Artificial IntelligenceThe smart home that you have come to love and appreciate today has a strong foundation in artificial intelligence. The influence of computational intelligence in research and developing such smart devices – from the smart thermometer in your house to the smartphone you’re using to read this article – is unmistakable. Even the most minute components of certain home appliances, smart or otherwise, owes a lot to these little powerhouses. Just imagine the amount of research that goes into creating a machine that allows you mopping and cleaning with damp pads at your convenience. It may seem trivial to some, but it is noteworthy in all aspects.

Owing to the strides made in artificial intelligence, the home has become almost entirely automated where timer control systems are embedded in devices that offer light, ventilation, heat, home appliances, and even our entertainment systems. The purpose of these artificially intelligent devices is to provide you a higher level of security than you are used to, more comfort, convenience, and energy efficiency in your home. Because people are inherently lazy, artificial intelligence has completely revolutionized how people approach daily tasks or chores and how they live. Here are 5 reasons how artificial intelligence has changed the way we live – among the myriad of others.

Improved All-Around Security

Back in the old days, you would need to have a lot of money to secure and install a state of the art security system in your household. Even when you were able to afford it, the quality of the videos you acquired was often unclear, but today, with easy to install security systems that can be monitored remotely on your phone or computer, your own safety is automatically heightened.

State Of The Art Temperature Control

Traditionally, programmable and non-programmable thermostats had to be controlled and programmed manually. However, nowadays, smart and wi-fi enabled thermostats can allow you to control your temperature, and you do not have to be in the room to do it. The artificial intelligence technology allows programming on a smartphone or tablet whether you are across a room or in another part of the world.

High Technology Lighting Systems

Artificial intelligence has also changed the lighting. If for example, you went away on a long vacation and realized that you left some of your lights on, you would be able to turn them off remotely with the help of an app. The artificial intelligence technology used in lights also enables you to create the illusion of being home when you are away, which prevents robberies.

Premium Entertainment Experience

Smart TVs enable users to stream popular TV shows in high definition without the need of connecting specialty devices that allow the TV to work on particular platforms. Because of the smart technology, TVs now offer better viewing quality than before.

Cutting Edge Home Appliances

The number of available home appliances out there can be dizzying. The list ranges from smart devices such as smart dishwashers, steam cleaners, robotic cleaners, as well as smart fridges and freezers. Smart devices have completely revolutionized the way we live in the contemporary society.

“Automation” has become one of the many buzzwords in recent history – every organization, every corporation, and every office will have heard this word in one way or another. Everything is automated, be it our daily routine such as shaving (just take a look at the evolution of the use of electric shaving techniques), to the way we experience leisure, and especially in the way we work, is going through large-scale automation initiatives.

And inevitably, it has caused fear and insecurity as regards to the future of humans in jobs – and rightfully so. Massive layoffs, particularly in the manufacturing sector are now happening at a frightening pace as robots have begun to replace humans in the assembly lines, for reasons that are no longer unknown to many of us.

Add the turbulent political climate of fear and distrust, and then it becomes an issue with far-ranging consequences, whether intended or otherwise, which further adds to the misconception of automation as a negative thing…in the sense that the endgame of automation is to layoff as many workers as possible to maximize savings for big organizations – all of which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

If that’s not enough, automation is an initiative being pushed by corporations, too – even those engaged in service-oriented roles such as call centers, business process outsourcing, and information technology – all of which can be considered under the large umbrella of IT-enabled services. Of course, the endgame is to cut costs on what can be optimized.

But what does automation really mean for IT-enabled services, and entire organizations for that matter? Let’s look at the ways as to how organizations will live with this reality in the coming years.

The Question Of Unemployment.

Perhaps this is the greatest issue many employees have with automation – that it will replace jobs faster than they can be created, which will lead to a broken and unsustainable economic system.

These fears are largely unfounded – automation causes short term disruptions, arguably, but that doesn’t mean that the sectors of labor most affected by it cannot be reallocated. Displacement is definitely a reality, but replacement is an altogether different question.

The Question Of Obsolescence.

