‘Technology’ Category

  1. 5 Things App Designers Could Learn From Walt Disney

    April 2, 2015 by Radha

    Soo, as you know I’m a app developer myself I love to get new tips and tricks for it’s design. I found this awesome and inspiring article that may help you with your app designs.

    Among animation and film buffs, Walt Disney’s 12 Principles of Animation is rightly revered, but is that where their usefulness ends?Rebecca Ussai doesn’t think so. With the help of ex-Disney animator Glen Keane, the R/GA senior experience designer explains that UX designers have a lot to learn from Disney.

    Here are the five things Ussai says UI/UX designers can learn from Walt Disney, according to Ussai.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    • Feedback. To Ussai, good feedback in a UI corresponds to Disney’s principle of exaggeration by clearly demonstrating the result of a user’s interaction. In Beauty and the Beast, the titular Beast might drop his jaw and bulge his eyes when Belle refuses to go to dinner with him. Likewise, good UI feedback should be more pronounced than it would seemingly need to be, like the almost head-like shake the iOS password screen makes when you enter your pin wrong.

    • Feedforward, corresponding to Disney’s principle of anticipation. In a Disney cartoon, a diver might bounce a few times on the diving board and comically wiggle his butt before diving in, thus creating anticipation. Similarly, a good UI prepares users for what is about to happen. A good example can be found in Clear, an iOS list making app which allows users to create a new list entry by pulling down on the top of the screen. In Clear, you can see this new entry start to appear even before you’ve pulled the element halfway down.

    Stellar

    • Spatial awareness, corresponding to staging. In animation, staging creates the expectation that empty space will be filled. For example, if a character is standing far left with nothing to the right, you expect something to happen in the blank space. The same is true in apps. Ussai gives Calendar, an iOS calendar app, as an example of staging in UI done right: days in the app are positioned right next to each other, and when you change dates, the entire interface slides left and right, just as you’d expect them to.

    Pinterest

    • User focus, corresponding to Disney’s unwritten 13th principle of animation, clarity. The idea here is never to leave your users behind, by putting emphasis on whatever element is most important at a given moment. In a Disney cartoon, this might be accomplished by making the hammer Mickey suddenly pulls out nearly as big as he is; in UI, this can be accomplished as simply as in the Pinterest app, where contextual controls appear on screen the moment a user touches a pin.

    • Brand tone of voice, corresponding to Disney’s principle of appeal. An app’s UI should reflect the brand of the company that made it, not just looking but moving like you think that brand might move. Ussai points to Snapchat, with its whimsical ghosts playing in the app’s UI margins, or how the UI of Nike+ app feels almost like it runs as much as you do.

    www.Fastcodesign.com

    Article by :

    JOHN BROWNLEE


  2. How Technology Has Affected Wages for the Last 200 Years

    March 15, 2015 by Radha

    APR15_29_550779475

    Today’s great paradox is that we feel the impact of technology everywhere – in our cars, our phones, the supermarket, the doctor’s office – but not in our paychecks. We work differently, communicate with each other differently, create differently, and entertain ourselves differently, all thanks to new technology. Yet since the beginning of the personal computer revolution three decades ago, the median wage has remained stagnant.

    Over the last two hundred years, technological advancements have been responsible for a ten-fold increase in wages. But some people claim that technology has now turned against us, permanently eliminating middle class jobs and portending a future of widening economic inequality. The remedy, they say, lies in policies to redistribute wealth.

    But are we really at an historical turning point? No. In fact, the present is not so different than the past. Throughout history, major new technologies were initially accompanied by stagnant wages and rising inequality, too. This was true during the Industrial Revolution in the early nineteenth century and also during the wave of electrification that began at the end of the nineteenth century. However, after decades these patterns reversed; large numbers of ordinary workers eventually saw robust wage growth thanks to new technology.

    Of course, circumstances are different today. Information technology automates the work of white-collar jobs and the pace of change is faster. But the key challenge facing the workforce is the same as in the past. Both then and now, in order to implement major new technologies, large numbers of people had to learn new skills and knowledge. This learning turned out to be surprisingly slow and difficult, yet it was the key to higher wages. Today’s workforce must overcome a similar hurdle before it can benefit from new technology.

    Too often, when people think about technology, they only think about the initial invention. In the cartoon version, technology consists of inventions “designed by geniuses to be run by idiots.” Yet most major technologies develop over decades, as large numbers of people learn how to apply, adapt, and improve the initial invention. The initial power loom—one of the transformative technologies of the Industrial Revolution—automated weaving tasks, allowing a weaver to produce twice as much cloth per hour. But over the next century, weavers improved their skills and mechanics and managers made adaptations and improvements, generating a twenty-fold increase in output per hour. Most of the gains from this technology took a long time to realize, and involved the skills and knowledge of many people. Similarly slow progress was seen in steam engines, factory electrification, and petroleum refining. More recently, it took decades for computers to show up in the productivity statistics.

