On Demand Everything – Get Xperts

hi def logo
First Uber made transportation an on demand service, then companies like AirBnb and Hotel Tonight made travel and housing an on demand service. Now you can get everything on demand from a dog sitter via DogVacay or your grocery shopping via Instacart.

But what about knowledge workers? Where do you go if you are stuck on a problem with Microsoft Excel or some other software program? Tech support is normally a dead end, but now a new company called Get Xperts is changing that.

GetXperts.com is offering experts on demand. They are starting with Microsoft Excel and Google Adwords and they plan to grow into all major software programs as well as Finance, Design, law and any other field that employs knowledge workers.

“Uber is a great company, but they are thinking too small” says founder and CEO Justin Baker. “The market for knowledge workers is more than 10 times bigger than the market for taxis and we are the only company going after it with the on demand solution.

You don’t need to sign up or create an account to get started. Just visit their site and call or email and they will see if they can solve your problems. If so you agree on a price and pay after receiving the service.

To cash out or not to cash out: The mechanics of online betting

Dice

by  Images_of_Money 

The mechanics of betting has changed in the modern era. Whilst punters may have previously visited their local bookmakers to place their wager, many opt to place bets online rather than attend the offline establishments. Convenience and accessibility has played a huge role in the swing to online betting, but so have the promotions and bonuses that can be found online. Most importantly, most online bets allow punters the opportunity to cash out their bet midway through, settling the bet and taking a portion of the potential winnings.

Cash out has become increasingly popular on accumulator style bets. Many punters choose to take the money on accumulators as the likelihood of each team holding on for the victory in a five, six or seven-fold can be slim. Accumulators allow players to win larger sums of money from smaller stakes but require every club included in the bet to win. For example, if a user backed four nations to win matches in international betting markets, then they would have the opportunity to cash out midway through the bet or to leave it to run its course.

Many people have trouble deciding whether to cash out or to let their bet run and potentially claim a higher portion of winnings. The cash out opportunity will present players with a mere fraction of the odds, however, customers must weigh up the potential risk of letting an accumulator run as well as the upside of winnings. For example, if you place a fourfold and three of those teams are winning 2-0 but the fourth team is 1-0 up but are playing with 10 men and they are under severe pressure, it may be wise to cash out and take a cut of the earnings. After all, some winnings is better than no winnings. Some people often take to social media pages, such as @FootyAccums, to ask advice and other fellow punters for their thoughts on what to do.

CEkr2rMW0AAXyqd
Ashley Tyler (@ash_tyler1991)

Furthermore, punters often decide to stagger kick-off times in accumulators. This is a decision that allows people more time to decide if they would like to cash out or ‘let it ride’. Some people still have their doubts about cashing out and many question whether it is worth the money. If you have risked a small stake, is it worth cashing out for a small profit or should you be more tempted to let it ride and risk earning bigger winnings? It’s certainly a difficult call.

The staggered times often help users to decide but that doesn’t necessarily mean they make the correct choice. For larger stakes, the temptation to cash out becomes greater as the cash out value is ultimately much higher. This season, plenty of punters will be celebrating profit throughout the upcoming football season and you can expect Ian Beale to appear all over social media as people boast about their success.

Google Maps Now Offers Dragon, Loch Ness Monster As Public Transportation Options

Huffington Post’s  just posted an interesting article on some quirky and fun update to Google Maps.

From the article:

Google Maps now provides people in Great Britain with real-time information about the best and quickest ways to get places — regardless of whether commuters choose to travel by train, tube, bus, boat, dragon or Loch Ness Monster.

Take the journey from Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, to the Welsh mountain range, Brecon Beacons. According to Google, it would either take you about 3 and a half hours to drive. Or 32 minutes by dragon. Just hop onto one of the mythical creatures at Snowdonia Dragon Station, and enjoy the ride

What is spread betting?

Spread betting is a form of betting which provides you with the chance to play a wide range of markets and offers the possibility of making sizeable profits. But it’s not something that you should just blithely wander into without doing your research and ensuring you have a decent bankroll to start with.

The spread betting markets that you can play will primarily fall into categories – financial and sport. Both of these markets will generally operate in the same way, it is usually just what you are betting on which will be different.

pic1-

CC by AndreasPoike 

Starting with the basics of spread betting, before looking at the different markets, you are essentially taking a view on whether something is going to rise or fall, or be higher or lower than a specified amount. The spread itself falls between two amounts set by the company you are spread betting with.

You must then decide whether the outcome is going to be lower than the smaller amount or higher than the larger amount on the spread. If you think it’s going to be lower, then you will be selling. If you think it’s going to be higher, then you will be buying.

