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A quality smartphone can set you back a significant amount of money. Indeed, the latest phones regularly cost over £1000 if you’re buying a new device – and that’s before you factor in your contract or sim card costs. However, if you want a quality phone without paying such a high amount, you could consider buying a refurbished phone. Below, we explore the pros and cons.

What is A Refurbished Phone?

A refurbished phone isn’t just your normal second-hand phone. This is a handset that’s been sent to the manufacturer or to a second-hand seller to be repaired and cleaned, before being sold. Usually, someone will sell their phone here when they’re looking for an upgrade. As a result, when you buy a refurbished phone, there’ll be no trace of the previous user and you’ll receive your handset in a fresh box with a warranty. By searching for refurbished iPhones online, you can purchase a fully-functional iPhone for a much lower cost than the new retail price.

Pros

Cons

On the other hand, there are some downsides compared to a new phone. For a start, no matter how thorough the refurbishment job has been, there will likely be small scuff marks or grazes on the phone – it won’t be brand new. Beyond this, your warranty will also be shorter than that of a new phone. If you want a refurbished phone to last for a long time, then you’ll need to look after it. Buying a refurbished phone can bring you many benefits. You’ll be able to get some quality tech at a low price, all while doing your bit to become more sustainable.

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The Pros And Cons Of Working As A Subcontractor

In the construction industry, working with subcontractors is a daily part of completing and managing a project. These sub-hired contractors are typically used to carry out specific activities that others do not have the skill or resources to do.

The Pros Develop a Specialised Skill Set

More often than not, contractors will expect subcontractors to have a specialized skill set that their own team of workers cannot address. For example, a contractor may hire you to focus on specific tasks such as outdoor plumbing. Therefore, you can focus on developing your skills in the areas you are truly interested in.

Be Your Own Boss

Choose Which Jobs to Accept

As we noted, you can be your own boss. This also means you get to choose what jobs you would like to do. If you’re asked to jump on a project that is too demanding or not paid well enough, you are at your liberty to refuse. Similarly, you can simply take time off work whenever you want and get back to looking for gigs when you’re ready.

The Cons You Depend on General Contractors

Responsible For Your Taxes

Nobody likes dealing with taxes, however, as a freelancer, it’s your responsibility to ensure you pay your dues. There are several self-employment fees you’ll need to cover, which may not be worth your effort if you aren’t receiving a steady influx of high-paid jobs. Nevertheless, you can always hire some external help to assist you in the process of filing taxes.

Pros And Cons Of Vps Hosting

A VPS, or virtual private server, is a cost-effective way to host websites, gaming servers, and other projects. These products, available from many cloud services providers, offer benefits for a variety of situations, including both professional and personal applications. If you’re looking for a way to move your hosting from personal hardware, a VPS is usually a good choice. Additionally, if you’re seeking a method for keeping your hosting costs down, you may also want to consider this product.

VPS technology is essentially a form of digital resource sharing, where a single server is divided into separated instances for hosting. In this article, we’ll review some of the main benefits of using a VPS and go over a few situations in which you may want to consider using a dedicated server instead. First, let’s go over the basics of using a virtual private server to uncover if this hosting solution is right for you.

What is a VPS?

A virtual private server is a partitioned portion of a server’s hardware and resources, with a specific memory, storage, and bandwidth capacity. An inexpensive VPS for hosting something like a gaming server or a personal website can cost as little as $6 per month. A VPS with the highest potential computing power for hosting often starts around $40, with a handful of options for upgrading.

The hardware that runs your virtual private server will play host to a handful of other customers’ VPS. However, the isolated, instanced nature of the VPS ensures that there’s no crossover. The hardware, including the SSD drive and processor, is usually top-of-the-line. However, with a VPS, you’re essentially only paying for a portion of that computer power. Most VPS operates on monthly plans, so you can cancel whenever. However, there may be startup fees associated with your product, depending on the cloud services provider you’re working with.

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Benefits of Hosting With a VPS

Hosting with a VPS is an affordable option for getting the memory and bandwidth options necessary for allowing your website or gaming server to handle significant traffic. Let’s look at a few of the key benefits of using a virtual private server compared with shared hosting, dedicated servers, and hosting on personal hardware.

