Category Archives: Computer & Technology

The Way Google’s Material Design Surpassed iOS Design

Google is a type of search engine that gives the facility of browsing from various devices such as the laptop, mobile etc. Recently, Google developed material design so that it can unify the experienced users to use various Google platforms. The aim of this unification is to improve the overall technological experience of a user by making the interaction easier, simpler and more intuitive. Most people believe that the recent material design plan of Google surpassed iOS design. In the present writing, I will share my thoughts about this issue.

iOS design and Google’s material design:

iOS is a mobile operating system manufactured by Apple Inc. It develops an adaptive layout so that your design can work from multiple devices. Two years ago, it has changed its design manual and has made it simple and user-friendly. It allows its designers to focus on animations and function rather than intricate visual details. Here UI or your user interface should be stripped down to the core aesthetic. The present iOS apps ensure perceptible feedback in response to every user’s action. As a result, UX or user experience design of iOS develops and improves the quality of interaction between a user and all facets of the company. It’s UX design helps to enhance customer’s satisfaction and loyalty by improving the usability, ease of use, and pleasure provided by the interaction between the customer and the product.

On the other hand, recent Google’s material design also helps its users’ in various ways. The design of Google aims how Google can improve your life by making their technology smarter. It is said that the material design of Google surpassed iOS design in the sense that it provides more facilities and simple user-friendly attitude. It is not just a new UI rather a whole Google UX. The great features of this new design are-

• Great interaction with various technologies:

One of the main features of any material design is how it interacts with various technologies. The present material design of Google has a very seamless flow between interactions. For example: you are writing a very important article on your laptop but do not finish it and left it open. Don’t worry, you can continue this writing from your watches, mobile, tablet or other technological devices because of Google’s new material design.

• A seamless information flow between devices and smarter technology:

Another advantage of Google’s material design is its quick and seamless information flow between devices and technologies. As a user, you do not need to worry that your messages or files are synced to a device, or you do not need to be bombarded with work emails while you’re at home – and vice versa, pictures and text messages sent to you from last night won’t be popping up while you’re at work.

In short, Google’s material design aims to unite Google’s expansive product line under a rich set of design styles and principles. It exceeds the design of iOS in various levels. It helps its users to use technology in a very comfortable and homely way.

5 Common Problems With Fiber Optic Cables

Most fiber optic cables are designed professionally and are meant to work effectively for a long time. While this is the case it doesn’t mean that the units don’t develop problems. Just like any other units, the cables develop problems and it’s up to you to identify and fix them. To help you out here are some of the most common fiber optic fiber problems:

External damage

Common external damages are splits and scratches on the units. The units are highly sensitive; therefore, even the most minor damages have the ability to prevent effective transfer of signals. If you have noticed some defects on your units you should replace them as early as possible.

The optic cable is too long

Optic fibers come in different sizes and lengths and it’s up to you to choose the one that is ideal for your application. In some cases, people install units that are too long than needed. A cable that is too long is at the risk of winding around itself. A long unit is also at the risk of bending or twisting. These actions often result in permanent damage to the optic fibers and its components. To avoid installing the wrong size of cable you should take your time to use a measuring tape and measure the distance that you are looking to cover.

Improperly installed connectors

Connectors join two or more cables and play a vital role in determining the effectiveness of the optic cables. It’s common for some contractors to improperly install the cables resulting to cable problems. To fix the problems you should hire an experienced contractor to install the cables properly.

Stretching

It’s a mistake to have optic cables that are too long. It’s also a mistake to have cables that are too short as they are prone to stretching. As mentioned, the cables are very sensitive and even a minor damage can prevent the cables from working properly. To prevent the cables from stretching you should ensure that you install them at the right place. You should also avoid pulling the cable jacket during installation. The best way of going about it is using grips at the connectors.

Old age

Just like anything else under the sun fiber optic cables get old. Old cables are not only ineffective in their working, they also tend to develop problems every now and then. When your cables are old, the best way of fixing them is replacing them.

RFID in Libraries – How Does a RFID Solution for Library Work?

What does an RFID library solution consist of?

A typical RFID library management system consists of RFID tags, a label conversion station, a self-service machine, a cart inventory, a RFID security door and a 24-hours Outdoor Book Drop.

