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The Almighty Dollar

I get to speak with people everyday about their careers, and it can be fun and challenging at the same time. When people begin to look for a job there are several factors they take into consideration such as…

1) Salary

2) Day to day activities

3) Commute

4) Work Environment

5) Stability

These are just a few, but important non the less. Now lets get down to the nitty gritty… When looking for a new job there is an expectation of salary. One needs to feel like his or her skills are being recognized. However there are situations where the work environment or technology stack may be a little better which can justify $5000 or $10,000 drop in salary.

This week we had the pleasure of working with someone who had two job offers on the table. One had a salary that was significantly more than the other. After weighing the options she took the job with the lesser salary because it was a better long term fit for career growth.

My point is this, money can be the proverbial blind fold that masks other things that can be more important. Yes, you should feel happy with what you are getting paid; but at the same time make an educated decision taking all the variables that are important to you just as seriously as the salary.

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Innovative Mobile Apps

Mobile development is really picking up some steam, and will continue to as mobile apps become an even bigger. We are seeing companies begin to implement cross platform systems with iOS and Android. If you are a developer, I would start to play around with this stuff. Companies will begin to invest more and more money into building applications to make their business more efficient not only for customers but for employees as well. We will see everything from an app that supports automatic check in systems at hotels to healthcare apps that update clinical data. Here is a cool article that shows some innovative up and coming apps…
Over the last year Business Intelligence (BI) and the importance of analytics has seen a real jump in importance in companies minds. We have seen it on the staffing side as well. I met with a manager today who said the C level folks are really buying into BI because they can get accurate data quickly, and make good decisions based on that data. Throughout the next couple of years expect companies to staff up on the BI side of things. Moreover, they don’t have a BI group they will begin to create one (or at least think about it).

Gartner: BI, analytics software spending jumps 13.4 percent

The analyst firm says a rebounding economy, user demand, and aggressive vendor marketing drove the numbers

By Chris Kanaracus | IDG News Service
 Global spending on BI (business intelligence), analytics and performance management applications jumped 13.4 percent in 2010 to $10.5 billion, according to figures released Wednesday by analyst firm Gartner. The results reflect the BI market’s continued strength throughout the world’s economic downturn, as customers looked to such software to find efficiencies and gain competitive advantage.

Although enterprise software spending dropped 2.5 percent in 2009, during the height of the global recession, BI sales grew “in the low single digits,” Gartner analyst Dan Sommer said. While customer demand played a role, aggressive marketing efforts of BI vendors were also influential, according to Gartner.

[ Explore the current trends and solutions in BI with InfoWorld’s interactive Business Intelligence iGuide. | Discover what’s new in business applications with InfoWorld’s Technology: Applications newsletter. ]

BI remains dominated by a handful of major players. SAP, IBM, Oracle and Microsoft alone control 59 percent of the market for BI and performance management software, according to Gartner, while SAS Institute holds the top spot for analytics.

While not able to provide specific percentages, Sommer estimated that “a fairly big portion” of new BI revenue came from existing users adding licenses, versus brand-new projects.

“But overall we did see a shift from ‘maintenance’ to ‘license’ and from ‘build’ to ‘buy,'” he added. “In 2009, most vendors found it challenging to sell new licenses, as discretionary spending in IT budgets was frozen. As a result, vendors came up with increasingly creative strategies to squeeze maintenance revenue out of their customers.”

Last year, improved economic conditions and some major product releases from IBM, Oracle, and others “drove renewed license selling efforts and released pent-up demand,” Sommer said.

BI revenues could only grow further in coming years, as vendors pursue strategies meant to get the software into more users’ hands.

This week, Microstrategy followed other companies in announcing a product that enables “self-service” BI, wherein business users can explore and analyze data on their own, without much help from IT staffers.

BI vendors such as SAS are also moving quickly to add support for mobile devices like Apple’s iPad and Android tablets.

