Author Archives: Deepika Murty

Planning for Web Designing , Check these out

Open source applications and tools are a great alternative for web designers on a budget. Many open source tools have comparable features to the expensive applications, and are also free.This makes it possible possible for a web designer to have all the tools and applications needed to complete everyday tasks without even spending a cent.

Aptana Studio

Aptana is a complete web development environment that combines powerful authoring tools for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, along with thousands of additional plugins created by the community.  Build web applications easily and quickly using the industry’s leading web application IDE. Aptana Studio harnesses the flexibility of Eclipse and focuses it into a powerful web development engine.

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KompoZer

KompoZer is a complete web authoring system that combines web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing. KompoZer is designed to be extremely easy to use, making it ideal for non-technical computer users who want to create an attractive, professional-looking web site without needing to know HTML or web coding.

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Notepad++

Notepad+ is a freeware text editor for Windows operating systems and is intended as a replacement for the Notepad editor installed by default on Windows. It has more formatting features but, like Notepad, works only with plain text. It can open text files of any size, and a single instance of the program can have multiple files open simultaneously. It supports dragging and dropping text within a file and between files, and supports multiple fonts and colours.

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Firebug

Firebug is a plugin for Firefox that allows you to edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page. Firebug is a free and open-source web browser extension for Mozilla Firefox that facilitates the live debugging, editing, and monitoring of any website’s CSS, HTML, DOM,XHR, and JavaScript. In addition to debugging web pages, Firebug is a useful tool for web security testing and web page performance analysis. 

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Quanta Plus

Features

  • Project management, including support for local and remote (through the network) projects. Project files can be uploaded to many servers using various protocols. CVS support is integrated, Subversion support is possible through external plugins. Advanced project features, like actions assigned to various project events and assigning roles in a team are also available.
  • Uses KDE KIO slaves for FTP, SSH (through FISH) and other protocol support.
  • HTML and XML support: by default support for various (X)HTML versions and some XML based languages are available. This support can be extended either by the user (by importing an XML DTD) or via the “hotstuff” interface, by downloading XML support packages. XML support means autocompletion of tags and attributes, visual editing of tags, document structure viewing, validation/problem reporting, context help.
  • script language support: by default PHP support is included, other languages can be supported by creating a language description package. PHP debugger interface is included for the Gubed and XDebug debuggers. Autocompletion for built in and user functions/variables is possible.
  • CSS support: visual CSS editor, autocompletion for CSS.
  • templates: full site, one document or snippet templates are possible. Templates can be shared via hotstuff.
  • user toolbars and actions: toolbars can be freely created with stock or actions created by the user on it. The toolbars can be assigned to a language or to a project. The toolbars are also shareable via hotstuff.
  • extensibility: any type of scripts/executables can be assigned to actions or project events. Users can exchange toolbars through the hotstuff system.
  • plugins: general KPart plugin support. Any KDE KPart can be used inside Quanta, by default Konsole, KImageMapEditor, KLinkStatus, Cervisia (CVS) and KFileReplace are configured.
  • integrated preview: documents can be previewed inside the application using the KHTML engine. Preprocessing the documents through a web server before previewing is possible.
  • context help: context help for many languages can be downloaded via hotstuff. New help packages can be created by the user.
  • lots of settings: the application is highly configurable, so everyone can adapt it to their needs.
  • Built in rendering with KHTML.
  • Display the source code, WYSIWYG Mode (called VPL (Visual Page Layout) in Quanta) or both.

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Graphics Applications

GIMP is a versatile graphics manipulation package. It’s considered by many to be an excellent alternative to Photoshop.

Color

There are several ways of selecting colors, including palettes, color choosers and using an eyedropper tool to select a colour on the canvas. The built-in color choosers include RGB/HSV selector or scales, water-color selector, CMYK selector and a color-wheel selector.

