An Introduction to Warehouse Management

In the most basic terms, warehousing is figuring out where and how to store your products (or their components) before they’re needed for assembly, store display, online purchase, or another final destination.

Many third-party logistics companies specialize in handling shipping, warehousing, and delivery for other brands, allowing those teams to focus on other things, such as product development. However, many smaller businesses still handle their own inventory and warehousing.

Warehouse

Regardless of your company’s size or industry, it pays to be thoughtful about warehousing practices. Better warehouse management will allow you to maximize the storage space you have available and minimize the effort it takes to find items again when you need them. These benefits go on to speed up operations, improve customer experience, and yield more valuable insights for managers — all of which boost revenue and dramatically cut storage-related costs over time.

The Primary Tasks of Warehouse Management

Warehouse management consists primarily of the following tasks — and you’ll need processes, procedures, and protocols for each of them.

  • Receiving – Establish how your products will be accepted into the warehouse and how you’ll keep records of what came in and when it came in.
  • Stowing/Putaway – This step of the warehousing process should determine exactly how and where certain items should be stored within the warehouse.
  • Picking – What are the procedures by which your staff will locate and retrieve the products when they’re needed? How will they keep a record of the fact that they retrieved each item and each group of items for an order?
  • Checking/Verification – Do you want your staff to verify or check their item against the order, or make sure that product is intact or acceptable before it’s moved along to its final destination?
  • Packing and Shipping – You’ll need standard procedures for how products should be packed up and labeled when it’s finally time to move them along.

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Introducing WHM Software

Of course, most companies don’t keep track of their inventory and supplies manually anymore.

There are plenty of web-based software programs built specifically to make this work easier for companies of all sizes. Warehouse management software, or WHM, can come packaged into more complex ERP software or supply chain management software designed for the needs of logistics companies.

WHM software leverages the power of scanners and barcodes to automate inventory tracking, which makes every step of the warehousing process faster and more accurate. Employees scan inventory as it comes in and gets put away, and the software keeps track of each item’s location within the warehouse so it’s easy to find later.

In fact, smaller companies that don’t need a huge warehouse for their storage may be able to get by with inventory management software alone. Inventory management software assigns tracking numbers (stock tracking units, or SKUs, can help track things like price, color, style, brand, gender, type, and size) to inventory. Employees can scan items by SKU as they’re received and as they move through the facility. Retailers use inventory management software to alert them to when their stock is running low and they need to order more.

Inventory management software also makes it easy to print shipping labels when it’s time to move an item to its final destination.

WHM software usually includes some of these inventory tracking features, and in other cases, a company may opt to use both inventory management software and WHM software.

WHM software tends to include some valuable features that go beyond what inventory software can do on its own, such as:

  • Warehouse design – Users may be able to use these programs to lay out their warehouses, including allocating bin and shelf space.
  • Staff management – Because employees are using the software to scan inventory items throughout the day, these programs can also give users a good sense of what employees are working on. This data can help administrators plan workloads and staff schedules.
  • Inventory storage conditions – Some WHM software can also track how goods are stored, including any conditions or processes required for the optimal storage of certain products.
  • Equipment management – Some systems integrate with software that tracks the use of the equipment used in warehouses, such as forklifts, packaging machines, and conveyor systems.

All of today’s best web-based software (inventory management, warehouse management, supply chain management, or all of the above), includes access to helpful reports and digital dashboards.

For example, data from WHM programs can give users real-time snapshots of the warehouse floor, and can alert them to potential risk or compliance issues.

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Tracking Other Warehouse Comings and Goings

Inventory, staff, and equipment aren’t the only things within your warehouse to track with software. You should also be monitoring and keeping records of visitors, whether your warehouse is attached to your front office, in a completely separate building, or is simply an “employees only” storage area within your retail establishment.

Tracking visitors is always a best practice for safety and liability. Plus, visitor data can help on an administrative level to assess what people need when they visit your facility.

However, in some cases, monitoring the people who come in and out of your warehouse can also be a legal requirement.

For example, food and beverage manufacturers need to make sure that only authorized people gain access to their facilities in order to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Logistics providers who are C-TPAT compliant also must limit the people who can access their facilities. And any company that manufactures or produces dangerous or sensitive products, such as those important to national security, is likely subject to a host of regulations about how this material should be stored.