Forrester Research recently predicted that the rise of tablets will significantly increase the prevalence of mobile BI since their larger screens are more suitable for the types of visualizations and navigation styles that make BI software most useful.

Contest Winner shows where our taxes are spent in the article below. Here is the link to try it out yourself… http://datavizchallenge.org/viz/56
April 18, 2011 10:33 AM PDT

Google contest winner shows where our taxes go

(Credit: Google)

With the deadline to pay our taxes ticking away, many of us wonder just how and where Uncle Sam spends our hard-earned dough. The winner of a recent Google contest reveals the answer.

In February, Google launched a contest designed to shed some light into the U.S. government’s often perplexing spending habits. Dubbed the Data Viz challenge, the contest asked developers to create online applications that could show us visually where our income tax dollars are spent.

After receiving more than 40 entries, the Google jury has crowned its $5,000 Grand Prize winner. Created by developer Anil Kandangath, “Where Did My Tax Dollars Go?” is “information-rich but elegantly designed,” said Google in its blog post. And Kandangath’s creation does make it easy for any of us to see how much money goes into each area of the federal budget.

Launching “Where Did My Tax Dollars Go?” offers you a simple interface where a winking George Washington asks you to choose your income and filing status (single, married, etc.) from a couple of drop-down menus. After plugging in that information, you’re taken to a screen that shows how much you paid in federal taxes, how much was eaten up by Social Security and Medicare taxes, and what your tax rate turned out to be.

A pie chart also displays a slice for each federal category, so you can see how much was given to national defense, the environment, health care, and other areas. Clicking on a particular piece of the pie drills down even further. So clicking on defense tells you how much was spent on the Army, how much on the Navy, how much on the Air Force, and more.

The $3,000 runner-up prize went to “Every Day is Tax Day,” an online clock that shows you not just how much money you spent in taxes but how many hours and minutes you worked to earn that money. Though they may not take the sting out of paying taxes, these online apps can at least answer some of the questions that befuddle most hard-working taxpayers, especially at this time of year.

This is one of the most popular phone games ever, and now it is even easier to waste time at work or at home.  Seriously, whoever came up with this simple yet intriguing game is a genius. I know older men who are obsessed with this game who still can’t text very well. Blows me away.
April 13, 2011 7:43 PM PDT

Angry Birds to soon sync score across devices

by Stuart Dredge
Angry Birds screenshot(Credit: Rovio)

If you’re one of those people who’ve bought Angry Birds multiple times for different devices, rejoice. You’ll soon be able to port your saved game between your gadgets.

Rovio, the developer behind the popular game, has confirmed on Twitter that its sync feature will make its debut in the next couple of months. “We are working hard on that, before summer is the plan” the developer told a player who asked what the company’s plans were for score synchronization.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20053764-1.html#ixzz1JVxFfwkx

 

The coolest technology you’ve never seen

A new visual recognition technology by Autonomy maps video and other content into real-life smartphone video images in real time

By Eric Knorr | InfoWorld

Here’s one you have to see to believe. Autonomy, the largest British software company — best known for its enterprise search and compliance technology — has applied its intellectual horsepower in meaning-based computing to visual recognition for smartphones. Soon you’ll be able to download its Aurasma iPhone/iPad app, which enables you to point your camera at static real-world objects that, once recognized, magically come to life on the smartphone screen, similar to the way pictures in the Daily Prophet newspaper animated themselves in Harry Potter.

Check the video demo. The amazing thing is that the video mapped into the real-world scene stays within the bounds of the recognized object, even as you pan the camera around. One example shows a movie poster coming to life; another demonstrates a video inserted into a static newspaper photo; the last is a cereal box with a TV commercial mapped in. The advertising and publishing opportunities are pretty obvious, but the company says anyone will be able to tag reality with messages or images or even interactive games of their own that pop up. Just capture the real-world image, load it into the database, and attach what you want to overlay.