Cost

Easy Setup

Setting up your virtual private server doesn’t have to be a hassle. At the time of purchase, you’ll get detailed instructions for activating your VPS via email, with secure login credentials that allow you to access the server from anywhere with an internet connection. Once you have access to your VPS, you can easily set up your website or hosting project without worrying about setting the hardware for success. All VPS products are managed by the provider, which means you don’t have to worry about the physical location of your hosting solutions.

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Reliable Security Parameters

Flexibility and Scalability

Drawbacks to Hosting With a VPS

While a VPS is a solid choice for various hosting projects and company requirements, it isn’t always the best solution for everyone. Here are a few of the reasons why you may want to consider different hosting options, such as a dedicated server.

Computing Limitations

Customization and Management

VPS vs. Dedicated Servers

A VPS can be a valuable, cost-effective hosting solution for companies and individuals alike. However, it’s not always the best solution in every case. If you’re concerned about limitations in terms of computing power or customization options for your server, you may want to consider purchasing a dedicated server instead. These products are often significantly more expensive per month than a VPS. However, they give the user complete control over their server because they’re not sharing it with other customers or companies.

Conclusion- Pros and Cons of VPS Hosting

Regardless of which hosting solution works best for you, you’ll need the assistance and assurance of a reliable cloud services provider on your side. If you’re planning to work with a VPS, you’ll need to review your memory, bandwidth, and storage requirement, to determine which product is right for you.

Pros And Cons Of Using A Drag And Drop Website Builder

Drag and drop website builders are a great option for people who want to create a website without any coding experience.

Drag and drop features allow you to create your website by dragging and dropping widgets and design elements onto the page. This is a great way to create a website quickly and easily, even if you have no experience with web design.

The first step is to choose a website builder. Some of the best Website builders for beginners include Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly. These Website builders offer drag and drop features that make it easy to create a website without any coding knowledge. However, using a drag and drop website builder has its pros and cons.

If you don’t know, what are the pros and cons of using a drag and drop website builder for your business? Continue reading to learn more.

Pros and Cons of Using a Drag and Drop Website Builder

Here are some of the pros and cons of using a drag and drop website builder:

Pros:

Ease of use: Drag and drop website builders are very easy to use, even for people with no prior experience in web design. You can simply drag and drop elements onto your page to create the look you want.

No coding required: Drag and drop website builders do not require any coding knowledge. This makes them a great option for people who want to create a website but don’t know how to code.

Affordability: Drag and drop website builders are typically very affordable, especially when compared to hiring a professional web designer. This makes them a great option for small businesses and individuals who are on a budget.

Flexibility: Drag and drop website builders offer a great deal of flexibility when it comes to designing your website. You can choose from a variety of templates, add your own content, and customize the look and feel of your site to match your brand.

Mobile-friendly: Drag and drop website builders are typically mobile-friendly. This means that your website will look good on smartphones and tablets.

Speed: Drag and drop website builders are typically very fast, which is important for both users and search engines. A fast website will load quickly for visitors, which will improve their experience and make them more likely to stay on your site. Search engines also prefer fast websites, so a drag-and-drop website builder can help you improve your search engine ranking.

Scalability: Drag and drop website builders are scalable, which means that they can grow with your business. As your business grows, you can easily add new pages, features, and content to your website.

Time savings: Drag and drop website builders can save you a lot of time. You don’t have to learn how to code, and you can create a professional-looking website in a fraction of the time it would take to do it yourself.

Easy to update: Drag and drop website builders make it easy to update your website. You can add new content, change the design, or make other changes without having to hire a web designer.

Ease of maintenance: Drag and drop website builders are easy to maintain. You can make changes to your website without having to worry about messing up the code. This makes it easy to keep your website up-to-date with the latest information and trends.

Support: Most drag and drop website builders offer excellent customer support. If you have any questions or problems, you can get help from the website builder’s support team.

Cons:

Limited Customization: Drag and drop website builders often come with pre-designed templates that limit your ability to customize the website to your exact specifications. While some platforms may allow for more customization, it can still be challenging to achieve a completely unique look and feel.

Generic designs: Many drag and drop website builders use templates, which can make your website look generic. If you want a unique and eye-catching website, you may need to hire a web designer.

Limited features: Drag and drop website builders typically offer a limited number of features. This can make it difficult to create a website with all of the features you need.

Dependency on the Platform: When you use a drag and drop website builder, you’re essentially relying on the platform to maintain and update your website. If the platform experiences technical issues or goes out of business, your website may suffer as a result.