To make sure that visitors are properly credentialed and don’t wander into any space where they’re not permitted, try using a visitor management system like The Receptionist for iPad.

Track the best out of Content Management system

In a world of Content Management System (CMS) There are plenty of CMS software tools are getting introduced, each has it’s own ideal individuality and specifications so the user will go to the CMS where their requirements meet its specifications.

Content

Sometimes the choice of choosing platforms will have a contradiction which slows down the site performance so the developer should be picky about choosing their CMS based on the site requirement. So it’s all depends on the choice of choosing CMS which will lead the site to be effective and also will result in increasing the site performance.

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Which is more SEO friendly?

  • If we compare it between Squarespace and WordPress, We Would recommend you WordPress!. why because if you go by Squarespace you must have experienced a problem when you try to migrate your content into another service?. What will happen to your content in case if you are in a need to migrate it to another service?. When you start reading a migration policy of it, it’s quite scary!. you will be limited to your downloads, not all of your content can be downloaded and you will not be allowed to export your images as well.
  • That is the foremost reason why we recommend WordPress. Since It’s open source software you completely own your content. Your pictures will be on your server, your database will be accessible to you. So the migration will not be difficult for you If you want to move the content elsewhere or your WordPress is no longer maintained.

Which is most Secured CMS?

  • In general, Drupal has high-level of security standard with a dedicated security team which will use set of protocols and series of responsibility for handling issues in an effective way. Comparatively drupal has meticulous coding standards where the complete system is designed to ensure the codes which access the database is decontaminated or not.

Track the best CMS for blogs?

  • Undoubtedly WordPress! WordPress is specially built for blogging system. It has all tools to help us in creating and categorizing the blogs. When we talk about the traffics WordPress sites generating more traffics than the other CMS sites and that is why WordPress is termed as pretty SEO friendly.

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Find effective CMS to create online marketplace

  • WordPress along with the woo e-commerce plugin is one of the best combinations and most used CMS platforms to develop online marketing websites. Since woo commerce plugin has more customized and personalized settings, which will give you a great experience of developing e-commerce sites.

Most of the web service providing companies are effectively making use of this Content Management System(CMS).

Colan InfoTech is a fast growing mobility consulting and solutions enterprise with global clients, numerous portfolios and niche competencies. We focus on web servce providing and making mobility a game changer for corporations and clients. We are enthusiastic about developing sites and apps that look incredible, engage the consumer, and deliver tangible ROI.

How to Hide Running Applications on Your Mac

Applications Back in the earlier days of the Mac, OS X used to have a built-in feature that let you focus in on a single window while hiding all the others. For whatever reason, Apple decided to get rid of that. As a result, it’s also now difficult to hide all your open windows to protect against wandering eyes nearby.
Applications

Fortunately, a new Mac app called Hides restores these features. The app lets you use your Mac in “Single App Mode” as well as quickly hide all of your windows with a single click or keyboard shortcut. Hides is $4.99 in the Mac App Store but well worth it if you’re often in a busy environment but need to get some private browsing done.

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HIDE YOUR ENTIRE DESKTOP

If you want to hide your entire desktop with Hides, utilize the Preferences panel that opens upon first launching the application. You can decide whether you want to hide every running application or just use Single App Mode. For our purposes, make sure Single App Mode in the left sidebar is switched off. While Hides sits in your menu bar for easy access, you might want to set a keyboard shortcut hide the windows even quicker. Select Hide All Apps in the Preferences to do this. Then click Record Shortcut and choose your key combination to set.

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HIDE INDIVIDUAL APPLICATIONS

To hide individual applications on your Mac, you’ll want to head back into the Hides preferences, accessible via the menu bar option. This time, click the switch on the left that turns on Single App Mode.

Single App Mode essentially only lets you use one application at a time and it will automatically hide the rest. If you have Safari, Messages, Calendar and Mail open and Single App Mode is enabled, you’ll only be able to see one of the four that you choose. If you decide you only want to see Safari but then attempt to open Messages, the Messages window will open and Safari will automatically minimize.

This is a great tool if you need laser focus on a specific application and don’t want the distracting clutter behind it on your desktop. Hides lets you pick a keyboard shortcut to enable Single App Mode too, so take advantage of that if you want quick access.