Selections and paths

GIMP selection tools include a rectangular and circular selection tool, free select tool, and fuzzy select tool (also known as magic wand). More advanced selection tools include the select by color tool for selecting contiguous regions of color—and the scissors select tool, which creates selections semi-automatically between areas of highly contrasting colors

Image editing

There are many tools that can be used for editing images in GIMP. The more common tools include a paint brush, pencil, airbrush, eraser and ink tools used to create new or blended pixels.

Layers, layer masks and channels

An image being edited in GIMP can consist of many layers in a stack. The user manual suggests that “A good way to visualize a GIMP image is as a stack of transparencies,” where in GIMP terminology, each transparency is a layer. Each layer in an image is made up of several channels.

Automation, scripts and plug-ins

GIMP has approximately 150 standard effects and filters, including Drop Shadow, Blur, Motion Blur and Noise.

GEGL

The Generic Graphics Library (GEGL) was first introduced as part of GIMP on the 2.6 release of GIMP.

File formats

GIMP supports importing and exporting with a large number of different file formats, GIMP’s native format XCF is designed to store all information GIMP can contain about an image; XCF is named after the eXperimental Computing Facility where GIMP was authored.

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Inkscape

Inkscape is a vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Adobe Illustrator.

3D boxes: created using the 3D Box tool. The boxes have adjustable XYZ perspectives and configurable values for vanishing points. 3D boxes are in fact groups of paths and after ungrouping can be further modified.

Objects can be arbitrarily grouped together. Groups of objects behave in many respects like “atomic” objects: for instance, they can be cloned or assigned a paint. Objects making up a group can be edited without having to ungroup it first, via an Enter Group command: the group can then be edited like a temporary layer. Z-order of objects can be managed either using layers, or by manually moving the object up and down in the Z stack. Layers can be locked or hidden, preventing modifying and accidental selection.

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Veltrod is developing mobile application for Android and Iphones. You can reach us through sales@veltrod.in.


Steam OS; Next segment of gaming

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SteamOS, Valve’s specialized gaming operating system, is gearing up for a full release, and should be widely available before the end of the year. The developing OS is a curious beast: It’s optimized for PC gaming but doesn’t run some of the most popular PC games. It is a Linux-based operating system developed by Valve. The software highlights PC gaming but will also have access to streaming video, music and other online services.

You must be thinking why would you run it. It will be very lightweight, and is designed specifically with big-screen TVs in mind. It aims to split the difference between customizable PC gaming and comfortable console gaming. Hooking a SteamOS machine up to your TV may be easier than hooking up a Windows PC or Mac. Because many Steam games allow you to use a controller instead of a mouse and keyboard, a SteamOS system can offer you hundreds of the industry’s most popular games at lower prices.

Any Steam game with Linux support should run on SteamOS, although Valve will pin down this list as the official launch date approaches. There are roughly 2,000 Linux games available through Steam, including major titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and indie darlings like Hotline Miami and Generally speaking, games that are compatible only with Windows and Mac will not run on SteamOS. The list of games that do not run on Linux is extensive: Series such as BioShock, Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty currently have no Linux support on Steam.

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Valve does not produce any Steam machines; instead, it has collaborated with a number of partners to offer a full range of gaming PCs, from the budget-minded to the fantastically powerful. SteamOS is available free of charge. Steam Machines range from $460 to $5,000. You can also find a machine to fit your exact budget by constructing it yourself.

 

There is a Steam controller valve designed the Steam Controller from the ground up, to get the most out of Steam titles without resorting to a mouse and keyboard. However, the controller is not necessary; gamers can still use a mouse and keyboard, or another type of controller, if they prefer. For full impressions on the Steam Controller, check out our hands-on.

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Veltrod is developing mobile application for Android and Iphones. You can reach us through sales@veltrod.in.

 


Marshmallow versus iOS 9

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System UI Tuner

Once enabled, System UI Tuner will appear in the settings menu at the very bottom. It provides a few simple UI tweaks, including adding a battery percentage indicator to your battery icon, a customizable Quick Settings area, where toggles can be rearranged or removed and new ones added, and a menu for displaying which icons are displayed in your status bar. You’ll never have to suffer a cluttered status bar with NFC, Bluetooth and Alarm icons again.

