Will the Desktop PC Ever Die?

Well the short answer is quite simply “No” and for a number of very fundamental reasons. Sure, PC sales have definitely slowed down since laptops became a lot more affordable than they’ve ever been, but even more so since Smartphones have effectively become mini computers and since tablet PCs have emerged as well.

Hewlett Packard in particular saw a serious slump in sales as their main focus was indeed desktop PCs and perhaps laptops as well, but this was only an indication of the natural course of normalisation we all should have expected to happen really. There is a market for every type of device and in all honesty, mobile computing devices are perhaps only used in place of devices such as desktop PCs because consumers often find themselves having to make a choice between such devices. If you can afford it, you’ll perhaps have desktop PC in addition to your Smartphone and perhaps even a laptop or tablet PC, the latter of which are for mobility while the desktop PC is for when you have some time to settle down in the comfort of your own home.

Screen Real Estate

As far as the reasons why the desktop PC will never really die out completely go, screen real estate is one of them. Nothing beats having a big screen, especially when you compare how big PC screens can get in comparison to mobile devices. I would bet everybody wished their mobile phone screens were much bigger than they are, but the whole point of a mobile device is to be able to stay connected mainly for as long as you’re away from your desktop PC with its bigger screen. Yes, there are add-on devices such as virtual or WiFi keyboards which you can connect to your mobile device and use as something which resembles a full-sized desktop PC, but it’s just not the same. You can perhaps even plug in a pocket projector which will project your phone’s screen onto a bigger surface like a wall, but still, that whole experience will always feel like a make-shift solution until you can get home to your full-sized PC. Not to mention the amount of battery power something like that consumes, which would mean you’d have to be constantly plugged into a power source.

Processing Power, Memory, Storage and Speed

I guess all of these elements could be summed up as coming together to make up the performance of a computing device and as far as computing performance goes, the more space you have and the bigger the hardware, the better the performance is. The most powerful desktop PC is far more powerful than the most powerful Smartphone or tablet PC for instance, simply because there’s more space for bigger hardware and for expansion on the existing hardware architecture, like having a dual or quad-core processor with a much bigger and more effective heat-sink, neon-cooling perhaps and even expansion slots for extra data storage space.

So no, the PC will never die, especially if you ask computer programmers and developers.

Useful Tools for Beginner Coders and Developers

Learning to code can have you in for one of the most exciting periods of your life, particularly if you have a bright idea you want to get off the ground and you’re all psyched-up after watching movies such as The Social Network.

If you’re a beginner, it can be quite a challenge making some headway and even just kicking things off as there seems to be so much to consider, but here are some tools which will put you well on your way and keep you on-track.

Notepad++

Well any jazzed-up version of your built-in notepad will do actually, but Notepad++ has become an industry standard which pretty much all developers use to hammer out some primary code. It’s available for free download as well and is great because it supports so many different programming languages, highlighting elements such as semi-colons, braces, etc. and even allowing you to set the document you’re typing in to look like one of those cool ones hackers usually use in movies.

An IDE

If you’re a beginner you should definitely use an IDE (Integrated Development Environment), which is basically just a nifty little piece of software which allows you to work side-by-side with the code you’re typing and a simulation of how it will run when compiled and deployed. Some popular IDE options include NetBeans and Eclipse and they’re really great because they have built-in debugger modes.

Testing Environment

Once you’ve typed up your code and it assumes the form of a complete programme or module, you’ll want a real environment on which to test it, so this could simply be your primary machine on which you typed the code or something like Wampserver which simulates a web server environment installed right on your machine. Some IDEs have built in testing environments as well, such as an engine which simulates the mobile phone environment for apps development.

The Ongoing Secret Cyber War

Well you’ve probably caught wind about some spying, backdoors, web activity surveillance and even outright malicious hacking attacks to steal data, trade secrets and even to manipulate election results (the alleged Russian government-funded hacking), but while all of that may or may not be happening, there’s definitely lots of secret cyber wars taking place in plain sight. There’s a lot of cyber warfare going on which the average internet user isn’t even aware of, but what’s even scarier is that your internet connected device may be part of the infrastructure used in the ongoing cyber warfare.

