Archive for August 15th, 2012
How to monitor employees discretely
Marshalling the troops properly so as to optimize the performance of every individual unit – and in turn maximize the achievement of the whole – is the hallmark of a great general. And similarly bosses that govern a firm would want to ensure that their employees put in their best, which would put their firms en route to new highs. The only problem become a hindrance in this master plan is that employees, as a creed, have a tendency to have particularly lazy backsides and can be glued to sites like Facebook and Youtube like a moth to a flame – except that the only fatal aspect of this attraction neither affects the moth nor the flame; instead it’s the firm’s output that suffers. Therefore, monitoring the activity of employees is the need of the hour – if not the second – and here’s how you could do it discretely.
Employee Monitoring Software
Using monitoring software like cell phone spy software can help the employers keep an eye on their employees and find out how much time is being dedicated to fruitful activities and how much of it goes down the drain. Employee monitoring software can be installed in the devices of the employees and it would help the firm keep an eye on every possible detail that is relevant to their concerns. Anything from the browsing history on their devices to the amount of time they spend procrastinating, courtesy their cell phones, can be figured out thanks to a wide array of PC monitoring software and cell phone spy software. Not only is the discretion guaranteed, monitoring employees through these software also gives you factual evidence; and hence, you don’t have to rely on rumors and rumblings to ascertain how the various cogs in your machine function.
Monitoring employees is merely one façade of what is a much bigger realm of ‘endpoint security’. Its jurisdiction includes malware protects, asset tracking and also the enforcement of various policies. The larger the firm the more is the demand of these security systems in the most comprehensive way possible. The complexity of the systems connote that the IT department needs to be to drawer, and with the necessary networking in place, the firm can weave together the needed safety net.
Even smaller businesses can install a web-hosted system, which is a combination of PC software with tracking facilities to shield the systems and ensure that their usage is in compliance with the policy of the systems. It could also be an assortment of complementary tools like security suite for the desktop and other professional software for tracking. And of course if the budget is further southwards, there are quite a few free tools available in the market as well.
Part of a Whole
The firms should ensure that their employee monitoring maneuver is a small part of the total strategy of business protection – since merely the act of employee monitoring would not result in the skyrocketing of profits. Also, no one is particularly fond of being spied on and hence it is recommended that the firm is forthright about their company policies. And if the web content and emails of the employees are filtered properly that should also make the task of the firm much easier.
Monitoring employees is a sensitive matter. But if dealt with properly, it could result in a hike in profits and more importantly the formulation of a strong, diligent and trustworthy workforce that would have the potential of working wonders for the firm in the long run.
Natalia David, an author significantly contributes towards PC security Software. If you want to know more about Natalia you can follow her on twitter @NataliaDavid4@
The Curiosity Mars Rover landing is one of the most significant engineering and scientific events of the year. The guys at NASA are super proud and we are all lucky to see the beautiful photos it’s sending back. It seems like nothing could go wrong, right?
PC Magazine is reporting that a rogue element is requesting members of Anonymous to join in on his latest escapade – hacking the NASA control center that’s in charge of Curiosity. Suitably, the person is going by the name of “MarsCuriosity” and has been asking Anonymous members in Madrid, Spain or Cabarra for help.
So what exactly does he want to do? For now, he wants to “isolate the huge control signal used for the Mars Odyssey/Curiosity system.” He needs the “base frequency and recordings/feed for the huge signal going out.” He says that the signal being sent to Curiosity can be “spoofed both ways.” That could either mean that he wants to send NASA bogus video footage or send bogus instructions to Curiosity. Either way, it wouldn’t be good.
As PC Magazine points out, however, MarsCuriosity may not even be a member of Anonymous. He could just be somebody looking to make a name for himself and he wants to enlist members of Anonymous into the operation. They also point out that it’s unlikely such a hack would ever take place even if he were to get help from a few members within Anonymous.
It’s still a strange what-if kind of scenario. Hacking is commonplace now and it’s only a matter of time before something big happens. The media coverage that the Curiosity has received thus far makes it a perfect target for a hacker hoping to get famous. Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that though. I would like to think that members within Anonymous would have enough smarts to not mess with NASA or the advancement of science for something shallow like fame.
Los Angeles startup company, Ouya, plans on releasing it’s upcoming game console that aims to take a bite out traditional gaming markets. The Ouya will be based off of Google’s Android operating system, allowing for the console to adopt the app market style of selling games. In fact, the Ouya system won’t operate off of disks at all, unlike it’s competitors at Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft.
Ouya launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring in $950,000 to get the idea off the ground, but ended up with over $8.5 million. With this kind of investment and excitement, one wonders how the game console is going to compete with the large game markets. By adopting the android app market style of selling, it is easy for game developers to get into the game and have the work bought, but if other companies don’t follow suit, then Ouya will have to battle for game titles to keep itself valid. But with over 63,000 supporters, it seems that this idea already has some legs to stand on.
