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Year: 2020

Solving Annoying Desk Setup Issues Could Transform Your Productivity

That creaking chair or faulty mouse pad could be causing you more problems than you think. Working at a desk that doesn’t entirely cater to your requirements can soon become a massive drag on your productivity and even wreck your work quality. 

Now that we’re all working from home, our home desk setups have suddenly become a major focal point. We want to tailor them so that they’re just as conducive to hard work as a regular office desk. 

That, however, is easier said than done. Office managers have years of experience of what setups work and what doesn’t. But if you’re in your house, you don’t have one of these floating around, making minor adjustments here and there to keep you comfy. And that’s a problem. 

Here, we’re going to take a look at how you can solve some of your annoying home office desk issues and, thereby, transform your productivity. 

Get A Mousepad With A Support

Most mousepads are wholly flat and provide a smooth, low-friction surface for your mouse. 

The problem, however, is the angle at which we hold mice. Ideally, you need to keep the wrist as straight as you possibly can when grabbing the mouse to avoid any unnecessary bending on the wrist joint. But if you’re supporting it on a regular mouse mat, this can prove impossible (especially if your mouse is too small for your hand). 

Here’s a solution: get a mouse mat with a foam or jelly support for the wrist. It guarantees that the wrist joint will remain straight as you move the mouse around. 

Make Your Desk Slim-Line 

Unless you have a large monitor, it is unlikely that you need a particularly deep desk. Creating a slimline desk, therefore, with just enough space for your laptop, could help to declutter and supercharge your productivity levels. 

Swap Out Your Old Keyboard

Traditional keyboards are fine for playing the odd game or writing an email to a client. But they’re wholly inadequate if you plan on writing all day long for work. Eventually, you’ll strain your wrists or the small muscles in your forearms, leading to injury that puts you out of action for several weeks. 

Fortunately, most manufacturers make ergonomic keyboards specifically designed to reduce strain on the hands, arms, and wrists. They look slightly different from conventional keyboards, but they allow you to focus on the task at hand, instead of worrying about your arm health. 

Use A Rosemary-Scented Diffuser

You can actually make your home office more productive than your work using a rosemary diffuser.

You might think that rosemary is just a standard garden herb. But it turns out that it offers all sorts of benefits, including improving cognitive performance. Research indicates the rosemary may be able to increase your working memory, upping your output. 

If you have a diffuser, just buy some rosemary essential oil and mix in a few drops into the solution. Then allow the scents to waft up your nose, increasing performance. It’s weird, but it works. 

Essential Tips For Starting Photography

Photography might just be one of the most enjoyable pastimes possible. And the fact is most of us have a perfect little camera in our pockets, or in our bags at all times.

Many of us start taking photos first with our phone cameras.

But it doesn’t take much do you want to ditch the phone camera and move on to a DSLR.

The technical barriers for photography have been reduced dramatically in previous years. But there are still some essentials that every person who is learning photography has to start with.

Education

There are so many free online outlets that can give you detailed tips and tricks for photography. There are some loose rules; however, once you know them and you understand them, you’re free to break them in anywhere you choose. Once you learn the rules you have more creative control of how and where you bend and snap them. 

But don’t let these prevent you from picking up a camera. Learn as you go and experiment don’t be afraid.

Focus First then Frame

There is nothing worse than sitting at home and going through your photos only to find that they are blurry and unusable. Sometimes a blurry picture that’s not quite framed in the right way can be saved, but this may take some editing. Always aim to focus properly first, then expose, and then adjust the frame. 

However, if you work or enjoy more high-speed photography like sports, you’re going to have to be able to do this much quicker. You might often find that it happens more when you have extreme lights and darks in the same scene too.

Face

When you look at the photo of an animal or human, you are automatically drawn to the eyes. The eyes are a natural focal point, so while you are taking any portrait photography, at any aperture at all, make sure the focus is entirely on the eye. As long as the eyes are in focus, anybody who looks at the photo will believe that it was intended to be that way.

Editing

Editing is space that you can be very creative in. But many people forget to straighten and cross. It’s not always easy to try and crop directly through the camera viewfinder before you capture an image; however, you can do it later during editing.

