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A moon is seen behind the construction site of China Zun in Beijing's central business area. VOA

BusinessThere are many different problems a merchant has to take care of every day when selling online such as orders, marketing, inventory, delivery, and other business commitments. For this reason, many merchants look towards technology for a helping hand. Magento was a useful, flexible and dominant e-commerce platform for small-to-medium sized businesses. But since last year alternatives to Magento enterprise such as Shopify became more famous for SMB (small-to-medium business) sized merchants, that for a good reason.

Current SMB cannot afford the high progress, hosting and executive costs of Magento platform. This makes Magento a practical and feasible platform for only large business owners and clients because they can afford the expenses. There has been a fascinating shift from Magento to Shopify over the years.

The Growth Of Shopify

Shopify is a hosted e-commerce platform that has been in the market since many years but recently gained popularity in the smaller merchant market among many other great alternatives to Magento enterprise, by developing and providing user-friendly, easy to navigate and manage online shop platforms. It might not be the most top-notch hosted e-commerce platform, but it has the essential power and facilities that help emerging small businesses to excel and grow in the market.

Shopify is no less and allows you to control and organize catalog, orders, products, and customers over many different Shopify stores using back-end web-based applications.

Shopify has put in a lot of effort and worked towards enhancing and developing its facilities, features and level of customizations over the past two years. The hard work has proved fruitful as it has gained the lion’s share of the smaller merchant market and has become a competition to Magento and sent Magento worrying for its market share of active online merchants.

Although there is still room for improvement, Shopify is undoubtedly on the list of the best alternatives to Magento enterprise because it takes care of hosting, performance and security for the merchant. So that the merchant can focus his energy and time on building and growing his business.

Shopify As a Competitor of Magento

The rise of different alternatives to Magento enterprise including Shopify didn’t go unnoticed and alarmed Magento that took immediate action and in April 2016 at the annual Magento Imagine Conference, Magento did the inauguration of a new hosted platform for enterprise-level merchants and clients.

The Magento platform is for large enterprises and businesses because it requires constant updating and customization to produce effective and efficient results and become a productive solution to the problem of merchants such as managing hosting. This continuous improvement and updating work can cost a lot making Magento an expensive choice.

Magento 1 was improved, and as a result, Magento 2 was launched which is significantly better, but there is still a need for improvement as it experiences continued bugs which affect its performance and productivity. Another problem for Magento 2 is that there are very few certified developers for it. But due to the importance of staying updated, relevant and secure in the market, transforming from Magento 1 to Magento 2 has become a necessity for merchants.

However, it is important to note that upgrading from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is not an easy and fast process. To migrate products customers and orders from Magento 1 to Magento 2, you will have to buy and download new applications and programs specially designed for Magneto 2.

During this process, some data from Magento 1 could be lost or deleted due to the incompatibility of the data with the new program. You will also have to recreate your theme and design all over again which can be a time demanding and tiring process.

There are greater hosting obligations for Magento 2 as compared to Magento 1.

Also, there are greater hosting obligations for Magento 2 as compared to Magento 1. All of the above-stated points add to the cost of managing your Magento Platform making it very expensive.

Shifting to Shopify

Due to the costs, problems, and difficulties in functioning an SMB (small-to-medium business) shop using Magento, there has been a significant rise in the number of Magento-to-Shopify migrations. And according to the statistics, these numbers aren’t falling anytime soon.

Shopify is a hosted platform that is patched and updated automatically without the need of employing developers; this makes it an excellent choice for burgeoning enterprises. Also features like theme design and incorporations are much easier to do using Shopify which reduces the cost.

There is no doubt that Magento is a superior platform when it comes to multi-store construction which is easy to manage with a single back-end. But Shopify is no less and allows you to control and organize catalog, orders, products, and customers over many different Shopify stores using back-end web-based applications.

Also Read: Hiring for Your Business? Get it Right First Time

Effective change

Change for some people is daunting and challenging but for some the experience of changing to a new platform and discovering it is refreshing and energizing. Especially when they understand and feel the enhanced usability of Shopify’s back-end interface.


Photo by Wikimedia Commons

An international team of astronomers has identified 366 new exoplanets

An international team of astronomers has identified 366 new exoplanets, using data from the NASA Kepler Space Telescope's K2 mission.

The findings, described in a paper published in the Astronomical Journal, showed a planetary system that comprises a star and at least two gas giant planets, each roughly the size of Saturn and located unusually close to one another.

The discovery is significant because it's rare to find gas giants -- like Saturn in the solar system -- as close to their host star as they were in this case.

The researchers cannot yet explain why it occurred there, but it makes the finding especially useful because it could help scientists form a more accurate understanding of the parameters for how planets and planetary systems develop.

"The discovery of each new world provides a unique glimpse into the physics that play a role in planet formation," said lead author Jon Zink, a UCLA postdoctoral scholar.