If this concept in gaming is successful, what does that mean to other traditional game developers? Can Ouya do to them what streaming media did to traditional cable companies? If nothing more, maybe it can help the motivate the other companies to follow suit the way Netflix and Hulu sparked streaming options with traditional providers like DirecTV. However, traditional markets in these areas haven’t lost grasp of their holds too much in the market, though Netflix and Hulu have gained some ground.
Ouya will definitely need some quality titles if they plan on staying in the game for the long run. Ouya will for now plan to partner with OnLive, a streaming service for games, and currently they do have some titles that they plan on releasing for free, if at least only for a trial, upon the release of the system. The long term success of the gaming console will be told with time, for right now, it’s nice to see an option that’s a change of pace, and something so many people can get behind.
Jordan Mendys is a blogger and media professional based out of NC. In his spare time he is a freelance photographer and video producer. Follow him @JPMendys.
Dead or Alive 5 represents the most significant visual overhaul the series has seen, but Team Ninja also assures (in the above developer diary) that it’s also the most accessible entry yet.
Justin Beck launched PerBlue while finishing college in 2008. He got to work on the company’s first title, Parallel Kingdom, with his co-founder and a staff of seven in Madison, Wisconsin, surviving on $20,000 of savings from a stint at Microsoft. Today, PerBlue generates $3 million a year, supports 35 employees and has successfully launched three free-to-play MMOs in the Parallel universe on Android and iOS.
PerBlue’s Parallel Mafia and Parallel Zombies both hit mobile devices in 2012, but during his talk at GDC Europe, Beck discussed the specific finances of Parallel Kingdom, which has been live since 2008.
Parallel Kingdom doesn’t have a massive number of players, hype or notoriety in the wider gaming world, but it proves that when managed efficiently, a mobile game can provide huge profit for a small developer. Parallel Kingdom has 1.5 million registered accounts, but only 15,000 daily active users, which Beck admits is “not that big.” These users, however, represent $0.40 – $0.50 per user, per day for PerBlue. Extrapolated to 50,000 monthly active users, that’s more than $200,000 each month in microtransactions from one title alone.
Beck has transitioned from programmer to CEO, tracking PerBlue’s finances with detailed precision, but without self-destructive obsession. From this vantage, he sees Android outpacing iOS in almost every way ? 85 percent of PerBlue’s players use Android, with the remainder on iOS. The Android arket is growing, with multiple carriers offering dozens of devices to potential players, compared to Apple’s slimmer choices.
“Android is continuing to outpace iOS…. Android is a freight train.”
– Justin Beck, CEO of PerBlue
Furthering the hardware imbalance, mobile carriers earn a higher margin on Android devices and have begun advertising those over iOS, Beck has noticed. Previously in Germany, for example, Vodafone advertised iPhones in its windows, but today it’s the Samsung Galaxy S3.
PerBlue sees slightly lower monetization rates on Android, but higher player retention, making monetization across Android and iOS equal. Though of course since more players use Android, its revenue stream is higher.
“iPhone makes a little bit more money at a quicker pace, but Android actually has more users over a longer period of time,” Beck tells Joystiq. During his talk, Beck called Android a freight train and predicts that while Apple is “an amazing business,” it won’t be able to keep pace.
PerBlue itself will continue chugging along, creating games with the tools and approach that it has proven work well, 3 million times over.
QR or Quick Response codes are handy little barcodes that can store data like numbers, websites and text. They’ve been used in many boring ways before, but now TechInUs shows you some offbeat and fun ways to use them to your advantage.
Reminders for friends/family
Do people complain about your handwriting? Instead of leaving handwritten reminders or notes, you can generate a QR code with a reminder message that you want to convey to friends or family. Create your QR code using one of the listed services in the box, print it and place it somewhere with high visibility (like the fridge). Anyone can quickly scan the QR code using a phone or tablet to view the reminder on their screen.
Use them as clues for a treasure hunt
A treasure hunt normally has a series of clues which leads to a final treasure – in this case, you can replace the text clues with printed QR codes to make a ‘geeky’ treasure hunt. To make things harder as the hunt progresses, the initial clues can be simple text and later ones can be websites. You can also check out http://www.qrwild.com – a place where you can create and play your own game using game pieces placed online or in the real world.
Logon to a secure Wi-Fi network
On http://www.qrstuff.com, you can generate a QR code to let anyone connect to a protected Wi-Fi once they scan it. You will need to enter the Wi-Fi network name (SSID), password and the type of security before generating the code. Once done, anyone who scans the code from their phone will automatically be able to join the network without having to manually enter the password or search for the network (works with Android only).
Include on visiting cards
Most QR code generation websites let you create a code that incorporates all your contact information to create a virtual visiting card (vCard). You can include your name, company title, phone number, website and other relevant information (preferably on the back of the card). With a code like this printed on your visiting card, anyone can scan the card to instantly get all your details on their phone for a quick save.
Print ‘For Sale’ signs
QR codes are great for ‘For Sale’ signs – especially when you want to sell your car. An interested (and tech-savvy) passerby may not have enough time to note down the details in text, but he/she can quickly scan the code to get more details about the item on sale, your name and your contact number. You can also link to photos of the item on a Flickr or Picasa page so that interested buyers can view more detailed images.
