Author Archive: Matt

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.

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By August 7, 2017 Read More →

Building a career in the technology sector

In today’s world, many people are tech-savvy citizens. With smartphone usage on the rise and Internet access providing people with everything from supermarket shopping orders to TV shows whenever they want to view them, technology is booming.
When it comes to business, there’s a huge employment market available for those producing, supporting and developing all the new technologies that are used every day. It’s believed that there are over 47,000 digital technology companies in the UK alone, so training in this sector can open a wide variety of doors in your professional life.
Here is a look at what you’ll need for a successful career in the tech industry, what roles you can take up and how you can make the process as easy and streamlined as possible.

Varied range of jobs

Once you’ve set your heart on a career in the technology sector, your next step is to work out where you’ll specialise and which of the industry’s many jobs is right for you.

If you’re a strong communicator and good at problem solving, then a job as an IT technician might be right for you. This role involves working in environments such as companies, classrooms and other places where there are lots of non-technical computer users who need assistance, and you’re likely to find yourself responding to requests for technical help and sorting out issues with hardware and software.

There are also many roles in tech that are less customer-oriented. If you’re interested in modern technology but also have a keen eye for aesthetics, then you can combine your skill sets and become a website or software designer, tester or developer. Alternatively, if you’re good at the art of persuasion but want a tech-focused career, then you can join a company sales team and help promote their tech products.

Of course, before any of the software and hardware in schools and offices can be used. it also needs to be programmed. The earliest point in the life cycle of a tech tool is the development phase, and if you’re a strong critical thinker who is adept at using logic to solve problems, then a career in computer programming or coding might be suitable for you.

Qualifications and education

The qualifications required to kickstart your career in technology vary greatly. This is because there are so many different types of jobs in the tech sector, and the knowledge required is different every time.

To work as an IT technician, for example, there is no set qualification required. However, there are several IT professional bodies that offer qualifications to help you develop your skills, such as the Diploma in ICT Systems Support or the Diploma in ICT Systems and Principles. There are lots of apprenticeships available for IT technician jobs, so this might be an ideal route if you’d prefer to get practical experience.

For roles with more rare skill sets, you may need more specific qualifications. If you’re looking to work as a coder, then knowledge of major programming languages such as PHP or Python is essential, and some employers will also require a degree-level education in computer science.

If you’re looking to work in a tech sector role less directly related to key software and hardware infrastructures, then you may need a different qualification altogether. For example, if you’re looking to work in user experience, then skills related to design may be a stronger bet.

Become self-employed

Jobs in IT are increasingly becoming more contract-based, meaning that you’re required to work on a specific project for a set amount of time rather than as a permanent employee.

This offers a lot of flexibility and means that you can sample a wide variety of jobs but can also create administrative headaches. Contractors usually have to register as self-employed, and this means that you become legally responsible for your own tax affairs.

Registering with an umbrella PAYE (pay as you earn) company is a good option, as it essentially hands the responsibility over to a third party who will sort out all your tax affairs. This way, you don’t have to worry about time-consuming tasks such as filing returns to HMRC, while the clients whom you apply to work for are more likely to give you contracts, as they don’t have to deal with your tax affairs either.

Britain’s burgeoning tech sector is one of the most attractive industries for job seekers, not least because of the potential that it has for growth. Whether you’re looking to put your technical knowledge to good use in a support role or work on development projects of all shapes and sizes, employment in this sector is guaranteed to be meaningful, fulfilling and a lot of fun as well.

Posted in: Editorial
By July 25, 2017 Read More →

Technology- Stealing Jobs, or Creating New Ones?

Driverless carLately highly regarded people in business and science have come out with warnings that technology, and perhaps more specifically that robots and AI, is posing a big risk to many jobs as workers will no longer be required to do jobs machines will be able to do much faster, more efficiently, and perhaps most importantly of all- without a salary. This article will discuss if these fears are completely justified, and if the future of jobs and technology is really as pessimistic as it might seem.