What you must then do is work out how much you want your stake to be. Your stake will correspond to a one point rise or fall. So, if you place $1 as your stake, and you have taken a buy position on the number of corners in the Champions League final between Barcelona and Juventus, for example, and the figure rises by 10, then you will receive $10 profit. If it goes 10 points the other way against you, then you will lose $10.

 

pic2-

CC by Leandro.C 

This is perhaps one of the most important things to remember about spread betting – making sure you can cover your losses. Obviously, when you first place your spread bet, you don’t know with any certainty which way a market is going to go, so you don’t know how much you will win or lose.

You must be comfortable with the amount you’re prepared to lose as a volatile change in the market could see you quickly incur huge losses. One way to prevent this is by using stop or limit triggers. This allows you to specify an amount you are prepared to lose and, once this figure has been reached, a trigger will stop your bet there and then. Similarly, you can set an amount you want to make as a profit and the trigger will ensure the bet is closed once that figure is reached.

To further your spread betting education, there are lots of websites which can provide details on how to place spread bets with advice on how you should approach it.

By the time you’ve settled on your stake and how much money you either want to make or are prepared to lose, you’ve probably also decided what market to play.

If you go for the financial markets, then you must remember that you’re not actually buying or selling shares in the companies you are trading. You are simply trading on their price and as to whether it is going to go up or down.

You can trade on the price movements of certain equities, on indices such as the US30 and the UK100, commodities like coffee, metals like gold and also the currency markets.

If you are looking at the sports markets, then you can usually bet on most of the major sports, such as soccer, horse racing, golf and tennis.

pic3-

CC by nakashi 
Within these sports there are a range of different markets, such as how many goals will be scored in a soccer match, what the combined winning distances will be from a race meet or how many games will be played in a tennis match. So you can find a market on American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes, for example.

Over time you will work out which market suits you best, especially as you build up experience, knowledge and your own trading strategy. Spread betting is a form of betting which requires time to be spent on research and creating a plan, but once you’ve put in the groundwork, there are rewards to be discovered.

3 Great Services to Help You Test Your SMTP Server

When you are crafting an application which is supposed to send emails to customers, it is a good idea to test its email delivery functionality. Making sure that you are not sending messages to real email addresses is a bit cumbersome. But there is a great solution to this issue – fake SMTP servers. We’ve taken a look at three of them, and here’s what we’ve found:

DevNull SMTP

DevNull SMTP is a Java-based fake SMTP server. It helps you view the client-server communication and troubleshoot effectively if there is anything wrong with your application. These dummy emails don’t actually go anywhere, they are sent to the DevNull SMTP server, where you can view them, and then they get deleted. DevNull SMTP can run from your browser. Alternatively, you can download the application and run it using the command line.

MailCatcher

MailCatcher works in a similar way. It catches all the emails sent to its server and displays them in a web interface. The setup procedure is pretty straightforward – download the program, set it according to the instructions given at the service’s website, run MailCatcher and set its SMTP instead of the default SMTP server of your app. MailCatcher shows your messages as HTML, Plain Text and Source versions. You can also download the original message to view in your email client. MailCatcher is written very simply, so if there is something you’d like to change, you can easily dive in and do it. There are a number of other great features that make MailCatcher a great tool for your email testing purposes.

Mailtrap email server test

Mailtrap is a fantastic service. What really sets this tool apart from the competition is that email testing isn’t the only thing it can be used for. With Mailtrap you can see how your email will be displayed in all major web email clients, test it for spam and blacklist to make sure it lands in your clients’ inboxes, organize your test emails as you like or forward them to regular inboxes.

The setup process is incredibly fast and easy. You simply set Mailtrap as your app’s SMTP server, and that’s it. You can also use one of the following popular framework configs: Symfony, Django, Ruby on Rails, JBoss, Zend Framework, etc.

Mailtrap is available for free, but only if one inbox is enough for your email testing goals. More inboxes and some other features come with two paid subscription plans. The other two services we’ve talked about here are open-source, and therefore completely free to download and use, but they don’t have all the cool features that Mailtrap has to offer. However, if you run an open source or a non-profit project, you’ll be happy to know that one of Mailtrap’s subscription plans is also available for you free of charge.

United Airlines Rolls Out Bug Bounty Program

United Airlines

Earlier in the year, 10k frequent flier accounts were hacked, United is trying to make up for this by leveraging the expertise of the broader community of software engineers. To be clear, this program is not related to any of the third party customer facing web properties or apps.