If you need even more privacy on your computer, do check out our handy guide to not only hiding files and folders on your Mac, but password protecting them too.

8 Ways to Lower the Cost of Data Breach Remediation

According to the Ponemon Institute’s latest Cost of a Data Breach Study (sponsored by IBM Security), the average cost of a data breach has risen 6.4%. Given today’s security threat landscape, it seems likely these costs will continue to rise.

 Data Breach

Thankfully, the data also provides several clues as to how an organization can lower its overall costs. Some of these are clearly stated in the report. Others require a little bit of reading between the lines. We combed through Ponemon’s findings and guidance to pull out eight concrete ways to lower the cost of a data breach.

1/ Prevent a breach from happening. Ponemon’s focus is largely on the cost of remediation, but clearly, the best way to reduce the cost of a breach is to prevent them in the first place. For many organizations, staff turnover can create gaps in IT security coverage.

So can M&A activity in which an organization inherits unfamiliar systems, such as when a “Microsoft shop” acquires an organization whose infrastructure is based on IBM Power Systems. (Actually, unfamiliar systems can be an issue even for organizations using the same platform.) If you don’t have the in-house staff you need to cover IT security effectively, a qualified managed service provider can help.

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2/ Protect your devices. Among study respondents, the extensive use of IoT devices increased the cost of remediation by $5 per record. The data doesn’t make clear why remediation costs more when there are devices involved. It’s likely, though, that a wide array of end-point types (e.g., laptops, tablets, smartphones, intelligent machines, etc.) make it harder to track down the cause of the breach and resolve the issue.

Whatever the cause, mobile devices can increase a company’s security risks, but following several best practices can help lessen your exposure. Passwords are one key weakness. It’s not just that people use the same password for multiple devices. Many of the devices connected to the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) are still using the factory-set passwords. In recent years, at least one major cyberattack (Mirai) made use of that fact.

3/ Encrypt your data. Interestingly, encryption of data also reduced the cost of remediation $13 per record. Again, it’s unclear why, but we can speculate that although the encrypted data was stolen, the encryption made it less likely that the data thieves actually gained access to useable/sellable records. This, in turn, could lower abnormal churn (loss of customers after a breach) due to loss of customer trust.

Ponemon’s calculation of remediation costs includes legal expenses, but it’s not clear whether it includes the cost of fines for non-compliance with regulations such as HIPAA or PCI DSS. It’s likely the study factors those fines into the extent that respondents include them, but either way, these costs can be substantial. By encrypting data (on devices, in your data center, and in transit), you’re demonstrating a good faith effort to protect it, and many regulatory enforcement agencies take that into account when assessing fines.

4/ Secure your data during a cloud migration. Your systems and data can be particularly vulnerable during a migration to the cloud. Cyberthieves know that your IT department has its hands full, and their guard may be down. This could be one of the reasons that organizations that were undergoing a major cloud migration at the time of a breach saw their costs rise $12 per record lost or stolen. Another reason could be that the general chaos surrounding an improperly planned or managed migration leads to slower and less effective remediation. Proper migration planning is a must.

5/ Choose your business partners wisely. Ponemon found that when a third party caused the data breach, remediation costs increased by more than $13 per record. This rise in costs could be caused by a number of factors, but no doubt it increases legal fees. Organizations that need to comply with HIPAA know the importance of vetting their business associates (it’s required by the regulation). Other businesses might do well to follow their example.

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6/ Create a response plan ahead of time. Organizations that had an incident response (IR) team saw per record costs $14 lower than average. The study also notes that “the rush to notify victims without understanding the scope of the breach, compliance failures, and the engagement of consultants to assist in the remediation of a data breach all increase post data breach costs.”

The faster your organization responds to a breach the less it looks like you’re trying to cover it up. However, missteps are easy when you’re trying to get ahead of negative publicity. Planning your response ahead of time and establishing a core IR team can help you respond quickly and effectively.

7/ Use the opportunity to build trust. Your pre-breach planning should include how you will preserve – and even build – customer trust. Abnornal customer churn is a real issue for many businesses. In Ponemon’s study, the global average churn rate for the combined sample was 3.4%. The US had a slightly higher churn rate at 3.6%. However, abnormal churn was a particular problem in several industries in which customer relationships are built on trust such as healthcare (6.7%) and financial services (6.1%).

