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News

Digital Nomads or Location Independents – Which is Which?

There’s been a debate between the digital nomad lifestyle and the location independent lifestyle.

For the past several years, the term “digital nomad” are used by freelancers more often. It feels like these freelancers are proud of themselves when someone calls them like that. It’s much more cooler than calling ourselves as location independents.

If we think that digital nomads and location independents are pretty much the same thing, think again. There’s a girl named Leah from The Sweetest Way blog explaining that she quits digital nomadism to become a location independent, and why they’re not the same thing.

At the end of the day, it’s all about how you survive as a digital nomad or a location independent. No matter which one you’re going to choose, make sure you’re serious and passionate in pursuing any of these paths.

One of the downsides of both freelance professions is sustainability. There are digital nomads or location independents who are having plans to sell Macbook, Windows laptops and other gadgets just to survive because of limited resources. As a result, some of them would have to find a full-time job on top of their nomadic lifestyle. Others would find ways by looking for multiple gigs to sustain themselves.

Anyways, what’s the difference between the digital nomads and location independents?

Digital Nomads or Location Independents – Which is Which?
Digital Nomads or Location Independents: There’s been a debate between the digital nomad lifestyle and the location independent lifestyle.

Digital nomads

When it comes to digital nomads, I could say that they’re called as “traveling sales guys or gals”. They treated anywhere as their “office hubs” like coffee shops, vacation hotspots, or even riding in a cruise just to finish your deadlines or stuff. Digital nomads never stayed in their respective homes to work with their laptops. They would love to go anywhere they want to work with their own tasks.

 

I have seen some digital nomads who utilize social media to build their brand, and they were successful in it. Social media sites like Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and others are the ones that they’re utilizing to build themselves. However, there’s a downside when it comes to digital nomadism. If a type of work requires a stable and fast internet connection, you should look for a place where they can give you Wi-Fi access. It would be useless for you to work offline if it requires connection.

Just like the future of virtual assistants, the digital nomads have a future of the unknown. You know why? There’s no such thing that you are paid full-time as a digital nomad. This is a profession where you can do it on your own “free will”, which also depends on the terms of your client.

Location independents

As for this kind of profession, it focuses more on being home-based in a different location than running and finding coffee shops to turn on your laptop and work. There are some digital nomads who are making the switch to location independents due to its sustainability.

The real difference of this profession is that you get to work at home instead of on the road. Working at home (especially if you have children or dogs) is much more fantastic. Not only you can work at your own pace (for parents and dog owners), but you have plenty of time to spend a lot of time with them.

Living the location independent lifestyle is something that most freelancers are looking forward to become sustainable in the long run. Of course, working on the road is cool, but it can’t give you a life. Just like digital nomads, location independents should fine-tune their skills and test the waters before they could finally sustain themselves. However, the decision to become location independent is tough when your gigs are not stable to cover your expenses. Make sure that you keep your options open when it comes to promising opportunities that could give you a better life as a location independent.

Which is which?

To be honest, becoming a digital nomad or a location independent is entirely up to you. Both of them are great in terms of working at your own pace. Not only that, you don’t need to have a boss yelling or screaming at you. They’re quite better than sitting in a cubicle for eight hours a day. The best thing for you to determine which one is the best by just testing the waters for both of them. You’ll just find out if digital nomadism or location independence fits you most.

About the author

 

Jeff Caceres is a digital nomad and location independent for almost 10 years. He is passionate to travel around the world and work at the same time. He’s also passionate in getting updated to the latest technology news and updates around the world.

 

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News

What is a PCB? Its function and what’s it made of?

PCB is an abbreviation for printed circuit boards, and if you are in the profession of working closely with developing electronic products, you are probably familiar with what it is. However, for those that are just starting to learn more about designing printed circuit boards with the help of PCB design software, it is imperative that they first understand what it is and the purposes it serves in a product.

PCB - anatomy

PCB – what exactly is it?

