The Dark Side of Black Friday

The Dark Side of Black Friday

Black Friday, the day-after-Thanksgiving (or day-OF-Thanksgiving) shopping phenomenon is once again on the horizon this week. Scrambling for the BEST deals of the holiday shopping season, millions of Americans flock to shopping centers and retail stores, before the turkey has even started to digest. Why should we take a moment to rethink this cultural and marketing apparatus?

You are a consumer.

Take a moment to really absorb that label. A consumer, a person who consumes. That is what we all are in the eyes of marketing and sales. BILLIONS of dollars are spent, not only on research to pinpoint the best way to target consumers and most efficiently separate you from your money, but also how to lull you even further into the model of consumerism to make you a better consumer (thus target for future sales!) Think about a nest full of baby birds, mouths agape. Consumers. That is what marketers and retailers want you to be. Mouth agape, waiting and hungry for more. I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly find that model of consumerism to be an attractive one.. it goes hand in hand with:

The Cheapening.

America has always been a capitalist enterprise. There is nothing inherently wrong with a free market economy. The problem is rooted in the cheapening. Black Friday, and really, most modern selling in general, is in the constant grind to churn out MORE for LESS. To sell you MORE STUFF that costs LESS to make, requires MORE replacement and turnover to keep that wheel turning, and all of this is in order to be more competitive, both in the micro (product vs product) level and the macro (stock value vs stock value) level. I think we can all agree that most goods on the market today are not built to last. Take for instance my personal weakness, Apple Computers. When I go fork over $2999 for the latest MacBook Pro, even with Apple Care, I can only reasonably expect that investment to last the 3 years of warranty, plus a couple more years if I am lucky. In essence, I am only expecting a $3000 investment to last for 5 years, which is atrocious when you really think about it. How long can you reasonably expect that $299 Best Buy Black Friday deal that was cheaply constructed to be sold specifically on that day to last? Probably not very long. What are you willing to do for the privilege of dropping $300?

What is the cost?

Wait in line for hours? Climb over, shove through, press forward, shoulder to shoulder with hoards of your neighbors, to pledge your hard-earned money to the capitalistic ideal of a $300 laptop that market research and cheap labor has selected as the panacea to your technological woes? What about the hardworking Americans who are forced to leave (or skip-altogether) their own Thanksgiving gatherings in order to serve these hungry masses? What about your own Thanksgiving? Didn’t we all collectively give thanks, moments ago, for the bounty we already possess?

The modern ‘Black Friday’ is bad for business. and you.

The dark truth about Black Friday is that it is mostly bad. Small businesses can’t compete with the special deals offered by big-box stores, who purchase inventory at a cheap price specifically to sell to you on Black Friday. The economic engine of the United States relies on small and medium sized businesses. Small and medium sized businesses in the USA pay the highest taxes, and most of every dollar spent at a small business stays in your local economy. When you spend your money at the large, national retailers, your money mostly makes its way OUT of your local economy. When large retailers ‘cut costs’ to undercut the little guy, they do it by cutting quality, keeping wages low, cutting benefits, and so forth.

Think about this before you get caught up in the Black Friday frenzy this year. Those ‘good deals’ come at a cost. Are you willing to pay it?

Consider supporting your local small businesses this year on Small Business Saturday, and any other day of your choice 🙂

Jengas ♡

How To Use Adobe Illustrator On Your iPad Pro

How To Use Adobe Illustrator On Your iPad Pro

If you are anything like me, the advent of the iPad pro with Apple Pencil immediately started generating ideas of using Illustrator to draw BETTER, FASTER, SMARTER, and with GREATER EASE! Unfortunately for me, I found myself quickly back to square one once I realized that there was no full vector drawing app, and certainly no full featured Adobe Illustrator, available for the iPad. What. A. Bummer. I mean, there were some attempts made *cough*procreate..draw..etc*cough* but nothing that REALLY bridged the gap between what could have been and my initial ideas about the potential.

HOWEVER-> Thanks to the voodoo of sidecar in OSX Catalina, the previously impossible act of using actual Illustrator on the iPad Pro is now not only POSSIBLE, but EASY!

How to use Adobe Illustrator on the iPad Pro 2019
Custom WordPress Plugin Development and Customization

Custom WordPress Plugin Development and Customization

WordPress is a very useful platform when you want to build a website and add functionality, but do not have the time or background that it would take to build a custom website from scratch. There are also other benefits of using WordPress, including active, open source development community, frequent security updates, and plenty of 3rd party plugins, many of them free of cost, to add functionality to your website. You can even launch an e-commerce shop with minimal effort, no coding required, by installing WooCommerce on your WordPress site.

There are, however, times when the type of customization you want is just not possible with an out-of-the-box plugin. When WordPress otherwise suits your needs, and you need to add a functionality that doesn’t exist, or implement an existing plugin in a different way than it works, you need a custom WordPress plugin or WordPress plugin customization. So what is the difference?

Custom WordPress Plugin Design in Dayton OH

Jengas Digital Solutions specializes in building custom WordPress plugins to allow your WordPress website to perform in new and novel ways, depending on your needs. Some examples of custom WordPress plugins are:

  • Make your WooCommerce web store communicate with your web based point of sale system
  • Import content to your WordPress website from an external data feed and match to existing content
  • Create a form to capture leads and process the custom logic your business needs in the background
  • There are many more use cases in which a custom plugin will do the job you need better than stacking plugins that you only need a small piece of and slowing down your website.