Will human civilization end up the way of the ox and the plow? This is yet another fear that automation brings – but it is rather a fallacy or a myth more than it is a truth. First of all, we aren’t oxen nor are we plows, nor are we donkeys – we are in charge of our destiny as creators of technology, and human ingenuity will never be able to be automated.

Jobs won’t disappear – they will just change. And as we have seen throughout human history, we have always been able to adapt – that’s human ingenuity at work. And that doesn’t look like it will change for the coming centuries, or millennia.

The Question Of Job Security And Creation.

The fear of conglomerates, those large companies that employ thousands and thousands of employees all over the world not being able to replace the workforce they’ve laid off is yet another unfounded fear – organizations have invested millions into training and preparing staff for future roles in different fields within the organization if and when automation replaces them.

Furthermore, the number of small, startup companies have just proven this fundamentally wrong – innovation is continuing, and people are not going away anytime soon. You can nullify machines and beasts of burden, but not people.

And that’s the key takeaway – we aren’t going anywhere, at least for the time being. Keep well.

We’ve seen a gradual yet dramatic shift from analog home appliances and fixtures to the fully interconnected home of the future through the Internet of Things. Light bulbs and lighting solutions aren’t spared from this ongoing revolution. More and more households have ditched the antiquated, wasteful, and expensive incandescent and fluorescent lighting solutions we all are accustomed to.

Just like intelligent appliances such as thermostats and remote controls that can be controlled remotely via Bluetooth through smartphones, the same is becoming the norm for our lighting systems – they are designed to be the best way to control your lighting for maximum efficiency and economy.

It goes without mentioning that there will naturally be a dearth of choices out there in the market today – after all, smart lightbulbs are fast becoming a fixture in our homes.

So why are smart lighting solutions taking over? What is their place in our homes? Why should we even consider buying them? Which ones should we consider?

These questions, and more, are what we aim to explain further through this article. Let’s get right to them!

1. Automated Brightness Control

The days of dimmer switches (which can be expensive) are over – all you will need to do is to install smart lightbulbs in all your lighting fixtures such as your lamps, shades, and even your chandeliers for easy control with a smartphone app.

2. Remote-Controlled Goodness

Belkin and GE, among other manufacturers, have devised smart lightbulbs that can be controlled wherever you are, as long as you have the corresponding app to do so – perfect for those long vacations when your home looks totally empty.

3. Mood Lighting in an Instant

We’ve talked about mood lighting and dimming in an instant, but what about changing colors in a snap? Philips and Flux Smart have devised lightbulbs that can turn into millions of colors at one tap. Amplify the mood you want to express with all these colors in just a millisecond.

4. The Perfect Ambience with Music? Yes, You Can

If the first 3 weren’t reasons enough for you to invest in smart lighting solutions, perhaps this one will – they can even play music thanks to their built-in speakers. This will increase the value of your home. Do you want to make the perfect mix of light and sound for your party? Then the smart lightbulb is definitely made for you.

5. Sleep Well with Lighting

Light is a fundamental director of sleep patterns; bright lights will affect melatonin production and hence may disrupt your sleep patterns, but choosing a soothing, relaxing and sleep-promoting color temperature can do just as much as total darkness when trying to catch your beauty sleep. More and more lightbulbs have taken advantage of this feature, given the fact that more and more people have started to work in shifting schedules – this feature is perfect for night shift workers and night owls who absolutely need good sleep in the mornings and afternoons.

In Summation

It’s obvious that smart lighting solutions are the way of the future. They are a testament to the intelligence and resourcefulness of humans when it comes to researching and developing new technologies to make life easier for all of us who live in this planet – and in turn, reduce the carbon footprint we all desperately need to do to ensure the planet’s survival in the face of numerous challenges it has been burdened with.

Because of technology, we are now able to do a lot of things that seemed impossible not too long ago. Before, communicating with your friends and loved ones who lived thousands of miles away was hard and expensive. Nowadays, it can be done whenever, wherever, however you want, as you can use your laptops or smart phones to connect to the internet, which is relatively cheap and easily accessible than twenty years ago.

Who uses technology?