    Because skills were so important during the Industrial Revolution, employers sometimes went to great lengths to build an intelligent workforce that could learn on the job. Lowell, Massachusetts, was the Silicon Valley of its day, and the textile mills of Lowell recruited bright young women by offering them something like a college experience: the mill owners funded schools, lecture series, a library, and cultural events. One mill girl, Lucy Larcom, studied German and botany, and published poems in the mill girls’ literary magazine during the 1830s and 1840s; she came to the attention of John Greenleaf Whittier, who became her mentor.

    These measures by the mill owners might seem surprising because even today factory workers with little education are often considered “unskilled.” Although the early mill workers had little formal schooling, they learned skills on the job, skills that were critical to keeping the strange, new, expensive machines running efficiently. Their skills were narrow compared to those of traditional craftsmen, but valuable nonetheless. These skills eventually allowed factory weavers to earn far more than earlier artisan weavers; steel workers with narrow skills earned more than craft ironworkers with broad skills; typographers on the new Linotype machines earned more than the hand compositors they replaced. Moreover, employers paid these workers well at a time when unions had little power. Technical skills learned through experience allowed blue-collar workers with little education to enter the middle class.

    However, this process took a long time. Many workers could not teach themselves on the job. In the early textile mills, most left after just months on the job, finding the work too hard to learn or too disagreeable. Nor could these skills be learned in school. The technology was too uncertain, changing too rapidly for schools to keep up. The first textile schools were not established until after the Civil War. More important, workers’ incentives to learn the new skills were weak because the labor market was initially quite limited. During the 1830s, the textile mills mainly hired workers who had no prior experience. Experience acquired at one mill was not necessarily valuable at another because mills used different versions of the technology and organized work in different ways. But without a robust labor market, textile workers could not look forward to a long career at different workplaces and so they had little reason to invest in learning. After the Civil War, the market for skilled textile workers became very active. Only then did wages begin to grow vigorously. Weavers’ hourly pay in Lowell changed little between 1830 and 1860, but by 1910 it had tripled. It took decades for the training institutions, business models, and labor markets to emerge that unlocked the benefits of technology for ordinary workers.

    Of course, technology and skills were not the only factors that helped boost wages. Growing capital investments made the workers more productive, and growing opportunities for women workers helped increase their pay. Unions also played a role, especially during the 20th century. But consider the magnitude of these changes: studies have shown that unionized workers earn about 15% more than comparable nonunionized workers. That’s a meaningful difference, but it looks small compared to the weavers’ three-fold increase in wages. Ultimately, the biggest factor in that wage growth was technology, the productivity growth it unlocked, and the development of mature labor markets that valued the weavers’ skills.

    Thanks to these developments, generations of less educated manufacturing workers have been able to earn good pay. Now, however, automation and offshoring have eliminated many of those jobs for weavers and steelworkers and typographers; many of the old skills are obsolete. Nevertheless, new opportunities are emerging because technology creates jobs that demand new skills. However, the transition to new jobs is slow and difficult.

    For example, computer publishing replaced typographers with graphic designers. Yet today’s graphic designers face a challenge acquiring the latest skills, not unlike the challenge faced by antebellum textile workers. Standards, business models, and technology keep changing, requiring continuous learning. First designers had to learn desktop publishing, then web publishing, and now, with the growth of smartphones, mobile design. The most able designers are able to teach themselves, but the average designer cannot. Nor have the schools kept up; many still focusing on print design. The top ten percent of designers have seen their wages grow strongly along with their new skills, but the median designer wage has been stagnant for three decades.

    Since the 1980s, a similar gap has widened within many jobs. In occupations where the majority of workers use computers, the wages of the top ten percent have been growing, but median wages have seen little growth. Even among scientific, engineering, and computer occupations, the median wage has grown slowly, but those with specialized technical skills earn a growing bounty from technology. And the difficulty of acquiring the new skills affects employers as well. In survey after survey, over a third of managers report difficulty finding employees who have needed skills; business groups regularly decry the “skills gap.” In short, firms have plenty of demand for workers with critical technical skills, they are willing to pay high wages for workers who have them, but too few workers do.

    Thus the problem isn’t that technology has eliminated the need for mid-skill workers overall. New opportunities are there, but grasping them is difficult. Overcoming that obstacle will take time as well as policies that promote technical training, certify skills learned through experience, encourage employee mobility, and foster robust labor markets.