While these percentages may seem small, they are significant. Companies that kept abnormal churn below 1% were able to save as much as $2.2 million as compared to those with abnormal churn rates above 4%. One way they did this was by offering data breach victims identity protection services, a practice that has just about become standard these days.

8/ Identify and contain the breach quickly. Ponemon looked at two metrics: Mean Time to Identify (MTTI) and Mean Time to Contain (MTTC). The implications of each of these should be fairly obvious. The faster you can identify and contain a breach, the fewer records are likely to be compromised. Also, identifying and containing a breach quickly can go a long way toward building customer trust in your data protection efforts.

This year’s study found an MTTI of 197 days and an MTTC of 69 days. Shortening both of these saves remediation costs. When companies were able to identify a breach in less than 100 days, they saved more than $1 million on remediation costs than those who took more the 100 days to identify a breach.

FAQ: Should I use AWS Transfer for SFTP?

AWS I hear this question most often from customers migrating legacy applications to AWS. To answer this question, let’s do a quick review of some of the terminology.

Transfer

What is SFTP?

FTP stands for file transfer protocol. For years, it was the network protocol used for transferring files between the client and the server on a network. Like a lot of older technologies, FTP presented some issues with the security and integrity of the data being transferred.

Today, FTP has largely been replaced with SFTP to address the security and data integrity issues. SFTP stands for Secure Shell File Transfer Protocol, but even that is often shortened to Secure File Transfer Protocol. Clearly, the relevant aspect of the new name is the focus on security, and SFTP is the way to go.

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Should I Use AWS Transfer for SFTP or Manage and SFTP Server In-House?

With that out of the way, the question at hand is whether you should use AWS Transfer for SFTP or save a few dollars every month by managing your own SFTP server in-house?

According to AWS, AWS Transfer for SFTP is:

A fully managed service that enables the transfer of files directly into and out of Amazon S3 using the Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)—also known as Secure Shell (SSH) File Transfer Protocol. AWS helps you seamlessly migrate your file transfer workflows to AWS Transfer for SFTP—by integrating with existing authentication systems, and providing DNS routing with Amazon Route 53—so nothing changes for your customers and partners, or their applications. With your data in S3, you can use it with AWS services for processing, analytics, machine learning, and archiving. Getting started with AWS Transfer for SFTP (AWS SFTP) is easy; there is no infrastructure to buy and setup.

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Managed SFTP

In short, AWS Transfer for SFTP is Managed SFTP, and like any other managed service, I recommend evaluating the cost as an opportunity cost. That is, most of my customers have the skills to manage an SFTP server in-house, but what is the cost of doing it themselves? IT professionals are stretched thin enough. Adding yet one more administrative task to their already-full plate can keep them from doing other higher-value-add work.

This is also the way many of our customers look at the Managed Services we provide, such as disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), database administration, or Managed AWS. They could do these things themselves, but the opportunity cost of doing so (and the potential downside in today’s high-threat-level environment) are much higher than the cost of outsourcing it to us.

If you have specific questions about AWS Transfer for SFTP, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn, and I’ll try to get those answered for you. Or, if you have additional questions you’d like to see us address in a future post, I’d love to hear from you.

How to Get Paid with Square Online Checkout

But we know that what works for one business may not work for another. That’s why we’re introducing Square Online Checkout, an online checkout link or button that allows you to accept payments without having to build an online store.

Square

Square Online Checkout quickly generates a checkout link or button for any of your goods, services, memberships, and more. Whether it’s your first product or your newest offering, you can post the link anywhere online — email, text message, an existing website, or your social media channels.

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Why use an online checkout button?

eCommerce isn’t going anywhere, and an online checkout link is a quick way to tap into the digital economy. Adobe’s Digital Economy Index recently found that consumers’ digital purchasing power (the amount consumers can buy with a set amount of money over a period of time) has increased 20% since 2014. Consumers are shopping online with a fervor, increasingly looking to purchase goods and services from their laptops and mobile devices.

Ride the eCommerce wave

In March 2020, the digital economy grew faster than the economy as a whole. According to Statista, in 2020, global eCommerce sales are projected to reach over $4.2 billion. Consumers are looking for convenience, and online shopping fits the bill. Taking your business online ensures your products and services are more accessible for new and current customers, and can increase sales and brand visibility.