The secret cyber warfare which is going on around the clock ranges from what would easily be referred to as petty score settlements between small-time hackers all the way up to sophisticated, well-organised and well-resourced hacking collectives which are either operating as hacktivists or malicious hackers. Hacktivists effectively hack to prove a point or to send a message to organisations and even individuals which they deem to be operating against the greater good of society, such as the now notorious Anonymous group which is at odds with the manner in which certain governments operate and are against the privacy principles of some big and powerful companies.

Malicious hackers on the other hand could be in it just to prove a point as well (flexing their muscles and showing off their hacking prowess) or they could be in it for nefarious intentions such as stealing money or funding their illicit activities.

A virus called Stuxnet comes to mind as a great example of an extreme case of this secret cyber warfare going on, this time highlighting one such war between a government’s infrastructure coming under attack and malicious hackers whose mandate and backing could point to many rather “interesting” sources.

Stuxnet was some malicious code destined for the nuclear reactors in an Iranian nuclear plant, set to mess around with the operation of some of its components no doubt to create some serious damage, but what you might be surprised to learn is that your very own device may have been part of proceedings. The virus lay dormant, spreading from device to device in search of its final destination of the nuclear reactors where it was to wreak the intended havoc, something which highlights the involvement of many different parties in what was meant to be a showdown (or an attack) between one perpetrator and their targeted victim.

The Best Programming Languages to Learn

Any list of the best programming languages to learn if you’re looking to get into the field of software development would naturally be subjective, depending on exactly which branch of software development you want to get into, but we’ll explore some of those languages which offer you the most flexibility as a programmer or developer.

  1. HTML, CSS & JavaScript with the LAMP Software Bundle

There’s no denying it — the web has taken over in a huge way as far as software goes, with technologies such as cloud computing even making provision for entire programmes which were once operated only on machines to run online, “in the cloud” so to say. It’s really just remotely operated software though, which still needs to be primarily stored and launched from some or other machine. But yeah, if you’re going to start learning how to code, the web is a good space to target and you’d do this by learning HTML along with CSS and Javascript (for basic website functionality). You’d perhaps then introduce the LAMP software bundle (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) to learn how to make your websites interact with a database for what are essentially web applications instead of just static websites (made a little more dynamic with JavaScript).

  1. Java

Java is great because if you start with it and you use it to learn the basic principles of programming, you can quite easily learn how to programme in just about any other language with a focus on creating applications. Java’s true greatness however resides in its universal capabilities, in that just about any consumer-level device you use operates on Java. From your decoder to some of the functionality of your typical mobile phone, Java offers developers the type of versatility which liberates the opportunities they have to really grow their careers.

Tester Jobs for Lazy Tech Heads

The gaming industry is still an extremely huge one, only showing signs of growing bigger and bigger with the further development of some seriously graphically rich games, some of which consume RAM to the tune of watching a real video. For lazy tech heads who effectively want to earn some good money for effectively just playing games and the like, the gaming industry and others offer some great testing opportunities.

Game Tester

It can be a lot of fun getting paid to test games, but it’s not all fun and games. You will have to report any bugs you come across, report back on the difficultly levels of each designated stage and sub-stage, and you’ll basically just be playing from the point of view of the developers and not purely from the point of view of a leisure gamer. Some good money can be made as a game tester however, particularly if you manage to garner some good experience.

Website Tester

Normally you’d need to join a focus group of some sort for this sort of thing, but website quality controllers look for a variety of different types of users to test websites for their clients, so even if you are a tech-head there’s a special place for you as a website tester.

Gadget Testing

This is normally a job which you have to carve out yourself instead of applying for it somewhere as gadget testing isn’t really a formalised industry. The sort of tech heads who usually double up as gadgets testers often have their own tech blogs on which they discuss, test and review all the latest gadgets, setting up the perfect platform to not only go on to get requests to test new gizmos released by developers, but also to keep those gadgets which are given to them to test.

Tech Skills You Can Use to Earn a Passive Income

There’s no doubt about the fact that a lot of current skills in the tech sector don’t really explicitly require one to go through college to acquire them. You can learn just about any tech skill online and become really competent at it once you’ve gone through even a free tutorial, including graphic designing and even programming. How does one use these and other skills to earn a passive income though, especially since job openings for these skills pretty much still require one to be qualified in addition to demonstrating their skill and ability through experience?