1. RFID library tags – the core of the system. A RFID library tag is equipped with a programmable chip and an antenna and it can be fixed inside the back cover of a book or directly onto a CD.

2. Label Conversion Station – it provides a quick, easy solution to binding library items with RFID tags.

3. Self Service Station- it works as a combined station which provides check-in and check-out service.

4. Inventory Cart- it is typically equipped with a large RFID antenna with excellent detection rates, making it easier for librarians to take inventory of the items.

5. RFID Security Door – it works as part of the detection system.

6. 24-hours Outdoor Book Drop – A device mounted on the facade of the library. It offers a great flexibility and convenience for patrons, because they can return library items even when the library is closed at night or on holidays.

Process flow of the Management System

Book Tagging: Past each the library items with a RFID tag. This book binding operation is done by the label conversion station.

Automatic Inventory and Positioning: Librarians use an inventory cart to identify items for shelving process and trace the position of an item. If they find the items are in wrong place and they can put them back to the right place. By wirelessly connecting to a PC or laptop, it can significantly improve the efficiency of inventory.

Automatic Identification: The system will automatically record the whole behavior when patrons borrow a book with their legitimate library card. From the moment they use the subsystem of resource management to find out the specific location of the books they need, take the books from the bookcase till they get the book checked out on the self-service machine.

Automatic Anti-Theft Detection: When the items get through the RFID security door, no matter they are entrained in clothes or in bags, the system will automatically find that and identify if the items are borrowed and automatically alarm when the items are taken out of the library illegally.

Benefits of the RFID library management system

For Libraries:

1) They can conduct stock management more effectively as RFID technology improves in accuracy and reading range.

2) They are released from repetitive labor, such as finding lost and missing items and identifying mis-shelved stock, and provide better patron services.

3) They can spend less time for circulation operations.

4) They can improve inventory management.

5) Less staff are required to manage them may be reduced due to more automated operations.

For Library Patrons

1) They can save a lot of time for waiting in long lines by using self-service station.

2) They can find what they are looking for quickly & easily.

3) They can return borrowed items in time with the help of reminders for due dates.

4) Flexible timings are available for them by using book drops & return chutes for returning library material.

Importance of Having Mobile Apps for Small Businesses

The world has gone Mobile. The number of smart phone users globally has grown exponentially over the past 5 years. The number of Android & iOS devices sold globally has crossed a billion mark each. Hence, it is no longer sufficient to have only a website for your business. Any business, small or large must have a mobile app. Let us look at some of the most important reasons why you should opt for a mobile app for your business:

1. Branding – A mobile application is the best way to create brand awareness for your business. You can use your logo, your business’s tag line or a message that you would like your customers to connect with your business to create a brand recall. Every time a customer who has downloaded your mobile apps sees your logo in the form of the mobile app icon on their screen, they will recall you.

2. Increased Reach – Because of the sheer penetration of mobile phones and other mobile devices like tablets and the improved Internet connectivity in most parts of the world, the number of people you can reach through a app has increased tremendously. It is easier for your existing as well as potential customers to find out the right information about your products or services through your mobile app.

3. Create Customer Database & Profile – It is easier to collect customer data in terms of phone number and email id through a mobile apps. You can also allow your app users to login via their social media accounts like Facebook or Google. This will give you access to other valuable data like their areas of interest, their lifestyle choice, their shopping preferences, etc. This data can then be used by your marketing team to send out the right communication.

4. Increased Engagement – By building the right features in your app you can utilize it as a powerful way to increase engagement with your existing and potential customers. You can include features like social sharing and a help desk (for sales and service queries) in the app to improve direct communication with your customers. This will in turn help your business to connect closely with your customers.

5. Push Notifications – This is one of the biggest advantages of having a mobile apps. You can ask your Mobile App Development Solution provider to integrate a push notification feature in your app which will help you with your on-the-go marketing. Through this feature, you can send bulk messages to all the app users or specific messages to a sub-set of your app users based on the message. You can also communicate about the latest offers or discounts you are offering to your customers regularly through push notifications. Best of all, it doesn’t cost you a penny to send out these messages, unlike SMS or Email marketing.

With the above advantages of having a for your business in mind, it is imperative to identify the right Mobile App Development Solutions provider for your business app. Solution Analysts has been helping small businesses globally with their Mobile App Development Services to create great which will add value to their businesses. To get a free quote for your Mobile Application or to know more about us, please visit our website today.