From Info-Security Magazine:

In the wake of a high-profile frequent flier account hack, United Airlines has rolled out a bug bounty program, promising airline miles for vulnerabilities. A lot of miles too: up to 1 million for a remote code execution flaw.

United said that it’s looking for issues that affect the confidentiality, integrity and/or availability of customer or company information. The eligible list includes: Authentication bypass; bugs on customer-facing websites, the United app or third-party programs loaded by united.com or its other online properties; cross-site request forgery (CSRF) and cross-site scripting (XSS); potential for information disclosure; remote code execution; timing attacks that prove the existence of a private repository, user or reservation; and the ability to brute-force reservations, MileagePlus numbers, PINs or passwords.

 

40 Key Computer Science Concepts Explained In Layman’s Terms

computer science
CC by @matylda

Here’s another brilliant article hosted on Lifehack: 40 Key Computer Science Concepts Explained In Layman’s Terms

It was written by software developer Carl Cheo, founder of technology blog Carlcheo.com.

Read Carl’s fantastic article to find out how to explain to your parents and spouse all they need to know about algorithms and data structures, AI, computer architecture, concurrency, computer security, cryptography and software development methodologies.

Last of the ‘Navajo Code Talkers’ has died aged 93

Chester Nez

Chester Nez, the last surviving member of the ‘Original Navajo Code Talkers’ has died at the age of 93. He was a great man. Navajo, artist, writer, Marine, graduate of University of Kansas. He was one of the 29-member Navajo team that created a unique code language out of their own mother tongue. This new unbreakable code helped in defeating Japan on some very crucial fronts.

Rest in Peace Chester!

Read the full story at War History Online.

 

Planting A Billion Trees

biocarbonengineering

Ex NASA man wants to plant a billion trees every year…with drones. The drone start-up is will counter industrial scale deforestation using industrial scale reforestation.

Here’s a description of the technology they’re using:

We use emerging technologies to deliver precision planting and mapping to increase the uptake rates and the likelihood of healthy forest development.

There are a variety of tree-planting techniques, including planting by hand and delivering dry seeds by air. However, hand-planting is slow and expensive, and spreading dry seeds results in low uptake rates.

Our solution balances these two methods. First, by planting germinated seeds using precision agriculture techniques, we increase uptake rates. Second, our scalable, automated technology significantly reduces the manpower requirements and costs. Finally, our mapping UAVs will also provide invaluable intelligence on planting patterns, landscape design and appropriate timing.

Get The Tech Edge When You’re Betting

For anyone who places bets frequently, the best choice for where to get those bets is online. Not only do you cash in on free bets occasionally, but you’ll also find the best odds that are available. It’s convenient and you can bet as easily on your phone as on the PC, so wherever you are, you can get a bet on at a moment’s notice.

Betting exchanges such as Betfair make even more sense if you want to cut out the middle man, as there is no bookie, just a commission to pay on winning bets. Using an exchange also allows you to take a contrarian position and make a profit when there are lots of sentimental bets backing England to win the next international football match, or hopes are high (unrealistically so) for England’s chances in the upcoming Rugby World Cup, for example.

clip_image001
CC by Unofficial England Rugby

But there is a way to improve your profit margins even further, and that’s through the use of the betting apps that have been designed work in tandem, such as BBS Schedule or MarketFeederPro which can scan the market for the best margins. There are lots of different apps available, and they all facilitate your betting system through a number of different features, such as one-click betting, charting, ladder trading and fast price refreshes.

clip_image004
CC   by stacey.cavanagh

Some apps also feature a triggered betting function. Using the function of triggered betting you can save both money and time as you have much greater control over the staking plans and systems you’re employing. At a superficial level, triggered betting means you can set a stake limit, meaning that your stake remains the same whichever sports market you’re betting on. Similarly, you can set the app to only back or only lay outcomes in particular markets. Another way you can set triggered betting is to always back the favourite, regardless of which sport, or set it so that bets are only triggered when a selection falls into a certain range. Triggered betting reacts more quickly than you would be able to when there is a sudden market change. This is often particularly relevant in a big horse race, such as The Grand National or the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

If you’re interested in moving your betting up a few gears, then a small investment in a betting app subscription could be really helpful. There are plenty of tutorials on how to get the most out of a betting app, and many have simulation mode so that you can test out different systems or triggered betting plans without risking real cash. Then, whenever you’re ready, you can switch to placing real money bets and, hopefully, watch your profits soar.