Use in email signatures
QR codes can be scanned off a screen, so it makes sense for you to include one in your email signature. Normally, this code will duplicate what the signature already says in text but can vary depending on whether you use it for personal or professional use. To do this, first create your QR code using one of the methods outlined in the box (right) and then host the image on any image hosting site (like http://imgur.com). Get the direct link to the image and add it to your email signature.
Get a QR Code tattoo
A skilled tattoo artist will be able to recreate a working QR code tattoo (in different colors) on various parts of your body. It’s the ultimate in geek street cred – your tattooed QR code could have your personal website, number, Facebook/Twitter handle or anything else you want. Just make sure that the code has sharp lines and is tattooed large enough to be easily read by a scanning camera (roughly 1.5 to 2 inches square at least.
Print QR codes on T-shirts, keychains…
On http://www.qrhacker.com (free sign-up required), you can generate (incorporate text, website, phone number or a virtual card) and customise your QR code’s look with different colours. It can even be set to show a picture in the background or foreground. Once you have your designer code, you can get it printed on a T-shirt, keychain or other personal merchandise to share information.
How to Create & Read a QR Code
QR codes can be created very quickly for free. They can be saved on your computer as PDF files or JPEG/PNG image files. Head to sites like http://beqrious.com, http://www.azonmedia.com or http://www.qrstuff. com. You can generate a QR code pointing to a website, to a Google Maps location, with plain text, linking to a Facebook/Twitter page or to directly update a social network by just scanning the code. Type the relevant information in the corresponding box on the website and it will generate a QR code for free. To make a QR code that looks a little out of the ordinary, you can change the foreground/background colour and add a photograph or logo into the code. To read QR codes, you need a QR code scanner app on your smartphone. Google Goggles and NeoReader are free apps that work great on Android, Windows Phone and iOS devices. If you have a BlackBerry, check out QR Code Scanner Pro. All that you need to do is launch the app, point the phone’s camera towards the code and it will automatically show you the contents. Make sure that your phone has a working data connection (Wi-Fi or cellular) in order to view or act on the information provided.
Canon’s newest DSLR for the enthusiast photographer includes quite an unusual feature – a touchscreen LCD. It’s not just any touchscreen either – it’s a capacitive one, the kind found on expensive smartphones (complete with touch to focus and pinch to zoom) and it has the highest resolution of any DSLR.
I chose to start from this point since this is the 650D’s biggest new feature. Traditionally, a DSLR has no need for a touchscreen since there is more than enough space on the camera body for actual buttons.
As any seasoned photographer will tell you, physical buttons make it easier to operate the camera in the dark or without actually looking – which also makes it much faster – every split second counts when you’re trying to capture a moment.
In this case though, you have both – the buttons and the touchscreen – use one system or both, it’s up to you. Appearance wise, the 650D will not draw too many glances since it sticks to convention. But it does include the very useful articulating screen also found on the 600D and 60D.
The second biggest feature will appeal to those who shoot lots of video – the 650D has a new hybrid autofocus system (9 cross type AF points) with continuous autofocus during video recording – something conspicuously absent from the other video-toting DSLRs. This means that the video mode is no longer crippled and anyone can use it with ease.
The 650D has Canon’s Digic 5 processor which enables 5 fps continuous shooting at a stretch of 20 to 30 images (JPEG, high quality, 18MP, highspeed SD card) without slowing down.
ISO performance is excellent up to ISO 3200 and can be pushed to ISO 6400 in a stretch. Video quality is good too, with the dual microphones and the hybrid AF system working in tandem to deliver overall pleasing results.
Overall, the inclusion of many new features has made the 650D a no-brainer for users jumping from a compact or prosumer camera. It’s a worthwhile investment that will continue to grow and deliver excellent results. Existing 600D users however, won’t find much reason to upgrade.
SAN FRANCISCO: Sony Computer Entertainment Inc will roll out its PlayStation Mobile cross-platform gaming service starting this fall, offering application software and other content across devices like the handheld PlayStation Vita and Xperia smartphones and tablets.
The unit of Sony Corp said on Tuesday its service will be available in nine countries including Japan, United States and Canada, with other countries to follow.
Previously branded the PlayStation Suite, it will provide a platform for third-party software developers and publishers to create new content like games for portable devices.
Makers of iOS and Andriod devices depend on content to boost hardware sales and a community of developers to generate application software content. Sony did not fully elaborate on its PlayStation Mobile plans in terms of costs and revenue projections, but it has pinned its long-term growth on mobile and gaming devices.
Asustek Computer and Wikipad Inc will also join Sony’s PlayStation Certified license program, the company said. This partnership will provide users of Asus and Wikipad handheld devices access to PlayStation Mobile content.
New Chief Executive Kaz Hirai has sketched out a revival plan for the ailing Japanese corporate standard-bearer that stakes Sony’s future on mobile devices such as the Xperia smartphone, gaming and digital imaging, while developing new businesses such as a medical unit.