Breakthrough Battery Charging Technologies

Battery chargers are devices that feed electric currents into rechargeable batteries to renew their energy. Protocols for charging depend of the type of battery being used and its size. Some batteries are programmed to tolerate overcharging while being connected to a constant current source. Such kinds may need manual disconnection when the battery is recharged or they may cut-off at a fixed time through a timer. Those types that cannot withstand overcharging may have in-built voltage and temperature sensing circuits to cut off when fully charged.

Over the decades, smart phones and other devices have become technologically advanced with each passing year but power limitations are severely restrictive. The battery hasn’t witnessed the kind of advance that other devices have. But all that may be changing now.

It is only now that big technology companies such as those making electric vehicles are becoming aware of the limitations of lithium-ion batteries. The maximum recharge duration of the best Smartphone is limited to less than 60 hours while operating systems are becoming more and more power efficient. Universities around the world are making huge investments into a plethora of studies, research and discoveries. However, in spite of the many developments that have taken place especially in the last two decades, the ‘perfect replacement’ has not yet been achieved. Manufacturing techniques cost huge amounts and any additional changes come with huge costs.

But we may see huge changes as early as 2017 with superfast 30-second recharging and over-the-air charging likely to start trending.

Some of the path-breaking discoveries and technologies could be those that we are reading about already.

• Lithium-air breathing batteries – this mean oxygen is the oxidizer resulting in batteries costing nearly a fifth of the price and weighing a fifth less than lithium-ion making phones, cars and other devices last longer. Dallas University is still pursuing this discovery and it may take at least five years to come to market.

• Bioo plant charger – as the name suggests, this harnesses photosynthesis to charge a device. Already available in the market, the ‘plant pot’ reacts with organic matter and water using organic materials and generates enough power for charging devices. This is a huge step forward as it provides green energy and allows energy from forests to be harnessed; in addition, it can add up to a greener planet.

• Gold nanowire batteries – a thousand times thinner than human hair, this technology provides a breakthrough for future batteries that can withstand plenty of recharging and not die. Researchers at the University of California have used gold nanowires in a gel electrolyte that have withstood 200,000 recharges in three months and have not broken down at all.

• Magnesium batteries – a breakthrough in harnessing the mineral magnesium for batteries has been achieved by some scientists. This allows for smaller densely packed battery units that in the long run could make cheaper batteries not dependent on lithium-ion. However, this is still in the development stage.

Managed Print Services: It’s More Important Than You Think

Outsourcing the management of your company’s document output via Managed Print Services (MPS) offers a myriad of benefits. Most companies embark on an MPS solution to save money, reduce energy costs, and consolidate printer fleets. However, an MPS solution offers much more than that – It also enables you to increase workflow and boost productivity. Your return on investment is limited only by the limitations you put on your solution.

Here are a few ways to help MPS help you, maximizing its impact on your organization:

Start from the beginning. From day one, plan on using MPS to its fullest potential. Rather than following the learning curve, dive in head first. This way, you will avoid using MPS only for short-term savings. Instead, you’ll be better equipped to take advantage of infrastructure optimization, proactive management, and business optimization.

Set yourself free. You may not realize it right away, but maintaining a proactive MPS solution will free you and your employees from tedious work-allowing you to focus on more productive tasks. It will also free you from distractions (like when a printer goes down) and tracking inventory (such as when you need more toner). With MPS, it’s all taken care of for you. That way, your employees can focus on what’s actually important: your business.

Integrate everything. In order to truly eliminate inefficient processes, you’ll want to integrate your MPS system with existing business systems to enhance workflow, information management, and compliance. Integration allows you to truly measure your cost savings and track productivity improvements.

Be specific. When engaging with MPS, keep your specific needs in the back of your mind. This includes adopting solutions suited to your specific industry, such as education, law, medical, or finance. Intelligent multifunction devices can be equipped with industry-specific software that provides practical solutions for your unique business needs. Remember, there is more to MPS than copying, printing, and scanning. Make MPS work for you instead of the other way around.

Never stop improving. Process improvement is key to ensuring you attain the wide array of benefits MPS offers. Always be willing to adjust your MPS solution and your workflow in order to gain the most out of your system.