    Perhaps in the future, smart machines will drastically eliminate opportunities for mid-skill work, but that is not what is behind today’s stagnant wages. Technology has not turned against us; instead, technology challenges us to develop new capabilities. If we meet that challenge, then large numbers of ordinary people will benefit substantially from new technology, just as they have for the past two hundred years.

    By James Bessen

    Harvard Business Review


  3. FORBES: Grad Student Invents Flying Ambulance Drone To Deliver Emergency Shocks

    October 30, 2014 by Radha

    – Image from Daily Mail UK

    My words: Is this possible? A drone that “saves” people from dying rather than killing them? Yes, it is – today. Alec Momont, a grad student from Netherlands invented a super drone which is going to be saving many lives. Read on….

    Drones have been used to kill people in war zones and to spy on people. Now a sharp young  graduate student in the Netherlands has come up with an innovative new use for drones that could one day help save thousands of lives.

    The American Heart Association estimates that about 360,000 people in the US had a cardiac arrest last year. Less than 10% survived. One major reason for their grim fate is that first responders with defibrillators that can shock the heart back to life can’t get to them in time. An alternative is automatic external defibrillators (AEDs). These have been growing in popularity and can be effective but they will never be everywhere they’re needed. (CPR– cardiopulmonary resuscitation– is not as effective as defibrillation.)

    Alec Momont, an engineering grad student at the Delft University of Technology, figured he could bring an AED to the victim using a drone. For his master’s degree project he built a prototype of an ambulance drone containing a defibrillator, a camera, and a microphone and speakers. He says the drone can cut the average travel time from 10 minutes to 1 minute.

    The drone can be controlled by a paramedic in response to an emergency call. Using GPS the operator flies the drone to the scene at 60 mph. At the scene the operator, using the drone’s cameras and speakers, gives personalized instructions to people near the victim. The defibrillator itself operates automatically once it is placed on the victim’s chest.

    The Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad reports that interest in the device has already been expressed by Dutch emergency services and the Dutch Heart Foundation. Momont said the device  needs further technical development. Legal issues also need to be resolved. But he hopes the device, which could cost less than $20,000, might be available in five years. Momont envisions additional uses for his ambulance drones, including the delivery of oxygen masks to people caught in fires.

    YouTube video produced by TU Delft dramatically presents a fictional case of a daughter calling emergency services after her father has a cardiac arrest.

    “Let”s use drones for a good purpose, let’s use drones to save lives,” Momont states in the video.

    – Article from Forbes


  4. THE ENTREPRENEUR: 9 Apps That Make Certain Nobody Ever Again Loses Your Paper Business Card

    September 27, 2014 by Radha

    My words: It’s a problem. For me, my dad, my mum and many more people on planet earth. We go in a networking event or trade shows, we exchange our business cards, bring them home, keep them on the workstation and they get lost or we forget about them. But here’s the solution! Read this amazing article from The Entrepreneur.

    Business cards have long been a way to make a lasting impression on people while you network. But in today’s technology-focused world, paper business cards often end up in the bottom of a briefcase, only to be discarded a few months later. Whether you’re exchanging information at a networking event or with new clients, the information on a business card will be much more effective if each person can move it from the paper to his contacts. Here are a few apps that are emerging as alternatives to traditional business cards.

    1. vCards

    vCards are a way to easily get your contact information into someone else’s Outlook contacts. On your end, a little work is involved and Microsoft outlines the steps here. Once you’ve done the heavy lifting, however, the person on the other side is able to add your information with only one mouse click.vCardMaker automates the process of creating a vCard file.

    2. Evernote Hello

    Evernote has built a business card feature into its main app, but the Evernote Hello app is specifically designed to track your connections. You can enter a new contact’s information manually, scan the person’s business card for storage or use the Hello Connect feature to enter a group of people at once.

    3. EverContact

    Also from Evernote, EverContact analyzes email signatures for contact information and imports any updates to your address book or CRM. A Google Chrome extension is available that allows you to highlight contact information on the web or on sites like LinkedIn and save it to your Google contacts or CRM with one click.

    4. TwtBizCard

    Much of today’s professional networking is being done over Twitter instead of through email.TwtBizCard lets Twitter users send a traditional-looking business card by using the hashtag #twtBizCard. To start using the service, you have to link your Twitter account to the service and enter your contact information. When you send an @reply to someone on Twitter with that hashtag, the user will receive a link to view your business card.

    Related: Are Business Cards Still Relevant?