Of course, it is inevitable that companies will want to begin using more technology if it allows them to earn higher profits, in much faster and more efficiently. However, it would be incredibly short-sighted to see this as a wholly negative thing. We cannot argue with the fact that whilst some jobs are becoming obsolete, new jobs in the realm of technology are growing ever more popular and higher in demand. Indeed, numerous jobs have been created that did not even exist 10 years ago. It is important to note, the world was entirely different 10 years ago before so many advancements in technology. There has been a boom in social media and the digital space, as well as many doors that have been opened within marketing, programming and other computer based positions. It’s true that driverless cars may result in some noticing a decrease in demand for their job, but there are now advertisements for driverless car engineers- a role no one would have considered just a few years ago. Other jobs that have been created in the past 10 years include: millennial generational expert, drone operators, YouTube content creators and big data analyst/data scientists. Perhaps it is important to keep up-to-date with the trends in the careers market in order to remain fully aware of the possibilities that are out there.

Of course, there is concern that technology is stealing jobs from people who will be unable to find a new position with their skillsets. It is accurate that some jobs that typically required a human worker can now be done more efficiently and cost-effectively via machine. Companies and the market will continue to see shifts and job positions will develop with the technology advancements. During an interview the vice president of Software Research at GE, Colin Parris, stated- “The only way to fight job losses is to train the talent that we have. Because in the future, we have to embrace robotics. It allows us to reduce cost. If I reduce cost, I have more money that I can use for innovation. The more money I have, the more new products I can create. The more products I create, the more workforce I can hire.” This statement helps highlight the balance of what technology does. Though its does draw away traditional jobs from the workforce, it also brings numerous jobs as well.

While the conversation of whether technology steals jobs or creates new ones will undoubtedly continue, the key thing to remember is that no matter what changes happen in the future, nothing will ever be able to replace the human-to-human conversation in business. As advanced as we expect technology, robots and AI to become, there will always be a place for the human workforce- even if that place isn’t quite where it was in the past.

Overall, it would be wise to get involved in tech careers if you are keen to remain in a relavent and expanding position. In fact, technology has not only changed the workforce, but also how we find jobs and how companies select potential employees. Many people use the Internet to find jobs on sites such as Jobrapido, which allow job seekers to find a clear list of all local vacancies and filter them to ones suitable for them. In turn, employers use automatic sorting systems to narrow down the curriculums of applicants, and often request interviews via Skype, online applications and sometimes even video CVs to be uploaded onto YouTube.  Technology is not all bad news, but some of the negative complications are not entirely out of the realms of possibilities. Intelligent thinkers like Stephen Hawkins and Elon Musk should be listened to as our world has plenty of technology developments to come and we need all the help we can get to maintain control over what is to come.

Posted in: Editorial
By July 7, 2017 Read More →

How mobiles and smartphones have opened up a new avenue of marketing

We are truly in the mobile age now. It has been two years since mobile overtook desktop as the preferred platform for performing internet searches, and even the minority who have yet to come over to that side of technology still use their mobiles and smartphones every day.

The world of marketing has, perhaps, been affected more dramatically than any other business discipline by the technological revolution. Digital marketing is poles apart from offline or traditional marketing from days gone by, and the opportunities presented by mobile technology provide yet another avenue for businesses to get their heads around. Let’s take a look.

 

Mobile phone use in the 21st century

There is a well-known cliché that we all spend most of our lives attached to our smartphones. However, like every cliché, it is based on truth. Just think about it for a moment – how often do you check your phone? Every 30 minutes? 15? 5? According to research, the average person spends five hours of every day attached to their mobile phone.

The fact is that people love their mobiles. Despite mobile overtaking desktop for browsing the web, people still only use their smartphones for that purpose around 11 per cent of the time. The rest is devoted to apps.

Companies in the US have been quick to see that the single best way of reaching customers is via their smartphones, and by 2019, more than 70 per cent of all digital advertising spend will be dedicated to mobile platforms. Organisations in the UK are rapidly following suit.

