Who Needs Another Gadget?

We all do.  There’s gadgets for all walks of life; for school, exercise, work, recreation and most of all for our entertainment.  Depending on your specifics, there are some that can fit the bill for all of those, such as smartphones, and a great deal that accomplish very specific tasks.

To me, it’s getting to the point where you carry or wear many devices on a daily basis.  For example, a fitbit to count your steps, a smartphone to keep in communication and a tablet or laptop for work or school.  Whatever your needs, there are many gadgets out there to suit you.  I find that techcred.co.uk has everything in the way of useful gadgetry that you could possibly need.  Everything from smartphones and tablets, to TVs, gaming systems, laptops and cameras.

Some newer gadgets are really setting the bar high for technology as of late.  Wearables, such as smart watches and various fitness trackers are packed with a ton of options that give you a huge variety of electronic capabilities.  3D printers have been a fad for a while now, and are able to print everything from cars and replacement body limbs, to medications and even candy!

One of my personal favorite categories is in gaming.  Many improvements have been made this last year, with the Sony PSP being able to play games from a cloud, Nintendo giving the DSi true 3D technology, and my personal favorite, Valve’s new Steam Box, that will allow you to play all of your Steam games through any TV in your home, console style!  So many advances and strides in technology today that are giving individuals and companies alike the ideas to create many quality of life components for us to use on a daily basis.  Are these gadgets helping us with life, or leashing us to our technological masters?  You decide!

A look at the Technology that can help to Protect your Home in 2015

Protect your home

In the modern age, the concept of home security is far different than it was in previous generations. Whereas the level of security of homes and buildings was measured by the quality of alarms, windows and external doors, for example, there are now additional metrics that can be used to test the strength and fortitude of your property. In fact, by integrating modern and smart gadgets into your home, you can create a safe and secure space that is blessed with added value.

Whether you are looking to protect the residents who live within your home or simply want to boost the value of your property before listing it on the sell house fast market, here are some examples of technology that can assist you.

Video Monitoring Hardware

One of the most popular commercial security methods is video monitoring, and this type of technology has also become accessible on the domestic market in recent times. This enables home-owners to see exactly what is going on in and outside of their homes during times of absence, with products such as Oco providing discreet video monitoring that can be accessed through a smartphone. This provides real-time video streaming regardless of where you are in the world, and means that you can alert the authorities if you notice anything suspicious occurring at your property.

A Home Sensing System

This is one of the most understated and yet impactful examples of technology on the market, and one that can help you to manage your home regardless of where you are in the world. Thanks to innovations such as Wally Home, for example, it is possible to track water leaks, humidity and temperature through real-time alerts that notify you if anything extends beyond normal values. This can be invaluable during periods when you are away from the home, as the ability to identify potential issues as they happen and implement reactive measures can save you thousands of pounds over time.

The Video Ring Doorbell

While this may not sound like a security feature, this is a multipurpose product that can help you to achieve multiple goals. The Ring Video Doorbell is operated by home Wi-Fi, and it uses this connection to transmit the sound of a chime to a designated smartphone. It does far more than this alone; however, as it also uses an integrated, built-in video camera to create the impression that someone is at home when in fact the house is empty. Interestingly, there is also a motion alert feature included with the device, which enables you to see who is coming to the door or loitering outside of your home regardless of whether or not they have pressed the doorbell.

Papers with shorter titles get more citations, study suggests

research papers

They say never judge a book by its cover, but a new study suggests that you may be able to predict the popularity of a scientific paper from the length of its title. Brevity, it turns out, appears to earn a paper a little more attention.

The number of times other researchers cite a scientist’s work is often an important metric in hiring and workplace evaluations. So you could say that the title you choose in your paper helps determine your job success in the future as well.

Check out ScienceMag’s article with the details…

Is there money in eSports?

esports

What is esports?