Protect your business

With the rise of eCommerce comes the unfortunate increase of card-not-present (CNP) fraud. Juniper Research forecasts that the annual CNP fraud growth rate will rise 14% annually through 2023, and a recent report by Verizon shows that 43% of data breaches target small businesses.

When you use Square Online Checkout (or any Square product), data security, dispute management, and fraud prevention are all included in the flat processing rate, to help your business combat fraud from bad actors, in person and online.

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How to use Square Online Checkout:

Once you’ve created a checkout link or button, you can share it on whichever channels you choose.

On social media

A checkout link can be added to your Instagram bio, in a direct message, or within a Facebook post. This allows you to sell featured items and services or provide a way for supporters to donate via your social media channels.

Justin James Muir, a portrait photographer, teaches in-person photography classes. In response to COVID-19, he shifted to an online class offering. His followers can use the link in his profile to purchase the class.

11 Best Online Courses To Learn UX Design In 2020

UX Design Designing user experiences is all about anticipating and meeting the needs of users in a way that allows them to intuitively interact with a website, app or device. Good UX works so seamlessly that many users won’t even notice it. But whether users notice it or not, good UX is fundamental to any positive interaction experience. You can dress up a product in gorgeous graphics and use the latest code to make it work, but if the UX is confusing or counterintuitive, users are bound to feel frustrated and annoyed.

UX Design

UX can involve many things, from smart navigation to clear organization of information and from responsive communication to surfacing relevant choices. Let’s take a look at some examples of brilliant examples of UX design. In each of these, I’ll focus on the parts of an interaction that are particularly well done and what you can learn from them.

1. Disney+ landing page

Sometimes, a user experience can be improved by making one simple change to an otherwise familiar design. The Disney-centric streaming service Disney+, which assembles all the movies and TV shows from the company’s vast catalogue in one place, does just that. After logging in, users are presented with a landing page that will look familiar to anyone who’s ever used Netflix. It includes a big featured area at the top and horizontal rows of video options organized by genre or other recommendation criteria below.

But in between those two familiar elements is a set of logos representing Disney’s five brands. Because each of these brands is so popular and already has its own identity, each logo immediately communicates what users can expect if they select one of them.

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2. Quibi rotating video

The mobile-first video-streaming app Quibi launched with one especially exciting innovation: rotating video. While most video content appears in landscape no matter how you orient your mobile device, Quibi’s videos fill the screen whether your device is in portrait or landscape, and also rotate seamlessly between the two. While the technology to make this work is no doubt complex, the idea behind the innovation is an example of fantastic UX design. It recognizes a UX issue with the way we watch videos on our mobile devices and creates a simple, elegant solution to fix it—a solution that seems so obvious, many users will likely wonder why it didn’t happen sooner.

3. Apple compare items

There are many parts of Apple’s website that make it a successful user experience, however, one of my favorite parts of the site is the compare products feature. There, you can pick up to three items from a particular product category and see a side-by-side comparison, something that’s especially useful for products whose specs may only be somewhat different.

4. Threadless add item experience

Threadless sells t-shirts designed by a community of talented artists. The company has an irreverent vibe that revels in creativity, and that shows in the experience they’ve created to add an item to a user’s cart. At its core, this experience is like that of many e-commerce apps, but by adding a few unique touches, Threadless makes it more responsive and delightful.

After selecting the “Add to Cart” button on a product page, a pop-up appears acknowledging the addition to the user’s shopping cart, showing the item that was added, and providing the total price of all the items that are in the shopping cart. This level of communication not only assures the user they’ve successfully added the item they intended, it also lets them know approximately how much they’re spending — especially useful if you’re on a budget.

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5. Zoom experience

Zoom has become the go-to virtual meeting app—and it’s easy to understand why. Zoom’s home screen distills what can seem like a complicated endeavor into four simple options. You can start a meeting immediately, schedule a new meeting, join a meeting that someone else scheduled, or share your screen. After selecting any of these options, Zoom guides users to a new window where they can easily complete the task. The experience doesn’t include a lot of extra bells and whistles, but it doesn’t need to. The app surfaces the most likely tasks users will want to use Zoom to complete and makes it easy to get started.