Experiment

The joy of photography gives you much room for experimentation. From the lens that you use, and how you use it to wear and what do you photograph. Many people find that they enjoy using drones. So if that sounds like something to you, you can check out droneforbeginners.com more information. There are many editing software for photographs that can make something look extraordinary. 

However, there is a lot to be said about catching the photo that you first saw, and using editing to enhance it rather than drastically change it.

Eyes

More on eyes, many people close one eye while they are taking a photo through the rangefinder. Stop. When shooting portraits, you need to look with both of your eyes. Many people can feel quite at ease when you’re hiding behind a camera. And keeping both eyes open will let you monitor what truly is happening between you and the frame and the subject. 

Closing and focusing with one eye, as you know, can change where you perceive something is. Keep both eyes open.

Photograph Things You Love

It is easy to be inspired and get carried away by someone else’s photography style. However, that might not be for you. Try only to photograph things that you truly enjoy taking pictures off. This will keep you interested in photography for much longer and help you overcome learning obstacles. 
Take your time to understand all of the different possibilities that your camera has. Research the lenses, understand the Kelvin temperature chart, but no the most DSLRs have perfect auto functions that can help you learn and still take great photos.

How Today’s Technologies Are Changing Our Lives For The Better

We should always be thankful for the technological innovations that have shaped our lives for the better.  

If the ancient Mesopotamians hadn’t invented the wheel, we would probably still be riding around on horseback instead of driving the cars we benefit from today.

If Thomas Edison hasn’t invented the light bulb, we would still be wandering around with candle wax dripping onto our tired and weary fingers. 

And if John Logie Baird hadn’t birthed the idea of the television, we would all be at home looking out of our windows at the boring realities around us. 

Technology has done much for our lives, and while it’s not all good – too many people have lost their jobs to robots – we still have much to be thankful for. 

Technology has changed the face of education

Thanks to the internet, we can now research the information we need for our studies. Anybody can access courses of education because many colleges are now offering programs of study online. Students can use apps on their phone to help them cheat in exams…erm… help them to revise. And teachers are now able to create their own digital content to enhance the learning of the people who enter their classrooms. 

No longer are we forced to use stuffy textbooks, no longer are we forced to endure chalkboard methods of learning, and no longer are we forced to miss out on educational opportunities because we can’t leave our homes to go to college. 

Technology has changed the ways businesses work

Business owners’ lives have benefited so much from today’s technologies. They can research their nearest competitors after a quick Google search online. They can make light work of complicated business tasks through the easy to use apps downloaded onto their phones and other mobile devices. They can work from home thanks to the cloud technologies that are commonplace today. And through social media, they can quickly market their businesses to the masses. 

That’s not all, of course. Thanks to business intelligence software, all kinds of business types can gather the data needed to manage and enhance their work. Just check out the software solutions provided by PetroBase, for example, who support the oil and gas industries. Businesses can also analyze customer data to help them improve sales. And because it’s relatively easy to set up an e-Commerce website these days, anybody can start a business from home. 

These are just a few of the ways in which technology has shaped the way people can do business today. Just don’t mention the robots that have snaffled up the jobs of their employees!

Technology has changed the ways in which we communicate with others

In days gone by, we would have to wait an age to receive a reply from a person we had sent a letter or a telegram too. We would have to pay a fortune in postage costs too! Thankfully, those days have gone. Going beyond the humble telephone that has made all of our lives a lot easier, we have many other ways to communicate too.

Our smartphones allow for instant messaging, face-to-face phone calls, and easy payment transactions. The computers we use can offer the same, and they allow us to make calls for free with VOIP systems. We can use video conferencing tools to speak to more than one person at a time. And thanks to email, social media, and web chat technologies, we can easily get in touch with the people we need to speak to. No longer do we need to endure expensive phone bills. And no longer do we need to make that arduous task to the post office to buy a book of stamps!

Technology has changed the way we play games

Back in the bad old days, our parents would have sent us outside to play with a bat and a ball. We would have been forced to play board games with our families. And we would have to wait in line to get a go on the latest arcade machines down at the shopping mall. Thankfully, our lives have changed.