Limited Control: While drag and drop website builders are designed to be easy to use, they may not offer as much control as coding a website from scratch. This can be frustrating for those who want to have complete control over every aspect of their website’s design and functionality.

Security Risks: Some drag and drop website builders may not offer robust security options, leaving your website vulnerable to hacking and other security threats. This can be particularly problematic for websites that handle sensitive customer information.

Limited Integrations: Drag and drop website builders may not offer extensive integration options, which can be problematic if you need to integrate your website with third-party services or applications.

Difficulties with Migration: If you decide to switch from one drag and drop website builder to another or move to a custom-built website, you may encounter difficulties with migration. This can be problematic if you’ve invested a significant amount of time and resources into building your website on the platform.

Limited Support: While many drag and drop website builders offer customer support, the level of support may be limited compared to building a website from scratch. This can be problematic if you run into technical issues that require more in-depth support.

Overall, drag-and-drop website builders can be a good option for people who want to create a website without any coding experience. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before choosing a drag-and-drop website builder.

If you’re not sure whether a drag-and-drop website builder is right for you, it’s a good idea to compare different options and read reviews before making a decision.

Dumping Steve Ballmer: Microsoft’s Pros And Cons

At least one Microsoft investor isn’t happy with chief executive Steve Ballmer’s performance. David Einhorn, hedge fund manager for Greenlight Capital, called for the Microsoft chief to step down on Wednesday during a speech at an investor conference. Ballmer’s presence is the biggest drag on Microsoft’s stock, according to Einhorn. The high-profile investor also blamed Ballmer for wasting billions on research and referred to Bing as a “sinkhole,” according to The New York Times. Microsoft’s stock is widely considered undervalued at under 10 times its expected earnings, according to Reuters.

Calls to rid Ballmer from Microsoft’s helm are nothing new, and similar issues were raised as recently as late 2010 after Microsoft’s board reportedly penalized Ballmer by slashing his annual bonus by 50 percent. The board reportedly punished Ballmer in response to Microsoft’s shrinking smartphone market share and the Kin fiasco.

But is dumping Ballmer a good idea? Here’s a look at a few pros and cons.

Con: It Could Be Worse

Pro: Ballmer’s Solid

Despite the downward spiral of Microsoft’s stock, the company is still making money and producing some great products. The company reported a 31 percent jump in revenue for the quarter ending March 31. Kinect recently became the fastest-selling consumer electronics device of all time. Windows Phone 7, despite its lackluster popularity with users compared to Android and the iPhone, is still a solid platform that’s on the verge of getting a massive upgrade with Mango. Windows 7 sold 350 million licenses in a shorter time frame than Vista, and the hype around Windows 8 is getting bigger every day.

These are all strengths that don’t appear to be reflected in Microsoft’s stock price. Let’s not forget Einhorn is complaining mostly about the value of Microsoft as an investment. Problem is, stock prices are more about perception than balance sheets.

Con: Microsoft is Missing the Boat

Con: Jobs-itis

If Microsoft has a hard time finding a Ballmer alternative, the company might be tempted to look for a Steve Jobs-like figure to run the software giant. Jobs is seen as a visionary and a brilliant product guy, which is exactly what Microsoft needs to reinvigorate the company, right? Apple is often pointed to as the source of all the company’s woes with hot products such as the iPhone and iPad threatening Microsoft’s mobile and desktop computer businesses. Einhorn said during his talk that Ballmer failed to see Apple’s popular iOS devices as a threat to Microsoft. It might seem like the best strategy, then, to reach for a Steve Jobs clone.

Despite frequent comparisons between the two companies, however, what works for Apple is unlikely to work for Microsoft. But with so much adulation heaped on the chief executive of your historical rival, it would be hard not to try and seek out a Microsoftian equivalent.

Pro: No More Sweaty Steve

Can you tell the difference? I can tell the difference, can you tell the difference?

Con: No More Sweaty Steve

Will 2011 be Ballmer’s last stand? Maybe, but let’s not forget people were making similar arguments about Ballmer in 2006 and the world’s most excitable CEO is still standing.

Connect with Ian Paul (

@ianpaul

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Today@PCWorld

Should You Use Payroll Cards? Learn The Pros And Cons

Did You Know?

Direct deposit is the most common form of payment from an employer to employee in the U.S. Nearly 94% of employees use direct deposit to receive their paychecks.

ACH transfer

In the 1970s, the Automated Clearing House (ACH) improved how money was electronically transferred between banks. It not only solved the onslaught of paper checks, but featured bank-level encryption to reduce fraud. 