The findings could be a significant step toward helping astronomers understand which types of stars are most likely to have planets orbiting them and what that indicates about the building blocks needed for successful planet formation, acoording to the study.

"We need to look at a wide range of stars, not just ones like our sun, to understand that," Zink said.

The term "exoplanets" is used to describe planets outside of the solar system. The number of exoplanets that have been identified by astronomers numbers fewer than 5,000 in all, so the identification of hundreds of new ones is a significant advance.

Kepler's original mission came to an unexpected end in 2013 when a mechanical failure left the spacecraft unable to precisely point at the patch of sky it had been observing for years.

But astronomers repurposed the telescope for a new mission known as K2, whose objective is to identify exoplanets near distant stars. Data from K2 is helping scientists understand how stars' location in the galaxy influences what kind of planets are able to form around them. (IANS/JB)


In the Indian atomic energy sector, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)

By Venkatachari Jagannathan

Officials of the Indian space sector, both serving and retired, are of the view that the space sector's organisational structure is expected to mirror that of India's atomic energy sector.

They also said that senior officials of the Indian space agency should address the employees on what is happening in the sector and how it will pan out so that uncertainty and confusion are addressed.

In the Indian atomic energy sector, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) is at the top, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) is the sectoral regulator while the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), the Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (both power companies), the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd, the Electronics Corporation of India Ltd, and IREL (India) Ltd are public sector units (PSU).

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The Bhabha Atomic Energy Centre (BARC), Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) are the premier research and development (R&D) organizations and there are several DAE-aided organizations.

While the DAE is headed by a Secretary (normally from the R&D units) who is also the head of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), the R&D centres and PSUs are headed by different persons.

Similarly, the government that has started the space sector reforms seems to be replicating the atomic energy model, several officials told IANS.

"The Central government's moves in the space sector seems to replicate the atomic energy model," an official told IANS.

Currently, the Department of Space (DOS) is at the top and below that, comes the private sector space regulator Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe), the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) with various R&D-cum-production (rockets, satellites and others) units.

The sector has two PSUs - Antrix Corporation Ltd and NewSpace India Ltd.

Unlike the atomic energy sector, the Secretary of the DOS and Chairman of the Space Commission is also the Chairman of the ISRO.

As part of the space sector reform measures, the government has set up IN-SPACe as a regulator for the private sector players.

"Ultimately there will be only one sectoral regulator. There cannot be two regulators - one for the private sector and other for the public sector. Who will be the regulator if there is a company that is floated in public-private partnership," an official asked.

"It is good that there is a separate sectoral regulator outside of the DOS and the ISRO," an official said.

The recently-formed PSU NewSpace India has been mandated to build, own satellites, rockets and also provide space based services and transfer ISRO-developed technologies to others.

ISRO Chairman and Secretary DOS K.Sivan has been saying that ISRO will focus on high end research.

As a result, the positions of Secretary, DOS and Chairman, ISRO may not be held by the same person.

"Looking forward, there are possibilities of the government coming out with a voluntary retirement scheme for ISRO officials and merging its various production centres with NewSpace to synergise its operations," a former senior official of ISRO told IANS.

"But there is one issue in this proposition. For ISRO, the production centres are also its R&D centre. Both production and R&D are interwoven. One has to see how both will be separated to be housed under ISRO and NewSpace India."

Meanwhile, the minds of ISRO officials are filled with uncertainty and confusion about their future which is linked to that of their organization.

ISRO Staff Association General Secretary G.R.Pramod had told IANS that there is "uncertainty all around about the future of about 17,300 employees of ISRO".

"The ISRO top management that includes the Chairman and the Heads of various centres should come out openly and address the employee concerns at the earliest," an official added.

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The micro-blogging platform already covers explicit instances of abusive behaviour

Twitter has announced to ban sharing of private media, such as photos and videos, without permission from the individuals that are shown in those images.

The micro-blogging platform already covers explicit instances of abusive behaviour under its policies, the expansion of the policy will allow the platform to take action on media that is shared without any explicit abusive content, provided it's posted without the consent of the person depicted.

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"Sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person's privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm," Twitter said in a blog post late on Tuesday.

"The misuse of private media can affect everyone, but can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities. When we receive a report that a Tweet contains unauthorised private media, we will now take action in line with our range of enforcement options," the company informed.

Under the existing policy, publishing other people's private information, such as phone numbers, addresses, and IDs, is already not allowed on Twitter.

This includes threatening to expose private information or incentivising others to do so.

"There are growing concerns about the misuse of media and information that is not available elsewhere online as a tool to harass, intimidate, and reveal the identities of individuals," Twitter said.

When Twitter is notified by individuals depicted, or by an authorised representative, that they did not consent to having their private image or video shared, it removes it.

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