While we have nothing against sports and board games, we can now play games in new and revolutionary ways. Thanks to the boom in the video game market, we can now play games at home, and these days, most of them come with 4K technology, incredible graphical capabilities, and VR tech that sucks us right into the middle of incredible game worlds. We can also play online with our friends and exercise our bodies through those games that incorporate motion control, in defiance against those people who tell us video games are bad for us. And with the upcoming launch of the PS5 and the latest Xbox, things are only going to get better. 

Technology has made us healthier

While we have just advocated the joy of video games, they have made us a little less healthy. So have our TVs, our laptops, and the other devices we use at home to entertain us. When we’re sat on our sofas using such technologies, we are going to feel a little bit worse for wear. Still, it’s not all bad news. As we said, some video games are motion-controlled, so there is scope for exercise. And there are all kinds of technologies available today that can improve our physical lives. 

We are thinking of Fitbits and another such wearable tech, for example, that give us the incentive to exercise more. The calorie counting apps on our phones can give us cause to watch what we eat.  Heart rate monitors can alert us to any potential warning signs. Fitness apps can help us keep track of our workouts. And thanks to online workout videos, none of us can use the excuse that we can’t workout because its cold outside because we can all keep fit in our very own living rooms!

And let’s not forget the technologies that are changing the future of healthcare, because thanks to the advances that are being made, we all have a greater potential to live long and healthy lives.

Technology has improved the cleanliness of our homes

Love it or hate it (probably the latter), housework is a necessary evil, because with a cleaner and more hygienic home, the healthier you will be. Thankfully, there are now technologies available that can help you with your chores, and we aren’t just talking about your rickety old vacuum cleaner. 

Just take a look at these smart cleaning gadgets that are revolutionizing homes today. There are robots that will eat up your dust, clean the grime on your kitchen and bathroom floors, and make light work of the kitty litter that causes up a stink in your home. The linked article showcases other cleaning marvels too, including portable sanitizing wands and robotic washing machines that will make your life easier at home.

So, if you’re sick and tired of having to do the housework, fear not, as with the latest pieces of tech, you can sit back and put up your feet up. Sure, your cat might not appreciate the robot that is whizzing around the floor while she’s trying to take a nap, but at least you will have the opportunity to catch a little bit of extra shut-eye yourself. 

Finally

Technology is changing all the time, and by the time you get to the end of this article, we are sure something else will have been invented that will change your life for the better. Be thankful for what is around you then as, without it, you would still be sending telegrams, mopping your own floors, watching the paint dry on your ceiling, and playing endless games of Monopoly with your family!

Artificial Intelligence: What Is It & Does It Benefit Us?

Those of you with a keen eye on the tech world will know that artificial intelligence receives a lot of attention. It’s sometimes referred to in its abbreviated form as AI, but what is it? What does this type of technology allow us to accomplish? More to the point, does it benefit society?

What is Artificial Intelligence?

The simplest definition is that this branch or technology involves things that are capable of performing tasks on their own. This includes machines, software programs, etc. The idea is that AI technology automates tasks, but also that the technology learns from previous work. It’s also possible to communicate with smart AI machines and get them to do tasks by commanding them to do so. Unfortunately, the actual description of artificial intelligence is more complex. There’s not enough space to write about it in this article, but you can read this post that talks about the three different types of AI technology.

Does AI benefit us?

Again, I’ll lead with the short answer: yes!

The whole purpose of AI is to help human beings. Some people think it’s to replace them, but that’s not true. Most instances of artificial intelligence exist in ways we don’t realize. Take a look at the technology around your home – do you have any smart devices? A smartphone has AI inside it, as do things like Amazon Echo or Google Home. Loads of household items are being developed with AI technology to improve their functionality. The overall advantage is that it’s easier for you to do a range of different tasks. 

Furthermore, artificial intelligence is really coming to the fore in a commercial sense. Businesses rely on it more than ever before. You can find instances of AI in HR throughout so many organizations. By using smart technology, HR teams can streamline the recruitment process. AI can analyze large sets of data and fit job candidates into categories based on their applications. The same applies to many other areas of business as well. Marketing relies on artificial intelligence to help with things like real-time bidding on Google Adwords.