 

Dark theme and rotation support

For unknown reasons, both the system-wide dark theme and support for a rotating home screen were removed from the final version of Marshmallow, despite appearing in versions of the developer preview. We may yet see these make a return in future updates to Marshmallow – they are frequently-requested features, after all – but for now they are not a part of the Android 6.0 release.

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Update: Some eager code-sifters have uncovered evidence of a dark mode in the source code for Android Marshmallow, indicating that Google may still have plans to include it in a future version. The source code mentions Night Mode, which, as you may remember, sounds a lot like the automatic theme changing capabilities (based on the time of day) we saw in the Android M preview builds.

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Apps and Ecosystem

Both Apple and Google offer a strong set of native apps to get you up and running, though of course Google’s are all available on iOS, whereas Apple snubs Android completely. In Hangouts Google has an overarching messaging service that works almost anywhere, though iMessage and FaceTime are arguably more polished.

Stability, Security, Performance

Touch ID is a big win for iOS and has hugely improved the experience of unlocking a phone or verifying a purchase. The various flavors of Android are trying to catch up, without much success—Samsung is the only manufacturer to have brought fingerprint-sensing technology to Android devices on a regular and consistent basis so far.

Beyond the Mobile OS

There are so many extras to pick from: Apple Health vs Google Fit, Apple Pay vs Google Wallet, Android Auto vs CarPlay. For the sake of finishing this feature before iOS 9 and Android 6 appear, we’ll have to limit ourselves somewhat.

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As Google and Apple borrow features from each other, and both these mobile OSes get better and more mature, choosing between them has become less about comparing a checklist of features and more about everything that’s beyond iOS and Android—in 2015 it involves choosing an ecosystem, choosing who to trust with your data, and choosing how you want to live your digital life across smartphones, computers and the web.

Veltrod is developing mobile application for Android and Iphones. You can reach us through sales@veltrod.in


What you didn’t know about Marshmallow

Android Marshmallow isn’t an overhaul of everything you thought you knew about Android. Rather, it’s a refinement and extension of the core features and functionality of Android Lollipop. In this Android Marshmallow review, I take a look at the major features of Google’s latest OS version to let you know where it hits, where it misses, and where it has room to improve.

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Android Marshmallow design

Android Marshmallow is visually similar to its predecessor, Lollipop, in many ways. Google’s Material Design language is now more pervasive than ever before and the main areas of the UI – settings, notifications shade and navigation – remain the same. But Marshmallow does have some differences in appearance and new features.

Lock screen

The Marshmallow lock screen is almost identical to Lollipop’s, complete with expandable notifications and app shortcuts. This small update is the first clue as to just how integral voice commands are to Marshmallow.

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App drawer

The app drawer in Marshmallow went through a couple of changes during the developer preview process and appears in the final version as a vertical scrolling list as opposed to the paginated horizontal list from Lollipop. You can scroll through the list or use a new scrubber bar on the right to jump to a particular letter of the alphabet. An endless vertical list means it’s easy to swipe right to the end of your app list – certainly moreso than swiping through multiple cards in Lollipop.

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RAM manager      

RAM usage has typically been the reserve of Android geeks rather than regular users. Marshmallow aims to put RAM management a little more in the foreground by giving it its own dedicated settings menu area called Memory. In this section you can view memory use by the system and individual apps over different time frames, which should hopefully make more people familiar with what is normal behavior for their device.

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App permissions

This is one of the unsexy but incredibly important parts of Android Marshmallow. The Android system now offers user-facing controls over some, but not all, app permissions. While iOS has had this feature for years, Android is only now catching up.