Technology is used by almost everyone for everything. In the medical industry, it has opened the doors to faster and accurate diagnosis of diseases and illnesses. In the government, it has allowed easier storage, relay, and exchange of data. In businesses, it has promoted more efficient management of tasks and duties, resulting to more sales and profits. In the academe, it has given scientists and researchers quick and easy access to useful resources that have information on their fields of study. In regular people’s homes, it has made family recreational and bonding time more fun and enjoyable.

How are tech gadgets and devices used today?

There are many different kinds of technological devices and gadgets that we use today.

We have desktop and laptop computers that are equipped with powerful microchips to enable various tasks and functions for data storage, analysis, and processing. We also have their portable counterparts: smart phones and tablets, which are often sold with a stand to use on your desk, for hands-free, more convenient use when on a video call or watching a movie.

Technology’s reach extends further, even to our home designs and decors. It is now quite common to find houses with high-tech security systems installed and it’s recommended to install certain security systems to increase the safety and the value of your home. With how dangerous some neighborhoods can be, it only makes sense for homeowners to amp up their home security with modern devices, such as motion-sensors, automatic lighting, emergency door and window locks, and surveillance cameras that can all be controlled by a few button pushes on your smart phone or computer, even while you are on a vacation halfway around the world.

What are the disadvantages of the modern technology era?

Despite having a long list of advantages to offer, technology also has its downsides.

Prolonged use of computer, smart phones, and other gadgets can lead to disorders that affect the eyes, back, neck, shoulders, hands, and wrists. Therefore, learn to use them in moderation to not put yourself in this terrible situation. Take a break every hour or so to stretch your body, close your eyes for a few minutes, and clear your mind.

The internet has also become a venue for wrongdoers to take advantage of other people’s personal information, hacking passwords, stealing identities, and breaking into confidential data and records.

“Programming? That’s for nerds, man!”

That’s probably the first thing that popped up in your mind when you hear about learning to tweaking and programming your drones. Fair enough. But after you see the reasons why you should learn programming, it is my hope that your viewpoint changes.

Why is that? Because, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a nerd to be a programmer. More and more people without a lick of programming knowledge have gone on to create best-selling mobile applications. It’s getting easier and easier to be a programmer more than it’s ever been.

Especially if you’re a drone enthusiast.

There are a multitude of drone options out there for every price point and for every skill level. However, you do not need to purchase the very best rc quadcopter you can own just to get into the programming side of things; you may very well experiment with an affordable model such as the Hubsan X4 to perfect your flying and to learn how to tweak them.

I’ll show you just why you should consider learning to program.

Programming Code for Drones is Fun. No, Seriously.

If you think you’ve known all there is to know about your drones, multicopters, and quadcopters, you’re very wrong: learning how to program is a whole new world filled with challenges to exercise your mental faculty as it relates to your love for drones. For instance, you could learn how to program your drones so that you can stabilize its flight patterns. You can also develop a web application to send commands to your drone while it is in flight. Lastly, you can process GPS and video data from a mobile application. There’s a wealth of information and communities out there discussing this brave new world; you just need to know where to knock.

Learning to Program is a Life Skill.

There’s no better time to learn coding than it is now. It doesn’t have to be a skill whose learning curve ends when you learn how you can integrate it with your knowledge of drones. Now it may seem daunting when you think about how many programming languages exist in the world of computing, but for drones, all you’ll probably ever have to do is learn Python. Alternatively, VHSIC Hardware Description Language or Verilog will be very useful programming languages in the context of drone programming.

You Will Learn How to Design and Develop YOUR Own Drones.

If you are a drone enthusiast with a keen interest in the technical aspects of drones and not just flying and taking photos with them, this is probably the reason that is going to sell you into learning programming. What is cooler than making your own flying robots and live out the fantasies of your MechWarrior and Star Wars childhood days? Programming is an essential step in assembling your very own drone. Luckily, there are vibrant communities of DIY drone fanatics all over the internet who are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. What are you waiting for?

It’s not as hard as you think it is, or as simple as some people make it out to be; as with any discipline, you need to take the first step and stay on the course.