In a more physical sense, manufacturing companies have used smart machines with AI for years. They allow for more precise construction of equipment in factories. It gets rid of human error, speeding up productivity. 

Should you be worried about AI?

There are lots of concerns about artificial intelligence. Many of which stem from sci-fi films where sentient robots suddenly take over the world. Is this a possibility? Right now, it seems highly unlikely. It’s worth reading up on the benefits of risks of artificial intelligence, but there’s nothing to worry about right now. Your smart fridge isn’t going to break free and start attacking you. For now, it’s simply a new piece of technology that makes life easier. 

Hopefully, this answers the main questions you had on this topic. Personally, I think artificial intelligence is a groundbreaking technology with many useful applications. As long as the tech-heads in charge don’t try and create crazy sentient cyborgs, we should be okay!

Stand Out From The Crowd: A Guide For Software Developers

Since the digital era, there has been a rise in the number of software developers, and this is due to the growing demand for the service. Rollback ten years ago and there was far less in the market so the competition may not have felt so fierce. Today there are multiple developers all pitching out for the same jobs, so what can you do to make you stand out from the crowd?

Simplicity is always attractive. Writing clean code that is easy to read and reuse is essential to winning high-end jobs. You need to offer something effortless within your code: one purpose, one function. Make sure you name the variables and functions in a clean way, this means when you or a developer comes back to read it, everything is quick, and it’s easy to identify what it is meant to do. 

Understand your brief and then get to know it even better. While you may have the basic concept of your clients brief, you should get to know why they are building this application. Ask lots of questions about the business and get under the skin of what the company is. You need to understand the objective entirely, and this will ensure you can deliver precisely what the client needs. 

Offer the client more. Most software developers are required to make reports for the clients once the application is built; however, embedded reporting and allowing the business to do their own analytics could be a massive bonus over your competitors. It will enable them to tailor their reports around their needs. See how embedded ad hoc reporting tools work for your client, and you might find this gives you the edge. 

It doesn’t matter how much talent you have; you need to be disciplined in how you work. You might be able to create the most fantastic code and have better ideas than your competition but, if you aren’t disciplined in how you deliver it, then you could end up failing to meet deadlines or missing vital parts of the brief. Being dedicated will help you produce a much better end result. So when you take on new jobs, focus entirely on the task. Remember that quality is more important than speed, so always speak to your client if you think their project needs more time. 

There is a saying that suggests most people listen only to speak. However, when dealing with clients, you need to listen to hear. You should also listen more than you speak. While asking questions and ensuring you have all the information you need correctly, try to avoid taking over the room with all of your ideas. Listen first and then speak. Make sure you have digested everything that has been said to you. It can be really off-putting to a client if they think they are working with a developer that doesn’t listen. 

It isn’t hard to stand out from the crowd if you make sure your focus is on your client’s needs and delivering the very best products that fit the company brief.

What Is A Web Developer And What Do They Do?

A web developer is someone who programs the code that instructs a website on how to function. They will build a website from the bottom up, which means they are both technically and creatively minded. They will design a website in such a way that the user has no trouble navigating around the site. The website will not be that simple that it doesn’t appeal to its advanced users, but it will also not be that complicated that a beginner gets lost.

Web development is divided into three parts: 

Code that executes within a web browser and determines what a client or customer see’s when they land on a website also known as client-side scripting. 

Code that executes within a web server and controls the behind-the-scene mechanics of how a website works also known as server-side scripting. 

Database technology, that helps to keep a website running smoothly and efficiently. 

When there is a large scale project, you will find that each of these tasks is often split between different develops. 

What Does A Web Developer Do?

A web developer maintains and builds websites with the consumer and client in mind. This means that the end design must include services and products offered and show users exactly how they can access these. For example, a customer may want a form to capture an end user’s e-mail to request additional information, thank a customer for their business, ot provide them with offers and a newsletter. 

One type of developer may focus on the client-side (front-end development) while another may work on the back end of a site (back-end developer). However, you do also come across developers who choose to work with both and provide an all-round service. 