Finding More Examples of Brilliant UX Design

These are just a few examples of brilliant UX design, but there are many more. One way to find them is to start paying attention to the sites, apps and other digital products you use everyday. Consider what you like about them and what they do differently from other products you’ve used. Pay particular attention to interactions that delight you or that you particularly enjoy. That way, anytime you touch a computer or mobile device you can learn something new about UX design.

What Is A Typical Day In The Life Of A Web Developer?

Developer If you’re considering a career in web development, you’ll no doubt want to know: what’s it really like once you land that first role? To provide some real-life insight, we asked our in-house web developer Sam to talk us through his typical working day.

Developer

Having originally trained as a musician, Sam decided to make the switch to web development. After taking the CareerFoundry web development course, he started out as a junior and now leads a team of three developers. Here, he tells us how he goes about his day, what challenges he faces and what keeps him motivated. If you’d like to follow in his footsteps, scroll to the end of the article to watch a video he made about how to become a web developer.

8.45am I usually get into the office somewhere between eight-thirty and nine, before the hubbub starts. This is the best time to get some peace and quiet, and gives me the chance to get organized for the day ahead. I spend about 45 minutes sifting through my emails and Slack messages. I’m a zero-inbox person, so the only emails in my inbox are open tasks that I need to work on or respond to – everything else is archived. I’ll then check for errors and bug reports to see if any issues cropped up while I was gone, and prioritize my to-do list accordingly.

9.45am Time to grab a coffee before our team meeting. Each morning we get together for an hour or so to discuss our weekly sprint goals. We talk about what we did the day before, what we’ll focus on for the day ahead, and any obstacles we’re currently facing. This allows us to make sure we’re on track as a team and to plan the rest of the week.

10.45am Now the real work begins. With the first meeting out the way, I’ll get stuck into my high priority tasks. This might be something left over from the day before, or an urgent bug that needs fixing. In the absence of emergencies, I simply make a start on my to-do list. We use a project management tool called Ora for agile planning and time tracking, so I’ll get the next project from Ora and start tracking my time. At this point, I tend to stick my headphones on and work independently to a bit of classical music.

We do also practice pair programming, so depending on the task at hand, I might sit with one of the other developers so we can work on it together. This is a fairly common practice in the web development industry, and basically enables us to pool our knowledge and brainpower to find the best solutions.

Once I’m done with a task, I submit my code for review. I upload it to the testing server and to GitHub with a comment on what I’ve done and why, any changes I’ve made and instructions on how to test it. I’ll then mark it for review so that my team sees. We operate a policy whereby all code has to be reviewed by at least one other team member, so that’s what this step is for. Once I’ve submitted my code for review, I’ll stop the time tracking in Ora and move that task to the QA column.

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Struggling to become a web developer? Click here to take our free 5-Day Web Development Course

1pm By now I’m pretty hungry and ready for a break, so we all head out for lunch. I tend to go out for lunch as I think it’s really important to get out of the office and interrupt your workflow for a bit. We talk politics, philosophy, bitcoin and family life over burgers before heading back to the office.

2pm After lunch, I grab my second hit of caffeine before the next round of meetings begins. At 2pm, we meet with the design team for project handover. They present their UI designs, walking us through everything, and we can ask questions and start thinking about how we might translate their designs into code. The meeting lasts about an hour, and once it’s finished, we make a card in Ora summarizing this particular project. It’s then added to our backlog of tasks.

3pm Back at my desk, I take the next card from the sprint planning column in Ora and start the time tracker. The time tracker helps us plan our time more efficiently – we get a good overview of how much time we’re spending on what, and we can make realistic estimates for future projects. Once I’ve finished my task, I’ll move it to the QA column in Ora.

5pm I spend the last hour of the day tying up any loose ends and getting ready for tomorrow. I’ll check the projects that I submitted before lunch to see if they’ve been reviewed yet. If they have, I’ll go through the feedback and apply all the changes requested, and then re-submit for further review. I’ll then attend to any bug fixes or requests from the other developers, and review any code that has been submitted. If I have time, I like to end the day by watching a video tutorial. At the moment, I’m learning about frontend testing with Jest, a testing framework for JavaScript.

6pm Around six, I close my laptop and head home. I generally don’t work overtime unless there’s something really urgent to deal with. As long as I’ve wrapped everything up and know what I’m doing the next day, I’m ready to leave on time.