 

How to approach mobile marketing

Mobile marketing is a discipline that is not so different to other aspects of digital marketing but requires some specific considerations that are unique to the platform. Perhaps the greatest obstacle to overcome is the sheer scale of possibilities. With the vast array of mobile apps where you can utilise popups and banners, plus the opportunities raised by direct SMS to targeted customers, it is all too easy to opt for a scattergun approach, resulting in plenty of spend, but limited returns.

 

That is why it is so important to take a strategic approach and to make use of a specialist consultant such as Veoo in formulating and implementing your mobile marketing strategy to generate the optimum return on your investment. With this in mind, we will look at four areas that need to underpin your mobile marketing efforts.

 

  • Use the micro-moment

The phrase “micro-moment” was actually coined by Google, and refers to the fact that when we look to our phones for information, we want it concise and instant. Mobile marketing is not a time to be going into lengthy detail, so keep the message sharp, snappy and compelling.

 

  • Optimise

Perhaps the simplest way of strengthening your mobile marketing campaign is to ensure your existing content and communications are mobile friendly. That means AMP versions of your web pages and ensuring that direct communications, such as emails, are optimised to read properly on smartphones and tablets.

 

  • Don’t forget SMS

As mentioned earlier, not everyone uses his or her phone for browsing and email. Business SMS is a powerful tool for reaching a wide audience, and even technophobic grandmothers send and receive SMS messages these days. However, it is not just about reach. Open rates for text messages are at some 98 per cent, which is far higher than emails, which makes sense intuitively – after all, how many unopened emails do you have in your inbox compared with unopened SMS messages?

 

  • Keep it locational

If you are looking for a product or service on your phone, the chances are high that you need something close by. If you operate a Manchester minicab firm, then you evidently need to pop up for anyone searching for a cab in Manchester but are wasting marketing efforts if you appear when someone is searching in London. Sounds obvious, but most websites fail to give hyperlocal SEO the attention that they should.

 

Tapping into the smartphone generation

Next time you are sitting on a train or standing in a busy town centre, just look around you and count how many people are looking at their phones. You will be amazed, and possibly a little disturbed, by just how connected we are to our mobiles.

There has never been a better time to put this to business use and tap your company’s marketing strategy into the smartphone generation.

Posted in: Editorial
By October 27, 2016 Read More →

iPhone Data Loss and Recovery [Infographic]

iPhone Data Loss and Recovery [Infographic]

Data Loss and Recovery. An infographic by the team at Secure Data Recovery Services

Posted in: Editorial
By September 16, 2016 Read More →

The Future of Television

There’s no escaping it, television is a huge part of the culture of this country. According to statistics released by Ofcom, no less than 90 percent of adults tune into their favourite shows without fail every week. Our media is dominated by the lives of television stars, and as programming and technology continues to improve exponentially, there’s no way our love of television is going anywhere any time soon. Do you remember your first TV? Sometimes when we’re sat watching tiny beads of sweat on the brows of our favourite footballers, it can be hard to remember that television wasn’t always such an excellent viewing experience. Today we reveal what’s still to come in TV technology, and reminisce about days gone by…

 

Exciting developments…

Although impossible to see how picture quality can get much better than it is currently – the next leap in HD technology is said to be just around the corner, and will see 8k HD become the norm. Arguably the most exciting development on the block is organic light-emitting diodes (OLED), which is an advancement on LED technology that’s a whopping 1000x faster, and could allow hardware like roll-up screens to become a wonderful, and undeniably futuristic, reality.

In a recent interview, Paul Lever from Cheapest Electrical discussed OLED, “LG and Samsung both revealed potential models at this year’s CES, with the LG winning CNET’s Best of CES Award. Make no mistake, this is the most important advancement in TV technology in more than a decade, and a vast improvement over both LCD and plasma.”