Stock Images Sales for Graphics Designers & Photographers

There are some great stock image platforms over which graphics designers and photographers can sell their images and graphics. The likes of iStockPhoto comes to mind as a great example, where you can upload one photo or graphic which will effectively pay you over and over again with every download. So you don’t have to go out looking for a photography or graphic design job.

Boxed Web Application Solutions Sales for Developers

Something like a web application which takes the form of an E-Commerce Website could perhaps be sold over and over again as well if you take the time to develop one as a web applications developer. You can either license its sale as is or even use the platform yourself to sell products online.

E-Books and Physical Book Sales for Writers

Programmes such as Amazon’s Self-Publishing platform have empowered writers like never before. If you’ve ever wanted to write a book then there’s no longer any need to write letters and send the first three chapters to traditional publishing houses. Your book can be uploaded and listed for sale as an e-book (you get paid a portion of the sales fee per download) or it can be printed and delivered in physical paperback format when ordered by readers who prefer the feel of real book in their hands.

Signs You Need to Change Your SEO Company

Whatever your particular web-based operation is, whether it’s just a business informational site or indeed if you’re operating a full-scale online business (and everything in between), at some or other point in time you have to pay attention to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). After all, your competitors are doing it and you best believe they’re spending quite a bit of money to rank higher than you on the popular search engines.

Organic traffic is indeed the best traffic you can ever get, but the game has changed now and it’s about more than just building a couple of backlinks and filling in clever meta tags. In order to realise any sort of success with SEO, you pretty much have to rope in the services of an SEO company because it is that much of a full time job. The SEO scene changes so dynamically that trying to keep up with the technicalities yourself will inevitably steal a lot of time and focus away from your core business, but if you already make use of the services of an SEO company, there are some signs you need to look out for which would indicate to you that it’s just not working out.

You’re Not Getting Results

Granted, SEO results can never be guaranteed and SEO companies can only do so much to try and get your website indexed higher up on the search engine results rankings. However, if you’re paying a lot of money and results aren’t forthcoming, it may be time to switch up your SEO companies. It can be tricky to make the final decision of when to make the change because the effects of an SEO campaign can naturally take a while to kick-in, but you should discuss timeframes with your SEO company as to when you can expect certain milestone and results. If they’re not forthcoming by then, it could be time for a change.

The SEO Company Doesn’t Update You

A legit SEO company should firstly set a mandate with you regarding exactly how and when they’re going to deliver updates. Secondly, they need to stick to that mandate and if they don’t then some warning lights should be flashing.

Really good SEO companies will even go the extra mile and update you about the changes in the SEO trends so that you also gain a better understanding of the process, such as Google’s latest algorithmic tweaks to their ranking system.

Have Mobile Phones Maxed Out Their Innovation Terrace?

The question was perhaps best highlighted with the death of visionary Apple leader, Steve Jobs, that being whether or not the company’s innovation terrace had completed its course. It spreads beyond Apple however and spills over into the entire mobile phone industry in that Smartphones seem to have completed their course of evolution.

Going back to the Steve Jobs discussion however, my best bet would be that Apple’s days as an innovator in the tech industry are all but over and they’ll only be a regular market player from here and on. Evidence to support this perhaps goes back to the early days of Apple when Steve Jobs founded the company, got kicked out of his own company and was then roped back in to “save it” from the distinct lack of growth, vision and innovation it was suffering from. Steve Jobs effectively brought the world what became known as a Smartphone along with other innovations such as the iPod and tablet PC (iPad). Not very long after his death nothing new is really coming out of Apple and the latest iteration of their iPhone doesn’t come with anything you could call a groundbreaking innovation.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because if you look at the overall market of mobile phones, what more can anyone really want to add to their functionality? I always like to look at how Smartphones are in relation to computers — mobile phones have essentially endeavoured to evolve into what we could refer to as miniature computers and that development seems to have reached its end goal.