Contact us today with any questions or ideas you have for a custom plugin and one of our experienced WordPress Experts will respond with a quote!

WordPress Plugin Customization in Dayton OH

Jengas digital solutions is Dayton’s WordPress plugin customization experts. Already have a plugin, but it stopped working? We can fix it for you, quickly and easily. One of the things that makes WordPress great, the frequent updates and ability to change themes at will, can also cause headaches if your previously working plugin suddenly stops working. Just this week, I repaired a custom WordPress plugin for a customer who had changed themes and who needed additional information to be processed by and passed through a custom form. Other times, you might find a plugin that does 80% of what you want, and we can customize that plugin to do the additional 20%.

Contact Jengas Digital Solutions for all your WordPress Plugin and Customization Projects!

 

Jengas Coin Blog

Jengas Coin Blog

Should I invest in cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies are now considered to be one of the best investment decisions.

These are some of the reasons:

  1. To increase net worth. The alarming value loss of most currencies makes many people consider a better way to hedge their money. As a result, they turn to cryptocurrencies as a better alternative.
  2. Technology. The technology behind cryptocurrencies is amazing. It offers you a currency that can be used regardless of where you live in the world, unless a government decided to take a hand on it, of course
  3. Track record. Ever since Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency ever created, was launched back in 2008, investors in the digital currencies have benefited immensely from the surge in prices of the currency over time. Therefore, investing in crypto assets offers you the chance to increase your financial situation over time.

What are the risks?

Some of the issues you might want to consider before investing:

  1. Bubble accusations. Some business experts believe that cryptocurrency is a bubble and will never pass the test of time. JP Morgan CEO is one of them, for instance. Traditional financial investors seem to think that since digital currencies are not backed by anything and have a high level of volatility, they cannot compete with fiat money and thus will never replace it.
  2. Volatility. This point is of a high concern. With big volatility jumps you may earn a lot of money but you can also lose a lot in an instant. Take a look at the Bitcoin price over the last three months as an example.
  3. Legal aspects. Not all the countries in the world have officially recognized the digital currency as a currency yet. So you may find it impossible to open a cryptocurrency wallet in some countries or to pay in digital currencies at a groceries store. Also, if you some of your income is in cryptocurrency you may face difficulties declaring taxes, as most of the governments have figured out what to do about it yet.

What cryptocurrency should I invest in?

Tricky question.

There are a lot of factors to consider before investing. Let’s take a look at the most crucial ones.

  1. Acceptability. Before you invest in a crypto asset, consider how many countries recognize and accept it as a legal means of exchange?
  2. Portability. A digital coin must be portable. You should be able to carry it easily from one place to another without much challenge.
  3. Security. It must also be secure. This is a characteristic of all legal currencies. From the USD to the Euro, security is a common quality. So, a good digital currency must also be secure.

Over the years, a lot of digital currencies have been launched with each promising to be the most valuable. Let’s take a look at the ones we cover most often:

  • Bitcoin. Bitcoin has proven to be the most valuable cryptocurrency to invest in. It offers high Return on Investment (ROI). Nevertheless, as mentioned before, it is not immune to volatility jumps.
  • Ethereum. Ethereum is the second largest digital currency by the market capitalization and by the current price.
  • Litecoin. Litecoin has been one of the most stable crypto currencies so far. In fact, it is often called “the main hedge asset of the crypto market”  among crypto traders, although it was affected by the news of the China ICO ban.
  • Ripple. Ripple is quickly climbing the ranks in terms of market cap. In less than two months, my 20 cent-per-ripple investment has grown to just north of $1 per coin. Ripple has done a great job of pitching their platform to companies with deep pockets, including Amex and others. Rumors of it’s very-near-future launch on Coinbase further fuels it’s growth.

There a lot of other potentially interesting cryptocoins to invest to. Do your own due diligence before deciding.

How to start investing in crypto assets?

Take the following steps:

  1. Decide what you want to invest in. The first step to take is to decide what cryptocurrencies to invest in. Since there are more than thousand of them, making a decision on which one to buy is crucial.
  2. Set aside some money for investment. Everything requires planning and goal setting. So, the second step to take is to decide how much you would like to invest in crypto assets either weekly or monthly. Keep aside the amount you wish to invest and watch out for the right time to invest it.
  3. Sign up for a cryptocurrency wallet. You’ll need a wallet address with which to request and receive the coins you will buy. There are different types of wallets such as Bitcoin wallet, Ethereum wallet, etc.
  4. Join an exchange. Now that you have signed up for a cryptocurrency wallet, you still have to join an exchange because this is where you will be trading. There are a lot of exchanges, like Bitfinex, Bittrex, Coinbase, etc. I personally recommend Coinbase for both it’s ease of use and stability.
  5. Purchase your cryptocoins. After creating an account at an exchange, it’s time to start buying. If you have no idea how to do this, get in touch with the support team and they will be glad to guide you.
  6. Move your coins to offline hardware storage. An offline hardware storage will help you store the coins off the internet servers where they are protected from hacking.

Please note that investing in crypto assets is risky. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.