MPS is not a one size fits all solution nor is it a strategy for wholesale replacement of your current print fleet with new devices. The benefits of MPS are best realized when a professional MPS provider works with you to develop near-term and long-term goals to meet your specific needs. In that way you maximize the return on investment by optimizing business processes, boosting productivity and enhancing workflow.

Robots Win, You Lose

The job market remains ugly, regardless of the boasting from the president, the Fed and Wall Street’s talking heads. As we have explained on more than one occasion, we’ve replaced high-paying jobs in the manufacturing sector with low-paying jobs in the services and health care sectors. That is not how you build up a middle class that will support your economy.

Security in the job market doesn’t look like it’s going to improve anytime soon. A recent survey of 5,006 adults by the Pew Research Center revealed that more than half of American workers believes there will be less job security over the next 20 to 30 years. What’s more, technology is seen as a rising threat to jobs.

Approximately 71% of workers believe that employees will need to improve their skills more often in the future if they want to keep up with job-related developments, particularly as more robots are used in the workplace.

In fact, we’ve seen a significant rise over the past couple of years of the implementation of robots, starting with the fast-food industry. In California, Zume Pizza has replaced its human chefs with robots, cutting its labor costs in half.

Uber is using self-driving cars in parts of America, and there’s a push to start using self-driving trucks for long-distance deliveries. Forrester reports that robots could eliminate many positions in customer service, trucking and taxi service – about 6% of the U.S. job market.

And now robots are creeping into banking. Earlier this week, Royal Bank of Scotland announced that it will soon unveil Luvo – a “human” AI that can answer questions online and mimic human empathy. This robot will be able to serve customers 24 hours a day, reduce the workforce and cuts costs.

A Swedish bank plans to use the robot Amelia for customer services. And companies in China, Japan and Taiwan have already implemented Softbank’s Pepper robot.

Yes, we’ve had several technological revolutions over the centuries that have significantly changed the job market, forcing employees to either develop new skills or go jobless. But my concern is that technology is evolving faster now than ever before, and humans simply won’t be able to keep up with the changes.

We’re not creating enough high-paying jobs to support our middle class, and we’re replacing our low-paying jobs with robots.

Where does that leave us?

With a lot of people jobless and dependent on a system that’s already drowning in debt.

The American economy is already poised for collapse and won’t be able to survive many more direct hits. Putting more of the workforce out in the cold could definitely topple the entire system.

4 Myths About Fiber Optic Cables

While fiber optic cables have been around for a long time, most people don’t fully understand them. Due to this, there are plenty of myths surrounding them. Some of the most common myths include:

The optic fibers are expensive

Years ago, the fibers used to be expensive. They were more expensive than copper. This is no longer the case. Nowadays, due to the drop in the manufacturing costs and ease of terminations, fiber optics are now less expensive than most of the copper installations. In addition to the cables being cheap, they are also easy to maintain.

The cables are difficult to terminate

Just as the fiber cables were expensive a few years ago, they were also difficult to terminate. The cables were fragile, they required you to limit the amount of exposed glass, and the glass shards were dangerous thus you had to take great care of yourself. With advances in technology, this is no longer the case. Nowadays terminating the fibers with SSF is very easy. In fact, you can do it with just a little training.

The fiber optic is impossible to hack

Fiber optic cables are often used in computer connections. One of the most sensitive issues with computer connections is the ability of other people to get access to your information through hacking. The cables use light that stays within the cables which makes it difficult for hackers to access your data. While this is the case, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for hackers to access your information. All the hackers need to do is to have a network tap and a physical access to your cable. Due to this risk, you should take the safety of your computers seriously to prevent people from getting into your network. You should also encrypt any data that you want to be kept private.

Optic fiber infrastructure is different from that in copper

In most cases, fiber optics are compared to copper. Since they are competitors, many people feel that their infrastructure is different. This isn’t the case. Most of the parts and pieces of the two are similar. The wall boxes, patch cables, wall plates, and in-wall components are the same. The layout of the two networks is also similar.

Conclusion

If you didn’t know some inside details about optic cables now you know. For the units to give you ideal results you need to buy them from a reputable store.