Professional gaming, also known as esports refers to a rapidly growing industry of competitive video gaming. In tournaments and events around the world, players compete in a variety of video games, often for money, hardware/software or even just bragging rights.  A few of the games which dominate esports at the moment are Call of Duty, League of Legends, and Counterstrike (with many others, just as popular).  Some are one person vs. another while others are teamwork games.  The only requirement is that the game is competitive, someone has to win the game and progress through a competition.

How do you make money in esports?

Very simply it works like any other sport: sponsorship.  A majority of players are members of a squad or team. This includes players who compete in one vs. one games.  By being part of a team, it is easy for a player to get a sponsorship. These sponsors are normally part of the gaming genre, such as gaming hardware/software, energy snacks or drinks, etc. Their company logos are put on their jerseys, and are prominently featured while they stream and play their games.  Streaming is actually the biggest way players receive their sponsorships. Players can earn money by live-streaming their practice games, or simply having their own live-streamed show via websites like “Twitch”, and having their sponsors logos featured on screen. Donations from fans also form an important role.

Some players like to wager on the outcome of certain championships or other gaming events.  Just like regular sports betting, there are potential “sure things” and definite risks involved, as you are betting real money on these events.  My recommendation?  Check out popular esports betting tips to stay on your game, and make out with potential big bucks!

You don’t have to agree with that professional video gaming is a real sport. Just know that everyone in the esports community is working hard to allow people to continue to make a living from what they enjoy doing. In the end, that’s all that really matters.

Apocalypse Update: Robot Builds Other Robots

BBC has a post about robots learning to build other robots, uh oh!

Engineers have developed a robotic system that can evolve and improve its performance. A robot arm builds “babies” that get progressively better at moving without any human intervention.

The ultimate aim of the research project is to develop robots that adapt to their surroundings. The work by teams in Cambridge and Zurich has been published in the journal PLOS One.

Bridging Loans and Mortgages in the UK

16836464811_8e21da210e_z

This is an informational article to answer the question: What is a bridging loan?

A bridging loan is a type of short-term credit, normally given for a period of a few weeks to several years pending the arrangement of larger or longer-term financing.  It is a quick financial security against land or property, sought after for a variety of reasons; emergency cash flow, purchasing at auction, debt repayment, etc.  In the UK, bridging loans are a popular way of acquiring and securing property.  Bridging is becoming ever more competitive in stark contrast to more traditional forms of finance.  Here is a great place to find out more information on a bridging loan in the UK.  Plenty of great information and guides to help make your decisions easier to understand and smooth the process of meeting your financial needs.

Mortgages are mainly used for buying homes and property but are also used to secure businesses and assets too. Their interest rates tend to be lower than bridging loans but can still work out just as pricey because of how long the loan lasts. You’re also able to decide which type of mortgage that you want, which is something that you’re unable to do with a bridging loan.  A mortgage is designed to be a long term repayment plan, which can last for several years. While it is also somewhat based on your affordability, you have more liberty due to the length of the payment schedule. They’re also non-secured, meaning that you can get needed support if you’re suddenly unable to make back the full payments. This gives you another secure net against the unknown, and ensures that you’re able to deal with your finances in a way that ensures you’re still able to survive and don’t have to worry so much about it affecting your future credit.

Photo credit: Got Credit

New Generator Mocks Clickbait Craze

clickbait

If you’re anything like us, you’ve more than noticed the amount of clickbait which dominates our screens. From the properties we simply must take advantage of or be left totally in the past, to the 30 most WTF moments of 2015, riddled through the likes of Buzzfeed.

It’s becoming a web epidemic. A wepidemic if you will.  That’s what Buzzfeed would probably brand it. There’s no doubt it works, Buzzfeed has over 375 million visits every month after all, and you’ll even catch the likes of the BBC  publishing ‘Top 10s’ and ‘5 Things We Simply Must’.

But like anything, some people are tiring of this. And the people at Ladbrokes Bingo certainly seem to be some of those people. The likes of Facebook, Reddit, and The Daily Mail join Buzzfeed in the click-bait heavy, sensationalist, and pointless stories all to earn a few extra shares.