When a new phone hits the market, nothing overly innovative about it is shouted off of the top of a roof. I mean yeah, there are essentially what are some new developments I’d refer to as nothing but frills, like a curved phone or one which has a borderless screen. There aren’t really any new features which have never existed before, but rather just an extension of memory perhaps, more processing power for more speed, better cameras, etc…Nothing new…

One could even argue that mobile phones haven’t really been innovative at all in that all that they’ve been evolving to become are miniature computers which we can fit into our pockets. Again, I don’t particularly think it’s a bad thing that mobile phones have ceased to develop by way of their innovation, after all, technology is meant to make our lives easier and if a device does that then why should we keep talking about its lack of further development?

The question then turns to why people spend so much money on certain brands, makes and models of mobile phones. Do you get more features, better functionality, more storage space, more security, more flexibility, better privacy perhaps? Do you get a longer lasting battery, smoother operation, a bigger screen, etc?

So yes, I’d say mobile phones have definitely maxed out their innovation terrace, but that doesn’t signal the end of the world in any way. If anything, it gives all the manufacturers some time to consolidate on the various features and make each of their new mobile phones the best that they can be to consumers.

Google, Facebook, Microsoft – The Giants’ Advantage

If you took a look at the Forbes Rich List of billionaires, focussing on the top ten in particular and further narrowing your focus down to those featured billionaires who are in the tech industry, you’ll realise that over the years, the same people pretty much remain in these upper echelons of the world’s wealthiest. Why is that though?

Well, beyond a certain point of wealth it’s really just a situation of being way too big to fail, not in the way financial institutions which repeatedly receive taxpayer bailouts are “too big to fail,” but in the literal sense. In the same way that beyond a certain point of having wealth doesn’t really matter in relation to how much more your fellow billionaire neighbour has (you can only buy so many yachts, carry so many diamond-encrusted mobile phones, etc), beyond a certain point it doesn’t really matter how much of the money you have is spent.

Take Bill Gates for example. The Microsoft company which he built holds so much financial power that just the name itself will perhaps always be associated with one which can always draw investors should the long shot of it every going bankrupt happen. Perhaps more realistically though, a name such as Microsoft has the financial power to draw people and start-up companies seeking investment and that is where the giants’ advantage of the likes of Google, Facebook, Microsoft and even Apple lies.

We’ve seen companies come and go, many of which leveraged the power of contemporary trends, like how Facebook got it dead-right as a social network which truly capitalised on various tech developments which make the process of sharing and connecting online that much easier. There were many social networks before and even after Facebook blew up, in the same way that there were many search companies fighting Google for market share. Linux (of which the Apple Mac OS is a derivative) is a big competitor of Microsoft’s Windows Operating System software as well, which just goes to show that competition will always be there.

These giants of the tech industry however, some of which operate in the same space, remain at the forefront because of the giants’ advantage which they hold, which comes in the form of the financial muscle they have to invest in, develop and even sometimes take bets on many other up-and-coming ventures, many of which go on to blow up big-time themselves.

Devices Already Connected to the Internet of Things (IOT)

Alongside Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR), but perhaps even more so than AI, the Internet of Things (IOT) has been the buzz phrase for the area of tech development which is set to light up the scene. If one takes a moment to look around however, you’ll realise that the Internet of Things is already up-and-running as there are a quite a few devices actually which are already connected to the IOT.

Wearable Tech

Wearable tech comes in many different forms, the most popular of which is perhaps a smart watch or a specialised version of a smart watch, like fitness bands. From synching with your existing data to updating your exercise regime recommendations, wearable tech is almost exclusively reliant on its connectivity to the internet to function.

Smart Fridge

Smart fridges have gone from merely featuring a television monitor on the door for watching soapies while cooking to harbouring fully programmable and automated functionality with some smart features such as being able to order essential supplies which are running short in supplies. This tech is set to develop much further in the coming years.

Home Automation System

This is perhaps the oldest form of what could be referred to as the Internet of Things, as home automation systems have been around for quite a while now and simply joined the IOT network as soon as their capabilities were extended with their added ability to be controlled remotely via the internet.

Smart Scale

Smart scales take wearable tech to the next level and are perhaps a follow-up piece of IOT tech to further enhance the user experience with wearable tech. With Wi-Fi capabilities and the functionality which comes with this type of connectivity, smart scales essentially form just another means through which to collect and organise data to be used to achieve a specific goal.