The PCB is that green board of circuits which exists inside almost every modern electronic product out there. By its definition, it is a module of electronic connections on which components of an electronic product are mounted.

What is PCB Made of?

Printed circuits boards are usually made with a base material of FR4-grade fiberglass, which provides the board with the necessary rigidity and thickness. However, some manufacturers choose to use epoxies or phenolics for making PCBs, because in spite of being of inferior standard and having a low thermal decomposition temperature, they cost a lot less. Certain products may require the use of flexible boards, so in that case, the manufacturing usually involves Kapton or some other flexible form of high-temperature plastic.

What is its Function?

Although it mostly replaced the complex and tedious process of point-to-point wiring, PCBs still pretty much do the same thing that their predecessors did; which is supplying electrical power to every component inside a product. Of course, it’s much more complex than it sounds, but that’s what it basically does.

Layers of a PCB

Every PCB must have at least two or more laminated layers, with the number ranging generally from 4 to 12. At the most rudimentary level, a two-layered PCB has one dedicated layer for power and the other for ground with insulation in-between.

Single-Sided and Double-Sided Boards

Just as their respective names suggest, PCBs can either be single-sided or double-sided, depending on the number of components used on the board. Double-sided boards are used when there are way too many components to put everything on one side.

Methods of Mounting Components

Primarily, mounting on a printed circuit board is accomplished via one of two methods; through-hole method and surface-mount method.

Through-Hole Method – The older method involves soldering the individual wires of each component to the board from the opposite side. As the wires enter through small holes on the board, the name “through-hole” came into being.

Surface-Mount Method – This is what everybody does now as its cheaper and no less effective in most cases. J or L shaped legs are used on each of the components on the board and they are placed directly on dabs of solder paste. Then the entire board is heated to a temperature that’s enough to melt the paste which ensures that all the components are fixed in their respective places.

Before it goes to manufacturing however, a PCB must be designed in a way to suit the requirements of the product in question and that’s where Altium.com and its set of powerful designing and testing tools for PCBs come in. You must practice, test, debug and perfect your PCB multiple times before sending it to manufacture, and a PCB designing software lets you do all that from your PC and much more. The fact that Altium libraries also include a huge number of schematic symbols and PCB landing patterns, make it even more suitable for beginners and experts alike.

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Designs & Invention Gizmos

5 Unbelievable Recent Inventions of Automotive Technology

When it comes to innovation, there’s nowhere more creative than the automotive industry. For years, automotive companies have been redefining the driving experience and exceeding customer expectations. Today, consumers expect vehicles that provide quality, safety and longevity.

Thus far, manufacturers have done a great job at building the automotive experience into a more integrated ride. In recent years, the foundations of the inbound autonomous revolution have already been laid. Below we take a look at five unbelievable innovations automakers have treated us with within recent years.

Google Driverless Car

Many drivers don’t realise that driverless cars are already here, with companies like Google running test drives on near fully autonomous vehicles. Since December 2014, Google have been testing their vehicles on public roads to improve their standard of service. As the road time adds up, automakers will be able to identify areas for improvement that will define the driverless cars of the future.

The latest models have made use of headlights, steering and brakes to ensure a safer drive. In addition, in the past Google has deployed their own self-driving system, which can be fitted into other brands SUVs. These small steps are paving the way to the fully autonomous cars of the future.

The Electric Car (Tesla Model S)

When it comes to automotive innovation, it’s impossible to understate the importance of the creation of the electric car. Since Tesla established the Model S, automakers have been on a mission to mass-produce sustainable electric cars. Right now, the Model S ranges from $70,000 to $100,000 but Tesla are working towards creating more affordable vehicles.

The future of electric cars looks promising with major cities around the world developing legions of electric car charging points so that electric owners can recharge during their daily commutes. The electric car provides a solution to the fossil fuel crisis, and offers a sustainable alternative to our vehicle power source.  