Ladbrokes’ Lingo Bingo generator has mocked this idea, and produced some headlines that wouldn’t look out of place on any of those sites. In fact, if Buzzfeed were to share it, it would probably be titled:

‘Ladbrokes Decided To Take A Swipe At Us And We Got Completely Owned.’

Because that is certainly the case. Fake headlines such as ‘Can We Guess The Day Your Last Haircut Was?’ and ’92 Times Your Nan Got Sunday Dinner Wrong’ would certainly fit right onto the Buzzfeed homepage, whilst it even gives users the chance to create their own.

lingo_bingo

The posts produced are so ridiculous and just as outlandish as their real titles, and is an excellent way to poke fun at their creators, which in some cases are fully deserved.

Not only does the Lingo Bingo generator take a stand at headlines, but also the world of Hollywood where we’re seeing more money-making sequels than ever before. At the moment we can’t move for Minions and superhero films are being rebooted seemingly every few years.

Batman vs Aquaman vs Spiderman is the next Tinsel Town blockbuster according to Lingo Bingo. After all, we’re already expecting the Batman vs Superman mash-up in March of next year.

It’s a fun little application to take a shot at the over-exaggerated titles of today, and you never know, share it on Facebook and you might just fool a few people into thinking they’re real too!

 

Star Trek: The Cruise

Star Trek the cruise

Book your reservations now and spend a week with the cast of Star Trek on a cruise together. The first official Star Trek cruise! Visit: http://startrekthecruise.com/ for all the details

Stars attending the cruise include William Shatner, Jonathan Frakes, and my favorite: Marina Sirtis!

The ship sets sail January 2017. It departs from Miami, visits Mexico, Bahamas, returns to Miami one week later.

Star Trek the cruise cast

Wearable technology: looking to the future

 wearable
CC by  David Hilowitz 

Wearable technology is nothing new – we’ve already seen Apple unveil its long-awaited Apple Watch and seen Katy Perry strut her stuff in an LED dress. But, what’s the future of wearable tech and is it here to stay?

While it’s clear that wearable technology has an appeal to the fashion and gadget-conscious among us, wearable tech has long being used within the health industry for more practical concerns. If you take hearing aids for example, it was once the case that devices were rather large and noticeable for the wearer. Nowadays, technology has advanced to a stage where hearing aids are much more inconspicuous in their design.

Audiology specialists like Hidden Hearing for example, offer hearing aids which are almost invisible and fit inside the contours of the ear. In the same way as we’ve seen mobile phones and mp3 players reduce in size over the years hearing aids have moved in a similar direction. As well as the more traditional in-ear designs, hearing aids are also available as necklaces and within the frames of glasses.

From an aesthetic point of view, clothing designers have been quick to explore new ways of incorporating technology in their designs. The LED dress Katy Perry wore in 2010 helped the trend to gain visibility and since then there have been countless celebrities who have jumped on the bandwagon. Remember the Jimmy Choo Zap flashing sandals worn by Fergie? Or how about Lady Gaga’s animatronic dress with moving wings?

There’s no doubt that such outlandish designs add to the stage presence of celebs, but is it a trend which is here to stay and how much does it appeal to the general public?

According to trend forecaster WGSN, the wearables market is here to stay but we should expect to see a change in direction in the coming years. There will be a move away from flashing lights and gimmickry and a move towards incorporating communication elements to serve a more practical purpose. For example, phones and cameras which are integrated into garments.

Surrey-based firm Intelligent Textiles has already begun to consider the more practical element of wearable tech by weaving electronic circuits into military uniforms. The idea is that soldiers will only need to carry a single power source rather than multiple batteries.

While the novelty element of wearable tech may be short-lived, once companies harness the idea of using wearable tech to solve genuine problems, it’s likely the market will continue to expand.

 

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.