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Fingerprint API

Android Marshmallow introduces system-level fingerprint support via the new fingerprint API. Both new Nexus devices have a fingerprint scanner. The rollout of Android Pay and other touchless payment systems that rely on fingerprint scanners for authentication can now be handled by Android itself rather than a manufacturer add-on. Fortunately, Google has set minimum standards for scanner accuracy in order to pass its device certification.

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Automatic app backup

Historically, Android has offered a pretty weak app backup solution. The Backup and reset section in Lollipop was opt-in, vague and incomplete. Marshmallow can now automatically back up both your apps and data, so any apps restored from a backup will be the same as they were before – you’ll be signed in and right where you left off.

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Smart Lock

Smart Lock has been around since Lollipop, but it bears repeating now that smartwatches are more prevalent. Smart Lock on Marshmallow provides options for unlocking your device or keeping your device unlocked depending on various intuitive scenarios. Smart Lock is found in the security settings and requires the use of some form of lock screen security.

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Direct share

I’ve complained before about Android’s awful multi-tasking abilities. It works, but it’s clumsy, slow and not very intuitive. Marshmallow attempts to make things a little more intuitive, but unfortunately doesn’t quite hit the nail on the head. Direct Share is a new feature. It doesn’t work everywhere yet, but the idea is that when you hit the share picker, instead of just seeing a list of apps, you’ll see some contacts at the top as well.

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Veltrod is developing mobile application for Android and Iphones. You can reach us through sales@veltrod.in


How do I overcome Android’s hurdles?

 

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  • The smartphone market has expanded from a small and limited business in some regions to a large and robust ecosystem that spans the globe, and Android has emerged as the single-largest smartphone platform. Android has 1.4 billion monthly active users on its smartphones and tablets, thanks to its enormous selection and ability to appeal to numerous segments of the smartphone consumer market.
  • Despite its success, Android faces an uncertain future. Due to its open-source variants, the Android ecosystem is highly fragmented, which presents numerous issues in terms of security and app development. As key smartphone markets shift from developed regions like the US and China to emerging markets like India and Brazil, Google will try to maintain its control of Android via its Android One project, while third-party vendors will push regionalized versions of Android to better cater to new consumer markets.
  • A new report from BI Intelligence sizes up the current Android platform and examine its greatest opportunities and challenges in key markets. We also explore the effects of fragmentation on Android, the limitations it presents to growing segments of the Android ecosystem, such as Android Wear and Android Pay, and discuss how its massive growth is presenting challenges to mobile advertisers and app developers looking to reach Android’s large user base.

 

  • Here are key takeaways from the report:
  1. Android is the most widely adopted mobile platform in the world. We estimate that in Q2 2015, about 83% of all smartphones shipped globally — roughly 282.5 million smartphones — were running a version of Android. By comparison, only 47.3 million smartphones running iOS shipped during the quarter.
  2. Fragmentation is the platform’s greatest challenge. One-third of consumers with Android devices are still using versions of the platform released in 2012 or earlier. The lack of a cohesive platform complicates app and security development.
  3. Fragmentation is also Android’s biggest opportunity. Consumers have more choice than ever as Android manufacturers proliferate. As of August 2015, there were more than 24,000 distinct Android devices from nearly 1,300 brands, many running on “forked” versions of the platform — operating systems built from the Android open-source kernel but which fall outside of Google’s control.
  4. The Google Play app store is outpacing the competition, but the influx of apps and developers to the platform is making app discovery — both paid and organic — problematic for marketers. Google Play surged past the iOS App Store in terms of app volume in 2014, but the premium on getting an app in front of consumers is driving app marketing costs on Android to record highs.
  5. The disparity between the volume of traffic Android drives and the volume of revenue it generates is troubling for the platform. iOS consumers tend to drive less traffic due to a smaller overall user base, but iOS exceeds Android in terms of total revenue, making iOS consumers more valuable to marketers and retailers.
  6. Emerging markets hold the key to Android’s future. Google wants to win the battle to bring the “next billion” online, but it faces competition from its own handset manufacturer and carrier partners, as well as from traditional rivals like Apple.