3D Surround View

Building on the basics established by rear-view cameras, surround view cameras provide the driver with a 360-degree representation of the area around their vehicle. Several cameras record footage around the car’s body, which is then combined in order to produce a 360-degree perspective. Manufacturers like BMW have made extensive use of this technology with models like the BMW 7 Series.

The 7 Series also allows the driver to use gesture control to manipulate the image via the use of a finger. Such technology is taking automakers in a direction that will make traditional wing mirrors obsolete. Drivers can now look at screens in order to get their bearings rather than craning their neck to look at a narrow mirror. 

Fuel Cell Technology

No less promising than the advent of the electric car has been the introduction of fuel cell technology. Fuel cell technology had produced cars that run on hydrogen gas and avoid hazardous emissions. In fact, hydrogen cars only produce water vapor. Fuel cell technology has been around for a few years but it took until 2016 until Honda’s Clarity Fuel Cell sedan took the alternative power source mainstream.

The car cost around $60,000, putting outside of the price range of many drivers but in future, it is more than likely that prices will decrease as fuel cell technology becomes mass produced. At present, fuel cell cars can only be driven in Southern California, as this is the only location where there are ample fuelling stations.

Smart Cars

Finally, one of the most far-reaching innovations of automotive technology has been smart cars. Following the popularity of smartphones automakers were desperate to incorporate smart generation technology into their vehicles. In June 2014, Google launched Android Auto, which can be connected to car dashboards to provide access to information and entertainment.

The driver can access anything from music, to GPS’s, maps and other smart apps whilst on the go. Manufacturers like Audi, Bentley, Fiat, Ford and Volvo all offer services like Android auto in their cars. Google is not alone in endeavoring to bring smart automotive technology to the masses, and in the future, we can only expect to see more and more companies embrace interactive technology.

The Automotive Industry Remains in a State of Perpetual Revolution

If there’s anything to be learned from past automotive innovations it’s that the automotive industry is never static or stagnant. Manufacturers are always pushing the boundaries, and whereas 40 years ago our cars were intended to get us from A to B, their increasingly being called upon to entertain us as well. Right now, droves of consumers are using their cars as mobile entertainment centers and will continue to expect more connectivity in future.

As driverless cars and smart technology develop we’ll see more manufacturers emphasize onboard engagement functions. In short, the foundations placed by today’s driverless and electric cars will bring us into a new era of sustainability and hands-free driving. At this stage we can only sit and watch as we’re driven closer towards vehicular autonomy.

Categories
Education Featured

Importance of Crowdsourcing on Energy Saving Ideas for Your Enterprise

Sustainability once thought of being an exclusive for the “tree-hugger” corporate types has now become an integral part of corporate philosophy every business. The change in outlook is in part due to a new crop of organizational leaders who understand the effect of human activity on the environment and the importance of mitigation initiatives.

However, since most of corporate initiatives are about the bottom-line, the biggest reason for the rise in sustainability endeavors has been to increase the bottom line. Embracing sustainable practices like energy conservation and efficiency results in overall cost reduction, which increases profitability. It is like entering a match you cannot lose.

However, the biggest challenge according to contributions on the Utility Warehouse Complaints forum, especially for smaller organizations lies in the planning and implementation of these green strategies.  Multi-national corporations that have previously relied on top-down approaches on matters of strategy are now finding that the same model ill-fits sustainability strategies.

The reason for this is that top managers in an organization more often than not lack the technical/hands-on skill and experience to be able to identify areas where to practice energy conservation, for instance. In addition, employees tend to be hostile to policies handed down at them, reducing possible efficiency of management policies.

Policies generated in top-down fashion also tend to be more theoretical and profit-focused, rather than practical, which can create a conflict at implementation. This is why we advise crowdsourcing for sustainability solutions from employees and even external stakeholders.