When enjoying the perks of such advanced technology, it’s easy to forget how we got to this point. Let’s take a little look back, shall we?


In simpler times…

For 30 years, from the 1960’s up until the 90’s the predominant television found in houses across the nation was the cathode ray tube, or CRT TV for short. Usually no larger than 25”, the only real additional feature these models offered was access to Teletext.

 

A leap in quality…

As we rolled into the 90’s the latest technologies to cause a stir were plasma and LCD screens. Opinion was initially divided over which provided the best viewing experience – but eventually LCD was victorious, due to using far less energy, and having a better shelf life. Plasma screens were discontinued relatively recently in 2014.

 

A switch to digital…

Between 2008 – 2012 the country slowly transitioned from analogue to digital. This switch meant that 26 million people were instantly granted access to freeview TV – and all the additional channels, and features that came with it. Now viewers could pause live TV, record a whole series of their favourite shows with just the touch of a button, and could enjoy interactive services, which enhanced the viewing experience.

 

Along comes HD…

Next picture clarity was targeted, and 4k ultra high definition became the norm, improving the viewing experience tenfold. Digital TV meant people with the right televisions could now access multiple free HD channels, and providers like BT and Netflix made it possible for you to watch your favourite shows and sports in high definition.

 

Posted in: Editorial
By July 29, 2016 Read More →

Broken Appliance: Is it more cost effective to repair or replace it?

Appliances are essential when it comes to everyday household chores, however they’re not indestructible and it can be extremely irritating and costly when they begin to fault.

Some of the most common faults are pretty straightforward to put right. However, when the problem is out of your control then it’s time to face the tough decision whether to call in repair specialists or to invest in new model and cut your losses on expensive repairs.

To help make the decision for you, Glotechrepairs.co.uk have produced a handy infographic which they’ve put together with their own research and data to show you whether it’s best to fork out on repairs or whether it would be more affordable to buy a replacement model.

Scroll along the infographic below to see whether you should repair or replace your appliance.

Posted in: Editorial
By July 26, 2016 Read More →

Best Games to Experience Vegas from Home

You don’t have to travel all the way to Las Vegas for a gambling experience. Of course, it cannot be denied that the glittering Vegas experience is unique and cannot be reproduced. You have to go to Vegas to enjoy the Vegas casino experience, complete with free drinks and charming croupiers. Despite this, several successful attempts have been made to take Vegas right up to players’ doorsteps, totally eliminating the need for players to travel to Sin City.

Play Casino Games Online

The easiest way to experience Vegas at home is to sign up at an online casino, load your account, and start playing online casino games for real money. One of the best casino sites in the industry is Slots Heaven, which runs on a sophisticated software platform and offers an impressive portfolio of online pokies.

You won’t get any free drinks while playing at Slots Heaven, but you can surely enjoy brilliant graphics, entertaining animations, and realistic sound effects along with enormous bonus offers, cashback offers, and rewards for loyalty. Playing casino games online is like experiencing Vegas away from Vegas.

Live Dealer Games

If you want to play a game that is actually being played at physical locations, you should play at live casinos, which usually form parts of online casinos’ product portfolios. Not all online casinos offer live gaming services, but some of them do and it is not at all difficult for players to find them. Usually, live casinos offer games such as Live Casino Hold’em, Live Poker, Live Baccarat, Live Roulette, and Live Blackjack.

You don’t even need computers and software programs to create a Vegas-like atmosphere at home. Simply organize a casino night or a casino-themed party. Decorate your house like a casino, invite your friends, and play immortal casino games such as poker, blackjack, and baccarat.

Posted in: Apps & Games
By April 25, 2016 Read More →

Without a doubt, eSports are a GLOBAL market

In the last decade or so, the rise of eSports has been impressive to say the least. While video and social media platforms such as Youtube and Facebook have both helped to spread the word of eSports and competitive gaming, the ‘sport’ in general is booming thanks to key personalities who have left their mark on the world of online gaming.