So, you’ve made it to the IT team of a Fortune 500 company.

You enjoy great compensation and benefits.

You feel like you’ve won the lottery and you feel like you’re poised towards an exciting career path.

How hard can it be? Hours spent sitting inside a cold office for 8-12 hours a day, staring at a computer for 90% of the time…what toll and stress can it take on your body?

But the hazards are real.

Programmers, system administrators, and data center workers often work odd, rotating shifts; the nature of their strange shifting schedules wracks natural sleep patterns and open up a host of potential health-related minefields.

Furthermore, all that sitting and staring at monitors do take an invisible toll with far-ranging circumstances.

Just because you are working in a less stressful situation compared to people working in sales doesn’t mean you can get away with not looking after yourself.

Fortunately, we have you covered. This guide serves not just a reminder to those already working in the IT industry for years, but also to young aspirants and career changers who are just about to make their inroads towards the industry, because it isn’t as easy a road as you think it is.

Pack Your Lunches

Working odd shifts, night shifts, takes a lot of food choices away from us; most of the time, only 24-hour fast food joints are available. It is no surprise that many IT people indulge in this cheap, tasty, but unhealthy food choice despite of the hazards of its excessive consumption. Pack your lunches; not only does it save you a lot of money over the long run, you will find yourself with much better eating habits than having to go to McDonald’s every night. Furthermore, always stay hydrated with water, instead of sugary drinks. This will pay you many times over when you’re not dealing with obesity and heart-related diseases.

Take Rest Breaks

How many times have you felt confused and disoriented due to hours spent on the monitor? Staring too long leads to eye strain, headaches, and fatigue. Make sure to look away from your monitor at intervals. Take a walk around the office every now and then to relax, regardless of whether you’re just about to finish that JCL you need to complete.

Exercise, Exercise, and Exercise

Just because you are working in IT doesn’t mean you should stop working out; in fact, you should double your efforts in getting exercise. Likewise, the human body wasn’t designed to be sitting and staring at a monitor, furiously trying to patch bugs; it was designed to hunt animals, to ride horses, and to maximize movement. You already know why exercise is good for you, so why stop now?

Make Your Workspace Ergonomic

Desk Chair ReviewsThe importance of having your workspace set up as comfortable as possible cannot be understated; make sure your office chair has good lumbar support and promotes good posture; the same is true for your mouse and your keyboard. Most offices have ergonomic assessment forms to be filled out once every year; but if your office doesn’t, talk to your administrator and let him read the best reviews on office chairs with lumbar support. The ideal chair set-up is probably the most important aspect of your workspace to be made ergonomic.

Rest Well

Never ignore consistent and nagging pains that may be caused by something more serious, such as structural damage. Too many IT professionals have debilitating back pain caused by improper posture, poor diet, and poor sleep; you should triple your efforts because your livelihood depends on being able to use a computer. More importantly, move heaven and earth to make sure you’re getting proper sleep; rest is the most important factor to make sure your body is firing on all cylinders. Don’t make the mistake of sacrificing your sleep to be able to work on your next test plan; the effects of the lack of sleep have far-ranging and deadly circumstances, and very well documented.

Working in IT is a rewarding, mentally-challenging field; but don’t sacrifice your health just for those benefits. Look after yourself before it’s too late.

Ah, the old, reliable, and ever-present mainframe computer. A mainstay in banking, utility, and insurance conglomerates.

Despite many attempts to unseat it from its kingly position in these industries, the mainframe is still standing even after over 50 years.

But it takes a special breed of programmer or IT professional to work, to thrive, and to be successful in the field of mainframe computing.

Men AviatorThat said, if you’ve been a mainframe lifer, you deserve to get some remodeling on your house done or plan your dream vacation; hope you’ve gotten that Jamaica trip sorted out in your Tommy Bahamas and your best shades – take a look at this selection of sunglasses from all brands to complete the look and finally get that tan that’s eluded you ever since working in IT. You deserve it.

On a more serious level however, let’s take a look at the mainframe computing career choice rationally.