How do I stay safe from the dangers of cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the big buzz these days and we have more choices available to us now than ever before. How many of us use Dropbox, SkyDrive, or Google Drive on a daily basis? How many big businesses rely on Amazon’s CloudFront for content delivery? Even Google Docs is a marvel with its cloud-based office suite. But despite the usefulness of cloud computing, it does have its drawbacks.

  • To choose the right Cloud

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  • There are a lot of cloud services out there and the number of choices will only continue to grow in the coming years. This means that you owe it to yourself to carefully research and consider all available alternatives before committing to any particular service. For example, if you need a cloud storage solution, it’s in your best interest to thoroughly check out Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Amazon Cloud Drive, etc.
  • Due to the nature of cloud computing, data migration between clouds can be a huge timesink and pain in the neck. First you have to download all of it off the first cloud and then upload it all to the second. Even if there’s an import option, you’ll lose a ton of time depending on how much data needs to move. Do hard research and make sure you start off on the cloud that best fits your needs.
  • Keeping Multiple copies 

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  • One of the biggest risks of using a cloud is that the cloud’s longevity is entirely outside of your control. It could be there one morning and gone the next. Therefore, you should NEVER use a cloud as your sole location for data storage.
  • Yes, cloud storage is hailed as a revolutionary breakthrough when it comes to backups. I don’t disagree here as long as the cloud’s copy of your data is actually a backup (i.e., not the original copy) because if the cloud goes down, your data goes down with it in the blink of an eye. Use other backup solutions in tandem with cloud storage.
  • Another reason to keep local copies of data: temporary cloud outages. What happens when you find three hours to work on that project of yours, sit down, log into your cloud… and it’s down? Suddenly you’re impatiently waiting for the cloud to come back up so you can make use of your time well. With local copies, you’re never at the mercy of your cloud’s uptime.
  • Securing your data

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  • Cloud computing has many upsides, the chief advantage being that all of the data management is done by the cloud provider. It relieves you, the user, from having to worry about overhead and administration. However, this comes with the potential sacrifice of security and privacy.
  • Since all of your data is being held by someone else, cloud services are inherently risky. We already discussed the possibility of losing all of your data when a cloud provider goes belly up overnight, but there’s also the issue of data confidentiality. What happens if the cloud provider is hacked? What if their data – which is actually your data – gets leaked by a rogue employee? What if they give up your data in light of a government subpoena?
  • It comes down to this: don’t put data on a cloud if you wouldn’t be comfortable with that data being exposed at some time in the future. You just can’t know beforehand that your data will remain secret forever.


Five Things You Didn’t Know about Linux

  • Image Editing & Processing

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  • You probably know that a Mac is the device of choice for digital artists and graphic designers around the world, although you’ll probably be surprised to find that a big chunk use Windows. What unifies these talented creators of art and design is their reliance on Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator applications, which are sadly unavailable on Linux (unless you plan to run them in Wine).
  • Fortunately, Linux users who are aspiring and working artists don’t have to end their ambitions there. Our recent look at Photoshop alternatives for Linux will give you a good idea of what you can do with open source alternatives, most of which run on Linux. In a nutshell, it’s virtually everything that you can do on a Mac or PC!

 

  • Even Edit Video on Linux

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  • Windows users with digital video cameras will know how tricky it is to find good quality video editing software. While Windows Movie Maker was once a good choice, the world has moved on. But do you really want to migrate to Linux and find that there is no alternative to something like Adobe Premiere?
  • No, of course not. But fortunately, there are alternatives. If you haven’t already heard of Lightworks, this is just one of a handful of good quality applications. We reckon that PiTiVi is another good option for Linux users, offering basic editing tools, effects, but Kdenlive remains the best video editing software on Linux.