The likes of Syndicate, KSIOlajidebt and Felix Kjellberg have helped to enhance the appeal of online gaming – largely down to their publicity and likeable personalities. Nowadays, there are plenty of vloggers who attempt to follow in their footsteps and commentate over their gameplay whilst playing FIFA, Call of Duty and more.

But behind the scenes, eSports have been growing and it’s now much more than a few famous faces on the internet. ESports ARE a global brand. They are huge. There are hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake in their daily tournaments and the best players in the world are making an absolute fortune on a weekly basis.

In fact, you can now place bets on eSports – THAT’S how big they are. Betway have a growing market dedicated specifically to eSports and punters can place bets on tournaments, individual games and team competitions. And best of all, eSports are only going to get bigger in the future as more money is invested.

The latest partnership deal with both Yahoo and Twitch, which will see major competitions broadcast all over the world, is just the next step for what is perhaps the fastest growing market on the planet. Most people believe that Youtube is a gold mine but eSports is much more impressive – the scale of money involved is frightening.

Earlier this year, the 2016 FIFA Interactive World Cup was held in New York City – with the top 32 players in the world travelling to the United States’ East Coast for the competition. On that occasion, Denmark’s Mohamad Al Bacha came up trumps as he defeated England’s Sean Allen in the final of the competition.

For that, Al Bacha emerged with £20,000, the trophy presented by Franck Ribery and a ticket to the next FIFA Ballon d’Or ceremony. And while the cash incentives are much greater for other competitions, it’s quickly becoming more about the perks of the job and the potential achievements for being one of the top players in the world.

As eSports continue to grow, the global audience and market will also increase. This year, the FIWC final was broadcast live on Sky Sports and it’s only a matter of time before a dedicated eSports television channel springs up. Then, and only then, will people start to accept it for what it is: a corporate, money-making machine.

Posted in: Editorial
By April 15, 2016 Read More →

6 Reasons Your Solar Batteries Aren’t Working as They Should

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 08.35.17With the clocks going forward, and the days getting longer, spring has begun! It’s time to get those fingers green in your garden and get it prepared for all those BBQ’s and chilled out evenings in the garden.

It’s not long until the days will be long enough to bring your solar lights to life; now is the time to test them out and make sure they are in tip top shape in time for the return of spring and summer days. If you get them out and they are not performing as they should or aren’t working at all, here are a few reasons and how you can resolve any issues:

 

1.      Solar Panel Needs Cleaning

Solar lights need four working components to function; this includes, battery, solar panel, light sensor and a bulb/LED, if the solar panel is covered by dirt or dust this negatively impact the amount of charge received from light, which will then lead to a decreased performance of the light. To clean the panel, simply use a dry or damp cloth and wipe it down removing any dirt or dust that may have collected. You can also use window or glass cleaner to give it a deeper clean.

 

2.      Is it positioned correctly?

Often, people don’t realise that their solar lights simply need their position changing slightly; if they are positioned in the wrong way it will not be receiving the necessary amount of light each day to charge the battery up. Try and notice where light hits your garden most throughout the day to guarantee your solar light gets enough daylight!

 

3.      Batteries Self Discharged

After a while, the batteries that came with the solar lights will discharge themselves; therefore, it is necessary to ensure they receive a full charge every three months at least to give them the longevity required.

 

4.      Remove The Batteries When Storing

We’re coming out of winter now, and if you didn’t remove the batteries from your solar lights before putting them into storage you may notice a decrease in performance from your solar lights or they may not be working at all. It’s always key to remember to remove the batteries before you place them into storage.

 

5.      Allow Batteries to Fully Charge

Give the batteries at least 24 hours’ worth of full charge before placing them back in your garden and into darkness, this will allow you to see if there are any issues with any of the other components or whether it is the battery that either needs charging or replacing.

 

6.      Batteries Run Their Life Cycle

Rechargeable solar light batteries are often included when you purchase your solar lights; however, a lot of people don’t realise that these will need attention to ensure they last as long as they can. Typically, you may start to see a decrease in their performance after 1-2 years, but often this can happen sooner.