According to Autonomy, the app will be able to recognize up to half a million images. Autonomy’s business customers are expected to establish channels loaded with recognition files for the real world. The app will be available at no charge, and even on the back end, in a rough approximation of the Web commercial publishing model, Autonomy will charge businesses only when advertisements are delivered.

The technology has its limitations. As Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch says, the iPhone 4 has “barely enough processing power” to run the Aurasma app. Recognition takes a second or so, so forget about images that, say, flit by as you pass them in a car. Nor can faces be recognized, because that would require the construction of a 3D model currently beyond the technology’s capabilities. Aurasma can only recognize images or scenes — such as a building facade — that are roughly 2D in character.

But think of the possibilities. You could have a channel for shopping that recognizes thousands of storefronts and links to retailer websites. Computer games could become outdoor affairs that conjure up monsters raging around your neighborhood. My guess is that, like everyone else who has seen the demo, you have your own ideas for applying the technology. This is the beginning of a new medium and the prospects are endless.

The Aurasma app will be available for free download in the App Store next month. Autonomy says it also has an Android version of the app running that will be available in the same time frame.

 

IT Practical Jokes

Defiantly need to try some of these out…

 

 

Sr. Project Manager

Need a project manager who has owned a project before. This PM will be responsible for rebuilding an existing system in .Net framework. PMP is not required but is a plus. The main qualification is experience owning a project and seeing it through the full SDLC.

This is a two year contract. rmurphy@conexess.com

Gmail Motion

Not sure how practical it is, but kinda cool none the less…
Gmail

Motion BETA

A new way to communicate

The mouse and keyboard were invented before the Internet even existed. Since then, countless technological advancements have allowed for much more efficient human computer interaction. Why then do we continue to use outdated technology? Introducing Gmail Motion — now you can control Gmail with your body.

Don’t have Gmail? Create an account

  • Easy to learnSimple and intuitive gestures
  • Improved productivityIn and out of your email up to 12% faster
  • Increased physical activityGet out of that chair and start moving today
  • Gmail Motion - How it works

    How it works

    Gmail Motion uses your computer’s built-in webcam and Google’s patented spatial tracking technology to detect your movements and translate them into meaningful characters and commands. Movements are designed to be simple and intuitive for people of all skill levels.

  • Gmail Motion - Motion Guide

    Motion Guide

    Familiarize yourself with some of the basic functionality of Gmail Motion using this printable guide of sample gestures. With it, you’ll be able to start writing and responding to emails – with your body – in no time.

  • Gmail Motion - Safety precautions

    Safety precautions

    Using Gmail Motion is not only safe but also healthy and fun. As with any physical activity, certain precautions are recommended. First, make sure to clear the area around you. Second, try to take short breaks every 30-40 minutes, just as you would if you were typing. And finally, take time to stretch after each session to give the muscles you’ll be using some relief.

  • Gmail Motion - Coming soon to Google Docs

    Coming soon to Google Docs

    This new motion detection technology doesn’t stop with Gmail. We’re excited to announce that Google Docs Motion will be coming later this year. Learn more

  • Lorraine Klayman, Environmental Movement Specialist, Nevada Polytechnic College“No longer will people be required bend to the will of technology. Instead, technology will now bend to our will.”Lorraine Klayman, Environmental Movement Specialist, Nevada Polytechnic College
  • Dennis Tooley, Ph.D, California Center for Kinesis and Paralanguage“It is commonly known that 80% of communication is non-verbal. Gmail Motion not only accepts this fact – it embraces it.”Dennis Tooley, Ph.D, California Center for Kinesis and Paralanguage
  • Ken Harrenstien, Software Engineer, Google Accessibility Team“Kudos to the Gmail team for bridging the divide. I’m eagerly awaiting the next version with ASL turbo boost!”Ken Harrenstien, Software Engineer, Google Accessibility Team

 

.Net Architect

Need a very strong .Net Architect who wants to be a part of building a new system from the ground up. This is a high priority for this company and they would like to move quickly. SQL and Oracle skills are preferred for the backend, and C# for the middle tier.

This is a 6 month contract to hire