How to crowdsource for energy saving ideas in your Orgnanization

Importance of Crowdsourcing on Energy Saving Ideas for Your EnterpriseThe wise company realizes that its greatest assets lie not in what it has but rather in the minds of the people, it employs. By factoring in this asset into the building of your sustainability strategy, you are likely to surmount every challenge presented by a top-down policy approach from senior management behind closed doors.

Employees have the best knowledge and experience about your organization’s processes, work and effect on the immediate surroundings. They know all there is about their work environment and how to conserve energy in the day-to-day running, they know what technologies are energy guzzlers without paying back in productivity. In short, they will be the practical aspect of your sustainability initiative.

By including staff members from all levels as equal contributors to your corporate strategy, you gain a workforce that feels a sense of ownership towards the policies you seek to implement, and who will therefore be on the forefront of contributing towards its eventual success.

In fact, when in doubt, take the word of the machine operator over his manager. The employee operating the equipment will understand its internal workings and have the best understanding of how to improve its operations. Including the employees in the strategy process is the best way to ensure their full devotion to solutions towards sustainability improvement.

Gone are the days when environmentally sound practices were thought of as being more involving without offering the same in productivity; now organizations have discovered that conservation of energy and resources can generate massive cost savings, all of which together will ultimately give a more profitable and sustainable enterprise.

Categories
News

Does the LCD TV Have a Future? OLED TV is still the Biggest Threat to LCD TV

Decades ago, consumers may only have two options in buying a television: a black-and-white TV set or a colored television. A lot has changed in the years since, with TV technology upgrading in leaps and bounds, and this includes the development of LCD TV. However, as more technologies arise, LCD TV seems to be on the verge of becoming obsolete.

OLED TV is becoming obsolete
A lot has changed in the TV production industry since, and as more sophisticated and disruptive technologies arises, LCD TV seems to be on the verge of becoming obsolete. But my question now is; does LCD TV really have a future with the look of things?

OLED TV: The Biggest Threat to LCD TV

LCD TV may sound like a long-lasting piece of tech in the field of television, but some developments are threatening its existence. One of the biggest trends in technology is OLED (or organic light-emitting diode) TV, which produces outstanding picture quality and crisp color details.

This technology has been used in various devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and other small screen applications. In 2013, OLED has been applied to large-screen TV applications.

Its screen is made of pixel-sized, organically based elements. It also has some of the characteristics of both LCD and plasma TVs, but it has one unique advantage: Its pixels can be activated individually (i.e. on or off), which produces the deepest blacks and the perfect whites that a screen image needs. In contrast (pun intended), LCD TVs require backlighting to illuminate the pixels.

When you put LCD and OLED TV products side by side, the difference is stark – the contrast is clearer, the colors are significantly brighter, and a real black color can be seen in the latter. In short, it’s safe to say that OLED TVs create a better overall picture quality than LCD TVs.

Why LCD TV Will Still Remain in the Market

With the competition arising, you might think that LCD TVs are bound to be rendered extinct. However, that’s not the real case in the consumer market. In fact, some customers still prefer to buy LCD TVs over the newer and more advanced models, for a number of reasons:

Cost

The biggest advantage of LCD TV over OLED is its lower price tag. These days, OLED TVs are priced at just a little under $10,000, probably because only a handful of manufacturers are offering this kind of technology. Besides, the technology is relatively new, which means that the hype for this upgrade has a huge influence on its price.

Screen size

A 42-inch television is already more than enough for the average couch surfer, and only a fraction of the TV viewing population may be yearning for more than 55 inches of screen size. OLED TVs are available at 55 inches or larger, which may turn off some consumers.

If you prefer using LCD TVs for various purposes, then you need to check out the best 40-inch TVs to help you decide which one can perfectly meet your needs and standards.

More manufacturers

Due to cheaper production costs, majority of TV manufacturers continue to manufacture LCD TVs. There’s a big chance that the home appliance brand that you trust is carrying a product line of LCD TVs in its arsenal. This is the same scenario with smartphones and tablets, most of which contain screens that are made of LCD.