Mainframe Computing as a Career Choice

Mainframe programmers and operators have relatively stable jobs. Just ask your uncle who has worked with a Fortune 500 banking company for the past 30-odd years; he’s probably being paid very well and he’s probably given great benefits. As interest in mainframe as a career choice is slowly dwindling down, and as those who developed its programs are starting to retire, mainframe computing can be considered to be a niche field in IT that will always have a demand in the market, despite there being a limited number of jobs in it.

If you’re already in the field, chances are you’re being paid somewhere around USD92,000 a month in the United States, with great benefits; with plenty of time for vacation and a relatively stable career path, if not as exciting.

Not bad at all, isn’t it? By the time large-scale job cuts have happened, you will hopefully have had long tenure, and great severance (if you must expect the worst).

The Question of Obsolescence

The rise of new technologies have always threatened the existence of mainframe since time immemorial. Though cloud computing and large-scale migration to other technologies such as Hadoop or Java have been the norm for more and more companies, the slide into obsolescence that’s been foreseen for so long by many experts in computing won’t happen overnight, until at least these new technologies can be as effective as mainframe is in processing large amounts of information. Mainframe does extremely well for the limited scope that it can do, but IBM has continued and will continue to do its research and development in the technology, and will look to incorporate newer technologies into the system itself.

Mainframe Will Continue On

There is a reason why mainframe computing has existed and will continue to thrive in the future, despite continuing research and devel

As a homeowner, you will be faced with many different home improvement projects as soon as you first step into your house. Depending on your budget, you will need to pick which ones to prioritize and which ones will have to wait.

1. Doors

Check all the doors in your home — front door, bedroom doors, bathroom doors, basement door, and so on — to find out which ones are squeaky or need some repairing. Old doors tend to stick, bind, and sag, and, oftentimes, it is more cost-effective to just replace them instead of repairing them.

2. Floors

Floors can be laminate, carpet, tile, hardwood, or stone. Each type requires a different method for fixing that may cost you between a few hundreds and several thousand bucks.

In general, laminate floors are the cheapest and do not significantly increase your house’s value, but they offer a number of benefits, such as durability, stain resistance, and easy installation. The other types are usually costlier and also offer several benefits, and they are much better options when it comes to adding value to your house should you decide to sell.

3. Walls

Your walls can be improved by using either wallpaper or paint. Both have a list of pros and cons, and you can make a choice according to your taste and preference.

Painting the walls can be done on your own. It is up to you to decide what color of paint to use, and then you just need to gather the necessary materials, such as primer paint, rollers, brushes, and paint, to get started. On the other hand, putting up wallpaper can also be done on your own. Good quality ones are more expensive but they are quite durable, resistant to wear and tear, and can easily be scrubbed for cleaning.

4. Garage

grage door openerFor your garage, consider installing an electric garage door system. Read some electric garage door system reviews to find out which will work best for you, as you’ll learn that they offer better security, motion-activated lights, rolling codes, and other high-tech features. It can also provide better protection against bad weather and is very energy efficient.

5. Windows

If your house has seen many years, it might be time to get new windows for it. Windows provide protection for your home, keep the warmth sealed in during the cold days, and more, so it is important that they are in good condition to be able to properly perform these tasks.

Some popular window styles to choose from are the single hung, double hung, slider, casement, and awning windows. They can be made of different materials, such as vinyl, glass, wood, and metal.

If you have plenty of money to spend, you will not have a difficult time at all in choosing the best apartment for rent. And if money wasn’t an issue at all, you can probably even consider buying your own property than just renting one out. However, if are only looking for a rental and you want to be practical, don’t just choose randomly simply because it looks nice. There are many factors to consider to ensure that you won’t be regretting your choice. To help you out, here are some tips that you can keep in mind.

1. Price, Payment Options and Length of Stay Required

First and foremost, you need to look at the price of the apartment. Usually, this will already narrow down your choices depending on what you can afford. Say your budget is $700 for a month’s rent, then look for apartments that are priced at $700 or less. Do not be tempted to go beyond your budget. Consider the payment options too. Will you be able to afford it if the landlord requires you to pay 6 months in advance? Lastly, find out the length of stay required. Some landlords require a year’s stay in an apartment. If you think that you will be moving out in less than a year, try to negotiate early on or look for another place instead. This will prevent contract breach problems that may arise in the future.

