavericks, and it’s a useful step up for those who are migrating from one machine to another, since it enables disk access from a booted machine’s encrypted partition.Some of you will know that you can boot up a Mac in what’s called Target Disk Mode, which means that the computer boots from firmware and acts like a large hard disk.You can connect to it via Thunderbolt or USB from another Mac, then use the lovely Migration Assistant tool to suck everything out of the first Mac and push it onto a new computer. It’s a great tool for when you need to get your life out of one Mac and into another. I wish I could boot up a Windows computer in the same way.The problem arises if you’ve encrypted the hard disk. Encrypting the disk creates an extra layer of safety and security for your data, especially for a laptop that might be mislaid or stolen.No-one can recover the data held on that hard disk without the appropriate keys, and those are held in your online Apple account. But what happens when you boot such a machine into Target Disk Mode? There’s no proper OS running, so it can’t decrypt the contents of the hard disk – which is where Thunderbolt Bridge mode comes in.
It allows you to boot the device, get the operating system running (and therefore access its hard disk), then connect to another computer via Thunderbolt to complete the data transfer.I’m a little nervous at the thought of two computers connected via Thunderbolt, given that it’s effectively PCI Express. However, it clearly works – and it’s the solution for times when you need to transfer a lot of data from one machine to another at high speed.I’m finding it frustratingly difficult to get hold of 10m and 30m fibre Thunderbolt cables so that I can move my disk arrays away from my desktop. Sometime soon, if the Gods look kindly upon me and Santa brings me a new Mac Pro, I want to be able to move everything off my desk except for the monitors, keyboard and trackpad.A critical component of this project is the arrival of fibre-optic Thunderbolt cables from Corning. These were certified by Intel months ago, and I saw them in use at the NAB show in April in Las Vegas, with a promise that production was going to start “real soon now”. Indeed the cables are now available in Apple’s online store in the US – the 10m version is priced at $330 – but not in the UK.
So, I visited a few online vendors in the US to see if they could supply it. Oh yes, said their website, the cables could be with me in a few weeks. Excitedly, I placed an order at one well-known vendor. Twenty-four hours later, I received an email to say the cable has been delayed and might arrive in February 2014. I cancelled the order.Perhaps Apple is taking all the stock for itself? If so, it would be great if it let the rest of us order it, too. I see from the US Apple website that the cables are now “available to ship in 24 hours”. Now, who do I know with a US credit card and postal address?The Surface Pro 3 was a great tablet, but now that the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 has taken its place, its reign is at an end. The new Surface Pro has a slightly larger 12.3in display with a higher resolution of 2,736 x 1,824, and includes the latest Intel Skylake processors, so it runs cooler and very slightly quicker, too.The Surface Pro 3 is still on sale, but as stocks are running low there aren't many bargains to be had – in many cases you'll find it selling for the same price as the new Surface Pro 4. If you find it going for a song, or second-hand, then the Surface Pro 3 is still a great device, but the Surface Pro 4 is now a far better bet. Click here to read our Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review, or read on to find out why we loved the Surface Pro 3 so much.
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The Surface Pro 3 is the flagship of Microsoft’s Surface family, the big, pricier brother to the recently released Surface 3. The Pro ups the ante with a larger 12in display, a vastly more potent Intel Core processor and a nippy SSD. But is all that enough to back up Microsoft’s claims that this is "the tablet that can replace your laptop?" After all, not only does the machine have competition from Windows tablets, it now also faces the iPad Pro (and we've written a direct comparison if you're interested in how they compare). So it is still the hybrid to beat?The Surface Pro 3 comes in a wide variety of specifications. You can choose from Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs, as well as a spectrum of SSD capacities ranging from 64GB right up to 512GB. Pricing varies dramatically as a result, with the low-end model starting at a very tempting £639. We’d avoid this one, though: its Core i3 CPU and 4GB of RAM may do everything you need, but a 64GB SSD is too tiny these days.A slightly better bet is the £849 version, which gets you a Core i5, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, but ideally we’d pick the 256GB model, which also doubles the RAM, at £1,079. If nothing but the best will do, you’ll have to dig deep: the Core i7 versions are both equipped with 8GB of RAM, and the 256GB or 512GB SSD options come in at £1,299 and £1,549 respectively. In the US, but unfortunately not available here yet, Microsoft also has a 128GB i7 model available for $1,149 (~£739). Bear in mind that none of these prices include the Type Cover, which adds another £110 on top.
The Surface Pro 3 makes a great first impression – it’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from Microsoft hardware. The clean, unfussy design oozes luxury, and while we prefer the moody, all-black exterior of the Surface Pro 2, there is something rather alluring about the Surface Pro 3. Light grey metal reaches all around the back and along the tapered edges, and a slight sparkle shimmers under the matte finish.And while the the Surface Pro 3 is substantially wider and taller than what’s come before, Microsoft has used the extra surface area to spread the components more thinly and slash the overall weight – the chassis now measures a dainty 9.1mm thick and weighs 800g.The 12in, 2,160 x 1,440 screen (protected by a glossy panel of Gorilla Glass 3) is a big step up from the 10.6in, 1,920 x 1,080 panels of previous Pro generations. It’s also a different shape, forsaking the Surface Pro 2’s widescreen 16:9 format in favour of a 3:2 ratio. This may not sound like a revolutionary change, but the ergonomic impact is huge. In laptop mode, the display’s extra height brings back happy memories of 4:3, square-screened laptops from the 1990s; held vertically in tablet mode, with the Surface Pen in hand, the extra width gives the feel of a slightly shrunken A4 page. No matter how you use it, the Surface Pro 3 feels like a more natural fit than previous models.