Because of the overwhelming majority of TV manufacturers still churning out LCD units, LCD TVs are still cheaper than OLEDs.

Evolving industry

Also attributable to the sheer number of manufacturers behind this TV technology is the potential for upcoming developments. Much like how open-source systems such as blogging platform WordPress last long in the industry, LCD TV technology welcomes ongoing development to improve the standards.

Some of the exciting developments in LCD TVs include the following:

  • 8K: If you think 4K is already awesome, wait until you see 8K – yes, that’s 8,000 pixels!
  • Quantum dots: This technology enhances picture color by getting activated when exposed to the LCD backlight.
  • HDR: High dynamic range aims to enhance the brightness and darkness of the LCD screen.

Other features

Comparing how it stands against OLED, below are more of the positive points of LCD TV:

  • Easy disposal
  • Energy efficient; low power consumption
  • Immune to screen image burn-in
  • Longer lifespan compared to OLED
  • Low flicker rates

Judging from these benefits alone, it’s no wonder why LCD TV continues to dominate the home entertainment market.

Ultra HD 4K: The solution for LCD TV Technology

Ultimately, a new tech trend that brings LCD TVs back into the race is Ultra HD 4K. While this isn’t really a new piece of tech development, what makes Ultra HD 4K a worthy competitor is the addition of pixels. An HD TV follows a standard of 1080p (or 1,080 pixels), but Ultra HD 4K uses 3,840 pixels.

What it means is that each space that holds a pixel of a 1080p screen will be holding about 4 pixels in an Ultra HD 4K. The result is a huge boost in sharpness and clarity. Of course, you need to have a native 4K feed to maximize the excellent qualities of the Ultra HD 4K TV.

If you’re into TV screens larger than 55 inches, Ultra HD 4K technology is sufficient to bring amazing images onto the screen.

Because the technology isn’t too different from traditional HD screens, expect the price of Ultra HD 4K units to be a lot cheaper than OLED TVs. That means getting a similarly excellent TV product at a more affordable price. The promise of increasingly better pictures is already enough for many consumers to prefer 4K LCD over OLED.

Overall, regardless of what OLED TVs promise, the new generation of LCD TVs can still come out as the winner because of its fantastic features and competitive price. If better picture quality is in question, purchasing an Ultra HD 4k LCD may be your best bet.

The type of technology you choose depends on your needs and desires, but LCD TV technology remains as the primary choice for some customers. No matter how other types of technology will be created in the future, as long as there is room for improvement in LCD TV technology, LCD televisions will definitely stay for the long haul.

Categories
CyberSecurity Data Theft Hack Security Social Media

Social Engineering: Hacking People instead of Devices is the new strategy for Exploiters

Does this sound familiar?

Dear Beloved Friend,

I am BakaraTunda, Prince of Nigeria. And I am in need of your help…

Hopefully though, you have never had to read further than those first few sentences. This is the beginning of what is known as the “Nigerian Prince” scam. Named because it has historically included someone posing as a Nigerian prince trying to get you to share personal/financial information. This is a type of phishing, a form of Social Engineering.

Social Engineering

What is “Social Engineering”? 

Social Engineering, in a cybersecurity context, are a set of methods wherein hackers use human interaction to get users to share personal information. As opposed to “traditional hacking” that many may be familiar with, where hackers use vulnerabilities in your computer system to extract information. Social engineering relies on the hacker’s ability to trick us into doing what they want. Phishing is typically the most common example of social engineering. It involves hackers sending out hundreds of millions of emails to various addresses using some pre-made template. In the Nigerian prince scam we saw earlier, the letter usually uses the pretense of a Nigerian prince in need of help to get you to reveal some level of personal and/or financial information. Other aspects of social engineering include, email hacking, pretexting, quid pro quo, and/or vishing.