The work is most commonly project-focused and involves collaborating with a team of people who help coordinate the client’s needs and wants for the end product. The work may include regular meetings with various clients to discuss their requirements and needs for a website or how they can keep their website up-to-date and functioning. 

Web developers will typically construct the layout of a website, working to create a visually interesting home page and user-friendly design. They will sometimes also write content for the websites they create. Once a website is up and running, a developer will make sure the site is fully functional on all browsers, updating and testing as needed. 

A web developer will be very familiar with technology and understand exactly how a web server and computer operates. They’re also extremely familiar with several different software programs, web programming languages such as hypertext markup language (HTML), JavaScript (JS), Ruby on Rails, and C++, and web applications. They must be able to communicate effectively, meet deadlines, set goals. 

Types Of Web Developers

Back-End Developers – A back-end developer builds and maintains the technology needed to control the components which enable the user-facing side of a website to exist. Their back end code links to everything the front-end designer designs. 

Front-End Developers – A front-end developer is a web developer that designs and codes the front end of a website. While you may have heard of web design, which is the way a website looks, a front-end developer is how those designs actually gt implemented onto the website. 

Full Stack Developers – A Full stack developer will understand each and every part of the web development process and the best practices. These developers have an increasingly important role in the web development of the future/ This is because they are able to look at the ‘big picture’. They are knowledgeable and skilled with the server-side as well as the client side’s user experience. They are considered to be a great asset to anyone needing the services of a developer. 

JavaScript Developers – JavaScript (JS) one type of web programming language that is supported across all web browsers and tools. It’s the language that gives these developers the power and control to enhance, create, and modify websites. A JavaScript developer will generally work on the front-end development of a website, however,  the language itself isn’t limited ot front-end use. 

Are You Suited To Be A Web Developer?

A lot of people who work with web develops will say that they have a very distinct personality. They’re usually artistic people, meaning they are creative, sensitive, intuitive, articulate, and expressive. They are also nonconforming, innovative, original, and unstructured. However, some of them are also conservative and conscientious, conventional individuals. 

If this sounds like you, then a career in web development could be extremely rewarding. 

Where Do Web Developers Work? 

The world is your oyster when you’re a web developer, especially when it comes to where and when you work. They may work both full-time and part-time or a mix of the two. They could work in a technology department as part of a business or work on a self-employed basis at home. If a developer does choose to freelance, then travel may be involved as they can work from anywhere in the world. Some web developers choose to use their web development skills in a variety of different ways such as, as an Ethical Hacker or offer their skills to various different organizations at once. They may even act on a consultant basis to offer their skills and expertise in perfecting an existing website. 

Should I Become A Web Developer?

Here are some of the reasons that other web developers say you should consider entering the field of web development: 

Although there are a lot of skills that go into web development, you don’t actually need a degree. Many successful developers are self-taught and don’t hold any qualifications in the field. If you have knowledge of the relevant programming languages and experience managing a database, you can enter the field. Just bear in mind that some companies may prefer some evidence that you have these skills. 

If you love to be creative and solve problems that a web developing career could be perfect for you. You are able to use your creative juices and a technical mind to create excellent and exciting user experiences. 

When you become a web developer, you become part of a community. Maybe even more than in any other field. Yes, it can be competitive but the web development industry is also very supportive. There is several different online platforms where you can share thoughts, ideas and problems with other developers. It’s a great way to interact with like-minded people. 

The pay! The demand for developers by far surpasses the supply available. This means that employers will pay higher salaries to wor with the best talent. 

You have the freedom to work as a freelancer or as part of the business. Web development is one of few careers where you can pick and choose your projects and control your career. 

You can work remotely! This is becoming more and more sought after for any worker. A web developer has the choice to enjoy working from anywhere they choose and manage your own time. 

It’s future proof. Web technology is forever evolving, so the need for developers is always increasing in demand. 

You can see that a career in web development can be extremely fruitful, fulfilling and give you the freedom to work as and when you want. Although it can take some time to learn. Start with the basics or maybe consider a course. Are you interested in web development? What are you doing to get your career started? Please share your experiences in the comments below.