Five Hottest Mobile Startups to Watch In 2015

Not all of the mobile startups launched last year were warmly met by users. Of course, developers will not stop experimenting and presenting new applications. So, there is no doubt that 2015 will explode with new inventions.

Here are 5 mobile startups to watch in 2015.

Slack

This startup will be interesting for enterprises looking for an innovative communication and messaging app. Slack allows workspaces sharing files, sending private messages and using group chat rooms. This communication app has quickly gained recognition in the business world and is already used by many big and small enterprises. In fact, this is one of the fastest developing enterprise applications ever created. There is no doubt that the demand for Slack will grow this year.

The startup has raised $180 million in funding. Among its world-famous investors are: Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins.

Wish

This is a real catch for shopaholics. This mobile shopping application is somewhat similar to Pinterest. The app exhibits items you wish buying. The startup founders are pretty sure in their success and hope their pet project will raise 100 million dollars and will later be evaluated in 1 billion dollars.

For the moment, Wish was funded $78.7 million by Jared Leto, GGV Capital and Legend Capital.

Headspace

Many enterprises across Silicon Valley are obsessed with meditation nowadays. They believe, meditation is the best method of helping employees boost their productivity. Headspace founders decided to snatch good money on this trend and created an application that allows users meditating on their own time. More than one million users in over 150 countries are already meditating with Headspace.

Funding capital of the meditation app is equal to 4 million dollars. The names of investors are kept under wraps.

Instacart

Want to buy groceries and have them delivered to your door, without leaving the comfort of home? This is not a dream, as with Instacart you can purchase groceries online or from your mobile phone.

Instacart has a decent funding capital – $154.8 million. The main startup investors are Sam Altman, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Khosla Ventures, Aaron Levie.

Yik Yak

This gossip applications with a fancy name has taken college and high school students by storm. Yik Yak allows posting anything you want absolutely anonymously. Being a location-based app, it enables watching information posted by the nearby people only. To stop the spreading of rumours, some schools have blocked Yik Yak.

The app has raised $73.5 million in funding.

If you have your own startup idea in mind, however you do not know how to put it to life, Lezgro team is ready to help you. This is a company with an excellent experience of custom software and application development. High-end web and mobile applications created by Lezgro are highly prized by their customers across the world.

LINEAR ACTUATORS IN ROBOT’S MOTION

Linear Actuators in Robot’s Motion   

Introduction

A robot motion can be controlled by Linear Actuators (for example www.progressiveautomations.com/track-linear-actuator). A linear actuator is an electric device that used in converting the revolving motion of a DC motor into linear movements. Linear movements refer to the pull and push movements that make it possible to lift, push, tilt or pull objects simply by using a remote. Linear actuators are useful in robotic applications to help them in performing such movements.

Methods

There are multifaceted methods of using linear actuator to perform robotic motions. However, a simple method requires an external source of power popularly a DC motor which is attached with a gearbox. One can use an external control box such as PLC where one plugs in the actuator’s plug into a control box. If one does not wish to use a control box they can cut the plug and stick the two wires into a battery or switch.

Requirements

The general tools required include an aluminum sheet, a driller, fasteners, and two sets of small wheels. The aluminum sheet is used to install the motor to the robot’s body by drilling two holes into the bottom right and top left of the aluminum sheet. The fasteners on the other hand are used to install the motor onto the robot by drilling two holes into the motor’s installation panel.

Linear actuator1

How It Works

The first step involves connecting the servo motor controller to the Direct Current motor and connecting the servo motor controller to the micro controller. This ensures that power is supplied to the actuator and the robot. The servo ensures the correct voltage is supplied to the linear actuator while the micro controller also helps on determining the amount of power needed to run the robot and the actuator. The wheels are then installed on the robot to provide motion to the robot. The wheels are attached to the robot and the motor by drilling holes on them and fastening them properly onto the devices using the fasteners. After the motor is turned on, the amount of power required to run the application should be adjusted. The control boxes and remote controls allow a person to control the movement of the linear actuator.

Linear actuator2

New Machine Learning Course on Coursera

machine learning

Coursera has just opened a new version  of the course “Machine Learning” in the on demand format.

Machine learning is the science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed. In the past decade, machine learning has given us self-driving cars, practical speech recognition, effective web search, and a vastly improved understanding of the human genome. Machine learning is so pervasive today that you probably use it dozens of times a day without knowing it. Many researchers also think it is the best way to make progress towards human-level AI. In this class, you will learn about the most effective machine learning techniques, and gain practice implementing them and getting them to work for yourself.

The on demand format allows you to work through the materials at your own pace. All materials are available at any time, and there are no deadlines for exercises or assignments.