6.30pm onwards Some evenings, I’ll work on freelance projects after I’ve had dinner and spent some time with my family. Otherwise, I like to unwind by watching TV or playing piano. Generally, I try to take a break from programming – however, ideas often come to me as I’m in bed falling asleep, so I grab my phone, type out a quick email to myself and send it to my work address. I don’t have my work email or calendar on my phone, as I prefer to have some separation and try to leave my work in the office as much as I can.

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The day in review

Reflecting on a typical working day, I’d say I spend 50% of my time on project work, 25% in meetings and on general communication, and the remaining 25% working on immediate requests and bugs. My daily toolkit consists mainly of Ora, a project management tool, Slack and Gmail for internal communication, GitHub for code version control, Atom for text editing, Google Keep for note-taking, Zeplin and Sketch for design hand-off, and Google Drive for anything miscellaneous.

iOS vs. Android app development: Clash of the titans

Android app The development strategy is always determined by the specific objective of your business. Although the native approach can be a better choice, the cross-platform mobile development solutions are quite popular now due to the relative ease of their implementation (despite the fact that launching such applications is costly and risky.)

Android app

Each company that wants an app to be accessible on different devices has two options. It is either working to produce an app for a certain platform or building teams to create applications that work on more than one platform. The latter alternative is certainly more expensive than the former one. In this context, an effective solution which allows saving both time and effort is cross-platform development. It implies writing the source code once and implementing it on different platforms. Approaches common to this solution are Cross-Compilation, Virtual Machine approach, Component- and Cloud-Based approaches, and Model-Driven Development.

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However, when considering the coding process for Android and iOS separately, we must admit that there are some key differences:

1. Programming languages

  • Android       Java/Kotlin
  • iOS                Swift

2. Integrated development environments (IDE)

  • Android      Android Studio
  • iOS               XCode

Besides, Android app development is generally recognized to take more code lines and is more expensive than the one of iOS. Bug fixing is also more difficult for the Android OS. There is, however, some good news. Although XCode as a development environment for iOS runs on Macs only, Android Studio can be installed both on PCs and Macs. As for the rest, to start developing for either of the OSs you need to ensure that a team has at hand all the necessary development tools of the chosen platform, one mobile device, and a tablet.

Revenue Models

To pave the way to achieving user loyalty, a mobile app should be a sustainable source of revenue. Android is claimed to match the advertising goals, while iOS is to be used for driving sales efficiency. Understanding this clearly stated mobile marketing trend, developers can make wiser decisions as for allocating their resources.

Release Cycles

Apparently, app adoption differs for the two operating systems and Android, in this case, shall yield the palm to iOS. The reason is that updating an OS to the most recent version is more challenging for Android. Namely, approximately 95% of Apple users have their devices updated to iOS 10 or iOS 11, the most recent versions, now. Yet, less than 1% of Android devices are running Oreo, which is the latest version of this operating system.

Enterprise Apps

Not all apps are available for public download. It is enterprise apps that are created to be used by corporate employees exclusively. In the first place, they serve business purposes, and many companies take advantage of such applications running them either on Android or iOS devices. The key feature of these apps is their security, but which OS is more secure?

Development Cost

When it comes to development costs, you can be positive that they differ for the two OSs. Particularly, iOS app development is reputed to be 30% cheaper than the one of Android apps on average. The reason is that Android development is slower and here is why:

  • 40% more lines of code
  • Android emulators are slower
  • effects of fragmentation
  • verbosity and complexity of XML (compared to WYSIWYG)

At a rough estimate, simple Android application development should cost $25,000 to $35,000. However, this assumption does not restrict alleged development costs of an iOS app of the same complexity degree to about 20,000$; for even 3,000$ might do, and development costs will vary depending on the chosen business model, functionality, and design.

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Design

The design rules for Android devices are based on Material Design Guidelines, while Apple relies on Human Interface Guidelines. Thus, we can single out the basic design principles for both OSs.

Android:

  • A material metaphor. Conveyance of the way objects move, interact, and merely exist in space follows the realistic approach here.
  • A bold and graphic interface. Responsive UI elements with their large-scale typography appear, hide and move in such a way that they all seem palpable.
  • The user as the prime mover. Users can benefit from such UX elements as the Floating Action Button, splash screens, an app’s navigation design and adaptiveness. Still, the rules for navigation are loose enough to allow designers to apply different navigation patterns customizing the content.

iOS:

  • Metaphors. In this regard, two OSs mirror each other, and we observe the same attention to detail.
  • Aesthetic integrity and consistency. It implies that UI elements not only look ‘real’ and have a captivating appearance but also meet users’ expectations providing them with the styles they have got used to.