 

  • Record and Edit Audio

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  • Whether you’re editing a podcast or recording your band’s next great record, audio editing support is a massive advantage (unless you prefer recording live). But does Linux offer this support?
  • If you’re editing audio on Windows, there is a very good chance that you’re using the versatile open source Audacity suite, and this is available on Linux. While it doesn’t offer the full suite of tools you might expect from pro applications, Audacity is good enough for most tasks.
  • For those Linux-based audio editing projects that can’t be completed with Audacity, meanwhile, take a look at apps such as Linux Multimedia Studio (LMMS) which we’ve summarized previously.

 

  • Need to Run Windows?
  • In the event that you have migrated – or are planning to – from Windows and suddenly need to switch back to your original operating system, using a dual boot setup is a good idea (although sharing data between platforms can be frustrating).
  • But if you’re using a suitable machine (and this is pretty much anything with an Intel Core i5 CPU or higher) then virtualization technology will allow you to run Windows within Linux. To do this you’ll need to install a virtual machine application such as Oracle VM VirtualBox, although there are alternatives in the shape of VMWare and QEMU, which is used by the Gnome Boxes tool.
  • These tools provide a software environment that mimics hardware, enabling you to install Windows within Linux. This can prove extremely useful if you have to use Windows for a particular task but don’t want to stop what you’re doing in Linux to switch devices or reboot – it’s there on your desktop as an option for you to launch as and when. A virtual machine can also keep your Linux environment and your PC safe from Windows-based threats.

 

  • Can’t play games on Linux? Think again.

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  • While the early days of Linux gaming was limited to independent titles and open source ports of well-known Windows games (like FreeCol, a Colonization clone and OpenTTD, which owes an awful lot to Transport Tycoon) times have changed considerably.
  • For low end machines, the open source options remain, as do various Linux-only titles and browser games. But if you’re rocking some high end hardware, you would do well to install Steam on Linux and start enjoying some of the games you originally played on Windows.

 


These Cloud Computing Skills Could Give You The Next Career Jump

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  • At the end of last year, there were over 3.9 million jobs in the cloud computing field in America alone—and over 18 million around the world. And professionals with cloud computing experience took home a median salary of over $90,000.
  • It’s a great field to get into — but what skills do you need for a job in cloud computing? Any expertise in these 9 areas will help set you apart from the rest of the application pile.

 

  • Database Skills
  • Because cloud computing so often deals with large databases of information, being able to understand and work with database languages is crucial. SQL and MySQLare the de facto standard languages for databases, but being familiar with open-source systems like Hadoop, Cassandra, and MongoDB is also helpful.
  • If you’re looking for a more fun way to learn some database skills, you can check out Schemaverse, a space-based strategy game in which players use SQL commands to control their fleets. GalaXQL is another great resource for learning to work with databases — the interactive app lets you practice your SQL queries and guides you along the way.

 

  • Linux
  • The Linux operating system dominates a large portion of the cloud computing world, so being familiar with it will give you a big headstart on many of your potential competitors. A good first step is to set up your computer to dual-boot with your preferred operating system (we have tutorials for dual-booting Windowsas well as OS X).

 

  • DevOps

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  • Development operations is a particular method of software development that takes the entire software lifecycle into account, from planning and prototyping to use and maintenance. DevOps is very popular in cloud computing, so understanding what it is and how you fit into it can be a big help.
  • You can start learning about DevOps by going to DevOps.com and reading their articles to get an idea of the sorts of issues at stake. Microsoft Virtual Academy provides an overview of DevOps, and Linux academy has a short DevOps course that will be helpful, as well.

 

  • Systems Automation

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  • As companies are storing and using more and more information all the time, working with it manually and on a project-to-project basis is becoming unsustainable. Developers who can automate tasks and processes are highly valuable, as they can significantly improve the efficiency of a company’s interactions with data.
  • While “automation” is a relatively vague term, you can gain skills in this area by learning about Puppet and Chef, two open-source automation solutions.
  • Puppet Labs offers a range of learning options, from live courses and certifications to self-paced online learning. It is also cross-platform.
  • Chef is another systems and cloud infrastructure automation tool with a number of interactive learning modules.