 

If the batteries have run their life cycle and need replacing, it is easy to find and purchase new rechargeable batteries to fit your solar lights. It’s important to remember to get the right size battery and the correct voltage, consider your purchase carefully and if you are unsure discuss with a professional who will advise on which battery is the right one for you.

Purchasing new rechargeable batteries for your solar light from Buy a Battery couldn’t be easier; they offer upgraded NiMH rechargeable batteries, to replace older NiCd batteries, these are longer lasting and more environmentally friendly too, meaning you can get more out of your solar lights!

 

Posted in: Editorial, Gadgets
By March 29, 2016 Read More →

Top 10 Must Have Apps for Career Women

14365668676_082f54ecb4_cWhen you’re a busy career woman, you’re on the go a lot of the time. Sometimes it feels like there are just not enough hours in the day! Enter the trusty mobile phone with a range of apps you can install to make working life much easier. Here are 10 apps that every career woman should have on their phone.

Trello

Trello is a project management app and is available on the iPhone and Android. The app works like an absolute dream for working in teams. The app is particularly good for brainstorming ideas, allowing people to discuss projects; delegating tasks; and for monitoring checklists and the progress being made on a project.

Evernote

The Evernote app works well for business or for pleasure, since you can write notes, store pictures, take photos and record voice memos (handy if you have to quickly note something down). Essentially, this app takes some of the hassle out of ‘life admin’ so that it doesn’t complicate your working day.

Expensify

There’s no doubt that if you have a company expense account, your employers will be keeping a close eye on how you use. Of course, in the hustle and bustle or working life, it’s easy to lose a receipt. Don’t worry. You can take a picture of receipts and then load them from your phone into the app. The app picks out important data like dates and prices. You can also create expense reports.

Time Master

The Time Master app is invaluable for time tracking, especially if you’re billing by the hour. On this business app you can track time by job or project, record expenses and there’s also an optional billing application. Unfortunately, this iOS app isn’t free, but a minor investment in it can save you more money in the long run as you organise your billing more efficiently.

Dropbox

Unfortunately, you can’t take a whole load of files and folders on the plane with you, if you have to travel. At least, it’s not practical. That’s where Dropbox comes in handy. Through Dropbox you’ll have access to the documents you need, whether that’s a contract, a resume, a meeting schedule or other item.

Sidekick

Nothing can cause problems in business like not receiving crucial pieces of information. It sets projects back, causes breakdowns in communication and ultimately costs you money. The Sidekick app gives you piece of mind by informing you whether a recipient has received and opened that all-important business email or document, so that if you haven’t then you know to follow it up with the appropriate measures.

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Coffitivity

Do you want to be more productive in your work? Of course you do! According to science, ambient background noise ups your productivity. Coffitivity recreates the sounds of a coffee shop, providing an atmosphere while you type up that performance review or business plan. Give it a try, it’s on the iOS and the Android.

SignEasy

Available on the iOS and the Android, SignEasy makes signing contracts easy. Instead of searching far and wide for the nearest printer — not a convenient thing to have to do when you’re on the move — to sign docs, you’ll be able to cross the ‘t’s and dot the ‘i’s on Word documents and PDFs by using this app.

Contacts Journal

Networking is a major part of being in business or working in many industries. You’re sure to bump into someone and then later on forget what their name was, what sector they worked in or even what you talked about on the whole. Jog your memory with the relationship management app Contacts Journal, which helps you to keep track of the different people you meet in your working life.

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Remember that your phone is a vital tool, so you should make sure you have the best technology and the best value for money. Use a comparison checker to seek out the best SIM only deals so that you’re saving on your own expenses as you go about doing smart business with others.

Images by citirecruitmentNguyen Vu Hung (vuhung), and Ignite New Zealand, used under Creative Commons licence

Posted in: Editorial