User control. The user thus has the freedom not to do harmful actions. It may seem that the OS takes complete control over an individual but informing him or her about consequences of the choices made in a particular app the OS reduces possible risks while efficiently simplifying the navigation experience.

Publishing and Restrictions

Primarily, to submit an app, the developer must pay the registration fee:

  • Android      a one-time $25 registration fee
  • iOS               $99 per annum

Besides, mobile applications, as previously stated, are deployed and updated on the given operating systems following two different patterns. iOS and Android development difficulty is not all that is important. The binary opposition of open and closed nature of an operational system is essential here.

Conclusion

Obviously, we cannot say that an experience with either of the two operating systems is bound to be more enjoyable or successful, it all depends on what you expect and whether these expectations are true-to-life. On top of that, you should have a fair chance to succeed — no matter which OS you have opted for — once you have identified the objective of developing this app. Then, proceeding from the basic principles, we are sharing with you here, you can cream off all possible benefits.

Fun Zoom Virtual Backgrounds For Your Video Calls

Zoom While we’re staying at home during the coronavirus crisis, work meetings, family dinners and chilling with friends have moved from the real world to the virtual one. And the big winner of the virtual video wars is Zoom meetings. The free group conference software has become ubiquitous during our quarantines.

Zoom

But while late-night talk shows and cable news are filled with professors and celebrities showing off their carefully-curated bookshelves and fancy kitchens, we regular Joes are upgrading our boring living room and messy bedroom backdrops with Zoom’s virtual backgrounds option.

The Zoom virtual backgrounds feature allows the user to select any photo they wish to use as their backdrop behind their talking head for morning pow-wows, dinner dates and group trivia. But where does one find the coolest of the cool backgrounds to impress our friends and coworkers and show our personal style?

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The best Zoom virtual backgrounds

We’ve scoured the internet to collect 50 of the most awesome pop culture images, gorgeous cityscapes, funny memes, iconic landmarks, weird finds and more to amaze and amuse your fellow Zoomers. Every image here is either in the public domain or offered for free by their copyright holder for you to decorate your Zoom box without worry.

Just in case this is your first time, here’s how to set a virtual background on Zoom:

  • Download the background of your choice. Better yet, download a few options, in case you want to switch them out.
  • After you sign into a Zoom call, look for an icon that says “Stop video” in the bottom left corner of the window. Click the arrow to the right side of it, and select “Choose a virtual background.”
  • Upload as many backgrounds as you’d like, and switch them whenever you please.

Here comes the fun part: Browse through these free Zoom backgrounds, and download your favorites. Then schedule your next virtual happy hour to show ’em

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How to change your Zoom background

Setting any of these images above to be your Zoom meeting background couldn’t be easier. Just follow these steps:

  1. Find the image you wish to use on any of the websites above. Right-click on the image (or control-click on Mac or long-press on your iPhone… sorry Galaxy folks, Zoom virtual backgrounds are not supported on Android) and choose “Save Image.”
  2. Join your Zoom meeting by clicking the link you were sent by the meeting host (choosing “Open Zoom Meeting” if prompted). Note: If you have not previously downloaded Zoom, you will be prompted to do so.
  3. Select “Join with Video,” and you will see yourself on your laptop or phone against your boring, real-life background.
  4. To set a new background, go to the bottom of the screen, click the up-arrow to the right of the “Stop Video” button (or click the “More” button on iOS), and select “Choose a Virtual Background.”
  5. On the window that pops up, choose the “Virtual Background” tab (if not already selected) and make sure “I have a green screen” is unselected. (On iOS, this step is done automatically.)
  6. Then click “Add Image” (or the “+” sign on your iPhone).
  7. Find the image you saved on your hard drive, most likely in Downloads or on your desktop, double click or open it and — bam — you have your new virtual background. Just close the setting dialog box and start talking!

Have fun with Zoom

If we’re going to be living our best life from home during the coronavirus outbreak, we may as well have some fun with these Zoom virtual backgrounds.