 

  • Quality Assurance
  • According to a 2014 survey by Forbes, software quality assurance was the sixth-most common request in cloud computing job postings. In short, software QA is the process by which developers and other producers make sure that the software they produce meets the needs that it sets out to and that it’s of acceptable quality upon release.

 

  • Information Security
  • The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification is one of the most requested certifications in the cloud computing world. This certification is bestowed by International Information System Security Certification Consortium, Inc, and the exam covers knowledge on things like asset security, identity and access management, and software development security.

 

  • Project Management
  • The Project Management Professional certification is highly recognized and respected within the industry. If you have a few years of experience in project management, you may be eligible for this certification; if not, you may be eligible for the Certified Associate in Project Management certification.
  • To find out more about the PMP certification, you can visit the Project Management Institute website and read about their various certifications. There are also a number of other certifications that may be of interest, such as one in program management, and another in business analysis.

 

  • Amazon and Google Cloud Skills

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  • Being familiar with specific vendors of cloud solutions can be a big help if a potential employer already works with those companies. Because Amazon and Google cloud platforms are so popular (even the NSA uses Amazon Web Services), having some familiarity with these technologies can give you a boost in the hiring process.

 

  • The Future Is in the Cloud

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  • Many businesses are quickly transitioning a lot of their computing and data storage to the cloud, and there’s a big need for developers and other technical employees to help them with the process. Whether you’re a cloud expert or a total beginner, this is a great field to get into. Start polishing your skills!

 


Technologies you need to know these days

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  • Coding
  • 1. Coding is the number-one skill in demand today worldwide. Although coding and computer science are still marginalized, it is clear that the ability to code has become as important as other basic forms of literacy like reading and math.
  • 2. Fortunately, no matter what your age or current comfort level with technology, there are ways to pick up intro coding skills — and many of them are free.
  • Big data
  • 1. According to Forbes, big data will continue to grow in 2015, due in part to the rise of the Internet of Things, which has the power to embed technology in practically anything.
  • 2. As ever-larger volumes of data are created, it’s vital to know how to collect and analyze that data — particularly when it’s related to customer preferences and business processes.
  • 3. No matter what industry you’re in, you’ll miss out on key marketing and decision-making opportunities by ignoring big data.
  • Cloud computing
  • 1. TechRadar had reported that 2015 will be the year that the cloud becomes the “new normal.” The reason, writes Mark Barrenechea, CEO of OpenText, is that costs can be slashed as much as 90% through digitization of information-intensive processes.
  • 2. Barrenechea predicts that by year-end, we’ll see “a world of hybrid deployments in which some information and applications reside in the cloud and the remainder resides on-premise.”
  • 3. Learning to utilize the cloud’s flexible power can improve everything from your data security to your collaboration ability.
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  • Mobile
  • 1. As Six Dimensions states, “If you don’t have a mobile strategy, you don’t have a future strategy.” This has never been truer than in 2015, the year in which an increasing number of companies will learn how to mobilize their revenue-generating processes, like making purchases and depositing checks, according to The Guardian.
  • 2. 2015 is also the year that we’ll hit critical mass with the fusion of mobile and cloud computing, according to Forbes. That means many more centrally coordinated apps will be usable on multiple devices
  • Data visualization
  • 1. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a web designer or developer to create compelling infographics. There are several free tools available you can use to visually enhance your data.
  • 2. Data keeps multiplying, which means whatever message you hope to communicate online must find increasingly creative ways to break through the noise. That’s where data visualization comes in, which involves using a visual representation of the data to discover new information and breakthroughs.
  • UX design skills
  • 1. User experience (UX) designers consider the end user’s ease of use, efficiency, and general experience of interfacing with a system (such as a website or application).
  • 2. Smashing Magazine notes that while user experience has long been important, it has become more so recently in relation to the diverse ways that users can now access websites, including mobile and apps.
  • 3. “The more complex the system, the more involved will the planning and architecture have to be for it,” writes Jacob Gube. But it’s not just professional designers who can benefit from understanding UX design — anyone can.
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A Good Facebook Business Page