These methods all typically involve the same elements. They introduce some type of hook that will try to capture your attention, and act as a pretense for their subsequent actions. They will then use this pretense to ask you to provide some level of personal information. Other, more sophisticated methods now include capturing IP addresses, metadata, downloading malware, and even tracking the keystrokes you make on your keyboard. All of this is to build a “profile” for the targets of these social engineering attempts. So that they may then use this information to extract additional information, or for outright theft.

Social engineering and the tricks they use
Social Engineering are a set of techniques wherein hackers uses human interaction and unsuspected friendship to get users to share personal information which they could then use against the victim.

What are some examples of social engineering?

There have been many reported cases of users succumbing to the techniques of social engineering and handing over personal and financial information to phishers. One of the more popular scams is called the “Netflix phish“. Where phishers send users an email that looks almost identical to a typical Netflix email. It would request something along the lines of validating payment methods, and lead users through a log-in process, and a series of forms where they are asked to hand over their credit card information. One of the reasons why this scam is so effective, is because the phishers are able to make their correspondence and website look almost like the legitimate thing. Through this method, phishers will be able to take your Netflix login information (which could be sold to “steal” Netflix), your credit card information, and signal you as a target for future phishing attempts.

Although, phishing need not be so technologically involved. Simple phishing via phone calls can also be horrifyingly effective. Such as the case in Hong Kong, where residents were tricked into transferring millions of dollars into phisher’s accounts. In this scam, phishers used a pre-recorded message and cold called hundreds of people impersonating the Hong Kong Immigration department. For the people who believed that the recorded message was legitimate, they would be instructed to press a button on their phone which would then connect them to someone impersonating a person of authority. From there, the impersonator would use whatever pretense to convince the user to transfer money into a bank account under the impersonator’s control.

How does this work?

By now you must be asking yourself, how can these techniques be so effective? The simple answer is scale. From the two examples we saw above, the initial point of contact (the email from “Netflix” or the message from the “Immigration Department”), is always automated. This means that phishers are able to able to send out millions upon millions of these messages to unsuspecting marks at little to no cost. They don’t need everyone to believe the message, they only need some to believe. And it is those people that believe that the phishers can then exploit.

As Robert Frank explains, a person who is gullible enough to fall for the initial Nigerian prince letter, is probably gullible enough fall for the rest of the scam. In the case of the fake immigration phone calls, within 2015 1,400 people fell for the scam. And while that may seem like a big number, think of the millions upon millions of calls that were probably sent out. If these phishers sent out only 1 million messages and 1,400 messages were effective, that’s only a success rate of a 10th of a percent.

How do I make sure that this doesn’t happen to me?

While the prospect of being a target of social engineering and phishing scams can be frightening, you are still very much capable of protecting yourself from falling prey to them. In this regard, the most important point to keep in mind is that the primary goal of social engineering is to trick you into voluntarily giving up your personal and financial information. So being alert whenever any of these types of transactions occur will already be a big step in the right direction.

You can do this by double checking that the emails you receive are from legitimate entities. Make sure that the messages you receive are from legitimate addresses. Make sure that whenever you are entering confidential information on a website that it is protected by a https encryption.

Another one is for you to paste the text of the email into a Google search to see if someone has received something similar lately. You may also use a VPN to spoof your IP address. As we have seen earlier, phishers are becoming more and more sophisticated in their efforts. Metadata such as IP addresses can help them gain valuable insight and further build out more effective ways of tricking you. VPNs encrypt your connection to the internet, and hide your IP address so that this does not happen. It is also just general good practice to use a VPN to secure your communication to the internet so that you are more protected against conventional hacking as well.

You may also refer to the guidelines set by the US Government on how to avoid being the target of phishing attacks for more steps on protecting yourself.

Social engineering relies on their ability to trick us into handing over our information. But if we remain vigilant, then these types of attacks will not be able to harm us.