ACH provides a direct link between two bank accounts. ACH transfers can be grouped between the two banks, and all transactions are held and checked before bulk processing. There are two ACH transfer types: ACH direct deposit and ACH direct payments.

PayPal

PayPal has become a top alternative for companies that hire freelancers and contractors. Whether you employ one-time, seasonal, or part-time workers, PayPal can eliminate the need for paper checks and pay cards.

Contractors can even invoice you directly through PayPal to help keep your books accurate. When sending a payment, check the Service box. This option will correctly categorize this payment, apply appropriate fees, and provide an instant payment option for the freelancer. 

Mobile wallet

As the number of smartphone users continues to rise, so does the access to mobile payments. According to estimates from eMarketer, over 100 million consumers used mobile payments in 2023.

Fueled by the pandemic, Americans are adopting contactless payments as the new norm. As more and more banks focus on a digital footprint, employees can upgrade their traditional direct deposit for instant pay through Cash App, Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Zelle. [Read related article: Mobile Wallet Guide: Google Pay vs. Apple Pay vs. Samsung Pay]

Paper checks

With all of the digital options available, it may surprise you that the paper check is still widely used among small and midsize businesses. These companies lack payroll software and view paper checks as a trusted payment method. 

Cash

Cash is a legal way to pay your employees; however, it’s not the generally preferred way for several reasons. Although you may save on fees, paying cash is tedious, as you will need to track accounting for your business manually. This can lead to human error, IRS audits and disgruntled employees. It also requires frequent trips to the bank to handle cash shortages and exact change. Once all of the worker paychecks are figured, you will have to deliver each one by hand. 

Tip

With all of the time spent calculating payroll and fixing mistakes when paying employees with cash, you would be better served by looking into a low-cost payroll system.

Payroll card FAQs Is a payroll card a debit card?

Essentially, yes. They function in the same manner. A financial institution will hold the deposited money in an individual account, and the payroll card provides access to the money much like a debit card. Alerts can be set up to notify the account owner of low balances, or when funds become available after a deposit. Also, payroll cards tend to be affiliated with one of the major credit card issuers – such as Visa, MasterCard or American Express.

Can employers only offer payroll cards as a payment method?

No. Despite the growing popularity of payroll cards, federal banking laws require businesses to offer employees at least one additional payment option. Payroll cards generally cost a business $7 per month per employee, whereas paper checks can cost $23 per month per employee. Given the high cost of paper checks, direct deposit is usually the second option. That is not to suggest that employers must only offer two forms of payment. Each state retains the right to regulate the specific methods of payment offered to employees.

Where can employees use payroll cards?

Payroll cards are generally accepted anywhere that you would typically use a standard bank account debit card. They hold the same buying power as bank cards and can be used at stores, gas pumps, and even ATMs. Cash can be taken out of the account at ATMs, or by using a cash-back option at grocery or retail stores. Payroll cards can also be used to make payments online, on any sites that would accept the same brand of debit card.

Can you deposit money on a payroll card?

The ability to deposit money on a payroll card depends on the services the provider offers. Some cards offer the option to add money at a money exchange center or ATM, while some do not. Review your provider’s terms to see if this option is available.

Is direct deposit or a payroll card better?

Determining whether a direct deposit or payroll card is better for your business greatly depends on your situation and preferences. If most of your employees do not have a bank account, it may be easier – and cheaper – to use payroll cards.

Payroll card fees can add up. Some cards have very few associated fees, while other cards charge a fee for normal monthly use, like withdrawing funds from an ATM. Also, not every card offers the option to deposit non-payroll money onto it.

Bottom line on payroll cards

Payroll cards are an ideal option if you’re looking to save money on processing payroll. They are also a vital tool for employees who don’t have bank accounts. 

Most of the large payroll processing companies offer small businesses a payroll card option. Additionally, a host of third-party companies can provide independent services, should your organization process payroll manually or work with a partner that doesn’t offer payroll card services.

Payroll cards can be a great way to securely compensate your employees while saving money on direct deposit fees and paper check overhead. However, you should be aware of the fees and conditions associated with payroll cards. You should also offer a payroll card that provides an online portal or mobile app.

There are several pros and cons of using payroll cards. However, the best option for your business depends on your workers, your company’s needs and the overall cost.

Matt D’Angelo contributed to the writing and research in this article.

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