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  • Get the Facebook Business Page Foundation Right
  • Among the first items to check off your list is establishing a unique URL for your new Facebook. Emily Taffel, founder and CEO of public relations firm Mugsy PR, says that her team chose Facebook.com/mugsypr as their company’s Facebook page URL.
  • “It should be whatever your company name is,” she explains. A lot of businesses don’t even realize they have some control over that URL. It’s handled on the Settings page, where you can follow the prompts to claim your unique address. “Obviously, you want to snag your branded business name,” Taffel says, adding, “but once you create it you can’t change it again.”

 

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  • Now head over to the Category settings and spend the time working on how to label your business. “Depending on which category you pick, it changes which aspects of Facebook you can access,” Taffel says. “For instance, if you say that you’re a product-based business, then you have certain sections that pop up in your ‘about’ section; you have more ecommerce options, and you have different options than if you identify your business as a nonprofit.” Getting that category right is important, so be thoughtful about this step and it will pay off down the road.
  • That About section forms another foundational piece of every good small business Facebook page. Mike Koehler, president of marketing company Smirk New Media, likens the About space to a digital version of an elevator speech. It’s a place where companies can explain what their business is and what it does. But beware: you don’t get a lot of room for text.
  • “You should really refine each word you put there,” Koehler says. That means not just boiling down your mission to a brief statement, but making every word and phrase count. “It’s an opportunity to explain the business with the right keywords,” Koehler says. Many small businesses focus on keywords in their post content, but the keywords in your About section are instrumental in driving the right visitors to your page.

 

  • Give Your Facebook Business Page Recognizable Spin
  • During this initial setup phase, give your Facebook Business page a presence that matches the rest of your brand. As you set up each area, add your business’s personality into the mix.
  • “If [your Facebook page is] the only place that a person interacts with you and your brand, they should get all the information they would get on your regular website and in your physical location,” Koehler says.
  • Don’t just make it a placeholder, assuming that visitors will look elsewhere for additional details about why they should do business with you. “Many businesses don’t realize that a lot of consumers out there begin and end their research inside of Facebook,” says Koehler.
  • You should reflect part of that personality and brand presence through the images you use to identify your page. “As a business, your profile picture should always be your logo or something very recognizable for your brand,” Taffel says. This doesn’t mean you can’t be whimsical or timely later—you can play around with the cover photo to your heart’s content.
  • “You can change that every single day if you want to,” Taffel says. But your profile picture should be something visitors can quickly identify as tied to your business. “That way people automatically recognize your logo and your posts, and it’s branded for your company every time.”

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  • Connect Your Facebook Business Page
  • Before you consider your Facebook page ready for prime time, you need to be sure you’ve made it a primary piece of your overall online presence with connections out to your website, blog, and any other social media channels you use.
  • “We always say that Facebook is kind of a hub, but from there visitors should be able to link directly over to your Twitter, your Instagram, your Pinterest or whatever,” says Taffel. Facebook includes a mechanism to create tabs for each one of those channels, and small business operators should take advantage of those tools.
  • “You can actually link to anything through Facebook with their widgets,” Taffel explains. In the Facebook search engine, just type in the link you want—Twitter, WordPress, etc.—and add “for pages.” Taffel often recommends Woobox to her clients as one of the better platforms for Facebook linking.
  • When you’re ready to start driving visitors to your new Facebook Business page, Koehler recommends that you leverage the data you’ve previously gathered. “Take all of the existing contacts you already have from tyour business—and usually that’s a good spreadsheet or a good email list—and invite those people to that page as the first kickoff.”
  • Many small business owners just launch a Facebook page and sit back and wonder why no one’s stopping by. “If you haven’t invited all the people you already have an existing relationship with, you’re not going to get those people who already have an ingrained connection with you,” Koehler says. “That’s one of the first things people ought to do, but they don’t often do it.”

 


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