    5. CamCard

    Available for iPhone, Windows Phone, and Android devices, CamCard is free for personal users, with business plans starting at $5 per user per month. The app scans a business card using your phone’s camera and uploads it directly to the cloud, where it can be accessed from a device. You can also add notes to cards and tag contacts to more easily find them in searches.

    6. CardMunch

    CardMunch goes beyond optical character recognition, with real humans transcribing details from the cards you scan. Logos are cropped and text is proofed to ensure accuracy. The result is a mobile Rolodex that allows you to easily find the contact information you need. You can also easily connect with contacts on LinkedIn, directly from the app.

    7. ScanBizCards

    Like other business card scanning apps,ScanBizCards lets you scan a card via iOS or Android and automatically send it to the cloud. From there, you can access it from a device, add it to your address book, export it to a spreadsheet or send it to your CRM with one click. The cloud version of your scans is a kind of digital Rolodex, giving you contact information and photo thumbnails to let you find what you need.

    8. SnapDat

    When you create a business card in SnapDat, you then have the ability to share that card electronically with anyone else who has the app. The experience is designed to mimic the process of sharing a paper-based business card. If the other person doesn’t have SnapDat, you can still share your contact information. It will just present as a vCard to the other person.

    9. FullContact

    If you have an iOS or Android phone, FullContact will let you scan your business cards into more than 250 different apps, including Google Contacts and your iPhone address book. This app uses human transcribers to read the data on business cards. You get 10 business cards for free, after which you can purchase card storage in packs, starting with 50 cards for $9.99.

    Business cards may always be the easiest way to transfer contact information in person, but these apps offer an effective alternative in an electronic world. You’re networking will be more effective if you can get others to import your information to their address books, instead of handing them a card that can easily be lost or discarded.


  5. Google Glass Product Overview

    July 20, 2014 by Radha

    Google Glass is a project started by Google that is intended to bring hands-free display technology to the general public. By utilizing voice commands, users can interact with their Google Glass device to get information from their phones, participate in Google+ Hangouts or to get information from the internet. With a wireless data connection, Google Glass adds an augmented-reality overlay to whatever you’re looking at, automatically bringing up relevant information from various Google sources. This is still a prototype project, but Google hopes to bring it to consumers sometime in 2013.


  6. Google Analytics: How to Make Smart Marketing Decisions

    May 7, 2014 by Radha

    Google Analytics with Andy Crestodina


  7. Geoffrey Canada: Our failing schools. Enough is enough!

    March 21, 2014 by Radha

    What are your thoughts on this video? Leave a comment below.


  8. Apple wants to use your body to connect all your iDevices

    March 8, 2014 by Radha

    Apple’s got much bigger plans for security beyond Touch ID, a new patent has revealed, suggesting that Cupertino might one day use our biometric data to connect our devices.

    The patent application describes a system that uses biometric data to pair devices and allow them to communicate with each other.

    Being able to transfer data between devices using this shared biometric data, the patent explains, would make for a more secure process. Sending photos from your laptop to your iPhone, for example.

    Fingerprintin’ good

    That biometric data could be anything. Apple lists examples including fingerprint sensors, facial recognition, retina scanning and voice recognition.

    Apple also suggests that different security levels could be assigned to certain folders, the more secure ones requiring more than one type of biometric input.

    The patent, spotted by Apple Insider, was filed on August 31, 2012, but was only published by the USPTO this week. Since that original application, Apple has got the ball rolling with Touch ID on the iPhone 5S.

    But, how useful is Touch ID anyway?