What You Need To Know About Magnet Card Readers

Magnetic stripe readers or magnetic card readers are devices used in interpreting data found on the magnet stripe of a debit, credit or any other payment card that you might be using. The reader works by using magnets to scan code from different cards. To use the card reader you have to slide it through the slot. You can also hold the card near the reader.

There are many benefits that come with having the readers in your business. One of the benefits is that they save you time and effort. In the absence of the devices, you would have to manually put data into your computer but with the readers, in place you have to only slide the card into the reader and you are good to go. The card reader also increases efficiency as you are able to finish recording the financial information fast and continue working.

Types of magnetic readers

There are many types of these card readers that are ideal for different uses. There are those that are ideal for use in retail stores, restaurants, and other vending areas. These aid in processing debit, credit, and gift card payments. There are others that are effective in reading smartcards. These read information in both the smart chip and magnetic stripe. Regardless of the reader that you buy you should ensure that it’s of high quality.

Factors to consider when buying a magnetic reader

For you to buy the right unit you need to consider a number of factors that include:

Readability: The units are designed for high or standard volume use. The high volume readers come equipped with components that allow them to live for a long time. They are known for their longer reading channel which ensures that they are able to scan the details in a card on the first pass. In most cases, they are made from metal. Due to these features, they are usually expensive to purchase. The standard volume readers, on the other hand, are not of high quality like the high volume readers. Due to this, they often require an additional pass for them to read your card.

Interface: The readers have three main interface options: serial, USB, and PS/2 keyboard wedge. USB and PS/2 interfaces send information back to the computer as if it was typed on the keyboard. Card readers connected using serial interfaces often require special software in order to interpret data.

Internet of Things: More Than Just Protected Plumbing

The man looking over the water gauges couldn’t believe what he was seeing…

Just down the road, a few miles from his little control room, the giant tank holding Robinson Township’s municipal water supply was draining down… fast.

He looked at the clock. Midnight. The thermometer registered an icy 20 degrees. Somewhere out there, among the Pittsburgh suburbs’ 15 square miles of snow-covered neighborhoods and businesses, a water main was losing more than 3,000 gallons of water a minute.

He checked his dials again and did some quick calculations. The township’s storage tank held 1 million gallons of water. At this rate, all of it would be gone before dawn.

But exactly where was the water leaking? Where was the pipe break?

He had no idea.

The answer came five hours later.

A ruptured water main in the town’s commercial district drained off the majority of the township’s supply and left six inches of standing water on the floor of a neighboring Toys “R” Us (not to mention – with little available water for the day, it forced schools to close).

You read about this stuff all the time. For cities around the country, water main breaks are a fact of life.

Or are they?

This is where one of the investing mega trends – the Internet of Things (IoT) – has a rising impact.

IoT to the Rescue

What if you could place sensors in underground water mains, fire hydrants and elsewhere within a piping system, each transmitting bits of data to the town water department?

Put dozens or hundreds of those sensors together, spitting out minute-to-minute information on flow rates and water pressure, and the location of a million-gallon water main break in the middle of the night is no longer such a mystery.

Most breaks, however, aren’t so dramatic or obvious.

Think of a pinhole leak in an underground water main. It might seep a comparatively small amount of water – dozens or a few hundreds of gallons a day. But add up all those leaks in a network of pipes hundreds of miles long, and you’re talking about a lot of wasted H2O.

For instance, Philadelphia’s water department pumps 250 million gallons of water through its municipal system each day. Experts say about a quarter of the water never actually reaches the businesses and residences on the other end of its pipes. That’s 60 million gallons of water lost today. And tomorrow. And the day after that.

Until recently, good luck trying to find even a small portion of those leaks. It’s like trying to find a needle in a stack of needles.

Unless you have IoT.

Powering New Efficiencies

You can imagine how precious water is in a place such as Las Vegas. Well, the region’s water district recently installed Internet-connected sensors to the buried water mains running right down the center of the Las Vegas Strip.

The devices monitor the physical integrity of the pipe walls on a real-time basis. Such efforts have helped the water district identify more than 1,600 leaks in its system and saved nearly 300 million gallons of water.

That’s just one water system. Keep in mind, the United States has more than 150,000 city, county and regional water authorities. That’s a lot of water saved (and a lot of money too).

The Internet of Things is about more than just detecting leaks in water mains, of course. But it demonstrates in just one way the growing use of the IoT and why it’s such an investable mega trend.