2. Contract Terms and Conditions

If you can go ahead and press “I agree” on lengthy terms and conditions when signing up for an email account or for a social media account, your apartment’s contract terms and conditions must be read thoroughly. If you sign it, it means you agree with it.

3. Apartment Location

Now the location is very important too. Aside from the fact that you need a place where it’s convenient to travel to and from work, check the neighborhood too. Is it safe? Will there be someone you can trust who lives nearby? Is a grocery or a pharmacy close to the apartment? All these must be considered too unless you don’t mind shopping for food only once every one or two weeks to save you from travelling far.

4. Apartment Features

Garbage DisposalWhether or not an apartment is fully furnished, look at the apartment’s features too. Is the shower spacious enough? Is the toilet working? Does the kitchen sink have a garbage disposal or will you have to install this yourself? Is there a cable, phone and Internet company available to install lines to your apartment? Better check these things now and ask these questions to the landlord before making your decision.

5. Apartment Complex Amenities and Facilities

Lastly, check on the amenities and facilities around the apartment complex. There should be at least a handyman that you can call on if there’s any problem in your apartment. Is there a park or garden area where you can walk your dog? Is there a swimming pool that you can use? Is there a laundry area? Check these and if everything seems acceptable, then go ahead and make your decision.

More information at:
Rentprov
Down the Sink

The kitchen is one of the most important parts of every home. For many property buyers, they look at the kitchen first and foremost before they proceed to the rest of the house. If you already have a home of your own, you probably realize that you’re spending a lot of time in the kitchen more than you think – this where meals are made, special memories are created and where many of your household chores are done. By all means, you should keep your kitchen well maintained and beautiful at all times.

However, as most parts of the home, the kitchen is prone to natural wear and tear. Of course, the temperature in this area changes constantly and preparing food, cutting ingredients on the counter and even spilling sauces can cause damage to some parts of the kitchen. If you are on a budget and you’re considering remodeling your kitchen, here’s a guide that can hopefully help you out.

1. Identify what needs to be changed and what can stay behind.

When you’re on a tight budget, you can’t just go ahead and plan out a kitchen remodel that’s so extravagant because you might not end up finishing the project due to lack of funds. It is best to prioritize and find out if you really need to change everything. For example, the tiles and grout are very dirty and you feel like you have to change everything. If the tiles are still intact, then you can just clean it. Regular scrubbing may not work so it’s best to use a steam cleaner instead. If you don’t have a steam cleaner yet, better shop for one because this is still cheaper compared to buying and having someone install a new set of tiles.

2. Do your research rather than hiring a professional designer.

Designers are very costly. You can go online instead and search for inspiration then plan out how to execute the plan with your local trusted carpenter.

3. Do what you can do yourself.

Miter SawPlanning to DIY everything is not a good idea. You have to admit there are things that you are not an expert with. However, you can always do the things you can yourself. For example, repainting the kitchen walls is quite easy. Hanging up some floating shelves or give your kitchen a new counter top, could easily be done with the right tools. Go to straightkerfs.com because they already did the research, and then invest in a good piece of equipment. However, if pipes must be replaced or if electrical wirings need to be repaired, you must call a professional.

4. Look for the best cleaning materials for your kitchen tools and equipment.

When remodeling a kitchen, it is quite tempting to replace all tools, pots and pans and more as well. However, if you do this, you will end up spending more than you planned. To make your pots and pans, utensils and other materials look brand new once again, look for the best cleaning materials you can use depending on the material your tools are made with. Perhaps you can use the steam cleaner again for some of the tools but for others such as removing burnt parts of pots and pans, you can check with a local hardware shop on the right cleaning tools to use. Look for cleaning hacks available online too such as the use of lemon, vinegar and baking soda. These things cost very little but can work miracles.

More information:
Love to Know
NC Cooperative Extension Resources
Straight Kerfs