    – News From Tech Gig

  9. Hackers can attack your PC even without internet

    February 10, 2014 by Radha

    One of the go-to strategies for securing a computer network when a machine is infected with malware is to remove that machine from the network. This effectively prevents the malware from spreading to other devices.
    The technique is called “air-gapping” – network admins are building a “roadblock” quite literally made out of air to stop malicious computer code from propagating throughout a network. With no cables connecting the affected machine to the rest of the network, malware has no “road” by which to travel.
    But air-gap malware has no need for a road. It travels through the air as sound waves to infect machines that it is physically near, no matter what network they may be a part of.
    What is it and how does it work?
    Air-gap malware is that which is able to jump the air-gap by “translating” malicious computer code into high-frequency sound, then transmitting that sound to infect nearby computers.
    Engin Kirda, professor at Northeastern University and a co-founder of Lastline, a company specializing in advanced malware, said, “Recently, researchers have started to show proof-of-concept implementations of how malware could leak data from an air-gapped machine using peripheral devices such as microphones and sound cards.”
    That’s right: sound as virus. Computer data can’t travel over the air in its raw form, but your computer’s sound card is more than enough to “broadcast” the malware as inaudible sound that interacts with other machines. It doesn’t care what network a computer is on.
    Kirda said that one can “think of it as a technique that is similar to how modems work and how machines communicate over phone lines.”
    The diagram below comes from a paper about air-gap malware by Michael Hanspach and Michael Goetz. Even if you remove a computer from a network, air-gap malware plays on the computers’ shared physical environment to spread itself.
    Where did it come from? There’s not a good answer to this question, but the idea that sound can leak or reveal information from a machine is not a new one. It doesn’t even have to be a modern computer. Research has shown that the sounds of a dot matrix printer can be used to reverse-engineer the content being printed.
    Teaching computer malware to play on this technique, however, is new.
    How worried should you be about air-gap malware?
    For being such an effective method of crippling computers, air-gap malware thankfully doesn’t pose much of a threat to casual computer users. Kirda said: “This is all not trivial…The attacker would probably have to be very sophisticated to be able to pull of something like this.”
    There’s not really a way to proactively protect yourself from air-gap malware, but that’s okay for now. The techniques that go into employing air-gap malware are complex and can only be orchestrated by a very skilled hacker.
    Put another way, this isn’t the type of malware you accidentally get from installing bum software. It’s the kind you get when someone is coming for your network specifically.
    – News From Tech Gig

  10. Tips For Women To Succeed In Tech Roles

    January 21, 2014 by Radha

    Tanuja Abburi, senior director-HR, NTT Data, highlights that it’s very disheartening to see the data around women in key roles in technology companies, considering the fact that it’s not very promising. She opines that even technology giants have hardly any women in their management teams. Loneliness is one key challenge that women techies face. “If you’re a woman who works in technology, chances are you’re often the only one in the room. I have heard women often talk about feeling singled out. Instead of celebrating the joy of cracking a problem, they often associate memories of the place with a feeling of isolation. They often feel left out; different or even find it hard to earn a seat on the table,” she claimed.

    According to Chandrasekar Krishnamurthy, vice president, Global Service, EMC India, the mid-career level seems to be a breaking-point moment when attrition spikes. Most of the challenges are similar to other industries and are related to achieving the right work-life balance, especially as they take on more responsibility at work and home. Challenges typical to tech/IT, especially in MNC, are:

    • They are required to interface with people in other geographies, which mean odd timings or travelling extensively. • Isolation: Lack of role models/mentors to learn and seek guidance from. In such cases, it takes a lot of self-motivation and drive for women to work on breaking the glass ceiling.

    How can organisations play their part?

    The organisations need to do three things to unlock the full potential of women professionals, according to Abburi. They are:

    • Bring more women into the workforce.• Create a sustained environment and culture to promote women into leadership positions. • Create structured interventions at critical career points such as, while joining an organisation, when they get married, they are expanding their family or during transition from mid-career to senior-career levels.

    It’s not as if organisations are not pro-actively involved in promoting women in tech roles. A number of tech organisations come up with several innovative initiatives to engage and motivate their women employees and they do recognise the potential of women techies. Krishnamurthy highlighted that EMC India Center of Excellence (COE) launched The Women’s Leadership Forum- India (WLF-India) chapter with the key objective of supporting career advancement and enhancing leadership skills of the women workforce at EMC India COE. It’s a platform that recognises and embraces the uniqueness of women to deliver high performance and also focuses on the overall empowerment and development of women employees through skill and career building programmes, networking events and mentoring opportunities. EMC has designed multiple initiatives that are driving today to encourage women in tech roles and some of them which have shown good results are: Women mentoring programme, incentivising women recruitment, crèches at work and policies that support safety of women at the workplace. “A separate leadership development programme called RISE is designed for high potential women. IT companies also allow for flexible work timings, which is a big help. They should look at how best to do this, while still encouraging women to excel and grow. Women should be considered equal contenders for new assignments, allowing for gender biases not to creep in,” he added.

    “I see lot of women give up easily. They always keep the second option open of giving up a job easily and doing something different – like painting or pottery. The biggest advice for women would be to take yourself seriously and the rest of the world will follow – including your organisation, your boss, your colleagues and family and children. Quitting and taking it easy is not even an option. Don’t give up! Stay put, be there – stick on long enough!” stated Abburi.

    Krishnamurthy laid down few career advices for women to succeed in tech roles:

    • Take opportunities that come to you; speak up and don’t hesitate.• Seek challenging roles which will make you more knowledgeable and independent. • Actively develop peer support at work and family support at home. • If you love your job, strive for the pinnacle in your chosen area. • Invest in creating the right support infrastructure for yourself based on your context and situation. Constantly prioritise and focus on the top/most impactful areas, rather than trying your hands on the entire task that you get.

    – News From Tech Gig